Friday, July 16, 2010

Alone Time and Great Wolf Lodge

Last Friday, Wes left for Wilderness Trek. Originally, I had planned on going, but I decided I wanted to spend more time with the girls. Seven days is a long time away. Summers are going to be even more precious since Abby starts Kindergarten in the Fall.

Avery and Abby got to spend two nights with Nana and Paw Paw. They had a great time playing, swimming, going to the movies, and attending a Ranger game.

While they were gone, I took advantage of the time to get a ton of things done. I ran errands, packed for our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge, and went through lots of the girls clothes and my clothes. I also organized their toys better. (Avery thanked me when she got home.) So far they have not asked about any of the toys I donated/threw out. And believe me, there were a lot. It had been a while since I had done this and there were just so many things they were not interested in anymore. I love the feeling of being organized and clutter free. Call me crazy, but that is just me.

It sure was quiet around the house while everyone was gone. It was nice to just have a few days to myself during a summer of lots of trips and activities.

On Sunday, I met up with Carrie, Sybil, Avery and Abby. We got to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for 3 days, thanks to Sybil. She got a gift certificate to go there from her aunt for her birthday and she invited us to go along. It was great to see Sybil and Carrie again and a real treat to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge with them.

Here is a description of our suite:

KidCabin® Suite

Give the kids their own Northwoods log cabin nestled within this larger family suite. The cabin houses a bunk bed, day bed and their own TV, so they can “rough it” with movies and Nintendo. In the main room, adults can sprawl out on a queen bed and full-size sleeper sofa. They get their own TV too, presumably for movies and Nintendo as well.

It was perfect! All three girls enjoyed their "cabin" and frequently reminded us that it was for kids only. Ha!

The majority of the time outside of our room was spent at the water park. The lazy river was a favorite, for sure. We also slid down many rides including the River Canyon Run, which was my personal favorite. We all got to slide down this huge slide together in a raft.

We also did the MagiQuest where we had wands that opened treasure chests and made objects and pictures speak to us all over the hotel.

One night we went to the Rain Forest Cafe. The girls were fascinated by the moving animals and rain.

Waiting for Story Time down in the lobby.

Going through the Lazy River. Abby kept getting ahead of us. I think she thought it was a race. Hhhmmmm, I wonder who she gets here competitiveness from?

Waiting for the waves to start in the Wave Pool.

We love you!

Hi Mom!

Here the girls are making their best wolf impersonations.

Hanging out on the floating beaver.

All in all, we had a terrific time with our friends. We will see them soon when Sybil gets to come stay with us for CTW. Thanks again, Sybil!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Slumber Party!

Tuesday night, I had the middle school and high school girls over for a slumber party. We had fun, fun, more fun, and a little bit of sleep! Karissa, our wonderful intern, did most of the planning. We ate pizza and other goodies, played Sardines, Capture the Flag, Curses, Catch Phrase, and Little Sally Walker (this chant was stuck in my mind forever). We also decorated T-shirts, and watched a couple of movies. I was still wide awake at 4:30 am. There was one other girl awake, too. I don't know why I was. I am usually out way before that during a slumber party. Usually the girls only stay awake until 1:00 am or so. They were still going strong at that point. I woke up at 9:30 to start making cinnamon rolls for everyone. I wish you could order donuts like you can pizza. Needless to say, I was just a little out of it that day. I didn't take a nap. I just hung in there all day. Thankfully Avery and Abby have been sleeping in until 9:3o or so. They played quietly and let me sleep until 10:30 the next day, so I caught up on my sleep.

Anyways I really enjoyed hanging out with the girls! They are a lot of fun and super creative. They are also pretty darn sneaky when it comes to Sardines and Capture the Flag. Luv ya PACOC gals!

Shelby, Huntington, and Lindsee working hard on their T-shirts.

Shiloh, Avery, Sierra, Haley, and Dakota painting away.

Jordan, Kayla, and Cina hard at work.

Caitlyn, Alison, Brinlee, and Karissa goofing off.

Funny faces girls!

Karissa and Madie.

These girls wore their shirt to church the next night! They are very talented artists!

P.S. Thanks Karissa for letting me use some of your pictures you took.

Fourth of July Family Fun!

The Fourth of July was extra special this year! Dad and Gina treated our family and Aaron's family to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens to enjoy a great concert by the Fort Worth Symphony and the best fireworks show any of us had ever seen. We packed a dinner and lots of snacks and had a great time just hanging out. The weather was fabulous, unlike most steaming summer evenings.

The happy couple who made this trip possible.

The family clown and his lovely wife Janet.

My sweet hubby and I.

Gina introduced the kids to dipping fruit in chocolate. What a messy but very fun activity. They were hilarious to watch!

humidity + chocolate + Abby = a cute curly headed girl

Such a cutie pie!

Cousins are a blessing!

Riding high!

Can I have a turn somebody?

A view of the stage.

Too cute!

Not only did Dad and Gina treat us to a wonderful show, but they also got hotel rooms for us and took us to the zoo the next day. Aaron, Janet, Mylen, and Aivlyn had to get back, and were unable to got to the zoo with us the next day. They had lots of packing to do. They are moving to San Antonio soon and then on to Panama. (Sniff...Sniff) We enjoyed the hotel pool before the show Sunday and again the next day before we headed off to the zoo.

The girls petted this snake. No thanks!

Poor turtle.

Let's go for a ride!

One of our favorite parts of the zoo was feeding the birds.
Very cool!

Grandpa handing off the bird to Abby.

Abby made a friend.

Well hello Mr. Birdie!

Avery made a friend, too.

Hi there fella!

Wes's new girlfriend.

At least he is not kissing this one.

Gina and the girls watching the rhino.

We wished we could be in that water. It was a little toasty.

This monkey just had a baby. The baby is tucked in its arm. It was so neat to see her with her newborn. The baby had to hold on for dear life as the mom swung from place to place. Every once in a while the mom would play with her baby. It was very sweet. This was another favorite part for us.

Gina made a friend, too.

Eye to eye with a gorilla. I think he liked Gina. Watch out, Dad!

Thanks Dad and Gina for a great couple of days! We had an absolute blast!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Zenith and Cornerstone

Where did June go? Seriously, this summer is going by way to fast! We haven't even been home 18 days out of the last 30 days. It has been nice to be home again the last couple of days. Not that I don't love camp or little vacations, there is just something nice about eating healthier meals, sleeping in your own bed, and other little things.

This year they decided to put Zenith and Cornerstone back to back on the calendar. It actually worked out wonderfully. You don't have to pack and unpack twice and it was nice to have more of a break on the weekend in between camps.

Zenith and Cornerstone were both terrific this year. Great classes taught by the youth ministers, wonderful lessons by Mitch Wilburn and Doug Crum, meaningful entertainment by Unbound, amazing times of worship and lots of fun activities and entertainment. Childcare was provided for the youth ministers' children which allowed me to go to classes with our youth and to worship in the evening. In the afternoons the girls could participate in most activities with the teens and us. Avery and Abby look forward to camp each year and they didn't want to leave this year, even after being there two weeks. They have developed friendships with the other youth ministers' children over the years, plus they always love hanging out with the youth.

I got to lead a starlight devo for all the middle school girls at camp. I have done this in the past. It is always a little intimidating to talk to 150 plus girls. It helps that it is dark outside. I talked about God pursuing us through the Holy Spirit, which was the theme for that day.

Highlights from the week included two service project days. We divided up into our youth groups and went all over the area doing service projects. During Zenith our group went to an infant care center which supplies things like diapers, toys, clothes, baby wash, and more to those who cannot afford it. We helped them do inventory and organized clothes, diapers, food, and played with some children that came in. It was neat to hear all that the center was doing and to be able to help out in some small way. I was proud of how hard everyone worked. During Cornerstone we headed to Oklahoma City where we helped with an inner city church. We hung out with some of the children who were there for a church program, then we helped them paint their youth room. Again I was proud of our group. I didn't hear any complaining. They had fun and were happy to serve. I was glad Avery and Abby got to be a part of these days as well. It is so good for them to learn the importance of serving and caring for other people.

My little helpers and I sorting through clothes that had been donated to the center. They were a big help! Aren't these little boxer briefs adorable?

Our intern, Cody and Avery bagging up diapers.

Abby and our other intern, Karissa bagging up diapers. Abby was a good counter!

Brinlee and Easton sorting peanut butter.

Painting the youth room. The girls really enjoyed this.

Avery working hard.

Abby, Jaycee, and Jessica working as a team.

Abby and Makenzie painting the ceiling tiles for the youth room.

Good job Andrew! Look at those blue eyes!

I always leave camp more refreshed and renewed, and this year was no different. I loved the themes this year "Ignite" and "Pursue". The classes and lessons from our speakers seemed a lot deeper and I thought they really challenged us.

We took a little bit smaller group than normal to Zenith. Lots of teens were busy.

Teens praying and doing their quiet time journaling.

Chase Warner was baptized at camp and Brinlee Crump was baptized after camp. Woo Hoo! Praise God for their decisions!

Proud of you, Chase!

Cornerstone gang!

I am so thankful for the relationships that we have built with the other youth minister families over the years. We all have a common bond and I consider our friendships a real gift from God. It is a treat to see each other every summer.

Sweet Karla! Karla used to be in our youth group and is now married to a youth minister. It is fun to be with them at camp every year! Luv ya girl!

Abby, Raegan, Avery and Rylee had a ball together at camp. Of course, we moms had a good time too. Why didn't I get a picture with them?

Dakota and I taking the little ones for a ride on the golf cart. (The perks of being the camp director's wife.)