Monday, December 12, 2011

A Day for Granny

Granny turns 80 this year, so we wanted to do something extra special for her birthday. We decided rather than getting her one more thing for her house or clothes, we would spend a whole day enjoying her company. We thought we would enjoy a trip together to the Ft. Worth Science Museum. It was just our family and her, so we could really focus on her and not other relatives.

We had such a good time doing all the hands on activities together and watching an IMAX presentation of The Wild Ocean. We ended the day with dinner together before heading back to her house where we spent two nights for Thanksgiving. We made some great memories!

Abby digging for dinosaur bones.

Shopping at the mini grocery store with Granny.

The girls sure love their Granny!

Avery could hula hoop for hours. She gets that from Wes. I cannot do it, no matter how much I try.

Making a pinball obstacle course.

Abby rocking out with the "instruments".

The man on stilts was a little "freaky" but kinda cool, too.

Long lighted catterpillar tunnel outside.

Getting ready for the IMAX presentation.

I have so much love and respect for Granny. I hope when I am her age that I am as loving, caring, and as energetic as she is. She is so selfless with her time, volunteering at the Pregnancy Crisis Shelter, visiting the shut-ins from church on a regular basis, and devoting countless hours in prayer and Bible study. I really do look up to this lady.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas on TV

Avery had her 3rd grade Christmas program on Monday and it was titled "Christmas on TV". It had cute snippets and songs from famous Christmas movies and ended with the nativity scene and "Silent Night". Avery was Alvin from "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and had two solos. She also hula hooped for part of the song too. She is a pro at that for sure.

She nailed her solos, and we couldn't have been prouder! She was not even nervous. I could have never done that when I was her age. I bet she will enjoy being in theater someday. Who knows?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fall Retreat

This year we tried something new. We decided to have a combined retreat with our middle school and high school group. We were all together during times of worship and eating, but we separated the groups for lessons, group discussions, the ropes course, zip line, and games.

I was with the Middle School group. We have a large group of teens in middle school. They are full of energy and have such a zest for life. I especially love how they are eager to add to discussions in Bible class and happy to serve others. They are often bolder than some of our high schoolers. I am excited to see how God is going to use them for His Kingdom.

I brought Gloria, a 6th grader, that has been coming to church with me. I tutored her last year and reconnected with her one day when I subbed at the middle school. She knew some of our girls, but I was impressed with how welcome they all made her feel.

I think my highlights of the weekend were the amazing times of worship and just getting to hang out with these awesome teens. I love working with our youth!
The Middle School group on a big pile of wood chips.

Playing games.

I am trying to explain the straw game.

Straw and tissue paper relay race.

Working together at the ropes course.

Halloween Happenings

For the second year, Hyde Park Elementary had a Pumpkin Decorating contest. The girls gave us their ideas, I did some more research and bought the necessary supplies. Wes did the majority of the actual work with the girls.

They each got an award. Abby won Most Original and Avery won Funniest. They were very proud.

My favorite part was helping Abby with the baby spiders. We held on to those for future Halloween decorations. Next year, I want to use fake pumpkins so we can keep them for decorations for years to come. It seems like a lot of work to have to throw away the pumpkins after just a few weeks.

The girls enjoyed the church Fall Festival, as usual. Dressing up, a bounce house, lots of games and treats. What more could a child want out of a Fall Festival?

Abby wanted to put her new dress that Nana brought back from China to good use, so she decided to be Mulan this year. Avery decided to be a tiger girl. It was Avery's idea to pose this way.

We were glad Grandpa and Gina got to join us for the fun festivities, as well.

Another Successful Soccer Season

Avery, Abby and their coach, Wes, had a another great season this fall. Avery's team, the Denison Ponies, won every single game and actually won first place in their division. Abby's team, the Denison Lightening only lost 2 games the whole season. We made some good memories, playing, and cheering each other on.

We are now enjoying some less busy Saturdays until the Spring season comes around.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Toothless Grin and www.!

One day last week, Abby came home with a missing tooth. Mrs. Jackson (known for her great teeth pulling skills) had pulled it for her at school and placed it in a cute purple treasure chest. I told the superintendent who goes to our church that Mrs. Jackson deserved a raise for all the teeth she pulls at Hyde Park Elementary.
Abby's other front tooth was slightly loose when she lost the first one. These last couple of days it has been almost hanging, but she would not let anyone pull it. She was scared that it would hurt. Finally, yesterday she pulled it herself right before getting in the shower. Ha! She was pretty proud of her accomplishment. It's funny how two little things can change the whole look of someone's face.
About a week ago, Abby was outside by herself swinging. This wasn't just regular swinging. Abby was standing on the swing while she was swinging and she was singing at the top of her lungs. I was watching all of this from inside. She sang church songs and also her very own creative church songs about people making bad decisions. (Can you tell what we have been talking about at home?) Anyways it was pretty entertaining. What really made me laugh out loud was at the end of one of her own created songs she said, "For more songs visit" Ha!
Later, I told her that I heard her and that it made me happy that she loved to sing songs about God. I told her our neighbors probably enjoyed her singing, too. She then asked as serious as could be, "Did you hear my website?" I replied that I had. She said, "Do you think the neighbors will visit it?" This girl cracks us up!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let School Begin!

After a very busy summer, I was ready for a routine, and ready to be home for a while.
Having a youth minister for a husband makes for packed summers. Don't get me wrong, I do love it, but it is nice to have a regular routine now and to not be on the road so much. I did the math and figured that we were out of town a total of 30 days for camps, mission trip, and our vacation.

The girls were ready for school to start too. I cannot believe we now have a 1st grader and 3rd grader! Time has flown by!

As I write this it has been 3 weeks since school started. So far, so good. We are back into the swing of things, and the girls are enjoying school and like their teachers. I will say, Avery has had a lot more homework this year. She often has a math sheet, spelling sheet, and then she is supposed to read her AR book. She has had a good attitude about it for the most part, but I do feel a little sorry for her.

I don't start tutoring until Sept. 19th, but I am on the sub list until then. The beginning of the year is always slow when it comes to substitute teaching, but I was glad because it allowed me to get lots of projects done at home. One day, I got to be outside in the beautiful weather while I was subbing for a P.E. teacher who said to take advantage of the cooler weather and take the students out for "Free Play". It was awesome! Another day I subbed in my old classroom. It was a little weird, and it brought back some memories of those 3 years I taught before having Avery.

Another day I was asked to sub in a Criminal Justice class at the high school. I was glad I didn't really have to "teach" anything in that class. What do I know about Criminal Justice? Needless to say, substitute teaching is not boring. Each time brings a new experience or adventure.

My schedule is a little different this year with tutoring. I will be spending most of every school day at Terrell Elementary working with 5th graders on Math and Science. I am really looking forward to it. I always say that tutoring is most of the best parts of teaching minus all the stress, grading papers, dealing with parents, and making lesson plans. To top it off, I am done at the end of the school day. I love that I can be at home in the morning with my girls before school starts, and I am done in enough time to pick them up from school.

Soccer has also started back up around here. Wes is Abby's head coach once again and Avery's assistant coach. Abby is playing on a bigger field and now plays 4 on 4. Abby had her first game on Saturday. They were ahead by 1 point most of the time, but ended up with a tie in the end.

Small groups will resume at our house next Sunday. I love this group and can't wait to study Francis Chan's Forgotten God. I loved Crazy Love, so I am excited about starting another one of his books.

So, between school, youth activities at church and in our home, soccer practices and games, church, and small group, we have lots going on around here.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Graduation Number Two!

HE DID IT! Wes finished his Masters in Conflict Resolution from ACU. The majority of his work was done online which was nice. He had a lot of late nights. Let's just say we are all glad it is over.

We went to his graduation at ACU. The ceremony was special. ACU's president, Phil Shubert, even mentioned Wes and his story of battling cancer while he was going through his classes.

Every time I go to Abilene wonderful memories come flooding back. We walked around the campus like we have done a couple of times before. I was even able to show the girls my old dorm room on the second floor of Nelson. Abby told Avery, "Wouldn't it be cool if you and I were roommates in Mommy's old room?" So sweet!

We also drove around to my old house that I grew up in, and saw one of the houses where Wes and his roommates lived.

Walking in to "Pomp and Circumstance".

All the graduates. Wes and the other two students who were mentioned in the speech are standing in the front .

Wes being hooded.

Abby being her goofy self and wearing Wes's hat.

He looks so prestigious!

We are so proud of Wes and his big accomplishment! Great Job Honey!

Dear Maui, I love you!

Can I just say that I love Hawaii? Really I love anywhere that has great weather and pretty beaches. Is that too much to ask? The first week of August we traveled to Maui for a fun-filled family vacation for a week with all the Encalades. It was an adventure getting there because we flew stand-by, thanks to Debbie's previous employment with American Airlines. I am not complaining about our little "adventure" because it is very worth it to save the money. Plus, the girls are at a such a good age to travel, it really isn't too hard.
Debbie, Ernie, and Granny got to Maui on Thursday, and Blake, Katy, and their kids arrived Sunday. The original plan was for us to leave Sunday night on a flight to L.A. after the girl's last CTW (Christain Theater Workshop) performance. Then we would leave early Monday morning on a flight to Maui. We got to L.A. just fine and spent part of the night (it was pretty late) in a hotel. We got up early to try to make our flight, but unfortunately a flight to Maui had been canceled on Sunday which meant there were a lot of other people trying to to get to Maui. Since we were flying stand-by we had to let all of those people go ahead of us. We waited in the airport all day trying to get a flight out and were finally able to catch a flight to Kauai at 5:30. We spent the night there at a beautiful hotel then caught a "island hopper" to Maui. Honestly, I didn't mind the little detour to Kauai. It is such a beautiful island.
We were able to stay at Wes's Aunt Dianne's gorgeous house in Wailea. It was absolutely perfect! It was wonderful being all together under one roof. The cousins, of course, had a ball playing together. We ate most of our meals there and enjoyed some great dinners outside since the weather was so nice!
Our days were filled with swimming in the pool and ocean, boogie boarding, taking walks, a little bit of shopping, playing games like Hand and Foot and Monopoly, some golf for the guys, and massages for the gals, and just hanging out. We also spent one whole day at the Grande Wailea Resort. Here is a description of the pool area. "This multi-faceted, 2,000-foot-long, 25,700-total-square-foot, 770,000-gallon pool consists of nine free-form pools at six levels -- beginning at 40 feet and dropping to sea level. The pools are connected by a river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds, from whitewater rapids to lazy currents. Wailea Canyon includes four jungle pools, four tile slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, the world's first water elevator, a sand beach, six waterfalls, caves, three Jacuzzis, an infant pool, and a swim-up bar, where guests can order refreshing beverages." Yup, it was amazing!
The Grandparents watched all the grandkids one evening so Katy, Blake, Wes and I could go out for dinner and shopping. That was a nice treat!
I was hoping the flights out of Maui were too full for us to fly stand-by, but alas our wonderful vacation had to come to an end.
A HUGE thank you to Ernie and Debbie for treating us to such a FANTASTIC vacation! Also, a HUGE thank you to Aunt Dianne and Uncle Chick for letting us stay at their amazing house!

Taking a nap while waiting in the airport.

These pictures were taken at our "detour" in Kauai.

Aunt Dianne's beautiful vacation house where we stayed.

A view from our bedroom balcony.

The cousins are ready to go swimming!

Hanging out in the pool in the backyard.

We paid a visit to the Maui Ocean Center where we saw all kinds of marine life and were even able to touch some starfish.

Playing games and having fun with arts and crafts.

The Grande Wailea Resort.

Beach fun! Playing in the sand, dancing, playing beach tennis, boogie boarding, and riding the waves.

Family Pictures

Eating a yummy snow cone while out shopping.

Avery enjoyed writing names in the sand. The "?" is for the little cousin Katy is pregant with. I thought that was pretty cute of Avery to think of that.