Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break Getaway!

We decided to take a trip to San Antonio for Spring Break. We left Monday morning and arrived there that afternoon. The girls are at such a great age to travel. We only had to make one bathroom stop. They were awesome in the car, watching movies, reading, singing, and playing their DS's.
After unloading at the hotel we headed to the Alamo and River Walk. We walked around the Alamo but made the choice not to wait in the over one hour long line to go in the Alamo. After walking around the River Walk for a while, we stopped at a Mexican Restaurant on the river for dinner. We did some more walking before getting some delicious ice cream for dessert. The original plan was to stay until it got dark so the girls could see it all lit up, but we were all a little weary and ready to get back to the hotel before dark.

Our suite worked out perfectly. Wes and I had the bedroom and the girls had living room which had a sleeper sofa. There was a door dividing us, so we could stay up late after the girls went to bed. The hotel had free breakfast and dinner, which was awesome.
After breakfast on Tuesday we went to Sea World. The weather was perfect, cloudy most of the time which kept the temperature from getting too hot. We rode the Steel Eel first which is a pretty intense roller coaster. I am pretty sure Abby will not be riding any large roller coasters again any time soon. She kept saying, "Help me, God! Help me, God!" while we rode. She did ride some little kid roller coasters after that. We thoroughly enjoyed all the shows. My favorite was Azul with all the magical partnerships of beautiful beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, colorful birds and acrobatic performers. It is amazing!
At around 5:00 we headed back to the hotel where we ate dinner, watched some T.V., relaxed and went to sleep.
The next day we headed to Sea World to start our second day full of fun and adventure. We caught the shows that we missed from the day before and rode some rides. Again, we could not have asked for better weather, and it was not very crowded. The girls enjoyed playing for quite a while at The Bay of Play as well as at a playground area.

At the end of the day we rode the Rio Loco which is a raft ride through some roaring rapids. We didn't get too wet until the end where there was a waterfall that totally drenched us. I am glad we saved that until the end of the day. It's just not comfortable to walk around in wet clothes and tennis shoes.
We left around 5:00 again, grabbed a quick shower before eating at the hotel. I am so thankful that the hotel had free dinner. It was nice to not have to get out again for dinner after walking around all day.
A relaxing and restful evening prepared us for our final day of vacation. We ate a delicious breakfast, packed up and made our way to the Natural Bridge Caverns just about 30 minutes away. I wasn't sure how we would like the tour of the caverns, but I was very impressed. The tour was about 70 minutes long. We walked 180 feet below ground for about 1/2 mile through the largest and most spectacular show cavern in Texas. Guides were posted all along the way giving us short snippets of information about each area. We saw amazing stalagmites, stalagtites, flowstones, chandeliers and soda straws. The caverns were cool and wet. We even got drops of water on us. The water in the small pools was crystal clear and the formations were amazing. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Natural Bridge Caverns. These pictures really don't do it justice.

We decided to stop by the Encalade's house on the way home. Ernie, Debbie and Granny took us to dinner and we had a nice visit swapping stories from each others' vacations.
I am so thankful for this chance to getaway with just our immediate family. We travel with friends and family a lot, and it's always a blast. But it was really nice to spend time with Wes and the girls.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Titus Project

For the last couple of months on Sunday nights at church we have been having the Titus Project. This activity is for 3-12 graders and is based on Titus chapter 2. This is our second year to do this and things are running quite smoothly. We have a year of experience and have worked out some of the kinks. Students arrive around 5pm and go to their huddle groups of about 6-8 students and led by two adults. We have about 10 minutes to fellowship with our group and answer some ice-breaker questions before heading to our separate options. The older students did service projects for the first six weeks and the second six weeks they choose from three options - Teaching (learning how to teach a Bible class and preparing a lesson to actually teach to a class at church), Chorus (learning and performing songs), and Communications (learning how to read scripture, lead a prayer, and do skits). These students got to put into action what they were learning. For instance, during our worship time students led prayers, read scripture and performed skits.
Back to the schedule - they have about an hour during this option time before coming back to enjoy a meal together prepared by an awesome team of adults. We eat dinner with our huddle group which allows even more time to develop strong relationships within our group.
Following dinner, we have a worship time and a short lesson by Wes and some of the students. We then head back to our huddles for some discussion time based the lesson for that evening. After the first 6 weeks the groups switched, the older students will chose between the options while the younger students did service projects.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my huddle group of 6th grade girls. They are happy, eager to learn, and excited to be there each Sunday evening.
I was also in charge of the service projects for the older group. We visited a nearby nursing home, made Valentine cards for our Valentines Banquet that we hold each year for our members age 60 and up. We helped clean several shut-in's homes and yards, wrote letters to World Bible School students, learned about the different ministries within our church and helped students choose some ministries to sign up to help with. I really enjoyed planning all the activities and watching lives be blessed by our students in action.
Avery has been able to be a part of Titus Project for the first time this year, now that she in 3rd grade. This, naturally, makes Abby sad. She wishes she could be with Avery. Avery learned how to teach a Bible class and chose the story of Esther as the basis of the lesson she will teach to 3 year olds in the near future. She says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up, so this is right up her ally.
My prayer is that these students will learn what their gifts and talents are and how to use their gifts and talents for God's kingdom.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Birthday Party for Avery and Abby!

The girls chose to do their party together again this year. They decided that they wanted to take some friends to Amazing Jake's. We think it is pretty sweet that they still enjoy doing their party together. They are close to each others' friends, so I guess it does make sense. Avery invited Skippy and Grace, and Abby invited Sybil and Annabelle.

The friends arrived shortly after school on Friday. Dad and Gina joined us too and helped us transport all the girls. Debbie, Ernie, Granny, Blake, Tripp, and Grace met us there.

We enjoyed the pizza buffet before venturing off to the rides.

There was rock climbing, go carts, bumper cars, a merry-go-round, train ride, and laser tag. You wouldn't think that a bunch of little girls would enjoy shooting each other in laser tag, but it really was a big hit! Dad and Gina were pretty sneaky as laser tag players.
Avery getting super high.

Grace was really good at this!

Go Abby! Don't you love her rock climbing attire?

Grandpa and Abby about to collide.

Sybil and Abby running into each other.

Abby, Sybil and Tripp driving the train.

We stopped the play time briefly to sing to the birthday girls and eat birthday cupcakes.

Sisterly love!

It was pretty late when we got back to the house. A couple of girls even fell asleep on the way home. They got ready for bed and were soon sound asleep. Of course, the next morning they were up bright and early, eager to play. Wes got us donuts for breakfast. Yum! Yum! They spent the rest of the morning playing Barbies, Just Dance on the Wii, doing fashion show for me, and opening presents.

It was a great weekend and a great celebration of our girls. Thanks to those who came or let their kiddos come. We had a blast and Avery and Abby thoroughly enjoyed the company!