Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Galveston Get A Way

Kolby finally got to see the beach last week. Yes. I know it's sad. Nine years old and had never been to the beach. But now she has.

Mother nature did not want to cooperate however so our beach day was a bit cloudy and rainy with some rough waves. But don't tell Kolby and Rhett, because they had no idea that it wasn't perfect beach weather. There is an advantage to seeing something for the first time!

Did I mention it was a little windy? I can still taste the sand just looking at this picture.

The kids had a great time in the hotel pool and staying as "ocean front" as possible in Galveston.

We also enjoyed getting to travel with Mama K and Sari.

We spent a few hours at Moody Gardens on the way home.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, I fulfilled my promise to take Kolby to the beach this summer!

My grandmother used to say if you leave a place wanting to come back, then it's been a great trip. So it was a great trip because I am already planning to go back next year when Rob can come and the weather is better! (back to a beach that is,but it may not necessarily be in Galveston)

School starts in less than a month. Where did our long summer go?

Monday, July 23, 2007

T-Ball...a photo blog

Tonight was most likely Rhett's last T-ball game. We may miss the last two games because of an impromptu trip to the coast. Next year he may play coach pitch. Hard to believe his T-ball days may have come to an end. Sadly, this is the only game my camera made it to this summer.
Here is a little salute to t-ball in pictures...
Just happy to be here.

The cousins.

Waiting to run to 2ND.

Gearing up to bat.


Sweet girls!

Giving coach/Dad knuckle!Atta' boy!

I've got it!


Waiting for that grounder

The team (minus our friend Thomas who is in Disney world and Kayson)

Good game.
And so ends Rhett's two season T-ball career. Maybe. Next Fall he is already signed up for Soccer.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ella Kate takes a dive at the pool...

But not into the water.

The other night we went swimming.

"Come back Ella Kate! The pool is the other way!"
Ella Kate decided however that she wanted to do her favorite thing, which is walk and distribute toys to various parts of the backyard. (She is a great distributor!) She would have nothing to do with us or the water.

I was playing photographer, which is a challenge these days as she will not stay still long enough to get a good picture! As I took this picture I started to to tell Rob (who was less than two feet from her) that EK was precariously close to that big step, but... Too late! OUCH!

She just walked right off that step and dove sideways and forehead first into the concrete! Ella Kate has no depth perception! Is this normal for a 12 month old? AND OF COURSE I HAVE HER 1 YEAR PICTURES SCHEDULED TO BE TAKEN THIS TUESDAY! She did the same thing at my Aunts house on some steps on the 4th of July resulting in this...

It hurts to see her get hurt! When she really falls like this, EK cries like her heart has been broken along with her various body parts. It's pathetic! Rob and I both were so upset at ourselves for letting her fall that we could barely even talk until we were sure she was OK! My kids have always hurt themselves the worst when Rob or I (or even Rob AND I) were right there within arms grasp! And when it happens you can't move fast enough! It's like slow motion and you can't reach the inches required to stop it. I hate that! I wish I had a helmet for her!

I also wish I could find a pint-sized pedometer because I swear that baby probably walks a good 10 miles a day! She is so busy! She never wants to sit down. And if we are "ow-sy" (which is Ella Bella speak for outside) she is gone! Though I hate how they look, for her safety and my sanity I'm considering buying one of those baby leash things.

Even though the fall and resulting purple "egg" looked awful, Ella Kate recovered pretty quickly. She even gave up the pavement for the pool for a few minutes.

So do you think I should cancel the pictures?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deathly Hallows

JK Rowling is brilliant!!! (putting on my best Forrest Gump Face) and that's all I got to say about that. ( For now anyway!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Biblical women...

This post started a week ago and grew. It is long. Very long. Which is something I try to avoid here. I decided to publish this post anyway because it is just such a part of who I am right now and it speaks to what inspires me. Someday I may want to remember this and share it with my kids.

When I was little, I used to wish that I had been born in Bible times. I wish I could say it was so I could have known Jesus and witnessed great miracles personally, but no, that wasn't it. I wanted to be a character in the Bible to be famous and have little kids all over the world would learn about me and color my picture in Bible class. Bible characters were as "big" to me as the Disney princesses are to little girls today. ( That's a sad and even self indicting statement...but that is fodder for another blog.)

As I grew up I realized that living in Bible times would not have been as glamorous as I thought, and not just because they had to carry their water and live with out air conditioning and store bought mayonnaise. The women in the Bible had hard lives. They were tested and tried in ways I wouldn't want to be. Their children were killed, they were raped and traded, their husbands sometimes took other wives and left them to their bothers when they died. Life was not easy for most women in the Bible.

When I was in college I developed an awe and respect for the likes of Ruth, Sara, Abigail, Mary, and Esther. It was a "Wow! I don't know if I could have done what she did" kind of awe. The type of naive awe that realized our sisters (and brothers) in the Bible were put there to be the examples, teachers, references and inspiration for all the generations to come, but didn't realize why. Now I have come to believe that God gave us these great (and sometimes not so great) real people who walked and breathed as examples because he knew we too would suffer the same trails and temptations to some degree. The people in the Bible did not suffer trials and temptations so that generations would be spared. They suffered trials and temptations because we all will. God in his wisdom used their lives to show us that we are not alone and that He has been taking care of "our kind" for a long time. Even if we are weak and weary, He is strong and faithful. Sometimes it takes all our faith to believe that, but seeing how he works in the lives of others sure helps.

Now when I think of Biblical women, I don't just think of the women in the Bible. God has blessed me by letting me know women who have lived the truths of the Bible personally. Women who lived through adversity yet walked away praising God and loving Jesus even more. Women like my grandmothers. Women like Diane Cope, Sharon Small, Judy Thomas, Ann Griggs, Ruth Ann Stallings, Pam Money, Charlotte Hackett, Jamie Hackney, Sandra Woods... and the list goes on. Women who I have watched up close and from a distance. Women who have praised God with broken hearts. It is one of the greatest blessings of my life to know women such as these.

But lately I realize that God has blessed me with an entirely new group of biblical Godly women from the most unlikely of sources. Through my computer I am able to check in with women who show their hearts for Christ through the words they write. Many of you to the left in my blog role are such women.But lately there are four women who I know mainly through blog world who have really been on my heart and mind. I may have a mutual friend or "live" connection to them, but I feel I know them because of their blogs.

It should come as no surprise that all of these women are mothers, because at this stage in my life, my kids are the main focus of my time, energy, love and ministry. These women inspire me. They challenge me just by the way they live their life. I have prayed for them, cried for them, laughed with them on their blogs. I love these women for the heart they have, the courage they show and the life they live. None of them know I am writing this today. Most don't even know I read their sites, so don't freak them out with comments or anything. You may already know them, but I wanted to share these women God has revealed to me, and in my own way pay tribute to them and HIM!

The first is Lee Ann Brown. She and her family have been on my mind and in my thoughts since a tragic car accident took her son Conner in May. Even though her husband Tod is usually the one to writes in their family journal on this site, Lee Ann wrote the last entry. And you can tell just from reading the comments what an incredible woman she is. Incredible and real. Her brother is an ACU friend. What has inspired me most about Lee Ann ( who I think I met a few times during the 6 months we lived in Midland and went to Golf Course Road) is what people say about her son Conner. How do you raise a child to be that normal and fun and that Godly, sweet, and compassionate at age 13? I am overcome with grief for her and yet so in awe of the mother, wife, sister, friend and in all things, christian woman she must be.

The second is Leigh Saxon. Her son Jack is the same age and goes to the same school as my daughter Kolby. A friend I used to carpool with when Kolby was in kindergarten took Jack home from school sometimes, so as a car pool we all took Jack home sometimes. I said "Hi" to Leigh when I saw her in the halls at school and around town. I really didn't know her or her family though until I started reading her families blog. I keep using this phrase but I don't know how else to say it, I am in awe of her and how well she has handled all that her entire family have been through for the last four and a half years while her son Paul battled cancer. Paul went to live with Jesus last Saturday. And Leigh, along with her wonderful husband Terrill, spoke at Paul's Service/ Celebration, refusing to call it a funeral and asking people not to wear black. I can only imagine what their hearts and minds are feeling but their spirit, Leigh's spirit, is so inspiring. You can get to know her here.

And then there is Stephanie McCord, whom I have never met. I have never even commented on her blog. She is a young mother who lost her husband Keith last December after a short but painful and tiring battle with cancer. Her baby boy and only child is a month older than Ella Kate! At 30 she is now faced with a life she never envisioned. She is a single Mom with a 13 month old. Her blog has brought me to my knees and I have cried for her like I would my own sister. It truly hurts to read her words sometimes. But her faith is so real. She inspires me. She has not given up. She will not let herself give up. She is doing all she can to make the best life possible for Lincoln and to be the person God has called her to be. She is honest. She makes me laugh and she makes me cry. She has put into words some of the very same questions and thoughts I have had about God and his powers to love, heal and sometimes seem silent. AND she does so much with that little boy! She is an incredible Mother! She lives to show her son God's love. I sometimes come away from her blog ashamed of the things I take for granted. BUT, I always come away inspired to keep God's love and will for my life in the front of my mind and the focus of my heart. She makes me want to be a better wife and mother. Even through this incredible grief and sorrow she is showing others how to heal, grieve, move on and make everyday count. This is her blog.

Lest you think I am a grief junkie, I saved this one for last. Suzanne's blog needs no props and most likely no introduction. Suzanne grew up in the church my family is now a part of. I love to get the scoop on Suz (who I have seen but never met) from her Mom. I am also one of the thousands of people who check her blog every day to see how she and the quadruplets she is currently 28 weeks pregnant with are doing. Suzzane has a love for God that emanates through the words of love she writes about her husband, family, friends and yes, the fab four growing inside her. She has been in the hospital for weeks on bed rest. We are praying for her to carry the babies to week 32. Just four weeks to go! If you are one of the 2 people in "the blogger nation" who have not been following Suz's progress, get on over there and give her some love! I think about her all the time. I look at Ella Kate and wonder how in the world anyone could handle three more of her...at the same time! WOW! I think Suzanne's great testimony has just begun and we in blog land are blessed to be able to share in her journey.

My fingers hurt, as I'm sure your eyes do! I know this is too long. If you have stuck with me this far, thank you for letting me share these women who are inspiring my life. I am amazed at the affection God enables us to feel for those we do not really know. Kindred spirits are one of the great gifts we get to enjoy here on Earth. I hope these women inspire you and that you are as blessed as I have been to share in their journeys through words on a web site. God bless!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Addiction

I have been a big HGTV fan for years. But recently while looking for ideas for Rhett's room I came across the HGTV web site's "Rate My Space" area. I am addicted! I LOVE to see how people have decorated their homes. Today I even uploaded pictures of my girls rooms, just for fun. If you also love to see how other people decorate, and want one more thing to keep you addicted to the computer, hop on over to HGTV.com and

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Big fun in the back yard tonight!

Today was a red letter day in my long, illustrious career as a Target bargain shopper. Today I bought this water slide at almost 60% off of the retail price. Just last week Rhett looked at this same slide and said it was the coolest slide ever...but I would not ever dream of paying what it was originally marked. Even Rob and thought it was really cool. So today when I called Rob from inside the store to tell him what I was about to buy and what I was going to pay, he was as excited as I was! it's a rare day when Rob is excited in a good way about my Target purchases!

Aunt Sari flipped over our new toy!

We wanted to get a water slide for Rhett's birthday party that we plan to have a in late August. (His actual birthday is September 5th but with school starting, Labor Day and our anniversary, we decided to do Rhett's party in the summer before the school hullabaloo gets going) I had planned on renting a water slide. However, when the Banzai slides went on sale at Target, I realized buying would be about he same price as renting. They didn't have the slide that I wanted, so I got a rain check and made a point to check with the toy people every time I was in the store.
Today I left Rob and the kids in the van and ran in Target to check on the patio furniture (which is all 50% off) and decided to check on the slide again. I asked a man in toys (who I think is one of the store managers) and he said "Yeah. Here. Take this one. I'll let you have it for the rain check price!" So we own a water slide! A pretty amazing fun water slide!!! For less than the cost of a one day rental! YEAH! I love to bask in the glow of a great bargain!!!
We were going to wait to tell the kids until closer to Rhett's party but Kolby saw the box when Rob loaded it in the van. I knew there was no way she could keep this secret. Besides I was really excited to see it too. So here it is! My sister and parents came over tonight to watch the kids and their new favorite toy. We ended up ordering pizza and making a night of it. Target bargains, happy kids, pizza, family and a beautiful summer night spent laughing and playing in the backyard.... These are the days!
Ella Kate thinks it is pretty cool too!
Splashing all the way until bedtime!

Monday, July 09, 2007

For Thomas

Rhett and his friend Thomas both lost their first tooth in May. At the time I told Thomas I was going to take a picture of him with Rhett since they both just had their first visit from the tooth fairy. It took a month or so, but Thomas kept reminding me, and Sunday night I finally took that "I lost my first tooth" club picture. Rhett has lost an additional three teeth since then and two of his permanent teeth are almost in, but I think you can tell there is a gap in there.

Last night at VBS I told Thomas I downloaded the pictures and would e-mail them to his Mom. Thomas requested that I put them on my blog instead. So here you go Thomas! I don't think I could deny a request from that sweet face and those big baby blues!
These boys are growing up so fast!

VBS at Avalanche Ranch

It's VBS at our church this week!

As you all probably know, VBS is much more than bible stories, color sheets, cookies and watered down Kool-aid like it was when I was a kid. VBS is a major production! My role in our VBS this year is hall and auditorium door decorator. It's a great gig for me because I get to do what I love, create and decorate, and then I'm pretty much done!

This year there was a slight hitch. There was a wedding Saturday afternoon in our church so we only had Saturday night and Sunday afternoon to decorate my designated areas and some of the rooms. It was a bit of a challenge. But with lots of help from Rob and my creative, talented and overly generous friend Courtney..it was done with time to spare! The first night of VBS went great! Here are some pictures... (I think this is fast becoming a photo blog!)

My doors and hall

The cute downstairs craft room decorated and manned by the aforementioned Courtney and Jeri!

There is a reason these ladies teach crafts! They spent many hours on this room.
The details are so neat!

Downstairs Bible... Again, such a cute, cute room! And my friend Jill is such an excellent teacher! The decor is only the beginning of what these kids will get from Jill and Shelly this week!

Downstairs Snack: These ladies pulled this whole room off in about two hours! My cousin Ashley probably didn't plan to spend her 12th anniversary this way, but she did it with a smile! Great job Ashley!

Downstairs Music ... You may recognize the teacher! Elizabeth is going to have these kids moving and singing all week. She wrangled Lauren into helping at the last minute when her partner couldn't make the first two nights (Not to mention the decorating before hand!)

Upstairs Crafts... Emily and Aimee did their usual magic!

What is it with craft ladies? Their rooms are so cute!

Upstairs Bible These ladies are awsome! They even have a cast of actors helping them bring the stories to life...

And I didn't even mention the big puppet show and nightly introduction in the auditorium! There is so much more to see and show of this VBS, but I think you get the idea.

Sometimes I wonder if all this decorating and effort is worth it. I mean do the kids really notice? Does it make a difference? I debated this a lot during the last two days as I spent hours decorating and trying to make a formal church hallway look "Rocky Mountain Western." As much as I love doing it, does it really matter?

Last night my Mom brought a little girl from her school to VBS. (My Mom is the counselor at an Elementary in a not so nice part of town.) This little girl's mother died when she was 2 and she is being raised by a very sweet great-grandmother who is in her late 70's. (Can you imagine raising a 5 year old on your own in your late 70's?) This little girl is not neglected or unloved, but she doesn't get to go to many kid centered events. Last night when I met her her eyes were as big as saucers! She was so excited and just trying to take it all in.

Her reaction reminded me of what I think my kids would do at Disney World. She was really wowed by the whole thing. Her grandmother told my Mom she had been up, dressed, and ready to go since early that morning, even though our VBS is at night. Mom went to all the classes with the little girl and said the she loved it and just soaked every activity in. I wish I could bus my Mom's whole school to VBS. Mom knows so many kids who just don't have what I wish every child could have...A safe home, with two loving, active parents, enough food and clothing, a relationship with a loving God who knows them and who they can turn to, and more than anything, the assurance that they are loved and that they will be taken care of, always. I think every child deserves that.

So if this VBS excites and makes life happier for just that one little girl this week...
It's worth it.
And if just one little girl or boy happens to hear something about our God, a God who loves them and who they can always turn to..
Then VBS really is worth any amount of time spent putting it together and pulling it off!

If you are in the area tonight at 6:30PM bring the chill'uns on over to Avalanche Ranch! We'd be more than happy to have them for two hours ... And together we just might learn somethn'!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ella Kates's B-day Party

These are in no order but here are some shots of Ella Kate's first birthday party! We had a fun night and Ella Kate was a true birthday princess to the end!

Hope blogger will let me post more later. I have been having trouble posting anthing for the last week!