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This month we did our annual Thankful Tree again.  This is the forth year we’ve done this, and it is seriously one of my favorite things we do.

So to capture our hearts at this stage in life, here are some of the things we are thankful for this month.

  • Breakfast (this was said A LOT.  I must make good breakfasts =)  )
  • Thankful Tree
  • The Bible
  • Swimming pools
  • Ms. Lexi
  • Mrs. Talessa and Mr. Joseph (said 4 times!)
  • Tape
  • daddy & mommy (said a total of 10 times…makes me smile)
  • Seanna
  • laughing with my family
  • Family game nights
  • God
  • Ice Cream
  • cookies
  • Good sleep
  • Pajama days
  • Short Work Weeks
  • How God speaks to us
  • Quiet mornings
  • Hot Coffee
  • Mrs. Colleen & Mrs. Kathy
  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • That God made us feel better
  • Gymnastics
  • Uncle Ben
  • Justus and Elliana
  • fruit
  • Evie
  • Making pumpkin things to eat
  • water
  • friends at preschool
  • holidays
  • homeschool
  • date nights
  • movies
  • (the rest Avery wrote, and she spells the way she thinks a word sounds which means I have no idea what they say!  We’ll just say we’re thankful for a lot =) )

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Guess Where We Went?

Have I mentioned how much I love the month of October?

October is just not complete unless we go to a pumpkin patch.

Not only is the whole experience just a blast, but  I get to snap cute pictures of these beautiful young ladies.

I had a goal of getting at least one picture of me with the kiddos.  I just finished a photo album for Avery for her birthday and realized I’m ALWAYS behind the camera and NEVER in front of it.  I thought it might be a good idea to have a least one picture of me in her birthday album!

We even found someone to take a little family pic for us.  Have I mentioned how much I love my family?

And because it was my last family day before leaving for Vietnam, we celebrated by not going home for naps!  Instead we played all day long.  I even managed to snap this picture.

Yes, he is buckled in on the carousal.  You never can be too safe.

The perfect last day together as a family before I  leave the country for 10 days.  Man I’m going to miss those smiles, but I’ve now started counting down.  5 more days =)

A Glimpse at Family Worship

Here’s a little glimpse into our family worship time.

At least the singing portion of our time together. I didn’t film the Bible reading or the prayer time although I somehow need to figure out how to film the kiddos praying without them knowing I’m filming. Kids talking to Jesus is just precious and should be preserved forever =)

Pure Joy

The kids first time to an amusement park was such a picture of pure joy.

At the end of the ride, I asked, “J did you like the ride?”  He shook his head yes.   I then asked, “Do you want to go on it again?”  He burst into tears and said “no pease” over and over again.  Maybe a roller coaster in the dark is a bit much for a two year old!

Lesson learned.  Just because Adventureland does not enforce height limits does not mean that a responsible parent should not enforce the height limit.  I forgot that small little bodies jerk quite a bit while going upside down on roller coasters.   The girls only response at the end of the ride,  “that really hurt my neck mommy!”   Oops!

I absolutely love watching my kids experience things for the first time.  No expectations of what the experience should look like; it is just pure joy.

New Tradition

Since Brent works late on Wednesdays, we used to do a “girls night” every Wednesday night. But then out of no where my baby BOY grew up and wanted to be included. So I sort of just canceled the whole thing. Something about three children staying up late, eating junk food, and jumping on me just wasn’t appealing.

So “girls night” became feed them really early and get them to bed quick night. I know, I know, bad mom!

But then summer hit, and 7pm just seemed too early to be inside, so I reinvented “girls night” only now it is called “party night”!

And this is what we do…Wednesday morning the kids do all the chores I hate doing…sorting laundry, mopping, mirrors, organizing shoes…they do this to earn the money they need to buy candy that night.

Then after naps, we head to Roanoke (have I mentioned I love that town?!) to their pool. We get there, eat some PB&J sandwiches, and the kids use their hard earned money to buy some sort of candy from the concession stand. Win, win. My house gets clean, and the kids get sweets.

They then proceed to swim, and swim, and swim, and swim for 2 hours and work off all that sugar.

Its beautiful. And fun. And if you know me at all you know that I would live in a pool if I could, and my husband hates the sun so Wednesday night swim nights are great for our marriage too =)

And since I”m into videos lately, here’s one of the kids last night. Elliana can finally swim short distances, Avery can swim long distances, and Justus jumped into the deep end twice, wiggled his way to the side of the pool, pulled himself out, gave me a heart attack, and then looked at me and said ,”I jump in deep end too mommy!” I got the first two items on video. I was frantically yelling at the life guard/running/swimming towards J so missed taping his near drowning. But I did get him jumping in after I convinced him the shallow end was just as fun. That boy keeps me on my toes!

I love traditions.

Our Little Gift from God


A week a half ago we received a call from Pine Cove.  They told us a family had just canceled for week 1 of family camp, the spot was already paid for, and if we could get to camp in 48 hours, we could have their spot.

Excited is a little bit of an understatement.

I ran the washer/dryer for a day, threw some stuff into some suitcases, and we were off for another great year of Pine Cove family camp!

Let me just say, year 1 was pretty crazy, year 2 was a lot of fun, but year 3 at Pine Cove was by far the best year yet.

Two things contributed to the greatness of this vacation.

  • We didn’t have a baby who needed to go to bed early! And when you don’t have a baby dictating your schedule, lots of fun can be had!  For 5 years, I have been stuck get to be in a room with a sleeping baby or a nursing baby or a grouchy baby while the world around me plays.    I was almost giddy with excitement that we weren’t bound to a bedtime this year and I got to play too!=)  Which meant the kids got to see 10pm every night.  I realized that Justus had never seen it get dark outside before and none of the kids had ever seen a lightening bug before.  The things they miss out on when they go to bed at 7pm =)  They were definitely tired, but we had a blast playing and fully enjoying all that camp has to offer.

  • We also went at the beginning of June instead of at the end of August.  Let me remind you that Pine Cove is in East Texas.   The weather is fabulous in June and more than hot in August!  Which meant this year we all truly enjoyed just being outside fishing, or boating, or just having fun.  I do believe we will continue to go back in June instead of in August!


Its hard to describe what an incredible experience Pine Cove is.  Throughout the week, you connect and have fun as a family, as a married couple, and with God all while relaxing and having more fun than I’ve ever had anywhere else.  A post doesn’t do family camp justice, so we’ll just say WE. LOVE. PINE.COVE and we feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to go this year!

Here is our video of the week =)  My favorite part is a toss up between my two year old crying and begging to go to bed and Elliana singing her first solo.  Hope you enjoy!



And here is a little slideshow of some pics from the week. I figured all grandparents would be interested!

The Birthday Girl

I’m writing this a few weeks after the fact because her birthday lasted a really long time this year!  Apparently 4th birthdays are a HUGE deal and require a couple weeks of celebrating.

The actual big day consisted of her opening her present from Nana and PapPa which she LOVED!

and enjoying a My Little Pony cake with some family friends.

Pretty low key because her actual present was coming the next day.  See when we asked Elliana what she wanted for her birthday, all she would say was “go to Iowa”.  She wouldn’t list presents; she wouldn’t dream of castle cakes.  She only wanted to go to Iowa and to have a Grandma and Grandpa birthday.

If I’m honest, that’s pretty much all I want to do too so I began planning a trip to see my family.  One text to my sisters and mom, and the whole party was planned!  I love my fam =)

If you could see the cake from the other direction, you would see a picture of Grandma and Grandpa.  My little 4 year old was serious about this Grandma and Grandpa party!  She insisted their picture be on top of her cake!

I do believe we might have made the party and the time spent in Iowa a bit too fun.  All three of my children are already planning how each of them can have their next birthday in Iowa!

One of the things I absolutely love about this little girl is that though the presents were fun, the cake was good, and the games were a blast, what she most liked about her party was that she got to celebrate with all her cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandma and grandpa.

She truly puts relationships with people above everything else.  Her tender heart has really risen to the surface this past year and there are times when I’m almost teary eyed at her perspective and love for others.   She will always be our funny, loves to make jokes, the party follows her wherever she goes girl.  But within that extroverted personality lies a tender heart of a young girl who is capable of making even the smallest thing feel special.

We love you so much sweet girl!  Thanks for the cuddles, the sweet words, the millions of cards and pictures you draw me, the patience you demonstrate, and the love for others you possess.   Watching you become your own person is my joy and I pray you will learn to chase after God with the same passion you have for chasing after your friendships.  Happy Birthday!!

I’ve Been Recovering

The week after Easter is always a recovery week for us. Brent calls Easter week a “Super Bowl” week for all worship pastors. Basically it means we don’t see him all week as he works hard to implement, rehearse, design, and create all that the Lord has laid on his heart for Good Friday and Easter. I absolutely LOVE watching Brent in action during this season! I’m definitely a bit biased but I’m pretty sure the Good Friday service this year was one of the best =)

All that to say, the week after Easter, we sleep. I think we’ve been in bed by 9:30 every night and have slept in until 6:15 or so every morning. And now we are up North on vacation. But as I was laying on the couch today thoroughly enjoying my vacation, I realized I never posted any Easter pics. I also realized that if I don’t post them, by next year I will have forgotten this Easter. (anyone else have memory problems?!) So a week late, here is our Easter weekend.

After a week of giving up all things sugar, the kids woke up to a table full of treats.

They were really excited about their treats

All week, we had been discussing and acting out the last few days of Jesus’ life. Friday night after the Good Friday service the kids had put Jesus into the tomb. Easter morning they woke up to an empty tomb and a party to celebrate.

The party continued after church and way into the evening at some friend’s and all their families. There were about 20 kids under the age of 6 running around and playing. The kids had a blast and with so many of them to entertain each other, the adults had a blast too. The perfect Easter day.

Easter may be one of my favorite holidays.


This week as a family we’ve given up all things sugar in order to help us remember all that Christ gave up.  That means no sugar from the treasure box at gymnastics, no candy from T-kids, no treats from the Easter egg hunt at preschool…nothing.

Tonight at dinner, the oldest stopped in the middle of a conversation and asked,

“hey, is there sugar in ice cream?  Snow cones?  peanut butter cookies?   ahhhhhhhhh.  Why does all the good stuff have sugar in it!”

A girl after my own heart.

Preparing our Hearts

In an attempt to prepare our hearts for Easter, we have been talking about what it looks like to love God.
Obeying and loving God is hard in our own strength; however this is a difficult concept to communicate to young children. They know the “right” answers to how to love God, but will more than likely fail to carry out those “right” answers numerous times today. Those failures are what I’m using to prepare their hearts (and mine!) to understand the need for the cross.

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