Thursday, April 28, 2011


Sam works at a ranch that has a great lake on the property. The camp uses it for all sorts of water activities (boating, jet-skiing, water slides, etc...), but to Sam, it's greatest benefit is the fishing!

Sam recently took us all out in the boat for an afternoon of fishing. It was planned to be a date-day for just Sam and me but our babysitter canceled at the last minute. It wasn't too disappointing as we just easily made it into a family day!

Sam has taken the boys one at a time and together, but this was our first outing all together. The funny thing was that Bridget was REALLY nervous about being in a boat. We spend a lot of time during the summer at the lake and we are often in and out of boats, but I guess Bridget has avoided any boat time for the last few summers. She didn't want to get in, and when the boat started moving she started screaming. It was kinda funny, but it just made me realize we need to get her out there more often.
Sam rigged me up with two lures on one line...and I caught two fish at once! That was definitely the highlight of my day. :)
Bridget didn't catch anything because she wasn't really interested in fishing, but she did hold a fish that someone else caught. She is so brave when it comes to creepy-crawly or slimy things.
Jonah had quite a few bites and brought a couple fish into the boat. He is by far our most patient fisherman.
Henry got a few bites as well. He loves fishing because it's something he can do with his dad. He's a little less patient, but I think it's just because he doesn't like to be still. :)The weather was beautiful, the fish were biting and it was a perfect day!

Easter Week Camping at Beaver's Bend

This Easter, we continued our tradition of celebrating by going camping. We gathered up our closest friends (Dave & MaryBeth, and Jon & Kelly), packed up some food and our bikes, and headed North to Oklahoma! It was dark-thirty by the time we got there, so Sam and Jon had to park the campers without the benefit of daylight. Dave and MaryBeth had gotten there a little earlier and were already set up, so they helped wrangle the kids while we got everything settled.
Jon enjoys cooking over the campfire, so he was our designated camp-cook. He provided the best breakfasts for us all every morning...bacon, eggs made to order, toast, potatoes...yum!
We went on a couple of hikes during the week. The area is beautiful and there are trails everywhere we looked. We actually spent most of one day looking for geocaches that Sam had downloaded to his GPS. We had never done that before and found it to be quite fun! There were a few that seemingly led to nowhere (or had been removed) but we did find three or four. The kids weren't sure about the whole thing, but as soon as we found our first 'treasure' they were hooked! Jonah was doggedly determined and was the first to spot at least two of the caches. The treasures inside were various knick-knacks (I think this next picture shows what the kids picked from one of the more bounteous boxes...a bath toy, a sheriff's badge, and a fishing bobber).
We had quite a bit of rain that week, so everything was fairly wet. On this next hike, we had to go off the trail and into the woods because there was a pond blocking our way!
We were very excited to get our bikes out and go on a few family bike rides while we were there! Bridget was very nervous about riding on the back of her daddy's bike at first, but once she realized how fun it is (and how fast they could go!) she thought it was awesome.
On one bike ride down to the park, Dave and I were waiting on Jonah and we were the last ones to leave. Dave started laughing and I looked over to see that he was holding his pedal in his hand! It had fallen right off of his bike. I rode up and got Sam to come back to help. In the mean time, Dave tried to fix it himself:
Look closely, and you might see that there is a problem in the way that he arranged the pedals. Let's just say it was a good thing Sam came back to help! ;)

The rain didn't really slow the kids down any. We made them stay inside while it was pouring or when there was lightning, but otherwise they just continued on as though the weather was perfect. The loop we were staying on was completely empty (except for one poor man staying in a tent--did I mention it POURED???), so the kids made the camp-loop their 'track'. They had so much fun riding around and around on it. Coming down one side was a fairly steep hill, and we would all sit around the camp fire and cringe as we'd watch Bridget and Matthew come flying down that hill with their training wheels flopping on either side. They never had any major crash, so all was well in the end, but I do recall limiting them to only riding up-hill for a while!
It wasn't hot while we were there, but the kids wanted to go swimming anyway. We rode our bikes over to a nice little rocky area where the kids could wade around and play. The braver ones (Sam, Henry and Jonah) swam out a bit and the younger ones stayed closer to shore. It was chilly but fun!
Dave and MaryBeth wanted to head back to town so they could attend the Easter Sunday service at their church, so they left a day before the rest of us did. Before they left though, MaryBeth prepared and treated us to an Easter Seder. We had the traditional passover meal and learned about the reasons for all that was taking place. It was interesting and educational and we all enjoyed it. MaryBeth also led the kids in washing each other's feet, and she helped them to each prepare a set of resurrection eggs to take home to help them remember the Easter story and Jesus' purpose and work on the cross.
Beaver's Bend State Park puts on a great Easter egg hunt every year, and we participated in it again this year. They separate the children by ages, and then dump hundreds of eggs in sectioned off areas of the park. In each area are hidden a number of special tickets that the kids then get to redeem for a stuffed bunny at the end of the hunt. We left with buckets full of candy and three cute stuffed bunnies.
They also have a new nature/visitor center at the park, so we went and visited that after the egg hunt. It was a great place and we spent longer there than we intended to! We were able to snap a group shot with the self-timer while we were there, including everyone except Dave and MaryBeth (because they had already headed home).
It was a wonderful trip! We made a lot of memories and enjoyed God's beautiful creation. We were reminded just how much we love camping! Living in Texas, we don't tend to look forward to camping in the summer is just too hot! So this was one of our last trips of the spring, and now we are looking forward to some nice (hopefully cooler) camping in the fall.

Easter Pictures

We went camping over Easter, so we didn't have the traditional church service this year. Our kids had already gotten new Easter clothes before we realized we would be camping, so I made sure to get some great pictures of them a few weeks ago. Henry wasn't really happy with the suit I bought him (the button down shirt is purple and he thinks that makes it a girl color), so I just let him pick something he would be comfortable wearing. Happy Easter!

Henry David, age 7Samuel Jonah, age 6Bridget Mary, age 3

Springtime in Texas

When spring hits around here, we get pretty busy. Not only does it come earlier than I expect every year (I grew up in the North!), but it also brings with it beautiful (perfect, really) weather, kids sports like soccer and t-ball, field trips to the zoo and nature preserve, park dates with friends, and so much more! And this year we are getting licensed to be a foster home, and that has added even more to our schedule! Busy is good, though. Here are a few of the highlights from our fun, full spring! :)

The nature preserve with Ethan and of our favorite spots to ride bikes!I was able to attend a refreshingly encouraging women's conference (Momheart) in Dallas with my mother in law and good friend. The picture cracks me up because when we walked up to the horse statue, they both instictively stuck a finger in it's nose!
One of the many trips to the zoo on a sunny, windy day with friends!
We went to a friend's house to feed their animals while they were out of town, and we were surprised to find a brand new baby goat! That was a real treat.
Another trip to the zoo, with Bridget's friends this time.
Bridget with her buddies Mckellee and Emma...sweet little girls!
Flags over Bridget's bed...I think I was needing a creative outlet!
Picnic with Kelly and it!
Hanging at the play area of the zoo with Jordan and Matthew.
And one last shot of the nature preserve. The boys found a matching set of deer horns while we were there! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays

Spring/Summer is upon us here in Texas! The sheets are on the line to dry...
the chickens are back on egg-laying duty...
flowers abound, on the porch and in the fields...
abundance in the garden...
and I can't leave out a picture of the great new nest boxes that Sam built for me this week! :)

I haven't blogged in a month! I miss it and need to get some posts up. When we're busiest and have the most things I'd like to share, I tend to have the least amount of time. Even if I haven't posted them, I've continued to note the wonderful, lovely gifts in my everyday life. It is amazing how just taking the time to thank the giver, God the father, makes me notice even more of the simple, everyday ways He blesses me. Here are but a few to add to the never-ending list....

146. Sheets flapping as they dry on the line
147. new chicken nest boxes (Sam surprised me!)
148. time spent in the garden
149. a thriving garden (almost everything is coming up this year!)
150. Bridget's first birthday party invitation
151. a group of giggling four year olds in pajamas
152. Henry's TWO soccer goals at the game on Saturday
153. our new camper
154. old camper sold in less than 24 hours
155. finishing up classes, paperwork, home study, etc with Bair
156. friendship bread in a bag on the counter
157. making lists and filling the camper
158. chickens running happily around the backyard
159. neighbors who are willing to take our problem birds (the guineas) and give them a home
160. marigolds blooming all around our house
161. beautiful buckets of colorful flowers on the front porch, that I haven't let die yet :)
162. learning a new game with friends
163. getting that same new game in the mail from Amazon three days later
164. planning for my mom to visit (yay!)
165. finishing up a Bible study on the book of Revelation
166. Henry's first paying job (picking up a friend's yard)
167. watching two of my beautiful nieces dance in their year-end recital
168. packing Easter baskets for friends and family
169. warm, windy days
170. craft supplies lying all over the house from a spur-of-the-moment idea
171. neighbor kid's bikes left in our yard for days
172. a super clean house that lasted for two days!
172. a messy, kinda cluttered house that represents happy days
173. finishing Narnia and not wanting to put it away on the bookshelf
174. watching Nugget (dog) and Smokey (baby donkey) run up and down the fence line together
175. popcorn made in the new air-popper...yum!
176. Henry and Jonah's animal artwork decorating the refrigerator
177. great garage sale cowboy boots in Bridget's size for only a dollar
178. an easy and fun visit to the dentist with all three kids
179. Angry Birds on the ipad
180. family dinner out at Chili's
181. Jonah's first t-ball game of the season
182. Jonah catching a ball, hearing everyone yelling, "throw it to first, throw it to FIRST" and watching him look around, pause and then throw it home.
183. five little kids running between our yard and the neighbors with super-hero capes on
184. chocolate waffles for breakfast
185. finding Bridget's long-lost Dora water bottle in a little used backpack
186. a hole lovingly rubbed into Rufus's ear by chubby little toddler fingers
187. purple sparkly nail polish
188. red, white and blue popsicles eaten on the back porch
189. Sam jumping on the trampoline with the kids
190. bluebonnets, indian paintbrush, and so many other beautiful wild flowers dotting the fields and roadsides

Won't you join in and start counting your never-ending list of gifts, blessings, joys? :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Sam!

We like celebrating things at our house. Sam's birthday has actually been re-classified as one of the major holidays in our family. ;)

This year was no exception. Sam opened presents (lots and lots of presents!) from us and friends and family. His biggest present was one that Sam gifted to our entire family...a new camper!
Which, of course, required a 'camper-cake' to be requested by the birthday boy. And who am I to say no on this most special of occasions?
Another important factor to a birthday party in this house is that cards must be played. We had Sam's parents and Jon and Kelly over to celebrate, share cupcakes and play cards with us.
Since the celebration was spread out over a few days, we had cupcakes in addition to the camper cake. Here's the birthday boy with his candles:
I love you, Sam! I love the fun you bring to everything you do, the passion you have for life, your devotion to your family, the intensity you live your life with. Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 01, 2011

April Fool's!

This year I had some fun with the kids on April Fool's Day. I told them that we would be having cake for dinner...and they totally believed me. They were so excited! I shooed them out of the kitchen while I was preparing it in order to keep the secret. When I walked out with this:
they were pretty thrilled. It is technically cake, right? Even if it's made from meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas? ;)

To keep up with the topsy-turvy meal, I served cheeseburger sliders for dessert:
These were so very cute...and they didn't taste too bad either! I was a little concerned with all the mixed flavors, but they turned out just great. (Nilla wafers-buns, grasshopper cookies-meat, fruit roll-ups-cheese, shredded coconut dyed green-lettuce, red icing-ketchup, sesame seeds for authenticity!)

Happy April to everyone! :)