Category Archives: family

House of Light

Halloween is a bit of a confusing time for me.  Growing up, neither my family nor Gabe’s family celebrated Halloween due to the connections with questionable religious practices.  We didn’t trick-or-treat, carve jack-o-lanterns, give out candy, any of it.  So when we had kids, we carried the tradition on.  I would dress them up in costumes for church fall festivals and the like, but we didn’t do any of the traditional Halloween stuff.

However, I dawned on my last Halloween:  if Jesus were living in an American neighborhood in 2015, would he really be hiding in the back of his house with the lights off avoiding all the children who knocked on his door?  Well, that’s a no-brainer!  NO, he would not.  What was less obvious was what he would do?  I spent some time praying and decided that I wasn’t going to hide this year.  So, we participated.  Not heavily, but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus when I had children knocking on my door.

So, we had several family firsts this year when I comes to Halloween.  We carved a pumpkin.  We did not make a jack-o-lantern, but we carved a pumpkin.  After some hunting on Pinterest, I found a pretty quality idea and ran with it.  I also used the time to share the gospel of Jesus when my kids while we carved the pumpkin.  You can do a google search for that and find all kinds of guides and activities, but I just winged it.  We carved a cross in the front of the pumpkin, and then I carved it so that “JESUS” would reflect on the wall behind the pumpkin.  I think the kids really enjoyed seeing the inside of the pumpkin and watching the carving take shape.

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Here is how it looked from the front…

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and here is how it looked in the dark.  The J didn’t show up as well as I had hoped, and I’m not exactly sure why, but maybe I can try again next year and reverse it…put the cross on the back.  We will see.

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I also decided to add a Bible verse to my candy.  I know that I live in the Bible Belt and most people are familiar with Scripture and Jesus, but I still felt compelled to add some of God’s Word to what I was giving out.  So I created a simple Word document with a Bible verse about fear, printed it on some labels I already had at home, and stuck them to the candy.  I was pretty pleased with how it came out overall.  If just one of those stickers makes a child or a parent open their Bible or say a prayer, I would be thrilled!

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The kids really enjoyed giving out the candy.  C was THRILLED the whole night and stood by the door watching for more kids.  B started out pretty scared, but eventually warmed up and really loved handing out the candy as well.

I’m glad I “participated” in Halloween this year and will be praying about how we should participate next year.

Fall Family Picnic

Our church had their second annual Fall Family Picnic complete with old fashioned family games, cake walks, hay rides, and pumpkin giveaways.  We had a ball and were completely exhausted when it was over.

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My kids look forward to this every year!  B was sick on Friday night and Saturday, so he was very nervous that he would not be able to go.  But he was better and able to make it to church and the picnic.  It’s always fun to spend extra time with our church family.

Shipwreck Island

When I was a little girl, my family vacationed to Panama City Beach nearly every summer.  And during said vacation, we would pretty much always spend a day at the Shipwreck Island waterpark.  Our family has many fond memories there.  So when my mom and dad said that they wanted to take the kids, I was all in.  Getting to enjoy something from my childhood with my own children is always fun.

So Thursday morning we got up bright and early and headed south.  We got to the park about 30 minutes after it opened, dropped our stuff at a table, and hopped in the wave pool before heading to some slides.

DSCN0197 DSCN0201 C is not much on the water slides since our trip to the Disney Water Parks, so she went to the Tadpole Hole with Pop and JuJu while the Hubs and I went to do some slides with B.  We rode the White Knuckle River family raft ride then we went to Skull Island and Bowden and I raced the Pirate Race slides.

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DSCN0213 Then we all met back up at Skull Island for more kid slides while the adults took some pics together.

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We took a break to reapply sunscreen and enjoy some ice cream before riding some more slides and then heading to the hotel room to shower and grab some dinner.

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After getting checked in, we arrived at our room to find the fridge had leaked and there was water all over the floor.  Fortunately they were able to get it cleaned up before we left for dinner at the Back Porch.

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The restaurant brought C a cake for her birthday, but after such a busy day, B was just too exhausted to stay with us until the end.

Callie Bday 3 Callie Bday 2  It was a great day and a fabulous way to start celebrating C’s fifth birthday.

 

Show and Tell Tuesday {Favorite Vacations}

If you have spent any time at all reading my blog, or if you know me personally, then you probably already know the answer to this question.  My favorite vacation is Disney World.  It’s my happy place.  I have been several times over the last couple of years either with my family, just me and the Hubs or with a youth group trip.  I have two trips plans for the upcoming months, and they can’t get here fast enough!  You can read about our Disney experiences by clicking on the Disney tab at the top.

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But, there are other vacation spots that I love…the beach being one of them.  I’ve gone regularly since I was a kid and continue to go with my own children, friends and family.  We have plans to go with my family again this July.  Can’t. Wait.

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A favorite trip was also when my family went to NYC back in 2007 before kids!  What an amazing trip!!

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I have had the opportunity to travel all over the country and feel so blessed to have seen all that I’ve seen and experienced.  Picking a favorite is nearly impossible.

I am linked up with Andrea at Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday!

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Colorado Trip Day 4 {Mt. Evans, Echo Lake and Buckhorn Exchange}

After a long day at the wedding, we “kind of” slept in and once again enjoyed breakfast at the hotel before going to the local IHOP for a get together with the bride and groom and rest of the bridal party and family.  After eating, we decided to hop in the car and just drive west.  During my research, I had found Mt. Evans and Echo Lake in a little mountain town called Idaho Springs.  The Mt. Evans scenic byway is one of the highest roads in the country, and even though it is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we would be able to see part of it.  The drive took us through the Arapaho National Forest, and the view was so beautiful, and the kids really loved playing in the snow by the lake!

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We continued west toward the Eisenhower Tunnel when it started to snow on us.  The kids were ecstatic and B had what was apparently a life long dream come true when he caught a snowflake on his tongue like they do on Charlie Brown! haha

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On the other side of the tunnel was a town called Silverthorne.  We stopped quickly for me to go to the bathroom, and then we decided we should probably turn around and head back.  We south Georgia folks aren’t used to driving through the snow, and we felt it would be safest.  It was on the ride back that we discovered just how tired we all were.  C began crying for home, I had struggled with altitude sickness since our first day there, and we were all just pretty exhausted.  But we persevered.  We went back to the hotel room for a quick rest, and then we had reservations at the Buckhorn Exchange at 7:00.  The Buckhorn Exchange is a restaurant we saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and thought it was so unique we had to give it a try.  It is one of the oldest restaurants we’ve ever eaten at and some pretty famous faces like Teddy Roosevelt have enjoyed meals there.  The kids ordered pretty standard chicken and fries, but the Hubs and I branched out.  He ordered elk and buffalo, and I ordered ostrich.

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We had a early morning scheduled for the next day AND time was changing that night, so we hit the hay early that night.

Colorado Trip Day 3 {Wedding Day}

Once again, we were up pretty early and didn’t have anywhere to be until 1:00.  So again we laid around a bit, enjoyed breakfast in the hotel, showered, and headed out for lunch at a nearby Chick-Fil-A before hitting up the Target for some earbuds (for the flight home) and socks for B to wear in the wedding.  We also loaded up on snacks to keep in the car.  We got to the church, and C and I headed upstairs to meet up with the rest of the girls in the bridal party to get ready for pictures.  We watched as Aunt H got her hair and makeup done, and then C got to have her hair done for the first time which she found so very exciting!

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The first round of pictures were at the Red Rocks Amphitheater which is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!  I snapped a few pics of my own while the photographer took some.

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After pictures we went back to the church to wait for the wedding to start.  We had a sweet prayer time with Aunt H before everyone walked down the aisle.  And the wedding was lovely.  The kids did a great job, and I did pretty well singing “Love Lifted Me” at the end (if I do say so myself).

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The kids had a blast dancing and playing with the other kids at the reception, and thankfully Bowden’s foot had pretty much made a full recovery and he was cutting a rug for most of the reception.  Once again we collapsed into bed for a big day the next day.

Colorado Trip Day 2 {Downtown Denver and Rehearsal}

We woke up bright and early Thursday morning…mostly because we were operating on EST which was two hours behind so it was about 6:00 am when we all go up with no where to be until 11:00.  So we laid around, enjoyed the free breakfast at the hotel, got showered and dressed, and left in time to drive around downtown Denver before getting to the church for the rehearsal at 11:00.  We drove by Coors Field and the Broncos stadium where we stopped to take a couple of pictures.

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We got to the rehearsal which was in Lakewood, and fortunately is was really well organized and didn’t last long!  So we headed back to downtown Denver to pick up tuxes.  The tux shop was only about five blocks from a place where we wanted to eat, so we walked to Duffy’s Cherry Cricket–a local place that was featured on Man vs. Food on the Food Network.  The food was good and we enjoyed the experience.

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Our hotel had a heated pool, so after lunch we donned our swim suits and went out to the pool.  The weather was a comfy 60ish degrees, so it wasn’t too terribly cold and the water felt nice.  C and I headed in first and grabbed a shower.  As we were getting out, I heard the Hubs come in the door carrying a crying B.  He had jumped in the pool and injured his heel.  I was pretty worried about him since he was not able to walk or put any weight on the foot.  The Hubs and I talked and decided that we would ice it down, let him rest it, and see how he felt in the morning.  So we went to the rehearsal dinner in Arvada, and he was able to lay on the couch there at the church and keep some ice on it.  By the end of the night he was able to hobble around a bit, and the swelling seemed to be going down. But I was still concerned that he had injured it pretty badly.  He woke up in the morning able to walk just fine thanks to the many prayers of our friends and family in the wedding party and at home!

Colorado Trip Day 1

Today marks the day that we left for our long trip out to Colorado for the Hubs’s sister’s wedding.  I am writing these posts after the fact, but I am dating them for the actual days we were there.  The days leading up to this trip were not what I had hoped they would be and definitely added some extra drama to the trip.

Sunday morning the Hubs woke up with a pretty painful toothache that he had hoped was due to sinus drainage.  It had been mildly bothering him since the week before, but was much worse Sunday morning.  So he went to the local After Hours clinic to hopefully get some sinus relief–not the case.  It was in fact a toothache in a tooth that had a root canal about 20 years ago.  So Monday morning, he was at the dentist who told him the tooth was too close to the sinus cavity for him to pull.  Hubs would have to go to an oral surgeon.  So on Tuesday–the day before we are leaving–I am taking him to an oral surgeon about an hour away to have the abscessed tooth pulled.  So the next day as we drove to Atlanta to catch our flight to Denver, the Hubs looked like this:

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This was not the first flight for either of our kids, but it is the first one they remember. Our family flew to St. Louis when B was 14 month old, and we flew to Kansas City when B was 3 and C was 5 months old, but they didn’t remember either of those flights.  So we had done lots of talking and practicing for going through security.  Security is a bit of a mess in Atlanta, but we made it through in plenty of time to grab a bit to eat and hang out at our gate for a while.

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Once we boarded the plane, I made the kids wait until the seat belt sign went off to get out any electronics, so for the majority of the flight they looked like this:

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This flight was unlike any I have ever been on before.  There was a lot of turbulence–nothing scary, but still bumpy enough for the flight attendants to discontinue beverage service.  About halfway through the flight, the pilot announced that we had a medical emergency on the plane and for all medical personnel to please make themselves known to the flight attendants so they could assist.  Well, that was a first as well, but it gave my family a chance to pray together for the person in need.

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The kids enjoyed the flight and we landed around 8:30 pm MT which was 10:30 pm for us.  We were tired, but still had to catch the shuttle to the rental car place.  It was nearly 9:00 by the time we got there, and it was a bit of a “thing” to get the car since the person working our counter was “at lunch”…at 9:00 at night…when the counter was closing in an hour.  I thought I was going to have to show these Coloradoans what a real Georgia redneck looks like, but I was able to stay mostly in Southern Bell mode since a manager was paged to come give us our car–a Hyundai Sienna that served us well for the next five days.  We loaded all of our stuff in, got the kids strapped in, and headed to our hotel to fall into bed.  We had a big day planned for the next day.

Christmas Eve Celebration

Tonight, we had Christmas with my family which this Christmas consisted of my parents Pop and JuJu, my brother J, his wife A and her parents G and L.  We started the celebration with dinner, and then everyone opened presents starting with the kids.

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After the kids tear into their gifts and have something new to play with, we adults took turns opening gifts.  It’s always fun to see what everyone gets and how they react to opening the item you got them!

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After snapping a few family pictures, we left Mom and Dad’s house with a car loaded down with all sorts of new things and ready for a fun Christmas morning the next day!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

 

 

Third Annual Bethlehem Breakfast

We are all about celebrating Christmas at our house, but we are even more about keeping the focus on Jesus.  And that is not just at Christmas but all the time.  For anyone who has young children, you can probably agree that there is a lot of focus on presents, toys, wanting stuff and getting stuff at Christmas which can make keeping greed to a minimum very difficult.  So with all of that in mind, I came up with my Christ-centered Elf on the Shelf alternative that starts with a Bethlehem Breakfast.  (If you are interested in how we do Christmas and why we chose to do it that way, you can read my original Bethlehem Breakfast post here.)

So Mary and Joseph arrived this morning with a delicious breakfast in tow for our family to enjoy at the table.  (FYI, my family sitting around the table and eating breakfast together pretty much happens less than 5 times a year–so this is kind of a big deal!) This is what was waiting for the kids when they got up.

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Once the kids actually woke up, I got started on breakfast which consisted on can cinnamon rolls, bacon, and sausage links.  I got it all set up family style on the table, and we sat down for a real family breakfast around the table!

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We enjoyed our breakfast together, and the kids are looking forward to finding where Joseph and Mary will have travelled to by morning.