Sunday, July 19, 2009

Carrie's 6th Birthday!

Carrie had a bowling party this year. We celebrated a week early since we'll be leaving for vacation the day after her actual birthday - July 22. We had a great time (this mom highly recommends the bowling alley for an easy, stress free party!) And Carrie has a really great bunch of friends that made the day so fun and special!

Thought I'd show off the invitations I made - turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!

Carrie and Ethan

And the bowling alley presented Carrie with a bowling pin for all her friends to sign. She loved that!

Summer 2009 - Part 1

This summer is dissappearing fast and I'm so very far behind on posting pictures of the kids! Before we head to Atlanta for our family vacation, some pictures from May and June to share...

Ethan L O V E S strawberries!

Carrie does not like strawberries, but she loves anything satin,
so she was thrilled to get some very girly satin hand-me-down pajamas from her cousins.

One afternoon after running some errands in Fort Walton, we let the kids play at this really nice playground right in the middle of a shopping center. There's a train that rides around the parking lot, a water park area, and a dry playground. The had a blast!

And of course, it can't be summer without an afternoon playing in the sprinkler. (I guess the trampoline makes it look a little dangerous, but they really weren't jumping that high!)

This is a picture of my front flower bed.

One weekend, we got to keep Abigail and Hannah while they're mom and dad took a short trip. They are both so sweet!

Letter to My Precious Carrie

July 18, 2009

Dear Precious Carrie,

Tonight was such a special night! I want to tell you a little bit about it so you can remember it even when your childhood memories fade as you grow older. We've been reading a bible story book each night that Aunt Katie Spearman gave us, The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. We've already read through the whole book once over the last several weeks, and have just started back at the beginning again a few nights ago.

Well, when you realized that tonight would be the story of the Serpent in the Garden, you did not want to ready that story. You kept asking over and over if we could just skip that one and go to the next one. But we told you no, that it was important to learn all the stories, and that Adam and Eve's sin is pretty important to the whole story of the Bible. Here's a little excerpt from tonight's story...

Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home. And everything was perfect - for a while.
Until the day when everything went wrong.
God had a horrible enemy. His name was Satan. Satan had once been the most beautiful angel, but he didn't want to be just an angel - he wanted to be God. He grew proud and evil and full of hate, and God had to send him out of heaven. Satan was seething with anger and looking for a way to hurt God. He wanted to stop God's plan, stop this love story, right there. So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden.
Now, God had given Adam and Eve only one rule: "Don't eat the fruit on that tree," God told them, "Because if you do, you'll think you know everything. You'll stop trusting me. And then death and sadness and tears will come."
(You see, God knew if they ate the fruit, they would think they didn't need him. And they would try to make themselves happy without him. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him, and life without him wouldn't be life at all.)
As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. "Does God really love you?" the serpent whispered. "If he does, why won't he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious, fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn't want you to be happy."
The snake's words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me? Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn't know anymore...
Eve picked the fruit and ate some and Adam ate some too.
And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God's children: "God doesn't love me."
And terrible pain came into God's heart. His children hadn't just broken the one rule; they had broken God's heart. The had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God's creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die - even though it was all supposed to last forever.
You see, sin had come into God's perfect world. And it would never leave. God's children would be always running away from him and hiding in the dark. Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again.
God couldn't let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him. There was only one way to protect them.
"You will have to leave the garden now," God told his children. "This is no longer your true home, it's not the place fore you anymore."
But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey - out of the garden, out of their home.
Well, in any other story, it would all be over and that would have been...The End.
But not in this Story.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!"
And he would. One day, God himself would come.
(from The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, p.28)

So, we read that story again tonight even though you really didn't want to! And I could tell when we were tucking you in that you were still thinking about it. So after I got Ethan tucked in, I asked you what you were thinking about. You seemed to be starting to understand that God had planned out the whole story from the very beginning. Even knowing that Satan would trick Adam and Eve and that they would believe him and sin and mess everything up, God had still decided to start His plan into motion. Even knowing that we would sin and that Jesus would have to die for us to be forgiven, He still wanted to create us and love us.

You seemed a little worried about where exactly Satan is now. I think you worried, that if he slithered up to Adam and Eve and lied to them, he might come for you any time! So we talked about how Satan is still a liar, and that he is not anything like God. God is the creator of everything - even the angels - and Satan is just a fallen angel. God is all-knowing, all powerful, He is everywhere all the time, and He is faithful and true and will always be the same. God is God, He always has been and He always will be. And we can trust in Him to defeat Satan when Jesus comes back again to make everything new. You wanted to know if Satan had a body or if he is a spirit like God. You asked, "if God is a spirit and Jesus has a body, then will we have a body in heaven or just our spirit?" (Pretty good questions for an almost 6 year old!) Then you wanted to know, "If God's Spirit - the Holy Spirit - could live inside people, then could Satan's spirit come inside people?" We talked about how people still choose not to believe God's Word, and they believe Satan's lies and disobey God, but that is different than when the Holy Spirit lives inside someone's heart.

You asked, "When does the Holy Spirit come to live inside me? I believe that Jesus is God's Son, that he is perfect, that he died for me, and that he loves me. What else do I need to believe?" So I told you that when you believed all those things and trusted in Jesus to forgive you and save you from your sins and to be in charge of your life, that you could just pray and ask Him to come live inside you and He would - forever! Then I asked you if you were thinking about praying about that tonight and you said, "well, I already believe all those things, so I want Jesus to live in my heart forever."

I asked you if I could go get Daddy to come pray with us since this was such a special thing to pray about, and you were excited about that. So we talked a little bit more with Dad, and you told him everything you told me about what you believe. Dad asked you about sin, and you told him that we sin when we disobey God and that we all sin all the time. And that is why Jesus had to die on the cross so he could forgive our sins and we would be able to be with God. Dad wanted to make sure that you understood that you are a sinner, and I think you do. (You told me a few weeks ago that you learned that Jesus was perfect and he could die for our sins since we are not perfect, cause if we died for our own sins, we would just die forever since we're not perfect, but Jesus could be raised from the dead because he's perfect and he's God!)

So after all that, we knelt beside your bed with you and you prayed and asked God to forgive your sins. You thanked Jesus for dying on the cross for you and asked him to come live inside your heart and to be in charge of your life!

I want you to know how happy I am for you and how proud I am of you for thinking about things that are hard to think about. I want you to know that I will always be praying - that you will continue to grow in your faith in God and in your understanding of His Word. More than anything, I want you to trust Him and the plans He has for your life. Just as God had a plan for the world from the very beginning, He had a plan for you - Carrie - before the world was created. Everything His Word teaches about how he wants you to live, is a part of that plan. I pray that God will give you a desire to obey Him, to trust Him and to love Him more than anything else in the world. You will make mistakes and sometimes bad things will happen around you (and even to you), but God will always be with you because you belong to Him. He will finish His plan for you just like He finished His plan to save us.

I love you so very, very much sweet girl. I love your silliness, your courage to try new things that frighten you, your instinct to look out for others that are smaller than you, and I love your sweet, sweet heart. Remember that even though the Holy Spirit lives inside you now, your heart is sinful and deceitful. Satan will still try to trick you to believe his lies instead of God's truth. Be careful to learn the truth every day so that when you hear the lies, you will recognize them and know where they come from!

You are so precious to me, my delightful daughter, and as you grow up into the young lady that God wants you to be, I will be praying for you to know how much He loves you and how thankful I am that He gave you to me.

a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Little Larry-Boy Song and Some Swinging

Ethan is still going strong with his Larry-Boy obsession (for those who don't know, Larry-Boy is Larry the cucumber's secreat super hero persona from the Veggie Tales!) Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was getting stuff done around the house and Carrie and Ethan were playing so nicely. I really wasn't paying all that much attention to what they were doing until I realized that Ethan was singin - which he has never done before that I know of! And he kept singing and singing and singing and singing...he was making up his own little version of a Larry-Boy theme song. I'm glad I thought to grab the camera and capture it! He sang it for no less and and hour, over and over, basically singing "Larry-Boy" 3 times and then some little phrase about what Larry-Boy does or what he looks like or how he will rescue you. Super cute! (I especially like the part where he explains that Carrie is dead!)

Later that afternoon, we went outside to play and Ethan hopped on the big kid swing for the first time. Every time, for the last 6 months, that I've asked him if he wants to try it, he's told me he's not big enough. But for whatever reason, he decided today was the day. The cute part of this video is what he says while I'm filming him swinging and I ask him to tell me something. With no hesitation he starts telling me how cool his dad is! You have to listen pretty close to hear it, but its priceless!

Here's the transcript...
"Dad is cool and him...and dad's knock me down and him cool, and him is silly, and him always tackle me and zap me"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Superhero's New Cape & Ballerina's New Moves

Ethan is really into the superhero thing lately. A while ago we discovered that he could tie the sleeves of one of his long sleeve shirts around his neck and have a little cape. But besides the fact that is actually very dangerous to have anything tied around the neck of a very active three-year old boy, everyone knows that a real superhero needs a BIG cape! So mom got creative after dinner tonight and whipped up a cape with one of my old red t-shirts, a little velcro and some fusable adhesive (iron on fabric flue)!
STEP 1 - Cut the back of the shirt out and up all the way arond the neck band.
STEP 2 - cut the front of the neck band apart and iron on a velcro tab on each side.
STEP 3 - Cut eye holes out of one sleeve
And wahlah! Instant superhero that thinks his mom is awesome!
Thank you very much! (dont' miss the video at the end!)

Carrie's been working hard in ballet getting ready for her upcoming recital in 3 weeks. She loves it and has learned so much since September. Can't wait to see her debut performance!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kentucky Trip

We had an unexpected whirlwind trip to KY last weekend for Bob's Aunt Vickie's funeral. Funerals are always sad, but we are glad Aunt Vickie is healthy again in heaven with so many other loved ones, and it was great to see other family that we don't get to see very often anymore.
We did the 10 hour drive there on Sunday getting to the hotel around midnight, and the plan was to get back in the van Monday after the funeral (hopefully by 2pm) for the drive home. Well, around supper time, the kids were miserable, the driver was tired, and mom had had enough. So my fabulous husband allowed me to change the plans and be spontaneous! (He's the best!!!) So, we found a good exit, hit the Target for Chutes & Ladders and some Ben & Jerry's and crashed at a hotel for a fun family evening, a decent bedtime, a yummy hot breakfast, and a much more pleasant conclusion to our journey the next morning! Yay Dad, we made a great memory instead of just making great time - much more lasting!

Then Ethan got creative on the last bit of our journey. Unfortunately, I realized way too late that it was entirely too quiet in the back seat. When I turned around, this is what I found! Ethan, didn't want to color in his coloring book, so he just colored his arms and his left hand instead. Should've gotten him the Crayola Color Wonder markers! Oh well, most of it washed off at the next McDonalds where we dragged a chair into the bathroom for him to stand on so I didn't have to hold him up the whole time I scrubbed both arms three times each! Now that I think about it, that probably violates a health code for not taking dining room furniture into the restroom, but I didn't think about it at the time. I had been traveling in a van with two kids for almost 20 of the last 36 hours! Good times!

This is his 'I-think-i'm-about-to-get-in-trouble-for-this' face!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday Afternoon at the Ballet

Carrie's first professional ballet! She was so excited.Carrie and mom enjoying our awesome seats - front row center balcony!I found out that the Northwest Flofida Ballet Company was doing Cinderella and I knew I had to take Carrie! It was a wonderful experience. Carrie is familiar enough with the Cinderella story that she only asked about 300 questions durikng the whole thing (I can only imagine it would have been in the thousands for the Nutcracker!) And she seemed to really enjoy watching the dancing (not one word or sound effect other than the orchestra through the entire 2 hour performance!) And the really cool part is that Carrie's ballet recital this spring willl be at the same theater - same stage! She liked Cinderella's wedding dress and the Fairy Godmother's costume the best. She liked that the court jester could do cartwheels with no hands! And she liked that Cinderella got a robe for the wedding scene that took up almost the whole stage! It was so great!!!

the step-sisters getting ready for the royal ball

the Fairy Godmother
Cinderella dancing with the Prince at the ball Cinerella trying on her slipper the Wedding Scene - the long white things are the royal robes The End - Cinderella's curtsythe whole cast Carrie right in front of the stage for a picture op with Cinderella's magic coach.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Carrie's been taking a Ballet-Tumbling class since September and she has loved it! She couldn't do anything except stand on tiptoes and sit with her legs criss-crossed when she first started and now she's doing cartwheels and round-offs! She wanted me to make a movie so she could see what she looks like doing her stunts! Enjoy!

Here's one of Ethan and Bob's best stunts!