Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Hair Cut

Well, we've always known that Ava Jane had a lot of hair. I often joked, when we first found out about her heart defect when she was 2 months old, that though her blood only flowed 30% to her lower extremities, there seemed to be no issue with the flow to her hair follicles.  She has never had any problem being able to keep a bow or headband in, so the fact that she is just now getting her FIRST hair cut is a bit comical.  Here she is with all that hair---this was at 6 months old.
Ava Jane 1

I've just not wanted to cut her hair, but with family pictures coming up this weekend I decided everyone needed to have a little trim.  She's all cleaned up and I think it turned out great.

We headed over to see Mrs. Denise at Pig Tails and Crew Cuts. All the ladies there do a great job, but we love Mrs. Denise, she's patient and kind and doesn't get flustered one tiny bit when my kiddos are uncooperative.  Some how she's able to do a good haircut even with a moving target!

Here's a little snippet.  I was really proud of Ava Jane, she really did pretty good.  Her favorite movie, Frozen was playing on the televisions so she had no trouble sitting still and looking straight ahead.  We didn't take a lot of length off, really it was just a trim, but I think it looks great.  And being that I have three boys, I'm just now learning how to do fancy fishtail braids.  I got a little tutorial and everyone thought she looked adorable, I'm of course quite biased!




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Girls Night Out

It doesn't happen very often that Mom, Whitney and I get time together without little ones, but we took advantage of the opportunity a few nights ago and enjoyed our time immensely! Our night started with dinner at The Fold, which is such a fun restaurant.  We loved the open air feel as they had the large garage doors rolled up and for once, in this month of many April showers, the sun was shining!



After dinner we headed to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre to see Mary Poppins, it really was a great show. The whole cast did an outstanding job. I know they worked very hard for many weeks and being there for the last show, we got to see some of the emotion come out during the curtain call.  The young girl who played "Jane Banks" teared up while each cast member returned to the stage to be recognized by the audience.  The show was terrific and according the the Rep, Mary Poppins has been the most successful production they've done in 39 years.


I sure had fun, lets do it again soon!  Next up--a GNO at Eggs Shells, I'm ready for the cooking class!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend: An Unexpected Visitor and Fun

This weekend was more of a catch-up kind of weekend. I spent Friday night entertaining kids with pizza and a movie while Adam spent the evening at a hospital fundraiser.  Thankfully, my sister decided to bring Lachlan over so we held down the fort together.

Saturday was yard day. We spent the majority of it spreading mulch, pulling weeds, mowing, weed-eating and the like.  It wasn't my most favorite way to spend the day, but I do love the results! On Saturday morning as I was cleaning up from breakfast we got to enjoy an unexpected visit with Adam's brother who came home from college for the weekend. To say my kids were excited to see "Uncle Johnny" is a slight under statement! They loved wrestling with him, jumping on the trampoline and having "light saver" fights--as Emerson likes to call it.




It's always fun to have John home, we look forward to May when he graduates and will be back around here!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Camo Fun

Over the weekend, our kiddos got invited to a true Arkansas boys party, camo theme and all!

The cupcakes and cookies were delicious so my Ava Jane couldn't stay away from the dessert end of the table!


Since it was Easter weekend, there was a camo egg hunt with two special orange eggs that enabled its finder to receive an adorable "target" cookie.   Lawson was the recipient of said cookie and it was devoured almost instantly, along with all the other sugary goodness found inside the plastic eggs!  My bigs were in hog heaven running around climbing on logs, shooting a bow and arrow and simply playing in the dirt.  They had a ball!







Ava Jane and Emerson thought the camo-ed out UTV was so awesome so they just sat in it for a good long while strapping and unstrapping their seat belts!


It was such a fun party!  Happy 6th birthday David!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter 2015

In America, Easter can easily be spent filling the time with silly and seemingly "important" things like baskets filled with gifts for our kids, dying eggs and of course there's the hunting for plastic, candy filled eggs.  Its hard as a Mom to keep a balance between the quirky traditions of fun egg hunts with bunnies (and while I'm on it---how did we ever get to that--a bunny and eggs--it makes no sense?!)  With all the candy and special "easter" clothing to purchase, meals to prep and eggs to fill, it's hard not to get lost in it all.

I like to do fun crafts and things to help hold my kids attention while they're learning so we used our Resurrection Eggs from FamilyLife and enjoyed dying some as we talked through the dozen eggs that recount the days leading up to and the days following Christ's crucifixion.  It starts with the donkey that Jesus rode in on and ends with the egg that has nothing in it, symbolizing the empty tomb that we were all celebrating on Sunday.  It is fun to see my kids starting to "get it" and being able to really talk through what Jesus has done for us.    

This was the first year that Peyton and Lawson came in for the Good Friday service.  I was so glad that they were with us as we remembered all that Jesus suffered through on our behalf.  And what a blessing it was to be able to wake up and worship our God corporately on Sunday morning.  The songs were poignant, the message was "right on" in its topic of belief and doubt so I sat there filled with thankfulness for the freedom to worship my God publicly.  I was so grateful for the perspective from which the message was spoken.  Doubting Thomas--we've all heard of him and we all can certainly relate to him, because we've all got questions, we all have doubts, we all have things that we don't fully and completely trust God with.  We can certainly sympathize with Thomas' doubt but as we read the passage (John 20:24-29) it was pretty awesome to watch Jesus respond to Thomas' exact barriers of belief.  A week prior, Thomas had made a big statement to some of the disciples in verse 25 - "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."  Well, in perfect Jesus fashion, He met Thomas' unbelief head on.  A week after this statement was spoken, Jesus arrived on the scene and being omniscient as His nature is, in His merciful and gracious way, he specifically and precisely responds to Thomas' doubts knowing every thought and doubt that Thomas had said days earlier.  So Jesus said, "put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe."  I love how Jesus never cowers at our unbelief, He meets it head on and He desires for us to simply trust and believe.  And really, He's provided ample evidence for us to believe.  There are so many prophesies that were written many years before that Christ fulfilled (Isaiah 53 says, "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain.")  Thomas had placed conditions upon his belief in God, so when these questions were posed by our Pastor, "what conditions have I myself placed on God and who do I say Jesus is"--I was very convicted.  These two questions were what stuck out to me from the whole message.  The first one is not easily answered or quickly summed up so it will take me some time of introspection but the second question is pretty easily answered.  Jesus is the only Savior, He was there when the world was created, He will judge the living and the dead, He is gentle and kind and He's calling all of us to believe.  I'm so thankful for His sacrifice, for His willingness to suffer for my sins and for the fact that He has now given me access to God.  What a blessing, what an unbelievable gift He has given me--all of us really!  What a miracle--what a true God thing that He is in fact risen, He is risen indeed!

We did have a fun afternoon of eating, playing and visiting with friends and family.  Over the past year Adam and I have gotten the privilege of getting to know a sweet Rwandan family who joined us for  our Easter celebration.  I think the kids all had a great time even though we had to move our egg hunt indoors.  I was bummed that the weather did not cooperate with us, but it didn't put a damper on the kids spirits!






This picture was taken with my self timer after we got home because I'd forgotten to get someone at my Mom's house to take one for us.  Poor Ava Jane fell asleep on the five minute drive home so this is the best we could get!

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time together but most of all I hope you encountered the living and risen Savior.  It is because of Him and through Him that we have hope!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Break 2015: Branson's Scenic Railway

On Saturday morning we woke up to delicious pancakes and bacon that were extra awesome because each child got one made in the shape of their first initial thanks to one of the talented and creative dads. (To see just how cool the pancakes were click here.)

And as if the pancakes weren't enough, to top it all off, there were some really fun relays that he brought for the kids to enjoy too.  (Just FYI, we were vacationing with LRSD's Educator of the Year, who is more than awesome, I might add).  The kids had a great time!


From there we headed over to the Branson Scenic Railway. We had packed sack lunches and were hoping to eat a bite before boarding the train since we couldn't take any food on it.  I didn't think that would be too tall of an order but when we arrived there was nothing but gravel to sit on and the cherry on top was that it was windy and freezing outside!  So, what's a group of twenty three people to do? Oh ---just nonchalantly sit down inside the train depot's gift shop and promptly eat said lunch.  I was a tad mortified by the whole scene that was unfolding, but with no better option on the table (or lack thereof), we quickly ate our sack lunch and headed out to the platform to wait to get on board. It is pretty amazing that we were able to fit eleven small children onto one industrial size floor mat. Thankfully the shop employees were gracious and kind and did not say one word about the massive scene we were making.

We boarded the train and headed to the farthest point that we could.  Turns out we ended up in the best seats on the train, they even reclined!  We were right by the bathrooms which gave the kids even more rooms to roam about.





The train ride was really quite smooth and pleasant, a true experience of travel from yesteryear.  As we boarded there was 1940's big band music playing throughout as well as beautiful scenery to take in.




This conductor was so kind and helpful with all our many children.

There were some serious faces and silly faces, some dancing in the aisle as well as hide and go seek between the seats.  No matter what they were doing, the kids were having a blast!




The train ride and all the activities had these little people tuckered out so the littlest ones napped while the bigs watched a movie quietly. A couple of the dads took an afternoon jog while the Momma's enjoyed come conversations with chips and dip.


Once the littles woke we got them all suited up to go swimming. As we were heading out the door and loading into the car I looked at Adam's back and saw that he had an entire granola bar stuck to it, proof that we were in fact surrounded by little people and lots of messy situations. We got a pretty good laugh out of it, I still don't know how he didn't feel the weight of it on his back! The indoor pool wasn't on the grounds of the cabin so it took a little time and was a bit of a hunt to find but we finally got there and the kids were thrilled to get to swim.





We'd planned to take the kids and do a pizza buffet but when we arrived there was literally about 100 people standing in line waiting to order, needless to say we turned on our heels and headed back to the cars, ordered pizzas and took them back to the cabin.  

Like I said yesterday, the reason this trip went so well was because we all had the same mode of operation, and rolled with the punches.  We knew to expect a little bit of crazy but we hoped for the best.  And though things were a little bit chaotic at points, overall, I think everyone had a terrific time, I know my kids sure did!!

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