Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Morning Encouragement 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

{Monday Morning Encouragement}

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I'm currently working on a blog post to share at Unexpected Elegance about having a grateful heart.  It only seems appropriate during this time of year.  Believe it or not, these verses go along with those thoughts.  The title is "Finding Gratitude in Unexpected Places."  It's not your typical verses but I think it will all make sense when you read the entire blog post.  As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope and pray you see all of the things in your life that you have to be thankful for.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Will's Outdoor Wilderness Adventure Birthday

Will's Outdoor Wilderness Adventure Birthday

We celebrated Will turning 8 this weekend with an outdoor wilderness adventure birthday party at our land.  The kids went on a nature scavenger hunt, ate hot dogs, and made s'mores around the campfire.  We had perfect weather.  It was a little chilly but just right for this time of year.  It was so much fun that Will and his friends didn't want to leave.  The kids were so cute running around and playing outside.  Our friends and family are awesome and made it a great day!

Here's Will and his friends just before they sang happy birthday.

The boys on the nature scavenger hunt.  They are looking for acorns here.

Jordan, Ben, and Ty on the scavenger hunt.  

Food!  We borrowed the grill from Mark's brother and cooked the hot dogs on it.  We saved the campfire for s'mores at the end of the party.

Ty, Will, and Keaton eating hot dogs.  I love these three boys!  I have big plans for them.  I've already decided that they are all going to Texas A&M together where they'll be part of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2029.  (I think I got the year right!)

It wasn't just a boy party.  The girls had just as much fun exploring the woods.
Here are some of Will's sweet friends.

What a perfect evening!

Everyone loved making s'mores!  It was a sticky mess but worth it.

Will and his best friend Keaton

It got too dark to open presents at the land so we had to bring them home.  Will couldn't wait to open them.  We have such generous friends and family.  He loved everything!  Legos, a circuit maker, Monopoly, birthday money and gift cards.  What more could an 8-year-old want or need! 

Here's a closeup of the invitation.

This is a wrinkled copy of the nature scavenger hunt.  We gave each kid a paper bag with the list stapled to the front and then we turned them loose in the woods to find everything.  Will (or maybe Ben) brought this bag home and checked everything off the list.  I saw some lists on pinterest and modified it to work for our neck of the woods.

Mark and I should be a bonus for the scavenger hunt for finding poison ivy and breaking out in a rash!  Luckily we haven't heard of anyone else getting it.  It was all worth it though!

Monday, November 3, 2014

8 Years old!

 Today Will turns 8 years old!

He's the most exceptional eight-year-old that I know.

Here are some of Will's favorite things.

Favorite food: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Will's favorite drink is root beer

Favorite fruit: apples

Favorite veggie: peas

Favorite sport to play: Baseball

Will's favorite sports team is the Texas Rangers. 

Favorite toys: Chess board games, Legos and Rubik's cube

The best show on television according to Will is Arthur.

Will's favorite thing to learn about in school is math.

Will's favorite thing about school is seeing friends.

If Will could go anywhere in the world, he'd go to New York City because he wants to see the Statue of Liberty.

Will's favorite color is blue

When Will grows up he wants to be a construction worker and "make towns better".  

His current favorite song is "Maps" by Maroon 5.  

His favorite book is any Arthur chapter book

Will's best friend is Keaton.  

Favorite holiday: Christmas

Favorite animal: Dog

Will's birthday meal, if he could choose would be Chipotle.

One of Will's favorite memories of the last year was going to Disneyland California Adventure Park.  He loved riding Radiator Springs Racers.

Will really likes National Parks, Monopoly, iPad, Google maps, Chess, going to church,  spending time with his cousins in Texas and Virginia, and spending time at Mamaw and Papaw's house

We plan to celebrate Will's 8th birthday this weekend with an outdoor adventure-themed party.  We are going on a nature scavenger hunt at our land.  We'll have a bonfire and make s'mores.  Will has requested Dairy Queen for lunch today and we might take him to eat pizza at Grimaldi's after school.  

We're so thankful for a our sweet, smart, kind, funny and sometimes silly kid.  
Will's an awesome big brother and a wonderful son.

We love you Will!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween!

Will dressed up as Ironman 3 Iron Patriot and Ben wore a Superman costume. 

We followed tradition like every year and we went to the trick-or-treating event at our small town's downtown square.  It's called "Halloween on the Square".  The kids walk around and all of the local businesses and community organizations give out candy.  It's fun and safe.

Papaw Jerry and Mamaw Carol walked along with us as the boys got candy.

Every year we get a family photo for Halloween.  Other than Christmas, this is my favorite holiday.

Our niece Maggie and her best friend Abby dressed up like Wayne and Garth.  I thought it was hilarious!  Abby had on a black t-shirt like Wayne, but this was the coldest Halloween we've had in 10 years so she had on a hoodie over it to stay warm.  Maggie's flannel and glasses looked just like Garth.  So awesome!
Party on Wayne!
Party on Garth!

Ben's ready to save the world!

It looks like Will is taking the trick-or-treating very seriously.

One more of Will.

One more of Ben and his cute cape.

I took these photos at home before we went to Halloween on the Square.

This is a photo before school.  The boys wore their costumes to school on Friday.
Ben had two different costumes to pick from.  We bought them several costumes on sale last year at Target.  He chose Green Lantern for school since green is his favorite color.  Will stayed with Ironman 3 all day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

InstaOctober 2014

Instagram + October = InstaOctober

Life is busy this time of year.  Who am I kidding?  Life is hectic no matter what time of year it is, and the month of October is no exception. The school year is in full swing.  We've been going to Ben's  soccer games on the weekends.  Will's involved with academic UIL at school.  We've been working at the land clearing brush and burning it.  Add normal everyday stuff into the mix and it makes for a full schedule.  All good things that we're thankful to have time for.  

Life is busy but it's good.

Here are the many things filling our days.

Will has been practicing to make the chess team for academic UIL.  Mark and I don't know how to play chess (shocking, I know! shame on us) and we downloaded an app on the iPad to teach him.  Will also plays against the computer to learn.  His chess teacher is really encouraging and I think he's learned a lot in a just a few weeks.  Ben will probably end up learning just because Will is so interested.  Here they are playing a game.  I use the term "playing" loosely but you know what I mean.

We're making progress clearing trees and burning brush at the land. There's still a lot of work to do before we're ready to build but every little bit of work done now is less to do later.  

Ben has some silly ideas.  On the night I took this photo, Ben was pretending that the bathtub was a coffee shop.  He lined up all the plastic cups I keep in the tub for them to play with.  I had to order a drink and play along.  In case you were wondering, I had a white chocolate mocha.

My sweet mother-in-law, Carol, had a birthday at the beginning of the month.  We celebrated her birthday by taking her out to eat TexMex.  It was impossible to get a photo of her with both boys cooperating so I took several and made a collage of the best ones.  Will and Ben sure do love their Mamaw Carol and so do we!

The boys go through phases with the toys we own.  We've had these puzzles for years and they normally don't pay any attention to them.  For some reason they decided to put them together.  They like anything that has to do with space and planets. I think Mark enjoyed learning about those things when he was a boy.  I know they didn't inherit those genetics from me. 

One of the funniest photos of the month.  On Instagram I said, "Transformers have destroyed the United States and they are about to take over the universe!" 

We don't make it to many of our niece's volleyball games, but we always have a good time watching her play.  She threw a personalized volleyball to the boys in the stands.  They love it!

I don't think this photo ever made it on Instagram.  We were running errands at Watters Creek.  Ben found a leaf on the ground while we were shopping.  When we got to Anthro I made the boys pose for a photo by the autumn leaves window display.  Ben proudly held up the leaf he found. 

On that same day, we hung out at Starbucks for a little while.  I love the weekend!

Weekends in the fall mean college football and the NFL.  Mark watches both, but he really loves professional football.  The Cowboys are his team.  They've been doing awesome but some of the games have been close.  It's so stressful and intense that I have to distract myself with Pinterest. 

Look what I found at Trader Joe's!  These cookies are awesome.  The calorie count, not so much.
It's time to bring back the Chai Tea Latte at night.  Mark and I treat ourselves to one now that it's cooler weather.  And by cooler weather I mean not 108 degrees.  It's been in the 80s.  

I've taken some photos of Ben using my DSLR, and now I just need to get them on my computer and the blog.  He's so stinkin' cute!

Who has seen Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible....?  We thought it was really funny.
The boys love going to the movies and eating popcorn.

We had to go to Cabela's.  

Fascinating fish

That's all for now.  I have more photos to share but not enough time.  
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cousin Time

My boys are blessed to have lots of cousins in their lives.  On my in-law's side there are lots of cousins, which we are lucky to get to see a lot.  Since my brothers live in Virginia we don't get to spend as much time as we'd like with that side of our family.  I've always tried to look on the bright side and since we don't get to see them as often, we consider the time we do spend with them extra special.  This summer they were visiting Texas and we had a super fun afternoon hanging out together.  We grilled burgers and let the kids swim and play in the backyard.  The day ended in an unexpected way (remember Will's tooth incident) but like family does, they were there to support us through that stressful situation and take care of us when we needed help the most. 

Here are a few photos from their visit this summer.

My niece Ella is close to the age of Ben.  She and the boys had fun in the pool.

They also played with the giant sprinkler ball. 

Lily just turned two.  She and Ella are just too cute!
My brother Chris and sister-in-law Laura sure do have adorable kiddos!

My niece Cassidy is gorgeous.  She's old enough to be in Junior High.  How can that be? Since she's the age of the students Mark and I teach, it was fun to talk to her and hear all about what's going on in her life.  She told us about the latest apps on her iPhone.  She told us about school.  She loves shopping just like me!  We went to the mall and she bought some cute clothes, and then we ate dinner at Taco Diner.  It was fun to hang out with her and my brother Brian.

Even though our visits are few and far between there's still a special bond with our family.  
We love them a lot and we cherish our time together.  


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