Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hello from Rwanda!!! (finally!)

We are here and LOVING Rwanda! It is so incredibly beautiful and wonderful and we have had a near-perfect time! I have to be quick because we are at the Crowson's house using their internet but here is a quick recap!  The trip here was LONG but so much easier than I anticipated! The kids were wonderful and it really was just not as hard as I had in my mind- we were thankful! Germany was COVERED in snow and just beautiful (from the airport!) then on to Ethiopia (where OH MY WORD I just wanted to run out of the airport and hug my niece/nephew, Dinkenesh and little man!!!- you were thought of and prayed for so much while I was there!!!) we had to deplane and get on another and after a couple hours delay we were finally off to Rwanda! We arrived at 4:45 am and got up at 6:30 for the day! We were exhausted but having a ball! That day and the days to follow have been very similar. We go to a school to meet with the children from the school and the 7 street kids that the missionaries have rescued and brought into a home. They are the most precious kids ever- they have captured our hearts! We first meet at a private school because the public school does not have a field. We do soccer, football, volleyball, and kickball and they are so talented at every sport- it's pretty funny to teach them something they've never heard of and a few min later they have it mastered! Chandler was really dealing with a bad case of jet lag that first day and ended up pretty sick that day but she was SUCH a trooper! I was so proud of her because she really felt horrible but she did everything with a smile on her face. I knew I would have all of you praying for her if I could just get a hold of you but without internet I just did what I hoped would work- I prayed for God to give you a sense to pray for our health once again! And it worked!! We have all been wonderful since then health wise! Ok- I got sidetracked...we do sports from 8-12 at that field then break for lunch. Then meet back at 2:00 at the public school where we have bible lessons, leadership training, and usually a craft. They love anything and everything we do- it is so sweet. So we do that from 2-5:00. Then we go back to the catholic guest house for dinner and bed. Tomorrow we will do that again but then throw a big new years party for the street kids (it is a BIG holiday here) We have brought decorations and gifts for them so we are so excited to see that!! Chandler Patton and Parker have been so amazing. They just run right up to the kids and start playing every morning. They have made friends fast!:) All the kids love them and ask for me to take their picture with each one of them all day!  I am almost out of time but they said I could come back anytime and update so maybe I'll have a chance tomorrow!  One last thing before I go--- I have praised the Lord for so many things He has blessed us with during this week, HUGE things like getting us here healthy and safe with ALL our bags, to the small things but HUGE to me... I have had at LEAST 2 bottled cokes each day!!! Seriously yall know how incredible that is to me! Thank you Lord!! Ok- I am going to try to put a couple of pics-- Kelly Vaughn is staying with the Crowson's so she can  update facebook daily so ask her to be your friend or just look on my wall for updates!! Thank you all for all your prayers- keep them coming!! We love you all!

Brittany

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chrismas Card Memory Lane

 We leave in 6 days!!! Wow!! SOO much to do before then:)) I am so thankful that I am a night owl- packing for 13 days for 5 people really gets a little confusing:) But it is all coming along and I think I'll be mostly done by tomorrow night!! So since I am not done packing AND I am not done shopping for Christmas presents, I think I'll take a little trip down Christmas card lane! That sounds like a brilliant use of time right now! I saw the cutest post here the other day and it inspired me to do the same! My grandmother, Nana, gave me a Christmas memories book when I first got married and I have put our Christmas card in it each year. So it was pretty easy to scan them in and take a look at how much our lives have changed since the first card in 1997!! For your viewing pleasure..........
I know, I know...so many things we could comment on. Jeff's hair looks so....I don't know, large?? And the denim- ah the denim. Oh and can't forget the "Let's get a puppy since we are going to wait 4 or 5 years* to have kids" puppy (*see next picture). Sweet Cowboy, you were fun for a little while. We were living in Abilene- Jeff working HR at the hospital and me finishing up my senior year of college!




 
And here we are 12 months later with a 3 month old!!! So much fun! That was such a special Christmas with a newborn! Yes, I know my hair is so short, and yes I have a 3/4 length velour shirt on, and yes we chose this picture even though Chandler's eyes came out red. Don't ask me why! But 1998 was a sweet year!




 
1999- pretty much the exact same pose as the previous year!:) This was out at my parents' lake house. Such fun memories there- I miss it! Chandler was at such a cute age for Christmas!!





2000 Angel baby!! I loved this coat on her! She looks precious! I can still see her at this age so clearly!!






2001- Introducing Patton!! Oh my sweetness! I could just eat them up!! We took no less than 1,000,000 pictures of them together trying to find just ONE. But it was not meant to be. So plan B was to take separate shots and that was much less stressful! This was in our front yard of the wonderful little house we lived in for a couple of years. It was built in 1929 and had such charm! It also had one bathroom and 2 rooms so we grew out of it pretty quickly but have such fun memories there!





2002- This picture was taken in front of an On the Boarder restaurant! We were just waiting for our table after church one day and snapped a couple of pics! So precious!






2003- this was taken on the front porch of our new house that Jeff built us! So sweet and bright!! LOVE Chandler's bow!




2004- And here is Parker!! Don't ya just want to snuggle up to him!! And Chandler and Patton were the best big sister and brother!:)





2005- Oh look! I made the picture! Jeff's parents had us all come over to their house for a big family pic so we seized the opportunity to take a family pic while we were all coordinating!!:) I like it SO much better when the card is just of our kids! I LOVE Parker's sweet chubby legs!





2006- Pajama card! I though these turned out so cute. We took one of all 6 cousins in matching pjs too that my mom sent out as her card that year!







 2007- Why are these sideways??? I can't figure out all this blog stuff! Anyway- this is my favorite card of all! My sister got married this year in Puerto Rico so we took some family pics on the beach! I love the one of the kids looking up at me and Jeff- we have that pic up in our house. Such a wonderful time!! Probably my favorite vacation ever!



2008- Cannot find our card?? Did I not send one out that year? Seriously it's only been 2 years and I thought I had done a card every year?? But it's not in the book so I guess it didn't happen. If I find it I'll add it later...



2009- again with the sideways, someone please help me! After the 2007 card I had some pretty big card-shoes to fill. So how did I step up to the challenge? I went Walmart style and did individual pictures that I already had. I don't know what happened, just ran out of time I guess.




2010!! This year's card!! My kids look way too old! But I love this picture! So sweet!

Ok- well that's the Christmas card memory lane! Hope you enjoyed the LONG post! Now I'm off to pack and wrap!! Have a great night!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

oh the drama!!!!!

Who knew that something the size of probably half a millimeter could stir up SO much drama! BUT the dreaded travel vaccines did just that! My kids don't normally ENJOY getting shots but we've never had complete meltdowns....until this day.
Here we were just laughing and having a good 'ol time (probably because they got to miss an hour of school!) Just watching mom and dad fill out the paper work
Sitting in mom's lap just waiting our turn...
Maybe it was because I said we were only getting ONE and we actually got TWO that really did them in. But you would have thought I promised a million dollars and gave them a pile of dirt instead! Jeff and I went first to show them how easy and painless it would be----BAD IDEA!! I think letting them see the needles going into our arms was not that comforting! Anyway, as each one took their turn the protests were getting more dramatic! And of course I took pictures of  hugged and comforted them the whole time!:)
Anyway, it's over and that means we are one step closer to boarding that plane!! We leave in TWO weeks from today!!! FOURTEEN days!!!! Starting the packing process tomorrow and I can't wait!!! Have a blessed week!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

18 days till Africa!!!

We are getting SO excited!! We leave for Rwanda in 18 days! I can't believe it's already here! We have a TON to do in the mean-time but we'll get it all done somehow! We were incredibly busy again this weekend- I seriously don't think we could've fit one more thing into the 3 days! The weekend ended with a little get together with some of our team members going to Africa with us:
Lorrie had us over for a gormet meal and fellowship- we didn't make it for the meal but Jeff sampled some (of course!) and said it was delicious!! So many great people! Can't wait to get to know each one of them better (and the ones who were not there too!!) And you can see by our crazy ensembles a little glimpse into our BUSY weekend! Saturday night was the big STATE game!!
My cheerleaders cheered their hearts out and our boys played so well BUT in the end....we lost 49-41. It really was a great game and I am so proud of all the athletes out there! We got home from that game at 2:20AM and then Chandler and I got up at 5:45 AM to get her ready for another cheer competition! AND they did GREAT again!! FIRST PLACE!!!
So exciting!!! But no rest for the weary! From there we went straight to church for the dress rehearsal for the boys Christmas Musical. It was from 2:00 on with the performance at 6:30 that night.
They did an amazing job! They were the STARS of the show (along with 197 other cuties!) Seriously- the show was precious and a great reminder to everyone about what Christmas is all about!
   Speaking of Christmas...looking for another way to get an Ipad for your loved one?? We had such a fun time doing our Ipad raffle that Heather is doing one too! SOOO.... go on over to her blog to enter to win her Ipad and you'll be helping them bring their precious "little man" home!! They have been such a blessing to our family this year and it is has been so wonderful gaining deeper friendships with them!
 Sorry for another LONG post but I got to catch up when I can!! Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AND THE WINNER IS...............

video










GAREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are SOOO excited for precious Garen to win the IPad! She is the sweetest!! AND- the coolest part is that she just traveled to Africa last spring and fell in love with it! She had her heart broken for those precious kids over there- just like we know we will! She is already planning a return trip in March! Now she will have a IPad to take on the plane!!  

       We are so thankful for all of those who entered- what a HUGE blessing you ALL are to us! We had such a fun time doing this- especially the drawing!! Chandler was so nervous- I was too! I don't know why we were nervous- maybe just excited to be able to tell someone that they had won!! She was hilarious- acting like Ryan Seacrest and having Patton dim the lights!!
  Patton asked yesterday "how much longer??" and when I looked on the calendar I saw it was 4 weeks away!!! 27 days people!! We are so excited and counting down the days! We get our yellow fever vaccine on Thursday- that will be fun!:) I'm sure I'll have my camera to document it all!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Great times with family, going to the movies, relaxing, getting Christmas decorations out and going to a few ball games- including the mighty Wildcats and the dominating Cardinals!! AND we will be going to ONE MORE football game this Saturday because our Cardinals are going to STATE!! I'm so proud to be a Cardinal! I'm not gonna come right out and say it's because I am the cheerleading coach or anything but it IS kinda crazy that the year I came on board we're headed to state!:) Just sayin... So proud of my cheerleaders!! They are awesome and such a blessing to me!
    Here are a few random pics of the week:


Chandler LOVES mashed potatoes so when I had this many "extra" I just sat the entire bowl in front of her- all to herself! She was a happy camper!
Patton was pumped about the food as well!! This is just the kids table- it is crazy fun at the Polk Thanksgiving!!

This is Parker with his Senior Buddies- pretty cool that he got matched with 2 of the star players!
Parker and me at my Alma Mater!! Go wildcats!

Chandler was not too impressed when I started to do the fight song routine with the cheerleaders!!:) I am so good at embarrassing her!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LAST DAY TO ENTER!!!!!!! DRAWING AT 8PM TONIGHT!!!

Get your IPad raffle tickets today! A $10 donation to our Rwanda fund enters you in to the drawing we will have on Tuesday night for a 32G,3G+WiFi IPad!!The more times you enter the more chances you have! Click the "donate" button on the right and enter to win!! Can't wait to see who it will be!

***quick update:  We are so thankful to those of you who have entered! Each and every dollar is getting us closer to those precious kids in Rwanda- thank you!! We spent a part of our afternoon with our Rwanda team and it was so nice getting to see all the plans coming together! I am so excited!!! It has been a great day filled with friends, unexpected generosity, unexpected DATE!! (thank you mom!!)and a dear friend's news of her 4th pregnancy!! Doesn't get much better than that!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well, THAT was difficult

I just got home from doing something I never thought I'd do. I cut off all of my precious niece's hair. Since starting chemo 3 weeks ago (is that right? I'm getting dates confused!) her hair was slowly starting to fall out. In the last couple of days it was getting more and more obvious that it was time to do something. Let me tell you- THAT is one strong 19 year old. I don't know how I would've handled it but she was amazing. Choosing to cut it all off before it falls out was, I'm sure, very difficult but all that we've read says it is much less traumatic that way. You are somewhat in control and it is over very quickly. We shared some laughs, and some tears but she is strong. We talked about what beauty is and how this is a hard lesson, but SO important to know your beauty is from the inside. God does not look at our skin, our body, our hair to see our heart. Haleigh is a beautiful girl on the outside but I wonder if maybe she will be able to see now how beautiful she is, and always has been, on the inside. Does she know how much she is loved from all her friends and family NOT for her stunning looks, but for her character, her love, her compassion, her heart? I pray she does. It is a hard lesson to learn in a hard way. But I pray that she can learn what true beauty is. The thing is, she is still beautiful on the outside. One thing you just never know is if your head is a normal shape under all that hair. Well, thankfully, she's got a very round symmetrical head!:) Seriously, she looked really cute with a short little pixie cut! Well anyway, I know that she has to be going through a lot of emotions right now because I am and I just did the cutting! So please continue to pray for her. Love you Haleigh Morgan!! (and BTW I'm pretty awesome at cutting hair!- who knew?)
                                            Karen, Haleigh, Fran, Laura, Me
(This was last week going to pick out a wig for Haleigh- she found several super cute ones she loved!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kindergarten Car Show!

Today was the Kindergarten Car Show at Parker's school. It was SO precious! All the kids got to make any kind of car they wanted and they were all so unique and cute! Parker wanted a Texas Rangers slug-bug, so that's what we did! It was hilarious talking to the other parents about how little of this project the kids actually did! But it was fun and something I'll always remember about his first year of school! Here are some of his friends and their walk through the high school, where they got to see their senior buddies! So sweet!
 Sweet friend Kendall in the Ice Cream Truck- she had her teacher's picture and all her classmates pics on it! So cute! And her equally cute twin sister's car was a school bus with the teacher and friends on it but I didn't get a picture of hers:(
 Best Friend Sie in a monster truck-awesome!
 Sie's mom, one of my BFF and another kindergarten teacher-Sharon in her school bus!
 Going through the high school- all the teachers, staff, and students lined the halls and cheered for them!
Walking to the Middle School- started to rain a bit so BoomerSooner girl was lucky in her covered wagon! That's all for now! I'm headed to Tyler this afternoon for a football playoff game with my cheerleaders- post and pics of their wonderful pep rally soon! We've had so many incredible things happen for our Rwanda trip that I'll share soon too! Amazing things!! God is so good!We are so close to our goal- if the IPad tickets can continue to sell, I think we'll be there! Please buy your tickets today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

IPad Raffle!!

We're giving away a 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G IPad!! With a $10 donation to help our family get to Rwanda, you will be entered in the drawing for this amazing IPad! Just $10- and you are helping us go serve in Kigali, Rwanda AND you have a great chance of winning an IPad! It's a win/win situation here people!! Have you been admiring the Ipad from afar, or thought about getting one for your loved one for Christmas but just didn't want to lay down the $800?? How about helping out a family and just maybe getting an IPad for what it costs to drive thru Chick-fil-a one day? Just think- you could follow us on our journey when we are there WHILST in your car because you have a 3G IPad! You could get a facebook update from us from across the world while you are in the pick-up line at school because YOU have a 3G IPad!
  Just $10 and this could be your reality! If you want to double your chances- send us $20! We'll throw in this special deal for you too- buy 5 tickets for just $45!! Those are some good odds people! We will sell a limited number of tickets for the next 2 weeks- you can just give us the money or mail it to us (message me for address) and we will then contact you with your ticket number. We will record the drawing process and announce the winner in a post on November 23. (You could have an IPad to look up all the "Day after Thanksgiving Sales"!!) Please buy your raffle ticket today!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Toddlers and Tiaras

Ok- so it's really not THAT scary but Chandler had her first cheer competition of the year Sunday and she did GREAT! (I just sometimes think I'm being secretly filmed for a cheerleading reality show with all the make-up and uniforms- and cheer moms!) She loves it so much and is really naturally gifted. Their team won 1st place! It was so exciting to watch all those months of practice finally pay off! I was so thankful that she was with good friends and a great gym!
 We had such a wonderful Halloween! It was perfect weather and Chelsa got to come see the kids at Ashlee's house before the trick-or-treating began.

We had 2 days to dress up and Chandler was none other than a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader AND Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. Cracks me up how one little girl can love both of those extremes! Even BEFORE Parker broke his arm, he wanted to be a "hurt person" so the sling was just an added touch! We waited till the literal last minute to come up with something for Patton.  It was his idea to run by the school and get the mascot costume. Our little cardinal!
 Football season has ended for Patton, and with Parker's broken arm his baseball season is over SO on Saturday we only had 1 practice! Jeff was out of town all week so all day Saturday I just worked around the house on little "piles" that needed to be looked through and cleaned up! It doesn't look like I did a thing but it felt good to have the time to go through some stuff.
 On Sunday we had another Rwanda meeting and it was so great to hear from 2 of the missionaries that live there. Chandler and I had to leave early to get to her DGroup, but the little I heard just got me even more excited about this trip! Seriously, I think about it all the time. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for us on this trip! I have a feeling it's just going to make me want to go again and again! And that's ok!!:) I would LOVE to travel to Africa THREE times in 2011! After we get home I'll just be waiting for the call that my niece/nephew is ready and the Cheatham's "little man"(www.cheathamchat.blogspot.com) is ready and I'm hopping on a plane!  CAN'T WAIT!!!
 We've got an awesome fundraiser coming up tomorrow that I know you'll love...stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Already November??

Can't believe it is already Holiday season! This is absolutely my favorite time of year! We have had one busy October people! Here is the QUICK summary of what all went down.  (We'll actually start at the end of September)
 My precious aunt Chelsa was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had surgery to remove the tumor and is now feeling well enough to start her chemo. This was a big blow to our family~ we are VERY close to her! She is so wonderful to me and my family and just loves us to death! We are so thankful that she is ours and we are geared up to fight this battle with her!
 Then, on October 21, my niece Haleigh was diagnosed with leukemia. She is 19. She was starting her freshman year at Lubbock Christian University and out of the blue is hit with the news that she has cancer. This, too, was a huge blow to our family! We are still a little bit in shock to be honest because there are just SO many things to process in such a little amount of time! She was a Cook's for about 10 days where she had several procedures and started her Chemo routine. She will have to have chemo for 2 1/2 years- she is taking it like a champ and still looks so beautiful! She is so precious to us and my kids think she hung the moon!! Parker said the other day- "we're going to BUSY praying for Haleigh and Chelsa!" He is right! We are crying out to the Lord daily for them both!
 Our church is doing a campaign right now called Greater Things. It has been so wonderful- our preacher is amazing and is challenging us to be generous and sacrificial givers of not only our money but our lives!! There are some really neat stories coming out of this! We had a church-wide garage sale this weekend and made around $30,000!! Amazing!
 Friday night I was at the varsity football game with my cheerleaders. Patton and Parker were there too playing in the adjacent field. Well anyway- lets just say a little "rough play" was happening between my boys. Parker "fell" from a tire thing out in the field and broke his arm!! Poor little guy- he is SO tough! Got his cast yesterday-he loves it- wanted red AND blue for the Texas Rangers!! Amazingly this is the first broken bone we've had! Hope it's the last!
 We are getting SOOO excited about our trip!! Only about 8 weeks till we head to Rwanda!! We've received some VERY generous help from some friends and family and the kids think it is so much fun to check the mail every day to see who else is helping us get to Africa!!My mom and sisters helped us have a garage sale at our house to help with the fund! They worked TIRELESSLY sorting, pricing, etc and we did great! Not a lot of people came but we sold a lot, got that much closer to our goal AND got rid of a ton of junk!! We had our whole "team" over last Saturday night. We spent time getting to know each other better and watching Hotel Rwanda. It was a heavy movie but sooo good. We had a really good time and most people didn't leave till 1:00 AM!! So fun! AND I didn't take ONE picture!!:(
I'm going to be better about keeping up with the blog so they are not SOO long! Have a great week!!
 
Brittany

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grami Gives!!

We have the most amazing family! So many have been so supportive of our trip! We are so blessed to know that so many will be praying for us. My mom came over the other day to give us a book she had made with all sorts of pictures from Rwanda, telling the kids how proud she was of them for going on this trip and how she would be praying for us throughout this journey! Then she gave the kids a check to put towards our fund for Rwanda! WOW! We were blown away! She has always been SO generous and once again she made a huge sacrifice for our family. The money is wonderful and will help us reach our goal that much faster, but her heart is what is the most amazing part of this story. Our kids will probably not remember how much she gave but they will remember what a servant she is. She is constantly giving her time to us and they know that at a moments notice Grami is there for them! We love you Grami and we are SO thankful for you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Here We Go!

Well the Polk family finally has a blog! And it's for a great reason- We are going to AFRICA! We are so excited! We are going on a 2 week mission trip to Kilgali, Rwanda on December 26, 2010. We've had a heart for Africa for some time now and kept trying to figure out exactly what we were supposed to do, and right now we feel called to go and serve! We are going to be teaching the local children about Jesus and helping to put on a sports camp for them as well. We also plan to visit an orphanage and do some prayer walks in several towns of Rwanda. We wanted to keep everyone updated on our trip and journal all of the adventures we have while there! We would love it if we could get your prayers for this trip. We hope to be a blessing to the missionaries in Rwanda as well as the children we will be in contact with everyday. We know this will be a life-changing trip for us and our 3 kids and we just can't wait!