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!


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 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...............

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!!