Tag Archives: fun

Disney Trips Flashbacks

As I mentioned in my last post, we are going to Disney World in December!!  I am beyond excited.  This will be my fifth trip to Disney World–I’m so fortunate!  All of the excitement of our upcoming trip has made me think about past trips and how much I loved each one of them.  I thought it’d be fun to share some flashbacks of my previous Disney Trips!

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Summer 1989 (2 years old)

For some reason, this is the only picture I have of our trip.  My mom has more, but this is the only one in my scrapbook.

Like I said earlier, I don’t remember this trip at all, but I know my family had a great time!  We went with my mom’s whole family.  And one of the things about taking such a little kiddo (at least so I’ve heard) is that it’s more for the parents than the kids.  I know my parents loved watching me get so excited while we were there.  And I’m thankful that I was able to go at such a young age!

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June 2002 (15 years old)

I just took pictures of my scrapbook pages for this trip since I don’t have any digital copies of the pictures.  And here’s a close-up of our family:

This trip was a BLAST!  We camped at Fort Wilderness on Disney property, and stayed for a whole week.  My little sister was 5, my brother was 12, and I was 15.  We were all at such good ages for a Disney trip.  My uncle, aunt, and their 3 kids also went with us.  We had such a good time, even though it rained every day.  We felt like a group of ducks in our yellow Mickey ponchos!  We visited all the parks, both water parks, and played mini golf.

It was so wonderful to be there with my family.  We made SO many great memories, from dancing with the parade people at Epcot, to getting splashed on the last hole at Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, to eating breakfast with Pooh and friends, to riding everything we wanted to at least once, to just being together.  It was one of my favorite vacations of all time!

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October 2006 (19 years old)

This was our “Girls and PawPaw Trip”.  I skipped college and took off work for a week in order to go on this Fall Break trip.  My mom, sister, aunt, cousin, her two girls, Meme & Pawpaw all went.  We really missed my dad and brother, but it was such a great trip!  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for the first time, and it was probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip!  (I’ll probably never go to Disney World without it now!)  It was also my first time to go “off-season” and now I’m sold on the short wait times and cooler weather!

We met TONS of characters,

Rode/saw everything we wanted to with virtually no waits,

Went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,

Acted goofy,

Ate INCREDIBLE food with the Dining Plan,

And just had a great trip.

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September 2009

This trip was just Michael and me.  It was AMAZING.  We went as a sort of delayed honeymoon.  There will never, ever be another trip like this one.  We were able to do and see everything we wanted to–without having to do the things we didn’t want to.  We didn’t have a care in the world besides what to pick to eat.  And speaking of eating, we did the Dining Plan again and ate at incredible restaurants!  We were goofy and carefree, but also took time to enjoy just being together and celebrating us.  It was PERFECT.

We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge,

Met Mickey & Minnie,


Ate at incredible restaurants,

Saw all of the different nighttime events, including Wishes, our favorite fireworks show,

Had PRIME seats at all of the shows and rides due to planning, planning, planning (this is when I fell in love with planning Disney trips, by the way),

Took pictures in goofy hats around Epcot World Showcase,

Michael got to be in two shows,

Rode everything we wanted to at least once,

Took a tour (which was great),

Took tons of “magic shots”

& just had an AMAZING time together.

Like I said earlier, it was PERFECT.

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Needless to say, I am SOOOO excited about our upcoming trip.  It’s going to be so great to take Josiah to Disney World for the first time and get to spend time with family.  It’ll be here before we know it!

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–Staci

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Q for you:  Have you ever been to Disney World (or Disneyland)?  What was your favorite thing?

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A Post Of Thankfulness Part 2 – By M

Hopefully you caught part one of my Thankfulness List.  If you didn’t you can check it our by clicking HERE.

Here is the second half of my list, starting with number 16 through 30 (and as mentioned before, this is in no particular order).

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16.) Friends – I’ve had a lot come and go in my life, but I’m thankful for all the ones that have meant so much to me.  I don’t really have many anymore.  I guess that’s a part of growing up.  But for those that I do have, I am thankful.

17.) District Youth Director Meetings – Speaking of not having many friends, the UM Youth Directors in our area are beginning to meat monthly and I am really excited for the connections we’ve already made and will continue to make.  It’s so nice to be around other adults who totally get where we’re coming from 🙂

18.) Fusion – On a similar note, I’m proud to be a part of a new youth movement here in Southeast Texas that we’re calling Fusion.  A group of Youth ministers have come together, crossing denominational boundaries, to bring our students together for passionate worship with the ultimate goal of breaking down barriers and helping students into a deeper walk with God.

19.) My Guitar (acoustic) – Love my Larrivee!  It’s been a big part of my ministry for 8 years and I still love that it’s not a Taylor or a Martin 🙂   (this is a picture from a while back… you can tell cause of the hair)

20.) My Guitar (electric) – The second addition to my musical family.  I’ve had my Peavey amp for many ears because I got a killer deal on it and never had a good guitar to play through it.  It’s a big part of my ministry through music today and a big part of my contribution to Fusion.

21.) Music – You’ve probably seen some of our music posts on this blog.  I love to listen to it.  I love to play.  Music is awesome

22.) Thanksgiving – (put it at 22 cause that’s Thanksgiving day this year)  What is there to really say… family, food, fun, football!  Second or third best holiday in my opinion.

23.) Christmas Season – This would be the day after Thanksgiving also known as Black Friday.  I hope you’ve experienced the joys of Black Friday, but I digress.  I love Christmas and I love the Christmas season!  The music, the lights, the atmosphere, the weather… it’s all so perfect!  (And another vintage picture)

And now things take a bit of a material/superficial turn:

24.) My Bed – It’s warm, it’s comfy, it’s soft, I love it!

25.) iPhone/iPad/iMac – OK, so I don’t want to sound like an Apple fan boy or anything; I promise I’m not.  But I do love our computer and the iPad is just so convenient and fun.  I always thought the iPhone could be overrated, but I’ve really enjoyed my 4.  It may be 2 generations old, but it works great, it’s easy to use, and I love the apps.

26.) MyFitnessPal/RunKeeper – Speaking of apps; I’ve been really trying to work on getting in better shape and losing some weight.  RunKeeper helps me track my running and I like being able to actually gauge my progress.  MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and I started using it Labor day weekend.  As I’ve followed the daily plans and cut back on my calorie intake, I’ve lost 16 pounds in just 2 months.

27.) New dSLR camera/HD video camera – Staci is big into photography and I love doing video work.  These new cameras have been awesome for our family and documenting Josiah’s early life and our family experiences.

28.) DVD/Bluray Collection – I know, it’s nerdy.  But Staci and I never watch live TV (The few TV shows we actually keep up with we watch on Hulu), so we pride ourselves in our collection of movies and TV shows.  Superficial? yes.  Awesome?  Heck Yes!

29.) Modern Conveniences – I know this is kind of general and vague, but I was running out of space, and I’m just so glad for electricity and plumbing, and cell phones, cars, planes, etc.  It’s just nice.

30.) Upcoming Family Vacation – Family time is something I’ve always cherished and now that we live so far part it’s very hard to come by.  So it will be really special spending so much time with all the family.  I’m glad everyone wil get to spend so much with Josiah too!

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So these are a few things I am especially thankful for this season.

What are some of the things you are thankful for this year?

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– M


2 Years Later – By M

2 years ago (just a few days back) marks when we moved from Oklahoma down to southeast Texas.  It’s funny how time has flown so much and how much can change in such a relatively short amount of time.

It’s been such a blessing to be a part of Wesley church over these past two years.  I can’t lie that there are things that we miss –being far from basically any family (especially immediate), and experience the seasons with the weather (down here it’s basically hot, not so hot, and really hot!)– but we have also loved being at our new church and new home.

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Here’s sort of a Trip down memory lane since our move (PS… Some have links to previous blog posts):

– when we first arrived, we found out on a very first day at church about the Wesley Pumpkin Patch.  It was crazy overwhelming and made for a very long day, but after two complete Pumpkin seasons and heading into our third it’s been a blast and a great part of our ministry here.  It’s also been a fun opportunity for me to make it onto our local news stations every year.  In fact, one of my most memorable moments was being interviewed by Fox news my 3rd day on the job.  I had fun with that.

– That same day we left for IKEA in Houston and bought some new furniture!  It was my first trip and now I’m hooked.

– Staci went to her first Spurs game at the AT&T Center!

– We celebrated our 2nd anniversary up in Dallas!

– We spent our 3rd Christmas together in our third house, so we had to figure out how to decorate all over again.

– Went on my first Ski Trip!

– We began searching the housing market for when our apartment lease was up.

– My brother got married in Memphis and we got to road trip it up there together which was pretty fun!

– We jumped out of a plane!!!

– We found where we wanted to build our new home and began the process!  Before we new it we were moving in!

– Built my first porch on mission trip!

– Read all the Harry Potter Books and saw all the movies… umm… maybe 3 times….

– Found lots of new good music for all seasons!

– Moved to a new house!

– Got Pregnant!  And shared our story!  And found out he was a boy!

– Celebrated another holiday as a family… the first one in our new home!

– Celebrated our 3rd anniversary together in San Antonio!

– Had countless youth activities including: Christmas Parties, Halloween Parties, Mission Trips, Summer Camps, Retreats, A trip to Sacramento, CA, Beach Trips, Pool Parties, and tons more!

– Our Baby Boy was born!

And here we are starting our 3rd Pumpkin Patch season!  We can’t believe that it’s all flown by so fast (even though sometimes it feels like it’s been a really long, long journey)!  We have been so blessed in so many ways over these past 2 years and we are very thankful!  We look forward to the coming years with our sweet son and our new family unit!

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What have you been up to these past 2 years?
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– M


Halloween – By M

Is it just me or is Halloween the red-headed step-child of holidays?  We don’t get a day off school for it – regardless of the fact that everyone knows everyone else will be out late trick-or-treating or at a Fall Festival – we don’t get out of work early, half of the Christian community thinks that Halloween is from the devil….

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I really am not sure what this post is about other than to say I’m somewhere in the middle when it comes to Halloween.  I mean when you think about it, Halloween spawned from a Christian holiday, All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve.

I was raised in a family where we celebrated Halloween as kids (by “celebrate” I mean we got dressed up and went trick-or-treating).  Then as we got older, and things got more dangerous, we did the whole Festival thing – as those became more popular too.  Once we got into late middle school and high school, we really didn’t do much except sit around the house and watch a movie, and eat pizza and popcorn.  Now Staci and I are involved in our church’s Fall Festival which is lots of fun.

I do have to admit that some things about Halloween do give me the creeps.  I’m not a big fan of all the dead stuff and spiders and what not, but I don’t think that’s any reason to not go out and get a ton of candy and have a good time.

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What are your thoughts on Halloween?  Any family traditions?

(Us as CTU Agents (from “24”) for Halloween last year)

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– M


Harry Potter Week

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, it goes without saying that the last movie is just around the corner!  You can watch a trailer HERE.

A lot of our students are huge HP fans, and when we came to our church they were in the middle of doing a Bible study called “The Gospel According to Harry Potter” on Wednesday nights.  (The study took clips or themes from HP books/movies and then taught about the themes using Scriptures.)  We took our students to see HP 7.1 last fall when it came out, and we had a great time.

Sometime between then and now, we had the idea to have a Harry Potter Week building up to the new movie this summer.  Well, that time has come!

The movie actually releases next Friday, but we’ll be at camp next week.  So we’re having HP week the following week.  Each night, we’ll watch one of the HP movies, and have a HP inspired snack and (optional) craft.  I’m super excited because:

  1. It’s Harry Potter
  2. I love cooking and doing crafts
  3. I love planning things

So in case you want to plan your own HP party, I thought I’d share our plans.  Almost all of the ideas came from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book” and “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.”  (You can click on each title to take you to the Amazon link.)

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Sunday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Craft:  Wands
  • Snack:  Chocolate Frogs (I bought the molds HERE)
  • Drink:  Butter Beer (recipe found HERE…using #5, but I’d like to try #1 on my own)

Monday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Craft:  No-Sew House Ties
  • Snack:  Pumpkin Pasties
  • Drink:  Pumpkin Juice

Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Craft:  Galleons (possibly Knuts and Sickles too)
  • Snack:  Acid Pops
  • Drink:  ??

Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Craft:  No Mess Quills
  • Snack:  Dragon Eggs
  • Drink:  ??

Thursday: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Craft:  Extendable Ears
  • Snack:  Treacle Tart
  • Drink:  Liquid Luck Potion

Friday: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Craft:  Pygmy Puff
  • Snack:  Rock Cakes (or if I’m low on time, Cockroach Clusters found HERE)
  • Drink:  Pensieve Potion

Saturday: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1 at church, Part 2 at the theater)

  • I’m still debating whether or not to do a craft and snack this day since we’re watching two movies…thoughts?

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I’m really excited about Harry Potter Week!  Any ideas we should add?

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–Staci

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**All Crafts taken from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book

**Pumpkin Pasties, Pumpkin Juice, Treacle Tarts, and Rock Cakes taken from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook“; All other Recipes (other than those noted in the plans) found in “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book”


Summer List – By M

Like any sane person, I am totally excited for this summer!  We’re going to be doing a lot of really fun things with our youth like 2 mission trips, camp, a trip to California, the beach, mystery trip to Houston, Schlitterbahn Galveston, and more!  We’re also gonna spend some time with Staci’s family as well as stop by my parents house!  I’m sure Staci and I will throw in our own little adventures in there somewhere too!

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So here are some things to check off the ol’ Summer list:

– Beach Trip

– Water Park

– Family

– California!

– Pool Party

– Grill out

– late-night movies

– TV Show Marathon-ing!

– and so much more

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What are somethings you can’t wait to do this summer?  Favorite vacation spot?

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– M


Caption Please

I was going through our pictures and found this.  It was taken before Easter.

Caption please.

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–Staci

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The Truth About Christian Giveaways – By M

In case you’re not familiar with Jon Acuff, he is a great Christian writer/blogger/speaker.  Staci found him and introduced his blog to me.  Back then he only had his blog “StuffChristiansLike” (SCL).  Now he’s blogging about much more than that.  You can check him out HERE.  So if you’re not familiar with what he writes on the SCL blog, Jon takes a satirical approach to all of the little Christian nuances that we all know are silly, but do anyway.  I.e. the side hug, the metrosexual worship leader, the guitar kid in the youth group, the kid who always wears shorts even when its 2 degrees outside, the Jesus Juke, leaving church early, and much more.

So this will be my attempt to writing an SCL-esque post… hope you like it.

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Yes, because I know it’s wrong to tell lies… I will now tell you the truth about the Christian Giveaway.

What is a Christian Giveaway, you ask?  Well they’re gimmicks that the church is really good about using as a means to draw people to church or another Christian activity.  Some keep it low key – Christian CD, “Facing the Giants” DVD, Christian Concert tickets, etc.  Some churches pull out the big guns – $100 or more prize, new plasma screen TVs, X-boxes, etc.

So, as many of you know, Staci and I were recently in Dallas for the Catalyst conference.  It was an incredibly amazing time!  We sang, we learned, we fellowshipped!  It was a cornucopia of Christian love and camaraderie!  But at the same time this weekend was difficult.  Many of us (and by many I mean probably everyone attending the conference) were made aware of the deep-dark sin that lies inside of us.  This sin is called “I-really-wish-I-won-that-giveaway-but-because-we’re-at-a-Christian-get-together-I-have-to-pretend-to-be-happy-for-you-winning-so-I-don’t-look-like-a-jerk” syndrome.

Don’t deny it! I know you’ve been there.

I experienced this emotion strongly on Tuesday night.  Staci and I went to a book signing by Jon Acuff at Books-a-Million in the mall.  We knew there was going to be a random drawing for a $500 giveaway (yes, even Acuff bribed us to come… of course we would have been there either way).  We got there, got our booked signed, and filled out our raffle ticket…

And waited.

And then the moment came.

“Attention everyone, it’s time for the $500 drawing.”  Ears and eyes perk up and all is silent.

The tension in the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

Will it be me? Please be me! You know what I could do with $500!!!  Please, God, I’ve been so good.

“And the winner is….. (Insert name of some other random lucky person here)!”

And the crowd goes wild!  Everyone laughs and claps and congratulates the winner….

But I know what’s really going through everyone’s head… I really wanna punch that guy in the nose and take that money!

Oh yes, we all have this feeling but we play it off all jolly, like the guy won the money to split it all with us.  Well I’m calling everyone out right now!  I know what’s really going on deep inside… you can’t hide…

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Or maybe that’s just me and my thoughts, and I have major issues…. yup, probably that.  🙂

oh well…

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Have you ever been the lucky recipient of a Christian Giveaway?  What’d you win, you lucky dog?!

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-M


Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr…

This post is just what the title looks like:

January, February, March and April.

It’s a time for us to try to catch up and fill you all in on everything that’s been going on.  Sorry that we’ve been such the blog-neglectors.  It seems like we blinked a few times and we’ve already jumped from January to April!  But here’s a quick snapshot of what our past few months have looked like.

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January

As you all know, we spent New Year’s Eve and Day on the road after our snow skiing trip.

The next week, I got sick.  My friend Sarah came to spend the weekend with us, and she was also sick…so we got to chill out and watch movies all weekend.

Michael also tried his hand at cutting my hair–and he did a really good job!

My Meme and Pawpaw celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January!  They are truly two of the most incredible people I know, and I’m so blessed to have them as grandparents.  They decided to make a trip down to Beaumont to visit us as part of their Anniversary celebration, and we LOVED having them here!  We played lots of games, visited, showed them our church, and just had a great time.

That next weekend, we took our students to “Hot Hearts Conference”.  There were lots of great bands and Clayton King did an excellent job speaking.  Our students really enjoyed it, and God really did a lot in their lives over the weekend.

The last weekend of January, Michael went on a Men’s Emmaus Walk.  The Walk to Emmaus is a 4 day spiritual journey.  They have them all over the world, and our church is really involved in the ministry.  Michael was able to go to one in January, and I went in February.  He had an incredible weekend, but he came home with the flu (for the first time ever).

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Febraury

February started with another Miche Bag Party.  (I’m SO thankful with how well my Miche Business is doing down here, by the way!  I’ve had multiple parties each month since the start of the year, and they’ve been a lot of fun!)

A couple of weeks later, we were able to go to Ada and visit friends and family!  It was SOO good to be back and see everyone.  Thursday, we spent some time with my Meme and Pawpaw (we stayed the whole weekend with them) and then met up with our friends from the BSU (not all pictured).  We miss them like CRAZY, but they’re coming to visit in May!

We didn’t take many pictures throughout the weekend, but we also got to spend time with my parents and little sister, my family’s best friends, my cousin and her family, and we even got to stop by and visit our youth at our old church!  We pulled up to the high school at lunch time, and kids started running out.  It almost made me cry.  It was SO good to see them!  I just have to add this next picture of my cousin’s little boy.  He’s grown a TON since we moved!  He’ll be a year old at the end of April. Look at those big brown eyes!

The next weekend, which was the last weekend of February, I went on my Emmaus Walk.  I could go on and on and on about how awesome this ministry is!  Check out their website to get information about a Walk in your area.  God did a lot in me during the weekend, and it was so incredible to see what He was doing in all of the women there.  I’m sure I’ll share more about my story in a future post.  It was great.

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March

The first weekend of March, we drove to Dallas for my Annual Miche Bag Representative Conference.  Last year was the first conference, and I had to go by myself (well, with other reps from my area) since it was on a Saturday/Sunday.  But this year was only a Saturday, so Michael got to go with me!  I’m so, so thankful for Michael helping me with all of my purse stuff.  He helps me lug my merchandise to all of the parties, set up the displays, figure out the accounting, and just support me in all of it.  I honestly couldn’t do it without my Miche Man.  🙂

The conference was great!  My favorite part (as always) was the merchandise preview.  There are some GREAT new products and shells coming out this year!  Oh–and I loved the HOPE campaign video and talk.  Miche has given over $700,000 to cancer research and treatment over the past year.  I love being able to be a part of this!

The next weekend, we were back on the road to go to my brother’s wedding!  It’s still crazy to think that he’s an old married man!  The wedding was near Sherman, TX, so we had a good 6 hour drive.  But it was definitely worth it.  A lot of my family is from out-of-town, so my mom and dad rented a ranch house on the same property as the wedding.  It was so much fun all staying in the same place.

The rehearsal went well, save my husband and father being goofs.  Here they were “looking for the bride”.

On the day of the wedding, I went over and fixed my sister’s hair and took some pics of “the girls” getting ready and then came back over and hung out at the pre-wedding family reunion.  Here I am with my handsome husband before we headed down to the gazebo.  The wind was already doing wonders on my hair.

The wedding was beautiful.  The weather was wonderful–much warmer than a typical March day, Marcos and Maddison were so happy, and it was all just really, really good.  I’m proud of my Bud and his new little wife.

My little sister, Emily, came home with us after the wedding.  She was on Spring Break, and my parents took a train trip from Washington (state) to Chicago for their 25th wedding anniversary, so she got to spend the whole week with us in Bmt!  We played games, watched movies, laid out by the pool, and went to the beach.  It was a great week!  Michael and I loved having Em here with us!

It was so windy at the beach that we had to use the car as a wind-block.  But after that, it was really nice!

The next weekend, we took a group of our youth and some parents up to Pine Cove to do a work crew weekend.  I know I’ve probably said this a million times, but going to Pine Cove is like going home for me.  It is SUCH a huge part of my life.  I just love it there.  Our group did an amazing job, and we had a great weekend.  We were at the Shores Camp, which is on the lake, and it was gorgeous.

When we picked this weekend to take our students to PC, we had no clue that my mom and sister were going to be there for a mother/daughter retreat.  When we found out, I was even more excited about the weekend.  I started going to mother/daughter retreats at PC with my mom when I was in 3rd grade, and I went until I graduated high school.  So it was extra-special to see my mom and sister throughout the weekend.

At the end of the weekend, I went back to Oklahoma to spend a few days with my family.  It was sad to leave Michael behind, but I’m so thankful I was able to spend that time with my family!  My sister had a minor surgery on Wednesday, so we wanted to have a ton of fun Monday and Tuesday before she’d be sent to bed.  We went to the movies and played games and went shopping and all kinds of stuff.  It was great!  She is SUCH a brave young lady.  I was so proud of her before, during, and after her surgery.

I flew back to Houston on Thursday, and it was SOOO good to see my husband again!  We had a nice, relaxing weekend and just enjoyed being at home for a change.

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April

On April 1, we finally got a chance to use my Christmas gift: SKYDIVING!!!  We’ll do a full-post soon, but here are a few teaser shots.  It was incredible!

After our skydiving adventure, we went to Paul (my cousin) and Liz’s house and had a great time with them (as always!).  We had a camp meeting the next morning, and then we met back up with them and helped move my cousin Bethany in.  Bethany and I have been trying to live close to each other for years and years, and we’re finally only 1.5 hrs away.

Last weekend was my birthday, and Michael planned a wonderful trip to Houston for us to celebrate.  I’ll do a whole post for it as well, but here are a few pics:

We had a great time!  We came back home Friday night and on Saturday (my actual bday), we just chilled out at the house for most of the day.  It was a fantastic bday weekend!

We were supposed to have a district-wide lock-in at our church this weekend, but it has to be postponed, so we actually have a free weekend!  And then next weekend we’re headed off to TN for Michael’s brother’s wedding, and the next weekend, we’re going back to Pine Cove for my Forge Reunion.  It’ll be busy, but good!

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So that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to for the past few months.  Whew.  I got tired just remembering it all.  🙂  Sprinkle in youth activities and school lunches and work and running and all kinds of good stuff like that, and I think it’s safe to say we’ve been a little busy!  But it’s been a good busy.  We’re so thankful to be here, and we know that God has us exactly where He wants us.  It’s a pretty common thing for one of us to say “I like our little life down here” to the other.  It’s definitely a good fit.

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Thank you SOOOO much for being so patient with us.  We love being able to write about our lives and share it with you all.  Much love!

–Staci

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Q for you:  So what have been some of the highlights of your last four months?

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Ski Trip 2010: Arrival & Christmas

Now that this trip happened over a month ago, I think I’ll finally take the time to write about it.  Sorry!  Let’s just say that if I could sum up January in one word it’d be BUSY.  We had guests and youth trips and sicknesses and more.  It was a very, very busy month.

But now I have a little time to share about our family ski trip to Red River, NM.  It was fantastic.

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I think I might have mentioned this before, but we switch between each of our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas each year.  This was our year with my family for Christmas.  Since we had Christmas Eve services at church and then had church the day after Christmas, we were home by ourselves for actual Christmas Day.  But the day after Christmas, we went up to Dallas to spend the night with my aunt and uncle and their family so we could head out early the next morning for our ski trip.

Michael had never been skiing before, and he was really excited to finally try it out.  I’ve been a few times, and I enjoy it, but I was mostly excited to just spend time with my family–and be with Michael when he learned to ski.

We left bright dark and early Monday morning.  My brother, Marcos, and his fiance, Maddie, were with us.  While they slept in the backseat, we kept ourselves entertained with fun music in the front.  After the sun rose:

Michael had gotten “Despicable Me” for Christmas from his parents, and it came with an inflatable Minion.  He became our trip mascot.

My aunt sent us scavenger hunt items to look for on the way.  We could have sworn that she just saw the items and then texted the list, but she promised that she wasn’t even playing.  It was everything from a train car to an abandoned house to a bird sitting on a sign to all kinds of things…  The Minion helped me check off the pictures I found (Oh–and I won, by the way!)

After about a million songs, waiting 30 minutes for my brother’s coffee, plenty of pictures, a failed nap, plenty of laughs, and 11 hours in the car, we finally made it to Red River, New Mexico!

That night, we had Christmas with just our family (3 of my aunts/uncles and their families, plus one of my dad’s work friends and his family were on the trip too).  Since skiing was our big gift, we decided to make presents for each other.  We’ve done this one other time, and they’re my FAVORITE Christmases.  I love the thoughtfulness that comes with a home-made gift.

Emily made me a wall hanging with our initial and Disney decorations/colors for our office:

Michael and I made Marcos/Maddie a book with notes, recipes, advice, etc. from family and friends (my office friends had made me something similar when we got married):

I made Em a necklace hanger made from spools of thread, buttons, and wood (my good friend, Jamie gave me the idea):

We also made ornaments (at the place with Paul and Liz) for everyone:

Marcos/Maddie made us a canvas with paint and their pictures:

I made my dad a collage of all of us for his office:

My Mom and Emily (and my dad) made Michael a t-shirt quilt with all of our Pine Cove shirts (it’s our new favorite movie watching blanket.  We LOVE it!):

I gave my mom a flash-drive with all of the pictures I’ve taken (that she would want) from 2005 until present.  I edited most of them too:

And my mom made all 3 of us photo books of our past family Disney trips:

It was SUCH a good night.  All of the home-made gifts were so much fun, and it was just a really, really good time with my family.

We went to bed nice and early so we would be ready for our first day of SKIING the next morning!

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Up Next:  What do you mean the Green is CLOSED?!

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Q for You:  Have you ever made home-made gifts for anyone?  Have you ever received one?  What was your favorite to make/receive?

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–Staci

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