Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lost Maples

The weather in autumn is always unpredictable. And while the temperatures were starting to dip, I knew the leaves might start changing at Lost Maples park. So we convinced Chance to take a Saturday off from soccer, and we trekked up to the park. It’s really only about an hour from our house. And we stopped at the OST on the way in, just in time to watch a Veteran’s Day Parade in Bandera. I love that little town! 

Anyhow, we made it to the park, and as I feared, it was full, but we only waited about 10 minutes before we could get in. From there on it really wasn’t too crowded.

I chose a long and high hike for us, and thankfully everyone did well. In fact, I dare say they all enjoyed the challenge. Chance reported later that he thinks it helped his stamina on the soccer field the following week.



I love this photo that Chuck took.

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I was surprised at the diversity of the landscape. The boys thoroughly enjoyed throwing rocks up into the mouth of “Monkey Rock.”


We also had moments when we thought of our sweet friend, Rebecca Taylor, and her impending Pancreatomy.  lredit-180281 lredit-180294

There were spots where the leaves were changing! lredit-180296 lredit-180312 lredit-180314 lredit-180346 lredit-180370 lredit-180381

Toward the end, we were racing the last minutes of daylight as we tried to get down the hills and back to our car. It was a little difficult at the end, with tired boys, but overall, we quickly decided it was worth the trip, and we’d do it again soon.  Also, a little more OST for dinner seemed to set everybody back to happy. PB080031

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Carlins Adoption Day

I want to include this on our blog because it was such an honor to be a part of something so special for our friends’ family.

The Carlins have been our friends for a few years now, and we have watched them go through foster training, then receive 2 children and adjust from having 4 kids to having 6. What a journey! It was awe-inspiring to attend their official adoption day. It was held in a conference center because they were officiating 80+ adoptions at one time. What a celebration! If you ever get a chance to attend something like this, do it. You’ll be glad.

The Carlin kids posing with their grandma.

EM170010 Vivian and Erik with their adoptive children and case worker. God bless case workers!!


The judges are reading off the charge to the Carlin family and they are saying “I do!” as a family in response.


That night, they had a fabulous party to celebrate, complete with cake and outdoor movies! They even had a slideshow of their journey over the past year. So much fun!


Thursday, November 27, 2014


{This is the perfect post for Thanksgiving. It sums up my latest blessings perfectly!}

The day after Halloween, the family went out to cheer on Chance at his next soccer game…
And enjoyed the rest of the day together. The next day we had family from far and wide come in, and friends join us as we celebrated a momentous occasion for two Thier boys: their baptisms. 
As it usually goes, they came from completely opposite directions.
Chandler astounded me a few months before his 5th birthday, asking to be baptized. I thought he surely didn’t understand what that meant. When I asked him why he wanted to be baptized, he said, “Because I want people to know that I love God.”  This is very much in line with his personality. He is so sweet and so trusting. He has a child-like faith, no doubt. I held him off for another 2 years before finally conceding that he was ready.
Charlie came from the other end of the spectrum. He’s a thinker and he’s been analyzing this from many angles. We’ve had many discussion on apologetics and the like. My emphasis has been that faith is their decision alone and in no way do I want them to feel any pressure from us.  Charlie began taking steps in the direction of faith in Christ in June. I have truly seen his mind and even his attitude transformed. It’s been a great delight to watch.
So, here are the baptisms:
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And afterwards, friends and family joined us for lunch to celebrate. I was SO thankful for a beautiful day and a chance to truly enjoy our deck!
The family that came from Austin: Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Mel, Uncle Jason, Cousins Kaylie and Kaleb.
And Nana!! EM120091

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


This year’s Halloween was low-key and laid back, just like I like it. Chuck painted these Steve Heads for the boys so they could go as the Minecraft characters.

Chandler and Chance.

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Charlie already had the Enderman head, so that was his preferred costume. The Enderman are one of the monsters / enemies in the game.

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Once we got through school, we didn’t even trick or treat at all this year. Granny and family arrived, then we headed over to the Jones’ party. The boys played out in the cold, running like Banshees (which kept them quite warm) and wearing themselves out playing games with their friends. A perfect Halloween if you ask me.  Thanks, Sarah J, for the group photo. We cherish these friendships!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Love Creek Orchards

It’s our yearly tradition, and I still enjoy every minute of it. This year, it was also our school field trip for the first graders. Love Creek Orchards is not only beautiful and fun, I learn something new each time that I go.  It’s well worth the time and money (although it’s affordable, too!).

Chance enjoyed the petting zoo.


And the music tent. Silly boy!


PA200025 Chandler really enjoyed his buddies. This is Ian with his little sister.


I enjoyed the tour yet again. This time I came with questions, and received some good advice. We planted our own apple and big tooth maple trees this year, just like the orchards does.  And they were so kind to lend me their wisdom.


As always, one of the highlights is helping with the apple sorting. PA200078 

This year we actually managed to skip pumpkin painting, and do some scarecrow dressing instead. This is Chandler’s Alien Cowboy.


Chance’s farmer.

 PA200119 And I only have this photo of a new event: the apple eating contest. They get the kids sorted into an age range, give them two pre-weighed apples and 60 seconds to eat as much as they can. Then they reweigh them to find the winner. Chandler won for his category!! With as much as Chance loves apples, I’m surprised he didn’t win in his, but he had a lot of competition (and Charlie’s age was in his bracket.)PA200148

Monday, November 24, 2014

One awesome birthday party

One thing I have learned about boys. If you’re having a party and you want it to succeed, there must be some sort of ball game, or at least some sort of warfare offered.  One of Charlie’s classmates threw a party that had both. It’s been weeks since, and the boys are still talking about it. Chuck’s wanting more property just so we can do this sort of thing on a regular basis.  What’s a woman to do?!
So the party was a Camp His Hill, where Josh lives. The boys already think that’s super cool. But then you give everyone a sling shot and take them down into a canyon with paintballs, and suddenly the boys are in awe.  Personally I think giving kids sling shots instead of guns is pure genius. No one was injured or even bruised.
Getting ready…

Rallying the troops.

This child slays me with his cuteness. How could an enemy possibly not surrender to that face?! (Spoken like a true mom, huh?) EM190431

Can you find Chandler in this photo? EM190445

Chance, however, was nervous. He’d been warned that paintballs can hurt. So anytime the enemy aimed, he surrendered. EM190508

The fella enjoyed himself just as much as his boys! EM190522
As if that wasn’t enough, it was on to the gaga ball pit. Gaga ball is this new kind of game when you get into the “pit” and hit a ball around and try to not let it touch you (basically).  It’s all the rage at the moment.
EM190524 Chuck enjoyed this one, too…

Here's a short demonstration:

And this is how Chandler felt when it was over. EM190573
Worn.out.  Which is what I call “a successful party.”
Thank you, Stamness family, for a fabulous time!