Saturday, March 30, 2013

Clayton's 8th Birthday Bullseye Bash

Last weekend we celebrated our big 8 year old with an archery themed party.  Clayton definitely had a hand in the planning, and it turned out so cute! 

The Birthday Boy

I asked Wade to plan the games, because I knew that was his area of expertise.  He planned 3 events and printed out score cards for each kid.  He enlisted the help of several Daddies to man the stations.  Thank you to all of the Dads who helped out!  :)
We had planned to do all of the stations outside.  Unfortunately, it started to rain just as we were headed out.  Bummer!  Luckily, my Hubs had a plan B in mind.  We quickly moved the games inside the house and garages. 

The first station was a slingshot station where the kids knocked down action figures with a Nerf slingshot and foam balls.  Each action figure had a different point value.

Then the kids went inside to shoot the Nerf bow.  We bought a huge inflatable bear for the velcro darts to stick to.
The final station was the archery station with a real compound bow.  (Please ignore the messy garage.  This was plan B, after all.)  The kids did really well shooting the bow!  I was super impressed.   
After the prizes were awarded to the winners of the games, we did cake and presents.

Before getting their party favors (plastic bow and suction cup darts), the kids had to take an oath not to shoot people, animals, or their mom's breakable things.  Ha!  
After the kids left, the Daddies took turns shooting Wade's bow.  Boys and their toys...  ;)

Wade and I are so proud of our big 8 year old!  My heart is always so full of gratitude at birthday celebrations.  We are blessed with three healthy children that continue to grow and have birthdays, as well as family and friends that make our kids feel soooo special on their birthdays!  Thanks to all who were able to come and celebrate our boy!

Fondue Rendezvous

On March 16th, Wade & I were able to meet up with my college roommates for our annual Fondue Rendezvous.  We had the best time!  We missed Thia something awful, and know that it would have been even more fun if she could have joined us.  Love you, Thia!  :)

I count these girls among God's biggest blessings in my life.  I know that my college days could have been quite different if God hadn't surrounded me with other young women who love the Lord.  I pray the very same blessing for my boys in their future - godly friends that will encourage them and lift them up!

Laura, Katie, Traci, Me, Halie (and Baby Cole)
 Wes & Katie, CJ & Traci, Halie & Steve, Laura & Alex, Wade & I
We did laugh quite a bit this year about how our conversation has changed over the years.  When Fondue Rendezvous started, several of us were still in college.  There were hushed conversations in the kitchen between the 6 of us about boyfriends in the next room.  There was a nervous energy whenever someone dropped something in the fondue pot - would they kiss their date in front of everyone?!?!  Lots of giggling those first few years...  This year we compared "sporty" features on mini-vans, discussed various aspects of dental hygiene/flossing, rearranged seating based to make sure that our "good ear" was in the proper position for maximum hearing, and discussed blood pressure medications.  Good gracious, we are getting old!  Ha ha!  I kid.  I kid. 

It was super fun to hear about what is going on in each of these couples' lives.  There was a new baby to hold, a darling pregnant belly to rub, and well wishes to give Traci & CJ as they prepare to move to Kenya as missionaries.  It was a sweet, sweet night of fellowship with some people that I dearly love.  :)

Colorado Trip 2013 - Denver Aquarium

When Wade & I went to Colorado back in 2003, we had visited the Denver Aquarium.  We both enjoyed it so much!  I remember watching the tigers and Wade talking about how much he wished that our little niece, Makinley (who was not quite 2 at the time, but will be turning 12 next month!), could be there with us.  We were in our early 20s, and kids were nowhere near being on our radar.  But... we loved being new Aunt/Uncle and were (still are!) crazy about the little girl that gave us those titles.  ;)  We were so excited on this trip to go back to the Aquarium with our own kids.

The aquarium is under different management and has changed quite a bit.  But, it was still really cool!  My camera batteries had both died by this point in the trip, so the aquarium is documented with grainy iPhone pics.  :(

 It happened to be Clayton's 8th birthday!  He was thrilled to spend his special day at the Aquarium.
We made sure to call Miss Catherine (who goes to school in Denver) months ahead of time to get on her schedule.  She came with us to the aquarium and then we went to visit her dorm room.  Clayton adores Miss Catherine, so seeing her made his birthday even more fun!

 The boys tried their hand at climbing the coconut trees.  Drew made it about halfway up, and Clayton got to the top and rang the bell.

We spent a lot of time feeding the stingrays.  My boys were really into that activity.  Those rays were crazy!  They would climb all the way up the walls in search of fish.  What a wild sight that was!

 The otters were a fav as well.
 The tigers... oh, the tigers...  I don't know if it was Clayton's striped shirt or what, but those tigers kept coming back to him over and over again.  I'm not gonna lie, I was just praying that the glass really was as strong as one would think.  :-/

We had a super fun day at the Aquarium!  We were all soooooo tired by this point, and missing our Baby horribly.  I was to the point where my arms physically ached to hold him.  :(  Thankfully, we were able to have a sweet, sweet reunion very soon!

This was such an amazing trip!  There are times when I get really, really frustrated with Wade's travel schedule.  It is so hard to be apart for roughly 8-10 days a month.  I think that is what makes these vacations so very precious.  We are able to take big vacations because of all of the airline miles and hotel points that Wade accrues.  Cashing in those points and spending quality time together as a family {almost} makes up for all of the time that we are apart.  Thank you, Babe, for working so hard to provide for our family and for planning such fun trips for us!  We are all so very grateful!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

By His Wounds...

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  
By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

How deep the Father's love for us.
How vast beyond all measure.
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold, the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Today each member of our family is wearing a visual reminder that He died just for Wade... and Sarah...  and Clayton...  and Drew...  and Owen.  (Idea from HERE.)  His wounds have paid our ransom - may we never forget the costly price of our salvation.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Colorado Trip 2013 - Day 7 Focus on the Family and Garden of the Gods

On Monday, we went to the Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs.  Wade has a customer in Colorado Springs.  While there on business, he had visited Focus on the Family and couldn't wait to go back with the boys.  Our kids are big Adventures in Odyssey Fans, so they were chomping at the bit.  :)

Please note the three story "A-bend-a-go" slide.  So fun!

Clayton and I were the only ones that were the appropriate height to go down the A-bend-a-go slide - Drew was too short and Wade was too tall.  We went down it several times, and it was so fun!

We spent a lot of time exploring all of the Adventures in Odyssey stuff.
Clayton guessed which person's voice matched each character.  He got them all right!

They have a radio station "KYDS" where the kids can record their own radio show.  Afterwards, they get to keep the CD.  Unfortunately, it is only available on Saturdays in the winter and books up weeks in advance.  So, we didn't get to do it this trip.  I was bummed because I know that Clayton would have loved that.  That just gives us a reason to go back.  :)
 Clayton was enamored by their Narnia area.

We went to Witt's End soda shop to order a Wod-fam-choc-sod (World Famous Chocolate Soda).  Clayton was so cute - you could just see the wheels turning in his head.  He was so excited to experience all of the things that he has learned about by listening to the Adventures in Odyssey CDs.  :)
They have an awesome bookstore, so we spent quite a while looking around and picking out souvenirs.  At one point, I looked over to see Clayton reading a Veggie Tales book to Drew.  Melt my heart...
We left Focus on the Family and went back to the hotel.  The boys took naps while Wade went to visit his customer.  Later that afternoon, we went to Garden of the Gods.  It was beautiful!  It was one of those places that you visit and can't help but to marvel at God's creation.  Everywhere that you turned looked like a postcard.
Clayton couldn't wait to climb on some rocks.  Some places have signs posted that you can't climb on the rocks, but some areas do not.  I think that my boys climbed every rock that was not designated as a no climb zone (and maybe a few that were...).  ;)

 Such a beautiful piece of the country...
 The Balanced Rock

 My goofy boys had to have a few funny pictures of them "lifting" the gigantic rock.  ;)

Wade and Clayton climbed this HUGE formation.  I sat there with my eyes closed - too nervous to watch.  Neither one of them have an ounce of fear - crazy characters!
After Garden of the Gods, we headed back to the hotel for some indoor swimming.  Clayton and Drew had sooooo much fun!  It made me so excited for this summer!

Day 7 was a busy, full day packed with lots of FUN!