Wednesday, June 20, 2012

adventure days!

We've set aside every Thursday while we're in ATL to do adventures with my family.  We don't schedule meetings with people, and we just have FUN!  Our first adventure was only 3 days after we got here, so we DEFINITELY didn't want car time!  We went out to breakfast together and then went to a park and waded and splashed in the cold stream.

It was a BLAST!!

Our second adventure day was really special.  Z and Catie both did an art camp at Out of the Box in Alpharetta last week.  It's one of my FAVORITE places in the world.  If you want your kids to have an amazing art experience, it's the place to go!  Catie's camp was in the morning, so we did boy adventure in the morning.  We went to the Chattahoochee Nature Center (THANKS, FRAN!!) with them and had a blast.  I was there as a kid, and they have done a serious upgrade since then!

Y'all KNOW that Z was in his element with science stuff!

Jake and the snake!

These paths led us by amazing birds and onto hiking trails!  We LOVED it!

While Z had camp in the afternoon, we had a GIRL adventure with 4 mom, my Nana, Catie-girl, and me.  We had a tea party together!

Here's Catie picking out which hat and jewelry to wear.

Catie was in her element!  What a precious blessing to get to be all together!
We're looking foward to adventure #3 tomorrow!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome to Atlanta!

My parents went ALL OUT getting ready for us to invade their house.  They redid a bathroom so we could have our own shower.  They spruced up a couple rooms, cleared out closets, and welcomed us and all our stuff with open arms.  Here are some fun peeks...

 Can you believe that jewelry box?!?  My dad made it!!!  It's walnut wood and is ones of the most beautiful things I've ever seen!!

Thanks, mom and dad, for loving us in SO many ways!!

A few days after we got here, we went to STONE MOUNTAIN and some of our dearest friends came in town from Tennessee to hang out with us.  We have loved them and gotten to walk through lots of stages of life together.  We had a blast hanging out, being introduced to geocaching, watching our kids play together, catching up, and experiencing the LASER SHOW!

{Renae, I LOVE YOU!!!}

We're so thankful for the sweet times we're getting to have here in our hometown!

And I'm excited to tell you that TODAY one of my very BFFs comes in town to see me!  She's flying in from Indiana just so we can have a little time together.  I am SOOOOOOOO excited!

Thanks for reading and following along with our journey!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

1st stop...Huntsville!

After the most wonderful send-offs from Waco, we headed out EARLY in the morning June 1 and headed toward Atlanta.  My dad (aka superhero) flew into Shreveport and drove the truck with our stuff the rest of the way to Atlanta.  John hopped in the van with me, and we headed to Hunsville, AL!  One of my mom's best friends lives there...Aunt Pat and her wonderful husband, Charlie.  When we got there, she had a delicious dinner ready for us, and my mom was there, too!!  Pat and Charlie are so incredibly special to us.  They're nurturing, kind, godly, fun people.  We had a couple days with them and left their house feeling so much more refreshed!  We also got to visit their super-special church--Paint Rock Missionary Baptist Church!  We loved it!

One day we went to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. 

This thing is built out of Knex!!

Jacob wanted to ride this ride, and this is the moment before it started and he FREAKED out, and I almost started crying for him.  I wasn't winning any mommy of the year awards at this moment!!

Here we are with Aunt Pat!

Thanks, Aunt Pat and Uncle Charlie!!  We LOVED our time with you guys!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Because that's who I am"

Any moms out there get tired of hearing the SAME thing in the car over and over and over??  My kids have been in a major Veggie Tales stage in the car.  My friend, Bri, gave us a copy of Pistachio.  I could probably recite it from memory at this point.  But not too long ago, we were listening to it when out of the blue a line stood out to me and brought tears to my eyes.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR FOR ME!!  Crying about Veggie Tales?!?  In the story, the dad is going after his son to rescue him, and he says, "Because that who I am, that's what I'm gonna do!"

I really relate to that little line.  Because sometimes I don't WANT to do the next thing.  I don't WANT to keep training my kids on something we've been working on for years and years.  I don't WANT to clean the same laundry again.  I don't WANT to leave friends.  Whatever the thing is that I'm not wanting, I love remembering that I do these things from a place of being loved and deep security.  Just typing that makes me take a deep breath, and I feel peace wash over me.  Where we are right now is a place that is beyond anything I could EVER do in my own strength.  But because God has called me, loved me, strengthens me, loves me, I'm gonna keep taking the next steps.  Who I am is a daughter of the I'm free to move forward with peace and security!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

new family pics

My dear friend, Cecy, took pictures of our family.  It was SO fun.  I love that girl and am so thankful for her friendship.  If you live in Waco, check out Photography by Cecy!! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some kid stuff

As we wrapped up our time in Waco, we were also doing end of the year stuff with our big kids. 

Catie had a ballet recital/parent observation time.  It was so sweet!  Look at this girl!!

A highlight of the time was the dancing in the dark.  They gave all the girls glowsticks and turned off the lights!

Zach finished 2nd grade.  I don't really know how that's possible that he's about to turn 8, but it happened!  Here he is with his teacher.  This precious lady stretched him and helped him grow in so many ways this year.  We LOVE her!!

Here's Z on the stage at the end-of-the-year award ceremony.

Speaking of my kids, I have noticed myself being too grumpy and snappy lately.  And I hate that...cause that's not who I am, and that's not how I want to treat these precious kids.  I have been reading the most amazing parenting book.  Loving Your Kids on Purpose  For me it has been a game-changer.  Challenging, thought-provoking, and chasing the grumpies right out the window!


Leaving our friends in Waco was/is hard!!  We LOVE our precious community there!  Thanks, guys, for all of the ways you loved us and poured into us.  We're just waiting for all of you to either 1. come visit us in our new country or 2. move there.  Your choice!  :)

I wish I had pictures of everyone, but here are a few fun ones...

Here's our Lifegroup.  WE MISS Y'ALL.  Thanks for serving us like crazy, loving us, encouraging us.  You guys are the BEST!  I can't imagine our time in Waco without each one of you!

Here are the LG kids...some of our kids' BEST friends!  I love these little people!

I met this dear friend in my first week in Waco.  I loved her right from the start.  Little did I know she would become one of my best friends.  Our sweet goodbye gift from her was a home-made Middle Eastern meal 2 nights before we left.  It's one of those meals that takes like 2 days of cooking.  It was one of the best meals of my life. 

See this girl right here?  I love her.  She's a sister and she truly changed my life...discipled me, loved me, prayed for me, encouraged me.

These folks were our family in Waco.  We went through Elevate together, watched each others' kids, hung out, celebrated holidays.  I think if I keep typing, I might cry.  Just kidding.  OK, not kidding!

If your picture's not here, it's probably because in the busyness I forgot to pull out my camera.  WE LOVE AND MISS YOU, WACO FRIENDS!  But we're so thankful to know we're still part of of you guys and can't wait to come back to visit!

wedding time!!!

Do y'all remember Mikayla...the precious girl who lived with our family this year?  She got married a couple weeks before we left Waco, and all 3 kids got to be in the wedding.  The ONLY time all 3 of them made it down the aisle was the real wedding...WHEW! 

Here are Mikayla and the kids eating breakfast on the wedding day!

 Catie's hair pinned up to make curls!

My dear friend Courtney did Mikayla's makeup, and here she is putting some makeup on the BEAUTIFUL flower girl!

Look how precious!!

We love this amazing woman of God and her husband SOOO much!

We miss you Ma-kay-kay/Miss Kayla!!!

Oh, ferrana with cheese on it!

That's what Catie says when she's her adorable little girl voice..."OH, FerrANa with cheese on it!!"  That's how I feel with myself...a little annoyed at my lack of blogging and keeping y'all up to date.  BUT...

Guess what?!?  We did God's grace...we did it!  We sold our stuff (most of it, anyway), and we have moved.  I have been a terrible blogger but for a very good reason...we have been stretched!  On the days that were hard, this song by Kristene Mueller just blessed my heart SO much.  Sometimes while I was packing and working, I just put it on repeat over and over.

Our last weeks in Waco were PRECIOUS to my heart.  We were surrounded by AMAZING friends who helped us, loved us, served us, encouraged our socks of, and sent us out feeling strengthened and encouraged.  I've always looked at people moving to another country and wondered how in the world they did it.  And now I step at a time with God and community and prayer.  That's how!