Friday, July 31, 2015

VBS 2015

It is Friday morning and our entire household is sleeping in after a fun and amazing week at VBS 2015.  
The theme this year was Thailand Trek and our two youngest have loved it so much.  I know VBS is exhausting for everyone but it. is. so. worth. it.  There is nothing like taking an entire week to focus on God and to fellowship with your church family.  VBS is time and money well spent!  One night Bryan, our worship minister, and David were in the sanctuary getting ready for opening and I heard my sweet boy belting out I Am by David Crower.  I then got this picture texted to me :) 
Hope and Sydney!  This girl is blessed with some sweet christian friends and that makes me so happy.  

This also makes me so happy.  They learned this week that God's love is real! It makes me so happy that our church values VBS - some church are getting away from doing it but blessedly FUMC has an army of volunteers that show up to make it happen each year.  

So, this year I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a week with this huge and amazing group of mostly middle schoolers.  The youth Director's husband has been very ill in the hospital this week and so I have tried to fill her shoes.  The 6th and 7th graders for VBS were doing a love your neighbor study and focusing on local community mission projects.  We visited some church folks at their homes and in the nursing home, we volunteered at the food pantry at church, we made a meal for Jackie and her family, and last night we ended by volunteering at Sprouting Hope, our community garden.  

Here we are learning some cool stuff about gardening!  This community garden is amazing.  What a wonderful ministry and opportunity we have right here in Marion.  

Kyle harvesting tomatoes!  Some of our group harvested and some planted onions last night.  
Here are our youth visiting Mrs. Wampler, who is 104, in the nursing home.  We baked cookies and made cards to share with those that we went to visit.  Jackie's original plan for these sixth and seventh graders was to introduce them to youth and get them comfortable with each other, and to learn the importance of loving their neighbor.  I think her vision was a success!  

On Wednesday of this week Mike took Hope to her splash bash for her swim program that she has been in this summer.  She has loved it so much and her times really improved over the summer! We are so proud of our little swimmer girl. 

Thanks to sweet swim Mom friends I got this picture texted to me as well.  Here are our little girls lining up to dive off of the block!  Thanks Meg and Margie for a wonderful summer of swim. 

This week has been full, but the awesome kind of full.  There is nothing like being in God's house night after night, learning about Him and spending time with our church family.  I have loved every minute of spending time with these youth and seeing my youngest two learn about our God makes me so happy.  VBS is exhausting, but my heart has been full watching these youth love their neighbor and serve the one that loves us all so much.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week in review

We have had a busy week here in our household.  

I have been a blogging slacker this week because I  have been working very hard around the house on some crafty projects and home projects.  I made this little scripture canvas using my cricut for our new bathroom.  I love my cricut!
Our bathroom has desperately needed a facelift since we moved in ten years ago:)  It had flowered wallpaper and I took that down, Mike sanded the walls, and I repainted.  

My other crafty project included framing our familly mission statement in a scrapbook frame with a family picture included.  I desperately want our children to understand where our values come from and so I saw a version of this manifesto on pinterest, and I tweaked it and framed it.  

Friday Mike had to go Richmond to speak to the General Assembly.  We rode along and while he was in his meeting, I took the kids to Sky jump which is a trampoline park.  They loved it so much!  

Kyle spent most of his time dunking it!  This was really a fun outing that all three kiddos loved.  

I found my way back downtown to pick up Mike after his meeting, and I realized all three children had fallen asleep after all that jumping!  Ha!  
We love family road trips and after a late night dip into the hotel pool, the kids got their jammies on and we went to IHop for late night dinner.  They were so excited to go eat in their jammies:) 
Saturday we came home the long way to visit the UNC basketball museum.  I am not a bg fan, but it was really cool!  Yes, Kyle is almost as tall as his Daddy now.  
After we went to the basketball museum, the boys realized the football stadium was unlocked and  we went in the stadium.  David even wanted us to introduce him coming out of the tunnel!  Ha!  
Then we were so close to Duke, the boys wanted to stop there as well.  Both of the campuses are so beautiful!  We ended our road trip with some outlet mall shopping and made it home in time to catch the opening cermony for the Special Olympics on ESPN.
My heart was so full seeing my boys snuggled up in our bed watching this on ESPN.  I will never know why God chose us to parent David, but I am so thankful.  He has blessed all of our lives for the better.  Kyle and Hope often fight over who David is going to live with one day-it touches me that they both want him in their adult life.  

We ended this busy week with a baby shower/welcome home baby party this afternoon for some sweet friends.  Baby Dow was born late May and has been in the NICU in Johnson City since his arrival.  This week he is scheduled to be discharged and so today a party was held to help the Hall family prepare for his arrival.  He is truly a blessing and miracle from God!! Here is Hope at the party with Baby Dow's sisters, August and Laurel and kindergarten friend Aubrey.  

This week coming up is our Vacation Bible School for church.  Hope and David are very exciteed and I have been moved last minute to working with the sixth and seventh graders with local mission projects this week.  It is going to be an awesome but busy week!  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summertime Fun

Summer is flying by so quickly but we are working hard to squeeze as much fun in as possible.  Our school year calendar is so full and regimented that we truly love the unstructured days of summer. 
Each week at church a meal is served at lunchtime on Thursdays to anyone that needs it.  This past week was Kyle's youth groups turn to cook and serve.  Kyle was at basketball camp, so the littlest Robinson's and I went in his place.  I was worried that David would not do well, but the dude rocked it.  Hope and Dave are serving up some hot dog dinner plates and hopefully learning the importance of service to others.  We love because He first loved us.  

Thursday night was a total treat-Dave and I went to Kingsport Funfest with some of our Georgia Pookies to hear Brandon Heath and Tobymac.  The girls in my cabin from the mission trip came home with the name Georgia Pookies:) David was in heaven at a christian concert with these sweet and pretty gals.  IF you ever get a chance to see Tobymac do it!  His show is amazing and we had such fun praising God at Funfest. 
I am so happy that I have one child at least that loves a good christian concert like I do!  David is my concert buddy and he had such fun.  This picture melts my heart.  This dude loves music and loves his Jesus.  

He gave us a scare today with some intense bellypain and we spent a few hours today in the ER getting some labs done and an x-ray.  The good news is that nothing scary showed up in his labs or x-ray but he needs a good dose of Miralax!  Today sitting in that ER waiting for results brought all those yucky cancer feelings  and we were both scared.  Cancer is so sneaky because it will never leave you alone.  
Tobymac on stage!!!  It was hot but we had such a fun night with our Georgia Pookies praising God.  One of my favorite Tobymac songs says I dont want to gain the whole world and lose my soul and that song is so powerful to me.  All the riches, success, material possessions this world offers us are worthless unless we have God. 
Kyle was gone most of last week to spend the week with GG and Pops while he attended VT basketball camp.  We picked him up Friday and then spent some time on the lake.  David and Kyle on the tube.  
AFter some bribery we finally got Hope to try tubing and she loved it!  She kept asking to go faster until the boat was going as fast as it could!  HA  She is our daredevil:) 
Kyle had a great week at Buzz William's basketball camp.  Basketballl is definitely Kyle's love and he had fun with some friends at camp.  He won the slam dunk competition on the last day and he has a sore wrist to prove it.  Dunking might look cool but it is painful to the wrist:) The goal was lowered for this dunk competition!  Kye is tall but not dunking yet on a regulation sized goal. 
Speaking of Kyle's height, he has now surpassed me and has caught up to his Dad.  When and how did this happen is a mystery to me?! 
This week is a big weekend in Marion. Downtown has tons of awesome events going on and the Hungry Mother ParkArts  and Crafts Festval is going on as well.  It is really a fun weekend to see lots of folks out and about and David certainly enjoyed seeing these pretty gals at the festival.

Tomorrow is mission trip Sunday at church.  For all services tomorrow, the youth are speaking about their experience on the trip.  Kyle is reading scripture. I am so excited to hear how this trip has affected these youth now that they have had some time to ponder all that we learned and encountered. The mission trip has impacted me tremedously and I know God spoe to these youth on our time in the beautiful mountains of Georgia.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vacation Hangover

This past week I have suffered from vacation hangover.  The adventures of the summer have been so much fun and kept us so busy that this week when our suitcases were finally empty, I felt sad and droopy. God has truly blessed us with some amazing adventures this summer like the mission trip, camping and the cruise  
I did not have time to nurse my vacation hangover too long because we had another day camp planned with our church kids.  Friday we spent another full day at Hungry Mother State Park learning about the armor of God.  It is exhausting to take a bus load of kiddos to the park for a day but it is so worth it to hear them reciting all the armor of God.  I never take my volunteering duties in the children's ministry lightly.  Teaching kids about Jesus is the most important thing we can do for them.  
David and Kendall making some music! 
One of the kids favorite activities at the park is the critter crawl.  I am so thankful that my children's childhoods have included playing in creeks and finding critters.  

We have a short break from children's ministry activities to get geared up for Vacation Bible School coming up at the end of July!  I will be serving in the cafe again this year.  I love VBS! 
Saturday night we had some friends over for dinner before we loaded up and headed to the drive in movie to see Minions.  Hope and Sydney love their drive in movies and of course we had to cart along their dolls!  HA! We are blessed with some sweet christian friends for sure.  The drive in was packed!!  
This morning for worship the children were suppose to sing their armor of God song for the congregation for both services.  After staying out late at the drive in somehow we managed to get all the children bathed this morning and on time for church by 9:45.  I love that we attend a church that does not mind if our daughters hair is still wet :) 
Here is our baby girl singing her heart out- wet hair included!  We have missed church the last two weeks for travel and I have missed it.  Singing praise songs this morning felt so good-nothing can compare to being in God's house each week.  

David was so proud of his new shirt to wear to church today.  He has his own style for sure!  
The pastor started a new series on the book of James and it really hit home for me today.  Over and over I have been reminded lately that we as christians are not of this world.  We are here to show others the love of Jesus Christ.  Our neighbors need us to point them to Him and to demonstrate His love.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

No Worries Man - Day in the Bahamas

Our cruise took us to Nassau Bahamas.  It was very cool to wake up and see land as we docked in Nassau.  The boys really enjoyed watching out of our window in our room.  
Kyle was the most excited to explore the Bahamas.  He is our travel bug and loves to explore.  

As we were pulling into Nassau I spotted this lighthouse which reminded me of our Georgia mission trip and the amazing girls that were in our cabin.  We listened to the song Lighthouse by Rend Collective a lot while on that trip and we sang it one night in chapel.  "My lighthouse, shining in the darkness I will follow you" I smiled thinking of those sweet girls who so earnestly sought Christ that week in Georgia 
This is one of the funniest stories that happened on our trip.  Kyle is not laughing as loudly as I am, but it was funny.  We decided to eat a big breakfast off of the buffett before heading into Nassau.  Kyle and Pops had waited for ten minutes in the line to fix their plates exactly as they wanted them.  Pops headed to get coffee and Kyle was left with the food to hold the table while the rest of us were off fixing our plates.  Well, the seagulls decided to bully up against Kyle and they swooped in and took his bacon and some of Pops' food as well!  I happened to walk upon Kyle standing by looking bewildered as a flock of seagulls enjoyed his breakfast!  He was so mad but I was laughing!  I guess even seagulls know how awesome bacon is!  Ha! 
It has been a while since I had been to the Bahamas and it is so pretty!  
Instead of doing the pricey excusions Carnival offers, we decided to catch a taxi to the beach.  Rito our taxi driver drove us to the gorgeous Cabbage beach in his airconditioned taxi mini van.  
The beautiful blue water and white sand did not disappoint!  David was so excited!  
This little fish was excited too and took off into the water.  
It was actually the fourth of July when we were on the beach and I will never forget being in such a beautiful place with my favorite people enjoying the moment.  We swam in the warm sea for hours.  
Kyle decided he wanted to take a banana boat ride.  I walked with him down the beach with the money.  The boat driver told me to ride with him and he woud keep my change!  I could not say no and I climbed onto that banana boat.  It was a rough ride and I am still sore for clutching onto that thing for dear life.  I prayed to Jesus to keep me safe because the ride was rough and we were getting sprayed in the face with salty sea water because we ended up in the front. My bathing suit did not stay put exactly but it was a memory with Kyle we will never forget!  On the ride back we moved to the back and the ride was much better!  If you ever take a banana boat ride, sit in the back!  
Kyle had so much fun putting goggles on and diving for shells. 
The water was clear, beautiful and very warm.  
Mike is not a beach lover at all, but he played life guard from under the umbrella!  I will never forget spending the 4th of July on a beautiful beach with family,  What a great day!  

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Time of Our Lives ❤️

We are home from our cruise to the Bahamas with GG and Pops.  We had no idea what to expect on a cruise, and we were certainly impressed! 

The kids slept on little pull down beds in our rooms and we called them our little elves on the shelf!  Going on a cruise is a wonderful way to relax and connect as a family because there is no wifi!  Mike was nervous about that but considering he took a nap most every afternoon, I think he enjoyed the time to relax.  

This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip,  This is Kyle looking out the window from our room.  
Mike was very worried about being sick for the whole trip since he is prone to motion sickness.  He wore his little ear patches and he did great!  We were blessed with calm seas and beautiful weather except for about two hours the first night.  We hit a storm and it was rough and rocking.  We were trying to walk across the deck and Hope was getting blown around and we looked over and she was hugging this pole!  That is our smart girl! 
Hope in her sweet bon voyage shirt!  You walk on the ship and the crew is waiting for you with a huge buffet!  Oh the food....It was wonderful and plentiful.  
Our kids did not love the pool because it was filled with salt water.  It was also very crowded.  Our kiddos enjoyed the top level which had a waterpark full of slides and splash areas.  Here are Hope and David racing down the slides.  
Traveling with David is exhausting but amazing because life is a party with David.  He met this amazing kid named Max-they played and hung out for hours! We could not stop smiling and staring at them because they were so cute together.  Max is 14 and lives in South Carolina.  
Pops, Kyle, and Mike tried their hand in the cornhole tournament.  They got elimnated after the second round but it was fun.  We also enjoyed the trivia games and the comedy shows.  We love comedy shows!!  
This picture was taken on the elegant night.  Each night we would go to the dining room at 6:00 for a three course meal.  The food was so good and you can have as much. as. you. wanted.  Serioulsy, we lost count how many ice cream cones and slices of pizza Kyle consumed.  We would hit the water park early, eat a big lunch (of course) and then take a nap before getting fixed up for supper.  We joked that we were like newborns-we ate big portions every 2-3 hours  Ha!  
Hope enjoying using my dinner as a toy!  HA!   
We loved sea days at the waterpark.  The water was blessedly calm and the weather was beautiful but hot!  
Mike is not a big pool person but he did have fun hitting the water slides with the kids.  I love seeing him take off the superintendent hat and have fun and relax!  I promised him I would not put a picture of him in a bathing suit on the blog, but this does not count right-since you cannot see him?!  
Kyle!!  Kyle really enjoyed the food, the beach and the comedy club.  
It was fun to dress up and go the dining room each night for dinner.  The food was always wonderful and the staff was so friendly and fun.  
DAvid turned 11 while we were cruising and he told EVERYBODY he saw that it was his "birfday" and the wait staff inthe evening   sang to him:) 
Our last night we went to the upper deck to look at the sunset.  The weather was gorgeous, the sea was calm, and we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  What precious memories this trip blessed us with!  Time with family is precious especially when you are blessed with such a wonderful trip full of good weather, great memories, and tons of fun!  
Last night it was so calm that the kids would enjoy the putt putt on the upper deck.  Every other time we had tried to play in the evening it was way too windy! What a fun way to end the trip.  
Thank you GG and Pops, Carnival,and the beautiful sea for a vacation we will never forget!