Friday, July 22, 2011

Random thoughts

I can't believe that we leave TODAY for Rwanda.  We have had a great week filled with movies, swimming, and friends.  Darren and I wanted to soak up as much quality time with the boys as we could before we go 10 days without them.  That's the hardest part for me and I have shed a few tears when I let myself think about it.  Look at these sweet kiddos:
I'm pretty proud of our packing.
  This is everything Darren and I are taking to Rwanda for all 10 days!  We're light packers and that allowed these . . .
 to be filled to 50 lbs each with medicines, toys, clothes and all sorts of other treats for the children at Noel.
 We had a great last night spent watching movies (Scooby Doo of course) and eating popcorn.

 Lately we can't get enough of our stuffed animals.
 I thought everything was great on Wednesday when Darren and I were packed and Papaw had his surgery so we knew the boys could still stay with Nana.  But then I remembered- I had to pack the boys!!  I seriously forgot.  So lots of laundry was done and then their backpacks were filled.
 I think it's funny that my kids are taking more clothes than me and I'm going to a whole different continent.
 And, not only were the backpacks filled, but so was our car.  Nana had a FEW requests for things she'd like at her house for the boys to play with. 
I made special journals for the boys to write the activities they do each day so they can tell me all about their adventures while we're gone.  I bet several of those pages will be filled with trips to McDonald's, swimming, and the movies.  

I'll end with this clip of Holden.  I heard all this noise during nap time and had to go see what he was up to.  He's singing his favorite song.  See if you can figure it out.  (Hint: it involves letters) 

Please pray for Darren and I and our whole team as we begin the journey to Africa.  We can't wait to spend a whole week giving medical care, educational instruction and most importantly, love to the children at Noel.


Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of July

I just realized that I hadn't shared anything about our 4th of July celebration.  We had a very low key day.  The boys helped to make our red, white, and blue dessert to take to Gram and Pop's new house.

We went early to their house so we could swim with the boys.  After dinner, we were able to sit in the backyard and watch the Allen fireworks.  This was Holden's first time to see fireworks and he really liked them.  We caught him laughing a few times.    
 We certainly enjoyed such a relaxing time after all the activity the past couple of weeks had for us.  Next up, Prestoncrest's Cosmic City VBS!  Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 11, 2011

New do and a new name

Elic got his first haircut by Darren last week and I love it!  He sat so still through the whole thing and he's so proud of it.  I told him his new nickname is "peanut", since he's bald and brown.  Now when people say "I like your haircut" he just says, "My name is peanut."  Funny, funny kid!
Because one pair of goggles isn't always enough.

Special Visitors

A few weeks ago we studied bugs and I thought it would be fun to have these guys come visit us:

Yes, they're ants!  I have to say I think I was just as excited as the boys when they finally arrived.  I've never had an ant colony before and boy, are they workers.  I don't ever see them stopping or sleeping, just work, work, work!
 Everyone in the house got to see the ants in action.  Elic and Preston even tried to name all 25 of them.  But they told me that it's hard to tell them apart.
 We only had to wait a few days before the tunnels started to form.  Darren and I even caught ourselves staying up late one night just watching the ants.  They can move such large amounts of sand and work so well together, it truly is amazing.
We're about to release them because they have started to die and I can't take seeing another one eaten or being buried.  It was definitely a fun experiment and since it went so well, I think that maybe next year we'll order the butterfly eggs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Legoland videos

The other night when I was posting about Legoland I couldn't get any of the movie clips to download.  Today after a few updates, I was able to load them all.  Hope you enjoy viewing some of our excitement!

Cousin Camp 2011

We had an exciting week with our cousins after we returned from Legoland. My sister-in-law, Kim, had surgery about a month ago and was put on strict "no lifting" orders, so they came to stay with us for a few days so that I could help her with Aaron. I planned activities for us revolving around Community Helpers, but we could have called this week Community Service after all the fun ways we said "thank you" to these special helpers. We started our week with policemen and played a few literacy games and then baked homemade chocolate chip cookies to take to the police station. The kids were so excited (and maybe Preston was a little afraid) to meet a real policeman and policewoman. They were very thankful for the cookies and even gave each kid a "junior Officer" badge sticker.
We listened to the book "Officer Buckle and Gloria" to finish off our policemen day.
Tuesday was dentist day! We started with an egg-speriment (haha) where we soaked an egg in Coke and saw that it turned the egg brown- just like the yucky sugar food that we eat does to our teeth if we don't take care of them. Then, we all had turns at brushing the egg with toothpaste and it actually turned white again!
As every good scientist does, we recorded our findings by coloring what the tooth looked like before and after.
Next, we practiced flossing.
When Preston realized the floss was cinnamon flavored, he decided to practice on himself.
Wednesday was my favorite day- doctor and nurse day! We made doctor headbands (which the kids didn't have any clue what it was since they're not worn by doctors today), doctor kits and even doctor notes. We set up our clinic and even had a few special patients to take care of.
Here Autumn is being the "first nurse"- you know the one who comes into your room first. I think that is so cute!Our little guys didn't seem to mind that they weren't playing doctor and enjoyed having a playmate just their size.
Before our visitors had to leave, they put on a cute stick puppet show for us. It was a reenactment of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and everyone loved it.
Thursday, the boys and I served lunch at Austin Street Shelter. This was the second time we've been there and it's amazing to see them help others who are less fortunate. It's been one of the best "go and be" times for us because we've talked a lot about our responsibility to help those around us and how we've been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this world. We're trying to work out a way to be more involved at the shelter so that it's a regular part of our week. It was also a visual for me to use to explain what Darren and I will be doing in Rwanda since the orphanage is very similar to the shelter, it's just filled with kids instead of adults. We returned home and began to bake these yummy treats for our next service opportunity:
Nana works for Dr. Mary and we wanted to tell her thank you for helping people.
After we gave her her plate of treats,
she showed us her office. Holden was a little concerned about the skeleton but was brave enough to stay in the room.
She let the boys feel some of her special tools that she uses.
I think the favorite part of the visit was "riding" on the table. Dr. Mary lifted it all the way up and the boys thought that was the coolest thing. Darren and I ended this week of service by hosting a Parents Night Out at our church as a fundraiser for the Rwanda trip. We had 40 kids and raised over $500. I was very pleased with that! What a jam-packed week we had! Thank goodness we had a 3-day holiday weekend to help us recuperate!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Swim Lessons

This year we tried swim lessons at Oak Point Rec Center in Plano and I loved it! It only took us 7 minutes to drive there and it was indoors so I didn't have to lather on sunscreen everyday. Probably the best thing about our new location was that they had a class for everyone at the same time! We were just in different parts of the pool. I really liked the program and both Preston and Elic seemed to make huge strides in their swimming abilities.
Before we started swim lessons, Elic wouldn't put his face in the water and now that's all he wants to do. I think his frog-eye swim goggles helped him not be afraid of going under the water.

Preston also started swim lessons with a fear of being under water. Now he loves to jump into the pool, have tea parties under water and is working on swimming across the pool all by himself! We're so proud of all his hard work. Somehow I didn't get a picture of him swimming without this barbell, but he spent most of the lesson on his own.

I did water babies with Holden who has NO fear of the water and argued with me every lesson that I didn't need to hold onto him. He loved monkey walking on the side and looking at his squirt toys under the water. He was a star jumper and wouldn't stop once we were told it was ok to practice jumping in from the side. He even tried to jump where I couldn't catch him because he had such confidence. Since I was in the water with him, I wasn't able to take any pictures of Holden in action but he definitely enjoyed every lesson. We had such a great experience that I might sign everyone up for another session in August. That all depends on how quickly we recover from our travels in Rwanda.