What do you miss?

What do you miss most about where you grew up?  While there are lots of things I miss about where I grew up (Georgetown, SC), here are the highlights (or at least the things we have to revisit when we come back):

1 – Family – love, love, love my sweet and dear family and that they live in the same town – wish this was still true for us!  Mom, Dad, Granny, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Here is a picture of my sweet Granny with my cousin Parker dancing at my brother’s wedding.

2 – Miyabi – This yummy, yummy Japanese restaurant is my favorite restaurant hands down!!  Ed and I have searched in Kentucky and NC for one that compares but we have yet to find one.  The quality of the food is consistently good, they give you a lot for your money and you can always make two meals of it, and you get entertainment!  It’s making my mouth water just thinking about it.  It is a must for my kids to love it like I do and so far, Kinsley does!!  Here is picture of her wearing a hat there this past week.















3 – The beach!  I love living close to the beach and getting to go whenever we want.  So nice!  I also love knowing local spots so you aren’t fighting with the tourists for beach space.  When we used to live in Gtown after college, our favorite thing to do on the weekends was to hit the beach – not only did you get sun but everyone from church and the area met out there and it was always a big party.  Again, something our kids have to love as much as we do is the beach.  So far, Kinsley loves that too!!  Emerson got to go on the beach for the first time this trip.  Although I do not like the warm weather because it makes it hard to get in the Christmas mood, I do like that we were able to spend some time there playing.
















4 – Eating at my parent’s BBQ restaurant.  Oh man, can you say ‘delish’?  The food is so, so good and it is so great seeing Jimmy and the others who work there.  Seriously, this is a highlight of our trip and we try to fill up enough every time to make it last til the next trip.  Shout out to Big Bill’s Lowcountry Barbeque!

5 – Visiting our ministry partners and churches that partner with us.  Seriously, we stinkin’ love all these people and are so grateful that the Lord allows us to partner with them and join with them in sharing the Gospel to college students.  Having been on staff for 5 years, most of them are like family to us and have seen our children be born and grow up as well as following us as we move around – a lot!  We are so thankful to the Lord for them and love visiting them whenever we get a chance to share about ministry, life, and to be updated about their life and how we can pray for them.

I am sure I am leaving out a few things, but at least you know the things we have been doing this week as they are all a priority when we come visit!!

Christmas Fun – Round 1

I don’t know about you, but we have been having some major Christmas time fun at our house!!  I want to let the pictures do the talking (with a few captions from me – I can’t be completely silent – who are we kidding?)






Christmas Parade in Fuquay Varina (our little town outside of Raleigh).  We ended up running into a few different sets of friends from church who have small kids, so the kids had a blast playing together during the parade.  I love our church and that we have an abundance of kids at the same age together – makes for fun play dates and activities like these!  Kinsley loved the dancers and bands – the closer they got, the more she danced.  Our child dance?  Never (do you sense the sarcasm?).

Our elf (who was named Webster until we decided we didn’t like it and changed it to Scout – alas, the good side of doing Elf with a two year old) has found all kinds of fun places to hide.  It is hard to keep finding good places for him to hide when we can only hide him up high (if he was low, she would surely touch him when we weren’t look and discover he didn’t lose his magic – alas the bad side of doing Elf with a two year old).





Because we will be with my (April’s) family during Christmas, we celebrated Christmas with Ed’s family this past weekend.  Kinsley got an double-sided easel – which she loves way more than I ever thought she would!!  (PS…did you know that Ikea sells easels for only 14.99?!? – that is a steal if you know what other places charge).

She also got her first car!!  And would you know that they started her out with a BMW?  We did make them aware because they bought her this first car, they also had to continue the tradition by buying her first real car.  Yea, they laughed, but a momma can wish ;).

Not pictured:  lots of Christmas parties (with students on campus, with our team, and with friends), dinners and lunches with friends, our Advent Event we are doing every day (which I will show you when we finish!), Christmas pictures, reading the Christmas story every day, and lots more!!  And that’s just through the 12th!!

I love Christmas foremost because we celebrate Christ’s birth and that is central, but all of these other fun things are a bonus.  Praying you are having a merry Christmas season so far!

The Saga of the Cats

We love animals but quite simply, we are both dog people.  As you know, our dog died recently.  While we miss him dearly, I have to confess I love not having to care for an animal, worry about where to take them while we are traveling, and paying for all of their expenses.

So, what do we do when we walk outside one morning to discover two kittens on our porch?  They were adorable, playful, and so friendly.  We thought they were two sweet sisters (until our neighbor properly educated me on the physical difference between boys and girls…come on, I said I was a dog person).  We are pretty sure someone dumped them at our house since it is at the end of our street.  We knew better than to feed them because full cats always stick around.  We knew better than to let them in the house because then they would think they could stay.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  For a day and a half, including one cold night where they snuggled together on our front mat right up against the door where we could see their pitiful faces when we looked out the side glass next to the door.  And they didn’t leave.  We saw another bigger cat that we assumed was the momma but then, just like that, she was gone.  So now what?


















We couldn’t leave them there to starve to death.  So we flirted with every possibility.  Ed went to an adoption shelter who informed us that we would have to make an appointment to meet with someone to see if they would even take them in because they were so filled with animals.  What?!?  They would starve and freeze to death by then, not to mention maybe be eaten by coyotes.  Ok, so maybe I was being a little dramatic but it seriously was killing me…I guess its the momma instincts taking over.  We talked about keeping them but then decided no when we thought about all our traveling in the next few weeks and the vet costs for two of them.  We asked friends if they wanted kittens (which did lead to us getting rid of one of them).  We flirted with posting an ad on Craigs List but were afraid it would attract people who like to do sick things with cats.  So, we took them in and fed them (both things we knew NOT to do) until we figured out what to do.  And did I mention that the momma cat (or the bigger cat…not sure if it was momma) came around again which sent our number of cats to 3.

So what happened next?  As I said, our neighbor took one and then we broke down and called animal control for the other two.  I have bad images of animal control as mean and only taking them to the kill shelter so his was a last resort to me.  But, after cleaning out the litter box and shooing them off the counter and tables I don’t know how many times and trying to keep them from clawing the chairs and couch, I was done with cats.  Kinsley asked me yesterday if she could have the kitties, to which I responded, “You have a new baby sister instead.” And that is all I can handle right now.  When we decide to get a pet in the future, we will stick to dogs!

To Santa or Not to Santa?

This has been the big question at our house these past weeks as we have spent time in prayer, in the Word, hearing from others, and just trying to decide what we felt was best for our children.  While some people have legit reasons not to Santa, we were determined not to fall into that trend just because everyone else was without feeling a strong conviction one way or the other.  We have also seen some of those same families get so stressed out with the holidays and “doing” everything that Christ is mostly left out anyway.  So what was the verdict?

We have decided to Santa.  We didn’t feel strongly one way or another, but a few of our reasons were 1) we loved believing in Santa when we were small and were not devastated when we found out nor did we feel our parents have lied to us about everything because they didn’t tell us the truth about this (one argument I have heard) 2) while we could not believe in Santa, it would be hard because Santa is everywhere and it would be heard to try to keep our kids from telling our children that Santa isn’t real 3) we feel like we can let them believe in Santa but make Christ front and center and explain that Christ is the reason for Christmas, not Santa.

For instance, we plan on doing something that came highly recommended to us called “The Advent Event” which is a family project that has a craft, Bible verse, little story, and hand motion everyday for the month of December that goes through the whole Bible focusing on Christ.  We have heard that kids of all ages (including 2.5 year old) can enjoy it.  We also have a bunch of books that go through the Christmas story that we will read regularly and one called “God Gave Us Christmas” which talks about Santa, God and Christ but focuses on how God gave us Christmas and that while Santa is good because it teaches us generosity and care, Christ is the reason God gave us Christmas.

I am fully aware that not all agree with us one way or another and that is okay.  Feel free to shoot us any ideas you have done with your family that have been good – either regular tradition or traditions that focus on Christ.

In other news, our little girl turned 1 month old.  She is cooing, which I love to hear babies do!  She is doing well, finally starting to settle down and adjust with traveling to SC for Thanksgiving and getting sick (just in time for us to turn around and do it all again!).  It also helps that we are learning that she loves to be swaddled, held, or in the wrap (opposite of Kinsley), which makes it hard for a mommy with another child, but we are adjusting.  Kinsley is doing much better overall, both with her and just listening and obeying in general.  She loves to hold her, give her kisses, and tickle her.  So thankful for these two sweet little girls, even with the newborn crying.  Not sure who Emerson looks like yet – what do you think?

These next few weeks will be crazy with wrapping up campus, traveling, our jobs for Encounter Winter Conference at the end of the month (I do housing with can be a beast to tackle), Christmas parties (had our first one yesterday with our team which was a blast – I LOVE OUR TEAM!), a service project with our small group where we adopt a family and give them gifts for Christmas, visiting churches and ministry partners, and just continuing to adjust to life with a newborn and a 2.5 year old.  I am so excited though – I love this time of year!

Oh, and for those who want a Black Friday update – I did go shopping on Black Friday and managed to get 80% or more of our Christmas shopping done.  That was a feat considering Ed came down with stomach virus on Thanksgiving (the one day of the year I really need him to be well to watch the kids!), his dad came down with it the next morning (my backup for watching the kids since Ed’s mom was coming with me to shop), a nursing baby that I had to coordinate feedings and make sure she was asleep before I could leave (since Ed was sick), leaving my phone at home when we went to Wal-Mart (you try finding someone in WalMart with all those people and no phone), and the crazy hours of stores this year.  But, it was fun and I am already excited for next year…hopefully, it will be less eventful than this year and the stomach virus will decide to not pay us a visit.