We’re here!

We are HOME!!  After way too long away, we were glad to start our cross-country travels to get home.  We did enjoy every bit of this summer – Ed’s trip to Senegal, taking classes in Colorado and connecting with great friends, the carnival that Cru throws their employees, our US staff conference hearing from amazing speakers, bands, and the Lord, and traveling across country.  But, I think Dorothy had it right when she says “There is no place like home.”

Kinsley has been asking for the last few weeks to go home, but it is hard to explain time to a 3 year old.  So, we did it in terms she would understand – Dora terms.  If you have watched any Dora at all (if you haven’t, you are missing out 😉 ), you will know that Dora goes through one place to get to another place to go to another place to reach her final destination.  So, we explained to Kinsley that we would go to one hotel, to another hotel, to Mr. Scott and Mrs. Lindsey’s house, to Nona’s (Ed’s mom) house, and then home.  She definitely understood that and it made the questions of “Are we going home tomorrow?” a little easier to answer.

So, the first day we traveled to Kansas.  This day was pretty boring – wheatfields, wind tunnels, and pastures as far as the eye can see.  We made sure to get there in time for Kinsley to get some energy out in the hotel pool.  Here is a pic of the girls starting out.

Then, the next day, we traveled to St. Louis.  We started out extra early this day so we could get there in time to visit the Magic House children’s museum.  The Magic House is 3 floors of fun things for kids to do and Kinsley loved every minute of it.  Her favorite part has to have been the castle room with pretend castle’s of Rapunzel, Belle from Beauty in the Beast, and Cinderella.  We literally had to pry her away from this room as they were closing.  Emerson’s favorite part was the ball pit.  The girl LOVES balls.

The next day, we traveled the short distance to Scott and Lyndsay’s house.  Scott and Ed were good friends in high school and have remained so throughout the years.  They live in Nashville, TN and have a boy, Matthew, and a girl on the way.  We so enjoy connecting with them and take the chance to do so when we can.  We hosted a dessert at their house for a few ministry partners who support our ministry and it was great to hear what the Lord has been doing in their life, get to know them better, and share about our year in ENC.  The girls had a blast playing with Matthew and always enjoy discovering “new” toys.

Then, we traveled to Greenville to Ed’s parents where we stayed for one night.  I don’t think you could have payed us money (ok, well maybe you could have for a considerable amount) to stay another night, given that we were one day’s drive away from home and SO ready to get there.  I do think the drive home the next day was the LONGEST day so far – not that it actually was, but boy did it feel like it – especially given traffic backed up from construction and an accident.

Either way, we MADE IT!  Praise the Lord that we made it safely with no accidents, no speeding tickets, and our house is in good shape (flower beds not so much with the mountain of weeds that have grown in them).  In the time we were gone, our neighbors put a contract on a new house, sold their house, and moved out.  We are so sad about this and have yet to get over the shock of new people living in their house.  And we can’t believe we were gone long enough to miss it all!  Here’s to getting back to a normal life!!

What a Find!

So, one of our favorite things to do as a family is go shopping at yard sales.  Ok, the girls can’t really say its their favorite thing to do since they don’t have much of a say in it, but Kinsley does get excited to go with us.

When you have kids, and you go through 4 sizes of clothes in one year (when they are a baby), you learn to shop wisely instead of shelling out big bucks to pay for designer clothes.  Sometimes, you can even find those designer clothes at yard sales.  I do like consignment stores and sales, but if I have the time, yard sales are where you get the best bang for your buck, hands down.  Not to mention the other good deals you can find at yard sales.

I digress…so, to get back to my amazing find….we have been telling Kinsley for a while that when she masters riding her tricycle and learning to pedal, we will get her a big girl bike (with training wheels, of course).  Well, she has learned how to pedal and is telling us every day (yes, every single day) how she wants a big girl bike.  We don’t want to pay full price for a bike right now, nor do we want to buy a bike that she will outgrow by next summer (even though I don’t see this happening.  bless her heart….she is going to be short…not that there is anything wrong with short…but she just won’t grow.  she just reached 36″ and can finally ride things by herself at carnivals).  So, we decided to go to a few yard sales last weekend hoping we would find a cheap bike that Ed could fix up for her to ride since we are in Colorado where EVERYONE rides bikes (thankfulness for having a husband who is handy with bikes).  I made a list of which yard sales had bikes or kids things and we headed out.

We drove up to one of the yard sales and all we saw was pink.  With two girls, and being a girly-girl myself, I love pink.  This yard sale was a girl’s dream.  Dollhouses, makeup centers, barbies, dora bath toys, rollar coaster ride thingy for yard, dance accessories, etc.  If we were in Raleigh, we would have bought more.  But we didn’t seeing as we would have to carry it across country in a minivan that barely had space as it was.

We decided to buy this princess sleeping bag with a blow up air mattress that goes inside, a snow white princess barbie doll, a keurig, and a little pony.  She was asking $3 for the sleeping bag and pump, $20 for the keurig, and was going to throw in the doll and pony for free.  Um, what?!?!  The sleeping bag would easily sell for $5 for it alone, the keurig for $40, the princess doll (which is $25ish in stores) for $5, and the pony for $1.  While this was already an amazing deal, I asked her if she would take $20 for it all just to round it out (and b/c I didn’t have small bills).  And she did!  So basically, I got a keurig (which we found out later was a special edition one that was hardly used and came with owner manuals) for $17.  I have been wanting one for a while but couldn’t bring myself to pay the hefty price tag when it wasn’t a necessity.

I am not all about materialistic things and accumulating, but I am all about making our money go farther so we can give more.  So while I wouldn’t want to pay full price for a keurig (though there is nothing wrong with those who do 🙂 ), I will pay $17 for one. Thank you Lord for helping us find a great deal!  Check out our finds:

Also, here is one of Kinsley dressed as a cow at Chick-fil-a on Cow Appreciation Day.  We picked Ed up from class and all went to Chick-fil-a wearing our cow apparel.  Yes, we are not in the picture.  Yes, we did dress up.  No, we don’t want it recorded.  No, my makeshift costume didn’t even hardly make it through lunch…our spots kept ripping!!


July 4th Happenings

This week, compared to the last two, has been SO much better!  Such a reminder to me that the sun will shine after the storm.

This past week was July 4th.  We love celebrating July 4th in Colorado because they have a huge fireworks display in the middle of town and it just always brings back fun memories of ones we have celebrated here in the past.  We started the day with a parade (the 1st one they have ever had here in Fort Collins!) and while we weren’t sure what it would be like, it was surprisingly good.  They had lots of participants and it seemed like everyone was giving out candy.  They even had a few women dressed up like princesses, which, considering the stage Kinsley is currently in, made her day, and even more so when Rapunzel gave her a high-five.  That evening, we grilled out with fun friends, played with sparklers, and tried to buy time until the fireworks.  We ended up bailing on the fireworks because 1) no way was Emerson going to last til then 2) Kinsley was watching them on TV and kept saying they were too loud, that she didn’t want to see them here, and she wanted to sleep and 3) the fireworks started about 45 min after they were supposed to.  Regardless, it was a fun evening.

Then, Saturday morning, Ed decided to take K on a little hike with him while I stayed behind with Emerson.  They had so much fun and she was such a trooper, making it to the top of the hill they were climbing and hanging in there for 4+ miles (granted, she was riding in the pack for most of that).  Then, they flew kites, which is quickly becoming one of her favorite things to do.

On Sunday, after church, we headed to Ed’s Aunt May Claire and Uncle Tom’s house in Littleton, which is right on the outskirts of Denver.  It is so fun to visit them every time we are out here and we just sit in awe of their wonderful view.  They live right next to the front range (they walk out the door, cross a fence, and hop on a trail!) and because there house is set above others in their neighborhood, from their back deck they can see the mountains on one side and the City of Denver on the other.  It is so neat watching a rainstorm hit the city and seeing it from a distance.

They live with Aunt May Claire’s mother who, along with May Claire, is from South Africa and I love talking to her, hearing about her travels, and listening to her amazing accent.  Their kids, who are growing so fast, loved visiting with the girls and the girls loved playing with them.  They also have 2 golden-doodles, and while Kinsley was cautious, Emerson delighted in chasing them around and getting kisses.  Ed’s uncle co-owns a company called Aspen Seating, LLC who provides seating and ride designs for wheelchairs, paralympic athletes, etc.  It is a really neat thing to hear about how they are growing and helping people move and function better.

Kinsley kept talking about seeing her cousins and going to her cousin’s house.  Of course, she didn’t mind playing with new toys, their toys, for a change.  Here is a picture of Elizabeth reading to Kinsley and the view from their deck.

When we arrived back in Fort Collins on Sunday night, we were greeted by Gammy and Pop-Pop (my mom and dad).  They are still here, so I will be sure to post pics from our adventures after they are gone.  My dad has taken a great interest in fly-fishing (and falling down on rocks) and we enjoyed lots of time at the river yesterday with them as he was learning.  So blessed to be surrounded by God’s beautiful scenery as we enjoy the great outdoors!

Thankfulness even when you don’t feel it….

Honestly, I struggled with writing a post this week.  When I thought of what to write, NOTHING came to mind except venting about how rough and miserable this week has been.

After the incident with Kinsley’s head last week, she came down with a 103ish fever Friday evening and all day Saturday, as well as complaining that her throat hurt.  After calling our doctor in NC to make sure it wasn’t related to her head (which they didn’t think was the case), they suggested we take her to the doctor to have her checked for strep throat.  I had strep throat over a month ago, so while it wouldn’t be unheard of for her to have it, it would be weird for her to get it this far out.  The doctor tested her and the strep test came back negative.  They didn’t know what was wrong other than she had a viral infection.  Her fever went away Sunday morning, but it basically left us inside all weekend, which can be torture here in Colorado when you want to get out and enjoy the mountains and explore a new place.

Then, on Monday evening, she was still complaining that her throat hurt and not eating well, so I looked in her mouth and saw a few mouth sores.  A friend I was talking to that evening in NC suggested I look into hand, foot, and mouth.  So I did.  And as soon as I read the symptoms, my stomach dropped.  I have heard horror stories about this virus and how miserable it is.  After calling her doctor the next morning in NC (again!), they confirmed what I already knew – that they too thought it was hand, foot, and mouth.  And to that the fact that Emerson had her thrush return and two rounds of medicine had not gotten rid of it.  I had to cancel plans with friends and had a horrible attitude about being stuck for another day in this two bedroom apartment.

And then, the Lord really gently tapped me on the shoulder, convicted me on my attitude, and reminded me that I had to make a deliberate choice to change it.  A verse came to my mind – 1 Thess. 5:16-18  “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I could choose to stay miserable, be angry about our circumstances that I couldn’t change, and sulk, or I could choose to rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

So I choose the later.  Here are the things that I chose to give thanks for, among many others:

1 – This little girl who has all the sickness makes me laugh daily, brings so much joy to my life, and has such a great personality and honestly, considering what happened last week, it is a praise to the Lord that she is still here with us.  Things could have turned out so much differently and for that I am thankful

2 – She has a very, very mild version of Hand, Foot, and Mouth.  Honestly, there were a few times yesterday that I asked “Does she even have it?”  It hasn’t affected her eating, she hasn’t complained since Monday about it hurting, acts completely normal, and has no rash.  The doctor said she just need to be quarantined while she had a fever, but we kept her in a few more days just to be safe.  What I was originally anticipating as having to spend a whole other week quarantined turned out to be completely false.

3 – Ed is learning so much in his classes and is excited to be able to take it back to campus.  He is taking Biblical Interpretation and Communication (where he learns how to interpret the Word correctly and then use that to speak that Word to others in a form of a sermon or message), Old Testament, and God, Bible and Holy Spirit.  All of these classes will better equip him to minister to college students and lead our team.  This is our whole purpose of being here and it is happening.  The benefit is that we are in Colorado and get to enjoy beautiful scenery and an abundance of things to do, but enjoying Colorado isn’t the main reason we are here.

4 – I got to reunite with an old college friend in the middle of our “sickly” weekend.  Shannon was my roommate for a year in college and lives about two hours south of Fort Collins in Colorado Springs.  She came up to our area for her nephew’s birthday party and stopped by to visit.  So fun to see her, catch up on life, and she got to meet Emerson for the first time!

4 – My parents are coming to visit!!  They decided to close their restaurant for the July 4th week and take a road trip across country to visit us and see places that they have always wanted to see such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Graceland, Mt. Rushmore, etc.  We are so excited to see them (though Kinsley doesn’t understand why they aren’t here yet) and for them to see the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

I am sure there are many more things that came to mind, but I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me an attitude adjustment.  I sure needed it!