Monday, November 24, 2014

Almost 29,000 HITS!

Darren did a "party jam" video of Ty's 7th Birthday Party, two years ago.  Just recently, it must have been added to some website because the views went from 500 to over 28,000 views in the last 4 weeks.  It's CRAAAAZY and exciting!!!!  Enjoy watching it and reminiscing on this amazing party!!!!

It's time to add adsense to this video for SURE!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Small Group Dinner Surprise!

This past Friday, we had a scheduled small group gathering.  Aaron and Lisa asked if they could host and said that they wanted all of us to arrive with hungry bellies.  They would be providing dinner for 26+ small group members. I had been stressing about it all week for Lisa.  BOTH, Aaron and Lisa, instructed us to bring NOTHING.  Lisa seemed really calm and collected, making me wonder what is seriously wrong with me OR HOW is she NOT stressed out. I can honestly say, my personality would never be able to not only handle, but also desire to have 14 children, under the age of 9, eating dinner in my home. 
At 5:00 pm, Lisa called and said, "Well, I've been keeping a little secret.  We aren't actually eating at our home.  We are going to all meet at Mamma Maria's.  Aaron and I reserved the banquet room and we are treating everyone to dinner!"  YAHOO!!!!! We have NEVER been able to do an outing like that. Our children have always been either too young or too unpredictable to take that chance.  We do our annual pumpkin patch tradition.  We've also enjoyed the lake together, but never have we chanced eating at a restaurant.  
 The men were so jealous of our girls' photo that they had to copy us!!! LOL! Below, they sported their special poses.
The banquet room was all set up when we arrived.  The kids had ONE big "kid table" and the adults had ONE big "grown-up table".  It was so much fun to be together in an new atmosphere.  Watching our children hanging out and thoroughly enjoying each other was probably the biggest blessing than anything else that night.  
I am really NOT sure what has gotten into Lilah.  Every single pose she insisted on doing that silly pose. Haha.  Let's hope her "Jersey Girl" look is not turning her persona ghetto.  LOL!
The only thing sweeter than a group of 14 kids growing up together, is their parents doing life together TOO! My only fear is that these kids are SOOOOO close that they will NOT even consider each other as candidates for spouses :)
Aaron and Lisa were very generous to treat all of us to a wonderful evening out.  We made sure to take some pictures that we rarely have the opportunity to capture.  Aaron even planned a comical skit for the girls to do in front of the guys. There's NEVER a dull moment when we are with each other.  Never in a million years would I have thought our small group would be what it is today, but I feel beyond grateful to God for blessing us with such a great group of friends who share the same goal... living for the Lord.
Aaron is every kids' favorite.  He is just like a BIG kid. Jody thinks she's a big kid!!! LOL! Above, Aaron was keeping the kids entertained.  Below, the girls were swarming Aliza aka "Miss Popularity".  She's the youngest and newest addition to our group!
Our little girls insisted on getting a "girls' photo" of their own, after they saw their mommy's friends taking a girls' photo. Below are their sweet faces.
Then, they wanted to act just like their daddies...goooooofy! 
 I can honestly say my life would NOT be the same without this group of people.  

Family isn't always blood.  It's the people in life, who want you in theirs.  The ones who accept you for who you are.  The ones who'd do anything to see you smile and who will love you no matter what.  Encourage you and hold you accountable!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recital Practice

Our little Liley is gearing up for recital #5.  She has been under the weather, so she didn't do as well as I KNOW she can and will do at the recital.  I love our little ballerina girl. 
This is Lilah's FIRST year of TAP dancing. She is still learning the ins and outs of how to not make these shoes a noisy assemble, but instead, a beautiful noise of dancing. She will NOT be tapping in the dance recital. There is still a lot to learn. However, in the Spring recital, she will perform both ballet and tap. I can't wait to see her in action.
Anyone who would love to come watch her in action, please let me know.  Tickets go on sale NEXT week.  The recital is December 7th @ 3:00 pm at Andrew Lewis Elementary School.

"I'm All About That BASTE, MORE BUTTER!"

I love this family!  I can appreciate their creativity.  I don't judge it.  I would never dare say, "They've got too much time on their hands!" I can tell their family has a blast making these videos and as a viewer, of ALL of their videos, I ENJOY watching them!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Baby Chicks

Below is an adorable photo of fourth grades' latest arrivals.  Ty's class, as well as the other fourth grade class, has had chicken eggs incubating for 3 weeks.  This experience is being used as part of their living systems, science unit. They had 20 chicks hatch last night and today.  It is the most chicks fourth grade has ever had hatch (19 last year).  Ty's other fourth grade teacher, Ms. Meredith, said, "Your children are excellent mother hens!  :)"  I love these experiences that Ty gets at school. I would never be daring enough to try this at home.  
Ty was so excited about this.  It was the first thing he told me about when he hopped off the bus today.

Reformation 2014

Every year, we look forward to attending our church's Reformation Celebration.  Reformation Celebration, as it's known, is our replacement celebration for Halloween. We celebrate Martin Luther and his devotion to making sure the word of God was not skewed or corrupted.  Basically, "believers" based their Christian walk on their good deeds, making the role as a Christian next to IMPOSSIBLE to accomplish. Instead, Martin Luther focused on CHRIST and the power of his blood.  For more details, click here.
Erin and some of the other staff members created a FUN story line, that kids could relate to, but would also tie in the story of Martin Luther and the true gospel.  The title of the story line was "Candy, with strings attached!" Here's a brief synopsis of the cute story line:

"Carroll's Candy Shoppe" has a delightful and delectable display of candies, but the store owner has to go out for a bit and leaves someone else in charge. She gives her "helper" a full instruction book, but he takes matters into his own hands and makes up an assortment of ridiculous, and ultimately impossible, tasks that must be completed, perfectly, in order for the children to earn their candy. The store owner comes back and sees how the overseer has misled and lied to the children and sees how disheartened they are because they can never live up to the expectations. The owner takes back the instruction book and delivers, to the children, the truth written there: all they must do is ask and the candy is theirs. This points to the manipulation of the gospel that had taken place in the Roman Catholic Church, prior to the Protestant Reformation, and how the truth of God's grace, in salvation, had been distorted and used by the leaders of the Catholic Church for their own benefit. Leaders of the Reformation, like Martin Luther, restored to the people the truth of salvation as a free gift of His grace through His Son Jesus Christ, not something that could be earned or bought by man or his works.
Nora, one of our congregation members, is a TRUE artist and painted the backdrop you will see in so many of the photos I captured.  Many of us came in, once or twice, and painted the back drop, after Nora finished drawing it. It turned out incredible and it looked just like candyland.  

We arrived at 6:00 pm and ate with everyone.  We each brought in several side dishes and the church provided hot dogs and drinks.  After we ate, Erin had the kids do a costume parade.  The parade began in the vestibule and ended after EACH child or grown-up, who was dressed up in costume, walked across the stage, in the sanctuary, to show the "judges" their costume. A series of judges judged the costumes' creativity and uniqueness and the winners were announced AFTER the "Candy with strings attached" was performed, as well as, after Pastor Nick preached the gospel to us.  Below are some of my favorite costumes and several of the winners!!!
Ty as Edward Scissor Hands - He Won 1st Place 
Gabe as a "Mouse In A Trap" - He Won 2nd Place
 Ava, as the Energizer Bunny.  She didn't win, but I LOVED this idea, especially since she has a ton of energy.
Cami and Jake, as Ken and Barbie.  They won 2nd place for the GROUP contest.
Dennis and Daniel as UPS men.  Dennis actually works for UPS, so having Daniel dress up like his daddy was cute.  They won 3rd place in the group contest.
Watson driving his John Deer Tractor.  Handmade by Kaitlyn, his mommy.  It even had headlights that worked.
There was also a dessert competition.  I made a "Lemon cake pie" and a "Krispy Creme Bread Pudding".  I won 2nd and 3rd place.  Shannon Maxey won first place. I don't recall what she made (some snickers dessert).  
The final events of the night, related fully to CANDY GALORE.  Erin did a fantastic job creating fun games all related to CANDY.  Jax and Ty's favorite game was the "Candy Course".  Lilah enjoyed the "Same Sweets" game. Every detail was so impressive. I felt like I was walking through the board game Candyland. ALL OF THE GAMES were ORIGINAL and created/designed by Erin herself.  Erin is are fantastic Children's Ministry Directory.
Jax running the candy course.
I LOVE this photo of Lilah and Kate, so I had to include it in this post.

I just LOVE how creative everyone gets with their costumes and how much effort our church staff puts forth to share the message of Jesus Christ.  Enjoy ALL of the photos, by double clicking on the Picasa Web album below.  For extra details, be sure to read all of the captions.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Halloween 2014

I cannot believe I am STILL posting about Halloween snacks, costumes, and parties.  LOL!  It was a very eventful October to say the least. On Halloween morning, I surprised the kids with some fun Halloween gifts. Each of them received a Halloween t-shirt to wear to school, glow sticks, a light up mouth piece, and a few other items.  
Even Darren got a little treat!!! I wasn't sure what this seasonal beer would taste like, but I had to get it for Darren after spotting the fun box it came in.  "Jack-o" pumpkin beer.  
Before going to bed, Darren said, "You're so hot!", haha. So, that's why I said what I said on the note that I left him.
Halloween night, I invited some of the kids' friends over.  My kids are VERY fast paced when they go trick or treating, so this year, I was excited to have some older kids to join them. Kayla cooked chicken chili and cornbread for the adults.  I ordered pizza for the kids.  I set up a "kids" table in the garage, so that there was enough seating for everyone.  
Each kid had their own set of drinks, an "orange scream" drinkable yogurt, and a pumpkin cutie!!!
There they are... pigging out!
We made sure to take some pictures before heading out.  The Stricklands were Ninja Turtles.  
The Schoonover girls were rocked out!!!
Ansley, as a scarecrow!! I love her make-up.
Cami as a Starbucks Latte! It was so realistic I was afraid someone might try and take a sip of her.  Hehe.
ALL 3 of my children were supposed to be shadows, but Jax, at the last second, wanted to be a race car driver.  So below, are my two DARK shadows: Lilah and Tyson.
I think Lilah looked INCREDIBLE!!!! 
Even as a shadow, SHE HAD to wear a BOW!
To produce this look, just buy a BLACK skin suit and have your children dress in ALL black clothing/accessories.  
Gabe was an ape!
Our little race car driver aka Zach Harris.
Darren dressed up as Walter White, from the show, Breaking Bad.  We just bought a top hat, used some costume glasses from our Napoleon Dynamite costume kit, and used some blue crystal sprinkles in a clear baggie, for the crystal meth! 
Darren printed out two signs, for our trick or treaters, who would visit our home for candy, in our absence!!! Here's the two signs he chose.
I wonder if they were honest!
Halloween night was brutally cold accompanied by freezing rain.  It sure didn't STOP the kids from running door to door to collect candy!
The freezing cold weather made capturing the kids, running from door to door, impossible though because I was freezing and I didn't want my camera to get wet.
Brett brought his golf cart to safely transport baby Aliza and keep her warm!
We didn't trick or treat long.  Maybe ONE hour.  Everyone came back to our home to change into warm clothes and just enjoy each other's company.
The next day, I laid out all of the candy that the kids collected.  CHECK OUT the abundance of candy!  It stretched across our entire 4'x3' kitchen table!
We allow the kids to fill ONE freezer bag of candy, to keep, EACH.  The rest, we donated or SOLD to our local dentist for MONEY and prizes.  
Filling up their freezer bag!
Enjoy our little flipagram video below!!!