Friday, May 27, 2011

There Shall Be Dancing!

This past weekend we traveled by car up to Nebraska and South Dakota to attend our niece's wedding. Sophie, Piper, and Riley were great travelers. Before we had kids, our trek to Nebraska took only one long 13.5 hour-day. Now that we have three little kids, we break the trip into two days and stay overnight at a hotel. The girls enjoyed eating complementary cookies in bed while watching a movie. (free cookies and DVD rentals are wonderful hotel bonuses).

The wedding was held at a beautiful outdoor chapel in the pine covered hills of Rapid City, South Dakota. During some free time, Judd took us to Dinosaur Park atop one of the tallest hills. Judd used to visit this park as a child. This particular dinosaur sits at the very top of the hill and on lookers in the town below see his silhouette against the sky.

 The girls had to sit on Dino's tail for a cute photo op. The Black Hills are visible in the background.

Sophie wanted to keep hugging the dinosaurs and wished she could take the big guy home with her -- or out to lunch. Riley maneuvered well and handled the long steep stairs back to the ground level just fine.

Leah and Jarrod were married on Saturday and Sophie was their flower girl. Sophie's dress was so pretty and she did a great job walking down the path and throwing petals.

The reason I particularly love this shot of Riley and Sophie at the reception hall is because my late Grandma Etta Cole used to stand just like they are, with her hands behind her back. Riley recently started copying everything Sophie does because she adores her big sister.

Jarrod and Leah make an adorable couple. Leah looked stunning in her exquisite gown and her hair was beautiful.

The Mother and Father of the Bride were so gracious and hospitable.

Sophie and Andrew (the ring bearer) really hit it off. They were inseparable. They danced together for a long time and Andrew even asked Judd for Sophie's phone number -- Sophie is 4 years old! (I'm not ready for this.) I changed Sophie out of that gorgeous dress and into this one so she wouldn't spill food on it. She is going to be a flower girl in my friend's wedding in a few weeks and needs the flower girl dress to look pristine. Check out Sophie and Andrew as they dance. I think they thought they were on Dancing With the Stars. Andrew was so sweet and really wanted to show off for Sophie. At the 1 minute and 34 second marker, he even shows her his 'Risky Business' moves.

Not to be left out, Riley joined in the reception fun by twirling hundreds of times to the DJ's music.

Back in Gordon, Nebraska, no trip to Grandma and Grandpa's would be complete without a walk around the farm to see the cows, cats, barns, and equipment.

Riley is intrigued by the cows.

"Cow says, 'Moo!'" repeats Piper.

Shortly after we started our drive back home, we had to stop the car for the cowgirls and cowboys who were relocating a herd of cattle to another pasture down the road.

We had a great trip and enjoyed seeing friends and family. Cheers to Leah and Jarrod!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sophie's New Clean Heart

I love my family. Judd, Sophie, Piper, and Riley are my world, and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful family.

Because I have a relationship with Jesus, it is only natural that I would want my children to also.

We attend one of the largest and most incredible churches in the U.S. - Church On The Move. Several weeks ago each child received a CD as they left their church classrooms. As the disc plays, a story is told of good vs. evil - a loving King who fights a dragon. The story is dramatic and hold kids' attention. After the story ends, one of the pastors explains, in such a simple way, how the story parallels God's love for us. God loves us so much he sent Jesus to die on the cross so He could exchange our sinful heart with a new clean heart; then, we're part of His family and belong to His kingdom. The pastor leads the listener in a prayer to receive Jesus and His gift of a new clean heart. Finally, a fantastic upbeat song plays about Jesus being alive and being our King.

Sophie loves this CD. She's listens to it several times a day, asking questions here and there, and singing the song repeatedly. Yesterday, on our way back home from our road trip up to Nebraska and South Dakota, Sophie danced around our hotel room. She made up praise songs to Jesus. If she caught Judd or I looking at her she said, "I'm just praying to God and singing to Him." When we got in the car Sophie asked us to play her "Jesus" CD again. She wanted to listen to it four times in a row. She asked Judd and I questions about being born with a sinful heart. When Judd told her that we asked Jesus for a new clean heart when we were children, she was ready to pray. She prayed aloud following the prayer on the CD and shouted, "Hooray! I'm so proud of myself for asking Jesus for a new clean heart!" Hooray! I'm so excited! Jesus will never leave me!"

I was so thankful God allowed Judd and me to experience this salvation prayer with Sophie. It was a real and eternal decision. Sophie's decision means everything to us. Maybe you understand this, maybe you don't - but it is as (or more) important than the day I gave birth to her. What a gift - knowing Sophie belongs to Jesus - forever!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Last spring Judd and I finally bit the bullet and built a fence for our back yard when our twins, Piper and Riley, started walking. It was quite an undertaking and I told you about that here. A year has passed and we decided to re stain our fence with a richer stain having red toner in it. We bought this exterior oil toner stain from Sherwin Williams.

It took us eleven hours, three gallons of stain, and 6 mini rollers to complete this project. Our hands feel like they are stuck in permanent gripping positions from holding the mini roller brushes that long.

Here is the "before" picture. My primary concern when building the fence was to make sure it didn't turn gray. You can see the natural stain we chose last year did a great job sealing the fence, but I really wanted more red tones.

During...(unfortunately, I did get a little sunburned on my neck -- Aloe Vera plant to the rescue).

Almost finished -- Piper enjoying family time outside.

In the background you can see how gray it would have looked had we not sealed it when we built it. The gray fence is our back fence -- built by the neighborhood developer before we bought our lot and built our home.

It was a lot of work and hopefully we won't have to do this again for several years. We are very happy with the results.