Archive for January, 2011


a daddy production

James promised Ella that he would put together a short movie of her 5th birthday party.  Thanks to Denise for being the videographer!

These memories and the way James puts them together are so sweet!


firm in the faith

We had our family night last night and we focused on how our friends can strengthen or weaken our faith.  The whole family night is written out here.

1 Corinthians 15:33  “Do not be deceived:  Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Being that Rilyn goes to public school, this lesson is especially important to teach and reteach over the years.

Side note:  We want to make sure she knows that she can (and does!) have friends that don’t know Jesus.  We expect her to tell them about Jesus and how much she loves Him and how Jesus loves them.  We invited one of her school friends over on Saturday and Rilyn really wanted to play Bible trivia with her, (I recommend this version for kids 5 and up), and I had to explain to Rilyn that her friend wouldn’t know any of the answers.  Rilyn acted really surprised.  So we knew we needed to talk to her about how not everyone she is friends with will know Jesus.

Whoever we surround ourselves with will impact us either for good or bad.  Satan wants to influence us, not because he loves us like God does, but because he hates God.  We need to be careful of the kind of friends we choose and with whom we spend time.  When our CLOSEST friends also love Jesus, their influence keeps us strong.  When we move away from those friends and their Godly influence, we become spiritually weak.

This is a big prayer of mine for Rilyn.  Her closest friend, Cole, is from a Christian family, and I believe he will grow up strong in the Lord.  That is wonderful news however 1.) he is a boy and 2.) he isn’t in her grade level.  My prayer is that Rilyn would develop a girl best friend who loves Jesus and who she can see on a regular basis because they either go to school together or live in our neighborhood.

Back to the family night!  So we asked the girls if they could think of a time when someone influenced them to do something either good or bad.  What if it was your very best friend who asked you to tell a lie?  It’s not as easy to say no to your best friend.  That’s why it’s so important to have close friends that keep you strong and firm in making good choices.  We talked about things that friends could say that were not encouraging her to “stand firm”.  “I forgot to do my homework, can I copy yours?” And things that friends could say that encourage her to stand firm in her faith. “Let’s say our Bible verse together on the bus.”  (This was Rilyn’s example because her and Cole are bus seat partners and they do help each other memorize their verse on the bus to recite to James the next morning in the car ride to school.)

Now time for a visual!  We mixed corn starch and water.  (I was surprised James had never done this in all his life so he was just as intrigued as the kids were!)

1/4 cup water mixed with 3/4 cup cornstarch
“This is hard to mix!”

Why did we do this?
The mixture will be thick, and when you grab a glob of it and squeeze it tightly in your fist, it is firm. Just like Godly friends are holding you firm in your faith.

choosing things of God keeps you firm

But when you release your grip and just let the mixture sit in your hands, the mixture immediately begins to turn to it’s liquid form and become runny. Just like if we surround ourselves with those who don’t love God we will grow weak in God and our faith.

choosing wrong friends makes me weak

Valentine countdown

I love holidays.  You probably already know this about me!  🙂  I don’t care if people think Hallmark invented Valentines Day just so they could sell cards, I like purposely taking a day aside in the year to remind each other to celebrate love for one another.  I’m always looking for creative ways to celebrate holidays, especially when you can incorporate Jesus!   (Example: the pumpkin gospel at Halloween.)  So for Valentines Day, I was perusing the web, when I stumbled upon this idea!  A Valentine countdown starting on February 1st!  Write 14 Scriptures about love on construction paper hearts and each night at dinner, talk about the verse on the “heart of the day” and then we are going to stick up the hearts around our house as reminders/decoration!  I love crafting, so I already made up these hearts and will surprise the girls with them on February 1st!

our 14 hearts with verses on them

So, in case you too would like to do this, here is the list of 14 Bible verses that would work great with your Valentine countdown!

Psalm 36:5
5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 52:8
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
Proverbs 8:17
17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
Song of Solomon 2:4
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
Jeremiah 31:3
3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Romans 5:8
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 5:2
2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
1 John 3:1
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 4:9-10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


flashback Friday-baby it’s cold outside!

Just looking at these old photos makes me feel warmer! 😉

newborn Ella with her Oma-January 2006
February 2006- Rilyn 20 months, Ella 1 month
December 2005-Rilyn 18 months old
January 2005 Rilyn age 7 months old
Asher December 2008- 8 months old

A lock and key just isn’t enough these days

The girls have a lock and key on their bedroom door because of a certain little brother who loves to get into their room and write with markers all over their comforter and sheets.  But I guess a lock and key just isn’t enough these days to make you feel secure.

Rilyn decided she needed to update her bedroom security system.   She showed it to me the other day and I just have to wonder where she comes up with these ideas?!?

She taped two cards on the door.  These are photo cards she got from Chuck E Cheese earlier this month.  At the restaurant, they have a machine that takes your picture and prints it out on different logo cards.  My girls spent half their time on this machine and came home with a dozen cards!  Rilyn told me they are “security cards” though, and they are to be put in the “slot”.  You can pick either Ella’s card or Rilyn’s card.  The blue piece of paper is a “boys code” and the pink paper is a “girls code”.  (Not sure why the three girls codes are all the same five numbers, and the three boys codes are all the same four numbers!  And if you are a boy, what security card are you supposed to choose?!)  😉  The white paper on the side is the “key pad” where you are supposed to press in your code and put your card in the “slot”.  (The orange paper is Ella’s own attempt at making a girls and boys code.)

The girls’ bedroom security system
Ella’s boys and girls codes.  1810 apparently works for either!

So, I get my “code”, (69587 if I’m using Rilyn’s card, and 1810 if I’m using Ella’s card), and then I “type it” into the keypad and slide my “security card” into the slot and then… I’m in their room!  (Or rather, then I’m “allowed” to turn their door knob to open their door!)  Creative security I tell you!

I stuck the card into the slot! 

I like how the “slot” is in the door hinge so the card actually slides “in”.


God’s perfect timing

Today started out pretty rough.

Being a Saturday, and James not being home all day, meant I was planning on going to Temple to spend the day with my parents and the kids.  Well, Rilyn got an ear infection on Friday and as it turns out, the probiotic she started using (with her antibiotic) made her sick to her stomach and she started vomiting 5 minutes before we were about to drive away this morning.  Blessing for sure, because she got sick three more times, and if I was driving in the car with her, and with the way she was screaming how she was going to die, (she is a little dramatic if you don’t know her), I probably would of had a panic attack on I-35.  But God knows just what I can handle, and I am so thankful we were not in the car!  And so I called my mom to cancel our trip, and sat on the couch with a barfing bowl for Rilyn as I looked out the window at the crappy weather (cold, wet, rainy) and thought about how James was going to be gone ALL day, and it was a Saturday (Saturday for me means James is home to help me with the kids!)  Yes, I was having a major pity party for myself.

Then I remembered that the photographer who took our portraits in December told me she mailed our photo CD on Thursday.  I literally pleaded with God that if it’s His will, I would really love to get that CD in the mail today!!  (Because ya know, photography=happiness in my book and God knows I needed something positive today!)  And so, I opened our mail box, and there it was!!!! I praised God for His perfect timing!  I think I even had tears of joy in my eyes.  And then I spent the afternoon going through the photo CD!  (And Rilyn felt 100% better in the afternoon!  I even felt so good, that I put Asher in underwear for the first time- DURING HIS NAP TIME!  That’s right, I felt so good, that I didn’t care if I had to wash all his sheets if he peed through his new Cars Underoos!  (And he looked sooo cute in them!)  He woke up dry too, so it was another added blessing from God!

I’ve mentioned before on my blog, but the photographer was Jennifer McKinney, or MckMama, as she is known in the blogging world.  She is from Minnesota, and has such a fan following that she is able to travel the States doing photography!  Here is a picture of me and Jennifer in mid-December when she took our portraits.


Okay, here are “a few” of my favorites from the 20 minute shoot at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens!  😉

I’m getting this one on canvas!
Rilyn 6 1/2 years old
A girl without freckles is like a night without stars!
married 9 1/2 years…
Rilyn and Asher, our two look-alikes
I think it’s safe to say Asher will have more than enough kisses in his life!
more kisses!
Asher just being Asher!
gotta love the gap!
Asher looks thrilled

half trained

We started potty training after Christmas because 1.) I knew he was ready and 2.)  I’m tired of diapers.  Well, we are happy to say that in just one short week, I believe he is “half potty trained!”  Yay!  Now I know what I’m in for with the other half…both of the girls took a long time (like 3 months) to finally go poo poo in the potty, but I’m just excited that he took so easily to peeing in the potty!  He was fighting us at first, (we were sitting him down on the potty), but when he discovered standing up and peeing, it was love at first sight!  😉  And, Asher is one lucky boy because BOTH his sisters are really into potty training him as well, and have both created sticker charts for him!  So when Asher goes potty (he hasn’t had one accident in several days), he gets a sticker from Rilyn on her chart she made for him:

Rilyn’s chart

and then a sticker on Ella’s chart, (you might notice that Ella isn’t into straight lines!):

I couldn’t resist a little bum shot!

And finally, he gets a jelly bean from me!  Wow, no wonder he likes to go pee pee in the potty! We have this little jingle we say together after he goes.  “I did it! I did it! I shout to the crowd! Going pee pee in the potty makes me feel proud!!!” And then he pumps his fist in the air like this:

such a big boy!

Twinkle Fairy party

I love planning my kid’s birthday parties!  I grew up with awesome birthday parties every year and it’s just something that I value, and want to do for my kids!  My mom helps me with the planning (and paying!) and it seems like we started thinking about Asher’s birthday party (in April) on the way home from Ella’s party yesterday!  😉

Ella had her birthday party on Saturday afternoon and it was a success!   We had it at The Party Palace in Round Rock.

so excited she can hardly stand it!
checking out her fairy costume, she wanted to look like

Tinker Bell (no surprise there!)

Rilyn and Ella picking out jewelry
Me and my twinkle fairies!
just being cute
Fairies must get their nails done!
Don’t forget the make-up!
Then they had a fashion show and let’s just say Rilyn

knew what she was doing!

Work it girl!
Ella leading the other fairies in a fairy chant.
Then they got sprinkled with fairy dust!  Glitter everywhere!
Time for the tea party!
Blow out your candles!
Ella was dabbing her mouth after every bite of cupcake and sip of ‘tea’.  It was very


This picture cracks me up!  The party host taught the

girls how to hold their pinky up while drinking their tea

and this is Ella’s version.  Wrong hand sweetie!

Her lady like manners soon disappeared after she discovered how hungry she was!
The girls with their crowns on that they made!
Happy 5th Birthday Ella!

my ‘golden’ girl!

Yesterday was Ella’s ‘golden birthday’, meaning the birthday when you turn the same age as your birthdate.  I missed Rilyn’s ‘golden birthday’ but she was only three, so no big deal, right?  (If you know Rilyn, it IS a big deal!)  I had never heard of this though until a couple years ago when my friend told me about it.  So, in honor of Ella turning 5 on the 5th, she had to follow a trail of golden ribbon throughout the house (90 feet of it!) to find her presents!

following the ribbon around the house
upstairs where her presents were found in the gold treasure box!

Before presents, we went to Chuck E Cheese to have her birthday dinner! She got to invite one friend, who not surprisingly, she picked Anna!

Ella, Anna, and Rilyn
Ella with the mouse (she wanted to take a picture with 

his wife, she told him)

Chuck E Cheese did this song and dance with any children who wanted to during the night, and my kids loved it! Afterwards, he threw tickets up in the air for all the kids to grab!

Pure joy from Asher, and airborne Ella!

Now that Rilyn started school back and it is the second semester, she has more homework! Poor thing had to finish up her homework at Chuck E Cheese!

She might be the only child who has ever done homework at Chuck E Cheese! 

I’m such a mean mommy!

BUT, her winning 254 tickets from putting ONE token in one game made up for the homework!

Can you see Rilyn waaaay back there!  The tickets 

just kept on coming!


We are the parents that make our kids save their tickets instead of spending them on cheap crap like a toy spider ring (I also take away their happy meal toys before they can open them. I really hate cheap crap!) 😉 So far, we have 1500 tickets saved up!


five is fun!

My sweet Ella turned five today!  Here is her day (so far) in pictures!

We start each birthday morning with our traditional “wake up the child with a donut and sing happy birthday while video taping and snapping pictures.”

Happy Birthday to you!

I’ve decided that just waking up+trying to blow out candles=bad pictures (but too funny not to post!)

first try
second try
third try- a success!

New tradition we just started. Who doesn’t love to bust through a ‘door’ of crepe paper?

Daddy makes the best birthday cards for his sweeties!

Time to go to the mall to get our annual birthday portraits!

all dressed up!

After the mall, we got home and it was my turn for a photo shoot (to use my new lens I got for Christmas!)

not so sure
birthday girl
stylin’ in her new boots she got for Christmas
birthday princess!

My photography business!

January 2011