Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Family Camping Trip

Twice a year everyone on my side of the family goes camping all together. It's always such a blessing to spend this much time together, and I'm always reminded of just how blessed I am to have such an incredible family!

This year we went to Martin Creek Lake State Park in East Texas since our favorite state park is closed for rennovations. Martin Creek was a great substitute! The lake was so pretty; there were beautiful hiking trails; there was a fun playground for the kids; and it was small enough that we just walked everywhere, which I love.

The kids had a blast playing outside together the whole weekend. On Saturday night the power went out in the cabins due to a big, loud, gorgeous rainstorm, so Eli, Cooper, and Jacey (Kelly and Phil and kids had gone home by this point) stayed up until 11pm running and playing in the cabins by lantern light. It was really memorable and fun, once we got over the hassle of having no electricity! :) (It came back on around midnight.)

It was a fantastic weekend of hiking, swimming (in October!), playing games, fishing, feeding ducks, and just being together outdoors. We are so thankful!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Fest

On Saturday the city had a "Pumpkin Fest" at the lake right down the road from us. They had a bunch of booths with games for the kids, candy, balloons, etc. Eli's favorite parts were the "choo-choo" that went around the lake and the pony rides. There was also a group there with a bunch of turtles, lizards, and ENORMOUS snakes. Eli, who adores all animals without partiality, was enamored with the snakes. I couldn't even bring myself to touch them, but Eli kissed each one of them and was really sad when we had to walk away. I fear the day when he asks me for a pet snake! :) Anyway, here are a few pictures...

Eric, Eli, Timothy, and Phil on the train ride. The younger boys are cooperating for the picture far better than the older boys. :)

Eli on the pony ride:

Inspecting a turtle with Pop-Pop:

It was a really fun, fall-y afternoon!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We went with Sarah and the boys to the Arboretum's pumpkin patch on Wednesday. I love it there, and we had a good time letting the boys run around and play. Here are a few pictures:

And, for comparison's sake, here's Eli at the same pumpkin patch last year:

And the year before:

I can't believe how much my tiny baby has grown! I'm going to keep trying for the same pumpkin patch picture every year, to see how he changes every year. He'll love it when he's 15! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cooper Lake

Last weekend the three of us headed to Cooper Lake to camp. We had such a fun, relaxing time. The weather was perfect, and I don't think we could have been happier to be outside, away from everything, enjoying being together.

On Saturday afternoon we found a great little fishing spot, and Eric and Eli fished for hours while I sat under a tree and read. It was one of those "freeze time" moments- perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, listening to Eric and Eli talk and laugh and reel in fish, reading a great book... perfection!

It was a fantastic weekend all around. Some pictures...

Fishing with Daddy:

Super excited about roasting hot dogs:

Eli caught and reeled this one in on his own!

Swinging at the playground:

We love a good s'more!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Times are Good

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14

I think that as a believer aware of the "in this world you will have trouble" promise of Jesus, I have tended in the past to gloss over the truly good gifts the Lord gives to me because I am fearful of the "trouble" that inevitably lies ahead. I am a worrier by [sinful] nature, and I have spent much of my life worrying about what may or may not happen in the future. I have long realized this sin in my life and have had lessons to this end beaten into my hard head by the Lord more times than I can count. And while there may be hundreds of "more spiritual" reasons why we as believers shouldn't worry, I am realizing now more than ever that worry robs joy from otherwise beautiful, happy moments. And this is reason enough for me to try my darndest to live in the moment, free from worry.

Because, for as much trouble as is in the world as a result of sin, there are still abundant gifts from our good, creative, loving God. And He wants us to fully enjoy them, unhindered by anxious thoughts.

I love the above verse from Ecclesiastes; I find it to be infinitely wise in its simplicity. Are times good? Then be happy! Enjoy the goodness! Revel in the beauty and life that surrounds you! And when times are difficult, remember the God who makes one day as well as the other, the God who is always the same regardless of circumstances.

Saturday was a day to revel in. The fall weather called us outside, and we had one of those days that was just perfect in its simple beauty.

We began the day with our "long runs" of the week, Eric with his ipod, me with my dear friend Sarah. It was the first cool-weather run we've had in a very long time, and 5 miles is much easier in 60 degrees than 90! :)

After that we headed to a cute little cafe close by that recently opened. They had a bounce house set up, surprisingly, and Eli and Eric put it to good use. They both had a blast. (Forgive the poor picture quality- the only camera I had with me was my phone!)

Then it was off to the feed store to by a bale of hay to help decorate our front porch for fall. They have ponies there for the kids, and Eli, who adores all animals, was super excited for his pony ride.

From there we went to the book store, where we leisurely browsed the aisles- my favorite thing in the world.

And then it was on to buy pumpkins and mums to complete our outdoor festive decorations.

In the afternoon we baked cookies, played outside, and went to the park with the whole family, and then we topped it off with a family dinner once the tired, happy kiddos were put to bed.

The day was all things good. A time to rejoice in, to thank God for. And we were supremely happy.