Sunday, March 25, 2012

Back to Busy

Now that spring break is over, we are back to being busy! We ended spring break on a very exciting note- Cami learned how to ride her bike without her training wheels. Elia was actually the one who taught her!

It was so bittersweet because she is the last of the kids in the cove to take off her training wheels. Carol and I were just talking about how it feels like yesterday when we were sitting in the cove saying "There will come a day when all the kids will be walking on their own." Now they are all walking, running, and riding bikes. After the excitement died down, I got tears in my eyes thinking about how fast they really do grow up. We are now saying "There will come a day when they will all be driving out of the cove in cars." Of course, we will blink and I will be blogging about that bittersweet day.

Once Monday came, we all hit the ground running. We stayed busy with homework and playing outside in the beautiful weather we had all week.

Thursday night brought Ava's 1st grade Dr. Seuss program. It was really cute and our favorite song was "Green Eggs and Ham". It was adorable and the kids lit up when they sang it.

Friday night brought Abigail's birthday party. She was having an American Girl party so Elia and Ava got their dolls ready and headed on over to the party.

It worked out great because Kevin and I signed up for the Love and Respect Marriage conference at church. The girls were able to enjoy the party and we had free babysitting. The conference was also Saturday morning so Grammy and Papa came over to keep the girls for us.

The conference was wonderful and every couple should make a point to go next time one is on our area. Here are some key points from the marriage conference:

* A husband must love his wife and a wife must respect her husband.
* Just as when a husband feels disrespected, it's natural for him to be unloving, so too when a wife feels unloved, it's natural for her to be disrespectful. (It can be a never ending cycle.)
* Love empowers a husband to energize his wife!
* Respect empowers a wife to energize her husband.

Husbands can remember the acronym COUPLE to help them remember ways to show love to their wives.

C= CLOSENESS- Face to face closeness motivates her respect.
O=OPENNESS- Your openness feels loving to her and motivates her respect.
U= UNDERSTANDING- Your understanding and empathy motivate her respect because you flood her soul with your love.
P= PEACEMAKING- Watch what happens when you genuinely say "I am sorry. Will you forgive me?"
L=LOYALTY- Let her know your loyalty to her-that you are committed to her to the death.
E= ESTEEM- Honor and esteem her and watch the energy flood into her soul. She will have a new motivation to respond to you respectfully.

Wives can remember the acronym CHAIRS to help them remember ways to show respect to their husbands.

C= CONQUEST- Appreciate his desire to work and achieve. Your respect will motivate him to respond to you more lovingly.
H= HIERARCHY- Appreciate his desire to protect, provide, and die. Express your high regard for his desire to provide for you, and his willingness to die for you. Respect his God-given sense of responsibility and you will motivate his love!
A= AUTHORITY- Appreciate his desire to be strong, to love, and make decisions. Though he is imperfect, let him know that you value his desire to be strong for you, to lead you and serve you, and to make good decisions for you. He will soften and be more loving.
I= INSIGHT- Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
R= RELATIONSHIP- Appreciate his desire for a shoulder to shoulder friendship.
S= Sexuality- Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

I wish I could summarize and share the entire 9 hour conference. However, these are the key points. They may sound simple, but they also sounded pretty powerful to me. Kevin and I have been married for 17 years this summer! I can't wait to see what God has in store for our marriage over the next 17 years and all the years after that!

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Spring Break Fun

We have been so busy over spring break so we planned on taking it easy yesterday. However, once my kids got wind that the other kids in the cove were going to the Shelby Farms park, I gave in and decided to go. After all, it was a beautiful day and it was spring break so off we went! The kids had so much fun playing at the park.

After the park, we had to cool off with ice cream at Yogurt Mountain.

Then we played outside in the cove until it got dark. The kids played so good together. They all played a game of softball. We love our cove!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break at the Zoo

It has been exactly one year since we went to the zoo with Kellie, Allie, and Caleb. Here is a picture of the kiddos last year at spring break.

Here is a picture of the kiddos this year. It is amazing how much they have all grown in just one year!!

We went early because we knew it would be crowded. As much as I hated having to set the alarm on spring break, I am so glad I did to beat the crowds! Here are some pictures of Allie, Caleb, Elia, and Ava in the dinosaur exhibit!

I love these pictures of two monkeys looking at two monkeys. HA!

All of the animals were very active and playful today especially the bears.

The kids got to ride a camel!!

Then we hit the train ride!

We had a ton of fun! We will have to make this a yearly tradition with KK and the kids!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gatlinburg Trip

It has been 12 years since Kevin and I took a trip with just the two of us! If you think about it, that means we have NEVER taken a trip alone since before the girls came home! We decided to start our spring break with a trip to Gatlinburg.

On our way there, we drove through Knoxville where we lived the first year we were married. We decided to swing by our old apartments where we paid only $425 a month. I loved that apartment and everything about it. Maybe it is because that was the first place we lived as a married couple but it was a pretty special place for us!

Here is the hill we drove up many times to get to our apartments.

Our apartments were called Crestridge, and they were at the very top of the hill.

Our apartment was the one in the very middle.

We drove past Thompson-Boling Arena and we took a picture of it to show Elia where she will play basketball one day. :O)

Once we got to Pigeon Forge, we found our condo. Kevin's parents let us stay for free in their time share condo for two nights. They were already booked the 3rd night so we made reservations at a different condo for the last night.

Saturday night, after we found our condo, we made a trip to Kroger and got chips, dips, and a Redbox movie, Footloose. We went back to the condo and enjoyed watching the movie in peace.

We slept in Sunday morning and went shopping at the outlet mall. Kevin was a trooper and hung in the entire day without one complaint! I did take this picture of me with a Justin Beiber cut out and emailed it to the girls. They flipped out at first when they thought he was real.

We were craving pancakes Sunday night so we drove around Pigeon Forge looking for a pancake place to eat dinner. There are pancake places on every corner but none that were open for dinner. We found our way to Cracker Barrel where we finally found some pancakes. Then we went back to the condo and played Word Scramble against each other for the rest of the night.

We woke up Monday morning and checked out. Then we drove to Gatlinburg. We started the day at Ober where we took a tram up the mountain. Here we are waiting to board the tram.

Once we got to the top of the mountain, we took the chair lift even further up the mountain. It had to be 30 degrees up there with at least 30 mph winds. It was SOOOO cold!

Here we are going up the ski lift.

This was the view from the very top of the mountain. I did not want to stay up there for long because I couldn't bear the cold.

Here we are going down the ski lift, and a picture of me looking like a goober with my hood on because it was freezing.

Once we got down from the ski lift, we rode halfway back up so we could ride the Alpine Slide back down again. That was a lot of fun!

After our visit to Ober, we ate lunch at the Mellow Mushroom where I enjoyed a vegetarian pizza.

After lunch we went to Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Here I am rubbing the Buddha's belly for good luck.

I stood next to the statue of the tallest man ever.

Here is Kevin next to the tallest man.

Here is a picture of me sitting in a really big chair (not sure what the record is here).

Once we finished the museum, we went to the Mirror of Mazes. If you get freaked out in closed in spaces, this was not the place for you.

Here is a picture of Kevin as well as his reflection. It would look like another person down a long hall but it was really just your own reflection. I made sure I held on to Kevin the entire time we were in there. I was not about to get lost!

Then we headed to the Aquarium which I highly recommend to anyone going to Gatlinburg. It was amazing!

Here are some beautiful jellyfish we got to see.

We went through a shark tunnel where shark and fish were swimming over our heads. Pretty amazing!

Here is me being silly in the kid area.

More jellyfish:

Here are the stingrays which Kevin stayed away from. LOL!

And we got to see the penguins.

Once we left the Aqaurium, we headed to our condo to rest up and continue shopping some more. When we got there, we realized the cleaning person had not come from the people who stayed there before us. We called the owner and he told us he had a place at the Christmas Inn. We took our chances and drove to that hotel. Now I love Christmas but not in March! The hotel was covered in Christmas decorations, trees, and music. Santa even comes for a visit with cookies. Anyway, we went to our room to discover it was an obvious downgrade from the condo we were supposed to stay in. Since it was already 5:00 and Kevin was about to fall out from all the Nyquil he took for his cold, we decided to head back a night early. I was so disappointed but at least we saved money since the condo owner was going to charge us the same price for this downgrade! We made a promise to ourselves not to wait another 12 years to do something like this again! It was too much fun being with each other!!!