Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Big Getaway

It has been way too long since Jason and I have gotten away. Since Mollie Jane was a baby. We have just had our share of business these last three years (and that is an understatement). God is so good and literally orchestrated every detail to allow Jason and I to get away for seven days to the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana). It was a last minute find and great deal. Our dear friends in Monett took Mollie Jane for a week. Our sweet babysitter from Camp Barnabas, Bre, took Smith for a week and Jackson for three nights. Paul and Cyndy came to the rescue and took Jackson for four days. Then of course my giving friend Natalie with her crazy schedule took Smith and Jackson for a short weekend. Just that all these people were so willing to help us out and truly love on our kids was a miracle in and of itself. The kids loved their sabbaticals and all did great.
As for Jason and I, can't write too many details (HAHAHA). No we had an amazing time. We slept a ton. I read five books. We ate our way around the resort. We swam and had endless drinks in the swim up bar at the pool. The food was wonderful and I really loved being at an all inclusive resort. I got to run and we got extremely tan. We had an amazing ocean view room. The beach was absolutely beautiful with sand that was like sugar. It was one of those lovely vacations where you just really recharge and rest. We sure needed it after last year and a hectic summer. If it weren't for my kids I might not have come home!
Jason and I had some great talks and I do feel like we did some good goal setting for this next year to help us figure out how we can simplify our life more instead of making it more complicated. Once again, God is soo good. Jason and I have always cherished traveling with each other. I want my kids to understand how important it is for married people to do that. To take time away from the chaos and just focus on each other. It is so complicated trying to do that sometimes but always so worth it. In our case, the craziness of getting everything and everybody ready to go away for a week was definitely worth it. Love you J!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jackson's Baseball

Jackson really rocked at baseball this season. We did spring session, summer session and late summer session with a big tournament in July! Lots of practices and many games but Jackson absolutely loved it! He was a great hitter with several games of hitting doubles and triples. He played catcher frequently too. We had the most amazing coach, Coach Max. It was our second year to be on the "Bears" and although we will enjoy our off season, Jackson is ready for spring ball again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My crazy Triatholon

So I had this crazy idea that I really wanted to do a Sprint triatholon. So I signed up and forced myself to do it. Training was really not enjoyable out in Purdy due to the crazy hot blacktop, major hills, country hills and waterslides in the pool. But never the less, I was able to train and finish my first triatholon. Our sweet babysitter from June term at Barnabas commited to doing it with me. How thankful I was to have a pal to do it with. Friday I drove back 12 hours by myself with my three kids from Austin, Texas. We unfortunately got to Purdy at about 10:30 and by the time I unloaded the car and all the bodies and got my bike loaded in my car with everything else I would need for the race it was pretty late. The race was on a Saturday morning. Check in there was at 6:15 and the race started at 7. It sure is a lot to ask for someone who is not a morning person. My time was 1:44. I don't think that is particularly stellar but I was proud to have completed it. My swim was great, my bike ride was difficult but I never got off my bike, and my run was great and I was able to run the whole time without walking. Afterwards, I cheered Sarah on and she ended up placing third for her age division. I was so proud of her. All in all I felt great and then headed to my office to work after that. It was a crazy day. Let's just say that Saturday night I slept pretty good. I think I would like to do it again next year so Sarah Moll better be up for the challange as well because everything is way more fun if Sarah Moll is involved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Fun and Fast Trip to San Antonio and Austin!

My parents came up to Barnabas for a visit. It was my Dad's first time to see campers at Barnabas. He celebrated his birthday there and got subjected to the full birthday rap complete with 64 kisses. We went on a float trip and my Dad was frequently found on our back deck with his book. My Mom and Dad took Mollie Jane and Smith back to Texas with them for several days. Jackson and I then drove down to spend about four days. I got to see my sister's new house in the Circle C area of Austin. It was precious. She has done an amazing job on a tight budget to make it look grand. Jackson loved playing with my niece Harper and Harper in turn really enjoyed the chaos of her cousins. We all went to Harper's Little Gym class and had a blast. Jackson still talks about it. I got to slip away and spend some time with my TCU friend Mandy who was due the day I visited with her. Unlike myself, you never would have known she was so far along. She looked great and ended up having her sweet baby Elle the day after I got home. So I guess I'll have to wait and meet Elle at Thanksgiving. We had lunch with my other dear TCU friend Christy. We then went on to San Antonio where we ran errands, swam, ate, and I annoyingly continued to train for my triathlon. I go to be there for my Mom's birthday and the whole family (minus our husbands) went out for a yummy (but random) Asian birthday dinner for Mammy. My precious friend Christy then drove down with her three kids from San Antonio to have dinner with us and hang. It was heaven spending time with Christy and her family. I got to meet sweet baby John who she had in April. She makes three look too easy. The kids and I then drove back to Austin the next day and did dinner with my sister. We sadly left on Friday to head back to Purdy for a trip that was way to quick but well worth the 13 hour drive there and back (even if it was a little nuts).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life at Barnabas with Campers

I feel like this summer we have been with a camp full of super excited three year olds who were trapped in adult and teenage bodies. They are so fun and hilarious. It seems the typical mental age of our campers is anywhere from 3-13 but usually around a 6 year old mental age. Our typical camp schedule (on the days I am not working or running to Springfield) is that we have breakfast every morning with the campers at 8:30.
We usually hang out, work around the house, or walk around camp doing some of the camper activities until lunch about 12:30. We have lunch at 12:30 and then hit the pool. Add a couple of body rests in there for MJ and Smith. Clean up and do dinner at 6:30 and then every night at Camp Barnabas there is a party. After dinner we do the party and wrap-up (which is like praise and worship singing
and a short message).
I have to admit I had a favorite camper first session and really all summer camper. His name was Eddie and we were buds. Eddie was pretty dramatic and for whatever reason responded well to me. So often times his counselor and cabin staff would come find me when Eddie was being unreasonable or having a fit and I could usually calm him down. He was so much fun and it was so fun to make a
connection with him.
Another precious camper who had severe Autism and had major touch issues became intrigued by Baby Smith. She was just all about him and even touched Smith on the head multiple times, stroking him and then out of the blue reached down and kissed him.
Jackson had a favorite camper Preston who adored him. He signed a lot and spoke some. He wanted Jackson to do everything with him and for him. Jackson of course responded to him in such a caring, serving way. It was amazing. They were truly buddies. Jackson also fell in love with my babysitter's (Miss Bre) brother Blake. Jackson loved Blake.
During an Autism week, one cabin of girls fell in love with Mollie Jane and came over during the meal and asked if she could stay in their cabin. Since Mollie Jane was three, we opted to just do morning activities with that cabin. The counselors said she was precious and the autistic girls responded so well to Mollie Jane. She really calmed them.
Jason of course had several campers that fell in love with him. It seems like all of them responded so well to Jason and his golf cart.
All the campers loved to sing and dance. We had so much fun every week. It is so great to see all these special needs kids have the same camp type of experience that I had but in such a unique and different way. I guess it didn't really occur to me that my kids would form relationships with these campers. That was just "icing on the cake"! They were all so different and unique and touched our hearts in different ways. We are all still talking about our camper friends and so hoping they come back next year.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Our Visitors!

Purdy is a long way away from anywhere and everywhere! To think we had several people that came such a long way to see our family makes me almost want to cry. It was so great to have visitors!
Our dear friends the Kilbournes came out and we had a blast. It was a quick two days but the highlight was probably all the time spent at the barn with the horses and animals and the pool and water slides. Madie, Jenna, Natalie and our family had many laughs!
Jason's parents came for a night and had a lovely dining hall dinner with us and then were able to go on a float trip with the kids and Jason (unfortunately I had to work). They then took us to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Monett LeiLei's. It was a quick thirty six hours or so but the kids were super pumped to see them.
Next my lifelong best friend Stacy (who is also Jackson's godmother) drove all the way from Dallas (yes Dallas) to visit us in Purdy. She was amazing and was the cutest Texan Purdy has ever seen for sure. We watched opening day camper arrival, had some fun meals, got to go to Springfield to see our house and a fun lunch, and had a fabulous float trip. Stacy has always had the most generous heart and just loves my kids so much. Mollie Jane just fell in love with her as they both slept in the "owl beds." Jackson now refers to her as "Mama Stacy" probably because he knows she adores him just about as much as I do. Really, I couldn't ask for a sweeter friend.
Then "our Blair" came from Kansas City and she literally took time off her job to come see our family. It was heaven. We got to do two float trips, many lovely dining hall meals, and many late night talks. Blair's parents Larry and Sherry, who are literally like grandparents to my kids also came out for a meal and float trip while Blair was there. We had so much fun. The thing we love about Blair is that she literally is like a member of our family. I swear my kids think we are related.
Then our sweet friends the Vance's came up from Springfield with their three children (which is no small feat). They spent the afternoon and evening. It was very quick but I loved every minute of it. We went on a float trip, had a picnic dinner on the front lawn, and let the kids get some good play time and the parents some good talk time. Having them there did make me a little homesick for Springfield, I must admit. It was just great having visitors in Purdy this summer. I tell people that being at Camp Barnabas gave me the same feeling that I had growing up going to Kanakuk for a month. I would go there and have this wonderful experience and meet these amazing people and then come home to my "normal life" but no one in my "normal life" never really knew what it was like to be at Kanakuk, what it looked like, or who all those special people that I met were. So I am so thankful for all our summer visitors cauz know I feel like they really understand Camp Barnabas and how it is such a fun big part of my life now! So if you didn't make it out this summer you are missing out and really need to come next year! We love visitors!