Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodbye, Red Sled!

In March, we said goodbye to one of the most generous gifts we’ve ever been given…our big Red Van (a.k.a. the Red Sled). Some very dear friends and families that Jon served as a youth pastor refurbished and gifted this vehicle to us. What a blessing! When the air conditioner completely went out last summer, though, we knew it was only a matter of time…No air plus a toddler (plus a few other problems) means time for a ‘new’ vehicle. We were sad to see it go, and we hope that the lady who bought it from us will enjoy it as much as we did! To those of you who helped give us this gift…we can never thank you enough!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Disney World with Grandma and Grandpa! (2/2)

Here's the second part of the post on our January Disneyworld Trip...

Caroline really loved watching the Playhouse Disney show.

Here we caught Mickey's Share a Dream Come True Parade in the Magic Kingdom.

Ready for Epcot!

Now that’s just cute.

Goofy turned out to be a favorite on this trip! Maybe it’s the resemblance to Daddy...:)

No, this is not in the wrong blog entry. This angry bird, who we nicknamed Willis, tried to steal Jonathan’s beloved Fish and Chips. He gets them in Great Britain every time we are in Epcot. Jon, I mean...not the bird.

What a lovely surprise! We happened upon Belle strolling through a garden in her home country of France. Bonjour, Belle!

We capped off the week with a character dinner at Chef Mickey’s. What a treat it turned out to be! The one on one with the characters was fun, and the food was delicious! We’re talking full out gourmet All-American...but done buffet style. And of course all the yummy Disney dessert you could want.

A little shopping after dinner :)

After a long, fun week, Caroline and Grandpa finally crash out in the lobby of the Contemporary...while we take in the Magic Kingdom fireworks through the huge glass window. What a great trip!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Disney World with Grandma and Grandpa! (1/2)

In January, we headed for Orlando! We thought we would escape the bitter TN winter, and some days we did, but we were hit with temps in the 40’s on a couple of days. Oh well, we still had a blast laughing and avoiding the unexpected crowds together!

We stayed off of Disney property for the first time in about 20 years. Although we missed some of the 'magic', it turned out to be a great experience! We had plenty of room to spread out, etc. And the place had a great Disney theme for Caroline!

Caroline listened to every word Princess Aurora had to say!

Of course, she smiled for Belle...her favorite princess at the time!

Caroline’s one request was to ride the ‘pirate ride’. We really have no idea why or how she got this in her head. It was a tad scary, but she made it through! She would sing “Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate like-a me!” (the words are ‘a pirate’s life for me’).

Riding the teacups is totally great!

She completely crashed during the fireworks :)

What toddler doesn’t love meeting Pooh and friends??!! Caroline was so excited she ran to each to give them a hug. Here is a picture mid-jump...showing Tigger she can bounce like him.

Caroline spots her favorite mouse in Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade!

check out the rest at the next post...


Monday, October 19, 2009

Dyeing Eggs

Caroline’s first experience with dyeing Easter eggs was at her class in Lenoir City. Here she is concentrating very hard on her color choices. Special thank you’s go out to Miss Sharon and Miss Maricel for their incredible patience!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beth’s First Haiti Trip

Ok, people, so I did it! I took the plunge and went to Haiti with Jon in March. This was kind of big for me for a couple of reasons – not the smallest of which was leaving Caroline for several nights for the first time, plus a substantial fear of flying that has developed since I had Caroline. Thank you to all of you who had been praying for us…we had a really great trip…I definitely enjoyed seeing firsthand the people that Jonathan is working to help every day.
We met with so many ministries, I am left wanting to describe them all to you. Instead I will just sum up my overall impression of the country and the people we met there. There are a lot of problems facing Haiti. And I mean, a lot. The issues the country faces are deep rooted in a socio-political climate that does not have an easy fix. BUT…there are people that hold out hope for the future of Haiti. These people are affecting change within their own country. They are working to restore lives and build for tomorrow!!! We are so fortunate to get to spend time with these ‘movers and shakers’. Here are a few highlights…
We were able to have dinner with some staff from Compassion, along with three young adults who have come through the child sponsorship program. One young man who grew up in one of Port au Prince’s most dangerous slums is now studying business at a local university. The young lady in the group is almost done with her schooling to become a nurse. The last young man is an OBGyn in his residency year – these doctors are so in need that this young man already has experience performing twelve to fourteen c-sections a night! They were such a testament to the work of this organization. Here we are with this amazing group of young people.

Here we are with the wonderful staff and community advisors for the WorldVision Acodet project. This group serves hundreds of children in a rural area. They happily showed us some of the amazing things that are happening at their project…such as the integration of a few computers for the children, and a self-sustaining farm that is run by community members who also benefit from the crops and livestock being cultivated there.

By far the coolest thing that we got to do on this trip was visit the child that we sponsor at the Acodet project. Estevenson is the coolest kid! He is fourteen, and a little shy. We got to talk for about thirty minutes. He wanted to know a lot about us…we kept asking him about his interests, etc., but he would turn it around on us and ask us to describe ourselves! He wants to be an engineer when he grows up, and travel all around the world. All in all, it was a moving experience to be welcomed by Estevenson’s family and community. They even chopped down two fresh coconuts for us to drink from. His mother told me, “I pray for you every day.” How humbling is that?

Jonathan and Estevenson…now good friends!

Jon showed Estevenson pictures of Caroline on his iphone.

Drinking the coconut juice with our translator, Paul (who was awesome btw)

We also visited the Belloc community where our friend is trying to get a school and feeding program started. I wanted to be sure and include this photo of us with some of the children at Belloc, since some of you will be helping fund this project soon. These kids are precious! If you are interested in getting them in school and we haven’t talked to you about it yet…let us know by all means! We will hook you up…

As is customary in Haiti : ) , we did get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Between Jonathan and our fantastic driver, we were back on the road before dusk!

And last, and definitely least, is me preparing for what I deemed, ‘the flight of doom’. Our pilot was fantastic and joked with me the whole way; plus I had a wonderful Haitian lady riding beside me (a World Vision disaster relief coordinator)….she talked me through the whole thing.…but I was sooooo happy to get my feet back on the ground! An even crazier thought is that Jonathan flew the plane for about 10 minutes! The World Vision folks kindly kept that information from me until we were landed : )

Well, with all the excitement of the trip, we were exhausted and certainly glad to get home to Caroline, but we wouldn’t trade the experience…it was definitely eye-opening. Of course Jon had seen Haiti many times before, but to see it together…and to meet Estevenson…those are two blessings we never dreamed would happen so soon!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Beach with Friends

In March, we were blessed to take an impromptu trip with the Robinson and Floyd families to Watercolor, FL. The trip could not have been more fun! The weather was perfect, and although the water was freezing (seriously, like, think creek in the Smokies cold), it was so amazingly clear…we just couldn’t resist jumping right in! Caroline had a blast playing with her friends Brianna, Alexandra, Kate, and Anna. She loved building sandcastles and jumping in the waves. It was a blast!
Alexandra shows Caroline how to make a drip castle (with a little help from Daddy and Mr. ‘Yance’)

“B-nana, Axexonda, will you take me to da oshen?”

That water was sooo cold!!

I mean, seriously, look at that crystal clear water!

Thank you so much Robinson family, for inviting us! It was a fantastic trip!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Playdate with Maelyn

One of Caroline’s favorite friends spent the day with us at MiMi and Papoo’s house (yes, Caroline has changed Pappaw to Papoo…we still use the two interchangeably). The girls had fun getting ‘polish’ on their nails and playing in the fireplace… J

Painting WiWi’s nails

Maelyn and her Mommy…so sweet!

That’s right, they are in the (never been used) fireplace…