Monday, April 25, 2011

The Oasis

We went to The Oasis last summer when Regan was at camp, and she has never let us forget about it. She bugged us all the time to take her there. When I saw a Groupon for The Oasis, I snapped it up so we could finally take her. Then it was about to expire, and David had the day off, we thought it would be a good idea to go for lunch.

It started out nice and cloudy so it wasn't too hot, but it got hot while we were eating. She did like it, and wanted her picture taken with every single sculpture they had out there! We did need a bit of attitude adjustment with both kids when we got there, they thought we were going to Sea World or Six Flags or something, so were a little perturbed to just be going "to lunch." But, they got over it and we ended up having a nice lunch, even though it's been super windy.

Then we went to Zookeeper's to get food for Drake. It's so gross, they're called "pinkies" and only .95 cents each, and little tiny hairless dead mice babies. And they just grab them with their bare hands. Not a job for me, that's for sure. But they had some prairie dogs in and the kids got to hold and pet one, and they are the cutest things EVER! I tell you, if they weren't $135 bucks and probably require so much work, I wouldn't mind one myself. They are adorable!! Good thing David was there to keep me grounded.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

On Saturday, we spent the morning at home, relaxing, watching movies, sleeping in. Then we headed to church to serve at the 3:00 and 5:00 services. I got to co-ordinate the 2nd-5th grade class, so I got to take the kids out to the helicopter and watch the candy drop. It's so much fun! The kids have a blast. And thankfully, I had dinner in the crock pot for when we got home, cause we were worn out and ready to eat and go to bed!

Then we were back at church bright and early and served for the first two services today, then came home to tuna sandwiches, deviled eggs and a nap! It's been a pretty boring Easter. The "Easter Bunny" made a mistake and brought Regan the same stuffed animal he brought last year. I was hoping she wouldn't notice, but sure enough, first thing, "Hey! This is the same one he brought me last year, are you SURE the Easter Bunny is real?!" I think the jig is almost up!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Begins...

Easter is HUGE at our church. We love it! But because we have so many people, David and I serve A LOT over holidays, which I don't mind at all, but it makes the logistics of family get togethers a little difficult. But, this year, it was gonna be pretty low key anyway, so David and I decided to attend the first Easter service at church, on Friday evening, and then serve the rest. Or most of the rest.

Which is how we ended up at the Domain at 11pm on Friday night! We went to church, brought a slew of neighborhood kids with us for the helicopter candy drop, and then brought them all home, and then headed out to eat. We had a coupon for Maggiano's, which was a little fancier than our kids were used to, but I think they really liked it. They got ice water in their "wine" glasses that were on the table, and they thought that was the coolest. They would take a sip, then clink glasses and say "cheers" and take another sip. I think they drank more water in that dinner than they do in a whole day! Have to get some wine glasses for the house!

Then they wanted to walk around the Domain. It was a nice night, so we took our time walking around, it's a new section so we hadn't been there before, and they had things for kids to play on along the way. One section was a little sunken area to kick a ball around, there was a giant turtle to climb, and then the favorite, the dancing water fountains.

The kids LOVED it. It's the simple things really. David at first was saying don't get wet cause he didn't want wet kids in his car, but I loosened him up before we left, and we went home with two soaking wet, very happy kids! Riley said this was the best night ever. All over a little water fountain! It was so cute to see them playing well together, dodging the water, and missing, and hearing them laugh about each other getting shot in the face with a stream of water. It was a nice, relaxing evening, to gear us up for our busy weekend to come!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Servolution continues with Caritas, the soup kitchen! I had always wanted to work in a soup kitchen, and David had the day off, so I left him home to get the kids to piano lessons, and I spent the morning at Caritas. First, it was one of the hardest days of my life! But, it was very rewarding. I got there around 9am, got my hairnet on, no looking nice in the kitchen! And proceeded to make 420 ham sandwiches. Then about 10 peanut butter and jelly for the (rare?) homeless vegetarian.

There were trays of lasagna already made, but our team chopped bell pepper, onion, garlic and cabbage for the ginormous pot of soup. Then we chopped a ton of tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots for the huge containers of salad. Then we set up our line, starting off with their choice of soup or lasagna, then I added a dessert (these are donated by grocery stores, there were sheet cakes, cheesecakes, brownies, anything that was about to expire) and I was also the "sporker" (I put a spork on each tray) and then each person got a ham sandwich, a portion of fruit salad, green salad, and a cup for juice or water.

From 11am till 12:30, we did not stop, it was constant scooping/slicing/sporking. After all was said and done, we fed over 330 people. We went out to the dining room to clean up, and there were some stragglers at the door, so we brought out leftovers to them also. And helped them bag some stuff up to take with them.

Then it was clean up time, and we left at 1, exhausted, sore in places I didn't know I had. But so many people stopped to thank us for taking the time to go down there and serve them, so it was all worth it. I am so glad I went, and it's hard to believe that someone does that every single day. Ms. Vera was in charge, and that woman runs a tight ship. Every once in a while we would hear her yell, "MORE FRUIT!" or "LESS LASAGNA!" She is IN control of that kitchen!

Here's one of the giant bowls of salad we served:

Here's the line, ham sandwich, fruit, salad:

And this was my section, spork and dessert.

Those ham sandwiches looked good. That's my favorite leftover after Thanksgiving, a ham sandwich on soft white bread. Yum. Even after 420 of them, they looked good!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Serving the Police Department

Today's Serve Project is the City of Round Rock. We set up, cooked, and fed over 120 police, Firemen, SWAT, EMT and Animal Control officers today! We had grilled ribs, chicken, sausage, burgers, potato salad, chips and water. Riley was on potato salad scooping detail and Regan got to hand out bottles of ice cold water (thus the need to double up on the gloves).

They were SO appreciative. The assistant police chief goes to our church, as well as the fire chief, so I think they really enjoyed having their home church out there serving in such a big way. And it was nice to thank the ones who do so much for our community.

And as a thank you to US, the firemen gave the kids a tour of the truck, letting them sit on the seat, wear the headset, they showed them their tools, even the jaws of life, explaining how they all worked. The kids loved that part!

And here's a picture of Regan mad at me because I wouldn't let her have another piece of chicken :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Girl Scouts Easter

We had Regan's Girl Scout Easter party and what a mess! They all got 3 cascarones to bust open on someone, so they were all covered in confetti! It was fun though, and we got a good group shot. We never seem to have ALL the girls at one time, and sure enough, we're still one girl short in this picture! One day we'll get them all together.

Serving at the Lodge

We spent this morning serving at an Alzheimer's Assisted Living center in Georgetown. First, it was much nicer than I was expecting. It looked like a home, a large home, with each person's room like a suite. We started off in the activity center and the kids played some games with the people, Riley played Yahtzee most of the morning with a group, and Regan did some arts and crafts and some puzzles with a couple of little ladies.

I went down the hall and met some of the residents who were still in their rooms. I met the cutest little man named Jim, he talked my ear off! He was so sweet, and a real lady-killer. He was a big time flirt and just cracked me up. I couldn't figure out why he was there until he asked Regan what her name was for about the 3rd time. And each time we said, "Regan" he would say, "Oh! Like Ronald Reagan?! Great guy, great guy." When Riley met him, he told Riley he was in the Air Force too (which is Riley's current obsession) and he told him about how he traveled the world and lived in China and India flying for the Air Force. He was the nicest man!

Then we visited a little man named Jim. Turns out Jim was 100 years old! The kids got a huge kick out of that. He was resting but he wanted to visit for a bit. I think at 100 years old, he deserved a rest! He had the world's largest harmonica next to him, so he played us a little song (Shoe Fly Shoe or whatever the name is) and the kids loved it.

Then we went back to the activity center, I looked at a photo album of a man named Bud who didn't recognize the pictures in his album, of his family and his dog, and he was getting agitated trying to remember who everyone was. We just spent time talking, and walking and just loving on these little precious people.

I think Riley was kind of freaked out at the beginning by some of them crying out, but it didn't seem to bother Regan, she loved talking to them, and was certainly loud enough for them to hear her! Riley on the other hand, had to repeat himself a lot. But they told me they really enjoyed going and want to go back to visit our new friends.

I did take a few pictures, but can't post them due to HIPPA laws or something, but this was one of our favorite serve projects so far! I do think we will have to go back soon.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


It's my favorite time of year again! Servolution!! Our church organizes a ton of community service projects over the span of 2 weeks, and we all jump in and get our hands dirty. Today was the big kick off, with a rally with Pastor Joe and Jonathan Bowles kicking it off right. Then the Kids team headed back down to Adopt A Block and had a great time with the kids again. This time, I brought Riley with me and shattered his little wide-eyed innocence!

First we handed out juices and bags of chips and ice cream or popsicles. We brought a lot of stuff to leave for Ms. Maggie to have at her apartment, since she has kids coming to her for food all the time, we brought her a good stash to have on hand for that. She makes $10 a month in food stamps, and still manages to try to keep these kids fed.

Then we had a rousing game of kickball, then football, then kickball again, and the girls would hula hoop and play frisbee, and there was a long line of little girls getting their nails painted!

Then we all grabbed some trash bags and hit the complex picking up trash. It was at this point, Riley and I were over by the entrance to the complex, he found a cute puppy that he was petting, and this SUV rolls up, you could feel it, then hear it, then see it. The driver looks at me and says "Hey, Baby!" I just assumed he was talking to someone else and kept picking up trash, but Riley was starting to panic, "!" The driver had something in his hand, hanging out the window, passed by another car going real slow in the opposite direction, barely stopped, and then kept driving, turning right by us, hand still out the window, this time holding a wad of cash. Riley was like, real loud, "WHY IS HE HOLDING MONEY OUT OF HIS WINDOW?!" Anyway, we continued with our trash pick up and I explained a few things on the way home.

I was glad he went, he had a good time and I think he learned to appreciate the things he has. He told me he felt very sad for those kids and he wants to go back and help some more. I'm glad he's learning to serve at a young age. I took a ton of pictures again, but I'm only posting the ones I really liked. I can't wait to continue to Servolute this week!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Camp Texlake

Camp Texlake

We went to Camp Texlake for our service unit camp out. The girls were so excited and we had planned long and hard for this trip. This one, we had to plan, bring and cook all our own meals, use a mess kit and wash and hang it up after each meal. So, it was a stressful trip for us adults.

We loaded up the vehicles and headed out on Friday afternoon, stopped at Angel's for a burger along the way (to avoid Friday night's dinner dishes!) and then got checked in and went for songs and swaps at the singing trees. Then it was shower time and bunk time, which surprisingly was easier than I expected. We had a long hallway with 6 rooms, each with 4 beds, so I think that helped, having 3 girls and one adult in each room, cut out the flashlights, trips to the bathroom and general giggling that these 8 and 9 year olds are prone to.

Then first thing Saturday morning was a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs and biscuits cooked in the box oven over charcoal. Worked well, if a little slow at first. The girls were running late to their first event, kayaking, so Krista and I stayed behind to wash up and get lunch organized.

We met up with them at the screen printing, they all got to print a clown design on a canvas bag and do some crafts. Then we headed back to the bunks for lunch, grilled hot dogs and fruit, and pudding with dirt and worms!

Then it was balloon animals, which was very frustrating for the girls, they must have been cheap balloons or something because they just kept popping right when they got close to being done with their shape. Regan was getting to the end of her rope and was NOT having a good day at that point! It was so hot already and every activity was at the opposite end of the camp!

Then it was fishing time. We were excited about it, but dreading the walk all the same. But, we got down to the dock, the grown ups stuck our feet in the coooold water and it felt SO good!! I was surprised but our troop caught something like 17 or 18 fish among the girls. Regan caught 2 herself! She would have made her Papa Leo proud! She was so happy when she reeled those babies in. We released them all, but they really enjoyed it.

Then, it was back to camp for dinner time, we had the girls make their own pizzas on English muffins with sauce, and an assortment of toppings, and then cooked them in the box oven. Dessert was a banana boat, a foil packet with half a banana, topped with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Then we had a talent show, complete with a clown from the Shriner's Circus, who was pretty good!

Then it was showers and bedtime again and then in the morning we packed up and went to the closing flag ceremony, loaded our vehicles and then got to work cleaning the bunks. Each girl got a job and they did pretty well. We got home so tired, dirty and exhausted! But, they had a good time, and I realized I really am getting to old for this camp business. The things we do for our kids!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kenzie's Baby Shower

It's getting close!! We had Kenzie's baby shower at her new house with her roommate, Fonda. It was a really nice day. We had a lot of old friends show up (not OLD friends, just friends we hadn't seen in a while!) and it was a lot of fun. I got the cutest cake from a friend of one of my Girl Scout mom's and it was delish. Tammy made a cute diaper cake with the jungle theme too. And we played a few low key games, I'm not one for shower games, but these weren't bad. One game, you have a huge bowl full of baby socks and you have 30 seconds to make as many matches as you can. It was fun. Regan was my little "helper" and boy did she! Afterward, we sat around and talked for several hours, and then Tammy and I dropped Regan off at home and went for a pedicure and dinner! And Kenzie got a good haul, I think she's pretty set, and now we just sit back and wait for Elijah to make his appearance.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vio, Estera, and Dani!

One of the highlights from my trip to Romania, was meeting Vio and Estera and their son Dani. This is an amazing couple. I absolutely love the Kids Church where I serve at church, it's a lot of fun, the kids learn a lot about Jesus, but we are so blessed that we have a building, and the kids come TO US. Vio and Estera make kids church happen in Romania, by bringing the church TO THE KIDS. They travel to different villages, sometimes hitch-hiking so they can split up and reach more. The villages, I can tell you from experience, are not that close, the roads are horrible, gas is over $8.00 a gallon, and they usually have a lot of car repairs on a very regular basis because of the road conditions. But they pack up their crafts and lessons every day and head out to teach the kids about Jesus.

On top of all that, they run a camp in the mountains of Romania. It costs about $70 to send a kid to camp for a week. They have no commercial dishwasher so they have to wash each cup, plate and fork by hand, for every meal. They reach hundreds of kids every summer at camp, but they could reach more if they could afford more.

Anyway, they came here on vacation, so it was nice to get to spend some time with them away from the camp. I know they needed the time to relax and regroup, this was their first vacation in 3 years! And it was a miracle that they got a visa for Dani since they are in the process of adopting him. Anyway, we had some good times with them at our friend Scott's house. Dani doesn't speak English, but he really loved Riley, Regan too, but Dani and Riley really hit it off! He's 5 years old and they played tag, and he could tell Riley "stop!" but that's it! At one point he was walking around clapping and singing in Romanian and having Riley repeat after him, follow the leader style, it was so cute.

I will miss them when they leave, but David and I are planning to go back this year, and spend some time with them at the camp. You can email me if you would be interested in sponsoring a kid to camp. You can also click HERE to see my post on the first day when I was in Campulung and there is a video of Estera teaching the village kids about Zachias.