Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hope's 8th Birthday!

How can it be?  How can Hope be 8 years old?  But it's true!  We have always described her as watching a flower bloom and at almost 40 pounds (yay - almost into a booster seat), she continues to bloom beautifully.  It is hard to put into words how God used Hope to change our lives and I am not sure she will ever fully comprehend her impact.  God has already used her in mighty ways for it was through Hope that God spoke to us about a church orphan ministry which resulted in the launching of Children's Hope ( in 2010.

For those of you who know Hope, you know her life is all about animals.  In fact, one time I had to seriously ask her if she knew she really WAS NOT a dog!  She eats, lives and breaths animals.  We are often looking up answers to her animal questions on the internet (I have learned so much actually). This constantly reminds me of God's creativity, because did you know that a narwhal's tooth can grow up to 10 feet!?!?!  Anyway, for her birthday, the only thing she asked for was a stuffed baby lion that didn't look like Simba, so of course she got this!  Guess what she wanted to name it?  Simba!  I said absolutely not, because she has about five different size Simbas already!

We have gotten away from giving many toys to our children, so we gave Hope a trip to the Montgomery Zoo and the Atlanta Aquarium!  She could not have been happier.  Of course, Lena and Will were thrilled with her gifts as well because they got to enjoy them.  They thoroughly enjoyed their trips to the zoo and aquarium and we even threw in a ride on the ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta.

To top her birthday off, her Mimi and Pawpaw gave her tickets to see the Little Mermaid at the Shakespeare Festival next month with her favorite cousin, Matthew!

After a morning of swimming at the lake, Hope received her longed for baby lion

Receiving her gift for a trip to the Aquarium

A jungle them birthday cake - no princess cake here

Getting a little fishing in before her birthday dinner of "rare steak"

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Beach Trip 2015

Recently we returned from the beach with Beth, Will, Hope and Lena (Dow was in Haiti).  This trip included a lot of "firsts" for our family.  This was our first trip to vacation at Pensacola Beach which by the way, we loved and plan to return.  

However, the BIGGEST FIRST was that Will and Lena had never been the beach!  Have you ever tried to explain the vastness of the ocean and beauty of miles and miles of white sand to a child who has no frame of reference for such creation?  I still am just astounded at God's handy work every time I see it.  It was fun to watch them in awe of it when we first arrived.  Of course, Will was ready to get right in while in clothes when we first arrived.  On the other hand, Lena was very frightened of the waves (it was really rough during our trip) and after one wave crashed over her feet, she was headed to the sand! Hope is just naturally a beach girl from her first trip and was so happy to be back!

As the week went on, Lena did get a little braver with the water thanks to Beth's persistence.  Will and Hope loved every minute of it!

Creative Hope - found a broken sand dollar that looked like a heart

The kids also had fun in the pool where we stayed.  Will and Hope never tired of swimming which reminded me so much of my summer vacations at the beach!

 Some other firsts for Will, Hope and Lena included flying a kite, hunting for crabs at night (Andy caught two) and playing putt putt golf.
Playing putt putt!