Sunday, September 30, 2012


I can finally post about Matt's trip to Africa!! I was too scared to make it known, on the world wide web, that my husband was out-of-town for 9 days. However, he is now home, and I can post all about his trip...yay!
Two Fridays ago, on September 21st, Matt met up with a team of 11 other people from our church, Watermark, to head out on a mission trip to Africa...Cibitoke (Burundi) to be exact. Our church partners with ALARM to help share the gospel with/bring about heart change in the people and leaders of Africa. The Watermark team had the opportunity to help ALARM head-up a leadership conference in Cibitoke. 6 men and 6 women from Watermark made up the whole team. The men had about 60 African pastors attend their part of the conference (awesome!), and I'm not sure how many women attended the other part of the conference. I know they had great attendance though which was such an answer to prayer. Matt said some of the attendees of the conference would walk 10 miles every morning AND home every night just to be there. They did that for four days straight. Isn't that just incredible and heartbreaking all at the same time?!? 20 miles a day!!!
Here are some pics of Matt's send-off, his trip, and his homecoming celebration. And don't miss the videos in this post...they are amazing!!!
Caroline took a picture of us at the airport. We were just about to say goodbye for 9 days (the longest we've been apart since we've been married insert violin strings here):
 Big kisses and hugs for Daddy:

 Bye bye daddy...we'll miss you!!
 Matt left DFW on Friday at 4 p.m. He then flew 9 hours to Amsterdam, boarded another plane to fly 7 hours to Kenya, then finally boarded another plane to fly 4 hours (I think?) to Bujumbara, Burundi. They spent the night/half of the next day in Bujumbara and then drove a couple of hours to Cibitoke (pronounced chee-bee-tokie). The travel was just grueling! But the team made it to Burundi safe and sound. The conference lasted 4 days in Cibitoke then the team came back to Bujumbara for another day/night, then they headed back home. The loooong travel made up a lot of the trip.
I stole these next pics & videos from Matt's phone!
This is the church Watermark is helping to build in Burundi...Matt and the team spent half a day helping the Africans move bricks:
Matt said this was a typical scene in the middle of the road:
 Precious precious picture of some of the kids in Bujumbara:
 Matt, and a few other guys from his team, had the incredible opportunity of going to one of the "local" schools in Cibitoke to share the gospel. Matt said the kids were SO excited to hear what they had to say. They also LOVED the dum-dums the guys passed out.
Here is a pic of the class Matt spoke to (can you find Matt?...hahaha):
 Picture of the school...made mostly out of mud, straw, and bricks:
Okay, this is my FAVORITE video Matt brought home. Their first day in Bujumbara, before they headed to Cibitoke, Matt and 4-5 other members of the team were out exploring the city. They happened to stumble upon this small church (it was Sunday) and got to listen to praise and worship. The Africans are singing "Here I Am To Worship" in their native language,'s the most beautiful thing I've ever heard, and I can't listen to it without tearing up. I can't imagine what it must have been like to hear it in person:
Another amazing video of the Africans praising God! They are singing "How Great Thou Art". Matt said a group of the conference attendees would praise and worship every night after the conference while dinner was being made. Matt also said the people were so joyful they would burst into song all throughout the day. Love it!!!
Matt returned home (yesterday) on September 29th. We were beyond excited to greet him and pick him up at the airport. Caroline and Matthew made Matt this Welcome Home sign (I wrote the letters, of course :-)

We waited outside customs with the other team members' families for about 30 minutes. The kids and I were SO anxious to see Matt. He couldn't walk through those double doors fast enough! Matthew saw him first and ran to him.

Such a sweet reunion filled with lots of happy tears! 

Matthew immediately wanted to show daddy his sign:

Matt told the kids there were "surprises" in his bag so they couldn't WAIT to get home and see what Matt had brought them.  Matt showing off his African shirt the pastors gave him:
Matthew got a hand carved truck that rolls. He was obsessed with it immediately ;) 

Matt gave Caroline a hand-made pink beaded necklace and three little purses. He knows our children well, ha: 

Admiring her new jewelry...Caroline hasn't taken off the necklace since yesterday:
Matt gave me two necklaces that I love! Sorry for the blurry pics below...a certain 4 year old took them: 

Matt kept a daily journal on his trip so I was able to read about the details of his experience. I'm so glad he did! It was incredible to read! We are so thankful Matt had this life-changing experience. The Lord taught him so much and used him/stretched him in many ways. Matt will never be the same, and we will never stop praying for the people of Burundi. I'll end this post with a quote from Matt's journal:
"It is great to see how ALARM is trying to help change Burundi, the heart of Africa. They say if you heal the heart, the rest will follow."

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Playdate Just For Him

Recently, Matthew got to attend a playdate that was just for him! When you're the little brother, a lot of your time is spent going to big sister's fun playdates. So it was definitely Matthew's turn to have one of his own!! We went over to sweet Kennedy's house and had such a good time. All of the kiddos at the playdate are in Matthew's Mother's Day Out class at school. He had so much fun seeing his buddies, and I enjoyed getting to know the other mom's in his class better. Of course, big sis was in attendance and loved serving "tea" to the littles:
Clockwise: Kennedy, Matthew, Caroline, Parker, & Millie

Caroline was super lucky because Lucy was at the playdate too (Millie is Lucy's little, fun!!):
I am looking foward to many more playdates with Matthew's buddies!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Last week marked the first week of school and Mother's Day Out for Caroline and Matthew! We started school late this year and enjoyed summer right up to the last minute. Even though we'll really miss the freedom and fun summer brings, I am excited to have structure and a routine again.
The night before the first day of school we read The Kissing Hand, The Night Before Preschool, and a story from Caroline's Storybook Bible. Matt and I said prayers with Caroline and Matthew, and we prayed for their new school year, their teachers and friends. Caroline was so excited about her first day! I got all their bags/lunches packed once the kids were asleep. Caroline doesn't need a napmat anymore (tear):

Caroline requested pancakes for breakfast so that's what we had. Matt went in to work late so he was able to join us for breakfast and first-day drop off! That was a real treat! (notice Matthew's pink bib, ha) 
Front door pics:

My sweet girl on her LAST first day of preschool! I just couldn't believe it while I was taking these pics. The dress she wore on her first day of school last year still fit so she wore it again. I can't believe how much more grown-up she looks (comparison pics at end of post :-). I was just really emotional thinking that this time next year we'll be taking our first day of Kinder pics. Ahhhhh! But I'm not going to rush that...for now I'm enjoying my Pre-K 4 little girl! 

And don't even get me started on how big Matthew looks so big in these pics:


This is one of my favorite new pics. I love how Matthew is looking at Matt. Sums up how he feels about his daddy perfectly:

Mommy's turn:
Caroline and Matthew had great drop-offs and were SO excited to be back at school (now I can't say the same for Caroline's drop-off the next day, unfortunately, but that's a different story for a different post)!
Caroline walked right in and found one of her sweet buddies, Leah:

I picked up two very happy kids at the end of the day. Unbelievably, Matthew had taken a good nap ON his napmat. How in the world his teachers got him to do that is beyond me, but I was impressed. The rest of our day was pretty busy, and I didn't take any pics. We played at the school playground with some friends, ran home to eat a quick (first night of school tradition), went to soccer practice, came home to eat brownie sundaes for a fun treat, then baths and bed. Whew! It was a fun but exhausting first day. I'm so excited for Caroline and Matthew to have another fantastic year of preschool and Mother's Day Out!!! And of course, the comparison pics:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Mommy/Daughter Back-to-School Date

In keeping with last year's tradition, Caroline and I went on our back-to-school date this week. She picked out exactly what we were going to do. First, she wanted to get her nails painted at a "real beauty shop" then she wanted to go to lunch/get ice cream at the American Girl store. So after Caroline put on her favorite dress (she wears it all the time) that's exactly what we did!
Sweet siblings...they love to hold hands in the car. Look at Matthew's pout! He does NOT like to be anywhere without his sissy, and he knew we were dropping him off at Shannon's house solo (I'm in big trouble next year when Caroline is in school all day, everyday!):

Looking through all the sparkly colors:
Found it!
Doesn't get more girly than pink sparkles. I wasn't surprised at all!
This was Caroline's first time to ever have her nails done. She was so excited! 


So pretty! 

I think she could get used to this ;-) 

Once our nails were all dry we were off to the American Girl store. Caroline was beyond excited to see that their new doll is named Caroline and has blonde, curly hair just like her. I quickly told her she is going to have to wait a bit. Caroline is still too young for an American Girl doll. But it sure is fun to look around and plan for the future:
Eating with Bitty Baby, Kelly: 

Ordering for herself and Kelly:
They had these fun conversation starters on the table. We had a blast reading each other the questions, and I loved hearing Caroline's funny answers.
Here are a few of Caroline's questions and answers:
Would you rather go to the beach or the mountains on vacation? The beach because skiing is scary.
Who's the smartest person you know? Matthew, because he is just my precious boy. (melt)
What is the best way to spend a rainy, Saturday morning? Jumping in puddles and eating popsicles
What is your best birthday memory? My ballet party when all my friends dressed up in tutus.Kelly sure was thirsty and loved her tea! 
Time for chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. My sweet girl was kind enough to share her dessert with me.
It was wonderful to spend one-on-one time with my favorite little girl. I loved being able to tell her all the things about her that make me so proud to be her mommy. We also talked a lot about Preschool 4 and what a fabulous year it's going to be. It was a fun date that I'll never forget!!!