Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Adeline's big news!

The following is straight from my five-year-old Addie's mouth.  I'm just typing it for her.  

"I got saved on March 19.  Saved means when you bring Jesus into your heart.  And then when you die, you'll be in heaven and always have a good time.  I knew I needed to ask Jesus into my heart right then because I really wanted to honor Jesus so He could be my King forever.  I knew I needed to accept Christ because we are all sinners and he is the only way to heaven because he is perfect and he died on the cross to pay for our sins so we didn't have to if we believe in him with all our heart.  Mommy and Daddy helped me by having me read verses in the Bible and I was able to explain them all really well, so they knew I was ready to accept Jesus."

I promise that was all word for word, even the "honor" part.  :)  Yes, last Saturday night was an exciting night at our house. After enduring the heartbreak of losing a young friend in a tragic accident the day before, we were rejoicing Saturday night with our little girl.  She has known for the past few years what Jesus did for her on the cross and has even been able to explain it very well for a long time.  But we didn't want her to make the decision to accept Christ just to please us or her Sunday school teachers or even because she just thought that was the "good thing" to do.  We wanted her to understand fully what Jesus did for her on the cross and to realize that asking him to save her also meant that she was surrendering her life to him forever.

So, when she approached Daddy out of the blue Saturday night and said she was ready to accept Jesus, we wanted to be sure she knew what she was doing.  We had her read these verses from her Bible.  
  • In Romans 3:23, she knew that she was a sinner.  
  • In Rom. 6:23, she explained that because of our sin, we deserve death and that death means eternal separation from God (hell).  
  • But Rom. 5:8 told her that even though we are sinners, God loved us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die in our place.  
  • Then in Ephesians 2:8-9 she learned that it is only by God's grace that we are saved. It is a gift.  It cannot be earned.  She told us that no matter how good she was, she could never earn her way to heaven.  The only way was to trust in what Jesus did for her on the cross.  
  • John 3:16 was a verse she already knew by heart and explained once again that God loved her so much that he sent his son to die for her and all she had to do was believe in him.  
  • John 1:12 said that everyone who receives this gift is a child of God.  
  • And finally, in 1 John 5:13, she read that if we believe these things about Jesus, we can know that we have eternal life.  That cannot be taken from us.  And we cannot mess up so badly that God disowns us.

After reading these verses, Addie knew right away that she wanted to pray and ask God to forgive her of her sins and become her Savior.  She actually said, "Please be my King," which we thought was so precious that she understood it like that.  She is now God's princess.  :)

I loved her excitement.  She jumped up and down, giggling and saying she was just so happy.  And she wanted to call her grandparents right away to tell them.
Right after she got off the phone, she asked me if she could read those verses again.  She just couldn't get enough of God's word.  :)

We, obviously, are so happy about her decision.  We pray for all of our kids from the moment they're born that someday they'll come to understand just how much God loves them and to accept his free gift of eternal life.  We believe it is our responsibility as parents to raise them up Biblically and teach them God's word, but we cannot place their faith in Christ for them.  That is in their's and God's hands.  As Chad said, "1 down, 2 to go..." ;)

Friday, March 25, 2011

a shiner, a birthday and a recipe

You should see the other guy...
Although the "other guy" is a table at the mall food court.
We were just settling down to dine on our home-packed lunch and Millie decided to try and get off the stroller by kneeling on the bench part (it's a sit-n-stand) and grabbing onto the table.  However, the wheels were turned sideways and the stroller rolled right out from under her, causing her to smack her face right on the edge of the table and end up hanging upside down from the side of her stroller.  There were tears, of course (the poor girl was in a LOT of pain!), but she got over it pretty quickly when I told her she was going to have the beautiful color purple on her face for awhile.  ;)  And believe me, this picture does not do it justice.  It's really quite a dark purple.

Now mommy has to endure the judgmental glares of strangers.  

These next two pictures are completely random, but I just had to show off Tate in his little sports jacket.
 He really didn't want to cooperate by putting his cup down, so I had to stalk him around with the camera.
 Oh well, maybe I'll have better luck next time.

 Sunday was Chad's birthday and he wouldn't let me make him a cake since we had so many sweets lying around the house from spring break, so we celebrated with his favorite - Oatmeal Cream Pies!

Aren't their cards just darling?  And Addie picked out the camo shorts all by herself.  :)
 Although Daddy didn't quite know how to wear them properly.

For dinner, Chad requested one of his favorite meals that I used to make all the time when we were first married - Cheesy Italian Sausage Penne.
It was so good.

And here's the super not healthy, but extremely delicious recipe:

Cheesy Sausage Penne
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 package (1 pound) penne or medium tube pasta (you can make it healthier with whole grain penne!)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (and of course, you could use low-fat but it won't be as good)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (ditto above ;)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • In a large skillet, cook the sausage and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  • Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour cream.
  • In a greased 9x13 pan, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture.  Dollop with half of the cream cheese mixture and spread it around.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese.  Repeat layers.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.
Yield: 12 servings

And if you were hoping for Addie's exciting news or pics of the bathroom, I promise it's coming!  Just hold your horses!  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

spring break - take two

Sorry to keep you waiting so long for the rest of our break pictures.  I know you guys are all dying to know what we did.  No worries.  You can rest easy now.  Here it is:

Wednesday after lunch, we packed the kiddos in the car and headed over to Omaha.  Yes, you heard me - O.MA.HA.  Jealous?  And you thought Cancun was the place to go.  Ha.

The kids were so excited...  Can't you tell?

But their excitement did peak when we got to our hotel and found the SWIMMING POOL!!!
The girls had fun jumping into Daddy's arms and splashing around with their floaties on.

And Tate suddenly decided that he didn't like swimming after all, which was a shock since he LOVED being in our pool last summer and he loves to splash around in the bathtub.  But oh well, we sat along the side of the pool and smelled the flowers.  Literally.

And we made the girls laugh with our silly goggle-faces.

And melted mommy's heart with adorable kissy-faces.

After a good swim, we headed out to dinner at Cracker Barrel and frosties at Wendy's and then back to the hotel where we slept hard.

We woke up in the morning and ate breakfast at the hotel's cafe area, complete with a waterfall and forest mural.
 I wish I would've taken more pics of the inside of the hotel.  Let's just say it's a good thing for websites like kayak.com, because we never would've been able to stay at this place without it.  It was purdy fancy for this Iowa girl.

With full tummies, we headed out to the Omaha Zoo!  I hadn't been there since I was about Addie's age, and everyone was telling us that it's one of the best zoos in the country.  And we weren't let down!

Well, maybe Tate was a little...
 This is the closest they'd let us get to the lions.  Fortunately.

The Desert Dome was pretty cool.

The ginormous lazy warthogs inside were definitely my fave desert creatures.

Down at the Cat Complex, the girls enjoyed the big tigers.

But I didn't like how the jaguar was eyeing my son.  Not kidding.  He definitely wanted to eat Tate.  And everyone around us was noticing it too.  We tested the thought by moving Tate to the other end of the cage and the jaguar followed right along.  Like he was "circling" his prey and getting ready to pounce.  He didn't take his eyes off of him the whole time we were there.  
 I was extremely grateful for the 9' tall fence between us.

My absolute fave is coming up...
 Can you guess what it is?
 Yes, the gorillas!  Seriously.  They are so fascinating to me.  I loved the one above who was obviously pouting about something.  He sat like that the whole time.  Do you think maybe he's trying to ignore the idiot behind him making gorilla faces?
 I could sit and watch these guys for hours.

 But since I couldn't, I just took a bunch of pictures instead.

Here are my two favorite gorillas.

We splurged on lunch since we got into the zoo for free (yes, I forgot to mention we met a family in the pool who had 4 extra tickets and since Tate was free, we didn't have to pay anything!) and got hotdogs and popcorn.  I know, not much... but for what we had to pay for it, we might as well have eaten at a normal restaurant with real food.

 After a good lunch, Tate took his nap.
 Looks real comfy, huh?  I swear we tried to adjust him, but he kept coming back to this same horrible position.

Addie took over as our leader and used her map skills to guide us around for the rest of the afternoon.

 She successfully led us to the Aquarium where we saw these guys:

 But the coolest part was the Shark Reef Tunnel.
You'd better hold on for dear life!

Everywhere we looked, above our heads and side to side, we saw...


I think this big fish was putting on a show just for us.

After we dried ourselves off, I took the girls into the Butterfly house while the guys hung out outside.

Then we HAD to go see the giraffes.  Millie had been talking about them all day.  We were nervous at first when we saw they weren't outside yet, but we tracked them down.

And lastly, we made our way through the big indoor rainforest where we swang with the monkeys from tree branches.  (My computer is telling me "swang" isn't a word.  So, what do you say?  Swung?  Swinged? Does it really matter?)

And ended our day with another happier picture by the lions.

By the time we got home Thursday night, we were BEAT.  Really beat.  So we took it easy and just kinda hung out around home on Friday.  And on Saturday, Chad took the kids out in the woods for a hike while I painted the kids' bathroom.  The kids had a blast with Daddy, like always.  But unfortunately, the camera battery died after just this picture.  Hmmm... I wonder why?  It's not like we were picture crazy at the zoo or anything...  

You'll have to wait for pics of the bathroom.  My friend, Abby, is coming over tomorrow to paint some cute stuff in it, so you'll be sure to see the pics soon.

Also, Addie has some exciting news she wants to share (and no, she's not having another baby brother or sister) that we'll be posting soon too.

So stay tuned!