Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The cool thing about being a youth pastor's kid...

is that you get to be a part of the youth group LONG before you're in 6th grade!

Anna Kate has learned that lesson firsthand this past year in her daddy's first year of being a youth pastor. Just this year she has participated in numerous poolside Bible studies, experienced the SC state fair, gone on a ski trip, helped with fundraisers, gone to cookouts, hung out with the big kids for "open youth room", come to youth group (when she doesn't want to stay in nursery), and most recently, helped with the youth yard sale and gone bowling! In fact, those last two events are just a couple of reasons why it's been a week since I last blogged! We have been so busy already this summer with youth events, but it has been fun!

Last week we spent the entire week setting up and preparing for our yard sale on Saturday. All of the items for sale were donated by church members, and the youth (and some wonderful parents!) did all of the sorting, organizing, displaying, pricing, selling, and cleaning up! All in all they made over $1400 to be used primarily for their mission camp next month. Here is a picture of the kids hard at work!

Anna Kate kept herself busy by "testing" all of the toys that came in. She took her job quite seriously, making sure they were safe and fun for the next kid that might get to enjoy them!

Monday night we rented out the local bowling alley with two other youth groups in our area. The kids had a blast, as did Anna Kate! I wasn't quite sure how she would handle the noisy atmosphere of a bowling alley, but she did great...especially when they brought out the cheese pizza! Unfortunately, I didn't get many pictures, but here are a few to document the occasion.

All of our youth group girls LOVE Anna Kate and she of course is perfectly happy being one of the big kids!

We are loving this season of our lives right now where we get to participate wholeheartedly in the ministry to which God has called our family. I know it might be a little more difficult in a couple months when our second little girl arrives, but hopefully she will jump right in and be a part of the youth group too!

And as a side note...bowling while 24 weeks pregnant is not the best idea...I think I pulled a couple muscles that I didn't even know I had! But we sure had fun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birthday Party!

This past Saturday Anna Kate was invited to a 1st birthday party for her best church buddy, Nora. It was hot, but nice and sunny and the perfect day for a summer birthday party. Here's a picture of the adorable birthday girl!

Anna Kate is in quite a loving phase lately and wanted to give Nora lots of hugs and kisses. Nora took it extremely well!

Because it was so hot out, they had a little splash pool set up for the babies. As soon as the camera came out, Anna Kate got her cheese face ready! Here she is with Nora the birthday girl and another one of the guests.

And just so you can see how much these little girls have grown up in the last 4 months, here's a picture of Anna Kate and Nora at AK's party back in February! Sweet friends!

Happy Birthday, Nora! We hope we can celebrate many more with you!

P.S. Thank you to Renee (Nora's grandma) for these great pictures since I forgot my camera!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Anna Kate has worked hard to make this a very special day for her very special daddy! She made him a handprint painting, a card, and a book of pictures. She learned how to say "Happy Daddy's Day" (well, actually she repeats each word one by one and it sounds more like "Hapa...Da Da...Day"). And she is currently going on a three-hour nap...which meant Daddy got a good nap too! Here are a few pictures of Anna Kate and her daddy taken at church this morning.

Daddy and his little girl

Giving "noseys"

Stopping to smell the flowers

I do just have to say that Luke is the best Daddy in the world to Anna Kate and I know he will be to our new baby girl as well. Day in and day out, if he's not at work, he can be found giving baths, changing diapers, reading stories, having tea parties, playing at the park, singing songs, making peanut butter sandwiches, and so much more. I am also so grateful for the way that he reads the Bible and prays with and for Anna Kate. I hope our girls grow up to know how blessed they are to have such a wonderful daddy, but also that they would grow to know their Heavenly Father better because of how their daddy loves them.

Happy Father's Day, Luke!

And Happy Father's Day to a few other extremely important dads in our lives: My Dad (Anna Kate's Grandpa), Luke's Dad (Anna Kate's Papa), and my grandpa. Thank you all for being such wonderful fathers and for the legacy that you are giving to our children. We love you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A girl and her shoes

We have a couple of friends from church who keep Anna Kate wonderfully supplied with hand-me-down clothes! This past weekend we were given a big bag full of the next-size-up shoes for Anna Kate. Perfect because she's quickly outgrowing her size fives, and because the bag of shoes has provided hours of entertainment this week! It is so funny to see how in to all things girly Anna Kate is. Shoes, purses, hairbows, you name it. Here she is digging through and trying on all of her new shoes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sweet giggles!

Anna Kate has the best laugh EVER, so I just had to video it and share it here with you. She got the giggles this time when Mommy flung her hair forward to put it in a ponytail. Didn't know I could be so funny!

Kinda reminds me of the flyswatter video from back in September...

One thing I love about Anna Kate is that even if she gets a little fussy, it doesn't take much to get her giggling again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A week of celebrations!

June is always going to be a busy month of celebrations in our family! Luke's birthday is June 12, our anniversary is June 15, and Father's Day is always shortly thereafter! We celebrated Luke's birthday this past weekend with his family who came into town for a couple of days. We went out to eat at a Japanese steakhouse because we thought Anna Kate might enjoy the entertainment of watching the food be cooked right at our table. She thought most of it was pretty fun, but she wasn't too sure about the big fire! Here's a picture of all of us after dinner.

When we got home we enjoyed a wonderful key lime cake made by a sweet lady in our church, and then Luke opened his presents. Here's a picture of the birthday boy!

(If you can't tell, there are 2 candles on the left, and 7 candles on the right...)

And, unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of it, but Anna Kate made her Daddy a birthday poster and we bought him some balloons to decorate his office EARLY Sunday morning before he got to church!

Today is our 4th anniversary, but since it's a Wednesday and we have lots of church activities tonight, we decided we would do something special this weekend. Here's a picture of us on our wedding day 4 years ago.

These first four years of marriage have been wonderful and full of lots of changes for us! We sat down this morning and talked about all that we have done in the last four's a brief little list:

~ We have lived in 2 different states
~ We have lived in 1 apartment, 1 townhouse, 2 rental houses, and we are about to close on our first home in a month (Lord-willing!)
~ We have, between the two of us, had 6 different jobs
~ We (well, mostly Luke!) have earned a 96-hour masters degree
~ And we now have (almost) 2 children!

How crazy is that?!? We are so grateful for all that God has done in these early formative years of our marriage and are excited to see what the coming years will bring!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vacation Bible School

We had a fantastic week of VBS at our church last week for over 250 children in our community! A large percentage of these children do not regularly attend a church, so we were excited to get to serve families that we normally don't come into contact with. When family night rolled around on Friday night, we had over 500 people! To put that in perspective, on a regular Sunday at our church we normally have somewhere around 225 people.

I had the privilege of teaching the 5-year-old class, along with a couple of other great ladies in our church. We had a lot of fun, but I have to admit, the teacher in me did come out a few times when I tried to get them to walk in a straight line or to be quiet when someone was talking! It may have been a year since I've taught school (and 4 years since I've taught elementary school), but old habits die hard!

Luke's job was to be on crisis/drama/discipline patrol the whole week and thankfully there really were no major situations to be dealt with! So he got to go around and help all of the classes as needed and just be an encouragement to all of the workers...well that, and patrol outside the bathrooms to make sure all the boys washed their hands!

While we don't officially do a VBS class for children under 2, we did have a class for babies of workers, so Anna Kate got to go each night with us. Even though she had to stay up past her bedtime 5 nights in a row, she had a blast! Her teachers truly treated her class of 3 little one-year-old girls as a real VBS class! She did a Bible story each night, complete with songs, activities, and crafts. Each day we would talk about what she learned the night before and then I would ask her if she wanted to go to VBS again and she would smile and nod and say "BBS!" Thank you so much Mrs. Summer, Mrs. Chris, and Susanmarie for loving on Anna Kate and teaching her about Jesus!

Here are a couple pictures I took at the end of the week of Anna Kate showing off all of her Bible verses and crafts. Our theme was The Big Apple Adventure so everything was decorated like New York City.

Anna Kate made this New York City skyline hat one night and kept asking to wear it constantly... She kept asking for her "Ha-ta". She enunciates the "t" so much that it's really like another syllable. Here she is first thing in the morning when she asked to wear it.

And again that night getting ready to go back!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


We had our first pool party of the summer on Saturday and had a blast! Some of our good friends have parents with a house out in the country that just so happens to have a great pool! So they invited us and another family to spend the day out there, grill out, and beat the heat (mid-90's every day for the past 2 weeks). Anna Kate hadn't been in a pool since last summer when she was only 6 months old, so I wasn't sure how she would do. She was a little nervous at first, but then got used to it and had so much fun! Honestly, I didn't take as many pictures as I should have, but here are a couple:

Getting ready to hit the pool with her best church buddy, Nora

Anna Kate was a little clingy at first...but not really scared

And she always has kisses for Mommy!

Nora decided to take her nap in the pool that afternoon...isn't that the life!

Oh, and I think I should get a Mom Award because my fair-skinned baby girl didn't even get a hint of a sunburn while out for the entire day. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about her daddy...apparently he missed a few spots with the sunscreen, but he won't let me take a picture! Sorry!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our trip to Bolivia

Anna Kate and I just got back on Wednesday from an 8 day trip to Bolivia for my little brother's high school graduation. My parents and brother moved to Bolivia eight years ago (the summer after I graduated from high school) and I spent every summer and Christmas there throughout college and then a couple times since then as well. This trip was bittersweet not only because my baby brother is not a baby anymore, but also because my parents are in the process of a big move to Costa Rica. So this may have been our last trip to Bolivia for a while. With that said, we had a fantastic time seeing friends, spending time with family, and celebrating Andrew's accomplishments. This post is going to be chock full of pictures, so enjoy!

I was pretty nervous about our flight down, I'm not going to lie. I wasn't quite sure how it would go being 20 weeks pregnant and taking my 15 month old on a 2-hour flight, then a 7-hour flight, then a 1-hour flight, without my husband. Did I mention it's an overnight flight?!? I went prepared with baby Benadryl, but didn't even have to open the box! Anna Kate was a champ and except for dumping over the airplane dinner that they serve at 1 in the morning, she caused no trouble and slept almost the whole way there! It helped that we met up with my Aunt Patty in Miami to do the long flight with us. Here's a picture of the three of us right before take-off...a little blurry, but it was a phone camera picture!

One of the first things many people notice about Bolivia is the very congested and slightly unnerving traffic! I tried to get a good picture of it looking out the car window so you can see for yourself. Not the best shot, but you can see how close the cars come to each other as they try to turn corners!

Another interesting thing about the traffic is that the police are very selective about what they will give tickets for. For example, you can run red lights or turn 2-lane roads into 4-lane roads all you want, but heaven forbid you park in a no parking zone. You might just get a citation like this glued to your windshield!

For the past few years that they have been in Bolivia, my parents have lived pretty far outside the city, but they recently sold their house and are living in an apartment downtown for a few months before moving to Costa Rica. It was pretty fun to be right downtown because we could just walk to the main plaza for all the festivities that go on every weekend.

Anna Kate really liked the pigeons in the plaza. She thought they were ducks though!

One day when we were down there we got to listen to a mariachi band...Anna Kate was captivated.

The focal point of the city is the huge cathedral right downtown on the plaza. Most Bolivians say they are Roman Catholic, but they mix their religion with the indigenous religions of Bolivia so that it is very different from the Roman Catholicism in the US.

One interesting shrine in the cathedral is that of Jesus in a coffin. There seems to be such a focus on the death of Christ and no emphasis on the hope of the resurrection. It is this hope that my parents have worked so hard to bring to the people of Bolivia over the past eight years.

On a side note, everyone we met had to look twice at Anna Kate because of her white-blonde hair and bright blue eyes! She was kind of a novelty. These girls not only had to take a second look, but they wanted to meet her!

One evening in the plaza, they had all kinds of clowns, mimes, comedians, vendors, and artisans all set up for a big festival for the Bolivian Mother's Day. Anna Kate had never seen anything like it!
Uncle Andy showing her around

Anna Kate really wanted one of these balls

So Grandma bought her one!

Anna Kate thought this mime on stilts was pretty neat until we got too close and he wanted to shake her hand!

The highlight was definitely the bubble-blowing payaso (clown)!

Ok, now for pictures of the real reason we went to Bolivia. To see this guy graduate! Did I mention he was the valedictorian and gave a fantastic speech?!?

AK and I with the graduate. Excuse the look on Anna Kate's face. She was not pleased that it was past suppertime and she had not yet gotten to eat!

All of the family members who were able to make the trip! On either side of Andrew are my parents and then next to my dad is his sister, my Aunt Patty.

On Sunday morning we went to church with my family and I was able to play violin in the praise band that my brother helps to lead. He has become quite an accomplished worship leader over the past few years and it was an honor to get to play with him.

This is what Anna Kate was doing all throughout the service...




Since I have been to Bolivia so many times, I didn't really feel like I needed to buy any more souvenirs or trinkets, but I was sent with instructions from Luke to make one big purchase: a Bolivian hammock! We have purchased these before, but always as gifts for other now we have one for us!
The hammock store

So many choices!

Here's a picture of how much Anna Kate likes the hammocks. She spent a lot of time swinging in Grandma and Grandpa's while we were there!

We were so busy with different events the whole time we were there, but on our last day, there were two important things I had to do. The first was to visit my good friend Graciela, the director of the Talita Cumi Children's Home that I have volunteered at every time I have been to Bolivia.
The second thing we had to do was to have a chocolate chip muffin and a fruit smoothie at our favorite coffee shop, Alexanders! I have spent a lot of time there over the past 8 years...with my mom, with Bolivian friends, with my Furman friends who came with me one summer, and with Luke. So I had to take Anna Kate. And she LOVED her chocolate chip muffin!

From L to R:
Mom, baby #2, me, and Anna Kate!

I don't have any pictures to document it since she was in my arms the whole time, but Anna Kate also did fantastic on the trip home! On the way home it was an all day flight, but she took two good naps and the rest of the time she just sat in my lap and read stories, or played with her little toy cell phone! I really couldn't believe how well she did. It was still pretty exhausting and I don't think I'll do another international trip without Luke for at least a little while, but we had a fantastic time! Mom, Dad, and Andy, we miss you all so much already, but we are excited to see you here in SC in the fall!