Thursday, November 12, 2009


I have a couple of stories to share about Hallie that I just have to write down. Chad was off work yesterday with the kids and he called to tell me that he made a CD for Hallie of her favorite songs. She asked him to write her name on it. Once he did, Hallie said
#1 done- my name on a CD.
#2- they are going to name a state after me.
#3 - my face will be on Mount Rushmore.
#4- my face will be on money.

She has some big dreams and I have no doubt she can achieve them all. When I asked her later what she was going to do to get her face on Mt. Rushmore she said she was going to be president. I told her not all presidents get their face on Mt. Rushmore and she would have to do something really good to have her face on Mt. Rushmore, she thought for a minute and said "I think I'll make sure all of the hungry people have food." Such a sweet girl.
Last week I had to go out of town on business and when I got home Hallie had left a note on the counter. Here it is...

She is really challenging me about sharing my faith, I wish I could have told her that I did share Jesus with people on the trip.

Then yesterday when I got home, Hallie wrote the papers below about God while Chad was helping Blake with homework.

She is such a precious child and I love the fact that she loves Jesus!!
Translated below for those who can't read her writing....
God loves me for who I am and I am special in His way and everyone arond us plus our moms and dads are specital to. For God so loved the world he gave his onle Son whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 There is onlee one God that can bulid ocean. You are the onlee one that deserves my life. You shoud not bend your knee to eneybody but God. God is the onlee persion who is Holy because He made the world. All have sind and come shourt of the glory of God. Depart from evil and do good. Read the Bible for it is Gods word. Serve God by reading the Bible and doing his comands for for it is rite and God likes it.
Love the Lord your God with all heart and with all soul with all your mind and with all your stiath. Got to church for God loves it. Be a Christchin for God likes it.
(I tried to keep her way of spelling!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I don't even know how to begin to blog about our trip to Kaua'i, none of the words I could use would do it justice. It was amazing, beautiful, fun, relaxing and so much more. We were gone long enough that I truly got to relax, most of our vacations they are too short to ever get relaxed, this was perfect. The flight was not fun at all, but all of that faded away as soon as we landed in Kaua'i. We were met by our friend with Leis for both of us and we went straight to a fabulous dinner at Duke's, with a table that overlooked the ocean.

The next day we decided to stay at Heath and Amanda's house and hang at the beach all day to recover from the previous day of travel. After walking only about 200 yards, we were at a beautiful beach. Because of where they live, the beach was basically private! On a given day, we maybe saw 3 people in any direction, some days no one! It was a beach with no chairs, umbrellas or anything, so all you saw was the beautiful beach and ocean. Here are some pictures from the first day at the beach:

Day 2 we went to a wonderful church in Lihue where we met some fantastic people. Then off to Puka Dog, this was the resturant I heard the most about when Chad got home from Hawaii last year, and Chad couldn't wait. After eating a smoked sausage dog with Pineapple relish and Lemon garlic sauce (which was great) we saw some of the island. I was amazed at the beauty. Almost everywhere you go there are mountains on one side and beach and ocean on the other.

Chad and Heath doing a great job surfing:

The rest of the week was spent sight seeing the island, relaxing on the beach, going to a Luau, going on a dinner cruise of the Napali coast and just having a great time. Here are some pictures of Waimea canyon and other beautful spots all over the island.

On the last day we went zip-lining through Princeville plantation. It was so much fun. The first jump off of the 1st platform was a little scary, but other than that it was great. We zip lined into the plantation and to a spring with a little waterfall. While the guides fixed lunch, we were able to swim and jump in this private spring. So much fun!

We had a fabulous time visiting wonderful friends and just being together. I discovered how much I like my "vacation" self and my goal is to strive to not get stressed out so much now that I am home and just enjoy being with Chad and the kids...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Camping Trip When . . .

This past weekend we went camping, or camper-ing, with some friends at Rickwood Caverns State Park. We were all excited and couldn't wait to get there and enjoy the weekend.

We arrived on Friday and were anxious to get the fun underway. The kids ran, played, and rode bicycles. We ate dinner, sat around, and were enjoying the evening. Then it got dark and the raccoons came out and as you guessed it, the kids and their moms went crazy. Those sneaky rascals were on us before we knew it. There were probably only 2 or 3 of them, but they would creep so quietly that it surprised us when they would pop out from under the camper, picnic table, and bushes. After hours of hitting the raccoons with rocks every time they showed their beady little eyes, the kids and the moms decided to call it a night and stay inside of the camper.

The next morning the sun came out, the raccoons were gone, and the fun began. We had a big and delicious breakfast. The kids played some on the playground, rode their bicycles, and roamed around the campground. When it was time for the pool to open, we went swimming. I must say that this pool was awesome. It was a really big pool and although there were a lot of people there, it didn't feel crowded. The coolest thing about the pool was that it had a high dive. Blake just had to jump off of it.

He even talked Jaime into jumping off of it. We played and played and had the absolute best time.

After lunch, things got out of control again. We heard thunder off in the distance and the pool was closed. This trip then became the camping trip when the kids got bored.

We all decided to take them on a nature hike. As we were heading down the trail, it began to sprinkle just a bit. When we got about 1/4 - 1/2 a mile down the trail, the lightning started popping around us and the bottom fell out. Being soaked and out in a very bad thunderstorm made us decide to head back to the camper. We walked as fast as we could to get out and finally made it back to the park office. No one complained even though we were all soaked to the bone.

A few minutes later, it was discovered that our campsite had flooded, everything was drenched, and the awning on the camper had ripped. It took a while, but we managed to get the awning put away, the campsite cleaned up, and the kids dried off. We then checked the radar and noticed that another line of storms was coming. With the prospect of having 10 people confined to one camper for the remaining evening, we decided to pack it in and head to the house.

As we were packing up, we commented that this will always be "the camping trip when. . ." The one when we fought off raccoons. The one when we got caught out in a thunderstorm. The one when we were the wettest that we have ever been in our life. The one when the awning on the camper broke. And the one whe we had a great time through it all. We can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Stepford Kids

When I got home from work last night, I was greeted by Hallie at the top of the stairs. She said, "Hello Daddy. How was your day today?" I noticed that she was in her pajamas. She told me that she had already taken her bath and put on her pajamas. Blake then said that he had taken his bath too, but hadn't yet put on his pajamas. He then added that he would go and do it now so I wouldn't have to ask him later. Then they exited the room to play with Andrew and Daniel.

Jaime pulled me aside and told me that the Blake and Hallie had been great ever since she got home. She went on to say that both of them unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and had been playing great together without any arguing. They jumped at every chance to do something to help her cook dinner and had cleaned up the downstairs of the house.

A few minutes later they came downstairs and asked if there was anything else that they could do to help with dinner. Jaime asked them to set the table and they replied, "We would love to." Then they worked together and got it done, complete with knives, spoons, forks and drinks for everyone. Once dinner was ready, we sat down to eat. The kids went on and on about how wonderful everything tasted. All through dinner, we heard, "yes sir" this and "yes ma'am" that, "please may I have some more of these wonderful beans", "this is the best chicken that I have ever eaten", "mommy, you are the best cook in the whole world", etc, etc, etc. After a while, I looked at Jaime and asked if it said Echols on the mailbox or Stepford. Who were the robot kids and where were mine?

After dinner, they brought us cards that they had made. On one side was our name. On the other was something they had written about us. Jaime's card said "Mommy, your cooking skills are awesome." My card said, "Daddy, your baseball skills are great and remind me of Chipper Jones." It was hard not to laugh at all of their thoughtfulness, but we managed to do it.

Throughout the whole night, they were the most polite, well-mannered, kind, sweet kids you have ever seen. We thanked them for being so great that night and wondered how long it would last. Today, they were back to normal. I wonder how long I need to charge the batteries to get a few extra days of that behavior.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

10 years old

Today is Blake's birthday and he is 10 years old! It is hard to believe he is 10 already.
This morning when he woke up we fixed his favorite breakfast, pigs in a blanket. He then had a great morning with Hal and their summer babysitter. They made some fantastic sugar cookies and I know they had a great time doing it. After Blake's 10 year old well child visit to the Doctor, Blake thought we were headed to Chuck E Cheese for dinner. But, much to his surprise, he came home to a surprise birthday party. He was very surprised and very excited. We ate some pizza, opened some presents and then we sang Happy Birthday. Watch to the end of the clip below and you will see his biggest surprise!

Blake said this was his best birthday ever (he says that every year) but I do think it was one of the best.

Blake, we love you so much. We are so blessed that we get to be your parents and watch you grow. You have grown up so much this past year. I love that you love to eat what I cook and you try everything! You are enjoying school so much and are learning more every day. You are such a good artist and you amaze me every day with your pictures and drawings. Our lives changed 10 years ago today when you were born and I can't wait to see how you grow in the next ten years!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

With Jaime out of town, she turned over the celebration Father's Day to Blake and Hallie. Since Blake and Hallie were organizing, my Father's Day started at about 5:45 with 4 pairs of eyes staring at me as I woke up this morning.

Apparently, Blake and Hallie woke up bright and early this morning and then woke up Andrew and Daniel. They all gathered in Blake's room to sign their Father's Day cards. Then, they gathered all of their gifts that they had made and piled it all, cards and gifts, next to me in my bed. After that, they just stood on the side of my bed, staring at me, until I woke up. Knowing my kids as I do, I don't think they were standing there long because if they had been, I am sure that I would have gotten poked by something. As I opened my eyes, they all said, "Happy Father's Day Daddy. Can we open your presents for you?"

Andrew and Daniel had framed something that they had made at school. It was a poem with their hand prints on it. Hallie had cross-stitched the word "Dad" with a baseball beside it. Blake had written a book about me and him and included pictures of us in it. They were all great.

After church, we all went to Alabama Adventures for a little fun in the sun. We floated down the lazy river, rode down some water slides, and played in the water all afternoon. Everyone had a great time and it was a great day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going out for pizza

Around 3:30 or 4:00 everyday, Jaime and I have the same conversation. It is the "what is for dinner" conversation. I am sure that everyone is familiar with that one. Well, we had a gift card to the California Pizza Kitchen, so tonight I suggested that we take the kids out for pizza. We told the kids and they were excited.

After getting to the restaurant and looking at the menu, I realized that California Pizza Kitchen is not known for a normal variety of pizza. (It had been a while since I had eaten there.) The whole menu is specialty pizzas and our family is like most in that we all like different kinds. We decided to opt for the BBQ chicken pizza, which was great and then we took a chance on a new pizza. It was the cheeseburger pizza. Seeing that it comes complete with lettuce and tomato, we ordered with with the meat and cheese topping only, but with the addition of tomato on half. Then the waitress mentioned that the sauce was a blend of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and pickles. This should have been our first clue to abort this decision, but we said that would be okay. In my defense, I honestly thought it would be more of a ketchup/tomato flavor in the sauce, not more mayonnaise/mustard flavor. They brought out the pizza and we gave a slice to the kids and they began to eat and here is where everything went downhill.

Blake took a bite and made a face like he was about to vomit. He sat there with his mouth open making a "get this out of my mouth" sound, but he eventually swallowed it. Hallie took a bite and immediately screamed "yuck" and then spit her piece out onto the table. We got on to Hallie for doing that. While that was going on, Daniel had taken a bite and immediately started to cry because he didn't like it either. He just sat there with his mouth wide open, showing the whole restaurant the pizza in his mouth, while he was crying as hard as he could. Jaime allowed him to spit the bite out of his mouth, which he did, and then continued to cry. Andrew ate a couple of bites, but seeing the commotion that the others were making, he declared that he didn't like it and wouldn't eat anymore.

Thinking that it could not be that bad, I took a bite. I did not spit it out, cry, or announce to the restaurant that it tasted horrible, but it did not taste like pizza at all. When they say "cheeseburger pizza", they mean "cheeseburger shaped like a pizza". It tasted exactly like a cheeseburger. You tasted the cheese and meat, but you mainly tasted the mayonnaise and mustard in the sauce. Jaime took a bite and did not like it either.

After we assured the kids we would order them another pizza, they stopped crying and settled down. Seeing that our whole family did not like the pizza, the waitress offered to remove the pizza from our table and to have the manager remove it from our check. We replaced it with a ham and pineapple pizza, which the kids all ate.

As we were waiting for the check, I heard our waitress tell another table that the cheeseburger pizza was their newest pizza and had only been on the menu for one day. I wanted to tell them not to order it and that the cheeseburger pizza was the whole reason my kids were crying, but why should we get to have all of the fun.