Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Halloween

Well, in the promise of catching up on several things that we have yet to blog, here is Halloween.



As with every year, the kids look forward to Halloween. I have yet to figure out if it is for the opportunity to dress up as their favorite character or if it is for the humongous amount of candy that they seem to get. I have also learned that with four kids, all of which who trick or treat, you get a whole lot of candy.


For Halloween, we had several friends come to our house to socialize and take all of the kids trick or treating. It was a great time. I did realize that taking 25 or so kids around the neighborhood at the same time doesn't work like you would probably want. Everyone lines up to head to the first house and then it is a free for all. The first kids head to the next house and then the next house. The kids in the back do the same thing, only slower. Next thing you know, you have 25 kids running all over the neighborhood at different places with one thing on their mind. Candy!!!!!!!!!


Thankfully for us, we had professional parents to assist in the madness that was trick or treating. I really only saw one of my four actually go from house to house, but on occasion I would catch a second. It was really fun though and you can't turn down the excitement. After all, you don't want to because the more candy they get, they more you get to eat and then throw away later.


Here are a couple more of pictures of the Echols kids.

Blake as Indiana Jones



Hallie as Alice (from Alice in Wonderland)



Andrew as Mickey Mouse



Daniel as Donald Duck

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Parties and Football

It has been a while since we last blogged anything. Things have been busy here, but now it is time to catch you up on a few things.


As you saw from the last post, Andrew and Daniel turned 3 years old. On each of the kids birthday, we usually let them pick where we go to eat. It is their choice. Andrew and Daniel pose a problem because although they are twins, they don't always think alike. Knowing that they would probably agree on McDonalds, we decided to make the choice for them. We ate at home and then headed to celebrate at one of the greatest places ever, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.


It was a lot of fun. The "Hot Now" sign was on so we all got to sample some hot doughnuts. For any of you who have never had a hot glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut, you are extremely deprived. The kids also got to see the doughnuts being cooked and glazed on the conveyor belt. They thought this was great. Of course they had to wear their Krispy Kreme hats. After that, they all sat down to the doughnuts of their choice. We sang happy birthday and then let Andrew and Daniel open some presents. It was a fun night and they keep asking about eating doughnuts. Hopefully they won't think they get presents every time that they go.




A few nights later we celebrated another birthday party for Andrew and Daniel with our families. Grandparents, aunts and uncles came over to give their birthday wishes. Andrew and Daniel loved this party too. All of the kids love it when all of the family is together.




The end of October also brought the end of flag football. Blake decided that he wanted to give it a go this year. His team was the Jets. With this being the first time playing football, other than in the driveway, he did a good job. He got a little better each week and eventually got to run the ball a couple times. Here are a couple pictures of #44 in action.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW AND DANIEL!

I can't believe you are 3 years old. It seems like yesterday that you were born. You have grown so much in the past year, you are not babies anymore.

Andrew, you are so big. I love that you love cars and motorcycles so much. There is nothing you like better than to play in someone's car. I know that someday you will either be a race car driver, or maybe design new cars! You would be great at that. You are such a sweet boy. You still love to sit and cuddle with me. You also love to sing (when no one is looking at you). You and Blake can sit and cuddle for hours, just being next to each other. I am so glad you love your brothers and sister the way you do. I love the way you laugh and talk. Andrew, Daddy and I love you so very much and hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Daniel, you are getting so big too! Everyday you suprise me with the new things you know and do. You never surprise me because I know there is nothing you can't do. Your smile and laugh come straight from your heart and everyone knows what you are thinking at every moment. You can't hide a thing. You love to play and be silly. You also love to sing, but most of the time you don't care who is watching. I love that you love to read books. You can't go to bed at night without at least 10 books in your bed that you read before you go to sleep. Daniel, Daddy and I love you so much and hope you have a fantastic birthday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A lost tooth and the A/B Honor Roll

Hallie lost her first tooth today!! I was picking Andrew and Daniel up at Mom and Dad's and Chad called and said Hallie pulled her own tooth. I can't believe it! She is getting so big. She looks so grown up.

Blake got his first report card today from 3rd grade and he got on the A/B Honor Roll. We are so proud. Way to go Blake!! Keep it up.



Here are some pictures of the boys being silly



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hallie and Double Trouble

I have been so fortunate to begin a Bible Study on the book of Daniel with some very special friends. We meet every Tuesday night for several hours and I love it!!!! I have learned so much already, and it's just the second week. I have been getting up early (the only time our house is quiet) to do my homework. This morning, I was at the kitchen table early and Hallie came downstairs. She asked what I was doing and I told her I was doing my Bible Study, so she asked if she could go get her Bible to read with me. Of course, I said I would love for her too, so she went upstairs and got a Precious Moments Bible that was a New King James Version. She began to read the 1st part of Genesis, she was doing okay until she got to the word firmament. Try explaining that to a 6 year old at 5:30 in the morning!!


I did the best I could and suggested she try reading my Bible, because it was a simpler version, NIV. She read a while in that but decided she liked the New King James better. Then, she got frustrated with some of the words, so I suggested she get Blake's Hermie Bible, which is an International Childrens version. She had better luck with that.


When Chad got out of the shower this morning, Hallie was sitting on our bed with two versions of the Bible, looking and comparing the two versions!!! She eventually moved on to the story of Jesus' birth and read that. She wanted to read the Prodigal Son, but we couldn't find it this morning, so Chad found it for her just now, and she is reading away.. She is so special, she has such a desire to learn and I love that about her. All I can say is....Watch out Beth Moore!!!!


As far as the little ones are concerned... The picture below is what happens when you think they are napping on a Sunday afternoon, but they decide they are not tired.




Please note, they got both mattresses off the bed, sheets and mattress covers off and bed skirts off. We are in trouble....



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disney 2008

M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!!! That mouse sure knows how to show people a good time. We recently got back from a trip to Walt Disney World. As always, the mouse never disappoints. This was Blake and Hallie's third trip to Disney World and Andrew and Daniel's first. My mother(the kids call her Bidee) also went us. We all had a great time.


This time, we stayed in the Caribbean Beach Resort. It was pretty nice, but the pool was outstanding. We found out that the pool had been closed for remodeling and just opened up again a few days before we arrived. We all loved it. The big pool was complete with two waterslides which me, Jaime, Blake and Hallie rode over and over. There was a smaller pool for smaller kids. The water was only about a foot and a half deep, but had a big playground in the middle of it complete with 3 waterslides for the little ones. This pool was probably one of Andrew and Daniel's favorite things to do.

video


For the first day, we went to Animal Kingdom. We rode and did most everything in the park. Blake and Hallie were both anxious to ride Expedition Everest. Blake loved it and rode it again, this time with Bidee. Hallie said she liked it, but didn't want to ride it again. At Animal Kingdom, we also attempted our first Disney character meeting. We took the kids to Camp Minnie Mickey to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. We knew that Blake and Hallie would be fine and would enjoy it, but we weren't sure about Andrew and Daniel. Andrew was okay at first. He handed his autograph book to Mickey, but after seeing Daniel being so scared that he cried and cried and screamed and cried some more, Andrew didn't want to get his picture made with Mickey. We kept Daniel away from the other characters and Andrew did a little better.



That evening we ate dinner at the Cinderella Feast. After getting my food at the buffet, I started to head back to our table. Cinderella was kneeling down talking to some kids at a table. As I walked by, she stood up and we bumped into each other. Thankfully, neither of us fell and I didn't spill my food on her. As I got back to the table, Hallie said, "Daddy, you just bumped into Cinderella. You never ever bump into a princess." I said that it wasn't my fault and Cinderella bumped into me. She replied, "It is never the princess' fault!!"


The next day we headed to Magic Kingdom. Breakfast with Pooh, Tigger, and the gang was good, but Daniel was still terrified of the characters. Andrew and Daniel were able to ride a lot more here. Hallie's favorite thing at Disney World was here and it was Splash Mountain. We stayed the all day and even caught the fireworks show, which everyone enjoyed.




The next day we went to MGM Studios. For Andrew and Daniel, we started the day at the Playhouse Disney show. This may have been their favorite thing, with the exception of swimming in the pool. We also had lunch with some of the Playhouse Disney characters such as Leo and June from the Little Einsteins and Jo-Jo and Goliath. Daniel again was terrified, but Andrew just danced to the music.

video

Blake had been looking forward to this day since July. Why? Because this park held the Indiana Jones stunt show. He had been saving his money since his birthday so that he could buy a real Indiana Jones hat and real Indiana Jones whip. When the time came, he was so excited that he wore the hat for the rest of the day.

The next day we went to Epcot. It was good, but Epcot isn't a big park for kids so we just did a few things such as Soarin', Test Track, and the Nemo and Friends aquarium. We also saw the Turtle Talk with Crush show. Now this was pretty cool. Crush from Nemo appears on a screen made to look like he was in the aquarium and he talks to all of the kids. He actually makes jokes and responds to the kids questions. It was really neat.

Our final day took us back to the Magic Kingdom to do the couple of things that we missed and ride Splash Mountain a couple more times. We finally were able to ride the Dumbo ride after 3 trips to Disney. The line is always too long to wait with kids. About 4 o'clock, we left the park to drive back home and no one wanted to leave. We literally had to drag and carry the kids to the car and buckle them in.


It was a fun trip and I can't wait to go back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALLIE!!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! I can't believe you are 6 years old today. It feels like just yesterday that you were born. Daddy and I were so excited to have you here. Blake could not wait to see you. Daddy brought Blake in first to see you and he was happy. Later in the night after your were born, I was holding you and you started making the sweetest sounds. I know you were talking to me already, telling me all about your day.

Your first year was so much fun. I remember dropping you at day care for the 1st time, I cried the whole day, but when I got there to pick you up, you were as happy as could be. You loved to chase Blake around, he would run in circles and you would happily chase him around. You loved to be outside right from the start. We would go outside to play with Blake and you would follow along and love to play in the grass.

I love that you love to learn. I love you want to share your day with me. I can't wait until you get the car after school to tell me about your day. I love that every day you come home with new things you learned or discovered. I love that you love your brothers so much and you are such a big help to me. I love that you love to cook and help me in the kitchen all the time. Daddy and I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful birthday.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Countdown to Disney

Four days and counting until we head down to the happiest place on Earth. You guessed it, I am talking about Walt Disney World. Where else can you walk around wearing a hat shaped like the head of a duck, give hugs to giant over sized characters, meet princesses and pirates, and love every minute of it.

We have been talking it up to the kids for some time now, but it is now time to take the hype to another level. By the time that we are ready to go this Saturday, the kids need to be so wound up that they are chanting "We are going to Disney" all the way to Orlando. Well, maybe not all of the way, but at least until we hit the interstate.

For the last few days, every time that we see the kids, we ask them how many days until we leave. We also ask them if they know what we will be doing in 6, 5, 4 days from now. We have bought them several shirts to wear and, of course, they had to have Disney characters on them. Last night, our dinner was even used to hype up our Disney trip. We ate ravioli, but it was not just any ravioli. It was shaped like Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse's head. Needless to say, we are almost are literally living the phrase "shaking with excitement".

You might think this is a little excessive, but as we see it, there must be a frenzy of excitement before you go on vacation. That is just how the Echolses roll.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Labor Day at the Lake

Over Labor Day, we got to spend a couple days on Lake Martin with some friends. We had a blast.

When we first got to the lake, all of the kids had to try to catch a fish. They asked several questions about the worms as we were putting them on the hook. None of them were too concerned though because they really wanted to catch a fish. Hallie managed to hook the first fish. It was a catfish and she managed to get it to the top of the water, where she could see it, before it wriggled off of the hook.

After fishing, we moved onto swimming and everyone loved that. The older kids jumped in and swam all over the place. The youngest kids also jumped into the water from the stairs, but later decided to ride in an inflatable boat.

After swimming, it was time to take a ride in the real boat. Everyone took turns riding in "Big Blue". Big Blue was a giant inflatable raft, which was pulled behind the boat. Everyone thought it was awesome and it was. The kids got to take turns driving the boat and honking the horn. Andrew especially loved to drive the boat and that is all that he has talked about since.

The next day brought more of the same activities, but it was still awesome, if not better. The fish were really biting in the morning. The kids managed to catch about 8-9 catfish and a bream. They got to swim for a longer period of time and also got more chances to ride Big Blue. During the second day of riding Big Blue, the kids got more courageous and started to do tricks. I know that I said it before, but it was a great weekend.

On the way home Monday night, we asked our kids to tell us their favorite part of the weekend. Blake said that his favorite part was riding Big Blue.




Hallie said that her favorite part was fishing. Andrew said that his favorite part was driving the boat.




Daniel said that his favorite part was jumping in the water and swimming.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

First "Date"

Last weekend Hallie went on her first "date". She and her friend Mason, have been boyfriend and girlfriend for about 3 years. They have "fallen in love" and their wedding is already planned. She has decided who her bridesmaids are going to be; her cousin Emma, her cousin Brita and her friend Brantley.


A couple of weeks ago Mason's mom emailed me and asked if we could take the kids to the movies. Hallie was estatic. She said she and Mason have always talked about their first date and had decided it would be going to the movies. She also mentioned that she and Mason would kiss in the movies on the first date. Chad and I were adamant that there would be no kissing on this date. Mason also had decided that I would drop Hallie off and Mason's mom would drop him off and that they would go alone. We reminded them both that they were only 5 and this was just two friends going to the movies, not a date.


Hallie wanted to wear her Easter dress to the movies, and she told us Mason was going to wear his best suit. We convinced her that a school dress would be fine and she did not need to wear a fancy dress. The day of the date, she was so excited, she woke up early and asked all day when it would be time. We finally left and she was over the moon.


They had the best time. Lots of hugs, but no kisses. They loved the movie and they loved going together. Here are some pictures from the date. We have decided these have to be shown at the rehersal dinner!!










Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Aquarium

A couple of weekends ago, before school started, we wanted to take a little trip with the kids. We decided to go to Chattanooga to the Tennessee Aquarium. We also thought it would be fun to stay the night in a hotel and let the kids swim. Now that I think of it, this would actually be our first family vacation with all 6 of us going on our own.

We got our tickets to the Aquarium and headed inside. For those of you who haven't been there, the Aquarium has two buildings, Ocean Journey and River Journey. We headed to the Ocean Journey building first and the kids loved it. The favorite thing was them getting to touch the sting rays and sharks. When Jaime and I first seen the tank and all of the people reaching in to touch the fish, we just knew that we would be the parents of the kid that fell in the water. Blake slipped and came close, but he managed to stay dry. We did see a kid fall in, but thankfully he was not one of ours.


Also in the Ocean Journey, the kids loved the penguins. They were always moving, jumping, and swimming.

We headed to the River Journey next, which is a much larger building. The kids loved this one too and this time they got to touch sturgeon. They managed to surprise us by not falling into this tank either. In the giant tanks, there were a couple of divers feeding the fish and cleaning the tank. The kids loved playing with the divers. The divers would come up to the glass and interact with everyone.

After that building, we went and ate pizza at the Mellow Mushroom and then went back to the Aquarium so the kids could play in the water outside the entrance.


We eventually made it to the hotel and they got to swim. We followed that up with a few hours or more of iCarly episodes on Nickelodeon before going to bed.

Blake said that his favorite thing was seeing the turtles. Hallie's favorite thing was playing with the divers. Andrew's favorite thing was looking at the alligators. Daniel's favorite thing was touching the fish. We had a great time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

1st day of school 2008

It's been a crazy morning, both kids up before 6, they are so excited! Here are some pictures from this morning.


Hallie's 1st day of Kindergarten


Blake's 1st day of 3rd Grade




Both of my school kids...





As I dropped them off, Hallie was so excited. All she said was "Bye Mom, See you tonight." She hopped out of the car and never looked back. As they walked into school, Blake had his hand on her shoulder guiding her in. I can't wait until tonight and hear how it went!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wipeout!!!

Jaime and I stumbled onto a new tv show a couple of weeks back. It is called Wipeout. For those of you who haven't seen it, it is basically an obstacle course made up of giant oversized inflatable objects. They start with 24 contestants and cut the field in half after each round until there is 4 contestants left. Then the fastest one through the final course wins. In actuality, the show is a competitive version of America's Funniest Home Videos. The contestants slip, crash, and fall throughout the whole show. We laughed and laughed the first time that we seen it and thought that the kids would enjoy the show.

Last week, we all sat down together to watch it. The kids didn't know what to think at first, but as they seen person after person slip and fall into the water and get punched by the punching wall into the mud pit, they thought it was hilarious.

As the game went on, Andrew and Daniel began to act out the games on the show. Every time someone attempted to jump over or across something, Andrew and Daniel would jump off of the couch. They also ran into the couch and pretended to splash in the water. Of course, they would laugh as hard as they could after attempting their own obstacles and expected us to laugh too, which we did. The only thing funnier than watching unknown people fall off of objects into water is watching your own kids act out falling off of objects into water.

Later in the game, I started yelling, "SPLASH!!!!" every time that someone fell in the water. After a couple times of this, all six of us were yelling, "SPLASH!!!!!" and laughing as hard as we could at the poor saps that just couldn't make the jump. It was probably the most fun of television that I have seen and the main event was in my living room. After all, you know what they say. The family that laughs at people slipping on giant inflatable red balls and falling into water. . . , well, they really don't say that. (But they should.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The House of Flying Pancakes

This past Monday, Blake and Hallie spent the night with their Uncle Brian and Aunt Dawn and Jaime had gone to bible study. That left me with the twins for the evening.

On the way home from school, I had asked Andrew and Daniel what they wanted to eat. Daniel said spaghetti, which was immediately shot down since we ate that recently and also since we had pizza a couple nights previous. Andrew asked for strawberry pancakes. Since we didn't have any strawberries at home and since I don't have any idea how to make strawberry pancakes, we opted for the original version of pancakes. You know, Bisquick.

When it was time to start cooking, the boys wanted to help. They sat on the counter and helped me count out the ingredients. Using a 1/4 cup, we counted out the amount of Bisquick and milk. When I went to get the two eggs, I found that the eggs were stuck in the carton. I stood in the middle of the kitchen, pulling and squeezing the eggs to get them out of the carton until I finally squeezed too hard and SPLAT!!!!! Egg all over my face, glasses, clothes, floor, etc. For that second that I stood in disbelief at what had just happened, I hear two boys laughing as loud as they could. I look up at them, with egg all over my face, and start laughing. Then Daniel says, "Again Daddy. Do it again." Eventually, I stopped laughing long enough to get everything cleaned up so we can get back to making our pancakes. Not wanting to repeat the egg explosion, I end up cutting the next two eggs out of the carton and adding them into the batter. Then, we cook up the pancakes.

When the first batch was ready to come out of the skillet, I took the first pancake, flipped it up in the air, and caught it on a plate. The boys cheered and said, "Again." Immediately recognizing that I had a captive audience, I flip the next pancake, catch it, and they cheer again. Then I went into Japanese steakhouse chef mode. The more they cheered, the better my tricks got. I started flipping them higher and higher. I even done a couple of no look catches. Next thing I knew, I was in a stance, exactly like a baseball player who is about to steal second base. I flip a pancake as high as I can across the whole kitchen and chase it with the plate. I caught several like this and Andrew and Daniel loved it. Although, I performed these feats with skill that few have ever seen, I did drop a couple onto the floor. When that happened, they laughed like I had smashed an egg on my face or something. It was awesome and hilarious. The only thing that stopped me from doing this all night was I eventually ran out of pancake batter. After that, we sat down to eat.

While we were eating, Andrew began to get a piece of pancake on his fork, go through the flipping motion, and act like he was catching it in his mouth. Me and Daniel would laugh so he kept doing it. Like father like son, right?

The next morning, Daniel was talking to Jaime about eating pancakes the night before and I heard him say, "Daddy pitched them in the sky". I think I may have started a trend. I may have to work costumes into my show for the next time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Great Weekend

It started with yet another birthday party for Blake. He wanted to have 4 friends over to spend the night Friday night. They ate pizza, ice cream, cake, cookies, and played more Fusion Frenzy than I thought any 5 kids (and 2 adults sometimes) could play. Sallie kept Hallie at her house, with the girls, otherwise she would have driven Blake crazy!!! Thank you Sallie. They slept really well, and didn't wake up until after 7:30. I was really impressed. Thank you boys for helping Blake have a great birthday.

Andrew and Daniel got to spend Saturday afternoon at Grandma and Grandpas while I went to a baby shower and the rest of the family recovered from the sleep overs. They had a great time as always and Saturday night was early to bed.

Sunday, after church, the kids played with water balloons, washed the cars with Chad and had a great time playing outside. Then, we got everyone dressed and went to the $1 movies to see Horton Hears A Hoo. We had lots of fun. Andrew and Daniel did really well, this was their first movie. We were able to get 1 large popcorn and 3 drinks and everyone was happy. We refilled the popcorn once and the kids ate and ate and ate. I had some cookies in my purse, so for $16 we had dinner and a movie. (If you consider Sprite, popcorn and cookies dinner!!) It was a really good weekend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLAKE!

Happy Birthday Blake. It is hard to believe you are turning 9 today. Time has gone by so fast. It seems like you should still be a baby. I remember your first birthday party. We had it at Poppa and Bidee's house, we had just moved back to Birmingham from Atlanta and we were living in an apartment. We had a Sesame Street Elmo party for you. Mommy worked really hard on your cake, Bidee had to help and show me how to do it. You were unsure about getting your hands dirty in the cake, but you finally started eating it. There were so many people there that day. Uncle Jeremy made you a banner to hang in front of the house, so everyone knew it was your birthday.

You opened presents for about 30 minutes and had so much fun. It was a great day.

Daddy and I are so proud of you. We are proud of the boy you are becoming. You have grown so much this year. You do a great job helping us, you help with the boys, you clean up all the time and you love to help in the kitchen. I love that you still love Veggie Tales. I love that you have grown up and love Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I love that you love to read.
Daddy and I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful birthday!!
Mommy and Blake at 9 months.
Blake at 1 year

Monday, June 30, 2008

Honduras June 2008

I know we are way behind on blogging and we have a bunch to catch up on, but I want to blog about our trip to Honduras.

Once again, I am at a loss of words to say. How was our week in Honduras? Amazing, wonderful, peaceful, God-directed, and so much more. The story of our trip began several weeks before we left for Honduras. The airport we normally fly into in Tegucigalpa was closed because of an airplane crash at the airport at the end of May. Our only other option to fly in was into San Pedro Sula, which is a 5 1/2 hour bus ride up and down the mountains of Honduras. So we landed about 3 on Saturday afternoon. It was a very long day as we did not arrive at the shelter until after 10, long after the boys had gone to sleep. On the way, we stopped at a Honduran Buffet called Bongos. It was quite an experience as we all seemed to remember that meal long into the week...

Sunday morning we got up very early to the screams of the boys waking up. It was so amazing to see them all again. They had grown so much. Moises was there and I got a big hug first thing. I'm not sure if he totally remembered me, but we were good friends not long into the trip. Church was wonderful Sunday morning, we had a great time with the boys. After church we headed to the streets of Tegucigalpa to meet some of the kids on the street. We had buckets and buckets of fried chicken, and after getting their bellies full we talked to them about God. It was great, the kids are so beautiful. They were all very malnourished, not very clean and a lot of them were on drugs. But we were able to talk to them and send them off with lots of food, that they can bring to their friends or family. After the streets, we headed to the grocery store, to buy the food we were going to deliver during the week. Over 100 bags each of rice, beans and dried milk were purchased. After about 10 full to the brim carts of food, we were ready to go.

The rest of the week was very similar. We would do the food ministry in the morning and then go to the farm in the afternoon for a small building project and to do crafts and spend time with the older boys. Those were wonderful days. We split up into teams and brought food to most of the houses in a community called Monte Redondo. It is where the Farm is located and also where Noah's Ark Baptist Church is. We got to meet the great people in this community, bring them food, pray with them and tell them about the church at Monte Redondo. It was wonderful to meet so many people. Everyone was very welcoming and warm. They all invited us into their homes, and as poor as they were, every house was clean and every person had a wonderful smile.

In the afternoons, we played with the older boys. We did Spray Tie Dye, made duck tape wallets, they showed us how to make bracelets and we had a fantastic Silly String fight.

There are so many stories I want to tell, but I can't get them all out right now. Moises and I got to spend some very special time together, again climbing the trees. He loves to climb and eat whatever nut or fruit grows on the tree. Most of them were not recognizable to me, but he loved them.

I also met a very special boy named Samy. I had heard of Samy before because he was a part of the ministry and then left about a year ago. The ministry finally found him and now he was back. He lived a very hard life while he was gone and his mother was murdered during that time. Now he and his brother are in the ministry and doing great. He came and sat by me at church on Sunday, and after that we sought each other out every day. We spent lots of time reading, he would read in Spanish, I would read in English, then he would read the English with me. They boys have a real desire to speak English and be able to communicate with the teams they meet.

Chad got very attached to a boy named Saul, he is 13 years old and a trouble maker! He and Chad had a great time together. He will have to post and tell you all about his time with Saul. It is so amazing that we can spend hours with a boy and barely say a word. There is a huge language barrier, but it doesn't matter. We laugh and hug and play and don't even have to say a word.


I love Honduras. I love everything about it. I love the mountains, I love the valleys, I love the smells and the sights. I love the people and I love the children. The children are so beautiful. The people are so gracious and thankful. It is a country that is very wicked, with human life not being valued at all. But, there is also a light in Honduras that is burning brighter and brighter. As people begin to help others, street children become educated, men of God who know how to live and treat their wives, as the gospel of Jesus is spread to every person, you can feel and see the changing of the country.


I am so privileged that God has allowed me to be a part of this ministry now and for many years to come.

One of the couples who went with our group, brought a video camera and the below link is a short video with clips from our week. It is only a couple of minutes, but it shows a little bit of everything we did.


Thank you so much for all of your prayers, your toys and your clothes, they were all distributed and it was wonderful to have them all. The kids and parents were very grateful.

Me and Moises



Handing out toys during the food ministry.

Chad and Saul

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sleepy Toys

Most kids need something to hold on to or have in their bed to go to sleep at night, preferably something other than mommy or daddy. Andrew and Daniel have always had their little bear blankets.

Recently, Daniel has started sleeping with The World Book Encyclopedia: Q-R Volume. I don't really know why. Maybe he is trying to gain some knowledge by looking at it in the last few minutes of light before he goes to sleep or maybe the thought of reading an encyclopedia is so boring that having it in his bed puts him to sleep. Who really knows? The other night he ripped out several pages, so we may have to put a stop to that. (I guess he really didn't want to learn about Quebec, eh?)

As weird of an object as that is for a child to sleep with, it isn't the strangest thing that one of our kids has used.

When Blake was a toddler, he started crying one night and nothing would calm him down. Any of you who are parents, have faced one of these nights. Any of you who are not yet parents, it is coming. Anyway, Blake would not stop crying. Jaime got up and tried everything to get him to stop. She held him, rocked him, sang to him, gave him a pacifier, and let him cry a bit more from his crib, but nothing worked. She then woke me up. I held him, rocked him, sang to him, gave him back his pacifier and let him cry some more from his crib. Since none of those ideas were working, we tried some different things. We pushed him around our house in his stroller, let him watch VeggieTales, read him stories, offered him something to eat, offered him something to drink, let him lay down in our bed with us, changed his diaper, checked to see if he was running a fever, and finally drove him around the town for about an hour or so in the car. Nothing would work. We were tired and in a very bad mood.

Finally, that moment of "I can't take any more" came and we put him on the floor crying and he started stumbling through the house. We followed him and he walked to the refrigerator. At this point, we opened the door and offered him anything out of it as long as he would go to sleep or at least stop crying. Blake reached in and grabbed the bottle of maple syrup. It wasn't even the Mrs. Butterworth shaped bottle, which is shaped like a person as most of you know. It was just a plain ol' bottle of syrup. Once he had it in his hand, he stopped crying and walked back to our bedroom and wanted to climb in our bed. Needless to say, that night, me, Jaime, and Blake slept the last couple hours of the night in our bed with a bottle of syrup. At least the cap was stuck on good. None of us woke up sticky in the morning, however after a night like that, we would not have cared.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blake's Baptism

Last Sunday, Blake was baptized! It was a wonderful day. He got baptized at Hunter Street at the 9:30 service, his good friend Hunter was baptized the same day. Another good friend, Riley, was baptized at the chuch picnic the Sunday before. (Which I intended to blog about but never did, it was a wonderful day with friends (friends is not a strong enough word, family is more like it), great food and finished off with Riley's baptism in the lake.. An amazing day!!) Back to the baptism, Blake was so excited. He came down the baptism steps in front of the big church and he was smiling. It was so amazing to have all of his family and friends there to witness his profess his faith and follow Christ in baptism. We were all so proud.


Afterwards we headed to Ed and Sallies house (Hunter's parents) to have a big party for a three boys. We had some more wonderful food, barbeque, homemade ice cream, the works. Ed spoke to boys about the importance of the day and also the importance of the people who were surrounding them. They all had a room packed full of people who love them and are going to support them as they grow. It was wonderful day and one I will never forgot and one I hope the boys will always remember.


Blake, we are so proud of you and love you so much!!!





Friday, May 16, 2008

Aloha

Aloha makamakas!! For all of you who don't speak Hawaiian, that means "Hello friends". Normally our blog is mostly about the kids, but as the oldest of the Echols kids and at times, most immature, I wanted to tell about something that I had gotten to do recently.

Thanks to Jaime, who I like to refer as the "greatest wife ever", I just returned from a week in Hawaii. I went to visit my longtime friend, Heath, who is currently living on the island of Kaua'i. It was a full blown guys week and did I mention that it was in Hawaii. (I couldn't remember.)

It was a blast. On days that Heath had to work, I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach and balcony staring at the waves rolling into the bay and also snorkeling. A few days into the trip, we were sitting on the beach and seen a shark attack a turtle in the spot where we had been snorkeling a few days previously. Needless to say, that really ended my snorkeling trips for the rest of the time that I was there.

We toured the whole island. We seen the old sugar cane mills, sugar cane and coffee fields, several waterfalls, Menehune Lake, and most every beach that we could find. Some of my more favorite things that we done were going up to Waimea Canyon, the dinner Catamaran cruise to view the Na Pali Coast, and touring the North Shore side of the island.

Here are a couple pictures from Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau lookout.

Here are a couple from the Na Pali Coast.

Here is a good shot of a beach on the North Shore. The cool thing about the North Shore side is that the beaches run right next to the road. You pull the car off to the side of the road, open the door and you are standing on the beach. They also are not very crowded as you can tell. This picture was taken on a Saturday.
One of the other great things the food. We stayed clear of the places that we could eat here and stuck with local eating places. The best was the Smith's Tropical Paradise Luau. It was more food than anyone can eat, but I tried most all of it. Of course the kalua pork was the best, but the teriyaki beef and sweet and sour mahi-mahi was good too. I also ate a Hawaiian sweet potato, which was purple, and a few bites of poi. Poi is sort of weird and I won't waste anytime explaining it because, I don't know that I can. Another one of my favorite eats was at Puka Dog. You may ask what that is and I will say that they only serve hot dogs and fresh squeezed lemonade. Puka means hole in Hawaiian. They cook the inside of their buns on some type of post and then they put the dog in the hole. You pick your type of dog (sausage or veggie), then you pick your garlic sauce (mild, hot, or volcano), then finally you pick your type of sweet relish (mango, banana, coconut, pineapple, etc). I had a sausage Puka Dog with mild garlic sauce and coconut relish. Possibly best hotdog ever.

The last day that I was there, we attempted to ride some waves with a boogie board. As amateurs, we were in way over our heads. The surf looked good, so we headed out to find that the waves were probably 8-10 feet high. Both of us managed to catch a few waves and it was awesome, but most of the time we drank more saltwater through our nose than anyone ever should. Our boogie boarding skills did draw the attention of some locals. There were some 11-12 year old kids who were making fun of us. We knew we looked goofy, so we joined in on the fun.

I had a great time and I must give the host/tour guide/cook/photographer at the Mixon Makai 5 stars.

Aloha!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Day with Hallie

Hallie likes to talk, as most of you who have spent time around her know. She isn't talking to hear herself talk. She is talking so that you can hear her talk. What most of you may not know is that apparently she knows it all too. I was at home with her one day last week and she just couldn't help but to share some of her wisdom. I wanted to share a few with you.

Hallie on driving.
Daddy, a speed limit is how fast you can go and not break the law, right? If you break the law, then the police will take you to jail. Mommy says that you drive slow. You don't want to break the law, right?

Hallie on hitting a baseball.
Hal: Daddy, how do you hit the ball hard?
Me: You have to swing really hard.
Hal: I will try to swing really hard, but I can't promise that I won't swing at bad pitches. I am only 5 and I don't really know which pitches are bad, so I swing at them all.

Hallie on God.
Daddy, God hates sin, but he does love everyone. Well, I don't think that he loves Satan. Satan tried to take over Heaven before the world was created. That is why God threw him out of Heaven.
(From a previous day) Refried beans are great, but God is better than refried beans.

Hallie on going to Kindergarden.
Daddy, I know that I have to go to Kindergarden because I am only 5 years old, but I am smart enough for first grade. I know all of this Kindergarden stuff.

Now we are all the smarter thanks to Hallie.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Light's Out

Andrew and Daniel have been out of their cribs for some time now and sleep in twin beds. They have adjusted to sleeping in their beds, but won't seem to go to sleep without me or Jaime sitting in the room with them. This has been ongoing for a while. Jaime and I alternate nights just to keep our sanity.

Last night, it was Jaime's turn to sit. We try, every now and then, to break them of needing us in their room, so she decided to put them in the bed and leave to see if they would stay in their beds and go to sleep. We do have a gate to make sure that they stay in their room. (They can open doors, even if they are locked.)

After she got downstairs, it was obvious that they didn't stay in their beds. We heard them banging on the floor, wall, door, gate, and anything else that they may have been colliding with while walking around in the dark. Eventually, we didn't hear them anymore, but not allowing ourselves to be tricked, we stayed downstairs a little longer.

When it was time for Blake and Hallie to go to bed, we all walked very quietly upstairs hoping not to disturb the potential sleeping kids. Blake and Hallie went to bed without a hitch. Next, I headed to Andrew and Daniel's room to check on them. As I went to step over the gate and into the room, I almost fell on my face as I tried to avoid the two little bodies that were cuddled up next to each other in the doorway right next to the gate. They were cute and hilarious at the same time. Here is a look at what I saw.
I guess when the warden calls for light's out and locks you up in the dark, you have no other choice but to go on to sleep.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Kids in the Hats

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So they sat in the house
All that windy, wet day.

Blake sat there with Hallie.
They sat there, those two
And Blake said, "How I wish
We had something to do."

Too wet to go out
And to wet to play ball.
So they sat in the house.
They did nothing at all.


They found their ball jerseys
And dressed for the game.
They were seeking to find
some baseball fame.

They turned on the Wii
And they started the play.
The Cardinals and Dodgers
Would play on this day.

No rainouts inside
Of the living room
The wind up, the pitch
Hallie connects with a "Boom!"



Hallie takes the lead,
But Blake comes back.
The Echols World Series
Is now in the sack.

The series ended tied
One game to one.
And now, at this time
All the baseball is done.