Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love Letter

When Hallie was 3 years old, she met a boy named Mason at school and they became great friends. At school, they were inseparable. Many of you, I am sure, have heard Hallie talk about Mason. Hallie has always had a crush on Mason and Mason has always had a crush on Hallie. They have talked of being married for about 3 years now.

Since both of them live in different school systems, they have been separated for their first year in Kindergarten. Hallie still talks about him and they have managed to stay in touch. They have been to each other's birthday parties. Jaime and Mason's mom even got them together for their first official date to take them to the movies.

The other day, Hallie got a letter from Mason in the mail and she was extremely excited. She opened it up and read it fairly easily, even though it was written by a kindergarten boy who was learning to read and write phonetically. I guess in the language of love, there are no misspellings. I had to share this letter.

Translation: "Dear Hallie. I love you because you are so beautiful."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

After school

We have been fortunate enough to find a baby-sitter to watch Blake and Hallie after school instead of them having to go to after-school care. Long story short, we were put in touch with a girl from the youth group of our church, who was looking for a job to sit with kids after school. The opportunity sounded great to us, so Shaye started last week.

Shaye meets the kids at the bus stop and takes care of them until we get home from work. She gets them started on their homework and spends time doing fun things with them. Hallie and Blake say that the have played games and "done all kinds of fun things". She also helps us out tremendously by driving them to their after school activities such as Blake's drama class and Hallie's gymnastics. I can't tell you how much easier this has made things on us.

The first week, she gave them a bible verse to memorize with the promise of doing something special at the end of the week if they were able to do it. Hallie the overachiever, of course, had the verse memorized the first day. Both had it memorized by the end of the week and have repeated it several times since.

Blake and Hallie love having Shaye around. In their own words, "she is great". It has also been great for us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


As anyone with kids knows, bedtime is a process. Our kids are no different. None of them like to go to bed and none of them go to bed the same way. Here is what I am talking about.

Blake always has to listen to music. Hallie always asks for a story, a kiss, a hug, to be tucked in, a second kiss, a second hug, something to drink, and music. Andrew and Daniel always want books to read in bed with them. Of course they have to read them by night light because we are smart enough to know not to leave on their bedroom light.

Blake and Hallie always go to sleep easily. They stay in their bed and we don't hear from them until morning. Daniel is usually asleep really fast and rarely gets out of his bed to come downstairs. Daniel does have a peculiar habit of taking all of his clothes off before he falls asleep. There have been many mornings that we find him waiting for us in his room naked as a jaybird. On the days that he does keep on his pajamas, he usually takes off his pull-up. Except for that, he is no problem.

The problem is Andrew. We think that he just doesn't need as much sleep as the others. He seems to need a minimum of three trips downstairs and a minimum of three trips back upstairs before he will close his eyes. The funny thing about him coming downstairs is that he changes clothes for each trip. The first trip is normally in the pajamas that he wore to bed. The next trip usually consists of a shirt change. In the trip after that, he is wearing clothes that he would normally wear to school, sometimes complete with jacket and shoes. At least it makes it easier to get him dressed in the morning.

When morning does come, Hallie is always the first one up and some mornings comes downstairs completely dressed. Here recently, her back seems to be hurting every morning. I am starting to think that it is a ploy. She comes downstairs, climbs in our bed and announces that her back is hurting and she needs a massage. Then she lays their with a huge smile on her while she gets her back massaged. Like mother, like daughter

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to School

Growing up as a kid, the worst days of the year were the first day back to school after the summer break and Christmas holidays. I never could get excited about going back to school. Seeing my friends again would have been the thing to look forward to, except for the fact that they lived up the street from me and I saw them every day during the break. I would have just rather stay home from school and play with my friends. This is not really the case with my kids.

Both Blake and Hallie were excited to get back to school. Blake was excited mainly to see his friends and teacher. Hallie was excited to see her friends, teacher, but was also ready to get back to school work. For all who know Hallie, she would tell you that is how she rolls. Word!

Tuesday was the first day back to school for them. Hallie was awake just minutes after Jaime and I had gotten out of bed. She was dressed before anyone. Then she brushed her teeth, brushed her hair, ate breakfast, packed her backpack, and went to sit in the car. She sat in the car for probably 15-20 minutes before Jaime and Blake were ready to go.

At work today, someone was telling me of a news story that they had seen. In that story, a 6 year old boy had wrecked a car while attempting to drive himself to school. According to the story, this boy's deadbeat mom wouldn't get out of bed to take him to school, so he took the matter into his own hands.

After hearing that, I immediately thought of Hallie, especially since she is 6 years old. Thankfully she knew that her mommy was going to take her to school so she just stayed put. Although, now that I think of it, I believe that Hallie could safely drive herself to school. She has more determination than most everyone that I know, so I don't put much past her. Just as a precaution, maybe I should teach her to drive.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Another Christmas has come and gone. This year at the Echols house was busy, as always, but it was great fun.

We started off by going to the Christmas Eve service at our church. We have been doing this the last few years and always enjoy it. We put the kids in their pajamas, since the service doesn't start until 8:00, and head to the church. The kids get to go to the sanctuary, which they love. One thing that I really enjoy about the Christmas Eve service is taking the Lord's Supper. Since Christmas is about the hope of a Savior who came to die for our sins, so that we may spend eternity in Heaven, it is always cool to celebrate the reason that Jesus Christ came on the day we celebrate his birth. Since Blake had accepted Christ as his savior and has been baptized, he was able to participate in the Lord's Supper also. Before the service, we were talking with a friend who asked the kids if they were ready for the night (meaning Santa coming to town). Blake said, "I really can't wait until the Lord's Supper." It wasn't exactly the answer that I was expecting him to say, but it did bring a smile to my face.

On Christmas morning, I always look for the kids to be up really early. The normal Christmas wake up time is around 4:00-5:00 AM. Even though we had a late night, I did not expect it to change. I woke up to see the clock read 5:02 AM. I listened and didn't hear any noise. Knowing that Jaime would most likely take me out of this world if I woke the kids up, I laid in bed and waited and waited and waited and, yes, I waited. Finally about 6:45, Blake came into our room asking if it was Christmas morning and if he could look to see if Santa came. Seeing this as my chance, I jumped up and said go wake everyone up, which he did. All six of us ran into the family room and saw that Santa had definitely been there. Blake, Hallie, and Andrew immediately went to full speed. Daniel needed a few minutes to warm up, I guess, but he was fired up when he did get going.

Later that morning and throughout the day, family began to show up. We opened presents, ate food, hung out, and played with toys. It was a blast and the kids racked up, as always.

Blake got some Legos, several Muppet movies, some games, some Indiana Jones action figures, some books, and a couple of articles of clothing. Blake has not really locked into one gift, but has loved and enjoyed them all.

Hallie got a razor scooter, a triangle, some games, some books, some Pixos, and some clothes. Hal's favorite gift might have been a pogo-stick. She is always asking to go outside to play with it and is determined to master it. I have seen her get 7 consecutive jumps on it and she was excited that she was getting better. With her determination, she will have it down in no time.

Andrew got a Mickey Mouse racetrack, some trucks and cars, some books, some games, and a baseball glove (which is standard issue to a Echols kid, although Santa brought a left-handed one. He really should pay more attention.) Andrew's favorite gift is one that was actually given to him and Daniel. It was a motorized green truck. He is always talking about his truck, wanting to see his truck, and wanting to ride in his truck. He is getting better at driving it. The day after Christmas, with a clear driveway, he done a lot better in not running into things. Of course, after a while of doing circles and riding down the street, we had to start using it as a monster truck. Daniel would set up small kid-sized patio chairs in the driveway and Andrew would drive over them. He has broken one of them.

Daniel got some Pooh and Tigger action figures, some books, some games, a ball, some puzzles and a baseball glove. He hasn't really locked into anything really hard, although he can be seen playing with a Little Einstein puzzle game during the day.

Later in the day, Hallie checked the mail and noticed that there was a letter from Bennett the Elf. Bennett is the elf that lives with us for a few days before Christmas Day. Bennett sent the kids a letter thanking them for letting him stay at our house again this year. Included with the letter was a picture that the elf had apparently taken. It was a picture of Santa Claus in our living room prior to putting out the kids gifts. Since very few people ever see Santa in their house on Christmas Eve, I wanted to share this with everyone.

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas at the Echols house. We hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.