Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Well, it's been several days since I have posted anything and I really don't have time to be blogging today, but I do not want to get out of the habit.  We were out of town for several days over Spring Break and then once we got back we've been trying to get back in the swing of things with school, etc.  My whole family is exhausted.  The past two nights at supper we've almost fallen over in our plates, counting down the minutes until bedtime (well, not sure the kids were as excited about bedtime as I was).  Anyway, hopefully by the end of the week, the laundry will be caught up on, the house will be clean, and I will have to time and energy to blog again regularly.

Tomorrow the adoption specialist comes to meet us and have a walk-through of our house.  From my understanding, this is so when a child comes into the system that is eligible for adoption and their criteria matches with ours, the adoption specialist will have a better idea of who we are and whether she thinks our family would be a good match for that child.  All that to Carson and I are cleaning house!! :)  His room was a disaster, because when he plays in his room, he plays hard.  He pulls out everything and has the biggest time.  Yesterday he had a friend over to play, so there was two little people in there to create a wreck.  They stayed very busy having fun, though.  We had to drag them out when it was time to eat lunch and then time for him to leave.  :) 

When Carson's room gets really messy, he has trouble figuring out how to clean up.  I think the mess is just so overwhelming that he doesn't know where to start.  If I stand in his room and give him step by step instructions, then he can clean it himself.   You know, focus on one thing at a time.  He is still not able to master that ability since he is only four.  I was needing to be tidying elsewhere, so I came up with the idea to draw him a map (since he can't read) of the steps that he needs to take to clean his room.  He did a pretty good job!

This is the before picture........yikes!!!
Here is Carson's map.  I called it a map, because he likes maps and I thought he would think it was cool to have a map! :)
Step #1:  Make bed, put stuffed animals on top and then place clean clothes basket on top
(I'll have to put up the clean clothes)
Step #2:  Find all dirty clothes on floor, pick them up and take them to the dirty clothes hamper in the bathroom.
(I even drew underwear! ha,ha,ha!)
Step#3:  Find all your big toys and put them in the tubs in the bottom of your closet.
Step #4:  Find all your dress-up costumes and put them in the blue bag on closet door.
Step #5:  Pick up all the little toys off the floor and put them in the container on the shelf.
He was very proud of his work and called for me to come look..........

He did a pretty good job...I did find a few things stuffed under the bed and a dirty sock he'd put in his sock drawer, but overall a passing score.  Now I can come in and do the vacuuming, dusting, etc.  Think I'll make his bed again, but I'm very proud of his good attempt. 

I slipped his map down in a clear protector, so that he could mark off when he finished a step with a dry-erase marker.  Then we can erase it off and use it again the next time his room becomes a disaster.......because I'm sure there will be a next time.  :)

That's all I have time for now.  I want to post about our fun camping trip last weekend, but that will have to wait.  I have this uncontrollable urge to make my house look perfect for when the specialist comes tomorrow.......God forbid that she realize we are real people with a normal life and normal clutter.  :) 

(For all you clean freaks out there, I would like to clarify that Carson's room is not always that messy.  :)  It can go from clean to wreck in minutes and the toys get cleaned up almost every night.  Just don't want you to think that there was anything growing or living in that mess or was all clean clutter that just needed a few minutes of attention.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break Fun

Spring Break is in full swing around here. This weekend my mom and two of my nieces came to visit.  They don't get to come to our house that often, because we usually always go to where they live and hang out.  My oldest niece that came is only six days younger than Tori, so they are exactly the same age.  The little squirt is 3 1/2, but she can hold her own with the bigger cousins.  :)

On Saturday we packed a picnic lunch and took a little road trip to a field with tons of daffodils.  I had heard about it for several years, but never been.  It was very pretty!  The pics didn't turn out very good, because it was really sunny and the kids were squinting in almost of the them.  I also am no professional photography, so I didn't know how to arrange the kids in the flowers to make it look really cool.   The kids had fun seeing all the flowers and running around though, so that was the most important thing.  Here's a few pics from our photo shoot:

All four cousins
My children
Tori and Natalie
I think this picture is good, if only the sun had not been in her eyes!
Sweet cousins:  Tori, Katie, and Natalie
Running through the flowers
This picture shows only about a third of the was unbelievable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Courage Builder #6: Evidence of God in My Life

In my very first entry in this series, I told about breaking up with my boyfriend the summer after my 10th grade year (when I wrecked my brother's truck).  He and I had been friends for awhile and had only been dating a few months.  He was actually two years older than me, so he had graduated that year and was going to college.  The reason that I broke up with him was because I felt like I was putting my relationship with him above my relationship with God.  As a teenager, it was a struggle to keep my priorities in the right order.  You see the problem was that I was so crazy about this guy that I spent all my time with him and when I wasn't with him, I was either talking to him on the phone or thinking about him.  :)  He became the most important thing to me, instead of God.  It was the same for him and I knew that wasn't good for either of us.  So, I really felt like God was just telling me that we needed to break up  and that I needed some time to reprioritize things.  My boyfriend was also going away to college and I didn't want him to come home to our small town every weekend.  I wanted him to "spread his wings and fly" (isn't that a song?).  ha! 

That whole summer I moped around.  I experienced my first heartbreak and the crazy thing was it was me that broke up with him.  At the time I had a stronger relationship with God than he did, so he didn't really understand when I tried to explain it all to him.

So, school started my junior year and I still missed him terribly.  Several weeks into the school year, I was sitting at youth group at church on a Sunday night.  During the ending prayer, I really started silently pouring out my heart to God.  I told him that I wanted to be obedient to Him and that I had broken up with Robert because I felt like that was what He told me to do.  So, He was either going to have to heal my heart and help me get over this or He was going to have to give him back to me.  When my youth pastor said Amen, we all raised our heads and opened our eyes. I noticed someone standing in the back of the room..........Robert had slipped in right at the end of the service.  It was pretty darn cool!!  I can't think of a clearer way for God to give me the answer to that prayer.  I still remember what he looked like today.  He looked so mature and "collegy."  He had on a new ball cap and shirt that had his college logo on it.  (Sounds cheesy, but he looked really cute!) 

After church that night, we talked for awhile and started dating again not long after that.  We did break up a few more times before it stuck permanently.  :)  Starting to date when we were so young made those breakups necessary for me.  I always wanted to make sure that I wasn't just settling for what was comfortable and missing out on something else.  I'd fish the waters for a little bit and then always realize that I had an amazing guy that already loved me and I'd come crawling back.  The last time I broke up with him when we were both in college, he told me that if I ever broke up with again, he wasn't taking me back (he's patient, but he eventually gets to a breaking point).  I took him for his word and didn't break up again.

I know now that Robert is the person that God created to be my mate in life.  We compliment each other well.  Where I am weak, he is strong and vice versa.  We have been married almost ten years and I still not only love him, but enjoy his company as much as I did as a teenager.  We are not perfect people, but we are perfect for each other.  I think when a couple can get to a point where they can accept each other completely (even the imperfections and weaknesses)........that's true love.  The tough things that we have experienced along the way have only made us stronger and made us not take our relationship for granted. 

God, thank you for caring about me enough to move Robert across the country from California to Arkansas, to be my life partner.  You went to a lot of trouble to bring us together.  Please give us the strength and courage to fulfill the plans that you have for us!

Here's a few blasts from the past........just for fun!

Jr./Sr. Banquet
Homecoming, my 10th grade year
This is when we were playing Mary and Joseph in the Christmas Cantata.
Homecoming, my senior year
Celebrating Robert's birthday when we were in college

Robert's graduation

Engagement Picture
Wedding Picture

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Little Slugger

Carson as a baby with his baseball gear!  :)
Carson at 15 months
Tonight my little man goes to his very first t-ball practice!  I feel like it is a monumental day, because it's his first official introduction to a sport that has the potential to give him many hours of joy and pleasure, as well as great memories.  I could care less if he is the most talented or not, I just want him to have fun!  I already see how much he and his daddy enjoy getting out in the yard and hitting the ball around.  The picture below is Robert as a kid.  He loves sports, so I hope that is something that he and Carson can share!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Courage Builder #5: Evidence of God in My Life

I think I've mentioned on my blog before that my parents got divorced in July of 2008, after over thirty years of marriage.  It was a tough time for me, because my heart broke for my family.  During that summer, a new couple began visiting our Sunday School class at church.  We became friends very quickly and began spending a lot of time together.  She and I soon discovered that our parents were going through similar situations.  She had grown up in a Christian home (just like me) and had always looked up to her parents.  They had taught her right from wrong and taught her the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Due to some unwise choices of her father later in his life, her parents were also getting divorced that summer after thirty something years of marriage.  We talked a lot about what our families were going through.  If you had told either one of us five years earlier that our parents would be getting divorced, we would have thought you were a lunatic.  It is not very common to see well-respected, Christian couples get divorced after many years of marriage.  She was the only person that I could talk freely about my feelings and know that I wasn't going to be judged, because she was going through the same thing.  I can remember us praying for each other and talking a long time during the days that surrounded the actual court date of my parents divorce.  Just a few months after that, they decided that our church was too far away from home and they found a new church closer.  I have no doubt that God put her in my life at such a time as this to help me through that difficult time (and hopefully I helped her).  She was God's comfort to me in a tangible way.

It makes me think of the phrase, I'm not exactly sure how it is worded:  Some friends are put in our lives for only a season, while others grow roots and stay awhile.  Thank you God for caring about me enough to bring her into my life during that season. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finally, the bed is complete!

I blogged awhile back about my mom's baby doll bed that Tori and I were going to paint for her American Girl doll, Lacey.  Well, after several coats of primer and a coat of's complete!  Lacey has moved in her new establishment and I think she likes it! :)



AFTER (I don't know why this picture is pink.  I guess becaue the sun was coming
through the pink curtains in Tori's room.

Tori and I found this hat and jacket in one of my childhood suitcases that was up in the top of her closet.  It was my mom's and I'm assuming that it fit some doll that she had as a little girl.  It appears to be homemade, so I'm pretty sure that my grandmother made it.  I love it and it fits Lacey perfectly!!  We also found some homemade
Barbie clothes.  They are so cool!  Maybe we will have a fashion show and snap some pictures.  :)  I think I secretly have as much fun as Tori when we play......shhhhhh, don't tell anyone!!

Courage builder #4: Evidence of God in My Life

Two summers ago I spent a week in Cajamarca, Peru on a mission trip.  There were three different teams:  VBS, Medical, and Construction.  I was on the VBS team, so we spent our days teaching a VBS at an orphanage there in Cajamarca.  There were only 50 kids at the orphanage, so by the end of the week we knew almost every kid by name and had grown to love them very much.  At night our whole group would come back together we would all share experiences from our day.  The group of us on the VBS team realized that although we were enjoying all the kids, God seemed to be laying a different kid on each of our hearts that we really felt connected to.  A special bond was forming for me with a twelve year old little boy named Jhon.  I began noticing him when the kids would play during rec time.  He was very gentle and patient with the younger kids, but he also was a great leader with the boys his own age.  I could tell that the other boys looked up to him and followed his lead.  I could just see a special spark in him.  I guess the expression in my eyes told him that I loved him and saw potential in him, because he bonded to me as well.  Everyday when our van would pull up, he'd be looking for me and waiting for me to get off.  I'm telling you, I would have taken him home and raised him myself if they would have let me.  As we became friends (with me communicating in my "patchy" Spanish) I tried to explain to him how I thought that he could grow up to be anything that he wanted to be.  I asked him if he knew that one of the great leaders in the Bible was named John also.  He said that he didn't know, so I ran and got my Bible and began to show him.  I will forever be indebted to one of our teenagers on the trip who snapped a picture of this precious moment to me.  So, anyway, the week ended and we all came home, trying to remember how to function in our normal American life after experiencing something so amazing.  :)  I continued to think about Jhon (that's the way he spells it) and prayed for him often that entire year.

Fast forward to this past summer.  I returned to Cajamarca with my church group.  There were still three teams like the previous year, but the VBS team's plans were different this year.  We were only spending one day at the orphanage and then going around to several public school to hand out shoes that we had brought and make salvation bracelets, sharing the salvation story.  Once I got to Cajamarca, I longed to go back to the orphanage that had impacted my life so much the previous year and I wanted to see all the kids so bad.  Every year the group is different, so no one else on this current trip had been on the VBS team the previous year and been able to build such strong relationships.  I actually cried the first morning that we got up and headed to one of the schools, because I wanted to see my babies at the orphanage so bad.  On Sunday we went to the church there that was started by the ministry that we work with.  I knew that on Sundays sometimes kids from the orphanage came to church there.  I hoped to see someone that I knew.  The service started and there were no kids.  After the first prayer a few kids and one of the tias (that's what they call the woman who serve as "house moms") came shuffling in and sat on the pew almost directly across from me.  As I looked've probably guessed.......yes, Jhon was one of the five kids that had gotten to come to church that Sunday.  You see there are around fifty kids at the orphanage, so of course they can't transport that many all in one Sunday.  The kids have to take turns going to church.  You can tell me that it was a coincidence that Jhon's Sunday happened to be the Sunday that I was there, but I'm going to say that it was God ordained.  During the next song, I got up and went to sit by them.  I just kept hugging him!

The place that we stay in Cajamarca is called Villa Milagro.  In English that means "Village of Miracles."  When I am in Peru I always feels God's presence so strongly.  It is probably because all the distractions of everyday life are taken away and I can focus on Him.  Also it is so beautiful there that it is impossible not to acknowledge that God exists.  It is also really high above sea level there, so you feel like you are in the clouds.  I loved to go up on the roof in the mornings to have my quiet time.  I could hear all the amazing animals, see the mountains in the distance, and I was practically in the clouds.  Can't imagine a better place to talk to God!

This is the picture that Chantel snapped when I was showing Jhon the "John of the Bible."  That crazy thing on his head is the parachute that we had been playing with during rec time.....silly man!
This is another picture of Jhon the first year I went.

This is Jhon and me the second year that I was there!

There's one last thing I want to share about this that I will never forget.  On the last day of my first trip, we all had to say goodbye to the kids at the orphanage that had quickly grown to mean so much to us.  Saying those last goodbyes, it was a very good probability that it would be the last time that we would see them (at least here on earth).  Let me back up a minute to explain our van rides to and from the orphanage everyday.  Driving in Peru is CRAZY!!  There aren't really any lanes, you just honk at someone and that means that you are passing them.  The man that drove our van was hilarious and everyone was always talking, joking, and laughing.  So, on that Friday we all relunctantly said our last goodbyes and climbed on board.  The ride back to Villa Milagro (where we lived while we there) was about five miles.  There was not one word spoken on that van the whole way home----complete silence, which was a stark difference to our usual van atmosphere.  All you could hear was the occasional sniffle.  Man, I will never forget the heavy feeling that we all felt.  Our hearts were breaking for these children and their lives.  And I know that I personally felt like my feeble attempts to make a difference just didn't add up to how great those kids were and how much they deserved to know that even if they don't have an earthly family, they are loved by their heavenly Father and can be apart of his family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Courage Builder #3: Evidence of God in My Life

This entry is going to piggyback off my last courage builder.  Like I mentioned in the last entry, our realtor was also in the Sunday school class that the couple we met at the park was telling us about.  She was very friendly and was a good friend to me.  I don't know if you've ever had to visit a new church home, but it can be very intimating and scary even to the most outgoing person.  Once we got moved into our new house, she invited us to visit the Sunday School class with her and her husband.  They were very hospitable to us, even having us over for dinner and answering any questions that we had about the church.  Their was one couple that she kept saying that we had to meet, because she thought that we would have a lot in common.  I knew that God had led us to visit that church, but I didn't have a complete peace yet that it was our new home.  After visiting the class for several weeks, one Sunday morning I prayed that God would give me a sign as to whether or not we were supposed to join this church family.  If God didn't speak to me that morning at church, then I was going to take that as a sign to visit other churches.  As we were walking out of class, someone asked if we had met a certain couple that had not been there since we had been visiting.  We said no, so they introduced was the couple that the realtor had told us that we should meet.  Can I say instant soul mates??!!!!  The only explanation is that it was a "God thing."  Let me share a little of their story.  The guy is Hispanic and grew up in California.  He moved to a small town in Arkansas when he was around 15.  He ended up marrying a "white" girl (as we refer to ourselves) from that small town.  Does any of this sound familiar??????  It is truly uncanny how much we have in common.  Our guys became like instant brothers.  They had never met anyone who knew exactly what they experienced as a teenager moving from California to what felt like the end of the world to them-----Arkansas.  And I had never met anyone who knew without me explaining the strengths and struggles of mixing American and Mexican American cultures together.  We really aren't friends......we're family.  We love spending time together and enjoy hanging out with each other's extended family as well.  So, God answered my prayer that Sunday morning.  He told me I better stay put.  :)  

He's going to love I posted a picture with his eyes closed!! :)  This is their oldest daughter.  Tori and her go to the same school.  She has the teacher that Tori had last year! 
This is when their youngest daughter was born.
Another picture of their oldest daugther

This is a more recent picture of their youngest.  She is almost two!!
Thank you God for the good friends that you have put in my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Imaginary Play

I had lit a candle in the kid's bathroom, because we were having company over a little later.  Carson hollered for me to come to the bathroom and this is what I found:
"Mom, my Veggie Tales are camping out and this is their campfire!"  How creative!  I love it!

Who's Your Favorite Super Hero?

Is it Superman?
Or Batman?
Or maybe Transformer.

Or Buzz Light Year?

Or Bibleman?
Or perhaps Larry Boy.
As you can tell, Carson loves him some Super Heros!!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Courage Builder #2: Evidence of God in My Life

       Introduction to "Evidence of God in My Life" Series
       Courage Builder #1: Evidence of God in My Life

After getting married and graduating from college, my husband and I moved back to our hometown.  Once we started our family, I became a stay-at-home mom.  Living on one income of even a college grad entry level salary proved to be almost impossible.  We realized that I was either going to have to go back to work or Robert was going to have to take a promotion.  Well, the first promotion he applied for he got.  So, we moved a little over an hour from our hometown.  We rented (which God gave us the perfect little brand new duplex to rent) until we were sure that we wanted to stay there and buy a house.  We lived there one year and Robert decided that he would like to try for one more promotion.  By this point we had two kids and while our duplex was a wonderful temporary fix, I was longing for a house where I could stretch my arms, have good storage, and a good backyard.  I couldn't wait to go house shopping!!  Robert found out on a Thursday or Friday that he had gotten the promotion and that weekend we piled the kids in the car and went driving around neighborhoods in the new area.  I was soooo excited!!  It was actually Sunday afternoon.  After driving around we stopped at a park.  There was a couple there playing with their daughter.  I knew that the guy looked familiar, but I couldn't place him. I could tell that he recognized me also.  Finally, we broke the ice and asked how we knew each other.  We had gone to the same college for awhile and had some mutual acquaintances.  We started to talk to them and we told them that we were moving to the area.  They told us about their Sunday school class and their wonderful church.  They also gave us the name of a realtor in the area that was in the Sunday School class as well......Long story short, we are now in that church and that Sunday School class!  The realtor did in fact sale us our house and it actually backs up to that exact park.  I have no doubt that God put that couple at the park on that particular afternoon to lead us to where we are today.

We loved the church that we were going to at the time and I hated to leave it.  I remember telling God that morning during the worship service that I loved the church so much and if He moved us He was going to have to lead us to another great church.  As we got in the car at the park that afternoon after meeting the couple and their daughter, it hit me.  The name of the dad, mom, and little girl were all names of people in our small group at our current church.  God spoke to my heart right then and reassured me that He had amazing people and new relationships waiting for us at our new place.  He has kept that promise.

Courage Builder #1: Evidence of God in My Life

(For an introduction to this post, please read the previous post, Courage!  first.)

On July 3, 1997, I flipped and totaled my older brother's truck.  I was leaving my parents' house to go to a city-wide 4th of July celebration in my town.  I remember that his truck was parked in the garage.  When I got in the truck I felt like something was weird.  You know that feeling like you are forgetting something.  I got out of the truck and walked back in the house.  I could not figure out why I was having that weird feeling.  Their was an electric saw in the floorboard of the passenger side of the truck.  When I went to get back in the truck, I decided to get the saw out ( I was 16 year old girly girl.....I didn't want to be seen with my brother's carpenter tools).  :)   I started down the steep hill on the dirt road from my parents house.  I think I was trying to buckle up, turn up the radio, and shift all at the same time.  His truck was a 4X4 standard with mud tires.  Before I knew it the truck was out of control on the loose gravel of the dirt road.  It flipped over and actually turned completely around in the road.

Here's the cool thing.  To this day I can remember the feeling that I had as the truck was flipping.  It seemed like it was happening in slow motion and the whole time all I could feel was an abundance of peace.  It must sound cliche and I don't know exactly how to explain it.  I just never felt fear.  Anyway, the truck came to a stop and I climbed out the back window and ran back up the steep hill to my house.  It was actually when I was running back to the house that I became hysterical.  It wasn't the realization of what just happened that scared me, it was realizing that I had just totaled my brother's truck a week before his wedding!!!  Yeh, bad timing on my part.  I think maybe my sister-in-law has forgiven me.  :)  I just didn't think they had enough stress already with wedding plans! J/K!

I see God's hand in this situation, because if I had not taken the saw out of the truck it would have fallen on me, probably cutting me severely.  Also, I had just broken up with my boyfriend a day before this and he was performing in the city-wide celebration.  I was really going to see him.  I wonder if I had been able to go to the celebration what would have happened.  Would we have spoken to each other, ignored each other, maybe even said something hurtful that would destroy our relationship.  You see that boy turned out to be my husband and this summer we will have been married ten years.  God knew the plans He had for us and obviously He did not want me at that celebration......He could have just given me a flat tire or something, though.  You know God, always dramatic.  :)

Sometimes God's hand is working when we can't even see it.


I teach 3rd grade Sunday School at my church.  I often feel like I learn as much from studying the lessons as my kids learn from my teaching.  :)  Every month we study a different virtue.  This month the virtue is:  courage.  We learn the definition of the virtue and then a verse that we can memorize to go along with it.

Courage is: being brave enough to do what you should do even when you're afraid.  I love this definition because often times we think of someone who is brave and courageous as fearless.  That does not have to be the case.  The verse that the kids are memorizing is: When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalms56:3.

Yesterday the story was about David and Goliath.....more than likely anyone reading this is familiar with this childhood Bible story.  Goliath was a huge soldier in the Philistine army and David was the little brother of some of the Israelite soldiers.  Little David ended up killing the huge Goliath with only his sling shot. 

This story is found in the 56 verses of 1 Samuel.  There was one verse that really stood out to me as I study these verses.  Little David said in verse 37:  "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."  That's what it's all about!!  That is where his courage came came from evidence of God working in His life in the past!!!  This is exciting to me, because in 2011 this is still where our courage comes from.  As a Christian, I can look back at evidence of God working in my life in the past to give me courage for the present and the future!

That's a lot of explanation to say that I am going to add a series to my blog entitled:  Courage Builder:  Evidence of God in My Life.  I want to record experiences in my life that I know God was in control, so that I can look back at them and remember where my courage comes from.  I would encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tori's Birthday Weekend

Tori had a great birthday weekend!  Thursday was actually her birthday, so it started off with pancakes made by her daddy with a candle in them.  Then Robert spent the whole day with her at school because he signed up to be a Watch Dog Dad and decided it would be special to sign up to take his shift on her birthday.  She was so excited to have him at school with her all day.  Then Thursday night we cooked her a meal of her choice:  taquitos.  She got to open her presents from us Thursday night after dinner.
She loves the movie, Despicable Me.  Her cousins have it and we watched
it ten million times over Christmas break. 
This is the coolest diary ever.  The lock is voice activated.  It records your voice saying the password and that's how you unlock it.  Then on the inside it has a pen that only shows up when you shine the blue-light on it that is included in the diary.  This thing is super cool!!

Then the super fun started!  Friday night she had five of her closest friends over for a sleepover.  She has always wanted to have a sleepover, but I always told her that she had to be at least seven.  In a moment of weakness when I was obviously temporarily insane, I decided that it would be fun to let her have a sleepover for her birthday! :)  Seriously, it was actually tons of fun and the girls were so well behaved and there were no arguments, tears, or drama.  I will say that there was ALOT of praying on my part! :)  So, what do six seven year olds do at a sleepover you might ask?  Well, they play board games, eat lots of pizza, then eat lots of cake. They make fun crafts, then they dance to Barbie songs, eat lots of popcorn, watch movies, and then they finally GO TO SLEEP!!!!  There was also a whole lot of giggling and tickling going on in between.  Do you know what happens when you put a straw under your arm and then blow into the other end?  It makes the same sound as a whoopy cushion.  Speaking of, I did also see one of those come out at one point!  :)  They were all so sweet to each other and played well together. 

This is the girls making sleep shirts.

The girls were so cute dancing to the Barbie Mermaid Tale song!

I thought her cake turned out so cute!  I can't take was made by a friend
who goes to church with me.  Let me tell you, this cake not only was pretty, it tasted sooo good! 

Pizza!  Yum!
All the sleeping bags spread out in the living room floor!!

Then Saturday after all her friends got picked up, we drove to our hometown to celebrate her birthday with our families.  Robert's whole family and my whole family all still live in the same town that we are from, so it's just easier to go to them than ask all them to drive to us.  Saturday afternoon my sister-in-law gave her a spa treatment and painted her toes and fingernails.  She has also been wanting to get her haircut shorter, so later that night Robert's dad (who is a barber) cut her hair. 

This is last minute documentation of her long hair before it got cut off.  I'll have to post an
after picture later.
  My mom cooked Sunday lunch for my whole family and Tori got to pick the menu.  My brothers and their families usually always eat Sunday lunch together at my mom's house, but when someone has a birthday, we always get to pick the menu and the meal is in celebration of the occasion.  Tori chose chicken spaghetti!

All the grandkids (except one) on my side of the family enjoying Sunday lunch!  The oldest
grandkid had to leave to go to winter guard practice.

Then later Sunday afternoon, Robert's family came over to my mom's house and we had a birthday party for Tori!

Tori and Katie

This is Tori with all her first cousins (except the one that had to leave)

Tori loves her family and friends so much, so I am glad that everyone got to help her celebrate her birthday!