Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree!

This weekend we continued our tradition of putting up the tree the first weekend of December. The festivities included homemade soup and bread, apple cider, and donuts for dessert. We bought one of our cheapest trees from Lowe's this year (doesn't quite compare to the northern experience of actually getting to use a saw to cut your own tree down, but it works). We brought her home and made her shine. I just love this time of year! I love the decor and the times with family and friends, and the cozy feeling it brings. But most importantly I love the fact that God demonstrated his love for me in sending His Son to be the payment for my sins. A gift that can never be repaid, but only accepted by His grace and through the faith He gives. Praise Him for His work in our lives!

Another tradition Don has begun in our household is a simple competition of who can buy the first Christmas present for the other; coupled with who can be the first to have a wrapped gift for the other under the tree. I have been the reigning champ for the past two years with a win in both categories. This year he stepped it up (even though it is the busiest semester of His seminary career) and beat me to the punch with buying the first present. I retaliated with a nice big present wrapped under the tree when he came home today! Evidence of this victory if found in the photo below!

To the right of the gifts for the best hubby ever, you will notice a stack of things that need to be dropped off at the post office tomorrow. Yes, that's right. The blessing of being home during Thanksgiving is that we can be finished Christmas shopping and be ready to ship our gifts the first week of December! Wah hoo! So, incoming family!!

I wanted to also stick Godiva in the shot since she is not a part of our annual Christmas Card Portrait. She was feeling a little left out, so here is an updated picture of her. No, Grandma Katie, she is not going to be shipped with your gift, although she would like to spend a few days with you again soon! Maybe this time you can make it down here and see her cage, water bowls, toys and where she goes potty! =)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Black and White?

To those of you who will be receiving our annual Christmas picture, you may be curious as to the choice of black and white? Well, the following is a brief summary of our reasoning . . . not planning ahead, wore completely unmatching sweaters, nice photo of the two of us, great background, taken at a park in Williamsburg during height of fall color, next week rain, following week no leaves! So, in summary we decided black and white was a safe option to the nice picture. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Field Trip!

Today my class and I had a great time away from the actual classroom and spent the day at the Jamestown Settlement! We learned a little bit more about the way of life for the Powhatan Indians, Settlers, and the Africans who were the occupants of Jamestown. My class really enjoyed the hands-on stuff that was offered. My picture downloading has been ultra turle-slow these last few days, but I'll try to post a few photos of my 2nd grade class enjoying the beautiful Virginian fall.

Here we are listening to a man representing the English who navigated their way to America. The man discussed the many ways to defend themselves out on the open water against other ships. Very interesting!

This is a canoe that the interpreters have been working on for the past few months. They are using the technique the indians used by slowly burning out the center of the log and scraping the ashes out with shells. Always a big hit with the kids!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


As I was casually preparing to put my weary body to bed a few nights ago, I stumbled upon something very bazaar. I walked into our bedroom, closed the blinds and proceeded to walk back to my closet, but something caught my eye as I passed our wee little half bathroom. I turned on the light to see what exactly the black lump on the edge our toilet seat could be. To my shock and dismay I stared at not a cockroach (as I was dreading), not a fierce spider, nor a cricket; but I delightfully looked upon a tree frog sitting upon our throne. I casually called for Don to come and see. He reported later that my voice gave it away that something was in that bathroom and by the stance I was taking outside the door, he knew it might move, but it was not the traditional "Ahhh, ERR, Cockroach" that normally escapes my mouth as I am shocked and then retaliate in anger that it scared me. This was a delightful surprise. The question still puzzles me . . . How did he get into our house?
We have been seeing these little guys around for the past few months - normally on the outside of our home! I first saw one on our bird feeder outside my kitchen window. Then, I saw a few hovering under the ridge in the siding. Once, I even had one ride to the grocery store with me. I had gone to the store, purchased a few items, brought them back to the car and opened the back door, and there he was, behind the door, snuggled up to the seal of the door. I carefully closed the door, put my groceries in the other door, and had Don place him in our flower bed when we returned home!
Does anyone have any ideas of how our friend "Freddy 'da Frog" got into our home?

Date Night

As a fun way to celebrate the harvest season, Don and I dedicated our date night to snazzing up our gourd! We attempted a new way of actually going to the internet and downloading a pattern to carve. It was much less complicated than we had originally thought. It also proved to be one of the best pumpkins either of us had ever carved! All we did was print out the copy of the pattern, tape it to the best side of the pumpkin, puncture dots all around the edges of the design, pull the paper off and carve! Don ingeniously put a nail through the bottom to hold the candle used to enlighten our art work! Wah lah! It is finished!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2006 Champs!

Take a look at the 2006 Conference Champions as well as the 2006 Tournament Champions!! We ended our season 10 - 0, finishing first in both the conference and tournament. The girls earned 2 trophies for our trophy case and 2 banners to hang in our gym!

We ended our season playing our rivals and beating them in four games. The first game we lost 15 - 25, then came back to take the next three games in a row: 25 - 21, 26 - 24, and 25 - 20.

Kristen and I had a great time being able to get to know these girls a little more and being able to encourage them in volleyball as well as their spiritual walk. On Friday, after our big victory to seal the undoubted season, Kristen and I discussed just how temporal this world is. Even after just a couple hours after our defeat, we were already feeling as if it was not really as big of a deal as we thought when we were in the midst of the battle. In comparison to eternity, it was just a silly volleyball game; however, it is so refreshing to think that even in this our God can be glorified. Our girls' prayer all season was that they would continue to have a great testimony win or lose. I am so thankful for this spirit and the maturity they demonstrated in keeping the sport in perspective. I truly believe that our God was glorified in these girls actions and attitudes in the ups and downs of the game.

This is our player who received several individual awards for her playing this season. We affectionately call her our "wham bammer". She led our team with 79 kills! (Volleyball Lingo for - Spikes that were unreturnable!) She was awarded "Player of the Year" and "MVP of the Tournament"!!

Again, Congratulations girls!! You made your coach proud!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Undefeated Lady Lions!

The Lady Lion Volleyball team just wrapped up their regular season this past Thursday. We ended up being undefeated with a record of 8 - 0! The girls have worked extremely hard this season and I am so proud of them! I am thankful for these group of girls that desire to win for God's glory. We have come against some pretty tough opponants and each time we have come away the victors, these girls desire to thank their God for making it possible. This is what althetics is about - using our abilities to demonstrate Christ-likeness. It has been such a joy to coach them and I am anticipating this week when we enter the tournament for our conference! We are praying that God would give us the victory, but despite the outcome that our choice would be to use the win or loss for Him!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Long Time Comin'

Twenty-Two looonnngggg years ago (when I was just a wee little five year old), the Detroit Tigers were a World Championship Baseball Team. But, for the past several years the memory has been severely overshadowed. That was until a three run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning placed the finishing touch on an Oakland sweep and put the good ole' city of DETROIT, MI right back into the 2006 World Series. Now, the Tigers have once again made all of us Michiganders feel like that little five-year-old that I remember. So, whether from near or far (Chesapeake, Va) we're cheering hard . . . "Let's Go 'D'etroit!!!"

The Neptune Festival

We had the joy of spending a lovely evening with T.J. and Shannon Logsdon as we headed to the annual Neptune Festival. The festival commemorates the tourist giving our beach back! The celebration includes yummy food, live music, arts and crafts, amazing sandsculpting competition, volleyball/wrestling/surfing tournament, and fireworks. Last year, Don and I went with the Thomas' and attempted to see the sandsculpting and we walked for 25 blocks or so and still no sign of the castles. We ended up just sitting on the beach in time to watch the fireworks. Now, being experienced Neptune Festival goers, we asked around to see where the sculpters were. We found them with ease this year and were amazed at the artwork! We raced down the rest of the boardwalk to get some ice cream and to see the world record sandsculpture at 31st Street. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was too dark to get a great picture. However, we did get one in front of the sign!!

Church Family Campout

A couple weekends ago, our church family put together a weekend to go camping. The Wink's family did most of the planning and invited us to join them at a nearby Naval Base where they have a camping area for large groups. The site contained our own bath house, pavilion, grills, pond, beautiful view of the river, hiking trails, and firing squad!! Yes, I said Firing Squad. Since we were on a military base, there was a training exercise right next our camp site. They were so close we could hear the commanding officer giving their orders! Don was able to take that weekend off, but as you can tell by the photo, his schooling still called. Actually, Don was really good about balancing his time of playing and school. It was a great time to get to know one another more and learn some new family games! Thanks again Winks Family!

Labor Day Picnic

Labor Day weekend Don and I invited a few couples over for a picnic, play, and party before the actual semester got underway. We had the typical hot dogs and all the fixings. Don was eager to try out his new backyard game - Lawn Golf - built by Handiman Don. The guys had a lot of fun with it. We also had a couples Bocce Ball Tournament, made more difficult by our VERY uneven backyard. Godiva had a great time with Esther; especially cleaning off her very tasty face! Thanks again for all the fun Stephen and Shannon, T.J. and Shannon, and Stephen and Sarah.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Bookworm

Hey everybody, I thought I would take a break to come up for air and say "Hello!"
-- Don (a.k.a. seminary student)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lady Lions!

I have had the joy of coaching the ladies volleyball team at my school for the past three years. The first year I was entrusted with the JJV girls and the past two years I have coached the Varsity Girls. We are in mid-season right now and I am pleased to announced that we are 3 - 0. Our girls have been working very hard and recently defeated our rival school with close match scores of 25-17, 25 - 22, 16 - 25, 25 - 20. We will be seeing them one more time in our regular season and again in the final tournament. Last year, we were defeated by them in both regular season games and beat them in the final tournament, putting us in 2nd place in our conference. This year the first place team is no longer a part of our conference and for the first time in our history of volleyball, we have an opportunity to take first place. I am excited and nervous for our girls because they feel the pressure as well. God has given us such a unity in Christ that I am so thankful for and the girls are continually teaching me through their love and example on the court. It is a busy couple months, but so worth it! Please pray that I would continue to make wise choices and that Christ would be evidenced in me to these girls.

I have also had the privledge of coaching with Kristen Varner the last two years. She has been such a help and joy to work with. We work so well together and I appreciate her willingness to submit herself to my leadership even though she has more experience with volleyball than I do. Thanks Kristen, you're the best!

Hopefully, I'll be showing a picture of our team in a few weeks with us holding the trophy! Go Lady Lions!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Go Blue!!

Here's props to the home team! With a 47-21 victory over the #2 team in the country, the Wolverines demonlished those "Fighting" Irish in South Bend. Way to make those maize and blue fans all over the country proud of those Wolverine stripes! Good luck against Wisconsin this week! Let's Go Blue!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Tropical Storm Ernesto

The local paper, The Virginian Pilot, claims that our area had more than 10 inches of rain dumped on us on Friday. We, living in a flood zone, have the privilege of seeing this effect up close and personal. The following pictures are a testimony of Ernesto's impact in our front yard.

As you can see, that is our road with several inches of water on top of it. The highest it got, was to the top of our first step, meaning about 10 - 11 inches in the road. We were hoping (for blogging sake) that someone would stall out in front of our house, but everyone made it through. Some made it through several times creating a wake to our house and over the bank of my new flower bed.(grr!) I thought of my brother Shane, who would have completely forget the homes he was splashing water into for the sake of getting a high out of putting his truck through some water. (sorry, Shane, but you know it's true!)
This is our backyard under water. This does not flood as fast as the front, but still gets real damp!

True Story: Katrina goes to front door to look at the mayhem in the street. She notices man carrying all kinds of groceries and such and walking through almost knee-high water. Katrina thinks to herself "What a poor, miserable looking man! AND what a terrible wife he must have to make this man go out in this weather for just a few groceries". Then Katrina laughs out loud as she runs for the camera and the lightbulb goes off - that is her husband coming home from seminary! He stopped by the store on the way home because he knew we needed milk and some other goods and knew we would not be going back out in this weather! What a guy! Don had to park one block back where the flooding was much less and did not know if the car would have made it through the water without stalling.

This was Godiva's perch all day. She would watch car after car attempt to ford the flood waters. I did not have room for the drown-dog picture of her from when she had to go potty. It was pathetic looking!

You've seen it on TV, you've watched them on the news, we've had them in our front yard! Yes! This is a canoer taking his son for a little ride on the floodwaters after the storm. Funny and entertaining! Overall, it was a nice day at home! God spared us from any damage from the water and it was entertaining as well! Hope you enjoyed our little adventure with Ernesto!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Don's Birthday Celebration

On the 5th of this month, Don turned the big 2-7. We did not have much planned, but we attempted going to and placing a bid on hotel room in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or Portsmouth. We got a nice room in the Norfolk Sheraton overlooking the skyline and the harbor. It was great! We are also attempting to go do the sight seeing thing for the area before we move to our next location. So we ended up going to see the Battleship Wisconsin which is docked in Norfolk and go through the Nautilus Museum. We had a great time celebrating Don's B-Day! Here are a few pics to show the excitement which was had!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

New Bloggers

Ben and Carissa Smith were in town this last weekend and we have conviced them that blogging is so much fun. Carissa is now hooked and will be showing off some pictures of that cute new baby, Luke. Go check them out and give them some encouraging comments! You can find them in our list of contacts or go to (I am still learning, so I don't have a link right here in the post. If you know how, please extend your knowledge to me!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shane & Patty Carnes - The Newlyweds

This will be my final post from our vacation to Michigan. Part of the reason we went to Michigan for our vacation was to take part in my brother's wedding. The Lord really worked out that whole situation. I had told my Mom a while back that we were probably going to come camping in MI for our vacation this year, and the week of July 22nd we'll be home (just so she can take a few days off work to spend with her much missed daughter - tee hee!). Then my brother announced his engagement and was discussing with my Mom when the special day was going to be. He said the day they were leaning most toward was the 22nd of July! Mom explained how we were planning on coming up already for that week, and Shane and Patty finished discussing any other dates! Well, without further ado, here are a few pictures of their happy day! (For those of you at our wedding, car look familiar - yup, yup, yup, same car!!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Don's Excellent Adventure on the Great Lake

On our last night in my hometown of Muskegon, Don got a chance to go King Salmon fishing with my step-dad, Doug. They headed out between 5 or 6 in the evening. He was so excited, but a little nervous because his last experience ended with him depositing some of his stomach contents into Lake Michigan. I must add that this is not the norm; however, he had drank some coffee (which he is not too fond of) and that was all that he had in his tummy that morning. Mom, knowing the past experience, gave him some motion sickness medicine and some leftovers before he left.

As you can see, his trip was worth while. He was able to reel in one big one. I guess, he lost a few as well. One, jumped out of the water and shook the hook from his mouth. Another, swam under the boat and broke off the down-rigger and got off. I asked Don after the Excellent Adventure if he had gotten sick at all. He said the water was much calmer and the fishing action started five minutes after the hooks hit the water - there was no time to get sick.

Doug was also was able to land one. My brother-in-law, Ed, was also on the boat driving or giving advise or just being a good monitor of all the action.

Here are the mighty fishermen as they came back with their catch. This will be Don's birthday meal! Salmon on the grill. Yum, yum! Thanks so much, Doug for the great time with Don and for the good eatin' fish!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Our Excellent Adventure on South Manitou Island

You can pretty much see for yourself in the slide show what we were able to see on the island, but for the more in depth woes and excitement continue to read!!

We began the morning by being awoke in our pop-up trailer to the sound of rain at 2:00 in the morning. We continued to be wakened all through the early morning hours with the soft and then loud beating of rain until 7 when the alarm sounded. Now, keep in mind that we had already made our reservation for the ferry boat the previous day and the island is for the most part barren of any modern convinces (bathrooms or shelters). However, when we asked the workers whether rain would be a factor in our adventure - they assured us that it never rains or snows on the island (which we found out later is pretty close to truth). We stepped out into the pouring rain with hopes that our day would not be a wash (hardy har har!).

When we finally reached the Leland Harbor, they warned us that the Lake was quite rough this morning. So, we prepared our stomachs with orange juice and pop-tarts! We made the hour and a half boat trip to the island with no problems except for the periodic splash from the bow of the boat sinking into the rough seas and bringing the water back into the cabin.

Upon our arrival to the island the skies seemed to part and the day was perfect for hiking!! Praise the Lord!

We decided that we were going to make the 3.5 mile hike to see the shipwreck and then continue along the trail to see the "Valley of the Giants", finally race back the same trail to catch the lighthouse tour. The shipwreck was awesome! If you did not patiently wait and see the photos of that, go back to the slide show and look for it. If you ever go to the Island - it's a definite do - 6 thumbs up (Both Don, Katrina, and Dad's). The "Valley of the Giants" is a group of cedar trees found on the island. That's about all you need to know and you've experienced what we did - Definite DO NOT DO! We then hussled back the 4 miles (took a detour to check out a rustic campground we are interested in staying at if we ever come back). We were all but running to catch the last tour of the lighthouse at 3:30. Arrived at 3:20!! Plenty of time, Right? Wrong! The sign was misprinted and the last tour must have left at 3:15 or earlier! Boo! A sad ending to a fairly eventful day!

Some advise to those of you interested in visiting the island. One was already given - do not hike back to see the cedars. Do see the shipwreck. Possibly plan on more than just one day there - meaning stay on the island at the campground and see some of the settlements found on the island. When traveling on the boat, you arrive at 11ish and can only stay until 4 to catch the boat trip back - not leaving you much time to hike all the places and see all the sights. Too much to see - too little time!

All this said, we would rate this as one of our best adventures on our vacation! The Lord provided such beautiful weather and really only rained at night and the days were just perfect for hiking and enjoying the great Michigan Outdoors!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Weary-Worn Travelers

I Know . . . I know! Some bloggers we're starting out to be. It's been nearly 20 days since our last post. But wait . . . we really do have a valid excuse. We have been on vacation - witnessing Shane and Patty (Katrina's brother) tie the knot and soaking up the beautiful coastline of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park in Northern Michigan. Then upon our arrival back home it seemed like the karma between us and the electronic world had gone arye. First our DVD player began to malfunction right in the middle of "The Emperor's New Groove" (Katrina's favorite movie) "GASP!", then we noticing a hissing sound coming from the washing machine (we were afraid to open the door because Don had just replaced the water heater before vacation), but it held up well it was a mere pressure leak in the hot water hose behind the washing machine - a good hard wrenching took care of the problem. Finally, as we sat down to share with the world about our adventures, both the desktop and the laptop computers began repeating the horrific phrase . . . "Server Not Responding!!!!!!" We finally decided to give up for the day understanding how devastated our adoring fans would be that they have to wait yet another day to hear from us.

Now it is nearly 11 PM on the following day and we have finally got things up and running properly. So before we call it a night we just wanted to send a great big "HELLO" from your weary-worn travelers.

* Coming soon . . . . . . . the pics from Don and Katrina's Excellent Adventure. "Rock On!"