Saturday, June 21, 2014

~6 AMAZING Years~

Happy Sixth Anniversary to my wonderful husband!

Six years ago today, I got ready and walked down the aisle to the most handsome man, with tear filled eyes, and a heart full of love for God and me.  I often wonder why God blessed me so.  I had prayed since I was a young teenager for God to give me the man He would have for me.  One who would love me unconditionally, but one who would love God more and lead me the way God lays out for him to do according to the Bible.  Little did I know, God would give him to me only after he made me pay $75 for an accounting book for me to use that next semester in college! :) (I think Jody and God were in cahoots on that one.) He answered my prayers and then some when He gave me Jody.
One of my absolute favorite pictures from our wedding day!

Mr. and Mrs. Jody Almand! 6-21-08
I love being married to Jody.  He makes me laugh till I can't breathe sometimes, Brailyn always wants to know if I am "cry-laughing!" She thinks it's too funny!  Sure, we get mad at each other from time to time, and sometimes it takes us a little bit to simmer down, but then it's over and he has me laughing again.  I am so thankful that God blessed me with him.  These past six years have been amazing, and packed full of life.  From newlyweds, then all of a sudden, parents just six months after our one year anniversary, to new fun family vacations, then not quite three years later becoming the parents to another beautiful baby girl! And let me just say since she entered the world almost two years ago, life went form what we thought was crazy busy, to extremely busy! Little Stinker! We have truly been blessed in these six years! I love sharing this wonderful, busy, full life with my best friend! He is such a wonderful Godly example and leader to our family.
Just babes while we were dating!

The story of out life! :) Actually, right after he booked our Honeymoon!

Honeymooners in Branson!

Always kids at heart! Fun times on our honeymoon!

Headed to the hospital to become parents for the first time!

Brailyn Amber, 11-7-09

Here we go! 

Baby dedication! Mother's Day 2010

Our beach vacation to Galveston before we became a family of 4!

Last night as a family of 3!

Headed to the hospital to meet Lainee!

Lainee Elizabeth, 8-14-12

Our 5 year anniversary!

Family Fun!

Our latest family picture! 6-7-14

I'm ready to see what the next year has for us, and all the years to come! I'm sure there will be plenty more "cry-laughing!"

Love you Babe!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cubbie Bear and Brailyn

We finished our AWANA year at church in May, and Brailyn finished her first year of Cubbies! If you are not familiar with the AWANA program, it is a program for children ages two or three all the way through sixth grade.  AWANA is an acronym for Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed.  It places a heavy emphasis on scripture memorization, application, and discipleship.  We. Love. It.

This is our second year of AWANA and the first year that Jody and I worked in the program.  This was Brailyn's first year to have to learn scriptures.  She did amazing! She finished her first book and learned 23 verses. I think.

We started working with Brailyn the summer before she turned three on learning scriptures. The first one she learned was Genesis 1:1. We would try and learn one a week or one every two weeks.  She had memorized three verses before she started Cubbies.

We believe that scripture memorization is very important. The Lord tells us over and over again how important His Word is.  In those moments when we can do nothing else, can't even think, if we have God's Word hidden in our heart it will help and comfort us.  This is why we are working so hard with Brailyn and will when Lainee is ready.  The AWANA program and Brailyn have really helped Jody and I learn more too.  It's never to late!

So here is our Cubbie Girl from the beginning of the year and her last Cubbie night of the year!

Brailyn saying her memory verses last night!

Monday, June 16, 2014

7 States in 7 Days

You read that right.  Last week we traveled to seven states in just seven days, with two children, four and 22 months. Crazy? Maybe. But we had a blast!

We left last Monday to head to Columbia, MO for my husband to attend a two day conference.  It's about 7.5 hours away.  We traveled with him to make it our vacation.  So on Monday we left Arkansas and headed to Missouri.  After about 5 minutes on the road, Brailyn, my four year old, asked if we were almost there. Oy! This was going to be a long trip.  We had to turn around about 20 minutes down the road because I had forgotten the pack and play for Lainee, the 22 month old.  And the "Almost there" question continued.  They did fairly well, it took us 9 hours to get there with stops and everything and Lainee was quite grumpy this day, but we had lots of laughs! Brailyn was so excited to see the mountains in Northern Arkansas, not sure she has ever seen any before.  I mean she was SUPER excited!
Mountains! "Wow! Mommy take a picture! Quick!"

Here we go!

We woke up on Tuesday and the girls and I just spent the day at the hotel.  We went swimming that morning. Then took nice long naps! The hotel we stayed in was Stoney Creek Inn and it was great!  We had one of two rooms that had a patio.  It was a pet friendly room, and the back door went out to a big grassy field, so we got to go and play outside.  It was really neat.  The swimming pool area was really neat too because the pool was inside and outside, you could swim through a little curtain to go to the outside pool.  The girls loved it!  That night we just ordered pizza in the hotel then went swimming all together!
Lainee's first hotel stay! She did awesome and loved every minute of it!

Silliness! Couldn't wait to go swimming!

Sweet girls just relaxing after swimming!


Our view from the back patio!

That night I went to bring our swimming things in and I spotted this deer and another one.  We were still in the city, but they obviously made their home in the small patch of woods behind the Inn.

This is Chloe. Brailyn named it, and they both treated it like it was real! Lainee is feeding it lunch.   Brailyn still talks about missing Chloe! Ha!

Sweet morning snuggles!

Hotel life! A little Mickey Mouse in the mornings!

She's all ready to go swimming with Daddy! She's got her shoes and her "pre-sun."

"'mon Sissy!"

On Wednesday, we checked out, and waited on Jody to get done that day.  His meeting wasn't over till 2:00, but we couldn't get a later checkout than1:00.  So I checked us out and we got the car all straightened up then just hung out in the car.  I was hoping Lainee would stay awake till we picked up Jody, but I looked back to check on her, and she had fallen asleep as we were just sitting there.  I drove to pick up Jody at the Mizzou campus, and we headed out.  Both girls slept for a good hour and a half.  We were headed to St. Louis! We got there and couldn't find our hotel. The GPS had us at some dead end road at the airport.  We called the hotel and got the actual address for it. The one on the Internet was not it! We got to drive through a tunnel though and both girls just sat there saying "Whoa!" It was so funny! We also got to see lots of airplanes take off because we were right at the airport.  We got to the hotel, and lets just say it wasn't the best.  That's another story for another time.  It was clean just very outdated.  We freshened up then headed to the mall to go to Build-A-Bear! It was so neat and so much fun!  Brailyn had a blast.  Lainee was running everywhere, I think she was in overload! We took them to Build-A-Bear because Brailyn had seen a commercial for it and they had Disney Palace Pets.  She was so excited and wanted one.  We get there, and she goes right to them!  Then when we told her to pick out something to build, she picked out a rainbow striped zebra.  We asked her a million times if she was sure, because she had wanted a Disney Palace Pet, but she insisted.  The Palace pets already had names and she wanted to name her own. :) Lainee got a rainbow spotted Bunny.  So we have ZOE the Zebra and Bunny Girl the Bunny! It was a really neat place and we had fun!

Filling up her Zoe Zebra's heart at Build-A-Bear.

Listening to Bunny Girl's voice.

Fillin' her up!

Lainee liked it too!

Getting Zoe all clean.

Now it's Bunny Girl's turn.

All done! Ready to go and get her birth certificate!

This was her sentiment by the end! Mommy had to put her back in the stroller because she was all over the place. :)

Meet the two newest members of the family! :) And I have to add, we let them pick out one shirt for their animals.  They had all kinds of pretty princess, girlie, sparkly things, and Brailyn picked out a pink sequined St. Louis Cardinal's shirt! Oh our girl! 

Thursday morning we got up and headed to the St. Louis Zoo! It has free admission! Woohoo! We love the zoo, and this one was huge! We hit the reptile house first.  Not Jody's favorite!  He stays in the middle of the room as far away from the cages as possible.  The girls were pressing their noses against them! HA! They had some really neat things. They had an anaconda and it was amazing!  It had a red head and it was huge! The head was right against the glass.  Cool to me, creepy to Jody! We finally got to see a tiger, and the Lions we got to see close for once.  We circled and circled the area where all these animals were trying to find the giraffes.  We were looking at our map and knew we had to be walking right past them, but how can you miss a giraffe?!? We finally asked someone, and they were in a  house area closed in and eating.  We did get to go in and see them, which is wonderful because they are Braiyln's favorites! We walked through the gorillas and monkeys, and had a blast! One gorilla was putting on a show! We headed to see the elephants and Rhinos, and got all the way to their area only to find that it was closed for the day. Bummer! Brailyn was a little upset, so we opted to go to the Children's Zoo.  It was a neat place, it had an indoor place where the kids could play and explore, kind of like a discovery center.  We spent about 5 hours at the zoo and didn't see probably half of it. HUGE!  We left the zoo and headed to see the Gateway Arch!  Lainee fell asleep about 30 seconds after we got on the road.  Brailyn finally fell asleep, and they both missed seeing the Arch up close.  We just drove around.  There was lots of construction,  nowhere to park, and the girls were asleep.  We got to see the Cardinals stadium which was really cool and the Rams' Edward Jones Dome.  And we saw lots and lots of downtown St. Louis.  Don't really want to do that again. It was to cold to swim that night and we had one upset little girl! Broke our hearts to have to break hers.

Brailyn loved the snakes, but not the lizards! She acted terrified of them! HA! Lainee loved them all!

This little guy was very friendly!

Beautiful Lion

Mufasa and Nala according to Brailyn.

The Tiger! It was laying so close to that edge that you couldn't see her from that side, so this is the best picture we could get.

This was a Bungo I think.  Interesting.

The Kangaroos were in fine form! Hopping all over the place and Jody even got a video of two of them fighting.

This one had a baby in her pouch but wouldn't let us see it.

They were inside which wasn't that much fun but at least we got to see them! They are majestic!
Enjoying her corn dog!

These gorillas were hilarious!

It flipped over, propped it's feet up and just started enjoying an afternoon snack! Too Funny!

Children's Zoo!

Sweet baby foxes.

These are naked mole rats! Very weird.


Tree Kangaroo!

Waiting her turn. 

She wanted to take a picture in the Sea Lions.

My heart!

Edward Jones Dome. 

This is what the zoo does to you.

They slept for about and hour and a little more while we drove around downtown.

Raising her right! No vacation is complete without eating at Cracker Barrel!

Not a great picture, but she was a total mess! She has become independent and only wants to feed herself. And she has to give herself knuckles nearly every time I take a picture! :)

On Friday, we headed out to go to Alabama to see my cousin get married.  We planned on making a stop in Nashville to see a friend from college.  When we left Missouri, we knew we would go through Tennessee, Kentucky and obviously Alabama, what we didn't realize was that we would go through Illinois too! We found this out after our GPS took us 5 miles off the interstate to a gas station we thought was right on the interstate.  When we left the gas station, we had figured out that we were in Illinois, and the GPS, we call her Sally, took us on some back roads before getting back on the interstate.  It took a little longer but it was really neat.  We were able to stop in Nashville around 3:00ish and eat lunch and meet our friend, Josh.  We didn't get to meet his wife, but hopefully we will get to some other time.  We were supposed to be there at 1:30, but back road riding and Nashville traffic delayed us quite a bit! We finally made it to Alabama and crashed the rehearsal dinner at my Aunt's house.  About 9 hours in the car again.  It was storming on the way there too, Alabama had so much rain that they couldn't rehearse that night because the spot they were having the ceremony at was flooded.  Talk about stress on your wedding day! We headed to our hotel with my parents.  We shared a room and Brailyn was so excited to stay in a hotel with Gramma and Pop-up.  I think it was the highlight of her trip.
I think this was crossing the Ohio River.

It was huge!

Shenanigans in the car!

 Saturday, we got up and had a lazy day at the hotel.  We went swimming right after breakfast, and they had to actually unlock the pool for us because it was so early! We took extra, extra long naps and were ready for the wedding!  The wedding was beautiful.  We are so happy for my cousin Jimmy and Avery! We pray that God will richly bless them!  Brailyn was so excited to see Avery, and that was another highlight of her trip! We went to eat after the wedding, and a SEVERE thunderstorm hit the town while we were eating. It was pretty scary, in fact, we were under a tornado warning I think, but maybe not that far down in the county.  We didn't get to swim that night and had one heartbroken girl again.
Jimmy and Avery!

My sweet Papaw!


Pop-up's the best! Headed to Texas Roadhouse in Alabama!
So on Sunday morning, my mom and I took Brailyn swimming early that morning before breakfast, then we all got ready and checked out of the hotel and headed to a church there.  We thought it was a large church, but quickly found out that it was more of a good ole country church.  It was a great church though.  We were hoping for a big church so that we could go fairly unnoticed if our little one got to out of hand! Everyone was so nice and Brailyn was introducing all of us to everyone! She is so her Daddy's child! My dad actually found someone that he had gone on a mission trip with 20 years ago to Australia, and the guy just happened to be from a town not 30 minutes form us originally. Small world for sure! Lainee was a complete stinker in church, but we survived! :)  We left there and went our separate ways.  Jody took me by the Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House, which was really neat and right up my interest alley! Then we ate and headed home.  We left Alabama, went through Mississippi, Tennessee, and finally back to Arkansas!
Headed home!


It's not all that pretty, but it is really neat!

The best naps they took in the car were on the way home! I'm okay with that. :)

She slept for 2.5 hours.


The aftermath of a seven day vacation!

We had a blast! We were tired, but we had a blast! The girls were good travelers thank goodness, because we did a lot of it! Brailyn kept us laughing with her jokes, and we had fun playing the license plate game.  We ended up with 38, even had Hawaii and Alaska! World travelers we are! We made some awesome memories, and that was the best part!

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Daisypath Anniversary tickers