Archive for the 'Rilyn' Category


Harry Potter 10th birthday!

Rilyn has read all of the Harry Potter books, and she really wanted a Harry Potter birthday for her 10th.  I have only read the first book, and watched the first movie, so I relied on Pinterest to help plan this party!  We started off by sending “White Owl invitations” to her neighborhood friends.

Rilyn drew all the owls herself!

Rilyn running from house to house delivering the invites!

The decorations!

The wall of crepe paper represents the 4 school colors!

I made the floating candles by spray painting cardboard paper towel holders white and putting a Instapark® LCL-24 Battery-powered Flameless LED Tealight Candles, 2-Dozen Pack
in each one. I hung each candle with fishing line to appear floating!

In the dining hall, I replaced most of our pictures with pictures of characters from the movies.

Photo booth op!

the bathroom!

This is Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop! We let each child pick one joke as a party favor when they were leaving. We found all of these at the dollar store!

Potion class outdoors

Honeydukes table with Cybrtrayd A126 Frog Chocolate Candy Mold with Exclusive Cybrtrayd Copyrighted Chocolate Molding Instructions,
 and acid pops (dum dums rolled in pop rocks!), gummy worms, chocolate wands, and cake!

Rilyn dressed as Hermoine for Halloween, so we just used this picture for her cake! Easy!

The front of our house I hung a sheet that I painted to look like Platform 9 3/4!

Walk through and let the party begin!

When you walk through the wall, you might meet Hagrid! (Rilyn’s Papaw dressed up and looks AMAZING!)

You also might meet Mrs. Weasley, Bellatrix, a Death Eater, and the “new professor-cousin of Snape”

Click here for what we did at the party!


Jazz and Ballet!

The girls were in the same jazz and ballet classes this year at Westlake’s Alisa’s Dance Academy.  They enjoyed it, but next year Rilyn wants to take hip hop, and Ella just wants to take ballet.  🙂  Rilyn loves performing on stage anytime, anywhere.  Ella gets nervous on stage, so slower movements in ballet suit her well.

Ella and Anna doing their thing!

The girls did their ballet to a song from Swan Lake!

Rilyn in the middle

Ella in the middle

Rilyn flapping her wings so elegantly!

After the recital, Asher got to give them flowers! It was so sweet to watch!

These girls love their daddy!

my beauties!

proud auntie

After the recital, we celebrated my mom’s birthday at Cheesecake Factory!

me, my sister, mom, and brother!


Rockwall climbing!

We went to Main Event that night to have Ella’s birthday dinner celebration!

(cell phone pic) I forgot my camera! ugh.

The highlight of the evening was rock climbing!


Go Ella go!

Can you see Ella in the middle dressed in pink! She is so high!

Asher almost made it to the top!

Rilyn made us so proud through with her rockwall climbing skills! She made it past an overhang with great skill! James even made a video because it was so impressive to watch her!

Get it girl!

Rilyn made it to the top several times! She was on fire!

Ella had a great birthday week which ended with a school celebration!

cell phone pic-Rilyn got to come in the class to join!

Her best friend completed her elephant family collection for her birthday! Thanks Anna!


guarding their hearts

Every Christmas James and I give our children three gifts each.  These three gifts represent the three gifts the wise men gave to Jesus.  We give them a want, a need, and a spiritual growth gift.  This year, for our girls, (ages 9 1/2 and 8), we gave them lockets for their spiritual growth gift.  These lockets represent our prayer for them-that they would continue to guard and keep their heart pure and dedicated to Jesus.  And James will, as their father and spiritual leader, spend the rest of his life praying and fighting for their hearts.   We are also praying that one day they will find a prince who will do the same.

(We got this idea from this website here.)

I wanted to post the letters on this blog because they are so sweet!  I know our girls will treasure these letters, as he hand wrote each one on special linen paper.

Rilyn’s locket

James reading his letter to Rilyn

My beautiful Rilyn,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your pursuit of your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love being with people and you love the people you are with.  I see it in the letters you right to your friends, the patience you have with your sister, the forgiveness you give to those who hurt you.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to wonder and loves to learn.  I see it every night when you fall asleep reading. I see it in all those conversations with your grandpa and oma about nature, and history, and science.  Your love for fantasy and fairy tales is a great display of the wonder God has given you to ponder and think of things greater than ourselves and be in awe of the One greater than our imaginations dare to imagine.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a kind, gentle, and enduring soul. I see it in your kind and gentle responses to the chaos that surrounds at school.  I see it in the kindness you extend to strangers.

Finally, your beauty is displayed through your heart! A new heart given by the Creator of heaven and earth filled with the true and greatest beauty that is our Lord Jesus Christ.   The bible says your heart is the wellspring, the source of all your strength, all your thoughts…all you are!

My prayer for you is that you would continue to guard and keep your heart pure and dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ.  I will spend the rest of my life praying and fighting for your heart.   Your mother and I are also praying that one day you will find a prince who will do the same.

This gift is a symbol of that commitment and promise. I hope it serves as an encouragement…know that I am for you and I love you and remember the even better news that God is for you and loves you!  So guard your heart, paying careful attention to your thoughts, your emotions, your desires, and your choices.  Guard your heart by giving it along with all your thoughts, emotions, desires, and choices to Jesus…

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ JesusPhilippians 4:7

You don’t need to guard your heart with selfishness keeping you from loving others and you don’t need to foolishly open your heart to chasing after this world that will never satisfy.  But instead:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7



James reading his letter to Ella

My beautiful Ella,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your affection towards your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love cuddling and hugging your friends and family.  I see it in the sweet and creative ways you pray for and encourage others with gifts you make.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to be creative and dream.  I see it in all the creative games and crafts you create.  I see in fantastic stories you tell and write.  Your love to play make believe and dream up imaginary places and stories that end with happily ever after points to a mind that longs for the ONE who is our happily ever after.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a passionate and loyal nature. I see it in your relationships with your teachers, your friends, and your family.  I see it in your energy and spontaneity.  You are such an exciting and fun young woman to be with and to play with and to live with.  I feel it every time you jump on my lap or hop on my back and every time you give me a hug…even if it’s 10 hugs in a row before going to bed….(the rest of the letter is the same as Rilyn’s.)  🙂



putting the locket on Ella!



I went to my one and only Aggie game this season on Saturday. It was the last game of the season, which most likely means it was the last time Johnny Football will be seen playing in Kyle Field. 😦 The Aggies won, and we had fun bringing Rilyn along!



We went to our neighborhood Fall Festival last night and Rilyn got to FINALLY dress up in her Halloween costume!  She has definitely earned it-she read all 7 Harry Potter books in one year!  She is pretty obsessed, and wants to have her 10th birthday party Harry Potter themed next year!  Of course, she will be Hermoine!  🙂

I made Ella and Asher wear old costumes, because they always get stains on their clothes, and I didn’t want them to ruin their new costumes before Halloween. I was right too, Asher busted his top lip at the park and bled all down his “Jake and the Neverland Pirate” costume! That boy!


Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle

For the past 3 years, I have spent an evening in August having “the talk” with each of my daughters.  It is not easy.

I was talking to an older couple last month, and we were talking about the generational gaps.  It was acceptable in their generation to keep things hidden, especially things that were not socially polite to talk about such as sex.  In church back then, you just didn’t talk about your struggles out loud either.  If you went to church, you were probably pretty holy, but no one was going to ask you about it, just in case you weren’t.  And you certainly didn’t have social media to share things!

But my children live in a generation which I would describe as the “authentic” generation.  Everyone, everywhere is okay with talking about who they are, whether that be heterosexual, bi, homosexual, Republican, Liberal, prolife, prochoice, etc.  Even Christians now feel the freedom to confess sins and repent to others on their blogs, in church programs, etc.  Facebook is filled with statuses of how it’s okay to be different, this is who I am, love me for me!

While I believe it is good to be authentic, and not hide struggles, this creates a dilemma for us as Christian parents of young children.  I believe we MUST tell our children the Biblical view of sex and marriage at young ages.  I don’t care if you never let your child step foot in a public school, they will see/hear people of all kinds doing things you will not approve of on the TV/movie screen, commercials, on the sidewalk, at the neighborhood pool, social media, their older cousin’s house, billboards, and…brace yourself…CHURCH.  And parents, I want broken people (which is all of us!) to feel welcome at church no matter how much of an outcast they may feel they are.  After all, in Luke 5 it says,

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

So, starting at age 5, we age appropriately share the Biblical view of sex and marriage to our children.  I know, you’re thinking, “Really?  5 years old!” But we must prepare our kids for the battles that lie ahead in this world.  And our kids are experiencing things that we have NEVER experienced as children because we didn’t have the internet.  Don’t be naiive parents to what your children will see and hear.

This year, I decided to get a new book to help with my oldest daughter, age 9.  She HATES talking about sex.  And although What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (God’s Design for Sex) is good, I need something that I can read to her, that is written for her (i.e. written FOR girls) since she feels SO awkward about talking with me about “it.”   Book 3 in God’s Design for Sex series is written in a question/answer type format and does not naturally flow conversationally in my opinion.  It still is a good book to discuss with your 9-11 year old, but like I said earlier, for a child who doesn’t even want to look at you during “this” conversation, it just isn’t the right book for the job.

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity (The Every Man Series) has been a great resource for me to use when talking with my almost fourth grader.   First off, I would recommend this book for girls ages 9 and up.  I also bought my daughter a journal before we started so we could do the activities at the end of each chapter in the journal.  The first half of the book is written just for mom to read alone.  The mom section convinces you that it is good to read this to your daughter BEFORE she starts puberty.

After I read that, I skimmed the back half of the book and saw there was 16 mini chapters for me to read with my daughter.  Every chapter is about a new topic:  getting curves, starting your period, dating, sex, sex before marriage, friends, etc.  I started doing a chapter a day with her during the later half of July.  Each chapter took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  What I really liked about these chapters was at the end of each one, there was a short activity to do with my daughter.  She got out her new journal I bought her and a Bible, and together we did the activity and then I wrote a sentence that I wanted her to remember for that day.  Example:  After we read about getting curves, she had to draw different fruits on a page of her journal.  We then talked about if a banana could ever be a pear or an apple could ever be a banana, etc.  Obviously the answer is no, each fruit is made with unique curves.  We are to be happy with the bodies God gave us!  So I wrote on the bottom of her page:  “Thank you God for creating Rilyn in Your image!”  My hope is that she can look back over this journal throughout the school year and remember everything we discussed, (because she is not one to comfortably talk to me about these things, although my prayer is that she will one day.) Warning, this book is very graphic about sex.  It feels very unnatural to read these things to an innocent 9 year old, but 1.) I have to remind myself no one is innocent and 2.)  I want her to hear these things from me first, not on the playground at school.  My prayer for her is that knowing all these things now, she will be a friend of influence rather than be influenced by peers at school.  (And parents, just tell your daughter not to discuss the things in this book with others unless the topic comes up!)  🙂

me and my girls!