Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Zoo

Today was the last day my brother Jeff, his wife Liz, and my niece Sophie are in town so we decided to head to the zoo to make the most of it. Sophie had been sick pretty much the whole time she had been here but today she was starting to feel better so it was nice to be outside and walking around. The kids were pumped to see all the animals. Katelyn was super excited about the monkeys. They must have known she was coming because one group of them put on a show for her. They were swinging all around the cage. It was really cute. We did have one misstep though. Katelyn decided it would be fun to fall and give herself a fat upper lip. She was fine and continued on her merry way after a few tears and hugs.

One of the craziest things was right before we got up to Silver back Gorilla, we heard this HUGE bang. We rushed around the corner and low and behold the gorilla had thrown a frozen watermelon at the glass. There was a family there with a boy around Katelyn or Elias' age who was in tears it scared him so bad. We couldn't believe it! The zoo keeper said he was probably just trying to break the melon open. Well whatever he was trying to do scared a bunch of people!

We had a great time riding on the carousel, looking at the animals and playing on the playground. The carousel was really cool because they had all these different animals you could ride. there was the horse of course, an alligator, an eagle, a giraffe, a zebra, and lots more. It was really neat. I think that might have been the highlight of the kid's day. The playground was pretty cool too. They had a fun spider web made of rope to play on and slides and ladders too. The kids could have stayed all day.

Once about noon hit, Dan, Katelyn, and I left and headed to meet up with parents who came into town for the day. They are leaving in the morning to go to CA for the Rose Bowl parade. We had a great time with them just relaxing and spending time them. Katelyn got to show off her new toys and other Christmas presents so she thoroughly enjoyed herself. After dinner, Nana gave her a bath and we watched part of Little Mermaid until it was time for her to go to bed. After she went to bed, Dan got his mom signed up for Facebook. It was so cute watching him explain all the functions to her. Dan's brother saw his mom got one (through his wife's) and decided to sign up too. So I told Donnie, Dan's dad, he was last holdout. Before you know it we'll have him signed up too! : )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! What a great day it's been! Long, but very good. My brother and sister-law and their little girl came into town yesterday just in time for our annual Cuban sandwich party at the Rodriguez's. Man, what a lunch! Alan Sr. always does such a great job on those sandwiches. I brought salad and fudge which were great accompaniments. Later that evening, we all headed to church for a sweet Christmas Eve service. The music was beautiful and Dr. Brunson read the Christmas story. We also had the opportunity to participate in the Lord's supper. What a special thing. One thing Dr. Brunson said which I thought was great was that whenever you talk about the manger, you have to talk about the cross and vice-versa. It's so true. You can't separate the two events. Thank You, Jesus for humbling Yourself, putting on flesh, and dying to save me. You did it all because You love me and I am so unworthy.

This morning was really sweet. We had stayed up a little late last night watching a Christmas cartoon so I wasn't sure how late Katelyn was going to sleep. Well, a few minutes after 8 we hear, "Mommy, Daddy!" coming from down the hall. Dan jumps out of bed (I think he was more excited than her) and ran and got her out of her crib. I'm moving a little slower due to the extra 25lbs I'm carrying, but we head into the computer room to check out the tree. We had bought Katelyn a Play-doh canister that I couldn't figure out how to wrap so she spotted that first. She was so excited! There is nothing like experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a 2 year old. After a quick brushing of the teeth (a MUST for me) we opened our stockings then our gifts. It took a while because Katelyn wanted to play with each present she unwrapped. It was so cute! She got some new princess books and slippers, a big princess floor puzzle (that has already been put together multiple times), a new gator shirt, some coloring books and stickers. Dan got me a new sterling silver ring, a book, a pedicure gift card, and a few other little things. I got him a new running watch, a pair of his favorite khaki's from Gap, a new shirt, new PJ pants and a few stocking stuffers. We had a wonderful morning that ended with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Yummy!

We then headed to my parents to meet up with the rest of the family and do gifts and things there. The 3 kids were so cute together! They were having so much fun! They wanted to be right in the middle of things and open everyone's presents. Katelyn was being funny because she was all about her Titi Tiff. She wanted to show Tiff each of her presents. She didn't care about what mommy and daddy thought, she just wanted to show Tiff. It was sweet. I love that she enjoys her family!

After gifts we just relaxed and started preparations for lunner (lunch/dinner). I cooked a ham (my first one) that day before and then I also made Sweet Potato casserole (a Paula Dean recipe with coconut-so good!). We also had smoked turkey, green beans, corn on the cob, Maria's yellow rice (it's not a Spurlin/Rodriguez function without yellow rice), and yeast rolls. Man, Caroline and I ate good!

We also had the dad's help the 3 kids make a birthday cake for Jesus. It was so cute! Each kid took turns putting things in the bowl then stirring and pouring. They did a great job! Later in the evening we iced it then sang "Happy Birthday, Jesus." All throughout the day we tried to put the focus on Jesus. We thanked Jesus for our gifts and for our family. We read from Our First Bible about the birth of Jesus. I know Katelyn is learning and it's sweet to hear her talk about baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph and the angels.

I pray you and your family had as special a Christmas as we did. Here's to celebrating Jesus everyday throughout this next year. Merry Christmas and God bless!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Catch Up

I haven't been doing real well in blogland lately. It seems every time I sit down, my mind just goes blank. We've been doing lots of fun things but when it comes to writing about it, I just can't seem to do it. Well, tonight, I'm determined to try. I don't even know if anyone actually reads this, but my goal is to at least somewhat document the life of my family so we can look back on it one day. I know one day I'll be glad I did this.

We took a family trip to Disney last weekend (Dec 12-13). My parents and my brother and sister-in-love and their little boy all went down and had a blast! The weather was nice, the park was crowded, but not too bad, and the company was the best. It was so much fun watching Katelyn and Elias take everything in. Katelyn still didn't like the rides in the dark. The one surprise was Small World. In September, she loved it! This time, she complained the whole time that she wanted off, it was too dark, etc. By the end of the ride she had her blanket over her head. Who knew Small World could be such a frightening thing?

We went to Crystal Palace for lunch with the Pooh characters. The food was very yummy and the kids had a blast! Back in September, Katelyn was interested in the characters, but was scared to go up to them by herself. She wanted Dan or I to hold her. This time, she ran right up to them and hugged them, gave them all kisses and didn't want to say bye-bye when they had to leave. It was so cute! One funny story from lunch: Katelyn was hugging on Piglet, who had stooped down to be on her level. Elias wanted it to be his turn so he rushed at Piglet and knocked him flat on his bum. It was one of the funniest things! Poor Piglet!

We ended the day by playing in Toon Town, riding the train, the people mover, and doing a little Christmas shopping. Tiff and I actually found some great deals! We were very excited! At the end of the day, we all loaded up in the van and headed home. One side note, I don't really recommend going to Disney when you're 8 months pregnant. I had a great time, but by the end of the day, my hip and my sciatic nerve were throbbing. At least I got the back seat of the van to myself so I could stretch out a little and take a short nap. : ) I'm not complaining by the way, just stating a fact.

The next day, Sunday, was a busy day for us. Dan was leaving town for a week up in Louisville, KY to take a J-term seminary class. He took New Testament 2, which is pretty much the second half of the NT. He had a great week and thinks he did really well in the class. It stunk to have him away and I know he missed us, but it was a great opportunity to get a 3 credit class in just 5 days. He had the chance to meet up with some friends some high school and college and learn a lot in the process. Let me tell you what though, that week made me thankful for my husband. My heart goes out to single moms. You are my heros! I stayed at my parents for the week but it was still really hard! Thank you Jesus for a wonderful, involved husband!

That same day, Travis Cottrell was in concert at our church with our high school choir and orchestra. The HS ensemble I direct had the chance to back him up on one of his songs off his new Christmas album. It was a very difficult song and the kids did a great job! The whole concert went really well and I couldn't be prouder of all the high school kids. The worked really hard and sacrificed a lot to sing in that concert. I think Jesus was glorified in the final outcome.

Dan got home a little after midnight on Friday night and we were so excited to see him (at least I was Katelyn was asleep)! The next day I did some grocery shopping (we were out of toilet paper and I'm sorry, but that's a must have) and finished up my Christmas shopping while Dan took Katelyn to the park for a couple of hours. As you can see, she thought the park needed a little cleaning. Katelyn was the happiest girl alive that day! She had missed her daddy so much! Every time they talked on the phone, the first thing she would say was "You on your way home?" It was so sweet and so sad at the same time. But they had a great time together. That afternoon Dan and I headed to Gainesville to go to one of my college roommate's wedding. It was hard for Dan to leave Katelyn but I really appreciated him going. It was a sacrifice on his part on many levels and I love the fact he didn't complain or try to get out of it. He's the best husband ever! Anyway, the wedding was held in the chapel that Dan proposed to me in so it was very special. It was a fun evening but we scooted out early so we could make it home at a reasonable hour.

So, I guess that catches you up on our life the last couple of weeks. I'm a little tired now so I don't think I'll post pictures tonight, but I'll try to do so tomorrow. So, I'm off now for a date with Mr. Pillow! Good night!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Rhonda Ellis has this neat program at her house one Tuesday a month called Ladies Night Out. It's a time for moms to get together, have dinner, and hear practical, Godly wisdom from a mom of 6 who actually has some things figured out. I know she is not perfect, but she has let the Lord teach her and build her into an amazing mom and I feel blessed to be able to listen to her share some the things she's learned over the years.

Last night's topic was Respect. Respect for adults, respect for our husbands, and respecting our children. I will admit I left in tears. Not bad tears, but good ones. Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are just overwhelmed? I feel like I'm there right now. Last night just confirmed it. I so want Katelyn and Caroline to grow up loving God. I want them to make right choices not out of fear, but out of love for Christ. So much of what I have done right in my life was because of the fear I would let my parents, or my youth pastor or my husband down. I'm tired of feeling that way. I want my love of Christ to be the driving force in all the "whys." Know what I mean?

But here's where the problem comes in. How do you do that? How do you move from fear to love? How do you change a mindset you've had (subconsciously or not) for most of your life? That's where I am. How do I move from doing my quiet time because I know I should, to doing it because I truly love Jesus and want to spend time with Him? How do I share my faith because I am truly concerned about the lost instead of because I know I'm "supposed" to? And then there's the main question...How do I teach my child to do it out of a love when I'm not?

It all comes back to me. There is so much that God is showing me in my own life that I'm just overwhelmed. How can I tell Katelyn and Caroline one thing, and live a different way? The older I get and the further along I get in my christian walk, the more I realize how much farther I have to go.

We also talked how we, as women and moms, set the tone in our homes. Are we always looking at things critically or are we forthcoming with praise for our family? Rhonda talked about the importance of lavishing praise on our family and making our home a safe place, free of bullying, criticism, and sarcasm. That last point got me. How often do I make sarcastic remarks to those I love most? That does nothing to build them up. She challenged us to start a study of the Proverbs and I think I'm going to do it. I've read the book of Proverbs many times, but not often have I stopped to truly examine what the verses are saying. What better wisdom to seek than that of the Lord's?

So as you can see, I'm trying to get real with myself. I am asking the Lord to do a major renovation of my heart. I want to be open with my fears, insecurities, and failures and use those things to remind myself how I NEED Jesus everyday. I would covet and appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas in November

This past weekend, we went to Savannah to celebrate an early Thanksgiving and Christmas with Dan's family. Not everyone was going to be able to get off work for the actual Thanksgiving holiday so we decided to celebrate a week early. We had such a great time! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch with all the traditional food, watched some traditional football and also did some shopping.

Saturday morning, the girls left the kids with the guys and we went to this great little tea room in downtown Savannah called The Tea Room. If you ever want a fun girls day, you need to take a trip. The food is wonderful and the teas are even better! I always get the same kind, the house tea called Emperor's Bride. It has hints of citrus and pineapple and is absolutely wonderful! The best part is they can make it decaf for us preggo people who have to watch our caffeine intake. After that lunch, we went to the Christmas in the South show. My sister-in-law Brooke and I walked around and mostly made fun of the things people were selling. You would be surprised how many people think rhinestone santa sweatshirts are fashionable (for those of you who own one, please forgive me).

We also celebrated Christmas in the same weekend since we won't be able to be together for Christmas. The kids, especially Katelyn, were in hog heaven. She was more interested in ripping the presents open than the actual presents themselves. She felt it was her civic duty to help everyone else open their presents. It was pretty funny. We all got some great presents and made even better memories.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elias is 3!

Today is my nephew Elias' birthday. I have to say that I love that kid! He is a very sweet and smart kid. He speaks so well and has an amazing vocabulary! What other 3 year old uses the word preposterous correctly in a sentence? He is a sensitive boy who loves his mom and dad and extended family. He and Katelyn are more like brother and sister than cousins. They are best friends who get along most of the time, fight some of the time, yet love each other all the time. I am so thankful Katelyn has such a great cousin! I love you Elias!


We had a really great weekend! We started on Friday night with the preschool Thanksgiving Feast at church. Katelyn had a ball! They had tons of stuff for the kids to do. Shelly Taylor is such a blessing to our church and to our family. I am so glad Dr. Brunson brought her to FBC Jax.

They had a video of Miss Pattycake on during the meal, which Katelyn thought was the coolest thing! I know she is going to love when she comes in December. Shelly did a power point story time, during which Katelyn decided she was going to run around on the stage and play with the microphone. Then they had different rooms and games and crafts set up for the kids to do. Katelyn made a candy turkey, had her hand painted all sorts of colors to make a turkey and much more. She was completely enthralled with this blow up ball game. It took a while to get away from that. She just kept wanting to dive into the balls, face first I must add. Thank you to everyone who made that night possible. It was a blast!

Saturday was our annual Middle School Field Day at Landon MS. The forecast was rain all day and our event was all outside. Needless to say, many prayers were offered up in the days leading up to Saturday. God was awesome (as always)!! It rained while things were being set up, but before you knew you it, the sun was out and it was beautiful! It stayed that way until right after lunch (about halfway through the event). As everyone was complaining about being hot and getting sunburned, God gave us clouds and a breeze that quickly cooled us off. The rain held off until about 30 minutes before the end of the event at which time we moved into the cafeteria for the awards and wrap up. God worked everything out perfectly. We had a good turn out (though I believe more would have come if it had not been raining in the morning-but that's okay) and we had over 20 visitors. When Dan gave a short Gospel presentation, 4 or 5 kids responded so praise be to God! What a great day!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Fridays are such a great day at our house. Dan is blessed to be able to work from home most Fridays so we get to spend a lot of time together. Katelyn just loves waking up and seeing her Daddy there and knowing he's going to be there all day. She is usually in such a good mood and is so happy (and so is her mom). Today we spent some time playing this morning and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The we took a trip to order some Christmas gifts then to the China Super Buffet (Daddy's favorite place). Katelyn ate some chicken and broccoli, shrimp, crab, and even chocolate ice cream. We came home for nap time and then house cleaning. We had a Middle School student leadership team meeting at our house tonight.

Katelyn had a date with her cousin Elias and Titi Tiff. She talked about it ALL day long. We kept telling her she wasn't going until it got dark outside. If you guys were outside at all today, you know it was a gorgeous sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. Here was a typical conversation with Katelyn today.
Katelyn: Time for E-I-E's house?
Me: Is it dark outside?
Katelyn: No. It's bright!
Me: Then no, it's not time for Elias' house. We'll go when it gets dark outside.
(repeat this conversation every 4 minutes and you get the idea!)

I'm so glad Katelyn and her cousin Elias are such great buds! I pray they stay that way!

Halloween 2008

This past Halloween we got to go Savannah to spend some time with Dan's parents. We took Katelyn to a fall festival at FBC Rincon, a small town outside of Savannah. We had tons of fun! Katelyn got to ride a pony which she thoroughly enjoyed! We also rode a hayride, jumped in a princess castle bouncy house and played lots of fun carnival games. She loved getting candy, but she wasn't a big fan of putting it in her bag. She wanted to eat it all! She may not be a big cake, cookie, ice cream person, but boy does she like candy! The next day we went down to the waterfront to the craft fair they have in downtown Savannah on the first Saturday of each month. We went to a cute little Tea House for lunch and tea. They brought Katelyn a little plate and mini utensils. She even got her own demi cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. We had a wonderful time!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

After a few failed attempts, Katelyn and I finally made it to a pumpkin patch. Mandarin United Methodist has a really neat patch with lots of photo places. I had never taken Katelyn to a pumpkin patch before but I had always seen other people's pictures and though they were so cute! So, I was determined this year to go! We met up with our friend Misty and "Bwake" as Katelyn calls her son and had a great time. I got a little frustrated because Katelyn was not cooperating very well. She has decided she does not like her picture being taken so she won't smile, or even worse, she just turns her head. Hopefully it's just a stage!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wow! I'm behind!

Man! It's been a long time since I've updated anything on here. Sorry about that! It's been a pretty eventful couple of months. We took Katelyn to Disney World for the first time at the end of September. She had so much fun! She loved the Merry-go-Round, Small World, the Nemo show at Animal Kingdom and the character lunch at Chef Mickey's. She was pooped (as were we) by the end of the weekend. We're planning on another day trip in December with my parents and brother and sister-in-law. That will be a blast! Katelyn and Elias are best buds so they will enjoy spending the day together at the happiest place on earth!

Dan and I have finally decided on a name for our little girl. Her name will be Caroline Dean Elkins. We love the name Caroline because it's so girly. Katelyn is our girly girl who loves lotion, lip gloss, and shoes so watch Caroline be our tomboy. Either way we are so excited. Dean is special because it is my mom's maiden name and the name of one of my brothers. We just thought it would be neat to honor my family that way.

Katelyn is a definite two year old. She is learning new words and phrases everyday. Her memory is getting sharper each day. She is also testing every boundary put out there. She is strong-willed and fiercely independent. Her favorite phrase is "No, me." She loves to help mommy and daddy cook and she always wants to help with whatever is going on. She'll carry grocery bags, put clothes in the washing machine, sweep(or at least try), and pretty much whatever else I'm doing. She's definitely mommy's little helper.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our New Baby

Well, we just found out this morning that Katelyn is going to have a new baby sister! I told Dan that he must have prayed really hard! Anyway, we're really excited about it! Hopefully some of the clothes I saved from Katelyn will work for this new little one even though they'll be born in different seasons. We haven't decided on a name yet, but we've talked about a couple. So hopefully it will be nailed down soon. She is healthy, has all her parts and is very active! The ultra sound tech was having to chase her all around. Dan is going to try and post the pictures on his Facebook sometime today (the proud daddy wanted to take the pictures to show off at work). Please keep us all in your prayers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Sneaky Sneaky Child

So this past Saturday we celebrated Katelyn's 2nd birthday with a party at my parent's house. We had a great time but my child's sneaky came out in full force. My daughter has figured out that when you push the lever on the refrigerator, water will come out. Needless to say when she does this, she gets wet and mommy gets upset (because she knows she's not supposed to do that). So on this particular day, she proceeded to push the lever and got a pow pow on her hand. About a minute later, we're still standing in the kitchen when Katelyn starts pushing me out of the room. I knew what was happening, but I let her push me out. As I peeked around the corner, Katelyn was going straight for the fridge. She looks behind her to see if I'm looking (as I duck around the corner so she won't see me). She then pushes the lever on the fridge (though my mom put the lock on so it wouldn't spray water). Can we say Sneaky McSneakerson?!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacation to the Mountains

Katelyn playing in the teepee.
On top of Chimney Rock
In the Opera Box, looking at Chimney Rock
At the waterfall
Climbing to the top of Chimney Rock.

After we got home from camp, we headed to the mountains with Dan's parents, brother, his wife and their little boy, Connor. We had such a wonderful time! One of Lisa's (Dan's mom) clients let us borrow his beautiful mountain home for 3 nights. We were outside of Asheville, NC. The area had a beautiful pool, lake beach, putt-putt, and golf. We went into Asheville one day to visit Biltmore Village. The estate was $50 per adult! We decided against that. We ate the Biltmore McDonalds that had a player piano and stone fireplace. We found a neat toy store and had a wonderful time! Another day we went to Chimney Rock. The group hiked to the Rock and took poctures then the original clan (minus Brooke and me) hiked up to the Opera Box and down to the waterfall. Hiking is not my thing, especially pregnant, but katelyn had a blast! Dan said she walked the whole trail to the waterfall (about 25 minutes) although he carried her back.

We had a wonderful time just getting out of town for a few days. Dan even truned his cell phone off. We just got to relax, play games together, eat together each meal and just make great memories! I can't wait until next year's trip!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Middle School

Well it has been a very eventful summer in the Elkins household. Dan and I both have been in and out of town with our middle schoolers on many exciting trips. We had the 8th grade mission trip to Atlanta, GA in June. God did some really amazing things in and through our kids on that trip. After that, Dan took a group of around 80-90 back to Atlanta for their Discipleship trip. They helped 3 different church plants by putting on a sports camp, helping with VBS and doing service projects around the community. The kids had a blast!

Dean and I flew up at the end of the Discipleship trip to go on the Secret Trip. The kids earned this trip by doing their quiet time, scripture memory, being at church, and taking sermon notes. We took them to a place right outside of Asheville, NC. We rented 3 huge cabins, went to Chimney Rock, a really cool place like Adventure Landing (but theirs was so much better), we ate at Dillard House, and just hung out together. We talked a lot about leadership on the trip. It was a sweet time and we all had a blast.

After a week at home, we packed up and headed off to camp! What a week! God did some incredible things. We saw around 30 come to Christ, over 20 baptized and many rededications. We are praying the Lord continues to work in the lives of our students this year. What a way to start!

So after our busy summer, we're heading off with Dan's family to the mountains for 4 days to just relax. We are both so worn out, and Katelyn has been missing her mom and dad (and we've missed her!). It will be nice to just get out of town for a little while and not have to be anywhere or do anything.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A New Baby!

Well, I'm sure most people have heard already (as news travels fast around our church) but we are going to have a baby! We are due somewhere between January 22-27. We got to see the first ultrasound last week. It amazes me how our baby was not even 10 weeks old, yet you could see the head, the forming arms and legs, the heartbeat, and the beginning of facial features. I don't see how anyone could deny the existence of God. It is such a beautiful thing.

Katelyn seems excited, at least as much as she can understand. She talks about the baby some. I'm hoping she's going to be a big helper when her little brother or sister comes (Lord knows I'm going to need all the help I can get!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

8th GradeMission Trip

Well, we leave bright and early in the morning for the big ATL. We're taking about 40 8th graders on a mission trip to help a church plant in a section of the city called Atlantic Station. It's a new area in downtown Atlanta with condos, apartments, townhomes, shops, a movie theatre, gym, restaurants and even an IKEA. They built it with the mentality of live, work, and play in the same place. This area has no other established church. Midtown Bridge Church is a church plant of FBC and Woodstock Baptist Church with Larry Graves as the pastor. Check it out at

Please be praying for all of us as we share Christ though backyard Bible clubs, door to door survey, passing out water bottles and breakfast, and passing out tracts at a Braves game. We truly covet your prayers for safety, health, strength, and boldness. This is taking many of these kids out of their comfort zones and placing them in the middle of a spiritual battle. It's hot, people can be rude, and we're going to tired. But, I know God is going to change these kids lives.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Swim Time

At the end of last summer I bought a blow up pool for like $4. I didn't know it would be so big. I just thought it was a little pool that Katekyn could splash around in. Well Dan got it out of the box this week and blew it up. Today the two of them took it in the front yard and played. they both had so much fun! I love my family!

Father's Day

Happy Daddy's Day Dan! I am so thankful for my husband. He is the best guy around. He is a wonderful hands on father who dotes on his wife and daughter like no one else. I am so thankful God put him in our lives!

My parents were out of town so we raided their house and had a bunch of people over. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, grilled corn on the cob, cole slaw, potatos, green beans, peach cobbler and chocolate cake. I know all the dads there had a great time. They watched the US Open, played the Wii and just relaxed. Happy Fathers Day to every dad out there!