Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Random September fun (mostly kitty fun!)

Susanna loves her kittens and tries to be with them as much as possible:


 Who's in the oven?

Cupcake actually loves to play in the oven!

Frosty does not particularly enjoy dressing up but he allows Karis to have fun:


Mark and I got all dressed up for a friend's wedding.  (And yes, he did shave his head for a time :)

The kittens and Pup-pup are slowly getting used to each other!  The kittens regularly climb past the baby gate to hang out with Pup-pup.  As long as they are still, Pup-pup just watches them.   They will sit together for the longest time!  But if they happen to run around and get playful, Pup-pup just can't stand it and has to chase them.






Fun with Karlie's class at school:


 Sparky was at AWANA club on Sunday!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An absolute miracle!


 The week before we found out we were pregnant with Karis, we adopted a kitten.  He started with a fancy name, but I honestly can't remember what it was.  He ended up just being called, "Blackie."   This kitten was the runt of the litter and about half the size of his sister.  He was the biggest scaredy-cat ever and pretty much decided that I was his new Mama and wanted me to carry him around all day long.  He is the kind of cat that not only climbs up in your lap, but puts both his paws around your neck in a big hug, purrs as loudly as a lion, and drools all over you.  The most lovingest cat ever.

Poor Blackie had a hard time ever since our move back to VA.  We left a  house out in the country with plenty of places for him to hide, and ended up in a neighborhood with close neighbors and dogs barking in almost every yard.  He used to go play outside all night long and then come inside to snuggle and follow us around all day long.  But our new neighborhood scared him pretty badly.  We eventually started letting him outside again but he just didn't like it so we decided he would be an inside cat.

But then one morning at they beginning February when we went to get him out of the laundry room where he slept at night, we couldn't find him.  The only thing we could figure was that he had somehow slipped outside when Mark took the dog out right before bed.  Unfortunately, the next evening we had the biggest snowstorm I had ever experienced in my life.  And it just so happened that we had a regular snowstorm every week for almost the entire month!  We called for him and called for him but after about a month, Mark and I started to give up hope.  How could he have survived such a bitterly cold winter?  He is such a scaredy-cat when he is outside that, he will not let anyone get anywhere near him.   He won't even let us pick him up when he is outside, let alone someone he doesn't know!

Months passed, and the girls kept talking about how much they missed their kitty.  They prayed for him all the time and brought it up as a prayer request in Sunday school every week.  Finally in July, Mark and I got the girls new kittens because we thought there was no way Blackie was coming home after being gone that long!  But on September 9, we took the girls to a near-by church to ride bikes in the parking lot.  Abbi soon tired of riding and asked Mark to run up and down the hill with her.  And they were running around, squealing, Mark heard a familiar noise and disappeared into the woods.  I didn't even know where he had gone.  I just noticed Abbi coming back up the hill alone and asked her where Daddy went.  But she didn't know.  Suddenly I heard him yelling, "Answer your phone!!!  Answer your phone!!"  I had left my phone in the car since we were all together so I ran to get it.  And Mark told me he had found Blackie!!!  I was stunned and just couldn't believe it!  I asked him if he was sure it was actually Blackie, and he laughed and said that he had drool all over his shirt so it had to be him!  Then he sent me these pictures he had taken on his phone:





So  the girls and I rushed home to get the cat carrier since Blackie was too scared to let Mark carry him out of the woods.  I was amazed that he walked right towards me when I started calling him and then drooled all over me as well!  He was so happy to see us!  We finally got him home and I posted this on Facebook:


"This pictures demonstrates one of the biggest miracles ever. Our precious kitty slipped out the door the day before Snowmageddon back in February. Almost 7 months ago! We had given up on him and even got the girls new kittens. But they didn't give up on him and kept on praying that he would come home. Every Sunday when her Sunday school class asked for prayer requests, Karis would ask for prayers that he would return. And this evening, we went to a nearby church parking lot to ride bikes and play with the girls, and he heard us and came out of the woods! Karlie said, "I think God protected Blackie and gave him back to us because so many people were praying for him!" The girls can't stop talking about their very special miracle and can't wait to go to church on Sunday to share with their classes! Rachel Greenawalt Keller, thank you for praying with Karis each week even though it seemed pointless . And Jennifer Banwart Gutierrez, thanks for the idea to go to your old church to ride bikes because that's where we found him!"

And here are just a few of the sweet responses we got from our friends:
OBrian Tallent And they will never forget that God answered their prayer to keep their kitty safe, such a small thing that will make such a HUGE impact in their little hearts for God's concern for them. That's just awesome!
Rachel Greenawalt Keller My girls were so excited to hear about your lost cat being found especially since we prayed for it. It made me think of Matthew 6 where Jesus says that our Heavenly Father cares about the sparrows. Certainly, he cares for kitties. What a powerful lesson for your girls!
Elaine Lackey Daniels Oh. My. Word. I hestitated when I was making our PERMANENT, laminated, (lol) prayer wall for the kids to take home after summer club ended since "Blackie" was a request on there. A request i "knew" had already been answered with a "no." I figured i should leave it because that is a good lesson; sometimes God answers in a way we don't expect, like new kitties... , right? One night while i was praying for the kids i even said something like, "Lord, nothing is too difficult for you... you could just resurrect ol' blackie (because in my mind, given the circumstances, that was the only way...) because sweet little Karis is so faithful to pray for this cat and it is killing me. PLEASE LORD! LOL. (But in my rational mind, I "knew" Blackie wasn't coming home...) Wow. Me of little faith...  thanks for sharing this. I am going to go mark "Blackie" off as answered. 
Lois Walker Breneman A Sweet Story! It's wonderful when children see answers to prayer right before their eyes and then give God the credit for His answers to their prayers - in His own time!

Blackie was so happy to be home with his girls; he just plopped down right in the middle of their card game!

So happy to have my snuggle-buddy back!





Monday, September 8, 2014

Daddy Daughter Date at Camp Eagle!

Karis picked up the church Bulletin and saw that Camp Eagle was doing a Daddy-daughter date night and asked if she could go.  We didn't know quite what to expect but they sure had a blast!

They spent the morning shopping with Daddy for Hawaain accessories and then came home and asked me to curl their hair.  Yes, we get serious about special Daddy dates around here!

So excited!

Practicing their hula dancing :)









 They had a lot of fun dancing with their church friends at the date also!  There were rumors that the Daddies had to put on a grass skirt and dance as well, but somehow no one has any pictures of that!  They also enjoyed yummy food, coconut bowling, the limbo, and other fun activities.  When I asked the girls their favorite part of the evening, I was told it was , "too hard to decide... I loved all of it!"


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend!

We had a super fun Labor Day Weekend!

First, Rich and Mel surprised Nina and Papa by coming to visit for the weekend!







They even came over to our house to meet our new kittens!


Then on Monday, Grandma and Papa came up and we all went swimming at my cousin's pool!

Susanna even finally agreed to get in the water and swim a bit!


After a short nap-time, Grandma and Papa took us to the zoo!



Abbi has taken to winking when we ask her to smile for pictures...



Susanna was utterly amazed and downright crazy about the bird house!  She kept pointing and squealing the entire time. It aaas really neat that we could get that close to the birds.  Karlie even touched one (although she wasn't supposed to and had to apologize :)