Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Mark and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on Thursday the 21st. Ten years! It does not feel like it has been that long already. We have been very blessed with the relationship we have had in our marriage.

In celebration we planned on a weekend away. My amazing husband offered to take me to Michigan to meet Sharlene MacLaren, a Christian fiction author who's books I absolutely LOVE! :) And of course I wouldn't turn that offer down!! So, as it turned out she had a book signing that very weekend so off we went!

My dear friend Missy opened up her home to my children for the weekend, and after a prayer for her strength and sanity we took off.

The trip was good until we entered Chicago. Three hours later we left it. Who knew that in some places going 16 miles would take an hour and a half. I am a very happily spoiled country girl!! Anyway, the rest of the trip went well and we arrived at our hotel at roughly 11:00pm, an hour earlier than we expected since we had completely forgot about the time change. :) It was a nice surprise!

We stayed at the Country Inn in Holland, MI. It was a lovely hotel and was rather remote as it was neatly tucked away from traffic. It also had a convenient location as we were smack in the middle between the book signing and downtown Holland.

After eating our delicious continental breakfast Saturday morning we headed downtown to stop at a music store. Downtown Holland is beautiful! A must see for anyone who visits the area. Beautiful shops and brick sidewalks dotted with quaint little cafés.We also learned from Sharlene that the sidewalks and streets are heated during the winter so the snow melts as it hits the 70 degree pavement. Amazing! I need this installed in my drive way and all around my house. Honestly, an always 70 degree floor inside my house wouldn't be bad either!

We decided to stop at a neat little corner café/restaurant called the AlpenRose. It was beautiful inside! Everything was made of wood and carved so beautiful. The ceilings were carved wood, the decorations were carved wood, and all of it very elegant. We both ordered lunch and received some amazing food in double portion! So, two meals for the price of one is not bad! :) And for the quality of food it was already an amazing price!

Next up was my most highly anticipated event of the trip! Meeting Sharlene MacLaren! We had such a wonderful time with her! What a wonderful person! I'm thinking we will definitely make this trip again! We talked for a couple hours and I hated to go but I didn't want to take up her whole book signing time, especially since we stole her away from her table. Okay, maybe I did want to, but I was afraid I would wear out my welcome... Lol! Too much of Mark and Sarah might not be a good thing? Haha! Anyway, it was so easy to talk and we enjoyed ourselves so much! I am so grateful that God allowed everything to work the way it did so that our paths would cross! God is amazing, isn't He?!?

We did a few things more that day, nothing quite as fun of course. :) We stopped on the way back to the Hotel at an antique and collectibles shop. From the outside (it was in a strip mall) It looked small, but from the inside it looked as big as Wal-Mart. Huge! It took us the rest of the afternoon to walk through every isle. If you were to really look at everything and dig through every pile and bookshelf it would take several days, at least!

Back at the Hotel we ate our supper and watched a movie then turned in to prepare for our journey back. Thankfully, Chicago was much calmer at 10:00 in the morning on Sunday then it was during Friday rush hour. We passed through easily.

We had such a wonderful trip!! I am so thankful for Scott and Missy who were willing to take in my kids for the weekend. What a blessing they have been! And thanks also to Mom and Richard in Texas for helping make it possible! Love you all!

It was a great experience for us and it has been a long time since we have had time for just us. Though, I did miss my kids and was very happy to snuggle them again. :) What an amazing weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cranfest 2010

Cranfest this year fell on Alysabeth's birthday. The air was cool and the forecaster threatened us with rain but it remained dry and was overall a very nice day.

Both Alysabeth and Nathan were a part of this year's Crantastic Singers. I think I enjoyed watching them sing and dance as much as they enjoyed doing it! They both did so well, and of course, made me extremely proud!!

Alysabeth had a solo this year! Her first one, and I think she was one of the best singers there! Tell me what you think!

They had four performances in all. Three were during the day, two outside and one inside, and one at night at the Gospel Sing. They both did an amazing job!

Here's Nathan... notice how everyone else is looking and pointing down? Well, it was the final move at the end of the song. Nathan would do it and then make an immediate exit of the stage while everyone else held their pose. Funny!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Belated Birthday Post

Well, my Alysabeth is now eight. Eight!! I can't hardly believe it!!  She has grown up so much, not only physically but in maturity. Listening to her talk and watching her at school makes me realize how short the time is that I really get to "have" them. She is already halfway to sixteen and it feels like only a year or two has passed since she graced our lives with her own. Tomorrow she'll be driving and the day after that, getting married and having her own babies! Ahhh!!! :)

Alysabeth's birthday was a busy one. Earlier in the week we took her to the restaurant of choice since we would not be able to on her actual birthday. She chose Perkins. A girl after my own heart! :) The funny thing about my children is no matter where we go (except for Subway) my children will almost always choose one of three things: chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, or pizza. They get so excited when we go different places, but they eat the exact same things! Funny!!

Saturday 9/25, Beth's b-day, was spent at Cranfest, so the previous day we made white cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to take with us. It was really a nice day and after the afternoon performances I took Nathan and Alysabeth for snow cones and then we shopped around for Alysabeth's b-day. She chose to have money to spend at Cranfest for her present from us and with her money bought two beanie baby kitties, one beanie baby dog, and two real-fur animals. After that we headed back to Grandpa and Grandma Collins' house for cupcakes.

Alysabeth had a wonderful birthday!! :)

Birthday Party at Knuckleheads!

Well, it has been three years since our last birthday bash at Knuckleheads, so we decided it was time to do it again! :)

My mom and dad (Kim and Cliff), Dave and Laura, Jamie and Gina, and Great-Grandmother all came along to celebrate!

Alysabeth, being my little daredevil, started her day on a version of the giant drop. And rode it again, and again, and again, smiling all the while. Even when others joined her on the ride screaming the entire time! That's my girl!! :) Or more like, Mark's girl! Haha! Yeah, I woulda been screaming to! :p

After playing on the ginormous kid play set, and dragging Katie out kicking and screaming, we sat down for some hot pizza!

The kids went on so many rides: Airplanes, The Hurricane, the roller coaster, go-karts, etc. They plumb wore us all out!! But it was worth it!! And after all the games the grown-ups played they were able to cash in tickets for candy.

They also received many gifts!
And on the way home the girls fell asleep, but not Nathan, he was way to busy playing with his new Toy Story toys. What a lot of fun we had!!