Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walks, talks, and larks!

"Kara, why is your last name different than ours? You're in our family, right?" ~McKenna :)
Tickling and running around the house shrieking... always fun!! 
Notice their faces??! hee hee I'm pretty sure they're gonna run me over! 

Really. The skills they're learning, the speeds at which they learn things... it overwhelms and excites me!

The way GOD made us. Made kiddos' brains... wow. TAKE the time to talk to them and teach them-- and be taught by them. I have never learned so much as when I'm with people learning from their examples. My kiddos teach me something new about myself-- themselves-- and the world every day!!
"Peace and Joy and Happiness... No more sorrow... SOMEDAY!"
"Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee. 
How great Thou are, how great Thou art!"
 "There is sunshine in my soul today! And hope and praise and love!"

 My precious boy. My sunshine. My little man who always has kisses and hugs to make my day perfect.

"To God be the glory-- GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!"

Thanksgiving goes on every day. All day long. Not just once a year. 

Start counting your blessings. You'll never get finished!! :)


A wonderful day... Thanksgiving. Up until now it's almost always been celebrated with my Dad's side of the family in Morrison. I love it. So many cousins I only get to see once a year, my favorite cousins who I get to see every time I go to Morrison, and always my grandparents, yummy food, nertz, and Linda's pie...
But this year, it was different. Instead of being a McAfee, I got to be a Heck, and then a Leonard. Thanksgiving has always made me think of Stacy. She loves the fall and the time with her family. We e-mail each other on Thanksgiving every year. Instead of *just* e-mailing this year, we were able to be together.
The morning was spent at home, relaxing, resting. Several of us were sick...
I love our puppy. Our crazy, sweet, spastic doggie. She's always there with us. She wants to know what's going on-- and she wants in on it all! :)
The beauty and warmth of the day, mixed with the arrival of Grandma and Grandpa and the aunts and uncles and cousins... our sugarbear, angelbaby, and little peanut... In and out the doors, hugs all around, and more food than we could eat in several meals, made for the happiest of feelings!
Small ones in every room, smiles, giggles... as totally cute as could be! They make our world so happy! <3
So many wonderful people at this table: 
David and Debbie~ My parents here whose love makes me feel right at home
Dan and Chas~ My aunt and uncle here whose smiles bring so much happiness to my life
Nathan and Ashley~ My older sister and big brother who are always there for me
Russ and Carol~ My grandparents here who make life perfect
Darren~ My "boss" and one of the coolest guys in the world
Josh, Candice, Bob, Dustin~ My crazy, sweet, incredible siblings

These people mean the world to me! They are good, godly, hard-working, awesome, funny people. They are my family!!
 Our Hallie Baby-- a few sweet one-on-one moments with her. 
And after being a Heck... I became a Leonard. <3 Totally LOVED that I got to see them on Thanksgiving--
New friends~Old friends~ Christian family everywhere!!
It was a dream come true to hug my Stacy on Thanksgiving, be at Grandma and Grandpa's, and watch our boys play football...
An evening of laughing loooooooads during supper. Wow. That was FUN! And games and twins... :)
Then a fun Friday with bunches of friends from Higginsville because 
WE WENT TO STATE! Texting back and forth to and from St. Louis... GOOD times!
First football game-- not including my kiddos playing'. Lots of cheering, being with friends, seeing people from the small town that I recognized-- (Sooo different than it would have been in Suwanee!) and running around with the twins and Abs. BEST moment of the day, though? Middle of the game. Abs, who was sitting next to me, leaned over and said, "I love you." MADE MY DAY! LOOOOOOVE my sis! :)
I really love St. Louis. Been there twice in 2 weeks! :) hee hee It's been fun! Life is good. Lots to do, so much to be thankful for, not ever enough time with those I love the most-- looking forward to Heaven when days won't end, we'll be together forever, and everything will be perfect! Let's all make sure we're ready for our KING to come call us home!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tashaness--Princess Party!!!!!

My Tasha. My Twin. One of my best friends since we were 5. She came on Thanksgiving break to visit! Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! The fun! 

While she was here we were able to have our PRINCESS PARTY! 
All of us "big princesses" doing it for our "little princesses!!"
Tammy, Katie, Tina, Emily, Abby, Candice, and Tasha made this party fantastic with the help of all the mommies and daddies-- and our PRINCESSES looked darling!!!
Tasha and Katie, who bring so much happiness into my life in GA and MO, hit it off right away! FUN!!
17 little princesses!
With a teeny-tiny Snow White Hallie Girl. What a little doll she is!!
Why can't we dress like this every day?! It's such fun!!
Sleeping Beauty and Esmeralda-- and make sure to notice McKenna's face!!
Never too old to sing and dance!
"Be our GUEST!!"
MY Princess! <3
Disney Sing-A-Long= SO MUCH FUN!
Aren't these fairies just the prettiest in the world? Such blessings to my life and sooooo many others!
A party full of incredible memories, a million giggles, sweet music and hugs, and pretty, precious girlies!
Sunday night supper with my Concordia family. Glad that Tasha got to be here on a Sunday and meet my family here. I love the bond that we share because of Duluth. Growing up there for our "whole lives" is something that I will always cherish. And being here now... *Happy sigh* yeah, I cherish that, too. I love our Sunday nights together. I love Sundaya in general... Bible class with my kiddos, worship to our KING, lunch and afternoon with my Leonards and other Higginsville friends, evening worship, and then supper as a congregation. 
LOVE to start my week this way!!
Tasha is totally awesome. I'm so glad that she was out here. We had some busy times, some homework time, and some amazing talking times. We have a lonnnnnnng history. A very good one. Life without the gang, without Duluth, without our parents, our pets, our hobbies, our singings, our trees... life just wouldn't be as grand. It's wonderful to re-connect. To remember such incredibly good times. We enjoyed some rainy days at home, some movies and singing and cooking, and Tas reading to me! :) 
My kiddos are getting used to going to and from the airport, so any friends who wanna come visit, get to meet the best people in the world, enjoy the darkness and stars at night, the flat, wide land during the day, the awesome hills around my house, and my sweethearts, then COME ON to MO!! :)
Sooooooooooo not ready for my Asha to go home... But looking forward to going home to GA and seeing her and bunches of friends there again soon. Best of all, our friendship will last forever-- for all eternity! 

Love you, Asha!

Peacefulness and my little angel!

Thursday are just amazing.
From the first moment of the day, just knowing that it's FAMILY FUN NIGHT makes everything go wonderfully and feel happy inside! 
On this Thursdays we headed to Aunt Debbie's... the day had been beautiful, I kept meaning for us to get outside to play... but we were busy with this and that and didn't get to it.
Until now. Carter was asleep. And I was telling McKenna about the 70 acres... and she wanted to see it. So we went to the little tree-house. It was such fun.
Just me. And this little angel. This blue-eyed princess. This sunshine-maker. My sweetheart.
To hear her giggle when she swung-- and she wasn't afraid to go high, I can tell you that! My brave girl.
She giggled and giggled. Talked, enjoyed the "little things" and kept asking if we could have "just a few more minutes."
I wasn't about to leave. Not until she was ready to. The one-on-one time with her was absolutely precious. The love that she brings to my life is beautiful. It makes me a better person. She pushes me to try harder to live for God and love every minute. To truly be thankful for life. 
We climbed, told stories, watched the sunset, talked about our sweet family we would be able to spend time with for the evening, sang songs...
And took pictures of the prettiness around us. She loves to take pictures. She loves to be outside and watch things grow. She reminds me so much of Aunt Shauna. More every day.
What an awesome time with my Kenna Girl. So thankful to know her. We're looking forward to being home with Mom in Heaven! <3 Until then,  
Live, Laugh, and LOVE! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The week of incredible Christina-time!

Lookie! Lookie! At who's in my house!!! It's the one and only 
Christina MaryKatherine McAfee! =) =) =)
My sweet sisters (notice their awesome hoodies!?) enjoying time together. Not only was it great for me getting to have Christina here with me, but I loved, loved, loved getting to see her out here with the people who make my world go 'round! 
What a blessing!
My kiddos loved Christina. We'd already Skyped and talked on the phone and looked at pictures, so they "knew" her. McKenna asked me if she were coming to live here like I do. We would have loved to keep her that long! :) We had Candice come with us to Darren's for 2 days in a row, and we had a BLAST! We cooked, cleaned, did school, played, read books... we "LIVED"!! And it was fantastic!!
On Friday afternoon we went into the 70 acres, climbed up in a treehouse, and continued to read. It was one of the highlights of C's visit~ This girl time, reading good books, knitting, laughing, enjoying the pretty weather. We are homeschoolers for sure!
"Time together is just never quite enough..." 
How does the time fly by so quickly?! 
We were already towards the weekend!
But, we couldn't help but want the weekend to come, because we had plans. BIG plans. Oh. yeah, baby! We went on a girl (and Carter) road trip! ~FUN~FUN~ We all spent the night at Aunt Debbie's, then up early, and towards St. Louis we went with my kiddos and my sisters, the music going, the car full of happy smiles, and many snacks...
Before going to the Arch, which was the reason we were going to St. Louis, we stopped to see the Rutherfords. It was wonderful to be with them again. We enjoyed a couple hours of visiting with them, being out of the car, the kiddos getting to play with Hannah, and a great lunch. 
Christian friends... nothing beats that!
Christina LOVES tall monuments. This is certainly a tall monument! And it was AWESOME! Walking through the park towards it was one of my favorite parts. It reminded me so much of being in DC, which is one of mine and Christina's favorite places. (Doesn't she have SUCH a cutie patotie smile?!)
My incredible traveling companions!! We walked down to the river, we walked all around the Arch... we even went to Illinois! I would go anywhere with these dear girls and Carter!
They are some of my best friends. Some of the people who help me most in life to stay living for God. Some of the sweetest, craziest, funniest people I know!
Inside the "egg"-- the tiny little car to get up to the top of the Arch. What FUN we had during the 8 minutes we were in there... Singing, laughing, watching out the window, and yes. Screaming. For the fun of it. Not because we were scared. McKenna told me at first that she would not go up into the arch because she would be too scared. Well, she went, she loved it, and she wasn't scared. Get up and try new things. If a 5-year-old can, so can you. She pushes me on every day to be the best I can be, I can promise you that!
My Missouri Sisters! All three of us call Missouri HOME. I loved getting to go the the Arch for the first time while Missouri is MY state. This is a dream-come-true. But the best part about this... is that our "dream come true" is Heaven. And the three of us girls are working towards that together, while we call the same place on earth home as well. THAT is the biggest blessing, the best present, the happiest thought about any friends or family I know. When we are Christians and headed towards HOME!
My sweethearts made my day. This was the farthest I've been away from home with them, just me. And it went really well. We learned a lot that day. We laughed a lot. We cuddled. Hearing Carter's voice while I was driving home saying, "Kara, I just want to cuddle with you." ~Sweeeetness itself.~And thankfully, holding his hand was enough since I couldn't do anything more than that while driving...
My ChrisTina. She is just amazing. It was great to have here her. To remember what I LOOOOVE about her. And a few things I don't-- when it come to tickling! hee hee Notice her nice Arch shirt? I loved everything we did. Going out places, being with friends, we had two nights of a gospel meeting, Bible class, Family Fun Night, a homeschool gtg, road trip, worship, luncheon... we were busy!
And I loved that she was able to be with friends she already knew and meet some more! The people at my congregations are what make this place outstanding!!!
Christina had a fun time takin' cool pictures while we were rockin' out to Celine Dion and Spirit in my car! I laugh so much when I have Christina around. She knows me so well. She gets all our jokes. Sisters forever! 

We mentioned it was deer season... Christina told me to take a picture of her with the deer that Darren got while we were in St. Louis. I told you. This girl makes me smile!! 

I wasn't ready to send her home on Monday... especially because she plays the piano so beautifully and I LOVE hearing it in person and not over the phone... But... I am SO very thankful that she was able to come. We all loved it. We're counting down until she come backs... and anyone else who wants to come,