Monday, January 25, 2016

Life Lately

I like the title "Life Lately" from Shay's blog so I thought I would borrow it. Other than Venture weekend, January has been pretty low-key, which has been really nice! The weekend before Venture weekend, Mallory and I stayed most of the day in our PJs and it was wonderful!  It's been chilly most weekends so Brian has had a fire going for us. Love Mallory's hair in this pic.

We really need either a big chair or recliner by the fireplace but until then, Mallory and I just relax by the fire while watching our shows on Netflix

We've been cheering Cade on at his basketball games. 

Cade with one of his biggest fans! She doesn't have as much room to move around like at the football stadiums but we make it work!

One morning this month, I was getting Mallory ready for school and this is the expression I got. She was not happy I woke her up and I had to capture this moment so I can show her when she's older.

We were off work for MLK Jr Day so we went with Mom and Dad to help them get new phones! They have been wanting them for a while and finally got them just in time for Disney World! Mallory took this photo of them and we are all excited that we can FaceTime with them again.

We are back into our regular schedule which means choir and Mission Friends on Wednesday nights. Shannon sent me this picture of Mallory with her serious face while working on her picture. Mallory loves Mr. Joe in choir and Mrs. Shannon in Mission Friends and is happy to be back!

On Friday, Mallory got to go to Katie's Mad Scientist 5th Birthday Party! They all had cute lab coats and got to make slime!

It was so much fun and we are so glad we got to celebrate Katie!

We watched Figure Skating Saturday night. I texted my friends to tell them that it was just like how I skated in Central Park - or not! :) I wish!

Mallory and I pretended skating together and then we took turns on our own. I love much she was into it! We gave each other scores too. I remember growing up and skating along with them on TV so it was fun to do it again!

Me and my sweet girl before church.  

That's life lately for The Estes Family!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Venture 2016

This past weekend was our youth ministry's Discipleship Now that we call Venture. It is always held Martin Luther King, Jr Day weekend and we were looking forward to it again this year! Our friends, Justin and Melody, offered to be the host home and Brian and I co-hosted with them. This year, we hosted my Sunday School group - Ten 10th grade girls. We were just in charge of driving them everywhere they needed to go and making sure everyone was where they needed to be. I was looking froward to seeing God move in the lives of these young people!

Sidebar: Last week, one of our friends from church brought Brian this picture of he and I before we were married. We are with our friend, Jarrid, who is now the Youth Assistant at our church. This picture was from about 10 years ago - when I was leader at Venture and now Brian and I are co-hosts and Jarrid is putting Venture together. It's so neat how things come full circle.

Back to this year's Venture: After work on Friday, Mallory and I went to pick up the leader of our group for the weekend, Marley. She just graduated from Texas A&M and it was so great to get to know her before she lead our girls last weekend. Mallory decided to become her best friend as soon as we met her and took this photo of her at dinner.

After dinner, we headed to Melody's to wait for all the girls to come. We had a get-to-know you time before we headed up to the church.

One of the best parts of Venture: all the snack food the girls bring :)

We got to the church for the first session. Our worship was lead by The Gladsome Light. They did an awesome job!

And it would only be my child who fell asleep during the worship time. I think the week had finally caught up with her.

Our speaker was Yusuph Emmanuel, he is the husband of our former Youth Assistant, Katie, and he is from Tanzania. He has an amazing testimony and is a great teacher!

After the Friday night session, we headed back to Justin and Melody's. We loved this pillow with an arm that one of the girls brought so we had to take a picture.

Such a fun group

Saturday morning, we headed back to the church for breakfast. Chiloso tacos for the win!

After the morning session, the girls helped pack some bags for a Dallas Homeless Shelter. Once that was completed and we ate lunch, it was time for our scavenger hunt. We had a list of 77 items to choose from to complete - this is just some of the items we could do

We had an hour to complete the items we could and post the photos to Facebook in the event that the youth leaders created for our groups. Once they said go: we were on the run.

A couple of the pics: we had to get just .10 cents at the gas pump

We had to help a stranger pump gas

Others included holding a snake, posing in handcuffs with a policeman, etc... we got a lot done and had the best time doing it! We ended up at one of the girl's houses to complete some final tasks and took this group pic when it was over. 

After the scavenger hunt, we had free time so we just rested before it was time to go to the church for the Saturday evening session. One of the Venture traditions is each group will dress up for the Saturday session. Our girls decided to dress up like one of the boys in their grade. His mom gave them a bag full of his shirts and they had tennis rackets since he loves to play tennis.

And this was Will's reaction when he saw them - ha! I don't think he knew what to think!

But we did get him to pose with his admirers! I told him imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

The Saturday evening session was great and Mallory was awake during this one!

Sunday morning, we put on our Venture shirts and headed to get the girls to go to church one last time.

This girl loves Venture!

 One last group photo!

It was great serving with one of my closest friends!

And it was great serving with these two!

We are thankful that we got to be a small part of Venture again this year! Mallory and I both enjoyed 3 hours naps on Sunday after the busy weekend but it was so worth it!

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 Photo Book

I love photos. I love taking photos and collecting them so each year I put together a photo book of the year of our family! It's something I work on throughout the year because it's hard sometimes to do all at the end of the year so that's helped so much! I've put one together of our wedding and one that is Mallory's baby book so I'm definitely keeping Shutterfly in business!

I started when Brian and I got married in 2009 and the books have definitely increased in size as I started taking a million photos more when Mallory was born. It's always a fun project to work on and here are the family photos books we have so far.

I finished up our 2015 Photo Book after Christmas. I usually end the book with Christmas and start the next year's book with our New Year party since that is how we usher in the New Year. With all that, I'm happy to share our 2015 Photo Book:

And now I need to start on 2016!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Enjoying our Time Off

Brian and I both enjoyed some nice time off of our work around Christmas and New Year Eve/Day. We had a lot of fun during the holidays and enjoyed some family time which included some relaxing days of just not doing anything! Mallory has really loved playing with all of her new Christmas gifts and each Barbie has ridden the elevator multiple times on her Barbie House :) Here are some other things we did during our time off

After Christmas, we went and got our supplies for New Year's Eve. Mallory loves Party City so she modeled the 2016 glasses for me.

Sadly, that night, a terrible tornado came through close to our town in Rowlett. We were in the area not too long before it hit so I'm very grateful we came home when we did. As soon as we got home, we headed to our bathroom which is our safe room during a storm. Mallory brought her colors to keep her occupied while we waited the storm out.

We were texting family and friends all during the night to make sure everyone was ok. We do have some friends whose houses were damaged but everyone we knew was ok. I'm so amazed and proud how the people of our community have come together to help everyone in need. It was a very scary night and are still in prayer for those impacted by the horrible storm.

We got out Mallory's new Easy Bake Oven to make some treats. She was so very excited to use it! We both but on our new aprons and got ready to bake.

She told me she would read me the instructions :) I honestly had to read them a couple of times because the last time I had used an Easy Bake Oven was about 25 years ago. 

She had the biggest smile on her face the whole time!

And done! They were very small cookies but they were good! We both had a great time baking together and I look forward to more fun with her new oven.

A couple of days after Christmas, Mallory, my mom and I headed to East Texas to see Joyce. We enjoyed our time just visiting and we always have to go eat at my favorite place: Catfish Village! Bring on the catfish, hushpuppies and coleslaw! Sooo very good!

Growing up, we stayed at Joyce and Earl's alot so it is my home away from home. She has a lot of pictures of us when we were younger and it's fun to look at them now and see that Mallory does look some like me when I was younger.

On our favorite swing

Mallory says Joyce's house is in the trees and it is. It's up on a hill surrounded by lots of trees with so much room to run and play.

We always have to go down to the pier and the pond. It was pretty cold that days so we didn't stay for long. I was so happy to get this cute picture of my girl on the pier. 

I took the same picture when she was 14 months old and it's been my desktop background on my laptop since then. I could update it but it's one of my favorite pics of her in one of my favorite places.

It was a quick but great visit! We stopped on our way back for Mallory's dentist appt with my friend Melissa who is a pediatric dentist. All I can say is it was definitely humbling. She has done fine the first two appointments but this one: not so much. Let's just say: she screamed with her mouth wide open enough that Melissa was able to clean her teeth and get a good look at all she needed to see - someone how we all survived. I don't think Nana will be coming with us to anymore dentist appts after that :)

Brian worked the couple of days we were in East Texas and then I worked a couple of days before we were off again for New Year's. Brian used his gift cards from Christmas to get an Apple Watch. He had been wanting one for a while and was happy to get one! He loved being able to call me from his watch

On New Year's Day, Brian headed to Arkansas for his Annual Duck Hunting trip so Mallory and I had a girls weekend. We hung out in our pj's a lot and enjoyed some more down time. I worked on making a countdown to Disneyworld for Mallory. It was fun making it and we are now 37 days out!

We met Kate and Eva for a movie date to see The Good Dinosaur! These two cousins are so fun and I love that they love being with each other!! We had a great time!

We enjoyed some good Blue Bell ice cream. She kept telling Brian we were going to eat ice cream while he was gone so I was happy to have some alongside her!

She decided to bring all her stuffed animals and babies to our bed. I was able to find some room to sleep each night Brian was gone.

Sunday morning, we went to church and after talked about all we had learned. She learned about Jesus healing the sick and our sermon was on the Bible. I told her we sang the song "The B-I-B-L-E" in big church and she couldn't believe it. We sing that song a lot in the car. She put her sunglasses on like me so we took some photos. She said we had to pose on the first one.

Tomorrow, we start our regular routine of work and school. I am so grateful for the time to rest and recharge as we get ready for this new year! I saw this on Instagram last week and loved it!

I hope we all remember that as we head into this new year! I know I hope to each day!