Into the woods

The other weekend my awesome wife planned this great weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. Something different from just going out to eat or hanging around the house. I appreciate this kind of thing because I love quality time but probably wouldn’t take the initiative to plan something out of the ordinary. We went on a camping trip! It was a LOT of work on her part to prepare and pack all of us to go camping for 3 days but it was so fun once we got there. We haven’t been camping in a long time so this was a long over due trip!


Elly was probably the funniest to watch as we packed up the night before. I don’t think that we have ever taken her camping so she was not really getting the concept that we weren’t going to have electricity. You could tell she was concerned how we were going to make it without electricity. As she packed some toys she would ask funny little questions like; can I take my radio and listen to music, how are we going to see at night-time, and what if we have a problem and need to call someone??? She even tried to pack her pink bedside lamp but then realized it wouldn’t work at the cabin.

Part of the camping experience is simply living. You have to cook everything and it takes more time than normal. You have to build fires in the morning and evening to keep warm. You have to wash dishes and clothes without having a sink or dishwasher. You have to find somewhere to use the bathroom every time you need to go…even in the pitch black dark of night! You are constantly cleaning or putting something away so ants and other wild life doesn’t come around (we forgot this and a nice size raccoon woke me up one night!). But for us these are all a part of the experience and are kind of fun, at least for a few days.

Most of our time was spent lying around in hammocks, staring at the fire, exploring through the woods, hiking, playing in streams and waterfalls, playing games, and good ‘ol eating! It was just what we all needed! No phones, computers, tv’s, or any other electronics, just family time. My favorite part of this Father Day trip was spending time with the 4 most important people in my life. Watching Grey run around in the woods with no shoes, no shirt, and dirty enjoying nature was awesome. Chilling with Mac by the fire in the hammocks was totally relaxing. And taking walks with Elly down the mountain to the store was pretty entertaining as she talked the entire way there and back. I love these people and couldn’t imagine life any other way! Thanks baby for making this weekend so memorable!

She is a masterpiece!

IMG_4232I think that every little girl wants to dance and be a ballerina when they are younger, maybe forever.  At least in my experience with Elly and her friends this is the case. I am also pretty sure that many girls grow up with a deep need, longing to know they are beautiful, special, and loved. These two things are what led Ellyana to Masterpiece Dance Studio or what led Lara to taking her to Masterpiece.

Masterpiece is no ordinary dance studio for young girls. It may seem like it until you listen to Mrs. Jackie and her teachers. They are well-trained professional dance teachers but they have an even bigger objective while instructing these young girls. They want them to know the TRUTH and know what in life really matters. It’s not how well you did your performance, it’s not how perfect their pirouette(look it up, I had too) is, it’s not how well they know their positions, and it’s not how they look in their outfits…or as Elly calls them, her costumes. It is so much more than that for these ladies. For them it is all about these girls growing up to believe this one truth that can change every facet of their life. They are a masterpiece made by their Heavenly Father and He cherishes each one of them just the way they are! That is what dance class is about at Masterpiece.


Some days I think to myself that maybe Ellyana could practice a little more and maybe she could try to do those positions and moves a little better but then I remember what she is really learning while she is simply having fun at dance. She is learning about one of the greatest principles that I could possibly imagine my little princess knowing. She is learning that God made her and God takes pride in who she is, what she looks like, and the gifts he has given her. She is gaining that foundation that she is a masterpiece! 


1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes…(or how well you dance…Spanky’s version) Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty, gentleness, and a quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Princess for a day


Last week was our little princess birthday. I can’t believe that she is already 4 years old! Where does time go?! You would have thought that it was a national holiday around the Rouse House. Not because of Elly but because of the boys (daddy included). Everything for a day was all about her. She got anything she wanted and got to go where ever she wanted to go.

We began breakfast with cinnamon rolls, lunch at Taco Bell (her choice), shopping, McAdenville lights (if you haven’t been there you should go during Christmas. It’s an entire town covered in lights. So awesome!), rode around downtown Charlotte, and then headed to MidWood Smoke House for some mac and mheese (she didn’t even get mac and cheese…girls).IMG_3384

The next day we continued the celebration. At church, while in the hallway, I heard  someone say, “whose birthday is it?”. And immediately we all heard Elly’s BFF yell, “it’s Elly’s birthday, my sister’s birthday!” **side note Elly and her BFF, Brinley, actually don’t say they are friends. They call each other sisters. Pretty cute!** We had one of the coolest (it was a Frozen princess party) parties after church. Little girls running around dressed in costumes, its something that I never ever thought would be a Rouse House thing but I am so glad I get to be the father of a princess! One of my favorite things in the entire world.

This little girl is #myblessing! Every December 6th I think about the long ride in a small bus from the jungles of Panama to the airport when God told me that I was having a baby girl one day. After a little snooze I woke up with the thought, ” should we have another baby?”. The next thought was, “it’s a baby girl with blond hair and blue eyes.” WHAT?!?! I remember coming home, walking in my bathroom to see a note wrote in a red marker on the mirror that said, “Welcome home daddy of 3”. I thought that my wife had just added wrong but to be safe I ask, “3?” She sat on our bed smiling from ear to ear! Not sure if I was more surprised to know that we were pregnant with number 3 or that I for sure heard from God earlier that day. Either way…WOW!

Guess what, the baby was a beautiful girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She stole my heart the moment I held her. To this day I know that there is no mistaken that she is a gift from God to remind me that he cares about me and he knows what I truly need (and want) even more than I do! His plans are amazing for me…I can’t seemed to get away from that truth every time I look at my princess!