Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Mini Vacation With Family From Far Away

Jim's parents live in Iowa and his sister lives in Nebraska. It is so far to travel but we try to get together about every 6 months. Julie (Jim's sister) and her kids, Jessie and Gavin came down with my mother in law for a mini vacation. They arrived on Friday after driving for 2 days. WE didin't really do much during the weekend. But when Monday rolled around, we were off to Dollywood. These pictures were taken in the car as we headed out.

My kids love Dollywood. So we thought Jessie and Gavin might too. And we were not mistaken. We rented two rooms at Park Tower Inn in Pigeon Forge. Soon after we arrived, we headed out.
We headed for the smaller rides first. Jack wanted to ride the steam engine "choo-choo".

So we rode the train first. Jack liked it but it was a little boring for the older boys.

Next we headed to the carousel. I think this was Maci Clare's first ride on a carousel.
Zane wanted to ride this huge swing that went round about 70 feet in the air.
I thought I would pass on that so Gabe and I took the babies over to the preschool section. They rode the bees, pigs, and ducks. I took some pictures on my phone because Jim had my camera in his pocket. I will try to remember to post them as soon as I email them to myself.
This is Zane flying high.

Gabe, Zane and I rode the Shooting Star. It was pretty fun. And just a little scary.
That is us way at the top. All you can really see are our feet.

But we did come back down.

This was Jack's favorite thing to do. It is called Dreamland Forest. It is a water play area. They especially loved running through the "geysers". They were more than a little wet when we got finished.

Dollywood closes at 8pm. We went in after 3pm so we got the next day free. So when the park closed we headed for the car and guess what? There was a downpour. We had to walk about 20 minutes in the pouring rain. When we got to our car, we were drenched.
I made Gabe and Zane stop for a picture before jumping in the car.
Of course, I had to have a picture of me. It was really cold and we ran the heat all the way back to the hotel.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Is What Happens...

...when Mom takes a shower.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dog Story

Lucy, our yellow lab, is a hand full. She is 10 times worse than one of my kids. If you read my blog, you know about her wild adventure. So now we have to keep her tied up. At least until we get the invisible fencing installed. Anyway, we came home at 10:30 Monday night. Zane went to feed the dog. He came in the house bawling. "Lucy is gone and her collar is laying on the ground." So off I go with a flashlight. Remember Jim is gone to Michigan and he usually takes care of this kind of stuff. I called her and she bolted out of nowhere and knocked me down. Of course, it was raining. So I wrestled her down to the ground and picked her up and put her in the garage. I had lots of dog hair all over my black shirt. I was wet and muddy. Zane closed the garage door and I went and found her collar (still attached to the chain). Somehow she had wriggled out of it. I made it tighter and tied it on her. Zane and I took her back out on the leash and chained her back up. All of this took about a half hour. Boy, was I missing Jim? When I came in I was covered with dog hair, water, and mud. My feet and flip flops were nasty. I'm ready to install the invisible fencing and get this dog trained.

What A Busy Week!

I haven't posted in a long time and this one is a little long. So bear with me. This week has been another whirlwind of activity. When I think of summer, I think of lazy days by the pool, with nothing to do but drink lemonade and watch the kids play. In recent years, our lazy days of summer have turned to chaotic days of busy-ness. So this is what has been happening.

Last week, as you know, we went to VBS at my dad's wonderful little mountain church. It was so much fun and the kids had a great time. But while VBS was at night there was lots of things left to take care of during the day. With football, orthodontist, fiddle, and many spend the night guests, there was no time for rest.

On Friday night, our home group (which is awesome), met at Pizza Inn (one of our favorite places to eat.) We had a great time. Friday was a lso the day that my brother's wife and 2 kids arrived for a short visit from Virginia Beach. Jim and I went out on Saturday night and got a babysitter for 3 of the kids. While my mom took Zane with her and his two little cousins to a birthday party at the lake.

Then the fun began. Jim left for a work training class. He flew to Michigan on Sunday morning while we were in church. On Sunday afternoon, we ate a great Southern meal at my mom's. This was the first time all of her 7 grandchildren had been together. It was really fun (and really loud).

This is me with my niece, Tess.

My nephew, Owen.
Maci Clare and her Aunt Cara (my brother's wife)

Then we headed for the pool. We wanted to try to get a picture of my grandma with all 7 great grandchildren. These are the results.

We started out pretty rough.
But it ended up a little better.
I even took one of the just the girls.

And one of the just the boys.

On Monday, our VBS started at our church. Instead of VBS, it is called KNC (Kid Nation Celebration). It was a lot of fun. There was a massive storm and all the power went out right at the end. When we got home, our power had been off too. And Lucy, our lab was gone. But that deserves its own post, so I'll save that for later.

Tuesday morning, we left at 7am for a 3 hour trip to Gatlinburg, TN. We went to Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park. It was really cool. There was lots to do.
There was a gigantic hot tub. This is my teenage neighbor and friend, Casey.

The kids really liked this. Me? Not so sure and I'll tell you why.
This huge bucket filled with water and about every 6 or 7 minutes a bell would start to ring.
And the bucket would start to tip and all the kids would run over to the edge of the pool.
Then a flood would come.
The kids loved it and some adults. Our friend, Lindsay (an adult) is right in the middle of that huge splash.
There were also 2 big water slides, a lazy river, a swimming pool (3 1/2 feet) and two play areas.

Maci Clare was so exhausted. She only slept for about 30 minutes on the way up. So after a little while in the water, this is what she did. This is our friend Bobby Ray. He loves to hold Maci Clare and was content to sit and rock her and fan her for 2 1/2 hours.

On the way home, we thought the kids would sleep. Boy, were we sadly mistaken. This is Jack and my nephew, Luke riding on the floor of the bus.

This is Gabe and Thomas (a friend). They were all wide open. I was glad to get back to SC and get off that bus.

Yesterday, we went to the library to watch the children's program. It was all about snakes. My kids loved it. We took Luke with us and he loved it too. I wanted to take a few pictures but Maci Clare and Jack were a little wild so I didn't get to . Then we went to McDonald's (our favorite place) for lunch. We made it home about 2pm. I cleaned house like a mad woman. GAbe and Zane and Jack cleaned their rooms. Then we were off to take more pictures.

My mom hired a professional photographer to come and take pictures of all the grandchildren with her and my dad. It was crazy.
I took a few but I had to hide so Maci Clare wouldn't see me. These were taken at my neighbors' barn and the old car belongs to a friend of my dad's. I think they are going to be great. She also took some individual pictures of each child and I ask her to take a few of the 4 of mine. I can't wait to see them. We will go see them in 2 weeks.

We went back to my mom's and had pizza with my younger brother. Then guess who came home? JIM!!!!! Yay!! I'm so glad he is home. I missed him really bad. He helps me so much and I can't imagine being a single mom. Thank you Lord for giving me such a great husband. The rest of the week will probably be pretty chaotic. Cara, Luke, and Owen are leaving this morning but Jim's sister and her two kids are coming tomorrow from Nebraska. I'll post again soon and let you know what is going on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Are the Children In Bed For Now It's 12 O'clock?

Gabe and Zane have 2 friends over and they are playing Big Game Hunter on Playstation so it is quite loud at midnight. But Maci Clare is sleeping soundly on my bed. I wonder how loud they will be in the morning.

By the way, Gabe went to the orthodontist today and got his new RED retainer. RED? And what's a trip to Greenville without going to Target? So here is my favorite purchase.
See the red clearance tag I was trying to hide under my foot? That's right! Clearance! $3.48!!! I love these shoes. Now I may have to go buy something to match them.
They also had Fisher Price Better Batter Baseball clearanced for $19.99. Jack has wanted this forever. I bought it and was going to save it for Christmas but I may have to break down and give it to him now. They had some great deals today at Target.
I have pictures of a few of the crafts we did at VBS but they have children in them and I don't have permission to put them on the internet. I will take some of my kids with the stuff they made and post them a little later. We had a great time at VBS this week. It was a really fun week and it went really fast.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'd Like To Thank...

I just received my first blog award. I am so honored to be recognized by an awesome fellow blogger. Thank you, Mama Belle. And speaking of Mama Belle, ya'll just have to go over and check out her blog. She is hilarious and I can't wait to see what she comes up with everyday. Thanks again for the great award.

So the rules are to pass it along to some fantastic blogs. So without further delay, I present this award to:

1. Southern Seven She has a great family and I love her decorating ideas. The pictures she posts always inspire me to do more of my own home inprovements. And of course, she is a Southerner.

2. A Peek At Us Windy has a great blog design and I love to keep up with what is going on in her family.

3. Oh My Stinkin Heck Now this girl rocks! Heather has great pictures and I love reading her blog. She is definitely one of my favs. I look forward to seeing what she has posted everyday.

4. Life in the Parsonage This girl is a hoot. She lives in a tiny town in Iowa and she is a pastor's wife. I love her writing. Her latest post called Googled is hilarious.

5. The Crafty Crow This blog has awesome crafts for children. We have had so much fun working through some of them and it has kept my kids busy.

So there you have it. Just a few of my favorites. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

First Night of VBS and I Am Sick!

I always help with VBS at my dad's church and this year is no exception. This year I am doing crafts with the kids. Last night was awesome but of course I forgot my camera. We made bean bag (rice) puppies from socks. They were really cute and all the hard work of that we did in preparing really paid off last night. The kids loved them. Tonight we will be tackling something a little harder and I think the kids will love them too. I will try to remember to take my camera so you can see picutres.

And today, I have no voice, which is not a good thing when you have to give directions to groups of rowdy children. They will just have to settle down and listen really close. My throat started hurting on Wednesday and by Friday I could not swallow at all. So off to the doctor (dragging 4 kids, no doubt). I just knew I would have strep but the test came back negative. I was diagnosed with non-strep tonsilitis. And boy does it hurt! I have been soothing my throat with chamomile tea and lots of strong coffee. I have used Chloraseptic and lozenges. Nothing seems to relieve the pain for very long. I have been taking an Antibiotic since Friday and the pain is better but now I have a really dry cough, my chest hurts and I have laryngitis. So hopefully, this will all be gone soon.
We have our church VBS next week and then my sister in law and her kids are coming. So I am going to be very busy. I just need to find a couple of days to rest in the midst of all the busy-ness.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Moo! Moo!

I promised pictures and here they are.

This was before we left the house.

Here we are at Chic Fil A enjoying our free food.

I forgot to get a picture of everyone turned sideways so you could see their tails. So I snapped this one of Jack swinging his tail around.

I used white t-shirts and painted black cow spots on them with acrylic craft paint. Then I bought cow patterned bandanas and cut them into strips. I wrapped flip flops and headbands in the strips. I attached fur ears to the headbands. And we all wore black shorts. Jim refused to dress like a cow so we had to pay for his meal. But if you were dressed like a cow you could pick anything from the menu you wanted to eat and it was free. It was really fun. The kids liked it. And the food was good.

Our Cow Costumes Are Ready

It is Cow Appreciation Day at Chic fil A. We are headed out there tonight dressed as cows. Jim refuses to do it but the rest of us have our costumes. I made them last night. I'll post pictures later so you can see. The details of this fun promotion are here.

The Story of Tomatoes

At the beginning of the summer, I had great drams of having tomatoes that we could pull from our own plants. Those dreams have been shattered.
I planted 3 tomatoes (2 cherry tomatoes) in pots and buckets(trying one upside down). While I was in Atlanta, no one watered my plants so when I got home, needless to say, they looked awful. Poor things! I had Jim plow up a little rectangle section beside the deck. I was going to plant herbs there but with the tomato crisis, I decided to plant them there to see what would happen. So I pulled the little cherry tomatoes out of the buckets and planted them One plant two little green tomatoes but Jack and Maci Clare immediately pulled them off. We had a storm that night and my big tomato (that I left in the pot) broke at the bottom. I immediately planted it deeper to try mend it. So here's what I have now.
This is the broken one. I have it tied to a tomato cage and there are two little green tomatoes. One is turning red. The plant has remained the same. It hasn't died but it is not getting bigger.
The two tiny twigs are the cherry tomatoes. They look awful but the one on the right has two tiny green tomatoes so it is still producing.
I planted this one later. I realized if there was any hope of having tomatoes I had better get a new one so I did. It looks marvelous but no fruit yet.
And I found this one at Walmart and because it was a little bigger I decided to buy it. It is not in the ground yet but will be this weekend. It looks like this one is the most promising.

So if I can keep my children from pulling green tomatoes, there is still hope for juicy red homegrown tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Help Me!

I need some help. It is Works for Me Wednesday again. And this time I am asking for help. My children have watermelon juice stains all over several shirts and I can't get it out. I have used Borax, Grease Lightning (Southern thing!), and hair spray. Anyone got any ideas how to get these stains out?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's Not About You!

The last couple of weeks I have felt that every word of every message I have listened to has been God speaking straight to me. In June, the sermon series at our church was on Jonah. I know the story of Jonah. I have for a long time. I am a PK. But I guess I didn't realize that Jonah was such a whiner. Last week as our pastor laid out the last installment of the story, I couldn't help but think that God was talking to me.

Our pastor said one thing that really stuck with me. "IT"S NOT ABOUT YOU!" Amazingly enough, I have always thought that if God chooses to use me, then it is about me. Sure, God may be trying to teach you something. But most of the time, you are a tool that God is using to bring Him glory. Isn't it just so human to think of yourself as Jonah did? Jonah whined and complained and thought God should immediately destroy the Ninevites. He tried to tell God what to do without thinking that God knows what He is doing. But was that God's bigger plan? No! His plan was to save thousands of people not just Jonah.

I will be the first one to admit that I think like Jonah. First I think of many excuses not to do what God wants me to. "My kids are too young and I can't leave them." "I am too old." "It takes me too long to get to church." There are so many things that I could say to get out of doing what God wants. I can whine just like Jonah. "Why, God?! Why me?!" I can try to tell God how to do what I want Him to but I do not know the best way. God has a purpose and a plan. We watched the pastor from Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, this morning during our normal worship service. He said, "If you knew God's plan, you would fall flat on your face." I agree. If I knew what God had planned for me, I would never get up in the morning. That is the reason, God reveals to us a little at a time. We don't need or shouldn't want to know what God's way is. That is why we have to trust Him in everything.
I need to learn to trust God more and to lean on Him. It is not for me to say, "God, you don't know what you are doing." How can I say that when I can't see the big picture? What is the big picture? God knows and God will take care of you and me. I need to trust Him to tell me what to do. I do not need to be like Jonah and try to tell God how to do his job. He can take care of little 'ol me. After all, He created the whole world. So with all that said, I am waiting patiently to find out God's plan for my life. I know it will be great because God uses the most imperfect people to do great things. But I'll have to post about that another day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July

Our 4th of July was spent with friends and family. We started out with burgers on the grill (charcoal grill). Yummy!! Then we spent the whole afternoon in the pool.
We have a tradition on the 4th of July. We make t-shirts every year. I didn't get a great picture this year because of the lack of cooperation but you can tell what they look like and I'm going to try to get a better picture today.

Our little town always has a big 4th of July celebration with a small carnival. Everything is free. We never go to the carnival because it is soooooo crowded. But we do take advantage of the fireworks. My pictures are really crappy but I did get a little video. It is blurry but you can hear how loud it was.

Usually we have to wait forever for the fireworks but this year they actually started on time. I always pack a little bag of goodies to keep the kids busy. This year after the fireworks we hung around and I pulled out my goodies.

We had Sparklers!
Zane said he was the Statue of Liberty and then he ran wildly around in circles.Of course, Jack followed his big brother and would hardly slow down for a picture.
Gabe just stood in one place (His hand still hurts from the wreck). Gabe has on my shoes because the fire ants (it's a Southern thing!) were so bad.

We also had Neon Glow Necklaces and Bracelets.
Turning off the flash was the only way to get a picture of the glow.

Finally, I pulled out Air Head Whistle Pops. They were really cool because they were slide whistles. If you slid the stick up and down while blowing, it made a cool sliding sound.

And this is what Maci Clare did during the whole thing. I don't know how!