Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Highlights!

Sadly my New Year's Eve is spent in my jammies and blogging, but that is okay because earlier was Cyclone with the family and Uno before bed. We spent the day in Columbia with my mom and did Chuck E. Cheese and shopping. Fun times!!

As for 2009 highlights, my friend Denise did this and I liked it so I'm copying her idea.
January - We tightened our budget, not because of a new year's resolution, but because of state budget cuts, Donnie's pay was cut by $400 a month. After a panic attack moment, we realized that God would provide as He always did and He was faithful. I also started couponing that month, not exactly because of the cuts, but it came at a good time and it's kinda fun. On a good note, we enjoyed a snow day as well.

February - Hannah's 9th birthday, and as is typical of February, lots of sickies.

March - the start of our Spring 3 Week break and our trip to Walterboro/Columbia. Jon Tyler got his first taste of "real" food which he took a liking too. Corey really started improving on reading in school!

April - For my birthday my sister threw me a birthday party, Mom kept the kids so we could spend a day at Concord Mills and I got a Wii for my big day! We (Hannah, Donnie and I) played a family in the Easter drama at church, I hosted Easter dinner at our house.

May - Springtime in full swing, Allie's 4th birthday, Hannah's first drama with ATL (she got to play Chip the teacup from Beauty and the Beast during the final performance - the one we got to see!) and lots of outdoor play! We received a huge financial blessing six years late(from an insurance policy my dad cancelled six years ago), and yet at just the right time - 2 weeks before vacation!

June - the end of the school year (Hallelujah!), our annual beach vacation, my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary, Hannah started her first summer workshop with the Chester Little Theater and Jon Tyler put crawling in full swing!

July - a visit to see my Dad who was recovering from back surgery, our best day trip EVER to Looking Glass Falls, the beginning of the new school year (we're on a year round schedule), and Corey turned seven, complete with Indiana Jones birthday party (it was a blast - I hate I never posted any pics of it, because it was the best party I'd ever thrown)!

August - Allie's first day of preschool went off without a hitch. She absolutely loved it! I took a job at the library and then retired before I ever even started, citing no time for "real" work. Hannah completed her first season with the Chester Little Theater with Alice in Wonderland. Corey started karate with school and began demonstrating his new moves on me daily.

September - our fall break and it was BEAUTIFUL! We took a trip to Gatlinburg, and celebrated Jon Tyler's first birthday.

October brought our 13th anniversary, our 2nd anniversary of living in our house, Jon Tyler walking, Halloween and I think that was about it.

November is becoming one of my favorite months with it's cooler weather and the beginning of the holidays. This year we went to my grandmother's for Thanksgiving and it had been a few years since we'd gone, so it was nice. Jon Tyler got his first haircut and showed us all he can accomplish in a small amount of time.

December brought about the busy-ness of the holidays but also a time to spend together enjoying each other. It is always enjoyable, if busy, to celebrate the birth of Jesus. There is to me something magical and fun about this time of year. I hope my children will always remember Christmas as a special time when they grow up. I may not get everything right, but I will always try to teach the importance of Christmas and do for others so my children will know that Christmas is not about what they want or get, but about the gift of God's Son, Emmanuel, God WITH us!

2009 showed me once again to do things God's way and I hope to put this into practice in 2010 as well!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Memorable Christmas Moments

1. Black Friday (need I say more?)

2. 3 christmas programs and 1 piano recital in 7 days.

3. Having my Christmas tree fall over.

4. Christmas with Mom ~ we got a gift card to Frankies Fun Park in Columbia - for the grownups only! I can't wait. Also fun memory - photo session afterwards.

5. 3 days before Christmas, My Sister in law and me, 6 kids, Chick fil A, the mall, bowling and she said, "We keep getting strange looks." That's what happens when the circus comes to town, chick! Welcome to my world.

6. Witnessing my husband's giving heart in action. It never ceases to amaze me.

7. Our Christmas Eve Miracle of being spared the stomach virus. Corey was literally over the toilet Christmas eve, because he felt sick, and I COULD NOT miss Christmas Eve at the in laws. COULD. NOT. It is my favorite of all of Christmas. I was in tears and asked Donnie to pray. He did and five minutes later, nothing. Corey was up and better and pinging off the walls. I know God made him well. It was really quite funny because Donnie told him to stay put and then he had to go set up luminaries at church. Corey came to me in my bathroom and said, "Mom, I feel better." I was ecstatic! He said, "But Dad told me to stay there." My obedient child. Christmas eve was wonderful.

8. My kids on Christmas morning. I love seeing their excitement. Jon Tyler was the funniest. He got a Lion King ride on and played with it all morning. I was impressed. I expected him to play with everyone else's toys!

9. Playing Clue at dad's and my sister saying, "Hide your cards! I'm prone to cheat!" At least she's prone to be honest about her issues.

10. Spending ALL DAY today trying out their (and my) new toys. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark before breakfast, pancakes at lunch time, building Legos, Playing Lucky Ducks, Scrabble, Wii, watching Donnie play MarioKart. Great stuff! Got my new phone working, the laundry room got a new door (and we survived the home improvement project without any (ahem) discussions).

11. Last but not least, spending special time with all my family. Oh, yeah, and barbeque!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Husband Brag

Saturday was the best day! Why? Because of my honey. I left around 11:45 to run to the post office and I told him I wanted to run by Cato to look for some clothes. He told me to take my time and find something nice. When I got back, we ate lunch and he mentioned that he needed to finish a few Christmas things. I figured he was taking his dad with him, but he didn't. Guess who he took? ALL FOUR CHILDREN. What a man! I had the house all to myself. Since we had planned to clean around here anyway that afternoon, I worked around here while they were gone. I was simply amazed at how much I could get done without anyone around. I even made it to the grocery store for the week. It was so pleasant. They were home when I got here so while I made supper, Donnie started baths. What man would take all four shopping and do baths? I just had to brag.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Mary Christmas

I read an article the other day about a little girl who made a card for her mother and it said, "Mary Christmas." The daughter didn't catch the significance of her misspelling, but her mother did. In Luke 10, the story is told about sisters whom Jesus was visiting. Mary sat at his feet and listened to his teaching while Martha busied herself with making sure everything was "just right" for Him. Martha was upset that Mary wasn't helping, but Jesus pointed out that she had chosen what was better. So, here I am at the end of my Martha week. Actually two of them. We had program after program, teacher gifts to prepare, brunches, drop-ins, you know the holiday drill. Not to mention the wrapping gifts (I'm almost done for shopping for them), the Christmas cards (really, they are coming), etc. My problem is that I love this season, I love the fellowshipping and the extra little things that go along with the holidays. I just wish they were spread out and not all bunched into two weeks. I want to slow down, savor it, have a Mary Christmas! So I have a few days to do this now that the kids are out of school. We are going to bake goodies, because we want to, not because we have to (well, I do have to for Christmas eve, but I'm taking the easy way out, mostly) and beyond that the children and I have no plans for next week. I'm hoping we can come up with some fun stuff to do around here, but I hope none of it involves being out of our jammies before noon. I pray all of you will have a Mary Christmas too!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Battle of Wills and Reverse Psychology

Allie is one we constantly have to battle about eating. She is very picky. Very. Today she had yogurt which she likes but after eating about 3 bites she wanted to be "done." I told her she had to eat it all. For one thing, it was a small container and I didn't think that was too much to ask. Secondly, it was one of those annoying containers with the foil top so I would have either had to ditch it or put in a separate container. After going back and forth, I told her her baby brother was eating his, thinking (for some odd reason) that she might be persuaded to eat hers. I don't know why I thought this as it's never worked before. To this she replies, "He can have mine." Stinker. We continued to sit and argue over this yogurt and informed her that was eating if she intended to get up from the table. After I saw this would work I tried a different approach. I took it from her and informed her that she couldn't have it. I also told her she couldn't have it anymore because she didn't eat it this time. It was gone in 5 minutes. Now who's the master of reverse psychology? Ha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree.

Wednesday afternoon as I was looking over weekly folders, helping Hannah with her homework, and other mundane Wednesday things, I heard a crash in the living room. I ran in to find the Christmas tree sprawled out across the floor and I couldn't find Jon Tyler. Momentary panic, 2 older kids crying, and one thought - NOT AGAIN (more to come on that). To relieve your nerves at this point, I did find Jon Tyler and he was not under the tree. He was just beside it and is small enough to be hidden by a rather large tree. I lifted it back up, and held it in place while I called Donnie to come home. He arrived very quickly and we discovered that the stand had broken beyond repair. I was devastated. My big, beautiful tree that I've had for seven year, I thought we'd have to get rid of it. Let me digress here to say that artificial really is the way to go. There is just something about being able to manuever the branches to hide the "holes". This comes from one too many trees that looked great at the tree farm only to have a major deformity when I got them home. That coupled with the fact that we are too cheap to buy a really nice one has caused me to gladly embrace my fake tree. Thankfully I found a tree stand to replace that one and we were back in business. Can I tell you that decorating the tree the second time is just not as exciting as the first time?

Our moment of dejavu was met from a similar event ten years ago. I was very pregnant with Hannah and Donnie had just had surgery, so he took his friend Mark with him to get our tree. The story has two versions. One is that Mark cut the trunk crooked and had to trim it off straight. The other is that Donnie didn't want to pay for a taller tree and got Mark to cut it as close as possible to fall under the 6 foot mark. I'll let you decide which of those you believe, I have my own opinions (Did I mention we're cheap?) At any rate, the tree didn't have enough trunk to fit in the stand so we ended up wedging it in. Every so often I would look at the tree and notice it was leaning a little more than before. One night I was asleep in the recliner when I heard it. I didn't want to open my eyes, because I knew what it was. Donnie, on the other hand, only heard a loud bang from the bedroom and had no idea what had happened. I still snicker at my wild eyed honey flying into the living room at 3 am. We hoisted that one back up as well, but another tree stand would not help it, so we tied it to the curtain rod for the remainder of the holiday season.

How many people do you really know who've had a tree fall over ... twice?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Got Sold Out!

If you know me very well, you know I LOVE Black Friday. I would go if I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to buy and just watch people. I love the rush of a good deal, buying for people whom I care about, a hot lunch at a fancy sit down restaurant, the fellowship of good friends. But with 4 kids and a bunch of family, I'm never gonna have nothing to buy, so the planning begins weeks in advance. I am kind of obsessed, I admit. Black Friday websites, making my list, revising my list, copying my list into my Black Friday notebook as opposed to my master Christmas list. Did I mention I'm obsessed. (Why can't I be this organized about anything else?) This year, we found a flat screen TV we wanted and after 2 years of shopping for them, I decided I would do anything legal (and nice, not gonna spoil anyone's shopping day) to get one. Mom and I left about 3:45 to be in line at Walmart for this TV. I must say their new Black Friday was VERY impressive. Not having to wait in the cold until 5 when everyone rushes in all at once was a great plan. I am just very sorry it cost someone his life for them to make the changes. We got our TV (early - didn't realize it wasn't just an early bird special) and other goodies, dropped it off at home and headed for Toys R Us. That place is always a mad house but the line moved quickly thanks to some awesome managers and were done and to the mall by about 8:30. Long story short, we made many several a few more stops, met friends for lunch, it was AWESOME.

Here's the sold out part. Donnie was home with the kids. (I am supposed to tell you that he is wonderful for keeping all 4 children all day, giving me free reign on the shopping and virtually no curfew. He really IS wonderful, but he would have done this just about anytime and not just Black Friday, 'cause he's good like that.) I called to check in on them midafternoon and he told me he'd gotten a call from the bank a little earlier. I just KNEW he was pulling my leg! He said they wanted to confirm that some purchases were made from our account that day. "NO WAY!" I said. Then he quoted amounts. I was dumbfounded!! They really did want to verify and told him how much I had spent at three different places. DUH, folks! It was Black Friday. I mean, I appreciate their concern that I may have getting my identity thieved, but really, they could get a girl in trouble!! He, by the way, could not really verify that these amounts had been spent by me, as he had no idea where I was shopping or how much I was spending. (Dear Founders, Mark it down. I am going shopping next Black Friday. It may be the next time I get away to do this. I will be spending money. Please refrain from calling my husband to verify this. Your faithful customer, Tracy) Only 363 days til next Black Friday. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One year olds!!

Today while I cleaned the kitchen, this is what Jon Tyler did.




















We moved on. I cleaned the bedroom. This is what Jon Tyler did.





















I am thinking that I defeated the purpose and should just play and not clean. That, however, will not go over very well for long. Thank God for cough medicine that makes babies sleepy so they take four hour naps. He really does have an awful cough, and I am somewhat nervous about a long weekend and this cough. We do, however, have the cough meds, a nebulizer and are praying for a recovery without a doctor visit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Book

I've heard many mothers say they are going to write a book on things they never knew they would say to their children but I've never actually seen the book. I'm going to write my own. From this morning I have to add - "No more light sabers before school." Yep, never pictured myself saying that one when I pictured having children. While we are on the subject, I always wanted 4 children and as much as a person can picture that, I tried to. I never, however, NEVER pictured the amount of laundry generated by four children. Especially in cooler weather. NEVER.

Just random Friday thoughts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November

Well, I can't believe it is the middle of November and this is my first post. I have been, I suppose, too busy to blog, but I can't remember what I've been doing to be too busy. There has been some ebaying (mostly selling, which is a good thing) and online shopping for Christmas so I haven't spent time on my blog. Truth be told, the month has flown by us uneventfully. At any rate - here are some highlights.

We celebrated Mom's birthday at the zoo the first weekend. Corey thought it was weird to celebrate her birthday there and he wanted to know how she was going to find that any fun. Truth is, as I explained to him, she chose it, so all of us (my sister and her boys included) met and spent the day there. Pictures are coming.

Next came Donnie's birthday on Veteran's Day. This is the first year that he has had the day off in about 8 years so he enjoyed a lazy day. We had a lunch date (yes, alone!) and his parents ate with us at supper.

Jon Tyler is walking, really walking now. Until about 2 weeks ago he'd walk a little ways, fall down and crawl to his destination. Now he can stand himself back up and keep going. Oh, yeah he can do this too. I caught him up there one day.























He LOVES being outside and has a fit when he can't go out. He walks across the driveway to the neighbor's and back, or around to the front and climbs the steps (if I turn my back for 2 seconds), eats a few rocks. You know, typical one year old stuff.

He also got his first haircut not long ago. I thought the during shot was great, but he wasn't very cooperative after for me to get a good shot of the new 'do.
























Allie is loving K4! She is learning very quickly, recognizes most of her letters and can write about half of them. Her teacher, Mrs. Nita, is leaving next week and she will have Mrs. Diane after Thanksgiving. I am happy for Nita, but VERY sad for Allie. She really loves her, and Mrs. Nita is the best thing since sliced bread when in comes to preschool!

Corey is still making a game out of about every movie he can think of. He and his loyal side kick Allie are in Star Wars one minute and Indiana Jones or Batman the next. His teacher is out on maternity leave until after Christmas, but all seems good so far.

Hannah has won the award as our first, and prayerfully only (Please Lord!) flu victim. She has complained of feeling tired all week and had a low fever in the afternoons. She was fine in the mornings, though, so I sent her to school. Not smart, but two weeks ago 10 of the 14 students in her class were out with something so I don't think we did too much harm. So, we will be spending this weekend indoors, missing her best friend's birthday, the Point of Grace concert, and Thanksgiving stew at church Sunday evening. Boo!

As for me, I've shrunk 12 pounds (as London Tipton would say, YAY ME!! but I should also say Yay, God!). Six pounds to go before Christmas. I'm going to be cutting it close, but maybe it will happen!! We've also started a new home group, which is basically a group of us as friends who meet and share and pray for each other. Our last experience was much different and I'll just leave it at that. We are SO enjoying this time around! Great friends - I'm looking forward to years of "doing life" with them!

Well this post ended up sounding like one of those Christmas letters you write for Christmas cards each year, but I figured it was the easiest way to let everyone know how November is treating us. So, don't count on a Christmas letter. A card - yes, picture enclosed - hopefully, a letter - most likely not!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

BOO!


Our Friendly Jack O Lantern - This is probably the best Jack-o-lantern I've ever carved. I've never had much success, but I bought a handy dandy pumpkin carving tool so we were able to put a "little" more detail (which means this year he got eyebrowns). It was fun, so watch out next year, I'm thinking of moving up to dremel's power tool for carving.



Howdy, y'all!


Yes, I know I'm a princess!


RIBBIT!







First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Tacky Day & 50's Day!


Sweet Sockhop Girl



I think they live all year for this one day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Midweek Funnies

No wordless Wednesday around here and it's been awhile since I posted some "things heard 'round the house," so how about a few funnies.

Corey was memorizing Psalm 23 today and repeated, "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want him," and "He leads me in paths of righteousness for Pete's sake."

Allie gave me a dollar and told me, "Now you're a little bit rich."

And a few from the past few months.

Me: Son, why didn't you eat your orange?
Corey: I couldn't get it open, so I just skipped ahead to cookies.

Allie, obviously from playing with her brother: Know what, when I grow up, I wanna be Joker's Wife.

Corey, at random: When I grow up will you pay my bills?
Me: No, Son, that's why you get a job.
Corey: But, I want to keep my money.

I'm starting to worry about these kids.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Magnolia Leaf Fight

Today is the 13th anniversary of the great magnolia leaf fight. Now you might be thinking that it must have been some fight for me to remember the date. It was, in fact, the day before our wedding. Donnie and I had left Charleston and headed to Walterboro Friday morning. I led him to the motel where he and his family were staying and went by my house to drop off some things. Since we did a lot of things ourselves we were supposed to clip magnolia leaves to use as greenery at my grandparent's house. I went back by the motel to get Donnie so he could help and he was NOWHERE to be found. I thought it was a little odd, but I went on to my grandparents and Granddaddy and I went to work. Granddaddy was at times a quiet man, but get him by himself and he was a really funny guy. We joked and talked as we worked, although I can't for the life of me remembered what we talked about. We loaded the back of his little Ford Ranger "slap full" with these leaves and started for the church, me riding in the back of the truck to make sure they were okay. (Yes, I am aware that is not smart and most likely, illegal) We dropped by to see if Donnie had returned. Still no Donnie. We unloaded, went back to the hotel to check again, and still could not find my future groom. I should have known this would be a precursor of things to come because Donnie will still go for rides and not return before I am irate in a timely manner. My temper was rising each time we stopped by and could not find him, and the madder I got, the more tickled my granddaddy got. Another load was clipped, taken to the church and you guessed it, Donnie was still missing. Finally a third load was being clipped and I was so mad I could have spit nails. Granddaddy was all out laughing by this point. After our final load, we went back by to find that Donnie, his family and all of his groomsmen were hanging out, watching TV and totally oblivious to the pack that I was about to blow my stack. He answered the door, ever so casually, "Hey, Babe, what's up?" Well, I told him what was up - my blood pressure! After listening to me rant and rave a few minutes and apologizing profusely (there again, a glimpse into the future), all was well. Looking back it is probably to only fight I actually remember, but here is why I remember it. If Donnie had shown up, I would have missed out on that time with my grandfather and now that he is gone, I would trade that for anything. That and the fact that it is one of my funniest wedding stories.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Randomness Ramble

With the kids out of school, consignment season, and our trip to Gatlinburg, I haven't had time to ramble much, so here goes.

THE DENTIST
I got up this morning to take the kids to their 9:15 dental appointment, and we were actually ahead of schedule. If you know me well, you know being on time isn't my thing, much less being early. I was brushing my teeth and walking around in my bedroom (because I am too ADD to stand still and brush my teeth) when I heard something fall (not a kid, just a something)in the bathroom where I'd left Jon Tyler. That can't be good, I thought. I went in the bathroom to this...


(the yellow thing is a plant that used to sit on the back of the toilet)

I realized that my chances of being early on time were vanishing. I now have a new nickname for Jon Tyler - Termite - it destroys everything in its path. His Indian name is "He who snatches defeat from the jaws of victory." A quick vacuum job, dusting the multitudes of books/magazines that make their way to the bathroom and we were back on our way.

We arrived (5 minutes late) and found out even more fun things. Hannah will have two teeth pulled on Monday because her adult teeth are coming in behind her baby teeth. The dentist also said I could go ahead and schedule an appointment with the orthodontist for Corey, age 7, "whenever I wanted to" because he is "going to have issues." Lovely. The receptionist advised me to wait 8 weeks however since the orthodontist they refer kids to is building a new office and moving. I guess they need my help paying for it! Ha!


A TALE OF TWO PILLOWS
I've been meaning to post these two pictures for weeks. The first one is a pillow I made for Hannah at her very first Vacation Bible School. It was made from a t shirt and said, "God is with Hannah" prior to the gaping hole that has been worn in it. Some time back she began sleeping with it every night to ease her nighttime anxiety (and boy, does she have some!). When it began disentegrating, her father told her she had to throw it away, which brought on the drama. So we made a plan to redo the pillow. After many weeks of procrastination not getting around to it, I finally whipped out my sewing machine and made her a new one. Yes, I can sew in a straight line. She wanted her old one put into her new one, which I thought made it extra special and the stuffing put around it, so we did and she did her own decorating this time. It was really fun to do together.






CAN I BE TRANSPARENT FOR A MOMENT?
Transparency is not my thing, even more than being on time is not my thing, but here goes. I am finally motivated to do something about my "baby fat." I weigh as much now as I did when I came home from the hospital with Jon Tyler so I have set for myself attainable (I hope) goals. My first is to lose 18 pounds by Christmas. I have a little less than three months. I have lost 2 of those so far. I have eaten lots of rabbit food this week. I am trying my own plan which includes portion control and where I pretty much do low carbs/no sugar for two weeks and then add back only good carbs, whole grains, stuff like that. I'll let you know how it goes. Feel free to ask. Maybe that will kick me in the butt if I need it. As of now, I've had no sugar since Monday which could be some sort of record for me. I have now quit having "the shakes from withdrawl" LOL. As far as an exercise routine, I open to suggestions. What worked for you? I am thinking walking and pilates.

HELLO FALL! WE'VE MISSED YOU!
This is my favorite 3 week break because it has the nicest weather. We have spent lots of time outside the past few days. On Tuesday, the kids and I developed a trampoline routine that we did til we laughed so hard we fell down. Too bad I have no pictures of THAT to post. I decided that if I get hurt on that thing, I can file workmans comp. After all, part of my job is to interact with my children. My employer would probably balk at this claim. However, he was impressed with our routine. (I think he was impressed that my 34 year old, *** pound butt could do the same thing my children could do. Just not for long.)

THE CHANGE
Of seasons (gotcha!) always brings out the change in clothes. So I must get off of the computer now, because this is what awaits me. I have exhausted the two pair of pants I had stashed back and since it will be around 40 degrees tomorrow, I have to wash some for the kiddies.



If you've gotten through all this without nodding off to sleep, I applaude you. Thanks for reading, my loyal followers (all 5 of you)!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gatlinburg

Since the kids are out on 3 week break, we took a mini vacation to Gatlinburg for a few days last week. It was so nice and relaxing, a nice change of scenery. It seems like each time we go there, we don't want to come home. We were riding up and Donnie said, "It just doesn't seem like it would ever get old, does it?" So true.

We spent Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday evening in Gatlinburg, rode the trolley, and did the tourist thing. Our biggest venture was Ober Gatlinburg where we rode an air tramway up to a ski resort. Then we rode a chair lift even further up the mountain for some awesome views and bluegrass music. Jon Tyler was sleepy and cried/screamed for the 10 minute tram ride. It was packed and hot on the tram and his screaming was, I think, the equivalent of being on an airplane with a screaming kid. Good thing I'll never see most of those people again.(hehe) Once we got over there, I got him to nap while we rode the chair lift and it was so pleasant.

Here is a view from the tram and the pictures of each kid we took at the top.








(I absolutely LOVE this pic of Corey. I think it is the best shot I've ever taken of him.)



We spent some time on Friday in Pigeon Forge and shopped at the outlets, rode the go carts and went to a FREE (!) Titanic preview exhibit. Allie has never been old enough or tall enough to ride on her own so she was ready for her first time around the track.



She did pretty good for her first race, beating out her older siblings. (I'm not really sure who won, who got lapped or wrecked, but at least here, she's in the lead)



Jon Tyler was too small to drive but he enjoyed flying the plane.


Oh, yeah, Jon Tyler got his first taste of chocolate milk at Shoney's breakfast buffet. YUM!


Our last night we walked around Gatlinburg and found some neat little "village shops" (AKA- steal your money tourist shops) where we stopped to snap some pics.


The last thing we did was ride the elevator up the Space Needle and got a night view from 407 feet up. (Yeah, a little freaky.)


It was a fun trip. Now I must finish this blog up so I can go do some online research. We are shopping for an apple farms in east Tennesse/western NC. I'll let you know if we find one. We might need some help loading the moving van. ;-)

Wordless Wednesday - Consignment Season

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Man's First Birthday! (lots of pics, too)




We celebrated Jon Tyler's first birthday Saturday with family. He is such a ham and enjoyed the attention. He probably figured that being #4 he was lucky to get any attention and would take it. He did the best job on his cake of any of his siblings, which is why I have included a bazillion photos of the cake. He was, in fact, much more impressed with cake than with presents. We read him about 2 cards and opened one present before he decided he was "done." While I realize some people love the big party thing for their kids, we are not into that. By the time we combine Jon Tyler's siblings and cousins we get 7 kids under 10, and I think that is plenty big enough. So, when Jon Tyler was done, they stepped in and helped him open his presents.

Amazingly I didn't have this terrible time with him turning one like I thought I would. I dreaded it for weeks and then it just sort of came and I was okay with that. I still can't believe it so maybe I'm just in shock. Time does fly when you're having fun, and this bunch is definitely fun!!

Testing...


Getting a first taste of icing


Diggin' in!!


Look, Ma!


A little in the hair for good measure!


YUM!


Cake Hangover


Present time!


New jammies


Checking out the goods!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The kids school held a Patriots Day ceremony to honor our heroes and to remember this day. They've done it every year and every year it moves me to tears. I was drawn back to where I was on 9/11, amazed that the student from my 4th grade class that day are now college freshmen and that the students sitting with me were preschoolers at best on that day.

Here are some of the heroes honored today. I wish you could see a "kid" on the back row in Marine dress uniform named Billy. I have known Billy since he really was a kid, a teen who volunteered helping me teach elementary aged kids on Sunday nights when he wasn't much older than them. We've been praying for Billy as a church and his standing there was quite simply an answer to those prayers. Billy just returned from his first tour in Iraq and I'm sure in all of his 20 years, he has seen more horror over there than I will ever see. This morning when Hannah woke up the first thing she said was, "Oh, man, I wish I could've invited Billy." When I watched him marching in the other heroes these school honored, I almost couldn't keep the tears at bay. His mom is and has been one of my kids' preschool teachers for years and she asked me today in carline to "pray Billy out of Afghanistan" which is where he's set to go in 13 months. So if you think about it, pray for Billy with us.



The 4th and 5th grade chorus sang "God Bless the USA." Hannah is in the front row next to the police officer.



They released balloons...



...and took a freedom walk. (Corey is in the black shirt.)

Take Time - written 9/14/01

Take time to tell you loved ones
What they mean in your life,
How they've loved you, how they've helped you,
How they've guided you through strife.

Take time to tell your neighbors
How you enjoy their company.
Take time to lend a helping hand
To a stranger who is in need.

Take time to tell a friend thank you
For the times they've been there,
For the encouragement they've given,
Or when they offered up a prayer.

Take time to tell your children
That they are God's precious treasures.
Tell them of all the joy they've brought you,
Through innocent childlike pleasures.

Take time to tell your spouse you love them
That you appreciate all they do,
That you couldn't imagine life without them.
Let them know you need them, too.

Take time to enjoy earth's beauty,
The mountains and the sea,
To enjoy the world created
By God for you and me.

Take time to reflect,
To laugh and play.
Take time to grieve,
To love and pray.

For we are not promised tomorrow.
This day could be our last.
Don't let a chance to "take time"
Slip forever into the past.


For all who perished on Sept. 11, 2001 and for those who will no longer get to "take time" with their loved ones. May we never forget.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Slow Down

Well,after last week and the weekend, I finally have time to post again. Last week I spent most of time driving and I think I passes myself a few times. Now that drama is over for Hannah, I can relax a little and get into a good afterschool routine. Since school started back in July, Hannah has had drama practice 3 days a week. I REALLY questioned whether this was worth it, but after seeing the performance of Alice in Wonderland this past weekend, I am sure it was. She loved performing, and we loved watching. Corey wanted to see it again, so I'm trying to talk him into doing it next year. I will try to post a short video clip later, but I can't figure out how to view it on my computer, so I'm working on that. If anyone has any techie advice, I would appreciate it. I videoed it using my Kodak camera, if that helps anyone. For now, here are the pictures.

Giving the grand tour of backstage.


Getting makeup done


The cutest little doormouse in all of Alice in Wonderland history.