Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas morning pics

Here are a few pics of the frenzy on Christmas morning. They did well and were patient as they watched everyone open their gifts:





Gingerbread Making


Carter and his undie sporting man



The kids enjoyed making gingerbread men with a kit sent by their Aunt Myra and Uncle Billy.

Bye Bye Baby Bed

Tonight Katey is sleeping in what used to be Laurel's bed and Laurel is in a "new" bed. Since Katey had already shown a preference for sleeping in Laurel's bed we gave Laurel a choice. Keep her bed or take the new twin bed. She chose the new bed (which we were able to find at the thrift store, saving me a crafting experience!). We have a mattress on order, and that may prove to be interesting...more on that in a couple of weeks when it arrives. Katey seemed a little sad tonight as she looked around the room taking in her new surroundings as we explained the bed she has grown to love sharing with Laurel is now hers. As I laid in bed with her telling her goodnight she kept looking over at the crib saying "You're gonna give that bed to a baby." She seemed not at all sure about it, but she would agree and say "I'm a big girl, not a baby." Finally she sat up and said "bye, bye baby bed." Hopefully she will adjust well.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We have eaten, played, and enjoyed the holiday together with my parents and Tim's Mom. It was a Wii year here and we have all had fun learning how to play and laughing at ourselves. Laurel and Matthew played for hours today (hey, its Christmas, Mom's rules went out the window). Carter was thrilled that he got the Superman toy from the LAMP yard sale and his Star Wars Legos. Katey loved her new toys and all the excitement of the day. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Pictures to come after I get some sleep!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Fridge

We got the verdict this morning. We can't repair the fridge. Tim and I had decided not to buy much for each other this year for Christmas so we are joking tonight that we are giving one another a refrigerator. I went to Lowes and ordered another one- it will be in next week. We purchased the same fridge. We are hoping that a new one won't have the problems we have had before. I really like the bottom mount style (it comes in a significantly larger capacity) so despite our negative experience we are giving it another try. Its cool to be able to buy 4 gallons of milk and still have plenty of room in the fridge. Meanwhile we will be trekking up and down the stairs to our fridge in the basement- we are thankful we decided to bring it when we moved! On the positive side: maybe the stairs will be the cure for those extra holiday calories for me and good exercise for the kids!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just the facts

We bought all the food for Christmas dinner and the week ahead last night. The fridge went out tonight. Not good.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Bed Dilemma

We have been trying to decide about beds now that Katey is out of her crib. The options were numerous, but no matter how we looked at it- its expensive. We thought we might get the boys bunk beds and give Katey Carter's bed, but that meant two mattresses and the bunk beds. Also, a friend of ours who is an orthopedic surgeon confirmed our fears regarding the safety hazard. There were six other scenarios which I won't bore everyone with, but for now we are just getting a set of mattresses for Katey, a frame at the thrift store, and I am getting crafty for a headboard. Depending on how it turns out I might share. My Mom and Dad are still stuck on a futon when they visit and the boys are slightly disappointed about the whole bunk bed thing. All I know is I wish furniture was less expensive- I have spent hours trying to find a cheaper way to sleep everyone in comfort!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby Jesus Didn't Talk

Clearly the season's message of the birth of Christ has been received this year by Katey. Lately she has been saying her own prayers at bedtime. Very cute, sweet, and usually understandable. Tonight I asked her to pray and she said "Baby Jesus was a baby. He didn't talk." I said yes and told her Jesus was baby when he was born. Then I asked her to pray again. She told me the same thing. She let me pray with her, but clearly the whole Jesus as a child has caused some confusion and she wouldn't say her prayers herself. Tim quickly realized the connection she was making: if he didn't talk, we can't talk to him. I'll spend time with her tomorrow and hopefully tomorrow night she will be saying her sweet little prayers again. Hearing her thanking God for her "bwessings" won't last, so I want to hear her say it every night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Backwards Day

Katey came downstairs during school today having gotten herself completely dressed, backwards. Underwear, shirt, and pants- all on backwards. I offered to help her fix them, but she told me "No, I wear them like this." Laurel wanted me to make her change saying "Mom she looks silly because her clothes are wrong." I told her we would declare today backwards day so she would be dressed appropriately. Now we are all enjoying "Backwards Day."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Katey pic


I needed a new pic of Katey for our mantel. So cute I had to share.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You know the cookies are bad if....

Tim found a "simple and won't break the budget" candy cane cookie recipe in the paper. We thought it would be fun to let the kids make cookies after we put up the tree. They enjoyed rolling the dough, forming the candy canes, and dipping them in sugar. Then came the tasting. Not so great. We knew they were really bad when we came downstairs this morning and discovered that we had left the cookies out on the counter overnight. The kids had been awake and playing downstairs for at least a half hour and no one had eaten a cookie. Normally any "goodie" in our house has to be hidden or it will be devoured. Today I am offering cookies as snacks in hopes of not having to throw them away. No fear, my cookie friends, this is not what I am bringing to the exchange!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Laurel is 8 today



Today is Laurel's birthday. We went to the Christmas parade this morning and celebrated her birthday tonight. She had a good time.




Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving pics

A few pics from Thanksgiving:

Fantasy of Trees

Katey and you know who


Laurel and the birthday cookie she made - a puppy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks Mediacomm

We have had on ongoing battle in our house with the Disney channel. The kids love the cartoons. I enjoy letting them watch Pooh for their TV time if they choose. However, I don't like the tween/teen programming that is prevalent on that station. We have banned it for all but cartoons. The kids have obeyed, but we knew it was a temptation for them. This week Mediacomm solved our problem. They are downgrading our cable and leaving us with just the basic network stations. It simplifies our life and removes more of the TV influence (no HGTV temptation for me!). Unfortunately they didn't "downgrade" our bill.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Embarrassing!

We are home from Thanksgiving with my parents and brother. A good time was had by all. We had Thanksgiving dinner, celebrated Laurel's birthday #1 (she'll celebrate again on her actual day), went to the Fantasy of Trees, and a Santa event with my parents. However, there is always that event that everyone will remember each year. Here is the one that will go down in history for our Thanksgiving 2008:

We left for Knoxville for the holiday early Wednesday morning. On the afternoon before a couple of space heaters we bought to warm the basement tripped the breaker switch. We weren't that worried about going out to the garage to flip it back. We were going to be out of town anyway and we were busy getting packed to leave. However, as we drove through Nashville on Wednesday morning it dawned on me....the downstairs fridge is on that switch. The $300 worth of beef I bought two weeks ago? Yes, its in that freezer. We started to turn around and drive the two or so hours back home to flip the breaker. The kids are crying as they realize this means at least four hours more added to our drive. We decide to call a locksmith that we know from church. He tells us he will go over and take care of things for us. The children are elated. We are thankful to know him. He goes over and takes care of things, calls us, and even goes downstairs and checks the fridge for us. All is well. Thirty minutes later we think- Is the small heater still plugged in? We knew Matthew unplugged the large one, but weren't sure about the smaller unit. Then we debated about who was going to call the locksmith again. I couldn't do it. Had it not been someone I have to face regularly it might have been different, but I was too embarrassed. Tim made the call for me. He agreed to go back out and make sure the heaters were both unplugged so that we wouldn't worry all weekend about the house catching fire. He told us the first time we called that he had gone out before for people to unplug coffee pots, but this was his first "turn on the fridge for us" call. I guarantee he has never had to go out twice for people who needed to be more attentive to a thrown breaker switch. I will happily pay him for his time (and aggravation), I just hope I can do it without him thinking I am a total idiot.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I thought I would share our devotional thought from school today as I pause for a quick moment while packing to travel for the holiday: Recall the story of the 10 lepers and remember to be the 1, not one of the 9. Challenging isn't it? Now I have to get ready. The kids plan to be ready to leave before dawn. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

They'd rather have a dog!

Over the weekend the kids participated in a Thanksgiving service at the church. It was nice and they had a great time. Later we watched the video of their performance at home. The camcorder kept playing and we all enjoyed cute video of "Baby Katey." We remembered how everyone loved Katey as an infant. With Matthew and Carter there were a few challenges as we all adjusted to the new little one in the house, but not with Katey. They all remembered those days and how much they adored her (now she is big and much more in their business so...). It was at this moment that those 4 feet and under in the house decided we need a new baby. We don't have a cute little one around anymore. Even Laurel said she would be willing to accept a boy in the family IF he was sweet like Katey was as an infant. Today, however, as I pointed out the challenges of a baby they began to think things through a little more. When I told them that having another baby would mean that we would not be getting a dog anytime soon, they quickly decided that they prefer a dog. Their campaigning came to an abrupt end.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving crafts

Our school work this week has several Thanksgiving crafts. Today we made placemats. Here is a picture of the kids hard a work "weaving":

Friday, November 21, 2008

She's almost 8, not 2!

People frequently ask us if the boys are twins. They look alike and are close in age and size so even those who know us well often mistake the boys for one another. We have been guilty of not looking closely and calling the wrong name. Tonight it was something different. We were finished with dinner and doing art at the table. Tim laid his head down on the table as the kids were finishing their work. A few minutes later Laurel went into the kitchen and climbed up on a counter stool to pour herself a drink at the counter. Tim was suddenly upright and telling her "No, no stop!" I was looking at him and trying to figure out what is wrong when he began to laugh. He explained "I thought it was Katey." The boys I understand, mixing up Katey and Laurel....that is a stretch. I think he needs more sleep!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Parental torture by retail

The children and I went to Paducah today. Another Carson Center performance for school followed by errands in the "city." The retailers were in full holiday swing and the turkeys aren't even thawed. It challenged our resolution to focus on Thanksgiving. I gave up counting how many times I heard "Can I have this?" today. No, no, no. I appreciate what the retailers are doing- I understand the marketing tactics - clearly they work. I know why Kohls had toys ALL OVER THE STORE. I am not a recreational shopper. I really do not like to shop with my kids and I certainly don't appreciate things that set my kids up to either (a) annoy me or (b) get themselves in trouble (usually (a) leads to (b)). I hope to keep them out of the stores as much as possible over the next few weeks so that we can have family harmony and they won't be tempted. However, that said, this year I am going to try to be less annoyed at the process. With so many friends around us struggling and out of work, I just want those store associates to keep their jobs. That means people have to buy stuff- hopefully in a thoughtful way. However, here is a news flash for those readers who live within the confines of our home. Mom finished shopping today- so don't even ask. Remember: Be Thankful.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Matthew and Matt play guitar


Tim's brother came to visit and spent some time teaching Matthew how to strum the guitar. Matthew caught on quickly and enjoyed strumming while Uncle Matt played the chords for him. He enjoyed it so much that he has a blister on his thumb today!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Declaring Independence

Laurel asks "Why are you putting school in your blog?" Because that is what we have done all week. This week we learned about America's break away from Britain. Thomas Jefferson, the various actions by Parliament that encouraged colonial rebellion, the Declaration, and the Revolutionary War. For a history major it was hard to cover all that in a week. I kept reminding myself that they are 7 and 6 years old, and they don't have to know all the details at this point... but I couldn't help myself. I think they liked the Liberty's Kids cartoon I showed them today best of all, so much for my hours of reading to them. At any rate, we have been busy this week and doing well. Tim's brother called today and is coming to visit this weekend. So, I am off to pick up the house. Have a good weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

91 Years Old

Today we celebrated Mary's 91st birthday. Here is the photo Tim took of his Mom after she opened her present from us-a winter outfit:
We spent the afternoon with her and enjoyed lunch, presents, and cake. She said we did too much, but how is that possible when you are celebrating 91 years? For those of you who know us well- we will likely have to return the clothes.

Yesterday we spent the day at Murray State: piano lessons, the Fiddler's Festival, and the MSU game. We had a good time, though it was cold. I was reminded of the days when I sat in a large stadium in Knoxville enduring 30 degree temps in the rain to watch football. Those days are over- I am officially "old". My kids thought it sounded crazy, they are just too young.

This weekend also brought more trouble with our fridge. It wasn't working Friday night. When we discovered the thawing freezer we moved everything downstairs to the extra fridge and then discussed how expensive a new fridge would be. Saturday morning it was working again. Tonight it is making some strange noises. We bought a few groceries this afternoon and put those in it when we came home (the rest of the food is still downstairs). Tim's theory: "It works best with no food in it". Not exactly practical.

Katey had a potty incident this weekend and I had gone out without a change of clothes for her. I handled it by just letting her go "free" in her sweatpants. Later there were consequences -but for fear that we might be identified by people connected with the place in which this occurred here is all I can say publicly: When a child reports another child has dropped evidence of #2 in a non-kid friendly public place respond quickly and hide the evidence (hopefully you too will have an empty coffee cup on hand) . Be sure to check the pant leg of the offending child (who is undie free) before allowing said child to go mobile in that public place, thus leaving further evidence. "Bottom Line"- When you have a kid who refuses to do #2 in the potty always remember the back up underwear!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dinner at MSU

Once a month during the school year we go to eat at the university with Tim's residential college. It is a major highlight for the kids. We put it on the calendar, look forward to it for days, plan our schedule around it, you get my point. Those of you who went away to a college with a meal plan/dining hall situation likely remember those days of massive food choices and the freshman 15. The cereal selection alone gets the hearts of my little ones racing. Tonight was the night for this month. Here is what my oldest children consumed: Spaghetti, pizza, fruit, cereal (three kinds mixed, two bowls each), ice cream, and multiple beverages from the fruit drink fountain station- various kinds. We loaded up afterward to go to church and Laurel and Matthew both begged to go home to bed. They were too full, they claimed, to be able to walk to class in the building. They both just wanted to go home and sleep. They made it through church, but neither asked for a snack as they usually do on Wednesdays after we arrived home tonight! Their first lesson in overeating. Next time they say they will plan ahead more, eat less, but with purpose and forethought. There is lots of food they don't get at home, so the decisions may be difficult ones. Sometimes it is easier to let the consequences do the teaching, I don't think I will need to warn them again about this one.

Monday, November 3, 2008

She sleeps, but not when I wanted

I spent the afternoon trying to teach Katey that she had to stay in her room for quiet time. The last couple of weeks have been a struggle. She wants to play with the other kids so despite toys, music, and books in her room she keeps coming out and playing in the bathroom and with the other kids. I never convinced her today. She had me at my wits end today so after an hour I told her to come downstairs. Laurel came down and wanted to watch a show on TV so I sat Katey down with her. I went upstairs to fold laundry and when I returned this is what I found:
Notice the wet sleeves. She told me she needed to wash off her shirt. Little Miss INDEPENDENT!!!!! I can't believe God gave me two with such hard heads!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A weekend full of fun for the kids

Friday was the LAMP homeschool group fall get-together. It was lots of fun with a hayride, fire to roast hot dogs, candy, and play time for the kids. Saturday the kids had their final soccer games and parties and such. They love their trophies/medals. Laurel is sad the season is over, Matthew is ready for basketball, and I am happy to have no practice tomorrow night! For the first time on over a month our weekly menu does not include the $5 footlongs at Subway. Today after church we had our small group in the park followed by disc golf. Tim, Matthew, and Laurel played (along with some guys from church) while Katey, Carter and I did the grocery shopping. I've decided I like the boy/girl split better than the young/old split.

Tim's Mom had a fall this weekend at the get-together Friday night. God clearly had his hand on her as she required no medical attention after hitting her head when she fell while walking to the car. Tim stayed with her overnight, but she said she didn't even have a headache. Amazing. We are preparing to celebrate her 91st birthday next Sunday.

It was a good weekend, but a tiring one. Monday morning will come early!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting better

We are on the upward swing-I hope. Everyone is feeling better today. Carter is cool and fever free this morning. Katey and I are both still suffering with cold symptoms, but are feeling better- I am upright and teaching school today. Laurel is feeling better as well. Now we are hoping we don't face round two with Tim and Matthew.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The reason I hate when someone gets sick!

So it started with Katey and a cold. Yesterday I came down with it. Last night Carter spiked a fever and was hallucinating. He kept telling Tim that Katey was being hurt when she was asleep in her bed. He said Indiana Jones was in the house and so was Matthew Crabb (one of his friends who moved away). He is still running a temp of over 102 this morning. This morning Laurel doesn't feel well. It's 4 of 6 down. This is why I am a germophobe. We never have an illness in the house that only takes one out. Its like a house of cards, once the germs attack the place falls apart. I have to go take care of my little boy. Say a prayer for him, he is miserable.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have a hot

This morning as they sat down to breakfast Laurel and Matthew were arguing over who would sit by Katey. I explained that they needed to give her some space, especially with regard to their food because Katey has a cold. Matthew looked at me and asked "Katey has a cold?" Katey chimed in "No, I have a hot." I have no idea why she said that (she isn't running a fever or feeling hot). Maybe on a cool morning having a hot sounds better.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A day in the "big" city

Today the children and I went to Paducah to see a performance of Seussical at the Carson Center. Just before exiting the interstate I heard a loud "thump" followed by a sort of clicking sound that didn't stop as long as the van was in motion. I pulled off the exit and got out and checked in the back of the van- I thought maybe the stroller had fallen over and that was causing the noise. I didn't see anything so I drove on to the Carson Center. When I got there I decided to check further so I got down and looked underneath the van and found the inside sidewall of our rear driver's side tire had failed. Tread was missing and there was a piece hanging off, thus the noise. I called Tim who offered to come help, but really needed to work. I was unsure about what to do, but my friend Deborah who was at the play with her kids was willing to help me out. She travelled with me to Walmart, watched my kids-and hers- while I checked the van in, took us all to Hobby Lobby while they were replacing the tires, took us back to pick up the van, and watched kids again while I paid. Had she not been such a good friend I would have spent two hours wandering around Walmart with four kids. I am very thankful for her tonight!

After the van saga we all went to Bob Evans. It was Carter's reward for learning to ride his bike without training wheels. The really cool thing was that part of the cast of Seussical came in. The kids got to talk with them and learn a little about the show.

Then we did the rest of our "big city" business- for you non-small town people this means going to places we don't have in Murray and getting things we would otherwise have to order online or do without. By 4:30 pm I was over running around, the kids were ready to go home, and Katey had just had her second potty accident for the day (she is doing well, but today was a struggle- who knew the INSIDE of rubber rainboots could hold that much fluid?!!? Luckily that fact saved me from having to apologize to store employees in two locations).

It was a long day, but I am feeling blessed that we did not have an accident due to the tire failure. It was also good to be reminded how great it is to have good friends, how blessed we are to be able to afford to pay for sudden expenses, and how cool it is to homeschool so you can bump into people you just saw in a performance on a school field trip!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So I am finally posting something

Sorry folks, life is hectic.

Camping was fun this weekend. Carter learned to ride without training wheels. Katey had only one accident all weekend. The weather was beautiful. I think I could be one of those retired people who work and live in the campground. It was great to see the kids spend hours gleefully playing in a gully near our campsite. No TV, no phones, no crazy weekend racing around town from one thing to another. We did all the typical camping things and only got really cold one night. It was a good weekend. We worshiped at the campsite around our fire because it was chilly on Sunday morning and we didn't want the kids to be uncomfortable at the campground service. The kids thought it was really cool that you could have "church" while drinking hot chocolate and sitting by a fire.

We came home for a going away party for our friends, the Crabb family. I have mentioned this before- can you tell I am dreading their leaving? I am thrilled for them and God is truly blessing their new situation, but selfishly I really don't want to see them go. The kids played together today and really enjoyed their last time together. It was sad when Laurel prayed tonight that she would see them again. Someday, I promise.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joys of Freedom and a Day on the Farm

She was out of bed and ready to play at 5:30 am. We spent the day at Fall on the Farm on the MSU campus. Here are some pics. I am too exhausted to give more details! I'll let the kids blog about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

She's out

So she climbed out again. At least its only at naptime so far. Tomorrow I will have to try something different. A new system will have to be implemented. Today I tried letting Laurel play with her in their room after she came out and did not want to go back to bed, but that only prompted demands from the boys to get to play as well. There was nothing quiet about "quiet time" today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Milestones

Katey climbed out of her crib during nap today. It is almost a year later than the other kids, but still I have been dreading the day. I am hoping she won't do it again. I know what you are thinking, but give a girl some hope! Four kids, one Mom, no naps...yikes!

She also achieved a milestone in potty training. Laurel gave all the details on her blog and she and Matthew would both love comments. I created blogs for both of them last week to use to narrate each day about what they did in school and to write about whatever they want. Their blogs are private, but they would love to share their thoughts with family and friends. Email me directly for an invitation that will allow you access if you would like to read their thoughts.

A fun weekend

We enjoyed our weekend. It was Homecoming at MSU so we were busy with activities. We left home at 9:00 am on Saturday morning and got home at 7:00 pm. A long day, but lots of fun. We went to the parade, piano lessons, tent city, and the ballgame. MSU soundly defeated Tennessee Tech so we all enjoyed cheering and watching Racer 1 gallop around the track. I was reminded that I was no longer in Big Orange country as people in the stands cheered a losing score for UT multiple times. Katey decided she enjoyed the bathroom...we made multiple trips. She is doing very well so I can't complain. Yesterday we went to church and small group and spent the evening trying to rest up so we could begin our week. It is going to be a busy week with soccer, school, and packing for a camping trip next weekend. We also have to prepare to say goodbye to our friends, the Crabbs, who will leave for Iowa early next week. We are all really going to miss them and so that part of the next few days will not come easily. Hope everyone has a good week!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our school pics

We went to Patti's restaurant while my parents were in town and I took the opportunity to take our "school pictures". Here's a little slideshow of my smiling children.

video

Monday, October 6, 2008

Potty report-skip it if you don't want the details

I spent most of the day in the bathroom with Katey. Thankfully Mom and Dad were here to help with the other kids. She did well and loves being a "big girl". There were several accidents, especially after nap when all novelty to the whole potty thing had apparently worn off. Multiple times minutes after sitting on the potty she would go on the floor. I do have to say having hardwood instead of carpet makes the process much easier this time and eases my frustration. However tonight before bed she did potty in the "big potty" in the kids bathroom. For some reason this was terribly upsetting. We finally figured out she was upset that she didn't use her little potty (I had left it downstairs). Oh the drama of a two year old girl.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

He kicks the ball!!!

Two major milestones in our house today. First, Laurel and Matthew learned to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the piano. Their first song- a big accomplishment for lesson 3. They held a concert tonight for Papa and Nana. Second, Carter played soccer and today he really played. He actually made contact between his foot and the ball on multiple occasions-usually going in the right direction, was happy to play, and paid attention to where the ball was. A tremendous improvement and we were so proud to see him enjoy himself and contribute in a positive way to the team. Matthew and Laurel did well, too. It was a good day.
Tomorrow after church we head to Patti's to celebrate my Mom's birthday and then on Monday POTTY TRAINING begins. Next week is our "break week" for school so I am taking the opportunity to give more attention to Katey and hopefully help her make the big step into being a "big girl." Yes, you'd think with #4 this would be no big deal, but quite frankly I have never figured this whole thing out. They have each been different and with the exception of Matthew (who trained himself) it has been a difficult road each time. I have high hopes and a few concerns about this round. I am going the no "pull-ups" route so pray for me as cleaning dirty undies could possibly rank as my most hated thing to do and I will have to remind myself to be patient! I am sure enough hilarity will occur that at least one post will result...stay tuned.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Too much twang

At LBL last weekend the radio selection was limited. We were, however, able to pick up a bluegrass station. Our kids now love it and request it every time we get in the car. We have too much twang going on. Don't get me wrong I am not writing off the genre. I like Allison Krauss and Nickel Creek is enjoyable as well, but if its twangy I have to pass. Apparently my children like a little twang. Katey has a favorite. Tonight she was singing along in full voice, with her best twang, to "I Know I'm Saved." At least the message is a good one. Here's a link to a website where you can hear a clip of that song off the album (scroll down and click the music note next to #6) if you want to experience the "twang" for yourself- imagine a two year old singing along...loudly.

http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7734598

Let's hope its just a phase. My Dad will enjoy it when he comes to visit this weekend. They can all sit around and listen to the twang together.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Camping Events

Here are the highlights. I'll put a slide show of pics together later this week.

The Good:
The kids loved the camping experience. The camping traditions of roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, sleeping in a tent, and playing in the dirt kept them happy all weekend and begging for more. We had fun riding bikes and hiking around the campground. Hillman Ferry got a A- from us with its clean private showers, nice primitive campspots, a playground, and hike and bike trails adjacent to the campground. We found out when we arrived that we were there on the weekend of free admission to LBL attractions. We toured the Elk and Bison Prarie and the Nature Station for free! We stayed three nights and we all lived- all is well.

The Unfortunate:
Apparently there is a disruption in the Monarch migration this year. The LBL guides said that scientists are trying to determine the cause. No monarchs were found on our monarch butterfly tagging tour (nor on the one the day before). Other butterflies were "netted" and the kids had fun anyway.

Matthew tripped while walking in the dark with the flashlight and has a nasty bruise on his chin from his Dad's Maglite.

Several of the roads in the campground are gravel- hard for a little one on her tricycle and a kid with training wheels.

Our neighbors were a family of skunks, and we learned that we prefer raccoons to skunks.

The Bad:
We found our campsite abounding in bees. Katey was stung once and Carter was stung twice (scaring us because we feared a Masto reaction). Going camping miles away from a hospital with an expired epi-pen made me feel like a loser Mom so I am thankful for our answered prayers, benedryl, and a reaction free child!

Wading in the water in the swimming area prompted screaming from Katey. She told us something bit her, when we checked her we found it was a LEECH!!! Yikes! Obviously we waded no more. (Thus the - on the A- rating for the campground).

It was a fun weekend and a great getaway. We still need a bigger tent. Being a close family is something we want the kids to treasure, but sleeping like sardines is not what we have in mind.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gone Camping

We are camping at LBL for the weekend. Pictures to come... have a good weekend everyone!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just some thoughts

Its late and I need to go to bed so here are a few thoughts, minus the details from today. (Tim will be proud, he prefers the summarized version of my stories)

Give a child whipped topping on something and he is much more likely to consume it.
If I plan to eat it for breakfast, someone else will want it or have eaten it.
Division is hard. Playing the piano with proper form is harder. (both will get easier with practice- I promise!)
Give a toddler a glass of root beer and she will wear it.
Try to make a four year old share his gatorade and the van will wear it.
A DVD in the car makes a trip so much more enjoyable.
If you eat dinner early enough you can fit four full meals into a day and convince your mother to fix them for you.
Sometimes you have to get away so you can feel refreshed and ready for the next day and laugh at the one you just lived through.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parables get real

The parables always mean more to me when they become tangible. This weekend we planted grass seed. (Phase 2 of 4 for the fall lawn/landscaping plan-we may not make it to phase 3 or 4- the first two have been a lot of work!) I now see the depth in the parable of the sower. I am a city girl. We've never grown crops. Tim had a garden at our old house, and it did great. Guess why? Good soil. We now have bad soil. Its not even soil really, its rocks and clay. Not so great for growing things. I now know the value of soil. We've scattered seed, but clearly it is not planted with in the best conditions. We fertilized, we raked, and we will water (generously). But we realize to get the grass to grow we really will need to have good soil brought in, till it into the existing hardpan that is our yard, and plant more seed. Tim thinks we will have to do it by zones, a little at a time. At this point we aren't shooting for perfection. We just want something green over the dirt. Yet as I look down at all that expensive seed I want it to grow- I want the 85% germination rate that the bag boasts about. However I know we won't get it- because we don't have all it takes. It made me think about "the soil" and the need to till in some good stuff in other places as well.

Other weekend events: our first piano lessons went well. Matthew and Laurel both learned quickly and are doing well. I am learning right along with them since I know absolutely nothing about piano! Matthew scored two goals in his soccer game on Saturday and Carter enjoyed it much more as it was a cooler day and he did not get overheated! Tonight brought some fellowship time at the Hale's home with a chili supper and wagon rides behind Mr. Matt's tractor. The kids loved the ride, and some of the men had tractor envy. A great time was had by all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The price of silence

Today was a key day in Matthew's phonics program. I needed his full attention and I needed the little ones occupied. This school year there is a no TV policy during the school day so no electronic babysitter is available after the young ones tire of "doing school" with us at the table. Finding ways to have them play without distracting the kids who are schooling has been a challenge. This time they were playing quietly together, so I was thankful and taught the lesson without stopping to check on them. After we finished I discovered the price of their silence. Two kids covered head to toe in marker (washable, thankfully), the puzzles tub emptied onto the floor, and all the train stuff dumped all over the room. In short, chaos was created in minutes and the result was two gleeful children. Off to the bath they went and afterward we picked up their mess. Everything worked out and the really important stuff stayed the focus, but I would have preferred to have found two children playing quietly with a toy instead of joyous chaos. There's always hope for tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

She escaped

The day before her planned release our friend, the toad, escaped. We aren't sure how, but she left her home on the deck sometime today. She went back to nature leaving a few sad children who "didn't get to say goodbye." I am proud that she survived her stay and that the children enjoyed checking on her at various times each day. They recovered quickly from their loss and began searching for a new friend.

It was strangely cool today and we all enjoyed some outside time. The kids spent their playtime picking up the yard after what was left of Ike passed through on Sunday. Lots of sticks kept the boys busy. After the heat of Saturday the cool was a welcome change!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Soccer

Soccer and today it was 94 degrees. The heat made it not as much fun as we would like, but we are looking forward to fall and more soccer fun. Here's some photos: video

So far the weekend has included lots of activities. Friday night was Parent's Night Out at church and we enjoyed some "grown up" fun at the Mehr's home. Today was family weekend at MSU, the ice cream festival, soccer and Tim and I had a date!! A dinner related to his Germany trip was cancelled so we went to Gloria's for dinner, Walmart (our favorite date locale) and some of the MSU football game. I think the ice cream festival ranked #1 for the day on the kids' list. They picked rainbow sherbert as their favorite ice cream- over "Death by Chocolate" and "Cookie Dough"??? -- clearly taste preferences aren't genetic.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sometimes there's just too much to do

We are blessed to be in a place with lots for the kids to do and to have the means to be able to do some of it. Its hard to choose what to involve the kids in. They enjoy a variety of things and would happily participate in whatever we would allow, but the more we are away from home, the crazier life at home gets. Right now we are playing soccer. Its three days a week and it feels like our life revolves around it (yes, I hope for a practice or two to be rained out!). In the last week we have had opportunities to get involved in Tae Bo, piano, 4-H, boy scouts, brownies, and an art class. For now the piano is the only thing we have chosen to add into our routine (on Saturday- before soccer). The rest will have to wait for now, but there is some guilt associated with not letting them participate. They all are great activities and several of them are things we really want to do but we have to find some balance. Its hard to know when to say no and when to say yes. Are we passing up great opportunities or picking the wrong thing? The constant questions are a part of being a parent, I guess.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We have company

We have a guest. She (we think) will be with us for a week. Today the kids captured, literally, a toad. A female Fowler's Toad to be exact-yes, we made it part of school and did research. They want to keep her as a pet. I told them "God made animals to live in nature, not with us"- they didn't agree. I pointed out the likelihood of her demise left to their care and they promised a luxurious life that given the ability to communicate the toad would gladly choose of her own will. I was having little success. Frankly, doing research didn't help matters as I read about the joys one man recalled of his boyhood days and catching frogs. During quiet time I called Tim. I warned him of the campaign ongoing in our house. He suggested we allow her to visit for the week and then return to her home in the backyard. So that's the plan, everyone agreed. Here is a photo of the kids watching over our friend in her 5 star bucket abode.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

LANDSCAPING!!!!!

One year ago:Tonight:

We have landscaping. Tim had no weekend break, but he has a happy wife. We worked all day both Saturday and Sunday-other than time for our first soccer games and church. It was hard work and we are worn out, but wanted to share a photo of our efforts (sorry its hard to see- it was nearly dark when we finished).
Soccer results: Laurel and Matthew both scored goals in their games, and had a great time. It was a little hot for Carter so he tired quickly, but he played hard, got in some good kicks, and learned how to move the ball. We are looking forward to some cooler weather games so that he will have more fun. We have to give kudos to their coaches who ran around with them in the heat to teach and encourage. Talk about a workout! Don't even ask about the camera.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Soybean Festival

Free BBQ, friends, and fun- it adds up to a worthwhile drive back to Martin. We went back to Tennessee this afternoon to visit with friends and go to the annual Soybean Festival. For those unfamiliar with the event here's the scoop: basically the entire town turns out for free BBQ and festival style fun in downtown Martin. Its cheesy, the rides expensive, and there's lots of junk for sale, but its small town life and a highlight of the fall when we lived there. We just couldn't miss it this year-we are only an hour away. It was great to walk around and see friends again and say hello. We really had a good time and the weather was cool and perfect for being outside. The kids enjoyed being back in Martin and seeing familiar things. The McDonoughs even bought them dippin' dots- so of course it was an evening to remember! While there Tim was happy to learn that the greenway project (something he was very involved in) is making significant progress and hopefully one day we will be able to go back and visit and walk along the trail! And yes, once again, I had no camera. When Katey and Carter were riding the kiddie carousel together-by themselves-I could have kicked myself, so you'll just have to trust me that it was cute. Maybe I should just keep the camera in the van!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cleaning too often?

Warning to my mother: prepare yourself. We have wood floors throughout a lot of our home. The entire main level has them, and that includes the kitchen. I really like it, but it has been a challenge keeping the floor in the kitchen clean with the children. I clean them every week or so to remove all the sticky spots, dirt, and whatever else is left after daily (at least) sweeping. Lately they have been cloudly looking. I did some research and found out that I was cleaning them too often. You have to understand that I am the last person to be accused of "over cleaning!" I try not to let it get too bad, but in truth we aim for sanitary around here. My Mom keeps an extremely neat house, I wish I could keep up, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. So after I got over the shock of my "over cleaning" status I tried to find out what to do to fix our floor. I spent yesterday afternoon scrubbing the floors removing the built up cleaner. They look better. In the long run we'll save money- the floor cleaner I used was expensive. Now its spot cleaning only and sweeping. The kids are going to have to work on eating neatly! I find it funny that for once caring for something in the house will actually require less work!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fairness

The subject of discussion in our house lately. "That's not FAIR" is a common statement in our house. Some things are, some are not. It's life. We try to keep things fair, but sometimes it just isn't. Usually in those cases we just explain and move on. Not yesterday. I had to side with the "that's not FAIR" group because I was one of them. The boys and Daddy went disc golfing and the girls and Mommy stayed home. Tim wanted time with the boys alone. I understood, explained it to Laurel and we did "girly" things. Then the boys came home. They disc golfed, ate Subway, and went to Dairy Queen. The Subway thing was okay, the girls had lunch, but going DQ and bringing home nothing- NO FAIR!! So at 7:00 last night the girls and I went to DQ. A trip to town with no other purpose, so wasteful, but we wanted in on the fun, too!! All progress made on the fairness principle has now been lost. Oh well, my blizzard was good and Laurel learned that you can't eat an ice cream sandwich with no front teeth!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Time for a change

This has been a weekend of decisions. The first was made by our good friends, the Crabb family, who have decided to move to Iowa. We have a lot in common and have become close since our arrival here and we will be sad to see them go. Hopefully we can enjoy some good times before they leave. Coming on the heels of the Shideler's departure it seems the kids are seeing their friends leave at an alarming rate!

The other major decision is that we are changing our homeschool curriculum. Those of you who homeschool know what a big deal this is after only 31 days of school. Despite the expense and my reluctance to turn away from what I had planned to do, after prayer and discussion with Tim we have decided that we have to change what we are using for school. We are going with the curriculum we had planned to use next year. Hopefully the change will work better for everyone and help make our school a place in which kids love to learn and I can feel I am giving them what they need. It will make things easier for me as the new materials do a lot of the prep work for me!

Big decisions, family day at the park with church (thanks to Roy and Angie), and a garage that has been cleaned out- that was our weekend thus far. Its no wonder we were exhausted yesterday!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

He knows the inventory

Recall the post a few days ago about our "food taker." Yesterday I promised the kids lemonade with lunch. I went to the cabinet to get the mix (we buy the 2 quart premix stuff). I found the container on its usual shelf, empty. Apparently the last person to use it put it back with nothing in it. I explained this to Carter (the one who REALLY wanted the lemonade). He insisted there was lemonade in the cabinet. I showed him the empty container and again explained I can't make the lemonade with no mix. His response: "You do have some Mommy." Reaching the point of exasperation at not being able to explain our situation to a 4 year old I told him "Carter, if you can tell Mommy where to get lemonade out of that cabinet I will get it and make it for you." He said "On the highest shelf, all the way at the back." Yes, you guessed it. Behind the sure-jell boxes, muffin pan liners, tea bags, and other misc stuff that doesn't get moved around very often was a container of lemonade mixes. When I told Tim about this last night he wasn't surprised. He told me that Carter had done the same thing when he was in search of a bagel for breakfast yesterday morning. So today as I make my shopping list and try to figure out what we have and need, I know who to ask.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grass is always greener, food is always better

Katey has a new habit. She loves to eat other people's food. It can be identical to the food on her plate, but still she will prefer the one belonging to someone else. Last night Tim couldn't eat his popcorn because Katey was so busy consuming it. When she finished eating she came over to me and gave me her bowl - which was untouched. I can't leave my water sitting around anywhere, because Mommy's drink is also preferred-and she still has a high backwash percentage! Tonight it was her Daddy's dinner at church. It was taco salad so I took sandwiches for the kids and they ate those with some tortilla chips. She reached over and dipped her chip in her Daddy's plate and said "Daddy's food is yummy." What was really funny is that you could tell she wasn't really sure she liked the taste, but since it was Daddy's it was automatically "YUMMY." If she keeps this up it is going to wreak havoc on my germophobic tendencies as cold and flu season approaches.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Learning interesting facts

This week I picked up some "fun" non-fiction books at the library. We have learned a lot about airplanes, food - for humans and animals and where it comes from, and toys. A book about the origin of favorite toys has been particularly interesting. Tonight we read about the slinky and legos. At the end of the chapter is a set of "facts", trivia about the toy in that chapter. I read along -aloud- the information about the various Legolands around the world. Guess where the kids want to go. I have to learn to preread!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Proud Criminal and a Lost Tooth

Today Carter confessed. The more correct term might be boasted. Somehow we have raised a child proud of his indiscretions. I was preparing dinner and Carter was talking to me in the kitchen. He said " Mama, during quiet time when no one is in the kitchen I come in really quiet and take the food. I am the food taker." Bold, honest, and I think he has just given himself a new nickname. I had to laugh despite my intentions of ending his "food taking"- somehow we have to teach him that being a thief is not a good thing. A few minutes later Matthew (with lots of encouragement from Laurel) let me pull his first loose tooth. He showed me that it was really loose yesterday and I told him he would lose it sometime this week, but then Laurel took over as coach. Much wiggling, twisting, and pulling led to an extraction less than 24 hours later.

Today was the first day of soccer for the boys and they had a great time. I will take my camera to their first game in a couple of weeks and try to post some video for all to see. Carter is doing well even though he is younger than all the other players.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School

Today was back to our routine and I think everyone enjoyed being back to normal. We did school, cleaned up, had quiet time, and we even managed to fit in a craft. I spent more individual time with each child in school today and that made for a longer day, but they seemed to enjoy my focused attention. The last week or so has been pretty hectic. We made it to church tonight and it was good to be back. Katey really enjoyed being back with her class and her teachers. I am tired and headed to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow along with a trip to the library and shopping for soccer season this fall. Life is too busy!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Detroit Zoo

Here are the pictures I took at the Zoo while in Michigan set to a little "animal music".

video

HOME!!

We are home. As we got close to home last night I asked Tim "Do you remember if the house was clean when we left?" Neither one of us could recall. Unfortunately the answer was no. The boys came downstairs after taking their bags up and said "someone has been in our house and they made a big mess in our room!" I had to explain that they had made the mess before leaving. I am spending the day trying to get things cleaned up and doing some review work for school with the kids. After living for three weeks with what we could fit in the van it seems like we need to get rid of at least half of what we own. We have too much stuff and a Mom who doesn't want to deal with keeping it up!! So far I have four bags going to the thrift store. I will try to post the remaining pics from our trip by tomorrow.

My Grandmother was able to write a few words on a pad yesterday to communicate with my Mom and Aunt so that is encouraging. Please continue to pray for her to regain the ability to speak. Also pray for our family as everyone works to care for her, family members travel to help, and for relief from the stress that comes when one you love so much is ill. Thanks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Prayer Request

We awoke yesterday and found that my Grandmother had suffered a stroke during the night. She is showing encouraging signs, but continues to be unable to speak. Please keep her in your prayers as well as our travel home. We expect to be home in Murray on Monday evening and I will send an update.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alte Pinakothek

I visited the Alte Pinakothek (Old Paintinggallery) art museum in Munich. It is huge! Way too many paintings to see in one visit. The museum featured many 17 century works, such as by Rubens. See Rubens with His First Wife, Isabella Brandt, in the Honeysuckle Bower, 1609-10. Tim



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thurn und Taxis


We visited the Thurn und Taxis palace. It is a 500 room palace that started as a monastery. The Thurn und Taxis family still lives there. "The beautiful cloisters of the ancient abbey, one of the oldest in Germany, are still in fair preservation. In 1809 the conventual buildings were converted into a palace for the prince of Thurn and Taxis, hereditary postmaster-general of the Holy Roman Empire. "

Monday, August 11, 2008

Klosterschenke Weltenburg




Greetings! I visited the The Klosterschenke Weltenburg (monastery) yesterday. The trip involved trains, busses, and a boat trip up the Danube. The setting makes a beautiful place to eat lunch, which we did along with many German tourists. Tim


Friday, August 8, 2008

Kneitinger



Yesterday we toured a brewery in Regensburg called Kneitinger. We got to see how beer is made. This brewery has been making beer since 1530. The logo features a goat, or "bock" in German. Tim


Thursday, August 7, 2008

craft projects


Tonight the kids did craft projects. They were given some of the projects they missed during earlier weeks of VBS and they did a couple of them tonight. They spent the afternoon immersed in electronics as we tried to keep them quiet while Papa recovered from oral surgery this morning. It was time to turn it all off after dinner and have some time in the real world. We head to MI in the morning if Papa can make the trip.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Used bookstore

I had forgotten how much I love the used bookstore. I used to be a regular customer trading books in and buying more, but once we left Knoxville we left our used bookstore days behind. We have gotten used to utilizing the library and interlibrary loan for most everything we read. Today I took Laurel and stack of books my Mom was ready to trade in to "Mr. K's Books" and we had a blast. Laurel was excited to pick books she could keep for as long as she wanted. I was excited to get the Narnia books (we have trouble finishing these in the time the library will allow). Laurel found some good books: Ginger Pye, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, and more. Hopefully she will enjoy reading her new inventory while in Michigan.

Hello from Regensburg


Hello from Regensburg. Here is a photo of the Dom (church) in Regensburg. According to Wikipedia, "the Dom (Cathedral) is a very interesting example of pure German Gothic and counts as the main work of Gothic architecture in Bavaria. It was founded in 1275 and completed in 1634, with the exception of the towers, which were finished in 1869." Today we will visit the Ratshaus (town hall). Tim

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bye to the music

I am taking the link to the music off the blog. Quite frankly until we were away from home I didn't realize how annoying it could be. Our computer is always set to "mute". At my parent's it comes on incredibly loud and since I can't find a way to make it play more quietly automatically I am taking it off.

This morning we went to the library. The kids were disappointed when we found it closed for a staff meeting. We returned our books to the night deposit and will try again later. We are headed to swim and play in the sand again at the lake today after Katey wakes up from nap. It seems she, like me, was worn out after yesterday's day at the zoo. I am hoping this activity filled week will tire them so that they will sleep for HOURS on the drive to Detroit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zoo

Today we went to the zoo. I am posting several pictures of the kids individually so Tim can see them. The baby chimp, George- in the first picture below, is just a couple of weeks old! The kids have been looking forward to seeing him. Daisy (Mom) was very proud to show us her baby. She brought him up close and would knock on the glass if we weren't looking close enough. The picture of them is blurry because I had to turn the flash off to take a picture through the glass, but you might be able to tell that she was smiling!
Daisy and George
The kids on the carousel. (Carter is behind Matthew)
Katey enjoyed the sandbox in the Kid's Cove area.
It was too hot by the time I tried to get a group shot. No one felt much like posing.
Laurel sat still in the butterfly exhibit hoping her flowered shirt would attract a new friend. It worked!!
Got pictures of plants Tim liked when we were there in the Spring.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Prague

I attended a concert by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra today. The concert was at the Municipal House in Prague (see photo). This was the last night of the Prague Proms festival. Tim.

Those shoes!

Saturday we went to the swimming area at one of the TVA lakes here. It was fun- the kids loved playing in the sand and making sand castles. Katey learned to make footprints and loved making them, pouring water over them, and making more. She kept herself amused for a long time, and I kept having to move her around to find less "saturated areas" of sand . It was hot and I wanted to be home for Tim to call so we called it a day way before the kids were done. Trying to get the kids in the car and leave at least some of the sand behind was chaotic. Matthew took off his shoes and climbed in- the shoes we had to search all over for (apparently you can't buy a pair of cheap "crocs" late in the summer without difficulty). I got home and realized Matthew didn't have his shoes. We had left them sitting beside the car. I weighed my options: drive back to the park, chance them being there by the time church is over on Sunday to save gas, or go back to the Walmart and get another pair, if they had his size. I decided that they would likely be gone by Sunday afternoon, they might not have his size in a new pair, so I drove back. I'm guessing it cost me about what we paid for the shoes in gas to go get them (they were on clearance), but we have the shoes and hope it is the last time I have to worry about Matthew and his crocs- the only shoes he wants to wear in the summer.
As for Tim in Germany he is having a good time but is suffering the woes of an American tourist in Europe with the weak dollar. He told me today that a cup of coffee where he was yesterday was $3 to $4. It is costing him about 50 cents a minute to call home, but we are happy to hear Daddy's voice. Katey is cute when she says "Daddy's in Gername (Ger-Na-Me)".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Spray Park

Today was the spray park-see the images below. We stopped on the way home to take advantage of the no tax weekend here and I picked up fall shoes for the kids today at payless for less than $9 a pair!!! I am feeling good about my bargains. Later at Walmart everyone got socks, some got underwear, a few school supplies, and stickers for Katey. Its amazing how pleased kids can be with "necessities" when you make underwear and sock shopping a shopping spree!! Tomorrow's plans are up in the air, stay tuned. I am bummed because I am missing the awesome FREE breakfast at Office Depot at home! Remember people - its a small town, we love our simple pleasures.

video

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sibling love

Carter and Laurel are trying to adjust to sleeping with one another in the same room. My parents have a trundle bed for them so Laurel is in the top bed and Carter is on the trundle in the "kid room". It has been somewhat difficult so when I checked on them before bed last night and saw this I just had to share.


I have no idea how he managed to sleep like that but he was out cold. Laurel told me this morning he was scared so she told him he could sleep with her. I am sure there is more to this story.


Today was a little school time and a trip to the movies to see Wall E. The older two liked it, the younger two were far more amused by the movie snacks than the movie and were ready to go far before it was over. A little too much plot for my preschool set I think. Tomorrow we are planning a trip to the "spray park" in West Knoxville.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Regensburg, Germany

Guten Tag, this is a guest post from Tim from Regensburg, Germany. All is well and I am furiously typing on a German keyboard to finish before my .10 Euro expires. I love yuou!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lets hope things go more smoothly!

Tim is on his way and the children are all alive. I am counting my blessings as I ponder our crazy day.

All went well this morning. Tim got his stuff together while I got the children ready early. We planned a leisurely trip to the airport with a quick stop at Target to get a battery operated alarm clock for him to take. He was going through his files one last time giving me things I might need and handed me his itinerary. He told me his flight left at 2:10, when I looked at his paperwork I saw that 2:10 was his arrival time in Atlanta. He was to fly out at 1:05. It was 11:44 and my parents live 30 minutes from the airport. We made record time, the children moved amazingly quickly as their parents flew around in a panic grabbing bags and loading up. He was checked in by 12:20, said a quick goodbye to us and made a mad dash to security. He made it to the plane. So far the only thing we know he forgot was his neck pillow which he can live without. Now as for his luggage-with a 45 minute prior check-in...we'll see.

As I was driving back to my parents Katey choked on a hair clip. We were driving down the interstate when I hear gaging sounds. I look back and see it come up into her mouth from her throat. Then she screamed and as a result sucked it back down! The gaging began again and I rush to get us to the side of the road. I jumped out and opened her door just as she coughed it up again. I shoved her quickly forward and gave her a "pat" on her back and it to fell out of her mouth. She was scared but a drink of water and some love from Mom calmed her down somewhat. She needed more attention, but the side of the road was not the place to be.

There was a trip to Walmart and one to Target the full details of which I will spare you. Here is a brief summary: It is hard for a kid to spend $6 on toys for his birthday when there is really nothing cool there, Katey now only has one Dora shoe, Carter thinks walking through the racks instead of around them is fun, and I may have to go back to the store again tomorrow for things I forgot.

I am reminded to stick to my motto: kid friendly or no go!! Tomorrow is library in the morning and church at night. Hopefully a quiet afternoon reading books will help us recover.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun so far...

We are back at my parents following a couple of days in Gatlinburg and Dollywood. The kids had a great time at Dollywood. We arrived at 9 am and left at 6 pm. It was a long day and the children wanted more, but the adults were exhausted. We tried to encourage them by saying you will have something to look forward to the next time we visit, they were unimpressed by our logic. Here are a few pics from the park.



Later Tim and I had a night out in Gatlinburg. We left the hotel at 9pm. It seemed strange to go out so late- how things change! I had looked forward to Calhouns BBQ potato skins all evening (a favorite from my Knoxville days). We walked up the strip to Calhouns and arrived a few minutes after 10. They closed at 10. BUMMER! They suggested we go up to the brewery which was open later, but without my potato skins Calhouns just isn't the same. We went back to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. It was near our hotel and we had never eaten there. We have a history of quoting from the movie among ourselves, so it seemed like something we should try. Tim found the marketing of a restaurant based on a fictious company in a movie was interesting. My food was okay, the portion a little small, price a little high. Tim's food arrived cold. He told the server and they replaced his fries, he ate his Shrimp Po Boy as it was (we were starving by this point). The service was excellent, and in a way that would make Tina proud we asked that the server tell the manager about Tim's food and she took it off our check.

This morning we swam and took the kids to a nearby park. They enjoyed wading/swimming in the river and as we were leaving Matthew spotted a raccoon. He is so good at spotting wildlife when we are out and about! Here are some pics: