March 28, 2009


Yes, here we are with another post of random stuff! This last week has been rather low key. Monday and Tuesday were really great weather days, and we enjoyed playing outside both days. That's hard to remember given that it's now Saturday night and it's been raining since Tuesday night! Great for the grass and flowers...terrible for the cabin fever with little kids.

We have some stuff up in the attic of the Lodge that has never made the move to the house. The kids and I went on a hunt Monday and found some treasures to bring home; a few stuffed animals, some books, and a gift Amelia received when she was three that I had stored away, because she was three. Here it is...

A real makeup kit, made for little kids. Right on the package it says Ages 3 and Up. At the time I didn't feel real good about giving a three year old free rein with no less than 10 eye shadows, nail polish, body glitter, and lipstick. Something told me it wouldn't be a good idea.


Here she is at three, after raiding my purse.

So, now that she's a very mature, capable 5 3/4, I thought it would be okay to let it come out of hiding.

Notice we're on the back porch. I mean, Amelia's Outdoor Beauty Salon.

She has lots of customers.

The final result. Gorgeous, dahling.

Anyone remember Glamour Shots? If I ever get the scanner going I'll humiliate myself by posting a Glamour Shot of myself. It's to die (laughing) for.

Elizabeth is now nearing 10 months old (on April 5th), and is making some developmental leaps forward. Crawling isn't one of them yet, though she's trying. She also cut a top tooth this week, and now makes a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard teeth grinding noise.

I'm okay with the not crawling thing, once she starts that things will be a lot harder for me! I can put her down in one spot and she does manage to scooch forward a few inches at a time to get ahold of things that look interesting to her. More than once she's worked on moving some furniture.

"Let's see, it needs to go a little more to the right, over there...."


Tuesday we had playgroup at the Cleveland Park. The kids call it the "blue park," because the slides are blue. As opposed to the orange park (in Clermont) or the green park (in Helen). The details we adults miss.

Intense concentration is required for sliding, lest one face plant at the bottom.

Elliott, just hanging around.

When Amelia got this shirt from Mimi and Papa last year she asked me what it said. I told her and she said, "Why isn't it easy being a Princess?" It's not hard for her!

Kyndal and A.J.

One of the best things about the blue park is the baby swings.

Elizabeth loves them!

Prepare yourself for what happened Tuesday night at dinner. Lately our biggest peeve with Avery at meals has been that he perpetually puts his right (non-utensil) hand in his food while he eats. This week he graduated from his high chair seat to a booster seat at the table with the rest of us. In the other chair he tends to fly under the radar since he sits off to the side, and I am always focused on the others. (No burping, sit up straight in your seat, don't dunk your quesedilla in your drink kind of stuff.)

Here's proof of that lack of attention. I hear him say, "My hand's yucky..."

Apparently he thought it would be a good idea to use his face and head as a napkin.

He's crying because he got in trouble, since we tell him 437 times per meal not to put his hand in his food. I took him into the bathroom, ready to hose him down in the shower, then I thought, "Get the camera first."

The most disturbing thing to me about these photos is how much he looks like the Heath Ledger version of the Joker in the latest Batman movie. Yikes.

Wednesday morning I got up to the sound of a steady rain. Macy D., one of our music minister's daughters, usually comes over for a few hours first thing Wednesday mornings before gymnastics, to watch the kids so I can go to the barn. A homeschooler is a treasure! There was no riding for me since it was raining, but I did get some time to clean the barn since we have Open House on Sunday. I enjoyed myself completely. Weird, huh?

Thursday we stayed at home (it was still raining), did school, laundry, the usual, while the kids questioned me no less than 40 times about when we would go somewhere. Their dreams came true when we went to the Davidsons for dinner.

Friday- More rain! I had a hair appointment, but aside from that we were home yet again.

And now for more randomocity, pictures taken this week.

I love my toes!

Especially after a bath, they're just so...clean!

We have a sign language book that demonstrates some basic signs. Amelia and I were looking through it this week and the sign for dog includes a finger snap. She finally learned how to snap this week.

And she was proud of herself! Most firsts are big deals for little kids. We've had a few houseflies making themselves at home lately, and she killed one with the fly swatter this week, and said, "My first fly!" So I wrote it in her baby book.

Another first, which we've been working on the past few weeks. Elizabeth is starting to feed herself.

Mastery of the "pincer grasp" with a piece of cheese. (It really is a baby milestone, or so the experts say.) Ah yes, I remember my first pincer grasp. On James. We'll leave it at that...

So what's going on here?

Dinner table antics. Everyone has to practice their stupid human tricks. And everyone wants to be like Dad. Try it...

First raise the right eyebrow...

then the left. It's not as easy as you think. I personally can only do the left, and forget switching rapidly back and forth between the two.

Amelia can pretty much do it.

We're encouraging lots of practice, since it's so much easier to learn things when you're young. You just never know when she may need to pull this out at a party or something.


Here's the kind of stuff I find around here all the time. Apparently even stick horses with no chance of a belly or digestive tract need something to eat. Green construction paper, in this case.

Elizabeth is making efforts to crawl, she just doesn't quite have it yet. She pushes herself backwards and gets stuck under furniture.

"Help me, mom!"

"I give up! Who gave me this woman as a mother? Put down the camera!"

Many rainy days in a row inspire creativity, such as dumping every toy bin so everyone can have a boat/bathtub/elevator/you name it.

Here they're playing "boy in a bubble," or something.

"Yeah, I'm the boy in the bubble. What you lookin' at?"

I found this darling new sister when I came upstairs earlier. Gotta have the blackmail shots.

Like this one of Shannon, taken when he was the same age as Avery is now. (Let me preface it by saying he did this himself.)

Good stuff!

Well, I'm out of pictures, and I'm trying not to look at the clock in the bottom right hand of my computer. If you don't know what time you went to bed it's like you really got 8 or more hours of sleep, right? Good thing I only blog once a week or so...


March 21, 2009

Spring break in Texas = family coming to visit

It's been a fun week of family visiting this past week. James' folks arrived last Saturday night, as well as his brother Jason and his fiancee Nelissa and her daughters. We had a very fun week of hanging out with folks we love but don't get to see nearly enough. They made the 15 hour drive just to see the grandkids...and us, I think.

This trip has been planned for some time, in spite of the fact that James' mom had just had surgery to remove a cyst in her ear(for the second time in two years). It ended up being pretty major, but she was determined to come and made the trek just two days after surgery.

Jason and Nelissa

They were recently engaged and will be married in July. Nelissa is a teacher, and Jason is getting his Masters degree in school counseling. They live in Austin, Texas.

Everyone arrived Saturday night, and Jason and Nelissa and her girls Ebony and Olivia joined us for church Sunday morning. Shannon's preschool choir sang, and Shannon stood with them and frowned. I am thinking singing on stage is not his forte. If he ever said he didn't want to do it we wouldn't make him, but he seems to like the idea of going up on stage with them, he just doesn't want to sing. Or look happy.

Sunday it was raining and nasty, and stayed that way through Monday. Monday was spent hanging out at the house. Olivia is eight, and Amelia, Shannon, and Avery had a blast playing with her.

Tuesday was a beautiful day, and we all spent some time soaking up the sunshine outside. The kids rode tricycles and bikes, and Shannon brought out his rod and reel for some practice.

This is serious business.

He called it "road fishing," and it apparently has it's own set of techniques.

The windup...

..and the throw. He could get it WAY down the driveway.

When you're ready to do some road fishing of your own, be sure to let Shannon know. He can give you some pointers.

Avery in Papa's hat.

Thankfully the weather was so nice on Tuesday, because Jason and Nelissa had to leave early Wednesday morning. We made a fun day of it.

Nelissa and her oldest daughter, Ebony.

We headed to the barn so the girls could ride.

Maverick grows a ridiculously long winter coat, and this is shedding season, so we worked on him for a long time. Hair flew everywhere.

Shannon tries to protect his nose from the flying hair.

Note the hair pile starting to collect at Maverick's feet. He looks like a different horse in the summer. A smaller, thinner horse.

Olivia gets a few pointers before taking Lady for a spin. Might I just make the vain comment that I am ready for my hair to hurry up and grow out?

Both girls did well riding, and took turns swapping horses with each other and giving Amelia and Shannon turns too. I hope to be able to teach Amelia to ride by herself better this summer.

On our way back to the house we stopped at the lake to throw in some rocks. My kids could do this for hours.

Ebony chunks a big one. They make a more satisfying splash than the baby ones.

This was amazing. Amelia actually levitated a rock. I wasn't aware it was a talent she had until this day. Wow. (James and I just finished watching all three X-Men movies this week. If you've seen them, you'll know why this picture was extra weird for me. If not, see them, they're good!)

Elizabeth and Uncle Jason.

Wednesday morning Jason and Nelissa and the girls left before the crack of dawn (and before the crack of my eyelids). James and his dad got in some fly fishing, something they enjoy together and do whenever they get a chance. Thanks to Mimi I got to spend some wonderfully terrific time at the barn Wednesday morning. I rode my new favorite horse Reggie, and also got to ride one of Susan's awesome horses. It was another beautiful day, started one of my favorite ways. (Thanks, Mimi!)

Wednesday night the kids and I headed off to church and James stayed home with his folks. He had to work a lot of the week since this is crunch time at camp with promotions, hiring staff, and all the other things that go into making camp great. We've often said that camp is 10 months of work for a two month production.

Thursday we had more family come to see us. James' mom's twin sister Sherry lives in Senecca, SC, about an hour and a half from us. She came down for the day with her daughter, James' cousin Tracy, and Tracy's daughters London and Harper. Ameiia is just six months older than London and loves playing with her. Thankfully it was another great weather day. The kids played inside for awhile, then headed out to the (bear tested) play set. Later we went back to the barn.

Amelia and London feed Dante.

It's golf cart weather again. I love golf cart weather! We've been able to dust it off after a cold winter and use it for our means of travel around camp again.

On the way back we stopped to throw some rocks in the lake. I hope the lake doesn't get too full due to water displacement from all the rocks. If so I'll just have Amelia leviate some out.

They also requested a stop at the daffodils. Harper is two, born just before Avery.

We love daffodils.

Don't let the flowers fool you. He's still a man's man.

Aunt Sherry, Tracy, and Cherry (aka Mimi/Mom H.).

Aunt Sherry also goes by Mimi. It's a twin thing...decided independently of one another. So here are the Mimi's and the grandkids.

Thursday night we went to Rebecca's for dinner. She has a Wii, and the kids are always begging to play. This time it was adult Wii time, and we played Rock Band, a fun game where you can sing, play drums, or the guitar. Your band can get booed off the stage, or you can earn money if you're good. The kids kept asking to play, so being the good parents we are, we said, "No, we're playing. Find something else to do." We like to set the example for sharing.

We said our goodbyes to Mimi and Papa Thursday night, since they had to leave dark and early (as opposed to bright and early) Friday morning. We always hate goodbyes, seems like the time is always too short. We look forward to their retirement and move to Georgia in a few years.

Friday and Saturday I worked on catching up on some stuff around here, mostly e-mails for camp and some other responsibilities I had put off earlier in the week. James headed down to Strong Rock school Friday for some camp networking, and since our friend Curtis rode along with him the kids and I joined Jenny and kids for dinner. She invited the older two for a sleepover the following night with the Davidson crew, so I trucked them over Saturday evening and went to Ingles with the other two. Did you know it's actually easier to go to the store with two kids than four?

We went to church this morning...and would you know the Davidsons with their four and our two STILL beat us there? I got to spend another fun afternoon riding after lunch today. On a sad note, I did lose a horse today. One of our camp horses started losing weight a few months ago and has been getting progressively sicker, not eating, etc. The vet couldn't figure out what it was, so I waited it out, until today when the poor guy couldn't get up. James ended it for him. I am sad, but that's how it goes with critters sometimes. It's very probable that he had a tumor or a type of cancer an exam and bloodwork couldn't pick up.

Well, that's a sad note to end on, but I'm done. There's nothing else to report. No more pictures to post. And it's time for bed and then some. Adios, amigos. Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you. Farewell, and goodbye.

Or not. I forgot something. If you're reading this and are free next Sunday afternoon, please come to Open House here at camp. It's from 1:30 to 5:30, on the 28th. If you're reading this...huh. If you're not you must be using your powers of telepathy. I'm telling you, you have to see the X-Men movies.