April 27, 2009

More of the usual...

The last week and a half or so have been pretty uneventful. I think. I'll try to remember what has happened since I last blogged, we'll see how the memory is holding up this week. (I NEVER could have imagined that one day I would be using the word "blog" as a verb! I know what it stands for but it still sounds stupid...)

Last week we did the usual stuff, and enjoyed some awesome weather. When it starts getting warm for real is when I start getting camp fever. This is the time of year during college when I would have real trouble focusing on work and would daydream about camp starting. Not much has changed there. And it's not just because I won't have to cook all summer. :) We're golf carting everywhere these days, which is a terrific way to travel with four little kids. Unless you're in a hurry. Or hate pollen. It's not much good on Highway 129 here in front of camp either, since it's top speed is about 10 1/2 miles per hour. I guess since about half the people in White County drive that speed maybe it wouldn't be so bad...

Warm weather requires putting away one wardrobe and getting out another one (or buying it, in the case of the oldest kids). Shannon cracked me up this week. He was wearing flip flops and looked down at his feet, back at me seriously, and said, "Which one's flop?"

Let's see if I can drum up anything exciting from last week. (*Thinking* Ow.) Nope. Monday we stayed home. Tuesday we had a fun playgroup at Sarah's house. Wednesday morning I got to ride, then we took Macy home and went to the grocery store. Gymnastics has moved to Thursdays at 3:30. Not the best for naps, but we're nearly done with gymnastics for awhile anyway.

Wednesday afternoon Amelia had to be at church at 4:00 for choir practice. Her kids' choir is doing a musical this Sunday and she has a starring role as a clam puppet. Well, it's not really starring...and tecnically it's just her hand. It's a beach themed musical, and it promises to be really cute. All the muscials the kids choir have done in the past have been terrific. This is the first year she has been in this choir, and I see lead roles and solos in her future. For now she's pretty excited about being a clam for her debut. Usually 4:00 is when the little ones are getting up from naps, so that was a little tricky, but after dropping her off we headed to Alison's until it was time for church to start.

Thursday we (oh dreaded thought) stayed at home ALL MORNING again. I wonder if every kid likes to go places like ours do. They always get up each morning asking where we're going. We headed to gymnastics in the afternoon, then went to the Knott's house for dinner. We got a freak thunder/hail storm, and Shannon planted himself by my side until it was over. I remember the feeling of security I used to get by being near my parents. When you're a kid you think adults, especially your parents, have it all together and can protect you from anything. I'm happy to continue the illusion for as long as possible.

Over the weekend we had two retreats at camp, so James was tied up taking care of them. We did get to eat a few meals in the dining hall, which is always nice. Friday I had a vet out to take care of our horses' vaccinations and Coggins tests (a yearly test for Equine Infectious Anemia...like AIDS in horses), and had a mare with an ulcer on her eye looked at. It's the same unfortunate one that's bald with rain rot, and now I'm having to finagle a way to put medicine in her eye FOUR times a day. No easy feat with all these kids. Just loading them up in the car is a process. Thankfully they're really good and patient.

Here are some photo highlights from our week:

Thursday we took a hike. The leaves have finally shown up just this week, and so many things are blooming. The azaleas, dogwoods, and wild azaleas in the woods are beautiful right now.

You can't hike without a walking stick. Or a jogging stroller, if you have a heavy baby.

This has been week-o-tattoos. (That's Spiderman on his arm.) They were in the boys' Easter baskets.

You shouldn't take a hike without your goggles either. You might need to repair something, or build a house while you're out.

Look at my toes!

Fishing without hooks, line, bait...or fish, since this lake isn't stocked.

Winston, who belongs to Daniel, our fellow camp director. He loves sticks.

Even if he has to steal them from little boys.

Siblings to the rescue!

Self-portraits taken from arm's length are never very good.

The kids ask daily when it's going to be warm enough to swim. They settled for washing the golf cart instead.

Elizabeth found her way out onto the porch while the kids were spraying each other. She's still not actually crawling but she can scoot pretty good while sitting up. She reaches forward and gets in a half-crawling position, then scoots a little, then sits back up straight. She's now saying, "Mama, Dada, uh-oh," and is tries to copy what we say. She's been consistently saying the same sound for "thank you," whenever we say it.

My mommy lets me play with filthy shoes! How great to be a fourth kid...

I'm still not sure how we ended up with a baby with so much hair.

I like how small she looks in the doorway.


On Sunday we had a family dinner. My dad's parents are from Cleveland, so I have a lot of extended family here. My Granny was one of eleven, and they still get together several times a year. Sunday after church was one of those.

While we were there my dad's first cousin Travis showed up in an ambulance. He is White County's only paid fireman. Guess he's a pretty busy guy, a superhero of sorts. Actually we do have a volunteer fire department, so he has some help. He's a great guy, and LOVES his job. He went over and above to show the kids the ambulance.

They had lots of questions. The boys wanted to know what every switch and button did, and he patiently answered all of their questions.

Avery even got a look under the hood.

This was a great day for big rigs. They also begged for a tour of Uncle Danny and Aunt Lynn's camper. Avery said it was "awesome," and when he got to the back bedroom asked Aunt Lynn, "Is this your bed?," then told her it was pretty.

We had another fun playgroup today at the Knott's house. Tomorrow morning I'll go riding (yeah!) and Amelia will have an early rehearsal at church again.

Right now I'm taking myself to bed. I should have done it a long time ago. I'm stuck in a stay up too late, get up too late rut. (Late around here is 7:30, but still...the stuff I could accomplish if I could just get up at 6:00! Or so I think.)


April 17, 2009

Storms, and egghunts, and missing photos, oh my!

I've been wanting to sit down and work on another blog entry for days, it's just sometimes hard for me to justify spending the time it takes when there are so many other things that can, should, or must be done in a day. I sometimes wonder if God is looking down on the humanity He created, watching everybody scurry around like busy ants doing things that don't mean anything in light of eternity. (Or even in light of tomorrow, in some cases!)

I took some great pictures this week of Easter festivities and was highly bummmed to have lost some of the best ones somehow. Yesterday I looked through the pictures on my camera and was looking forward to loading them on my computer. Last night it loaded some of them and the rest apparently poofed into nonexistence. The card has been trying to come apart, but I haven't had any trouble with it so I haven't replaced it. (I believe my thriftiness has been mentioned in a previous post or three.) I'm guessing the pictures must have fallen out the crack. If this isn't possible, is there a nice, techinically minded type person out there that can tell me if my pictures are still on the card somewhere?

As for this week's fun, Good Friday was NOT a beautiful weather day. It was much like what I imagine the original Good Friday must have been like.

LOTS of nasty rain, for one thing.

But, we made the most of it at home anyway. Nothing like being confined to the house for an entire day!

Puzzle fun.

I found this in Amelia's room. Apparently Barbie and friends didn't mind braving the weather for a little parade action.

Cousin It makes a guest appearance at the house.

Avery's "baby chick," a baby toy shaped like a key whose battery has been in a slow death for days. It makes a cheeping sound like a chick and he's been petting it and carrying it around.

We did dye some eggs, which is always fun. I'm not sure what malfunction occured, but usually we color on the shells with crayons so the dye won't settle in the colored marks, but it didn't work worth a darn this time. But we tried anyway.

"Whatchoo talkin' bout, Willis?"

When an egg cracks you have to eat it. Taking the shell off requires a lot of concentration.

Got another little piece off....

It always helps to stick your tongue out.

Elizabeth enjoyed watching from her favorite seat in the house, her high chair. She got two more teeth this week, for a grand total of six now.

The final product. You can always substitute stickers for actual artistry. Besides, it makes the eggs look happy.

And for the weather grand finale....


Lots of hail! It hurt my feelings to see and hear it pinging off of my car. I imagined all sorts of damage. Turns out it actually served to sandblast some of the grime off of the paint. I swear the car was a lot cleaner after the hailstorm. You should try your own vehicle exfoilating treatment sometime.

Soon after this we retreated to the basement to wait out a tornado warning. But not before Avery took a head first spill out of a chair right into the high chair. James said he got his very own egg, just in time for Easter. A week later it's still healing, but much better. James was watching the weather from the office computer and advised us to go to the basement, so I grabbed Elizabeth and an ice pack on the way out of the kitchen so I could hold it on Avery's head.

Poor Shannon must have inherited a storm freak gene from me. He was right under me pretty much all day, and actually headed into slight panic mode when he heard the word tornado. He said, "I wish our house was made out of bricks!" None of the kids have really had very much experience with bad weather, but he has always hated thunderstorms. I myself have a hate/hate relationship with potentially dangerous weather, but I've gone out of my way not to project it onto the kids. Maybe it really is a bad gene. Perhaps one day I will share the story that kicked my storm-o-phobia into high gear.

Needless to say, we survived.

Saturday was a much nicer day. I got to go to the barn, though I ended up not riding. A couple of our horses have developed a skin condition called rain rot (nice, eh?), where they lose hair in painful patches when there's lot of rainy weather, and can develop bacterial infections if it gets bad enough. One poor mare has hair missing from her neck to her tail on both sides, so I took time Saturday to give medicated baths and to try to get the healing started. She looks kind of mangy and pathetic right now.

Sunday we headed to the early service. We got one okay picture of the family. I didn't exactly go all out with the Easter duds this year. It can be fun, but it's not what's important.

Our one family shot, not such a great one, but it'll do. The fake tree in the preschool area helps to give it that jungle feel. That and the monkey hanging around James' neck.

We headed off to McDonough (for the second weekend in a row) for a family get together at my Uncle Danny and Aunt Lynn's house. I attemped to get a few shots of the kids before everyone changed.

This was the best I could do. It probably doesn't help that the sun is blinding them.

The boys showing some brotherly love.

The princesses.

Uncle Danny is my Dad's younger brother by two years. He and Aunt Lynn have a great place in McDonough on several acres with a pond. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed most of the day outdoors, after a rather large potluck lunch. The kids went on a hayride while the adults hid 1,782,453 eggs, filled with candy, coins, dollars, and assorted dollar store goodies. After that we fished, hung out with family, attempted to fly kites (the wind was stop and go- no one actually got a kite in the air), and the kids had a blast with bubbles, jump ropes, chalk, and more. In between activities we snuck in for additional sustenance. Well, okay, it was key lime pie, mostly. I put Elizabeth down for a nap in the Pack N Play and she slept for nearly three hours! It was nice to get to enjoy the day playing with the kids without a 20+ pound weight attached to me.

This is the day from which I lost all of the pictures I really wanted. But I did get a few.

Hmmm, I didn't think about asking Avery if I could see what was on his camera's card.

Some of my cousins fishing. Here comes the hay ride.

Uncle Danny must have shown them every square inch of the property. They were gone at least 20 minutes.

My cousins Ashley and Brooke, Uncle Danny's daughters. Ashley and Michael's first baby is due at the beginning of June.

Getting ready to hunt for eggs.

You gotta shake em when you find em, to see what kind of loot is in there.

Avery loves candy (shocking), but was more excited about finding eggs with coins than candy filled ones. I've never seen a kid who loves coins so much. He fills his pockets with them, carries them around all day, and begs to sleep with them. I'd let him except for the choking hazard thing. I would worry about him growing up with money as an idol except that he doesn't really care for dollars. Guess it's just the shiny object factor right now.

Amelia, Shannon, and Mom.

Amelia with my niece Jordan, who is now 21 months old. In the background is my other niece (in Lisa's belly), who is yet nameless and should make an appearance around the middle of June.

And here is where you should see more cute pictures of my niece, the kids hunting eggs and showing off their ridiculously large piles of loot, more cousins, a great one of my Granny and PaPa, James with the boys, the kids fishing, Amelia holding bait (a wiggly worm), a rare picture of JUST James and I, and a fun one of my brother looking tough wielding James' VERY LARGE PISTOL. (This would be a neat place for a link back to the post where there were pictures of the VERY LARGE PISTOL, but I'm not talented enough to pull that off. Actually I'm just not going to research how to do it. Anyone know how?) At any rate, there would have been lots of great pictures but my evil card stole them. The fact that I have now spent at entire paragraph on this topic should be a clue to the depths of my despair over this particular subject. I will now shut up.

We ended up spending an improptu night at my folks' house after finding out Jonathan and Lisa would be staying the night and we could hang out with them some more. It was time well spent, and as a bonus we discovered that there is indeed a free application you can download for Blackberries, semi-equivalent to the iPhone one called "Fart." This one is "Cippie the Farting Chipmunk," but the idea is the same. What could be better than having nine realistic gas sounds right at your disposal, including the ability to set a timer so you can make others victims? It was late, that's all the explanation I can offer. And the kids were in bed, the perfect opportunity to revert back to middle school days. Or to yesterday, if you're a guy.

It had been planned for Amelia to stay a few days with Grandmommy and Grandad, so when we headed out Monday morning we left her in McDonough. The original date to get her back was to be Wednesday, but it turned into Friday, so she got to be Only Child Princess For the Week.

We had an uneventful week at home, aside from a mild fever that hit me Wednesday night and Thursday. Apparently it served to usher in the worst cold I've had for as long as I can remember. The boys missed Amelia. They stayed under my feet nearly the entire week. Apparently Amelia dictates play a lot more than I realized, and they were lost. It was a good week though, and Shannon was a terrific oldest kid stand-in.

Friday we met Amelia and Mom at INK in Gainesville for some play time and the kid exchange. Amelia was less than thrilled to be going home when it was time, but considering the way she crashed in the car the fuss was probably mostly to blame on post grandparents' house fatigue syndrome. (Bet my mom did the same thing when she got home!)

A few shots from INK.

Well, that concludes another nearly two weeks in the life of us. We'll head off to church early in the morning, without James (who is taking care of a mens' group here at camp), and barring rain I'm supposed to help 10 little girls have a terrific horseback riding birthday party at the barn for the afternoon.

I'm taking my sneezy self off to bed. Wish my nose had a spigot I could turn off. Any suggestions on how to install one?

Ahh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhccchhhhooooooooo and goodnight.