October 27, 2009


Last week was a flurry of trips- family trips, field trips, and even a few trips resulting in face plants. We like the kind where you get to go somewhere better than the fall on your face trips though.

The first trip we took was last weekend. The kids and I headed to McDonough on Friday, spent the night at mom and dad's, and then headed with them and my Nanny down to south Georgia for the day on Saturday. Nanny is 82 (my mom's mom), and her siblings are in or close to their 80's as well. There were seven of them, and so far only the oldest brother, my Grandaddy, a sister-in-law, and two brothers-in-law have passed away. They've been making a point to get together several times a year, and she really wanted us and my brother's family to go this time. (James had a group to take care of at camp and didn't come with us.)

If I have any of that side of the family's genes I should live a long, productive life. Some of them I hadn't seen in nearly 10 years (I know, I know! No excuse!) and was surprised at how little most of them seemed to have aged. Nanny's 87 year old sister took care of a great grandson from the time he was an infant until this year when he turned 3 and went to preschool, and now she just picks him up everyday and keeps him for a few hours. I hope I'm that able at that age! They are a sweet bunch of folks and remarkably all seven couples have made it to their 50th anniversaries. That's a great legacy I'm proud to be a part of.

Here they are, siblings and in-laws.

Nanny and her sister Mae.

Nanny, her brother Willard, and sister Elise.

Nanny, her brother Irving, and my mom.

My brother Jonathan and niece Jordan at lunch. Let me tell you, there was some GOOD cooking going on that day.

My sister-in-law Lisa with Elizabeth. I managed to go all day without a picture of my newest niece Reagan. She was probably in the house being passed round and round.

The kids didn't have too much trouble finding something to entertain themselves with. My great aunt and uncle have a pecan tree right over their driveway which was dropping lots of pecans. (The south Georgia pronounciation is "pee-can." Most folks say "pa-con." The Himstedt kids were corrected a few times by native south Georgians and in the end Shannon settled on calling them "pee-cons.")

Jordan and Avery get a push from Amelia.

Picking up pee-cons with Uncle Irving and a pee-can eater, as some of the cousins called the nifty roller thingy Shannon is pushing to pick them up with.

The best thing about south Georgia is that the soil is sand. Instant fun in every yard.

We returned to Cleveland the next morning to help host Open House at camp. The weather was nice, the turnout wasn't so great, but the ones that did come had a terrific time.

The next morning we headed out to a nearby apple farm for a field trip. I joined a local group of homeschoolers that sends out all kinds of info on events, posts things for sale, lists co-op classes offered, etc., and they organized a homeschool field trip.

We joined our friends the Jennings and the Sumptions along with about 50 other homeschoolers. Here's Amelia with Meg.

We got to do a mini corn maze and they also took us on a wagon ride through the farm.

Hey Avery and Elizabeth! Look at the camera.....nevermind.

Everybody got to pick out their own mini pumpkin.

Won't Elizabeth look cute holding a little pumpkin?

Don't do it...


The little boys on the trip loved this part.

It's a grading "bachine," as Avery calls it.

Apples go in, get brushed and washed, and sorted into sizes for packing.

Afterward we tried apple chips and cider and got some nice apples and coloring sheets as parting gifts. We picnicked with the Jennings then the kids played for a little while before we headed home for the littlest ones to get a nap.

Elizabeth's Children of the Corn(stalk) impression.

As though one field trip for the week wasn't enough, the very next day we headed to the Georgia Aquarium. Tuesdays and Thursdays they have special events for homeschoolers. James had never been and the kids and I hadn't been since the oldest three were three, two, and 7 months, so we made our plans and headed down Tuesday morning.

And because we hadn't seen enough of the Jennings the day before, we met them there as well. Amelia and Meg again.

Meg teaches Elizabeth about some rare tropical species. Or something like that.

We got to see the 3-D show, which even blows real bubbles and spits real water on you.

Amelia would have petted the stingrays and little sharks all day long.

She enjoyed touching the horseshoe crabs and some sea anemones too.

A rather sizeable sea turtle.

In the ballroom they had several activities for homeschoolers. One of them was a lesson on how humans can impact aquatic life. They went fishing to see what's supposed to be in the water (fish) and what isn't (cans, trash, boots, etc.).

They fished it to empty, which I couldn't help but mention to the nice lady running the activity was kind of funny. She agreed that now it was probably time to add a lesson on sustainable fishing.

Meg, Avery, Alex Anne, Shannon, and Amelia in the shark hats they made upstairs. I'm not sure they knew what was sneaking up behind them.

Yep, we were all at the Aquarium that day.

It was a fun day. The only dissapointment was not getting to see the Beluga whales, which I had been talking up all day. They had been shipped to Texas so they wouldn't be stressed by the construction noise coming from the building of a dolphin exhibit. I can't help but wonder how much LESS stressed they were by being shipped over 800 miles. The kids keep talking about going back to the Aquarium, so I'd consider it a successful day.

Wednesday we went to church as usual, and Thursday night we went to the Jennings for dinner group...because we just can't get enough of them! Amelia spent the night with them and did school at their house the next day. We didn't manage to finish off Thursday's dinner, so some of us came back to work on it again Friday night. Amelia came home, and Shannon stayed with the Hicks for the night and went to his first real movie, Astro Boy (his gift from the Hicks for his birthday).

I got a few shots of James coming in from a ride this week. He's been faithfully either road or mountain biking at least three times a week.

Nothing like finishing of a 20 mile ride with a giant HILL.

I love a man in tight shorts. Well, this man anyway.

Dude's lost 20 pounds and counting! I'm very proud of him.

This past weekend also seemed to be the peak of leaf season. I didn't think it was ever going to get pretty, but Saturday I noticed it was colorful all of a sudden. By mid-week it was mostly all yellow and brown and leaves started falling off everywhere. It was kind of short this year.

And if you care to know what else I've been doing this week, check out the mountain I got to summit.

This is what happens when a part on your washing machine breaks and it takes a week to get it in.

Elizabeth, plopped in the dirty clothes, just for size reference.

Everytime I lug a basket of dirty laundry down or clean laundry up the steps and am tempted to complain, I think of women in other countries scrubbing the few things their family owns on rocks, or hand pumping water into a bucket to carry home....and I regain perspective and shut up. Thank you, Lord, that you invented the washing machine, detergent, and the dryer! Oh, and thanks for stain remover too, we've used about 300 gallons since the kids joined our family.

At the end of this post if you've got a second (and haven't already seen this), copy and paste the link for help on perspective AND a great laugh. I am apparently not bright enough to figure out how to make it a link so you can just click it...I tried, and it kept sending me to a dead end when I clicked on it. So just to be safe, copy and paste!

One more bit of excitement for the week. Amelia called from the Jennings house when she spent the night last week. "Guess what, mommy?" (I had my suspicions, and they were right.)

The other tooth came out!

I remember this trick from a lot of years ago.

Yesterday I was starting to get annoyed with her for continuing to pull sandwich meat out of her sandwich instead of just biting it off, then I remembered those shorties coming in weren't much good yet.

The tooth fairy left a couple of quarters this time, and was surprised and VERY pleased to find Amelia working on this a day later.

I love it! (The blob on the far right is her asleep in bed, the brown haired one is me, er, the Tooth Fairy, holding the ziplock baggie the tooth was in.) May she always be this thoughtful on her own.

For my next act I hope to post some pictures of this year's Halloween get ups. It's supposed to be rainy and yucky though, and I still have to finish coming up with something for everybody to wear. It's such an important event in our family, we've been planning costumes literally for MINUTES.

Don't forget to watch this! And don't forget to copy and paste or you won't get to.

PS- Dang it if I didn't forget to add a few more pictures I meant to stick in this post. This weekend I got ahold of my dad's camera and it had a few on it of James with the kids at the dove hunt they went to in September. James didn't take any that day, so I was happy to have these. I like these shots of the kids with their Daddy.