December 26, 2011

The end of September

On with September! When we left the lake house (September 13) we went back to Mom and Dad's for the night. My cousin Luke was getting ready to head off to Marine boot camp the next day, so we had a congratulations/going away/we're really proud of you party.

Luke, just a baby at 18, with my mom. He's my mom's brother's youngest kid. They live next door to my folks. There were lots of proud people at this get together!

Uncle Don (Luke's dad) and Uncle Ned (Mom's older brother) frying a ton of fish and hush puppies. The Davis side of the family celebrates every occasion with a fish fry.

Kids played in the driveway at Nanny's house. Princess Jordan.

Amelia and Jaidyn, Uncle Don's granddaughter.

Reagan and Jaidyn. Casey, her mom, says this is Jaidyn's classic "cheese" face.

A random kitty cat in Nanny's bird bath. Maybe he ate the birds already.

Who can understand this child?

Here's a cool dude. I have a prediction about Shannon. He will grow up to like and purchase gear, stuff, and things. He loves sunglasses, gloves, watches, wallets, and pants with pockets so he can carry around all his gear, stuff, and things.

Luke, his recruiter, and a buddy of his. His recruiter worked with him for an entire year before he left, getting him physically fit and ready to go to boot camp. He invested a lot in him. I didn't know recruiters did anything besides hand you a pen.

Aunt Jackie and Uncle Don. It has to be really tough to have your son go into the military. You're so proud of him, but also afraid for him, knowing how tough it's going to be and how much you're going to miss him.

Aunts have a tough time balancing that proud vs. missing him thing too.

Lisa and Jonathan.

James and Nanny.

Told you we were proud.

We had an additional cake as well, since it was also Lisa's birthday.

Twenty-five again! We didn't finish all that cake. Or the fish, or the hush puppies, or the slaw. But we did our best.

We headed out the next morning and stopped by Imagine It in Atlanta on our way back to Cleveland.

The kids enjoyed showing Daddy around. We've been there countless times without him so it was fun to have him with us.

This thing was cool. It was a virtual ride on a snowboard using a green screen background.

Amelia enjoyed dancing in the dance studio in a dress she made from a wrap.

Gigantic Tinker Toys.

We walked over to Centennial Olympic Park to look for a brick that was given in honor of us the year we got married, which was also the same year the Olympics were in Atlanta. There are only about a bazillion bricks with names on them making up the sidewalk there, so there was no hope of finding it!

We made it home and got back into the swing of school and work. Recovering from a vacation is hard work. The kids and I headed up to Blairsville later in the week to Young Harris College to see a show at their planetarium. We met up with a few other home schoolers we knew and went to a nearby park for a picnic lunch afterward.

Fall is a birthday time of year for us, between our own boys and our friends' kids. We celebrated Tozer and A.J.'s birthdays at the Hicks' house mid-September. My favorite type of racing has always been chocolate sprinkle track.

Speaking of birthdays, here's Avery on September 23rd, his fifth birthday. It was quite a low-key day, a Friday, and we celebrated big by...doing school and making cookies. It was exciting.

Here he is looking all cute and five.

Here he is looking a weird and five. His vampire face, he says.

That evening we headed to Vogel State Park because several people from our Sunday School class were camping there. We once again enjoyed camping without actually camping. We love Vogel. It's such a great place for the kids to play with friends and we always have fun there.

Ruth, Amelia, and Kendyll.

This boy loves a bike. This one's not even his. Wait, where's your helmet, kid?

A.J. and Avery.

Trevor and Shannon. 

Riding in the creek.

Dinner was low country boil, yum. I took these pictures as a character study of my friend Jenny.

Perhaps she was channeling the potatoes' feelings as they hit the boiling water (?) Or maybe she was just being weird. It's been known to happen.

He's feelin' the potatoes too, I guess! There was definitely a humongous tub of cheese puffs on the table in front of  him.

 She ate her share of glorious, cheesy goodness as well.

Claire and Kendyll.

Nom nom nom...mmmm...

We headed home that night to our comfy beds and left warm thoughts with those friends who were sleeping in chilly tents!

The next day we took Avery to the standard birthday celebration restaurant in Cleveland, the Sunflower, for a slightly less lame acknowledgement of his birthday.

I'm not sure if they like to eat there more because of the food or because of the fish tank.

That afternoon the kids and I headed back to Vogel for some more pretend camping fun with our friends while James worked at camp with a weekend group.

The creek stays cold year 'round but the air was still warm enough for water fun.

Amelia and Maggie had a little trouble moving the boulder, so naturally I stepped in picked it up for them with my pinkie.

It's amazing how many hours of fun rock rearranging can provide.

Elizabeth picked up a rock and immediately acted like she was eating a chicken leg. It did look like one.

Want some?

Boys in the creek again.


Another facet of Jenny's personality. She is DISTURBED! (Apparently Avery is too, he was laughing.)

 Okay, she has her redeeming qualities.

There's not much better than chili with friends by a fire.

Or chilly friends by a fire!

The gratuitous "crazy shot."

The next week was pretty I remember it, anyway.  The end of September was over eight weeks ago now, so who can remember? I took a few pictures of boys looking studious.

Shannon working on his quiet time.

Avery has surprised me greatly with his interest in learning to write. I didn't know how teaching a lefty would go. I was even more unsure of how teaching a person who tends to be less-than-motivated  about things that are hard would go. He asks me on his own how to form and write letters though, which is great.

He was super gung-ho about reading too, until our book started getting harder. (We're on lesson 60 out of 100.) Now he balks at sitting down to it, but once he's started with it he does very well. The other two kids started that around the same point in the book, and both of them have ended up being terrific readers. I'm just using the same strategy with him that I did with them. It's called "Suck It Up and Do It Anyway." He's
trying to learn how to spell "Mississippi" since it's a big word and a fun word, and this week spelled it for me: "M-My-S-S-My-S-S-My-P-P-I." The ending cracked the other kids up. Potty humor is everywhere, you just have to look for it.

I don't have anything funny to report that the kids have said since the last post. I'll tell on myself instead. Earlier this week Amelia was saying to Avery in a loud voice, "Go away, you are SO annoying!" I heard it from the other room and found myself snarling, "You WILL speak to him nicely!!" I believe in setting stellar examples for my kids to follow. I guess all parents do, if we didn't there would be a lot less funny stuff for our adult children to talk about one day. I always remember my mom saying, with food practically spilling out of her mouth, "Don't talk with your mouth full!" I can hardly wait to see how the Himstedt kids will have fun at my expense around Thanksgiving dinner one day.

Merry Day After Christmas, everyone. I'm sitting at Mom and Dad's, with no ability to tackle my to-do list at home (yay!) so I've been able to get one more month on the books now. On to October!