June 24, 2011

Remember me?

Would you all please welcome me back to the world of blogging? I have taken a leave of absence for some time again, due to an ailment known as Too Much Stuff To Do. End of the year school stuff, camp trainings and preparations, and a to-do list 300 miles long have made sitting down to blog pretty much impossible.

Way back in the middle of April I made a trip to McDonough with the kids. I was going to look at some potential camp horses at a Girl Scout camp kind of near my folks' house. It was kind of far, as it turned out, but we had a fun trip anyway. Our school year was getting near the end at that point, and once warmish spring-type weather starts to show up I get field trippy. So Mom and I took the kids to Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta for one of our school days.

I find this a bit disturbing.

This one is even more disturbing, though the Elizabethosaurus makes me laugh.

This was a lot of fun.

They had just finished a new kids' area with a big tree house, slides, and all kinds of things to do. Through the middle of the room was a stream painted on the floor, but a projection from above somehow made it look like it was rippling when you stomped on it. There were also fish scurrying around.

The fish scurried faster when you jumped at them. Hours of fun for a boy!

The joy of playing in a vapor waterfall.

There were also baby alligators.

Did you know if you take a flash photograph of the baby alligators, a nice Fernbank employee might walk over and ask you not to use a flash on the baby alligators? Then you might see a sign that says, "No Flash Photography" stuck to the side of the baby alligators' aquarium. That's what I hear, anyway.

Ever wonder if paleontologists ever get it wrong? What if the fossils washed around and what appears to be the correct order isn't? I wonder if God gets a kick out of seeing humans scurrying around trying to get it all figured out. I'd be afraid to speak with authority on the subject if I wasn't alive to see these things walking around. Personally, I'm glad I didn't ever have to see this one! That's a big dude.

Some of the columns in the room were like a puzzle. Cool!

We pretty much closed the place down that day, ending our day with a fun IMAX about animals. Another school day down! The next day Amelia had to be a church by 4:00 for a rehearsal for the upcoming kids' choir musical. We went home via Marietta so we could visit with Lisa, Jordan, and Reagan. We met them that morning at our favorite gymnastics place that has free play hours.


Heading up the steps to the big inflatable slide.

Monkey boy sequence.

The foam pit is their favorite. My favorite is the trampoline that goes down into the floor and springs you up high enough to lose control while you're in the air. Not that that happened to me or anything.

Getting ready to Tarzan...


This one can always be depended upon to find new and creative ways to do things.

The next Sunday was the kids' musical at church. It was Fish Tales, which highlighted several "fishing" stories from the Bible, told from the setting of a fishing tournament. It was very well done. We have some talented and dedicated folks working with our kids' programs at church. There was even a live fish pulled out of a kids' pool at one point. There are also always devotions for the kids to work through in the weeks leading up to the performance, which I really like.

The church sanctuary has to be the worst place to take photos. They never turn out too great.

This was Shannon's first musical with the kids' choir. He's on the front row in the red shirt. Good thing he got over the former ill feelings he always demonstrated toward choir in his preschool years.

Amelia had her first solo. She did a great job!

I like these next photos. Look at them and you'll know why.

Two of my favorite girls! If you had told me one day Taffy would be teaching my kids to ride I wouldn't have believed it. The two oldest kids and I had a fun April Sunday afternoon at the barn. I don't get many chances to teach them about what I love since the smallest one is still a bit dangerous underfoot at the barn, so this was an enjoyable afternoon.

This was Shannon's debut riding alone. He and Maverick got along very well, and he made a friend that day.

 "Jumping," Taffy-style.

Amelia trotting alone.

Shannon trotting alone. Makes a mama proud!

And then it was Easter. Remember Easter? Way back on April 24? During the week leading up to it we dyed eggs, of course. Periodically during the year they ask me when we're going to dye eggs, so it's a looked forward to event.

First you color on them. Actually, first you boil them. Disaster, otherwise.

Who can know the workings of this one's mind?

Almost ready to dunk 'em.

The mad scientists stirred up the colors. That project is made a little trickier when you don't have any red to work with, since the red got used up on the last birthday cake.

All done!

On Easter Sunday we went to church, then drove to McDonough for the day to Uncle Danny and Aunt Lynn's for lunch and egg hunting. Here's where you'll have to imagine the Easter Sunday photo of our family. We did take a couple, but I handed off the camera on the wrong setting and it was WAY overexposed looking. Why don't I have pictures of just the kids all dressed up? I HAVE NO IDEA. I think it's the normal hurry of a Sunday morning compounded by the fact that we were trying to drive nearly two hours after church. I do regret it. Oh well.

Easter dinner was yummy, as usual, and the fellowship is always fun. Uncle Danny took the kids on a hayride so the eggs could be hidden in peace.

When we got back the little kids got to hunt eggs in the front yard, and the big kids were in the back yard.

Jordan contemplates her next move.

Reagan's just picking up colorful shiny stuff. It doesn't take them long to figure out there's candy in those things though!


Granny joined us for the day.

The mad rush to find the big money egg...$10. I wanted to find it.

Can I eat my 45th piece of candy, PLEASE?!

Counting up the day's spoils.

Here's my cousin Ashley's newest addition, Camilla.

After egg hunting and our probably 4th plate of food, several went fishing.

Feet dipping too, though it's an activity that has its casualties.

Sometimes a flip flop gets away. I believe it was Cody's fishing skills that saved this one.

Shannon completes the rescue. Whew!

I knew both of us would have a better time if I brought Elizabeth's float. This way she was able to fish with sticks all she wanted without getting mad at me for holding her back.

Perhaps a zoom lens would have done a better job of showing Jesse really did pull in a fish.

Aunt Reda and her sister Leigh.


The boys had all kinds of teachers that day.

Jordan was content to sit on the dock and scare away the fish.

I can hold a fish!

This one reminds me of another picture, now some years ago.

Avery never actually caught anything, but he stuck with it for nearly two hours.  All in all it was another good Easter Sunday celebration with family.

The next few weeks we continued to work on finishing school, and I also spent time working on our upcoming certification clinics at camp. I was preparing to run the horseback riding instructor certification as usual, and also coordinated getting folks from other camps signed up to come to our archery, riflery, and lifeguarding clinics as well. We were also planning staff week training and hosting groups at camp. Anytime after March is generally crazy around here.

One thing kids everywhere look forward to at the end of the school year is Field Day.  Homeschoolers around here are no exception, as there is a parent in Hall County that has been organizing a Homeschool Field Day for the past few years.  I felt like we had a crew old enough to handle it this year, so at the end of April we headed over to the East Hall Community Center and took part.  What a fun morning!

Avery isn't officially school age yet, but they let his age participate.  I wondered if he would since he's been iffy about taking part in story hour at the library and some things at church too, but he jumped right in and did his part for his team.  There were probably 60 kids participating, and they were broken down into teams.  Avery and Amelia were on the same team.

You can't have Field Day without a sack race.

The old Egg and Spoon (or Ball in Spoon) relay.

No, he's not really holding it. It just LOOKS like he is.

Our friends the Sumptions were there.  Sarah was also on Amelia's team.

Pour the Water Relay.

Good thing she wasn't a part of a team or their cup wouldn't be very full at the end.  Spectating is hard work!

Ride the Fun Noodle Relay.

Looks like Sarah's getting bucked off her horse.

Run, Forrest, run!  Avery got a start and then stopped, not sure what to do.

With some pointing and hollering he finally got going the right way again.

Wanna race?

On your mark, get set...

No Field Day is complete without Tug-O-War. At the end the kids challenged the parents.  It really was all we could do to get them to budge even a little, but eventually through clenched teeth, grunting, sweating, and sheer determination we pulled them inch by inch over the line.  I thought it was an appropriate metaphor for what we as parents, particularly homeschooling parents, do every single day!

Obstacle Course!

Agility training for the two year old set.  

Most of the participants. 

There were even ribbons for teams and individuals.  We came home with quite a pile of them.

This one found her own entertainment. We're planning to train this entire year so as a three year old she'll be ready to compete next year. :)

May followed with a series of scary storms.  It's been a pretty violent spring off and on, or at least from the perspective of a storm scaredy cat like me. One night we ducked for cover in the basement a couple of times.  We hauled the kids down there about 11:00, and they immediately fell asleep, so once the first threat was over (there was another one later), James and I came back upstairs and left them sleeping on the floor. A tornado struck a few miles north of us, but thankfully decided to skip over camp.  That would have been terrible timing with camp on the way, so we thanked God for sparing us.

I have many pictures to post from May, including the ones from James' Half Iron Man triathlon in Panama City.  Since then we've also had school end, Elizabeth's birthday, and Amelia and Shannon went to camp for a week.  Lots of pictures to come, I make no promises as to when! We're at the halfway point with camp now, so it has settled into somewhat of a routine.  (It's been a terrific summer so far, by the way.  We are so blessed to get to do this!!) I'll do my best to get another blog post done before Christmas.

Until next time..whenever that is!