June 28, 2012

March madness

Looks like I was still in no mood to pick up the camera through most of March, since I have no pictures on it until the cruise at the end of the month. That doesn't mean there wasn't anything worthy of mentioning during the month, however. 

By the time March gets here every year I'm at the point where I wish it would snow one good time and then immediately get warm. Snow wasn't to be this year, so warm was fine by me. It never truly got cold all winter. The two winters before that regularly had mornings in the teens and 20's, and days stayed quite chilly. I'm amazed at the difference a mild winter made in my mood. We were able to get outside a lot more which helped keep the cabin fever at bay.

Early on Saturday, March 10th, Papa and Mimi drove in from Texas. It was Mimi's spring break week from school and they did their traditional drive-all-night journey to get here. We spent the day with them and then deserted them to go to a wedding that night. It's always nice to have babysitters willing to drive 800 miles to accommodate you.

The next day was our Open House at camp. We had the biggest turn out we've ever had. The weather was pleasant (always iffy in March) and a lot of people ventured into the hills of North Georgia to check out camp. Aunt Sherry drove in from South Carolina to be here as well. She shows up every time Mimi is in town. We're working on getting her here as a surrogate Mimi during the first part of next summer since the original can't come until July next year.

The following pictures are courtesy of Mom H. since, as I said before, I couldn't be bothered to get the camera out during February and March.

This is the display we travel with when we go to camp fairs and events.

Open House is a fun day where we give tours of camp and open several activities for families to try out. One of them is pony rides at the barn.

Elizabeth really likes to ride Star. Here's the moment just before I became a responsible mom and went to get her a helmet.

This picture had to be taken just because it's something we'll never see again. My dad was having a conversation with an older lady who had come with her family to Open House. She had this teeny dog with her and during the conversation plopped it in my dad's lap! He has never been an animal person. Our family dog used to tuck her tail between her legs and slink away from him. He was never mean to her, just not overly enthused to see her. Dogs know when they're not wanted around. That's why this is a priceless picture...made even better by the fact that the dog is wearing pink clothes.

Mimi and Aunt Sherry also followed us around to some of our regularly scheduled school year activities, including pottery class. It was a good day for it because Amelia and Shannon were using the wheel.

Mrs. Tasha, their teacher. (tashabiggerspottery.com) She has a pottery studio in her basement and makes a lot of beautiful things. The kids really enjoyed their class and want to do it again in the fall.

Other fun for the week (besides school work, ew) included fishing with Papa,

playing duets with Papa,

and swinging in the hammock with Papa. Clearly Mimi was the one behind the camera. We enjoyed the rest of the week with them, then had to say goodbye on Friday. We also got to see Uncle Jason while they were here. It's nice to have one family member in Georgia. We're working on getting more of them over this way.

I took this picture one day in March. Shannon and I were doing a piano lesson and Amelia set up a couch (after disassembling the real one) and was reading to Avery. It's nice to know they can be sweet to each other.

Nothing else worth noting happened in March until our cruise at the end of the month. We crammed to get school finished enough to take the week off, and then did laundry and packed for what felt like a week. When the kids were smaller and I packed 542 pounds of stuff per kid just to go somewhere I used to count the cost first, to make sure it was really going to be worth leaving home. It usually was, a change of pace is nice for everyone. A cruise is extra nice!

I have pictures, courtesy of Mom, of a day trip they took to the Tellus Museum in Cartersville while we were gone. The kids loved it.

Heading out.

There was a section about vehicles and transportation. This is a big vehicle.  Perhaps it is actually a Transformer.

Oh my! Run kids, run!

Earth to Amelia...

Shannon said he liked this part the best. He spent a long time panning for gems.

"And then I found a really big dinosaur bone, Grandad!"

 Mom said Avery refused to stand in front of the entire skeleton, but would pose by the Megalodon mouth. A mouth by itself is less scary than the entire skeleton, apparently.

They enjoyed their vacation, we more than enjoyed ours, and so it was a successful end to the month of March!

June 26, 2012

February, the shortest month, the shortest blog post

Apparently I let 29 days go by without picking up the camera. (It was a leap year.) Upon my review of the February calendar nothing of great excitement jumped out at me, which is probably why I didn't pick up the camera. Or I could say that it proves my dedication to being the best teacher and mother to the kids, and best wife to my husband I could possibly be, which is why I didn't have time to pick up the camera. Yeah, that's it.

I did have a birthday in February, on the 18th, which I suppose is worth noting. I am officially 38 now. My first thought is,  "How did this happen?" My second thought is, "Ew." My third thought, which should have been my first thought, is, "Praise the Lord, He has given me this many wonderful, awesome, amazing, blessed years!" If I were to complain about any of the 38 years I've been on this planet, I'd just be whining. Teeny violins would begin playing everywhere, and a collective cry of "Wahhh," would come up from the crowd.

I do wonder why we have to have wrinkles and grey hairs, and why so much of the population now calls me "ma'am," when I feel just exactly like I did when I was 20. I'm still getting used to it.

For my birthday/Valentine's Day celebration James took me to the Valentine's dinner at church. There was a comedian and several friends were there, so it was an enjoyable evening. It also happened to be on a Friday night, so our kids went to the D's without us for our weekly Friday night dinner. We popped in just in time for coffee and a second dessert.

That's all I remember about February. Wow, this catching up on my blog thing may be easier than I thought it would be!

June 21, 2012

A new year has finally arrived

Happy New Year!

It is my goal to knock out several blog posts over the next few weeks. It is now the end of June, and I am exactly six months behind on these things. We are three weeks into camp with five weeks to go, and I'm already feeling the crunch of my summer coming to and end and the next school year bearing down on my time. Catching up on this blog is one of my summer goals. So...

1) Go get an electric fan.
2) Put a big bowl of ice in front of it and turn it on.
3) Get some hot chocolate.
4) Pretend it's January.

I can only remember what happened six months ago by what's on the calendar and camera. If anything else of note happened it will not be recorded because I have such limited recall. Thank you for your understanding.

I forgot to include this picture in the last post from December. It should get you back in the winter spirit.Amelia and Shannon were in the Christmas production at church. Shannon was a penguin and an angel (not at the same time), Amelia was a snow flake and a shepherd (also not at the same time). They sang in a few numbers. Amelia was offered a solo but declined, promising to do one in the spring kids' production instead. Thanks to whoever took this picture for me!

After New Years' we launched right into our next school semester, including starting our gymnastics class back up. At the end of the month we added a pottery class, which I think and hope I have pictures of that I will post later. January was heavy with retreats so James worked pretty much every weekend. He continued to train, swimming three early mornings a week in Gainesville at Brenau University and running a couple of days a week, as well as cycling on Saturdays. His leg injury from November continued to plague him and he finally had some physical therapy to help it get better.

We took a mid-January Sunday afternoon and went horseback riding (Amelia, Shannon, and I), and then James and I took the family to Yonah Skate and Bowl. Sunday afternoons are always our best time for family time, since retreat groups usually check out around lunch time.

Avery tried roller blades for the first time. The previous year when we tried skating with him he cried and was very insulted that we would strap wheels to his feet so he couldn't stand up. It went much better this time.

Elizabeth skated the entire time. The rollerblades she was wearing fit over her shoes and didn't roll as well as ours, but she probably still managed to make enough rounds to equal a mile or two. She's a determined little person.

Shannon is a mad man on wheels.

He skates up on the ledge, then jumps off of it.

Mostly he lands on his feet.

Whoa, whoa, whoa..

Oh my. I seem to have fallen. Gee. I hope I can get up.

The wall is still my friend.

Rental rollerblades are not good. I've decided if I'm going to do this more than twice a year it will be worth it to invest in a pair. I probably put a couple of hundred miles on a good-fitting pair in college, then they dry rotted in the basement during those dormant child-bearing years. After that they required the trash can treatment.

After horseback riding and skating we then went to the D.'s for dinner and cards, since MLK day means no school the next day.

Also mid-January we had an opportunity to take a break from our usual school routine and head over to the Creative Canvas in Demorest for a painting class. It's a fun place where you can take classes or just do a one-time class and leave with a completed project. They had a day for home schoolers, so we joined several others for a class.

All four kids had the opportunity to participate, but Avery has developed a weird aversion to getting his hands dirty, and refused to participate. We've since learned that he avoids only certain things, mainly paint and grease off of fried foods. He has been trying to eat potato chips with a fork all summer. He doesn't seem to mind other gross things, like his own spit, ketchup, juice off of fruit, or ranch dip. He also picks up lizards, frogs, and bugs. Who can know the mind of a five year old?

The project was a swirly tree. It was a black silhouette of a tree on a purple background.

First, the purple.

Our friends Kory and Sarah Sumption were there too.

Sarah and Amelia.

I don't think I ever got a picture of the finished products. It was a fun class and we'll try to do it again sometime.

On January 27 Shannon finally lost teeth that had been loose for some time. The top two pointy ones beside his front teeth came out on the same day!


After the kids' painting class earlier in the month, I got to go to one for me at the end of the month. Several of us ladies met at The Willows, a paint-your-own-pottery studio in Helen. Mom went with me while James and Dad stayed with the kids. It was a very enjoyable time, where we exhibited our various artistic and non-artistic skills while shooting the bull about all kinds of topics. Your typical  moms' I'M OUTTA THE HOUSE! type of event.

Jenny painted some cute cups for her kids. Anne, the true artist amongst us, offered pointers and then painted a Georgia Tech yellow jacket on the one for Bennett.

Rebecca painted an amazing bowl. It was really great. Then a week later she got to go back and do it again because due to some pottery fluke the paint shattered off of it. She was even happier with the second one. I have put in my request for one.

Mrs, Jody, Jenny's mom, always makes a fun companion for painting or any other activity.

Nikki, Jenny, Rebecca, Mom, Mrs. Jody, me, and Anne. Shannon M. from church was with us as well but had to leave before the photo op. Afterward we ate Mexican food in Helen, laughed and cut up inappropriately some more, then headed home. Quite a fun evening!

James' 38th birthday was on January 29th. We ate dinner at Rebecca's that Friday night, and I baked him a chocolate cake. My parents came up on Saturday and stayed the night. That afternoon we spent quality family time in the driveway. I got the camera out when the kids started shooting bows.

Avery was very proud of his near bulls eye.


"Good job, buddy!" Shannon was very proud of him and full of encouragement.

Everyone wanted a picture with the rock star.

Grandad helped Shannon shoot.

Amelia did well too.

Grandmom played ball with the boys.

Avery has quite a throwing arm. Catching, on the other hand....

Run, Avery!

On Sunday we took James to El Campesino, one of the two Cleveland birthday restaurants of choice.

Happy birthday to you,

Happy whipped cream to you,

Happy whipped cream goatee-ee,

Happy birthday to you!

It didn't take the vultures long to circle the fried ice cream.

The next day this walked into the room.

"I am Cattra!," she says! I guess the bedroom slippers are to help her be stealthy.

I hope Cattra is a good guy. (She also has a tail you can't see in the picture. We've gotten some serious mileage out of that Halloween costume!)

After referring to my calendar, nothing of particular importance stands out for the month of January. We were just trucking on as usual. For posterity I shall post the Winter/Spring 2012 schedule, in case any of you kids reading this later in life are interested in how we spent this period of time. Everyone else, talk amongst yourselves.

Sundays: Church (I'm teaching Kindergarten Sunday School), then out to lunch, usually, and home. Sometimes we go to the barn in the afternoon, sometimes I stay home planning school for the week and getting coupons ready for Monday shopping at Publix. We usually hang out as a family when Daddy's done with retreat stuff.
Mondays: School, pottery at 1 PM, gymnastics at 4 PM, shop at Publix with Elizabeth during gymnastics while in Gainesville, home, put away groceries, dinner, Skype with Mimi and Papa.
Tuesdays: Feed horses, get school work done and do a piano lesson.
Wednesdays: Feed horses, school, church (I'm helping with preschool choir).
Thursdays: Feed horses, school work
Fridays: Feed horses, school, piano, and dinner with friends.
Saturdays: Try to breathe, catch up from the week.

It's amazing how simple this sounds on paper. I didn't list things like laundry, fixing and cleaning up after three meals a day, exercising daily, trying to keep the house liveable, meetings at the office, Bible study, or etc. There's lots of etc. I will die trying to complete my daily lists. Thankfully I've received and heeded, mostly, a lot of great advice. Things like: kids grow way too fast so enjoy them, following Jesus is the most important part of your life and prayer and Bible study aren't optional, dust will be there tomorrow, missing a day of exercise won't set you back, kids grow way too fast, kids grow way too fast, kids grow way too fast.

I seem to be out of January pictures, so I guess that's the end! I do want to leave you with several quotes from the Himstedt kids. I write them down as I hear them, but not always the dates they say them, so these are things that have been said between January and June.

One day Elizabeth brought me a container with plastic fish and sea life in it and said, "I made you a ca-warium!"

Shannon was looking over my shoulder one day this spring as I was checking the weather online. He noted the advisory that was showing up in red and said, "So we're under a pollen watch?"

Daisy's kittens were nursing on the porch one morning (more on kittens in a later post!), and Amelia noted, "We're having breakfast. The kittens are having breast-est."

Elizabeth and Amelia were packing their things because we were going to my folks' house. Amelia darts up her bunk bed ladder and grabs her stuffed unicorn and says, "I almost forgot her!" Elizabeth then runs to her bed, snatches up her unicorn, and says, "Tuna! I almost forgot Tuna!" (We had no idea the unicorn was named Tuna. Amelia and I laughed. Elizabeth also named a new doll she got for Christmas "Jealous.")

We saw a play at the White County High School that was based on Star Wars. Avery told us his favorite character was "Okee-Wan-Fenokee."

I was running on the treadmill one day and Elizabeth offered me some plastic food. I was playing along and said, "Can I eat it when I'm done?" She said, "No, it's a toy.""So you don't want me to eat your toy?" She said matter-of-factly, "No. You'll die."

The kids were sitting at the table and Avery turned to Shannon out of the blue and said, "Why'd you say pickle?" He said, "I didn't say pickle." Avery pointed and yelled in his exuberant Avery voice, "YOU JUST SAID IT!"

Elizabeth was drinking hot tea one morning (a favorite of all the kids except for Avery), and she started saying, "Yuh-um, yuh-um. That's how I say 'yum' in Spanish."

A few days ago Amelia and Avery were playing in the hose on the driveway. She kinked the hose and told him look into the end of it. She then let go and it sprayed him in the face. He did it a few more times and laughed each time, then after about the fourth time he got really angry and yelled, "STOP IT!" He was so mad I was trying not to laugh too hard as I pointed out that he was doing it to himself. He didn't believe me at first.

 One day we were at pottery class and Avery gave Tasha, Amelia and Shannon's teacher, a bit of very important advice. "You should never lick the bathroom floor because of the chemicals."

I believe this officially wraps up January. I have been looking ahead (behind?) to see what February holds, er, held, and I can't find any pictures from February. I feel sure I wouldn't have let 29 days go by without picking up the camera, so I'm getting ready to blame it on that bizarre black hole that has eaten pictures of months past, along with at least 47 socks. I will continue the search.