March 16, 2013

It's October. Happy fall y'all.

 October, the time of year in Georgia where you have no idea what to wear from day to day. Drawers and closets are overly full because in them are shorts, jeans, long sleeves, sleeveless shirts, jackets, coats, sandals, flip flops, and boots. You could need any of them on any given day, so they all have to be accessible.

It was a fairly pretty fall in Cleveland, with a variety of fall colors on the trees. I opted not to try to capture the essence of fall with Crappy the Camera, or with Reliable turned Unreliable since I would just be frustrated. I think I have an a photographer's eye without the skills or talent to go with it. Or maybe I'm just picky about how pictures turn out. Most likely I just enjoy complaining. 

The first week of October was pretty normal, just school work, a grocery store run, church, the usual. Friday, October 4 was Shannon's 8th birthday. Amelia put a present together for him.

A picture frame.

A dollar!

We did school all day, then had friends over for a low-key birthday celebration for both boys.

They celebrated with chalk drawings and running around in the woods while the adults chatted and ate all the appetizers. (No kids, there's no food in here...go away...)

We enjoyed a Mexican fiesta for dinner. There was no guacamole with dinner though, for some reason. Hmmm...

The boys decided they wanted a chocolate cake with the Strong Rock logo on it. I did the best I could and it didn't turn out like I had hoped it would, mostly because I ran out of time...and skills. It tasted pretty good though.

Eight candles on one side, six on the other. When did these kids get so big?

The crowd.

 The traditional spitting on of the cake blowing out of the candles.



An impromptu game of Hot Potato. The potato plays music faster and faster as it gets passed around, stressing out the game participants as they strive to throw the thing at the next person as fast as they can. It's real fun.

Happy birthday, guys! I am grateful every single day that I get to be your mom!

Saturday the 13th we headed to Mom and Dad's. I had reserved the Grandparent Sitting Service a few weeks before so we could go to my (eeek) 20th year high school reunion in Atlanta. I got to see some folks I wanted to see, which was fun. Others I'd like to have seen weren't there. It was the typical story: some of the jocks were fat and bald, the nerds were, well, still nerds, some who were non-descript back in the day were knock outs now, A LOT were drunk! The hotel ballroom the reunion was held in was so dark no one looked too terrible. I'm sure that was by design.

I didn't take a single picture while I was there. This is me with Janet, my bestie from 6th grade forward. We spent countless hours of ridiculousness together in our younger years. Not sure why we're grey...maybe from sucking in our 38 year old bellies for too long. Ha!

Diana, Janet, and I. Diana's husband Jon went to school with us, and she went to a different school but did go to church with us, so it was a lot of fun catching up.

All in all it was a fun event, but I'm content to skip the rest of them from now on. Facebook has satisfied a lot of morbid curiosity about people! :)

October rolled on in a flurry of school, church, Ironman training, and the usual stuff, punctuated here and there by friends spending the night and other such fun.

Maggie and Ruth spent the night after a Friday night dinner with friends mid-October.

They come up with all sorts of fun. Here they are playing Spoons. I learned to play Spoons in college, but it was a slightly modified version. Kids, once you're grown you can ask me about that one.

A rowdy round of Beyblades happened too. Beyblades have become like members of the family this past year. They all have names, and are generally referred to as "he" when spoken about.

Here's a picture of the other weekly activity we've added this year. I am doing a group riding lesson for  Amelia, Maggie, and Sarah S. every Monday afternoon, except when it's raining, below 40 degrees, or sporting a hurricane-force wind. Then we shoot for Thursdays, or Tuesdays, or whatever afternoon looks to be the most pleasant for the week. Winter is a bit unpredictable for outdoor activities. I also have one other student on Thursdays, so though I'm not getting to ride much myself I'm at least getting my horse fix each week. It's fun teaching these girls.

One day in October James was gone for the evening and the weather was decent, so I took the kids to nearby Desoto Falls for a short hike and picnic dinner. I find that on days when the crowd is prone to grumpiness and arguing with one another, getting outside really helps. This was one of those days.

We did finish our actual school day first, but being that we are doing World History this year I could probably also count this as history, since there's a legend that Desoto left a piece of his armor behind at this spot. Sometimes I stretch things a bit. Truly this was more of a P.E. outing.

It's only a bit over a mile to the falls, so it was perfect. The trail is complete with downed trees to climb, sticks to pick up, and rocks to throw in the creek. God thought of everything.

Now James will tell you that I once we started having kids I developed a tendency to take safety to a near paranoid level. I have surprised myself as a parent because I never thought I'd be "that kind." Still, even I find the signs at Desoto Falls worthy of poking fun at. I think there was a past blog post of mine with pictures of these same signs, but I couldn't resist posting them again.

Another service message brought to you by someone more paranoid than me. Perhaps I should meet this person.

Crappy Camera couldn't handle pictures once it started getting a little darker, so there are no pictures of us enjoying a healthy dinner of peanut butter and jelly and pretzels. I recommend hikes with kids as frequently as possible. Also make sure that when you set up your picnic it's near an area with a fire ring so you can have long-jump competitions to see who can clear the fire ring. (If you're the oldest one there be prepared to lose.)

The weekend before Ironman weekend Jonathan, Lisa, and the girls came to Cleveland for a couple of days and a Christmas gift photo shoot. Jon and Lisa know a terrific photographer who agreed to drive over from Marietta to take pictures of the family. It was the first time we had professional photos taken of all of the cousins, and we had a large canvas made for Mom and Dad for Christmas. Here's a sample from our October photo shoot.

I highly recommend Alix Cloud if you want great pictures! She's very reasonable and will come to you.

We also had other fun over the weekend.

If you don't start training them early then it's too late. These are just BB's and airsoft, so not to worry TOO much.

Cousins like to build log cabins in the driveway.

They also like to make rose petal and shrubbery soup. Yum.

And now for the fashion show!

The first contestant is a stripey ghost carrying a stuffed dog, stuffed horse, and two shot gun shells. This is how you know it's Avery. He has been carrying junk around everywhere he goes since he was two.



Tiny dancers.

The cousins have a good time together, and we enjoyed our weekend very much.

Elizabeth's choir sang in church that Sunday.

My God is so BIG so strong and so MIGHTY there's nothing my God cannot do!

The following weekend was Ironman Florida, which I've already covered, so....

This. Concludes. October. 2012. In. March. 2013.

This post was made possible because of a weekend spent in Highlands, NC. Today we will celebrate the wedding of one of our oldest friends, Matt McCord. He went to junior high, high school, and church with me, then we worked together at Camp WinShape. That's where he and James met and they have considered each other brothers ever since. Matt was in our wedding 16 years ago, and it is finally time to return the favor. It's an honor to be a part of this fun celebration. This weekend has also provided me with some hours to spend alone, without kids, without the responsibilties of home....therefore, I blog. The kids are with my dad this weekend at our house, and they are partying down! He has taken them to play Putt Putt, they've gone on a carriage ride in Helen, built dams in the creek at camp, eaten ice cream, gone fishing, and that was all in the first 12 hours! We will return home tomorrow, all of us happy and recharged.

Matt and Alley, we look forward to seeing God join you together as husband in wife in just a few short hours!