Saturday, July 26, 2008

Grandpa and Grandma's House

Our kids sure do love their Grandpa Gene and Grandma Lou Lou. They spent a week with them while we went on our 10 year anniversary trip back in May. Since then, Charis frequently asks us, "When are we going to Grandma Lou Lou's house again?"
We wish we lived closer than 2 1/2 hours so we could visit more often, but we are thankful we can make weekend trips like we do.

Some of our favorite things about going to their house:
~ They have more toys in their house than we do in our house!
~ Cousins Kalea and Kai are there
~ Grandma cooks yummy meals
~ Grandma has crafts to make
~ Always some new project they've been building or working on
~ X-Box
~ Lots of beds to choose from
~ They have a BEATIFUL yard with beautiful gardens! (I love to be outside at their home)
~ Going to Silver Dollar City with the whole family
~ Their house and everything is always so pretty and clean and organized (I walk around in awe ;) - ha!
~ Always a very relaxing time spent with people we love.

We went to Springfield for a few days last weekend, and I took a picture of the kids sitting with Grandma Lou Lou on her bed, reading a bedtime story. How sweet.

Always looking forward to next time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Branson Get-A-Way

While our floors were being stained and finished, we took a little one-night family vacation to Branson. We spent the first afternoon at White Water. It was the kids first time at a big water park. They loved the wave pool and the sprinkler toys. Bryson and Selah spent quite a bit of time going down the water slides. As brave and crazy as Charis is for a 2-year old, we have figured out that water sometimes scares her. She will swim in a pool and play in sprinklers, but water slides, stepping onto a boat, walking on a bridge or a ramp over water really scares her. Shocker... I know. She's not afraid of much. But she still had fun too.
That evening we did a little shopping at the Outlet Malls, and then headed for the condo for the night. The next morning we were at Silver Dollar City as soon as it opened, and we stayed until we could stand the heat no more, which was about 2pm. It was 'Kids Fest' at SDC, so needless to say, we had plenty to do. We had a blast together, just the five of us. And that was it! Short and sweet. Hot and fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The "Crazy Abee"

Our nephew Aaron has been staying with us for over a week now. He is 10, and lives in Alabama. He is such a joy to have in our home. Last summer he stayed with us for 3 weeks. He plays with the kids and joins in on all our family activities. I told him I would be thrilled if my kids grew up and acted so polite and respectful and obedient like he does. He's a GREAT kid, and we are so glad his family lets us have him during the summer.

We spoil him a little bit. He loves all the movies, swimming, VBS, fishing, and all the other fun stuff we do. He said the highlight of this summer with us was the fishing expedition. All we had to do to make him happy was feed him chicken at least once a day. Last year when he left to go back home, Bryson cried the whole evening because he missed him already. He is kind-of like a big brother to Bryson.

Aaron said his name for the boys in our family is the "Crazy Abee's"
What a kid!

Monday, July 21, 2008

24 1/2 Pounder!?!?!

Do I sound like a fisherman? Fisherwoman? We had such a fun time!

**DISCLOSURE** Although I blog for myself, I also write my blogs often times with friends or family in mind. This blog is one my girlfriends might get a little bored with~ but I bet our family will enjoy! (hee hee!)

My Dad has a fishing boat with all the get-up. Me, Alan, the kids, my nephew Aaron (he's been staying with us for a little over a week), my brother James, and Dad all went out on the lake last night and set the lines. It took about an hour to bait all 12 lines and set them out. The lines are fishing twine with 2 hooks that is attached to a round styrofoam floater. It is yellow as it floats on the water, but if a fish bites the bait and gets hooked, the floater flips over and the other side is red. If you look out and see red, you got a fish!

The kids loved this. SO DID I!!! By the time we set all the lines, we looked back over them, and 2 of them were red. The plan was to leave them out overnight and check them this morning. We checked the 2 that flipped, and we had already caught 2 flathead catfish. The larger of the 2 weighing 13 pounds.

This morning we went back out and caught a total of 9 more catfish.
The fun part was the 2 missing lines.

We could only find 10 of our 12 lines. We searched and searched all around the spot in the lake where we set the lines out. The more we searched, the more perplexed and excited we got! It either meant the weight broke off and it just floated away, or it meant that there was a big strong fish dragging it around the lake.

Well, we were about to give up. We had to get James back to the dock so he could make his T-time. As we were cruising back, I saw one of the red floats off in the distance. As we came up on it, we could tell that the fish was dragging it upstream! Talk about excitement as we pulled that thing out of the water! I reeled in all the previous fish, but Dad and Alan took this one. It was HUGE!!! A blue channel catfish, weighing 24 1/2 pounds. So, we decided to drop James off and go back out and find the other one. After about 20 minutes, I spotted the other one. It was about a half a mile away from where we set it. It had 2 catfish on it. We were expecting another big-daddy. They were both decent size. One was pretty big.

The kids loved it. We all did. I can't wait to do it again. My Dad used to take me and my brothers fishing quite a bit when I was a little girl. I use to enjoy it. Mostly because it was something I got to do with my Dad. This fishing trip kind-of brought it all back. Who ever really fishes much anymore? Well, I'm glad my kids are getting to make these memories too.

Cable Guy ~ Incognito!!

I know... I know... Prepare yourselves. Most of you are going to be in shock. Today we had Cox Cable installed in our home.

#1 Reason: DVR.
#2 Reason: I can't go 3 years in a row without Monday night football.

The rest of it I would actually prefer to do without. We don't watch much TV at all, and I'm hoping we can avoid being sucked into the magic box.

This is a picture of the Cable guy in our driveway. We requested that he come incognito. In an unmarked truck. We didn't want to be responsible for any of the neighbors having a heart attack upon seeing the Cox truck in our driveway.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Texture, Prime, Paint, Glaze, Repeat.

Here are a few pics of one of the biggest projects I've ever taken on. I decided to texture, paint, and glaze my kitchen, entry, and living room. I can't believe I got all this done in 2 weeks. I haven't been the most pleasant Mommy to be around. It's so messy, my goal was to get it finished before the wood floors go in. We are also painting the dining room and the hall up the stairs. 2 more weeks and hopefully we can be done with this!

PS. When the cabinet painter came over to do the bid to paint the cabinets, I was in the process of texturing. He looked at my walls and said "Are you doing this?" I said "Yeah." He looked at it for a few seconds and said "Wow. You're quite the do-it-yourselfer." I said "You have no idea!!!"

Then today, the painter's head guy finished some touch up stuff as I was painting the dining room. The glazing and everything is complete in the other rooms. I was up on the ladder, and I noticed he was watching me. He walked over and looked at the glazed walls. He asked me if I used to be a professional painter. I told him "No." He asked me who taught me how to do it. I told him I just figured it out, and that I did my other house and my master bedroom in this house. Then he asked me if my husband helped me with it. "Not with the fancy walls!" Then I got the feeling he was about to ask me if I wanted a job. So I quickly began to say that I like doing my own walls, but that I'm ready to get it finished, etc.

Boy, am I ready to be done with ALL of this! It's been a summer of hard work. Lot's of swimming and movies, but other than that! Work.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Born In the USA (ay, ay, ay)"

I like that song. The way Bruce Springsteen kind-of sings/yells the lyrics! "Born in the USA... I was... born in the USA"
And aren't we so glad! As I was sitting on the pool deck at my Dad's house, watching Alan, James, and the kids light off the big fireworks, I of course felt the pride welling up inside. Today has brought a mixture of memories, feelings of thankfulness and blessings, as well as sentiment of we have right here... how long we've had it... and wondering how much longer we will have it still. Family. Freedom. Faith. We sit around in lawn chairs, surrounded by beautiful green land, mature trees, ponds, the creek. Family everywhere. My eyes scan the lawn. Dad is watching over the smoker full of meat. Everyone waits for him to come walking over to the table with the slabs of meat, ready to be sliced and shared. I see my blond-headed babies jumping in the pool, grinning all the way in and coming up out of the water with that same grin still plastered on their faces. My good-lookin' husband standing over the grill, perfecting the corn on the cob, drinking his Coca-cola Classic. There is my Grandpa, celebrating his 80th birthday, next to my Grandma, sitting in the same lawn chairs they've had since I was a little girl. The long lounging chairs that allow her legs to stretch out. As a girl I would sit on the end of the chair next to my Grandma's legs. She would play with my long blond hair, and we would talk about stickers or Cabbage Patch Kids or whatever craft she or I was working on. I see one of my brothers, whom I have loved dearly his whole life. He is standing next to his new wife. I am missing my other brothers and their families who live too far away to be here with us. I see my Aunts and Uncles, who, growing up, were a big "light" in my world. Their bodies are aging, with gray splashed through their hair. Instead of playing with us kids, they are now looking after their own grandkids. My cousins and I have taken on the role our parents once had... the role of swimming and lighting off the firecrackers with the kids. Our kids. Feeling of happiness, pride, void, and love, all mixed together.

The 4th of July has always been one of the most important holidays for my family growing up. It is my Mom's birthday. We have always spent the day with family. Eating, playing in the pool or the lake, and lighting off fireworks. For many people it is a day to celebrate freedom. For us it is equally a day to celebrate family and my Mom. Of course today we all spent time thinking about her and missing her. Wishing she was here. Knowing her personality, it's no surprise that she was thought of as the "firecracker" in the family. My Dad said he wanted today to be a celebration of her TRUE independence.

As the firecrackers were going off up in the air, I looked beyond the sparks to the stars that filled the sky. Freedom. We have it because we were "Born... in the USA." And we have it because God has given it to us. I suppose we don't have complete freedom, but we do have the freedom to be complete. We don't have the freedom to keep our kids from growing up so fast. We don't have the freedom to keep our Grandparents from getting old. We don't have the freedom to prevent cancer from taking the life of the ones we need the most. But we have the freedom to choose to persevere though this thing called life. We have the freedom to love God, have faith in Him, and trust that He is always here for us. We have the freedom love hard, and to live to the fullest. Family, freedom, and faith. Three words I thought alot about today.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pictures of our last 4th of July with Mom

Just the usual...Family Fun!

I had matching 4th of July flip-flops made for us.

Doin' sparklers with the kids

Mom and Baby Charis, 10 months old

Sittin' on the pool deck watching the firecrackers

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Numbers... They Run in the Family

I'm sitting here in Bryson's room upstairs, blogging. He's supposed to be taking a nap (he got in trouble for telling me "no.") He just asked me...
Bryce: "Mommy, is five plus four, nine?"
Me: "Yes"
Bryce: "Is five plus two, eight?"
Me: "no, five plus two is seven."
Bryce: so five plus three is eight."
Me: "yes"
Bryce: "five plus one hundred is one hundred and five"
Me: "yup!"
Bryce: "six plus one hundred is one hundred and sixty"
Me: (not quite bro) "no..."
Me: Bryson, try to turn your brain off and go to sleep.
(he laughs)

Guess I'm signing off. The little guy needs his rest (pffft)

How Did Your Mom Find Out?

So I overheard a conversation between Selah and her good friend Jenna, our next door neighbor. Jenna was at our home for a "sleep-over." It was really late last night, and all three of us were sitting on the couch. I was on the phone with Jodie (till the wee hours of the morning, as usual) so I suppose they thought I wasn't listening. Of course, once they started talking in the low, almost whisper, of course I tuned into what they were saying. Here's how the conversation went:

Selah: Jenna... so how did your Mom find out that you like Chad?
Jenna: Becca! (her sister)
Selah: What did Becca say?
Jenna: Becca wrote it in her journal, that I like Chad, and then my Mom found it and read it
Me, thinking: (Yea! Mommy-power!!!)
Selah: Oh.

And that was all I heard. But the way they were talking! They sounded like teenagers! My antennas are raised now! Little sneaky girls! It was pretty cute though, I must admit.

(long sigh) boys.