Monday, December 28, 2009

Fiddlin' while I wait...

For a while now, I've been interested in photography.  I guess it first started when the Greyhaired Kiddos were born.  I wanted to capture the BEST photo I could.  I will admit that my children make taking good pictures easy.  Not because they sit still.  Or smile.  Or even look at the camera.  But, because they are both good lookin' kids.  (Not tootin' my own horn or nothin' here, but these kids have great genes!)

I've gone from a Canon digital camera that was about as big as a kids' shoe box to, now, a Canon PowerShot that is about 3" by 1".  Both worked well, and served their purpose.  For a time.

I now strongly desire to take GREAT photos.  Not only of the GHK, but of still life.  I see things in my world and think, "Oh!  That would make a great picture."

So, I've done my research.  I've talked to photogs.  I've decided on my new camera:  A Nikon D40.  Now, to save up...

While I'm saving up for the new camera, I have been reading more about photography.  Apparently it's not as easy as pointing and shooting -- at least not in the world of the big girls.  So, I'm taking my time to learn more about exposure, light, shutter speed, etc.  And I've also come to realize that finished pictures are almost always "fiddled" with.  Part of the beauty (and the fun, if you ask me) comes when you fiddle with the photo.

Okay, okay, I know that professionals call it editing.  However, I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, a professional.  And it's my blog.  So, let's fiddle, friends!

There are many programs to help you fiddle with your photos:  Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.  I use Picasa, which is free photo software from Google.  It's very easy to use to store, arrange, edit, and upload photos to a blog.  However, it has minimal abilities as far as fiddling goes.  As I'm not in the market to purchase any heavy duty fiddlin' software right now, I have been playing with Picasa as I learn more about photography.

Take, for instance this, photo:


Not staged.  Cute girl.  Great pose.  Hmmm... what can I do with it?  How about crop it?  Sepia it?

Voila:



Wheeeeee!  This is fun!

How about another?  Are you game?

Before:




And, after:




We're on a roll now!  Woo-eee, baby!

Before:




After:


Can you tell I'm partial to the black and white?

Okay, one more.

Before:


After:


 

See how much fun photo fiddlin' can be???  (I must admit that after my repeated use of the word "fiddlin" and the editing I did above in Paint, that I am now hearing the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies in my head!)

I also happen to feel a tongue twister coming on:  Photo Fiddlin' is Fun ...  Hmmm, that needs work.

Until next time, I'll be here fiddlin' with my photos while I save up for my new camera!

Greyhaired Update

Well Christmas has come and gone.  We've gone to two Christmas programs, baked countless cinnamon rolls and cookies, wrapped -- and unwrapped -- countless gifts.  We've sung countless carols and read the Christmas story countless times.  I've taken countless pictures (okay, okay, they're not really countless... there are about 200 photos I've snapped throughout the month of December.) 

So, without further ado, our Greyhaired December... You might want to get some coffee, and maybe some leftover cookies.  It's a long 'un!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!



"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 "Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."     Luke 2:  1-20


Glory to God in the highest, indeed!  

Happy Birthday, Jesus!



Wishing you a blessed Christmas!





Friday, December 18, 2009

Keepin' it real...

So we've had pork chops thawing in the refrigerator for like, um, two-ish days.  I like to make sure my meat is thawed.  Really thawed.

The plan was to throw them on the grill tonight.  However, it's been raining here all day.  And I'm such a good wife, that I didn't want to subject my husband to stand in the rain to grill the perfect pork chop.  Plus, the grill is so waterlogged it won't start.  It has rained so much here that the road leading to our house is under water and our side yard is now a pond.   We won't get into the drainage issues that the county procrastinates fixing,  as I feel, ahem, back to the chops...  (Whew!  Tangent divert there!  Good work, GHM!)

Lately, I've been channeling The Pioneer Woman.   Well, parts of her.  I have been reading her blog and trying some of the recipes.   Not that I homeschool, live on a cattle ranch, or have written a cookbook or anything, but there are a few things about PW that I find kinda cool:  I would love to own her cameras/lenses and take the caliber of photos she does.  I would love to have her kitchens (yes, that is supposed to be plural), not to mention her culinary skills.  But, most of all, I love her sense of humor.  She's sarcastic.  My type of gal!

Back to the pork chop dilemma.  Did I mention I had a dilemma?  I know I mentioned pork chops, but I think I might have missed the dilemma part.

I had a pork chop dilemma:  Need to cook thawed chops.  How to cook them?  A good teacher/mom/blogger like myself knows what to do:  search the 'net and steal a good recipe.  Only problem?  It had to include ingredients I already had because I didn't want to build an ark and paddle to Publix.  And did I mention we're at the end of our weekly menus and that food is a bit scarce in our house?   Picking a recipe proved to be a bit challenging:  
All Day Crock Pot Chops? Nope.  No time.
BBQ Chops with grits?  Nope.  No grits.  (That's like a misdemeanor in Cackalacky, so shhhh!)
Orange Glazed Pork Chops with Stuffing?  Nope.  No oranges.  Or glazey stuff.  Or stuffing. 

You get the picture.  A lot of "nopes" going through my mind.  Well, I think there was one "uh-uh", and possibly an "there ain't no way I'm eatin' that!" 

So then I think, "HMMMMM... I'll bet Ree (that's the Pioneer Woman's real name) will have something for me."  And, you know what?  She did.  Once again, P-Dub comes through for her fans.  Namely, me.

So what if PW's recipe calls for thin breakfast chops and I've got big ole' mack daddy chops?  So what if it calls for oil AND butter?  (My treadmill is crying right now thinking of all the extra miles it will be forced endure.)  So what if it calls for smashed potatoes and wedged iceberg salad as sides and all I've got is a box of Bisquick and a head of broccoli?

Undaunted, I head to the kitchen and begin making my fried chops, steamed broccoli, and biscuits.   All is well until I decide to make actual biscuits instead of my usual sloppy drop biscuits.
I knead the dough, 10 times, as the recipe says.
I roll out the dough to 1/2" thickness on a properly floured Bisquicked surface.
I cut the dough into beautiful biscuity shaped thingies with a 2.5" biscuit cutter.
Okay, I'm fibbing.  I don't have a 2.5" biscuit cutter.  Or a 2" biscuit cutter.  Or any biscuit cutter.  Who'da thunk a University of Idaho beer glass could multitask?    
The biscuits look a bit thin, but I figure they'll rise.
Right?
I followed the recipe exactly.  They have to rise.
Right?
Riiiiiiight.

So, our dinner was good.  Fried chops turned out very well.  Not tough, just tasty.

Steamed broccoli was, well, steamed broccoli.  (Do you really need a pic of that?  I'd say no.)

And the biscuits?  The biscuits...






Hard tack, anyone?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

It has to be done...

For a few months now, I have been perusing a very entertaining blog.  It is based on a "famous" email about a certain cake.  Many of you have seen the photo:



And the story:   "Best Wishes Suzanne.  And, underneath that, "We will miss you."  Got it?

Yeah, they got it!  (Apparently they got it from Wal-Mart, but I'm not here to point fingers.)

So, from this cake, a best selling book and blog developed.  It's appropriately called Cake Wrecks

There are many days that I look through the archives of cakes and laugh so hard I cry.   (I won't lie -- the ones that really make me hoot are under the tab entitled Oh Poop.)

 
(Not even going to comment on that sign!)

There are other days I am simply amazed at how artistic and beautiful some of the creations are.   (These are usually found under Sunday Sweets.)

 

Anyway, if you're looking for a laugh, check it out.  It will be worth your time!

Take, for instance "Poo-dolph" here...





Or maybe you're looking for something a little different for your holiday party.  You want your contribution to the company potluck to stand out.  So, of course, you will choose the perennial favorite of Christmases past:

The Puppy Pecking Parasite of Pastries Past:


It's a DEER TICK!!  Hee hee...

Like I said, there's also some very classy and beautiful creations:




But, if I'm honest, it's the Cake Wrecks that make me laugh, cry, scream, snort, and pee almost wet my pants!!


Oh, Oh, Oh is right!

And if I'm really, really honest?  It's the commentary that accompany the cakes that makes the whole adventure so hilarious.  (And, sometimes you need the comments to simply figure out what the cake is supposed to be, or what the writing on the cake says!)

Just go there.  Read.  Enjoy.  Laugh yourself silly...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THANKS-LIVING



I am truly, truly blessed.  And, I realize that.  Not only today, Thanksgiving, but everyday.  I try to live with an "attitude of gratitude."  I know all I have comes from God.  Though, in honesty, it took me a while to realize that...


Anyway, to those whom I am grateful for, know that I love you.  My family, friends, and friends of friends:  You have made my life richer, gorgeous, blessed.  Thank you.  


For the material things I possess, I thank God.  For health, wisdom, peace, I thank God.  For eternal life, that only He can provide, I thank God.   For you, my friends, I thank God.



Not only today, but everyday.


That's THANKS-LIVING.


May your day be filled with love and blessings...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santa Frenzy



Okay, so as we approach Christmas, my kids are beginning to point out things that they'd like Santa to bring.  Pointing out things in the stores, from their friends' houses, in catalogs, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Buddy:  "Momma, I'd like Santa to bring this garbage truck."

GHM(Greyhaired Momma):  "I see, Buddy.  You already have two garbage trucks."

Buddy:  "Yes, Momma.  But I don't have THIS garbage truck."

GHM:  "Buddy, Christmas is not about receiving presents.  It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We need to be grateful for the things we already have and to remember that the best gift we could ever receive is Jesus as our Savior."

At which point, the kid's eyes glaze over and he slowly wanders away, thumbing through the toy magazine...

Great.  That worked.  Not...

With Thanksgiving still a week away, I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the "Santa Frenzy" going on at our house.  With over four weeks left until Christmas, I'm afraid we're in for a lot of, "Momma, I'd like Santa to bring me this.  And this.  And this."  It doesn't help that EVERY catalog in the WORLD has been delivered to our house in the last two weeks.   The fact that we've NEVER ordered from any of these catalogs is, apparently, irrelevant. 

When we had our first child, CraftyGirl, we talked about whether or not we would even "do Santa."  Did we really want to, in essence, lie to her only to have her crushed when she realized that there really isn't a jolly ol' fellow with a belly like a bowl full of jelly who resides at the North Pole?  No, we didn't want to lie.  But we did want to see the wonder in her little eyes.  We both have fond memories of Christmas mornings past and the goodies Santa brought us.   Honestly, after 6 years and now, with two kiddos to enjoy the wonder, it has been a lot of fun.

Until now.

Now I find myself more concerned with my kiddos' understanding the reason for the season.  I want them to grow to be selfless, giving people.  I want them to realize that it's not all about them.  I want them to realize that there are many, many others in the world who are not as fortunate as we are.  That we are blessed beyond measure.  That Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus.  And, without the great love God showed by sending us His Son, none of us would have a Savior.




But, maybe they do realize that.  Maybe their lives are so filled with Jesus and His great love that to them Christmas isn't a season, but a way of life.  Celebrating, praising, and worshipping God is an everyday thing.  God is real, and He is with us always. 

Maybe that is the reason they get so hyped up about Santa.  He DOES only come once a year.  He is mysterious, sneaky, and downright cute.

So, if my kids are worked up about Santa because he only comes once a year, yet understand that while we celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas, He is always here, and is with us all year long, then I think we've done our job.  If they understand that Christmas is a way of LIFE and not just a season, then I think a little delivery by Santa just might be okay.  

Bring on the lists, reindeer, candy canes, and red suit...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We're in Funky Country

Check out my new plaque! Beautiful, isn't it? It's all hand painted. And, the picture doesn't do it justice. It is GORGEOUS.





I'd say I won it, but actually, I was BLESSED with it.


I check the blog and Etsy site of Renee's FUNKY Country, and found Renee doing a give away. I posted a comment on her site in order to enter. 


Or, so I thought.


Imagine my thrill, when I checked her blog a few days later to read, "Annie, you're the winner!" Yippee, me! (Insert mental image of a Greyhaired Momma jump, a rebel yell, and some very immature dance moves here.) Yippee! Me!!


I promptly emailed Renee with the requests for my plaque: family name, and the scripture verse I so love: Joshua 24:15: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."


Before hearing back from Renee, I went back to Renee's blog. (Of course I wasn't there to see my name in print again or anything like that. NOPE! Not me!!) While at the blog, I see Renee has posted, "Whoops!! We have two Annies! So, there are two winners."


Hmmm... I read on... Back to the original post about the give away. "Post a comment on my FACEBOOK page to be entered."


OY! I didn't post on Renee's FB page, I posted on her blog. OOPS! I'm sure I've never misread anything in my life. Nope! Not me!


I emailed Renee and told her of my error. I told her I realized that I wasn't THE Annie who won, but another woman with a MOST WONDERFUL name must have been the winner! I thanked Renee and told her I would enter next time.


Her response?


"Annie, I prayed about it. Today, TWO Annies will be blessed!"


I was humbled and VERY thrilled!


Renee -- thank you, thank you, thank you! The plaque is absolutely gorgeous. And, it represents God's blessing in my life. You, a sister in Christ, yet a stranger, decided to bless me, and what a blessing it is.


As I see it, it's now my turn to pay it forward and bless someone else. I look forward to the opportunity!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Growing

C has had an interest in photography for a while. When I say "an interest," that usually means she just wants to borrow my camera and snap about a billion photos.

Of stuff that the average adult would think of as a strange.

However, I won't hamper her creative outlet. After all, I know nothing about artsy photos (though I'd love to learn!) Maybe my girl will teach me a thing or two.

So, without further ado...

THINGS A SIX YEAR OLD FINDS PHOTO-WORTHY (the captions are hers):

Uhhh..

Somewhere I dropped the proverbial ball. Still not sure where it is, as it seems my house is always a mess, I mean, our house is well lived and loved in! However, I have been gently reminded by a well placed "hint, hint" that I forgot to post any Halloween pictures of the kiddos.

I went to look at my blog and photo card and realized that I'd not only forgotten what few Halloween photos I had, but that it was the middle of November and I still had other photos from October to post. SIGH!

So, without repeating photos I've already posted, here's what the rest of our October looked like. And, I guess I'd better start snapping for November!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Florida Trip

We spent last week in Tallahassee, FL visiting with family. B's dad and step mom drove cross country in their RV to B's aunt and uncle's house. We visited with them as well as B's grandma. In addition to a lot of visiting, we also toured the Tallahassee Museum and Wakulla Springs. All in all, we had a great visit!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

We have been really busy in the last couple of weeks.  I have over 200 pictures from the last couple of weeks to sort, edit, upload and share.  I will attempt to get them all on the blog in the next few days.

We'll start with the two field trips we took this month -- both to pumpkin patches.  I went with Matthew to his preschool trip -- a local church brings in pumpkins, arranges them on their lawn, and sells them.  It is perfect for the little guys.

Then, we joined Cadey and her class at a much larger event -- Holiday Farms.  It was REALLY cool, with lots to see and do -- hayriding, farm animal petting (I know, I know, a llama isn't considered a farm animal -- at least not in Cackalacky), cow milking, steer roping, corn grinding, bounce house jumping, duck racing, Haytona Speedway racing, pumpkin pickin'...  You get the picture...

Well, actually, here are the pictures  (it's late and I'm tired, sorry for the cheesy humor!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I found this on a fellow blogger's site today and thought it was a great follow up to last night's post...

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”

~Ernest Boyer, Jr.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Know Him

After spending a few days thinking about my last entry, I realized that it required a follow up. You might have read through the post and thought, "Amen!" or possibly, a sassy, "Sing it, Sister!"

Or, you might have thought, "Well, Greyhaired Momma, how do I come to KNOW your Jesus?"

I'm glad you asked.

The simple answer is that there is NOTHING you can DO to earn the love of Jesus. IT IS A FREE GIFT. I know, I know. In today's nothing-for-free society, it's a hard concept to grasp. Especially because there are many things in my life that clearly state that I DO NOT DESERVE the love of a Savior.

However, He gives it to us. Worthy or not. Matter of fact, He loves us so much, He sent his only Son. Now I know love, I'm a mother. However, sending my one and only son? Nope. Not me. No way. No how.

But He did.

For me.

For YOU!

The Bible tells us, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

So, again you might be asking, "Well, if I can't earn His love, then how do I come to KNOW Him? What can I do?"

As an action based Momma, I completely understand this question. Tell me the list of things to accomplish and I'll gladly check them off as they're completed. Tell me something that needs to be done, and I'll volunteer. So, as a Type-A, obsessive/compulsive, control-freak, um, rule appreciating lady, I appreciate clear steps to doing something.

It's so simple. And so powerful.
Pray.

That's it.

Pray.

God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The important things are to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, to ask for forgiveness of sins, and to turn over control of your life to Him. A sample prayer might sound like this:

"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

One other cool thing? When you accept Christ into your life, God gives you another gift. Her name is Grace. But, that's for another day, another post.

Welcome to the land of the eternally living, Sister!

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'" John 14:6

[Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" [that it might be full and meaningful] John 10:10



For a more comprehensive understanding of God's plan, visit Campus Crusade For Christ International at "How to Know God Personally."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Awaiting Adventure

For a while I've been feeling led to write more. Not just to tell you what's happening in our lives, but meatier stuff. I thought about writing things that are floating around in my head, or that come to me throughout the day. However, my desire is to write things that cause you to think. To ponder. To pray.

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to make a difference. I've wanted to leave my mark on my community, my world. In my own small world, I believe I have made a difference. However, I feel the need to do more. I want to write a blog that has meaning. That is inspiring, witty, and true. That glorifies God.

I believe in God. And I believe He has placed me here for a purpose. Is my purpose to write? Maybe. Is my purpose to change the world with my writing? Maybe. Is my purpose to share my life with you through writing? Possibly. Is my purpose to share His love with you? Absolutely.

So, while my writings might not always be about my spiritual musings, I will be asking for divine guidance. For I believe that to do something well, one needs guidance. I know that I do my best when I work within the talents my Heavenly Father has blessed me with. Is writing one of them? We'll find out! What I know is that "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:13

So, friends, I hope that something I write will touch you. Will cause you to think. Will inspire and encourage you. Will cause you to pray.

Looking forward to our new adventure together,
A

Monday, August 31, 2009

August Away...

In preparing to make my end-of-the-month post, I realized that as the kids have aged, I seem to take a lot less pictures. Is it because they are both really busy and harder to catch? Is it that we do a lot less 'fun stuff' that is picture worthy? I don't think either is the case. I think that the kids are finally at an age that we play together as a family. Hence, the reason there are so few pictures. I'll take that. After all, what is the saying, "The family that plays together stays together!" Or something like that...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Fungi of Cackalacky

On a few recent walks around our neighborhood, I started noticing some very beautiful and interesting things growing. I'm not talking flowers or ancient oaks, I'm talking fungus. Or at least I assume it to be fungi of some sort. Just one more proof of the abundant, rich world we live in!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another camping weekend...

Last weekend we borrowed the pop up trailer and headed about 60 miles upstate to the Edisto River for a camping trip.

We had a great time, though we did come away with a few stories:

** Our first evening there, we found HUGE (the size of B's thumb) wasps digging holes in our fire pit. The Park Ranger came with spray and gasoline. We had a small fire and figured we'd burned them all out. Not so. We found another hole beside the fire pit. Back came Mr. Park Ranger with his gas can -- and promptly lit half of our campsite on fire when the fumes and ENTIRE gas can caught on fire. Thank God, the fire was put out shortly and all that was lost was two life jackets. It could have been much, much, much worse. Praise God. (We did get some weird stares from other campers -- we thought felt were thinking, "Oh, you are the ONES who tried to burn down the forest!")

** Our second morning, while digging for worms with a canoe paddle, C turned quickly and bopped M in the nose resulting in his first nosebleed. It was a double nostril gusher, but no bones were broken in the making of this memory.

** We met a LOT of "locals" and realized that their accents only get better/worse (depending on who you talk to) with the amount of alcohol consumed. And, apparently to some, it's always 5 o'clock when camping!

We had a great time, spending much of it in the river swimming and canoeing. The river bottom was sandy and the water level was below normal. There were many great sandy beaches and sandbars to swim and wade in. Like I said, we had a great time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big girls have slumber parties!


For her birthday celebration, Cadey requested a slumber party. Daddy and I weren't so much thrilled with that option. But, we caved.

We had a few girls over for dinner, cake, movies, and a slumber party. Don't know why it's called a SLUMBER party or a SLEEP over... Not much slumber or sleep occurs...

Anyway the girls had fun and, actually, we did too!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Smoochie!

Eleven years!! Yay, us!! It has truly been a blessing and an honor to be your wife. I look forward to our future! I love you. My heart to yours, always...

Happy Birthday, Cadey!

Dearest Cadey,

Today, you turn six! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. Daddy and I have so enjoyed watching you learn and grow. We are so excited to see how God is going to grow you as His princess! We are blessed and honored to be your parents and wish you the happiest birthday. We love you!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bittersweet...

C is thrilled to have lost her first tooth. The big tooth is already growing in behind the other baby teeth.

So, why do I feel like crying?



June? Gone...

June marked our first official full month with the kids out of school. We've spent some time at the beach, lots of time at the YMCA's pool, and played a lot with our friends.

The kids have also enjoyed a week at VBS, where the theme was Outer Space. Cadey came home one afternoon and said, "We have to dress up in costumes tomorrow." Swell! So, Daddy The Great made two REALLY cool astronaut helmets -- in about 15 minutes. Thank God he is so crafty! (Now I see where Cadey got it!)

We've also enjoyed some veggies from our garden: green beans, and one tomato. All in all, a pretty good month! Enjoy the photos...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Hot, Hot, Hot Birthday Party!

Today we celebrated Matthew's fourth birthday with a party. He had several friends over to enjoy a water slide (graciously loaned by good friends), and a visit by the local fire department. Matthew was absolutely THRILLED when the truck pulled up and he realized that they were here for HIM!!! He tried out all the seats, got to blow the horn and siren, and also got to run through the "rain" created by the fire hose.

We had a great day (though it was very hot, even at 10 in the morning) enjoying our friends and each other!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Garden Update

Our garden has grown, and grown, and grown -- we attribute it to our neighbor's green thumb (I'm constantly calling and asking what to do next), and the TONS of rain we've been receiving.

We harvested a few green beans last weekend -- (the kids both tried them, but still declared them, "YUK!" -- they didn't want to wait until I cooked them, but wanted to eat them right out of the garden...) You can see from the pictures that we're expecting a bumper crop of tomatoes, and our zucchini and yellow squash are flowering. On a sad note, apparently our radishes have boycotted growing any edible portions. Their leaves have grown quite large, however there is just a red area on the stem where the radish should have grown... I've been told that it's just too hot for them... Oh, well...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Matthew!!

My sweetest boy,

I absolutely cannot believe that today you are four. How quickly your years have gone by! It has been an absolute joy for me and Daddy to watch you grow and learn. Your sweet spirit, your hilarious sense of humor, your stubborn-ness... all of it has been a great blessing to be a part of. We look forward to the years with you, and in seeing you become the man that God has created you to be. We wish you a very happy birthday, and many, many blessings. You are the best son, and an answer to our prayers!!

We love you so much!
Momma and Dada

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Perks...

Very infrequently can I see the perks in being up at 6:15 on a Sunday morning. Yes, I look forward to church (don't need to be up to get ready for that until 8), and yes, I enjoy a freshly brewed cup o' joe (that can be brewed WHENEVER), but today, I was blessed with a HUGE perk...

A "Ballerina and Pirate Show." I know I'm biased, but these are the cutest kids I've EVER had!



Thursday, May 28, 2009

OOTMOB

It's been a while since I've posted anything to the "Out Of The Mouths of Babes" category. Not because I didn't want to, but because the cute little toddler-isms are fading away at our house. Again, a bittersweet thing.

Here are a few that have floated around here lately:

When stung by a 'bee' (we think it was a horsefly), Daddy asked M, "What color was the bee?" M stopped crying, looked smack on at Daddy, and in a somewhat indignant voice said, "The same color as all the bees in this world!"

A friend of mine came by to deliver some things. C helped me to answer the door, and when the friend left, remarked, "Wow, Momma! She sure had a pretty face on her head!"

C and M love running around the house looking for bugs. (I pray that they don't find many as we pay a pretty high bill for bug control, however this IS the South!) M came running in to me and said, "Momma! I need the BUG SWAPPER to smoosh a bug I found!"

That's the latest installment of OOTMOB... Hope it brought you a giggle, or at least a smile!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Commencement #2

Last night we attended Cadey's Kindergarten graduation. It was a full-on, cap and gown, special white dress, diploma-handin'-out graduation. We heard the kids recite many poems, sing songs, and demonstrate for us the many, many things they've learned this year. The night was precious, and yet bittersweet. How quickly she has grown from a baby to a little girl, to a young girl!

Though we've only been a part of the school since March, we count it as a HUGE blessing for our girl. She has thrived there socially and spiritually, and her academics are off the chart. She has A's in every subject, and her average in reading was 100.8%! She has learned to write in cursive in the 12 weeks she's been at the school, and has continued to grow academically and spiritually. We are so proud of our girl!




Sunday, May 24, 2009

Commencement #1

Friday M had his "graduation" from 3 year old preschool. He was all dressed up, had practiced his "cheesy smile" and was ready to go.



B and I met him in the chapel (C was in school) and watched as he and his friends sang their hearts out. It was very sweet. BUT...whenever we go to one of these events with the little kiddos, I feel the anticipation in the air -- "Who will be the child who does something that we'll all remember?" AND, "Will a set of parents be embarrassed or proud of the "remembrance?" Lucky us -- this year, that child was ours...

You'll see it in the beginning of the video of M and his friends singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." Though he really wanted to be embarrassed and cry, he pulls it off well, jumping right back into the song. We're so proud of our big boy! Watch out K4, here he comes...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mid May update...

It seems like we go about our lives and I think, "Oh, that's a good one for the blog." Or I take a picture and think, "The family will love that one." And what happens? I don't do it. I get sidetracked, busy, forgetful and then time marches on and I find I have a camera full of shots to share and lots of stories to tell. Here's our mid-month update.

One week into the garden, and things were growing. Everything had come up. Most surprising was the beans. When I was out watering about 6 days into the garden's life, no beans had poked through. The next day when I went out to water, they were not only through the soil, but about 2" tall!! Everything else is growing well too: the zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, cukes, and tomatoes. We even have one small green tomato growing. Right now the plants are so tiny it's hard to tell they're anything exciting, and not just some weeds. But, I'm excited!!

We also recently became the fortunate receivers of a hand-me-down, almost new canoe. We've been looking to buy one for about a year now, and just hadn't "jumped ship" to purchase one. (If you don't know, they can be quite spendy!) So, one free canoe, two free paddles, four life jackets from Kmart, TONS of sunscreen and bug spray and we were off. We had a great time! We were able to drop the canoe into the creek across the street (off our neighbors' dock) and paddle out to the river. On the way back we tried some new routes through the weeds (and by 'we' I mean B -- it's a good thing he's a pilot and not a navigator!) Came in close contact with a baby crab, heard a blood curdling scream from the kids as said crab crawled toward them, pushed the canoe out of the swamp "pluff" mud, and all in all, had a GREAT time! The only drawback is having to wait until the tide is up to put the canoe in. As we found from our first venture out, canoes full of four people do not do well in the mud!

I've also included some pics from the beginning of the month when we went to a base function with B's squadron. M and C loved playing on the truck and tractor that were there for the set up, and the adults loved watching M dance when the band was warming up.

I think you'll also find a shot of my first attempt at a TOTALLY from-scratch cake. Took about 4 hours, but you can definitely taste the difference. It was an Orange Marmalade cake. YUM-O!

We're getting ready to wind up the month with one graduating from Kindergarten and the other ending his year in 3 year old preschool. Looking forward to summer and all the adventure that brings!!!

Edventure proves an adventure!

Last Thursday, M and I joined C's class for a field trip. We drove with some friends up to Columbia to Edventure. The place is totally awesome -- worth the drive -- cost is worth the entertainment -- we'll be going back again soon. Though we stayed for about 4 hours, the kids did not want to leave. It was great fun!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The "Blessings" of Motherhood

A friend of mine passed this story along to me today, and I was laughing so hard, I almost wet my pants (one of those blessings of motherhood.) Any of you who've ever been in a public bathroom with a toddler can relate.

I hope that this story reminds you of how precious our little ones are ...

A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.
By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

''Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?''

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ''Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh...Mommy! I'm trying to see In dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!''

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ''Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!''

''No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies...Oh! Mommy!''

He started to gag at this point.

''Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!''

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the
subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

''Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!''

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. ''Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?''

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.
''Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.'' He started pounding on the door. ''Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!''

I saw that my wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three She lives with her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses public restrooms)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Garden

A neighbor of ours gave us a few small tomato plants that we've been caring for since early April. When talking to the neighbor about what to do with the plants which have grown significantly, he said we needed to plant them in the ground and that he'd help us start a garden if we so desired.

I have ALWAYS wanted to have my own garden, but due to the frequent moves, I've never invested the time. Well, today I changed that.

Saint Steve (the neighbor) came over and tilled up a patch for us, then helped us plant the tomato plants. Then Cadey and I finished the beds, planted a few other veggies, and made the stakes with the tags on them.

Now I'm just praying that we get some veggies!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cute as a button (or polka dot!)

You've seen most of April, but...

With B now home and all of us settled back into a "normal" routine, it seems as if the days, weeks, months are flying by! We enjoyed a couple weeks with B during his leave, including Easter Egg Hunts, our camping trip, and a day at the zoo. B has also taken on a total Blazer overhaul. I am amazed at the knowledge he has about the truck, and how confident he is that all the parts, wires, etc. he has taken off will go back on (well, new stuff will replace the old) and that the truck will not only look good, but run well too!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Camping Trip

We borrowed the pop-up trailer from the base and headed upstate with the kids to a State Park on the SC/NC line. After a 7 hour drive, we made it to a VERY packed campground. We set up camp, and enjoyed exploring the two lakes, playgrounds, scenic trails, and the layout of the campground.
The next day we awoke and enjoyed a campfire breakfast and then headed inside when the rain, lightning, and thunder started. Little did we know that was to be a VERY interesting day, filled with lightening, thunder, rain, hail, more rain, and a tornado watch. (The counties around us actually had tornadoes hit down, but the campground was left untouched.)
The weekend was filled with abundant sunshine and we had a great time participating in the campground's egg hunt, a nature walk, fishing, riding on a paddle boat, feeding the geese, and relaxing.
Our last two days we spent inside the trailer listening to the rain, which was disappointing, but still fun.
All in all, we had a great trip and are already searching for our next camping adventure!

Egg hunts and Easter

The kids both had an egg hunt at their schools in the week preceding Easter. We were invited to Matthew's, but not Cadey's. So, enjoy the few photos I was able to snap of the hunts...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zoo trip

Last weekend we took the kids upstate to the zoo. We spent the night in the Embassy Suites (VERY fancy, according to the kiddos!) enjoying swimming, pizza on the house, breakfast on the house, and two tickets to the zoo.

We were some of the first people to enter the zoo when it opened and it was great to have the place to ourselves!! We stayed for about 5 hours visiting with the animals, riding the train, ponies, and carousel, and even feeding a giraffe! All in all, it was a great day!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marching along...

I cannot believe that the month of March has come and gone. I swear, the older I get, the faster time moves (well, unless in the middle of a deployment!)

We had a busy month -- birthday parties (I made the fondant blanket and stars for a VERY detailed cake), breakfast with the Princesses, a slumber party, bowling, starting a new school, and, of course, Daddy's homecoming.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Homecoming Photos

You all have been waiting so patiently for the photos we took while waiting for B to arrive home this week. Thank you for giving our family some time to get reacquainted and settled. We're having a wonderful time together...

Anyway, enjoy the few photos I was able to snap...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Many accomplishments

Cadey has had a great time at school the last two weeks -- well, after I drop her off, that is. We are still having some grumbling in the morning about the "dumb clothes" and she sometimes tries the "I don't want to go to school" routine, but once she's there, she does VERY well.

For example:

Her first week, Cadey earned Student of the Week, complete with a coupon for a free buffet at Golden Corral. (Oh, yay! Lucky me -- where's Bapaw when you need him to take the grands on a trip to the GC???)

Her second week, Cadey read enough books on her "Book It!" form that she earned a coupon for a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. (I'm all over that one!) She also earned enough money (it's a discipline/behavior method the teacher uses in class) that she was rewarded with a trip to the Treasure Box. Only the top three money earners for the week get a trip to the Box!

So, I am thrilled with her accomplishments. The teacher also said she is doing very well, and is right in line with the class -- and is reading "VERY WELL" for her age. Ahhh... I'm so proud of my punkin' and am so happy she's found her place!



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Busy Weekend...

We've had a busy weekend. We enjoyed a slumber party on Friday, breakfast with the princesses on Saturday, and ended the weekend with a great day spent bowling with friends...

Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

School Uniforms

Though she isn't too sure about the uniforms for her new school, I think C looks so cute. And, talk about making the choosing-of-the-clothes so much easier!!!

Enjoy the few pics I've been able to capture -- C's not sure she wants her photo taken in her "dumb clothes!" (And yes, her eyes are really puffy -- early mornings, now that we have to drive to school!!)