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Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra (An Extra-Special Weekend)

16 Jun

After a super-busy week last week, the kids and I spent Friday and Saturday in Mt. Airy, visiting with my dad for an early Father’s Day celebration (And giving Jason a little present-a couple of days with nothing to think about but playing golf!)

We had a great time seeing everyone, especially my step-sister Brie and her friends who were visiting for the week. We don’t get to see them very often.

Charlie and his cousin, Kellan, are “best buds.”  They love playing together and just run to each other and hug when they get to see each other.  Charlie now wants to move to Papa’s house so he can play with Kellan all of the time!

The kids rode up and down Daddy's driveway a million times-they loved walking around the garden and through the vineyard.

The kids rode up and down Daddy’s driveway a million times-they loved walking around the garden and through the vineyard.

 

Charlie and Kellan on their scooters.  They were so funny pretending to wreck and help each other up!

Charlie and Kellan on their scooters. They were so funny pretending to wreck and help each other up!

 

We went up on Pilot Mountain on Saturday and had a picnic and walked around a little.  This was extra special to us because we used to go up there all of the time when I was growing up, but I haven’t been in probably ten years.  We would take lunch up there and walk around the knob.  I haven’t taken the kids up there yet because I have honestly been too scared that they would fall off the mountain, but they are big enough now to have a little fear in them!

We had a great time.  The only thing missing, according to my sisters, was a bucket of KFC fried chicken!

Here are some pictures from our day:

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And can’t forget a picture of this wonderful daddy!

Spending some cuddle time with his Baby Girl on Father's Day.

Spending some cuddle time with his Baby Girl on Father’s Day.

 

Grilling out some burgers in his new "Daddy set. 2009 " shirt.

Grilling out some burgers in his new “Daddy since 2009” shirt.

 

Jason moved on to a new stage in his life-the kids are now picking out their presents for him!  Don’t worry, he didn’t get  a tacky tie-He got an iron man toothbrush from Charlie and a cow mug from Maddie.

Add in a couple of cookouts to celebrate Kitten and Ed, and we had a busy but good Father’s Day weekend.  I hope you did, too!

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

31 May

*Disclaimer:  This post is a complete exaggeration based on a recent conversation with a friend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband could care less if the house, the children, or myself are a complete mess when he gets home from work, or he at least has the sense not to mention it.

The kids and I had great fun staging these pictures that represent a split-second in our day, with so much change going on in between the two pictures! 

 

You know that moment of clarity when you look around at your life and realize, something must change?  You see that your life is a mess, that you are living in chaos, and there is a strange smell coming from somewhere in the room, possibly from you?  You recognize that something must be done, that you must get to work to end the wreck that your life has become?

This happens every day in my house.

I call it the 5:30 rush.  5:30 is when my husband’s office closes.  I picture him calmly getting up from his desk, gathering his things, and walking out the door, locking up behind him.  Of course, he is looking so forward to getting home to his clean, cheery children and wife, to leaving the stress and busy-ness of the day behind him.

It takes him 30 minutes to drive home, and during that time I am a mad-woman.

 

The husband rush

 

I look around, assessing the situation.  I yell at the kids to un-attach themselves from me, go up to their rooms, take off their pajamas, and get dressed in real clothes including underwear.

I begin frantically loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and putting cereal boxes, a jar of peanut butter, and other various food items into the cabinets.  I throw the stack of paper plates and juice boxes left by the 10 kids and their mothers we had over for lunch into the recycling, then grab the Lysol Wipes container and run through the house cleaning off countertops and toilets.

I quickly make the bed and snatch up the wet bathing suits laying in the floor, running into the laundry room to start a load of laundry.

The kids and I meet up in my bathroom, washing faces and brushing hair.  Charlie finds a can of Glade and goes around the house spraying coconut-scented air freshener around while Maddie begins searching the house for our cats so she can put them outside.

I realize that I haven’t started dinner yet, so I rush into the kitchen, grabbing the glasses of melted ice left on our nightstands from the night before to put into the dishwasher.  I stick a frozen lasagna in the oven, not bothering to preheat the oven, then lay a cutting board and knife out on the counter and arrange a head of lettuce, some carrots, and a tomato artfully on top of it, creating the illusion that I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy, labor-intensive dinner for my hard-working husband.

I walk quickly through the house, picking up Legos, Barbies, and Transformers and tossing them into bins and closets, strategically leaving books scattered about.  I leave a puzzle box lying on the living room sofa and some play-doh on the kitchen table.  Evidence of organized learning must remain as proof of our productivity.

Back in my bathroom, I throw some concealer under my eyes, adding some mascara, blush, and lip gloss for good measure.  I take off my old shorts and T-shirt and put on clean clothes that I would actually wear in public.

Glancing at the clock, I realize that I have 5 minutes left before the husband pulls up in the driveway.  I grab the vacuum and run it over the floors, vacuuming up little piles of sand brought home from the park and the occasional small toy that was inadvertently left out (Casualty of war, I think to myself.) while the kids scrub with some Windex wipes at the chocolate handprints on the kitchen door. As I am placing the vacuum back in the pantry, I hear the garage door opening.

I smile to the kids as they take their places at the kitchen counter, coloring quietly.  I grab a pitcher of iced tea out of the refrigerator and set it out, then stand at the island and begin chopping up the vegetables I had put out earlier.

“Hi, Honey, I’m home!” Husband calls out when he enters the house.  I press a button on my iPod and switch the music playing in the background from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” to Beethoven’s “Symphony Number 5”.  The kids put down their crayons and run to him, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!”

He looks at me, “Did you guys have a good day?  What did you do?”

I smile sweetly, noticing that he has on his golfing clothes, and hand him a glass of tea.  “Nothing much.  Just did some stuff around the house.”

The Big Rush After_1

 

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

29 Apr

The kids and I are sitting around waiting on some horrible weather to reach us, so we decided to get out our big bags of letters.  I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to snap some pictures for this week’s photo challenge: Letters.

We have a lot of letters to play around with, thanks to my cousin who is a kindergarten teacher!

We have a lot of letters to play around with, thanks to my cousin who is a kindergarten teacher!

 

Maddie loves digging through the letters with her feet, kind of like sand.

Maddie loves digging through the letters with her feet, kind of like sand.

 

The Madster!

The Madster!

 

And Charlie, contemplating.....

And Charlie, contemplating…..

 

....doing this to his name!

….doing this to his name!

 

Charlie got a big kick out of this word...

Charlie got a big kick out of this word…

 

...but he really like this one!

…but he really cracked up over this one!

 

It's Letter Face!

It’s Letter Face!

 

Maddie's O's.

Maddie’s O’s.

 

Nothing like a mountain of letters to pass the time!

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge (A Week Belated): On Top

27 Apr

Last weeks weekly photo challenge was to share a photo that says “On Top.”  I know that I usually share photos of my kids and things that are going on in my life at the moment, but as soon as I saw this challenge I knew what picture I wanted to share.  The reason I am a week late is because the picture was taken over 6 years ago, and it took me awhile to find where I had stored it.

Jason took this picture of me in 2008 when we traveled to Italy.  We rode the train from Rome into the mountains to a smaller town called Orvieto, and spent the day walking around exploring.  It was a really great day for us.

We thought it would be fun to climb to the top of this really old bell tower.  It was TONS of steps to make it to the top, and we had already spent almost the entire day walking, so it seemed like we would never make it, but we did and it was totally worth it so see this ancient town from up high.

Here’s the picture that I have always loved so much.  I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do!

229747_1033745559390_1937_n

 

While we were up there, the bell actually began to ring, and it was deafening!

Here’s another picture of the actual view from the top:

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Jason and I have seen lots of views from the top of different places all over the world, but I will always remember this as one of my favorites!

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Easter Sunday Picture Fail!

20 Apr

Am I the only one who just CANNOT get a good picture of the entire family at the same time?  It just seems to be impossible for us!  Either someone is looking away or crying or has their eyes closed or has hair blowing all over the place.

Here’s what we came up with today:

Maddie is looking up in this one.

Maddie is looking up in this one. I think she was staring at me wondering why I had run from the camera (which we had set up on the hood of the truck-explaining the lopsidedness of the pics) to them, yelling, “Smile, smile!  It’s going to take a picture! Get ready!”  And why do I have a bubble wand in my hand?  That is so random.

 

Charlie is beginning to show his massive lack of patience.  (This was the second picture we took, after all!)

Charlie is beginning to show his massive lack of patience. (This was the second picture we took, after all!)  Plus, I was struggling to peek around Maddie.

 

And by this time (the third picture) the kids had just had it.

And by this time (the third picture) the kids had just had it.  Plus, not sure what’s going on with my eyes.

 

One thing I will point out, in case you didn’t notice: Jason looks PERFECT in all of these pictures! What’s up with that?  How does he do it?

Aside from our lack of a family photo when we all looked so great, we had a great Easter, and I hope you did, too.

O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15: 55-57

Things I am Loving Right Now…

3 Apr

Golf, flowers, flip-flops1

 

Golf, flowers, flip-flops2

 

Golf, flowers, flip-flops3

 

Golf, flowers, flip-flops4

 

Golf, flowers, flip-flops5

I apologize in advance to my friends up North who are still knee-deep (or higher) in snow, wearing coats and scarves and hats.  You may not want to read this…

…but I just have to brag on this gorgeous week we are having.  We really needed for this winter to be over, and it finally is.  I am high on vitamin D right now!

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.  Genesis 1:31a

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective (The Science Museum)

10 Mar

The kids and I had a really cool morning at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science with Jill and Addison this morning.  They had a neat preschool program where the kids got to learn about some different animals and participate in different sensory activities.  The highlight for me was when Charlie got to wear a huge turtle shell and crawl around like a turtle!  I wish I had a picture of that, but one great thing I have learned through this month of unplugging is that I need to be present in my everyday life, not worried about taking pictures of every little cute things the kids do.

Anyway, this weeks photo challenge was on perspective, and I thought this picture fit well:

A pterodactyl flying high in the sky!

A pterodactyl flying high in the sky!

 

Here’s the original:

The same Pterodactyl, with some of his friends.

The same Pterodactyl, with some of his friends.

Here are some more pics from this morning:

Some Quick Pics of Our Days

6 Mar

While I have been unplugging this month, the kids and I have been having a great time.  We’re spending lots of time reading and playing and visiting with friends, and I have been taking a lot of pictures with my actual camera instead of my phone.

DSC_0006

The kids have been doing a lot of “kindergarten” work, as Charlie calls it. This morning, he told me he was going to start raising his hand if he had something to say.  Seeing as he has never stepped foot in school or preschool or anything like it, I don’t know where he got that from!

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We have been taking some naps, too!

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Maddie is such a little helper! She helped me make scrambled eggs this morning.

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And a little tea party to get the day started!

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Our days are going very well, and I hope yours are, too.  For those of you participating in 31 Days Unplugged, I would love to hear what you’re doing now that you have a little more time on your hands!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three (Planting Seeds)

21 Feb

The kids and I are LOVING this break from the snowy, wintery weather.  It has been 70 degrees or close to it for a few days now, and we have been outside a lot.  I know it’s only February, but I am ready for winter to be over!  I don’t know how you northerners do it…

Charlie, Maddie, and I started some broccoli seeds today so the plants will be ready to transplant in the spring.  We talked a little bit about Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds (here are some great ideas) then planted our seeds in a little greenhouse.

A little brother/sister love!  Maddie lost interest in planting seeds pretty quickly, but Charlie was really into it.

A little brother/sister love! Maddie lost interest in planting pretty quickly, but Charlie was really into it.

 

Charlie planting some seeds.  He was adamant, however, that he would not be eating the broccoli when it came up!

Charlie the farmer. He was adamant, however, that he would not be eating the broccoli when it is harvested!

 

Charlie's precious little hand is the perfect size for planting tiny seeds.

Charlie’s precious little hand is the perfect size for planting tiny seeds.

I am looking forward to showing the kids when the sprouts come up, and hopefully we’ll have some fresh broccoli this summer!

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/weekly-photo-challenge-threes/

Snow Day!

29 Jan

That’s right, after a full day of waiting in anticipation (it was torturous) for the snow to begin falling, it finally did, and we ended up with a whopping 2 inches!  I could let myself be a little disappointed, but the kids are so excited that it makes me excited, too.  That’s one great thing about having children: their excitement rubs off on you!

The snow is gorgeous.  This verse from Romans 1 was part of my devotional this morning:

19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

When you wake up and look out the window at the snow-covered ground and see the blinding whiteness of a new snow, God is so evident.  Only He could do something so wonderful.

Charlie and Maddie have been so excited about this snow.  They looked out the windows all day yesterday (okay, that was me….) and stayed up late last night playing in the falling flakes.

The kids wanted to go out as soon as they got up this morning!  We built a partial snowman (the snow is really dry and not packing well, so we’re going to try to finish him up later), went sledding, and made snow angels.  I didn’t take make pictures because I had to take my gloves off to use the camera, and it is REALLY cold!  Plus, I just wanted to enjoy myself.

One really ironic thing that happened today: Jason brought in a memory stick that he found at his office.  I stuck it in the computer, and it has all of our pictures from January 26, 2013-when it snowed last year!  Charlie was wearing the snow suit that Maddie wore today.  I liked seeing how they have changed, almost exactly one year later.

Charlie has grown and changed SO much!

Charlie has grown and changed SO much! I tried to fit him into this snowsuit this morning, but it was about 4 inches too short all over!

I think Emma has this snowsuit on today!

I think Emma has this snowsuit on today!

We’re hanging out in the house for a little while now, drinking hot chocolate and warming up.  I hope everyone enjoys the snow!