Saturday, June 27, 2009

Place in the world Part 2

So summer, like life, is speeding past us. I've been trying to organize some activities for the kids and dodge my daughter's I can't believe you thought I'd like that looks. (in her nice, polite way)

I wanted to share a "conversation" I had with my daughter via facebook (the evil time destroyer I recognize it to be. Facebook, that is, not my daughter). I forgot how important it is to look at the world through her eyes. I stopped short in my tracks realizing I was looking at this all wrong.

My status: My 13 year old daughter is dreading our trip to Angelina River Lodge. Laying in the sun, boats, jet skis, 4 wheelers just get boring after a while. Anyone have any ideas?

Her reply:I can't wait for being with my cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents! but it's the 5 days of "hanging out" there with my family that I get to "hang out" with for EVERY DAY of my life! It's no fun to go jet sking or 4 wheeling if there's nobody to do it with. Yes, there is cell phone service, internet and like, 2 crafts and a bit of art that I can do. But I haven't come across any capturing books recently. I also love photography but I know the fishcamp like the back of my hand and I can only think of maybe 5 good pictures that I can take there.There's a pool, but it's not any fun swimming with siblings in a pool that doesn't even go to my hips. I hate to complain but 5 days of fish camp with just family (that I get to be around every day) is just WAY to long for me. Do you see whare I'm comin' from?

No, sweetie, I guess I didn't see where you were coming from.

Back to the original two sentences of my last post: I am at a wierd place. My youngest is starting first grade! No more homemade baby food, no more preschool games, no more peekaboo and lullabys. We can try to keep them little, like I'm doing with my oldest, and that doesn't really work. I still have Strawberry Girl and the Happy Holisters to share with my youngest, yet I am more aware now how quickly time goes by.

I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I am removed from the baby stage and into the teenager stage. I remember more of my growing up as teenager than a child. You would think it would be easier to see things from her point of view. I am so thankful she talks to me and presents her viewpoint!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Her place in the world

Here is a picture of Raeley taken a year or two ago (just kidding for my not irl friends)

Here Raeley and I are reading a book together, taken just a few days before the picture above.

I feel like I am at a weird place right now, and it -time- has snuck up on me.
My daughter, my youngest child, will be starting first grade. She's frustrated because she doesn't know how to read (except that she does, mostly) and she is so much more self sufficient than even three months ago. My daughter, my oldest child, has grown up.

Today I went to the library to pick up some books for the kids to take on a trip - by myself, browsing through library shelves. That's enough to make anyone reminisce. I rarely go to the library by myself, and would you believe it, I totally forgot to get a book for me! Raeley, my oldest who is trying to find her place in the world (and yes, Michael W Smith's song should be stirring your heart at this moment), is struggling with boredom. She likes to read, but can't find books lately that interest her. I have to watch what books I suggest because I'm still stuck on Strawberry Girl, The Little Princess, and Mandy. I don't even know if she made it through all the Little House on the Prarie books, and I totally missed The Happy Holisters with her. She's taking a break from Nancy Drew and I'm hoping she likes Madeline L'engle's books as much as I did.

I need to wrap my mind around where she is now - growing. up. fast.

Part 1 concluded.

Comments are welcome, however, for books a teenager might like. By the way, Anita, she carries the book Do Hard Things around with her.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday with poems of City Museum

Not quite Wordless Wednesday
A few poems:
Creative crawling cages, mangled metal morphing into magic spaces, speedy slides of spare parts, spare parts and pottery pieces patterned into insects, into every inch an imagination feast! Scaling up slippery slopes, holding knotted ropes,
only to slide down again and start it all over.
Are vertical slides really slides?
Shouldn't we call them drops?

Here is a poem the kids put together:
Exciting enchanting exploring
Historic happy heights
Jumping Jabbering Junk
Springing Slides
Pip pop pipe
Tree to trash

Happy Father's Day!

This is the first Father's day we were in town and able to heap attention on Mark. Usually we are at my family reunion, which was last week. The nice thing about that is I get to be with MY dad on Father's day. My wonderful husband has never complained that he has to hob nob all weekend with perfect strangers, strange family, remote relatives, but I am very happy that we are at our house on Father's Day this year. His wish? To clean out the garage again and organize the house. For those of you who know me, organization just isn't my strong point. Remember this post, or this one?

The kids fixed him blueberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast. I was up at chuch early teaching Sunday School, so they took a picture for me. We aren't taking him out to eat because a few days ago we had gone up to see his parents for the day, and before we left, one of the kids (who is purposefully to remain nameless since stuff like this can happen to the best of us) left the freezer door ajar. Mark stayed up late into the night cooking partially thawed meat. We have plenty of meat in the fridge we are hurrying to eat! Plus, going out to eat would divert our attention from cleaning!

Happy Father's Day to my dad, Mitchell, my father in law, Mark, and all you dads!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Robert made a blog post!

Robert, my oldest son, made my sister's blog - a whole post to himself! Check it out at

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family Bonds

My family
My nephew Mike, his wife Sara, and my great niece Mackenzie

We have a place I go that has hardly changed as long as I can remember. The first time I can really remember coming to this place, I think I was 12. What do I remember? Skating around the hot skating rink at breakneck speed, the speed only to be explained by the old wooden floor. What else do I remember? Meeting my great aunts in the old cabins, with food offered everywhere. And the heat.
It is our family reunion, held at the illustrious Holmes County State Park near Jackson, MS. We stay in cabins and eat lots of great food all weekend. This year my uncle celebrated both his 80th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary. What a legacy! Spending the whole weekend with family every year, I have gotten to know my 2nd and 3rd cousins better than I would have otherwise thought. I'm even remembering names and towns of 4th and 5th cousins! The family reunion is held in honor of my great grandparents. They had 9 children, all of whom who have passed away, and yet we still meet every year. Another legacy.

This weekend we had a special treat. My cousin, Bill Abel, gave us a mini concert. He is a blues player from the Delta, and he looks every bit the blues player that he is.
It just wouldn't be the family reunion if we didn't walk to the cemetery. It used to be so spooky! We used to go skating on Saturday nights, but they have permanently closed the skating rink. As my sons kept saying all weekend, that is a bummer! It reminds me that time changes things.
Our new activity? Geocaching! My brother in law, Bob, planned it all and brought a few gps units. We divided up into teams and started the hunt! My team won, probably because through the sweltering heat, they guys would not stop! Next year, time limit please! I think Mark has a new hobby.
And let's not forget the fishing! Saturday morning is a good time for fishing.

This year was a good year. Lots of cousins made it in honor of my uncle's 80th birthday, and my nieces and nephews who normally don't come were able to make it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Shark Teeth

The cousins, what a crew! Robert (11), Angela(6), Evelyn(8), Amber(10), Raeley(13), Jonathan(9), Emily(11), Cameron(6)
Cameron, Angela, and Kimberly

Who would've thought that there were shark teeth NOT along the coast? Come to find out, there's some not to far from where we live! Due to proximity and anonymity, I won't mention where that is. My sister and her kids are visiting this week. Here's her blog! We had a great time! For more Wordless Wednesday posts, you can find them at Five Minutes for

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

St. Louis Saturday

Here's the gang!Raeley, Kristie, Randy, Tricia,
Robert, Sarah, Jonathan, Mark, Cameron, Ginny
Tricia posing with the Praying Mantis.
Cameron climbing down a passage.

Robert and Jonathan
Raeley going down the 10 story circle slide - Yikes!

Kristie and Cameron way above the ground, crawling through a cage.

City Museum
Six Flags was full of excitement, but boy was the City Museum cool! It is called a museum because it is made of reclaimed junk – a few planes, school bus, fire engine, and lots of metal. It is all about creativity and exploration. The roof just opened the day before, so we got to see that exhibit, and my favorite slide was up there. You could really catch some speed on those slides! Raeley walked around with the camera taking pictures Raeley style and Mark walked around with the video camera attached to his eye. Of course, that was when they weren’t busy climbing, sliding, skimmying through tight places, balancing over water or way up – and I mean way up high in cage-like tunnels. This place is truly a captivating playground for all ages! I look forward to my next trip to St Louis just to experience the City Museum again!
It was a great trip- full, exciting, and not much down time! It feels like we barely even touched St. Louis, but you know how I like big cities, so I bet we’ll be back!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Friday in St. Louis

Every one loves Scooby Do!
Quick! Hug Mark! He's the one who suggested to the kids they stand on the bridge over the water ride!

Just relaxing for a minute!

Robert almost made it!

Six Flags
Friday was Six Flags and it was a great theme park! I think it was the highlight of Mark and the kids' trip. I would agree if it weren't for the motion sickness. I had a great time watching every one else have fun. Cameron definitely surpassed me, as she rode every roller coaster for her height. I tried to cover up my weaknesses for the ride on Cameron. All the kids wanted to ride a roller coaster back to back, including her, so that didn't work! I sat on a bench and said that Cameron and I will wait here for yall. She looked back and me and said, "Do we have to? I want to ride again!" This was the perfect day to go, not too hot, not too crowded, no lines! We closed the park down that night and after I had motion sickness for a second time that day, it wasn’t a minute too soon for me! The water rides were lots of fun and we had a good laugh after they (meaning everyone but me) talked Randy onto the Tony Hawk spinning ride that didn’t spin too much - unless you were unbalanced with three little girls as your riders. He was very unbalanced. His cart was spinning more than ANY other. We were all very impressed with the Six Flags over Mid-America.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday in St. Louis

Can you crack the safe in the bank?
Do you know who it is? Raeley, Mark, Robert, Jonathan, Cameron, Kristie

Hair is starting to rise (Robert)!

Even longer hair is starting to rise (Raeley)!

Cameron dressed up as Belle in the fairy tale room.

St. Louis
Last weekend was a spur of the moment backpacking trip, but this weekend is officially the start of our busy summer. We met up with the Brattons, Mark’s best friend from college and his family, in St. Louis. Randy is a big Cardinals fan, so he made it to a few games. They brought Robert and Raeley to the Saturday night game and Mark, Cameron, Jonathan, and I made it to the end of the game, which they lost horribly to the Rockies.
Magic House
We arrived on a Thursday and headed straight for the magic house, a children’s museum that Mark went to when he was around Cameron’s age. It has easily doubled in size since then, but it was fun for him to see what was the same. There were several different sections for the kids to explore. Do they want to be a banker, go grocery shopping, work in a restaurant, be a musician, construction worker, mechanic? There were great hands on activities for music, mazes, math, logic, fitness, physics, and the fun stuff like the shadow wall, color wall, optical illusions, solve the mystery with it's own hidden room, and the electrostatic ball (big ball that makes your hair stand up).
Then we met Tricia and the girls, Sarah and Ginny, for dinner while Randy went to the game. We stayed at Drury Plaza, which is a short walk to the stadium. It is a very nice hotel with a complementary large, hot breakfasts and snacks and drinks at Happy Hour every evening.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sipsey Waterfalls

Another waterfall!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mark's Birthday

The girls mixing the cake in a mug.
It overflowing in the microwave.

Mark's birthday was yesterday and he turned 40! He's handling it quite well. He says he doesn't feel 40 at all. I thought it would be a dark, depressing day for him as he dove off into the world of the ancients. He has been dreading his 40th birthday for as long as I have known him!

It was a good day. None of the kids were home except Cameron, and she had a friend over to play and spend the night. So we didn't really celebrate except by going out to eat for lunch (at Bistro - and they happened to have lunch half off that day!) and dinner (Las Margharitas) Great food at Bistro! My new favorite place for lunch! We met some friends for dinner that we haven't seen in a while, so it was great to catch up.

All afternoon I worked on a recipe for cake in a mug. I'll post the real recipe in a few weeks. I didn't want a huge cake sitting around with no kids to help eat it up, but I couldn't find a recipe like I was looking for. No big deal, I'll just convert one to mug size. Cameron and her friend were the resident chefs. Let's just say the experiment was more than unedible, it was disgusting! Oh well, Mark still got to blow out some candles and be sung Happy Birthday to! It was worth a good laugh. I'll keep experimenting with the cake recipe and get back with you..... More on Mark's birthday later, when we have more kids around to celebrate it!

Backpacking Part 2

We filled the next two days exploring on trails, cooking over an open fire, swimming in the stream, throwing sticks for the dogs, eating smores, finding waterfalls, climbing and rappelling, hunting firewood, building fires, swinging in the hammock and telling stories around the fire.
Mark found a copperhead on a trail right as we were about to cross over a stream and start up a hill. YIKES! It took me a moment to find it, and what a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach as I saw that it was coiled up in plain view, yet so well camouflaged! That is the only snake we have ever seen in that area.
It was so peaceful and serene, and beautiful! We got far enough away from civilization to relax. There was nothing there to pull our focus off of each other yet there was so much to do – in the morning, to walk down the stream and see how the morning light filters through the clouds and how different that looks from the evening sun. At noon to play in the waterfalls, swim in the freezing water, and dry off on a rock in the sun. At night to find glowing inchworms and iridescent moss, to hunt fireflies, and to watch the burning embers in the fire.
When it was time to leave, Cameron, Raeley, and I headed out before the guys and dogs. CJ would not budge when they put his pack on him. Mark finally coaxed him into leaving, but he was so tired, he just didn't seem to have it in him to scale the hill up to leave! I can"t blame him. It was hard for all of us to leave such a great escape from reality!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Backpacking at Parker Falls Part 1

Parker Falls

This past weekend we backpacked in to Parker Falls and stayed three days and two nights. It was such a fun, impromptu trip! And talk about cheap, the only things we were out of pocket for were a few cans of sterno, some batteries, and gas to get there. We bought wire lines for the dogs, a lighter weight camping skillet, and a few more flashlights -all items we will reuse, and of course groceries. Our splurge? Dehydrated ice cream sandwiches. I thought they were cool, but the kids didn't really like them! Back to our trip - we went to Parker Falls last August (before my blogging days) just for a couple of hours and fell in love with the place. Since it has been raining so much, we were so excited to see what the waterfalls would look like with all this rain. There are several waterfalls scattered out among the cliffs, and one substantial one that is great to play in. Check out the pictures in the slideshow.


Speaking of cliffs, we brought our rappelling gear that Mark has had since before we were married, and the kids and I (minus Cameron) all went rappelling for the first time. The kids all did great! I tried the low cliff, the one we all went on, which was around 30 feet high. Mark started at the top, which was around 60 feet high or more. The next day we all went rappelling again and I started at the top. All I can say is that I should have had more practice and I wish we had it on video - it had to be hilarious! On the 30 foot cliff which has a good landing, where we started the day before, I stopped to rest a minute. When I started again, somehow my feet stayed on the ledge and I went down so my butt was hanging down just swaying and my feet were above my head! So I kept going down till they came unstuck. Next time I will practice more! Mark missed seeing the whole thing as he was up at the top and couldn't see over the edge of the cliff.

Hiking In and Out

To get to waterfalls and the place we like to camp, it is a mile hike in. Downhill in, uphill out. Since it was so close, I will admit we didn't leave a few luxuries behind. We thought the extra two miles walking would be worth it. We were right. I am glad we didn't give up the air mattress and cooler! On the way back out, though, we played so long that we were ready to GO and decided to try to fit it all in. Raeley actually ran ahead with some backpacks and sleeping rolls while the boys were rappelling and we each carried something extra. Mark and I carried our packs up the steepest parts without carrying anything extra earlier in the day. That was a great call by Mark because there was no way I could have worn the pack and carried something! CJ even had a pack but he was so tired on the way out, that after Mark put the pack on him, he refused to MOVE. Then he got scared climbing up, but I can't blame him. Everyone except Buster carried two things out, even Cameron. To get her to walk faster, Raeley let her lead Buster out on his leash. What a great idea! The only time we say anyone was when we were walking out. We passed a couple walking in.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My sister's book club blog

Check out my sister's book club blog post. It has some really great ideas! She's not a homeschool mom like me, but this blog will probably inspire my homeschool blog friends.

BTW, I'm on the left (I think).