Monday, November 30, 2009

The Big City

I grew up in a big city, Houston, TX. I really like being in the big city - the opportunities, diversity, shopping, anonymity. I really don't like the highways and I hate the traffic. I felt like I have spent a lot of time in the car this trip.
I have had a great time this visit and although I feel like we have been away from home for so long, there is so much that I haven't done yet. One thing I have done - EAT. There are some great restaurants here and I feel that I have only just scratched the surface. Between the restaurants, my mom's cooking, and the holidays, I feel overloaded. I got to go to Hubble and Hudson, an exclusive grocery store today to pick up some fresh bread for dinner. Mmmm, samples! I learned today that they don't have this many samples all the time, only during holiday season. Funny since the last time I was there they had lots of samples also. Every time I visit (once or twice a year) I buy something I don't see very often. Last time I got lavender. This time I got Worcestershire powder.
It is so great to see my kids with their cousins and the friends they have had since they were little. It is so refreshing for me to visit with my sisters and my friends I have known for so long.
This was a working trip for Mark. He took off Thursday-Saturday for Thanksgiving, but I feel that I have hardly seen him. The good thing about what we do is that we can take our work with us, giving us more freedom. The bad thing about our work is that we can take it with us.
Tomorrow I start back to work. Actually, I will do some work tonight. Tomorrow night I will be flying to Minneapolis for a leadership bootcamp with work. It should be fun and a growing experience for me.
Mark does not like the big city. He reminds me every time I go out how terrible it is to be stuck in traffic. I must admit my mind keeps taking me back to our quaint neighborhood with the short drive to sport events and the grocery store. I do love the big city, though. And I love being with my family.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


There is so much to be thankful for. God has abundantly blessed our family and our extended family. We had a great Thanksgiving celebration as well. I love it when my entire family is all together. There is just such a feeling of completion. Our family is growing and getting more complex, and as the grandkids are getting older, every year we can all be together I am first of all amazed, and most of all grateful. We had a great Thanksgiving!

My parents are sitting in the middle. To the left of my dad is sister Suzanna, sister Denise, and me. To the right of my mom is Niece-in-law Sarah (wife of Mike), sister Karen, baby McKenzie (Sarah's daughter, Karen's grandaughter), twin sister Kimberly. On the bottom row, starting left, is Cameron, my daughter; Angela, Evelyn, and Amber, Kimberly's daughters.
Middle row from left is Robert and Jonathan, my sons; Lindsay, Denise's daughter; Raeley, my daughter; Jordan, Suzanna's daughter; Emily, Kimberly's daughter; Niece-in-law Kerrie (wife of Luke)
Top row from left is Mark, my husband; Isaac, Denise's husband; Ryan and Josh, Denise's sons; David, Suzanna's husband; Hunter, Suzanna's son; Mike, Karen's son; Bob, Karen's husband; Luke and Jake, Karen's sons; Kevin, Kimberly's husband. 31 people. Sarah is also expecting great-grandbaby #2.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Venturers is a part of the Boy Scouts that is for high school girls and boys. Raeley went on her first Venturing trip a few weekends ago and I got to be the female chaperone. I was so excited, it was so much fun! And I was proud of myself for braving the cold weather.

40 degrees = cold in my book.

As a matter of fact, none of the kids complained. I was very impressed with this group of kids, they were courteous, thoughtful, really good kids. It restored my faith in our society's youth.

We went to Cheaha State Park in Alabama. It is the foothills of the Apalachian mountains. Very pretty. Very rocky.

Rocks = rock climbing and rappelling to these kids.

So that's what we did. Well, first thing Saturday morning we ran to see the sunrise. Yes, ran. You guessed it, cross country is their sport of choice. After breakfast we found a 95 foot high rock wall by going to a cliff and looking over the edge, noticing it might be climbable, and throwing down the rope to let the fun begin. I don't think I will look at rocky edges the same way anymore! I didn't get a chance to rock climb, but I did rappell down. Raeley rocked! Literally, all the way to the top. First time ever rock climbing, and she did awesome!

Raeley and I both survived the afternoon hike - at times I wondered if I would survive it. The trail drops almost 1000 feet in 1/2 a mile. Yah, try climbing UP that! Seriously, the feeling of accomplishment is so worth it, you really should try it sometime.

1000 feet in half a mile = steep

It was a great trip, and on a work related note, the man who was the chaperone for the guys works for a competitor of ours. He runs a gym here in town. We had a great time talking and I enjoyed getting to know him. It was like the cherry on top. Now, if MSU would have beat Bama, that really would have been the cherry on top! Maybe next trip Mark can go, too. He would have thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing
What do you think? Does rock climbing involve upper body strength or lower body strength?
I always thought upper body. This weekend I found out that I was wrong. Rock climbing is all about leg strength. Your upper body's purpose is to keep you close to the rock face.

Rock climbing is one of those things I can't believe I haven't done before. I've wanted to since college. Well, I had my opportunity this weekend and I.couldn' I am not used to not being able to accomplish what I set my mind to.

So, I am amused more than anything. My first chance at rock climbing and I failed. I'm that much more determined to make it work next time.

Here's the story: I am out on a camping trip with high school kids - most of whom are athletes. The other leader is a guy who has been in the fitness industry almost as long as I have been alive. One of his loves in life is personal training. He's in great shape. So they find a rock wall that is probably 95 feet high, "intermediate" skill required, and we find a way to get to the bottom. I'm already working up a sweat. A few kids go up and no-one wants to go next, so me, being the adult leader, run up to the top of the rock as best as I can run, climb into the harness, and climb over to the rappelling ledge. However, I can't go down right there at the edge, I have to climb down to the next rock level, with the rope beside me, and take that step of faith off the rock. Quite awkward, and unnerving. While I am scaling down, the leader yells up for me to stop and climb up a while. Huh? All my efforts have been to lean back and go down. Now I have to switch and go up? My legs are shaking. I find footholds and am clinging to the rock. People at the bottom are shouting encouragements/suggestions/instructions up at me and all I know is my legs are shaking. I can not get them to bear any weight. So down I go. I just couldn't do it - or maybe I just wasn't patient enough.
By the time all the kids had their opportunities, it was time to go. Time's up. 4th quarter, so close. We leave. The end. For now, anyway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The way kids learn

It's the simple things. Yesterday Jane (my kid's tutor, a wonderful lady, and my friend) was here doing the kid's lessons with them. Cameron's assignment was to write the days of the week and draw pictures of what she does on those days. Now Cameron and I have been talking about the plans for the week all day. Today she was so excited to tell me what day it is, what she was doing that day, where that day fell in the week (Wednesday is the 4th day of the week), and every little detail of her picture. This activity has really cemented the days of the week in her mind. The book I am using is Jessie Wise book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I like it more than I thought I would. I like it a lot!

On a personal note, I have been very busy with work. Good busy, fun busy, but tired busy. I'm glad school is fun right now, we are zooming through the daily work. I am trying to not just check off the school work, but make it more of a fun learning experience. I am excited, though, because the boys remember when we studied the founding of our nation and the Pilgrims 2 years ago. They keep asking why we are studying the same thing and spouting off facts. Wow, so maybe some things are sticking in their brains!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I guess I won't be going anywhere today....

I'm not used to being without a vehicle. Apart from the fact that the kids have activities tonight and Mark isn't here to take them, I kinda like being housebound for today! No interesting story with the flat, either. I'm trying to decide if I should try to change it myself....