Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's a circus around here!

For Mother's Day this year my little's put on a circus for me. They planned it all out all by themselves. They were so excited! Here they are in their "circus attire".

Nolan and Samuel were clowns....who would have guessed?! LOL! They ran around chasing each other, falling down and doing funny stunts. It was a hoot! :)

Gabriella had Hezekiah doing doggy stunts. Way to go you two!

Connor walked his version of a tightrope. He did cartwheels and spins without falling off!

Kyalynn was a trapeze swinger. She used the swing and did stunts. Best picture I could get as  I was on the edge of my seat and saying over and over, "Be careful. Oh! Be careful!" LOL! 

Then it was off to cool off in the pool. And cool off you do as the pool is FREEZING!!! LOL!

Just ask Sam.....brrrrrrrrrr!

We ended the evening with our first campfire of the season. 
Burnt marshmallows are the best! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Running against R.A.D. update....

It's been awhile since I've updated about my running adventures. In fact, since my last post about running I've since joined a running community that I love! I glean wisdom, encouragement and much laughter from them. It's such a diverse group.....newbie runners, old, young and everything in between. Some run less than a mile while others run 200+miles at a pop! Mostly all of us are trail runners and the pictures they share are breathtaking!

I am still slogging away against this dreaded disorder that affects my child and ultimately, ALL of us in the home. It is hard. It is frustrating. It is crazy. Some days it is unbearable. Some days are good, some days are not so good. Running gives me an outlet. It's just me and my dog, him happily flitting here and there and me huffing and puffing along. :)

Two weeks ago I was in my first race in 2 1/2 years. It was a 10 mile run. I have NEVER run that far in my life! The furthest I had run up to this point was 6 miles and that was the race 2 1/2 years ago. I stopped running not long after that race and began trying to walk more. Then this December I decided I wanted and needed to give this a go again. So in the dead of winter, snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures, there I was running. I put in 44 miles in January!! So from January until 2 weeks ago my farthest daily distance had been 3 miles. Needless to say, I was quite concerned about this race. There was a cut-off time, meaning I had to be at a certain check point before a certain time or they would disqualify me. My goal was to finish. I didn't care what my times were I just wanted to cross that finish line knowing I did it!

I thought I was in a good place mentally until I got to the venue and saw all the runners with their high tech gear and ultra cool clothes. Then I began to feel nervous BUT when we all started running I settled in and just thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was amazingly beautiful! The race weaved up and down 3 mountains and the views from the top were incredible! When I started to doubt myself, I'd just remind myself that here I was enjoying God's great creation and I didn't have to worry about my kids. I didn't have to stop one time to referee siblings or get someone something. LOL! I was able to enjoy time alone which is very rare. :)

The only really sad thing about the day was that Sean and I had figured out how long we thought it would take me and he and the kids planned to be at the finish line cheering me in at that time. However, I was faster than we thought! So, I crossed the line without my family there. :(

There were 344 runners in my race and I came in 254. I am thrilled with that! It was a monumental day for me. I did something I previously thought I'd never be able to do, especially with these extra 60 lbs on me. The coolest thing was my brother was racing there that day too. His race however was a 30 miler. Oye! :) He always does well and ends with a smile on his face but this one was a struggle. He had serious cramping and a huge blood blister on his big toe but he finished strong. So proud of him!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

If Only....

Ah friends, last night was yet another poignant reminder of how good children are for my soul! 
We have a "Conversation Starter" jar on the kitchen table. Each night, whichever child helps with preparing supper and serving it gets to lead the mealtime prayer and also pick a conversation starter question. Originally, I would just think up a question off the top of my head each night, usually based upon events happening in our world. These always lead to some really great conversations! I thought it would also help the children be able to participate in conversations with all ages too. And it did. They were able to give their opinions about world events while talking with family members and others.  But, friends, honestly, by suppertime my poor brain is pretty much fried and I just don't have the ability to pick good "starters" right now. LOL! So, I've printed some off from the internet and we've been using these for a bit. They are ok....I prefer the "dig deep" kind of questions that really make you think but for now these are working just fine. :)

Anyhow, last night the question was "if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?" Now, immediately, admit it, a million things came to your mind, right? Yeah, mine too. So we went around the table, each taking their turn. Mostly everyone had a hard time thinking of only one! Then it was Nolan's turn. Sweet precious Nolan.....6 years old. His response was..........really something.
 This was his answer, "Nothing. I wouldn't change anything about myself". 
Oh my soul.....
His answer brought tears to my eyes.
 Tears of happiness for him and tears of sadness for me.

If only I felt like that about myself.
If only I was perfectly happy and content with who I am.
If only I could look in the mirror and say, "oh yeah, baby, you're good"! :)

What about you friends? 
If you were presented with that question how would you respond?

Genesis 1:26The Message (MSG)

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
        reflecting our nature
    So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
        the birds in the air, the cattle,
    And, yes, Earth itself,
        and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
    God created human beings;
        he created them godlike,
    Reflecting God’s nature.
        He created them male and female.
    God blessed them:
        “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
    Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
        for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why I took my kids to a Peep Show....

Because I heard it was so neat! Don't worry it was G-rated! LOL! The premise of this show was that all the creations had to be made from marshmallow peeps or bunnies. It was actually pretty cool to see the creativity of these exhibits.  Individuals, companies and groups of all sorts entered to win. The creations varied incredibly from a life-sized Goofy to a miniature town complete with people and cars. Some of the stuff was really out a toilet with a flush handle. LOL! 
It was interesting and worth the drive. Samuel however, did NOT think so. It was a long drive to get there and then he had to be relatively still because we didn't want to knock any creation over and it was very crowded the day we went. And besides, to Samuel, you see one peep, you've seen them all. Who cares if they look like Dumbo?! LOL! Hence the picture below with his grumpy face. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Small Town Historical Sights....

Imagine my surprise when my husband brought home a booklet about the Military Trail of History right here in our small town. I was so excited! I LOVE History and so do my kids. So off we went taking almost a whole week to cover the booklet and all the sights. Since we are studying American History and have learned about several of the early wars this was a perfect fit for us. Also, I feel it is so important that we all, as Americans, learn our history and what our soldiers have done to keep us free!! 

The booklet states that "this Military Trail was a vision ten years in the making.  Military history is the blueprint of America's history. From the pre-Revolutionary War to the most recent wars this trail pays tribute to those who have secured and protected America from right here in our community". How cool is that?

We began our tour at the Army Depot. We drove past guarded gates, saw row after row of tanks, and various other big machinery. My boys were in their glory! LOL! Samuel kept saying, "shoot guns, shoot guns".  Boys! :)  Back in 1941 construction crews built 798 underground igloos, 17 warehouses and 12 above-ground magazines on this property. 
The first shipment of ammunition arrived by railroad in 1942. More than 3 million tons of supplies were moved to this facility making it one of the largest depots of its kind!

Next up was the chapel that sits on the Depot property. It is absolutely beautiful! My pictures do not do it justice. The neatest factoid about this chapel is that it was built by prisoners of war. Apparently, the depot held over 1,200 Italian prisoners that were captured by the Allies in October 1943 when the Italians surrendered. Those prisoners built this chapel using stones from many of the original farmhouses that were on the site. The chapel features a 65 ft. Florentine belfry, a San Francisco entrance, and a Roman interior. 

I had no idea we had a 9/11 Memorial Park too. It was a perfect time to talk to the kids about what happened and why back on September 11th. There were pictures of the before, during and after of the towers. Nolan had a hard time with it and asked lots of questions. He is my tender-hearted love.  The site included a 2,000 pound sculpture made from 3 steel beams salvaged from the World Trade Center. There is also a time capsule to be opened September 11, 2101. 

We visited a Church that is said "to have been one of the most patriotic congregations in the valley". At the beginning of the American Revolution this pastor delivered an inspirational sermon and all but 2 adult men in the congregation marched off to join the War! This congregation produced 1 general, 4 colonels, 12 captains and alot of officers in the Continental Army. 

Also, not far from that church Molly Cochran Corbin was born and lived. She is the 1st woman to receive a military pension and the only Revolutionary soldier to be buried at West Point with honors. She accompanied her husband to the war and when he was killed she took over firing the cannon. What a woman! 

Aw, just look at those cutie-pies posing with 3 generations of soldiers! This was the site of a fort built to protect the people from the French and Indian attacks after the French and Indian War of 1755. There were homes and a mill, stockades with a lead roof to protect the structure from flaming arrows. It was also built so it was adjoined by water on 3 sides aiding it's defense.  There was also a  WWII memorial  and a Korean War Memorial here. 

We spent lots of time hunting down headstones in various cemeteries. We'd read about the various heroes and I'd say they are buried somewhere in here let's find him and off they'd go on their mission. They truly enjoyed it and we were able to talk about why we have cemeteries, what the dates on the headstones meant, why some had lambs on top (babies/young children that had passed), why some had flowers and others didn't, but most importantly we were able to talk about what comes after you are put in the ground or cremated. Good, good discussions.  
Here they are with the one guy that was a stickler to find! We spent alot of time looking for this one and covered the grounds twice before Kyalynn found him. He was one of 26 African American Civil War veterans who fought as a member of the United States Colored Troops (USCT).

This is Fort Loudoun. It played a key role in a colonial revolt by James Smith and the Black Boys. They traded weapons with the Indians and pre-dated the Revolutionary War by 10 years. They were called Black Boys because these white settlers would blacken their faces and use Indian tactics to disrupt British shipments. Historian Neil Swanson believes "the seeds of unrest of this country against the British were sown here at Fort Loudoun". 

This was so huge! It's a life sized bronze soldier on top of solid granite. It's a memorial to honor veterans from all the wars. The detail on the soldier was amazing! Eyelashes, fingernails, wrinkles in the pants - so life-like. My kids were astounded by how much it cost.....$75,000 for the granite and an additional $30,000 for the soldier statue. 

Ok, ok, I just have one more to tell you about. Actually, I could go on and on and on, so many interesting stories and information.....but I won't. LOL!

This is the grave of Henry Bonebrake. Who is he you ask? Well, he won the Medal of Honor for his action in capturing the enemy's flag in 1865. He didn't use a gun, or a canon, oh no! This man fought in a "hand-to-hand struggle with a Confederate soldier to capture his flag by superior physical strength".
As a side note: This cemetery blew me away. I have never seen such huge and elaborate headstones and memorials before. There were huge obelisks like the Washington Monument, above ground tombs with life-size angels guarding them, memorials that were long like a fence row. Beautiful and good golly, mighty, mighty expensive!  

All in all, it was a fabulous learning adventure, for all of us! The kids loved it and couldn't wait to tell daddy all about what they saw and learned each night. Hopefully, it also gave them even more understanding of what it has cost so many for us to be Americans and to be FREE!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Crew....:)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Say "cheese"