Sunday, March 30, 2008


After church last Sunday, everyone came to our house for Easter lunch and egg hunt. For the past three years, Jonathan and Beth have taken it upon themselves to put together a superb egg hunt for the grandkids. They are so sweet and thoughtful because they always spend a lot of time and money filling the eggs with candies, stickers, little toys, and Adam's favorite....tattoos!

Enough words, let's get to the pictures!

Mimi bought the girls all matching Easter dresses. They were so precious when they greeted on another that morning and admired them together! Thank you Mimi and I look forward to seeing Annabelle in this dress for the next 5 years!

While they hid eggs and the Easter Bunny got ready, I kept the kids busy with Annabelle's favorite songs. Lucie especially liked my version of "Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee" because I like to sing about throwing up after you eat the squished bee. That version is so much more interesting.

Then we had a photo shoot in the porch. Annabelle was not liking the fact that I made her stay put. I learned later that she was also about ready for another nap . Oh well, it makes for a pretty interesting picture and I always think you should get some of your kids crying as well as smiling so you'll remember how they were not always happy and cheerful.

Here we are waiting for that Easter Bunny.

You may be wondering why my father dresses up as the Easter Bunny each year. I am not exactly sure where this tradition originated, but I think it started a few years back when Jonathan thought it would be a hilarious idea. I don't think he realised that Granddaddy would actually follow through and get himself a real costume and everything. The plan began as pure entertainment for the adults, but the kids loved it so much that he has done it ever since.

There was only one problem. Lucie was scared of him,

and Annabelle was TERRIFIED!

And let's face it, he was pretty creepy this year.
And last year too. They were in a hurry when painting his face, so Jonathan and Dad convinced Mimi to just paint the entire thing white.

Last year she did this:
Yeah, that is creepy too. But hilarious.

This year he looked more like some sort of Abdominal Snowman-creature thing.

Before the hunt, the Abdominal Snowman...I mean Easter Bunny, went over the Resurrection Easter story to make sure they were up on their theology.

Lucie stayed clear of him and carried on with the hunt, but I had to hold Annabelle the entire time. Eventually I realised that she was still pretty tired and put her down for a nap. I let Dad go and wake her up later though....just kidding.

Each kids had a special egg with their name on it to find.
Annabelle's had the cutest little duck inside that she sleeps with now.

"Chuck, I hope that one day Randy will let me dress up as the Easter Bunny!
I just love that costume."

"That's right Lanie, Jesus didn't hunt Easter Eggs on the third day."

So there you have it! We have decided that next year there will be no need for the Easter Bunny to paint his face. The big kids aren't fooled anymore and the babies are probably scarred for life now.

The day was fun and relaxing ...........and funny.

Oh yeah, that Saturday night, Caleb and Adam said something about what was the Easter Bunny bringing them in the morning?....something along those lines. I was bewildered by this because I surely hadn't said anything like that. I think they must have heard it from some other kids. ANYWAYS, I said, "look, we do not believe in the darn Easter Bunny you guys! (Santa is quite enough of that crap) Your Grandparents always get you Easter goodies. (Nana gets them little gifts for EVERY holiday)" They looked at one another and exclaimed, "OH YEAH, Granddaddy is the Easter Bunny!

I will leave you with this:

Can you believe how much she has changed in a year?!

They all have!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Alright, Amie uploaded pictures this morning so I can tell you a little about the Easter Egg Hunts. Saturday evening we went to my friend, Kelly's house for their annual Egg Hunt and potluck dinner. It was great and we all had lots of fun. Here are a few pictures:

This is Ryan, Kelly's husband, giving the rules and instructions to the kids at the beginning. I like his ears.

Adam and Lanie listened intently.

Gray, their 7 year old son and my boys are becoming best of friends.

Annabelle found herself a little seat on the rocks for about 20 seconds.

Cutie pie Lucie! Amie and I didn't even plan the matching pigtails.

Annabelle loved all of the action. She caught on very quickly with the egg hunt by following the other children's' lead:

Like I said, it was a really fun time. We met some really cool folks, ate good food, and watched our kids have a blast.

Kelly and I know each other from the gym and we have been hanging out a lot lately. She homeschools and is the one who invited us to the Botany class. I just love talking with her and hearing what all she has to say. Lately, we have even taken up casually running when niether of us have a class to teach. We are thinking of entering a 5K here and there this spring and summer. (more on that later though) The boys and Annabelle adore Gray and Willa (her four year old) and always look forward to seeing them. Seth met Ryan for the first time at the hunt and they hit it off pretty well too. They are both contractors and love to hunt. That just about says it all. We ended staying pretty late because we were so reluctant to end the boys' fun playing in the woods and creek.

We just think the McLellan family is FABULOUS!

Now, I know you are all dying to see the Crazy Easter Bunny (aka Grandaddy) pictures but I just don't have the energy to write a proper post tonight. I will get on it tomorrow night!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

I feel like my life has been in a sort of limbo for the past year or so due to the housing market decline. You probably already know that as a contractor, it is profitable to sell your personal house every two years. When we moved into this house I saw it as extremely temporary. I didn't care whether the style of the house fit my personality and I didn't stress over the layout or size or even attempt to settle in much...........because we would be out of it so soon. OK, we are almost to the 3 year mark now since it hasn't sold.

We bought a lot in Black Mountain 7 months ago but really want to wait to start building until our house sells. Seth works out there and I teach at Cheshire. Most of our friends live there. We each make the drive 5 or more times a week.


I am trying to be patient. I love our yard and neighborhood. We use the long rides to listen to "school" cds and it is really the only down time my boys get in a day so it is alright. AND, our house isn't that far from Asheville at all. 12-15 minutes to downtown. It is just far from Black Mountain.

I am ready to go.
to BM

Monday, March 24, 2008

I have mentioned before that I am afraid having two older brothers will make Annabelle crude. I don't think that she is going to be a tomboy and I am glad that she will always be outside and active like them, but not a crude little girl. yuck.

My fears were confirmed this evening as she continually fake burped and laughed hysterically at herself for 15 minutes straight. Then I even saw her making the armpit-farting motion just as she has seen Adam do so many times before. It may just be inevitable though I will attempt to teach her otherwise (as I do with the boys, just not very well)

So, Mimi, don't bother watching these videos:

I didn't get the part where she was laughing so hard at herself.

She has learned to say her name. Almost. She says "Anna".

You have to admit that it is kinda cute though.

I plan on doing an Easter post as soon as Amie loads the pictures online for me to use. I didn't get many with my camera because Annabelle wouldn't let me put her down during our annual family egg hunt. "Why?" you ask. Because she was scared to death of the

Easter Bunny!

MORE ON THIS LATER................................

Monday, March 17, 2008

Seth and I haven't actually watched Extreme Home Makeover in years, but last night we sacrificed watching the Simpsons to refresh our memories of the show. We were shocked to see how little of the program is dedicated to building the actual structure of the house. I guess they can't go into much detail every week about the sheet rock or trusses going in without boring a typical viewer. They want to see the interior decorating and special touches. We did notice all of the shots or plugs for the companies that donated materials. They were not subtle.

Soooo, I hate to break it to the Seth fans out there, but chances are slim to none that he will get any screen time. Smokin' hot or not, he just doesn't do much decorating. He might as well have gotten voted off the first night. :)

In other news, you may have already noticed in the sidebar that we have begun reading Farmer Boy (2nd book int he Little House series) each night. I have to say this once again.....I just love reading to the boys! I vaguely remember reading that book ( and Moma reading it to us) as a child, and thinking that it was definitely the most boring of the set. Reading it now from the perspective of my boys, I see that it is far from boring! One of my favorite aspects of parenting is seeing the world through the eyes of a little different. (NEVER knew I could be so excited about seeing a dirtbike for sale on the side of the road) Anyhow, the story is great. Botany is going well too. We went to a local greenhouse for a field trip last Friday. I learned a lot myself and I may be able to keep a houseplant alive for longer than a month now. Poor Seth was worried sick about our plants while he was out of town. He was just sure that I would murder them. I have found that it is as simple as remembering to water them!
Speaking of homeschool, have you heard the latest news about California making it illegal to homeschool unless the mother has a teaching degree???? Those left-coasters! just kidding. Nah, I am not too worried because everything I read about it said it will go on to the supreme court and be overturned. Or something like that. I am going to depend on all of the brilliant militant homeschoolers to fight the fight for me. Just show me where to sign the petition. Do you remember my post a long time ago where I gave all of my sarcastic answers for the folks who ask why I would homeschool? (Click here and you can read them) Here is one I thought of the other day:

I homeschool because my children love to watch television. With all of the educational programs on these days, I see no need for formal schooling.

Or how about:
If my kids went to school, they would miss their favorite shows on tv during the day. All of the crap comes on after 3:00.

I'll bet people would think that was hilarious.

And then they would work their hardest to get that law passed in North Carolina so it would be illegal for me to homeschool..................

Friday, March 14, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover

Finally, I can post about Seth's latest adventure. He was out of town this entire week and I needed to wait until he returned to blog about it need to tell the world that your big, strong husband will not be home at night. Guess where he was! He and Dana (whom he works with, they are kinda partners) went down to New Orleans for the week to help build one of those Extreme Makeover Houses .
I don't feel like explaining all of the specifics of how they ended up doing this, but basically they work with a company called EcoBuilders which was a big part of the project down there and recruited them to go. They left on Sunday morning, drove all day and went straight to the jobsite at 8:00 pm to begin their first shift. Seth said it was CRAZY! It was quite a sight to behold as about 1000 people were doing in 6 days, what the two of them do in six months. The job site was very hectic and it was hard for them to not be in charge and not have their own tools.
Nope he didn't meet meet Ty. He did see him around and he is shorter in person.... maybe 5'8" or 9". You can see the deltec house in the background of the picture. That was the only type of house that withstood Hurricane Katrina. We definitely made lots of jokes about the show and how Seth should constantly remind people that he just might vote them off at the tribal counsel that evening. I am sure they all thought it was hilarious. I did. The show will air on May 18th as the season finale. Surely they'll be lots of footage of Seth since he is smokin' hot.

Ok, Seth and I just got in an argument about whether I can put this on the blog. He doesn't like my tell-all fashion on the blog. Obviously I won, but I would like to give the disclaimer that Seth had nothing to do with it and he is not bragging about the job. I am just bragging about my man! With the way he and Dana work, I was afraid they would recruit him to be a permanent part of the crew and he'd be gone all of the time.

It all was really good timing for us because, as I said last post, Leslie came home this week to visit. I was able to hang out with her the entire week without feeling like I was neglecting Seth. I especially enjoyed working out with her. She came to my classes, we ran together a few times, and tried out some new ab exercises Paul has shown her. We make a great team! We also had a little sleepover at my house with Lorie and Kiah, ate a steak dinner one night at Moma's house and even ran out shopping for an hour one night. She gave me a sweet pocketbook as an early 30th birthday present (don't worry, there will be a long, suicidal post about that quickly-approaching day) . I love it and I am not all that into bags and such.

I miss her already!

When the neighbors gave the Rescue Ranger Hero set to the boys, they didn't realise the box doubled as two little beds. Caleb and Adam have taken to sleeping in these for the last couple of nights. Fine with me, as long as they sleep well. During the day we flip them over to make little houses for their dogs. If only Pete and Carol could know the joy they have brought to us for the past 2 weeks with their gift! I think we had better get those thank you notes written tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This video is dedicated to our cousin, Walker, so he can hear her say his name. We tried to get her to say it over the phone the other day, but she never would. Well, she does say it in this video. (We are still working on "Amy" and I will make a video when she say it for ya) The kids sure do miss the Harrison side and hopefully we will be visiting within the next week or two!

Kiah spent the day with us last Wednesday and she helped me out by taking a bath with Annabelle. The two of them just played and played in there. Annabelle adores Kiah!

These are videos from our trip to the Waynesville pool. Taylor and Emily basically taught Caleb to swim when we first moved out here. We all spent a lot of time at the Hominy Valley pool that summer. The twins were both very good at diving and Caleb just sort of caught on and jumped in there with them. Adam figured it out this past summer and is usually right there too, but he was cold and taking a break from the water when I took these videos. It is kinda weird because I expected that I would have to teach them to swim, but I was sitting on the side when they both figured it out....same with the bike.
Maybe one of these days we can all take some real swim lessons together and learn the specific strokes. It cracks me up when people in my water classes ask me to watch them do the breast stroke to see if the are performing it properly. I have to admit to them that I have no idea, I just know how to run in place on a noodle and such. :)

Ok, it took me three tries to upload the video that I really wanted----the dives. I will leave the others since they are already loaded.

This daylight savings thing is killin' me. We had to get to church early this morning, so I ended up waking up three cranky kids and shuffling them into the van early this morning. The boys also did not like the idea of getting ready for bed while it was light outside. Oh well, get used to that guys. Anytime there is a time change, I spend about a week reminding Seth of what time it actually "feels" like to us. It drives him crazy!

In other blog-worthy news, Leslie is coming home for a last minute quick visit this week. I am overjoyed!

Friday, March 7, 2008


Caleb and Annabelle have the sweetest relationship. He helps me out with her quite a bit and would do just about anything in the world for her. When she wakes up from her nap, he races up stairs to get her up all by himself (he forbids me to go in there because she will want to come to me rather than him) I love to stand by the door and listen to him play with her. Caleb HATES when I have to give her spankings and always tries to talk me out of it. However, that leads to a really good conversation where I explain that if I let Annabelle disobey, she will become a brat, and we want her to be sweet and happy. And that I don't like to spank her but I need to so that she won't draw on the walls, bite, or turn the computer off, ect. So, I don't want to spank her (or him or Adam for that matter) but I have to so they can learn right from wrong. I think he understands and it is good for him to see it played out from that perspective.

Adam, on the other hand, is the more typical sibling and brings me the spoon when Annabelle disobeys. He is sweet with her, but has a little more "sibling rivalry".

I think I better clarify that these spankings involve a very light tap on her little hiney. I don't have to spank hard at all. I think it is because she has seen the process so many times with the boys that she just knows to start wailing as soon as she sees the spoon coming. However, I do not slap her hand because: 1. There is no padding there and 2. it was so ineffective with Caleb as a toddler that I swore it off years back.

My goodness, let me get back to the Caleb/Annabelle relationship. This is a video of Caleb playing with her on his lap. Once again, the quality is pathetic because we were trying to sneak so she wouldn't notice the camera.

Here is Seth playing with the kids. Adam is spotting her so she won't fall off:

Lastly, she is really expanding her vocabulary nowadays and says too many new words for me to list. This is a video of her eating blueberries and saying the word "berries". I should note that many of her words don't sound much like the actual word itself. I think this is a good sign. Caleb didn't say much of anything until he was two years old. However, he used perfect pronunciations at that time. He is the type of child who can't stand to do something badly so, he just won't even try it. He wouldn't talk until he knew he could say it correctly. I see this in schooling him too. He hates to mess up and gets very frustrated.....we are working on this. I am afraid that I am the same way, which is a hard way to go through life, because it holds you back from trying things. ANYWAYS, here is Annabelle who is not afraid of screwing up her words:

Thanks for reading my jabbering....I have lots of words this morning! Welp, we have a huge day today (dentist appointments, class at Cheshire, then Botany) so I gotta get movin'.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rainy Day

I can't sleep so I thought I would blog.

My boys like it when they look outside and see rain, because they know if it is warm enough, I will probably let them ride their bikes and play in it. I figured this was a safe activity after the spankings they got for wallering in the mud the last time, so I made it clear not to let that happen again and sent them out today. They were delighted to see Seth pull in the driveway, home early from work, because they knew he would be right there with them in it all. Then the Harrison boys began a mission of collecting worms that surfaced during the downpour. They collected them in their buckets and reported to me later that they had found about a thousand. Annabelle realised they were out there and made it clear to me that she wanted to go out too. I made her a makeshift poncho to go over her coat and sent her out to Seth. She had as much fun as the guys. I have a feeling that Annabelle is never going to be afraid to get down and dirty!

This a pretty pathetic video, but oh well. You can get the idea.

Completely unrelated to that, this is a picture Lorie sent me that Justin took of Annabelle at Christmas. I am not very good at photography so I rely on the skills and sweet cameras of others to capture pictures of my kiddos. She is in the wagon behind granddaddy's tractor in this one.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A nice weekend

Annabelle refuses to have a picture taken now. Like I said in my last post, she sees the camera and immediately runs to me to look at the back of it. It is pretty frustrating to have this cute baby doing all of these cute things all day and not being able to capture it for all to see on the blog. I have tried a few things to help the situation but to no avail so far. This too shall pass, though, and I will have some stuff for you to watch in no time. Here are a few pictures that I snuck before she realised the camera was out.

Notice how the pigtails are longer now.

In homeschooling news, the light box plants are coming along quite nicely. However, I will need to give credit where it is due and say that Seth has been taking care of them more than me. He has always been into gardening (let's call it horticulture) and, in fact, had a garden voluntarily as a child. I told him that he should be in charge of science in our "school". I taught the Botany class on Friday and it went fairly well. I was a little nervous before class, but as soon as I got started, I thought, "why would I be nervous about teaching.....I have been teaching aerobics for 8 years now." It is definitely the easiest teaching scenario possible for kids of that age considering almost all of the moms are in there to assist with the lesson. We have about twelve kids and 5 or 6 moms in the class, yet sometimes it still feels a little chaotic to me! The boys are digging it though.

This weekend was just wonderful! Friday night my sweet Daddy watched the kids for me while Seth and I went to our music gathering. Then I spent the night with the kids and Daddy. Saturday morning was just about a perfect day for the boys. Granddaddy began the day by taking them to Ingles for some fresh donuts as breakfast. What a treat! Then he took them loafing around town; they went to Pawpaw and Granny's house first where Pawpaw was using his wood splitter. Dad said that they were extremely impressed with the machine and decided that Seth definitely needed one as soon as possible. Then they went to see the house Seth and Dana have been working on. After that they dropped by McDonald's for Happy Meals (what a healthy day!) and then stopped by the DIRT BIKE SHOP in Swannanoa to browse through the four wheelers, scooters and mini dirtbikes. Ahhh, heaven to a 5 or 6 year old little boy!

The first thing Caleb had said to Granddaddy that morning was, "Are we going to do some yard work today?" The kid loves working outside. And I mean truly WORKING.....not just playing around while the adults work. He will stack wood and gather sticks or spread mulch for hours. So they went on home and spent the rest of the afternoon picking up sticks to load into the trailer of the tractor and then taking turns sitting in Grandaddy's lap to drive it to the side yard to be dumped.

During all of this, I went to Becky's shower while Annabelle hung out at our house with Seth. Basically, I had the day off. It was so nice.

We enjoyed the weather yesterday and spent the day in the yard doing some stuff. Then a neighbor gave the boys a ton of Rescue Hero toys that their grandson had outgrown. They spent the evening playing quietly (a serious rarity) in the big room with them.

All cleaned up after a bath on Saturday night.
Caleb and Annabelle were making faces at one another.

This morning I came to a new conclusion about myself....a bit of self-realization I suppose. I was teaching water aerobics when one of the participants asked me if I had ADHD as a child. I thought about this for a moment because it is a type of question or observation I get often at the gym. (one time I was standing behind this girl in the childcare and heard her tell the workers that she was going to take the class from the "instructor who acts like she's on coke"....I took it as a compliment and she laughed when she turned around and saw me there) Anyways, I told the person who said that in my class this morning that, no, I wasn't a hyper child and, in fact, I am not all that energetic outside of teaching classes. I just really like being up in front of people (performing, you could say) and I get very excited and energetic when I get to do it. Plus, I think of the most important things an aerobics instructor does in class is to motivate others to get a good workout. So there is my analyzation (however that is spelled) of my energy in class; I am just very excited to be up there leading everyone.

I do believe that working out like that all through my pregnancies made my children psycho energetic though.

Plus I drink a lot of coffee before I head to the gym.

I am SO glad it is March!