Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last Monday, Leslie and Paul treated us to a day up at Chimney Rock park. It was beautiful weather and a very fun day. Here are the pictures:

If there is a tree, the boys will be up and in it in no time!

It has been too long since I got to hike. It was much easier than I thought it would be with the three kids. Well, Annabelle was the only one I worried about, but she walked the whole trail to the waterfalls and back which was over 2 miles. Let me go back....she actually RAN the whole trail and set the pace for the rest of us.

I carried her in the backpack up some of the stairs to the chimney part and then switched off with Paul. She freaked out a little but he did so well making her comfortable with him.

Paul was a ton of help and fun that day. He spent the day teaching the boys everything and anything that related to our adventure.

He and the boys ran the trail back pretending they were on dirt bikes and jumping the rocks. Caleb and Adam thought it was the greatest thing ever!

The kids were impressed with the huge flag at the top. Isn't this a neat picture?

They have closed off the skyline trail that we used to take to the top of the falls so we were a little bummed about that. We had ice cream at the little shop up there instead.

It was so good to be up in my beautiful mountains. I get this overwhelming feeling in my chest at times like that and Leslie is just the person I want to share it with. We only could have been happier if we were wearing old timey sundresses and singing and playing music together up there. We love to believe that we were born in the wrong time period anyway.

That night we rented The Last of the Mohicans. (it was filmed up there) The boys were captivated and Paul helped explain the happenings and history behind the story. He knows a lot about history. a lot.

I just love the music and mountains in the movie.

Let me see.....I think it was Thursday night that we had "girls night" at Mom's house. There was lots of laughing and Dad had to tell us to keep it down for the neighbor's sake more than a few times.

We all BEGGED Jonathan to hang out with us too. He finally gave in and made the night!

Did I tell you that Mom and Dad got a sweet, huge hot tub for their outdoor living space?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Caleb, Caleb, Caleb

While I am waiting for a few more pictures from my sisters, I wanted to write about something I have thought a bit about lately. We went to bed much later than normal during Leslie's visit which led to some major bedtime meltdowns (and a few during the day as well) for the particularly my Caleb. One night after we had a horrible episode of flipping out, spankings, and desperate prayers I sat and thought about how hard it has been to parent Caleb. He is an extreme child, with a serious temper. It would make perfect sense to think that I might struggle with loving Adam more because he has always been so easy and sweet and lovable, but I tell you this, I truly love them just the much that it takes my breath away at times. Whenever Caleb flips out and screams that he hates me....and even that he hates Annabelle (which I wear him out for!), a very short time later he is so sorry and distraught over his behavior. His repentance is so sincere and sweet. It is also helpful that I have always struggled through life with my temper and when he is raging mad, I can understand how he feels and hopefully relate to him better.

By the way, the worst episode was because his underwear wouldn't fit right. I can look back at that and chuckle now....not so funny them though.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I have been on a blogging hiatus for the past two weeks because we have been totally preoccupied with spending time with our dear Aunt Leslie. She came to visit us from California and we had to soak as much of her in while we could. There are lots of pictures to post and outings to record on here so it may take me a day or two to get everything in.

We started it all out with a post-Easter Egg Hunt. "Gran-granny" (that is what Annabelle calls him to entertain us all) dressed up as the Easter Bunny once again this year and Jonathan and Beth hid an absurd amount of eggs for the kids to hunt. Here are a few pictures that Beth took:

Annabelle loved this headband that Mimi got her. I wish you could have seen her face when she pulled it out of her bag of prizes that afternoon. precious!

My dad enjoys the grandchildren so much and goes to great lengths to do special things for them and with them. Well, I think he wears the bunny suit to entertain the rest of the family just about as much. Oh my......did I mention that Paul was here to experience this? I am pretty sure he thinks we are crazy. Well, he says we are all "high-spirited".

Isn't that a nice way of putting it?

I think this was later that evening. Dad likes to buy the gradkids Colts attire to wear when they are over. Adam really really digs it and insists on wearing a pair of pajamas that are a couple of sizes too small when he sleeps there.

I will post more pictures of that event later.

The next day Amie and I went to a PiYo workshop at the gym which was very very cool. It is a class that combines pilates, yoga and strength training. I am excited about teaching it and doing something fairly new.

Then I joined the boys up at our friends house for "dirt bike day". Seth said that Adam probably road 500 laps around the trail that day. The kid will ride that little 4wheeler for hours and hours!

Caleb got some time in to ride too.

They looked so darn big on it this time! Both of them have grown so fast in the last year or so.

The house is up on a mountain and has breathtaking views off the porch. It is just a wonderful place to be. AND, I think for the first time ever (counting the little gal in Kirsten's belly) there were as many kids there as dogs. We are finally not the only ones with kids! YAY!

Oh yeah, and Leslie got to come take some of my classes at the gym. I got a couple of country music aerobics cds and so we had a country themed class one morning. I know what you are corny, right? yeah, but step aerobics is pretty corny in itself. I have fully embraced that. It is a pretty fun way to get a good workout in!

Here we are after class:

Monday, April 13, 2009

We finally made it down to Georgia to visit with the Harrison side of our family this past weekend. Uncle Johnny and Seth spent the weekend building a little garage type building for Prather Electric to use as their shop, the kids played tirelessly with their cousins and I just hung around the house and talked "homeschool" with one of my greatest mentors, Aunt Angie, for a few days.

Walker, who is going to be 12 next month, grew about 6 inches since Christmas and his voice changed! In the words of Annabelle (parroting me earlier). "Walkah talks like a MAN!"

We had a birthday party for Amy who turned EIGHT on Thursday. Another very cool family came over and hung out with us. Annabelle and their 2 year old son hit it off and were just about the cutest thing ever to watch. It was making Seth a nervous wreck! Their mom home schools and I loved hearing about her up-and-coming business endeavors she has created. One of the things she does is runs a travel agency that caters to homeschooling families making trips that incorporate educational stuff along the way. Her company takes advantage of off times and discounts for them to make an affordable trip. This summer they are doing "home school cruise" where there are all sorts of activities on the boat itself and the stops include things like the Mayan Ruins and such. How neat is that? Too bad it isn't quite in our "range" of affordable...... maybe we could work in the kitchen as our fair.

Oh well, we are going to do it someday. That is the goal.

We had a big ol' ragamuffin Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday afternoon. Annabelle just had to wear that headband all day Saturday. She and Aaron did really well finding the eggs.

Nana made Easter baskets for the kids full of all kinds of good stuff!

We went to church on Sunday morning and saw the rest of our family and friends. Then we loaded up three worn out kids and way to much Easter candy and made the drive home. Thankfully no one threw up (though they threatened to a few times) and they all slept a little along the way.

Have I mentioned lately how much I adore our minivan?

But, guess what......Easter is far from over. We still have the Bartlett side to go. We wanted to wait until Aunt Leslie and Paul arrive on THURSDAY!!!!

So stay tuned for lots of funny (a little strange) and entertaining pictures of the Easter bunny (aka "Gran-granny").

Now, I gotta get this house cleaned up and get Adam out of bed!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We had a fun, fun, very full weekend.
Let's see, Friday started with me teaching our Zoology co-op which was a grand success. The kids all had fun and were excited about making boxes so they could observe crickets for the next week. I did everything to prepare for the class that morning. .......Well, I HAD thought about what we would do and read the chapter with the kids all week, but as far as the gathering, making copies, and all that I left until the literal LAST minute...cause that is how I roll... Anyhow, I was glad to be done with my turns for teaching this semester.

Then came the coffee house at our church Friday night. I played a couple of songs alone and Susannah came up and sang and played her mandolin for about six more with me. We did the COOLEST old time version of Wayfaring Stranger. Susie played and sang lead and I joined in for some harmony and rhythm. Man, what a song......

The kids had more fun than anyone though. The boys spent the evening eating sweets, playing with all sorts of fun toys, and being with their friends. Annabelle wore her cowboy "boops" and spent the evening dancing away in front with the other girls. After she got over the fact that she wasn't allowed to sing into the mic with me, she was happy as could be dancing with the "big gullls".

It was a good time.

Then came the Greenway 5K at the Pisgah Brewery. Do you want to know why I didn't play sports growing up? Because I can't catch and am afraid of the ball.........well, yeah.....but that isn't my point. I actually couldn't play because I couldn't handle the emotional stress of any sort of competition. No really, I was reminded of this when I could not sleep Friday night because I was so nervous about a very trivial, fun 5K race that DID NOT MATTER! I think I felt pressure because I did better than I had expected in the couple of races I ran last year and I felt like I needed to beat my time or something. The weirdest thing was that I played and sang in front of a couple hundred people the night before without being the slightest bit anxious or tense. It was frustrating, but once the race started everything felt better and it was a a great day. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather and nothing is more enjoyable than having a beer with about half the people you know in town in a field with live old time music on the little stage.

The boys hung out in the field and played with a friend in the creek and cheered us on as we ran in.

That evening was the best part of it all. We all got together and played some music that night. Not much to tell except that it was sweet and share a few pictures. I had invited some extra folks to join us and after running a 5K and having a beer, I invited a few more!

It was finally warm enough to wear my boots with a skirt instead of jeans!

"long hair Jen" and "short hair Jen" both came which made for lots of fun! In fact, there were many others that I didn't get in the pictures sadly. You'll all just have to come next time so we can make some more photos for the blog!

Dan and Carrie sang "Jackson" for us. It was great!