Friday, October 31, 2008

Our Little Pumpkins

I am learning that being a mother is a lifelong lesson in letting go of control. It's soooo hard for me... I have issues. But I managed to let the kids be in charge of their own costumes this year. Ryan was a spy, complete with spy gear and laminated credentials. Emma was a "cheerleader," using last year's dance recital Minnie Mouse costume (we thought this was funny, but she wouldn't budge.) Madeline went through three costumes this year. She started out as Ariel yesterday, but after wearing it around for a few hours, she decided it was too itchy, so she switched to Cinderella for our Trunk or Treat. Then, this morning, she announced that she wanted to be a ballerina for the real Halloween, so here she is.

Shan and I were an awesome disco couple and I am working on getting a picture for your viewing pleasure. I can't wait to see all of your kids dressed up because you know you have to do the obligatory Halloween post.

Happy Halloween

Has anyone ever heard of the children's book "Mousekin's Golden House"? It is darling! It's about a little mouse who finds an empty pumpkin and makes a nest to snuggle in for the winter. He stays warm and dry while outside it is snowy and windy. So cute!
My kids love the book, so when Ms. Martha Stewart gave us the idea to make our own Mousekin's House, we had to try it:

Funny Bones

For a blast from the past, click here.

I have a site tracker that tells me which pages are the most viewed, and "Funny Bones" is #1 this week, (Halloween) so I'm glad people around the globe are enjoying my cuties.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Get Out There and VOTE!!!

I voted. Not only did I vote, but I thoroughly researched the issues and the candidates before I did so. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am mortified at the people all around me-- the gym, the preschool, the church, the store-- who haven't sought out any information for themselves, but get their information from other people's opinions or political ads. Some people I have talked to don't even know if they are going to vote at all! One of the saddest things is how simple things like the rain affect how many people show up to vote. Throughout history, people would, have, and do kill for the right to vote and it is not something we should take lightly.
This is, no doubt, a treacherous time for Americans, and we cannot afford to be in the dark about the future of our country. Have we gotten so lazy that we can't even spend a few hours of our time to educate ourselves, and then get out there and vote?

It was less than a century ago that women in the United States couldn't vote. Most of our grandparents lived in that time. Thankfully, in America we have a democracy- where we can and do bring about well-deserved change.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to live in a country, which is not perfect, but at least gives people the chance to create change and progress and have a say in our government. If we don't want to help govern ourselves by being informed and active citizens, then we really can't complain about the people we allow to be voted into office. There are so many who have made this country the wonderful blessing that it is- The Founding Fathers, the troops throughout history, and active citizens everywhere. God Bless America.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Paradise On Earth

Shan and I just took a trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We stayed in a rental house just across the street from Shark's Cove on the north shore of Oahu (pictured above).

First of all, the only reason we were able to take a long-awaited couple's vacation was because of Shan's mom, Peggy. She is the kids' Mimi and they had a blast with her while we were gone. I missed the kids a lot, but it was so good for me to realize that they are happy and fine without me. Shan's sister Chelsea and her son Henry, also came, for which we are so grateful. They left before we got back though, so I didn't get a good picture. Thanks guys.
Top 10 Things We Loved in Hawaii:

1. Our Mustang Convertible rental. It made all the drives, mountains, smells, and views just really spectacular.

2. Snorkling in Shark's Cove. We loved this place. It is absolutely full of beautiful tropical fish and we even swam with a big sea turtle each time we went.

3. Polynesian Cultural Center was awesome. The dancing, and the food were pretty amazing.

The luau.

4. Watching sunsets over the water almost every day.

5. Cliff jumping at Waimea Bay. Shan was brave. I did the little one.

Isn't the water sooo blue?

6. Our nature hike at Waimea Arboretum. It ends at a waterfall/swimming pool.

We couldn't get over how gorgeous and natural everything is. Trees, vines, flowers, tons of foliage- it just grows and grows and grows.

This is the falls. Any Lost fans recognize this from the scene where Kate and Sawyer jump in and take a swim?

7. Taking a boat out to Sunken Island in Kaneohe Bay. The view was amazing.

8. Our sunset drive up the moutains overlooking Honolulu. Wow.
9. Dole Pineapple Plantation. Have you ever seen a pineapple plant???

The pineapple sorbet was out of this world. If you look behind me, you can see a pineapple growing from the middle of the plant. It takes 18 months to grow one pineapple!

10. Playing golf on the waterfront course at Kaneohe Bay. It was so gorgeous. Shan did really well. I, um, hit the ball.... sometimes.

This military base isn't half bad. Right on the beach!

Halloween Funny

This comic was emailed to me by my friend, Jennifer. Hopefully, I don't cause any grief for posting it. Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves though and I thought it was hilarious.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Camping at Lake Badin

So this was our last week of our fall break. We made the most of it by taking the kids camping in the Uhwarrie Forest, and it was seriously beautiful. Wow! We didn't know we lived only an hour away from such a gorgeous place. Our campsite was right on the water so the kids fished for two days and loved it. I can't say I'm a fan of fish/worm hands, but they were all thoroughly scrubbed before bed. There is something about camping with your family that is hard to replace through any other activity. Instead of worrying about the economy or the upcoming election, we had FHE around the campfire, eating smores and singing songs. It was just so fun to watch how excited the kids are about everything from getting in their sleeping bags to carrying around their own flashlight.

All you parents out there know that going camping with children is a MAJOR production. You have to pack the kitchen sink! So Shan always complains that I take too much stuff. Hello, he is Mr. ARMY survival guy who thinks you can just go into the wilderness with a pocket knife and kill or find your food. Um, fruit snacks and granola bars don't cut it for three days when the kids need wholesome nutritious food and their is no fridge. So this time, I had the bright idea of asking him to be in charge of the planning and preparing the food and it was awesome. He realized how hard it is and told me I do a really good job! He was pretty surprised at how much effort and planning it takes and how much you have to pack (condiments, cooking utensils etc). I don't think I'll have any complaining from here on out. And I have to give him kudos for his fantastic Dutch Oven breakfast hash. I definitely can't rival it, so I think he's in charge from now on.This caterpillar was HUGE. I've never seen a bigger one.

Happy Emma after she caught a catfish that we grilled up and ate for lunch.

The lake was full of fish so each of the kids caught a bunch of fish. Most of them were small, but it's still so fun for them to reel it in.
Lake swimming. We saw little fish swimming around our feet, but I'm a tough mama and kept my cool. Madeline couldn't get enough of the water and we had to beg her to come out. She loved playing with her daddy.
So there are probably less than 10 pictures of me on this blog because for the past 15 months, I had no one else to take pictures! Yes, kids, I really am a part of the family and now I have a picture to prove it.

We thought this sign was classic. We pulled off the side of the road to buy some firewood and this was the "self pay" system. Just put your cash in the slot. Yeah..... um, only in back country North Carolina.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wilmington Beach Trip

The kids are on their fall break from school, so we are taking advantage of every day for family time. Last week, we went out to Ft. Fisher to stay and enjoy the beaches. At the beach we made stick forts, drew in the sand, built sand castles, flew kites, played Bocce, and boogie boarded. I am convinced the beach is the best place for a family vacation since the kids are in heaven all day long and are exhausted for bed at night! At night, we put puzzles together, watched movies, played games, and ate a shrimp dinner courtesy of Shan.
Shan and I built the towers, Ryan built the wall and dug the mote, and Emma decorated the tops with shells and made a seaweed flag for the center. Madeline helped by patting the sand down over and over again.
The finished product.

Mr. Jokester

Madeline played in the sand all day. She loved building little stick forts with the sticks on the beach. I found a live clam and she played with it forever, putting it on top of the sand in her bucket and watching it dig down.

Mermaid Princess, complete with seaweed belt and crown.

Emma wrote the entire alphabet in the sand. She also searched for sand dollars and seashells the whole time and we came home with 2 tons of "special" shells.

Madeline doling out the kisses.

cool kite flyer

The kids in the car when we got on the ferry heading down to Southport.

Ryan is now "cool guy" and I am not ready for this phase.


Shan and Madeline