Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Friends, Good Times

We spent the week of July 4th with good friends from Ohio/England. What a great time we had! We more or less toured North Carolina, hitting Raleigh, Blowing Rock, Winston-Salem and Seagrove. While it was fun to visit all of these places, what made the week, was spending time with good friends. Every night, was a "party on the deck", complete with cigars, yummy drinks, candles, and tiki torches. I can't tell you how much I simply enjoyed talking, drinking, laughing, drinking and laughing some more! It was a great time.
Good friends, good stogies
Allan tries out his new bottle opener from the Raleigh flea market
Allan after a few Jackie Daniels
My hottie

Fourth of July

Now that it is almost the Fourth of August, I thought I had better take a few moments to post our pictures from the Fourth of July. We were lucky enough to have our friends, Mary Jo and Allan down from Ohio and a last minute visitor, Nana.
Allan, Allan and Will took off in the morning to go fishing at a nearby park that has a pond. Will LOVED the adventure and Daddy enjoyed it so much that he has been trying to squeeze in some family fishing during the weekends, but they just end up being too busy. Nonetheless, it was a great time for the guys even though the fish count cannot be posted due to embarassment.
While the guys were fishing, the women shopped! What better activity for a lazy holiday?! When we all regrouped, we ate like piggies and relaxed around the house (well, as much as you can with three kids running around). At dusk we went to a nearby parking lot on the suggestion from a neighbor to watch the fireworks. What a bust! All we saw were the tops of trees with a little color above them. We couldn't even hear the booms and crackles. From here on out, we go with our gut instinct and sit UNDER the fireworks, even if it means fighting a crowd afterward. We made the best of it though and were clearly the most patriotic folks in the whole parking lot - maybe even town! Here are some shots of the celebration.....
Even the Brits can celebrate - kind of!
The festive family
Emma with Nana
I'm not sure what I was grabbing for!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dedo

While our good friends, Mary Jo and Allan were visiting, we took them to Raleigh to the State Fairgrounds flea market. It is quite a place with lots of interesting things to look at. After walking up to the first booth, we knew we had found our treasure of the day.
His name is Dedo and there is a story behind him. The following is what we found on the Internet:

The "Legend" of Dedo
"It all began in Paris when the Notre Dame Cathedral was being built, rising majestically stone by stone towards the heavens. It was custom to top each structure with a menacing gargoyle, who protected the cathedral by warding off evil spirits.

Marie Therese, a nun from a tiny convent in Provence, disliked the evil-looking gargoyles on the new cathedral, sitting so close to the heavens. Disguised as a man, she trekked on foot to Paris, entered the work site, and quickly carved a small block into a lovable, protective creature. She placed her creature, with its pointy ears and human-like feet, on the highest roof, visible only to God Himself.
It was undiscovered for centuries until a small boy, lost in the labyrinthine structure, stumbled off a ledge and rolled down a roof into the arms of the littlest gargoyle, perched quietly on a ledge. Since that time, Marie Therese's creature was affectionately known as Little Dedo, the gargoyle with the crossed toes."

So, we now have little Dedo watching over and protecting our children while they play in the driveway. Too bad he wasn't around when Emma fell off her lawn chair.......

Jack refused to pose with Dedo, so here are Will and Emma with their new protector.

Thoughts of a 4-Year-Old

Yesterday, we were on our way to swim lessons and Emma started thinking out loud. She was wondering how people learn to be mommies. It also intrigued her to think about how adults just "know everything". We talked about those things for awhile and then she started talking about being a mommy herself and that she was going to have a little girl. I asked her how many children she wanted. She decided that 3 was the best number for her. I asked if she wanted all girls or if some of the 3 could be boys. She thought for what seemed like an eternity and then proclaimed that she would let "God decide" what each child would be. Great answer for a 4-year-old, I'd say!

On a side note, Will has decided that he wants 10 children. This has been his number for quite some time. He has also decided that we should have more children in our family. It is hard to disappoint children, but sometimes you just have to!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jack is 2

Wow! Another year has flown by. And I am told that the years go even faster as the children get older - better put on my flight gear!

As with everything in our household, Jack's birthday came and went in a flash. The guys were back from the "man trip" on Sunday, and knowing that Monday (Jack's actual birthday) would be too chaotic, we gave him his gift Sunday night. Emma was so anxious, that she wouldn't even let me wrap it! It was a set of Thomas the Train pieces to add to Will's little set that he received as a birthday present long ago. It was a huge hit! All he could say was "choo choo"! Those three little birds played with the train for the rest of the night.

On Monday morning, the day of Jack's birthday, we sang "Happy Birthday" every chance we got. He didn't quite understand that it was his birthday and insisted on singing "happy birthday Emmie" all day. We rushed around and got ready for the first day of Vacation Bible School. Will and Emma were excited and couldn't wait to get out the door. After dropping them off at the church, Jack and I headed to the doctor. He had his two-year well check that morning. Jack weighed in at 27 pounds and was 33 inches long. Unlike Will, Jack is sticking to the family genes on daddy's side! What Jack lacks in physical growth, he is making up for with academic growth. Jack can identify all of his ABC's and tell you what sound they make. He knows some of his colors, most of his shapes and counts to 13, skipping 1 and 5. The doctor was pretty impressed, so we left feeling pretty good about being two. :) He does have an eczema problem on his legs, so the doctor prescribed some creme for that.

We picked up Will and Emma from VBS and headed home for a late lunch. Jack took a brief nap and then we were off and running for the Winston-Salem Warthogs baseball game. Will's little league team met up there for a fun family night. We ALL had a ball and it was fun seeing the kids since baseball is over. Unfortunately, our night of fun was cut short when a thunder and lightening storm rolled in. The bottom dropped out just as we were pulling out of the parking lot! Nonetheless, it was a great evening and a great birthday for Jack.


Because of the business of the week, we didn't have a cake until Saturday evening. Mary Jo and Allan were in town visiting, so we had a few extra voices to sing along to yet another "Happy Birthday dear Jack". He LOVED his choo choo cake that I made and couldn't keep his hands off the jelly beans that were loaded in one of the cars.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Zoo

So, Allan and Will left on their "Man Trip" bright and early Thursday morning, June 21. They went to Babcock State Park in West Virginia. Allan will have to blog further on that subject, but here is a photo of the guys leaving our house.

After they left, Emma, Jack and I headed for the NC Zoo, which is in Asheboro. This was our first visit there, so we had no idea what to expect. Were we ever in for a treat! The drive was just under an hour on all country highways. It sure was a quiet ride without our Will! Once there, we had to make the decision of going to North America or Africa. We chose Africa as it was a smaller section of the zoo (a 3-mile walk) and we thought we would save North America for when Will could be with us.


The zoo was awesome! It was a paved walk that led us through Africa to see giraffes, elephants, monkeys, zebras and birds. Most of the walk was under shade trees, so it was a very comfortable day. We brought a picnic lunch and enjoyed it immensely. Jack, who loves to run away from us, stayed close by and walked almost the entire day. I had to put him in the stroller just once because we became surrounded by a big school group and I didn't want to loose him. Otherwise, both kids were troupers and walked around all day long. When we left, it was several hours past Jack's nap time. He was asleep in his car seat before I was done packing the car up! I wanted to do some more exploring in Asheboro, but will have to save that for another day. I wanted no part of carrying a sleeping guy around!

My personal favorite was the savanna area of the zoo. There was an overlook where you could watch the elephants, antelopes and rhinos grazing around. It was just beautiful. Emma's favorite was the zebras and Jack preferred the monkeys - go figure! Here are some pictures of our visit.


Emma took the above picture of me kissing the chimp. Future photographer?

The Stag


The other day, I was coming into the house via the back deck and I saw something moving down in the corner by my feet. It was the biggest beetle I have ever seen outside of a zoo/aquarium!!! My first thought: get Will! I raced into the house as fast as I could and yelled for him to come. He very casually asked what I wanted. "Oh, nothing really. It's just that the biggest beetle in the world is now crawling around on our deck!" The minute he heard the words big and beetle put together, he put it into high gear and raced to the door. "Whoaaa!" was the only word that he managed to speak. For once, he was nearly speechless!

He scrambled to find his bug jar and we carefully (mind you, he had ginormous pinchers) put him in, using a pencil. All we could do is stare at him for what seemed like hours. Then, we had to share the incredible find with Emma and Jack. This was a brief sharing period because we HAD to get his book of 1000 insects to find out what kind of beetle this was. Will found it almost immediately - he was a STAG BEETLE. We learned that he liked to eat decaying wood. Perfect! We have lots of that in the woods surrounding our house. Will once again raced to the woods to find the perfect pile of decaying wood and then placed it in the jar with the nameless beetle.

Two days later, Will left for the "man trip" and was to be gone for 4 days. I was left with specific instructions to keep this new friend alive and was told exactly how to do so. Well, I am sure the outcome is obvious. That same night, after coming home from a day at the zoo, I found the beetle stiff and unmoving. He had been left on the deck rail to cook in the sun (the magnifying glass on the top of the bug jar didn't help, I am sure).

You might know, that night when Will called home, the first thing he asked about was his beetle. I hem hawed around about it and when he didn't specifically ask if he was alive, I was relieved. I did get the point blank question from Will as he was on his way home from the man trip and I had to give him a straight answer. I HATE giving bad news over the phone! His reaction was as expected. Luckily, he was so excited telling me about the trip and everything they had done by the time he got home, that the sadness of losing the beetle was forgotten. We are now on a mission to find the perfect box with a see-through lid to keep him in. Will is dying to show the beetle to his friends, Kyle and Hannah, who will truly appreciate him as much as Will did - even though he is now dead.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Blackberries!

We are fortunate enough to live in a new neighborhood that isn't fully developed yet. As a result, there are lots of untouched wild blackberry bushes (among other things). We have a very sweet neighbor, Miss Pat, who picked a bowlfull and shared it with Will and Emma one day. They had the bowl eaten in a matter of minutes. I did manage to take a few pictures of them before their faces were completely black!

After tasting these juicy little berries, Will decided to pick more by himself so that I could make a pie. He did get a lot of berries, but he also ended up with lots of chigger bites (we are guessing that's what they are). So, that ended the berry picking and we never did make that pie!