Monday, July 30, 2007

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

On our way home from our weekend in Griffin today I had to stop by the local Starbucks to help me make it all the way to Cleveland. I had just fed the kids their lunch but since I wasn't hungry enough to eat I thought a small Cup O Joe might just do the trick. I ordered the usual, waited longer than normal and got a cup half full of liquid and half full of frothy milk. Not exactly the usual. As I sipped the mostly warm indulgence I noticed an advertisement of some sort printed on the cup. "The Way I See It #247" It sparked my interest, so I tried to read it as I drove up the not-so-busy roads of Fayetteville. It started, "Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a"... that's where my cardboard cup holder (hand saver) blocked the rest of the writings. I thought "Starbucks is finally getting smart and printing something about God". Amazing! Now Starbucks is usually the ones I think of as tree huggers, earth lovers, granola people. Not the ones who normally talk freely about God. So, I sipped a little more and watched the road, cars, and kids. Then I thought I needed to read the rest of #247. I was wrong! See, this is how it ended. "As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure." It made me really sad that people actually think that way. It's true. There are lots of people who don't believe in God. There are lots who will never believe no matter what I do or what Starbucks prints on their cups. It made me want to throw away my coffee and never go back to Starbucks again. I saved the cup so I could read it again while I wasn't driving and managing the kids. At the end of #247 it also says "--Bill Scheel, Starbucks customer from London, Ontario. He describes himself as a 'modern day nobody'." That made me feel a little better since 'ole Bill is just a customer. One of those tree hugging, earth loving granola kids. It also says that this is just the author's opinion and not necessarily that of Starbucks. So, I may not have to give up the good stuff after all. But then Curtis tells me so nicely at home this evening that if it wasn't their opinion they wouldn't have printed it on their cups. True. If I had written my opinion as a Starbucks customer do you think they would have printed it on thousands of the cups? Probably not. Most assuredly not!
Why do we ask God for help in moments of crisis? When your car is sinking in the pond and you're stuck inside do you cry out "please save me pizza guy"? Well, only if the pizza guy is in the seat next to you. You cry out to God instinctively. We KNOW in our gut there is a greater Being. All of us do. There are just those of us who are chosen that know the greater Being in a personal relationship and know His name. We call on His name in moments of crisis for strength and help. Curtis also informed me that if we searched inside ourselves for the power to overcome and it worked, we would have no more issues or crisises, or crisees, or however you spell the plural of crisis. Wonder why ole Bill didn't think of that. I also wonder if he ever has a crisis anymore since he can search inside his modern day nobody self and find the answers. Maybe we should Google him and see if he's solving the world's troubles. He is Canadian! That's gotta mean something. :) BTW, the google link above is also pretty interesting reading on this #247. I'm not reading it before I post this for fear of plagiarism or altering my thoughts first.
OK, back to my thoughts. The whole call on a higher being in moments of crisis thing... yes, some people do restrict their callings for just those moments. We, however know that we are to call upon Him daily, without ceasing and not just in the moments of crisis. We are NOT strong enough to overcome on our own. That's why there is death, war, famine, floods, earthquakes... need I go on? That's why there's still cancer. That's why we call upon HIM to help us get through Leslie's latest news. For we know in our heads that all things work together for the good and we know in our heads that His grace is sufficient for me but we must actually believe in our hearts and act upon that belief daily, no not just daily, but minutely (I know... it's not a word) in order to get through the crisis. In order to be a living testimony to His strength and help.
I thank God for Leslie's cancer. James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
May we persevere and be a living testimony to all (including Bill Scheel) of what God has done and can do for us, with us, and through us.
...and yes, I also know that I am not Jack Handy and my deep thoughts in no way represent him or his deep thoughts. :) Peace out!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend at Grandpa & Grandma's

We had to reserve a weekend at Grandpa/ma's before school starts back. We haven't been down in several months. In fact, I can't even remember the last time we went down.

I remember growing up (not so long ago) we took trips to visit our Grandparents because they lived in different states. Indiana and Arizona. It wasn't a quick, one day event. We made memories and we had fun. We did special things. It was our Grandparent's house! There is nothing like that. Of course, it was always more fun with the parent's weren't with us because then we could ask for anything and usually got it. We knew our limits though. In Arizona we got to eat out for breakfast and go bowling. We got to swim and ride bikes unsupervised! In Indiana we got to ride bikes all day, play in the fields and barns and usually got away with any trouble we caused. I remember playing in the bins of grain. How scary is that as a parent!?! Now, all I think about is the possibility of sinking into the grain and not getting out. It didn't happen and I never thought about it back then. But now, as a parent, I do!

Anyway, this weekend we took a trip to visit the grandparents. I wished we had more days but with work, we're limited. Plus, Grandpa has to get ready for his 4th annual fishing trip to Alaska! We arrived on Friday. Shopped and played on Saturday. Church and played on Sunday. Played and left on Monday. That's basically it, but oh the memories! We now have kids old enough to play cards. UNO is the game of choice and it's fun to watch them learn and scheme. Maggie thinks it hilarious to play a "bad" card on someone. Bennett tried a hand at Spite and Malice with Grandma and me but she had to take a nap, so we never got to finish. Lydia and Ruth entertained Grandpa, which he loved!
Our day at Berachah was full of old faces and many new faces too. It has changed so much over the years, yet so much stays the same. The Scherer's, Young's, Lee's, Pell's... I long for families like these for our kids. Berachah is also just finishing up a building project for a new fellowship hall and classrooms. The building is nice, the work is almost done, and the bill is paid. Funny thing, Concord is just starting that project.
Grandma helped me do some shopping for school. We needed the basic supply list that I don't have time for, as well as some clothes for Maggie. Lydia wasn't in to shopping for very long so she and Grandma walked around while Maggie tried on pants. Then Grandma's buggy had a huge Dora toy in it... and it ended up being 80% off or something crazy cheap like that. Had we only known... ;) we could have gotten them all.

Grandpa loves to take the girls on rides around the estate! Usually, it's to empty a scrap bucket or pick up the mail. He can never just go with one. When the engine first roars they take off running for the door and start yelling at him to "Wait Gampa, Wait for me!". So, eventually all have had their rides. This particular trip he loaded them all up together. You should have heard the squeals of delight. Lydia, I do believe was the loudest, as her mouth was the widest!

Maggie learned to ride a 2-wheeled bike this weekend. Their yard is flat and has softer-than-gravel grass on it. She fell over and over and over but with the cheers from the front porch she was inspired to get back on and try again. The smiles are priceless! Grandma's cheers are also priceless. Normally, she would cry and quit if she thought she would fail. Now, we just have to convince her that our gravel is just as rideable and get rid of the training wheels.

Bennett also tried to ride a bigger bike. He has sorely outgrown his from Christmas. If he would just stop growing!!! So, now we'll have to get a larger one for him soon.

Daddy found some mistletoe in a nearby tree and used it on his favorite little girls. I think Lydia enjoyed it the most.

On Monday before we headed back north Grandpa and Bennett took a trip down to the shop. I was still cleaning up the mess in the house and washing up laundry so I really wasn't paying attention to how long they were gone. Eventually, the girls and I went searching for the boys. We found them deeply engrossed in making a new bench for Bennett. Apparently, Bennett told Grandpa that he wanted to build something. He didn't care what it was, he just wanted to build. So Grandpa suggested a Bennett-sized workbench to match his Grandpa-sized workbenches. They found enough scrap wood and cut out all the necessary pieces. We arrived when the legs were being "made more stronger". Grandpa cut out triangles to glue and nail into place to support the legs. He let each one of the kids (except Lydia) apply glue and pull the trigger on the nail gun. That's a HUGE thing in Grandpa's shop!!! He didn't care that the kids were squirting excess glue, stirring up dust, touching his cabinets, or messing with his work. What a change in that old Grandpa! :) I remember when I was that age... well, he let us sand and stain but NEVER touch the tools. Woo Wee! The girls were especially excited about pulling the trigger. We brought the treasured bench home. It's super special around here right now! Thanks Grandpa! I wanted to get some pictures in the shop but I knew if I left to find the camera the moment would be over and I would have missed the event. Here are the shots once we got it home.

I'm sure there are more thoughts from the weekend but I'm now out of blogging time for the night.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bennett's Trip to 6-Flags

<----- Bennett's arrival and then on our way out. 6

Bennett read enough hours for a special reading program they had in Kindergarten this past year and earned a free ticket to 6 Flags Over Georgia. Today we went, just Mom and Bennett. We started out the day as early as we could get away from Dad and the girls and arrived excitedly about 11am.

We started off the day in the Confederate Area on the regular 'ole Choo-Choo Train (Marthasville Railroad Station). We looked at all the other rides as we passed and tried to decide what we thought we could handle for the day. He was adamant about not getting wet or going upside down. I don't know how many times he asked me if he would do either of those things when I suggested each new ride. We next went to the Dahlonega Mine Train. I remember this ride when I was a youngster. It's the same! Hopefully, they've done something to it over the years but it's just the same as I remember it. It's rough, fast, jerky, and exciting. I actually came out of my seat a couple times and Bennett banged his head around a little. He enjoyed it enough to do it a second time later on in the day. The crowds were thin, or at least around the rides we were choosing. We didn't have to wait in line for more than 30-45 minutes for anything. Most waits were less than 30 and he was very patient in doing so. He entertained me for most of the time so I didn't mind waiting either.
We then went to the Spanish Area and rode several smaller rides in Bugs Bunny's World. Of course, his favorite was the Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster. I must admit, it was my favorite too. It's a newer ride so it doesn't beat you as badly as the Mine Train and it's geared for the smaller population... family roller coaster is how they label it! Over 900 feet racing in and around Bugs Bunny World! It was fun. This picture is of his happy face as we were pulling back into the station house. He is truely having the time of his life! He then rode some rides alone... Convoy Grande, Little Aviator, & Fiesta Ferris Wheel. I tried to get him to do the Mind Bender for his old Mother's sake, or the log flumes... but he didn't cave on his original request not to get wet or go upside down. Next year, by golly!! We saw (from a distance and while standing in line) the old diving show but we never did get to see any show that day. I didn't realize how few they actually do. It seemed like they did shows all day when I went as a kid but maybe that was because Mom and Dad planned our day around the showtimes. Mom loves those shows! :) OK, what else did we do? While we were waiting for the Canyon Blaster and watching the diving show he was getting famished! So we made our way to a dining area in the Cotton States Area where my coupon was accepted! A foot long chili cheese dog... otherwise known as A Messy Hotdog! We shared it since it was still $7 with my coupon and it's a good thing. I didn't think he was going to keep it with him after we were done. He was green for a while but I think it was the heat and not the food. We sat in front of a mist spraying fan and watched the Scream Machine for a while. I convinced him that if we went to stand in line he would feel better by the time we actually made it to our turn. It was a quick line! This is the picture of his poor little 'ole self after our first ride on the Scream Machine. He wasn't sure he liked it because it went really fast and he felt like he was falling. When we went down the first hill his head flew forward and he was flopping around like I remember doing on the Mind Bender 25 years ago. I reached around him and held his head up like you would do to someone with a neck injury. It helped him enjoy the rest of the ride but then I was turned crooked in the seat and that wasn't good for my back/neck. Why do we ride those things again? Someone remind me that I'm not a teenager anymore! Well, he later decided he really liked that and we had to go ride again. At the end I was filming him as we came back into the station and he called it the Squeek Machine because the brakes squeeked so loudly as we came to a stop. Then he laughed!
We strolled around the games a while and he wanted to play them all. I had to convince him that the prizes just aren't worth the risk of throwing your money away. I did let him play the Ring Toss (I had a BOGO coupon) and he enjoyed throwing my money away... making memories if nothing else. Once he was satisfied with the games we walked around to find some things to drive. He choose the Dodge City Bumper Cars to start. It was two whole laps and then it was over, but he enjoyed it no matter how brief. Then we headed up the hill toward the Riverview Carousel, but made brief detours to the Hanson Cars, Rockin' Tug, and Up, Up & Away (hot air balloon swing/ride). The carousel was very hot and stuffy so we mosied down to the French Area to cool off with a ride through the Monster Plantation. I wasn't sure how he would respond to "monsters" so I didn't tell him the name. I just told him we were going to ride through an air conditioned plantation in a boat that did NOT get us wet. Then, he read the sign and all about the ride. He can read anything he wants so I guess there's no reason to try to keep it a secret! They are "animated, loveable monsters" and he seemed to enjoy it. Before the boat leaves the house you ride through a less than loveable section of monsters. He liked that better. Go figure! We then shared a $5 pretzel and rode the Confederate Sky Buckets to enjoy the view from above the trees. We had time for one more ride before we had to head to Grandma's house and he picked the Dahlonega Mine Train because the Canyon Blaster might have a longer line. We had NO line at the Train so we were able to do that quickly and have extra time for souvenir shopping.
I bought a Photo/Journal book for him as a souvenir since he likes to write and draw so much. His words... "My favrite ried was Wylie Coyote Canyon Blaster! I Rode The Tran Dahlonega Mine Tran fiesta ferris Wheel Airplanes Rockin' Tugboat Hot Air balloons Carousel Sceam Machine Bumper cars Hanson cars Trucks". Now, I did give him the names of the rides we went on but hopefully you can tell he wrote most of it on his own. :) He takes after his father with the lack of punctuation! I also got our entrance photo on a key chain for him to attach to his backpack this year. He's been collecting key chains since he started school. Funny boy, he is!
And that's my story in a nutshell. A big nutshell! I hope he has as good memories of the day as I do. I'd do it again in a heartbeat... and another paycheck!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just another Manic Monday...

well, actually it's Tuesday. But in keeping up with my brother's blog I've been sucked in to reading many other random people's blogs as well. One such blog had a song as a header/title for every entry she had posted. That's cool! :) Another's has such awesome pictures that she's taken it is almost inspiring for me to go take cool pictures again. But I've lost my photo eye. Either I need glasses or we're having lens issues with the camera. This was my attempt at one of my roses this season. Then the next week all those buds in the background bloomed at the same time and I missed that shot.

Anywho... my manic Monday was spent at work. We had our long awaited triplets! Two boys and a girl and they were very cute. Did rather well for being a few weeks early. Later in the afternoon we had a set of twins that should have been, could have been very sick. But they too did rather well. I wish I could post pictures of them, but not ethical or legal or approved, or something like that. Then we had all the normal, everyday mostly term kids and inductions. We were busy. After work I stopped by to see my sister-in-law Leslie who just had some cancerous colon removed from her otherwise cancer free body. We went for a walk down to the "garden" outside the cafeteria. In the midst of all the nasty construction around there it was actually kind of nice out there. I think we saw two other people the whole time we were talking. It was getting dark and Les was afraid for my safety walking across the parking lot so we headed back up to her not-so-cozy room. I pretended to settle her in for the night but she really did all the work. Then I headed home to my wonderful family who were all still wide eyed and bushy tailed. We read a couple books and then tucked into bed. We're still reading the Little House books. We're on Farmer Boy... the story of a boy named Almanzo Wilder. I never knew he grew up in NY.

Today we went swimming with our playgroup friends. It was a very small group today but sometimes that's really a nice change. Bennett was the only boy old enough to walk & talk but he enjoyed his time with the girls. He and Maggie are getting more and more brave in the water. One day they'll be able to float on their own! :) Ruth was once again a side-liner and played with Little John and Littler Wyatt. Lydia enjoyed jumping in and splashing me and she even swam around in a floatie ring. Tonight we did one of Bennett's science experiments and watched his volcano erupt. It was fun... but stinky (according to B).

By the way... Leslie got to go home tonight! Tomorrow we will welcome another Knott into this world. Another day at the grindstone...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tellico Camping and Wheeling

I'm sure the title should be more Wheelin' n Campin'... and maybe not even that many letters! Our family took a trip near Murphey, NC... a place called Tellico. It's a mountain with trails from one side to the other, full of big rocks, ruts, holes, mud, water, and anything else a boy might want to crawl over with his truck/Jeep/4x4. Absolute heaven... for the boys. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of women folk out there who are just as excited about crawling over rocks and splashing through mud. In fact, I actually enjoyed the first day's adventure doing such things. We took a group of 10 Jeeps down Trail's 4 & 6. But the second day, we spent 4 hours sitting percariously perched on rock ledges and slick dirt piles watching 10 (or so) different branded trucks climb what they call the Rock Garden on Trail 2. It's a narrow path of large rocks straight up the side of the aforementioned mountain. Now Curtis got his Jeep in the line of trucks and waited his turn up the climb. Meanwhile, I'm sitting, standing and chasing the 3 bored children who were waiting as patiently as they could for their father to make the exciting trail. Both girls got stung by the pesky little sweat bees. For Ruth... Eddie's cold water bottle applied for about 15 seconds healed her pain. For Maggie... 15 minutes of screaming and crying while Aunt Holley made her magic spit potion and found a bandaid to cover it. NIGHT and DAY! Bennett was unable to stay put on one side of the trail. So he and cousin Eddie climbed back and forth across the trail (in front of moving vehicles) until it was finally time to go. Maggie (also unable to stay put) slid down several rocks and dirt piles until I finally threatened a beating. You see... at the bottom of the rock ledge where we were observing was a 10-15 foot drop directly onto the large rocks these trucks were trying to climb. If her descent was timed just right she could even land her hard head on top of (or under) the climbing truck! Needless to say, it made this poor momma very nervous for most of the 4 hours.

This is a photo shot of Uncle Andy's Jeep, midway up the climb. He bent his tie-rod (?), had a spare tied to his roof rack and was able to repair within 20 minutes. Quite impressive to the newbies!

We really enjoyed the camping part though.
The kids did NOT want to return home tonight. Ruth, "I want to stay here forevah". We had our pop-up backed right next to the creek and enjoyed hearing the rippling water. It just wasn't quite loud enough to drown out the good times our neighbors were having last night. They decided happy hour(s) was from 11pm until 3am! They were grilling their chicken at MIDNIGHT and telling stories right outside my (Ruth's) window. And Curtis was outside eating said chicken at 1am!

Bennett rode his bike hard with the other boys. It rained on Friday so not only did the Jeeps go muddin' but alas... the boys did as well. His goal was to cover the tires and frame with as much mud as possible and in doing so covered his own little ole hiney as well. He grinned ear to ear when telling the stories about how fast he could splash through the mud.

Ok, earlier I said "our family" took the trip. We actually left Lydia behind with her boyfriend (see earlier post-"Playgroup Friends, May 15th"). She would never have tolerated the adventures of the first day nor the second day's sitting. From the stories I've heard, she had a great time with the Hicks' boys. I'm hoping to see a picture or two and can post those here as well. She was going to divide her time between the Hicks and Knott homes, but Mrs. Hicks wouldn't give her up and take her to Mrs. Knott. Mrs. Knott is also 37 weeks pregnant so maybe that was a good thing. :)

And by "family"... the camping side also included Grammy and Papa Davidson as well as Uncle Andy, Aunt Holley, and Cousin Eddie. The girls especially loved the attention from Aunt Holley and Uncle Andy. Aunt Holley drives her own "princess" Jeep over the rocks. Ruth got to ride with her the first day. Aunt Holley said "Ruth can be my co-pilot anyday. The faster I go and the harder I hit it the more she giggles and laughs". Ruth enjoyed the Jeepin'! And at 3~! She liked the mud splashing and speeding over the hills and bumps the best. It was about all she could handle and she was o-u-t when we got back to camp.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Maggie's New Mouth

Maggie has lost her SECOND tooth already. She cracks us up. She's barely 5 1/2 and has made $2 on teeth. She thinks that's a great return too.
She has a fun new smile and can stick her tongue through the new gap. Her first BIG tooth is already half-way up and will change her look soon. We're getting really excited about starting school too. She has the same teacher that Bennett had last year. Mrs. Chamberlain! She's a really sweet teacher that worked wonders with Bennett. I have high hopes for Maggie this year. :)
Bennett will be in Mrs. Milhollin's class this year with his two favorite boys... Matthew and Brendan, both from church. I hope she's ready for them! She is also from church... so she knows.

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