Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Life Update!

Wow....It has been a while since I posted!  Life is good and full.  Since my last posting Andrew has auditioned for a drama production he is participating in this Friday and he's spent a week at Elon doing the NBC basketball camp.  He came home happy and physically exhausted.  He's squeezed in a guitar lesson but not much practice.  I think he would practice more if I could keep him home.  That boy is on the go!  This week he is at his drama camp and busy trying to memorize all his lines whenever he gets a minute at home.

A couple of families from our church met up at the pool for a little pool party.  It was really overcast, but it turned out perfect, we pretty much had the pool to ourselves and it didn't rain until around 3:00.  
Randy and Andrew went to the lake with some guys for an overnight trip.  Randy ended up getting injured while trying to wake board.  Not as young as we used to be!  He had to take a week off of running and is still healing from some torn cartilage in his chest, but started exercising again yesterday.  As a result, we have pushed back our half-marathon.  We will probably wait and run it in April instead of November.  We were already cutting it close with our training and him losing a week of training is probably a bit too much! 

While the guys were having fun at the lake the kids and I dressed up as cows and went to have a free dinner at Chick-fil-A

It was Moooo-velous!

After dinner we went to see Legacy Productions rendition of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!  It was great!

Last Monday the kiddos and I went to the park for a last minute play date with some friends from church.  This picture trips me out because there were only 3 of us and yet there were12 kids!  We discovered a tree covered with worms and the home schooler in all of us just had to turn it into a nature study!

On Tuesday we went to my friend's house for lunch.   She lives out in Bahama with her 4 kids and 40 or so chickens.  
We had such a lovely time.  The kids played in the creek, gathered eggs, picked blueberries, chowed down, and just shared a bit of home, life, and family.  PLUS, they gave us BREAKFAST: Farm Fresh Eggs and vine ripened blueberries!  YUMMY!  So glad the Lord has brought this sweet lady into my life.

 She is such a sweet blessing....AND she has a boy....Jackson's age and these two I think may have been cut from the same fabric!

Sophie is glad too.  It's Daniel's mom AND Sophie....is a total baby hog!

Last Thursday we had a little pool party with my sister-in-law and a new friend who has recently moved to the area.  On Friday the kids attended their cousins sleepover and birthday party. Earlier in the day "MY AMY" came over with her kiddos and we had a sweet visit and lunch.  It was so good to see her and the kids.  I think I appreciate our visits and time together more fully now that she is away.  Unfortunately....I only got one picture.  

I was having too much fun enjoying them!

Lets see....we've made chocolate chip cookies

 We've cleaned the house. We've done yard work. We've done laundry.....

gone for a few dips in the pool. 

Randy and I have had a date night....alone.
 It was wonderful.  

 Watched Andrew work on some basketball skills and saw him push himself further then he thought he was capable of going at his camp Intensity Night.
I was very impressed.

We also had a coffee date with some of my favorite people in the world!  I'll let you guess who :)  

We had a double date with our "dinner club" buddies.  It is our goal to eat at only places we have never been before in Durham.  We started at Bull City Burgers (a couple of the guys had been here before but most of us had not) with desert at Locopops. Really liked the fried pickles at Bull City and Locopops didn't do a lot for me....Next Dinner Club Date.....Dame's Chicken and Waffles!

Randy, the kids, and I did check out the Tasty Bakery in Hillsborough
 Randy gave it two thumbs up!

We've been shopping for clothes for an upcoming family photo.  That has been fun!!!

AND Randy has made me a happy woman!  He is taking us camping....in a tent....at Emerald Isle....for two nights!  I. CAN. NOT. WAIT!  He initiated the whole thing.  It was all his idea, which makes it even better!  I have wanted to take the whole crew camping for years....but had pretty much given up the idea.  Well.....he sure did surprise me!

I had a birthday celebration dinner with my friend, Kelly.  Her birthday was in March.  So while it may sound like we were way behind schedule.....we are actually doing GREAT celebrating in July because we usually don't celebrate until September!

Today, Andrew has Drama Camp.  While he is at camp I am hoping to find something for Audrey and I to wear in the family picture and find some "pops" of red to dabble on the rest of the crew.  Then I am gong on a BIG grocery store trip AND coming home to clean.  We have friends coming to play tomorrow and I am not ready!!!!  Tonight Sophie and I have "Girl Talk".  I think it is her favorite night of the month.  We go hang out with 7 other moms and their tweens and snack, talk, discuss biblical womanhood, learn helpful home ec skills, and just enjoy one another.  It is WONDERFUL!  While we are off gallivanting Randy is going to take Andrew to guitar and Lydia to piano.  He is a good man.

That about sums it up.  Haven't blogged much...but I sure am enjoying life!

Monday, July 15, 2013

ADHD Anyone?

I woke up and sleepily walked into the pantry to find our hairbrush?  The funniest part is that it didn't strike me as too odd.  It just made me wonder what else the day held.

A few moments later as I was finishing my breakfast and the kids were starting to rouse Jack came bursting into the room.  Jack doesn't wake up slowly...unless I wake him up.  When he wakes up life starts happening.  He explodes into the kitchen.  I greet him with a nice, "good morning Jackson" to which he responds, "I want to climb on a table!"  Before I can reply he asks, "Can I ride my bike?"  while he unwraps 2 straws and lays them, and their paper, on the counter he's just climbed on and hops down to go and greet someone else.  It is not even 7 am and he's still in his pajamas.  At least he woke up with some goals: climb on a table....ride bike.

When I finish feeding him and he is dressed I finally let him loose.  This child LIVES to go outside and play.  He acts like we have him on house arrest when we require him to come in at 8:00 at night and won't let him go out until 8:00 in the morning.  Poor boy.  So once he is out I find out how he opens the garage door now.  He presses the button in the garage and runs as fast as he can and jumps up to hitch a ride on the door.  Oh my word.  Do you think he is ADHD?

It may run in the family. 

Now Audrey's up and dressed in her dance costume ready to face the day.  Why is she standing in the window?  I have absolutely no idea.  Shaking my head!

Whew....they are the pleasure of my life....and may also be the loss of my sanity.  Love my rascals!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Still Sad

I'm missing Granny today.  I can't believe its been almost 6 months since I've seen her.  I miss her voice.  I miss her jokes.  I miss her hugs.  I miss her spark.  I miss her rocking up to stand.  I miss her cards.  I miss her presence.  I just really miss her. 

I'm not sure about this growing up business.  It is painful. 

I keep telling myself: They (Granny and Papa) lived a long life.  They are believers.  This is just part of living in a fallen world.  I know all this.  Yet I still miss them.  It still seems tragic to me.  I don't think I'm very good a losing people.  I still cry. I mean....they were in their LATE 80's.....death is part of life.  I knew it was going to happen.  Yet it still hurts.

I've been questioning the purpose of life a lot lately.  Time is so short, even when it is long.  What is the best use of that time?  Making memories?  Enjoying?  Holding tight?  Letting go?  Investing?  Investing in people?  Investing in loved ones?  Investing in the lost?  Investing in Eternity?  What does that look like?  How do you live life on purpose?  How do you do it all the time?

I've had some late night anxiety over losing others that I love.  The kind that catches your breath in your throat and causes your heart to skip a beat.  Breathe.  Deep.  God is in control.  I can't handle it....what if Randy gets hit by a car on a run?  or has a heart attack...they run in his family?  what if Andrew gets in a car accident or Sophie get kidnapped or .....and on and on and on it goes.  Yet the truth is....His grace is sufficient.  Truth.  Think truth.  Know truth.  I must be in the word.  I must be anxious for nothing.  He cares for me. 

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm good.  I'm not a walking around basket case all day every day.  I just have moments.  Moments I need to be reminded to seek truth.   Moments I break.  Moments of tears.  Moments I wonder.....

Yep....growing up is serious business. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not much of a Weight Update

Well this is my first post of the new weight loss year!  It has been another month!!!  I must tell you I was nervous about this weigh-in because I have been on vacation for 11 days this month.  I have been eating out a lot...but the key I think was the exercise.  I am getting to the end of my 10K training program and I am having some long runs.  So that really helped off-set all my eating!
It has been a super slow weight loss month.  When I left on vacation I had only lost .4 pounds.  I don't know what is going on.  I don't know why my body seems to be holding on to the weight.  I am still overweight.  I am still diligently following the plan.  It is frustrating.
So yesterday as I stepped on the scale I was very nervous that I was going to have a net gain for the month.  So I was thrilled to see that I had somehow lost a pound while away on vacation.

The grand total for the month.....down 1.4.  I am only averaging .4 per week this month.  SOOOO SLOW!  At this rate it will be 53 more weeks before I reach my goal!!!  Oh well....I can promise you this....I will keep right on going!  IF I pick up the pace to my average 1.5 that I have averaged for the year then it will only take 14 more weeks.  I am hoping that my body is on some sort of a plateau and that I will start losing larger amounts of weight soon, but I am going to keep right on going....because I do know this....even little amounts over a long time add up!  So far I am down 83.2 pounds.

One of my goals this year is to be braver.  So each month I am also going to try to do something that stretches me.  So this month I decided to risk a unicycle ride across the beam of a museum.  They assured me that unless I jumped out or weighed more then 300 pounds then I could not fall.  Yet...it still required a lot of bravery on my part.  The bike would wobble....whew!

I was scared....but I did it anyway....and it was fun!
Nerves of Steel indeed!
Hopeful that next month I will have bigger lossses to report!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Heading North

Day 1
We pulled out of Durham Thursday, June 27th headed for Hershey, Pennsylvania.  We left around 9:45 in two vehicles.  The girls: Me, Sophie, Lydia, Audrey, Grammy, Aunt Rhonda, and Tricia Lynn in the BIG van and the boys: Randy, Andrew, Jackson, Uncle Barry, and Tyler in the Thompson's car.  We met for lunch in Ashland, Va at O'Banks Cafe.  Then hit the road again for Hershey, PA.  After lunch we rode in families.  My family in the big van and Rhonda's family plus Grammy in the Thompson's car.  We met for dinner at Finicci's.  I had salmon with a house made brochette and roasted vegetables and new potatoes.  It was so good.  While dinner was the highlight for me.  Andrew and Tyler's highlight was meeting the restaurant owner.  He was a World Record holder for riding the most roller coasters in a day!  The boy's loved meeting him.


After dinner we checked into our hotel and took the kids for a quick swim before bed.

Day 2
I woke up really early to run.  I'm finishing up my 10K training and was scheduled for a 9 miler.  So I ran 9 miles on the treadmill.  Whew.  Then we had breakfast at the hotel and header to Hershey Park.
It was fun!  I enjoyed riding rides I wouldn't have fit in a year ago:
And I did indulge in peanut butter pie!

I mean I did run 9 miles....and walk around an amusement park all day.  I shared it with Sophie.  It was GOOD!

When we got back to the hotel we let the kids swim and did baths and went to bed.

Day 3
I took the day off from exercise and we had breakfast at the hotel.  Lydia had Comedian bacon for the first time (aka Canadian bacon)
Then we were off to Hershey's Chocolate World!

We went on a trolley ride around Pennsylvania and learned all about Milton Hershey.  What an amazing and generous man he was!  I really enjoyed the history.
Then we went to a Chocolate Tasting class.  It was very interesting.  We watched a movie about chocolate, the kids "wrapped" chocolate kisses.
Then we all made our own chocolate bar and designed our own wrapper.
It was a fun day.  However by the time we left even the kids were saying they would never eat chocolate again.  We were chocolated out!

We had checked out of our hotel that morning and we made the drive to Lancaster County.  We stopped on the way at Julius Sturgis Pretzel factory. 

We learned how pretzels were made and toured the first hard pretzel making factory in the US.  Then of course we ate pretzels!  Our pastor's wife told us about this little stop.  Neat experience!

Then we checked into a farm house our home for the next few days.

 It was awesome!  Audrey was happy to meet the farm dog Sheba. 

After we spent a few minutes getting settled in and relaxing it was time to head to dinner.
We had dinner at Good and Plenty.
I had the roasted turkey with the creamiest mashed potatoes I have ever eaten and fresh garden peas that tasted like they had been picked that morning.  It was fabulous!
Then we went to Noah's sight and sound play.  It was great.  The animals and puppets and costumes and props were amazing!  By the end of the day....needless to say we were all worn out!
Randy wasn't done yet though....he had a one and half hour drive to pickup Pepaw.  He was flying in to join us from his mission work in Guatemala!
What a Long yet Fun Day!
Day 4
I woke up early and went for a short run.  I only ran 2 miles.  Then we went to breakfast and headed over to the Amish village.  I really enjoyed the village.  We had a tour of the area

followed by a chance to tour an Amish house and school room.  I want a schoolhouse!!!

It was so interesting to me.  I have been reading Donald . Kraybill's book, The Amish Way Patient Faith in a Perilous World.  It is so interesting! 

It was neat to see first hand this intriguing way of life.  After vising the village we had some down time at the farm house and Randy, Tyler, and I went for a walk and then Randy and I did some weights, sit ups, and push ups.  It felt good to move!

That evening we had dinner with some of Ruth's friends from her nursing school days.  We ate at Plain and Fancy.  It was nice meeting her friends. 

Day 5
We were all scheduled to spend the day at Gettysburg, but Randy and I had an idea.  We thought the little ones needed a more restful day from all the coming and going and Randy and Andrew and Bob were REALLY anxious to spend the day at Gettysburg.  So we suggested just those three go and enjoy and the rest of us stay at the farm and have a more relaxed day.  We did and it was a good day.  It did start out a bit unsettling for me.  I went for a run and missed a turn and got really lost.  My 3 mile run turned into a 4 and half mile run and included a somewhat panicked call to Randy.  Fortunately he has a tracker on my phone and was able to locate me and give me directions home.  He was already on the road headed to Gettysburg!  Whew.  The landscape was breathtaking!

We did venture out with our crew and go for a buggy ride and we did a little window shopping and the kids had a pony ride but most of the day was just low keyed and relaxed. 

They played at the farm.  Watched some movie.  Had pizza in their PJ's.  It was a nice day of rest.

The guys said over and over again how happy they were with the decision.  They thoroughly enjoyed their day at Gettysburg and learned so much.  They didn't get home until after 11:00 and they both said it was the highlight of their trip.  Glad the guys got this special time together.

Day 6
I got up early and ran.  I had to run....we were eating a lot of good food!  After my run I got cleaned up.  We packed and hit the road heading North.  My family and Bob and Tyler were in the big van.  Rhonda's family and her mom had left earlier that morning to stop off in Buffalo, NY to pick up Ryan and his boys.  I can not even begin to describe the frustration of this leg of the trip.  What should have been a 6-7 hour trip turned into a 10 hour trip.  It included closed highways, detours, scary mountain men and their brothers, good directions, whining, about a million questions, road work, lots of fast food.....and a few nervous moments crossing the border....but we made it!  Once we arrived in Canada we let the kids have a late night swim to burn off some energy from all their car sitting.  They were thrilled to see their Texas cousins!  We all got settled and got some much needed sleep!

Day 7
I rode a stationary bike for about 35 minutes to give my knees a break from running!  We had breakfast and headed over to the falls.  We watched a cute movie about the falls, which terrified Audrey and then walked behind the falls.  Which left me a bit awe struck at our Creator!  (see the rainbow)

It left Audrey terrified.....but no permanent harm was done!

Day 8, July 4
I rode the bike again for 35 minutes.  We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed back to the falls.  We did a river walk along the rapids and then rode on the Maid of the Mist.  Take a raincoat!  It was really neat to see the falls so close!  That night some of the guys: Randy, Andrew, Jackson, Ryan, Geer, and Booth got to go to the Toronto Jays baseball game.  They had great seats and enjoyed the time together.  While they were gone the rest of us went up in the sky tower and did some kiddie attractions: ie) maze/fun house/shopping.  Then we headed back to the hotel and ordered room service and watched the fireworks over the falls!  My girls loved that. The boys got in after midnight.

Day 9
We slept in.  No exercise.  We were worn out.  We had breakfast at the hotel and packed to head to Pittsburgh.  We made good time and didn't run into in troubles heading home!  Our first stop in Pittsburgh was the Incline.  It was the inspiration for Mr. Rogers incline!  We rode it to the top.  Once again....Audrey was scared....but ended up enjoying it! 
When we got to the top we went on a short tour of the museum and then walked around a bit.  We found a great spot to take photos of the Pittsburgh skyline.  Only problem was we couldn't all manage to look at the camera!

While we were checking things out Sophie was thrilled to spot all the Taylor Swift tour trucks at Heinz Field and we could even hear them doing a sound check.
We went into the city and had dinner at Primanti Brothers.  They guys loved it. 
Then we checked into our last hotel.
Went for our last hotel swim and hit the hay!
Day 10

Woke up early.  I went for a run on the treadmill.  Had breakfast at Eatin Park and bid farewell to the Thompson crew.  They were heading back to Durham so Barry would be back for church on Sunday.  Then the rest of us headed over to the Carnegie Science Center.  We spent most of the day in the sports center.  The kids loved it.  So did I!  We bounced.
Soared to new heights!
Look at Pepaw!



Played Hockey.....Geer was a BEAST he broke the record for the museum!

Rode Unicycles
By afternoon we were worn out.
We headed back to the hotel to rest and regroup before the concert.
Grammy, Pepaw, Ryan, Andrew, Jackson, Lydia, Audrey and Booth went shopping, to dinner, and a movie.
Randy, Sophie, Geer, and I headed to the Taylor Swift concert.
Daddy was all decked out in red for the event!
Sweet man.
Sophie and Geer were very excited!
Randy was excited to be on Heinz field with 57,000 others!
We had great seats!  THANK YOU Grammy and Pepaw!  What an thoughtful and GENEROUS gift! 
You know your granddaughter well!
Definitely the highlight for Sophie.

Day 11
We woke up early to head home.
Ryan took a taxi to the airport.
We met Geer and Booth's other grandparents on the way home to drop off the boys to visit with their mom's family.
We finally made it home close to 8:00.
There was lots of whining.  Everyone was exhausted.  After unpacking, going to the grocery store, starting the laundry, sorting the mail, checking messages, scrapping together a dinner, and brushing teeth we all crashed.
It was an amazing, fun, exhausting vacation.  It went amazingly well having 4 families converge and share every waking moment for 10 days, traveling to 2 countries via van.  It is a miracle but we all came home still on speaking terms!  Yes there were a few spats and squabbles....but we made it!  Lots of memories were made.  Lots of wonderful life opportunities.  Very thankful for family.  Thankful to Bob and Ruth for planning and providing such a spectacular trip for my family.