Sunday, September 30, 2007

My oldest wants to be a writer and illustrator when she gets older.  You can often find her throughout the day with some writing/drawing instrument in her hand.   One of her favorite mediums lately has been on the computer.  She loves to type and mess around creating pictures.  She has asked me about publishing stories and I told her a good way to start is by "publishing" them for others to see in things like our homeschool groups student newsletter for practice.  I told her it's a good way to hone her craft before asking people to pay for it.

She created the following and asked if I'd put it on my blog.  She wants her own blog where she can share her creations.   While looking over my shoulder at a 10 year olds blog I was looking at today said, "Maybe I can start a blog for my birthday."  She turns 10 in 22 days.  Dh and I have 22 days in which to decide, should we let her or shouldn't we. LOL  So, until we relent and let her have her own blog, I've told her I'll gladly post what she'd like to share. 

Friday, September 28, 2007

A taste of Fall

I love this picture of my oldest when she was just turning one.  She was such a little pumpkin herself.  So teeny tiny.  She called pumpkins pumpums and loved rolling them around.  This picture was taken at one of the  farms around where we lived in Ohio.    Tomorrow, I will hunt for my fall pictures and scan them.  Hayrides, bonfires, smores, pumpkins, apples, ahhh.  Fall in the midwest is the best!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An unexpected visitor came by today

                        Cactus Wren  (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)

While our back door was open a Cactus Wren came hopping in.


Here's a site where you can hear Arizona's state bird as well as learn more about our visitor.  This is a great website for all sorts of wildlife in Arizona as well.

Cactus Wren
By Byrd Baylor

      On the hottest
      summer afternoons
      when desert creatures
      look for shade
      and stay close to the earth
      and keep their voices

      I sit high on a cactus
      and fling
      my loud ringing trill
      out to the sun . . .

      over and over

      My home is
      in a cholla cactus.
      I won't live
      where cactus doesn't grow
      because I know
      the only safe place
      for a nest
      is a stickery branch
      in a cactus thicket.

      I like thorns
      in all directions.

      At the entrance
      of my nest
      I pile more cactus.
      I peck off the spines
      where I go
      in and out.

      It is so good a nest
      that when we leave it
      other creatures
      will move in - -
      a family of crickets
      or a cactus-climbing mouse.

      But now
      it holds
      six small brown birds

      and me.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

A present from my son

My 4 year old is in the picking flowers for Mommy phase.   Our bushes may have a few less flowers these days.  Instead my heart is overflowing with them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vacation Travels

We were gone last week on a very fun adventure.  We flew about 2,000 miles to Orlando, FL where we promptly jumped into a rental car and headed about 200 miles up to Jacksonville, FL to visit w/ Mark's family.  Mark's sister has a beautiful home right on the St. Johns River.  Most of Marks family came over the weekend so we had an impromptu family reunion.  They rented a huge waterslide for the kids to have fun on the first day we were there.  It was a big hit.  They also took us out on their boat the following day and we traveled up through downtown Jacksonville and out close to the intercoastal waterways.   We didn't see any manatees but we saw pods of dolphins playing and a sea turtle while we were going through downtown.  It was very cool.  When we returned the kids cooled down by jumping into the river off their dock.

Cousins are fun!

Sun setting past their boat house and dock

After visiting and feasting for a few days we jumped back into our rental van and headed up north about 350 miles to Atlanta!  While in Atlanta, we visited with some Five in a Row friends at the Georgia Aquarium.  It was so nice to get together with these families.  The Aquarium was amazing and was a huge hit with my Ocean Fantatic kids.

Atlanta Traffic

The Kids sitting still long enough for a group photo.  We're just missing my little guy who was off falling asleep.

After closing down the Aquarium, our Atlanta resident friend, Kendall, suggested we play in Centenial Park directly across the street from the Aquarium until traffic died down a bit.  We all headed over that way and had a great time seeing this beautiful park, playing on the equipment and, the best fun of all, running through the fountains that are in the shape of the Olympic Rings.  After soaking in the fountains we all headed back towards our hotel and had dinner together.  The kids all sat together, except the babies of course, in one booth and the adults in another booth.  The kids did great and got several compliments on their great behavior.


When we drove home from Atlanta we hit the forefront of Humberto.  It was a very tense scary drive back down to Jacksonville.  Besides the intense flashes of lightening completely surrounding us, the only thing we could barely make out were the tail lights of the semi right in front of us.  Mark followed the semi as the driver carefully picked his way down the road avoiding other cars,who, not being able to see anything, stopped on the freeway!  When the semi driver pulled off the road we followed him into a truck stop.  The 4 oldest kids and I ran in to use the facilities, dodging rain and lightening as we went.  The interior of the truck stop was flooding and the workers were attempting to mop and squeegie the water through the doors.  After we were done in the truckstop we sat there for another 10 minutes or so waiting for the storm to abate enough for us to continue on down into Jacksonville.  When we pulled back onto the highway, the storm was still going strong but had died down enough that we were able to see a few feet ahead of us.  I was so thankful Mark was driving that leg of our journey.  I can't see well in the dark and with any water on the road and glare of headlights, I'm blinded.  This type of storm would of had me in a complete panic if I were the one driving!


Once we were safely back at our hotel, the same one we were staying at the first few days in Jacksonville, I let out a long breath and thanked the Lord for getting us "home" safely.  We spent a couple of hours the next day back at Mark's sisters house with Marks parents who are living there at the moment.  Marks father was diagnosed with AML and is undergoing treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.  After having lunch and saying our goodbyes we headed back down to Orlando to fly home. 


Being so close to the ocean we did have to make one more stop just outside of Daytona Beach.  The kids got to dip their toes into the Atlantic and play in the sand for a brief time before we loaded back into the van and continued our journey to Orlando.


Another storm was brewing as we were driving south and I was so not looking forward to a repeat of the night before.  Our route into Orlando took us all around a huge black cloud that was full of rain and lightening.  Just as we neared our hotel did we get a few splattering of rain drops. 

There was a beautiful rainbow that followed us most of the way into Orlando that reminded me of Gods promises to us.  It was a wonderful reminder of how God is with us always.

On the flight home my oldest grabbed the camera and took a shot of the the gulf coast.  I don't know where we were exactly, maybe some of you from that region will recognize that stretch of beach. LOL  We were somewhere between the FL pan handle and the Mississippi Delta.  Aren't you glad I narrowed it down for you.


I have a video in my sidebar of the Atlanta portion of our trip.  I'm working on the family reunion portion and will add that when I get it finished.

I love traveling, meeting new people and discovering new things but, the best part of traveling is returning home.

Friday, September 7, 2007

New adventures

Leaving, notice the dress for our 100 + degree weather.  This isn't how we normally dress in the summer time around here!  These clothes don't usually make it out of the dresser until November, if we're lucky.  Must be going someplace cold.


Not quite sure about all of this.  These skates sure do hurt my feet and why do my ankles keep bending?

 Who said walkers are only for the elderly?


My girls had their first ice skating lesson today.  The jury is still out on how much they like it.  They will be going back however, despite the protests.  

A neato thing about their learning to skate here is, this is where I learned to skate many, many, many years ago.  

My Guys

Thank you

Thank you to Amy and Lynn who have nominated me for Nice Blogger award.  I was truly touched by your words and sentiments. 

I, however, am actually quite computer illiterate and have no clue how I'm supposed to add the really pretty button onto my blog. 

So, could someone, pretty please, tell me how to do such a thing and I will add it to my blog and pass the award on to others who make my blogging life so enjoyable.

Thanks again ladies for thinking of me.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Coral Reefs

As I've mentioned before, my kids are obsessed w/ the sea.  My second dd, A, decided to draw a coral reef.  Here's her resutls. :)  The two pictures below are actually supposed to be together, but my scanner can only do one at a time, so, use your imagination.   You can see where there is an anemone in the bottom right of the first looks a lot like the bottom left of the second, that's where you'll put the two together in your imagination.   The background of her drawing doesn't show up very well on the scan, you can't see the blue pencil shading which is the water.