June 29, 2006

Help New Orleans with LEGOs?

I read about this program in the current issue of my son's Boy's Life magazine. Here is what it says..."Donate Lego bricks to New Orleans schools through the Lego Builders of Tomorrow program, and Lego will match your donation brick-by-brick. You get a Lego-studded rubber bracelet for your contribution. The program runs through August 31." Find out more at LegoBuildersOfTomorrow.com. I thought this was a really neat way for kids to help other kids. We plan on participating, how about you?

Crazy Dog Video

This is the funniest video! The dog is so into his bone that he doesn't want anybody to even come close to it. Not even his own foot!

June 26, 2006

Summer Vacation Fun

Yee hah, did we have a good time last week! We made our annual trek to Myrtle Beach, S.C. We arrived on Sunday the 18th (Father's Day). Darrin's parents met us there. We exchanged dad's day gifts as soon as they got there because the boys were so excited. Payton picked out the bright yellow shirt for Darrin. They each picked out their own card as well. They even got him a little gold trophy that said "World's Greatest Dad." They were wound up but finally went to sleep a little after midnight.
Then, as always, they woke up at the crack of dawn (well...7:30 a.m.). Nana took them to the pool each morning until Darrin and I rolled out of bed around 11:00ish. Then, we'd have lunch, pack up and head to the beach. They boys aren't real big on the water but they love to dig holes and play in the sand. It was so nice too. There was a constant breeze so we never really realized how high the temperature was. We ate out every night which is always nice. I'm not a big fan of doing dishes anyway, especially on vacation! We ate at the best place in Myrtle Beach (in my opinion)...the "Farm House." It's been owned by the same family for 39 years. It's in a tiny house that is almost 100 years old. They serve good 'ole home cookin' too...ham, mashed potatoes, collard greens, fried apples and cornbread. The place only seats 40 people so there's generally a wait, but it's well worth it.
One afternoon we walked out onto the Apache Pier. It has the distinction of being the longest pier on the east coast. The boys thought it was cool to watch the men fishing. They even saw one catch a baby shark!

We also played putt putt at the Treasure Island mini golf course. I was the official score keeper and picture taker, so the the boys competed against their dad (and won they say!). We took in some great fireworks at Broadway at the Beach after a scrumptious meal at Yamato Japanese Steak House. We did a little shopping at Barefoot Landing and the Tanger Outlet Mall. The boys raced go carts at the Nascar Speedpark too. It was a fun filled week but boy was I happy to see home yesterday evening. I missed my bed and our two doggies too! It's hard to sleep without those little guys snuggled up next to me. Darrin licked my nose a few times for me while we were gone, but it just wasn't the same. (just kidding!) After checking out on Saturday we drove an hour north to Wilmington, N.C. We toured the U.S.S. North Carolina, took a trip on a water taxi and visited with my great aunt and uncle. Sunday we'd planned to stop by Carowinds Amusement Park on our way home, but mother nature had other plans. It poured the rain all day so we just kept on truckin'. I'm proud to say we're unpacked and the laundry is all done. Now, if the sun would just come back so I could swim with the boys before it piles up again! For more pictures go to flickr. (Oh, just in case you're wondering....Darrin did get one day of "real" golf in while we were there.)

June 17, 2006

Vacation Time

For the next week we'll be off on our annual trip to the beach. As always, I'll be taking tons of pictures and will share them when we return. See you then!


(I call this his "Buddy Holly" picture)

Payton was picking out a shirt for his dad for father's day. He found a nice blue one and asked me what it said. I told him, "When I grow up I want to be just like my dad!" He said, "oh, no... I don't want that one!" Why in the world would he say that I thought. Then he continued..."I don't want to be bald when I get big!!"

A few days later he asked me why the top of daddy's head was bald. I told him because that's the way God made him. He then said, "Do you think God will do that to me when I'm big?"

After eating out recently Garrett wanted to take his drink with him when we left. Payton said, "You can't do that, dad will have a cow!" He then asked his dad why they weren't allowed to eat or drink in his car. Darrin told him, "Well, I'll tell you what my dad told me...when you're older and have kids of your own, you'll understand why." Payton replied, "well I'll tell you one thing, I don't understand today!"

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

We love you...bald head and all!!

P.S. -- Payton's nickname is "Tater", hence the title of this post.

June 14, 2006

Vacation Bible School 2006

This week the boys have been attending Vacation Bible School with a neighbor friend of theirs at Taylors First Baptist Church. (We're going to be on vacation when our church has theirs) The theme this year is "Arctic Edge." Garrett & his friend Turner are in the burgundy group and Payton is in the Purple group. That means each day they wear the appropriate color bandana and go on the Arctic Edge adventure. Tonight was the open house. Boy, has VBS changed since I was young enough to go. The evening started off with a scrumptious dinner.
Then we were off to listen to some really upbeat VBS songs. We then toured each of the boy's classrooms. Each was set up with a tent and hiking gear to carry on the theme. The boys have just two more days to go and then it will be over. They're having a great week though!

The Fathers in my Life

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. This post is about the fathers in my life. You see, I've had five. The first, of course, was my biological father (left). He and my mother divorced when I was only 3 years old (1974). Therefore, I never remember living with him. And, although I grew up only 1 mile away from him, we never had the father/daughter relationship that every Hallmark card seems to portray. I was never "daddy's little girl." He remarried soon after the divorce and had a new step-daughter and, soon, a new son. I did spend time with him and my step-mom, but we've never been really close, unfortunately.
The next "father" in my life was my first step-father (right). He and my mother married when I was 5 years old (1976). He was the ideal dad...so much so that I even called him daddy. On my school papers I would even write his last name as my own. His parents welcomed me and my two older brothers as their own grandchildren. We had a wonderful "family" until around 1984 (when I was 13 years old). I came home from school one day and was told that he and my mother were getting a divorce. What? Just because they no longer wanted to married meant that he would no longer be my dad? How unfair was that?
It wasn't until 1994 that my mother remarried again (left). By this time I was 23 and had been married for 3 years myself. However, he and my mother seemed truly happy. We welcomed him with open arms. They are still married and he's been a step-father from a distance. My husband and I have always lived at quite a distance from them. I consider my father-in-law (below) as another "father." I dropped the "in-law" part years ago. He's been in my life for 15 years, which is more than any of the others really. He means a lot to me. I know I could count on him 100% if I ever needed anything. I'm so very blessed to have My father-in-lawsuch a wonderful man in my life. Lastly, comes the one constant in my life...my paternal grandfather (Papaw). He was the one man in my life who has been there for me from birth. He never faltered, never wavered and most importantly never left me. He provided food, shelter and clothing for me in times of need. He set a positive, Christian example for me. He spoiled me and loved me unconditionally. He was the main father figure in my life until he was called home by God on May 24, 2005. Without his guidance I would not be the person I am now. I miss him terribly
but am thankful that God let me borrow him for 34 years. You see, when Father's Day rolls around each year, it's tough for me. They don't really make cards to fit my situation with all of my dads. I do send my "real" dad a card...usually just a funny one...that's all that fits. None of this..."when I was little you were always there for me," or "I'll always be your little girl." To my first step-dad, I still send cards too. He was a very important figure in my life during my formative years. I still talk to him once or twice a year as well. My current step-father gets one too. Boy, it's getting harder and harder to find those step-dad cards! My father-in-law definently receives one thanking him for being the wonderful man he is. And, up until last year, my grandfather always got a very special card. He got the "like a father to me" card. I would gush on and on about what he meant to me. I just wanted to make sure he never doubted my love and appreciation for him. Oh, there's one more "dad" in my life...my husband. He's a fun and amazing father to our two boys. I'm extremely grateful that our children will grow up knowing one, and only one, really great dad. Some people may think that I should feel lucky to have had so many "fathers" in my life. I don't know about that. Don't get me wrong, I love each of them in a special way, but the little girl inside of me just wishes I could have grown up being "daddy's little girl" and having him tearfully walk me down the aisle at my wedding. But, this is the hand I was dealt, so I've become acustomed to it I suppose. Anyway, happy father's day to all of my fathers, both here and the really special one in heaven. I love you and will see you soon!

**I read this years ago on a church's sign and it has stuck with me: "Any man can father a child, but it take a real man to be a father!"

June 11, 2006

One busy weekend.....

Well, I don't have any pictures to prove it, but we've had quite a busy weekend. On Friday the boys went to see the movie Cars with our neighbor. It was their first official date I suppose. Our neighbor, Taylor, is 13 and she and her friend took the boys to see the movie. They had a great time and had rave reviews about the movie. Then, that evening we went downtown to eat at one of our favorite places, Sticky Fingers. Taylor and her parents went with us as well. After eating, we walked around and shopped a little. The Mast General Store is always a fun place to go look around. The kids favorite is O.P. Taylor's toy store right on Main Street. There was even a Scottish Festival going on so the boys got to jump in several bounce house type things. We also saw a parade and heard absolutely beautiful bag pipe music.

Then, on Saturday, the boys had two friends over for most of the day. They went from one activity to another...swimming, jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes, playing "star wars," etc. Needless to say they were ready for bed at the end of the day.

Today, Daddy had to work so me and the boys just stayed at home. It was 90+ and sunny today so they were outside a lot. Garrett invited his "girlfriend" Marian over. Payton has decided that he likes her too! They swam while I did laundry, laundry and more laundry. After daddy got home, we had supper on the screened-in porch. Starting tomorrow they'll be attending Vacation Bible School all week with a friend. Then, we leave for vacation. Whew, summer has just started and I'm already tired!

P.S. -- Want to watch the movie trailer of "Cars?"

June 8, 2006

Tee Ball season is here

Soccer season has been over for all of 3 weeks now. Now, we're going right into tee ball season. This will be Payton's second year playing at the YMCA. Garrett gave it a try when he was Payton's age but didn't like it. Payton just can't wait to move up to Little League. He wants someone to actually pitch the ball to him. He and daddy went shopping for all the essentials...new "Chipper Jones" glove, 14 oz. bat and a glove. They have four practices and then the season starts. Unfortunately he'll miss the first two games because we'll be on vacation though. This year his team is the "Marlins." He was a little bummed about that. Last year they were the "Brave," his and his dad's favorite team. He says he's just going to wear his jersey from last year! I tried to explain that that just won't work. One skill he has has down to a T is sliding. He always slides, if it's necessary or not. He says it makes the game "more funner." I guess. All I know is I'll be using a lot of bleach over the next few weeks!

June 7, 2006

An afternoon at the zoo

Yesterday Darrin was off from work and Garrett only had school until 12:30, so we spent the afternoon at the zoo. It's so nice to just live 5 minutes away from from a really great zoo! We invited our next door neighbor to go with us too. She's 13 and the boys just love spending time with her. The weather just couldn't have been nicer either. It was in the upper 70's with a nice breeze. We started things off with lunch at one of my favorite places, Fatz Cafe. Then, it was off to the zoo. We got to see the baby orangutan, Bob, for the first time. He's only 4 1/2 months old and is as cute as a button. It was amazing to watch his mama care for him, while dad just stretched out close by. The tiger and lion exhibit is also a favorite of mine. They look so regal perched on their huge rock. I love to just watch them interact with each other. However, they weren't the least bit impressed with me. The boys loved the snakes...sorry no pictures of them. Gross! After our leisurely stroll through the zoo we stopped by the playground outside the zoo entrance. They still had a little energy to exert so, by George, we let 'em. What a nice way to spend a lazy Tuesday...spending time with our boys....and wearing them out.

Last day of school

Today was Garret's last day of second grade. They had school three days this week but only went until 12:30 each day. Is that crazy or what? On Monday we attended his awards program where he received an award for Art class. He knew nothing about it and was totally surprised when they called his name. His teacher had sent home a letter (in a sealed envelope) the week before telling us about it and asked us not to tell him. What a nice surprise, huh? Then, on Tuesday, they just wanted movies. Today was they cleaned out their desks and had their farewell party. They joined the other three second grade classes and had pizza outside. Of course Payton and I were there to enjoy it too. He's going to miss his teacher so very much. She asked me if she could keep him another year and before I could even answer he loudly said, "YES!" He's a little frightened about going on to third grade. He's heard horror stories about all the homework he'll have. Well, now we have about ten weeks of fun ahead of us. We'll be going to the beach for a week, visiting relatives in West Virginia, swimming lots and who knows what else.

Garrett & his "girlfriend" Marian

Garrett & Payton at the year end picnic

June 6, 2006

Quirky quips from our boys

A few nights ago Darrin, the boys and I were watching America's Funniest Home Videos together. It's such a great family show. Anyway, it was around 8:20 and it thundered real loud. Garrett just look at Darrin and I and said, "well, it's not 8:30 yet!" We had no idea what he was talking about so we asked. His reply? "It said on the bottom of the tv screen that it would thunder at 8:30!" He'd been seeing the thunderstorm warning scrolling along the bottom of the screen which expired at 8:30. I just couldn't stop laughing and he just couldn't understand what was so funny.

Last night we went out to eat. When we were finished, Garrett brought the remainder of his drink with him to the car. Payton sternly warned him, "Don't spill that in here or Dad will have a cow!" (We were in Darrin's car). Darrin then told Payton, "I'll tell you what my dad used to tell me when I was a little boy. You'll understand when you have kids of your own." Without hesitating a minute Payton replied, "Well, I'll tell you one thing...I don't understand right now!"

Payton has been really inquisitive lately about what things spell. He asked me, "What does 'dke' spell?" I told him "nothing." He then ran to his dad and said, "Daddy, daddy I can spell 'nothing'.....dke!" Now when he asks what a group of letters spell I just say, "that doesn't spell a word."

June 5, 2006

Sean wins, Sean wins!

Okay, so I'm a little bummed that I didn't win the $30,000 viewer money, but at least Sean is Donald Trump's newest Apprentice. He's been my pick from day one...really. Maybe it's the British accent or his dashing good looks, who knows? He even openly professed his love for fellow Apprentice hopeful Tammy on the season finale. Yeah! Now we have to wait until January '07 for the newest round of Apprentice recruits. Bummer. But, if you're in New York City, be on the look out for Sean and Tammy on their way to SoHo in his new Pontiac G6 convertible. (He'll be working there, over seeing the construction of another one of Trump's mega high rises.) Throw your hand up and maybe even blow him a kiss from me. Smooches!!

Set your books free

In this month's issue of Upstate Parent magazine there is an article entitled "Set it free." The author tells how you can "clean off your bookshelves by sharing with others." Wonder what exactly that means? Well I did too...read on. "The idea is simple," she says. "Clean off your bookshelf, register your books on the site and release them into the wild by leaving them where another book lover can find them, such as a park bench." What, give my books away? It sounded crazy at first. However, once I read on and visited the website, I was excited and ready to participate. The site even provides printable bookmarks and stickers that let the "finder" know the book is there's for the taking. Then, hopefully, the "finder" will visit the website and tell what book was found and exactly where it was found. Isn't that such a great idea? What a wonderful way to share books that you (or your children) are finished reading? I've already registered and plan to let some our books go out into the wild within the next few days. If you're interested and want to join in, visit their website at BookCrossing.com for more detailed information.

June 3, 2006

I want my own talking gecko!

I usually pay absolutely no attention to commercials, but the talking gecko in those Geico commercials just cracks me up. Put a talking animal in a commercial and I'll watch. I won't necessarily buy, but I'll watch. The first of my favorites, Free pie & chips was my first favorite. I just love it near the end when he loses his balance and has to catch himself. My newest favorite is the Exclusive club one. He's on a talk show and "shoots the gun" at the audience. I just love that little green guy. Oh, and by the way, I did get a quote from the little guy's owner...no luck. The insurance I have is cheaper. Rats!

June 1, 2006

It's POOL time....

Since it was in the 90's on Tuesday, we decided to go ahead and get the pool set up for the summer. Since hubby "thoroughly cleaned it" before storing it away last fall, I figured it would be a snap. Just get it out of the box and fill 'er up. Not! I guess the dirt fairy visited it during the winter months. We had to spread it out on the trampoline and give it another cleaning first.
After that was all done, we smoothed out the mulch and dirt and laid out some carpet remnants. The floor of the pool was a little bumpy last year so we're hoping this will prevent that. After getting it situated just right it was time to let the water do it's job. The boys just couldn't wait. They played in it while it was filling up. Uh, maybe we should have just left the 3" of water in it. They seemed to like it.
After about 7 hours and 4,000 gallons of water, it's ready to use. Never mind that the water is freezing cold (to me anyway). The boys have been in it non-stop for the past two days. They don't seem to mind that their lips are blue when then finally do get out. Our $200 investment last year was a good one. It provides hours of fun and entertainment for the boys and their friends.