Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dino Dash 5K

This morning we were up and around early for Dino Dash. It was Christian's 1st 5K, and Caylie's 2nd. She has been working with him for the past month or so, to prepare for the race.

The Dino Dash is a fundraiser for the Museum of Discovery, a children's museum in Little Rock.

They had a dinosaur jumping area for the kids. Carson enjoyed getting in on the fun!

This was a much bigger race than the first race that Caylie was in. They were prepared to give away 750 shirts, but they ran out before we registered.

The race was held in downtown Little Rock. It was hotter than it was at the last 5K, and the race route had some slightly hilly areas, as well as more turns. We anticipated that it would be a little harder.

Here is the group taking off at the starting line.

Caylie and Christian started out together, and said that it took them probably 5 minutes to get to where they could run at a normal pace, because there were so many people.

Caylie's time was about 33:21, as you can see behind her. It was not as fast as the last race, but we knew that it was going to be harder.

Good job Sis!

Christian was just a few minutes behind Caylie. I had gone up in front of the timer to get a picture of him, and I forgot to pay attention to his exact finish time. I will look online tonight to see if they have it posted.

We were all so proud of him for completing his first race!

Yea Christian! :)

Here he is right after getting through the finish line!

Caylie can't stand the thought of eating after she runs, but Christian quickly dug into the food that was provided for the racers.

Every time is a good time for a snack! :)

The race site was beside the Saturday morning farmer's market, so we strolled through the market and picked up some fresh fruit and vegetables.

Caylie and Christian sampled some of the watermelon that they were handing out.

A few minutes later, Caylie said that she knew she shouldn't have eaten anything, because she quickly started feeling kind of sick!

There were also people selling handmade crafts, etc., at the market. Carson liked relaxing on the Adirondack chair while Corey picked out vegetables.

After shopping for a little bit, we headed home.

Later in the day, we took Carson to see his first real movie...Up. It was a really cute movie, and he was pretty good until the very end, when he got a little bit antsy, and Corey decided to take him out to the lobby to play.

Now Carson is down for his nap, Caylie and I are relaxing at the house, and Corey and Christian just headed out to play some golf.

So far it is a busy, but fun summer weekend.

Writing the Waves,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Memorial Day In Branson

Well, it has been a week since my last post, so I am going to use up all of the space that I would have used in week of posting...all in one post. :)

I'm sorry.

Last Saturday, we woke up bright and early for our yard sale. We did pretty well...traded out lots of our rarely used stuff for some always used cash! Can't beat that! :)

After packing up the yard sale leftovers for Goodwill, we packed up ourselves, and a few bags, and headed to Branson for the holiday weekend.

The first night, we went to Branson Landing to see the sights and get something to eat. It is a nice, new shopping area with a GREAT fountain that shoots water and fire WAY into the air...all "choreographed" to music.

It was kind of rainy, so we ducked into a pizza place to grab a quick bite. Afterwards, when it had dried up a little, so we got to walk around.

While we were outside, one of the kids noticed that a favorite song of ours was playing...The Revelation Song, by Kari Jobe. We knew that it was coming from the direction of the fountains, so we quickly headed that way.

At first, we thought that it was a fountain show being done to that song, but as we got closer, we realized that a wedding was taking place in front of the fountains, and that the couple had chosen that song to play during their "prayer time".

If you look closely, you can see the bride and the groom in the front, with their guests seated around them. Since the wedding was being held in a public place, there were also lots of onlookers (like us) enjoying the moment with them.

The next morning, we got up and went to Silver Dollar City. We have taken our older kids there many times, so they both have great memories of the fun they have had over the years.

Here are the kids at the entrance...Carson has no idea what he is in for!

This was Carson's first ride after entering the park...

I am usually the most cautious of the bunch, and I was this time as well, but I let Corey talk me into taking my little guy on the log ride! He was tall enough, which I couldn't believe, and so despite my fears that he would be traumatized for the rest of the day, we all loaded into a log, and waited to see if Carson would love it or hate it...

I think he loved it, or liked it, or didn't hate it, because he didn't cry.

So we pressed on.

Here, Caylie and Christian are waiting in line for the Giant Barn Swing. I rode it with them, and LOVED it!

It is a thrill ride, so while we were at the top, the kids and I were screaming, with our hands up in the air. Corey and Carson were watching from below, and Carson was not so sure what he thought about seeing me screaming.

When I would swing out of sight, Carson would say to Corey, "I need to see mama." :)

Here we are after all of the excitement.

You'll have to excuse the dorky looking hat.

After the log ride, I had the look of a drowned rat...the hat was just the lesser of two evils!

Here, Christian and Carson shoot little balls through an air gun in the kiddie area. Fun stuff.

Carson was tall enough to ride the swings, so the kids and I enjoyed doing this ride together. There were seats made for two riders, so Carson and Caylie rode together.

Back in the kiddie area, Caylie rode the Bouncing Frogs with Carson.

Christian rode another fun ride with him.

And then he rode his first ever "solo" ride!

The man in charge of the ride even made an announcement that it was Carson's first time to ride all by himself. :)

He had his own little cheering section every time he passed!

We didn't get a picture of it, but he was doing his little "try to hold back the smile" face that we all think is so funny!

He said almost NOTHING all day.

I think that he was simply so overwhelmed, that he was just taking it all in.

I know that he enjoyed it because he was never fussy...he was just kind of in shock all day!

Thumbs up, while maintaining a poker face after getting off of the Lady Bug ride!

My two boys checking out the funny mirror!

Throughout the day, it had been sprinkling, but not so much that it slowed us down. I had my dork hat, and Carson had a little windbreaker with a hood. The rest of the bunch didn't care if they got wet, so we just kept going.

Later in the day things took a turn for the worst.


The sky just opened up and it began to rain buckets...with no end in sight.

After waiting it out in a covered area for a while, and seeing no improvement, we decided that we were just going to have to resign ourselves to getting drenched in order to get out of the park.

We checked out a map, and saw that since we were in the very back of the park (of course!), we could break up our freezing water run by stopping in a store in the middle of the park.

Here we are at the halfway point...soaking wet, and freezing. We just wanted to thaw out a little before taking off on the 2nd half of our trek.
In keeping with the rest of the day, Carson just kind of went with the flow, and took it all in.

My three soggy little troopers...

While we had to wind things up a little earlier than we had planned, the kids were happy to have done what they did.

They were good sports.

The following day, we went to a yummy breakfast buffet, and then wound up our trip to Branson with a visit to the Titanic Museum.

While I would HIGHLY recommend visiting this museum, I would NOT recommend taking your toddler...or at least not my toddler! :)

While the rest of us could have stayed for hours, reading every bit of interesting information, and soaking in all of the fascinating pictures, etc., Carson did not have quite the same appreciation for the whole experience.

I will have to figure out a way to go back sometime without my little guy and REALLY take it all in.

Seriously. :)

Writing the Waves,

Friday, May 22, 2009

A New Beginning, And An End...For Now

Today is a day that I have mixed feelings about.

It is Caylie's last day at her least for a year or two.

She has attended the same, wonderful Christian school since kindergarten. It has been a great experience for her, and we have loved seeing her thrive in her environment. She has actually loved school!

When we decided that we would homeschool Christian next year (which he was very excited about), we gave her the option of coming along for the ride, or continuing on at her school. She is a freshman, already in high school. We encouraged her to think and pray about it a lot before making a final decision, and we did as well.

A week or so later, and after much, much discussion, we all agreed that she would homeschool for a year or two, returning to her Christian school for her junior and/or senior year, so that she could graduate with her friends. We are all on the same page with that plan.

I was thrilled at the thought of spending more time with her, because I just love her to pieces. I couldn't have dreamed of having a more precious daughter. She is such a blessing.

At the same time, I was sad that she would be leaving...if only for a year or two, a place that has been such a positive influence in her life. A place where she has developed wonderful, quality friendships. We love her friends, and we love their families!

We are so thankful for how the Lord has allowed her school to partner with us, her extended family, and her church, in building godly beauty and character into her life. She truly desires to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. I couldn't be more grateful.

She told me earlier in the week, that as she sat in her last chapel service at school, that she felt like crying, just knowing that it was the last time...for a while.

This morning, as she left for her last day of school, she was feeling a little nervous about finals, and of course, was very aware that this was the last day of her freshman year at her school, I gave her a big hug. I felt the significance of the day too.

I love that girl more than words can say. She is, and always has been, such a spark of joy in our family, and I sooo look forward to sharing the next year or two more fully with her.

While I am nervous about starting homeschooling this late in the game, I have had many people encourage me in stating that what God has called us to, He will bless, and I do believe that.

So here is to an end...for now, and a bright beginning of something new and different for our family!

Welcome home, Cuddle Bug!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yard Sale Fun

Although I hate the days leading up to having a yard sale, I love clearing out the junk! I also love adding up the money after all of the junk is gone...a nice trade off!

It is amazing that although my last yard sale was only about six months ago, I still look around and see way too much stuff that we do not need or use!

Yesterday, when attempting to get some order to our garage, I decided that it was time for another sale.

The next 3 days will be full of all kinds of yard sale fun...pulling junk from every corner of the house, getting it priced, rounding up tables, borrowing racks, hanging up clothes, posting signs in the neighborhood, etc., etc..

Such fun!

Writing the Waves,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back From Convention!

The homeschool convention that I attended this weekend was a learning experience.

I got to visit with some of the curriculum vendors that I am thinking about using, which was helpful.

I volunteered at the used curriculum sale, and then got early shopping privileges...snagging some GREAT deals on a few books that I will use next year!

I attended several helpful classes.

And last, but certainly not least, I got to connect with many homeschool moms, and bounce ideas around with them.

I'm glad that I went.

I'm also glad to be home...

When I returned today (after stopping by mom's house to pick up the yummy strawberry pie that she made for us), this is the welcome that I received from my awesome kids!

It is hard to read in the picture, but they had written, "Thanks Mom for Making Homeschool Happen! You're Awesome! We Love You Lots!" They had also written out many of the subjects that they will be, math, history, etc.

How sweet is that?!?

It was a big encouragement for me to come home from a weekend full of homeschool stuff, and have my kids (and Corey too!) show me how much they appreciate the efforts that I have made to prepare for our new adventure!

I love them so much!

And in other news...

As I have mentioned before, Caylie has been working with Christian to help him prepare for his first 5K on May 30. They are planning to run it together. (She ran her first 5K a few weeks can read about it here.)

She has been doing her running first, and then riding the bike beside him while he works to build up his time. His first goal has been to reach 30 minutes, and today he reached his goal!

Yea Christian! :)

We were all so excited for him!

Corey, Carson and I got in the truck, and came up behind them at the end of the run so we could cheer and encourage him!

Caylie and Christian have been such a good team.

I have teased Caylie by calling her Jillian from The Biggest Loser! Totally joking though...she is not mean at all! :)

She has been a great "trainer", and he has been a determined runner!

Here are all 3 kids after Christian finished his first 30 minute run!

Carson wasn't as concerned about getting a cute picture as I was! (He is preoccupied with the balloon on a stick that they had taped to the poster that they made me.)

Oh least the big kids were working with me!

It's good to be back home!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Homeschool Convention

This weekend, I will attend my first homeschool convention.

I do not know what to expect.

I have done TONS of reading and spent HOURS researching all things homeschool related. We've registered for the local co-op groups, and outside teaching sources. I've compiled a big, fat notebook full of information that I want to have fast, easy access too. I have turned over most every stone I can think of at this point.

Now the time has come for me to throw myself in with the masses.

To be honest, I am still a little overwhelmed.

There is just so much information to take in!

I have narrowed down my curriculum choices in most subjects, and pretty much have things in line as far as what I want for each child next year, but there are still some gaps that I need to fill. I just haven't settled on what the best fit will be.

I am hoping that the convention will help me narrow things down, rather than add so many MORE choices that my head will start spinning!

There will be interesting classes to attend, lots of vendors to check out, and also a used book sale.

If I don't walk in with a game plan, I'm afraid that I will just become a zombie...walking around with my eyes popping out, not knowing where to begin!

Better get to work!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Have I Ever Mentioned...

Have I ever mentioned that I have the best mom EVER?

It's true, I sure do!


I was so happy that today my wonderful mom got to sit in church between her two daughters.

That meant a lot to her.

Dad has just helped my sister, Jeanna, move back to Arkansas. Jeanna knew how much it would mean for mom to have both of us there with her. My sister has been through a lot recently, and we are so thankful that she is doing better. It was a really nice morning to just all be together.

After church, we went to mom's house for lunch. She had prepared a delicious roast, with rice, gravy, vegetables, and rolls. I grew up eating this meal every Sunday after church, and it is still one of my absolute favorite comfort meals! YUM!

Our attempts to hang out after lunch were kind of sabotaged since Carson was NOT on his best Mother's Day behavior. (I guess he didn't get the memo that he was supposed to be!)

He took a short nap in the extra room, but woke up on the WRONG side of the Pack-N-Play!

When Carson started throwing such a fit that we could no longer hear ourselves think, we decided to take mercy on everyone, and head for the hills.

Sometimes chaos goes along with the job of raising children...that's just the way it goes!

I enjoyed my Mother's Day, craziness and all.

I think, despite a grouchy grandson, that mom would probably say that she enjoyed hers too!

Thanks mom for being you...and for being so sweet and gracious!

I am blessed to be your daughter!

Writing the Waves,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kris Allen...Up Close and Personal

On Friday, Caylie had a very exciting day. Kris Allen was in the area for his "hometown visit", and many of the kids were skipping school to go see him.

We let Caylie go with her friend Lauren, as well as Lauren's mom, sister, and her mom's friend.

They learned about an "unpublicized" appearance at an AT&T store, so that was their first stop. There was not a big crowd at this location, so they were able to get pretty close!

She was sooo excited!

While Kris was making this appearance, he got a phone text from Randy and Kara telling him that this week, he will be singing Apologize by One Republic.

Caylie said that he was excited about that selection, and that everyone was cheering.

Here they are in front of the sign at the AT&T store. (Caylie and Lauren on the right, and Lauren's little sister on the left.)

They got to pose with one of the local news anchors that was covering Kris' hometown visit.

And by the stretch Hummer limo with the security guard standing by!

Like I said, they were pretty close, so Caylie actually took this picture of him...and it is not even zoomed in! She was really that close!

When she got home, she did some of her photo editing on it! It is her favorite of the day.

She thinks that it should be his first album cover! :)

By the time they left the AT&T location, she had used up the camera battery, so she didn't get to take any pictures at the big amphitheater concert that they went to next. It was a MUCH bigger event.

Oh well, I was happy with the shots that she was able to get!

I really hope that Kris will win.

I think that he is a good guy, and he is a Christian too.

Before American Idol, he was the worship leader at New Life Church in Conway, about 20 minutes from where we live.

Wouldn't it be great to have an "American Idol" that so many of our kids could look up to and admire?!?!

Writing the Waves,

PS: To read Caylie's take on the day, check out her blog here!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Party Time!

Tonight was Christian's birthday party with friends.

He asked to go to Playtime Pizza. It is a entertainment complex near where we live. It has a big dinner buffet, laser tag, rock climbing, blacklight putt-putt, go-carts, bumper cars, bowling, a huge arcade, a toddler area, etc., etc.!

Paradise for kids big and small...for parents, maybe!?!?

But it was his party, so we were up for it.

He invited 3 of his good buddies.

As I was getting some things ready for the party, and Christian was loading some music onto his new ipod, Carson just walked over and gave him a hug and said "Happy Birthday BB." I didn't catch the original hug, but I asked Carson to hug BB again, and he happily did it again!

When Carson was just learning how to say all of our names, we thought that Christian would be too hard to learn, so we taught him to say "BB" for Big Brother. It stuck. Today as we were driving down the road, Carson started crying, and said, "I want my BB!"

While the crying wasn't so great to hear, I loved hearing him ask for his BB...too cute!

Before heading to the party, Corey decorated the windows of the truck.

Carson even got to help a little bit!

When Christian went outside and saw the truck, he said, "Yes!" :)

I asked the boys to pose in front of the truck, and Carson was double checking to make sure that he had the pose figured out.

After we arrived, and everyone was fueled up for some fun, they guys hit the bumper cars...

And the go-carts...

The DDR...

The roller coaster simulator...

The arcade...

And much, much more!

Carson had a great time, but got tired before the big kids, so since we were in two cars, I brought him back home and put him in bed.

When the rest of the crew returned, we had cake and ice cream, sang Happy Birthday, and then the boys just hung out until it was time to hit the sack.

Since Carson had been in bed, and missed participating in the Happy Birthday song, we squeezed it in one more breakfast!

Check out Carson, trying so hard to hold back his smile as everyone sang Happy Birthday to Christian!

Writing the Waves,

PS: One of my college friends read my geocaching post yesterday, and commented that there is also another version of "treasure hunting" that does not require a gps system. It is called letter boxing. I looked it up online, and it also looks like fun. I think that if you have kids that would enjoy treasure hunting, both geocaching and letter boxing can be done just about anywhere!

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