Friday, March 21, 2008

Mountains, Rivers, Oceans and Canyons!

Waking up to some yucky weather (lovely, spring thunderstorms), we decided that we would take the risk of getting to the IMAX in time to see the preview of their newest film, Grand Canyon Adventure 3D. We had been given an opportunity to go and see a free screening of the movie which is now showing. We made it there...just in the nick of time, and it was simply amazing! The 3-D film takes one down the mighty Colorado River on a thrilling, whitewater rafting trip. And I highly recommend it to anyone! Now, there was a global-warming slant to it; however, I just write that off easily as 'only time will tell'....until we are being warned about our global-cooling situation!

The scenery was beautiful, and I can tell you that everyone in the theatre blinked (or even wiped!) the water away from their is so real! It's just amazing to me how 3-D videography can trick one's brain! You must go and see it!

After the movie, we went back home to get ready for Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie. We readied the house and then drove down to meet them at the Aquarium. We spent a fun day walking through the exhibits and checking out every plant and animal that there is!
Oh, how these girls love their Aunt Jan & Uncle Eddie!
Annie checkin' out the stingrays...yes, all but Macy and I were touching them!
After we had seen all that there was to see, we went back to our house and enjoyed a "quick" appetizer (Alal's 7-layer dip) and then headed out to Canyon Grill for dinner. Thankfully, we had a reservation so we didn't have to wait...and man; it was good! After enjoying some rajas and french bread with our Layer Cake Shiraz and Hogue Riesling, we all ate til we could eat no more. Jan and I enjoyed the chicken with capers (my "usual"); Uncle Eddie had the grilled salmon; Eric enjoyed the chicken with roasted red pepper sauce; and the girls always get the chicken with the creamy herb dip, garlic-mashed potatoes and lima beans...I know, I know...lima beans have never tasted as good as they do out there! And their water with the tiny bites of ice is enough to make me drive out there...just for their's so highly's all sooo good!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Worth "writin' home about"

Clorox spray with bleach...this stuff is amazing! I have to say that we all sorely miss "Miss Bonnie," who once weekly graced us with her presence! But I also have to say that this Clorox spray with bleach is "almost" just as good! I just spray this cleaner on the dry walls and come back after a while to rinse it off!

Since I've found this cleaner to work amazing wonders on our all-white bathrooms tiles, Eric has quit singing, "Oh, bring back~bring back~oh, bring back my Bonnie to me~to me!"

Our bathrooms' all-white tiles (floor, walls and ceiling!) have never been cleaner!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A fun fieldtrip

This last week proved to be a very diligent week...which is a very rewarding feeling! So at the end of the week, we were ready to take off on a fun fieldtrip to the Chickamauga Battlefield with lots of other homeschooling friends and their moms. Although it was raining, we went outside to see a firing demonstration and then back inside to see the new movie that is now is a wonderful description of how the south and north fought their local battles here in the Chattanooga area, and the national park's new theatre at the battlefield is really impressive!

After the movie presentation, the ranger'ess gave a really informative lecture on a day in the life of a soldier and then we spent quite some time walking through the exhibits and checking out the giftshop. It was a cold, rainy day, but we thoroughly enjoyed ending our week with a 'bang'!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Picnics, cannons, and electric maps!

Today the girls and I were reading some more of Family Under Fire, A Story of the Civil War, written by Ronald Kidd and published by the Chattanooga Regional History Museum! It’s a fictional story (all too real for me!) about a family who lives in Chattanooga and has their life disrupted by the Civil War.

When we sadly came to the last chapter of the book, we read that the battles were being fought atop Lookout Mountain, so we stopped and packed up our lunch to take it up to Point Park, so that we could finish the book there. It was such an incredibly beautiful day! We had been so "into" our book that we hadn't noticed how late it had gotten (and the recent time change hasn't helped us any either!), so we quickly threw a little picnic together and drove up to Point Park. After entering the park proudly with our picnic basket and blanket in hand, the first sign we see is a sign that reads, "No picnicking!" Aghh...we were starving and were emotionally invested at this point, so we found the park ranger and politely asked, "If we promise we won't picnic, may we just nibble?" He was a very tall, kind-looking man (reminded me very much of Denzel Washington, if you wanted to know!), and he laughed and said, "Yes, you gals may nibble, but no picnicking!" So we ran off to find the perfect spot to finish our book and enjoy the scenic view!
Sitting in the wonderful sunshine, we had a good time finishing up our book and even took a few photos for Pawpaw, who should be very proud that his daughter is now also relishing in our amazing, southern history! This is his daughter that once thought the only good thing about a battlefield was the paved roads that her daddy would let her drive along while he was walking along checking out each marker! Yes, my sister and I grew up on many-a-battlefield! We tried to stack rocks under the canons like the confederates did to aim down the mountain at the Yankees, but thankfully we didn't see any! Well, except for a few tourists, but we let'em go!

After running about the park, the girls had the luxury of seeing their first electric map...I’ll give you one guess as to who loved it and who didn’t love it so much! We wandered about the gift shop until the lady opened up the theatre for the last showing, and I rushed the girls into the theatre so that we could get good seats (I was afraid that they wouldn't be able to see for all of the other people sitting in there!), well, as soon as we took one step inside the dark theatre, I heard the door slam and lock! Seriously, there are NO lights on inside there...we could barely make out each others faces due to a glimpse of light coming in from under an exterior door that's not properly sealed! Knowing that we had been the first ones to enter the theatre, I prayed that we were the only ones in the theatre! Not knowing what to expect next, I quickly sat down next to Annie on the first row while I gave my permission to Macy and Tressie to take whatever seats they wanted. As the show began (and I'm not implying any lights came on, for they didn't!), the manly voice narrated the story of the "Battle Above the Clouds." I wasn't able to hear much, for all I could focus on was the nervous calls, "Mommy, where are you?!?" I finally was able to get the girls to 'come to my voice' and sit in my lap and the chair next to me. After getting the eldest to stop crying (she was so nervous and uncomfortable there in the dark and unfamiliar territory), I held her and tried to refocus...until the door unlocked, a lady-figure walked/stumbled in, the door shut and was locked again. Being able to see the figure stumbling into the theatre with hands held out in front of them, the lady-figure completely walked into the wall in front of her. Trying to allow her to maintain her dignity, I gently whispered (loudly enough), "Do you need help?" Hearing my voice, she turned her body toward us as if...oh, this is the direction I should go. Then she walked directly into Annie's seat...she was so thankful to have found a seat, so she proceeded to sit down...on Annie! (Bless her heart!) After taking her by the hand (ew...touching a stranger!), I led her in front of us to the seat beside Tressie, who now was more nervous than ever...but I didn't have any more lap to hold her! Macy wasn't about to switch seats with Tressie! So I re-focused again and enjoyed what I was able to hear. But I think my favorite was when the story ended, and Tressie looked up at me with big, excited eyes and said, "Momma, did our team win?"
I know our next electric map won't be nearly as exciting as this trip, but I'd still love to go back...this time we'll know more of what to expect. I might even take my own rope-lighting with me! Later this week, our homeschool group is going on a field trip to Chickamauga Battlefield, so I think we've successfully brushed up on some of our southern history!

Oprah and her influence

Lately, several friends have asked my opinion on Oprah's new book and study on A New Earth and A Course in Miracles. And I have to say that until now, I haven't been familiar with them at all. But after having done a little research on the studies, my stand is the same but stronger...I don't want any part of it.

Laughingly, I say that I have limited brain cells, and setting a few brain cells aside to following Oprah and her teachings is not at the top of my priority's no where on my list!

My hope that she gets the message that conservative Christians aren't subject to being her followers, for I don't consider half of what she says as pearls of wisdom at all! Personally, I do feel as if she has way-too-much influence on many people that would ordinarily think for themselves or stay true to God's truth.

Sadly to say, at times I have unknowingly been influenced by those that craftily form their words, so I've learned to always be cautious to not quickly jump onto any bandwagon. And after reading a few Internet reviews/postings on her new book, I'm even more convinced...we should be wary! Some girlfriends have suggested buying the book to see "what all of the talk is about"; however, I'd rather not have the book benefit from any of our money (which implies to the publishers that we're supporters!), nor do I want my time to be wasted on reading empty lies and paraphernalia...can you tell I feel strongly about this?!?

This IS scary, and we do need to be aware! I'm sad to say that Oprah does have tremendous influence on the general public! Christians do need to take heed! Here is a very good article written by Warren Smith.

It's not surprising at all that Oprah Winfrey is supporting Barak Obama!!!

Christians do need to take heed!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All in a day's work!

This morning, the girls and I got right down to business, for this afternoon Macy and her daddy had the pleasure of going to a field trip together.

After breakfast and a few chores we settled right into working on our prayer journals (which I'm proud to say that the younger two are now writing their own prayers of thanksgiving and requests into their own prayer journals! I was spending the time to write them down for them, but now they are writing their own, and one day we'll look back and be even more grateful for their sweet, little penmanship and silly misspellings!) Then we completed our math, language and some of our history readings. Then for some of our extracurricular reading, we continued our Family Under Fire, A Story of the Civil War, which is so good, and we just "needed" to read some more of it!

After lunch, our sweet daddy left work a little early to come and pick up Macy to take her to a little field trip with some of our homeschool group. They went to visit Niedlov's, which is a quaint, little bakery...I hope the word 'little' doesn't' offend them...if so, sorry! They learned lots and had a fun time bringing us home some of the most wonderful, chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies and had fun telling us all about what/where/who they saw! Macy had a good time catching up with some friends of hers, and Eric enjoyed getting to see how a bakery produces their baked goods on such a large scale and large equipment!

Later that evening, I had the pleasure of meeting some girlfriends (from the same homeschool group) out for a dinner at our favorite, local Mexican restaurant! We got together to eat, catch up with one another, encourage each other, and just laugh at what has/hasn't worked for us as individuals teaching our children and our homeschool group as a whole! I have to say that I left those gals feeling sooo refreshed about how I'll continue rearing our little family as well as how excited about how we'll continue leading our homeschool group! We have lots of little changes which I feel for sure will have lots of necessary, positive impact! I just love those gals!

Monday, March 10, 2008

His tools ~ Her jewels

Today the girls played "wedding." They were so cute! They baked goodies and snacks to serve at the reception, wrapped wedding gifts, got out trays and wine glasses in which to serve their food and drinks at their "reception," and they played Anna Kay Clark's CD for the music and dancing.

Tress was marrying her beaux, a tuxedo-clad Build-a-Bear; Macy was the wedding planner and maid of honor; I was to be the mother who had to hold Tressie's long veil as she walked down the "aisle" until I was seated next to Brody and the rest of the family and guests (closely resembling more stuffed animals)! Ahhh...the dreams and aspirations of a young girl!

Obediently, I sat still on the sofa until I had to excuse myself for laughing too hard...well disguised as tears of anguish for losing my a Build-a-Bear! I had to leave when I overheard them discussing the wedding rings...Annie quietly slipped the "husband's" ring over the teddy bear's ear "since his hand was too fat," and Macy told them that was alright, for Tressie could wear all of the rings! She said, "A woman's hand is only good for diamonds and shopping bags!" She went on to say, "His tools; her jewels!"

Where do they learn this stuff?!? Certainly, not m-wah!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's snowing!!!

It's snowing outside, and it's more than beautiful! Now as a typical southerner, I can spot the first snow-flake that falls in our region, but this time it really is coming down and sticking to the ground! And I know that I don't know that much about snow, but I'm pretty sure that this snow is what one calls "powder," for the wind will come through, and the snow will fly back up into the air to resettle with more that's falling. It's simply beautiful!

The birds are all in hyper-motion collecting a few extra seeds from the feeders. I guess they instinctively know to gather what they can before it's covered up (yes, I'm an optimistic southerner!) The birds' colors...they are even more brilliant against the white snow! How beautiful it all is!

Normally I would stick around just watching out the window, but today...there is a big sale that I must get to! I've been needing to replace our umbrella on our wrought iron patio table, and there will be one on sale at 10AM at Tuesday Morning. And you know that there are a few other important close-out prices, of course! I shop there only occasionally, and I haven't been to a sales event there in a while, but I remember going there once with a friend to one of their sales, and we had to take turns standing in line while one of us shopped and the other one held our place in was crazy, so I'm hoping that it won't be like that today!

Here's to all of us, the weather, and happy shopping!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Over the hills and through the woods to YaYa's house we go!

Last Sunday afternoon, the girls began to watch out the window, for we were all excited to see my mom and sister with my adorable nephew and two precious nieces, who were on their way! And what a fun week we had while they were here!

Earlier this month, I found the cutest Easter baskets for my nephew and 2 nieces, so we filled them up with some little goodies that were also awaiting their arrival! (I always try to have a welcome basket awaiting our guests to let them know how much we love and appreciate their visit!)

My wonderful brother-in-law is deployed as he is proudly serving our country, so they came up to here for a little change of scenery! However, Mom and Jen brought the wrong baby...they brought my 4 1/2 year-old nephew Drew and my 2 1/2 year-old niece Sarah Katherine (who is talking so's so cute!) and a baby that is just getting too big! We celebrated her 3-month bday while they were here! We all had a fun time passing her back and, sleep, and giggle was all she did...she is such a good baby, and we loved every minute of it! (Now, of course, there would be one time of evening when she would want Uncle Ricci to be the one to hold her! Right about the same time he would come home from work! She wanted him, and he wanted her! There were several evenings that she would stay up with him late at night...just the two of them, bonding! He's definitely got the touch!)

Mom, Jen and I had fun planning our days: cooking, talking, lots of laughing, shopping, working on puzzles together, eating chocolate (Jen, you left that huge box of chocolates here...I'm not sure if that's good or bad!), and even talking to Nate via internet/ ceases to amaze me! The cousins had fun saying, "YaYa, where we going today?" They had so much fun walking/running on the treadmill [;)] and just running around the house playing with one another, and Brody misses SK terribly, for she'd walk around giving him food all day! And I miss Mimi terribly, for she helped me a great deal getting caught up on our laundry! Thanks, Mimi! They'll definitely have to come back soon, for our town does have a lot for families to do, and we did have a "fabulous" time while there were here, but there's still much for us to do! So we hope they can come back...soon, for on Thursday their trip was sadly cut short.

Wednesday afternoon Annie began not feeling so well, and by that evening her head was hurting her so badly (and she also kept complaining about her neck), and her fever went from low-grade to 103.8, and it seemed that neither Tylenol nor Motrin would bring it down successfully, so the next morning when her fever was 104.4 we said a rushed good-bye to everyone (I know they wanted to get the heck out of dodge with such a bad cold/flu season going on!), and we took her to the doctor's office. We love our pediatrician; he has nine children, five of whom are adopted! And we were told many years ago that we could throw a bomb to the man, and he would know how to disarm it...well, we've tossed him quite a few, and he's done just that! And yesterday, our poor, little Annie went through a battery of tests, and after several hours at his office, we learned that it was just a severe uti, which is something easily treated with antibiotics! (Once she has recovered, she will have an ultrasound done on her kidneys to assure our doctor that there is no underlying problem....we are all so thankful for modern medicine and that was all it is! Annie thought it was silly when Mimi graciously but seriously offered one of hers to Annie, if need be!) My poor baby! She has been more than miserable! I guess the Lord obviously saw it fitting that He and I spend some time together in prayer, for I have been begging for His healing for her...because of her high fever at times sweet Annie wouldn't be lucid or able to talk, and when she did talk, it wasn't making sense! I think the worst part was when she stopped hallucinating, she told me that she had dreamed she had found Brownie, and she asked me if it was true...aghh!

After knowing that my mom and sister had made it back home safely and after another agonizing evening of high fevers, we were able to get Annie's temps back to low-grade (we are more-than-happy for that!), and we were able to get a restful night's sleep! This morning, she is still running a low-grade fever; however, we have been able to manage it, and we see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you, dear Lord!

If anyone knows our little Annie, they know that she is a sweet girl bounding with energy...but not right now! Hopefully, Mom and Jen will come back once more before Nate returns from his deployment (We're so proud of you, NaNa!), for there is still so much for us to do! Come back soon...we miss you!!!!