Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Thoughts & Prayers are With the Chapman Family

Our hearts are heavy at the tragic loss of little Maria. His tiny "Cinderella" has gone home to be with Jesus. When I heard this all I could think about was the post I'd seen yesterday on my brothers blog.

Hoops & Yoyo

I love these guys. I hope y'all enjoyed the campfire stories. This other one was too funny not to post. Enjoy

"Gotta love the salty strips of love!"

Tennessee Aquarium

Last Wednesday we decided to surprise the kids and take them to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Anytime they are driving us and each other nuts we know we need to stop the business of life and spend some time together. Not only that we wanted to support Weslee's long time career goal of becoming a Marine Biologist. So on Tuesday Steve and I plotted and planned. We decided not to tell them but to wake them in the morning and surprise them. I left a series of hints and arrows around the house leading to an envelope filled with "Top Secret Documents" (pamphlets from the Aquarium). Shocking that I was able to pull something that creative off isn't it? Needless to say they were surprised and delighted and mostly stoked that they didn't have to go to school.

If you've never been to the aquarium it is definitely worth checking out. Downtown Chattanooga is darling and very clean. The aquarium is right up next to the river and next to the river is a series of piers and parks with big grassy areas for picnicking and playing. There are lots of great restaurants and cute little shops and street performers everywhere. It's a great walking city.

We started out the trip in the Ocean life building where we got to pet rays and sharks. There were a few kids running through the exhibit and running over my kids that I was tempted to "bump" into the shark tank but I controlled myself. My favorite moment was when a Ray swam over to me, I reached down to pet it and it came up out of the water and splashed me. After that we inhaled some lunch (have you ever seen Joshua eat!??) and went over to the River Life building. It is filled with long ramps that stretch between the exhibits through dark corridors. Translation, "run"ways of death. We survived with a few bumps and bruises and inspite of that they loved it! We saw lots of sea horses and snakes and every size turtle you can imagine. We also petted some sturgeon.....caviar anyone? After that onto Ben & Jerry's, in order for Joshua to enjoy himself we must feed him often or it's just not pretty. Next, over to the IMAX theatre to watch Sea Monsters in 3D, VERY COOL! I highly recommend catching an IMAX 3D flick if you can handle it. Apparently some people (Kimmels) get motion sickness....wussies! It was so fun to watch the kids duck and sway to avoid the various sea life swimming at them and to watch them try and grab the little babies swimming by. After that we had dinner at Friday's where the kids had "Worms and Dirt" (Chocolate pudding topped with crushed oreo's and loaded with gummie worms) for dessert. The manager and our waiter took bowls outside where the loaded them up with fresh dirt and squirted some whipped cream on top. My kids stared out the window in horror. Joshua said, "This is the best day of my life!"

Check it out if you get a chance.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So camping season has officially begun and many of you know and are quite shocked that I enjoy camping. We will be taking our first trip in the next few weeks. (Call me if you wanna join us) Camping was a big part of our summers when I was a kid. Some of my best memories growing up were of camping trips. There are certain foods we'd make only on camping trips. My Daddy would always win the pancake contest with his fluffy buttermilk concoctions. And of course who can forget nights around the campfire? Tromping out into the woods to find the perfect wooden skewer and sharpening it so you could blacken the perfect hot dog. I love that smell! I am quite the s'mores aficionado by the way and I have an old pie iron I inherited from my folks, I can whip up a mean cherry pie with some slices of bread and some butter and some canned cherries.

We were hard core tent campers back then. Now that we live in the south and the weather is not quite as predictable as it is in California we have resorted to "sissie" camping. I say that negatively but in all honesty I love my 23' expandable trailer. It's the playhouse I never got as a little girl. I have decorated it and outfitted it with matching dishes, silverware, sheets and towels. We just grab our clothes, load up the fridge (that's right no leaky, muddy coolers) and hit the road. What is it about eating outdoors? The food is almost yummier. I don't have to worry about anybody spilling something on the carpet or knocking something off the wall. Outside is our boys natural habitat. Our favorite thing to do is to head out for an early morning hike to build up an appetite and then come back to camp for a hot breakfast of biscuits and gravy.......mmmmmm.

This year we plan on doing a little rafting and rock climbing. The boys have all conquered the rock wall at the mall a few times and are anxious to try out the real thing. It's been a few years since I strapped on a harness but I am pretty excited about tearing up my hands on a few local spots I've heard about. I don't think the kids are quite ready for the class III and IV rapids on the Ocoee but maybe we can find something a little more tame to test them out on.

I am so stoked to make some fun memories with my kids this summer. If you've never tried camping or have and it was a disaster you need to tag along with some pros like us. We'd love to show you the ropes.

I think the thing I love most about camping is that it takes us away from all the daily distractions. TV, telephones, computers and forces you to really TALK to each other. You'd be amazed at how close you've become when you return from a weekend away.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Publix Deals of the Week

I thought I'd share with you this weeks deals on the grocery game. I've told a few of you about this website and I thought I'd show you some of the deals you could be missing out on. In the manufacturer coupon column you'll notice this.... .75 (S 5/4) that simply means that in addition to the sale the store is having you can also use a coupon and the S stands for Smartsource (the coupon book in sunday's paper and the 5/4 is the date is was in the paper. Publix and Kroger both double coupons so that .75 cents off is really $1.50 off. If you're noticing your grocery bill rising because of gas prices recently this is a good way to save some $$$. You can also get a lot of these coupons online just google; printable coupons.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Book Review

I'll admit it, I haven't actually had time to finish reading it yet but I really wanted to recommend this book. Originally my husband bought this book for himself. In the weeks following every time I would say "I don't understand why Weslee has to jump into every mudhole he finds or why Kolby feels the need to climb to the highest point in every room and try and fly or why Joshua grunts and growls." Steve would just look at me and say, "Read Wild at Heart" Finally I took his advice and it was so clear and I really saw all the men in my life in a completely different light. The way John Eldredge explains it makes you just LOVE that they are the way they are. God designed these wonderful creatures for a specific purpose and all those "odd" and sometimes quite terrifying behaviors that men and boys do are actually for our own good.

We are living in a time when men are criticized for being what God created them to be and I can't imagine how confusing it must be for them to define themselves in a culture where they are told that they must be "sensitive" and act "proper" and in today's media men are made to look like fools. If you watch any sitcom the father role is constantly made fun of and often ends up looking like a bumbling idiot. In an ironic twist we women are wondering what happened to all the good men? Your answer is.........the world has emasculated them and turned them into something they thought they wanted. Be careful what you wish for...

Eldredge has a fascination with the movies Gladiator and Braveheart so he does a lot of interesting comparisons to them. If you are a man or if you know any men or are like me and raising little men I highly recommend you study this book from cover to cover. When you do let me know what you think and we'll compare notes.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Will Farrell

I'll admit it....Will Farrell is a guilty pleasure of mine. My husband doesn't quite get him, okay....he can't stand him, but he loves to watch me laugh myself breathless evertime we watch a movie with him in it. One of my favorite movies is Elf, it also happens to be on of the few Will Farrell flicks that is okay for my kids to watch, BTW Kolby can quote 50% of the lines from it..........."I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite" I'll probably never see Semi-Pro but I love the promo's they did for the movie they kill me. This happens to be one of my favorites..... I thought of you Ann!