Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eureka Springs


 We travelled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in June to meet our cousins, John, Sandra, and Michael Patrick, and Aunt Mary. We rented a Southwestern style mountaintop villa that had plenty of room for the kids to run around and explore. It even had small wooden sculptures throughout its giant yard.

Making Smores was a big hit, as well as eating them- especially when Dick and Carol bought the giant sized marshmallows! (Side note, we think it was this night that the dreaded chiggers got Jer and Dick. Thank goodness we had brought some lotions.)

The sunset was gorgeous!

 We took a boat out on Beavers Bend Lake.


 The water was so blue and clear. When we went swimming, you could see down 10 feet. 

Everyone enjoyed the giant inner tube dragged behind the boat.

 Laughing as we air out our pants that got wet.

 We had a great time soaking in the sun. We also concurred some of our fears- Victoria didn't want to get in the lake water for fear of fish, but she eventually went in. Bella and I didn't want to use the outhouse to go to the restroom, but necessity won out.
 You can't tell very well, but this was the steepest driveway that I've ever driven on. You had to keep going on the 2 minutes of winding gravel road to get to our house. It was very scary and exhilarating. I would like to say I was use to it after going up it everyday we were there, but I'd be lying. 
 Hot tub = relaxation!
 One morning we decided to take a nature walk to the lake that was suppose to be 40 minutes from our house. The trail was very hard to follow since the white rocks had been covered up by fallen leaves and the trail blocked by dead trees. We finally turned around after 30 minutes for fear we might loose our bearings and become lost in the forest. (Funny story- Bella picks up a stick and says, "Look, sticks are meant for walking- walking sticks." Michael Patrick looks at the stick and says, "Sticks are meant for kicking and karate," (then kicks at the stick with a Hi-ya!) and breaks it in two. We all laughed- I really don't think he meant to break the stick, but it was funny.)
After our hike, Sandy, Jer, and I went to downtown Eureka Springs and explored the small stores and scenery.
 Here's one of their Springs. We were standing in front of the stairs that lead down to it.
This is the "Stonewall" behind our house that the property was named after.
We went to the Passion play on Saturday. We first explored their some of their reenactments from Bible. We met the animals.
 Moses (We also saw Moses Temple.)
The kids danced to folk music.

Michael Patrick was a ham! Too cute!
 The Passion play is a gigantic production built into the side of a hill. At sunset they put the play on.
 It has a little bit of everything- numerous people of all ages and different types of animals- horses, sheep, camels, donkeys, birds that fly, etc.

We ate at least one meal a day at the big table. The last day John made biscuits and gravy for breakfast- yum.
Life is good!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Where's Nemo?

God teaches you new lessons everyday if you look for them.

Several months ago, we started to noticed that our fish tank was becoming sparse with fish. We had no idea what was happening to our fish; they just disappeared. We would look in the filter and under the arch structure, but never found them. One day Bella commented that Nemo's tail looked a little smaller. I tried to study the fish and see who the culprit was, but I couldn't find him in time. We went away for a short weekend vacation (neighbor was feeding the fish), and when we came back Nemo was missing his tail and an eye!

I remember thinking that he was "so gross" and that "poor fish"- he surely can't survive like this. We found the Meanie and Jer "took care of him." We let Nemo live and kept waiting for him to die. But day after day, he fed on the bottom of the tank. I guess he was sucking in the food from the rocky bottom, as he couldn't swim up to the top for a feeding.

We bought 8 new fish (of the nice variety) a couple of weeks after the episode, and put them in the new tank with Nemo. Every morning I would feed the fish and they would swim up to the top, almost jumping out, as they gobbled up the food. And every morning Nemo would be on the bottom, in his same position of bottoms up, mouth on the floor of the tank. A couple of times the kids and I thought he was dead, because we couldn't find him for days, then miraculously, he would appear. We were all so excited to see him.

It's been almost a week now, and we cannot find Nemo. I can't believe that I really miss him. Some would say (as I had before) he's just a deformed fish. But I know he's much more. He's a survivor who has taught us not to judge the worth of something by its outward appearance alone. I hope to see him soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

End of the Year Stuff


 The last week of school Victoria and Bella had their award ceremonies. I'm very proud of both my girls and their achievements.
 Victoria received an award for Language Arts, Social Studies (following in Daddy's footsteps in her love of history), and a character award for Respect (my little rule follower). Her teacher Mrs. Botkin presented the award. She skipped to receive it-a very happy kid.
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the whole ceremony (I had Vacation Bible School training), but Carol did and was able to get a picture with her teacher.

Bella's award ceremony was the next day; she was so happy to see Carol and I sitting in the cafeteria.

She was presented her award for Reading- she is an amazing reader (always has been- learned to read on her own at 3).
A funny- Bella was suppose to be walking off the stage, but instead was distracted by talking to her neighbor, finally after a couple of seconds of hearing her name, she turned around and did a double take, then ran to her seat.
Her best friend Natalie
On the last day of school, the kids had their class parties. Since I am room mom to Bella's class, I helped organize it and ran it. It was a disaster (except for the really cute craft of a class picture that each kid took home.) We tried to play some games- like balancing balloons, and relays, and telephone, but they had no focus. I have never seen the kids so wild. You know the saying- School's out, School's out, Teacher Let the Bulls Out... well that's what they were. I thought I was going to have to take someone to the hospital. My nerves were so shot that afterward I came home and took a nap.

We got to take the kids home after their parties for lunch at 12. I started making a lunch for them, and what did they pretend to be playing when I went to get them to eat- that's right- "school". LOL.

 After my nap, I took the kids up to the neighborhood pool. There was a fifth grade swim party going on; they were so nice to Victoria and Bella and wanted them to play games with them, like chicken fight.
 They even showed Bella how to do water cheerleading. She is standing on the knees of the other two girls.
Afterward, we had our neighborhood end of the school year popsicle and water party. The kids had fun running everywhere and getting soaked. Unfortunately, we didn't stay very long because we had to go to gymnastics. It was the girls' first class where they had been moved up a level.

That night I came home and crashed. We all went to bed at 8:30! The next morning the kids woke up at 6:15, like usual, so after a quick trip to the gym for a weight training class, we went to our neighborhood pool at 9. I like going there early, especially when you get the whole pool to yourself! Look at how big it is!

Jer played shark with the girls. He would put them on the boat and pretend to be a shark and knock them over. They loved it.
On Sunday after church, Dave and Denise invited us to watch their dog training class. We got to see Brisby and Sydney jump a small rail, run through a long tunnel, go around a fence, then run back. It was neat!

 I think the girls really want a dog, but I don't think I'm ready for one until they can take care of it without me having to remind them, like cleaning their room or picking toys up, etc.
 A fun way to end the weekend!

Build A Bear

Lake Ray Roberts

Memorial Weekend 2009

Brothers Visit

Christmas '08

PA Vacation Slideshow