Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Rest of It

Ok pictures from my phone from the trip and a few others.  I've found that pictures from my phone are fine on the blog but when I print them in the book they are really small in order not to destroy the resolution.  But more and more I tend to take pictures on my phone and I suppose I need to find a better way.

So here's everyone in the process of digging.

And William just because.

This is the smallest church EVER and the picture just does not convey that.  It's the home to the Hope, Arkansas branch and we actually were able to talk to the owner of the car in the picture.  She had to have been the president of one of the auxiliaries (church clothes on a Saturday at the church -- dead giveaway) and was very friendly.  She said their branch has 20-25 on a given Sunday.  So tiny!!

The train station across from the burger restaurant.  Apparently it is a working train depot although most of it is dedicated to Bill Clinton and houses a sort've museum for him.  He was born in Hope apparently.

A great old car in front of Tailgaters.

My little tree huggers.  Chopper and I aren't the only ones who miss the east coast!

This is a shot of our new baby cousin Remi on her quilt.  I always make it a requirement that the babies have pictures with their quilts and she is a doll!

This quilt I have to share too.  My friend Bente is in the hospital as we speak undergoing chemotherapy for MS, not for cancer.  Apparently they've had good success with killing your immune system and then starting it up again.  5-10 years on average with no MS symptoms.  Her great-grandmother had started a double wedding ring and the blocks came to Bente.  I've been helping her put it together for her hospital stay the past 2 weeks and it was a bear of a quilt but finally turned out beautifully!!

Finally, it's been raining pretty much nonstop in Texas.  We've had no spring because of it.  The flooding in Dallas hasn't been nearly as bad as Houston but it's been a lot regardless.  This is our park's amphitheater.  It's on the lake, or was.  Now it's under the lake.  This picture is actually a few days old -- all the seating is now covered.  Our home is in an area where we shouldn't have to evacuate but we'll see if the rains continue to come.  

Chopper says since we've lived in Texas we've been through the worst winter, worst summer, and worst rain in a very long time period.  Yay for us??? 

Also, the BEST internet posting about this has said -- it's been raining in Texas since Blue Bell (the best ice cream ever that originates out of Brenham, Texas) was pulled off the shelves because God is crying.

That's how Texans feel about their Blue Bell by the way.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Happy 38!!!

Chopper's birthday fell square on Memorial Day this year and we celebrated ALL weekend!!  And I'm just now posting because I'm slow lately.  And busy.  And lazy.  Yeah lazy.

About 4 hours from here is Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.  Chopper loves gem stones and geology and has wanted to go there for some time so on Friday we packed up the kids and drove out.  We stayed over night in a hotel (always fun for the kids) and swam in the hotel pool a little after breakfast and then drove out to Murfreesboro and the state park.

Not real glasses but it was cute.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that our GPS took us the most back way we could to get there.  We spent a lot of time on gravel roads in the forest and we even crossed a few streams.  The kids loved it and it made Chopper and I really home sick.  Trees!!!  Ok maybe not for the humidity -- which we do have here but it's worse  there.  But it was beautiful. 

Yay here we are!! 

 Apparently this is the only place in America to find diamonds and although for the most part they are small and not of good quality, they've had some significant finds here.  They plow the field often and so you can either dig or you can walk the rows and look.  

Here we go!

Ok I expected the dirt to be easier to get through.  Arkansas has had quite a bit of rain as well so the furrows were pretty packed and once we started digging we discovered that it's pretty clay-like so hard to get into.  That meant that the kids only lasted so long.  We found one small rock that we never got checked but I'm pretty sure it's quartz.  Still, Abby's pretty proud of herself that she found a maybe diamond.  William dug a little and then roamed all over and I followed him around.  We were only out there for about an hour and although it was pretty warm and humid, it was cloudy so we didn't have beating sun.

After digging and lunch we swam at their "water park".  It's a 3 foot pool with some slides and play structures and felt like it will full of just-melted ice.  It was so cold!!!  I tried and tried to get Megan to go down a slide and she wouldn't.  Abby went down the kids slide and was upset that she wasn't tall enough to do the bigger ones (and she was only too short by about 2 inches so it stunk).  William took a while to acclimate and then threw a major fit when we left.  It takes him a while to get his courage up but once he does he loves the water.

On our way home we stopped in Hope.  I have several pictures on my phone that I need to send over and just realized that I haven't yet.  So there will have to be an addendum to this post.  But we stopped at a local burger place called Tailgaters and had a good lunch.  It was right across the street from a train depot and had a plate glass window facing that direction.  Three trains went by while we there.  Going fast.  William was in heaven. 

Speaking of William -- he started off our trip right.  He got mad when I turned the tv off and threw the remote into the screen.  It's toast.  In fact, we put it out on Wednesday morning for bulk trash and when the truck came by of course William had to go out and see.  And they loaded that tv up and he started saying "garbage take tb!  Hatch it mommy!!"  All day.  Every time we saw a garbage truck.  We haven't replaced it yet and probably won't for a little while (just replaced my retainer and that costs about the same) but we're getting by so far.  And his first paycheck from his first job we'll be taking the money out for that thing.

Anyway -- Monday night we had friends over for dinner and did a hot dog bar.  We printed off a list of regional hotdogs (Chicago dog, the Sonoran, Coney dog, etc.) and had a ton of toppings and went to town.  It was so good and so much fun.  We had a great time and cheesecake afterwards and sang happy birthday.  Chopper says it was a pretty good one but as he's now approaching 40 he's going to start working on planning his midlife crisis.  Which I don't think you can technically plan but oh well.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Academic Updates

Three weeks until the end of school!  EVERYONE is counting down -- teachers, kids, parents.  Only 2 weeks for Abby though.  I can hardly wait for my mean mommy mornings to be OVER!!

SO I have to post a little academic bragging here.
We'll start with Abby.  Her preschool program was last week and she participated so well!  They do a short series of songs and then give them a preschool diploma.  All video was taken on my phone which was a mistake because I can only email myself short bits.  So you get short bits.  The last song they sang was called One Small Voice and they also did the whole thing in sign language.  Abby knew it all perfectly.  And her execution is rather . . . graceful!  I really need to look into dance lessons or gymnastics again for her.  I think that she would be great with it!

When they took their class picture, they placed the kids in 2 rows and then said -- ok Abby in the middle!  And she throws herself down on the floor.  Apparently this was her set position!

Smiling with her diploma and her teachers.  The one on the right, Ms. Diana, has been fantastic all year.  The other, Ms. Susan, came in mid-year so I just don't know her as well.
I think that Apple Creek has been a great experience for Abby just like it was for Megan.  It's given her a taste of what school will be like (for completely different reasons than why we sent Megan) and she is excited about kindergarten next year.

Megan hasn't yet had her final awards assembly but I wanted to post a few fun things.
Megan's reading and writing are phenomenal!  They test every quarter and have tested the kids already for their final time this year.  Here are her results: 
Can you read it?  Basically by the end of first grade, kids should be at a J level.  Megan is testing at a P with good reading comprehension (that's end of 3rd) and an R for just reading itself (comprehension not there but that's an end of 4th).  She has stopped reading out loud and she still likes chapter books with pictures but she is clipping along.  We have discovered a whole world of cute chapter books for kids and have been reading longer books out loud at night.  I love it!

She's also really gotten into writing.  I'm saving all of her stories that she brings home but I had to type out a few of these (spelling and grammar are hers) because they are so fun!

Grace and Emily
One day a batifle girl named Emily.  She'd alwas wear her shimering pink dress with her shimering pink shoes.  She loved to play games with Grace.  They loved to catch butterflys.  They liked to ride there horses.  and other fun stuff.  One day Emily and Grace were rideing there horses and Emily got lost in the woods.  She was scar.  and it was creepy too.  so she started walking.  and the clodes got darker.  the wind blew hotter.  and more crows came and made a terrible soud.  Caw!  and just then lightning struk! thunder rumbled! and a tree cauht on fire!!! and she ran as fast as she ceold go! because were they lived this teribble storm weold alwas form. and then a rock tumbled down from a mountain. and the mountain clapst (collapsed?). and the wind got stronger. it blew her around and around. faster and faster. then evreything was still. then lightning struk tords her and the rock blocked it.  and when the storm was over she was sad because she thaute she'd never see Grace again. and then Emily herd a sound. it was Grace! and Grace found her horse. and gave it to her. and they lived Happily ever after.

one day a beltifule girl named Leysa.  and Leysa woelde wear a blue dress with glitter and a pair of yellow lether shoes. and she was walking in the forest and fell down a hole and started to call for help. and it took a long time for someone to come. so she went throhe a short tunnle in the hole and herd a rusttleing sound. so she went slow as she coelde and saw a stray cat stuck in the mud. so Leysa helped the cat out of the mud. and the cat skated off to on opening in the hole the cat must of fell befor her just then it starte to rain and the cat backed up from the two openings and sunk her claws into the soft dirt.  and when the rainstorm stoped they both were frey and on the way home Leysa wacthed out for puddles and she lived Happily ever after.

the butterfly that grew.  One day there was a green caterpiller. she was very sad because she alwaes wanted to be a butterfly.  one day she felt extremly tird. so she rested on a leaf. when she woke up evrething was difrent. so she went to find out what she looked like and what she could do. then she came apon a delicisly red looking flower. so she tried to eat the petails. but they were too thick and tasted horible. then she saw gold necter. it looked so good so she ate it up. then she saw she was flying. so she landed on a leaf and tried to see what was making her fly. and she saw butifle yellow and pink flaping wings she thoute they were so butifle. but what she didn't like about her wings was they were not as pretty as a sunset moth but she didn't care. so she set out to be a butifle pink and yellow butterfly.

Anyway, you get the idea.  They are fun and she doesn't just do it at school.  I bought her a small notebook for church and she spent most of her time writing.

Monday, May 4, 2015

No Title

Well ok then.  My mom was here for 10 days and I don't have a single picture of her and the kids!  We went to the Arboretum and everything!  Sorry mom!

We've had a lot of rain lately and are supposed to get more the next few days.  Plus, while she was here I kind've took advantage and tried to do every doctor's appointment that I possibly could.  Last week particularly was craziness and I'm really looking forward to spending most of our time this week at home.

In other words, I guess I don't even have a lot to say!  Weird I know . . . 
Abby's eyes -- love them.

 Ok so I do have a little bit.  The day we went to the Arboretum was apparently a day for wildlife.  We saw baby birds really close!  We could have touched them.  And the mamma bird was going back and forth feeding them but wasn't angry that we were standing right there.  It was cool to watch.
William loves all animals and this squirrel made his day.  It was trying to get a nut or something and was pretty dedicated.  William was scream at it (in excitement) and it would run away and come back about 30 seconds later.  William would scream at it again and we'd start the process over.  The squirrel did finally give up and go look for another nut it had buried.  

William had horrible diaper rash while my mom was here and we toyed with the idea of starting on the potty training road.  Ok my mom did.  I mostly protested.  I hate potty training.  I did buy him underwear though thinking that it would help get air onto his poor bum.  MIckey Mouse and Planes underwear.  He hated it.  But he wore Abby's underwear and I couldn't resist taking a picture!

So William is now wanting to potty train though and I just do not have the days to spend at home with Abby in preschool.  So I'm making him wait until summer so that we can spend a week or whatever at the house and not have to worry about going anywhere.  In the meantime, he strips down whenever he wants to and I have to chase him back into a diaper.

Like this.  This is a very small space UNDER my bed and between boxes (food storage!) and he managed to crawl under there buck naked.  I was frantic trying to get him out because I was worried that he would pee and I wouldn't be able to get to it.  The boxes now have NO openings in between them.

And that's it!  April was crazy but May will hopefully be a little more low key.