Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Thinking

Things I'm thinking about today:

1) Tree houses. Our visit to Katy's house got me thinking about building a tree house here. After checking out the backyard, there are only two places it could go and not touch a power or phone line. Hrm. Not ideal, but I'm just dreaming... right?

2) Bed Frame Bench. Along the lines of building again, I'm wanting to make a bed frame bench to go on my back deck. Mom and Dad were kind enough to lend me their four piece outdoor seating arrangement for showing the house, but they will need it back when the weather turns nice. Especially because Dad built a new deck! They have an old frame with a cracked foot that will work out perfectly for me!

3) Bedroom Switcharoo. It's high time Austin had his own room. Part of us wanting to move was about each of our boys having some personal space (doesn't really happen in a shared 10x 10 room) so we are putting the younger boys together and I'm hoping to redo GA's room into something like these:

4) Gardens. If I'm staying, I'm going to put in all those things I've been waiting for our permanent house to put in:

Climbing roses out back
A line of Berries so I can stop picking on the side of the road
Hostas, hostas and more hostas. Did I mention the shade?
Azaleas. They are the only thing that will flower in all that shade as well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Magic on Monte Sano

Hosting a party for 35 isn't for the faint of heart, but when Katy invited such a large group out for the day, none of us wanted to be left out! We started off the day meeting at Monte Sano's Club pool for a group swim.

What a view!

Homeschool "special" Olympics Table Basketball Team

G is enjoying his new goggles.

Diving board adventures.

Well, maybe not DIVING per se...

As if getting us all together for this wasn't enough fun, Katy invited us all back to her place to let the kids play and snack.

These chairs just begged to have a picture made. Have they got a great view of what?

Back yard = Kid paradise!
Their pressure gun shot out towels and sawdust. Fun!

My favorite part of the back yard: Tree house!

This tree house was high on charm with vine covered hand rails...

and sea shell garlands.
Karen mentioned how she would LOVE to spend the night up there and Katy's daughter said, "Oh, it's been done!"Not to be out done the inside of their house was just as charming and kid friendly.

Skeleton man had an accident. Can someone give him a... hand?

My jokes aren't funny, but Carson laughs anyway. <3

Katy's baby had a painting accident that resulted in foot prints that no one wanted to clean up. CUTE!

There were adolescent chicks to pet.

I was told this beauty will lay pastel eggs one day.

I loved so many things at Katy's house. Even her salt and pepper mushrooms.

As the day turned hot(ter) the chairs moved in the shade of the trees.

And so did the kids.
It was a great day of visiting and playing and not heading back to school. Many thanks to our hosts!

Traveling Old School

I'm old enough to date myself with bands and sayings from the early 90's but there are some things I don't recall. Like how people used to say, "Gee, I'd like to see the Grand Canyon. What is the PRETTIEST route there?" No such thing in my lifetime. People that drive more than 10 hours are considered too cheap to fly or just plain crazy. Since my Aunt Kathy came to stay with Mom for a week and help her get things running again after her surgery - which was SO sweet of her - we had the added benefit of her visit making Mom want to get OUT of the house and do something. Hip be darned! In that old school manner they decided to drive around and look at some of the tornado damage and see a few things in the area on the way.

Here are the boys all loaded up around 10:30. We rushed school a bit to get to join in the fun.

I didn't take any pictures of the areas we visited. There is still so much to be done. In areas where there has been clean up done, the ground itself is still embedded with glass and metal. Trees that weren't snapped in half still hold large sections of tin grotesquely wrapped around them. There just aren't words for what happened to our state. Alabama, however, is nothing if not independent and resilient. I've never heard anyone complain. One thing that really brought it home for the boys and I was seeing Bear Creek Canoe Run (click here to see the blog about our canoe trip last June) and the area around it GONE. The area around the river has nothing standing, but about half the welcome cabin.

The drive itself was quiet the adventure. One of the things that I think kept people thinking how fun that drive to the Grand Canyon would be is that they didn't have Google Maps or TomTom telling them that they had another 2,000 miles to go. Had I realized that the circular drive we were heading on was 160 miles round trip and that we would be stopping for lunch at 3pm.... Well, my spirit of adventure may have been dampened a bit. I'm glad I didn't know!

After tour around for a several hours we saw a sign for Natural Bridge. Here was a place we had never been! Aunt Kathy asked if we wanted to stop since we still hadn't eaten. For sure! Who cares about eating when there is something new to see? It even brags being the largest natural bridge east of the Rockies.

The paths were really well kept and the arch was HUGE!

My explorers searched for a way up, but were disappointed.

Indian Head Rock
There was a great little picnic area by the creek and another large pavilion for groups.

Griffin said he needs one of these!

It was definitely somewhere we want to go back to with our Roamies one day. The "hike" was more of a leisurely amble down 100 yard pebbled paths, but the trees were cool and the scenery beautiful.

After another 45 minutes of driving, we finally made it into Cullman. We were pretty well starving and decided that Cracker Barrel was the place to go. We also stopped at Berkley Bob's for tea and I talked Aunt Kathy into a couple ounces of Peach Roobois. Mmmmm. I hope she likes it! We toured around some of the tornado damaged areas there too before heading back home so they could be late for their supper date with Nathan. Luckily they were running behind as well, so no harm done with our massive adventure.

Just think, if I had over thought this, planned it out on GPS and decided it was too far for us on a school day, we'd have missed out on a great day out with Mom and Kathy. I think I like traveling old school...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

August in Alabama is frightful. I know that song refers to the freeze-fest that is a northern winter, but in the deep south, August rules for bad weather. If the weather is nearing triple digits with humidity in a range that favors gills, it's best to come up with some things to do INDOORS.

Like build a fairy house! Griffin and Carson had made me these pencil holders for Mother's Day a couple years ago as a free project at Lowe's. We just aren't pencil holder people. With their permission, we turned them into fairy houses for a fairy garden we are working on in the back yard.

We also attended VBS. It was Panda-licious.

 There has been a lot of building going on. Loads of Legos, Bionicals and Bey Blades have made our indoor time creative time as well.

 This is our neighborhood mystery cat. She turned up a few months ago and we know she is somehow related to our Winter. Mother? Sister? Who can tell. We've named her Mrs McGonagall because of her "spectacle" markings, but you can call her Minerva. We spend time musing over the relationships of the cats, if she has a family (she spends a lot of time in our driveway watching over our cats) and whether she is really an animagious.
Of course the ultimate indoor time filler is school. My Mom had to have her hip replaced at the end of July, so the boys and I started school while we cared for her. While it might seen cruel and unusual to start school two weeks early, I guarantee we will all be glad for some time off in the beautiful October weather! Here Griffin is showing off the start of his Diorama for Apologia's Swimming Creatures.

Of course we can't stay inside forever. [Seriously, have you ever been trapped in a house with three rambunctious boys?] Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on our outdoor doings as well.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

July 2011

Dear Blogger, Do you love me again? Really?! I'm so happy we're together again! I've missed you!

All my Blogger frustrations seem to have dissipated with a summer off. Either that or it's teasing me with a little extra storage space. I can't believe how much I've missed sharing our adventures on here, so should it lock up again, I'm going to pay up and not shut up. ;o) Here is a quick catch up of our July:

4th of July

Family Reunions with the Woods and the Bullards