Monday, September 29, 2008

What's Not to Love?

(H) has been quite todder-ish today...especially at mealtimes. We ate both lunch and dinner on the back porch today and it put him in a silly testing mood for some reason. But I can not resist laughing at him. Who could with a face like this?


We went to Chatt-town yesterday and met my parents to celebrate my mom's b-day. It was big-fun. We took a boat ride on the river which the kids loved, and saw there was some kind of festival which we learned was the Krystal World Hamburger Eating Contest. There were thousands of people there, a concert, free Krystals (no thanks), amateur krystal eating contests and then the professional eaters arrived by boat like some kind of super-stars. The whole thing was broadcast live on some sports channel and it was both engaging and horrifying all at the same time, so of course we had to watch. We got off the boat ride just in time to see the finals and we had no idea this was such a big deal. There were 12 finalists, the guy who won it last year and the Japanese guy who wins all the hot dog eating contests were the ones to watch, but almost all of the finalists had won some kind of food eating contest. One guy was the french cut green bean eating champion of the world. How strange.
Luckily we were far enough away that we couldn't really see them eating or I might have been sick. Apparently they wet the hamburger to get it nice and soggy and stuffable. It was surprisingly exciting and the top 3 were neck-in-neck for a while. The winner was this guy from California who is also the deep fried asparagus champion of the world. He was the winner last year too, this year he ate 93 in 8 minutes. Ugh.
Anywho, then we walked along the pedestrian bridge and rode the carousel twice, it's a beautiful carousel with lots of unusual animals (*A* rode the fish) and it's the best deal in town. Then we had dinner, the kids played in the water play area, and I had brought a surprise coconut cake to have after, so we picnicked at the car in the dark and sang "Happy Birthday". If my mom e-mails me some pictures I'll post them later, until then you can get your curiosity over with about the eating contest by going here. It's really amazing that people do this for a living. They train and travel all over competing against each other. The winner yesterday got $20k!

Friday, September 26, 2008

All about *A*

This week at PMO (Parent's Morning Out) it was *A*'s week to be featured on the "All about Me" board. We had to bring in pictures about her family and her favorites...favorite food, favorite color, etc.

We brought in pics of Gracie, Mom and Dad, and (H). We couldn't find one of Ella (the cat) so I told her she would just have to tell the class about her. This lead to her telling about Jackson (our old cat) and how he died. She'll tell this to anyone who'll listen. Anyway, as far as the favorites, I've never asked her these type of questions before so I was curious to see what she would come up with. Here are her answers:

Favorite Color: A: "Pink!", Me: "Really? I thought it was blue?" A: "Yes, Blue." Me: "How about we put both?" A: "OK!"

Favorite Food: A: "Cereal!" Me: "okaaay." So I cut up a box of Cheerios, but it looked weird all alone so I made a mini collage with a few other favorite foods using a peanut better label and a picture of mac and cheese from a magazine.

Bedtime Friend:
She doesn't have a comfort object for bed and never has, but she has a few toys she trades out that she likes to sleep with. She has named this horse blanket thing she has a "cubby"...nothing else really has a name, they are all named what they are...pony, pink bear, etc. but this one has a name and she hardly ever sleeps with it...go figure. Anyway, she picked the ones she had slept with the previous night.

Favorite toy: A, without hesitation: "Books!" Me: grinning with pride, "Good choice!"

Can you tell she's a librarian's kid or what?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Formation is big around here, for obvious reasons. However, we are very lucky to be in a seminary where formation of the spouse and family is also cultivated. Apparently no other seminary is as supportive of the seminary family, I don't know how true that is, it's just what I hear, but it is a big part of why we came here.

Anyway, this idea has really become apparent to me lately. The things on my mind about my formation right now are bible study, choir, and Tuesday night spouse nights.

I've never been a "bible study person" but I joined this group hoping to have a group of women to socialize with, and to have an hour or two without my children to have an adult conversation. This group is lead by a spouse pursuing her Master's in Theology and we decided to start at the beginning by reading and studying selected parts of Genesis. It is done "Great Books style", basically we read it and discuss what we see and what questions or observations we had. I don't know if I could do it any other way, as I am so used to this method of critical reading, but regardless I am glad it is the way it is. I am getting what I hoped out of it, but so much more too. The ladies are all super-supportive of each other and it's really nice to have that. Also, it dawned on me today that if I keep this up, I will know a lot about the bible by the time I leave and that's a really good thing considering I really don't know much.

Choir is just amazing every time I practice or sing at Wednesday Eucharist. It stretches me to go beyond what I thought my abilities were and the music is really healing for me. It's like a beautiful prayer that I could never in a million years think of, sung in ways I never knew were possible.

Tuesday nights are spouse nights. We have group Spiritual direction, or a gathering, or an event, and nothing else is supposed to be planned these nights. It's reserved for spouses to have a night to be together. Last night was Spiritual Direction and we did Lectio Divina using a passage by Howard Thurman. Afterwards, a few spouses and I went to the local coffee house and just hung out and talked. Good times.

I know I haven't really explained how these events are forming me because I'm still trying to figure it out for myself, but I know they are an important part of the process. However, now my house needs some formation so I'm off to clean. Hope your week is treating you well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back in the Swing...

We're back from our whirlwind trip, and can't be happier to be here. It was a nice visit, too short for sure, especially with the visiting family and friends part, and I really wish we could have gone to our sponsoring church (we'll see you in a few weeks though!)
Our neice's b-day party on Sunday was fun. It was just the fam and we just relaxed and ate. The gas crisis in Georgia yesterday was interesting excitement as we were trying to get back. We were on empty (of course) and were starting to get a little panicked after we drove past about 7 stations and none of them had gas. We finally found one with the line snaking around the building and were able to fill up (thanks Gram and Papa!).
Saturday we met with our realtor and unfortunately it cut into our time with our friends but we were so happy to see you guys! It reminded me of how much I miss you though. Thanks for putting up with our late-ness and keeping your kids up from naps for us! Also, we got some great deals at the consignment sale. *A*'s favorite find:

The favorite for (H) actually came from sweet HeidiB who heard of our need for a trike for (H) and had one to give. He's beyond excited and wore that helmet around for about an hour after he stopped riding today. Such a cutie pie!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home again, Home again, Tra, La, La.

We're headed back to the ATL this weekend for my favorite consignment sale to stock up on the kids' fall and winter clothes, to check on the house (sell, sell, sell!), and to go to my niece's b-day party. *A* is already there, having some bonding time with grandma, and we're leaving after ^J^'s class. I really need to get us packed up but I'm not able to get moving today.

We're missing so much fun stuff this weekend here. An arts and crafts festival, an old-time music festival, and this cool equestrian event for kids. Oh well, there's always next year. It's amazing how much there is to do up here though. Living an hour from any major city isn't so bad when you have all these other events to keep you busy. O.k., I'm off to clean and pack, maybe this second cup of coffee will kick in and I won't feel like crawling back into bed with my book and my cuddle-bunny baby boy.
Bonne Weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nearing 1000!

It's pretty cool my visits have almost reached 1000 hits~I'm pretty sure about half of those are me editing my blog after I post, but it's interesting to see the numbers rise everyday. It makes me wonder who's out there getting a glimpse into our lives, not in a creepy voyer-way, but in a "Hey! How ya doin'?" way. I have been seeing a lot of the blogs I follow with this new feature on their side bar called "Follwers" so I thought I'd add it and if you feel like becoming a follower of my blog, go ahead and click it. (look over here)--------------------->--------->-------------------------------->
If you'd rather stay in the shadows, that's cool too. There are many blogs I feel like I "secretly" keep up with. I don't know why it should feel secret since they are posting all their info for the world to see, but it kind of does.

Hope your Wednesday is going well. I had a nice girl-bonding bible study group and we sang some really difficult pieces for choir today that stretched my brain. I've got a stew in the oven and it's cool enough for a light jacket. Whoohoo! Now I'm off to write some letters and read a bit before the kiddos wake up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Update

My weekend update won't be as clever as SNL but here goes:

We signed up to be on the bread ministry and this was ^J^'s week to bake communion bread for the big chapel on campus. When he signed up I figured I'd be taking over his duties once the weight of deadlines hit him. However, ^J^ loves making bread and he was able to get all the dough mixed, kneaded, and set out to rise before he left for a study session. That left me with the tasks of rolling out, scoring with a cross, and baking. Here are our joint effort bread results:

I was pleased with the result and was overwhelmed by how good it made the house smell...all day long! I was so tempted to break into that bread and slather butter all over it, probably not the best thought to have about bread meant for a grander purpose.
^J^ had training all afternoon and evening Friday so the kids and I ran errands, watched movies, and played outside. I started Water for Elephants and I'm hooked. It's the first book in a long time I pick up and read at every spare moment. It's about a circus in the 1930s and it's just so interesting. There is a small-scale circus coming next week to our closest nearby town and I'm torn about taking the kids after reading all the behind the scenes stuff. I know they would love it, but I wonder about the treatment of animals and other goings-on and whether I should be supporting that. I'm sure practices have changes since then, but I'm not really sure how much.

We headed to the mini farmer's market and took home local honey and beautiful Macintosh apples. We're starting to learn who to avoid, who is a rip-off, and who's produce we really like. There is one farmer in particular we really like, he always has nice looking produce and good prices. Also he lets the kids grab a yellow pepper to munch on while we walk around. *A* started this the first time we went, she just reached up and grabbed on and started eating it, so of course (H) wanted one too. Now it's a tradition. I don't know what we'll do when pepper season is over, I guess we'll have to move to apples.

After that we went down the mountain and found a yummy country food breakfast place. We all ate and were stuffed for $12. We had heard there was a fair going on in this town so we tried to find it. We finally found it and found they were not starting the rides for a while but we went in anyway and watched some 4H demonstrations. The milking demonstration was our favorite, the kids were competing to see who could get the most ounces in 2 minutes. I love the idea of 4H and hope our kids can do it someday. The fair was pretty pathetic, especially since they weren't running rides, but we figured we'd saved money that way.

Later we headed over to the football game but it was in the 4th quarter with 3 minutes left so we left and went to the park. We had *A*'s next-door neighbor friends with us and then we left to go to a friend's 50th birthday party.

^J^ went to church at the local convent. They serve biscuits and honey afterwards and he brought some home. YUM. It is not a kid-friendly service so we're switching off weeks to go alone. Apparently behind the altar is a huge window that overlooks the valley.
The rest of the day was spent doing laundry,
getting Fall clothes out, having play picnics,
and resting.
O.k., if you're still with me, you deserve a cupcake. This post is way too long and expository. Have a wonderful week, Fall is on it's way, yay!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

To tired to post much tonight. Last night's Soup Study Group went well. Everyone loved our Ginger Peanut Soup, and I tried 2 new recipes: Taco Soup and Chili Cheese Corn muffins. Yum. I can't wait to have leftovers. We invited our next-door neighbors too, *A*'s buddies with their daughters. The older one was reading them a story and they got all snuggly under the covers...

too cute!

We had dinner and lunch at the School of Theology refectory today: lunch and dinner for 4 people for a grand total of $18 is pretty hard to pass up. It's money that we really shouldn't be spending, but no cooking and no cleaning up makes it totally worth it. Tonight was also the 1st Family Eucharist service with dinner and KOS (pronounced "chaos") after. KOS stands for Kids of the Seminary. It's supposed to be for school-aged kids. They play games and such while the parents get to finish their meal and have adult conversation. Well of course *A* thinks she is a "big kid" so she went to KOS tonight. Her buddies were there, and she loved it of course. Everyone was all worried about how she would do around the "older kids". We assured them she'd be fine; she was practically raised by 'older kids' and is often more comfortable with them than with other 3 year olds.

Anyway, I'm off to bed. I'm hoping for a full, uninterrupted night's sleep. Last night *A* woke up coughing a ton and nothing was helping. While tending to her, (H) decided to fall out of the bed. Such trauma at 4 am!
Already dreaming about tomorrow...we have nothing planned and a clean house. Ahhhhh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We're taking the day off. *A*'s recovering from a bad cough and we just need to be home and rest. Today normally would be pretty jam-packed with 3 events in the morning back-to-back and the kids would be in childcare until noon. Then we'd all go to the big community lunch until 1:30 or so, and then home for naps. Instead we'll stay home and rest. I feel slightly guilty and I'm missing things I really want to go to, mainly choir and free lunch, but I know this is what we need to do. I know that *A* could go to all these things and be fine, but I also know that if we do, her cough will only get worse and we'll have another night like last night dealing with her crawling into our bed and coughing so hard she gags and cries. Pitiful.

Oh yeah, it's probably a good idea we stay home today to clean the house lovely, naturally extroverted, overachieving husband (he's already been nominated twice for Junior class representative) has invited the entire Junior class over for soup and to study. I'm really trying to let go the anxiety about the boxes we haven't unpacked and enjoy hosting this shindig, but I really should go now so I can start the mad dash of sweeping, wiping, and straightening. Yikes, my kids are watching Dora, I hate this show. We rented the entire Planet Earth set from the library, somehow that seems much more appealing if I'm going to place them in front of the t.v. today. Oh great, the dog just threw up.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Saturday, in the fog, ^J^ took the kids fishing. They got all suited up in appropriate attire and headed to the lake behind our house. I was overly excited about the cool morning temps and decided to surprise them with hot chocolate when they returned. About 20 minutes later, while I was in the kitchen figuring out how to make hot chocolate with no cocoa (FYI: chocolate chips work in a pinch), I heard them coming up the street preceded by (H)'s cries. I met them on the front porch wondering why they were coming home so soon and found an unhappy, wet, shirtless baby boy. He had fallen in head first. He was totally fine, had held his breath and everything, and ^J^ pulled him out by the seat of his pants. He wasn't crying because he had fallen in, he was crying because he had to stop catching "bish". Poor guy. His Gramps and Grandpa John know how he feels...they don't want to stop "bish"ing either.

The hot chocolate made it all better though. He chugged his while *A* savored every drop, just like her Mommy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

It's here, the infamous Sewanee fog. The combination of cooler temps, a slight drizzle, and living 1900 feet above sea level have created our 1st expereince of this local phenomenon. It's really nice, especially on a lazy Saturday when we don't have to be anywhere. I think today's fog is pretty mild compared to what it can be, we've heard it can get so bad that you are advised not to drive.

O.k., twist my arm, we'll stay home. On todays agenda: bake zucchini bread, laundry, watch old movies (^J^ rented The 3 Amigos from the library last night!), start knitting a sock, and if it clears up, a cookout.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


with myself.

School has started, PMO (the kids' 2 day a week "school")is in full swing, activities, events, etc. are taking over. I've said "no" to some invitations, upsetting people I don't even know. I am struggling to stay involved enough to build relationships for myself and my children, while still feeling like we have enough family togetherness time and "down" time. Oh, and trying to make sure ^J^ has enough study time and home/family time is an additional struggle.

Today a 2nd year seminarian asked if I was getting homesick for civilization and culture. No, I'm homesick for home. This home. Our beautiful mountain-stone home with hardwoods that need sweeping and boxes that need unpacking. Fridays are good though, we have no obligations. ^J^ only has 1 class and we can prepare for a weekend as a family. Of course there are many community events to choose from this weekend, at the top of our list are: Date Night (with free childcare, whoohoo!) tomorrow, A Community Cookout Saturday, and a Prayer Shawl Knitting Group on Sunday afternoon which I am looking forward to attending. I need a knitting shop though, Walmart just doesn't cut it for my yarn obsession. If only there was a Knitch nearby. Actually, that would not be good, my entire puny paycheck would go to high quality yarn.

O.k., back to reconnecting with myself. I've sort of come away from this week realizing it's hard to remember who you are when you are juggling 6 babies' needs in PMO, your own babies' needs, your house's needs, pet's needs, etc, etc. So I'm off to watch the Daily Show, to take care of my need to laugh at irreverent humor and stupid political follies.