Monday, January 28, 2008

Back to Reality

What an awesome weekend we had! Saturday was my SIL' s 30th birthday and to celebrate this milestone in her life, six of us spent the weekend with no kids, park hopping between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures. Friday night Phillip and I drove down to Orlando to meet Stephen (Phillip's brother)and GaNeene (the b-day girl) then on Saturday Ricky (Phillip's brother) and his wife Shelly drove down and met us. We spent two awesome days at two different theme parks, with hardly any crowds, which means that most rides we were able to walk right on or only wait maybe 10 minutes. Saturday was GaNeene's actually birthday, so I made this sign to hang on her hotel room door.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to be at the parks when the gates open. It was a little chilly and sprinkle a few times during the day but we did not let that stop us.
I had forgotten how it felt to go to a theme park without children, not that I did not miss them and even felt guilty sometimes but I had no extra bags to carry around. I didn't even carry my big camera bag. I borrowed Jonah's small digital that he received at Christmas, strapped the small camera bag on my belt with extra batteries, my lipstick (of course) and my migraine medicine (never leave home without it now a days) and off I went. It was great.

Phillip and I riding one of the rides in Seuss Landing. Yes, even with no children we still rode a few rides in Suess Landing. I have a inner love for Dr. Seuss books in fact I started reading them to both children even before they were born.

The gang........(left to right) GaNeene, Shelly, Ricky, Phillip and Stephen.

Phillip and I in Comic land at Islands of Adventures.

More silliness, yes a small part of our weekend together was made up of silliness. After leaving the Men In Black ride we passed through a shop that had a display of these silly hats, well my husband who probably would not have put one on if the kids was with us, decided to try one on.

After a short trip to the "Sweets Shop", in Suess Land, we witness GaNeene inhale a handful of Pixie Sticks. I had never seen someone eat so many of them at one time. But I guess I should not say anything since I bought a bag of Jordan Almonds that I ate about 20 at midnight Saturday night. I guess this is what you do when you are without your children.

Two of my favorite rides were the Mummy (Universal Studios) and the Hulk (Islands of Adventures). We rode the Mummy back to back twice and the Hulk we(well...... GaNeene and I rode it 3 times.) Talk about fun, I love roller coasters. The HULK!

OH, did I mention that we enjoyed lots of wonderful food this weekend as well. Friday night we ate at Fridays (how appropriate), where the food was good and our waitress was unforgettable in her fishnet knee highs and shorts. Saturday night, we ate at Carrabba's, what better place to eat at when we are kidless (Jonah and Courtney can not stand to eat there). Of course, I told the waitress that it was GaNeene's birthday, which was not what she wanted but I think she truly enjoyed the cake they brought her.
Needless to say, all of us had a great weekend. OH.......... did I mention we even saw a movie late Saturday night. We saw Mad Money, it was good. Well Phillip and I arrived back home late last night and as I sit in bed this morning blogging, I realize that it is now time to get BACK TO REALITY. I need to pick up Rascal from the Kennel and then I guess I will head north to daddy's (about an hour drive) to pick up Jonah and Courtney. Boy........ I sure have missed them two. By the way, Thanks daddy for keeping the kiddos this weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


As many of you know, I am not a big fan of chocolate and hot chocolate does fall on that list even though sometimes, I just have to have a mug. Several years ago while at the ICE show in Nashville, I came across White Chocolate Hot Cocoa and after trying it I was hooked and bought a bag for the costly price of $8.00 a bag ( I think it was only like 6 or 8 servings, they saw a sucker). So every year when we would attend the ICE show, I would at least purchase a cup of white chocolate hot cocoa and each year I looked forward to it. Over the past several years whenever I was in a store that carried hot cocoa mix, I would look but never find that YUM, YUM, GOOD white chocolate mix until this weekend. I was in Walmart and I as much as I can not stand shopping there, I do. Anyway, there I was walking down the isle and what do I spot but this little box, only 4 servings but not a bad price ($1.33 a box) and let me tell you, it was just as good as the cups I get at the ICE Show. Yeah.......... I know that many of you ( like JP) makes the homemade mix, and that tastes good, but with my taste buds it does not come close to this stuff. In fact, I think that the next time I see it, I'll have to stock up.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Should I be Concerned......

.........that Jonah is now wanting a dirt bike and he is to the point of anything I say he does. If I warn him about his attitude he totally changes it and now today I am starting to put all the pieces together. I am realizing that the sudden change in his attitude is because he is wanting one of these....... No, this is not his, but our neighbors, yes, I am beginning to wonder how good of an influence our neighbors are. Jonah says that he is going to save his money and that for his birthday, which is next month, if we can not get him a dirt bike then he will take the riding gear instead.
Tim and Phillip have taken the boys and girls out riding on several different occasions. They were even able to talk Courtney (yes, our girly girl) into trying it. Luckily, I do not think I have to worry about her becoming a Biker Babe. But I am impressed at how comfortable Jonah has become. Unfortunately, after seeing a few of the tricks that Jonah is learning, I am afraid he is getting a little to comfortable with the bike.
Jonah, Tim and Trey out for an afternoon ride.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Hobby

I have a new hobby, not one that will replace scrapbooking but something that I have always wanted to try. I have always enjoyed watching artists as they create a work of art out of a palette of colors. Seeing their vision, their passion come alive on a canvas. Since moving and becoming good friends with my neighbor, Leslie, who unfortunately does not scrapbook but loves to paint, I have discovered the art of painting. A hobby that I have always been intimated by. So after taking two classes with a local Florida artist, Linda Blondeheim, I am posting one of my paintings. It's a little abstract and totally tropical but I am happy with it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back in Fl

Well............We are back in Fl and we are all tried. We left BG around lunch today and arrived back home just before midnight. Phillip and I had figured up that in four days we drove around 36 hours. We had a safe trip home and only drove in rain for about an hour.

Uncle Woodrow is doing much better, then he was on Monday. He is still in the hospital but will be discharged soon back to the nursing home and hopefully sometime soon we will be able to move him to a nursing home closer to us.

It felt good to be back in BG. We truly enjoyed the very short amount of time that we were able to spend with our friends (I just wished that we had been able to see everyone but hoepfully we will next time). Well I am heading to bed and look forward to sleeping in.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back in BG

Yes, if you are hearing the rumor that the Starlings are in BG, it is true. I am not sure for how long but for now we are here due to Uncle Woodrow's health. I received a call Monday morning that Uncle Woodrow's blood pressure had bottom out and his kidney function was very poor. After talking to his doctor and the nurse, Phillip and I decided that it was in our best interest to pack up and head north. So around 2 Monday afternoon, we had dropped Rascal off with my friend Tamera and was heading to BG, arriving at the Sowder's shortly before midnight.

This morning Phillip and I drove to Indiana, to where Uncle Woodrow is in the hospital, to find that he is somewhat improving but still a long way from returning to the nursing home. He is on dopamine to bring his blood pressure up to normal, but it is still dropping occasionally. His kidneys are working but his BUN is still like 10x's higher then what it should be. He is in ICU and due to a infection in his Colon he is in isolation. He is in and out of it, with lots of catnaps in between. When I first saw him, I said " Hey gorgeous, I love you" and he said "I love you too!" I am not sure he recognizes Phillip or myself but the nurse did comment that his blood pressure went up when we arrived.

Phillip and I drove back to BG this afternoon and I guess this will be our routine for the next few days. Thanks to Alicia, Jonah and Courtney is staying with her during the day. I'll try and keep you posted. Phillip and I hopes to make it to the hospital in the morning before the doctor comes by, so that we can talk to him about the long term plan. We also hope to be back in time to be at church tomorrow night, so if you're there look for us. We would love to see you and please remember us in your prayers. THANKS!!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lesson on Grace

Normally, I do not share religious thoughts with my fellow bloggers, I am not sure way, I should but for some reason I don't. Maybe that will be my New Year's Resolution. ANYWAY! I was heading to bed tonight and I started thinking about this morning's sermon and I thought of my Blog and I thought of my fellow friends, so maybe there is a reason I am now posting this blog instead of crawling into bed. I am not going to preach to anyone I just wanted to share these three thoughts with you.

  • GRACE lifts us from a NOBODY status to a SOMEBODY status
  • There is nothing you can do to make GOD love you ANYMORE
  • There is nothing you can do to make GOD love you ANY LESS

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Camping with Friends

What wonderful way to end 2007 and to begin 2008. We spent this past weekend camping with some friends at Silver River. Four days of no TV, no internet and no phones, just the wonderful outdoors. We spent the weekend canoeing, riding bikes, enjoying good food and great company. The kids spotted lots of wildlife including monkeys while canoeing and luckily we were not surprised with any visitors around our campsites. Phillip and I along with the kids and Rascal stayed in a camper while Tim, Leslie and their two kids stayed in a cabin. Hope you enjoy the pictures and just a few details of the weekend on the next several posts. Hopefully, I won't bore you.

Smores, Means More Fun

Yes, what is camping without Smores. And of course Smores always means more fun, even if you burn your lip on the metal stick ( I wonder which mom did that one). The girls widdled a stick to roast their marshmallows on and then we had metal marshmallow prongs that can get really hot in the fire, which is what I placed on my lip to burn it. Don't ask why? I guess we needed another memory. Jonah and Trey enjoy their smores while I nurse a scorched lip.
Mouthful of Smores
Leslie, myself and Courtney roasting marshmallows around the fire.

After everyone was done with the smores, the kids had a marshmallow throwing contest to see who could burn a marshmallow, put the fire out and then throw it the farthest. Yes, it turned into a mess but a fun one.

New Years Eve

Okay, it is only Welch's Sparking Grape Juice. After three very long days, we decided to move the New Year up two hours so that we could get in bed early. So 10:00 was our midnight. " Happy New Year", says Courtney and Andie
Jonah and Trey were not as excited, I'm not sure that they were just too tired to show excitement or it was b/c we were calling new years two hours early.

Adventures at Silver River

Leslie and I took the four kids on the sinkhole trail Monday morning. At the sinkhole we spotted a huge unique tree with branches low to the ground. Immediately the kids started climbing and Leslie and I started snapping pictures until we heard a loud thump. Yes, Courtney had fell off a tree branch about 6 feet from the ground, I just knew she was injured but she got up and Thank you God, she was fine. I really don't know what I would have done if she was injured, b/c we were in the middle of nowhere.
Jonah curls up in the hammock on the porch of the cabin, exhausted after the long bike trail.
Courtney learns how to whittle.

Trey, Courtney, Jonah, and Andie up in a tree outside our campsite.

Rascal did very good camping, here he is looking back at me, as to say "is it okay for me to go in the camper". I will say that he was very curious about the smells around the campsite. Oh, I almost forgot, Rascal figured out that you can actually dig a hole in the dirt and bury a bone. He is always scratching on things in the house like blankets and then acting like he is burying his bones. So the whole digging in the dirt was an adventure to him.

Canoeing and Monkeys

We took a three hour trip up the river and back. With the exception of a few tag alongs to our canoe, Jonah kayak most of the trip on his own. The view behind me. Courtney paddled alot more then I thought she would.
How beautiful God's handy work is!

No, I am not a professional Kayaker (sp?), but I did try and would love to do it again some day.

Leslie, Jonah, Phillip and Trey, heading upstream, while Tim, the girls and I, took the bike trail upstream to meet themI had always heard people talk about monkeys along the Silver River but never knew for sure, until we were paddling upstream and heard lots of noise on both sides of the river. Phillip thought that maybe it was deer and I thought maybe a Florida bear, but when we looked closer, we saw Monkeys!!!! At least 20 or so. They say that they escaped from Silver Springs during the making of a Tarzan movie years ago and started multiplying. How cool!
Two monkeys with their baby.

Napping at the River

What a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. After canoeing and riding our bikes through the woods on the trails, the adults decided that a little nap after lunch was what we needed. Of course getting four kids to take a nap was going to be impossible, so we decided to nap on the porch of the cabin so that we could hear the kids playing outside. It really worked out great, we turned the ceiling fans on, Phillip and I nestled in the hammock, Leslie took the picnic table and Tim headed inside for peace and quiet.
I love this picture of Leslie.

She decided to take her nap on top of the picnic table.

The kids said it look like she was having surgery.