Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Road Trip With a Surprise

Well, here I am again.  Sitting here on my couch with my laptop (and my phone being used as a hotspot) composing a blog post.

Almost two weeks ago my four younger children, plus Parker (Lynn's oldest son who is Clay's age) and I left at 8:20 PM on a Thursday night (after the children's piano recital), bound for Florida.

When Olivia left to go back to college after her spring break, she was a little sad that it would be 8 weeks before she could come home.  And of course that is a long time for us too!  Not long after I took her to the airport to fly back, Jimmy and I formulated a plan.  The kids and I (plus Parker) would drive down there and SURPRISE Olivia with a long weekend visit! :)  We were all so excited and talked about it until the day arrived for us to leave.

We drove until about 1:00 AM Thursday night, stayed in a hotel (briefly), and got back on the road about 7:00 AM.  We were on schedule to arrive at Olivia's school around 3:00 PM, just in time for my older children and Parker to run with Olivia's cross country team during their 4:00 practice.

Unfortunately, the last 58 miles of the trip took us almost 3 hours!  I think we traveled 9 miles in one of those hours.  It was a major traffic jam!  And so we drove up on campus just as the runners were finishing their practice--we saw Olivia!  But she did not see us!  I parked and we were waiting as she and her friends ran to the meeting spot.  SURPRISE!  Yes!  She was completely surprised!  It was great!

We spent the weekend participating in a few campus activities (concert, singing, talent show) plus lots of time just visiting with Olivia.  We took her out to eat and to see the movie, Cinderella. I bought some groceries and supplies for her, and we spent a good bit of time with her church family.  They are all so kind and hospitable.  I truly appreciate the good care they are taking care of Olivia. Julie stayed in the dorm with Olivia, and the other children and I stayed in the hotel I always stay in while I am visiting Olivia, packing her up, or moving her in.  The staff there remembers my family and me, and they are always so nice to us.

We left that Monday morning at 10:20 AM (we wanted to wait and see Olivia between her classes to say our goodbyes.)  We drove all the way home, arriving at 10:00 PM.  We stopped only 5 times for coffee, gas, bathroom breaks and 2 meals.  Each stop was 15 minutes or less.  We listened to The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs (one of Leah's Sonlight books) on audio, and on the way down there we had a Toy Story marathon.  They kids watched (and I listened to) Toy Story 1, 2, and 3.  Coming home they watched Big Hero Six, Annie, and one other movie that I can't remember.  It really wasn't that bad of a drive.

And it was so worth it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Warmer Weather

Finally.  Sunshine!

I sat outside yesterday while eating my quick lunch so I could soak up a few rays from the sun.  I think we will be doing our Sonlight reading outside soon.  (We have been reading our Sonlight books at night for various reasons).

Jimmy is tilling up our garden site right now.  I think I missed the opportunity to plant potatoes, but I plan to plant tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, and squash. This year I will plant enough green beans to hopefully can for the fall/winter.  I have only 3 jars of tomatoes left from last year's crop.  I would have run out sooner, but I have bought some canned tomatoes at the store in order to save my last few jars.  If we have soup one more time this spring, I will use the remaining jars.  We have also eaten all but three or four jars of the beans I canned last July.  I have plenty of dried beans (chickpeas, pintos and black) to can again, I just have not set aside the time for the task.

The kids and I both have spring fever with this warmer weather.  No one wants to do school!  We want to be outside.  The kids are roller-blading, swinging, riding their bikes, and romping in the woods.  I want to plant my garden, trim my shrubs and monkey grass, clean out the flower beds and spread the one hundred bags of mulch Jimmy bought last weekend.  However, we are still doing our schoolwork. And when I am home in the afternoons, we will do our Sonlight reading outside in the lovely sunshine.

We have a few 5K and 10K races planned for March, April, and May.  Also Julie will be graduating on May 1, and I will be bringing Olivia home from college at the very end of April.  The other three children will continue their schoolwork until the Friday before Memorial Day.  Then summer break will begin!  Yay!  I plan to continue some Sonlight reading throughout the summer, but we will see if I actually do it.  :)

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Just Jumping Back In

Well. I am back after another hiatus. 
Between having to use my cellphone as a hotspot for internet, Olivia being home for a week for spring break, watching my mother redecorate Leah's room, enjoying another spell of ice, and spending time with my father-in-law, I have not really thought much about my blog.  Except that people periodically ask Jimmy about it.  And I ran into a blog reader at Kroger yesterday……I miss sharing with y'all!  (If anyone out there is still reading!)

While Olivia was home for spring break it was about zero degrees (I exaggerate, of course), and we had an ice storm.  Our whole town shut down for the second time in one week.  We spent a good bit of time outside in the frigid temperature and did some sledding.  On the ice!  It really was a lot of fun, and we took about thirty short videos of all of us slipping and sliding down our hills.  

 The Mama and the Daddy

 Julie, Leah, and Olivia

 Clay, Leah, and Olivia

The woods didn't look as pretty as they did the week before with all the snow, but it was still beautiful. And fun.  And cold!

Clay made a new welded metal tree for me last week.  This one replaces the one he made me last year for Mother's Day.  It is shorter and a little bit narrower, so it fits on our kitchen table better.  He really is an artist, if I say so myself.  :)  He also made a bird for his aunt Jenny for her birthday--he and Jenny share a birthday at the end of this month, and he made a couple of other things during his spring break too.  A sort of robot thing and a dinosaur looking creature.  Like I said.  Metal art.  Unique.

If you look closely at this picture of my kitchen table, you can tell that it is shiny and has a map on it…..When my mother decorated for Leah's birthday party in January, she used clear vinyl to cover the cute fabric for the tablecloth.  I kept the clear vinyl and place several different maps underneath.  I had heard of doing this before, but I had never tried it myself.  We love it!  I have changed what's underneath the clear covering a few times since January.  Currently we have a large U.S. map with all the major interstates marked, a Mississippi map, and lots of president facts and information cards. We have also enjoyed looking at a U.S. map marking all the national parks and a simple world map.  Sam requested a map of Italy, and I bought one on Friday. I will put it at his place once he has learned about some of the presidents.  :)  These maps and cards are definitely conversation starters, and we are all learning so much in a fun way.

Until next time….(and I hope it won't be too long)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

More Winter Weather and the Internet

We had another winter storm event last night!  We had sleet/freezing rain throughout the night, and we awoke to a coating of white---ICE!  It is pretty, but not as pretty as the snow last week.  Jimmy, Leah, and Sam are outside right now sledding on our frozen driveway!

Well.  For over two weeks now we have been without any internet service except for our cell phones!  Our HughesNet modem died, and when I called to inquire about a replacement or repair, the nice lady from India informed me that our equipment was out of date, and that our only option was to upgrade and sign a 2 year commitment.  Of course.

I was not interested in the upgrade or the 2 year commitment.  I am waiting, waiting, waiting for some kind of high speed internet service that is not satellite to come to my area. The upgrade provided less daily allowance of megabites than we already get (500MB a day, in case you are wondering), for about $10 less per month.  Anyway, we are just using our cell phones as hotspots when we need internet……so who knows how much blogging I will get around to doing.

Our spring break has not been too spring-like, but we are definitely enjoying our time with Olivia.