Thursday, July 23, 2009

Spic 'n Span Dylan

As a mother to boys, I feel that it is my responsibility, my DUTY, to teach my boys how to "keep house." My boys will not go on missions and be slobs, nor will they marry and expect their wives to do all the housework. My goal is to have my future daughter-in-laws love me to pieces! Well, I've been annoyed at the amount of socks on the bedroom floor, all the "stuff" that gets taken out and never put back, the beds that go un-made lately. Dylan took my not-so-subtle hints and went to work. Dylan cleaned his bedroom from top to bottom, vacuumed, dusted, even stripped his bedsheets. Mind you, half of the atrocity we call a bedroom belongs to his older brother, Caleb. The fact that Caleb was busy on the PlayStation mattered not, Dylan kept at it. I was very proud of his hard work and the clean bedroom is heavenly. He did it by himself and he did great. I couldn't help but to reward him a bit - a small contribution to his piggy bank. Maybe some of my lessons are sticking! I love this kid!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation 2009 - The "Wild"

By far, the most awe inspiring part of our mountain vacation was the natural beauty that surrounded us at every turn. We took many, short hikes, as far as Lacey could tolerate and spent lots of time in the COLD river water. It was very precarious as I balanced on slippery creek rocks, at times no longer being able to feel my toes, but I just had to document all the smiles and good times. The boys pitched small stones for the longest time, Lacey always wanted to head to the bank so that she could get yet another handful of blooms to watch float down the river. Almost every photo her little hands are filled with a bouquet of some sort. We even had the unique experience of seeing two bears, in the wild. Thankfully, we were in our car. The police were there asking everyone to get back in their vehicles. I took a photo as we drove by. You can see two black “blobs” (no time to focus on this shot).
I also took time to examine the light as it filtered through the forest canopy – just stunning.
I have at least 30 photos I love, but I'll share just a few.
This beautiful land that we live in is proof positive, evidence if you will, of our Heavenly Father. This was no “big bang” people, just no way. What a blessing to live in this beautiful world.

"Mommy, take a picture of my flower." She made sure, several times, that I was taking a picture of her flower, not her. "Not my face, mommy." I tried to follow her instructions!

More flowers...

The Blob Bears - LOL

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation 2009 - The Pool

Everyone loved the pool at the end of the day. The boys are regular fish now; so much so that getting a picture of them was impossible. I noticed this year that, "Mama, watch this" wasn't screamed every 10 seconds as in times past. They were content to swim and dive and spent forever diving to the bottom of the pool for the money Travis kept throwing in. I guess they are growing up and don't need to show off for mama quite so much.
Lacey, on the other hand, was hamming it up big time. She is all about the camera these days. She's such a willing model, it's hard not to have a million photos of her!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Before I continue with my vacation tales, I must tell this story before I forget. These are Lacey's words, exactly from a conversation we had while I was making dinner.
“Mommy, I have a boo boo. I need a band-aid.”
“What happened? How did you get a boo boo?”
“Well, I was going on an adventure. I was taking a long walk around the water. I tried to go in the water and a big ole alligator snapped at my leg and I got a boo boo. I want a pink sparkle band-aid now.”
Travis gets home from work and I'm telling him the alligator story. Lacey finishes the story by telling her daddy, “ that alligator never would have got me if my high heel hadn't broken. I guess I just need to go shopping for new ones.”
And everyone thinks Lacey is quiet. Ah... the imagination of a child.

Vacation 2009 - The Cabin

I actually do not know where to begin. I think I will have many posts about our vacation this year because we had such an wonderful trip! There is so much I want to document and remember. Hands down, the best family vacation we have ever taken together. The excitement really began when we arrived in Pigeon Forge and checked into our cabin. I think everyone had a moment of complete awe when we opened the front door. Lacey had us all in stitches fairly quickly. She stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up and said, “This place is amazing.” Pretty great description from a three year old! They boys loved the pool table and game room in the basement – their bedrooms were on the third floor. Lacey went “swimming” every night in the Jacuzzi on our bedroom. The views from the balconies were breathtaking. Every morning we sat and watch the fog lift from the mountains. Just gorgeous. We spent our days enjoying attractions such as MagiQuest, putt-putt, exploring the Forbidden Caverns, sliding down a mountain at Ober, Gatlinburg, Sky trams, hikes, playing in the river/creeks, swimming in the pool and shopping. I guess I'll begin with a few shots of our cabin. MORE to come!!

Lacey is THREE!

Could it be, already? Lacey celebrated her birthday on Saturday the 11th with her friends at Bounce Around. I think all the children, and the adults, left the building exhausted. We decided to have a flip flop themed party, since Lacey loves flip flops. Shannon Benson made the adorable flip flop cake, complete with sand! Thanks to all who came to help us celebrate!

Lacey on her actual birthday, July 13th:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

So Excited!

In just a few short days we will be headed off on a family vacation! I don't know why I'm so excited this year, usually I dread the packing, planning, unpacking, laundry - but this year I have a different outlook. Travis and I have been working so hard lately. He's been working late every day and I sew when everyone goes to sleep. Finally, we get a nice break! Another source of excitement is that we are going to the mountains this year. As much as I LOVE the ocean, Cody is 13 years old and had never seen the mountains! I'm sure he will be unimpressed as a typical 13 year old would be, but deep down there will be that "wow" moment for him, I just know it. We will be staying here - the Rocky Retreat cabin overlooking a pool and a gorgeous view. I can't wait! The best part?? I don't have to cook! WhoHoo! These four little monkeys are going to make some great memories for sure!

Monday, July 06, 2009


In high school I had to memorize this monologue from Shakespeare's, "As You Like It." I remember absolutely NOTHING about the play, but this previously memorized passage crept back into my mind today. I could only really remember the first few lines, but the meaning I remembered more clearly. I think this passage speaks mountains about the stages of our lives. One day we have our babes in arms, the next we are sending them away to college. One day we are delightfully presented with crayon drawings and construction paper hearts, soon after we are hoping for a card in the mail or a phone call. Bottom line - it goes really fast. Does time go faster the older we become? It sure seems that way. My mom always says, "they are only little once, just let them do it..." How do we capture everyday moments? My guess is that if we really appreciate what we have and love the lives that we lead, perhaps these everyday moments will tattoo themselves on our hearts. Perhaps when our minds forget, our souls will remember.

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' brow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything." — Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)

The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child…{ralph.waldo.emerson}

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

July 4th weekend was fabulous. We decided to make it a stay-at-home family weekend. Caleb and Dylan returned from a week away on Saturday morning and things finally felt normal again. We swam and played, grilled, ATE, and then enjoyed homemade ice cream and brownies. Backyard fireworks were our grand finale. I'm thankful to live in the beautiful land of freedom, and I'm thankful for all those who sacrifice so that we may maintain our freedom.

Finally, my favorite image of the day - my sweet baby girl who will be three in just over a week!! No tweaking or editing of this photo, this is my girl, in all her cuteness, straight out of the camera.