Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brenda (Auntie)

This summer my sister and I hiked up the Noland Divide Trail. This trail was not your typical some up and down areas, it was straight up for about 6 miles. It was not an easy hike for two 50+++ ers but because we had each other encouraging one another along the way, we made it. We were so proud. The view was magnificent. I am thankful I have a sister that encourages me not just on hikes but throughout life. Happy Birthday, Brenda! I love you.

B-BEAUTIFUL- She is beautiful inside and out.
R-REAL-She is honest and truthful.
E-ENERGTIC-She requires very little sleep and yet she keeps on going.
N-NATURAL-She is herself.
D-DEVOTED-She is devoted to God and her family.
A-AMAZING AUNT-Auntie loves all of her neices and nephews very much.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Empty Nest Again

This is them leaving last Thursday

This picture was made shortly after they moved in Dec 05
A little over 2 and a half years ago my empty nest was filled with three little ones, a momma and a daddy. I knew then that their stay would be temporary but I didn't realize just how quickly the time would pass. It was a time of learning and growing. We learned how to talk, climb stairs, ride bikes, swim, read, write, add and subtract. We learned how to play basketball, baseball and soccer. We learned to feed ourselves and use the potty. We lost teeth, finished kindergarten and first grade. We had a baby sister. We grew and grew and grew!!! We had bubble baths, movies and popcorn. We had birthday parties, hid Easter eggs and went trick or treating. We went to the zoo, Stone Mountain, the Children's Museum and Centennial Park. We visited Aunt Summer, Uncle Josh, Uncle Luke and Uncle Samuel. We played in the snow and watched it hail. We built forts and played with Legos. How very blessed I have been to be able to share this special time with my grandchildren. God Bless You All in our new adventure. I love you! GRAN

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Amy's Wedding

On Saturday Summer, Josh, Norman and I drove to Chickamagua, Ga for the wedding of Amy, a dear friend of ours. We have been friends with her family for some 20 years. We met when Samuel was just a toddler. It was a very sweet wedding and Amy was all smiles. Her brother Kyle performed the ceremony so that made it extra special. Her husband is a Tennessee graduate so we know he is a GREAT guy. Here are a few pictures of the wedding celebration.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Meme and Papa

Happy Anniversary, Meme and Papa

Today Meme and Papa have been married for 62 years. What an inspiration!!!! I have been so blessed to have these two people in my life. They have loved me and encouraged me from the very first day I met them in the tiny town of Bradford. I have never heard either of them say anything unkind about anyone. They have been such a help to us in so many ways never expecting anything in return. They love God and serve Him daily in all that they do. Happy Anniversary!!! I love you, Meme and Papa.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dinner with my girls

Today Sara, the kids and I went over to Aunt Summer's to do some back to school shopping and some swimming in Aunt Summer's pool. We found bookbags, lunch boxes, erasers, construction and wide ruled paper. After a long swim in the pool, Josh was nice enough to watch the children so the girls and I could go out to eat one last time before Sara leaves on Thursday (but remember I can't talk about that yet). For the last 6 months we have been meeting for supper every other Thursday night. It has been so much fun to have just some special "girl time". We have tried several different restuarants. Unlike Summer and I, Sara is a food critic. She usually has something to say about how something is fixed or how it taste. Tonight we went to the Fickle Pickle. Summer and I had been there before and thought we would let Sara try it. We were not expecting any thing but the usual comments about the food not being too great or the like. However, we were in for a BIG SURPRISE!! SARA LOVED THE SANDWICH!!! We were so shocked we decided to get it on video because we knew no one would believe it. Enjoy!!! I will miss this special time together.

Happy Birthday, Chesed

Happy Birthday to my niece, Suzannah Chesed!!! She is the same age as my Summer. They have been great friends since their births. Chesed actually slept in Summer's baby bed before Summer did. She is a "get things done" type person and our family is very blessed to have her. She has a genuine love for the Lord and I am very thankful for her.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Samuel goes to Washington no I mean to work!!!

Well today my baby boy started his first "real" job!!! I guess all that hard work he did as a child finally paid off (picking okra, weeding the flower beds, mowing the property, etc) Unlike those jobs, this one actually pays. I can't wait for him to get his first check so I can borrow some money!! Ha Ha. I am very proud of him. The interview process was very tedious but he set up 5 appointments in his trial run!!! Congratulations, Samuel (you know you read my blog) I know you will do GREAT!!!

Monkeys in my Trees and Landon the Photographer

Today I had some monkeys in my trees. They went almost all the way to the top!!!! Landon used my camera and took some great pictures from around the yard. Sydney even gave him a BIG CHEESE which she usually will not do for Gran. Check out the slide show for pictures.

Can you find the monkeys in these trees???

Family Gathering

It is always so good to get everyone together for a meal. Yesterday we all gathered for a going away party for Sara and Ryan. I cannot blog about that yet so I will just say we had a good visit and enjoyed another delicious meal prepared by one of the guest of honors (not Sara). I am pretty sure everyone over enjoyed the food. He fixed his famous hot wings on the grill with roasted potatoes/carrots/onions. I prepared some fresh watermelon/blueberries/cantelope/strawberries (its hard to mess up the chopping of fruit) and the yellow tomato/cucumber salad w/avacodo. I must say Ryan has added many new foods to the Norman Hamburger Helper family. Ten years ago I didn't even know what an avacodo was must less how to peel one and finally after 2 and a half years of training from the master chef I can now properly peel, depit and scoop the meat of the avacodo. For dessert (in honor of non-chocolate lover, Sara) we had Grape Fanta Sherbet with fried plantains(another food I had never heard of). Like I said we all enjoyed ourselves way too much. But most of all we enjoyed the fellowship with one another. I love having all my little children together. I took some pics but then my battery went down so for more pics, see Summer's blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Modern #3 Washtub

Most of you will not know what a #3 washtub is but way back when in the summer time when it was soooooooo terrible hot outside, kids would play in a #3 washtub-a large round metal tub. Here is a modern day version and the kids enjoying some splash time.

Word of God Speak

On my iPod Shuffle there is a beautiful song that Luke downloaded for me when he gave it to me. I don't know who sings it or even the name of the song but it is one of my very favorites and most mornings when I listen to it the tears pour down like rain as I cry out to the Lord. I would like to share the words with you. I tried to find the song on the computer but could not so here they are.
I’m finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it’s ok
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what you would say
Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That you’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In your holiness
Word of God speak
I’m finding myself in the midst of you
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with you
And in the quiet
Hear your voice
Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That you’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In your holiness
Word of God speak

Monday, July 14, 2008

Momma's home and WE SURVIVED!!!!!!

If your want to know if you are as young as you use to be...try keeping up with 4 grandchildren while there mother is away!!! I am definitely NOT!!!!! I am not sure who was more happy to see Sara!!! But Momma is home and we are ALL very happy. She arrived on time today at 1:40 but I forgot about the customs wait (I also forgot my camera but I did remember to bring the children) and so Ryan, Bryce, Landon, Parker, Sydney and I had to wait for a little over an hour for her to finally appear. Needless to say everyone got a little cranky but when they saw their Momma everything was OK!!! Ryan fixed a delicious Mexican meal and a delicious cake with homemade strawberry jam used as the filling. It was tooooo good! We enjoyed watching the video, seeing the pictures and hearing all the funny stories of her trip. It was neat to see some of the people I had met when she and I went a few years back. Many, many thanks to everyone who helped out with the children while she was away. The Jacksons are wonderful grandparents and the boys enjoyed their visit with them so much. Thanks again to them for bringing the boys to Deep Creek for all of us to enjoy. Thanks to Summer, Josh, Luke and Norman for babysitting Sydney. And a big thanks to Ryan for all you do. You are a great daddy and I am so thankful for you. Sara had a wonderful time and I am glad she had the opportunity to return to this very unique place called Ukraine. Thanks, Sara for all the pictures and updates to let us be a part of this wonderful experience. And although I am very, very tired, I can truly say I enjoyed my special time with my grandchildren. A big welcome home and we love and appreciate all you do, SARA (Capa)

Pics from Amy's Shower

Shower for Amy

On Sunday we attended church in Blairsville with our friends and then I drove to Chattanooga for a shower for the daughter of my friend Kathy. Amy, her daughter has always held a special place in my heart and I am so excited for her and her future husband, Chris. They will be married in just a couple of weeks. Amy and her family are Georgia Bulldogs fans from way back however, Chris is a UT grad and a big Orange fan(which immediately gave him the ok to marry Amy) At their engagement party and our first introduction to Chris, Norman and I both wore orange. Well this shower was a lingerie shower so I just happened upon an orange bra and some orange panties. Her mother-in-law had fixed her a UT football T-shirt with matching hairbow. Not to be out done her mother in turn cut off a GA T-shirt and sewn black tassles on the front. We had so much fun and the food was delicious.

A Weekend Away

This past weekend Norman and I made a trip to visit our good friends Kay and Harold on beautiful Lake Notley. We had been trying to get up there for the past two summers but had not been able to find a weekend to go. So this weekend it worked out that Ryan was off and Summer/Josh/Luke had agreed to watch Sydney. We left around 10 on Friday, deposited Sydney with Uncle Luke and off we went. The weather was beautiful and the time there was very relaxing. They have a peaceful cabin right on the lake. We took some boat rides around the lake, floated on rafts, ate several really good meals, played scrabble and just sat around visiting. It was nice to get away even though the time was short. Thanks again to Summer/Josh/Luke for watching Sydney.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Deep Creek Lost and Found

I have several items that do not belong to me:
Marroon down throw
Black knit boxer briefs size large
AC adapter found at the cabin(square plug in)
Baby rattler(I think this is Madison, horn that beeps/keepchain)
Bass Pro Camo Cap
We are also missing:
Bryce's black leather money bag/wallet
Landon's sunglasses
10" wooden handled serated knife

Let me know if you are missing any of these items or locate the ones mentioned. Thanks so much again to everyone.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wedding Pictures

Noah's Wedding

On our way home from camping Ryan and I attended the wedding of our good friend, Noah Thornhill. Noah's mom Kathy, was one of the first people I met when we moved to Valdosta. We immediately became kindred spirits because of the ages of our children. Noah, Ryan and Sara graduated together so Noah spent alot of time in our home. Rebecca and Luke were a year apart, Lydia and Samuel graduated together and Emily was a year younger. Tim and Lea were Charlie's vets and Luke worked for Tim one summer. So there is much connection with our families. They are all near and dear to our hearts and I am so glad we were able to attend the wedding. It was in a beautiful little chapel on the tip top of a cliff in Greenville, South Carolina. The reception was at the Cliffs of Glassy Country Club. Ryan and I arrived around 11:30 on Sat. so our room was not available, We decided to go get some lunch in down town Greenville. We found a neat sandwich shop call Saffron's Sidewalk Cafe. We split an albi grilled tuna wrap and shrimp/grits soup. It was so good. By the time we ate lunch and shopped some our room was ready. I took a long nap while Ryan did some channel surfing. Around 3:30 we were picked up at our hotel by a huge charter bus which delivered us to the chapel. The ceremony was very sweet with Emily reading a passage from the Velveteen Rabbit. There was a harpist that played the War Eagle fight song for their departure from the chapel. The bus then delivered us to the country club for a very delicious meal. We listened to a live band and enjoyed watching everyone dancing. On the patio a man was wrapping cigars. It was a very nice wedding and it was great to share this special time with this very special family. We arrived back at our hotel around 12:30. Thanks, Ryan for driving and attending the wedding with me.

Special Moments at Deep Creek 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Deep Creek 2008

(This is an extra long blog so feel free to skip it and just enjoy the pictures. Yes, I know there are lots of pictures of a cute little girl but..)
Well my most favorite time of year has come and gone. The tents have been stuffed back in there small bags, the coolers have been emptied and washed, ropes and tarps have been returned to their crates, the dirt under my fingernails has been removed and the washer and dryer have been going since I walked in the door this morning and although my hair has been washed 5 times since returning to civilization it still smells of campfire smoke but it was all so worth it. Sydney and I left Thursday morning around 9:00. She was so excited to be riding in Papa's truck, sitting up high and being able to see out the windows. We turned on the GPS and off we went. We sang, played "This Lil'Piggy"and ate goldfish. She was great until out GPS led us astray to Highway 28. Things went uphill and round the curves from there but after 20 miles in 45 minutes we were dumped back on to highway 74 just down from exit 67. We went immediately to see what sites were available, registered and then had a nice picnic lunch on one of our sites. After lunch she and I began to unpack our stuff and set up the tent. Some nice folks helped with the raising of the tent. I thought she might be getting ready for a nap so I set up her pack and play under a shaded tree however, there was too much going on so needless to say we played in the creek instead(sorry, Sara). She loved the water! Later she helped me shop for groceries at the local Ingles store. We built a fire and waited for Summer to arrive but due to some lack of map reading skills from the co-pilots, they did not arrive until almost midnight. Friday was a very enjoyable day. Summer, Sydney and I took a long walk after breakfast. Luke and Ryan decided to go on an overnight hike and left about 10:00 am. Summer and I busied ourselves with the duties of securing the campsites, setting up camp and going to the grocery store again. That evening we had delicious roasted hotdogs with all the works. We took a long walk with Sydney and were going to go listen to bluegrass @ the ice cream parlor but were just too tired. So Sydney, Summer, Maddux and I retired to our nice cozy tent. About 11:30 that evening I heard someone rustling around in our kitchen. I was almost ready to hollow at whoever it was to get away from our stuff when I realized it was Luke and Ryan. They had gotten rained on and had decided to come on back from their hike. On Saturday we anxiously awaited the arrival of Auntie, Chris, Chesed, Charis, Tony and kids and the Jacksons with the boys. While waiting Ryan and Luke reluctantly put a tarp over our kitchen area. Everyone arrived and we had just about gotten things put away when it began to rain again. Quickly we threw tarps over everything we could and all gathered under the kitchen tent. We were beginning to think we were not going to survive without Papa there to get the tarps up. That night it rained off and on so the next day the guys were ready to put up the rest of the tarps. They did a great job and we no longer had to worry about the rain. It did rain off and on throughout the weekend. It also turned off cold. Colder than I can remember it being in many, many years. We later heard that we had had a record low of 47. Ma, those blankets and extra jackets you always bring sure would have come in handy. The meals this year were outstanding!!! It is amazing how many great cooks we have in our family. We really should start a catering buisness for campers. Of course, Samuel thinks we should hire someone to do all the cooking/cleaning. Hey Brenda and I will gladly accept tips anytime!!! Ha Ha!! We had fried green tomatoes with goat cheese along with corn fritters and succotash. Tony definitely receives the award for being the BEST Sous Chef. He was in the kitchen helping with prep every night and those fried pickles were scrumpous! Josh's salad was beautiful and quite tasty not to mention the roasted sweet potatoes and vegetable medley that accompanied the superb marinated roast he fixed with the help of Sous Chef, Luke. Summer and Josh's chili/fritos/hotdogs were a big hit and of course the Mexican night was yummy as always. A very special thank you to the Jacksons for that delicious meal. Charis and Tony were able to use up some of Josh's left over roast and fixed some Taco Soup that really hit the spot and according to Jon it works well as a colon cleanse. (Don't read this, Ashley) The kids helped out with dinner on Thursday by catching some huge trout. Tony and Ryan cleaned and cooked them. Auntie came up with a new recipe for hushpuppies, some more grilled veggies and Josh's salad went great with the trout! As we were all breaking camp on Friday evening, Auntie was resourceful and made grilled sandwiches using the rest of the lunch meat and cheese. We had very little food leftovers. Later that evening Jake and Amber brought us a pizza from town. Every meal was completed with a trip to the ice cream parlor. I think their sales for the week trippled!!! Thanks to Luke, Ryan, Summer, Tony, Charis and anyone else who helped by herding the kiddos. Yes, we did do other things besides eat. After hearing from Ryan and Luke what a breathtaking view it was from the Noland Divide, the women of the the camp accompanied by Mr. Jackson and Maddux decided to hike up and see for ourselves. But you know us (LOST was named after our family)... We made just one wrong turn(I think someone forgot to mention something about a sign). After over an hour hiking we came to a graveyard and a deadend trail. We ate lunch, posed for pictures and headed back down without finding the view. We did lots of tubing, some went white water rafting, played Mexican dominoes, watched the children, and sat by the fire. But some things were just not the same. We missed Sara, Chara and Judah terribly and the absence of Ma and Papa was almost unbearable at times. Not a single game of Rook was played, in fact we never got around to even putup the game tent. The piemakers were used for shovels, the kitchen tarp was used as a tent cover and I am not sure how many showers were taken at the cabin but lets just say I hope Greg has a DEEP well. All the snacks were eaten in record time and we did not buy enough bacon but the Bryson City sausage was delicious as usual. We bought and ate the candy from the Schuler's Market and meant to send some for you, Ma, but not sure if it ever made it. Overall I think everyone had a good time. They really enjoyed the new Corn Hole game. I am not sure who ended up being the champions but I heard Uncle Chris was pretty good. Spit baths were given and s'mores were made. Auntie and Jake took the kids on lots of bike rides. Summer took the kids for many wagon rides and Karin and Charis were great at keeping up with the babies. The kids were GREAT and helped with clean up after supper each night. We had 28 attendees(12 of which were 11 and under) so needless to say things got a little hectic at times, we sure could have used some extra eyes but we did return home with each precious one accounted for. I especially enjoyed my special time with Summer and Sydney hiking and setting up camp. She and Josh were a tremendous help with the children. Thanks, Josh for staying late on Tuesday. The tubing trip from the top with my boys was another highlight of my trip. Every year I think, I really can't go from the top but they always encourage me to do it and it is always so much fun. Tubing with Landon, Parker and Bryce from the second bridge was fun, too. On Friday Auntie, Norman, Jon, Ashley, and I decided to try again for the Noland divide. It was a 3 mile hike...straight up!!!!!! It took us about 2 hours to get to the top but we did it!!! At ages 57, 56 and 54 we felt quite proud of ourselves for this accomplishment. We could not have done it without the support and encouragement from our children. Thanks for giving us the push to go. The view was definitely breathtaking and it just gave me the desire to hike again real soon. Thanks Ashley and Jon for tagging along with the old folks. The conversation helped pass the time and take our minds off the trek. Some of us enjoyed shopping in Bryson City/Cherokee and the late night fireworks in town. There were many coffee runs each morning. We had a huge slumber party at the cabin on Friday night before everyone departed. Everyone really pitched in to get everything done and I appreciate so much everyone's efforts to come. A special thanks to the Jackson's for bringing the boys and helping so much with the children and taking our group pictures. Thanks to Tony and Charis for making the T shirts. Karin thanks for the Kids Olympic Games. Thanks to Brenda for all her hard work in getting everything together and traveling such a distance to get there. If I have forgotten anyone, thanks to you too. I love you all and I am already looking forward to next year. Enjoy the pictures!!