Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Uncle Jacob's Visit

My younger brother Jacob decided to spend half of his spring break visiting us this year. He spent the first half at our sister's house in DC and then he came down to Georgia.

We picked him up from the airport and headed straight to the church for the Pinewood Derby. I forgot to take my camera, but you can see pictures on the Cub Scout blog over here . I think Jonah enjoyed himself.

I always enjoy having some adult company during the day. We went and ate lunch with Ryanne at school and then got to work making some yummy things in the kitchen. Jacob had a couple of requests, which made me happy because I love to cook and bake for people. After school we went to a park where Ry had baseball practice later that afternoon and we played and explored.
I don't think it is possible to get a normal face from Jonah when I am taking a picture. This is what he did when I asked him to let me take a picture of him.

We took a nice walk and enjoyed nature, water and the beautiful sunshine.

I realized a little too late that Savannah had somehow gotten her hands on a 2T shirt. She had a little bit of a belly showing problem-o.

The girls were so pleased with themselves upon finding this green slime in the water. How exciting!!!

It was a great afternoon.
The next day Jacob was the "Mystery Reader" for Jonah's class at school and then he joined Jonah for lunch. We had some good friends, Whitney and Richard come up from Milledgeville, so we went and got ice cream and then went to a different park.
Later that night the adults watched a movie and the kids were all in Jonah's room. Matt told them they had to be asleep by 10 and we all thought they would still be up running around like crazy people, but sure enough, they were all spread out on the floor, asleep, with the light on when 10:00 rolled around.

Jacob was here on Saturday when it rained like crazy, so baseball games were cancelled and we were able to hang out at home. We had a really bad thunderstorm with so much lightning that I got a little scared. The next morning I had to take Jacob back to the airport.

We had so much fun. Jacob played with the kids outside, jumped on the trampoline with them, made them laugh and just was a great friend to all of us. We really enjoyed his visit.
Thank you so much for spending your Spring Break with us Jake- We love you!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Static Electricity

Have you jumped on a trampoline recently? Do you remember how much fun it can be?

I jumped on ours the other day with the kids. I love how it makes everyone giggle.
I was just looking through some pictures and found these from January when Ryanne brought home her Kindergarten class' teddy bear. We were supposed to just have him for the weekend, but then we got snowed in for a week, so we had Beary for 10 whole days.

I am going to have to post more of the pics and remember all the fun times we had with Beary, but for now, this will have to do.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Holocaust Memorial

There is one other place that we visited in Miami, but I felt like it needed it's own post because it isn't as happy and sunshine-y as the rest of the trip. This is the Holocaust Memorial that is located by the Miami Botanical Gardens and the Convention Center. If you are interested in reading how and why this Memorial came about and to see better pictures, please click Here- Holocaust Memorial. -especially the About and The Creation sections. That site is really quite interesting- it shows some of the sculptures up close and explains the design and everything. Really good.

I saw some signs for it and was curious, so the day we had rented a scooter, we went to check it out.

It is hard to describe exactly how the memorial works, but there are a series of circle-like tunnels that lead you from place to place. It starts with pictures and a history of the Holocaust down one of the circle-hallway-tunnels. Maps with numbers of how many Jews were killed from different countries, photos of the prisoners, timelines, and so forth. By this point I was already in tears. On the ceiling of one of the circle-tunnel things it had the names of all the prisoner camps. I recognized a few of the names, but was surprised that there were so many. That tunnel led us to the tall hand structure that is reaching toward the sky. The first picture shows the sculpture of a little child reaching out to you in agony, right as you enter this part of the memorial. Very haunting.
All the way up the arm, there are hoards of emaciated people, climbing over each other, sick looking, lifting babies and children, all of them looking for any way out. Screaming for help. Trying to escape the despair. It was heart wrenching.
The walls that encircle these figures are filled with thousands, millions, so many names of the victims of the Holocaust. It has the same effect as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC. It makes you realize as you place your fingers across the names, that every single one of those victims was a single person. A member of a family. A member of a community. Someone who was important to other people. An innocent life taken simply because they were a Jew.

I can't comprehend how something like the Holocaust happened. It seems so impossible and so ridiculous. Although I know that innocent people all over the world are still brutally killed and mistreated because of their religion, race, ethnicity, etc. It just makes my heart hurt.
Here is a different angle. There was a pool surrounding the memorial.
There were also a few quotes by Anne Frank on the walls of part of the memorial.

This is the one that was on the wall right before the exit- "Ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered."

That is just a partial quote from Anne Frank's diary- here is the full quote-
"That's the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered. It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary in Miami

On March 3rd, we celebrated our 10th anniversary. Every year we go away for at least one night, taking turns planning the getaway, and this year it was my turn to plan.
Since it was our 10th anniversary, I decided to check flights and see if I could get a good deal to somewhere that was kinda close, but not within reasonable driving distance for a relaxing weekend. I was on the lookout for quite a few weeks and Miami won!

I was excited to go to the beach and enjoy some warm weather.

The water was absolutely gorgeous. The most beautiful blue color.
We spent lots of time walking up and down the beach. Most of the time it was pretty crowded, except nighttime, when the masses of people left to go eat/drink/party somewhere else.

Swimming in the ocean was so much fun. The water was chilly, but it was so relaxing to be able to jump in the waves and have fun with Matt without worrying about the kids. It was the first time in a while that I could remember not really worrying while being on the beach, since I didn't have to keep my 2 eyes on 3 kids, which is slightly impossible.
We saw lots of these blue-ish/purple-y guys washed up on the beach. My web research tells me that they are Portuguese man of war-s. Very interesting to look at, but I wouldn't want to see one in any other situation than washed up on the beach, if you know what I mean.
One of the days we went out on a boat with a large group of other people. We were supposed to go parasailing, but it was too windy to do that safely. We were able to jet ski, swim to a little island type thing and explore and enjoy the sailboat.
We ate yummy food. This was from a little cafe that we walked to one day for lunch. Very good.
One day we rented a scooter and we drove up to miami beach and explored. It was really fun. Especially going over these huge bridges with tons of cars, going at a very slow pace (compared to the cars).

It was so nice to be able to spend some quality time together. I also really enjoyed sleeping in. Its so important to be able to reconnect with Matt and have great conversations. I love that we still laugh together and are able to enjoy spending day after day together.

I am so grateful to my in-laws for keeping the kids and not having to worry about them at all the entire time we were gone.

I wonder where the next 10 years will take us!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Savannah is a mess

I just found this post in my drafts,(only pictures & title), from April 2009. It made me laugh because Savannah is still a frosting girl. She is always the one who is dipping her fingers in the bowls of icing when I am decorating cakes because "it is just too good!" She is also the culprit when you find a cupcake, cookie or brownie that was frosted, but has been licked bare, with the cupcake cookie or brownie part lying there, uneaten.

She was so small! Time flies too fast my friends.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today we drove out to a beautiful spot, where there were lovely daffodils, green grass, trees filled with buds and the sun shining down on us. We had gathered with other family members to a place that was dear to Papa Zeke. We spent a few hours in nature together and we were able to think about him and the special memories we have.

Papa Zeke passed peacefully last Wednesday night. Just a few short months ago we celebrated his 80th birthday. Savannah was born on his 76th birthday and it was always such a neat thing that they shared that special day.

Zeke was someone who always had a smile on his face. He would always greet you with a handshake or a soft hug. He had a gentle heart. He was a great Papa to my kids and to me. He brought a peaceful feeling to the room. He was honest and kind, smart and witty.

He has a place in our family and our hearts. We will miss you Papa Zeke and look forward to the day when we will see you again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is the glass half full?

"Some look at this glass and see it as half full. Others see it as half empty. How you see it is up to you"

I'm going to try and be more optimistic. I think I have the tendency to expect the worst sometimes and I want to do better. I was reading an article in the most recent Ensign, actually this one right here on the front of that page, and I realized I can really improve in 'Looking for the Good' in all situations.

Here are a couple of things that struck me from the article-

"Have you ever noticed that people can usually find whatever they are looking for? Look hard enough, and you can discover both good and bad in almost anyone and anything."

"The word of God admonishes the followers of Christ to be ' pure...peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.' "

"We have a choice. We can seek for the bad in others. Or we can make peace and work to extend to others the understanding, fairness, and forgiveness, we so desperately seek for ourselves. It is our choice; for whatever we seek, that we will certainly find."

So, I am going to try to be more positive, to look for the good in people and situations, to be happy and remember that I will find whatever it is that I am looking for.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's kind of funny how easy it is to gain a positive, wonderful perspective on life, when you are walking along the beach, spending the days however you please, with absolutely no responsibility.

Yes, that is a picture of the actual beach that I was walking along, hand in hand with Matt, just a couple of days ago. The water is really that beautiful and blue. The sand is completely inviting.

There is something amazing about being able to sleep through the night with no interruptions.

But, then again, you start to miss your family, children, and familiar surroundings after a couple of days. I began to miss my kitchen and being able to prepare my own meals, among other things.

When Savannah saw me, she said "I missed you sooo much! I am going to listen to everything that you ask me to do and do it!" (That was yesterday afternoon)

Less than 24 hours after that statement was made, I asked her to perform a simple task and she refused. I reminded her about how much she missed me and what she had said yesterday, to which she replied, "I don't want to do that anymore."

It made me laugh, mostly because I completely understood what she meant.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

HappY Birthday to Jonah!

Jonah had his 9th Birthday last week! I can't believe that I am the mother of a 9-year old.
Here are just a few of the many faces of dear Jonah.

He decided to have Hot Chocolate Brownies topped with Homemade Marshmallows for his birthday treat. You can find more info about that HERE.
On his birthday, we played after school instead of doing chores and went to eat dinner at The Cracker Barrel. Last year we tried something new for his b-day celebration. Instead of a b-day party, he invited 2 friends to go out to eat and then they went with Matt to do some fun activities, and then came to our house and stayed up late playing outside. This year, Jonah decided to invite a couple of friends to the Georgia Basketball game that Matt was able to get extra tickets too. It was a night game and the boys had a blast.
Only two of the boys were "brave" enough to go and have a picture taken with the cheerleaders.
Of course, they had to talk to Hairy Dog and get a picture with him.
Even the grown-ups couldn't resist the Hairy Dog picture taking experience.

During half-time, Hairy Dog brought Jonah a cookie cake that said Happy Birthday. He was a little bit excited about that.

After the game, the boys were able to meet the players and get their autographs.

Jonah and the other boys had a blast celebrating at the game. Plus, the Dawgs won, so that added a happy note to the whole experience.

We are so glad that Jonah is in our family. He is a great big brother. Very helpful, loving, smart and he teaches me things everyday. Love you, Jonah!