Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Last week we had Vacation Bible School all week. I helped and the kiddos attended. During the afternoons we either swam or ran errands. This weekend we made a quick trip to Wichita to see Poppy, who had a hip replacement and to attend our niece's birthday party! Poppy is doing well and the party was a blast! The kids got to go swimming at the lake with Nana, Papa, Tommy, Phyllis, Ling, Lucy and Laney, and got to swim in Gram's hotel pool...all in the same day! This happened while Geoff and I bought a new truck to replace the company truck that Coleman is taking back. Don't get me wrong, Coleman is still paying for the truck, we just got to pick this time! We came home Sunday evening to start a new week. Playdates, Jesus Crew (a day program at our church on Tuesdays), Gymboree and Dance class will occupy us now for a few weeks. I have taken some pics lately...however the card is not in the camera and therefore I have no pics to share. This after my hubby thought we needed a new camera, and then didn't, and, well, you know how it goes! Now I have no idea where the card is for the old camera! Needless to say, the camera thing is just one of many things I'm playing catch up with this week!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

When is Landon Day?

Our Father's day started off with breakfast in bed and presents, the children then singing in church and then a nice lunch out. We went to the mall next...Daddy needed new shoes. The kids and I were waiting around the shoe dept. while Daddy did his thing and Landon says "I want presents too, Momma." I told him it was Daddy's day, so only he got presents today. Landon asked "When is Landon's day...I want presents!" I told Landon that his birthday was his special day for presents and it wasn't for a while. Claire decided to chime in with "I think there should be a Sister's Day." I countered with asking when it would be. "July 1st" was the answer. So, I asked her about Brother's Day? Claire responded: "July 2nd, Mom, right after sister day!". Being a glutton for punishment, I asked Claire what she would do on her "day". "Buy new high-heeled shoes, just like Daddy!" I had to ask...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Both of my children took swimming lessons this week. I decided if we were going to get it done this summer, we'd have to do it every day for a week. The kids really enjoyed it and made great progress! Claire can swim across the deep end of the pool doing a pseudo-crawl, without freaking out (too much!!!) and Landon is jumping in and swimming back to the side of the pool all by himself. They were both quite proud of their accomplishments and so were Mommy and Daddy. Today I've been at church helping prep for upcoming Vacation Bible School next week, and Daddy and the kids (and two teenagers from church) are emptying out and tearing down our shed in the backyard. It's a long story as to why we must do this, but at least now it will be done! Looks totally different, but we'll have a little more room now! A couple childhood funnies to leave with:

* We were having a little indoor craft time this week, when Claire says "I'm going to make our family on a log." She proceeds to glue puff balls together and then glue them on a pipe cleaner. She asked me how I liked it..."It's very original, honey." Claire's response: "That's art for ya, Mommy!"
* Landon was talking to the swimming teacher one day: "We have to learn to swim now or we'll get big and then sink to the bottom." The teacher agreed. So Landon continued "And if you don't wear your swim trunks you'll sink to the bottom, too!" (I did NOT say that to him to get him to wear his trunks, even though that was a battle several times!)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tennessee is a long state...

We got up Wednesday morning and headed to Tennessee...Sevierville to be exact. It is near Pigeon Forge, which is home to Dollywood and, therefore, our next destination. However, we first had to make a "pit stop", if you will, at Bristol Motor Speedway. Geoff salivated when we drove by going out to VA, so we decided to stop on the way back and take a tour of the facility. You could not have wiped the smile off of Geoff's face with a brillopad! We got to drive around the track, climb up the embankment and even stand in victory lane. Even I will admit it was a cool experience! We arrived at our hotel Wednesday afternoon accompanied by thunderstorms, and so after checking in and looking through a large amount of "indoor" entertainment options, we decided on the aquarium. This is supposedly the best aquarium in the US, and I'm pretty sure I believe that claim! The pics do not do justice to the large tanks of every kind of sea creature imaginable! For a large portion, we rode a "people-mover" (like in the airport) under the tanks of sharks, saw fish, and other insignificant fish (okay, probably not insignificant, but compared to sharks and saw fish...come on!). The kids were able to "pet" horseshoe crabs and get in the middle of tanks with puffer fish and sea horses. We finished the rainy evening with dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. A first and very memorable event for the children, I might add!

Thursday morning we got up and went straight to Dollywood. With storms forecasted for that day also, we wanted to get everything in we could before the washout. We arrived just as it opened, and at first glance you might think you were entering a nicer, and maybe more done-up (for lack of a better word) Silver Dollar City. But as we walked and played, we realized there were more shops and food than SCD, but not as many rides or things to do. We had a blast riding the water ride down the hill, watching the kids do the kiddie rides, driving cars (on a track, of course) and seeing a couple shows. The train was a highlight...this is no "amusement train", this is full-blown steam engine with a history. Her name is Klondike Katie and she put soot in our eyes at every turn! We visited the candy shop as the storm blew in, because they had shut down most of the rides because of lightening. After trying to wait it out, and eat candy, for about 30 minutes, we decided to call it a day and make a run for it. We played in the hotel pool for a little while until the rain stopped. That evening, when the sun came back out, we headed out for some "speed" at the Nascar track. The kids had carts they could drive themselves, and enjoyed getting in with Daddy or Mommy and racing each other. Geoff and I decided that evening we had all had enough and would depart for AR the next morning. Tennessee is a LONG state, and the kiddos determined this early on. The trip back was no walk in the park...a huge storm, 5 o'clock traffic and no electricity (which meant no food) were a few of the issues we dealt with. Throw in some irritable kids and you've got yourself some fun!!!! Besides that, we had a wonderful time, and would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone in VA that opened their home or spent time with us. We miss you all and hope to see you again soon!

Our Virginia Trip Part 2

Sunday morning we woke up and dressed in our finest to attend church with Doris, Tommy, Phyllis, Tim and Ann. This is the same church that Geoff grew up in. It's a beautiful, old, traditional Presbyterian church, and it was wonderful to sit through service surrounded by family. Geoff took a little walk down memory lane as people welcomed him back for the visit. We ate lunch afterwards at Lisa and Bob's (Ann's sister) and said goodbye to cousins. In the afternoon, we swam in Tommy & Phyllis' pool. The kids had fun jumping off the board and cooling off. That evening we went to Robin, Mike and Taylor's for dinner (Ann's other sister) and enjoyed good food with the aunts, uncles and Shir Shir and Papa Bunker. Claire had fun harassing Taylor and his girlfriend while Landon was enthralled by all the "big kid" toys Taylor had in the basement, not to mention all the Tonka trucks outside in the rocks! We were so busy this day, we didn't take any pictures!

Monday morning we slept in alittle and then headed off to the Peaks of Otter. This is a mountain in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountain Range. There is a trail that goes to the very top that we thought the kids would enjoy. When we arrived, we changed our minds...it was a mile-and-a-half up one way! We decided to ride the bus up, so while we waited for departure we visited the nature center. There was a wonderful and well-educated Ranger in the center ready to teach, and our children were eager learners! She let them feed some turtles, taught them about wildlife that lived on the mountain and then let them help her dig for more worms. While digging, Claire found a salamander, which the Ranger kept to live in the center and let Claire name. The kiddos enjoyed the bus ride up, but Claire got sick on the short hike up to the viewing area on the mountain. Landon found it very interesting that he could see all around him, and for so far. We ended up riding the bus down also, which was not the original plan. But if you had seen Claire's face...well, it wasn't worth pushing it! That evening we visited Shir Shir and Papa Bunker and took them out to dinner. On the way back to their house, we stopped at the rescue station where Papa Tim used to work. We were lucky enough that someone was there and let the kids get in the rescue truck and run the lights and siren. Landon (and Geoff) were in heaven, and the kids learned a lot about what the trucks did. We played a little longer before heading back to the hotel...Landon loved showing off his Lego skills and Claire enjoyed having the full attention of the great-grandparents.

Point #2: Landon noticed it first, but Claire was not far behind. While in the car and entering the mountain areas there were things said like: "I can't believe how far I can see", or "Look at all those mountains!". It was amusing to listen!

Tuesday morning we stopped in to see Doris and a long-time friend of the family, Virginia. After catching up there, we headed to downtown Lynchburg to meet Tommy at the Amazement Square. This place ranks on my top ten of the coolest things I've ever seen...and I've been around! There were 4 levels of learning, exploring, playing and just plain fun for kids of all ages. There was a whole area dedicated to gravity, inertia and several other things I don't understand, not to mention a human heart the size of my living room, a Dr's office, a silversmith's shop, lighted stairs, a painting chamber and the James River made child-size, complete with boats and levy's! There was also a complete chute and ladder assembly down the whole middle of the building so you would never have to use the stairs to get from the top to bottom if you didn't want to! Phyllis, Doris and Helen met us for lunch and then we all went back to play together, well into the afternoon. Landon's favorite thing was the boats, and Claire's was the paint chamber. That evening, we made the rounds and said good bye to all the family one last time before heading out the next morning.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Virginia Trip Part 1

Thursday the 4th was Claire's last day of school. Not much happened, but I picked Claire up early that day from school so we could get on the road for our trip to VA. I plan on detailing each and every day, however, I have NO idea how long this will take (there are lots of pics to filter through!). We stopped Thursday night just after midnight to refuel at a hotel in Tennessee before heading the rest of the way into Lynchburg Friday. We checked into our hotel before heading out to see the family.

Point 1: Our children thought staying in a hotel was really cool, at least the first few nights. Somebody made the bed every day while we were gone, we had our own little refrigerator, "for my milk, mama" (Landon), and there was, OMG!!!, a pool!!!!
We headed to Tommy & Phyllis' that evening for dinner with Tim, Ann and Tim's family. The kiddos got reacquainted with everyone, and even Landon cozied up to the relatives he'd never met after a few minutes. We shared a meal, good laughs and fun memories. (Not to mention some lemon chello!)

Saturday morning we got up and toured Lynchburg with Papa, after visiting with Doris. We walked along and over the James River on a neat river walk and had lunch together in the beautiful sunshine. Papa had lots of interesting stories about the town where him and his family have spent most of their years. You can still ask Landon today what river we saw and he'll tell you correctly!

Saturday afternoon we had a little down time before heading over to the anniversary party for Geoff's grandparents...Ann's parents. They were celebrating 60 years together, which I have to say is quite a feat! They were unaware of our family's presence in VA until that evening when Geoff opened the car door for Shir Shir. This was the event of the season: It was beautifully done with decor, yummy food, and lots of family to wish the couple well! It was nice that all of the Hill family was around for our children to meet...there were other kiddos their age to keep them busy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love to my Sweetie!

One more thing...I wanted to say Happy Anniversary to my sweet husband (technically it was yesterday). This was the first anniversary we've had that didn't have a dance recital or other commitment scheduled, and although we didn't get to do anything too special, we did go out to eat at Doe's, our favorite place. I can't believe it's been 8 years since that beautiful spring day in Kansas when we said "I do". I didn't think it was possible, but I love you more today than that day and promise to continue loving you forever! Love ya babe!

Water Bug and Dancin' Queen

Last Saturday we met the Symons' out at Beaver Lake for an afternoon with jet skis and friends. It was a beautiful, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, and although the lake water was still pretty chilly, it was warm. Landon jumped right in and was ready for a ride. As the afternoon wore on, it was Landon who pursued the riding and driving of the skis the most. Daddy actually let him push the gas and steer on his own...Landon was in heaven and had a look of sheer delight on his sweet bronzed face. He was a quite a little water bug, skirting across the water in his "fast boat". Claire had fun too, but she'd had a big day Friday (see post below) and was pretty mellow. After swimming, riding and basking in the sun, we headed home to eat dinner and get Claire to bed.

Claire went to tryout of the "company" dance troupe Sunday afternoon at the dance school she attends. Earlier in the year, her dance teacher, who is also the company director, told me that she wanted to Claire to tryout. Since then, Claire had been anxiously awaiting that day. Nerves got the best of her at first...she spotted me when they came out of the room for a break and she burst into tears. But with the help of the teachers, she was back in the audition room in no time and as her teacher told me afterwards..."she hammed it up like the Claire we know". Claire made the company; she was so proud of herself! Her family was too! She'll learn a special dance with the other kiddos in her specific company group which they will compete at three different competitions during the year. They also dance at charity events and functions. One last note...Claire was also chosen to do a duet (with one of her best friends from dance). Only a few couples were chosen for this honor, so now we are super proud of our dancin' queen!

Field and Fun Day

Claire's school has done some of the most wonderful and extensive events this year that I've ever seen at an elementary school. From the Tailgator in the fall to Gator Gallery this winter, the PTO is very involved in making the school years full of memories. Last Friday was Field and Fun Day for the school. Claire was so excited, she was up early and had her specially made Tshirt on before breakfast. After I dropped Landon off at Parent's Day Out and helped Claire's teacher shuffle the kids from one event to the next. They had several air-filled bounce houses, slides and obstacle courses, plus tug-of-war (into a pool full of water), peddle cars races, sno-cones and a DJ! And that was only outside! Everyone stopped for lunch at the same time (the volunteers were fed Subway...see we're spoiled!) and then the inside events began. They did a craft, watched a short movie with popcorn, played Bingo and learned a hustle from the Bentonville High cheerleaders. Claire had so much fun, and I'm sure will remember that day for years to come!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Landon's Last Day as a Baby

Landon's last day of Parent's Day Out was last week. They did face painting, blew bubbles outside, got to play in water and made an ABC book. Landon had a rough start to this school year...he was bitten by a classmate the first day he went, and was often crying when I left him. He was much better by Christmas, but this spring started having some anxiety again. I would not have made it through without the help of his teachers. Miss Yuzra is from India and Miss Linda has been helping since time started (is a true Arkansan) and are both the most wonderful people you'd ever meet. Almost every time I would pick Landon up I'd hear things like "He's the best little boy" and "I wish all our boys would act like him". It's those things that made me keep taking him back, knowing that he was having fun and learning and obeying, even when my heart was broken by him crying. Landon's face was painted like a cat. Miss Yuzra said "I painted him like a cat because he can be so cuddly, yet so intelligent it's scary!". I think that describes my little boy fairly well!

Busy Week

Okay, so last week was hectic. I am hoping to get pics and full stories blogged this week, but I can make no promises because we are leaving for our drive to VA Thursday, which is also Claire's last day of school. Here are a few highlights:
* Landon had his last day of Parent's Day Out. I will miss that program, as he will be a preschooler next year! (sob)
* Claire had "Fun and Field Day" at her school. This was a total blast and nothing like the field days back in my elementary years!
* We spent the day at the lake Saturday under the sun and warm temps...and with our BFF's: the Symons'.
* Claire had tryouts for the dance company where she takes lessons...and made the competitive company! Huge deal, and we are super proud!