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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Well, I have taken so long to do a post on D-Man that, I think his feelings are hurt!

So, here are a few shots of my first born.

He is a little crazy, like his momma. I like that about him.

Although, anybody that knows me, knows that I would never jump off a diving board like this....or with photographic documentation!

He is a really, really good big brother.

This is him doing school work while holding his baby sister.  I did not give her to him.  He went and got her, on his own.  I tried taking her away so he could "concentrate", but he refused. 

I wish I could have done school while holding a cute little baby!  Well, not my own baby or anything - but, hey, a sister or someone, you betcha!

Here is one of all my "little angels"....doesn't he look really, really, excited to be there?

I asked him really nicely if he would do this for me.  He looked at me like I was crazy.  Went and plopped himself in one of the waiting chairs.  Thought about it.  And, agreed to pose for this shot last Christmas.  He agreed to wear wings, but no halo, and I didn't even have to promise him a cell phone or new video game!  What a guy!

He just started playing baseball last spring.  He played the last game at the state tournament with a broken thumb, unbeknowst....(is that how that is spelled???) us.  They came in 2nd.

But, he didn't let that stop him from playing again this fall.  Now he is even trying a new position.  One that makes it hard for his momma to recognize him.

No broken bones!!! Praise the Lord!

My first born is smart, a little shy (at first), hustles at baseball games AND practices, helps out around the house (only when asked) and, generally, makes me smile. 

I will leave you with a shot of him doing an impersonation of ME.

To help put this in a little better perspective, this is me right just after giving birth to V-girl.

And this.....drum roll my me!

V-Girl cracks me up in this one.  She is old enough there to be thinking "What in the world?"

Gotta love him!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Year Photo Shoot

My sister's baby and mine are about 2 weeks apart.  My sister was my official photographer until we moved south.  So, since we are in a budget crunch, I have now become my children's official photographer.  My sister's one year photo shoot of her baby turned out like this

Here is how mine turned out. 

Okay, I guess this isn't too bad....a little fuzzy though.

Here is what I think is the best one...

It is the closest I got to her real smile all day.

I got a lot of this kind of shot....

And this kind....

It is now almost a month since she actually turned 1.  I took these last week - mid September.  It was about 5:00 p.m. and about 90 degrees.  My knees were killing me I just can't squat - worth squat anymore.  So I was cranky, kind of like this...

We were both done at this point.  I was mad....disappointed and just thinking, shoot, I am going to have to try this again.  The bad thing is....well, my fuzzy photography for one...but when she turned 1, she only had 2 teeth.  She now has 6. 

The most frustrating thing is that she is the happiest, goofiest kid around and refused to show it in any of these shots.  She just kept walking around the yard and would barely even have eye contact with me.  Normally, she will look you deep in the eye as though trying to convey some deep message....but not on picture day. 

Nope.  Nada.  Nothing.  The dead grass was much more interesting.

No smiles.  Not even any adorable shots of her looking at me with her big blue eyes.

Oh, Kandi, I miss you so!!!  When V-Girl is old and asks why there are no pictures of her like there are of the other kids, I will just tell her it is all your fault.  You wouldn't move to Georgia with me!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I call my husband Rainman....have since we started dating.  It actually works for him in two ways.  The first, most obvious way, is because he is a meteorologist or in real people terms, a weatherman.  But, really that is NOT why I started calling him Rainman.

He is probably the smartest person that I know in real life.  I found out early on that he can do weird math calculations in his head....really quickly.  A little bit like the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie Rainman.  Remember from the movie, when the box of toothpicks spilled on the ground and he says something like "1,382 toothpicks....definitely, 1,382 toothpicks" and he was right?  That is the kind of stuff my Rainman can do!  Annoying sometimes?  Yes.  Helpful sometimes?  Definitely.  Grocery store comparing prices per ounce.  Sale items when you need to figure out percentage discounts.  The tip on your restaurant bill.  You get the idea.

Rainman and I met through a dating service.  It was a matchmaking service, not a video one, or the more modern on-line options there are now.  The one we used was supposedly for marriage minded individuals and not ones that were just looking to "hook up" -if that is what the kids are calling it these days.  ;) I was his first (and last) date.  He was my 11th (and not my last) date.

Here he is shortly before I met him. He is holding his nephew.

Cute, huh? 

Only thing is....I didn't think he was very cute when we first met....he had those muscles well hidden.  The swim cap is also hiding his almost white-blond anchor man hair cut. 

Yeah, I know....kind of shallow.  What he was, however, was really, really nice to me.  We talked and talked on our first date and had to be encouraged by the wait staff at Baker's Square to leave, as they were trying to close.

I continued to be set up with guys through the dating service after our first date.  He did not.  After I started comparing all the new guys to Rainman, and they always fell short, I decided that I should probably give him a chance, anchorman hair and all.

He was on a softball team and, at the end of the season - probably about 1 or 2 months into us dating - he hosted a pool party.  I did not then....nor do I now...swim in front of strangers (although looking back at my "then" body, I should have been swimming and doing all sorts of things in front of strangers!)  Anyway, since I was not going to be swimming with these strangers, I took up residence in the lawn chairs with some of the other wives to watch the fun.  I had my sunglasses on when Rainman took his shirt off and jumped into the pool.....Oh. My. Goodness.  Where did that come from?  See, he has a very slim build, but, apparently, he was all muscle underneath his nerdy work clothes.  And, I do mean nerdy.  Really.

I thought I was only having this epiphany inside of my head, but apparently, I wasn't as calm, cool and collected as I thought, because one of the wives next to me looked at me and said, "Haven't you seen those abs before?"

No, I hadn't.  I also hadn't seen the biceps, the triceps, the pecs, the gluts.... 

His nerdy exterior was hiding the body of a stud!!!  Who knew?

Well, fast forward and we married about a year and a half later.

It has not always been easy, but it has been filled with adventures.  He is a "City Boy" raised near Chicago and I am a "Country Girl" (although admittedly, the older I get the more I like my City-fied vs. tents, for example)

In looking for pictures for this post, I had a hard time finding ones of him alone - we have lots of kids, you, I will just show you a few of him being what he is.....a great dad.....

This one is him with our oldest when we visited a dairy farm.  I was proud of my City Boy that day because even though he was nervous around all things country - he tried stuff and encouraged our son too.

He does not like being the center of attention nor is he a dancer.  That is why this next picture makes me smile.  They were the only two on the dance floor and people we didn't know were taking pictures because they were doing "fancy dancin" as my daughter called it with many spins and swirls involved.

His job has enabled us to travel a lot to places like....




I won't post pictures of everywhere....but we have been some cool places, like the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany,  Switzerland, Italy, California, Maine, New Hampshire, name just some of them, and now we are in Georgia.

In addition to loving our actual children, he is a great "fake dad" to the kids that we watch.  He loves them and they love him.

And all of this has been  with someone that I never would have picked on my own.    That is why I always tell people you don't always "know" right away.  I did NOT think my husband has cute at all when I first met him.   He didn't have the things on "my list", if you know what I mean.

And, you know what?  I would have missed out....big time!  Is our marriage perfect?  Nope.  Do I sometimes think I am crazy for marrying him? Yup.  Does he have irritating habits?  Yup. 


What I do have is a Godly husband, who is a great father (even to kids that don't belong to us), a great provider (especially now that I am not bringing in much money), and a great adventurer who is always planning our next trip!  I would not miss this ride with him for the world....irritating habits and all.

Hey, quick, Rainman.....what is 23% of $234?  Just kidding....but, really, by the time you read this sentence, he will have it figured out even if I don't actually need that information! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Sister, the Idea Girl

I have and older sister, well, a younger one too, but today I am going to focus on my older sister. 

She couldn't stand me for many, many years.  I have to assume she liked me when I was little like here....

Notice how stylish my mom is in this picture.  We were on vacation.  Believe me when I say to you this is NOT what I look like in my family vacation pictures. Comfort is my key word.  Anyway...

I thought she was beautiful and smart.  She had great clothes that I coveted.  She could wear make-up and would spend a lot of time getting her hair just right.  In short, I wanted to be her.  Apparently, this hero worship annoyed her though.  I think if she could have taken out a restraining order on me....she would have. 

Notice that I am in the middle and I didn't even get to steer!  This is where my childhood was spent regardless of the mode of transportation being used.  The middle.  Paddle boat or station wagon.  I got the hump...fine for short trips - but not for road trips....knees in your face and no window to look out or get a breeze from.  Anyway....

Instead, back in the 70's she came up with the idea to have a line (I think it was yarn) down the middle of our room that I WAS NOT TO CROSS...under any circumstances.  Of course, I did and, of course, she was angry.  The nail polish/eye shadow/roll-on deodorant and Loves' Baby Soft perfume...oh, and her Charlie perfume, were just sending me the siren call to come and sample their wears.  We had a rocky childhood together....

I will spare us all the pictures from the awkward teen years....pimples...bad teeth....braces....big collars....bell bottoms....ponchos....I think you get the idea!

Fast forward to when I was about 18.  I got a night time job near the apartment where she was living.  She let me live with her for the summer and even, sleep in the same bed....a very big deal, since when we used to sleep together in our younger years and, well, there is not gentle way to say this..... I used to wet the bed. 

 The way she tells it, I would roll over to her side of the bed to do "my business" and then roll over to my dry side of the bed and sleep in peace!  I have blocked out much of these years, so I cannot vouch for the validity of that statement....but that is what has been reported to me. 

Anyway, I came home from work about the time she left for work, so we didn't really sleep together....but still, considering where our relationship started....this was huge.  I still thought she hung the moon and now she seemed to think I was a little less annoying than I used to be.  She even took "model" shots of me. 

She even had the great idea to use a fan to give us that windswept look!

Fast forward again to us as grown ups.  She is one of my best friends....and I am pretty sure she feels the same way. 

Okay, this is not the best picture of us - but it makes me laugh.  We were on a girls only vacation in London.  I am pretty sure this was all her idea.  This is us and the pigeons of Trafalgar Square....they went a little crazy and we just wanted the picture and be done....they didn't get the hint!  There are also these huge statues of lions in Trafalgar Square that she had the great idea for us to climb up on to have our picture taken...the end result was good - but a lot of unkind butt shots were taken on the way.  I am not going to post those pictures!

My sister is known by those in her close circle as the one with all the great ideas.  If you are having a party - she has got ideas

This one was a Princess Party and it was fun for us grown ups and the kids!

Taking pictures - she has got ideas.  Putting together a scrapbook - she has got ideas.  Doing a puppet show - she has ideas.  Need a new look for your room - she has ideas.  She is super creative and her mind just works in a really clever way.  One of her specialties is treasure hunts.

I'm not sure if this was officially her idea - but she and my mom (who is super crafty and creative) had us do a girls day where we painted these glasses and gave them all names like: Miss Understood; Miss Placed; Miss My Lovin', etc. 

Get the idea? She is the Idea Girl for our family.

We have been telling her for years she should do something with this talent of hers, but the right opportunity never came along.  My younger sister Kandi started a blog, then I started one and now......drum roll older sister has started a blog to share some of her fantastic ideas

Check her out.....Karen's Ideas Galore.

Love you, big sis...sorry about some of the pictures!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fire Ants....the Aftermath.

Well, it has been 2 weeks since my run in with the fire ants.  I promised myself that I wasn't going to do this, but....

These little blistery things are what remain since the attack.

My leg isn't quite this gigantic....something about the angle the picture was taken....I think. I am sure it is like when you give yourself a double chin if you have your picture taken at the wrong angle.....Anyway.....

There they are.  The still itch like crazy if something irritates them, or if I think about them too much.  My husband gave me a massage the other night and my ankle itched so bad afterwards that I almost made myself bleed....I just couldn't stop scratching.  Sort of ruined the whole idea of being moisturized and relaxing and all that....  Crazy little buggers.

Anyway, there are my feet, etc. for the world to see....oh, well.

I am working on more interesting posts on the rest of my family members...but, I have some specific pictures in mind that I can't seem to locate.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prayer is Sitting On God's Lap

We homeschool, so we are able to pray if we want during school hours and even "study" religion.  We are using a new curriculum this year for our oldest...Sonlight....which includes a lot of reading.  So, I am reading aloud some of the subjects to him so he doesn't get too overwhelmed and bored right away.  One of the ones I am reading is about a canabalistic tribe in New Guinea....yuck!  But, he has a small book called Why Pray? by John F. DeVries that I am enjoying much more that people getting their heads chopped off and eaten.

The title for today was Prayer is Sitting in God's Lap.  The author talked about his memories of childhood riding on his grandfather's lap while mowing the lawn....even feeling relaxed enough to fall asleep.  It brought back memories for me of snowmobiling with my dad....not on his lap but riding in front of him...keeping my hands warm in two holes in the dashboard that were near the engine and, yes, falling asleep on his poor arms.  I felt safe and warm even as we zoomed around Minnesota in the winter.

But the best part of today's lesson was one I really needed to hear.  You have read about how tired I am in past posts because of my cute little baby.  So many times, I crawl into bed in a stupor and not very coherent.  I usually....usually remember to pray.....but many, many times, I fall asleep before I get past the God bless so and so part.  But here is what this book said to me today...

If you sometimes fall asleep in prayer while you are "sitting on God's lap", don't worry or feel as if you've disappointed God.  If your Father needs you, He will wake you.  Your quiet heart is a joy to Him.  Prayer is meant to involve the same delight a little child feels on a grandfather's lap - and so much security that you might drift off to sleep!

Isn't that awesome!!!  I really, really needed that encouragement today....maybe some of you needed it too!

Noah's Ark

Don't anybody move!!!

We visited a wild animal shelter/zoo thingie recently (where I was bitten by fire ants in the previous post), so I thought I would share a few pictures of our day.

First of all the good is free.  They just ask for donations, if you are able.

The bad news is....some of the animals roam freely....see the above picture. 

Okay, it really isn't bad news....but the boys were making me nervous with the llamas....they just kept creeping closer and can't really tell from the picture, but that little green you see peeking out from between the two redheads is my 5 year old boy.

Here he is with his cousin who was in town visiting us.  I kept envisioning the llama doing something and the big guys reacting quickly and my little guy caught....but really  nothing happened....I don't think they even spit at the boys....quite patient really for llamas.

The really dangerous animals, lions, tigers, bears, monkeys....they kept in enclosures.

The most fun of the day though was the ostriches.

They are really cool to see up close and personal.  They have long eyelashes and big Vegas showgirl type wings that they kept flapping up and down as they walked.  Dye them blue and put Rosemary Clooney and that other girl with the nice legs behind them and get ready for "Sisters....sisters....never were there such devoted sisters...."  Anyway, suffice it to say, they were awesome up close.....but the most fun I think we had that day is when they would "chase" the kids back and forth along the fence.

It was fun and if you ever get to the North Georgia area,check out Noah's Ark. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fire Ants!!!!

When we first moved to Georgia almost a year ago....there was one thing each and every conversation with the locals included.....a warning about fire ants.  We were warned how much it would hurt if bitten....that a baby had died after having her car seat put down on a fire ant hill.....that fire ants have some sort of way of communicating with each other so that when they bite they do it get the idea.

Thus began the constant diatribe from me every time we arrived at a new location, "Look out for fire ants!"  "Watch where you are stepping, there might be fire ants!"  "There is a big fire ant pile here, be careful!"

We recently had family in town from Minnesota and we decided to take them to a local wild animal shelter/zoo type place.  When we were a few minutes away from our destination, I realized I had forgotten my camera.  Although I have become much more sparing in my picture taking because with 6 kids, I am years behind in my scrapbooking - so more pictures taken = more behind in making my books = more guilt that I am not treating my kids the same = imagined conversations with the younger children when they are old about why mommy hardly took any pictures of them and the older kids have tons which must mean that mommy didn't love them.... anyway, this was a big photo op, so I was really bummed that I didn't have it. 

My family was following us because there were too many to fit in one vehicle, so when everyone arrived,  I needed to share my despair, so I hopped out of the van while Rainman got the stroller ready and walked over to my sister's van to share the news.  She is the one that got me hooked on scrapbooking, so I knew she would commiserate with me on this horrible development.....then I felt them.....little things crawling all over my ankle.....and then...owww, that hurt.....ooh, get them it cool...."No, it doesn't hurt that  bad.....I'm fine."

But, it really did hurt and boy there were a lot of them....all at once. 

Freaky, really. 

I am fine now.  However, nobody warned me about the little blisters that would be left behind in the coming days.  I had a ring around my ankle where my sock stopped that was blister, after blister and a few on my wrist from where I had brushed them off and made them angry....apparently.

So, yes, I was the one to get bit by fire ants after warning the kids for a year to be careful!!!

This is a picture my sister took of a different fire ant hill that day....the one I stepped in was camouflaged a LOT better.... notice the poor little moth being led to a fiery grave...

I think that my incident did help the kids future safety though - because they saw how quickly I stepped in quickly I brushed them off of quickly they bit me....and the loads of blisters I got later.  I should have taken a picture of them, but I didn't want to show the world my "cankles"!