We've wanted to go to a little park here in Franklin pretty much since we found it but for one reason or another hadn't been able to go. But this past Sunday we braved periodic bursts of rain to head out and get a look at the Harpeth River via a little walk through the woods at the park. It was muddy and buggy but it was really fun. I think it would be more fun if we had inner tubes and could just jump in.
The water is pretty and swift moving and perfect for canoeing this time of year. By the end of the summer it will be a different story since we get very little rainfall that time of year.
The rain made it misty and a bit foggy outside.
This is my new favorite picture, I think I'm going to frame it. Hmmm, just noticed Trav's shirt in the background. Drat. We've also wanted to go canoeing down the Harpeth and there are several places to put canoes in. I hear it's a nice long ride. Maybe soon.....
Um, yeah, I've been meaning to post, but, well...you know stuff comes up and then we had a big storm and it knocked us offline for a couple of days. The very nice AT&T repairman left a little bit ago and now I have service again. I have to say though that not having the option of checking e-mail or blogs has left me way less distracted and I like it.
The past week was positively wonderful- mostly. Last Friday (a whole week ago!) Kris and Mary kept our kiddos overnight (!) so that Trav and I could have a date night. We dropped the kids off later than we wanted to because of work and traffic and Chloe being completely grubby when I picked her up from school but it worked out nicely because we were able to go to Providence in Mt. Juliet for dinner and some shopping. I was excited because I've always had a little crush on Mt. Juliet as a place. I mean, it sounds so romantic doesn't it? And it's really pretty. But I hardly ever make the drive because it's so far from where we live. Dinner was at Ruby Tuesday's and it was fabulous. No really. It's not gourmet exactly, but I *love* their crabcakes. And I think that their menu is really fabulous. Travis got a bison burger- he loves those.
The next day we met Kris and Mary at the Pfunky Griddle. It was really nice to be out and have breakfast together. Mary mentioned that it was too hot and I wasn't really hot but as a general rule I don't get into places that you have to cook your own food. I know it's popular and other people seem to really get into it but I cook all the time. We rarely go out to eat- other than say, Chick-Fil-A, so if we're going to go out I want to have my food cooked for me while I enjoy a nice conversation with friends. Which we had- with Kris because Mary sat at a table with *all* of the kids. I'm not sure how that happened.
Memorial Day was nice and relaxed. We talked and cleaned and grilled steaks. We still have a watermelon in the cooler that we haven't cut. It always seems like a good idea but a whole watermelon for 5 people is a lot.
On Wednesday we had a really big storm. It reminded me of a Florida storm with lots of lightning and thunder. And wouldn't you know it- the weatherman said we had some sort of tropical air mass- thing. I enjoyed the storm. Mostly because I didn't have to go out in it. That afternoon I had a Dr. appt. because I wasn't feeling well but on the way Halle came down with something. Really, within an hour she went from being normal to being lethargic and sneezing and just sitting in my lap moaning about not feeling well. That kind of thing was normal with Chloe and Amanda but not with Halle. My Dr. was so concerned about her that she went ahead and checked her out while we were there. She didn't have a fever then so we decided to wait to do an antibiotic but she got progressively worse that day. And it was Life Group day and we were supposed to lead worship. And we did. I sang with Halle sitting in my lap. She rallied a bit after worship and our Life Group leader had brought some Gator Aid-pink- which helped. She's on antibiotics now and is better than she was but she's still really not feeling well.
And today....hmmm. I have plans for today. Chloe is maybe, possibly skipping school. My brain went on summer vacation two weeks ago and I can't seem to get her to bed on time. She's got two full days next week and the last day is two hours long. I'm not sure why they do that. But I'm looking forward to it. I started a little pillowcase dress last week for Halle and got stuck because I bought the wrong size bias tape. It really is the easiest thing ever and I'm getting better at the whole sewing thing. I'm determined to finish it today and make one for Chloe. If I just worked on dresses for the whole day I could probably knock out all four that I have in mind to make for them (two each). But I also have a ton of cleaning to do. So I'll try to stay balanced and have a lot to show for the end of the day. And maybe tonight I can watch something interesting and get started on finishing my grandma's quilt. It looks like she's completely sewn it together by hand- big undertaking. It's coming apart in a couple of places so that should be a piece of cake to take care of. And I guess that's all for now.
This has been a fantastic day so far. And last night was really fun too. Every Monday we have family night. It was Trav's idea and it's something that everybody looks forward to. I usually try to make something fun for dinner and then Chloe reads a Bible story and then we play a game or something like that. Well, last night everybody got salad (mean mommy) and then we took a walk. Even miss Amanda walked with us. For one night a week she's a captive to family things. You'll understand when you have teenagers. The weather has been perfect for the last few days (high 60's) and we had such a great time. Then we played Super Monkey Ball. Last week Travis bought a used game cube. No, it's not a Wii but we don't have the money for that so we're not buying it. The only downside is that sometimes I get motion sickness from that game. Seriously. There's just too much going on at some points, so I had to hide in the bedroom while Travis and Chloe finished playing.
Today is a super-special day for Chloe because it's field trip day! She's been so excited about it. I wish I could have gone but for some reason this school only allows 1 (!) chaperone to go with the class. Last year I think we had about 6 chaperones. Anyway, she picked out her outfit last night and asked if she could wear a skirt. Sure, no problem. Then I saw that it was a pink and black plaid skirt. My initial reaction was to say (OK, I actually did say) no way, that doesn't match. Then she begged and I relented. Then she asked if she could wear the striped tights. I was initially horrified and then I said, "sure, why not"? Know why? Because she is a beautiful, thoughful, creative soul and it just comes out everywhere. When we get to FL, no matter what school she goes to she's going to have to wear a uniform. I personally am neither pro nor con on the uniform issue. But I think that she'll feel stifled by it- a lot. So for today my sweet little butterfly will be wearing a plaid skirt and striped leggings. And I'm OK with it. I think it's really cute.
And this morning I took Halle for a walk. We pretty much always walk the same place because I don't have to drive anywhere to do it. It's beautiful and they have a pond with fish and turtles and geese. We all love going there. When we went last night we forgot to take bread with us and the fish were really disappointed. So today I made sure to take some with us. I always feel sorry for the turtles because they just aren't fast enough to get to the little bits of bread that we drop. So I figured out that the secret is to drop *big* chunks of bread because the smaller fish can't drag the whole thing down. Does anybody know what kind of fish those are? I can name a ridiculous amount of salt water fish because I spent so much time doing that as a kid but I'm kind of clueless as to what these are. They are kind of blue so I'm going to guess that they're bluegills. Animal names are usually descriptive like that.
We also fed the fish on Saturday and for the first time ever we saw a really big carp. Trav thinks he's about 3 1/2 feet long.
I tried really hard to get some pics of him and I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to show these to Trav tonight. I just love these guys. I love wildlife and being outside- especially when the weather is perfect like this. This is a great day.
Are you tired of pictures of these things yet? Well, here are miss Kyleigh's blocks all together, finished and shipped. I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out, even though they aren't perfect. And I'm even happier that I'm done with them. It shouldn't have taken me so long to finish them but I'd get stuck on something and they'd sit for a couple of months until I'd remember them again. Thankfully Kyleigh hasn't started school yet :) Travis spilled the beans on the aprons for Landon and Cameron and I kind of meant them as a surprise. But I think they'll like using them when they bake with Shane.
When you live in a house the size of ours every little bit of space is important. There are nooks here and there where stuff is just kind of piled for lack of a better place to put it but for the most part everything has a place. I should really get rid of everything that doesn't. But for the last two and a half years that we've lived here our hallway has pretty much looked like this:
Actually that's a vast improvement of what it used to be. We used to have one laundry hamper that wasn't nearly big enough to hold dirty clothes for 5 people. We bought this laundry sorter at Costco a few months ago and I love it. It really is the best $50 I ever spent. But it left little walkway in the hall. I can't even count how many times I've caught my wrist on the hall closet door while walking by. It always *really* hurts. But since our cats departure, it opened up storage space in the laundry room and we were able to put the laundry sorter in there. Finally. So here's our walkway now: It feels really weird to have all that space but I love it. I also love that my bathroom (laundry and bathroom are together) doesn't smell like cat litter- or worse. When I walked in there this morning I actually noticed that the bathroom smelled *good*- vanilla coconut- heavenly compared to what it was.
Can you guess what these guys are? The pile of seeds under the plants probably gives it away. Pumpkins. Yes, pumpkins. Last fall when my decorative pumpkin was starting to go bad I tossed it out in the back yard because I'd heard that deer like to eat the inside. I don't think any deer nibbled on it but the seeds were all left behind after the pumpkin decomposed. So now I have little pumpkin plants- I think I counted 8 in all. Travis almost mowed them down last night not realizing what they were. So I guess we'll see how it goes. Could I be lucky enough to get more than one pumpkin this year? My fingers are crossed....
OK, enough moping already. Today was tougher than I expected but I'm a lot better now. I've been cleaning up all the cat nastiness that has literally covered every flat surface in the house and I feel better. I want to remember the good stuff but cleaning flea bits and hair and general gross stuff helps me to keep the rose colored glasses off. And the fact that I feel a lot better helps too. I'd even developed a backache in the past few days. I started to suspect that it was cat related because when I made them sleep outside my backache lessened. Well, last night I took Benadryl because of seasonal allergies (why, oh, why must I also be allergic to trees? I love them so...) and guess what? No more backache. It's not scientific proof but I joked with Trav that if we kept them I'd soon be in a wheel chair. Maybe it was just the stress of the whole thing.
Anyway, isn't this just the sweetest bird's nest ever? Chloe found it on the ground a few days ago (which is important because it's actually illegal to take a bird's nest from a tree) along with this remnant of a shell. I've since donated it to Chloe's class but it's enough to put a smile on my face.
As are the new leaves on my lemon tree. This guy had a tough winter. I didn't really take care of him like I should have and he was blasted with hot air from the heater for pretty much the whole winter so about two inches on the top are actually dead. I didn't know if he'd pull through so these new leaves made me really happy.
I hate May because of allergies but I *love* it because that's when my rosebush blooms. These are the prettiest pink blooms I've seen in these here parts. I've seen lots of red ones and a few light pink ones but these are my fave. I keep thinking I'll try to take a cutting and root it.
My sunflowers courtesy of my friendly neighborhood birds. I'm thankful because it's actually kind of difficult to get the seeds out of the sunflowers. These guys are growing too close together and are between a 2 x 4 and the patio. I think I'm just going to try to get the 2 x 4 out and see how it goes. I hate pulling them up- but stunted plants that don't flower aren't much fun either. We'll see how it goes.
And just for giggles...we've had so much rain lately that my door mat has actually sprouted plant life. I've never seen this before. My guess is that there were weed seeds in the mat that sprouted because of the constant moisture. Now I'm off to eat dinner and Chloe has requested that we take a walk around Downtown Franklin tonight. That is sure to keep the smile on my face.
I've been asked a couple of times if the cats are in a place that the girls could visit and the answer to that is no. We aren't telling the girls where they are because we think that it's easier for them that way. They are in a place that they need to be adopted though. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it is to find a place to take cats. There are so many out there and it doesn't matter how wonderful yours are, they just aren't taking them. And I'm going on about them but I really do want them to find a loving home again so if you know anybody in this area that wants a cat let me know and I'll e-mail you.
I mentioned that I made them spend Monday night outside because I couldn't take it anymore. Well, these are inside cats, they like to go outside but they aren't equipped to stay there. Tuesday morning they were crying to get inside and Phoenix started climbing the front screen door. I guess he figured out that I would take him inside if he didn't stop. Of course I did and the first thing he did was look for the litter box. He's big but he's a baby.
Apparently none of them slept that night because when I let them all back in so I could get them ready to go they passed out.
I let the girls have their pictures taken with them all one last time so we could remember them. This is Bailey and she lets the girls carry her around like Phoenix does. They were both so paitent with them. Sometimes she'd cry to get into the girls room to play with them.
And this is Sophie. I was her human. For some reason she loved me more than anyone else. A lot of times I lay across the bed on my stomach when I'm reading the Bible and praying. She would often lay on the small of my back and purr. Other times she'd take a nap with me. She's not as good with small kids as the others are. Probably because when she was a kitten Halle would pick her up by her head and carry her around. She likes big people much better. But she also fetches. Yes, really. She likes to chase those tabs from milk jugs so if you toss one in the room she'll bring it back. She doesn't always get it all the way back to you but close.
So I guess I'm done. I really didn't think that I'd have such a hard time with this but I really miss them. I just want them to find a good home. What I really want is to not be allergic to cats but I don't think I'm going to get that.
Sad but true...our kitties said goodbye tonight. It's a long story but (with help from a few friends) I came to realize that most (if not all) of my current health issues are related to the cats. I never knew that being allergic to an animal could make somebody so sick. But they did and after weeks of searching we've found a new home for them. Even though I was sad that they had to go, I'm pretty excited now. I actually made them spend the night outside last night because I couldn't take it anymore. And you know what? For the first time in I don't know how long, I woke up without feeling like I had the flu or with a headache. I actually went for a walk this morning instead of sleeping the moring away just to get up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. The difference was immediate and amazing. I actually expected it to take much longer to feel better.
This is Halle with Phoenix and they looked this way pretty much every time they were together.
Chloe with Phoenix...sniff. And well, I guess these are all of Phoenix. There were more than a few tears today but I think that tomorrow will look much brighter.
I would just like to take a moment to say that I *love* Mother's Day! Well, I wish it could be a better day for my mom though. My brother and I can't always get to their house for the day. It's a lot easier for us but we were just there for Easter so we couldn't make another trip. Trav's mom has his brothers and sister so she's able to spend it with family but we haven't spent a Mother's Day with her since the first year we got married. OK, all that said, I had a wonderful, amazing, fantastic day.
My only real request was that I not have to make *anything*. I do love cooking and making wonderful things for everybody but I wanted a day off. OK, my other request was that we have Publix subs because I haven't had one in a *really* long time. I love Publix subs, mmmmm. And I wanted to be outside. So I guess I had three requests. I really, really wanted to go to Fall Creek Falls to go hiking. But I really felt like we should be at church. That probably sounds odd but I don't really like to go to church on Mother's Day. It probably stems from the fact that I've heard no less than two dozen sermons on the Proverbs 31 woman and how we should be like her. But when I was a single mom and in college it really didn't apply and was just really painful. So I'd take Amanda to the beach or something. So we got to church late. Even though I knew I was supposed to be there I still drug my feet. And the service was amazing. Pastor Dale had some great insight and felt that God wanted to set people free and bring healing and that's what we went after. Then he preached about drawing from the well of living water. It was so appropriate and beautiful and I was so thankful that we went. Oh, and helpful too. There is no way to be what Proverbs 31 says we should without drawing from that well.
Then it was on to Publix and the zoo! The weather was overcast and perfect for walking around. We decided to do the loop around the animals in the reverse order that we usually do so that we could spend time looking at things that we usually whiz by because we've gotten too tired to see the rest of it. So we let the kiddos go to the petting zoo.
And the playground. We really had a fabulous time climing the rope, um, thingy. At the top of the enclosure there is a slide that is, of course, really tall and really dark. It was so fun. And the second time I went up there was a man standing there and he asked me "do you think our big butts will fit down that thing"? To which I replied, "well, my big butt just went down so you're probably OK". But later on I really wished that I'd slugged him. Who says that to a woman? Even if she has a big butt you still shouldn't say it. OK, I'm over it now.
I was also treated to the most wonderful presents. A night of babysitting from Amanda plus a Starbuck's gift card, AN ALTON BROWN DVD COLLECTION from Trav (! I had to shout it because I'm soooo excited), and a handmade, handpainted plate from Chloe. She made it herself in art class at school. I will treasure it always and proudly display it, even when she's 45. I really have the most amazing family ever. I am ridiculously blessed.
I watched Martha today, well at least part of it. And she had a baker from NYC that makes baked goods that are vegan and gluten free. Yum, right? I think it would take a while for me to amass all the alternative ingredients to bake one of these goodies but I think it would be worth it. You can find the recipes here. Enjoy!
Amanda's first commercial, or trailer came out. A few months ago a friend of hers from Governor's School asked her to be in a commercial for a book that was being shot in Franklin. So you can view it here. Her part starts at minute 4. I couldn't be more excited for her. Actually, I think I'm a little bit more excited than she is. I'm just really happy that she's getting to do something she loves at least on a small scale. I hope you enjoy it.
It was mile run time for Chloe's school yesterday. I know I blogged about it last year but I can't seem to find it. She told me that her goal was to run it in 12 minutes but it took her 19 minutes to run it in Monday's practice. That let me know that she really needed a running buddy and since my health isn't quite to the point that I can run a mile with her, I asked Amanda to do it. And surprisingly she said yes. I say surprisingly because up until this point Amanda has shunned anything that involved a) getting sweaty and b) getting up early. But yesterday she got up as soon as her alarm clock went off and got ready to go.
Here she is being a bit grumbly because it was chilly outside. But she and Halle soon were able to pump themselves up for the run. And they're off! Chloe, my sweet little Chloe is *always* at the back of the pack. She's just not a really fast runner. But she's steady. She picks a pace and keeps it the entire way around- just like her teachers tell her to do. The rest of the pack shoots off and half way through are ready to call it quits but Chloe just keeps running.
Then at the end she's able to sprint to the finish and ends up beating a bunch of kids that she was behind to begin with. She was really proud of herself. And she finished in 11:22, beating her goal and her run time from last year by about 2 minutes! Yes, I was proud of her.
Then a little later that day I took Halle to have lunch with Chloe at school.
The girls were both really excited and Chloe's classmates cornered us in the locker area to see Halle make herself burp. Did I ever mention that's a thing that she taught herself? The kids loved it.
The other reason we were at school was because Chloe is star of the week and had the opportunity to share anything that she wanted with the class. Well, she picked Halle. I thought it was really sweet. So Chloe had Halle share 3 nursery rhymes that she taught her- Jack and Jill, Hickory Dickory Dock, and Humpty Dumpty. Which she shared perfectly. Those of you that have met Halle know what a huge improvement this is. She wouldn't talk to anybody, much less perform in front of a bunch of people. Then Chloe asked her to burp for the whole class. At least her teacher thought it was funny. I'm not really sure why Chloe looks like she's snarling in this picture.
So all in all it was a good day to be a Button girl.