Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Thinking about the title of this post, I realized that just about any day around here is a day at the zoo.....between laundry, dishes, meals, diapers, red mud, baseball and 4 wild little monkeys, it certainly feels like a zoo!  However, this weekend we spent an afternoon at the real zoo.  It had been 4 years since I had last taken the kids to the Birmingham zoo....just 3 weeks before Matthew was born!

Of course, we began the day at the ballpark (surprise, surprise) with an 8am practice.  The kids and I then drove down to Birmingham to meet Daddy (who had been working the previous 24 hours) and enjoy lunch at one of our favorite non-local restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory.  After filling up on lots of great food and packing a few pieces of cheesecake into the cooler to bring home with us, we headed to the zoo.  Of course, we ended up taking the long way to the zoo because even though between the two of us, we lived in Birmingham for 9 years (and for 2 of those years Ezra drove an ambulance all over the city), we still took the wrong exit followed by a missed turn, but we did make it to the zoo by 2pm.  And even though I was concerned we might not have enough time to see everything, we saw all the exhibits and let kids play in the splash pad for about 20 minutes and were ready to head home by 4:30.  We had specifically chosen Memorial Day weekend to take advantage of the free military family admission offered this weekend.

My little the monkey house.

I wanna see too!

The elephant was actually "dancing" to African music.

And quite possibly the best part of the zoo.....

This little man was happy to be out of the stroller (and maybe there was a Daddy behind him tickling his legs).

Despite the heat, we had a great time and it was wonderful to be able to spend the day as a family.  The kids did awesome and it was a wonderful day!  I had 2 little ones sleeping the entire way home.  Maybe one day I will learn to go to the zoo when it is less than 90 degrees and I'm not pregnant.....However, my recent track record doesn't look too promising!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Yesterday was a very special homecoming for our family.  As noted in my previous post, this past month has been very busy for us.  Added on top of that, my husband has been deployed overseas for the past 4 weeks.  He was scheduled to leave at 6am in Birmingham on Thursday, April 28th, leaving me and the kids at home without power, just 12 hours after the tornadoes finished passing through our area.

He returned home yesterday morning (with a nice tan, I might add).  This was his first deployment in about a year and a half, as well as the first deployment that the kids really knew what was going on and why daddy was gone for so long.  They enjoyed getting to send him emails occasionally and receiving his individual emails addressed to them specifically.  We planned a nice welcome home dinner for him last night and the kids also decided to give him a "proper" American welcome.

Getting ready.....T-minus 10 minutes

The subject has been spotted!

Welcome Home!

And what do you do when your husband arrives home after being gone for a month???  Well, you put him to work, of course!

I might have planned a special dinner, but he had to cook it!  :)

We had family join us for steak & shrimp along with plenty of fixin's and finished the evening off with banana splits.  I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, who loves us dearly, serves and protects us and proudly serves our country!  It is wonderful to have him home with us again!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yes, I know.....

I am officially a blogging slacker!  Or is it a slacking blogger?  There are many things that I could have blogged about, and many things that I even thought about blogging, but the process of actually sitting down, typing, proofreading, finding and editing pictures just hasn't happened. 

Lots has happened around here since my last post.  I will briefly summarize a few things worth mentioning, however some may be repeats of recent Facebook "status updates," so bear with me.
  • Easter....We celebrated Easter as usual with local family and our normal church service.  I decided to keep Charlie in the service with us than leaving him in the nursery in order to allow all the ladies to attend the church service as well.  Let's just say that keeping a one year old quiet for an hour is a challenge....especially when he is missing his morning nap.  We were, however, blessed to be able to celebrate Christ's Resurrection as a complete family, as opposed to previous years when Ezra has been out of town.  

  • April 27, 2011....A date many of us will remember for years to come.  A series of powerful tornadoes ripped through Alabama and other southern states, leaving death and destruction in its path.  Several of these storms passed through north Alabama while Eli, Maggie and Matthew were visiting their great-grandmother in the hospital, resulting in several trips out to the hallway while weathering the storm.  I am so thankful that while they were in Decatur, Ezra was in Huntsville, and I was at home with Charlie, the Lord kept us safe and brought us all home together by the late afternoon.  Again, we were truly blessed that there was no direct hit in our area, although areas just a few miles away had significant damage.  We did, however, lose power for four days (along with the rest of north Alabama) due to a problem that TVA encountered during the storm.  It was strange having beautiful weather outside for three days, yet no power.  We made the best of it, though, having family cookouts, making good use of our new gas stove, playing outside most of the day, and the kids went camping one night.  I was also thankful that my husband decided about three years ago that we needed a generator out here on the farm for situations just like this or ice storms, etc (as rare as they may be).  We were able to keep our refrigerator and large freezer cold while rotating the generator between our house and my in-laws house, saving 2 whole steers worth of beef as well as keeping milk cold for Charlie.  I thank God that we were protected during these dangerous storms, and prayers go out to those who lost everything they owned, as well as loved ones.
  • Saying good-bye to Granny Cricket....Ezra's grandmother was put in intensive-care about a week before Easter and was later transitioned to Hospice Care.  She spent her last days in a private hospital room surrounded by her daughters and extended family, before passing away May 2nd.  I was blessed to have known Granny Cricket for the nine years that I knew her and to give her four of her great-grandchildren whom she so dearly loved and loved to spoil with treats.  She was a wonderful lady who lived independently with a sound mind up until this last hospitalization and raised a wonderful family that I am proud to be a part of.  Granny's death was the first close experience with death that my children have any memory of and it created many good conversations and life lessons about our spiritual journey with Christ to share with them during a difficult time.

  • Baseball, baseball, baseball....The past 3 months have been a brand new experience for us!  This is Eli's first year to play on a baseball team and he absolutely loves it!  It is all he talks about!  He was chosen to play his desired position of shortstop and has played well all season.  His team had many victories, including most recently, winning their Division title for the 7/8 year old league.  Although the regular season is over, we are not finished.....tournaments begin soon.  

  • Ultrasound....The long-awaited, half-way marker of the pregnancy, arrived this week.  I had my 20 week ultrasound and confirmed that we will be the proud parents of our 4th little BOY!  While the general consensus was that Maggie needed a little sister to help even things out, we are all just delighted to welcome this little one into our family.  He does not yet have a name, as I was waiting until we knew for sure that we would need another boy name before starting that conversation. 
Welcome to family, little man!       

By the way, the picture above represents my first scanned and subsequently uploaded document, completed without any technical assistance!
  • We've finished Kindergarten and 2nd grade!  Another successful (I hope!) year of school behind us.  Maggie is reading simple words and stories and doing simple addition.  Eli is reading very fluently, including road signs, advertisements, packing materials, etc.  It is amazing to watch his world open up before his eyes as he can read and interact with it.  He was also introduced to addition and subtraction with borrowing/carrying and basic multiplication and division.  His spelling has improved, although it is still his greatest academic struggle, and he has just recently discovered the world of email, but it is easier for him to dictate messages for me to type right now, as his typing skills are lacking....something to work on in 3rd grade.  :)  I already have next year's curriculum, including K4 for Matthew, and I am overwhelmed with the thought of having 3 in school with a toddler moving around and adding our newest addition in September!  Lord, be my Strength!
Well, that should have us caught up for now!  I have a few recipes that I want to share soon, but that requires that I actually cook them and take pictures (because I know y'all just want to see pictures!)....maybe one day.