Saturday, September 16, 2006
The past few months have been full of life, love, and laughter. We've had our share of tears as well, but for the purposes of this blog, we'll stick to the good stuff.
To start with, we'll go back to before summer's official start to the late spring.
B, our 11 year old daughter, and D, our 9 year old son, both played ball for Florence city teams. B scored a homerun her very first game and her team, The Florence Freeze, went on to the league championship tournament and came in 2nd place for their division. D was given the team ball when he made his first run of the season. His team, The Florence Eagles, were the 1st place champs for their division.
Most of the kids attended the Vacation Bible Schools held at the 2 country Baptist churches out here near our farm. They had a lot of fun with the ARCTIC EDGE and SON TREASURE ISLAND themes.
A.C. and B both attended summer camp for the first time. CAMP GARAYWA was where I attended camp as a girl (and cried nearly every single night from homesickness) and later served as a counselor during one of my college summers. Despite the fact that they both went to the same camp, they went during different weeks. They enjoyed sharing similar experiences and being able to compare notes, but also enjoyed getting some time away from each other. A.C. especially enjoyed making a new friend who lives in a town not too far from us (NO long distance phone bills!) and participating in the creative writing class. She did NOT like the scrambled eggs---"they were SO disgusting" and having to take a partner to the bathroom at night. B says that her favorite parts of camp were "having so many girls that were going through things just like me, being with my friends, being near God, and having a BLAST!" She also enjoyed participating in the recreation class which included some ropes course activities, water games, and a silly game called "Girl, Gorilla, and Gun". Neither one of them were thrilled with the EXTREMELY short showers!
Calvary Chapel of Jackson held several "Fun Friday" events that included worship, Bible time, and outings plus games. Some of our best homeschool pals, The Lewis Family, joined in on the events with us and added to the fun of it for my kids ( and I enjoyed spending extra time with mom Mary). The Ag Museum ( http://www.msagmuseum.org/ ) was our favorite outing but they still had a great time at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science( http://www.mdwfp.com/museum ) though we go there a few times a year due to being members.
Our 11 year old daughter began clogging in August at Clear Branch Baptist Church. After an introductory class that lasted 6 weeks, they had a "graduation" and performed songs for the family and friends in attendance. B is continuing to be active with this group and will perform next at a benefit to raise money in the fight against cancer to be held at the MS Braves stadium in Pearl. After that, they will be gearing up for multiple performances at the Mississippi State Fair. http://www.clearbranchcloggers.clogdancing.com/index.html
We enjoyed 3 birthdays over the summer.
On July 22nd, Jim turned 41. We celebrated the event by taking the whole family (except the baby) to see the movie CARS. I have a feeling THIS movie will be making an appearance in the form of a Christmas gift come December.
B turned 11 on August 2. To commemorate the day, her bestfriend Candace spent the night and the day with us and we met several homeschool friends for a free movie (HOODWINKED) and then lunch at a BackYard Burger with a super duper indoor playground. Afterwards she did a little bit of shopping with her birthday money. Shopping is ALWAYS a fun event for Miss B!
Our little baby hobbit turned 1 on August 25, just days before the one year anniversary of Katrina. We spent a lot of time talking about what all had gone on one year ago and how Katrina had affected our life. We also talked about what a blessing baby M is...so content and full of merriment. Her birthday was on a Friday but we actually had a small family-only party on Saturday, the 26th. The faces she made when given her first bite of icecream were a hoot to behold and yes, she made a good mess of the chocolate cake. Her favorite gift out of everything she received was a soft teething ring.
For our last big hurrah of the summer season, we took the kids to New Orleans on Labor Day. We visited the zoo (hence the photo above at the elephant fountain), ate lunch in the French Quarter at the Market Cafe', toured the aquarium ( http://www.auduboninstitute.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage ), and had beignets at Cafe DuMonde ( http://www.cafedumonde.com/ ). A visit to N.O. just would NOT be complete for our family without eating some of those super sweet delicacies, blowing powdered sugar on each other, listening to the street musicians while we indulge, and watching the pigeons argue over crumbs right at our feet. We saw plenty of Fema trailers and blue tarp along with some businesses that have failed to reopen, but all in all, it was good to be back in New Orleans and see that at least many areas have recovered and in some cases, come back even better. I know that there are many areas that are still in desperateneed of help, but compared to what the city was like a year ago, its come a long way.
The kids had been bugging us to take them back to N.O. since we took them last summer for Jim's 40th birthday. We really weren't sure what we were going to experience due to the hurricane's damage, but we were pleased to find a city that could still offer a good time!
P, our 7 year old, says this about our day in N.O.: "My favorite part was when we went to the aquarium. My favorite part about the aquarium was when we saw the sharks, the stingrays, and the jellyfish. I like them because they are cool."
D's favorite part was "when I fed the pigeons at Cafe' DuMonde some of my doughnut. It was fun watching them come and eat. And also I liked the aquarium when it looked like I was in a diving outfit."
L, our 4 year old says that her "favorite part of the zoo was getting to see the elephants far away and getting to swim [in the African splash area the zoo has built]."
B "thought it was special to go back to the place we had visited before Katrina and see how they are rebuilding and growing back. I liked the zoo a lot and all the birds in it. The city was very beautiful."
T, our nearly 3 year old, liked riding on the endangered animals merry-go-round. He says that he did NOT ride on the alligator but rode on the monkey. He also says that "I like crocodiles". T. loves bridges so he was happy to see that the aquarium had a bridge that he could walk over and see me down below. Travis says that he also had a dream about New Orleans, that he went "in the water" at the zoo's "Monkey Hill with the waterfall". Travis says that next time he goes back to the zoo he wants to ride the frog and crocodile at the playground.
A, our soon-to-be 13 year old, says "that they made a lot of improvements since the hurricane. It was cool to see the little baby piranhas at the aquarium. They looked like little shimmers in the water and I was the first one in the family to notice what they were. Also, I helped a lot of people at the zoo find the wild African dogs because it was hard to see them all the way in the back."
Summer 2006 is nearly over. Cooler temps are finally here and the leaves are beginning to transform into brilliant splashes of gold, crimson, and orange. We will soon be entering a new season of the year, a new season of life. We look forward to embracing all that God has planned for us in the months to come....especially the cooler temps! ;)