Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is a combo post since I'm a little late posting Christmas pics :). We had a terrific Christmas after a slightly traumatic Christmas Eve.

Twas the night before Christmas and...the toilets were overflowing! Seems some tree roots had invaded our sewer connections and they chose about 9 p.m. to do their diabolical deed. After unsuccessful plunging efforts and the use of every towel we own to mop up, it turned out to be something we couldn't have fixed by ourselves. Thankfully, the good employees of our city were on duty and fixed us up by about 10:30 that night...after all, usable toilets are a pretty big deal when you've got six people in the house...four of whom are kids who are OVEREXCITED about Christmas!

Anyway. Early Christmas morning, we gathered 'round our tree and opened presents as a family. It is always so exciting to see the kids' faces as they excitedly rip into the wrapping paper and exclaim over their gifts. Here are photos of E. with her basset shirt (and her basset hound)...

N. with his custom-made "puppet-tree"...

K. with her new doll...

and M. wearing his Clemson Tiger uniform...

Then, we packed the minivan and headed Back Home to celebrate with our extended families; what a blessing to celebrate with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! Of course, there was feasting and more gift-frenzy. It was quite a challenge to load everything into the van for the trip home the day after Christmas, but we managed...though we still haven't found "homes" for everything.

Fast forward to the's New Year's Eve and my parents came to stay with us for a few days. We'll be ringing in the New Year with our usual Finger Food Supper--we all troop to the grocery store and pick out our favorite (and oh-so-healthy...NOT) frozen foods and serve them all in the same meal: chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, etc. This is to make sure we all get our recommended daily allowance of trans-fats and triglycerides before the end of the year :).

Tomorrow begins a new year and a new decade. I'll pull out the 2010 calendar that I got for Christmas and begin transferring birthdays and anniversaries to it and mulling over what surprises might be in store for us with the coming year. God is in control over 2010 and that's a comfort to me in these uncertain times. I pray that I'll be more like Him in the coming year than in the past year!

Later Days!

P.S. You might recognize these friends from our recent trip to India. They were very gracious hosts to us and it was great to have them over to our house while they are visiting the U.S.!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let the festivities begin....

First, I'd like to wish my wonderful parents, otherwise known as Mimi and Papa, a very Happy 46th Anniversary!
You're an inspiration to those of us who are still newlyweds (at 19 years of marriage and counting)! LOL
Just close your eyes and imagine some virtual chocolate-covered cherries coming your way.

Next, I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Let's not forget that the true reason for this celebration is the birth of Jesus Christ. I hope everyone reading this has a blessed time with their family.

Later Days!

Monday, December 21, 2009


This photo was taken some hours after the photos accompanying the previous post. M. has created more lodging around the stable with Lincoln Logs. Also, the presence of the bus leads me to believe that it has become some sort of tourist attraction....

Later Days!

A New Nativity

Have you seen the Fisher Price Nativity sets? They're adorable and I've wanted one for several years...Mimi gave us an early Christmas present :). With so many "don't touch" decorations and nativity sets around the house, it's fun to have a nativity set we can actually encourage the kids to play with! Well, it turns out that, not only can the story of Christ's birth be recounted with this set, the addition of other small figures (i.e. dinosaurs, Blue, cars) can make for some pretty interesting stories!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mimi!!!

Today is my mother's birthday and my whole family is sending out a warm internet hug to the best Mimi in the world!! Her years of wrangling 2 silly, stubborn children have translated into terrific skills at wrangling 6 silly, stubborn, beautiful, smart grandchildren (who, incidentally, are the best kids in the world. Right, Mimi?).

I hope you have a terrific day! We love you and we'll be home to see you soon :).

Later Days!

p.s. I hope the Best Nana in the world has a wonderful Open House today!! We love you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kid Funny....

I took my kids to the library yesterday--I know, it was a day late but let me explain. We were back home celebrating N's birthday on Tuesday when I would normally take the kids and when we got back home it was too late to go to the library. ANYWAY, My socially-adept 3yo began talking with a 3yo girl that he met at the coloring table. He asked her name (which was a cute, non-gender-specific,yuppie kind of name) and then told her his (for an illusion of internet privacy, please humor me if I don't post his full name):

"My name is M. B. A. My nickname is Cueball."

For the record, we DO NOT call him Cueball. Or rather, not since our beach trip, where he loved to sit on the pool table in the condo and roll balls into the pockets. Do you think he was trying to impress his new acquaintance?

Later Days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Nineteen years ago today, Hubby and I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime :). God has blessed us with a very happy marriage and four wonderful children. If we had been able to see into the future to ourselves at 40 years old, we would have been amazed, amused, and probably frightened! It's been wonderful, though, and I'd do it all over again!

Happy Anniversary to the Love o' My Life!!

Later Days!

Birthday Boy!!

This post goes out to my friend Leanne W. who has no other way to keep up with my exciting life :):

Yesterday, Dec. 14th, was my elder son's 13th birthday! His only requests...that we celebrate back in our hometown with the grandparents and that we have our special green punch at his party. Mission accomplished! Of course, he got a few gifts too. He is a devoted puppeteer, so many of his gifts were new puppets for his collection. He's currently working on a script for a retelling of A Christmas Carol, so we're looking forward to seeing his performance. Not to brag, but he is gifted at storytelling and using different voices and accents for characters, so his puppet shows are always hilarious. Perhaps God will use these particular interests and abilities for ministry!

We partied at the fellowship hall of my parents' church with all four grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins We feasted on a taco bar, birthday cake, and, of course, punch. N. requested Dr. Doofenshmirtz from the cartoon, "Phineas and Ferb" for his cake and birthday flag, so I included pics of those. I've included a pic of my brother with N's new basset hound puppet--a puppet that gave our basset hound, Annie, quite a fright! Who knew she could move so quickly?!?

We are so grateful for our son & the blessing that he is to us and others! Happy Birthday, N.!

Later Days!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heading Home!

We're very excited to be heading back home for Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful, home, food, and health, to name a few. Most of all, we are thankful for Jesus, our Savior!

I hope that everyone reading this has a terrific Thanksgiving, making wonderful memories with your family!

Later Days!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

International Fashionista...or not

I've mentioned a couple of times that we ladies wore Indian clothes while there so as not to offend conservative sensibilities. While salwar kameezes were available ready-made in some shops, it was much more of an "experience" to have them custom-made.

Our expatriate friends had certain shops that they patronized so, early in our stay, off we went to the tailors so that our clothes would be ready to wear for the remainder of our trip. First, we were given front-row seats for the show. Then, the shop-keepers began showing off fabric--and quite a show it was! Out came roll after roll of colorful fabric, billowed out for our inspection. With much discussion about what brought out the color of our eyes, what had too much "bling", and what was too expensive, we each settled on fabric. Our friends spoke Hindi and were able to bargain with the shopkeepers for the best prices on fabric and stitching.

Next, very thorough fittings--MANY measurements taken. Choices had to be made regarding length of the top, elastic pants or drawstring pants, type of neckline, loose-fitting or traditional fitted pants, etc. After a considerable time, we finalized the deal and paid half of the fee, with the remainder to be paid upon pickup.

Now that we were in sensory overload from this cultural experience, we went on to the men's tailor so they could have some kurtas and custom-fitted shirts made. It was a slightly less showy performance, but interesting nonetheless.

The results were well-fitting, well-made, inexpensive clothes...a pretty awesome souvenir I'd say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monkeys & Camels & Cows...oh my!

Animals...I'm used to seeing plenty of dogs around the neighborhood, the occasional cat (as well as the ever-present one in my house), squirrels, raccoons and such.

BUT it's a different ballgame in India! Let's see, I spotted all of these creatures either wandering amid the shops and houses or being used to pull carts on the streets (I think you'll be able to tell which ones could pull a cart and which ones couldn't):

cat (only 1)
water buffalo

It was quite a sight to see an elephant cart pulling up behind the vehicle to stop at a traffic light! In fact, ANYTHING stopping at a traffic light was amazing because it didn't happen often!

Later Days!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kid Funny

Daddy to youngest: "Did you have a good day today?"
Youngest (3yo): "No, Mama wouldn't let me."

Later Days!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome Home Pics

We brought some Indian garb back for everyone--kurtas for the boys and salwar kameezes (sp?) for the girls. Everyone willingly,even excitedly, wore their new outfits to church this morning for a special emphasis but this is what it looks like when you force your kids to stand still for a picture...

This is the handsome couple standing in front of the lovely Welcome Home sign the kids made :)....

Still jet-lagging, still processing so many of the new experiences. More posts to come, I promise.

Later Days!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back in the USA!

We're still "jet-lagging" here but I wanted to post some pics from our trip to India while they were still fresh. We had the most amazing trip; I'll try to post some snippets when I can make more sense :).

The Taj Mahal--breathtakingly beautiful, massively crowded!

Obviously, a camel. We saw a wide variety of animals--some of them occupying the same road as a million cars, motorcycles, and rickshaws!

Street scene--this one looks pretty empty, but you can see the green and yellow motorcycle rickshaw--they were everywhere!

Hubby and me! I'm wearing a salwar kameez that does nothing to flatter :). A salwar kameez involves pants, a very long top, and a scarf called a dupatta (sp?). Do you think wearing indigenous clothing helped me blend in? LOL

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back Briefly From Blog Hiatus

Last night our church held its Annual Fall Family Fun Festival. We enjoyed dressing up in fun costumes, eating pizza with our friends, playing games, and eating candy. While preparing my camera for my trip tomorrow, I remembered that I had a few pics I could post. K. was a pumpkin, N. was a mad scientist, M. was a doctor, and E. and I were nurses. Enjoy!

Later Days!

Blog Hiatus

I know it's been while since I've posted anyway, but this is a post to tell you that it's going to be another while 'til I post again :).

Tomorrow, Hubby and I plus another couple from church are leaving for India! We're excited, nervous, nauseated...well, you get the picture. This is going to be a big adventure for all of us (and I believe, the longest flight any of us have ever taken).

Please pray for us as we travel, pray for our children and parents as they "hold down the fort" for us, and pray for the people we meet in India!

I'll take lots of photos & post them when I am able.

Later Days!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Field Trip

Yesterday was such a gorgeous Fall day that we took a field trip to Congaree National Park! What a wonderful piece of God's creation and a perfect day to enjoy it! For those not familiar with the park, it is actually a swamp--remember Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox, from American History? Fortunately, these days you get to walk on an elevated boardwalk for much of the hike, rather than slogging blindly through the muck. It's easy to see that a soldier who knew the swamp had a clear advantage over the British soldiers in pursuit!

I only took three photos and they aren't even good ones, but they DO include my children so I'm posting them for the grandparents :). For those who aren't related to my children, just enjoy the scenery and ignore my lack of photography skills, please. Incidentally, the pic of K. and M. inside a hollow tree--that's a fake hollow tree in the visitor's center. Real hollow trees often contain wild animals, birds, bats, and bugs.

Later Days!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Let me begin by stating that I'm posting another old photo because I haven't yet taken any new ones :). Due to a dissatisfied customer who remain nameless (Mimi), I'll try to post pics that only include my children...except when I don't. Kidding, Mimi. :)

Friday night and this morning, I participated in a special workshop at church, discussing our church's goals. Our goal, and that of every church and every Christian, should be to glorify God. Our sessions included discussion on doing this through prayer, worship, evangelism, fellowship, ministry, and discipleship. The focus was on being intentional in these things...fully present when we worship, praying unceasingly, etc. It was an incredibly uplifting AND convicting conference!

I need to have personal goals in these areas of spiritual growth. Maybe you do, too? Enjoy the Lord's Day!

Later Days!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Missing In Action....

Things are getting crazy around here! Our trip to India is coming up soon and we've been doing all the prep work that goes along with an international trip: inoculations, passports, visas, reservations, etc. along with having to pay for it! Praise the Lord, He is providing for us!

One reason I haven't been blogging lately is because the batteries for my camera were pirated for the Wii controllers!! Grandparents are going to stage a coup if I don't get some grandkid pictures up soon! Perhaps I'll be back to snapping photos soon--hmmm...maybe I should remove the batteries from all the video game controllers....In the meantime, I'll just pull out a picture from days gone by, okay? In fact, this pic is from Nov. 14, 2008!

Must run feed my crew!
Later Days,

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall is in the air!

The weather is changing, folks, and it feels great! Those steamy, humid days of summer are changing into brisk mornings and darkness by 8 p.m.! This is my favorite time of the year and I've been celebrating by taking more walks with the dog, digging out the cool-weather clothes, doing K.'s math flash-cards outside on the swing, and burning yummy scented candles in the evening.

Homeschool is slowly developing its rhythm; devotions and a couple of chapters from a read-aloud together in the morning, independent assignments in science, history, composition and literature, and math with oversight by mom (least favorite subject for everyone). My high-schooler knows what is expected of her and is fairly self-propelled these days, including her own record-keeping. Throw in some chores, some walks with the dog, snacks, and occasional breaks and you have our school day. I love that the kids have plenty of time with each other, with mom and dad, and to pursue solitary pursuits.

I'm in for an interesting experience tonight :). To prepare for an upcoming trip to India, we're meeting with some friends at an Indian restaurant. Two of the friends we're dining with just got back from India and we are going to pick their brains for information and travel tips (as well as what to eat)! I expect to have a great time with this group--I always love spending time with these fun Christian friends!

Later Days!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This week of vacation is flying by! I can't believe it's almost over :(. We've had such a great time shopping, swimming, building sand castles, and eating, but the best part has been seeing the kids playing with their grandparents!

Today we began by visiting the Ripley's Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach. The homeschool discount is awesome! Each time we go, we get to see it through another child's eyes...everything is exciting when you're seeing it with a 3 year old :). Later we went to Barefoot Landing, where the kids ride the carousel every year...except we've got some that think they're too old now (awww). Then, more shopping, this time to find shoes for the two boys. Glad to have that ordeal done! Otherwise, our day was spent either on the beach, by the pool, or relaxing in the condo.

Later Days!

p.s. I love the photo of Papa and Grandad coloring with M.!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Day at the Beach

We enjoyed the service at First Baptist Church of North Myrtle Beach this morning...then we noticed that the HOT light was on at Krispy Kreme doughnuts...guess who got 2 dozen glazed to go? C'mon, it's tradition & we ARE on vacation, right? I began the day with entirely too much sugar and it's just gotten worse from there! Good thing I've been doing lots of walking and jumping in the waves with the kids :).

M's new favorite pastime (besides jumping in the waves and making sandcastles) is playing pool. He likes to sit on the pool table with the top half of a stick and push the balls into the pockets...over and over and over and over.....

Tomorrow, Ladies' Shopping Day! The men get to occupy the kids (usually with a trip to Toys R Us and pizza) while the women go shopping at the outlets. I think there's a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop there...I'll eat a New York Super Fudge Chunk for you, Von! :)

Later Days!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Day at the Beach....

I am happy to report that I am on vacation! Expect photos of kids in the water, kids in the sand, and kids eating junk food for the next few days :).

Warning to any ne'er-do-wells that might lurk on my blog (you know who you are)...our house is being guarded by an extremely large cat (and the people looking after our animals)! Don't even TRY anything nefarious!

Later Days!