Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fall Ball - 6 RBI game Baby!

What an exciting game tonight! Well, let me back up for a minute ... Ryan's team had a good season back in the summer, but he had a dry spell as far as hitting was concerned. He walked quite a few times but he only had one hit all regular season. Well, this fall he moved up to the major league and we have an excellent coach who has coached for something like 35 years. He seems wonderful at coaching the fundamentals and is all about sportsmanship.

Their first game was this past Saturday and they were beaten pretty badly. Well, they came back tonight and won 8 - 7 in a really good game! My baby boy was up 3 times to bat and hit each time!!! He had 2 rbi's with the first hit. 3 with the second and then 1 with his last one, which is also the hit that called the game!!! What a way to come out of a dry spell!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back To School

My baby boy started 5th grade this year. It just doesn't seem possible that this is his last year in our elementary school. In my mind, he just started kindergarden ... how can he now be one of the "top cats"! (I think that's what he told me the the big ol' 5th graders are called).

Anyway, 17 days later I'm just now posting this. I guess better late than never?!

And of course I couldn't take Ryan's picture w/out the short one among us pestering me to take hers too. Can someone PLEASE tell me where she's learned to strike a pose like that??? That's most certainly not anything I've taught her!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Choir Get Together

Our family has been blessed with at least one member who can sing. How I wish I could say that person was me, but I happen to be the one who the kids say "mommy, please don't sing"! I know my place in life ...

My sweet hubby sings in the choir at our church and not too long ago they had a get together out a friend's farm. We had the best time - good food, fun games, a hayride and lots and lots of fellowship. I know I say it all the time, but I swear - this must be the friendliest state in the country.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fuzzy Emma

Ok, so yesterday I mentioned trying to take pictures & video at the same time and it reminded me of something ...

Earlier this year I was reading through the FCC (Families with Children from China) newsletter that came out after the Chinese New Year event & saw the picture posted above. I laughed and thought, now that's silly - why would someone take a picture of that. And even if someone took that picture, why in the world would they put that in the newsletter - the girls are all fuzzy. Then I looked a little harder and thought, hmmm, that was taken while Emma was dancing. Studying it a little more, oh cool, there's a fuzzy Emma! Thankfully she had on that bright pink shirt so I could pick her out easily. Hmmm, that looks like my watch. Oh my, that looks like my camera. Then it hit me, THAT'S ME.

I guess I cracked someone up that night. Or, maybe the photographer was wondering what kind of goofy mother would do something like that?

And where was Brian during all of this? Well, he was standing over to the side, watching his baby girl dancing and just enjoying that moment in time. Makes me wonder which of us has the right idea? :-) And maybe that's just not a question I want to know the answer to.

Preschool Graduation & Class Play

Emma's daycare had a preschool graduation and class play a few weeks ago and even though Emma wasn't graduating, she was in the play. In fact, she volunteered for several "parts" of the play. Brian wasn't able to make it so I tried to take pictures and video at the same time - that worked back with my old camera, but not with my new one! Needless to say, I didn't do a good job with either but was so tickled watching Emma that it really didn't matter anyway. Her little 'jump right in' and 'step right up' personality makes me smile. She is just not timid at all being up in front of everyone!

Park Fence

Have I mentioned how much I love my camera? Even if the confounded battery lasts so long that I forget to charge it and make it fine for days and days, then wham - it's out. I love it anyway though & can't believe it took me so long to upgrade. There's just no comparison between it & my point-and-shoot!

Anyway, this one was taken at the Topiary Garden too. I loved that place & hope to be able to go back some time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian!

Happy Birthday to Brian ... he's not just my sweet husband and father to our children, but he's the best, best friend I could have ever asked for. What a blessing to be able to spend my life with someone I love, trust, admire and respect.

Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Topiary Garden

Ok, I promise this will be the last on Columbus - but this was just too cool. Of course my camera battery died soon after we arrived and subsequently I didn't get very many pictures. My favorite topiary in the garden was one out in pond that was a boat, with a fisherman in it, with plants even growing on the fishing line.

From their website:
"Georges Seurat's Famous post impressionist painting, A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte, is created in topiary. It is the only topiary interpretation of a painting in existence. This "landscape of a painting of a landscape" consists of 54 topiary people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey, a cat and a real pond. The largest figure is 12' tall."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

German Village

Yummy German food in Columbus ... need I say more?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All In One Accord

One thing about our little family is that we love to go. It’s one of our favorite things to do. That’s also part of the fun of Ryan’s goal is that we now have reason to go to places that we probably wouldn’t have even thought about going to before. On the downside though, the cost can add up and there’s only so much of the budget that can be spent on these little trips. We try to cut corners where we can with things like booking our hotels through hotwire, staying in places that have the continental breakfasts and also packing lunches some to save on eating out.

With all that said, our trip to Columbus was on a tight budget. We booked our first hotel in Cinci through hotwire and ended up staying at a nice Holiday Inn for probably half the price it would have been had we booked it directly. For some reason though, I wasn’t able to find what I thought was that good of a deal in Columbus so I booked directly with a “budget” hotel in the vicinity of several of the things we had planned on doing. I hadn’t stayed at this brand of hotel since I was a kid and wasn’t too sure about it, but trusted that it would be fine. A few days before we left I was feeling a little uncomfortable about it, priced some more hotels and found some packages that included tickets to some of the attractions we were going to anyway. I would start to cancel, then wouldn’t. Came very close to making a reservation at another place and then would stop. When it came down to it, the better hotel was going to be a little over $100 more even with including the tickets that came with the room. Right now, $100 makes a difference. Brian was fine with whatever I wanted to do and assured me that the kids would be happy either place.

We started site seeing the minute we hit Columbus and didn’t end up going to our room until later in the evening. I had a huge sense of dread when we pulled up to it. The hotel was right off the interstate in a somewhat nice looking part of town, but the place looked absolutely desolate. There was a rough looking bar on the front of the hotel and there were signs all over the place warning criminals that they were being recorded. There were other signs telling you not to leave any valuables in your car and that the hotel was not responsible, etc. I went into the lobby to check in and what is normally an open counter reception place had been enclosed with a single little window left to transact business. You can’t imagine how I was feeling about then. I went ahead and checked in and when I got back in the car my sweet hubby asked me what in the world had I gotten them into! But then he laughed and said it would be fine. The room was clean though so we changed and headed out to the pool. We found that even the gate to the pool was padlocked and that you could only enter to the pool area from one place. Not exactly my idea of a fun weekend away, but I put a smile on my face and went with the plan.

We made it through the night without incident and the next morning we headed down to the lobby for breakfast. The breakfast area was in a tiny little room and there wasn’t much room for the few families who were there and the offerings were very limited. That’s fine, we eat too much anyway, we had slept in and it wasn’t too long to lunch either – so no big deal. In the middle of enjoying our mini-muffins the loudest music I had heard in a LONG time started up. We initially laughed and I jokingly asked Brian if it was a carryover from the bar scene the night before. The more we listened though we realized it was Christian music and it was being sung from the bottom of someone’s heart and soul. I walked out of the breakfast area and listened at the door of a conference room and curiosity was getting the best of me so I opened the door, just an inch or so to see what was going on in there and came nose to nose with a very nicely dressed gentleman. I was taken aback to be right in someone’s face since I was really being nosy so I asked him if there was a service going on. He told me not yet, but that it would be starting at a certain time and told me we were welcome to come and join them. I headed back to the breakfast room with tears in my eyes because the music was just phenomenal and I asked Brian if he wanted to go to church. Keep in mind, we didn’t go to Columbus thinking we would go to church so all we had with us were shorts. We hadn’t even showered that morning because our plan was to head out to the water park and spend the day with the kids. We were not prepared for church.

Needless to say, we went to church that morning and it blessed our socks off. The people were all natives of Ghana and the pulpit was adorned with African material. Noticing we did not have our bible, the pastor handed us his and then sent someone out to his car to retrieve another for him to preach from. We were greeted and welcomed like nobodies business! Some of the men in the group were in traditional looking clothes and some were in African styled clothing. Same with the women. Several of the women carried their babies in fabric slings with the children being carried on the mother’s back, instead of the front like we would typically see here. One of the neatest things was that they sang several of the same songs we sing at our church, but with a completely different arrangement. The air was filled with the sound of drums and tambourines. It was amazing how openly and honestly they praised the Lord. The pastor mentioned several times that we were not there by accident. Truer words were never spoken. We were invited to stay for lunch after the service and were treated to a wonderful lunch. Apparently they bring in lunch and eat together after their services. They then spend the afternoon dancing their traditional dances. We didn’t stay for the dancing, but now wish that we had but we had promised the kids a trip to Zoombezi Bay. The love of these people for our Lord and Savior though still touches my soul. Even when lunch was over, one of the ladies who was dressed to the nines was dancing from table to table with a trash bag in hand and was singing while she was picking up the trash. What a wonderful and amazing day.

All of that to say, Brian and I were blessed beyond measure with the music, sermon and just the general atmosphere. I’ll have to note though that we were both humbled by the fact that we initially had turned up our noses at this little budget hotel but realized after the fact what a blessing that facility is to the people from Ghana who worship there. Our being there was not an accident.

Later as I was reflecting on our wonderful day, a song came to mind that is from a Christian blues album I have (I know, that sounds contradictory – but I’ve had the album for a long time and LOVE the music). The album is called “No More Blue Mondays” and the artist is Landon Spradlin. But the song that came to mind is one called “First Fruits” and the lyrics that came to mind are:

It starts off with –

We come to you
To seek your face
In desperate need
Of your grace

And then later goes on to:

And here we are -
Here we are oh Lord
With our hands lifted up
All in one accord


That's exactly how we found ourselves that Sunday in Columbus - with our hands lifted up, praising the Lord - all in one accord with a room full of people with a completely different heritage than our own, but praising the One True Lord.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Schiller Park - Columbus

One thing that seems to really stick out to me about our trip to Columbus was that it seemed like there were flowers everywhere. Lots and lots of flowers. Hopefully there really were as many as it seemed and it's just not that this was the first time all summer that I have slowed down enough to notice flowers! The scenery was beautiful though and the city reminded me quite a bit of Louisville. Even though it was just a long weekend away, we had a wonderful time and were able to just enjoy the city and each other. Oh, and enjoy the flowers too!

After we left the capitol, we went to Schiller Park which is in the German Village. We didn't really do anything other than look at flowers and let the children play, but that was some much needed relaxing time. I'd like to take another trip to Columbus just to be able to spend some additional time at this park, the conservatory and German Village in general.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ohio State Capitol - Columbus

The main reason for our trip to Columbus was for Ryan to visit the state capitol. It tickles the daylights out of me that Ryan has set this goal for himself. As I've said before, I'm not sure how we are going to meet the goal. We're just taking it one trip at a time for now! Ryan really pays attention to the guides when we do tour and he always asks a few questions. The highlight of his trip was the dome he says, he loves looking at those. Unfortunately, the pictures we took of the dome from the inside did not turn out very well.

My sweet baby boy, I pray that he always enjoys learning and going and seeing ... he is an absolute delight to travel with! One of these days I'm going to put a scrapbook together for him of all of these visits and instead of it being in chronological order (like his regular scrapbooks), I'm going to put this one in alphabetical by state order. I think that would make it fun to see the differences between years easier. Example, seeing the pictures of the Alabama one at 8 and then Alaska at ??

Emma has gotten to where she enjoys these little outings too but I think right now, that the side trips to the gift shops are probably the most appealing!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Franklin Park Conservatory

We had the pleasure of going to the Franklin Conservatory while we were in Columbus. Emma's favorite books are the "Fancy Nancy" series and one of those is called "Bonjour Butterfly" which includes a trip to see butterflies. Anyway, the conservatory has a daily scheduled butterfuly release so I wanted Emma to be able to see that. We had a great time and the grounds & conservatory were very pretty! Well worth the trip to Columbus!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rising Sun

We took off a couple of days and made a long weekend with a trip up to Columbus. The weekend began with a side trip to Rising Sun, IN to meet up with a couple of families from our travel group (from when we adopted Emma). One of the couples sat behind us on the mind numbing flight from Chicago to Hong Kong. The other couple took their son, who just so happens to be the same age as Ryan so the two boys were pals for the entire trip. They were also little celebrities while we were in Beijing - with people stopping them and wanting to have their picture taken with them. It was quite amusing and the boys loved it!

Anyway, the one family has recently moved to Rising Sun and so we decided to meet up there. What a cute, quaint little river town! The drive up was beautiful as well because they gave us directions that took us right along the river. Great views!

What an enjoyable evening of fun, fellowship & catching up! The girls were so cute together and Ryan & John Randall had an opportunity to catch back up with each other.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ryan & Emma got "tagged"

Our friend Felicia tagged my kiddos a while back and I'm just now getting around to asking them their questions. Emma thought that was a LOT of fun and wanted to go back and add more things to her answers.

Name: Ryan, Emma
Age: 10, 4

Favorite Activities:
{R} Eating.
{E} Playing in the water.

Favorite Foods:
{R} Chicken Fried Rice. Chicken Lo Mein and, well – Chinese food and Mexican Food and Meat Lovers Pizza.
{E} Chicken on the bone. Soy ice cream. Rice yellow We haven’t had for a long time ago.
(sidebar from Mom – Emma always uses that terminology when she means we haven’t done something in a long time. As far as “chicken on the bone”, that’s a restaurant term that I first heard after moving to Kentucky and for some reason it cracked me up so I have a habit of asking her if she wants chicken nuggets or chicken on the bone. I think she shares my sense of humor).

Least Favorite Foods:
{R} Brussels Sprout. Sweet potatoes.
{E} Lettuce.

Favorite Music:
{R} Rock. Contemporary Christian. Country.
{E} “That’s Why We Praise Him” and then she broke into the halleluiah chorus. And Kenny Chesney.
(sidenote from mom – nothing like hearing your child sing the halleluiah chorus one day and then “just another beer in Mexico” the next. Or asking me to play a Waylon Jennings CD. We are just a little on the um, diverse side when it comes to the music in this house).

Favorite Toys:
{R} Hot Wheels.
{E} Cars. Motorcyle Car. Sally & Penelope. China Bear. Bunny.

Favorite Books:
{R} Harry Potter!
{E} Fancy Nancy.

Favorite Items of Clothing:
{R} Under Armor shirt.
{E} Shirt Kristie Olges gave me (it’s a Dora shirt). Pretty dresses that grandma sent me!

What makes me Happy:
{R} Surprises! Twirling Mom’s hair.
{E} When mom braids my hair in pig tails. Mom giving me money and letting me buy skittles at the ballgames. When Papa gives me hugs and kisses and when he buys me skittles and pretzels at the ballgames.

What makes me Sad:
{R} Not getting to sit in mom’s lap. And when I get hurt.
{E} When Ryan annoys me

Of course this lead to Ryan adding that Emma annoys him too … and the argument began. Thanks Felicia :-)

and now we tag the "The Frog Sisters"

Ohio - #9

We traveled to Ohio this past weekend to visit the state capitol in Columbus. This makes Ryan's 9th one to visit. 41 to go. Not that I'm counting.

We didn't get in until late last night so I haven't had an opportunity to upload the photos yet. Then my confounded battery ran out late yesterday & I missed pictures from the coolest place.

Anyway, it was a fun filled weekend & the kiddos were excellent little travelers.

The highlights from our trip:

  • Dinner in Rising Sun, IN w/ two couples from our travel group
  • State Capitol
  • German Village
  • Franklin Conservatory
  • Hotel - budget style, now that's a story!
  • Church - Ghana style
  • Zoombezi Bay
  • Topiary Garden (Georges Seurat's Famous post impressionist painting, A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte, is created in topiary.). Of course, this is when the battery for my camera had had enough.
  • Ikea!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Six Flags

A week ago today I enjoyed the day at Six Flags with Ryan & Emma. We had the most wonderful time because it was one of those days where they were absolute angels. Ryan was the best big brother and he rode all the little rides with Emma. He was also so sweet by helping her in and out of the rides. I couldn't have asked for him to act any better. The same thing with Emma, she didn't pester him a single time, was sweet to him and waited patiently with me while Ryan rode some of the bigger rides. I had told them that we really needed to go on a tight budget and they were so good about not asking for things. Truly wonderful day!!!

Of course they made up for it Saturday a.m. :-)