Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kentucky State Fair

Our family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES going to fairs. It doesn't really matter if it's the local county fair or if it's the state fair - they love it! We had the opportunity to go this past Friday & could not have asked for better weather. It was beee-you-tee-ful out there!

A few things, in no particular order - that really cracked me up. What better reason to go to the fair that to have your funny bone tickled.

Not so sure Jr liked being 'penned up' with the sheep.

Rebecca & Emma both were fascinated watching the little piggies enjoy their dinner. Rebecca was just a tad bit puzzled though and asked me (after watching them rooting around) if they were trying to wake their mama up. Needless to say, there were lots of laughs around us!

I needed that shirt!

And wish I'd had the nerve to buy a hair piece like that!

I really think this one is just fine without a caption.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

For Today

Outside my window: It's dark and fairly warm. We had a few days of fall type weather but it seems like the hot days of summer have returned.

I Am Thinking: About stress. Keeping it all inside is really not a good thing - but telling everyone how stressed you are isn't a good thing either. What is the answer? Sometimes I feel like God just has to be tired of my worrying, I know I am!

I Am Thankful For: My sweet hubby - I'm always thankful for him. I could have searched the world over and never have found a better mate. So thankful that God is faithful to look out for me even during those times I wasn't really smart enough to look out for myself.

From The Kitchen: Nada. Nothing.

I Am Wearing: Khaki shorts, white t-shirt. Barefoot! I love going barefoot!

On the 'Go Organize' Front: We tackled the basement (aka - playroom, junk room, scrapbooking room, office stuff room) - it's not done yet, but we made a good dent. I LOVE it when Brian is in de-junktify mode. Bless Rebecca's little heart, she's told us thank you several times for 'making it neat' down there. Now if she'll just keep it clean.

We also finally got around to hanging pictures in the girls room. Still need to take a couple of things from China to a frame shop. Just really haven't had the extra money to spend on framing. We also still need to buy a bed for Rebecca as her mattress set is sitting on the floor. Just not sure how to find something that looks similar to Emma's and really do not have the money to buy new beds for both of them. Dilemnas, dilemnas.

I Am Going: To bed soon, still tired from the fair on Friday.

I Am Reading: Still haven't made it to the library. Picked up a Grisham novel the other day but finished that in just a few nights.

I Am Hoping: That Rebecca has a wonderful birthday this coming holiday weekend! She is very excited about her big day!!!

I Am Praying For: Friends from church, with a very sick father/grandfather - wonderful, wonderful people that we enjoy so much.

I Am Hearing: The dryer just buzzed - again. Laundry, seems like it neva' ends.

Around The House: House fairly picked up, with the exception of boxes that had been brought up from the basement. I finally got around to sorting out the 3 boxes I had brought home from the job I lost back in January of 09. Painful few hours for me, but it needed to be done. The company I had worked for was big on awards, cards and the like ... it was difficult to read through the notes about what a great job I had done and then try to reconcile that with a layoff.

One Of My Favorite Things: Watching the kids at the fair. We went this past Friday and could not have asked for nicer weather. It was BEAUTIFUL! The kids were so good and had such a good time. But I tell ya', they wore themselves out at the midway. Emma asked as we were leaving if we could come back the next day!!!

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: Baseball games for Ryan on Monday & Thursday. Choir practice for Brian on Wednesday, they are already working on Christmas music. Gymnastics for the girls on Thursday. Somewhere in all of that I need to get by a bakery and get a cake ordered for Rebecca. Also need to buy the other things for her party as well. Brian is going to take Ryan & Emma shopping one night to pick something out for her too. She is VERY excited about turning 5!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Starfish Babies

As many of you know, Rebecca lived with Amanda at the Starfish Home in Xian, China. Amanda's mission in life is to help medically needy orphans get the medical care they need and then to take care of them until their forever families arrive. Words just can't describe enough how much I respect and appreciate her life work!

I really haven't had the time to reach out to every family who adopts a Starfish child but a couple of new families caught my eye the other day, one in particular because they are from Tennessee. Makes me smile to think of another little Chinese child with a southern accent :-)

Anyway, these two families will be traveling to Xian soon - check it out, wish them well and remember them in your prayers!




Tomorrow we will be welcoming home some friends who have traveled back to get their 2nd daughter. I need to make sure I take my kleenex to the airport, a new child home with their forever families ALWAYS makes me cry!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back On Schedule

School is back in session which means we're back on a schedule. Fall baseball started for Ryan and gymnastics starts back up for the girls tomorrow. Brian is back to choir practice on Wednesdays. Homework. Reading. Some more homework. A 7th grader that does his homework without any reminding. A first grader who tells me she hates homework. But I'm thinking she didn't hate it until she realized she had to do it herself. At least I think there is a direct correlation. If any more nights are like tonight (in the homework department anyway), I think I may just run away from home :-) The assignment was to use each of the words on her vocabulary list in a sentence. Tears, footstomping and lots of "I can't ..." ensued. She said "I don't like homework" then told me she didn't know how to use the word "don't" in a sentence ... hmmm.

Calgon, please take me away - this is not a good way to start the school year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Site Seeing

We happened across this sign while we were out and about the other day. For some reason it really cracked Brian up, guy humor maybe? Somehow he had watched a youtube video about this place as well.

men ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Better Half

Today is my sweet husband's birthday. We celebrated a little early this year, trying to procure overnight child care can be a tad bit complex. Just getting up enough nerve to ask someone to stay with them is difficult as it is! We haven't had been anywhere overnight without kiddos since Ryan was probably 4 or 5 so we were long overdue. Thankfully, Emma's first teacher Amy came and stayed with the kiddos (bless her kind soul). We went and had dinner - alone! Checked into a lovely bed and breakfast that overlooks the Ohio river, went for a long walk then spent some time on the deck just talking to each other and enjoying a beautiful sunset. It was so nice having that much time together to just do nothing!!! The next day we went to a small town and walked around checking out a few cute little stores and few antique stores. It was really, really nice & it's something we really should do more often.

Then last night we went out as a family and enjoyed some yummy Indian food!

Happy Birthday Brian - Love you with all my heart!!!!

First Day of School

First day of school today ... 1st grade for Miz Divine & 7th grade for Ryan. My babies are growing up. I swear Ryan sprouted up a good few inches over the summer. Won't be long until he's taller than me. Now that's just not right!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Room

And here's the guest room ... we'll leave the light on for ya'!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ryan's Room

With all my talk of remodeling, redoing, throwing out and straightening up - I thought I should probably post a picture or two. Really I should have done some before / after shots but goodness, the carpet was in such bad shape, his furniture didn't match and a thing or two (maybe 3, maybe more) had been with him since he was little and was way too 'kiddy' for a strapping 12 year old. So, with all that said - here's Ryan's new room!

I really need some decorating help though. The things he had on his wall before were such a klugey/mismatched mess and now that we're basically starting over with a clean slate, I would like for it to look nice and neat. Therefore one whole wall (the one at the foot of his bed) is completely empty. Ideas anyone of what could go there?

The print above his bed is new. The kite is from our first trip to China. The curtain rod is the only carryover from his other room, but since he was born in Texas - I just couldn't give them up.

Oh, and the spots - I used Ryan's camera when we went to the river and I must have gotten some water spots on the lens that I can't seem to get off.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For Today

Outside my window: It's rainy and storming again ... such an odd thing for August here.

I Am Thinking: About how I haven't done this little exercise in a while and have missed it. But life's been a little slower lately and so we've had a few weeks of just hanging out instead of running up and down the road. It's been nice!

I Am Thankful For: My sweet hubby who will celebrate his birthday this Wednesday! Happy Birthday Brian!!!

From The Kitchen: I made a double batch of chicken caccitore yesterday and we enjoyed the first of it today, it was yummy. We also enjoyed a new recipe from the pioneer woman's site yesterday for sesame noodles or asian noodles, something like that - the kids really enjoyed it. Although Ryan would have much preferred something with some meat in it. haha. Brian does most of the cooking around here since he works from home but I've decided I'm going to try to find some things I can make double batches of on the weekends, or possibly some crock pot recipes so I can take some of the load off of him. So, if you have any good recipes for freezer or crock pot meals, please send them my way.

I Am Wearing: gray shorts, white t-shirt. Barefoot!

On the 'Go Organize' Front: All of the bedrooms are now finished!!! Wooohooo! We did go out and buy a few new accessories for Ryan's room but still need to find some more things to decorate with. Still need to hang pictures in the girls room too - not quite sure why we can't seem to find the time for that. And our room, we FINALLY have matching side tables for our bedroom set. I feel like such a grownup :-) Now, that room needs some accessories too. Not a single thing hanging on the walls yet!

I Am Going: To bed soon, I was out all afternoon with the kiddos today at a birthday party and I am worn out from the heat.

I Am Reading: I've started 3 books in the past few weeks and can't seem to get in to any of them. A trip to the library is much needed. Any reading suggestions from any of my friends? Oh, I did pull out Bill Cosby's "Fatherhood" book the other night because I was in need of a laugh and it did the trick. He's so funny! Along those lines, I also finished Dave Barry's book "Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and or Sex". I laughed so hard I cried on that one - he's a funny guy too.

I Am Hoping: That Brian has a wonderful birthday! I took him out of town last Sunday night and we had some much needed R&R - spent the night at a cozy bed & breakfast overlooking the Ohio river. Had a nice dinner on the river too and then spent our evening out on the deck just talking and catching up. We really should do that more often. A sweet friend of ours, well actually she's probably more so Emma's friend - but I like to count her as one too - came and spent the night with the kiddos to give us the opportunity to have some time together. Hopefully one of these days we can repay the many kindnesses she has shown our family. I like to tease her than when she has a baby, I'll be like the grandma! haha!

I Am Praying For: Little Rebecca, she wanted to start kindergarden and to be able to ride the bus with Emma, but with her having a late birthday we're going to wait and let her start next year. Also praying for Ryan and Emma as Ryan starts the 7th grade (which doesn't at all seem possible) and Emma starts the first. So thankful to have children who love school!

I Am Hearing: The dryer just buzzed but other than that all I hear is the thunder.

Around The House: House fairly picked up but laundry still to put away. School supplies ready to go on Wednesday. Daycare bags packed and ready for tomorrow a.m.

One Of My Favorite Things: Watching the kids swim, they all LOVE the water! The party we attended today was at the local pool and I sat back today (w/out a camera if anyone can believe that) and just watched the kids. I didn't even really visit with any of the parents - just watched my babies. Emma - she's a 'run with the pack' kind of girl and pretty much is with someone or several someones when we are places. Then there's Rebecca, just playing and enjoying the water and pretty much doing her own thing. She did play with some of the kids and played with the birthday girl's older sister for a while but other than that she kept herself occupied. Ryan is more like Emma, he was pretty much playing with or talking to someone the entire time.

A Few Plans For The Rest of The Week: School starts on Wednesday which also happens to be Brian's birthday. Gymnastics starts back on Thursday. Ryan's fall baseball team should be starting up any time now too. These past few weeks have been enjoyabled but now the tide is turning and we'll be on the go again.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bed Time

Not sure why, but I have a thing for cute little cotton jammies for the girls and on 99.9999% of the nights that's what they wear. But on this particular night Emma had wanted to wear a new shirt she had been given from Ryan's orthodontist and so Rebecca wanted to wear a t-shirt too. She is wearing one I had bought for Ryan when he was probably 5, maybe 6. "Not Large But In Charge" - it fit him in every way imaginable.

Anyway, we had tucked the girls in and kissed them goodnight but when we went back in later to check on them ... there was Bex sound asleep with all her babies, and with a bible in her hand. One of those moments that just melts your heart. Then you realize you just took a picture of your child sleeping in an old t-shirt instead of cute little jammies. I think she has her priorities right though, our baby girl sure has a heart for the bible.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bear Tales

I used to install and train pharmacy computer systems back in my younger days and was able to travel to many different states and spend a week at a time in the various locales. One thing I enjoyed the most was talking to the local people and getting a taste and feel for their area. One time I was in Minnesota, right on the Canadian border and the pharmacy I was working in had an old timey soda fountain. One morning I had the opportunity to listen to some older men telling bear tales. Well, there's not much of a chance of hearing bear tales in Texas so I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

So, fast forward 20 years or so and I took the day off to take Ryan and Emma canoeing on the Blue River in Southern Indiana. Not knowing if the water was swift or not I left my glasses in the van, I didn't want to take the chance of breaking them. That was an unfounded concern though because the water was very shallow, so shallow in fact that we had to get out several times and carry the canoe along. It was hotter than blue blazes that day too, the hottest day in this area in a long - long time. At some point during the day Ryan told me that he saw a bear up on a ridge. Of course I couldn't tell, I couldn't see well enough to tell. But it was plausible.

Toward the end of our trip, we're floating merrily along and I see a log in the water that looks like it has ears. My first thought is that I wish I had my nice camera with me, that would be one of those cool shots of something that looks like something else. Ryan notices it about the same time and by this time we're fairly close and it's not a log. It's a bear! Ryan swears it's a bear, but yet it didn't move - didn't even really look our way. All you could see was the head sticking out of the water and it wasn't moving a muscle. We start back peddling in a major kind of way and along come some more boats - those guys see the bear and they stopped as well. So here we are pulled over on the opposite side of the river, Emma is FREAKING out in a major kind of way. Crying. Flailing her little hands around. Telling me she's never seen a bear in her entire life. Tells me to call the police. Call the people we rented the canoe from. Call someone! She was scared and she wanted me to call someone to fix it!

After we had been there for a while, and I had prayed with Emma and gotten her calmed down a bit I tried to talk Ryan into us going on ... we'd just stay on our side, the animal could stay on its side. But Ryan refuses to help me paddle on past the bear. I told him that even if it was a bear, if it was going to attack - it would have already because we had gotten really close.

Not sure how long we stayed there with the other families but eventually the bear starts moving. Very slowly and he starts climbing out of the water on his side of the river ... but it wasn't a bear. It was a great big ol' dog that even had a collar on!

Now how is that for a bear tale?! Or at least a Kentucky version of one.

Talking with Emma about it later and trying to explain to her how important it is to remain calm, she tells me that it was a miracle. God turned that bear into a collar wearing dog!

Bless her itty bitty bones.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Hi, my name is Carolin and I am a recovering pack-rat. Never ever meant to be one, swore I wasn't one - but somehow, someway over the past 10 years or so it's crept up on me.

If you've been following along for a while you will know that I was on a 'go organize' streak for a while and we did get lots of things cleaned up, thrown out, given away or hauled off to goodwill. It's looking so much better around here but there's still a lot to do.

A year or so ago Brian & I bought a brand new bedroom set and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it's the first brand new bedroom set I've had as an adult. We didn't have enough money at time though to buy the matching bedside tables so we were still using some that were way older than me and were technically sofa end tables. I swear the drawer (at least on my side) had not been opened since we moved here 9 years ago because it was packed and I just never got around to cleaning it out. We recently bought the matching end tables for our bedroom set! Woohoo! They were delivered yesterday which necessitated the old ones being cleaned off and out. So that's what us old peeps did tonight, we cleaned out the drawers and goodness - what a trip down memory lane it was!

Here's a list in no certain order:
  • An address list from the church we attended when we first started dating.

  • An address list from the church we attended after we were married.

  • An address list from my first corporate job.

Of course each list brought about a conversation about old friends and acquaintences which was fun!

  • A notebook from when Ryan was a baby - or at least started right before he was born. It has lists of the shower presents received from all the showers that were given for us and checkmarks showing where I'd marked them off as I dutifully wrote the thank you notes. The notebook included a page that had a list for Brian of who to call when I had Ryan - now why I thought he wouldn't know who to call is really puzzling me and may just keep me awake tonight. To top it all off, the notebook also includes every feeding Ryan had from the time I had him and then going on out until I realized that yes, he would eat - that's all he did! And that there really was no reason to worry about him gaining weight. He still eats a lot, not sure how he stays so skinny! Sheesh, that child was eating every 1 to 2 hours.

  • A pencil that had erasers on each end, and no lead. Now where did I get that and why in the world would I keep it?

  • The realtor flyer for our house in Frisco, TX from when we bought it which also has the floor plan on the reverse side. That made me sad, I loved that house & the Texas sized kitchen.

A weird assortment of books:

  • "Prayers of a Loving Mother"
  • "A Heart Like Jesus"
  • "You Can Negotiate Anything" - which I'm pretty sure belongs to a friend of mine in Texas. I need to email, apologize profusely & get that book returned to it's rightful owner. I'm fairly certain I never read it.
  • "How I got Millionaire Mentality" - This one is REALLY throwing me. I'm not a saver, not good w/ finances and why or how this ended up on my side of the bed is just something I'll never ever figure out.
  • "40 Days of Purpose" - now this one needs to be read again because something must not have stuck.
  • "The Dream and the Nightmare - The Sixties' Legacy to the Underclass" ... again, some book worm must have been sneaking books in my nightstand for the last 10 years because that is not even close to being a Carolin kinda book. I think Brian ran out of room on his side and snuck it in mine!
  • "Now, Discover Your Strengths" with a side note of "The revolutionary program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths ...". I'm thinking I never read this one either. Obviously. But must have been in 'corporate mode' when it was purchased.

I won't even go into the various books that were stacked on top of our respective nightstands, but I'm fairly certain that the software that lists books you might be interested in on Amazon probably goes haywire when Brian and I log in. That topic deserves its own blog post.

And then, to really make me smile ... I found Ryan's mouthpiece from when he was a little tyke and played flag football. The one from this picture.

For now at least, the new side tables do not have anything in them and the trash can is full. The mouthpiece may or may not be in the trash - it may cause a tear or two when I do. And the books, any takers on any of them? I'm more than happy to share :-)

G'night - I'm tired!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Two very hot little chickas!

We visited Moniticello while we were in Virginia and the main thing I can say is "WOW". It was beautiful! The view was magnificent, the grounds were beautiful, the house amazing - the tour people knew their business. If you're ever in the area, this one is a MUST see! It was the perfect ending for our vacation.

Now, where should we head next summer? South Carolina? Pennsylvania? Wisconsin? New York?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Virginia State Capitol - Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia - # 13 on our list of capitols to visit. Nice, very nice indeed! We didn't make it there in time for the guided tour but we were able to do a self guided thing which was nice, but we do prefer the guided ones. Lots of history packed in for this one!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beach Time

Are you guys tired of pictures yet? I sure hope not, it's just that I haven't had a whole lot to say lately.

I just loved watching the kiddos while we were at the beach and with my telephoto lens I was able to just sit back and click away. However by the last night I think Emma was tired of me snapping photos and anytime she would see me pick the camera up she would drop down and do this ape walk type thing. I'll never understand how one little dumpling can be such a stinker! Thankfully I was able to get a few of Emma and Ryan together - I just love watching those two, while neither would like to admit it - I think they do enjoy each other!

not quite sure who she was aggravating here, but I can tell from that smile that it had to be someone!

This was the weird 'ape walk' thing she was doing. She wouldn't even make eye contact, she would just drop down and walk all over the beach like this. Goofy girl.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Go Karts

With each vacation we try to get in a good mix of fun, relaxation, education ... and of course ice cream. Haha. For the fun part, Brian & Ryan prefer to get in some go kart time. Emma is quickly learning to love this part of vacation too.

Little Rebecca slept through all the excitement.