Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm sick...

I have a cold. A rotten, stinking cold. I plan to finish my trip stories. Today, I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch The Partridge Family and The Monkeys. Then I remembered that I wasn't 9 years old anymore. Those shows weren't on. If you are a child of the 80's - do you remember staying home sick from school? Do you remember watching these shows? The others like Green Acres, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Gilligan's Island, etc? I loved staying home to watch tv... not that I did it very often. I liked laying on the couch all day. It was so relaxing. THAT. DID. NOT. HAPPEN. TODAY. I tried to sleep in. I thought just maybe that would make me feel better. My darling last child is NOT sick. He was up with the sun and chattering away. I tried to take a nap this afternoon. Again - NO. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. Oh well, there is always bedtime that will come soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Five years...

This is the card. I couldn't make it bigger. If you click on it, it shows up bigger.

Today marks a day that so many of us wish was not true. Today, it has been five years since we lost Debi. I always think about her - every day. I thought about her every day before we lived here and now that I see her children on most days - she is on my mind. I have been missing her more lately because I feel like I need my friend back to get me through all the "stuff". I want to talk to her and share all sorts of things. I have been thinking about posting about this since a sermon at church. It was about angels. I just never got around to it. Today is a good day to post about angels. On the morning after Debi died, Tim wanted the family to go to Burger King. I think he just needed to get out of the walls surrounding us. We took the kids and my mom and headed off. I was so numb. I literally could not feel anything, but extreme grief. I couldn't eat and I couldn't think. I felt like the air had been sucked out of the world. I sipped on orange juice and we just all sat very quietly. Tim still smoked at the time. He went outside to smoke and the kids and I followed him. I felt so lost that I couldn't bare for him to be more than 2 feet away from me. We were at a Burger King on a busy Florida road. It was not a place for people to be out walking their dogs. Out of nowhere, this elderly couple walked up to us with their dog or dogs - I can't remember if they had one or two dogs. The kids started petting the dogs. I couldn't speak. I couldn't move. I was doing all I could to control the sobbing that had started the night before. This couple didn't speak either. They just stood there quietly. It was sorta of odd, but peaceful. The next thing, I know, they hand me a card sharing with me the Way to Get to Heaven. It was a simple little business type card. It just told the truth. You see, I was raised to believe in Jesus and who He was. I believed in him, but I always had doubts. Not atheist type doubts, just doubts. I didn't have a real religious identity. I believed, but I wasn't sure what I believed. This may or may not make any sense, but it is the best way I can describe it. I stood there looking at the card. The tears were beginning to fall. Debi knew me so well. She knew I was a person who needed concrete evidence. I liked facts - all neat and orderly. I was so worried about her. I knew she was in heaven, but what about before she got there. The fear was more intense than I can put in words. Tim kept telling me that God was there with her and He protected her. I held that card in my hands and knew that she had sent me these angels to give me comfort. They were angels that told me she was okay and there was one way to get to heaven. I believe in angels. They are all around us. I believe Debi is an angel and she is still helping people like she always did. It has been 5 years and it still hurts and I still miss her.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oklahoma or BUST part 4...

Creepy gun store.
Outdoor World

We had planned to go crystal mining on this next day, but the weather didn't look good. We also called the place we had planned to go and they were closed. Rather than hope for a good place to go and hope it didn't rain - we altered our plans and headed to Oklahoma City. It was about a 6 hour drive, not too long, but not exactly short. We got to OKC about dinner time and decided to Bricktown. I had read a little about it, but didn't really know all that much. It was chilly and drizzling (so I didn't stop to take any pictures). We ate dinner at some BBQ place that I can't even remember the name of. Tim II had called me while we were there and told me his throat had swelled shut from his medication and he had not passed his test. Pretty much from that point on, my head was numb. I was so worried about him, that the details of what was going on around me just left me. I was worried about his health and worried we would not get to spend any time with him. I told him we were an hour away and would be there to see him no matter what. He sounded really happy that we had decided to keep moving on to OK even if we didn't know what the outcome of family weekend would be. I just didn't care because I wanted to see him so much. We finished dinner and wandered over to the big Bass Pro Outdoor World. This store is huge and has a lot to see. The kids had fun wandering around with Tim. I found a spot to sit down in and call my mom. I was pretty close to tears and I just sat and talked with her. I did snap a few pictures before we left. We headed out to our hotel. I think this was the night I took the kids swimming in the indoor pool. I was hoping to do that a few more times, but each night we got back so late.

We weren't sure what are plan was for the next day because it really depended on the weather.
When we got up it was raining and cold. We had thought about the zoo, but opted for the OKC Science Museum aka Omniplex. First we made a stop at a huge gun store. It had tons of mounted animals. Creepy in my opinion. I had to drag Tim out of this store and onto the museum. We wandered around the museum for the entire afternoon. We enjoyed the exhibits, but probably would have passed on the IMAX film. It was pretty dated and not worth the extra money. Sebastian loves these hands on museums. We had been to our state museum just prior to the trip and he had a great time trying things out. It was a lot of fun just goofing off with each other. All in all, it was worth the trip to see this. It was a little on the pricey side as far as everything else we had done. It would have been less if he had skipped the IMAX movie. I think if I were giving advice, I would say it is worth the price of the ticket, but don't add the movie. We left the museum around 5pm and were to make our way to Lawton, OK. It was a really pretty drive and I really enjoyed it. Years and years ago, when Tim and I were celebrating our first anniversary, we were going to Disney World for the first time. It was an hour and a half drive from our house. I remember being so excited and feeling like a kid. I just couldn't wait to go to Magic Kingdom. I felt this same feeling heading to Lawton, OK. I was so excited to see my son. I just missed him and wanted to see his face. When he called that night, I was so happy to tell him that we were HERE.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Oklahoma or BUST part 3...

My pictures don't really do the caverns justice. You really just have to go there and see it for yourself!

Some country road.
Soda fountain.
My nephew Josh with his girlfriend, Cara.

On our third day of making our way to see Tim II, we decided to go to the Blanchard Caverns. Again, my sister, Leann, had told me what a wonderful place this was. It was not too far from where we were staying. We got to see some pretty rural country along the way. Actually, our whole drive from SC through GA, AL, MS, TN, AR, and finally OK was very pretty. I have been driving back and forth from SC to FL that I hadn't really thought anything would look different. It was vastly different from area to area, but each had a wonderful quality about it. So, back to the Caverns. It was a sort of drizzly day, but that is perfect to go 260 feet under the ground. I was a little nervous because I don't like tight spaces, but my sister assured me that the actual cavern was HUGE. Tim did have to ask the guide just HOW FAR the elevator was going down. I could have lived without that information. When we got down there - it was just amazing! You can tell that I have spent way too much time at Disney World because my mind kept thinking that whomever did this work did and AMAZING JOB! Then I had to remind myself that God had created this masterpiece, not some Disney Imagineer. Savannah enjoyed it, but Sebastian didn't really care all that much. He did attract attention because his jacket and shoes both lit up. It helped direct the dim path for everyone! This is another highly recommended place to go around Mountain View AR. It was also very reasonably priced and well worth the cost.

We left the Caverns and headed back into the town. There is a little old fashioned soda fountain pharmacy that we went to for lunch and ice cream. The kids had fun sitting at the counter. We shopped around the shops and then made our way to where my sister lives not too far away. We went out to dinner with her family. It was a great evening of fun and relaxing conversation. Her town is a very pretty, cozy little town. When I crawled into bed that night, I was so happy that I had got to spend an evening with my sister. Sometimes things just work out and it is really just a blessing.

Oklahoma or BUST part 2...

I think I need to touch up my roots... getting a little dark on top!
One room school house.
An old fashioned seamstress.
He is making tops on a wood lathe. Tim and Savannh spent about an hour with this man learning how to throw a top correctly. Savannah chose a top as her gift.
Making candles. No, I wasn't nervous that Sebastian would stick his hands in the hot wax. Nope, not me!

Our first official non-driving day (there weren't many non-driving days), we decided to visit the Ozark Folk Center. My sister, Leann, lives in Arkansas. I had asked her about a couple of places that she had gone to on her honeymoon. This place has about 24 artisans that show how things were made in pioneer days. This fit perfect with the American Girl, Kirsten, that we were studying for school. I love, love, love it when we can take a trip that ties into what we are studying. We went to Williamsburg when we were studying colonial times, then we did this. Next up we are studying the American Girl, Addy. She was a slave. I am pretty sure I should be able to round up a good field trip for this study right here in SC. Anyway, I am moving off of my trip topic... so scattered! We were staying on-site of the Folk Center, so we did not have to travel to it. We found where the tram took us over and headed into the park. It is very quaint and friendly. Savannah was in instant love with the place. She loves watching people work on a craft of some sort. The kids made candles and watched each artist do their work. We took a break and headed to the restaurant for a family style lunch. It was also very nice. I really can't say a bad thing about this place. The cost was extremely reasonable for all you got to see. We spent hours here. My sister had told me that we could probably do the caverns and this park in one day. I opted to split it up just because I didn't want to feel rushed. I am glad I did it that way because it gave us time to really talk to each of the artists and learn about what they were doing. If you are ever in Mountain View, Arkansas, you really need to go to the Ozark Folk Center. We wrapped up our day by heading to Walmart for some crackers, cheese, sausage and the all important caramel apples. We took that back to the room and let the kids play with their souveniers outside off our patio. It really was one of those perfect vacation days.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Oklahoma or BUST part 1...

Well, it has been a few weeks since we actually left for our trip. I still wanted to post about it at some point. Today is as good as any. I am supposed to be leaving for the park in a few minutes, but the first couple of days of our trip were pretty simple. We headed out on a Friday evening to get a start on the driving. We made it to outside of Birmingham. The kids were really good and excited about the trip. I was cautiously nervous about so much driving in a short time. We got up on Saturday and drove to Mountain View AR. We had opted to rent a cabin room from the Ozark Folk Center. It had pretty decent reviews and was right where we wanted to be. We were very happy with what we found. It was very clean and cozy. After driving all day, we decided to just stay in and relax. The next day we planned to visit the Ozark Folk Center. The trip was off to a good start with lots of possiblities to follow!

Our Cozy Cabin Room.

Crossing the Mississippi River. This was something none of us had ever done before. Well, maybe I did it when I was really little. I don't remember.
Huge plant on the river.
Waffles for breakfast became a very important part of our trip.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

Mmmm... Pumpkin Seeds
Grandma with Baby Lucy.

Look at the loot!
Dad was helping sort the candy.
Working on the ooie gooie part!
He really was not sure why we were keeping the seeds.
My expert pumpkin cleaner outer.
My Army Dude and Medieval Princess
Posing with their creations.

Halloween is over for the year, not that we are anywhere near being finished with the candy. I would say it was a huge success. None of us knew just what to expect being in a new state this year. We ended up only doing math on Friday and just celebrating the holiday. The kids carved their pumpkins in the afternoon. Sebastian actually took a "few" seeds out and then Sissy very nicely finished the messy part for him. My mom had one of those Mr. Potato Head kits for pumpkins. Sebastian loved poking the pieces into the pumpkin! Yay for Grandma! Savannah drew her own face this year and did a great job cutting most of it out. Then we started getting into costume early - thinking we would head out early. Well... the truth is traffic was actually crazy here. If I were still in Florida, that would be normal. That is NOT normal for here. I had to run out to pick up my mom because she hands out candy for us. There was an accident so her road was blocked. I decided to run past Sonic and Tim's work and then swing around to get her. The traffic was just amazing. I guess people seriously all get off work early and head home for the holiday. All told it took me a little over an hour to do a 5 mile loop. I was really happy the kids were already dressed up and just ate their dinner in the car. Tim got home and we headed out trick or treating. I love walking around with Tim and the kids. It was a little cold when we started out, but we warmed up pretty quickly. There were tons of houses participating. It was really great. We did our neighborhood and then went across into another neighborhood. Sebastian would have kept going another 5 miles, but Savannah's shoes were hurting her feet. So, we called it a night and headed home. Another GREAT Halloween!