Monday, April 26, 2010


Maryn has a pair of butterfly earrings Ashlyn is insanely jealous of. Their pink and silver and dangly. And more then anything Ashlyn wants to wear them. We chatted a little about getting your ears pierced, and in an effort to discourage the discussion I brought up the "N" word...NEEDLE. Her eyes got really big. "Needles hurt!"

But a few moments later I see her walk through...with the earrings dangling form her ears. Upon closer (and initially a relatively ALARMED) inspection, I discovered she had cut off tiny pieces of packing tape and taped them to her ears. I started laughing so hard, and scrambled for the camera, but she took them off before I could get a picture.

She cracks me up sometimes.

Princess Prep

About a month ago we were at Mel’s house, and MAddie and Alexa were all excited about a piece of paper they had brought home from school. It was a mini flyer about an upcoming “Princess Ball”. It was a special daddy-daughter dance. Even Claira was excited, chattering happily and extensively about going with her daddy to the princess dance. And Maryn and Ashlyn wanted to go very much. But there was no daddy to accompany them.

Kirk offered, but 5 little girls seemed like an awful lot for one man to handle for 3 hours.

So on the way home, I called my dad. I was holding back tears. This was one of those moments where it seemed so terribly unfair. But fortunately, the Lord has seen fit to bless me with a spectacular family. My father said yes without hesitation, commenting how it wasn’t even a “I’ll check my calendar thing”. It was a “this was one of those things that was more important than whatever happened to be on my calendar.” Thank you daddy.

And the girls lived it to the max. Soon Miciah and my brother were coming as well. They had new dresses and shoes, makeup and sparkly head pieces, fancy hairdos and fancy corsages. Dressed to the nines doesn’t even cover it.

What you don't hear is the words coming out of Melanie"s mouth. She's muttering "We're going to need to invent some ugly pills before your old enough for boys to notice. Sheesh."
Its true, her girls eyes POP when you put makeup on them.

The youngest princesses and their tiara's. Funny side note, Ashlyn kept calling it a "chiara". Silly, silly girl.
My favorite pic above. Plus the obligatory silly one below.

All of the girls at the dance. From left front: Claira (3), Ashlyn (5), Back from left: Maddie, Miciah and Alexa (all 8), Maryn (10)

Let the dancing begin! The Arts Council whose fundraiser it was sold 1500 tickets. It was very crowded! Rob said most of the time it was like a little girl mosh pit out there. All the princesses jumpin and bumpin and the dads kind of standing around the edges watching with amused and sometimes perplexed looks on their faces. The music was frequently peppered with requests of "Could {insert name here} the father of {insert name here} please come and get their daughter from the front? She lost you."

But they had fun. They got back a little early since Claira and Ashlyn ran out of steam and got grumpy.

I had to include this one because Ashlyn is being "typical" and I plan on using this against her someday. We wanted a group picture at Mel's after they got back and she is pitching a fit. Dad's trying to hold her still. And she's hysterical. DIVA ALERT!

Technology Fair

Once a year at my kids grade school (K-8) they have a technology fair to show off what the kids have done over the course of the year. Maryn and her partner in crime, Allison, were chosen to show and share the webcasts created by the 4th graders about the Iditarod (overland dog sled race). I asked her teacher Mrs. Rodeheffer why she chose them out of all of the kids, and she replied that Maryn and Allison did a good job on their project and felt they would represent well.

And she did!

This is Allison and Maryn with the director of student services Kim Piper (assistant principal for both the grade and high school pretty much)
Allison and Maryn
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Monday, April 12, 2010

North Carolina Part 7: The Beach

So the beach was our favorite stop. The kids wanted to go back the next day. It was cold and windy. But that did not stop anyone from having fun. The benefit of the storm the day before was that it was good shell searching. Some nice man gave us a whole sand dollar about 4 inches across (we later figured out it was still alive and had to kill it and treat it from home), and Paul stepped on two whole lightning whelk shells while in the frigid water. We also found cockle shells, several jingles, pen shells, clams and several types of scallops.

Ashlyn loved the ocean. She would run up to the waves, scream and laugh and run away as they rolled in and lapped around her feet.
I will tell you, when we got there, it was windy and quote cold. Only Nick and Paul were lunatic enough to go into the water. Wierdos.
Check out our beach pics!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

North Carolina Part 6: Beaufort

Tuesday was the big day. We went to the ocean!

First we went to Beaufort and the Maritime Museum. Beaufort was evidently the home of the infamous Blackbeard, and the museum had an interesting display about him and his history. The museum was interesting.

This was a maritime library the older boys had some particular interest in,

Ashlyn takes the helm.

There were several different boats on display. Here are some sailboats.
This one is specifically for Uncle Aaron, because Maryn thought he would like it.
One of the volunteers unlocked this diving bell for us so we could see inside. Here is Jennie halfway in :)

And here is the view from the inside: I didn't get the pic, but they had little TV's sitting outside the little round windows with movies of fish swimming past.

Then we walked down the little boardwalk and browsed around some shops. It was a little touristy, but that's what cute beachfront towns are for, right? We bought fudge, and the girls got seashell necklaces.

And we got to see some boats.

North Carolina Part 5: Shark!

Once on the other side, we went to a tiny town called Aurora. They had an interesting little fossil museum. We kind of hustled through, the kids stopping only to check out the really obvious stuff. It was mostly about sharks.
This is what it would look like if you were about to be eaten by a shark that had just had an appetizer.
One of the displays.

Ahhh! Swim away! Swim away!
Confuscious say: He who smiles from between the teeth of a shark makes a happy meal.
The fun part was going outside to piles of dirt/stone debris brought over compliments of the local phosphate mine. You go out and sift through it with your fingers in search of sharks teeth.

My kids loved it, and found about a dozen or so each.

We made it back to the dock in time for ferry, but alas, they were full. So we headed back another way. Lasagna for dinner, and FHE.

North Carolina Part 4: The sitcom that never was...Boss Hog and the Ferry

So the first full day was mostly relaxing…we went to church and had a nice supper and watched movies. We were gearing up for the next 2 days.

Well Sunday night, a storm rolls in. A big booming thundery drop rain on everything kind of storm. This was not good news, since our plans for the day included a ride on the ferry…not as pleasant on choppy cold waters. But by noon it had calmed down for the most part, so off we went. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a BBQ place called Boss Hogs.
The nice Boss Hogs' folks. Just noting, there were 4 other black people who opted out of the photo. You will notice the case of food. You will also notice how none of it actually fits into any diet I know of.

Hows that leg Lyni?

I'm thinking that's pork Nicks noshin' on. The sauce was vinegar based. Different, but I liked it.

Jennie and Amelia split a plate. The potatoes you see by Milla's fork were boiled and covered in butter. Tasty.

And Conner discovers hush puppies.I learned something about southern food. All real southern bread had corn in it. They just shape it differently and name it other things to throw you off. And anything worth eating is worth frying.

Paul tried collards. I say Ewwww...he liked them. Although I must say that although they are green, I doubt they have any health value. Yeah, boiling and then pan frying in lard balances out any possibly benefits.
Then it was on to the Ferry.Side note about the ferry. We told the kids we were going, and Ashlyn gets a puzzled look on her face. “Is this anything like the book fair-y that came to our school?” Ah, the English language. Words that sound the same but mean different things. It didn’t help that Alan (the dad) kept saying we were basically going to drive the van onto a giant Tinkerbell and fly across the water.

They though it was cool we just drove onto the boat. Here is the crew, minus yours truly who is holding the camera.

Milla keeps a sharp eye out for something...I'm guessing random good looking guys ranging in ages from 14 to 17.

North Carolina Part 3: A life of crime...

So right away Nick (their oldest) and Paul took off. Nick is 18 and has a lisence, so they went ot go help someone do something with a lawn tractor and then messed around. Well, the next day we found out what they had really been up to. Evidently they went and played airsoft at a construction sight not too far from the house…and someone thought they were punks and called the cops. So here are Paul and Nick, and there is the police car with the lights on. The comfort here is that guess they had had some issues with punk kids stealing from the site, and when they saw Paul and Nick, they decided they were definitely not punks. The officer simply informed them that it was illegal to play airsoft in city limits and suggested they go play in the woods. So they just quit and decided to go to Toys R’ Us. They were just playing around, and didn’t realize it was past closing time until the employees started giving them dirty looks…and they were told by a disgruntled employee they HAD to leave. Nice. Nick smiles ay Paul and says, “And so our life of crime continues.”

North Carolina Part 2: So about West Virginia...

There is something I feel I must interject here. I have never been in West Virginia. Therefore, I never had an actual opinion of West Virginia. I now have an opinion of West Virginia. First of all, its beautiful. Mountains, mountains, mountains. Not like out west mountains, but big enough. The local trees are deciduous in nature…something I found surprising. Also, I found all the rock exposed by digging a path for the highway fascinating. It was black mostly, and on the day we were driving through, mostly wet, like the mountains were weeping. I also found out there are nearly 2 million people in West Virginias, and for the life of me, I have no idea where they put them. One mountain pretty much runs into another, and the people tuck their houses and farms into the crevices left were the feet of each mountain meet. Jennie (Whom we were goignt o visit) said she ahd a friend who was from WV who described it perfectly. Her friend had said she grew up “in a holler in West Virginia. Then again, everyone in West Virginia grew up in a holler.” Even Charleston, the capital, wasn’t all spread out and metropolis-y like one would think. It was “holler-ized” as well. You hardly felt like you were in a city. This was a rest area we stopped at:

It also surprised me that Virginia really was so different from WV. The mountains became more rolling (up until the plateau as we went into NC…the descent was gorgeous in to the valley!) and the rock went from black to red. And I mean southern Utah red. Totally shocked me. Also apparently the people in VA don’t like to slice away their mountains, they prefer drilling through them. Note to self…taking your sunglasses off in a tunnel always makes the tunnel seem a little less dark.

Here’s the interesting thing…the closer we got to Greenville, the more the terrain looked familiar. My kids kept commenting how it looked like we were back in Ohio…flat, flat, flat. We got to the Jones house about 6:30, ate supper and our NC adventure began.

North Carolina Part 1: A ride in the car

So the week before Easter, we had made plans to go and visit some friends of ours who used to live here and moved to Greenville North Carolina. We got up early (like 4:30 early) on the morning of March 27th and headed south. The plan was we all slept in what we were going to wear in the car. So we literally rolled out of bed, went to the bathroom, grabbed pillows and got in the car.

I ended up calling the first bathroom break. I’m pretty sure it was the Full Throttle I drank so I would not asleep. We stopped several times for bathrooms and twice to eat. I have to admit, the kids did great. They were actually fabulous for the most part, and with the stops it ended up being a 14 hour drive.

This is us at McD's for breakfast somewhere in southern Ohio, almost to West Virgina.