Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh, the fun we had

Returned home from our recent family vacation to discover that our utility room had a leak - a major leak. Half of our computer/play room carpet was soaked. This room backs up against the utility room, so thankfully only half of the carpet was ruined. Roy was able to save the carpet, but he had to rip up the pad and now we are drying out the wood to hopefully save it from being replaced. We have a call in to get the leak fixed and the carpet pad replaced. Wow- what a surprise to come home to. I am hoping we can have this all fixed before I have my Mops family over for a bike parade this week. Thankfully we will be outside, but it still is kind of an inconvenience.
Anyway enough about that. Our trip to Gatlinburg was great. (Pictures to come later- I am borrowing Roy's work laptop to blog right now since our computer is not accessible because of the water leak) We did the little town of Gatlinburg on Monday. We shopped, road the tram at Ober Gatlinburg, ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant, did the Ripley's Aquarium and shopped some more. The aquarium was awesome, one of the best I have been to. On Tuesday, my mom, Makenzie and I did the outlet mall while Roy and Caroline stayed back at the cabin to do some fishing. My big girl caught a fish. She was so proud. They used hot dogs as bait. Who would have thought a fish would like hot dogs? Apparently down south they do. :) Later that afternoon we headed to Dollywood's Splash Country. What a great water park! We ended up returning the next day as well. If you see Roy soon, you will have to ask him about Makenzie's blow out in the baby pool. I guess it wasn't pretty. Mommy was riding the waves in the lazy river - oops. Sorry daddy!! On our last day, we went to the Smoky Mountains. We drove the 11 mile loop around Cade's Cove. If you ever have the chance to do this, you should. It is so beautiful. It is amazing to see God's work and beauty everywhere you look.
I probably won't be able to post again until the end of the week. I will be posting pictures from our trip as well as pictures from A Day Out with Thomas the Train. My wonderful mother-in-law treated all of her grandchildren to a train ride on Thomas on Saturday. It was so fun but a little HOT.
Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day Daddy
We Love You!
Caroline & Makenzie

Picture taken by Frederick Joseph Photography.

The week that was...

Caroline had her first experience of summer camp this week. It was hosted by the local parks and rec and it was called "Anything Goes". She seemed to really enjoy it, especially because her best friend Emma was also there. They had a theme everyday - Disney Day, Carnival Day, Beach Day, Princess and Pirate Day and Animal Day. The picture above is of her last day at summer camp.
Makenzie also enjoyed a little summer camp. Every morning we would drop off Caroline and Makenzie would also get to color a picture or two. The crayon ended up on the table and walls more than the picture. Oops!

Makenzie picking flowers at The Donner Center.

Relaxing after a hard day of playing in the pool!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

First Sleep Over

Caroline had her bestest friend, Emma over last night for a sleep over. This was the first time we have ever had a friend over for the night. They played, giggled, read books, got out of bed just a few hundred times and finally fell asleep around 11:45pm. Yep, that's right 11:45pm. This was after mommy had made several trips into the bedroom to tell them to quiet down, lay your sleepy heads down and GO TO SLEEP. Here is the last conversation I had with them.
"You need to lay down and go to sleep. This is the last time I am coming in here. You need to get your rest so you will be ready to have fun tomorrow morning at summer camp."
"Well, this isn't fun." Emma said.
"It's not? Why?" I said
"Because of you." Emm said
Oh, enough said. :)
The girls .... the first time they laid down.
The Best of Friends
Caroline & Emma

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Baked Rigatoni

1 16 oz package of Rigatoni pasta
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 28 oz jar Hunts Four Cheese spaghetti sauce (or any flavor you prefer)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown and drain ground beef and set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Combine the egg, ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Mix beef with spaghetti sauce. Spread 1 cup of sauce/beef mixture into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top sauce with a third of the pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Continue layers with 1 cup sauce, pasta, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining pasta, Parmesan & mozzarella cheeses and sauce.
Cover and bake @ 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until heated through.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I've Been Tagged

My very cool blogger friend Carrie {Martin Manor Happenings} tagged me to reveal eight things about myself.

Eight things I look forward to...

1) good morning hugs and kisses
2) a new day
3) a little quiet time
4) a good book
5) I love you's
6) seeing the world through my girl's eyes
7) spending time with my family
8) date night with Roy

Eight things I did yesterday...

1) took a shower
2) made mixed berry muffins for breakfast
3) got the girls ready
4) had a family photo shoot at the BCSC building
5) made a new friend - Lisa Hughes at
6) mowed the yard
7) went swimming with the family
8) worked on Mops stuff

Eight things I wish I could do...

1) wake up earlier than the girls
2) feed my family more nutritious meals
3) not eat so much candy
4) drive a stick shift
5) be more patient
6) spend more time with my family back home
7) not be so obsessive compulsive about certain things
8) go back to school

Eight shows I watch...

1) The Closer
2) The Today Show
3) The Young and the Restless
4) The Food Network
5) CMT
6) Noggin
7) Jon & Kate Plus 8 (not so much anymore)
8) Monk
Eight bloggers I tag...
1) Derek @ From Behind the Guitar
2) Deb @ Mom and a Microphone
Well as you can see I only have two bloggers to tag. I need friends in blogging land. Just kidding!!! I hope you enjoyed my eight things.

Little Artist

Caroline loves to draw, especially her family. She usually sticks to one color for everything. The bodies, arms, legs, hair, the sun and clouds are always the same color. I am trying to get her to come out of the box and express her artistic abilities with a newer color palette. She is always so proud of her drawings (as I am too) and wants to hang them all over the house. Why wouldn't you want everyone to see your beautiful drawings? It's like having your own private art museum.
Here she has drawn our family, all holding hands in a family portrait in the sunshine. I asked her why the cloud looked upset and she told me there was a storm on the way. Okay, better take cover. Putting on some finishing touches. The girls needed hair bows and daddy needed a little hair.
Now we are getting feet and shoes.
Cutting out her portrait to hang up.
I absolutely love this picture. Caroline is so clever and always an "Out of the Box Thinker". She drew our family, all holding hands, and then added stickers for our clothing. How cute is this? Roy has ballet shoes and a purse (something every man needs),I have a pretty tutu on, plus a princess crown and purse, Caroline has a tutu, purse, bow in her hair and a magic wand, and Makenzie has a purse and shoes on. What a beautiful family we have. I also love how she added a bouquet of flowers, like we were in a ballet recital. Caroline, our little artist.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three stomachs

Caroline has developed a love for Minute Maid Limeade. She loves it even though she says it has a sour taste sometimes. I think it if funny that she loves this beverage because I craved it during my pregnancy with her. Funny how things work, isn't it?
Anyway... she was drinking some Limeade today and got choked a little. I asked her if she was okay and needed me to pat her on the back and she said...
"No, Mommy I am fine. It just went down to the wrong stomach."
"It did? How did that happen?"
"I swallowed and it went to my three stomachs instead of just my one stomach. "
"Okay honey."
I wasn't sure how to reply.
Kids say the darnest things.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


There isn't an hour that goes by that I don't think of the last two weeks. As many of you know, my grandmother passed away on May 28th. She was the head of our family, the queen bee, our rock, and my sunshine. She had been falling ill for sometime but we didn't expect the events to occur as they did. Of course, you never know what will happen in the next 15 minutes, the next hour, or the next day. We all plan and have to-do lists and can have an idea of what is to come for us, but do we ever really know?

The last conversation I had with my grandma was on May 24th. She was all bundled up in her recliner with 3 blankets on covered up to her chin (it was close to 85 degrees outside) and eating her lunch. She was using her left hand to eat (she is right handed) because she was so cold. I helped her finish her lunch and then she told me she wanted some more grape juice. Okay, no problem. I'd love to help. I head down to the dining room, fill up her cup a little over half way and return to her room. She takes a look at the cup and says "They could have filled it up all the way". So I say... "Granny, I did that and I didn't fill it up all the way so you wouldn't spill it". She just looks at me with her I'm a big girl face. So I ask... "Would you like me to get you more ?" She says... "Yes, fill it all the way to the top, I'm thirsty." At your service Granny.

You are probably wondering why I am blogging about this conversation I had with my grandmother. Well, you see this was my granny. She was outspoken, never afraid to share her feelings or opinions with anyone. She and I would always banter back and forth and even if she acted like she was upset, she wasn't. She was just pulling my chain. I will miss that a lot. I know it made my mom laugh a lot.
We received a call the next morning from the assisted living facility that Granny's sugar had dropped to 23 and her doctor had said she needed to go to the hospital via ambulance. My mother and I rushed out and arrived there before they took her to the hospital. She was non-responsive and it was a horrible site to see your beloved grandmother lying there and not able to speak. The paramedic kept yelling her name but she wouldn't respond. This was not what we expected when we arrived. I asked the paramedic if I could try holding her hand and calling her name. I did, but nothing. I turned away to let the paramedic continue working on granny. As I did, I saw a look in my mother's eyes I have never seen before. It was a look of her heart breaking, not knowing how to help her own mother but also wanting to console her daughter whose heart was breaking as well.
My grandmother died four days later. I transformed into this person I was not familiar with. I didn't want to leave my grandmother's side, not for one minute. I knew that I had too though, for my two little girls. I know that my grandmother would not have liked me being away from them. She loved them so much. I spent as much time at the hospital by her side as I could. The doctors believe she had a stroke and she never spoke a word again. Granny would respond to our voices and she would speak to us through her eyes. My mom, brother, aunt and cousin all talked to her and we could tell she was talking to us, only without words. The times that I was alone with her, I told her how much I loved her, I sang a song she used to sing to me as a child, and told her funny stories about the girls. I know that she could hear me, I felt it in my heart. I was not there when she passed. I think she had planned that all along. I so wanted to be there but I feel she waited until I was gone. My mother and aunt where by her side. She did not suffer and she went in peace. That is the way it was supposed to be.
The days until her funeral were spent planning and getting all of the arrangements made. My mom is a rock, my rock. I so want to be like her when I grow up. She went through the motions of the planning and arranging but I know inside her heart was breaking. She took such good care of my grandmother. They were the best of friends and I know that my grandmother is thankful for everything she did to make her last year comfortable and safe.
I spoke at my grandmother's funeral. All weekend long, something was tugging at my heart and telling me I needed to say something, anything to tell the world how much I loved my grandmother. I don't actually remember what I said. I had nothing planned. I just spoke from my heart. It was the hardest and bravest thing I have ever done. I don't even remember walking up to the podium, I felt like I was floating. Everything was so surreal. During the calling hours, Roy and I sat outside on the steps of the church. The sun was beating down on me and the warmth of the sun felt like my grandmother's arm's around me. It was Granny telling me it was okay. She was happy, healthy and with her family again.
In my heart, I know that she is looking down upon me.
At night when I sing to Caroline and Makenzie, You Are My Sunshine and Neath the Crust of the Old Apple Pie, know that I am thinking of you and missing you.
I love you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Granny Nell
March 5, 1920 - May 28, 2009
She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting
And I know she's smiling saying
Don't worry about me
Miss you Granny.
I love you!
(taken from the lyrics, Sissy's Song by Alan Jackson)