Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Slackers Week Old Post of Family Fun and Things

Last Saturday my Mother in Law's church, Calvery Baptist, in Concord, had their fall festival. It was an all day affair. The kids had spent the night with her so that I could attend a women's fellowship night at my church on Friday night. I ended up bagging that for a dinner out ALONE with my Chris. You know, I wanted to go, but when it started to feel more like something I had to do rather than something I really wanted to do, I knew it was best to skip it and hang with the hubby.

Saturday we headed on down to Concord (about a 20 minute drive) to have some fun. The weather was great. Chris had taken some of the ramps and such from the skatepark for the kids to skate on at the festival and he went along to help out with that. The kids LOVED the Balloon Dart game and the dunking tank. They could win tokens to be traded in for prizes. There were tons of games set up, great food, music, door prizes, mini ponies, and the cutest alpacas ever. I want one. They are so gentle and sweet to look at. Harrison won 350 PIXIE STICKS. Yep, 350 tubes of PURE SUGAR. How? You had to guess the number of pixie sticks in the jar. There were a bunch of different items to guess on, so WHY I chose to submit a guess for SUGAR I have no idea. He was in seventh heaven. I've been in hell ever since. Maia "spent" all her tokens on three blow up rainbow colored unicorns. She drug those things around for a week afterward. Harrison got a blow up dinosaur and a lot of small items. He went for quantity, she, for quality. That's my girl!

They had a very small (as in three kids) teddy bear parade around the parking lot. Our friends little boy, Haisten, was too cute with his John Deere wagon full of bears.

Enough of my rambling. Here are some photos from the day. I will try to not be such a slacker from now on. I just don't have that much to write about lately, and you REALLY don't want me to get started on the bailout situation. I will only say this... Follow this link. It says all I want to say much better than I could actually say it.

The kids weren't really expecting me and when I got there I caught this photo of Maia seeing me. How cute is that? Excited to see her momma.

The poor guy in the tank didn't stand a chance with Harrison throwing the ball!

Maia and Cousin Christy, who was visiting from Richmond, with her Dad for the weekend.

Harrison and McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog. Nice shoes McGruff.

Maia was so proud of her kitty cat that she didn't want to wash it off that night.

He just looks too happy here. Simple things...

Ready to start the Parade. Maia WAS NOT into it at all. Can you tell??

Haisten Lynn on his John Deere. Too cute!

Uncle Ed, from Richmond, stirring the brunswick stew.

Having a staring contest with Harrison. Actually, if you leaned into them, they would kiss you. (Karen, how do you spell staring?)

The alpacas from Fishwood Farm in Concord.

Every Mother's worst nightmare. (For those of you wondering, the Pixie Sticks have been hidden and will be rationed, then will suddenly disappear at Halloween. If you don't like them, don't come to my house!)

Maia and her Unicorns. She worked HARD to earn enough tokens to get all three.

Hayride! Aunt Kathy, Harrison, Judy aka Grammie, and Maia

Monday, September 29, 2008

I've Been Neglectful...

...of my blog. I don't have too many readers, I don't think, so not too many to disappoint. Chris sent me a funny link about the 10 commandments of blogging. Too funny. I must say I have been neglectful because I have become addicted to facebook and all the applications on there that you can play with. I need a 12 step program. BAD. I am going to do my best to post an update about some family happenings (mainly for journaling/scrapbooking purposes) tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is What Happens When A Gas Pipeline Explodes

Last Sunday, a gas pipeline exploded in nearby Appomattox County. I don't know who to credit these photos too; they were sent in an email with no name attached, but they are excellent and show the damage that can be done by such a thing. Several homes were lost, but luckily, no lives. The heat was so intense that it melted paint, headlights and rubber on nearby vehicles. Here is a link to the local tv station if you want to read more. These photos are crazy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smackdown: Louie vs. The Preying Mantis

Tonight, as my family and I were leaving to go to TC Miller Open House, we opened the door to leave and discovered that our Siamese cat, Louie, was battling it out with a HUGE preying mantis. I have NEVER seen a Preying Mantis stand up on its back legs and strike a fighting pose, but boy was this one ready for the action Louis was giving him. It was the funniest thing! Of course, me being a freak with a camera, and always looking for something to pose about, had to grab the camera. Me and the kids stood and watched for several minutes as the smack down progressed. Louie mainly wanted to play with it. Now, had it been our other cat, Max, he would have eaten it up. The Mantis wouldn't have stood a chance. Louie is too much of a good kitty to eat it, thought it did appear he may have injured it a little bit. Anyway, I don't really have much to say on the topic, you kinda had to be there to really witness a cat fighting a preying mantis. It was truly something to see. Here are some photos. Hope you can see the way the mantis was standing up. It was hard to catch in a still photo. Too funny!!

Poor unsuspecting Mantis

Watching and waiting...

Let me just give him a little nudge to get things going...

Mr. Mantis says "you better back up kitty or things are gonna get ugly"...

Ahhh, now the real smack down begins. The action really picked up when they moved under the rocking chair. All poor Louie wanted to do was play with Mr. Mantis. Mr. Mantis did not want to play with kitty cat. Poor Louie.

After this, we left for school I have no idea what became of Mr. Mantis. I have not seen him since we left. Louie, however, seemed to fair well in this battle as he is asleep on my bed now. Maybe I will see the Preying Mantis tomorrow. Or at least parts of him if Louie decided to have him for dinner.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Note to Self: Red Fingernail Polish and Kids DO NOT MIX

After school, a little girl I use to keep as a baby/toddler comes to stay with me. She goes to the same school that my two go to and she rides the bus here in the afternoons until her mom or dad come to pick her up around 5. The bus does not get here until about 4:10. Her name is Bailey, and she is cute as a button. Today, I had an appointment. My mom was here with the kids until I got home, around 4:45pm. In a very short amount of time (you can do the math here!) those two little girls, Maia and Bailey, managed to wreak havoc on several items in Maia's room.

The three little angels, Bailey, Harrison and Maia

While putting Maia to bed this evening, Chris stumbled upon a bottle of MY RED NAIL POLISH, let me just say, a practically brand new bottle, spilled over onto the hardwood floors of her bedroom. Her quilt was laying on top of it all. Somehow the quilt was spared all but for one small dime size spot. The floor, not so good. Lucky I had a bottle of NON-ACETONE nail polish remover on hand and with some quick action, Chris was able to get most of it off the floor. Well, after that mess is up, Maia walks out of her room with her LIMITED EDITION amethyst Build-A-Bear, complete with purple fairy costume, with tears in her eyes. Upon close inspection there is the brush to the RED NAIL POLISH all stuck in the bears fur with GLOBS and GLOBS of said nail polish all over the bear and dress. Ok, anyone that has purchased a B-A-B knows that these things are not cheap. Not one you just want to trash without an attempt at stain removal. A less expensive bear would have wound up in the garbage.

Maia and Harrison both got the speech, even though Harrison was innocent in this one, (Bailey's speech is coming tomorrow) about things that don't belong to them and that they are to KEEP HANDS OFF if it is not theirs. I was so mad. So, now, if anyone knows how to get this off of the poor bear Maia named Sparkles, please let me know! I am going to try a small spot of nail polish remover, but I fear it may eat the polyester right off the bear's leg. Someone else told me that OFF Bug Spray would do it too. Anyone heard of this?? Ugg. I think I am going to bed and will deal with this one tomorrow!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Busy Weekend in the Toler House

We had a busy couple of days this past weekend. Friday evening, after all the gas craziness in town died down, the kids and I grabbed a bite to eat and headed over to my mom's house to hang out. I desperately need a change in scenery by the end of the day on Friday's, and I didn't really feel like dragging the kids out in public and dealing with the meltdowns that have been occurring quite frequently when I do attempt it. So, to Grandma's house we went. Dinner in tow. I found some quite time on her computer, which blows mine out of the water even though I have DSL. My computer is a virtual dinosaur as computer's go. It is pushing 8 years old! YIKES!! That's REAL OLD for a computer. Can't afford a new one, so I make do. We hung out there for a little bit. My kids love to watch all her old movies that she has had since my 21 year old brother was a kid. They chose "The Indian in the Cupboard" this particular evening.

Saturday was Day in the Park, part of September's Kaleidoscope in Lynchburg. Basically, a bunch of local businesses and vendors set up food, games, rides for the kids, a petting zoo and pony rides as well as a variety of live entertainment in the local park. All free, except for the food of course. The kids love it and it is something to do that can be free if you eat before you go and can resist the temptation of fresh cooked funnel cakes. I didn't take money. The kids loved the pony rides and watching a karate exhibition and had fun jumping on the moon walks and such. Chris and I enjoyed watching our church's (Fairview Christian Church) Praise and Worship band, 24/7, perform for a while until the kids started to get bored. Then it got cut short. Oh well. It was REALLY Hot anyway.

Chris, Harrison and Maia relaxing in the shade, watching 24/7 perform.

Most awesome Praise and Worship Band, 24/7

Sunday we headed to church. Chris and I had to keep the nursery. The kids had to finish their crafts they had been working on for a local nursing home. Today was the day we were going to visit and deliver the goodies. After worship, the lovely ladies in charge fixed all the kids a hot dog lunch and we all headed over to the Odd Fellows Home (or Oddville as Maia refered to it in all her innocence) for a visit. The kids had made cute little flower arrangements, cards, and painted boxes, and also had teddy bears and candy to pass out to the residents. They had also worked hard on learning some new songs to sing for them. I forgot my camera, and I could just kick myself! They were so cute! I am going to try hard to obtain some photos that were taken during the visit. They were so excited to visit and pass out their treasures. They brought lots of smiles to faces during their visit and I know they were much appreciated. You could just see it in the eyes of the people they went to see. It was a fun day for everyone.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001

As the popular Alan Jackson song goes... "Where were You when the World Stopped Turning, on that September Day?" I remember clearly, exactly where I was and what I was doing/wearing/feeling that day. September 11. A beautiful cloudless blue sky day. I was at work, 7 months pregnant with my first child, a son. If had on khaki capri's, black tee shirt and black platform sandals. I was sitting at my desk at M/A-COM where I worked as a graphic designer putting the pretties on the proposals that sell public safety systems and two way radios to counties/governments/locales, etc. I was excited about the impending birth of my first child, the sunny day, good friends, life. Then my friend, Lisa, made the announcement that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings.

Shock, disbelief that it was even possible, and fear, all filled my being. Was it a plane off course? A sick joke by the media? Lots of possibilities crossed my mind, but not ONE of them at first was that it was an act of Terrorism. I mean, come on! We are the USA, safety reigns thanks to our troops. From that point, the morning just spun out of control. My hubby was still at home. I called him. He had seen the news. Just as we were digesting the first plane crash, the second one hit. By now, someone had a TV on. Standing room only. Now, it was clear, the USA was under attack. I remember feeling numb and scared. How could this happen? How could I be bringing a child into this world at this time?? What kind of world would he know growing up? Would it be the same one I grew up in, feeling safe and secure? How does a mother protect her child in this type of place we live? Oh, the questions that went thru my mind that day. I cried, everyone cried. Scared for all of us and how we would deal with this, and where it would lead to next.

We hear of the plane crash at the pentagon, then watch in horror as the twin towers fall. I cannot even imagine the terror the people in NY must have felt at that moment. The news is too hard to watch, yet we are glued to the TV. Lastly, we hear of the plane crash in the field in Pennsylvania. I remember sitting around the small TV we had watching in disbelief the horror unfolding minute by minute. It seemed as if each second brought something more horrible than the one before it. I felt like I was living in a dream, something I would wake up from to find it was all make believe. I didn't know what to make of it then, and looking back, I still don't. How can human beings be so cruel?
Then the questions started (mainly in my own head). How can I bring a child into this world? How could GOD let this horrible thing happen ( I have just realized the answer to this in the past year)? How will we, as a nation, deal with this and move forward? What about the people who lost a spouse, a child? The child that lost their parents? Oh, and then, being pregnant, all those pregnant women the news would talk to. The babies would never know their fathers. The fathers, their child. Awful. Well, here we are seven years later. I have realized that GOD put my child on earth for reason, right or wrong with the timing and that maybe, one day, my son (and daughter as well) will fulfill a special purpose, known only to GOD at the time he was given to me. He will do something great in his life on earth. I believe that. Maybe nothing big, but every person can make a change, no matter how small. He is proof that life goes on, good or bad. The fatherless children will no doubt be told of the heroism of their fathers when they are old enough to understand. They will do something great, in their memory. GOD did not allow this to happen. People did. People who don't believe in my GOD. God was with all those people the day they died, and remains with the ones left behind. HE got us thru the days that followed. He brought a nation together in a way I never thought I would witness. HE cried with us that day. I am sure of that.

I could write a book on this subject, but I won't. Here is a poem that was sent to me in an email. I will leave you with this. I thought it was remarkable.


You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news
On September 11, 2001. Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said. 'Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan . I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are 'ready to go.' I will be in the stairwell of your final moments. God

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ah, Rain, Glorious Rain

We've had a dry spell the past few weeks and boy was the rain we woke up to this morning a site for sore eyes. Thanks to Hurricane Hannah, our grass got watered and so did my kids! I guess they had forgotten what rain looked like. They were so excited, by 8 am they were both outside in raincoats, crocs and umbrellas having a ball. Harrison did have on pants, the coat just covered them! They played in the puddles and danced in the rain for about an hour before I called them inside to get dry. They were soaked! Here are some photos from the morning.

She could be the new cover model for Morton's Salt!

Standing in the rain, contemplating their next plan of action! Harrison looks like a mini flasher.

Just to be sure as to not get wet, Harrison took TWO umbrella's in the rain. Then carried them upside down. I think the red one has seen its better day. Anyone passing by would think he was naked under that coat.

Harrison and Maia found curled up Holly bush leaves and were sailing them as boats.

My favorite photo. She just looks so happy and carefree. Ahhh, if we could all be this happy all the time, we would have world peace!

No bath needed tonight!! They got one in the rain! They were both soaked.

Coming in to get dry. Harrison was still playing. He is so hard to get on camera!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What My Day Looks Like

I am going to risk frightening some of you, but I thought I would let you have a glimpse into my day at my private home daycare. Today was a bit different, I must say. My friend, whom I met when I started keeping her first daughter, Sydney, 5 years ago, asked me to keep her youngest, Addison, who is 2. She is a fiery little one. Momma's girl big time. Also today, I had Phoebe, who is also 2. I keep her on a regular basis, Tuesdays and Thursdays. This week I have had her everyday. She is very reserved and a bit shy at times. Very clingy but sweet none-the-less. I also keep 5 days a week: Jack age 16 mths, Zander age 1 (have had him since 6 wks old), Jenna age 1 (have had her since 8 wks old), and Xavier age 1. He is my newest and a lover boy! He loves to cuddle. Zander and Jenna are like my children. I have practically raised them as they are in my care from about 8am to 5pm daily. Jack is the child of a friend of ours. He is a bruiser. Sweet and pretty to look at, but big for his age. He likes to hug all the others when they are crying and is very affectionate. Zander is the resident trouble maker. Typical boy age 1 stuff, gets into everything. Jenna is the drama queen. She can definitely hold her own with all the boys. She will let out a scream if she is being treated unfairly or just wants your attention.

Here's the line-up...

Jack, age 16 months. Resident comforter
Zander, age 1. Resident Goof Ball/Trouble Maker

Addison, age 2. Just visiting, but a big time Momma's girl

Xavier, age 1. Resident Cuddle Bug/Snuggler

Jenna, age 1 (doing what she does best, eating paper). Resident Drama Queen.

Phoebe, age 2. Resident Sensitive Child

Today, as I was preparing lunch for them all, I just looked around my kitchen filled with little people and laughed. It was standing room only. Addison and Phoebe were seated at the little tykes table in the center of the room, Jack and Jenna were in booster seats at the table, and Xavier and Zander were in highchairs. Anyone else may have turned around and run out of the house as fast as they could, but I have a system, and I follow it to a T making the day run smooth. The kiddos know my system too. Lunch is at 10:45-11'ish and if I am running late, they start to scream. They know the deal. 10:45 they are OK, 11am?? I better get a move on or my ears pay the price. OK, I have a photo of the lunch event, but don't look at the junk in my kitchen. Remember I stay home, but I care for 5 kids and this day, 6. Let me tell you, after lunch in my kitchen would be a dogs dream come true. I need to photo the floor after the kids have dumped, scraped, swiped, thrown, etc food all over it. It's pretty scary. (What you see in these photos must stay confined to these blogs, lest someone hear that I am messy around the house!!)

Ahhh, four in the floor. Five if you count the half cat you see. That's Louie. He LOVES lunchtime.

Two more at the table. Yep, that is a pile of junk on my kitchen table. It lives there. That's water in the bottle. Don't call social servies on me.

After lunch, we headed back into my living/family room where all the daily action takes place. Yep, I have a big ole' gate that stretches across the huge doorway into my living room. I have to fence them or I would be chasing babies all over the place. As you can see, they love to pull out every toy I have made available to them. They love the play peek-a-boo in the curtains that hang over our french doors. Hours of fun here. They also like to watch certain shows on TV. The fav. this week is Yo Gabba Gabba, which scares me just a bit. Kinda like a show for kids on drugs or something. Hey, they like it and it keeps them thoroughly entertained. Jenna got a bit close to the TV at one point. Why do kids like to be on top of the TV?? Mine did the same thing when they were little. For all of you out there that think I am doing harm to these kids, the TV does not stay on all day for them. Now that mine are in school, I actually get to watch some adult TV, like news, talk shows, game shows. You know, good ole daytime TV.

Addison and Phoebe livening up my day a bit playing peek-a-boo. That is chipped paint, but it is not lead based. Ahhh, gotta love older (circa 1920s) homes.

Jenna, trying to but Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba in his place, no doubt. That's my girl! (NO! I didn't let her do this a minute longer than it took me to take this photo!)

Xavier and Jenna had a wrestling match over the pink purse at one point. They are bad about snatching toys away from each other. Trying to teach a one year old the finer points of sharing is quite a job. Jack had fun riding the pink rocking horse, and Zander played a bit with some trucks.

Xavier trying to take the pink princess purse from Jenna. Somehow, Xavier, I don't think your Dad would be too proud of you...

Jack riding the pink rocking horse.

Zander playing, never taking his eye off Yo Gabba Gabba.

Nap time comes at noon in the Toler household. Thank goodness for nap time!! It is my saving grace, my time to recharge for the afternoon session of child rearing. Plus my soaps are on! I leave you with a few more photos from my day. Enjoy!

You know how hard I had to work to get them all in one shot??? You can see Zander trying to mess it up for me. See? I told you he was a troublemaker. (But I love him to pieces!)