Does Our Whole Family Have To Go To Heaven?

We took a nearly 2 month long trip to the Mid-West the end of last year/beginning of this year. We were at my parents house on Thanksgiving weekend, when we heard the news that Sandra Jones has died when her car was swept off a flooded bridge. We decided to load up the motorhome and go down to Texas for her memorial. We took Grandpa and Grandma, my parents, and their kids at home with us. Our kids were not excited in the least to leave Grammie and Papa’s farm to go to a funeral but we went anyway. We went down to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lori’s for the weekend. As I was putting the kids to bed the night before the funeral Cooper pulled me aside and asked in a concerned voice, “they aren’t going to have her body at the funeral tomorrow are they?” I reassured him that they wouldn’t and he was much relieved. We got to talking about why people would even want a dead body at a funeral. I shared with him some reasons why we had had Shelly’s body at her funeral. While we were talking Kolby pipes up from his bed, “I know someone who died.” I was wondering what on earth he was thinking of so asked him who he was talking about. “Dod (God)” was his matter of fact response. The take-advantage-of-this-opportunity to tell the kids about God light popped on in my head.

I began to tell the kids that yes Jesus had died but he was amazing and came back to life and He is living now. And that since Jesus died for us we can now ask Him to live in our heart and then when we die we can go to Heaven and live with him forever. (You can just imagine how proud I was feeling that there was such a wonderful opportunity to talk about God with the kids.) I told them that when I die I am going to go to Heaven and it will be wonderful there. Kolby’s quavering voice pipes up, “Are you going to Heaven today?” I reassured him that I didn’t have any plans to go to Heaven today, that it would be later on when I died. I told them that they could all go to Heaven if they asked the Lord into their hearts just like Daddy and Mommy have done. Again there was a tearful reply, “Does our whole family have to go there?” I told him how I would love for all of us to go to Heaven and how when we die we would live with God forever and never have to come back to pain and sadness but live with him FOREVER!  Kolby asked again, “Does our whole family have to go? Can we ever come back? I don’t want to go there!” He was sobbing at this point. Any attempt on my part to tell them a positive of Heaven was horribly overwhelming to him. He was terrified of going to a place where he could never go back home, etc.

Next Kolby began asking to sleep with me in my bed. I asked him why and he told because he didn’t want me to go to “That place”! I told him that I wasn’t planning on dying that night. I probably wouldn’t die until I got old so it was ok and he could stop crying about it. He tearfully replied, “But you are already old Mom, so are you going to die now!” It was pretty funny but by then I had a few children that were a little worked up about this Heaven topic. I ended up having to call Chester out to the motorhome to help me get the kids thinking about something else so they could sleep. I guess it wasn’t such a good idea to take the opportunity to talk about Heaven on a long trip when the kids were all worn out. I’m sure they felt like we would never go home and that was a bit overwhelming to them to think of going to Heaven where they would NEVER go back home. Great Mom moment for me!!!

January 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wow I can’t believe it is 2015! Looking forward to this year with our family!

3rd-Yesterday Cooper & Bryant went over to Luke’s for his birthday party. They stayed the night over there and had a NERF war today. We came and picked them up in the afternoon and headed to Caleb and Angela’s house for Dustin’s birthday party. We had dinner and dessert there with the whole Martin clan, Adam, & Matt and Amy’s family. After the party we came back home.

8th-Kaylin & Kolby helped me paint the edges of some canvases for a project for Kaylin’s room. After they painted the canvases I Decopodged a picture onto the canvas. They turned out really cute. I will have to show the finished product whenever I get pictures of Kaylin’s room, since we are finished with her room now.

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Jan. 11-This is the start of Cooper’s new company GreeneApple. He and Chester are designing the website www.greeneapple.com.

 

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Jan. 17-These cute kids were having a tea party with their dolls. I love watching them play together.

20th-We are finally getting back to BRMRG training after Christmas break and New Years. Tonight was learning about Land Navigation. I’m still pretty nervous about navigation as I just haven’t done it much so don’t have much confidence in myself.

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Bobby sent me this picture after the kids had visited them today. He said it was a fly in! The boys are enjoying building paper airplanes these days.

 

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Jan. 21-We went and sang at The Independence tonight. I enjoy singing there. Very casual, fun music. Carson likes to bring his upright bass and Cooper likes to take his bass guitar to play along with Laura on the piano and Robert Cox on his guitar at times.

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Jan 22-We have been studying snakes in school this week so today we made a paper chain Coral snake.

Kolby has gotten where he REALLY enjoys doing puzzles. He is so proud when he finishes up one.IMG_4928

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Jan. 23-Since Chester has had to be off of dairy and corn I have started making more food from scratch around here. Today it was homemade bread day! Yummy!

24th-We have started trying new fruit and veggies every so often. This month our new fruit to try was fresh coconut. We weren’t really sure what to do with it. No one was real impressed with just eating it plain. :-) I ended up blending it up in my VitaMix and so then I had unsweetened coconut flakes. Pretty neat.IMG_4930 IMG_4931

25th-After meeting today we rushed home and grabbed a bite to eat before Laura, Kaylin & I drove up to Brent and Kirsten’s house for her baby shower. So glad we could go. It was fun seeing their new house and getting to share in their excitement and anticipation of their baby on the way.

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Kaylin liked the little chair that Marie gave Kristen for the baby.

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Hellen Donohoe, Kristen Donohoe, Linda Stevens

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Shelly, Kristen, Linda

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Such sweet, special ladies!

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Kaylin and Gemma were the only little girls there besides babies. After a while they were bored with the shower so they played something on Laura’s phone

26th-Tonight was our first CERT class for this round of CERT training (Group #3). We went over there as a family. We helped get things rolling. After a while Chester took the kids over to the library so they weren’t so bored and so they could get books for our trip. I stayed for the whole class. We had a pretty good turn out I felt. Hopefully most of them will stick with it.

27th-Today was Bryant’s “special day” with Chester. It was kind of big and special so Bryant invited Cooper, Luke Woods, and Bobby to go with them. They went up to DC to the Washington DC Auto Show. Oh wow! Bryant was in heaven he thought! He LOVES cars. They had loads of fun. I stayed home with the K’s and the plan was to get LOTS done in preparation for our trip to Florida. Well I ended up not feeling very good so I sat around a lot. Not a lot was accomplished. :-( At least the boys had fun though.

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Bryant answering questions in the Game show!

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Definitely was a boys dream! So glad Chester had the idea. The boys won’t ever forget this day I’m sure.

29th-Last night Kaylin got sick during the night. We decided to continue on with our plan of packing up and getting out of here to head to Florida. When Kaylin woke up she seemed totally fine so we ended up being able to get packed up and out of here. We left about dinner time but we had to meet up with Bobby and Laura at Sam’s in town so we just ended up inviting them to join us for dinner. So we started our trip having company for dinner in the Sam’s parking lot. :-)

I will finish this month in our Key West Trip post.

 

 

 

 

World Records New Years Party

This New Years party the theme was World Records. Weldon & Lorianne Stogsdill, Bronwyn Cotten, Brett & Leah Corle, and Heidi Brown were the brains behind the ideas for the evening. We went over early to help set up. They table set up with finger foods and appetizers from all over the world. Between those table there were games that you could try to beat the records on. It was so much fun. All throughout the evening there were activities, games, songs, skits, etc. shared by many.

Posters showing the tallest person, shortest couple, and biggest feet.

Posters showing the tallest person, shortest couple, and biggest feet.

Longest hair, longest fingernails, biggest nose, and largest hand

Longest hair, longest fingernails, biggest nose, and largest hand

Guess what country each of these cities is in.

Guess what country each of these cities is in.

Stick a pin where you have traveled. Who present has gone to the most countries? Answer: Jill Cox

Stick a pin where you have traveled. Who present has gone to the most countries? Answer: Jill Cox

Bryant trying out the longest fingernails

Bryant trying out the longest fingernails

Kristy, Rory, Gracie, and Gwyneth doing a puzzle.

Kristy, Rory, Gracie, and Gwyneth doing a puzzle.

Right side of the room ready for the party.

Right side of the main room, ready for the party.

Left side of the main room

Left side of the main room

Brett & Weldon started us off with a song with Wyatt accompanying on the mandolin.

Brett & Weldon started us off with a song with Wyatt accompanying on the mandolin.

Let the party begin!

Let the party begin!

Kids musical chairs

Kids musical chairs

Brett introducing Shauna

Brett introducing Shauna

She recited the presidents names from MEMORY in ONE BREATH!

She recited the presidents names from MEMORY in ONE BREATH!

Who is can make a mummy the fastest?

Who is can make a mummy the fastest?

Cooper is the mummy in this picture.

Cooper is the mummy in this picture.

How many Post-It notes can you get to stick on your face?

How many Post-It notes can you get to stick on your face?

Silent auction!

Silent auction!

 

Weldon doing 1 legged push ups with a clap in between!

Weldon doing 1 legged push ups with a clap in between!

How high can you stack a tower of toilet paper rolls within a time limit?

How high can you stack a tower of toilet paper rolls within a time limit?

David & Janelle playing I've Been Working On The Railroad!

David & Janelle playing I’ve Been Working On The Railroad!

Logan stacking dominoes

Logan stacking dominoes

How tall can you get them?

How tall can you get them?

Wyatt trying to blow the biggest bubble.

Wyatt trying to blow the biggest bubble.

Kaylin trying the stack the toilet paper roll challenge.

Kaylin trying the stack the toilet paper roll challenge.

Kolby won a raffle so he scored this plane he had had his eye on all evening.

Kolby won a raffle so he scored this plane he had had his eye on all evening.

Brooks Cox telling jokes to the kids.

Brooks Cox telling jokes to the kids.

 

Wow! That's all I can say, Brooks.

Wow! That’s all I can say, Brooks.

See how many pennies you can stack up in a certain amount of time.

See how many pennies you can stack up in a certain amount of time.

Meg & Abigail Brown and Gwyneth Cox sining "I Am A Promise"

Meg & Abigail Brown and Gwyneth Cox sining “I Am A Promise”

 

Root Beer Drinking contest. Which team can finish off a 2 L of Root Beer the quickest? I asked for the position of pouring the root beer for our team. :-)

Root Beer Drinking contest. Which team can finish off a 2 L of Root Beer the quickest? I asked for the position of pouring the root beer for our team. :-) It about made me sick to watch them!

Step by step drawing on a plate on your head.

Step by step drawing on a plate on your head.

The other team drawing. That was pretty fun seeing everyone's drawings.

The other team drawing. That was pretty fun seeing everyone’s drawings.

Connie Cotten with a huge bubble. Not sure what Tori's measurement of it was.

Connie Cotten with a huge bubble. Not sure what Tori’s measurement of it was.

Wyatt & Brianna singing "My Ode to Macarroni & Cheese."

Wyatt & Brianna singing “My Ode to Macarroni & Cheese.”

Weldon & Lorianne

Weldon & Lorianne

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And the count-down begins...Saying good-bye to 2014.

And the count-down begins…

Leah with 4 of her nieces waiting to celebrate the entrance of the new year.

Leah with 3 of her nieces waiting to celebrate the entrance of the new year. Meg, Gwyneth, & Gemma

Good-bye 2014, Welcome 2015!

Good-bye 2014, Welcome 2015!

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December 2014

Wow! I can’t believe this year is coming to a close! What a busy, memory filled year we have had.

Dec. 6-Today Cooper and Bryant got up and headed out on a Guy’s field trip today with Bobby, Laura, Landon, Kenley, & Luke Woods, and Blaine Bledsoe. They went to the Marine Museum. The boys thoroughly enjoyed their day. They were very impressed with the number of restaurants they visited. :-) They enjoyed Krispy Kreme doughnuts & McDonald’s for breakfast, Panda Express for dinner, and Wendy’s for Frosties after dinner. Thank you so much Bobby and Laura for making a memory-filled day for the boys.

While they were gone Anne Marie came and stayed with Kaylin and Kolby while Chester & I had BRMRG training. We did semi-tech training. That was interesting as I have never done anything with ropes like that before. I feel pretty ready to test out on that now.

In the evening Chester went and played with The Band Of Brothers at the Lightwell in Orange. We had been planning on making a date of it and leave the kids with Bobby and Laura. The guys field trip ended up not getting finished in time though so we decided on Plan B and Chester & I were just going to take Kaylin and Kolby out to the Lightwell with us. When we got to thinking about it we realized that was going to not work well, trying to keep two kids quiet and sitting still for a few hours. So we went to Plan C! Chester went and did the gig by himself. I missed being there to see him play. What I did instead was make a list and run out to Walmart with the kids. Chester told me to give the kids a ride on the toys at Walmart as a treat since we had changed plans on them several times. We went in and I realized it was LUNATIC to be shopping on a Saturday in December! There were 2 carts inside when we walked in. Everyone was shopping! We were able to get our stuff fairly quickly as most people weren’t grocery shopping. After checking out I asked the kids if they wanted to have a ride on the rides. They were so thrilled.

They choose to ride the airplane. They thought they were pretty cool!

They choose to ride the airplane. They thought they were pretty cool!

After the plane ride I let them check out the fire truck and other arcade games and then when they thought it was time to head home I asked them if they would like a ride on the fire truck also. You would have thought I had given them a million $. They were so excited.

Simple pleasures!

Simple pleasures!

As they were riding Kaylin said to Kolby, “We are so lucky!” Kolby replied, “I know, We are yucky, so yucky!” (He was meaning lucky, but his l’s are y’s right now.) I laughed and laughed. We headed home so I could make some dinner for my “yucky” kids!

Pomegranates are our new fruit to try this month! I happened to score these for 8 cents a piece so figured we could try them.

Pomegranates are our new fruit to try this month! I happened to score these for 8 cents a piece so figured we could try them.

Dec. 8-Making dairy-free biscuits with my big helper! Notice the 3 bags of clearance bananas we scored at Harris Teeter! Smoothies here we come! Can’t wait for my Vita-Mix to get here!

Dough-boy Kolby! He loves working in the kitchen with me.

Dough-boy Kolby! He loves working in the kitchen with me.

Sitting upside-down in my lap.

Tonight Kolby wanted to sit upside down in my lap. Funny guy!

Dec. 9-Today was an exciting day for me. My Vita-Mix Arrived!!! We had to unpack it and give it a try! I have been saving up for a Vita-Mix for a while and have not been able to find a deal on a used one anywhere. On Black Friday I was able to get this refurb. from Vita-Mix. I paid the same that used units are selling for on Craigslist. I also scored a dry container for $50. I bought several more to sell on eBay to pay for my dry container. (As of the end of Dec. I have sold my extras and made $50 so my dry container only cost me $2 in tax.)

My new Vita-Mix ready to blend our first smoothie!

My new Vita-Mix ready to blend our first smoothie!

Had to get a picture of this wonderful smoothie, nice and smooth, no chunks! Hurray!

Had to get a picture of this wonderful smoothie, nice and smooth, no chunks! Hurray!

Dec. 10-Tonight Kolby was licking a beater at the sink and I realized he would lick the beater then dip it in the bubbles and then lick more. He kept doing it! Not sure what he is lacking to like the taste of soap, but he likes to eat bubbles!

Beater licking time!

Beater licking time!

Dec. 11-This is one of Byrant’s pieces of art! He is an amazing artist! He calls this his modified hot rod.

Bryant's hot-rod!

Bryant’s hot-rod! Great job, Bryant!

Dec. 12-Today Kolby found some money and was so excited to tell us whose house it was  on the back. He had picked up on Thomas Jefferson when Laura took the other kids to Monticello. So fun to see them trying to piece things together.

Kolby also has a favorite thing to listen to in the car, Piano Guys! I love how he says Piano Guys.

Dec. 13-Kolby chopping carrots for our salad tonight. He cuts to suit everyone! There has got to be a piece cut how you like your carrots when he is done!

Mr. Chopper!

Mr. Chopper!

Dec. 14-Today Laura snapped these pictures for us at meeting. Kind of cold out but hey now we have a family picture! Thanks!

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Dec. 15-Today I was busy working, getting ready for company. I happened to look out the window in the kitchen and saw this…

Planes Fire & Rescue

Planes Fire & Rescue

Waiting to get called out to the fire!

Waiting to get called out to the fire!

…They were playing Planes Fire & Rescue! At least they were on the concrete so the yard wouldn’t catch on fire! They all had their planes and would light a piece of paper or a pile of leaves and then they all would fly over the fire and then someone would dump a bucket of water on the fire. :-) By the time they finished their fires were getting bigger and bigger. They had quite a pile of ashes on the concrete when they were done. Love their imaginations! (And glad nothing burned that wasn’t supposed to.)

Dec. 16-Dad and Mom drove through the night from Brian and Casey’s house. I happened to wake up around 6 am. and decided to text them to see where they were. Mom texted right back and said they were at Forest Lakes! What! How exciting! I had figured they would pull over and sleep somewhere so wasn’t expecting them for a few hours! I didn’t have sheets on their bed and Kaylin was asleep on it. Ches and I got up, carried Kaylin into our room to sleep, straightened up her room, and got a few blankets out for Dad and Mom before they arrived. It was so good to see them! They unloaded their car and then all crashed! It worked perfect. Our kids slept for a little bit so at least there was a few hours of quiet. They were pretty excited to have company when they got up though! Our day was pretty relaxed. Chester & Dad went to Orange and borrowed a 12 passenger van from David so we could all ride together while Dad and Mom are here.

Dec. 17-This morning Dad & Mom’s family, Blaine Bledsoe, and our family loaded up in David & Janelle’s 12 passenger and headed up to the D.C. Zoo. We have been studying animals for school and have wanted to go to the zoo for a while. We thought it would be a fun thing to do while Dad and Mom were here. Today was the warmest day for their whole trip so we had to take advantage of it. It was a little chilly, especially when the wind was blowing, but it was enjoyable to be outside. We were able to spend pretty much the whole day there. We had a picnic for lunch. Our kids were so excited to be able to see the Panda bears. We had read about the baby Panda that was born there in August for school. I enjoyed watching the elephants. They are amazing animals. We enjoyed watching one shake feed out of a box with a little hole, with it’s trunk!

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Lunch Time

Lunch Time

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After we finished at the zoo we did a drive thru tour of downtown D.C. I always am fascinated by D.C. I enjoy touring it. We grabbed dinner and ate on the way back. We ended up going straight to meeting. We were a few minutes late but made it. On the way home Kolby asked me to sing “Jesus Loves Me” so he could learn it. It was very special for me to be able to teach him that song. I pray that he will always know that Jesus Loves Him! So thankful that Chester decided to record us singing so I can always remember this special moment in time.

http://youtu.be/uK98aqpujrQ

Dec 18-We had a relaxed day around the house. Dad and Mom went and had lunch with Bill and Greta. They were able to go to their house after lunch and have a few hours to visit. The kids stayed here with us. This evening Chester & Dad hung some drywall in my laundry/sewing room and started mudding that. Wow! I’m so excited. That will be so nice having cabinets to put all my sewing stuff in when they are finished. We enjoyed working this challenging plane puzzle together as a family. By the end I think everyone got to put in a few pieces.

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Dad and Mom gave Kolby a bow and arrow from Brian and Case for his birthday! He LOVED it! Took him a few minutes to figure out the coordination for keeping the arrow hooked on the bow until it shoots, but he got it!

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Dec. 19-Today Chester got up and put a coat of mud on the sheetrock. We had breakfast and then the guys took all the kids over to Bill and Greta’s and bagged their fallen leaves and hauled them off. Mom and I stayed home and made lunch and packed snacks. After lunch we all headed to Richmond to the Science Museum. Brett & Leah and Weldon & Lorianne met us there. We enjoyed looking through the museum. The Boost exhibit once again was a hit, as well as one that had a bunch of puzzles and riddles in it, not sure what it was called but we all enjoyed that. We all watched a planetarium presentation. We were there until closing around 9:30 then headed to McDonalds for dinner. Brett & Leah had dinner with us. After we finished eating we all went over to Brett & Leah’s house for a few hours of visiting and games. I think we left there around 12:30.

Kolby & Nittie trying out the Makey Makey

Kolby & Nittie trying out the Makey Makey

Mom walking the tight rope

Mom walking the tight rope

Dad & Mom having a reflex competition.

Dad & Mom having a reflex competition.

Trying to get a ball into each goal within a time limit.

Trying to get a ball into each goal within a time limit.

Caden trying the tight-rope.

Caden trying the tight-rope.

Chester & I testing our reflexes

Chester & I testing our reflexes

Trying to see how many pounds of pressure we could push.

Trying to see how many pounds of pressure we could push.

Gracie learning about static electricity.

Gracie learning about static electricity.

Her hair was quite impressive.

Her hair was quite impressive.

Since Bryant didn't have as much hair he had to use a cassette tape.

Since Bryant didn’t have as much hair he had to use a cassette tape.

Dirke & Kolby working puzzles

Dirke & Kolby working puzzles

Lorianne, Cora, Gracie, & Chester working another puzzle

Lorianne, Cora, Gracie, & Chester working another puzzle

Cooper ready to try the spelling trivia challenge

Cooper ready to try the spelling trivia challenge

Chester volunteered in the Planetarium show and this was one of the words he had to guess.  :-) It was pretty funny! He did win 4 free tickets though!

Chester volunteered in the Planetarium show and this was one of the words he had to guess. :-) It was pretty funny! He did win a few free tickets though!

Kolby in the Boost exhibit

Kolby in the Boost exhibit

Trying to fit in as small a space as possible.

Trying to fit in as small a space as possible.

Dec. 20-Needless to say we slept in this morning. Once everyone was up we had brunch. The guys worked on mudding the drywall again. We are about ready for paint. Today was Mom’s birthday. We had Bill & Greta, Joe & Phyllis and Bobby & Laura for dinner. I fixed fajitas, homemade tortillas, chips, cheese sauce, salsa, guacamole, and jalapeño poppers for dinner! YUMMY! Greta made Mom a beautiful cake and Grandmommy brought lemon meringue pies.

Papa & Bryant working on my cabinets.

Papa & Bryant working on my cabinets.

Bracing the cabinets for hanging.

Bracing the cabinets for hanging.

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Dec. 21-Today we had to get up and around to get to meeting on time. We all brought lunch to the building and ate there after meeting. After lunch we had a work day to get the building cleaned up for camp. After we finished up there we headed home to get ready for the next group of company. Uncle Bill & Aunt Rhonda and Ian & Kristy joined us this evening for dinner. I just kept dinner simple since we had been gone all day. We had potato soup, salad, & bread. (and left over dessert from yesterday)

Rory, Caden & Kaylin

Rory, Caden & Kaylin

Dec. 22-Today after brunch I painted the in the sewing room where the guys had hung the drywall. Then Mom, Nittie, Kaylin and I went to Yoder’s and D & J Thrift. After that we checked out a new to us consignment shop called Terry’s Place. I will definitely be going back. We dropped in at Goodwill in Ruckersville but after a few minutes of shopping decided we were too hungry and needed to go home and fix dinner. :-) While we were gone the guys had put another coat of paint on and hung my cabinets! WOW! How exciting!

Dec. 23-After brunch we packed up and met several in town at the ice rink. Our kids had never been ice skating before and they LOVED it! Kolby had to take a break for a bit and get some Grammie and Papa time but then he decided he needed to try it again before it was time to go. We had a fun time and would like to go again soon.

Kaylin pushing buckets around for balance.

Kaylin pushing buckets around for balance.

Aunt Janelle helping Kaylin

Aunt Janelle helping Kaylin

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Kaylin & Aunt Leah

Kaylin & Aunt Leah

Our crew on the ice!

Our crew on the ice!

Skater Kolby!

Skater Kolby!

Two of my favorite people! Kaylin & her Daddy!

Two of my favorite people! Kaylin & her Daddy!

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Dec. 25-We went out to David’s shop in Orange for the day. We had a time of singing in the morning and then had a pot luck lunch. We had the Orange gym for a few hours in the afternoon. Shortly after getting to the gym I found out that Grandpa Keith had had a stroke or something to that at camp in TX. Wow! What a shock! I called Dad and Mom at Merrie Meadows to make sure they knew. They did know and actually were fixing to head to our house and pack up to race out there to be with Grandpa and Grandma. WHAT!!! Chester & I decided to run home to help them pack up and tell the good-bye. Bryant and Kaylin were having a blast with their friends so they didn’t want to leave the gym. We left them there to play with their friends and raced home. Dad and Mom packed up and then headed for TX. It was so shocking and I have to admit I was having a hard time. Here I was unsettled about the turmoil in our assemblies and the fact that we weren’t even at camp today with Dad and Mom and then here they need to pack up and leave cutting their trip short. Anyway I was doing a LOT of praying. We decided to return the 12 passenger van when we headed back to Orange since we wouldn’t need it any more. As I was driving along praying and trying to sort out my thoughts I looked over at the mountains in the distance. The sun was going down and the sky was BEAUTIFUL! I was so filled with peace and calm thinking about my God, the creator of heaven and earth. He was powerful enough to create the whole world, this amazing landscape, etc. I just rested in the fact that He is powerful enough to do all those things so He is certainly big enough to take care of me and whatever I may be going through. So thankful for the peace God gives when we need it.

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I tried to grab my phone and get a picture of the amazing landscape the Lord had created for me to enjoy. I was driving so it was a bit hard to get a good picture. I decided to save it even though it didn’t turn out well, just to remind me that God cares for me.

We got back to the gym shortly before it was time to head back to Pro. We had dinner together and then the guys had a time of singing and praising the Lord before heading home. We were a pretty sad lot getting home since we had been planning on coming home to company and then heading to camp at Merrie Meadows with Dad and Mom the next day, but our plans had changed drastically.

So thankful that Grandpa was a able to get care promptly and was doing as well as can be expected.

The kids had lots of fun trying out the gator.

The kids had lots of fun trying out the gator.

Garrison Kennedy

Garrison Kennedy

 

More 4-square.

4-square

I missed getting a picture of Patrick and Jana and their girls, so just caught them slipping out the back door.

I missed getting a picture of Patrick and Jana and their girls, so just caught them slipping out the back door.

Madi Seaborn trying to keep up with the rest of the kids on scooters.

Madi Seaborn trying to keep up with the rest of the kids on scooters.

Kolby & Emerson

Kolby & Emerson Rutt

Kids enjoying some 4-square, scooters & striders.

Kids enjoying some 4-square, scooters & striders.

Chester with the drums

Chester with the drums

Kolby

Kolby

Kaylin & Corah Stogsdill

Kaylin & Corah Stogsdill

Bryant & Brooks Cox

Bryant & Brooks Cox

Braxton Kennedy & Emerson Rutt

Braxton Kennedy & Emerson Rutt

Very encouraging to hear them sing.

Very encouraging to hear them sing.

The guys singing

The guys singing

Dec. 29-

Dec. 30-Tonight was Daddy/Daughter Date Night at Chili’s, which happens to be one of Kaylin’s favorite “special day” activities to do with Chester. Chester & Kaylin got all slicked up and went out to dinner. So thankful for the Daddy Chester is for Kaylin. Kaylin had a blast and loved showing us all her goodies she got at Chili’s.

Chester & Kaylin ready to go on a Daddy & Daughter date night!

Chester & Kaylin ready to go on a Daddy & Daughter date night!

Drawing & Tic-Tac-Toe

Drawing & Tic-Tac-Toe

The Princess & her Daddy!

The Princess & her Daddy!

 

I will do a separate post for our New Years Eve party since I have so many pictures.

November 2014

November 1-

Nittie, Casey & I in the grass-by Kaylin Hull

Nittie, Casey & Heidi in the grass-by Kaylin Hull (The H is to let me know this is my picture since that is my letter.)

This picture was the inspiration for her drawing.

This picture was the inspiration for her drawing.

Tonight the kids decided to build a fort and sleep in it.

This fort had several stories. They wanted to sleep on the chair seats but we told them that wouldn't work. Kaylin got the front porch to sleep on.

This fort had several stories. They wanted to sleep on the chair seats but we told them that wouldn’t work. Kaylin got the front porch to sleep on.

So they built a lean to for Kolby on the couch.

They built a lean to for Kolby on the couch. (I think he got the better end of the deal.)

Bryant go to sleep inside. (with the Tintin books)

Bryant go to sleep inside. (with the Tintin books)

2nd-We had Matt & Amy over for the afternoon/evening today. The kids ended up getting a kite stuck in the tree so Chester & Matt worked to get it down for quite a while. It was pretty funny watching them. They just kept switching places on the ladder. It was like they thought maybe they might have grown in the few minutes while off the ladder, so they would get up there again and reach and try to get it down. It provided Amy & I some entertainment while making dinner.

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5th-

 

6th-Chester took the kids to the park to fly kites so I took advantage of the time and ran up to Goodwill to look for some clothes that will actually fit me right. I found lots of things to try on as you can see by the picture. I should have take a picture of my small pile that I ended up bringing home with me. Not a very good percentage but overall I was thrilled to come home with a bag of clothes that fit right and they all cost less than $50. I think I bought 13 things in all, including a step stool for Kolby. Pretty good I’d say. It was fun to have time just to look and try things on and not be in a hurry. Sorry the kids got rained out on their kite trip but I think they still had fun.

My cartload of to try on stuff. Poor person having to put stuff back that didn't work. I felt so bad for them I ended up putting 1/2 of it back myself.

My cartload of to try on stuff. Poor person having to put stuff back that didn’t work. I felt so bad for them I ended up putting 1/2 of it back myself.

A quote I read today that I need to remember more often. It's so easy for me to get in productivity mode and forget that my kids need me to connect with them. (And no I don't just mean with a paddle.)

A quote I read today that I need to remember more often. It’s so easy for me to get in productivity mode and forget that my kids need me to connect with them. (And no, I don’t just mean with a paddle.)

11th-Today I was out running and saw this tree in our neighbor’s yard. It was so red it looked like it was on fire. So PRETTY!

Absolutely Amazing!

Absolutely Amazing!

13th-Today during school I was ready a Bible story to the kids about when God told Abraham to leave Harran and go to Canan. I stopped and asked the kids, “What if God said to Daddy, ‘Chester, take your family and leave your country and all your family and the friends you know.’ Would we be ready to do that if that is what the Lord wanted us to do?” Bryant gets this grin on his face and said, “Oh yeah, I know what country I’d move to.” I asked him what country that would be. “Colorado, definitely!” I told him that Colorado is actually still in the country we live in so that wouldn’t count. Another country would be like Africa, Europe, Canada, Brazil, China or Mexico. He quickly responded, “Mexico! That’s where I’d go so I could go snorkeling.” I told him if he wanted to go snorkeling he should go to the Bahamas or somewhere like that. Again he excitedly responded, “Bahamas, that’s definitely where I’d go so I could go dirt bike racing.” Pretty sure he is thinking of the Baja 1000 race, which happens to be in Mexico, not the Bahamas. Anyway I got pretty tickled at his willingness to leave our country if God wanted him to but with no concept that God might want him to go to a certain spot.

15th-Today was a busy day. We dropped the kids off at Sherry Martin’s house at 8:15 am. and then headed to O-Hill for our BRMRG training. Today we had a Simulated Search and Rescue. We had dispatch and all that we had to communicate with. Chester and I ended up being on a tracking team which was very interesting but way to tedious for me. The most interesting thing I learned about tracking was when you find a footprint you can see if there is any plants in the print. If so look under the leaves and see if there is any bruising from being stepped on. If the bruise is still green it is a fresh track but if it is starting to brown where it is bruised that is an older print. Anyway after a few hours of searching we did find our victim. We had to load her on the litter and haul her back up to base. Not sure how far we had to haul her but it was a good little ways. It took 6 of us to carry her out to the trail where we could use the big wheel and then roll her up the trail. That took 7 people to operate the litter on the big wheel. Quite a workout! When we finished up there we went and picked the kids up and then headed back into town where we grabbed Taco Bell for lunch. Then headed to the library where the boys had each entered a Lego creation in a contest they were having. The library had a few Lego crafts for the kids and then they had an awards ceremony. Cooper and Bryant were so proud to both win a ribbon and a lego kit. Good Job guys! Proud of you! After the awards ceremony they played the Lego Movie so we watched that. As we were walking out of the library we saw an air balloon flying over. So neat to watch, looks very peaceful. We made a quick stop at Dollar Tree and then headed to Walmart. When we pulled out on 29 we saw the air balloon again, but this time it didn’t seem so pleasant and peaceful. They were getting VERY LOW! The basket was below the power lines. Problem was they were in the dead center of 29. Their basket would land on the median but wow! It looked like a major problem. We pulled off trying to see how we could help but all the sudden they were able to get up in the air and fly away. We headed to Walmart and Chester was fixing to run in when we saw it across 29 barely clearing the trees. Then all the sudden it came floating over 29 and barely cleared Brown’s Auto. We were sure they were going to touch down on top of the building. We decided to race over there to check it out. Once again they were able to get a little altitude and cleared the building but then they headed for the Double Tree parking lot and almost set it down but started going back up again and took it through a few trees. It looked scary! They got untangled from the trees and went sailing off. We headed down 29 to try to see where they would land. We guessed wrong and by the time we got to them they had already landed in someone’s field. Not sure what was going wrong but they had definitely been having trouble! We watched them pack up the balloon before heading home.

By the time I thought to take a picture they had already gained altitude. They had been down below the power lines.

By the time I thought to take a picture they had already gained altitude. They had been down below the power lines.

Trying to clear the trees across 29 from Walmart.

Trying to clear the trees across 29 from Walmart.

Heading towards Brown's Auto.

Heading towards Brown’s Auto.

Near touch down on top of the building!

Near touch down on top of the building!

Finally landed. Glad they didn't get caught in the towers in the background.

Finally landed. Glad they didn’t get caught in the towers in the background.

To finish off our exciting day we had Russell & Emily, Phillip & Rhonda, Wes & Kelsey, and Jeremy & Joni over for the guys to practice some music for Sunday. Enjoyed the evening visiting!

Tip of the day: Hiccup Cure by Kolby. Learned from his siblings.

 

16th-Today was all-day. Chester & the boys all went over early. I had to run by Walmart on my way to meeting. While Kaylin & I were there we ran into Amy & Allison getting medicine for Lydia. Her heart was messing up again so they had to stay home today to take care of her. I offered to swing by and pick their kids up on my way to meeting. I figured the kids would miss being with all their friends and would enjoy not sitting at home all day. Amy called Matt and he said it would be fine so we went and picked up the boys. We were late when we got there so had to try to quietly rearrange so I could fit all the kids near me. Not used to having 8 kids to tend to. :-) We had a very enjoyable day. We ended up not having dinner there since it was a smaller group and we weren’t sure how many would stay. Patrick and Jana made it out and I was able to help Jana out a bit. First time I had gotten to hold any of her three cuties! So fun to hold a little baby! Amazing how big my kids are! Kaylin was pretty excited because she got to hold Quinn and Makenzie for a bit. Later she came and asked if she could hold the “girl in the pink onesie”, Audrey, so she could have held all three. She didn’t want to leave one out. So cute!

Kaylin & Quinn Marie

Kaylin & Quinn Marie

Now it's Makenzie's turn to be held.

Now it’s Makenzie’s turn to be held.

Kaylin & Madi were playing Peek-A-Boo with Quinn.

Kaylin & Madi were playing Peek-A-Boo with Quinn.

Kaylin couldn't miss getting a chance to hold Audrey Kate before the day was done!

Kaylin couldn’t miss getting a chance to hold Audrey Kate before the day was done!

We finally headed homewards around dinnertime but had to drop the Hunt kids off at their house on the way. We visited with Matt and Amy for a bit then headed home to fix us waffles for dinner. Very enjoyable day!

17th-This evening we sat around and sang some songs while all the guys in the family serenaded us!

19th-This week we are studying Panda Bears so we made panda masks. I thought they were so cute! Good job Kaylin & Bryant! Now we just need to go see some at the D.C. Zoo.

Paper plate masks

Paper plate masks

20th-This evening we went to the Air and Space Museum in D.C. for one of their lecture series. We got to see the IMAX Straight Up: Helicopters In Action and then listen to Sergei Sikorsky, the son of Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the practical helicopter, talk. It was so fascinating. I had no idea the helicopter is as young as it is. Imagine your dad inventing a helicopter. He had some fun stories that he shared with us. So glad we were able to go up there, even though it meant a late night getting home.

One of the first helicopters.

Mr. Igor Sikorsky trying out one of the first helicopters.

Sergei Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the practical helicopter.

Sergei Sikorsky, son of Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the practical helicopter.

22nd- BIVY Night (See separate post)

24-25th The weather was nice so I took advantage of it of and got my cabinets primed and 1 coat of paint put on. The cabinets are for my sewing room. I’m trying to get them painted so they will be ready to hang when Dad and Mom come out. Looking forward to being able to arrange my sewing stuff in an orderly fashion. It has been a mess for a year plus since my shelf system broke in the middle of the night while Brian and Casey were out here. :-) Has been very low on my priority list until recently and now I’m trying hard to get projects finished up around here.

26th-Today we got our first snow of this winter season. (I know it isn’t technically winter yet but you get the idea.)

Watching the snow fall.

Watching the snow fall.

Bundled up and ready to play.

Bundled up and ready to play.

27th-We had Bobby & Laura and Eric and Jeannine’s family over for Turkey day today! We all split up making our turkey dinner, so it was real simple. They came over around lunch time and spent the rest of the day together. We had a very yummy dinner around 3:00. After lunch Chester & I showed pictures of our BRMRG training and BIVY night and then Laura showed us her pictures and told us all about her and Shana’s trip to DisneyWorld in Florida. Sounded like they had a blast! So funny! We had turkey sandwiches and pie around 8:00. The boys and Eric played instruments for a while. We cleaned up and visited some more before everyone left around 11:00-11:30. I really enjoyed the day. Very relaxing and fun to catch up on each other’s lives. I completely forgot to take any pictures though. Oops! Thanks for these pictures Laura!

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30th-Last night Kolby had a fever and didn’t feel the greatest so today I stayed home with him. Chester went to a men’s meeting. Laura took the other 3 kids to the meeting hall for a while to visit and play with the other ladies and kids then she took them to Monticello. The weather was beautiful, 60*, and they were having a free day! A perfect time to visit! The kids had a blast. Here are a couple pictures Laura share with me. The boys will have to do a blog post about Monticello.

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While everyone was gone Kolby and I headed out to the front porch to paint. I painted on my sewing room cabinets and Kolby painted some card board. He had a blast painting. He was felt fine all day so not sure what his deal was last night. Oh well! I was nice to get a coat of paint on my cabinets. And I’m very thankful he feels good!

My Painting Buddy!

My Painting Buddy!

 

 

Bivy Night

We got up and got the kids around and ran them over to Matt & Amy’s by 8:15 am. and headed to O-Hill for bivy training. Training started at 9:00am. First we had to find a spot that was fairly flat and clear it of sticks and rocks. Chester & I found the perfect tree to build our bivy against. It had a small fork coming off that was perfect for placing the spine of our bivy in.

Our bivy location cleared and ready to start building.

Our bivy location cleared and ready to start building.

The fork was perfect for anchoring our spine of the bivy in.

The fork was perfect for anchoring our spine of the bivy in.

We really had amazing weather to build our bivys in. I think by the time we were done we had shed out coats and were just working in sweatshirts. The sun was shining and it was nice and clear.

Making the frame

Making the frame

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Looking into the entrance of our bivy.

 

The frame is built and we stuffed the inside full of leaves for padding and warmth.

The frame is built and we stuffed the inside full of leaves for padding and warmth.

Bivy frame

Bivy frame

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After we stuffed the inside with leaves we covered the frame structure with black trash bags that we cut open. This helps keep wind and weather off of you inside.

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We then covered the plastic with branches to make it easier to pile leaves all over the bivy.

Our bivy all ready for our night stay.

Our bivy all ready for our night stay.

The entrance.

The entrance.

Would you like to crawl in?

Would you like to crawl in? This picture is quite deceiving. It wasn’t large inside. We had just enough room for Chester & I to lay side by side. Our toes hit the roof if we pointed our feet up. Once in we had about 10-12″ above our head. If I laid on my side my hips hit the roof. No, it wasn’t roomy!

Our bivy with the front door in. (Yes the bag of leaves served as our door.)

Our bivy with the front door in. (Yes the bag of leaves served as our door.)

After we covered the plastic with branches we then piled at least 1 1/2 ft. of leaves all over the outside. We hauled LOADS of bags of leaves to dump on our bivy. Thankfully it was fall and the weather was dry so there were LOTS of dry leaves to collect. We finished up building our bivy around 11:30 and headed home for a few hours before we had to head back out.

After dinner we headed back to UVA. We all met and hung out at one of the lounges down there. BRMRG provided lots of snacks, so we ate and then played a few games and visited before heading out about 10:30pm. for O-Hill for night-nav. We hiked around in the cold for a while doing our night nav training/testing. Thankfully we passed and made it back to the lounge. Around midnight we headed back out and up to our bivys for the night.

I took this picture right before I crawled into our ivy. It was chilly!

I took this picture of my weather app screen right before I crawled into our ivy. It was chilly!

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Hard to see but I’m on the left and Ches is on the right. We thankfully carry bivy bags which are pretty much foil sleeping bags. That really helps keep you warm by not letting the heat escape. We crawled in our bags with boots, gloves, coats, and all.

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Not much foot room when we both got in. We had to take our packs off and then scootch down into the bivy. We then used our packs for pillows or to block the doorway along with the bag of leaves.

In order to pass the FTL (Field Team Leader) level you had to stay in a bivy for 5 hours at a temperature below 40*. We were able to pass that since the temp was in the 30’s. That was nice so we didn’t have to do it for FTM (Field Team Member) and then retest at a later time for FTL. We got them both done in one time! Totally worth the cold!

I learned quite a bit that night. Here are a few things I learned. #1 It is weird sleeping out in the night on O-Hill since it is in the city. We heard sirens, cars, and lots more city noises during the night. Seemed really funny we were doing wilderness type training out in the woods but were really still in town. #2 ALWAYS climb all the way into your Bivy bag and cinch the hood down over your face. You won’t die of suffocation, if you don’t you might die of freezing. :-) It was amazing how much warmer I was once I cinched my bag closed up over my head and face. #3 This was actually a fun, crazy thing to do. I’m glad I can say I did it but,  I don’t plan on doing it many more times in my life. #4 Freezing together with your husband and rest of your team can draw you closer together and strengthen your team. I’m sure there are other things that I learned but that is all I can think of at the moment.

I didn’t sleep a whole lot. I feel like I stayed awake until at least 4:30am. I would occasionally hear Chester snoring and I have to say I was jealous of him sleeping and not me. I had been up a bunch the night before with kids and so I was sure I was going to sleep well. I was an emotional basket case by the time we got into our bivy because of lack of sleep and probably cold and uptightness from night-nav. (not my specialty) Well I guess I got to the point of being so tired I couldn’t go to sleep because I was very disappointed to spend most of the night awake listening to all the night noises around. At one point I got VERY cold. Chester asked me how I was doing and I told him I was freezing. It was then he asked me if I had the hood of my bag over my head. No I didn’t, I was using it as a pillow. He told me I’d be a lot warmed if I cinched it shut over my face, so I did it and was much warmer. After feeling like I had laid there awake for hours I finally decided to ask Chester what time it was. I was praying we were at least 1/2 through our night stay. Well to my surprise he told me it was 4:30am. I was THRILLED, only 1 hour left and we could get up and go inside somewhere warm. I guess I was comforted by that thought and drifted off to sleep. I was sleeping when Greg (our training instructor) came and woke us up and told us we had made it and could get up.

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Weather app when we got up out of our bivy.

 

We crawled out of our bivys and headed for our cars in the darkness. That is when I got really cold. Maybe our bivy was warm after all. One guy had taken the temp inside his bivy it was 40 something in there so it did keep up from freezing at least. We headed back to the lounge area and had a hot pancake breakfast prepared by a few of the BRMRG crew. After eating lunch we headed home to get a HOT shower and take a NAP! That afternoon we went and picked the kids up and had dinner with Matt & Amy. Thanks so much Matt & Amy for watching the kids and fixing us dinner!

A HUGE tree leaf I found as we were walking to the car.

A HUGE tree leaf I found as we were walking to the car.

Kids Birthday Pictures (FINALLY)

Well I finally got to taking the kids birthday pictures. Better late then never… Kolby is already 2 3/4yr and I’m just now getting to his 2 year pictures. They turned out really well so I’m happy even though I wish I would have done them sooner. Bryant has lost 2 teeth since his birthday so that has changed his looks. Anyway here are the pictures!

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My cute kids!

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My three handsome boys!

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Funny Face Time!

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I was thrilled with how many good ones I got with the kids as it was very trying to my patience. Cooper would pester, I mean tickle the kids to “make them smile” which would cause fussing and fighting. Trying to get 4 energetic kids to hold still and smile in the position you want is a very trying task. :-)

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Kolby tried so hard to do well for pictures. He would just say Cheeeeeessssssssseeeeee and then his smile would get painful as he tried to continue saying Cheese. So funny! We ended up just having to go play on the plates for him to really smile. Then the challenge was just getting a picture that was in focus as he never would hold still.

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Kaylin wanted her pictures taken in a fancy dress so she had to run in and change after pictures with the boys. She loves to play dress up! Definitely girlie!

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This first one I took of Cooper is my favorite. I could have just stopped after the first click with him. Good job Bud!

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Bryant wanted one of his thinking, so this next one is him thinking! He loves to pose and dream up new poses. Fun kid!

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Douthat State Park Camping Trip

October 23-26

We have been wanting to go camping for a while so decided to go camping in honor of Chester’s birthday. We decided to wait until after Apple Butter to go. I figured that the campgrounds would have lots of availability with it not being summer any longer and school being in session. Well not so! I forgot it was peak fall foliage time! We didn’t want to travel too many hours so we could maximize our camping time. We were able to find some availability at Douthat State Park which is only 2 hours away. Hurrah! Anyway today (23rd) I got up and got all our clothes and food packed up and ready to roll. We headed out around 5pm. I believe. We had to stop at Walmart on our way out. Chester ran in and got the groceries while I got dinner ready. I had cooked pork ribs in my crock pot all day so it was ready when we left. Perfect! I’ll have to remember that for other times we are heading out somewhere. So nice to have it hot and ready and easy to throw in the motorhome so we could go ahead and get on the road. Once we finished dinner we headed on to Douthat. We were able to get a spot and pretty much just got settled in and then headed to bed the first night.

The kids thought this was a great way to ride along. I love Kolby's feet in the air.

The kids thought this was a great way to ride along. I love Kolby’s feet in the air. Needless to say I snapped a picture then they had to move. Didn’t need them to be the first thing to go through the windshield if we had to slam on the brakes.

Friday we ended up moving to another spot before we set up for breakfast. The kids slept in. I was worried that Kolby was getting sick. He slept in late and then got up and asked to get dressed then climbed back in bed and went back to sleep. Crazy! I guess he was just worn out after camp and all the late nights since. Chester, Cooper & Bryant went on a mountain bike ride in the morning while Kolby slept. I read a book and then once he woke up and ate Kaylin, Kolby & I played games. We played Jenga and Memory. Kolby was a whizzbang at memory!

I got to pay Jenga with these 2 cute kids!

I got to pay Jenga with these 2 cute kids!

So fun teaching them a new game!

So fun teaching them a new game!

I loved how she would try to catch the tower if it was falling.

I loved how she would try to catch the tower if it was falling.

My biking guys! They biked around 3 miles.

My biking guys! They biked around 3 miles.

The guys biked up to this overlook of the lake. So pretty!

The guys biked up to this overlook of the lake. So pretty!

Thankfully after his nap and breakfast Kolby was raring to go. When Ches and the boys got back they realized Bryant had left his gloves up at the top of the trail a few miles away. We had lunch and then Chester rode back to get the gloves. The kids and I gathered up firewood and then chopped it up.

Woodcutter Bryant!

Woodcutter Bryant!

Cooper working hard on getting some firewood.

Cooper working hard on getting some firewood.

Love my cute kids.

Love my cute kids.

Love you too Bryant!

Love you too Bryant!

In the late afternoon we hiked down to the creek. The kids had a blast throwing rocks in and trying to cross the creek without getting wet. It was amazing to just relax and enjoy God’s creation.

Hiking down to the creek.

Hiking down to the creek.

Kilby loved throwing rocks in.

Kolby loved throwing rocks in. His rock size just kept getting bigger and bigger though.

Bryant loved seeing how close he could get to getting wet!

Bryant loved seeing how close he could get to getting wet!

Our Kaylin girl!

Our Kaylin girl!

Oops! Cooper fell in.

Oops! Cooper fell in.

Hey good-lookin'! Glad you had a birthday so we could go camping!

Hey good-lookin’! Glad you had a birthday so we could go camping!

Trying to keep Kolby from falling in because he was throwing huge rocks. :-)

Trying to keep Kolby from falling in because he was throwing huge rocks. :-)

Having a blast!

Having a blast!

Stunt-man Bryant!

Stunt-man Bryant!

He was having way too much fun!

He was having way too much fun!

A Rock message Cooper made for Chester.

A Rock message Cooper made for Chester.

When we got back Chester went to work starting a fire. He was determined to use his new fire starter stick. I don’t know if he got it to light that night or not but by the time we left he had started a couple fires with it. Way to go Babe! After dinner we had to have Smores before crawling into bed. I just really enjoyed not having anything pressing to do. We headed to bed early and got to just crawl in bed and read a book. How relaxing!

Trying to start a fire with his firestick. (without matches)

Trying to start a fire with his firestick. (without matches)

Enjoying Smores with Nutella!

Enjoying Smores with Nutella!

He never got tired of playing in the fire.

He never got tired of playing in the fire.

Yummy smore!

Yummy smore!

How does it taste?

How does it taste?

Chester managed to keep everything balanced on his lap and arm rails.

Chester managed to keep everything balanced on his lap and arm rails.

Saturday we got up cooked pancakes for breakfast before heading down to hear about a sand presentation. The guy who was giving the presentation used to work for NASA and he had a few pieces of the insulation tiles from a few space shuttles. They were made from  sand! It was pretty interesting learning about how the tiles were made. Before the presentation got started Bryant decided to climb the mountain nearby.

Bryant decided to free climb this mountain. He got way up there before we told  him that was high enough. He is right in the middle  up there!

Bryant decided to free climb this mountain. He got way up there before we told him that was high enough. He is right in the middle up there!

Bryant is up the hill a little to the left of the middle. That hill was pretty steep.

Bryant is up the hill a little to the left of the middle. That hill was pretty steep. He is a climber!

Kolby wanted to climb up the hill with Bryant so bad.

Kolby wanted to climb up the hill with Bryant so bad. I was able to sit him up by and tree and he was so happy!

After the presentation we headed back to the motorhome and packed a picnic lunch and wen for a hike around the lake. The kids did so well. It was really fun being outdoors together as a family. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! We were able to wear short sleeves during the day but it was plenty cold at night and in the morning to enjoy a nice toasty fire.

Fixing to head out on our hike around the lake.

Fixing to head out on our hike around the lake.

Selfies! Hard to do with a group!

Selfies! Hard to do with a group!

Hiker Kolby ready to go with his hiking stick!

Hiker Kolby ready to go with his hiking stick!

Kolby & I

Kolby & I

The lake was so pretty

The lake was so pretty

We hiked all the way around the lake.

We hiked all the way around the lake.

Stopping for our lunch break

Stopping for our lunch break

While I was eating Kolby snuggled up to me. He got all situated and said, "Nice headrest Mom!" So cute! He was all kicked back ready to relax.

While I was eating Kolby snuggled up to me. He got all situated and said, “Nice headrest Mom, nice headrest!” So cute! He was all kicked back ready to relax.

Kaylin did such a great job crossing creek on the fallen log.

Kaylin did such a great job crossing the creek on a fallen log when we decided to take a shortcut through the forest.

I even managed to cross a few logs with Kolby on my shoulders, without falling in.

I even managed to cross a few logs with Kolby on my shoulders, without falling in. That sure was interesting.

The side of the lake that we ate lunch on

The side of the lake that we ate lunch on.

So pretty!

So pretty!

The lake

The lake

So fun hiking with this little dude! He loved that hiking stick.

So fun hiking with this little dude! He loved that hiking stick.

More lake shots

More lake shots

Bryant checking out the dam.

Bryant checking out the dam.

Chester, Kolby & Kaylin checking out the dam.

Chester, Kolby & Kaylin checking out the dam.

We hiked about 3 miles around the lake. We stopped and watched a wedding on the water’s edge and let the kids play on the playground. So proud of the kids making it the whole way.

Sunday morning Bryant decided to take Kaylin & Kolby on a hike up the mountain we were camped by. They were gone for a while. We couldn’t see them or hear them for a little bit. We were starting to worry about them when we heard them laughing and talking on their way back down. They were so thrilled with their little hike. After breakfast we packed up a lunch and some snacks and went on another hike. The kids had gotten backpacks of gear at the ranger station. The backpacks had binoculars, compass, field guides, etc. in them. Pretty neat. You could just borrow them for a hike and bring them back when you were done. The kids thought they were pretty neat. Anyway we headed out to a spot you could look out over the lake.

Ready to head out on our mountain hike.

Ready to head out on our mountain hike.

My family

My family

A very weird growth on this tree. It was hard like bark. Not sure if trees get tumors or cancer or what it was. Very strange.

A very weird growth on this tree. It was hard like bark. Not sure if trees get tumors or cancer or what it was. Very strange. It was several feet wide on each side of the tree.

We made it to the overlook!

We made it to the overlook!

The kids were all checking out their backpack gear.

The kids were all checking out their backpack gear.

Bryant taking a rest

Bryant taking a rest

Hiker Kaylin

Hiker Kaylin

Cute Kids

Cute Kids

My hiker husband!

My hiker husband!

After we made it up there we decided to try to hike on to a waterfall to have our lunch there. It was a pretty good hike. I ended up carrying Kolby most of the way up. We finally made it up to the waterfall. It was very disappointing as it was just barely a trickle of water running down over the rock. Oh well. We made it and were proud of our accomplishment. We ate our lunch then headed back down. We hiked 3 miles total!

Cooper & Bryant eating lunch with the waterfall in the background. :-)

Cooper & Bryant eating lunch with the waterfall in the background. :-)

The waterfall! Bryant decided to climb it. He is up at the very top, you can barely see him.

The waterfall! Bryant decided to climb it. He is up at the very top, you can barely see him.

I zoomed way up on Bryant so you could tell where he was.

I zoomed way up on Bryant so you could tell where he was.

Kolby wanted to climb up every rock that was along the trail on the way back down. He was so pleased with himself.

Kolby wanted to climb up every rock that was along the trail on the way back down. He was so pleased with himself.

When we got back we had just enough time to rush around and pack up before we had to be out of there at 2. Wow! Such a fun weekend! Very relaxing and good to be a family! So glad we could do it.

Our rig!

Our rig!

 

October 2014

4th-We have been planning on having a yard sale all year long but when it came down to it we weren’t as prepared as we were hoping to be. I crammed this week and got a bunch of stuff out and priced for the sale. I was able to make some muffins and cookies last night for the kids to sell. They believe their part of a yard sale is to sell muffins and cookies that I have made and keep all the money. :-) I’m happy to help them make a little $ but this time I had them pay me for the ingredients so it wasn’t costing me both time and money. Anyway I was up at 6:15 am this morning getting ready for the sale. Ches and I carried all our stuff out in the dark. It was kind of fun being up before the sun came up. Lydia Hunt and Ann Marie Bledsoe brought stuff over to sell. We had a pretty steady flow of people through and I felt like we sold a fair amount of stuff. We did have a lot left over but I boxed most of it up to donate to the Vietnam Vets. Even when the others packed up I stayed opened until Chester took the signs down around 4. We packed up and then got around and went to Landon’s Marching Band Competition. It was pretty chilly so we had to bundle up. I enjoyed watching the bands play. They all did great! There was a band from a school up near DC. It was HUGE! It had over 200 people in it. They just took over the whole field to do their performance. Glad we were able to go share in Landon’s excitement for band!

Bryant & Kolby went and sat in the woods to watch the tree guys at our neighbors. So cute!

Bryant & Kolby went and sat in the woods to watch the tree guys at our neighbors. So cute!

Landen's Band

Landen’s Band

More of Landen's Band

More of Landen’s Band

The largest Band

The largest Band

They played a song from Le  Mis.

They played a song from Le Mis.

6th-Cooper built this Lego drum kit. I thought it was so cute! Great job bud! I love your imagination!

 

IMG_4542 IMG_4543 IMG_4545

IMG_4544

7th-Well I guess I’m getting old. I have noticed over the last several months that I was just having trouble being able to see things. It just seemed like I had a hard time focusing. I have been getting headaches and decided finally I needed to go have my eyes checked. So today I went in to get an eye exam. Sure enough they said I need GLASSES! My astigmatism has gotten really bad and that is why I’m having troubles seeing. My eyesight is actually pretty good except the astigmatism. They wanted to do a test where they have to dilate my eyes. While they were waiting for the drops to kick in they said I could go look around for glasses in the waiting room. I tried on a few that I liked. I then sat down and waited for them to call me back. I was texting Chester until I couldn’t even see the letters/words on my phone. Very weird not being able to read when you know that your phone says something. :-) I finished up and went to leave but realized I was in no condition to drive anywhere. I sat out in the van for a while hoping the drops would wear off. Finally I decided it was ok to drive, I couldn’t see the greatest but I had to get some things done. I did a few errands. Wow! It was very tiring trying to grocery shop. Kroger is in the middle of remodeling so everything is rearranged plus I was trying to figure out what the best deal was. Pretty hard to do that when you can’t read the fine print. Oh well! I managed to finish up before Chester met me in town.

Chester and I are joining Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group (BRMRG, pronounced Ber-Merg). We have to go to classes to be able to be a member. We have missed a few classes as the classes begin with the fall semester. They were fine with us joining late but we just have to make up what we’ve missed. Anyway classes are Tuesday nights from 7-8 and Saturday mornings for a few hours. It will be up very busy for a bit but we are looking forward to it. Tonight we headed down to UVA to find out where we were supposed to be going. They were eating together at one place for dinner and then going to another building for class. We were planning on grabbing some dinner with them but we couldn’t figure out where exactly we were supposed to be going and then it started raining. It was pouring and we both didn’t have rain coats or an umbrella. We finally decided to go to Taco Bell for dinner so we wouldn’t get soaked and then head back to figure out where we needed to go for the class. We wandered around for a little bit before we found the correct building and then we wandered around some more before we found what room we were supposed to be in. I was a bit overwhelmed by the end of the class. We have to memorize the phonetic alphabet, learn a bunch of knots, memorize some pager codes, etc. The list seemed a bit daunting to me. Oh well I’ll give it a try and see how far I get.

9th-

Kaolin wanted to do a photo session with her dolls. I love kids ideas for picture staging.

Kaolin wanted to do a photo session with her dolls. I love kids ideas for picture staging.

11th-We took Cooper and Bryant over to John and James’s birthday party this morning. They were really looking forward to going over there for the day. They took their airsoft guns and army gear so they could have a war. Chester & I decided to work on figuring out what cabinets we needed for hanging in my sewing room. We ended up having one huge cabinet left over so we stuck that on Craigslist as well as a few other things we came across. We got busy cleaning out the old school room and started turning it into a music room/game room. We were busy working away when we realized we need to switch gears and head out to our CERT cookout. We went over there and visited around and then grabbed hamburgers for lunch. (Thanks to Gateway Church) Right as we were getting ready to eat someone wanted to come pick up our cabinet we had put on Craigslist so Chester & I left Kaylin and Kolby with Bobby and ran home to get the cabinet out of the house. We headed back as soon as the cabinet people left. We spent the afternoon visiting, checking out the HAM radio guys, playing on the play set, etc.

Our view at the cookout! It was so pretty even though it was overcast and cool.

Our view at the cookout! It was so pretty even though it was overcast and cool.

14th-Our history project today was to make a 2 piece set of armor.

Soldier Kaylin

Soldier Kaylin

Soldier Bryant

Soldier Bryant

Soldier Kolby

Soldier Kolby

This morning I had to run to the Health Department so after we finished I took the kids to the library to get a back of books for tonight during the CERT monthly meeting. Chester is now in charge of communications for our CERT group. I think he is perfect for the job… Anyway our main guy ended up having to go see his grandmother in the hospital so he asked Chester to run the meeting. We headed over to the meeting in the rain. When we got there there were several people standing at the door under umbrellas waiting for someone to arrive with a key. After a bit we realized that Steve had forgotten to get a key to us before he headed to the hospital so we were locked out. We decided to go ahead with the meeting under the front porch and just do a shortened version. It was pretty funny all of us crowded under the little porch. We had the kids just sit in the car and read book and eat cookies. I kept checking on the kids, by the end of the time they were a BIT wound up! I was very thankful we had been able to get such a big bag of books this morning. Not sure if they kids would have survived if they didn’t have them.

15-Today Chester turned 36. Since we had been going so much we decided to just do a party here together as a family. I made hamburgers and potato dippers for dinner. Yummy, if I do say so myself! Then we watched Chester open presents. Cooper got Chester a Lego Skydiver Minifigure. The other kids gave Chester a Life Is Good Biking t-shirt. I had fun shopping for Chester this year as he had a lot of ideas that were easy to get and reasonably priced. (unlike most gift ideas for guys) I got him a Gerber Bear Grylls Survival knife, a couple t-shirts, and a really neat sounding book called Stealth Down. He got some other fun gifts like a RV windshield squeegee, trekking pole, an audiobook about the Honda Company and a few gift cards. I made him a Flourless Chocolate cake for dessert. Wow it was SUPER chocolatey! Glad he liked it because it was too much for me!

Present time

Present time

The Cake!

The Cake!

16th-Tonight we were able to go over to Eric and Jeannine’s along with Bobby and Laura to visit with Max, Jen and Quinlyn. Such a fun evening. Glad Max and Jen were finally able to make it down. Loved holding their little girl. Glad she took a fancy to me. It was fun snuggling her.

I wished I had a better picture. I stole this one from Jeannine's Instagram. I'll have to try to come up with a better quality one.

I wished I had a better picture. I stole this one from Jeannine’s Instagram. I’ll have to try to come up with a better quality one.

17th-19th-This weekend was Apple Butter. We took our motorhome over to stay in at Merrie Meadows. Weldon and Lorianne stayed at our house once again. I ended up helping in the kitchen pretty much all Friday evening getting the trip tip trimmed up and ready to cook. Enjoyed getting to visit with Camden, Brodie, Callie, and Carla. I know there were several others in there but I’m drawing a blank at the moment. Saturday we made Apple Butter and just visited. Saturday evening we had a sing around several fire pits.

Sunday, Chester had volunteered to organize another big search for Hannah Graham. They had 2 separate groups of 200 searchers that they were going to use to search a specific area. Chester was in charge of doing like we did before, getting all the searchers registered, organized, and out on tasks in an orderly fashion. Well Saturday we were notified that all searches for Hannah Graham had been suspended. Come to find out her body had been found on the property next to where the big search was to take place the next day. Wow! How sad! Her family was definitely in my prayers all day! I pray that they know Jesus and will be able to know His peace that passes all understanding. Anyway that kind of changed our camp a bit since Chester was able to be at camp the whole time.  Definitely it was on my mind the rest of camp though. Kind of an adrenaline let down I guess. This whole search has been a mind bending time for me. Definitely a new experience, not something I’ve ever been a part of before.

Anyway Sunday we had a meeting in the morning and then spent the rest of the day visiting, playing ball, etc. I took one picture at camp of the kids playing dodge ball. Pretty sad, I know! Oh well, I did enjoy visiting and helping out in the kitchen this camp though.

Dodge Ball Time!

Dodge Ball Time!

21st-This evening the kids were going to go to David and Janelle’s while we went to our BRMRG training. I had to run some errands earlier in the day. While I was shopping at Harris Teeter I got a call from Janelle who was broken down in Hollymead. I ended up going and picking her up. We went by our house and Janelle ended up just taking the van and the kids on to her house so we didn’t have to drive out there before heading to town. Chester & I ran around town to a few glasses shops. I am a bit OVERWHELMED by this whole decision. Not sure what would be best. It was fun seeing what Chester liked and didn’t and trying to blend that with that I liked and didn’t like. We decided to try out a new restaurant Eric Woods had told Chester about called Sedona Taphouse. It was very yummy! I got a seafood pasta dish that was amazing. Chester had some kind of fish that was very good also. A fun little spot that will be fun when we want a little splurge date night. After we hurried and ate dinner we rushed over to our BRMRG training. After that finished up we went grocery shopping before heading back to David and Janelle’s to pick up the kids. The kids were having a blast there wrestling with David. Sure is neat for them to have the relationships they have with David and Janelle. Thanks so much David & Janelle for watching them. We finally stopped visiting and headed home around 11:15. Crazy!

22nd-We got up and got school pretty much finished up before it was time to jump in the car and head to Richmond. We went to REI to make a return and shop around before heading to Brett and Leah’s, so Brett could work on our van. Always enjoy hanging out with them. I really appreciate their family. While we were there Leah introduced us to Mexican Jumping Beans. I’ve always heard of them but had never seen a real one. It was quite fascinating. We got our science lesson for the day…If you want your Mexican Jumping Beans to really start moving place them near your wood stove. These little guys started really hopping around after we placed them near the fire.

The 3 little spots on the floor are the Jumping Beans.

The 3 little spots on the floor are the Jumping Beans.

Anyway, we had dinner at their house and then all went over to Richard and Debbie’s for a Bible study. We headed home after meeting was over. Another late night…

23rd-26th-We went camping at Douthat State Park. (See separate post)

28th-Tonight was another BRMRG training. We had Anne Bledsoe come over to watch the kids. Right before we left we wanted to watch NASA’s unmanned Antares rocket launch on the computer and then we were going to run out and see if we could see it fly by since it was launched at Wallops Flight Facility. We were all able to watch the rocket launch on the computer. So fascinating! So the launch happens, and within a few seconds all the sudden things went terribly wrong and they had to blow up the rocket before it hit the ground. Wow! I never thought I’d see that happen in real time. Pretty fascinating like I said! We had to run out the door so we weren’t late, so we didn’t get to watch the whole aftermath. We had a few errands we had to do and then we grabbed some dinner at Brixx. Wow another yummy place! We are definitely broadening our horizons. Two new really good restaurants in the same month! We had our BRMRG class and then headed home. Thanks Anne for babysitting! Much appreciated! The kids enjoyed spending time with you.

September 2014

The last day of September camp started our September out. (see August’s post for camp’s post) We actually made it home before dinner time and were able to clean out the motorhome, finish entering my consignment stuff, and go to bed at a decent hour.

Sept. 3-5

Chester left the house to fly to Denver, CO at 4:30 am., on Wednesday after camp for his OHMA face to face meeting. They are checking out places to have the conference in 2016 I believe as well as working on other OHMA things. The kids and I all stayed home. I worked on tagging all my consignment stuff, fulfilling Cube orders, passing out HWGA flyers, and homeschooling the kids.

(Sept. 3)- Kaylin, Bryant, and Kolby were playing dogs. Kaylin was the owner and the boys were her Yorkie dogs. I got so tickled when I heard her calling their names. The boys were Norkie & Dorkie. Got to love rhymes. :-) She wasn’t being mean at all, they just were good names for her Yorkies.

(Sept. 4-5)-At one point today I realized I hadn’t seen the kids for a bit and needed to go check on them. I walked outside and where did I find all four?

YES! They were ALL on the shed roof!

YES! They were ALL on the shed roof!

They were having a grand old time. I made them get down as i really didn’t want to have to take anyone to the doctor while Ches was out of town.

That evening Kolby came in for dinner and looked like he didn’t feel good. Sure enough I took his temperature and he had a fever over 100*. He wouldn’t eat and just wanted to lay on the couch pretty much the rest of the night.

Most of the time he slept or laid around expressionless but when he saw me taking a picture he just cheesed!

Most of the time he slept or laid around expressionless but when he saw me taking a picture he just cheesed!

I was up with Kolby several times during the night. His temperature got up to 104* at one point. Thankfully it went down a few degrees so we made it through the night without a trip to the doctor, at least that day! The next morning he still had the fever and just laid around. I was supposed to be dropping off all my consignment stuff and then volunteering for a few hours while the kids got to spend the day with Laura, but those plans changed. I ended up taking Kolby in to the doctor and left the other kids with Laura. I decided to take a load of my bigger items in to the consignment sale while we were in town. So after going to the doctor and being told he just had a virus, and would just have to let the sickness run it’s course, we headed over to Here Wee Grow Again. I was able to drop my stuff off squeezing in during a slower time. That was a huge help as while I was loading stuff I realized I had more things then I thought. It was so nice to have the big stuff out of the house and at the sale. Kolby did great for me all while I was dropping stuff off. He sat in the car, which I was able to park by the door, and he read books and played on a toy computer I had to sell. When the car was pretty much emptied he laid in the back while waiting for me. We made a few stops before getting home so Kolby was wiped out by the time we got back. He went to sleep and slept most of the afternoon. He seemed to feel a bit better after his nap.

My 1st load of stuff for HWGA. There was NO extra room, the van was full!

My 1st load of stuff for HWGA. There was NO extra room, the van was full!

The kids and I were able to go pick up Chester at the airport. We had been hoping to watch him land but didn’t get loaded up in time. We saw him fly over Deer Lake as well were pulling out onto 29. He was waiting at the curb when we pulled up. So thankful to have him home again! I don’t enjoy being separated!

IMG_4474

Sept. 6

We slept in today, then I loaded up yet another van load of stuff to take to the consignment sale. Next we got the guys all set and ready to head to Richmond, to the Richmond International Speedway! Laura had scored some free tickets to the Federated 400 for Bobby, Eric & his boys, and Chester, Cooper & Bryant. They all loaded up in our motorhome and headed down there to watch the race. They got a bit of a late start so jumped right into the craziness as soon as they arrived. They never even had time to go back and grab their dinner at the motorhome until after the race ended and they were ready to head home after midnight! I think they all enjoyed the experience. It was an uneventful race with no crashes or anything exciting like that. The boys brought home pieces of rubber from the tires of the race cars. They said if you walked down to go to the bathrooms right along the front rows you would just get pelted with rubber bits. When they got back to the motorhome after walking the track after the race, they cooked up some pizza and then headed home. It was after 2 when they arrived home. It ended up that Jeannine and Channing had stayed the night at Bobby and Laura’s, so Eric & his boys just camped out in our motorhome for the night before getting up and heading out to get ready for church. My Saturday didn’t go as planned. Kolby was feeling somewhat better so I loaded Kaylin and him up and headed in to drop my stuff off at HWGA. I parked by the door again and had the two of them stay in the car and watch a video while I dropped off all my stuff. They did great once again but when I got back out to the car to leave Kaylin was sitting in her chair shivering and it wasn’t cold! Sure enough she now had a fever. So much for running some errands. We just decided to stop by the library to grab some books and videos to entertain the kids while they were sick. Poor Kaylin didn’t even feel good enough to pick anything out. She just kept asking to go home. We got her home and down for a nap. She sleep the rest of the evening.

A piece of rubber from a race car tire!

A piece of rubber from a race car tire!

Sept. 7

We were able to sleep in on Sunday since we weren’t planning on going to meeting with sick kiddos. That was wonderful! I had been up too many times during the nights with kiddos while Ches was gone so was ready for some sleep. I was able to get school laid out for the week and clean up the house a little. In the afternoon Cooper came in saying he was cold and tired. Sure enough it was fever time for him. Kolby was better and Kaylin was improved by the evening.

Sept. 8

Cooper stayed in bed most of the day not feeling well. I decided to go ahead and try to get school going for Bryant and Kaylin. We started in but then Bryant decided to get the sickness. He left school shivering and went and crashed on the couch. So much for getting a good week of school in. Kaylin and I were able to finish up her school and still have time for me to do other things I needed to do.

Sept. 9

I left the kids with Chester this evening and went and shopped HWGA at 6:00 for volunteer shopping. I picked up Laura and took her with me. She went and did some errands until her shop time at 7:00. I was able to find a couple things the kids needed. Nice to shop when there wasn’t a crazy huge crowd. When I finished shopping I ran to Kroger to get some groceries while Laura shopped. I picked Laura up and made 2 quick stops at Harris Teeter and Target before heading home.

Sept 11

Next thing we knew he was "spying" on us. It was so cute! He was completely into the room instead of hiding around the corner like he thought he was. His grin was ear to ear!

Next thing we knew he was “spying” on us. It was so cute! He was completely into the room instead of hiding around the corner like he thought he was. His grin was ear to ear!

Sept. 12

Tonight was a Jack ‘N Jill shower for Meredith Cangialosi and her fiancé Jeremy. They seem like such a sweet couple. The shower was outside at David and Janelle’s. We just stood around and visited and ate desserts and visited some more. They didn’t open gifts, it was just real relaxed and chatty. A number of Jeremy’s family came so we got to meet them all.

Oh! As we were pulling into David and Janelle’s property we got to see a black bear run across the road. Pretty exciting for us since we don’t see bear all that often.

Sept. 13-Today Chester took the kids to Lowes to do a Build and Grow project. I got up early and left to volunteer at Here Wee Grow Again. It was their first free public day so was CRAZY busy! I got there at 8:30am. and there already was a line of people waiting at the door even though it was drizzly. Doors opened at 9:00am and by then it was raining but it didn’t keep the people away. We had so many people that we would let people in and then have to shut the doors until some went out and then we’d let in another group. We had over 700 people come through today. I was in charge of larger baby equipment and toys. I helped people get their tear off tags so they didn’t have to carry around the big stuff while they continued shopping. I totally enjoy working the sale, seeing how much stuff people buy, etc. I just really enjoy the whole buy/resell thing! When we opened in the morning there were probably 20+ exersaucers. By the time I left at 3:45 there were only 2 left. It was kind of the joke that I was trying to see if I could sell all exersaucers that were there. Anyway I had a blast working and would have stayed longer but I had errands to run and I hadn’t planned on being gone all day. I did my errands and then came home. After dinner Russell, Emily and Jaden came over for the guys to work on music for tomorrow. Tonight I got an email from Karen (the lady in charge of HWGA) thanking me for helping out at the sale today and how she had appreciated my smile and positive attitude. I was able to write her back and let her know that yes, I had enjoyed myself today so that makes me smile but I really have something to smile about. I was able to share with her how the Lord has saved me and lives in my heart and that is why I am happy and smile. I was pretty excited about the chance to share with someone my love for the Lord. Usually when you have an opportunity it kind of puts you on the spot. I’m not the world’s greatest communicator, so I always feel like I blunder opportunities or wish I would have said something else. This was perfect because I could just sit back and type out what I wanted to say then delete it if it wasn’t how I wanted to say it and then try again. I never heard back from her but I was excited about the chance to talk about the Lord to someone else.

Sept. 14-Today we had meeting and then came home for lunch. Ches wanted to mow the yard and I needed to get school ready for next week and pack a box to send to Dad and Mom with Don and Molly on their way home. I dove into my tasks and Ches headed out to mow the grass. His job didn’t go as smoothly as mine did and he had mower troubles and couldn’t get it fixed. He ran to town to get parts and worked and worked on the mower. He finally gave up around 6 and we decided to go ahead and head out to Roger and Lauren’s where they were having a work party and dinner at their garage apartment they are building. We felt bad showing up just in time for dinner but figured we go on out there to be a part. We stopped by Patrick and Jana’s on the way to give my box of stuff to send to the Midwest with Don and Molly. Kaylin was thrilled to make it to the triplets’ house. Jana had to go check on two of the girls so took Kaylin in to see them. Kaylin thought that was pretty neat. We headed on to Roger and Lauren’s after visiting for a little bit. Sure enough we were right in time for dinner. We ate and visited a little bit before everyone headed home. The work was pretty much done for the day so they weren’t working after dinner much. Oh well!

Sept. 15-Today Chester went and got a load of gravel from Bobby’s shop that they ended up not needing. The kids all helped him spread it out on the driveway. Much nicer!

 

Hard at work!

Our road crew

Hard at work!

Sept 16- We had our CERT meeting tonight. We ended up just going as a family. The kids played cars and toys on the floor while we did our meeting. Usually they have a door prize at our meetings. They asked Kaylin to pick a ticket out and she picked MINE! How fun! I won a $10 CiCi’s gift card.

Sept. 17-Tonight we went and sang at The Independence (the place where Mrs. Peg & Brian Baumgardner live). It is fun to go sing there as the older people really enjoy it and you can tell it means a lot to them. They are all with it so it isn’t as scary for the kids as it can be sometimes when going to a nursing home. After we finished up there some of us went to Wendy’s for a snack. Most everyone was getting a frosty but Kolby couldn’t have one since it is dairy. We told him we’d get him some fries. He was thrilled. He ate all his and asked for more. He ended up eating the rest of Jeremy and Joni’s and Kathryn Martin’s. He thought he was something else.

Sept. 18-Kolby picked up a new word from Bryant. (Not sure where Bryant learned it.) The word is hypotenuse. He thinks it is a name to call someone and when he is feeling ornery he was look at you and grin and say “Hi-Pot-Moose”, it is so funny.

The other night at our CERT meeting one of the members asked when we were going to get called out. He was wanting to go volunteer to look for a missing UVA girl. I hadn’t heard anything about anyone missing and didn’t really think that much about it. The CERT member was told that we had to just wait until we were called out and that it could be tomorrow or a year or longer. You just never know. Well that day came. We got our first CERT call out. Yesterday a request came through for help searching for the UVA girl that was missing, Hannah Graham. Wow! I knew it would happen sooner or later but never dreamed so soon after we had been talking about it. We were called out for Search and Rescue. Chester decided he could take the day off work and go help. I stayed home to take care of the kids and do school with them. Ches left here in the morning and went and waited to be put out on a task. It was a bit unorganized so they didn’t realize Chester was ready to go out and search for a bit so he didn’t get put on a team until 1:00pm. They were doing 4 hour shifts so he went and searched from 1-5pm. No luck, so he decided to go ahead and do one more shift. He ended up not getting home until 11:30 pm. That worried Bryant quite a bit as they now have a person of interest in the case and haven’t arrested him. Bryant was very worried that Chester might stumble across the bad guy! He really worried about it once it got dark. I was grading papers when it was time for the kids to go to bed. I put everyone to bed, but Bryant just couldn’t handle Chester not being back yet. I had Bryant come in and help me cut out papers for school the next week until he had relaxed enough to finally go to sleep. We would be working along and Bryant would say things like, “I know why you didn’t go volunteer Mom. If you were out searching you might be by yourself and you know that man is still out there and you know Mom, he might decide to take you too! And I know why you aren’t out there now especially, because it is dark and you shouldn’t be out by yourself when it is dark.” He definitely has been listening to us talk about the case.

Like I said Chester made it home around 11:30pm. Poor guy was exhausted. He looked sore and tired when he came in. Hours of hiking/crawling through brush and briars…Once he was struggling to make his way through some pretty dense brush and briars and all the sudden they came upon a man living in a tent back in the brush. Creepy! The man let them search his tent and then they continued on. About 10:30pm. Ches texted me to tell me that he was searching a cemetery. He was walking along shining his flashlight around when someone called out wondering what he was doing. Another homeless person but this one was living in the cemetery. Ok it may be dark and quiet there but wow, that would give me the creeps! Anyway thankful Chester made it home safely, but sad that they didn’t find Hannah.

Sept 19-Chester and I signed up to volunteer for CERT this evening to help do administrative stuff for a HUGE Search and Rescue effort that is happening this weekend. This search is open to the general public and they have over 1,600 people that have signed up to search. We had no idea what to expect but figured that we could handle registering/signing up people. We dropped the kids off at Bobby and Laura’s and headed to the John Paul Jones arena around 4:00. When we got there we were told to go to the briefing room where we would be given instructions on what we needed to do. There ended up being about 80 of us that volunteered to help organize the Search and Rescue group. When we sat down I could tell the man in charge had picked Chester out for something. Sure enough he came over and asked Chester’s name and then told him thanks for coming and that he now was putting Chester in charge of the 80 people in the room. Chester was the perfect man for the job. He knows how to be a leader and organize people well. He doesn’t mind talking to a crowd, etc. We got our briefing and then got our 80 volunteers all stationed in their proper job positions. I got to be Chester’s side kick. I got to run to do and run get that for people. I definitely had my workout by the time we got home, running up and down the flights of steps and bleachers. The whole Search and Rescue effort was being run out of JPJ. There were so many rooms being used. I got to see way more of JPJ then I ever realized was there.

It was fun to be involved but wow, I have been so sheltered. I try not to be a news junkie so I don’t hear about most things going on. The world is an awful place, with lots of people that need the Lord. So much hurt and heartache… Tonight I was out checking on our people that were running the front doors. While I was out there I noticed a lady walk up and she seemed to be trying to put herself together. She would clutch her purse and take a deep breath and then exhale and do it again. A murmur went around the ones standing out there. I had a feeling she was someone special but I didn’t recognize her. Several walked up and talked to her and then she was escorted inside to a backstage area. I realized later that she was Mrs. Harrington, the mother of Morgan Harrington, the 20 year old girl who had gone missing from a concert there at JPJ a few years ago. Morgan’s body was found a few months later on a farm nearby. Wow! No wonder the lady was trying to pull herself together, I’d have been a mess. A few other people came up and were escorted off backstage as well and I found out those people were relatives of Alexis Murphy another girl that had gone missing in the last year or so. She still hasn’t been found but there is a man that was charged with her murder. Both Mrs. Harrington and Alexis Murphy’s aunt spoke to the crowd of volunteers tonight thanking them for their help in trying to find Hannah and how much that means to the Graham family. They know as they have been there before themselves. How sad!

I think about 1,000 people showed up tonight for registration. We had to have everyone sign in and get a bracelet and then watch a briefing. They had to keep their bracelet on all weekend if they wanted to be able to help search. That would prove that they had gone to the briefing and knew what was going on. We ran out of time to get everyone signed up before the briefing so afterwards we had to get all the registered people out and then run all the unregistered people through. It was quite the process. So much was happening around there and I never really figured out who was managing the whole operation. People were just volunteering where they saw a need or where they had skills and it was falling in place. At one point Chester told me that a water truck was there trying to deliver water bottles but he was tied up and couldn’t take care of it. He gave me the name of the woman in charge of VDEM to go find to see what to do. I ran downstairs to the communications room. There were tons of official looking people down there. I felt like I was little me crashing an official meeting. :-) I was able to find Kirby and tell her what was going on. She looked a bit overwhelmed and said I guess it just needs to be sat somewhere outside on the sidewalk. I don’t know I’m not familiar with this building. She was in charge but just as lost as the rest of us were. I told her I would take care of it. She said great you are now in charge of water deliveries. Great how did I get the responsibility put on me? Well thankfully one of our 80 volunteers tonight was the guy in charge of concessions there at JPJ. He had been making sure Chester and I had drinks since that was something he had resources for. I ran and looked him up and told him I wasn’t sure what to do with the water but Kirby had said just put it on the sidewalk and they’d figure it out later. He said oh no, he’d take care of it and got the guys to deliver the water around to the dock and stuck the water all in the fridge so the volunteers could have cold water the next day. It was neat how everyone was just helping out however best they could.

At one point tonight I looked down and there was Chester down there on the floor talking to the whole crowd. He is made of something different than me. My knees would have been knocking so bad I couldn't have walked out there. :-)

At one point tonight I looked down and there was Chester down there on the floor talking to the whole crowd. He is made of something different than me. My knees would have been knocking so bad I couldn’t have walked out there. :-)

We finished up around 9:15pm. They were really asking for ones that were there helping this evening to come tomorrow to help out as well since we “knew the ropes” and they wouldn’t have to train new people. It was a way bigger deal than I ever dreamed of. Lots of coordination as they have to account for everyone that goes out on the field and then they have to get everyone back in and signed out. There were so many organizations there: different Search & Rescue teams, Dog teams, VDEM, CERT, Radio teams, people that just bring radios to be used, etc., etc. We had just planned on volunteering tonight and being done but realized they needed help.

We left there VERY READY for dinner so stopped by Chipotle and grabbed a burrito. Yummy!

 

Sept 20-Chester got up this morning at 6:00 and went back to JPJ to help get the search teams out to the field to start their searches. Cooper and Bryant got up at 7:45am. to go yard saleing with Bobby and Laura. A lady came by around 8:45 to buy sometime from me off of Craigslist. We got to talking about the Hannah Graham case. I have had so many emotions go through me this week-anger, fear, frustration, pity, compassion, etc. I have been mad at Hannah for being careless-being out alone at night, not dressing modestly, drinking (under-age at that), etc. I have been frustrated with her parents for letting her be in college off by herself where she would be in a susceptible position. Mad at the one who took Hannah and how one can be so cruel and merciless. Anyway I was talking to this lady and I made a comment about a few dumb choices Hannah had made-being out alone and under-age drinking. This lady just shook her head and told me, ‘I just really feel compassion for Hannah. Not long ago I was a college student and I made dumb mistakes also and it could have been me, but thankfully it wasn’t. I didn’t know better on somethings. I just really feel compassion for Hannah’. Wow, she didn’t know better… Really made me think and I have been thanking the Lord for the training/raising I had. Just common sense things to me aren’t common sense to everyone, some girls aren’t trained to know what is smart and careful. Made me have a lot more pity and compassion for Hannah.

Chester made it home about noon and we loaded the kids and their bikes up and went out to Stanardsville to the Bike Rodeo. The kids just did a little obstacle course, got their bikes checked out to make sure they were working properly and safe to ride, and then they got a little hand signals lesson. They were grilling up free hot dogs for the kids. After lunch they did a raffle. They gave away 6 bikes. We didn’t win any bikes but Kolby won a bike bell and Kaylin won a bike bottle. I think the kids enjoyed it. Laura had brought Kenley and Channing so the boys enjoyed riding bikes together.

Kolby ready to ride!

Kolby ready to ride!

Bryant, Cooper, Kenley, Kolby, Kaylin, and Channing

Bryant, Cooper, Kenley, Kolby, Kaylin, and Channing

Sept 21-Chester ended up getting up at 6:00am. today again to go help get the teams of volunteers out on the field again to search. He ended up working until 5:00pm this evening. I took the kids to meeting and then came back home and mowed the grass. I was proud of doing something to help Chester out since he was giving of his time. I wanted to be there with him but we just can’t dump the kids every time something goes on. My part was watching them so he could be able to volunteer. Anyway I mowed the grass and got the house cleaned up and ready for everyone to come over this evening for a gathering. Chester got home at 5:30 and was going to move the cars so that we could fit more cars in the driveway. He hopped in the Jeep and shut his door and heard glass tickling. What on earth? He got out and looked and the back driver-side window on the hard-top had shattered. The only thing we could figure out was in my helpfulness today in mowing I had thrown a rock into the window. Bummer! So much for being such a huge help.

We had a gathering here tonight. Everyone brought something for dinner and we just sat around outside and visited and ate. Beautiful fall weather!

Kaylin went and stayed the night at Bobby and Laura’s house tonight as Laura is taking her to see the play The Little Mermaid in the morning with Grandmommy, Jeannine, Channing, and Rose Ellen Bledsoe.

Sept 22-This afternoon after school Shauna came and picked up the boys and took them to Sweet Frog where they met Kaylin and Laura on their way home. Kaylin got to stay with Shauna and they had frozen yogurt and then went shopping at Target where Shauna bought them each a little present. Then she brought them home. They loved riding in her Mini Cooper with the top down.

Ready to head out!

Ready to head out!

Sept 23-Today we had another appointment with Michelle Dion, the nutritionalist. We all had lots of improvement on our charts since we last saw her. Michelle definitely got to see a day in the life of Chester and Heidi…

The kids were playing outside. Cooper ended up scraping his knee up. He wasn’t dying we could tell so Chester finished up typing whatever he was working on and went and checked him out. There was no blood just scrapes. Well a while later we hear loud crying and hear Kaylin say he’s bleeding. Chester ran out to see what was going on. Kolby had been swinging and fallen out of his swing. He completely bit through his lip with at least 2 teeth, scraped his chin up, and banged and cut his ear. He was bleeding all over. His poor lip swelled up but that actually was good because it pushed the cut on the outside of his lip together. We got it to stop bleeding and figured he would heal with some TLC. I held him for a while and he eventually went to sleep. We figured that a nap would give his lip a little bit of a chance to start healing. While he slept we continued our appointment with Michelle. Just as we were finishing up Kolby woke up and did something and that got his lip and mouth to bleeding again. We decided that we might should take him in for stitches.  We ended up texting in pictures of the cuts to our doctor and they told us if it didn’t stop bleeding we needed to come in but if it stopped bleeding the swelling was keeping the outside cut closed so that would be the one they would be worried about for stitches. We got the bleeding stopped so didn’t have to take him in thankfully. We tried to keep him low key the rest of the day which is nearly impossible with a 2 year old.

He wanted a picture of himself with his owie!

He wanted a picture of himself with his owie!

Mr. Fat Lip

Mr. Fat Lip

This was our science project for this week. We are studying ants. (just in case you weren't sure what these creatures are.)

This was our science project for this week. We are studying ants. (Just in case you weren’t sure what these creatures are.)

Sept 26-28

We packed up and were able to head out to Camp Post today around 3:00pm. Blaine Bledsoe was able to go with us. Several families had been wanting to go camping so we had the great idea of just getting a camp and inviting anyone who wanted to go camping to go. So that is what we did. We arrived around 5:00pm and after much thought and discussion finally got parked and set up. We had quite the turn out. I’ll try to remember everyone who came: Mike & Maureen Stienz, Ned & Sarah Loyd, Camden & Brodie Patton, Alan & Beverly Patton, Chaunteé Pitts, Nate & Cheree Seaborn, Clare & Molly Patton, Richard & Debbie Seaborn, Jennings & Ashton Cotten, Julie Seaborn, Robby & Abby Cox, Weldon & Lorianne Stogsdill, Bronwyn Cotten, Brett & Leah Corle, Shauna Rutt, Heidi Brown & her girls, Cynthia Corle, and Jimmy & Stephanie Earheart. David & Janelle Rutt came up for the day on Sunday and Robert & Jill Cox were able to come up after work on Saturday and then came back for the day Sunday. Saturday some did an extensive hike while others went on a bike ride and the rest of up held the fort down at camp. Sunday there was another hike while the rest of us went down to the river or went fishing. Saturday night we did a communal grill so everyone pretty much, cooked their dinner together and ate in the pavilion. After dinner we played glow-in-the-dark wiffle ball. That was a riot. We all had to wear glow in the dark bracelets and then the ball was stuffed with glow sticks and we taped glow sticks down the bat so you could see where the bat was swinging. We were able to play with everyone as no one had an advantage over another. Sunday after the hike we played Swedish baseball. Talk about mind-bending! Wow! I don’t remember ever being so confused learning to play a game. Once I figured it out I had a BLAST! We ended up tying like 105 to 105 or something absurd like that. While we played Swedish Baseball the little girls and a couple boys painted. Heidi Brown had brought canvases and paints. They had a hay day painting away. I really enjoyed the weekend just relaxing and getting to spend time together with different ones. Can’t wait to do it again!

"Me life guard, Mommy! See?" Kolby told me this then climbed up and started "looking through his binoculars". What a HOOT!

“Me life guard, Mommy! See?” Kolby told me this then climbed up and started “looking through his binoculars”. What a HOOT!

Dirke giving Lorianne a hairdo.

Dirke giving Lorianne a hairdo.

Sitting around visiting and enjoying the scenery!

Sitting around visiting and enjoying the scenery!

The young people were crawdad fishing in the river.

The young people were crawdad fishing in the river.

Watching the kids play in the water.

Watching the kids play in the water.

Declan was having a ball just rolling down the river.

Declan was having a ball just rolling down the river.

He didn't seem to notice it was freezing cold.

He didn’t seem to notice it was freezing cold.

Of course you can only play in the sand AFTER you get all wet!

Of course you can only play in the sand AFTER you get all wet!

The kids painting.

The kids painting.

So cute to see them all busy working on their paintings and chatting away!

So cute to see them all busy working on their paintings and chatting away!

On a side note-On the way to camp Bryant was telling us about how he had a few teeth that were so loose he was sure to lose one at camp. Sure enough at dinner on Friday night out popped his tooth. He was quite excited to loose his second tooth!

How about some corn on the cob Bryant?

How about some corn on the cob Bryant?

Sept 29-Today was Channing’s birthday so we were invited over to Eric and Jeannine’s for a party. We headed over there about 5:00pm. Bobby & Laura and Robert, Lisa, and Allen (I think that’s their names. Anyway the lady rented Eric and Jeannine’s apartment for a while.) were there as well. We had supper and then watched Channing open presents, had cake and shot off fireworks. I tried to get a picture of Channing but he was too busy having fun to stand still long enough for a picture!