Thursday, October 23, 2014

volunteering: bloom

Monday night we had the privilege of serving with our small group at bloom.  They help foster kids and provide for fostering parents.  We worked at the bloom closet.  It's a store where foster parents can get clothes, toys, school supplies, books, and more for the children they are fostering. 

The store is set up like a boutique and so well decorated and organized, I wish I had taken more pictures.  Everything is donated and then given to the families for free.  A few weeks ago our group donated clothing and shoes, diapers, wipes, and items like soap, toothpaste, etc. 

Monday night we helped in the store by organizing and tagging shoes, while the guys organized their storage pods of off-season items and then put fresh batteries in toys.  We had a great time!

And of course would love to do it again when our whole group can go!  I also hope it becomes a place I can take my own kids to volunteer as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

stone mountain

I grew up going to Stone Mountain with my family.  We hiked to the top, played at the park, and stayed late for the Laser Show.

When Corey and I were dating and then married living in Stockbridge, we quite frequently drove to Stone Mountain to hike and picnic.  Then we had Clark and we took him a couple of times, letting him walk up the mountain as a 1-ish year old.  Once we went for a friend's birthday and they had already hiked, but we still wanted to so we made it to the top in time to see the storm clouds rolling in and the winds picking up.  The walk down was intense and a little scary as a hard rain began to pour and it made the rock slick.  People were rushing to get down, afraid they'd be blasted by lightning, but Corey and I took our time because Clark was in a backpack carrier and Corey didn't want to break his foot on the mountain...again.

Then Oliver came along and we took both of our kids a couple of times.  We let Oliver walk before his 2nd birthday because of course we did.  Once we took them and I tried to tell Corey Clark wasn't feeling well and probably shouldn't make him go.  At one point Corey was carrying Clark on his back and Oliver in the front. 

On Saturday after a really long week, but finally having the van back, I asked Corey what he wanted to do that day.  Normally we end up at Sam's eating the cheap hot dogs and pizza and then walking around and hitting up a few samples.  He didn't have any ideas, so I suggested we pack a lunch and go to Stone Mountain.  The boys were super excited and Logan is at an age she can walk some, too.  We hiked the mountain first, which is always my and Corey's favorite.  The kids had fun, too climbing on rocks, jumping off rocks, and drinking Gatorade. 

Once we made it to the top, we let Logan run around like a crazy baby.  She loved the wind whipping her hair around and chasing errant rose petals from a likely proposal.

We watched two little girls hop around this circle of rocks and Clark wanted to try.  Oliver wanted to go next, but Corey didn't want them to be wet and cold the rest of the day.

After we hiked back down, we drove to the playground and ate our lunch.  The kids played for a bit after that and then we got back in the van to explore some more.  All the years we've been going, Corey and I never hiked the other trails.  We stopped and found this one that took us by a lake.  Across the way you can camp, which maybe we'll do someday.

One more stop at the Quarry Outdoor Museum.  Corey loves reading plaques and studying pictures.  The boys just wanted to climb on things and Logan just didn't want to be held or contained at all.  We did manage to get them to all look at the camera at the same time though.


Our trip is never complete without a walk through the Crossroads area, which is newish--maybe 10 years, and has restaurants, shops, and where you buy tickets for the train or ropes course.  We let the boys pick out some candy, Corey decided on fudge, and then we walked over to the field where you watch the Laser Show.  The kids did some more climbing and finally we were ready to go home.  It was such a great day with perfect weather and almost perfect behavior the entire time.  Sometimes I wished we lived closer so we could go every weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2014

fall fun outta state

Last weekend we went back to Seneca, South Carolina for what seems to be turning into our annual fall trip.  We stayed again at Kacy's parents' lake house and this time the Stravelakis' came along, too.  What a difference a year makes when we're bringing children!  Last year I had a three-ish month old baby who still nursed every three hours.  This year Logan was amazing and so fun to watch with so many other people around.

We didn't go to Fall for Greenville, but we did head back to Denver Downs and it was fun!  We went Saturday and planned to stay a while after last year not planning and just hanging out for a couple of hours in the evening.  It was cool to be with a large group of friends, but not feel the pressure to try and stay together as we all have kids in different age groups.  Clark and Oliver enjoyed doing things like the zip line, barrel roll, and hay obstacle course, while the toddler twins loved the slide, horse carriage ride, and trying the zip line.  Little Harper couldn't do a lot of stuff, but she enjoyed screaming and throwing tantrums.  Just kidding, Claire...  Really I know Claire and Tony stressed about the "terrible two-year old" but she wasn't horrible.  She's just at that age where life is hard because communication is hard.  Our kids enjoyed eating corn dogs and ice cream cones, going through the corn maze, and running around as much as they could.

Back at the house, the boys swam at least once a day.  Saturday evening we took a boat ride to see a waterfall and the boys got out and swam in the freezing water there.  It was nice to relax and let the kids all play with/torment each other.  I love all of these people and look forward to next year!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


It's the middle of October and I have been avoiding the blog.  I have been busy doing stuff, reading stuff, eating stuff, and other stuff, but none of it has felt relevant enough to share or document.  Corey tells me I need to keep blogging and now that our internet is going faster, thanks to him, I guess I will update update update ya.

First things first.  I hate this time of year almost as much as I love it.  The weather is significantly cooling down finally and my kids are sick.  Clark had a fever and missed two days of school with wimpyitis.  The first day home I was working aka babysitting, and he tagged along.  He laid around watching Netflix on the Kindle.  The next day he woke up bellyaching about a bellyache and after we took Corey to work and Logan to her check up, I made him spend the rest of the day in bed.  He wasn't so sick after all, but got plenty of rest and reading time.  Saturday night/Sunday morning, Clark woke us up to say Oliver was coughing and crying for me.  I went to check on him and it sounded like he was coughing up a lung in a deep echoing well.  I grabbed a towel in time to catch his phlegmy vomit and get him some water.  He went back to sleep, but Corey took him to urgent care Sunday morning just to be sure.  Of course they prescribed a steroid, Albuterol, and antibiotic.  Crossing fingers and holding breaths that the rest of us don't get anything.

As you read, I took Corey to work one day.  I really did that several days last week.  But let me back up a little to fill you in on why we were van-less.  Last week we went to our friends' parents' lake house in South Carolina.  We went last year and were hoping to go again.  The stars and dates aligned and we found ourselves on 85 heading north when our van began to shake like I was manning a machine gun.  Corey flipped out because he'd never had that happen before on the interstate.  We were two hours into our three hour trip so we weren't turning around and suddenly Clark was whining about how hot it was in the back when we realized the air wasn't working.  We turned everything off and rolled the windows down and dropped our speed to 70.  We continued on warily and hoping the van wouldn't give us any more trouble the rest of the weekend.  We also discussed how we wanted to pay for repairs or try to sell and find another one reasonably priced.  Our favorite type of discussion, by the way...  So we made it through the weekend and back home.  I had to work Monday (babysitting is my job three days a week now) and the boys were out of school, so I needed the van to get to the house.  Tuesday morning we dropped the van at a repair shop, I drove Corey to work and then had to strap three kids in the back of our Civic that evening to pick him up.  And that's how things went until Friday afternoon when it was ready and shake-free.  Whew.

I've read a couple of books.  I finished Death du Jour, which was pretty interesting.  Corey and I binged watch Bones on Netflix and are now on the current season.  Watching episodes weekly is the pits by the way.  Temperance Brennan of the book series is nothing like her character on the show other than they are female forensic anthropologists.  I liked the book, but am glad I didn't go into it hoping it was like the show.  I also finished listening to another audiobook, The Raven Boys.  I've liked most of the Stiefvater stories, and that includes this one.  I didn't love the narrator and I was telling Claire about this because she used to listen to a lot of audiobooks when she commuted every day for work.  She told me about her favorite and so maybe I'll find one specifically narrated by him to give audiobooks another try.  Another finished book was Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.  I had put off reading this for several reasons, but after Claire said she liked it I decided to give it a try.  I enjoyed reading about her experience, but man her lack of research and overestimating her abilities was tough to take in some of the time.  That means I made my goal of 40 books this year.  According to Goodreads, I've read 42 and with two and a half months left I will probably read more. 

Speaking of books, I was invited to a girls' night and we went to Gone Girl.  As you may recall I read this last year and it was insane.  When I heard they were making a movie, I wasn't sure I wanted to see it.  The book was/is everywhere and I was incredibly frustrated by the ending.  When a friend planned to see this for our night out I went along with it because I love going to movies and was curious enough to see how the story looked on a screen.  Two of the four of us did not read the book so it was kind of fun seeing their reactions.  The screenplay was written by Gillian Flynn so it was almost exactly like the book, which I totally appreciated.  Minor differences didn't bother me and oh wow, the acting was really good.  I felt the same emotions from reading the book and the ending killed me again in the movie.  The two ladies who hadn't read were looking at us like, "Wait!  Did that just happen??"  I still don't think I loved it, but it brought the whole thing to a nice little close.

Well I think that's it.  I've got a few "experience" posts to share, but this was real life in the first part of October.