Saturday, August 10, 2013

23rd Anniversary get away

Hotel Roanoak
Getting away from home without the kids has not been something Bill and I have done much in our married life.  We are home bodies.  But it seems we have started a new tradition.  Three years ago Bill and I took a little anniversary weekend to Amish country, then last year we went to Natural Bridge.  This year we decided to go to Roanoak.   For some reason I am a small town kind of kid.  I'm not much for big cities or the bar scenes that take over the night life.  These kind of backwoods kind of places calm my nerves help me let down my hair and enjoy the man of my dreams.  So you can imagine that as we entered Roanoak at dusk that it was a little larger city then I had imagined.  I was thinking quaint country atmosphere.  So I was surprised to see a large city skyline.  However, my feelings changed as we came to our wonderful historic hotel.  It came from a scene from the alps. It was beautiful.  I loved reading about the history of the rail town and the history of the hotel itself.
   We actually had to cross the rail road tracks by going across this glass enclosed walkway.  As you crossed the walkway you could read all about the railroad town.
The walk way is behind the red car.
It was fun to people watch as we walked down town at night.  They had a movie playing on the green and families were gathered with blankets and chairs,  people we wondering about, and we enjoyed looking at all the shop windows smelling the smell of fried chicken, drinks and feeling the humid hot Virginia air.  Mostly we just loved holding hands, talking, and wandering at our own pace.
We couldn't pass up taking a
picture of Bill by Billy's
Waffles and Chicken, to me these two things don't really go together. but in the south they do.  Why?  I guess to confuse those of us who can't choose between breakfast and lunch.  They actually serve them together all day long at Thelma's Waffles and Chicken.  It was fun trying it out, but I still don't understand why you put them together.  Bill enjoyed one of his favorite breakfasts of omelets and hash browns while I took a stab at the house special of yes chicken and waffles.   
   The stands at the edge of the sidewalks were filled with produce, crafts and jewelry.  An outdoor market on Saturday morning.  The smell of fresh ripe peaches, and the sound of hagglers and sellers hung in the heavy humid air of the farmers market.  We enjoyed watching the crowd as we slithered our way through the maze of people, stopping at various little shops along the way.  

   Jelly Fish, Seahorses, and colorful ocean fish were found in a place called center on the square.  This place was so cool.  The size of the tanks were so huge.  We enjoyed watching them for some time.  This is a video of the Jelly Fish.

 A giant star guided the wise men but in Roanoak a giant star guides tourists to an awesome view of the city.  The view is spectacular from the lighted star,  you can see the downtown sector of the city and then the burbs.  Beyond the city you see the rolling blue ridge mountains.  Mountains that never seem to end peak after peak with valleys in between.  As the expanse of the view becomes less clear you see the greens become darker and darker.  The foliage continues as if  a sea of green surrounds this valley city.    

The front lobby of the hotel Roanoak
I loved being with my best friend.  I look back to when we got married and I remember thinking I love Bill so much.  There is no way I can love him more then this, but I was wrong I love him more today then I did then.  I think it's because of all the experiences you have along the way, the tears you've shed together, the work, the trials, the kids, the disappointments, and mostly the joy, the happy times, and the laughter that makes the heart grow fonder and fuses you together.   It's just so nice to hold hands walk down an unknown street and talk and talk and talk.  For us it's never about the where or what, it's always been about being together.   Thanks Bill for the most wonderful 23 years a girl could have ever asked for.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer Goal #1

No Training Wheels!  She loves going fast!

Competition from a little sister gives Austin incentive to ride his bike too!!
 On the first day of summer vacation, I told Austin and Lydia they would learn to ride their bikes this summer.  Austin said "Oh come on Mom I don't need to learn to ride a bike."  Lydia wasn't very happy about it either.  Each day for an half of an hour they had to get on their bikes and balance going down the driveway.  On the second week of doing this our neighbor Sonja saw Lydia trying and she showed her what to do next by that afternoon she was riding her bike on her own.  
    Not to be out done, Austin looked at me and said "I can do it too."  and he did.  I think he just had to have a reason to do it.  Once he realized and told himself he could ride the bike he just did it.  He rides pretty good but he needs to practice it to be able to ride it long distances.  However I can see it's not yet the mode of transportation that is his favorite.
     Lydia has practiced quite a bit.  She rides around our circle and around the next.  She even rides her bike to the park with Emily.   It brings her a lot of joy to ride!
   Today Lydia took a bike ride with her dad and left her bike at the bike shop to get a few minor adjustments made to her brakes, seat, and handlebars.  She is so excited to have her bike just right.
   I'm so happy that they have learned to do something they didn't think they could do.  They have both said on different occasions that it was so hard but now I can do it and it's fun.  Loving it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Plants and Babies

My Big Tomato plants
Big zucchini Plant too 

We have had some interesting conversations with Lydia lately like today after dinner.  We were talking about our garden and how we started the tomato and Zucchini  plants from seeds in little containers in March and how we put them in the kitchen window.  We had to water them and move them so they would get even sunlight every day.  She made a wonderful connection about our plants and little babies.  She said that when babies are first born and they are new they need lots of care just like our plants when we first planted them.   As they grew they were easier to take care for and so are children.   I'd say that's an astute observation.  

The other day she asked an insightful but awkward question, however very age appropriate.  First she asked Bill on the way to the church for an activity and he responded with I think we better talk about this later when we have more time and when mom is here.  So here's her great question " Dad,  how does Jesus put babies in mom's tummies and how do mommies know they are there?"   In our family Bill is five for five for the the birds and bees questions. Remember it's the answer that counts and we have always given the answer together.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Starting to harvest

Only one thing is nicer than fresh picked ripe homegrown tomatoes and that is a beautiful rare 75 degree day in late July.  The windows are open the fans are on and the AC is off and it feels just right.  It was so awesome to take a run with Emily this morning.  As we came home we noticed how the front flower beds needed some attention.  The weeds have been ignored because of the heat, so we worked together to weed and trim back some over grown trees and bushes.  It felt so good to play in the dirt again.
    We have been enjoying zucchinis and summer squash for a week or so.  Lydia has been keeping an eye out for red tomatoes and she found these today.  There are so many green ones I'm sure I'll be making some salsa this year.  This is the first year I have ever attempted planting tomatoes from seed.  Lydia planted the seeds indoors in March.  I have wanted to teach her about the law of the harvest so I thought no better way then by experiencing the whole process.  I have learned so much and have tried to teach about patience and care, weeding, water, and more patience.  It takes along time for the plant to produce fully ripe tomatoes.   Once we planted the seedlings outside we visited them everyday.  In the life of an eight year old 4 months is a long time.  Now the harvest has started and it is fun to talk about all the fruit that is coming from one little seed.  There is so many lessons to learn and teach from watching our tomatoes grow.  So glad we started those seeds in the kitchen window so many months ago.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So Long Farewell

It will be 18 months at least before we have dinner all together.
 Chillis was a fun place to give advice and say goodbye.
Saying goodbye is hard to do.   Chilis was the hot spot for our family farewell dinner.  We all took turns giving advise to Jessy about being a great missionary.  As we were all together I thought about how much our family is changing and growing.  I asked myself what will we look like next time we meet all together?  Will we meet together in 18 months or will Emily be out on a mission when Jessica gets home? We ate, chatted and sat on the veranda passing time. The weather was beautiful not too hot and sticky.  Lydia and Emily played a game following the different bricks.  And the silence grew a little awkward as we awaited going to President Dion's Home.

There are so many words of advice given at the time a missionary leaves.  President Dion shared a wonderful section in the Doctrine and Covenants that was given to Orson Hyde.  I loved the part that he read that said "Be of good cheer and fear not."  What wonderful advice given from the Lord through a prophet to our ancestor Orson Hyde and then read by a stake president to Jessica just as she is leaving on a mission.  She was set apart as a full time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints.  A wonderful blessing was given to help and comfort her through out her mission and beyond.
                                                            THE NEXT DAY
3:30 AM comes pretty early no matter how late one stays up. We loaded up the car with her two big lime green suitcases a back pack and a purse.  All of our family gathered in the kitchen for our last family prayer with everyone before  leaving our home at 4:00 to get to the Baltimore airport by 5:30.  Getting there was smooth sailing.  It's good to have proper goodbyes before you get to the airport because you don't have much time at the curb as you unload the suitcases.  Tears flowed as we watched the back of our missionary dragging her two suitcases into the airport.  We climb into the car, shut the doors, found the Kleenex  and made our way home.
So Long Farewell our missionary.
 Can't wait to hug you again.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Willy Trekking On

Wily really enjoyed trek!   He loved his family at trek.  He had fun starting the camp fires, walking, and working.  Here's a few of the pictures his trek parents took.  I say thank you to all the leaders for their hard work in the heat of the summer.  I felt blessed to have witnessed the sharing of testimonies.  The spirit was strong and I felt that I had stepped onto higher ground, a holy place.  Thank you

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Wrap Up

I love Sunday afternoons.  I love sitting around the table after we have eaten our Sunday meal and chatting.  We seem to start talking about the talks in sacrament meeting.  Then about each of the classes that each of us attended.  It's so awesome as each recalls something about the church meetings.  I love how the others chime in about about the various topics and by the end it turns into laughing and teasing.  We tend to linger longer together then at any other meal during the week.
  Today Willy made some wonderful BBQ'd chicken breasts mashed potatoes and corn.  He really knows his way around the grill.    I think it's so awesome that he just stepped up and began lunch.

It was a day full of goodbyes for Jessy.  I loved hearing from others how excited they are to see Jessy leave on her mission.  I am grateful for the words of wisdom given to me especially that the next eighteen months will go by quickly and that the Lord will take good care of her.  We have packed and unpacked her suitcases so many times.  50 lbs is not that much stuff we have found out as we have weighed and weighed the luggage.  We'll have to keep working on this luckily we have two more days.  She will have a great flight early early from Baltimore and arrive in SLC about 10:00am and then catch a shuttle from there directly to the MTC in Provo.    She is still waiting for her visa to come and pray that it will come in a timely manner.

The next couple of days are full of happy events!