Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Special Birthday!

Today is another special day in our family! The newest "member" of our family is now as old as his girlfriend! :)
A little over a year ago, Carrie went on her second TLC trip to Europe. Without saying too much, Carrie was going through some really tough situations in her life and I was glad that this trip came when it did! Carrie got home and I noticed we had this young man "hanging" around an awful lot. The more he hung around and the more time we spent with him, the more more we liked him! The first thing that impressed me the most was that he was very well-mannered, very polite and respectful. For several months, Carrie had a wonderful friend when she needed it the most and that was the next thing that we were so impressed with! This guy proved himself to be a very, very loyal and trust-worthy friend! For those of you who know me well, you KNOW that I just didn't sit idly by twiddling my thumbs! Oh no - every opportunity that came my way I used to build this "friendship"! Sometimes, we moms can be pretty smart!!
So - November rolled around and Carrie was asked to the Thanksgiving Banquet the College does each year. And so began the "dating"! Valentines Day this past February, after a conversation with "THE DAD", Carrie became the "girlfriend" and we have been rolling along ever since!
Now, for those of you who have daughters, you have this image in your mind of the kind of guy you want your daughter to date! Well, to be honest, Josh has far surpassed my "criteria"!
Josh - I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday! You are an amazing example of what God can do with someone who is completed submitted to Him! Your desire to serve God is your best quality! I cannot tell you how much we appreciate your honesty, your respect of us AND Carrie, your desire to do right no matter WHAT that is! It has been so neat to watch you fit into our family! You "tolerate" Carrie's parents so well!! You have even managed to get the approval of the big, bad brother and THAT is saying soooooo much! The way you treat Ashley is NOT something that goes unnoticed in our family! I have had the privilege to watch your relationship with Carrie over the last year or so and all I can say is that you have impressed us beyond words! While we don't know all that the future holds, I am very confident that God has great things in store for you and Carrie! We are so glad that you are part of our family and we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays to come!

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Well, we're moving on up to....."

The time has come to share the latest news regarding the family that lives on the Fulton funny farm. Wait for it, wait for it.........we are moving back to Indiana in about 5 weeks.
So - here are the skimpy details. Dave is going to be fulfilling his calling to preach and has several revivals and camp meetings scheduled for the future. In order to be able to do this in the most efficient way, a move back up north is necessary. Many, many hours of prayer and family discussions have preceded this decision! I actually cannot tell you how many - I lost count a long time ago! Financially it is the best decision for our family. We are moving to the Frankfort area where there is a great church for our family and a great school for Ashley to finish up her last two years and someone has offered Dave a job for when he is not in meetings somewhere.
As to the children, David has been very understanding and knows that it doesn't really affect him too much. He will have Christa and that is the most important thing to him. He can just come to IN for his time off and see ALL his family! Carrie will be going with us for several reasons but this is what she feels she should do and yes, her and Josh are doing well but struggling with being apart! By the way, I could NOT ask for a better young man for my daughter to be in love with! Our family wouldn't trade him for anyone and I KNOW Carrie won't give him away!!! She will be pursuing her college education in other ways. Ashley is nervous yet very excited about the move. She is pretty happy to be going back north to be closer to her family and has on more than one occasion mentioned the word "snow" which caused her Dad and I to go into cardiac arrest!!!!!
I really don't have a lot more details right now but I would ask that you pray for us ALL that God will bring the peace each one of our family needs and will give guidance where we need it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Day Early Blog

Sometimes I can't remember what I did yesterday but I would like to tell you very clear memories from 17 years ago.
17 years and 7 months ago (give or take a day or two), we were cruising along in life with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. One day, I discovered I had hives and a serious case of them let me tell you! I was so very miserable and went to the doctor twice with no relief at all! Finally, (leaving out a few details) I went to a doctor and his question was, "Before I treat you, any chance you could be pregnant?" Immediately, I said no but he was smart and tested anyway and gave us the news our third child was on the way! We got to July and went to TN around the 4th to visit Joe and LaDonna. The A/C went out, I swelled up and was completely miserable! We came back home to IN and sat to watch fireworks and lo and behold a contraction hit! I was shocked since we had a good 6 weeks to go before this child was even due! To make a long story short, after many trips to the hospital and many sleepless days and nights for the mom AND the dad - July 25th, after 3 weeks and 17 long hours, our final child arrived! Ashley Nichole! This was a pretty happy baby let me tell you and it is a good thing she was after what I went through to get her here!!!

This is by far my most favorite picture I have of Ashley as a baby! This is her with Grandpa Thacker. I have a picture of me and my dad when I was a baby that is EXACTLY like this! I just LOVE it!!

Before I knew it, it was time for kindergarten!

I turned my back once and she was getting ready for junior high!

8th grade graduation arrived and we were so proud of her!

One of Ashley's very favorite people in the world and her biggest hero next to her dad is her brother! These two are NUTS!!

Sisters and friends - for the most part! I LOVE this picture because it is truly them!

This is Ashley surrounded by her favorite people with - I think!!!!

And this is what she is today!!

Ashley - you are my favorite youngest daughter! I CANNOT believe how you have grown up! What happened to the little "rugrat" I had running around my house?? You have brought so much laughter and joy to our funny farm! You make me proud every time I look at you - well, ok......not every time but you know what I mean! You amaze me and the way you look at life! Your dad and I are so thankful for your desire to serve God! NOTHING you do makes us as proud as that does!! I wish sometimes I had your "organizing" skills! If I want something cleaned and you are in the right mood - NO ONE can do better! You are a lot like your mom when it comes to sports although you surpassed my abilities a LONG, LONG time ago!!! I can't believe I am going to put you on a plane tomorrow morning on your 17 birthday and let you fly away to camp without me! When in the world did you get old enough for that? Remember that your dad and your brother(s) will be looking to "harm" the boys so tell them to watch out!! Ashley, this is my way of telling you that I love you and I am proud of you and I hope you have the best birthday yet!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A "Newsworthy" Blog

If you know me very well, you have probably heard me say this before but here I go again!!
As of today, I have been one whole week without pop or soda (whichever you call it)!! GO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See - here's the story! A long time ago, my dear dad got me hooked on Pepsi! To this very day, there is simply nothing better than Pepsi straight from a glass bottle....that is, IF you can find it! Well, Pepsi was always my drink of choice! It is a good thing I am not a beer or wine drinker or I would be an alcoholic for sure! When I was a kid, in one of the many places I lived, there was a lady who was the Postmistress right across the street from our house and we would take her a quarter at the beginning of summer and she would give us a Pepsi! When we took the bottle back to her empty, she gave us another one - that was back when you got money back for turning in the glass bottles! Anyway, I grew and my love for Pepsi grew right along with me! I had no weight struggles so it was no big deal! I got to the point where the first thing I did in the morning was pop open a can of Pepsi or pour a glass and that was how I started my day! About 3 1/2 years ago, I quit - cold turkey! I just quit! Actually, I think it is the one and only New Years Resolution I have ever kept! My only cheat was while I was in Mexico and found Pepsi in a glass bottle that just SCREAMED my name! Then - the dreaded happened! I switched to Diet Mountain Dew! What a nut I was! Pretty soon, I was doing the same thing with it that I had done with Pepsi! While I now struggle with my weight on a daily basis and am still working on losing it, I finally decided that I needed to quit this whole pop thing! This is actually about the third or fourth time I have quit in the past 7 months!! But - once again, it has been a whole week since I have had any pop! I am very proud of myself! I am trying to drink water - which I HATE - and I drink decaffeinated tea sweetened with Splenda! Everyone says it is easier to lose weight when you don't drink pop which I am having a hard time buying right now but I am determined to keep on! So - no more pop for me and I will work on the whole water thing and if it doesn't help me lose weight, at least I will have money for gas in the car!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Happy Birthday!

Nineteen years ago on a Wednesday evening after church, my husband made a bet with me that David, Jr. witnessed. I was HUGELY pregnant, completely miserable and FOUR days overdue with our second child. As we were driving home from church that night, he told me we would be in the hospital before the night was over, I told him he was nuts and we made a bet that whoever won would treat the other to the restaurant of their choice. For the record, at 22 months, I am not too sure how much of a "witness" to that bet our dear David, Jr. actually was!!! Well, not even two hours later, the "process" began and that was a bet I have NEVER regretted losing! So shortly before 5am Thursday morning, July 17th, this little bundle showed up to join our family! I present to you Carrie Jewel!!!

My little bundle turned into a little "princess" rather quickly it seemed!

It wasn't long until the first day of school arrived and thus the beginning of independence!!

Before I could blink twice, she was an 8th grade graduate!

Then came her Senior year of high school and the banquet and I realized that my little girl had "done growed up" on me!!!

Probably the biggest event for her so far happened last November! I think you can figure this one out!

This is my 19 year old daughter and the new "love of her life"! It's just not about mom anymore!! :)

Carrie - I can't tell you how proud I am of you and all that you have become! We tease you endlessly about being the "middle child" and we simply love to watch you go off on your "sugar high"!! I am glad that you have mastered the art of making chili and hope that eventually I can get you to cook other things! Even racquetball is something you are "mastering" although I am sure Josh has more to do with that than the desire to actually play! It is so cool to watch the way you interact so well with your "new" family! It is so wonderful to see the responsible young lady you have become - from buying your first car to working your first job to handling college life! It has been amazing to watch you grow and face challenges and overcome trials! It is a privilege to watch you grow in your relationship with Christ! Your Dad and I are very proud of you! I love you, Carrie!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quick Update

Well - let's see.....
1) wedding is on as previously scheduled
2) both mom's have found their wedding outfits
3) Christa is not in a complete panic yet
4) her Mom is doing a FABULOUS job
5) David is keeping us all on pins and needles but he has been doing that for a LOOOONG time! Please pray that the house and the dress blues get done before we need to start planning his quick and painFUL demise!!!
6) THE dress has arrived safely to the Brides home!
7) I am still working on getting the rehearsal decorations put together!
8) Dave is enjoying the cooler weather at a camp in PA!
9) I still LOOOOOOVE my new carpet!
10) Ashley is involved in VBS this week and working hard to earn the money to pay her Momma for a plane ticket to IN!! On her 17th birthday no less!
11) Carrie is working and spending time with Josh - oh wait, that's not news!
12) The oven is fixed so there will be no more half-baked biscuits...probably not any biscuits at all!
13)And finally.......look for a new blog tomorrow! It will be a good one!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just "Stuff"

I am, by choice, NOT a baker and I really don't care to cook that much anymore. I do but only on rare occasions according to my youngest child!

One of my responsibilities at work is to take care of the office supplies and the ordering of said items. I usually send out an email on Wednesday's asking that any orders get to me by 10 am on Thursday morning. Well, this past Thursday - what to my wondering eye did appear but an email asking if biscuits and gravy fit in the category of office supplies. Well, I got a brilliant(?) idea and so last night I mixed up biscuits and this morning I got up and mixed up some more and made the gravy and brought them to work. Believe it or not, they actually tasted pretty good! What did NOT please me AT ALL was about half way through the baking process, my oven decided to do something stupid and NOT WORK right! So - I headed off to work with a pan of gravy and 2 sheets of half-cooked biscuits! It was not fun let me tell you! However, the "asker" was pleased and I would gladly tell without any torture AT ALL how much Donna ate!!!!!!

I really had to chuckle to myself last night. I was standing in the kitchen mixing up biscuits like it was Christmas since that is about the ONLY time I actually bake and I thought to myself, "Man - seems like Christmas". Then - I stopped and listened to the random music that Ashley was listening to while she played a computer game. Yes, you guess it - Celine Dion singing Christmas music! Cracked me right up!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Friend

There are a lot of unspoken emotions behind this post so I am very glad that no-one can see me typing it! Please excuse the sappiness and remember that as you read, some things just won't make sense because you weren't there but the one who was KNOWS!!

This is my very dearest friend Tara and today is her birthday! A few years ago for her birthday, her mom wanted to know who she wanted to invite for her birthday dinner and she mentioned our mutual friend Sherry, and little (?) ole' me. I had a great Sunday dinner with her and her other friends and family and somehow, shortly thereafter, we started "hanging out" a lot more. As a general rule, we have lunch once a week and it is a GOOD thing we do!! For the record, we are very, very different in a lot of ways but my life is so much better because of her.
Tara, I will forever be grateful for the friendship we have! After my husband, you are the dearest friend I have. If I want to shop, you are the person I call. If I want to eat, you are the one I call. If I want to cry, you are the one I call. If I want to laugh, you are the one I call. If I want to scream, you are the one I call. No matter what I am doing, you are ALWAYS there for me. We have shared more laughs and tears in the past couple of years than most people should be allowed! We will probably never be able to forget our horrible waitress at Applebees. And - the one at Ruby Tuesday's that always knew what we wanted before we sat down! Then of course, there were our trips to Longhorn! Those will go down in history as HILARIOUS! Oh yea - what about the couples at my house after camp that night? And of course, those rare occasions when I have sat "in the back church" and you shared your candy!! I am thrilled beyond words that I was privileged to be around for the big "house building" and the shopping and the decorating and the cleaning! Oh yes - the cleaning!! TWO BIG HOURS BEFORE YOUR HOUSEWARMING PARTY!!!!!!!! I have no idea what I would do without your friendship. You have freely accepted me for who I am and what I am with no questions. We have certainly shared a lot of struggles and I hope no one ever tortures you to get information about me!!!! You are one of the kindest, most gentle, most caring, most compassionate people I know! Your tender spirit can be matched by no-one!
So, one your special day, please have a wonderful day and know that you have a friend who thinks you are the BEST!!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our July 4th Weekend

Believe it or not, this will be a long blog with pictures so sit back and enjoy! Angie, make sure you have a whole pot of coffee going!!
I will start off with my thoughts on July 4th as a whole! This picture probably doesn't mean a lot to anyone but me! However, it speaks volumes to me as I look at it almost 3 months later.

I have always considered myself to be a "good ole American" and have loved July 4th and all the things surrounding that holiday. However, almost 2 years ago, my feelings changed somewhat when I became the mother of a United States Marine! I will NEVER be able to hear the National Anthem sung again and still feel like I used to. Then last September, I pulled away from a barracks in North Carolina, knowing that a day or two later, I would have a son heading off to fight in the war in Iraq. I cannot explain to you the sickness in the pit of this Momma's stomach. There are no words to describe it really. Over the next 7 months, the phone calls were sporadic, the emails didn't exist and letters from "over there" never came. We lived from day to day just waiting to hear from him. Oh - and we packed and mailed boxes ALL THE TIME!!! :) I don't think I will EVER forget the day I was able to use Yahoo and IM him and what to our wondering eyes did appear but his face!!! After at least 5 long months of not seeing him, the screams of pure delight were deafening! The picture above was me - just waiting for the bus! I knew that my son was on that bus! We had somehow managed to survive that 7 months and he had, by the grace of God, lived through war. So - now the reasons I celebrate July 4th take on a whole new meaning. Yes, I really and truly am thankful for the ones who died to gives us the freedom "way back when" but to be honest, I am more thankful today for those who STILL fight for the freedoms we enjoy! I am so proud of that boy that sometimes it hurts! Even though we have no idea what the future holds, I for one celebrate this day a little differently than I used to!!
Ok - onward we go! This past Monday was my husbands last day of work and so we were able to get a huge project done this week that has been on my wish list for close to 3 years - which is when we moved into the house!! Thanks to a wonderful, dear friend and her husband who thought of me, I was on the receiving end of a roll of carpet that I just KNEW would go perfectly in my living room! You may need to see this to recall the color of the previous carpet! Doesn't it match my furniture so well?!?! I am sure that Ashley won't be thrilled with the picture but at least you can see what I am talking about with the small corner of the couch and the carpet!

Ok? Got that picture in your mind? Thursday, Dave, along with some help from 2 daughters, one boyfriend and the famous Matthew J. Thompson, moved ALL the furniture out of the living room and out of Carrie's room into the dining room, our bedroom and Ashley's bedroom! It was quite the sight to behold! We thought the carpet would get laid on Thursday night but there were some issues so we were up and anxiously awaiting the carpet layer on Friday morning! And - LOOK!!!!!!!!

Want to talk about excitement!! I am THRILLED beyond words!! We were able to do the living room and Carrie's room with a small piece left over! We were so excited to get it done and we are all very happy to get it all done. It took awhile to get all the stuff put away on Friday but we did and even had time to have a few friends over for some small fireworks in the backyard!
In order to tell you about Saturday, I need to back up a bit! Last Wednesday, a young man walked in the door of the office and wanted to see two different people who were both on vacation. So, I became the recipient of free tickets to the St Lucie Mets ball game for Saturday evening. There were enough for our family and the Kline family minus 1 so that was the plan for the evening with fireworks at the end of the game. I got online Saturday morning to check into some things and saw that the game started at 4 instead of 6 like I thought. I called them to find out for sure and was told that the game from Friday night had been rained out and so there was a double-header and our tickets were good for both games! Our family (which of course included Josh) headed out at about 2. Dave was going to leave from there and head to Summerfield to preach on Sunday and then off to PA on Monday so we took 2 cars! We had an absolute blast!!! This is the scoreboard at Tradition Field, home of the St Lucie Mets, a farm team of the New York Mets.

I am going to safely assume that you all know that this is a batter for the Mets team! If you need any further explanation, find a local 5 year old!!!

This is Doug & Crystal - parents of the now famous "Carrie's boyfriend"!

This is my most favorite little boy in the world! This is Josh's little brother Timmy and man, the things he says would crack you right up!!!! For instance, he has been heard saying that Carrie was his girlfriend before Josh stole her away!!

This is Esther, Josh's youngest sister and such a treat to have around! She is a hoot!!!!

This is Ashley, then Anna Kline, Brandy (a cousin of the Kline's) and then Rebecca Kline.

This is - DUH!!!!! Josh and Carrie!

The coolest thing is that the Mets were getting beat and ended up tying the score on a home run and winning the game on a player sliding safely into home! It was so awesome! When the game was over, they had a great fireworks display which was a fantastic way to end the evening!

Dave left early to head to Summerfield and when the game was over, we ended up at the Kline's for ice cream which was simply wonderful! Sunday was a great day of rest and now, it is Monday and so ends the busy weekend in this house!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Memories (or forgetfulness!)

Once upon a time (about 25 years ago) in a land far away (Indiana) some really wonderful people (Bill, Sherry and Jay) introduced my family (mom, sister and dad from the living room) to a game known as Dutch Blitz. Now, for the record, if you have never played this game then your life is just too boring!!! Time passed and I played with other people like Julie Covert (a pretty competitive young lady) and then LaDonna. You need to understand that LaDonna and I got to be pretty good at this game but when you played with her, you took your life (or the life of your hands) down a very scary path! Listen, that girl has absolute daggers for nails - long and strong, VERY strong! If you reached to put a card on the pile, you just hoped with everything that was in you that she was not going to go for the same pile! I am confident that I have a few permanent dents in my hands from her fingernails! Joe & LaDonna and Dave & I played this game on occasion but we girls tried really hard to only play when the guys were dead tired. Otherwise, it just wasn't fun! But - get them tired and then play and the result was just sometimes too funny for words!!! Playing this game with Dave is an absolute hoot since the poor man is somewhat color-blind! He is a little slow at the game which makes winning a little easier than normal! (Sorry, babe!!) Anyway, our kids got old enough and we started teaching them how to play and soon, Dave followed my Dad's example and for the most part, stayed out of it!! Well, last night I decided that my family needed some extra bonding time and something to laugh about and we got out the very worn out Dutch Blitz game. We even allowed Dave to play with us which turned out to be rather interesting! I have this one child who shall remain nameless but she has a boyfriend named Josh, who thinks that she never wins a game, and lo and behold, the turkey starts off by winning more than once!!! As I sat there and played and managed to win once, maybe twice - I learned something. I am old and slow and have taught my kids one skill that they picked up well and that is that those two girls are really good at Dutch Blitz! I have slowed considerably but some things haven't changed. Dave still is color-blind, he is still slow and still tries to "cheat" by throwing all his cards into the center of the table when the game is over!! He still makes random noises and says stupid stuff to make us laugh so we can't play and he can take that time to find a place for his cards!! We laughed, had fun and then went to bed at a decent hour!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mary said I would do this so I had better not make her a liar!!
1. Where is your cell phone? pocket
2. Your significant other? Dave
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your mother? helping
5. Your father? "heaven"ly
6. Your favorite thing? Dave
7. Your dream last night? none??
8. Your favorite drink? Diet-Dew
9. Your dream/goal? THIN
10. The room you’re in? Reception
11. Your church? massive
12. Your fear? death
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? away
14. Where were you last night? racquetball
15. What you’re not? quiet
16. Muffins? chocolate
17. One of your wish list items? vacation
18. Where you grew up? Ohio
19. The last thing you did? Blogging!
20. What are you wearing? clothes!!
21. Your TV? non-existent
22. Your pets? dead
23. Your computer? busy
24. Your life? confusing
25. Your mood? weird
26. Missing someone? Dave
27. Your car? "new"
28. Something you’re not wearing? jewelry
29. Favorite store? Goody's
30. Your summer? weird
31. Like (love) someone? Dave
32. Your favorite color? yellow
33. Last time you laughed? Sunday
34. Last time you cried? bedtime
35. Who will repost this? someone!!!

Ok - that was not that easy and if you need an explanation of my answers, just ask!!