Sunday, December 21, 2008

Confederate States of America

For Gracie's birthday this year, we spent the weekend in Richmond, and one of our activities was to spend a few hours at the CSofA Cemetery. Let me add my disclaimer that I am NOT Southern, nor will I ever pay homage to the Confederate flag, and although the CSA had a good idea in the whole 'state law' vs. 'federal law', the entire red-neck nation has since removed any positive connotation to the main principals behind the Confederate States of America. And on that note.... the cemetery was beautiful. It was very cool to see the tombstones from the battles around here, and to see the big names immortilized. To get an idea about how 'proud' the south is of the good old confederate soldiers, there is a monument with the following inscribed on it:

"Fate denied them victory, but gave them a glorious immortality".

Hey Kris - figure out what this one is all about: there was a spot on the map that just said "Black Dog". We got there, and yep - there was a life sized black iron dog. With no marker or explanation.

Thanksgiving 2008

This was the year for our friend Jennifer to host Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. As expected, the food and family were all wonderful. Along with the 5 of us, she also hosted her mom and dad (separated), her brother and her aunt Shelley.

During our stay there, Jen was nice enough to take a family picture of us, since all we ever seem to do is get pictures of the kids :)

All in all, it was a nice trip, and I was very thankful to have friends and family around me, and VERY thankful that I didn't have to cook or clean :)

Halloween 2008

Well, Halloween came and went, and all 3 kids were (surprisingly) very good. Doni was a little skeleton (can't you see how he's nothing but skin and bones?), Rudy was Superman again, and Gracie was a vampire princess again. I have a standing rule that since costumes are so stinkin expensive, the kids have to wear them for 2 years. Next year will be all new for the kids. Can't wait to see what they choose :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flu Shots

Yesterday, we took all 3 kids to get thier flu shots (John and I already had ours for the season). Naturally, we expected Rudy to have a hard time with it. And we weren't kidding. Gracie got the first shot. She whippered and said "ouch", but was fine a few seconds later. Then Doni went. He didn't complain at all, except he didn't want to lay down. During Doni's shot, Rudy starts backing towards the exam room door, crying in a paniced voice that he wanted to 'run away'. I turn around in time to see the door swinging open, and Rudy is no where to be found. The boy ran out of the exam room, through the office, and out the front door into the parking lot. He was NOT going to get a shot. So, we restrained him and he got his shot, and he was fine a minute later. All the while, Doni is staring at him like "what the heck is your problem, bro?". I feel bad for the kids getting thier shots, but Rudy cracks me up.

Also, Rudy and Gracie weighed/measured them selves: Rudy has grown 2 inches since June, and Gracie is 5'4" and weighs 120 pounds. The kids have all grown like tomatoes this year (my dentist once said kids grown like tomatoes - in the warmest months). I'm so happy seeing them look and feel so healthy!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

State Fair 2008

This past weekend we took the kids to the State Fair ~ Rudy always looks forward to riding the "dragon" roller coaster, I always look forward to seeing (yes, and smelling) the animals, and Gracie likes to hear the loud music. This was the year of Rudy being a daredevil. He rode the kid coaster a few times, racing for the front car, and standing up in his seat. Then he wanted something bigger and faster, so he rode the Himalayan. Once again, hanging out of his seat and trying to stand up. The best part was how 'tall' he stood up when he was measured in order to get on the ride. I think he stretched every vertebrae he had in order to get on the big boy ride. Time for him to visit Aunt Heather and go to Cedar Point!!

Virginia Beach

Ahhh.... I love the beach. You wouldn't guess it, as I don't like the water, and I don't like the hot sun. But it's so peaceful - especially when we always try to go after labor day, when it's still warm, but the tourists have mostly left town. Rudy was a 'little brave', and actually got his whole body wet. Gracie as always, was a fish - she loves the water. And Doni loved the water one day, and didn't love it the next. But, like all kids, he loved the sand.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm an AUNT!!!!

Well, it's the closest I'll ever get to being an aunt, as I'm an only child. One of my best friends (Yasmin) had her baby on August 28th. Her name is Celine, and she's absolutely perfect. I never knew how amazing it is to instantly love someone you're not related to. Being an aunt is the greatest thing ever!! Here's Mark with his little angel.
And of course, Yasmin had a perfect labor and delivery, and she was so gorgeous when I saw her in the hospital. I'm leaving her alone for a few weeks as she's inundated with family, but I know I'll have my time soon :)

How much I hate ignorance......

Well, I guess there's not really a scale for how much I hate ignorance, but it's pretty high up there. Rudy was unfortunately stuck at a 'redneck' day care for the past year, when his old day care director (Ms. Haney) left to get a child-care degree (she had been running the day care for 20 years, then the 'board' decided it wasn't enough). Her replacment was this seriously red-neck ignorant bible thumping woman named Angie. Not only did she implement hard and fast gender roles on the children (boys don't do this, girls don't do this, etc.), but they also informed us 2 weeks ago that they will no longer call Rudy "Rudy". They will only call him "Jesse". Apparently they feel that once in Kindergarten, kids are NOT called by thier middle names or nicknames. I don't know where the hell she went to school, but clearly she was home schooled by someone as ignorant as she is. The final straw was on Thursday, when we get a call saying "Rudy woke up from his nap with a rash - you need to come pick him up". We picked him up, and ths is what he looks like:

After talking to Rudy for a while, it appears that he found a fire-ant nest. We had him Benadryled to the limit, plus oatmeal baths and ointments, and 3 days later, they all blistered. I took him to school the next day, and Angie informed me that he "HAS A RASH, and we're SURE it's contagious. He has to leave." Seriously, how ignorant can you be??? And this woman is in charge of my child's safety? Hell no! Due to divine providence, Ms. Haney opened her own day care last week, and Rudy has been blissfully running into her 'school' every day.


I went to Bristol, TN for the nighttime NASCAR race in August. I was interested in going (Bristol is known as the 'toughest ticket in NASCAR'), but knew I was probably in for a pretty boring time. Turns out I actually had a great time. Our seats were good, and there were a few wrecks, and I only saw one set of extremely stinkin' drunk people. One thing I just couldn't get over is how much money is involved in NASCAR. Look at all of these people. At several hundred dollars a ticket, not to mention the "fan" merchandise. I love that picture though - it's the preparation for the pledge of allegiance and each pit crew is standing in a line in front of the pits. Very cool. By the way - Paula Dean was the special announcer at the beginning of the race. I do NOT recommend hearing her voice amplified on race speakers. My ears are still ringing with "Howdy Y'all!!!!"

Montreal in the summertime

My work team visited Montreal, Quebec for a meeting in August. It was my first time to Montreal (although, growing up in Michigan, I've been to several Canadian cities). Gracie was insanely jealous that I was going (she has been studying French for 2 years - she's SO much better at it than I was). The sights were beautiful in Old Town Montreal, and the New Town had good shopping and was fairly clean, although extremely congested. I likened it to 'France without the French' - everyone was so kind and overtly gracious :) The scenery was also strange and beautiful, in that our 5 star hotel was across the street from a building that was made out of multi-colored panels of glass. I took a photo of our hotel from inside the multicolored building.

John's 60th Birthday Party

John Peter Williamson turned 60 years old in December, so I decided that a nice celebration would be to invite his family down (from South Dakota/Wisconsin),along with all of his children (JP, Ashley, Christopher, Stephanie, Gracie, Rudy, Doni) for a 4th of July picnic. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the most 'physically able' mood, as I returned from Costa Rica less than a week prior, but my friend Jennifer pulled off a pretty impressive gathering! The wine and grappa came out after the lunch, and that's when things got a little loud. Thank God we didn't pull out the fireworks!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Costa Rica

Well, I finally made it to Costa Rica and back. Needless to say, the first 1/2 of the trip was amazing. It's every bit jungle-beach-GORGEOUS as it comes. The first full day, we white water rafted - Levels III and IV. It was scary and exhilerating - I loved it. Not so much fun for Kris though, who took a dive with the first level IV rapid and tore up her knee pretty bad. :(

The next day, it was Zip Lining. I can't say enough positive things about the experience. Our guides were the utmost professionals, and really worked for thier tips. The hiking was tough, but the flying through the air part was worth it.
The following day, we repelled down 2 waterfalls. Can't say I would do this again. I equate it with being beat to death in a washing machine. I think repelling down a cliff would be exciting, but not being able to see where your feet need to go, and being beat with thousands of gallons of high powered water kind of sucks. There was a moment where I was pretty sure I was going to die. But I did it. Look at the guy at the bottom - WAYYYYY down at the bottom of the picture. That's where I ended up.
The final day, we toured a vanilla farm, and toured Manuel Antonio National Park. It was all so gorgeous. And it's hard to describe how natural it feels to be out in the open with all the animals - monkeys, bats, lizards, snakes, more monkeys and more monkeys.....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tina's 3 favorite movies

'...and if you're lucky, they'll love you back.'

'Roll, roll, roll in ze hay..'

'I am the Supreme Being. I'm not entirely dim.'

My boys..

My boys at the grocery store. They ride in this 'racecar' cart. And boy, is Doni mean to his brother. Doni will hit Rudy and stick his fingers in his face, and only drive with Rudy's steering wheel. He's so mean - you can't tell from this picture, can you?

Disturbing - Rudy's "Buddies"

This happened last year too. We have an abundance of 'leaf eating' caterpillars (Gypsy Moth) here, and it's the time of year when they all hatch. For some very disturbing reason, Rudy loves them. I mean, he LOVES them. He calls them his 'buddies', and he is very concerned about how much they love him, and if they are feeling ok. I couldn't make this weirdness up. Here he is spending time with his buddies. And yes, he does cry every night when he has to leave them outside and come in to bed. Can't he find a human friend??

How we love each other....

When ever the 5 of us are in the car together and we drive past someplace stinky (i.e. a farm or a fertilizer plant), someone will yell out "OOOH, it smells like ______'s butt!!" You can insert any one of our names there. It's said with love of course. However, this weekend, Rudy outdid us all. We were parked at the gas station, filling up, all being quiet, UNTIL Rudy exclaimed.............

"Gracie's butt smells like ASSoline!!!"

None of us corrected him because we were all laughing so hard, and now we all use that phrase. I'm so proud.

What do you want to be when you grow up?



My little man turned 1 on April 9th. As things were overly hectic around the house, we slyly celebrated his birthday a week later. We all went to Baja Bean and I brought a cupcake for Doni to eat. As any intelligent person would do, he started with the frosting. All was going well until he stuck the frosting in his eye. Then it went quickly downhill.

Rudy's Easter

"How did the Easter Bunny hide those eggs so well?????"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beautiful Girl...

Gracie had her first school dance a while back (yes, I know I haven't updated the blog in a while). She wanted to buy a dress so badly, so we did, and curled her hair. She was so beautiful. I would worry about her, except she is a raging dork - one boy asked her to dance, and she freaked out and ran into the bathroom. I can breathe easily for a while :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

First Steps

Well, it's all over now - Doni is walking (assisted). He started taking his first steps a week ago, with the assistance of a push-toy that my boss Jennifer kindly gave us (along with a ton of other toys - the most popular being a rocking chair). The house just isn't a safe place anymore - everywhere you turn, there's a kid underfoot :)

Miss Jevanda

Every one who has known me for the past 3 1/2 years knows that Miss Jevanda is one of my favorite people. She raised Rudy for the first 18 months, now she's raising Doni. Unfortunately, she went off and got married, which prompted some changes in her life (hopefully positive), and may be leaving Foundations soon. It breaks my heart, but she's still a part of our lives, and I've threatened that she needs to give us her home address so we can continue to drop off Doni every morning. She dotes on my boys and gives them special treatment - I know Doni is addicted to Chick-Fil-A because of her. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Job

So, this week I experienced the first 'travel' portion of my new position as CRA (monitor). As much as I hate airports, I actually really enjoyed myself. It's definitely a learning experience, as far as trying to retain the "work" state of mind while I'm traveling. I missed the kids terribly, and was pretty sad waking up to a silent room alone, but it was SO nice being someplace new, and having some time to read on the plane, and just having time to myself - it was a nice change. I'm thinking there might be something to this whole "monitoring" thing.

The Dangers of Alcohol

This is another Rudy-ism.
At lunch yesterday, Rudy, out of the blue, says "Apple Hall is BAD". Naturally, my response was: "Wha??" He explained that when you drink apple-hall, your brains come out of your head.
I'm amazed at this child's grasp on reality.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

Happy New Year!
Happy to say, there's not much new to report. Christmas was nice - Rudy got a HUGE amount of Lincoln Logs, and yet, his favorite toy is a last-minute purchase of a 3 dollar figurine of the Red Power Ranger. Gracie got, as she says, 6 thousand Pokemon cards. And Doni got some plastic toys to chew on (although he regularly chooses to chew on the Lincoln Logs).

For New Years Eve, we went to the downtown mall for First Night as usual - it was cold, but very nice, as the city did thier fireworks at 9pm this year. We saw the Swordsmen (2 guys who did a skit on how to be romantic men - while swordsplaying), and Brett Leake (a comedian). My favorite part from the comedian (there were lot) was, as he was discussing how we should all think about things a little deeper: "I was driving down the road one day, when a Salvation Army 18-wheeler semi truck passed me. And I thought........Hey, who gave them that? I want my belt back!" The guy was a trip! Also, had severe muscular dystrophy, and had to be physically moved from his wheel chair to the seat on the stage. He commented that as his M.D. was getting worse, and he was walking down the street, jerking and having to pause now and then, a child walked up to him and asked him why he was snapping in and out like that. His response?.......... "I'm a Transformer! Once I get around the corner I'll be a dunebuggy and I'll be OFF!" Cool guy. So, he mentioned that his mom took care of the family - his dad has MD, he has MD, and his brother has MD. Am I the only person who didn't know MD was hereditary?