Friday, May 27, 2011

Consumer Report -from one who has been organizing toys for days!

As I have been cleaning/organizing/throwing away toys and many other things for the past few days....I have felt the need to express my growing feelings towards certain products.

There are products that (even though, I like to THINK of myself as unmaterialistic) have brought great joy to my family and products that have brought my children to TEARS...not to mention the frustration they have brought to Stephen and I as we try, try, try again and still end up wiping said tears.

So....without much further ado....


Markers which look like these.....AVOID these at all costs!  Do not purchase them for yourself, friends, your children or gifts...unless your goal is to add more useless clutter to their house.

Markers that look like THESE are WONDERFUL!!!  They will last FOREVER (or for your crafty child, maybe a year which = FOREVER)!  Basically, I'm saying BUY CRAYOLA!  Do not buy scented markers...there is no way they can be good for you and they give me a HEADACHE!

Same goes for crayola or your kids pictures will have these little wax pills all over them.

There.  I said it.  I am an art supply snob.


When buying hot wheels tracks DO NOT buys the really cool looking tracks advertised that have lots of parts that break off and are supposed to do really cool things.  THEY DO NOT WORK...or if they do, they won't for long.  Pretty soon you're going to be finding the pieces EVERYWHERE saying, what does this go to???

DO BUY THE BORING LOOKING TRACKS THAT FOLD UP AND HAVE A HANDLE!!!!  Your kids will enjoy countless hours of racing for YEARS!  And that folding capability ROCKS!  And Stephen and I have stayed up late trying to find out which single hotwheels car is really the fastest???


Even though, you will get a dizzying headache from finding them everywhere, Legos will pay you back in full with profit to spare.  We take ONLY these toys with us when we go out of town, for rainy days and they have kept, not only our kids busy all day, but many other kids occupied during bad weather as well.  Legos ARE WONDERFUL!  Also, Stephen and I enjoy playing with them :)
also...wooden blocks = good!


These would include Polly Pocket, toys from children's meals (may I just say AAAHHHHH!), and possibly Littlest Pet Shop.  Little plastic toys with no purpose drive me BANANAS.

Clyde ADORES transformers!  Which is why we had complete breakdowns with each transformer that came into our house.  It is hard to be devastatingly excited about something and then have it fall apart in your hands. 


This one is simple.  I'm going to be a brand snob again.

I'm just sayin....generics are going to drive you crazy with their crumbles and their crazy awful smell! That smell will not leave your children's hands for DAYS!


Games that do not fit in their box....or never came in one to start with....DO NOT BUY THESE!  They WILL drive you crazy.  Also, many games are simply not entertaining.  Your kids don't play with them...they just take up space.  And your kids will cry when you throw them away.

Games that come in and fit in a box= good.  Games that actually do occupy children also = good.


GENERALLY.... books = good!

There are exceptions to this rule, however.  Read books before your children do.  Some of them are HORRIBLE and should not be allowed in a children's section.

  There will come a day, when they will read faster than you and more than you and you will get SICK of children's literature.  At that point just hope and pray that they will talk to you about them and that they will cause your sweet ones no harm.

Small cardboard children's books that are supposed to be about Jesus or Bible stories are not exempt from the "read before sharing" rule.  We were given one that said Jesus was a good prophet and that people loved him so much they dreamed he rose from the dead.  FOR REAL, people! 

There is so much more I want to say, but I need to get back to organizing toys.  My pet peeves are starting to overflow, so there may be a sequel.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I woke up this morning to 3 delightful children putting handmade cards on my bed :)  As soon as I got done reading the last one, I heard music playing.  I looked up at the computer screen and Stephen was playing a slide show which he had made for me, that made me cry.  (He also bought me a brand new Canon camera!!!)  so yeah...incredible morning!  And Stephen pretty much rocks!

Sherry, my kids and I surprised Mom by showing up at her church for worship.  I decided to take a picture of the kids BEFORE we went in :) ...on my NEW CAMERA, of course...

Afterwards we got pictures of Mom with the kids and Mom with Sherry and I.


Then we took she and Papa to Smokey this point Stephen joined us.

Then Sherry, Mom and I took a 48 minute walk....aaahhh....sunshine.

It was a WONDERFUL Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mom :)

To my Mommy,

Happy Mother's Day!

Thanks for always loving me so unbelievably much.


Thank you for all the fun you made sure I got to have.

Thank you for being consistent and firm and not letting me act like so many of the kids around me.

You have always acted as though I just deserved everything.  The way you would just give me anything you even thought I might need...without me even asking!

Thank you for being such a great "Nena",  my kids just soak up your great love for them and all the time you spend with them!

You are so beautiful to me and I love you SO much!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When the Tornados hit

The Monday after Easter Sunday, we drove to Murfreesboro, Tn for a conference which Stephen was attending.  We were supposed to stay there from Monday afternoon and leave Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning at 5am, while we all slept comfortably in our beds, a loud alarm sounded followed by a ladies voice asking everyone to please evacuate to the lobby to be directed to a safe location as a tornado was in our area.  We made sure everyone was decently covered and carried our frightened children down the stairs (I was not ABOUT to ride the elevator).  As we were escorted into the kitchen where they had lined up rows of chairs, everyone looked at our kids and said "oh, poor things, they're so scared", which of course made the kids snuggle up closer to us.  We waited here for awhile before they released us.  The girls were terrified.

After this we went back to our room, watched the news, scavenged for any info we could on our hometown area and waited.  We soon realized we were NOT going home.  So we went ahead and booked another night at the hotel.

Thursday morning as we were driving home, we spent the time calling to check on friends and family or listening to the news on the radio.  It was horrifying  to find out how much damage had been done and wonder if everyone we knew was okay.

I had to drop Stephen off at work.  The kids and I came  home and found there was no power.  Most of my family was accounted for by this point.  I drove by to check on a friend I couldn't get a hold of. Together, we called some more friends and got good reports.  Then the kids and I went to Barnes&Noble where I found out that I was not the only person there wanting to charge up my phone in any available outlet, but I found a vacant one :)  Then we went home. 

Here's where it gets a little complicated.  Before we knew that there were going to be any storms or that we were going to be in Murfreesboro one extra night, we had already scheduled a camping trip with my uncle for the weekend.  Now we didn't have power, clean clothes or anything and we couldn't get a hold of him.  I found out that there were tornados in his area and started to panic.  I started thinking, what do we do if we get up there and he's not there?  Search hospitals?

At this point, we haven't slept much...the hotel bed was not the best.  And since our house didn't have power, Stephen couldn't sleep with his CPAP machine and therefore I didn't sleep either.  Friday morning I drove to Sherry and David's and took a shower, did laundry, and let everyone know on facebook that we were alive and well.  We went home, packed for a camping trip, prayed this was indeed going to be a camping trip and that all was well with my uncle.  Stephen got home and  we took off. 

Well, he was fine! He just was not able to get a hold of us. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us.  We had a really great time with him in Cade's Cove.  We saw over 100 dear, 5 black bear and lots of turkey and other birds.  The kids enjoyed their camping experience VERY much.

But I have to say that after the tornado devastation, the strong winds that shook our tent and bent the huge trees and moaned loudly were NOT welcome.  Sounds that I would normally find a little thrilling, completely terrified me.  The second night we were there, the wind was INSANE.  Stephen moved our 3 sleeping kids into the back of the van and he and I crawled into the front.  That's where we "camped" the second night.  And just so you know that I wasn't just being a fraidy cat, my uncle got into his car too, and he always sleeps outside. 

We came back home Sunday, grateful that all of our friends and family were safe.  We had some friends with house damage, but praise God, they were safe!  But it was a sober ride home as we wondered if things were as bad as rumored.

We got home to a house still without power.  Our friends that we do school with once a week, invited us to stay in their house, which we eagerly accepted.  We immediately packed back up, drove over to their house, and took showers.  That night we plugged in Stephen's CPAP machine and slept like babies!

That's OUR story of a time we will all remember.  Yesterday, our power came back on....I'm very grateful.   For EVERYTHING.  I pray that God will grant comfort and help to those who lost homes and most especially, to those who lost loved ones.