Well, as planned we got out on the boat this weekend. With the sun shining and the temperature hitting 92 it was a much more active lake than when we were out before.  We did some more exploring, found a cove to swim and fish in and dreamed about having enough money to live in the monsters houses that are build on the lake.  The kids had a great time as usual, they fished and swam and took turns driving the boat.  

Even Ginger tried to get in on the act!  

The water was a little cool for mom, but I did dip my feet in and enjoy the refreshment it gave me.  No fish were caught, but many were sited jumping out of the water, always inches from the bobber.  All in all we had a great time and came home EXHAUSTED.



Today Mark has 3 tests, Social Studies, Science and Math.  Naturally he wanted me to review the material with him yesterday.  Getting a 6th grader to study after being cooped up in a class room for 8 hours is slightly more enjoyable than sticking pins in your eyes.  I decided we would review Social Studies first.  Social Studies is not a subject that I found interesting in middle school and I totally understand his reluctance to study for his test.  When you are twelve you hardly care about the past, only about the NOW.  Why would anyone want to study about something that happened 1000 years before the Wii was even invented.  Boring.  I get it.  We struggled through the review guide the teacher had given out and were working our way through the chapter review when I stumble upon something.  Mark said, "we don't have to learn section 4"  Ok.  moving on.  I looked and section 4 was Religion and Culture .  Wait just a gosh darn minute!  I looked closer and found names like Thomas Aquinas, Francis Assisi,  The Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne,  Gothic Architecture, The Inquisition, Anti-Semitism.   I started to read the section, as Mark wondered off very un-stealth-like.  Refocusing, I brought Mark back and we finished studying. The idea that this section was left out has bothered me since.  I laid awake and thought about it all night.  I am still concerned today.  I am probably more concerned than your average parent just because I am Catholic. Since this is our first venture into public school I am not sure if this is typical.  It really gave me pause for thought that the school system or the teacher purposely left out several 100 years of history.   I understand the the division of church and state.  Come on, she isn't teaching religion she is explaining the role of the Catholic church and important members who affected history of the Middle Ages.  They have studied Muslims, Jews, Buddhist, but when they come upon a Christian belief they skip over it?  Granted the Church has not always played a positive role in society, and isn't that exactly why they should study it?  Should we not learn from the past?  Isn't that one of the main purposes of studying history?
Tonight it appears we have a section in History to read and review, not for mommy's sake, but for those my children. Maybe we'll all learn a little something.


Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Everyone. (OK a day late but I was thinking about posting this yesterday so, it should still count. Right?) To celebrate Earth Day the kids wanted to plant a tree.  Usually we save the tree planting for Arbor Day and since we don't own the house we are currently living in ...well you can guess that I said no.  Knowing how much my kids have missed digging in the dirt, planting things and watching them grow I decided we had to do something.  After driving around Lexington collecting plants, pots and soil I had a plan.  When the kids got home we planted flowers.
Breaking up sticks to place in the bottom of the pot to promote drainage.

Planting flowers.

Watering flowers

3 pots for 3 kids filled with soil, flowers, water and love!


Wild Kingdom

This weekend was clean up the back yard day.  The yard is full of small trees and is mostly full shade.  With all of the shade there is very little grass and lots of leaves.  Lots and lots of leaves. John decided it was time to take to mower to the leaves and try to compost them a little better.  While he set to work on this project, Mark was given the task of collecting sticks, knocking down dead trees and branches and clearing some of the smaller brush piles.  
Ginger decided she would "help" Mark carry the sticks.  She always chose the biggest and longest she could find.  
Then she would try to get Mark to chase her with it.  The only problem being the sticks were so large she kept running into trees and having to drop the stick.  It was a hoot.  While out and about in the back yard they ran across several interesting creatures.  

This Green Tree Frog was found at the bottom of the white trash can Mark was using for the stick.  They are a very slender frog with amazing suction power on their toes.  The tree frogs here are louder than the crickets.  They make a wonderful evening song.  In combination with the crickets they are very loud.  Jack, however, does not appreciate their croaks because he says they keep him awake.  

The next animal they stumble upon was almost compost.  John had stopped the mower to check underneath and this creature took off out from under it.  It is amazing he wasn't harmed. Thankfully, I think the quantity of leaves in the backyard padded him from the mower blades.  He is a Broadhead skink and was almost 10 inches long.  A bit of a shock for John.  Ginger was thrilled.  She chased the little thing around the yard and then up under the siding of the house where she stood and barked at it.  I am not sure she understands that not everything wants to play with her. 

When we woke up Sunday morning we had this little guy clinging to our screen door.  He is a Green Anole.   They too are great climbers.  The kids were fasinated and of course wanted to keep it.

Monday after I returned from running errands I let Ginger out and she started barking like a mad woman.  Wondering what in the world she was barking at I went out and found the source of the commotion.  She had stumbled upon a Yellow Bellied Slider.  A turtle basically.   Ginger was batting the poor thing around like a tennis ball.  I think Ms. Turtle was trying to make a nest as I found her in a whole where she had been digging. I knew the kids would be super excited to see the turtle so I put her in a box with some apple slices and a stem of celery.  When the kids got home they were indeed excited.  We did some research on the turtle and decided we needed to let it go, something mom had been rallying for from the beginning.  We took her down to the creek and waited for her to come out and swim away.  She was super freaked out and it took her about 15 grueling minutes to come out and swim away.

Jack is trying to be patient while waiting for Ms. Turtle to come out of her shell.  It had been such an adventurous weekend filled with animals.  The first question I got after school Tuesday was, "Did you find any more animals today?"


Bedtime is optional

Apparently, bedtime has become optional in my house. I am not sure how we arrived here but it is true.   Since we have moved my children have been having problems falling asleep.  Not only this but they are having trouble just getting ready for bed.  I know, I know.   There has been lots of change.  Sleeping arrangements are different.   The house is different.  Life is different.  For this reason and because tying  children to their beds is apparently against the law, I have been patient.  I know it is difficult.  I know that change is hard,  I know all of this but, I am so over it!   Every night there is giggling, wrestling, fighting, you name it we have it.  I becomes a time for winding up instead of settling down.  It seams like the earlier we start getting ready for bed the later we end up with everyone asleep. How is this possible?  You got me.  Even once we manage to get everyone tucked in, they pop right back up.  "I need a drink."  "I'm to hot"  "I am worried"  "I am to hyper"  "Will you give me one more hug." "Jack won't stop talking"  you get the idea. ( Screaming silently)  And each time I send them off I pray, "please let them fall asleep."    There has been threatening, bribing, scolding, and although I am not proud to say it, begging.  I have even tried turning out all of the lights and going to bed at the same time.  Only problem is I end up asleep first.  The when I do wake I have one or two extra people sleeping with me. Which leads to a very uncomfortable and restless sleep for mama since they are all getting to be as big as me.  So I reached into my mommy bag of tricks and I tried all of my past tricks for bedtime.  Maybe I was missing something. hmmmm.

1. Establish a routine-check
2. No sugary food after dinner-check
3. Relax them with a bath-check
4. Bedtime stories-check
5. Soft music-check

Still I have  loud, hyper children who insist Bedtime is Optional!
All of this has led me to do some serious thinking and I have come to one conclusion...

 I need a nap.

A walk in the park

Yesterday we decided to hike instead of boat (gasp!)  I know an odd occurrence.  With the lake only minutes away you would think boating our main priority.  True we have been boating every weekend since we moved in, but why ruin a good thing?  There was much grumbling and rumbling buy some, OK all of my children.  And I think the decision may have caused John physical pain.  Despite all of this we went anyway.  

We took off for the Three Rivers Greenway.  This is a paved trail about 3.2 miles in length that runs along the Congaree river in Columbia.  It was a beautiful trail with lots of trees, water, rocks and did I say trees?  The trees here amaze me.  Perhaps I have just been away from them to long.  

The trees make a lovely canopy for walking this trail.  They also provide tons of climbing and hanging structures.  The Kudzu and other forms of Ivy are quite prolific here, making numerous vines to hang and swing from.  (Hopefully none of the vines are poison ivy.)

As you can see no one had any fun and we just should have stayed home. 

 The park runs right along the Congaree River and there are many opportunities for throwing sticks, rocks and other  items into the river. 

 The city of Columbia is rich with American history.  There were many signs along the way marking farms, ferries, shipping ports and the like.  The trail lead us under many bridges which cross the river and into downtown Columbia.  

The right side of this picture is mural painted on the bridge supports and the left side, behind Mark is the river.  I love the fact that this mural blends into the scenery.  It was a beautiful day and even though the boat did not accompany us we all had a good time.  Never fear, out look for next weekend...Boating.



Mark is taking a service learning class as part of the curriculum here in Lexington.  The class teaches the importance of giving service to one's community. The class has various volunteer activities and requirements to meet throughout the quarter.  One of those requirements it to volunteer at least 3 hours of your time at the facility of your choice.  Mark chose to do his volunteering at one of the no kill local animal shelters.  We thought we would share some of the dogs he helped this weekend.  Many of the dogs were abandoned, abused or left for dead.  The stories are all heart wrenching.  Even John who accompanied Mark came home with his "favorites".  The sounded like very sweet animals.

This is Linus.
4 month old pup 

Lazarus who was literally raised from his death by the crew at Pets Inc.
Eski who was beaten and malnourished when she was found.

A Ginger look-a-like puppy.  



Spring is definitely in the air.  In the for of pollen, mostly.  When I take a step outside it is more that evident why the pollen count is so high.  Flowers are everywhere.  While the sight of trees alone overwhelms me the quantity of flowers is amazing!  Wild wisteria vines cover everything making purple dots all over the landscapes.  The Pear trees are done blooming and the crab apples have just started.  I am amazed at the number and size of the azaleas.  They grow so large here it is hard to imagine them as the same bushes I once had in Ohio.  Ginger and I went for a walk today at one of the parks and took along my camera to try and capture the beauty.  While their full bloom was last weekend their beauty is still evident in the purples, whites, reds and pinks.


Easter Happenings

Okay.  I am a little behind but here are some Easter Pictures I wanted to share.
The kids started out with egg coloring.  It used to be so much easier to color eggs.  Now everyone wants multicolored eggs.  Trying to get each half to be a different color leads to a lot of multicolored fingers and a lot of dropped eggs.
Then they switched to dying the entire egg in 3 different colors.  And we ended up with many swamp colored eggs.  Notice the series of swamp green eggs on the left side of the picture.  I was very frustrated.  This in combination with The Masters being on TV and Mark leaving with a cup of dye in his hands to watch TV made for a very aggravated mama.

Our Final results.

The Easter bunny came and left clues for the kids to find their baskets.  See if you did as well as they did.

Clue 1 (hidden in jelly beans on the stove)
An Easter hunt. What fun!  What fun!
3 new baskets, when all is done.
A bed, a desk, a cage, a box
for person and dog but not a fox.

Clue 2 (taped to dog cage)
Sometimes hot, Sometimes cold
Trees grow up, So I'm told.
Papers, trash and Items Sold
Mail, flyers and letters I hold.

Clue 3 (mailbox)
This is a place to cook your meat
A table and chairs for your seat
Cheeseburgers, hot dogs and occasionally fish
Might cook a chicken but not the dish.

Clue 4 (grill)
You are tired, so you say.
One more clue for you today.
I am soapy, clean and wet
You don't like to take them, I bet.
Scrub your hair, face and feet,
And you will have lots of candy to eat.

Yep, Baskets in the shower.  Good Job!

After consuming our weight in Jelly-beans, Cinnamon rolls and Kisses, we forced the kids to sit still through a mass that was 2 hours long.  Perhaps we should have rethought that.  Surprisingly, they did quite well.  Afterward we went to brunch at the Crab Shack.  They had a wonderful brunch with yummy southern dishes.
Grammy & Papa came in for the Holiday.  Here they are after Easter Brunch.  

Hope your Easter went as well as ours.  Happy Easter (a few days late)


Meet Audrey

Meet Audrey Anne Hendricks. She was born 4/11/09.  She is the daughter of John's niece Sarah.  

Making me...old.  No, actually I am now officially a great aunt. With Audrey's birth I thought I would pass on my words of wisdom to Sarah.  She may not get around to reading my blog until Audrey enters kindergarten, nevertheless, I feel it my duty as an older, and perhaps wiser mother of three.

1. Relax.
(the dishes will still be dirty tomorrow.  But Audrey will only be this size today. Tomorrow she will be bigger, stronger and smarter.)

2. Enjoy.
(Babies need to be spoiled. When she is older she will learn.)

3. Remember.
(no matter what advice you are given, you are Audrey's mom and it is your decision.)

4. Rest.
(You need to take care of You.)

5. Love.
(Daddy's need love too.)

6. Trust.
(mother's instincts.)

7. Pray.
(When you are at the end of your rope, pray)


Good Question.

Last week, sometime, we were driving around and the kids started discussing what they "want" in the new house.   Other than the obvious, my own room, my own phone, my own TV, there were real features such as a basement, a toy room, 3 bathrooms etc.   I got a chuckle out of listening to them.  The will even bring me fliers from houses that are for sale and say, "What about this one?"  They really have an honest interest in where we live next.  As Emma was tallying her list, she decided on 6 bedrooms.  "One for me, one for Mom, One for Dad.." and so on.  She even included one for Ginger.  Mark, always bursting her Great ideas said, "Emma we only need 5 bedrooms because Mom and Dad share a bedroom."  This gave her cause for thought.  "Mom?"  She asked in the small voice of a 7 year old. "Do you sleep with Dad because you want to? or because you're married and you have to?"  heehee:)

A Wonderful Lady

I apologize for not blogging sooner.  I honestly don't know where last week went.  I remember Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are a blur.  I suspect illness, allergies and general craziness are to blame, both mine and other members of this house hold.  Saturday I do remember.  Saturday is the day that John's Grandmother passed.  We knew it was coming, but somehow it was still a shock to hear it.  She has been saying, "I won't be around much longer." for at least the last 25 years.  It was the standing joke among her family.  Even the Priest at the service joked that she had been anointed at least 30 times thinking each one would be her last.  The last 2 years were the roughest for her.  She was always an active and strong lady.  The loss of her sight and hearing, as well as several strokes left her depending on others, something I know caused her great remorse.  She would have turned 102 this July and had her first great-great grandchild in just a few weeks.  She touched so many lives.  It was a true testament to her personality to see the church packed at her service.  She was truly was a wonderful lady.  She will undoubtedly be missed.