Monday, September 27, 2010

Preteen no more

It's official. I'm the mother of a teenager. Ack!
He's a good kid though trying at times. We are not only blessed by him, but also by the friends he chooses. I hope this is always the case.

Happy birthday, Dev!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roller Coasters

When was the last time you were on a roller coaster? Before our Labor Day trip to Everland I can't remember my last time on a roller coaster. Oh, sure, there have been a few rides on kiddie roller coasters with the kids at the fair. But, a real, bonafide, sure fire, turn your insides upside down roller coaster? I must have erased it from my mind. I *think* it may have been at Six Flags over Georgia when I was maybe twenty four. That would make it sixteen years ago. Looonnnnggg before the joys of pregnancy and childbirth AND passing thirty and turning forty changed my body in so many weird ways.

Actually, I was a wee bit afraid of what my body would do on a roller coaster at this point in my life. But, I'm brave. Or I put up a good front in front of my [three] boys. Girls everywhere should be proud! I had us covered. ;)

The first coaster we rode had three flips. Three. It was fun. I didn't lose my breakfast. I didn't pass out. I could walk after it was over. All was good. We walked around the park some more and came back to the T Express.

Looks fun, huh? On the website, they describe it as:
The steepest wooden roller coaster in the world presents sudden drops and sharp rises at 104 km per hour! The most thrilling experience will provide you with great memories!
Everland T Express offers the steepest ride in the world, and with its 77-degree angle, the experience of falling gives an unparalleled roller coaster ride! Potential energy grows bigger according to the height, the mass of the falling object, and the angle, which means that the steepest ride has the biggest potential energy. With a 77-degree angle, T Express offers the best potential energy experience.
You caught that, didn't you? 77-degree angle at 65 miles per hour. Here, let me draw it off for you.
We got off of that baby and Roo asked if we could ride it again. I couldn't say, "NO!" fast enough! I didn't get sick or anything like that. I could still walk a straight line when my feet hit the ground again, but, my head was pounding and I could feel a major, kick my hiney headache coming on. I mean really? I'm forty years old! My body is not supposed to be jerked around like that anymore no matter if I'm pulling Girl Power, Brave and Tough Mom or whatever!

We went for a bite to eat. Went through the haunted house and headed home. I told G-Dub I was too close to snapping to stay there any longer. We'd been there over seven hours at that point anyway. As soon as we got out on the highway, I popped some pain relievers and went to sleep. Slept all the way home. Body recovered from the roller coaster. Maybe next time I'll take the Ibuprofen BEFORE we go. ;)

Sunday, September 19, 2010



The only thing I've eaten at McDonald's since being here in Korea has been ice cream. The 500Won ice cream cone to be more specific. Yum... and only 43 cents, who could complain?

Though I've not eaten there, that hasn't hampered their business. They stay busy and deliver. I love these delivery scooters. It's just a really good idea to get out of their way as they are buzzing down the sidewalks. ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The old house place

That's what my mom calls the vacant lot lined by old oaks and pecan trees that was once her home.
My mom, like many of her generation, was born at home. She then grew up in that same house where she was brought into this world. Years later, she met my father and prepared to marry him. My grandfather gave them one acre of the family land (some fifty acres of bottom land/farmland) on which they could start their lives together. One week before her twentieth birthday, she and my father were married in the living room of their new house (built by my father). The acre of land and the new home are only about a quarter of a mile from the old house place.

We girls came into the picture several years later. My grandfather passed away when I was four years old. My grandmother went to join him in heaven when I was six. Despite my young age at the time of their deaths, I can vaguely remember some things about them. I remember walking up the dirt road to get to their house, passed my uncle's barn then around the curve to their yard. We'd see them sitting on the rocker on the front porch. When we'd get into the yard, Papaw Taylor would call out, "Well, there are my little boys!" to which we'd chime our reply, "We're NOT boys! We're girls!" I remember the way the house smelled... a mixture of my Mammaw Taylor's country cooking, fresh brewed tea and even her dusting powder sitting on the dresser in her bedroom. I remember playing in her flower gardens as a small child and the scent of gardenias blooming.

After my grandmother passed away, my mom and her three brothers rented the house to another family. That lasted a few years before they decided to sell the house and have it removed from the property.

Years later, my mom would talk about the old house place and the house where she came of age. She said at some point that she'd love to learn to paint because if she ever did, she'd create a painting representing the old home place. Time passed and she never took that painting class, so the desire to have a painting of the old house was pushed back into the recesses of her mind.

Fast forward to me in Korea and all the artists and painters here with their medium being oil. I decided to surprise her with a painting of the old house place. But, my problem was that I didn't have any photos of the house or property. I remembered that there were two or three in the boxes of old photos at Mom's house, but couldn't ask her for them if it was to be a surprise. So, my sister joined in with the sneakiness of the surprise. When she went home for Spring Break, she dug through the old photos and came up with the ones above. Ugh.... not good. Not good at all. But, what could we do?

I set out to find a painter with talent and imagination AND a good understanding of English. ;) The first place I went, he only did portraits, not landscape. Second place, I explained how I wanted the painting to be set in the summer with green on the trees; green grass; the house set askew and angled differently than in the photos; some flowers blooming representing gardens and shrubs; the out buildings, the lack of power lines... My list was pretty long. That second guy had the most confused look on his face. I knew it was best to leave asap, so I thanked him and went on my way. Then I walked into Mr. Kim's shop. Mr. Kim was anxious and eager and knew exactly what I wanted when I explained it. So, I left feeling hopeful.

A week later, I went back to view his initial sketch. Ok, well, maybe. I gave him a few suggestions, corrected him in a couple of spots and went on my way, giving him another week to move forward as he'd promised. The second week when I went back, I gasped when I walked in and saw the painting.
It was very, very close to what I had explained and hoped for and very, very close to "the old house place".

We were due to go home within the next two weeks. I mailed the painting ahead of us so it would arrive while we were there and I'd know how she felt about it. It arrived the day we flew in and my dad beat her to opening the box (thus putting a damper on my surprise for MOM and my seeing her open it, but that's ok. I got over my initial mad feelings and jet lag!)

We placed the painting on the mantel in her living room where it seemed appropriate.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I know. Pumpkins don't grow on trees.

Welcome, new visitors! Whether you came here from Pinterest or some other search for paper pumpkins, I'm glad you came! 
This post has received quite a bit of attention in the last few months! I'd love to hear from you if you like my little pumpkin tree! 
And, I'd especially love to hear from you if you decide to make your own paper pumpkins and decorate this fall!     -edited Oct. 6, 2012
Several of my visitors have written asking about my metal tree and where I purchased it. I purchased it several years ago in a little discount store in Abilene, KS. I have searched for other for friends in the years since and have never run across another like my little metal tree. I have found similar ones online at Ornament, but they are rather pricey. Don't hate me, but I paid less than $20 for mine!
I am so glad I made the decision to buy it that day! I love my little metal tree!
-edited Oct. 27, 2013

No, pumpkins don't grow on trees, but it's fall and my little metal tree was ready from something besides the Valentine hearts that have been on it since February. *eek!*
(I hid it in my bedroom on my dresser after a few months so the Valentine theme wasn't so dominate in the house - you didn't see it right when you walked in the door!) :D
The coming of September and approach of fall was a perfect time to change up my tree.
I couldn't decide just what I wanted to do, but then I did some googling and came up with paper pumpkins. They were easy enough. 
I cut strips of paper from some of my favorite scrapbook papers with fall tones. 
I punched a hole into the end of each paper strip.
For each pumpkin, I placed the strips into a stack and connected them with a metal brad. 
I fanned the papers out so that they were evenly distributed (sort of like a starburst). 
Then I began connecting the strips at the top with a Karen Foster brad. I think they are Karen Foster brads. I have had them in my stash for years. 
These particular brads I used for the top have a little extra piece of metal for threading a ribbon or string through. 
These were perfect because they allowed me to tie thread the twine through for hanging on the tree!
I used a friend's Cricut to cut various types of leaves for the top. Couldn't find "pumpkin" leaves, but these will do.
And, this theme will last a few more months before my little metal tree gets to become a little metal Christmas tree again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First day of school pics

School officially started LAST Monday, but I'm just sharing the first day photos with you.

As many of you know, we've homeschooled for the past four years, so public school this year is a change. It was time for a change. When I began homeschooling four years ago, it was because I was unhappy with the public school situation. I never planned to school the boys all the way through to high school graduation. I looked at homeschooling as what was working for us at specific times and with our different situations. I always said, "If I'm not happy with the teacher, I can only blame myself."

Moving to Kansas was a transition period. We had planned to leave that area and be lead back to south Alabama where we'd settle down and the boys would start school. The Army had different plans as is obvious in the fact we're now in Korea rather than Alabama. Last year, with the transitions of selling houses, visiting family, moving across the world, homeschooling and staying on schedule was hard. Adjustments were hard. We trudged forward with our schooling though and tried to not get discouraged. There were many days I questioned myself and questioned what form of education the boys were getting with me as their teacher. Oh, sure, you will always do that no matter who your childrens' teachers are. But, it all led back to what I'd told myself all along... if I started to question it too much, it was time to put it into someone else's hands.

Living here in the apartment complex, we're surrounded by children. The boys have made many friends and were excited about going to school to be amongst their friends. Dev was more excited about the whole process than Roo. They have both adjusted well so far.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday photos

Maybe it was my remembrance of the need for salt and pepper shakers (that are in storage in Kansas) when we were unpacking and setting up house here in our apartment. Maybe it was my reminiscing about all those trips to Pizza Hut with friends in high school. Maybe it was my love of old glass containers. Maybe it was just my love of frugal and thrifty finds. No matter what it was, when I saw this old glass shaker in the thrift shop in Alabama over the summer, I decided I needed it. I carefully wrapped the shaker and packed it in my suitcase cushioning it for its flight across the oceans and continents. When I unpacked it, I couldn't figure out how I'd use it. Roo had bought a large packet of sprinkles a few days before I unpacked the shaker. Rather than have him precariously dip and spoon them onto my kitchen counter his ice cream, I decided the shaker would be perfect for the sprinkles!

Now, if I could just convince him that THIS isn't the intended purpose. *rolleyes*