Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I know Easter is over!

I know you guys are tired of looking at the Easter background...I sure am!! So, if anyone knows how to change the background without losing all of the sidebar info (info to the right) please tell me how and I'll change the background immediately!! Last time I changed it, I lost it all and had to retype it all. I just don't have time for that right now. :)

Please, please comment if you know how to do it!

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Today started off particularly stressful with crying (over hair accessories of course!) and such before school. It has gotten much better though with such beautiful weather! We took advantage of the warm, breezy air to fly the kites we picked up at Wal-mart a while back. For $1 each they were well worth the investment!











Saturday, April 19, 2008

Can't get much worse

Yes, our night couldn't have been much worse. Michael hours ago declared it the worst experience of his life. I'm sure he'll rethink that eventually but with the memory fresh in our minds, he's sticking to that right now.

Started off well...going to a 30th birthday party for our friend Ryanne.

HAPPY 30TH RYANNE!! WE LOVE YOU!! :)

The trip there was uneventful. Upon arriving, we chit-chatted a bit with all our friends and the kids and us ate a little. Ella Kate was out of sorts over wanting multiple pink cupcakes but I was trying to ignore her or at the least pawn her off on her father.

During her little episode, Jake begins climbing on the back of my chair. It is a highback leather chair (for your mental picture). I had no sooner gotten out of my mouth that he needed to get off the back of the chair (thanks to Brycen's prompting...Mrs. Rhonda, look at Jake!!), than the chair tips backwards and knocks him square in the face. He immediately begins wailing as is his character. The entire room stares us down. I comfort him for the appropriate amount of time and then begin attempting to shush him.

No such luck. He promptly gags and throws up in my hands. Yes, when you become a mother, you learn that the best way to deal with vomit is to catch it in your hands. Why this is a first reaction, I am not sure. I am fairly certain that I have never in my life attempted to "catch" vomit until it came from my offspring. I start frantically calling for any friend nearby to bring me some paper towels so I can salvage my clothing and his. Perhaps we can hide it well and continue with the party. It is not a huge amount of vomit at this point.

I must mention also that in trying to summons a friend to the rescue, Summer Martin conveniently backed in the hallway behind us out of earshot. :) As Summer Laney runs with the napkins, Jake begins vomiting a much larger amount. I pick him up and head to the bathroom which thankfully is right beside us. When in the bathroom, Michael follows us in along with Ella Kate. As soon as we reach the room, Jake begins expelling amounts of vomit that had to have been stored for weeks in his small stomach. UGH! Cantalope is off the menu this summer.

I'll speed this story up and just tell you that in the next 5 minutes the following occured:
  • Jake continues to throw up
  • Ella Kate stands in the corner and pees in her panties
  • Ella Kate then attempts to run across the room and slides slip-n-slide style through the puke
  • she is screaming now
  • Michael is screaming now
  • Jake tries to leave the stall because he is finished puking and immediately falls into the puke
  • Jake is screaming again
  • Ella Kate is still screaming b/c Michael is still screaming
  • Jake almost pees in his pants because he hurt himself when falling
  • Ryanne comes in and is frightened away :)
  • Nancy (Ryanne's mom) brings the random cleaning utensils they can scrounge up
  • a random girl comes in and looks as if she will vomit before she runs away

Interesting enough? We clean up best we can. We remove all the vomit and pee soaked clothing that we can manage to, without carrying out entirely naked children. Jake declares that he is finished throwing up and feels good enough to go back to the party. LOL

Michael is mortified. I tell him that everyone in that room is thinking 2 things right now: 1. I feel so sorry for those people whose child is throwing up in this public place and 2. I am SOOO glad it is not mine! :)

In the end, we run out the door with our half naked children smelling like a very rotten cantalope (Tracy Harrison confirmed this for me!) and hide in our car.

If we can muster the courage to face our friends, we may go to church in the morning. If not, we'll hide out in the house and hope by next week it is a vague memory. I just hate I have no pictures to show for it.

Oh What a Night!

Some may call us crazy...and some may be right. But we had a FABULOUS time and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly yesterday!

JON & KATE from TLC's 'JON & KATE PLUS 8'

came to Greer last night and we were there to start the party. At 2:30 in the afternoon. :) We were officially the first 4 people in line. (Myself, Summer M, Summer L, and Stacy) We have been planning this trip for months, from the time we heard about the event. We found babysitters for the entire day months ago. We were READY!!!

When we arrived (at 2:30) the ladies setting up told us several times that doors do not open until 6. I think we were quite amusing to them. I asked them if we could sit on the steps and wait and they said sure. They told us that there were things around here that we could go do and lots of restaurants just down the road. We assured them that we had already ate and were content sitting outside the church. We met the pastor, we met the coordinator of the event, we met the helpers for the event, we met the church leaders, we met the man with the keys to the church. We met just about everyone. And we were on a first name basis with them all which would come in quite handy later in the evening...

We waited, and waited, and waited and we talked the whole time. We really did enjoy sitting outside in the beautiful weather. We were finally joined much, much later in the afternoon by some eager ticket holders and finally at 6:00 we were let in the doors!!

We ran to our seats, best that were possible to get, and were center stage - first row behind the reserved ones:( We were happy though. We were asked not to take pictures of them while onstage and, being fearful of all the security people, we obliged. :) Therefore, I only have a couple of candid shots of them. They talked about their testimony and their experience and perhaps the thing that stood out most to me was that TLC edits out most everything they do pertaining to religion. They have the option to air what they choose and they choose not to air anything of that sort. Jon & Kate said they were angry about this at first but realized that their show opened up the opportunity for them to go out and speak like this and that was the time that they were able to share their faith in God.

How truly fascinating to see them in person!! I have to say that Kate is really beautiful in person...television and pictures do not do her justice. And Jon is quite funny in that he just sits beside her and smiles continuously and cracks a joke every now and then.

Best part....

1000 people attended last night.
996 people arrived just before the doors opened.
4 people arrived 4 1/2 hours early for the show.

AND....

ONLY....

4 PEOPLE WERE ALLOWED TO HAVE THEIR PICTURES MADE WITH JON & KATE !!!!!!!!!

Anyone want to guess who those 4 people were?



(L to R) Rhonda, Jon, Kate, Summer L, Summer M, Stacy

Jon & Kate leaving the stage

Jon & Kate are finishedWaiting in line...right up front!All in all, no regrets. We did what we came to do. And we were pleased. :)



Monday, April 07, 2008

Ella Kate is 3

Today was Ella Kate's actual birthday. We celebrated with a party at school and shared the party with her friend Jackson whose birthday is tomorrow. They loved the cupcakes but I think they loved the balloons I brought her even more!

We didn't do much else today but she has been in an exceptionally good mood today. She has not been her typical crabby self and has been a real delight to be around today. If you haven't been around her lately, she has taken to throwing GIGANTIC tantrums over any little detail that doesn't suit her. She had me very worried because she started beating her head on things during them and I just didn't think that was normal. Apparently that is not unusual for 3 year olds to do, according to her new doctor. So her being calm and sweet all day has been a real birthday present for her daddy & mommy!

Happy Birthday Ella Belle!!!

Daddy, Mommy, and "your" Jake love you very much!!!

AND....we are your best friends! :)



Sunday, April 06, 2008

Princess Birthday

I'm posting some pictures from our "day of birthdays" Saturday and I'll write more on it soon. We had a great day celebrating Ella Kate's 3rd birthday with princess friends and family.
Jake & Ella Kate with Grandma on Sunday morning
Jake & Ella Kate ride her new Barbie jeep!
Oh my, oh my!! A Barbie Jeep!!All the princesses...wait, where is the birthday princess? Would she be in her room having a tantrum? Never!! Princesses don't do that!! Or maybe 3 year old ones in our house do!!!
A little camera shy? Or a little candle shy?
A perfect tea party for princesses!!

My Grandma Baker and I worked hard to make Ella Kate this perfect cake. Grandma made me one when I was Ella's age. And we made it around her favorite princess...Cinderella!

The princess is ready to party!!

The Best Place on Earth

Sugar Creek Road

Just the name makes me smile :)

My Granny Neal picked out the name herself when the county decided all the roads should have "official" names. She didn't just want it to be "Neal" Road like most people were doing. She wanted a special name.

It is hard for me to put into words what I feel when I visit my Granny & Papa Neal. If you visited them with me, the very first thing you would think is...this place is BEAUTIFUL! There are pastures that go on for miles, cows grazing the hilltops, flowers everywhere, and even a red barn.

They live in a small, stucco, white house that they have lived in since their boys were young. They raised 3 boys, all Neals....lets stop for a moment of silence honoring that mother!! The house is not very big. There were 3 bedrooms with a very small living room and kitchen and one, yes one, bathroom. After the boys moved out, they tore out some walls and eliminated a bedroom to open it up for a very large living room! It is put to good use every time the family is over...we barely fit in it these days!

My grandparents are certainly not rich by the world's standards but I cannot think of two people who are richer in my eyes. I measure their wealth by the love, respect, and admiration that every person that has ever known them surely feels for them. They are the kindest two people you will ever meet. They can always be counted on to make you feel loved and cared for when you are in their midst. I don't recall hearing an ugly word spoken about anyone.

One thing that means a lot to me is how my granny has always treated my mom. My mom long ago declared that she had the best mother-in-law in the world and hoped to be just like her to future sons and daughters in law. My granny once told my dad that he should never, ever, ever tell my mom that his mother did something (cook, clean, etc) better than she did. She made it clear that he was not to do that to her! She has also told her sons' wives that no matter what happens, they will always be daughters to her. And she has lived up to that promise. To this day, she has a small framed picture of my uncle's first wife (my cousin's mom) by her bed. She certainly does not flaunt this in front of current wives, but in her heart she loves them all the same. And they continue to have a great relationship to this day.

Sometimes grandparents can get a little jealous and possessive of time spent with other relatives. Not granny & papa. They have always told us to be sure and spend time with everyone and not to feel like we had to be at her house just because she asked. And she truly meant it. She was never offended if we had to miss a dinner or holiday because of being with other family. That makes you want to go even more!!!

I can tell my papa was probably a stickler with his boys and probably not openly affectionate. Well don't times change people!! I don't ever visit without hearing that my papa loves me and getting a big hug. He once told us that my granny & he were taking a class at her church on...relationships maybe? I can't remember the exact course but he said that he told her they could have used it years ago. They learned how important it was to express love to your family. From that day on he has made it a point to make sure we all know how much he loves us. What a softie he has turned into!! I'm sure it makes my granny smile to watch him with his great-grandbabies now.

They have always made it a point to make every person that walks in their door feel right at home. No matter who you are or who you came with, you are family inside their doors. My granny drove a school bus when I was in junior high. Consequentially, she has more "grandchildren" than anyone I know!! They still visit her to this day.

When I am told that I am all Neal...I'm a little bit proud...even though they mostly mean I have a hard head!! In my eyes, it is a compliment to be told I am like my grandparents. Even though I would be equally proud to be called a Reece (my granny's name). From what I've heard, my granny was pretty fiesty herself!! And still is to this day! I think I may just have a little Reece in me too.

I could go on and on for days with stories about my granny & papa. This post has been much longer than I intended!! And I'm sure my granny is blushing right now. She's not much on getting lots of attention.

You may even be a little bored with all this writing if you don't know my grandparents. But if you do....you know exactly what I am talking about.

Granny & Papa (yes, they are almost 80 but they sure know how to use their computer!!) YOU ARE THE BEST!! You have shown me by example, not by lecture, how important your faith in God is in your life. You have taught all your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to trust in Christ and make His will your own. Only then will life be worth living. I cannot express how much you mean to me and my family. I am so blessed!!



Great-Grands (L to R) John, Jack, & Jared Neal, Edy Yon, Ella Kate & Jake Waddell(2005)
Papa & Ella Kate (Christmas 2005)


Granny & Papa with their boys (L to R) Rodney, Eddie, & Joey (2005)



Jake & Granny, Easter 2008



Ella Kate playing at Granny & Papa's, Easter 2008


Jake climbing trees at Granny & Papa's, Easter 2008...did I mention that Granny taught him how to climb trees??

The red barn

Easter at Nana's

Sorry this is so late but here are Easter pics at Nana & Papa James' house. We had a delicious lunch with the whole family and the kids hid some eggs with Nana.
Nana (Michael's mom) and her baby Sophie
Michael's Aunt Deborah and Uncle Willie (his mom's sister) who joined us for lunch!
How cute are these eggs??? James surprised Dianne with an egg decorating kit that she saw in the Williams & Sonoma catalog. I think the ones with their names on them are precious!!
Ella Kate runs to find her egg!
Jake is proud of his!
Here are the "granddogs"...(L to R) Kayley, Sophie, and Doogie