30 July 2013


Samantha Marie has turned 14.  In Arkansas, that means you can get your driver's permit.  Lucky for us, Samantha would rather be chauffeured.  At 14, Samantha is now the tallest of the five kids.  She has passed Rachel by about two inches and Charlotte is fast on her trail.  Samantha will be starting ninth grade, which means seminary.  She's made the commitment to go, even though mornings are not her favorite time of day.  She is on the school dance team and her favorite subject at school is science.  She likes English the least.  Samantha is a social creature - always with friends and out and about.  She loves to skateboard and roller skate and she's getting better all the time, despite her battle scars.  Samantha inherited her father's blunt wit -- she is quick to temper and quick to laugh.  She dances everywhere she goes.  Everywhere.
She wanted to go to Wild River Country for her birthday - a big water park down in Little Rock.  So that was her gift from us - a fun day out with friends!  She spent the day with her buds - Ashley, the blonde on the left and Emily, the brunette on the right.  They were there from open (10 am) til close (8 pm), but, Samantha called me at 6 and said, please come get us.  We're burnt and tired!  Mission accomplished.
This is the switchplate Samantha got from the young women's leaders at church for her birthday.  Isn't it awesome?!  She also got money from both sides of grandparents, and she plans on getting new trucks for her board - when I can get her to Little Rock and a proper board shop.
For her birthday proper we took her on a "date" for BBQ.  Just the folks and Samantha.  Funny story about Samantha - when she was about seven her grandparents (Jim and Jean) took her out for a big lunch and shopping.  They ate at Applebee's and Samantha had never been to an Applebees before.  Because, let's face it, we are a working poor family and we don't take all our children out to eat at places like Applebees.  If we go out, it's only the dollar m
enu at McDonald's.  We also like Tuesday nights at KFC - cause kids eat free on Tuesdays....but I digress.  Jim and Jean took Samantha to Applebees and proceeded to tell the waitress that Samantha was turning 7.  So what happens next?  A mob of well meaning, but, terrifying waitstaff descend on Samantha, singing and clapping.  She is presented with her own birthday cake and bursts into tears.  Poor girl.
So, we pull up to our BBQ place of choice - Whole Hog CafĂ© (very good food, casual and comfortable atmosphere, we all enjoyed it) and there are Happy Birthday balloons in bouquets outside.  Just inside there are streamers and more Happy Birthday balloons.  Samantha is now convinced that we have orchestrated some sort of mob to sing to her again and she refuses to go in the restaurant.  Come to find out, July 26 not just Samantha's birthday, but it's also Whole Hog's birthday - except the restaurant was only turning 6.  They even had complimentary cake and ice cream.  Happy Birthday to Samantha!  And no, we did not subject her to more singing.  Maybe next year.

22 July 2013

Piranhas, clear the pool....

Another swim season is over.  Sad.  Charlotte (on the right) did great this year and we are so proud of her.  These three young athletes are Sarah Breedlove, Jessica Bongfeldt and Charlotte.  Together with Kyla Genenbacher they are the girls 100 meter freestyle relay champions of the Central Arkansas Swim League 9-10 year division.  They had a time of 1.05.92.  For those of you who don't speak swim, that's blazin' fast!  It's four laps of an Olympic size pool in just over one minute!

This is Charlotte with Coach Debbie Skidmore.  Coach Debbie is an institution in herself - this was her 14th season coaching Piranhas and her third season with Charlotte.  Charlotte loves her and we can only hope she'll stay another 14 years.
For the end of the season party we made a fruit salad in a watermelon bowl.  I had to include this because I don't do Martha Stewart too often.  When I do, and it works, I have to show off a little.  Plus, it's a great picture of my two beautiful little ladies.

The cake at the after season party was cute.  That's Charlotte in lane one, in the green cap.
But seriously, for those of you who are numbers oriented, or just because I want to brag on her, here are her stats for the season:
50 meter freestyle:  34.24 (second place)
50 meter backstroke:  41.12 (sixth place)
50 meter butterfly:  38.30 (second place)
100 meter individual medley:  1:32:97 (sixth place)
Now, when I say second place, bear in mind that I am talking about a league wide ranking - eight teams all over central Arkansas.  All total, she was swimming against 116 other 9-10 year old girls, and she was the second fastest!  Or the sixth fastest!  WOW!
Outstanding job, Charlotte!

19 July 2013

Hair, hair, hair!

This summer we have been letting the ladies experiment with their hair.  Charlotte begged to have hers shaved on one side over the ear.  These pictures were taken about three weeks ago and the shaved heart shaped has completely grown out.  Now she wants waves - it'll help her swim faster, she says!

 Rachel wanted her tips dyed.  We tried this process with Kool-aide and had no success.  This is a product Rachel bought called Splat.  It's called shocking blue and it came with bleach.  Rachel chose to skip the bleach step and go straight to color.  The result is not shocking blue - it's a pretty teal and it complements her coloring.  She's thrilled and it looks really cool when she braids it or puts it in a bun.  What will the other three do with their hair?  Stay tuned.

10 July 2013

The Fourth, 2013

I'm a simple girl, really.  My idea of a relaxing day off with family usually involves water.  In Arkansas, that means lakes.  About fifteen minutes from our town is a small lake - Indian Lake.  We've been once before and we were there with another few families and we grilled our lunch and played all day.  That was nice.  This time, though, not so much.  Although there are no other people in the following picture of the little three - don't be fooled.  The place was packed.  I really had to get my timing right to get that picture.  The weather was great - warm and breezy - beautiful puffer clouds and PEOPLE.  Lots of obnoxious teenagers with no adults.  Lots of little kids with no floaties or adults, making me nervous around the water.  So, during the third altercation, when I heard the owner on the megaphone tell the obnoxious teenagers that he had called the police, we left.  So, the little three, oblivious to the drama around them, will tell you that Indian Lake is awesome.  I, however, do NOT recommend Indian Lake on the Fourth.  There.  That's my soapbox.  Moving on...
 The little three enjoying the sun, sand and lake.  This place has about four docks out in the middle of the lake as diving platforms, plus two playground rescued metal slides.  Lots of fun.  It's a water logged playground.
 Rachel was at her boyfriend, Blain's grandmother's house for a family reunion/wedding/fireworks party all day, so she's not with us.  Samantha wisely chose not to go to the lake, and so she went with her friends to the church potluck, where she had a flag painted on her beautiful face.
We all gathered later with our friend Anissa at the Bartlett's house for a front row seat to our town's fireworks display.  The Bartletts have two horses, which fascinated Jay Michael.
I took no pictures of fireworks.  I just sat and enjoyed.  Ahhh.  Happy Birthday America!

08 July 2013

Kansas City, June 2013

Our trip to Kansas City.  Warning - lots of pictures!
Three of five goofing off in the car - where are they headed?
Kansas City - here we come.....
The obligatory stop for a serious travel day breakfast - Denny's.
This is a public bus in Kansas City, KS.  It's called the Jo, because it serves JOhnson County.  Coolio.
 Johnson County, Kansas City, KS has one of everything.  Chain store heaven.  Josephine found the one chain that she's been coveting online and dying to see in person - American Girl.
 This is her favorite - Julie, circa 1974.  Groovy.  So, for all future birthdays and Christmas, folks...
 We went to the KC Zoo.  Wow.  This place is immense.  We walked ALL DAY.  This is the otter.
 And the polar bear.  You have to see this in person to appreciate him.  Beautiful.  And playful.
 Josephine rubbed the Buddha belly.
 Rachel, saving the world from the hungry lizard.
 Samantha, looking off pensively...  (love you, Samantha...)
 The little three at the sea lion show.
 Later, back at David and Dawn's house, we skyped with Dad and Mom.  Isn't technology wonderful?
 After two great days in Kansas, it was time for the 8 hour drive home.
 We stopped a scenic overlook to admire the beauty and stretch our legs.
 Rachel is not fond of heights....
 But she warmed up just fine and bounced around the rocks with Samantha.
James and Tina - Arkansas is behind us and Kansas is in front of us.
We had a great trip with meeting Adam, Dawn's family and seeing the zoo.  We ate and laughed and played and swam and talked and just enjoyed being together.  Thanks, Dad and Mom for the hotel room, and thanks David and Dawn for having us.

05 July 2013

Adam Wallace

Last week we took a long weekend and headed north to meet David and Dawn's first son - Adam Wallace Brumbley.   We did other stuff while we in Kansas City, but, Adam was the hit of our trip.  What a cutie.  Everyone got to hold him and play with him - as much as a two month old can play.  I can't wait to visit again and the ladies are excited to watch their newest little cousin grow.  David gave him a name and a blessing and we got meet Dawn's family afterwards while we had lunch. 
Adam was quite the gentleman and handled getting passed around very well.  I think he'll be a strawberry blond with blue eyes.  We shall see.  Either way, he's beautiful!