28 April 2014

Hot Springs Impromptu Shoot

There's this little theme park in Hot Springs, AR called Magic Springs.  Two forces combined this weekend to get our family to Magic Springs - one, the normal admission price of $51.99 is discounted for a few weeks to a more attractive rate of $15.00 per person.  Wow.  Two, our kids have never ridden roller coasters.  We HAVE to fix this.  So, we mustered up $105.00 and headed to Hot Springs.

Mother Nature was against us.  We were stopped at the gate and told the park was closing due to impending storms.  This turned out to be a series of tornadoes which killed 16 people in a town just to the west of our town, so they were surely right.

But, while we were in town, we looked around.  We roamed through downtown streets and had lunch at a local pizza place.  We relaxed and hung out and we took pictures.

This is the wall of a pottery factory.  The colors were beautiful, especially considering it's abandoned and the other walls look more like the urban decay that it really is.

But it makes a cool background and we took some pictures.

This one looks like an album cover to me.

This is a close up of the wall.

And we named this fella Butterscotch.  He was a sweet pup who wandered into our pictures.

All this stuff was out on their docks.  I love the colors they captured in this one.

Rachel with Lady Liberty at the pizza place.

And a great photo.  I wish they always got along this well....  Rachel and Samantha, with Charlotte behind the camera.
Classic Samantha Marie swag.

24 April 2014

James, the tough guy

James has had a moustache or a beard or both since we met.  I think this goatee look he is sporting in the photo is very flattering.  He shaves it all off every now and again, just to shake things up and he will tell you that he can control the weather with his beard.  At spring break, he'll shave it clean.  The weather warms up.  Around thanksgiving, he is fully bearded and he will stay that way all winter.  All this facial hair has obscured the mark he's had on his face for the last three or four years.  He saw a dermatologist about it this week and he found out it's a basal carcinoma.  He will have surgery to get it removed in May.  Since it's on his pretty face, he will also get a visit from the plastic surgeon.  James has taken this obstacle in stride.  When you are in constant pain, I suppose a skin cancer is not too frightening.  I don't like it at all.  The doctor gave James a once over to make sure this is his only one and he seems quite confident that James will not have any lasting effects.  One more hurdle; one more hurdle.  Updates to follow!

17 April 2014

Christian Skate Night

Living in the Bible Belt has many advantages.  First, no homework or sports practices/games on Wednesday nights.  It is automatically assumed that your family will be attending church on Wednesday nights.  Awesome.  Second, people are friendly, hospitable and welcoming.  Most people speak freely on the topic of religion and are comfortable with who they are and what they believe.  For example, Christian Skate Night.  Every Monday night from 6-8 the local skate rink opens its doors to anyone.  Skates are free, pizza and canned cokes are free.  The only requirement is that you must sit and listen to a "preaching".  This 20 minute lecture is geared to the kids (but adults are instructed to sit tight and listen) and it's usually very blunt.  This week we were told that we are pencils.  God is the pencil sharpener.  We are His tool and we are no good unless we let Him sharpen us.  What use is a pencil that hasn't been sharpened?  It's a waste.  We can do amazing things, but only if we let God sharpen us.

The little three like Christian Skate Night because they see their friends from school and they know that Dad and Mom like that it's free.  I like it because they skate and skate and skate.  Charlotte skates for about an hour and a half, and that's after she's just finished a two hour swim practice.  They are young and healthy.  I love that they love to be active and busy.  Skate, pizza, "preaching", skate, go home and crash!

14 April 2014

Soccer Season, BallTeam Style

Soccer season 2014 has begun and for life in the BallTeam that is a family affair.  JMichael is the only player this year, and James is helping to coach his team, since our sweet coach has never done this before.  So, cane in hand, James is doing his best to help out, though it's mainly direction from the bench.  Rachel and Samantha are refs again this year - earning some spending money that teenagers never have enough of.  I am still serving on the soccer board, so I walk around on Saturdays and answer questions, talk to parents, that kind of thing.  New this year is Charlotte and Josephine's job - timekeeper.  They get $5 per game to keep time for the under 8 teams.  This past weekend Charlotte had one game of 4 year olds and Josephine had a game of 3 year olds and then a game of 5 year olds.  They will be taking us all out for Frostys in no time.

And, the obligatory photo of each BallTeam member in action:

Josephine in blue and Charlotte in pink.

Samantha, aka One Sock, and Rachel.

and JMichael - right after he scored a goal.  This kid can be a showboat!

So, if you need any of us for the next two months on a Saturday, we will be at the soccer fields.  See you there!

03 April 2014

Little Prince

JMichael is the only son we have.  He is our youngest, too, so he has the pleasure or the curse of having four older sisters.  Do not, for any moment, think that this is a hindrance.  First, JMichael has only ever known life with sisters.  So, he's a pro.  Second, this boy can work the women in his life like the large toys they are to him.  He knows just which sister will get him some water or find his lost shoe.  He knows just which sister is the best on the xbox game he wants to play.  He knows just which sister to ask if he wants a book read to him or which sister will kick the ball around with him.  JMichael has the good life.  I hope his future wife appreciates all the lessons he's learning from, and the ones hes teaching to, his family.

JMichael (6) and Samantha (14)