Lego Maniac

We took Hayden to Toys R Us on Saturday to let him pick out a Lego set for his birthday. He picked out a huge set (the same one as cousin Scott) that he just couldn't wait to get home and put together. We have heard from several people that Legos are great for 7 year old boys and that they will play with them for hours! Hayden has a small Lego set that he doesn't really play with, mainly because there weren't really enough to play with. So we got home too late Saturday night to play with Legos (there was much crying involved). Hayden informed us Sunday at church that 3 hours was WAY too long for us to expect him to go without his Legos. He didn't even want to stay for the Linger Longer and eat! When we got home, he played with them for about two hours. After we went to my grandma's and had a little birthday celebration (where he got more Legos - thanks Grandma, Grandpa, and Kathy!), we again got home too late to play with his Legos (more crying). Well, this morning, Hayden got ready for school as he normally does - all by himself. We expect him to get dressed, eat, pack a lunch, etc. and be ready to leave at 8:45 when it's time to go. This morning when he came out to the car to leave, his little face was very excited and he said,
"Mom, guess what?"
"What Hayden?"
"I started my first fast!"
"Ummm ... a fast? What do you mean?"
"I wanted to play my Legos this morning, so I didn't eat breakfast! I wanted to play instead."

What can I say? The boy loves his Legos.

If you think your family is weird ....

...then just go to the State Fair. What you see there will convince you that you really are quite normal. At least, that 's what Jeff Foxworthy says and I agree! We went to the fair yesterday and had a great time (and yes, we saw some pretty strange specimens of North Carolinians). Kate was just amazed by everything and we stopped often for her to admire something that none of us even noticed, like a man blowing bubbles or a stand of balloons.

We saw some friends there ....
The picture of Hayden and Arthur is suppose to be next, but our computer is being stubborn, so the pictures are out of order. We saw some friends that weren't wooden cut-outs too. Here's a shout-out to our peeps we saw at the fair - Sarah and Devin Gilreath, Jeremy and Michelle Aycock, the Huband family, and Chad and Jessica Simpson. It was fun to see them, but it's difficult to have a meaningful conversation on the midway with children.
Kate was completely amazed by the animals! Cletus and I had the most fun watching her watch the animals. This picture captures her cute face looking at some sheep, but unfortunately, it also captured this green, peeling metal post.

We topped off the evening with a family ride on the ferris wheel. We bought tickets ahead of time, so it wasn't as expensive as it could have been. It is always an amazing sight to be up so high, to see the lights, feel the breeze, and to push away those thoughts of news stories about ferris wheel disasters where a mother is hanging for her life with one hand on a metal bar and another holding onto her child. But, other than those paranoid thoughts, it was a fun ride. (I also have to say that in about 30 minutes around 7;30 or 8 pm, the atmosphere quickly transformed from a family atmosphere to one of teenage hoodlams. It was then that I noticed that fair ride workers truly look and act like the dregs of society).

I really do love the fair: the smells, the food, the animals, the Village of Yesteryear, the exhibits, the tractor-pulls, and everything else that you can only find in such abundance at the State Fair. Depsite the fact that we come home and disinfect our clothes and our children, we can't wait until next fall when we get to head back to the fair again!

Camping and Cousins and Rain, Oh My!

We headed west Thursday night to Stone Mountain State Park to camp out for the weekend with Cletus' sister, Celeste and her family, and our friends, the Beaumonts. We arrived Thursday night and set up camp before heading to bed. (Kate slept through the night without a problem! Yeah!) Early Friday morning it started raining .... and it didn't stop. So, the kids played in the rain, had fun, got soaking wet, and then started to shiver and to be miserable. And, hey, what is more fun than packing up wet camping gear while it's still raining? Friday afternoon we headed to the Beaumont's house (they never showed up to camp because of the rain) and spent the rest of the weekend. We took a fun hike Saturday (12 kids in all!) in the beautiful weather. The Beaumonts live in Huntersville, just north of Charlotte. Cletus and I actually planned on moving to Huntersville right after dental school and even picked out a house. But, it wasn't meant to be. As we were driving around Huntersville (in the fall, my favorite time of year!), I couldn't help but feel another longing to move to this beautiful part of the state. It was a fun (and tiring) weekend!

Hayden and Holly
Wilford, Lillie, Hayden, Lucy, and Holly waiting for breakfast
Tim, Cletus, and Celeste making a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, sausage and eggs, and hot choloclate
Kate is ready to eat!
Are we having fun yet?

Slow ... Children Playing

Although Cletus and I usually laugh at this sign and look for the slow children that are suppose to be playing in the neighborhood, I think that this phrase describes my recent thoughts. I am just too busy. I don't have to be too busy, but I let myself get that way. The words to this song have been running through my head lately: "I'm in a hurry to get things done, Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun. All I really want to do is live and die, but I'm in a hurry and don't know why". There are lots and lots of good things to be involved in, but it's so easy to be involved in too many of them. We only have two children and only one of them is in extracurricular activities, but I find that I am running here and there so often that I am not enjoying my day, I'm not enjoying being a mom, and I'm certainly not stopping to enjoy the little pleasures in life. I get to be unhappy and frustrated and I feel that my schedule is out of my control. But, I know that that's not true. I am in charge of where I spend my time and whether I am on the go too much. I realized recently that it had been a week since we slowed down to have family time together - all 4 of us just being at home with nothing scheduled! Children grow up way too quickly for this to be a norm in our household. I want the house to be clean and for things to be orderly and nice, but when it comes down to what is really important, who cares? I want to play with my kids. I want to laugh with them, to get down on the floor and read to them. I want to be able to do something spontaneous and silly because we have nothing going on. I want to be able to leave dishes in the sink so that I can go and play kickball outside with my family. I want to slow down. Our prophet, President Hinckley, said something one time that I loved. I tried to find the exact quote but couldn't. It said something like, "enjoying the time of just being at home together as a family is an art" and that it is necessary for our children to have that constant in their lives. So, here is my public promise now to slow down, to breathe, to play and to laugh, to leave chores until later so that I can enjoy my children while they still want to play with me.

Running just as fast as we can ...

Cletus ran in a 10K this past Saturday in Carrboro. It was so much fun! He did a great job and came in right over 44 minutes. As a cheer-leader and care-taker of the little cheer-leaders, a 10K is much more fun and manageable than a marathon. At a marathon, we would cheer and applaud at the beginning of the race (usually in a city not very close to home) and then try and find something to do for 4 hours. But a 10K is perfect. We cheer and watch him run off, then play and visit with friends and then, viola! The time is up and we get to cheer again. The winner of the race ran it in 30 min 34 sec. For those of you not great at math, that's just over a 5 minute mile! I was pretty amazed. We spent the night Friday with our friends in Chapel Hill, the Polleis, and Heather ran in the race also. She is an exercise machine! Two of Cletus' sisters, Crystal and Candice, also joined in. Candice had never actually run 6 miles straight and decided at the last minute to run. She did really well. I think it inspired me to run. I have never run on purpose. I don't even like the thought of running for exercise. I'm an elliptical machine fan. But, being at the 10K inspired me and I think I'm going to start training for a 5K. It may sound easy to some of you, but I probably can't run 10 minutes straight without passing out.

After the real race, they had races for the kids by age group. Kate's age group (3 and under) was pretty cute to watch. Kate didn't get what was going on at all at first and just stared at everyone trying to figure it out. But once the lightbulb went on, she was off! She ran with all her might and loved it. In fact, since then, she'll stand against the wall, say "go!" and run as fast as she can to the other wall. That is her new favorite game. I'm hoping that our kids get Cletus' athletic talent and not mine (or lack thereof).
Hayden's age group (7-8) was much more competitive. He also ran with all his might and came in second. He is a fast runner. He might have come in first if he was actually in his real age group. He doesn't turn 7 until later this month. He likes to run with the big kids. We have a picture of Hayden crossing the finish line with Cletus at the end of the Richmond, VA marathon. It is priceless.