March 25, 2009

Gatlinburg Trip

This past weekend we went to Gatlinburg with my family. Since my brother's homecoming from Iraq he wanted everyone to take a weekend and go there together. We had a blast. It was loud since there were 5 kids under the age of six there and the 4 oldest don't know the meaning of the word quiet or whisper, but it was also interesting. I let my uncle have the extra bedroom, which worked out since he could have all his grandkids sleep with him, which Mike and I were on the pullout couch in the living room. So that means when the kids got up for breakfast, we got up too. I'm not much of a morning person, but got up at 8 both mornings. Saturday morning we got up, my uncle made everyone breakfast which included biscuits, gravy, bacon, hasbrowns, omelets, and sausage. Needless to say we were pretty stuffed.

Then we all go ready and were out the door by about 11:45, which is pretty good for 17 people. Half of the people went to the Ripley's Aquarium, all the kids did, and Me, Rachel, Chad (Cody's friend), and cousin walked around downtown Gatlinburg. About 1:30 we drove back to Pigeon Forge and headed to Go-carts. I'm not much of a go-cart rider and it was $8 for one ride on one track, so I passed and told Mike to do it. I also sat with Megan since she's 7 months pregnant and can't ride them either. At 2:30 we headed over to Dixie Stampede and got ready for the show. It didn't start till 4:00 but there was a pre-show and everthing. The kids absolutely loved it. My cousin's little girl didn't touch a thing on her plate because she was so enthralled with everything that was going on. I had to keep reminding Amerika to eat.

Then we headed back to the cabin and relaxed for a bit. I had a big headache so I laid around for a bit until Megan said she needed to go to Walmart. So we got in the car and ended up taking a long scenic route with a few wrong turns, but we eventually made it there. Came back and played some games like Clue, then we played to rounds of Charades. Found out after we left on Sunday night one of the Charades Rachel had to do was Pussycat Dolls. I can only imagine how that went.

Sunday we all went out and got an old time photo. Which took forever. I have never been to a place slower than the one we went to. It was horrible!!! I wanted to pull my hair out. After the photo, Mike and I headed to the outlet mall. I became a little happier. The only store I really wanted to hit was GAP. I got some cute clothes. Two cardigans, two tank tops, a skirt, and a dress. And I wanted Mike to look for a suit. We ended up with a suit, 2 dress shirts, and 2 ties for $180!!! He picked out one shirt and tie and I picked out the other. I'm excited to see him in it this weekend for the wedding.

In the end, it was so nice to see everyone and spend time with them. I love spending time with my cousin. We get along so well and just understand each other. We've gotten pretty close over the years so it's nice to have someone I can connect to like that. We're talking about going to Vegas this summer with our husbands for a little trip. Should be fun. And because her husband works for an airline we can get cheap cheap plane tickets!! :) And I LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing my bug. She is my absolutel world. I wonder sometimes that if I love her that much, how much am I going to love my own kid. I also am glad I got to see my brother since I hadn't seen him since like August. I am so proud of him for serving our country. Here are some pictures from the trip.

Kaydence in her tutu I made her and the leotard I bought for her too.

All the kids: Aliseah, Kaydence, Trapper, Amerika, Amelia.

Kaydence swimming with Cody.

The Bug sitting outside Ripley's Aquarium.

Me and the Bug. Love that smile!!

Probably one of my favs...two extremes...we've got a pouter, and a smiley face.

March 11, 2009

Nineteen Minutes

Ashley got me hooked on this author. She's more of a serious read than I'm used to, but still very good. This book kind of got to me. It's about a boy who gets bullied for 12 years of his school career and then ends up going into the school one day and shooting some of his classmates and teachers in 19 minutes. The more I got into the book, the more I got angry for both sides it was taking. I'm a big advocate of anti-bullying, so I felt really bad for Peter for being bullied all the time. There was even one instance in high school his junior year, that the group of "popular kids" come up behind him in the cafeteria and depants him, including his underwear. I can only imagine the humiliation. On top of that it's in front of his love interest, Josie (also a friend since birth until peer pressure gets to her and she goes to the popular crowd.) So on one side I'm thinking, these kids are just mean and how can no one be doing anything to stop this bullying which is clearly taking a toll on Peter, but on the other side I'm thinking...seriously, how could you go into your high school and shoot randomly at students, some of who he didn't even know all because of some stupid classmates.
It also got me thinking from a parent's point of view. Although I'm not a mom yet, I can only imagine what Peter's mom and dad are thinking. His dad is actually the one who showed him how to use a gun and used to take him hunting with him. Is he the reason Peter did this with a mixture of the bullying? Did his mom not pay enough attention to him growing up? He also had an older brother Joey, who he just couldn't quite live up to in his parent's eyes. Is this the reason Peter went on a rampage? To show people that he could live up to expectations and be in charge of something?
If you're in the mood for a book that makes you think and really feel the characters I recommend this book and any other by this author. She also put some interesting websites in the back I think you should check out. The first one is 10 myths about school shootings. The next one is a timeline of school shootings since 1996. It includes some from other countries too. There also happened to be a school shooting just today in Germany. The last webiste is an antibullying website designed by and for kids and teens. I think that's one of the greatest things you can do is really get the students involved in the antibullying process so that they can be held accountable for their actions. I'm not saying it will help all students, because there's always going to be that one or two who don't care.
If you were in Peter's position what would you have done? He told teachers, but nothing was ever done. Sometimes it makes it worse. The person who is bullying finds out he's been told on and then retaliates against their enemy more. How would you have felt if you were Peter's parents? Would you blame it on yourself or their surroundings?

March 8, 2009

The Birthday Bug

I had to post this video of Kaydence. I made her this tutu for her birthday and my brother got a little video of her dancing. I can't wait to see her in about a week and a half.