Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Night Out

None of the pictures I tried to download would work tonight, so this will be a pictureless post. We went out tonight. We had discussed getting pizza takeout, but the kids had not been out of the house since we got home Saturday night, so going out sounded like fun, even in the below 30 degree weather.
Corey was wanting pizza, so we first headed to the local Pizza Hut Bistro, where we waited a full 6-8 minutes without seeing anyone come out of the back to seat anyone or wait on anyone in the dining room, so we left. We went to Johnny's New York Style Pizza instead. It was yummy. Then, we went to Target to do some shopping with Christmas money. Each of the kids ended up with about $90 of Christmas money that they had plenty of wish list items to spend on. Since I can't get any pictures to download, I will just link to each thing in my post.

Katie wanted to look at all the toys before making any choices, but Noah found a new Nerf gun he wanted pretty quickly. It has a bullet/dart loader thing that makes it shoot really fast. Katie ended up choosing baby Whoopsie Do. Yes, that is almost exactly like the doll she got a few years ago for Christmas. Yes, it has already peed in 4 diapers tonight.

Noah also chose to get a new DS game. Lego Indiana Jones 2. Katie wanted this and although we really try to let them choose their own things, especially when it is their money, we had to put our foot down on that one. $21 for a gimicky stuffed animal??? We think not. We convinced her that this would be a better choice and she was happy. It had been on her list for a while anyway and the other thing was just impulsive and silly because it made a kissing sound. Ha ha, I am going to make you click on the links to see what she got! :) Feeling silly.

I spent a lot of time looking around the clothing department. I got a Target gift card for Christmas and they had a lot of stuff on clearance. I got two shirts like this one, but one is a little different than this one and beige. I got the brown one that is just like that one I think. Plus, they were only $8 each in the store. We still hope to continue our plans of adding on to the family, so I have been looking for tops that would be good either way...transitional and versatile.

It ended up being a very late night. Especially since Katie and Noah both wanted to play with their toys a little when we got home. I have GOT to get our bedrooms all cleaned out and settled with all the new Christmas stuff. We need to start school back on Monday, and Corey will be taking his annual January trip soon. Busy times, though I have enjoyed the mandatory rest I have been on this weekend and this week so far. I think I will endure that a little longer before tackling all that stuff!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Welcome Diversion....

I have never participated in a blog challenge before, but I read about two that Emily is doing and they sound like fun and a great diversion from the sad week we have had. I think it will be so much fun, so I am participating in the All About the Brontes Challenge 2010 AND the Our Mutual Read Victorian Reading Challenge. The Victorian Reading Challenge lasts all year and includes several levels of challenges. I am going to start with level 1 and maybe go up to level 2 if I want to later. I also want to do the period film mini challenge.

~ Level 1: 4 books, at least 2 written during 1837 - 1901. The other books may be Neo-Victorian or non-fiction.
~ Level 2: 8 books, at least 4 written during 1837 - 1901. The other books may be Neo-Victorian or non-fiction.

Period Film Mini-Challenge -- watch at least 6 films that take place between 1837 - 1901 (they don't necessarily have to be based on a book) and post a review.

The All About Brontes Challenge is from Jan 1-June 30th and you are challenged to read/watch 6 Bronte books or films based on the books.

Here is my planned list:

1. Read Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte
2. Read Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
3. Read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
4-6: Watch various versions of films based on any of the Bronte sisters books.

If you are interested in either of those challenges, just click on the buttons at the top of this post for more details!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

I will post photos about our Christmas gatherings later. Our life has been totally turned upside down the past week and things just aren't running as they would "normally." I have been hanging out with my other blog, and finally posted the conclusion post about our past week....

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Been a Day!

What a day it has been! There has been much more going on over at the Baby blog than over here...so that is why I haven't been posting. I just wanted to share the first verse of my husband's favorite song of all time! ha ha! Actually, he doesn't really like the song, but it has been stuck in my head ever since I heard it in the dinner theater our church hosted last night, and the first verse has really been an inspiration to me today.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Funnies!

Funny Things for Today:

1. I had an internal ultrasound this morning. HA HA HA HA HA! (yeah.....)

2. The normal HCG level range for a 5 week pregnancy are as about as precise as a cable guy's arrival time estimate.....

3. My friend, Marcy, posted this on her page today and it made me laugh. Thanks Marcy! I needed this today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All You Need Is Love (continued)

We are home from our wonderful trip to Disney World, and I am attempting to get caught up on life. It seemed like a great idea to get everything done and ready for Christmas before we left and be home in time to just "enjoy" the holidays, but it hasn't exactly worked out that way.

Why? Well....of course there are last minute gifts to buy..ones that were not remembered before the trip. There are also cookies to bake and laundry to catch up on from the trip, house to clean, groceries to buy....

And in the meantime....oh yeah...I am "with child" making all this a little more strenuous since I have had a couple of minor not very serious symptoms going on that I need to REST to take care of. I am going to do that tomorrow.

Period. No questions. No laundry getting done. No house getting cleaned. If you knock on my door I won't be answering. IF you were allowed in the house (which you wouldn't be!) you will find myself and my two wonderful children camped out on the bed and watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas stories, and doing absolutely nothing. And maybe napping in between! ha ha!

I will get around to blogging about our trip eventually. I believe the camera is still in Corey's car, so I don't want to blog until I get the few pictures uploaded as well.

In the meantime, I would like to share my baby blog with those of you who have not seen it yet. I wanted to start chronicling our journey from the beginning and have a place to put all the "baby" news, daily if I choose without boring anyone. Maybe that is a blog I will actually be able to make into a book with the "blog2print" website and have an all inclusive baby book!

Here's the address: All You Need Is Love

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All You Need Is Love!

I am sitting here at the computer in complete awe. We have placed our lives in the hands of God and He has blessed us so tremendously and abundantly.

Yesterday morning, we got some pretty exciting news!

We are going to be blessed with a baby next August!!!!!

My heart is torn because I have friends who have the same desire in their heart, and I have struggled with how to share our news joyfully without making light of their feelings. I pray and hope for all of my friends that this is just another example of how God can create life at any moment and that He is still alive and active in us.

Please keep me (and all of us) in your prayers. Our world is about to get rocked again and we are excited, nervous, happy, anxious, etc, etc, etc.!

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition
which I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Week

I had such an enormous to-do list at the beginning of the week! Some of it has been accomplished, but there are many things yet to do! I did clean the house between last night and this afternoon, so if we can keep it clean, that's one thing OFF the list! I am staying on top of the laundry, so that hopefully won't BECOME a to-do item!

We have the floor mostly fixed, but we had to leave some spots at the last corner where we need to re-cut boards to fit. We haven't had a free evening to drag the saw and all out, so that is still to-do. Rescheduling the cookie swap freed up some time, I just don't know how I would have ever gotten 6 dozen cookies plus an appetizer made, PLUS get ready for company AND feed my own family this week.

The kids trees are up in their rooms. The Christmas shopping is mostly finished. That is one thing I definitely want to have done before we leave because that kind of stuff I really do NOT like to do last minute. When we get home we will be at 10 days from Christmas, so being able to enjoy that time getting together with people and THEN doing the cookies swap and other fun projects with the kids will be much more enjoyable than doing any more shopping!

I plan to finish my shopping tonight, wrap presents at some point tomorrow, as well as help Corey finish the floor.

OH! I did already finish my Esther homework for the last session Monday night, so that is one thing DONE!

Which means... I may end up finishing my to-do list early! BUT, there are plenty of things waiting that can't be done until last minute, like packing for the kids and a lot of the stuff for Corey and myself as well. Hopefully I am on track to get it ALL done so I have plenty of time to leisurely pack and get all our "stuff" together and printed that we will need for our trip (reservation confirmations, etc).

That's what's up over here. I am getting so excited about our trip, and the time seems to be creeping, yet flying.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Catching Up

We have been busy busy busy around here!
A few weeks ago, Katie had her investiture ceremony for Girl Scouts!

She is now officially a Daisy Scout!
Here she is with her troop.

Thanksgiving weekend was fun. We got our Christmas tree up, did most of our shopping, AND...
put up Christmas lights outside!
Corey and I have never had lights on our house, and we never had them on our houses growing up either!
We started out slowly...just a few! But it was so cheerful to see them when I drove in from Bible study last night!

We still have a lot on our plate as well.
This is what our kitchen floor looks like right now:

About a week and a half ago, I stopped up the sink to fill it up to wash off Noah's crocs. Sometime later I discovered a completely drowned floor and countertop.
The dishwasher had been running so I didn't hear the water running and we got busy with schoolwork. I have no idea how long it was running....probably over an hour!
I thought it was going to be okay, but a few days later we saw the edges of the floorboards start to buckle! agh! More investigation showed that the water had accumulated to about an inch in several pots and buckets inside the cabinets!
So...Sunday afternoon Corey pulled up the damaged boards and all the rest as far as it was wet underneath. At least the damage was on the edge of the floor and not right in the middle! AND we still have an extra box of flooring to use to repair.
PLEASE pray that we can get the boards back in easily!
The original project was not one we ever hoped to repeat, so we are hoping it goes smoothly this time!
That's what we're up to.
That, and getting ready for a cookie swap Friday night, and our Disney trip next Wednesday..
Good times!
UPDATE: I have actually gone ahead and rescheduled the cookie swap.
Regrouping the rest of the day I just realized that there were TOO MANY things going on this weekend and the floor still very iffy..... so ....
it actually has already worked out better for several people...*whew*
I hate to reschedule, but it always ends up happening to me! ha ha!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for my family.
And my friends.
And for moments.... like this. Just being.
Life is good and God is great.

Psalm 30:11-12

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Last night's Esther session was....GREAT as always. I love learning about the origin of words used in the Bible. Here is my favorite point from last night concerning this verse:

Isaiah 30:18

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

In the original language used, the word "longs" in the first line and the word "wait" in the last line are the SAME!

In explanation: "It isn't a wait without the longing." In all instances of waiting...there is inherently a longing. There is something you are waiting for. Waiting for your turn...you are obviously longing for it to be your turn. Waiting for Christmas...you are obviously longing for Christmas.

Then, to think about it with this verse in mind...God is longing for what you are longing to receive. Blessed are YOU who WAIT for HIM! His longing is also the waiting...waiting for the right time. LONGING for that time to be here so He can answer and give you what you LONG and WAIT for....

Such rich words! I am sad that we only have two more sessions! I learn so much every single week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apple Stuffing!

This is the only photo I have. Taken with Corey's I phone. You can't really tell much about it on here though..
(our camera battery charger is currently MIA but probably in my car)

I have never had luck with main meat dishes. I love to make casseroles or pasta, but things like baked chicken and other stuff like that has always just eluded me. I would much rather bake a cake or some cookies!
But, tonight, I have finally found a meat recipe that is easy, replicable (I hope!) and delicious!
AND impressive enough for company!
I made it up off the top of my head while I was in a hurry. We saw a similar recipe on Alton Brown while we were out of town and this is VERY loosely based on it.
Actually the only similarities are pork, bacon, and apples.
I did not write down the amounts of anything! So, here's my best guess...ha ha!

1 (2-3 pound) pork tenderloin

1 box of Stovetop Stuffing
(I used chicken flavored bc that's what I had)

1 Golden Delicious apple, chopped into small cubes
(I did not measure this at all! just enough to wet the stuffing and mix up well with the other ingredients to make a "stuffable" stuffing)
(I poured some out of the jar...a reasonable dollop twice, ha ha!)
(about 1/4 of a stick)
1 package of bacon
(I used Gwaltney hickory smoked bc it was on sale for less than $2)

Mix the diced up apple with some water and honey. Mix in stovetop stuffing and diced up butter. Use your hands to mush it all together to a "stuffing" consistency.
Place the tenderloin in a 10x13 baking dish.
Cut the tenderloin longways down the middle, leaving the ends intact. You can cut "up" into the end of the tenderloin to kind of make a pocket for stuffing.
Stuff the tenderloin with the stuffing mixture. Try to get as much as you can. Wrap the tenderloin in bacon by pulling the sides together a little bit at a time while you wrap pieces of bacon over the top and tuck under the bottom.
After you have wrapped all the bacon around the tenderloin, secure with toothpicks or twine or whatever you have. I broke 3 bamboo skewers in half and poked them sideways through the meat to make sure it stayed together while it cooked. It went right through the middle of the meat sideways. Sprinkle some water over the parts that stick out so they won't burn and to also help give some moisture while it is cooking. You can spread the extra stuffing around the bottom of the dish.
Cut the entire thing in half (the short way) so it will cook faster.
Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until the bacon is getting pretty crisp and the meat looks done from where it was cut in half. It will continue to cook when you take it out, so don't over do it.
I served it with homemade mashed potatoes, garlic green beans with water chestnuts, and crescent rolls.
MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm...it was so good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lessons Learned

Well, today has been quite an exciting day full of plot twists and turns.
I attended another awesome Bible study tonight on the book of Esther.
I have tried to type several things just now in explaining the incredible message and the things we talked about and learned, but it is simply impossible to do it well. All I can say is, if you have a chance to sit in on this study...DO IT!
You will not be sorry..you will be immensely blessed and it may turn out to be your own peripety in the chiastic structure that will one day be your life! (Google it, but it won't do it justice!)

Also, another lesson learned today:
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
You like that one?
I came up with that all by myself today...pretty profound huh? HA!
Timeless, classic, and ever-applicable!
Sleep well!
You never know what God can accomplish while your head is resting on your pillow!
Look what happened in the course of one night of sleeplessness in the book of Esther!

By Your Side

I had the privilege of participating in the sweetest and most powerful communion service that I have ever been part of yesterday morning. We have been in a teaching series on "Fear" over the past few weeks. Yesterday's message was on the fear of betrayal. It was amazing how Pastor Eric connected the fear of betrayal with Judas "THE betrayer" and then led into the communion service. He made the point that Jesus knew that Judas was about to betray Him. Not only Judas, but all the rest of the twelve would desert Him as well. But, he still had this last meal with them, establishing communion. The remembrance. The remembrance that even though He knew they were about to abandon and betray Him...He would not do that to them. He would go and do what He had to do, regardless of the betrayal that was about to happen. And no matter what kind of betrayal we experience, whether we are the "betrayed" or the "betrayer" He is there, waiting...we just have to let him carry us through. He will be by our side.
The band played and sang this song while the communion elements were passed out.
It was not your typical communion song.
It was quite loud, but it was spirit-inspired and
Listen and commune.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caption This Photo!

Comment with your best "caption"
This could be fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The REST of the trip (TONS of photos!)

Now that I have the Delaware incident blogged and out of my head, I can move onto the rest of the trip....

On Sunday, Corey was in the music show all day, and we had checked out of our hotel because we wanted to stay somewhere different (ahem!, ack). We headed over to Valley Forge for the morning/early afternoon because it was very near by. In fact, the music show we were there for was in the Valley Forge Convention Center.

The kids and I drove over and on the way into the visitor's center there was this tree that just begged for photos to be taken!

Now, on to the park! We watched a video about the winter at Valley Forge, then started on the drive through the park. It was a pretty nice sized area with replicas of the huts, soldiers in uniform, lots to learn and see!

Katie and Noah were "Park Rangers" for the day! See their buttons?

We got to see them fire their guns! Katie and Noah both loved that!


In the park was a beautiful church! George Washington Memorial Chapel. It is an Episcopal Church that actually holds services. They were letting out when we arrived. It was so pretty! Above is a photo of Katie and Noah with a replica of the Liberty Bell called the "Justice" bell, on display at the church.

After we left Valley Forge it was just mid-afternoon, so we went to see a movie. We saw the new Disney version of "A Christmas Carol." It was pretty intense, especially the last "ghost of Christmases yet to come" but the kids fared okay. They have already seen other versions of the movie that make it funny (Mickey's and Muppets) so they knew what to expect. There were several "jump out and grab you" moments and like I said, the last ghost was pretty dark and scary, but I loved that it stuck so closely to the grown up versions of the story. It was very similar to the theatrical/musical version Corey and I saw at the Alliance Theater a few years ago in Atlanta. Very true to the story and serious. It is definitely on my buy list because it is a great classic version to watch at Christmas every year. NONE of the typical Jim Carrey goofiness!!! I would recommend it for kids over 6 who don't scare easily or kids who are familiar with the story and with a parent nearby :)

OKAY THEN...on to the next thing.
Of course, Sunday night was not pleasant. When we left Wilmington we were so completely out of sorts that we didn't know what to do. I just wanted to get OUT of Delaware, so we set the GPS for home. The next cities on our path were Baltimore (not Corey's fav. place..kind of rough) and Washington, DC. So we looked on the map and Corey spotted a town he had stayed in many times before where he knew was a nice place to stay and a nice area. It was Sterling, Virginia. It was 1 1/2 hours away..so at 1am we checked into our room and brought in the sleeping kids. It wasn't really till about that time that Corey and I were even settled down enough from our experience to go to sleep anyway...
Upon waking the next morning, we tried to find something fun we could stop and see on the way home.
We did NOT want our week to end on such a horrible memory.
We looked at the Sterling area...nothing.
We considered Jamestown..but it was 3 hours out of the way. :(
Then we noticed and remembered that had driven around Washington, DC on our way to Sterling.
It was only about 25-30 minutes from Sterling!
We quickly confirmed that all the Smithsonian Museums did not charge admission and we were on our way!
It was a 4 1/2 hour blitz of the capitol! ha ha!
3 museums...Smithsonian Natural History, American History, and Air and Space!
A trip to the top of the Washington Monument for Corey and the kids...
beautiful views of the Lincoln Memorial, Capitol building, Smithsonian Castle, and the White House.
A ride on the carousel on the mall lawn... and a 30 minute scenic tour of various buildings while looking for parking when we arrived. Short, sweet, and a fun way to end the trip!

Corey and Katie eating their hot dogs outside the Air and Space museum.

We had to take this photo for Andy and Bethany!

Lovely views and photo ops!

Museum of American History.

A really cool looking building that turned out to be either the EPA or IRS! ha ha!

Natural History Museum.

It cost us $17 to park for half the day! (up to 1 hr was $8.50, 1-17 hrs was $17, 17-24 hours was $37!) ACK! But, it was worth it. We had a great time and ended the trip on a fun note. We spent the night not too much further down the road than the night before and made the drive all the way home yesterday night...arriving home at 10:30pm!
What an unexpected but FUN week!!!!!
After 7 years we finally got to go on a trip with Corey for work. I know I have posted so many photos of our fun times, but it wasn't ALL lolly-gagging. We spent a good 2 1/2 days sitting in our hotel room in King of Prussia. The mall there turned out to be just too huge and overwhelming to navigate with two young children. So, we did some school work and hung out doing nothing. We spent plenty of time sitting in the car... we barely even got out of the car at all in Pittsburgh while Corey ran into music stores and did the "work" part of the trip. But, I am very thankful that we had this opportunity. We are happy to be home in our own beds and ready to rest off the week!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Night in Delaware

I have to pause in my posting about our trip to share about our experience in Delaware.

First of all, I have to say that I have always wanted to visit the northeast part of the country. Our trip to New York did not work out due to time and money constraints. We decided it would not be worth the headache of hustling both the kids around the city and not having a plan or the funds to do an official tour in the short amount of time we had, so the plan was to come home through Delaware and Maryland and see some of the sights of those states since we had never been. (well Corey has been through all those states to Maine, but the rest of us had not)

ANYWAY. We left out of King of Prussia around 7pm and drove the short 30 miles to Wilmington, DE. I had researched and found a great rate on a hotel there, found some cool things to see the next morning, etc. We were tired of looking at the four walls of our hotel room in King of Prussia and decided to look at another set of walls for that night instead, ha.

None of the shops in downtown Wilmington were open, as it was a Sunday night. We checked into the hotel, went out for a quick dinner, then back to the room.

I would just like to say that when we walked into the place, I felt....something. Truthfully, I rarely get that feeling but I chalked it up to too much sugar and caffeine. This or that person looked shady or creepy. Someone out on the sidewalk looked suspicious. Some of you may know I tend to think things like that anyway, but truthfully...this place looked very nice and well kept...beautifully decorated..but I just felt weird.
We went to the room and started getting settled. Called for extra bedding for the fold out. I was giving baths while Corey got the bed ready. He came to show me the sheets.
There were two tiny blood spots on them. UGH.

what to do? Some of you probably would have left immediately. Those of you who have ever unloaded over a week's worth of luggage in a hotel room not on the first floor with two kids already in pajamas would have given it another chance. We did. Used a different sheet and then checked out the main bed.

Ugh. I can't even write on here what we speculate was on those sheets.
Corey said, "Okay, we are leaving, start packing things up and I will get a cart."

Seconds after the door shut behind him I started hearing blood curdling screams from the room next door.
Shouting. Yelling. Cursing. Horrific words and SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS.
A seriously violent domestic dispute. Horror movie sounds.
I think that God must have shut the ears of our innocent children because they went about their play while I with trembling and as fast as possible moving hands packed up the rest of our things. There is no other reason why they shouldn't have heard. It was so loud and right against our room wall. It was.... truly frightening, as in, it is about to bust through that wall and hurt us all frightening. Someone is about to shoot you or someone else frightening.

I cannot convey in typed words how haunting and terrifying the sounds were that came through those walls. I started praying for the person in that room that was bearing the brunt of that indescribable abuse. I didn't know what else to do. I prayed for us...that we would get out before it spilled out of that room into the rest of the hotel. In completely and total honesty... I was scared for our lives if that person came out into the hallway looking for another outlet. It was horrid. It was real.

Corey came back into the room with the cart. Katie and Noah asked why we were in such a rush. We told them that they had to be absolutely quiet in the hallway and to walk quickly and silently with us. If that man came out the door and something bothered him in the least...like a child singing or talking...I shudder to think of it.
At no other point in my life have I ever felt like just running out with the clothes on my back. We loaded the cart and headed a different way that we thought would take us to the elevator but it was a dead end. We went back to the elevator and waited... I was shaking so badly and my heart was beating so hard. The yelling and screaming and shouting went on and on and on and on and on...it did not cease. At one point it sounded like the door was opening and I thought I was going to throw up right then and there but it didn't. Somewhere on the floor a baby was crying this entire time as well. We are not sure if it was in the same room or not, but we prayed it was not.

We walked quickly and quietly through the very nice lobby past the very nice desk clerk who was checking in another couple that reminded me very much of Pretty Woman, if you catch my meaning.

The desk clerk, whom Corey had talked to a short while and was very friendly, followed us outside to where we had parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the door because he allowed us to when we checked in. Corey then told him what was happening upstairs.

I have never felt such relief as when we had our children in the car with the doors closed and when Corey was sitting in the driver's seat beside me.
We were so thankful to have not had to come in contact with the THING that was in the next room. The timing of everything worked out so well and as we drove to Virginia at 11pm, we were at a loss as to the reason we had been there to begin with.

We could have stayed in our room in King of Prussia and just driven to Delaware the next day. We could have chosen a different hotel. The place wasn't a bad motel. It wasn't a no-name roach coach. It looked nice, the price was moderate and the clerk seemed friendly. But there was just something off about it. Corey had left the room to take the cart back the first time and had gotten in a conversation with the desk clerk. He was gone a longer time than normal and I completely panicked. No reason that I knew of. But I totally panicked. There was something in me that was on edge from the moment we checked in.

We concluded that the reason we were there was to speak up. Corey told what was happening and hopefully the clerk did something about it. Perhaps we should have called the police, but we were so shook up by the whole thing....we could barely catch our breath or think coherently.
I was literally sick afterward. I could do nothing but shake and cry. I was shaking from the anxiety of trying to get out of there with our kids safely. I was crying because what I had just heard was a brutal run in with things I have thankfully never personally heard or known firsthand in my lifetime. I was crying because we could not tell for sure where that baby was that was also crying. I was shaking and crying because we were there and unable to stop it. All we could do was tell someone.
We nervously recounted the events. What he heard. When Corey heard the noise start (as the elevator doors were closing on his way down to get the cart to load up). What we may have forgotten to grab out of the room as we ran out. How we could have done things differently, or what ifs...

We were going to just go to another nearby hotel, but there was no chance of sleep so we drove. We drove as far as we could reasonably go and still get our money's worth of another room. The kids slept. They never knew what happened. In the car they asked why we were in such a hurry and we just told them it was because it was so late we need to hurry to find another place because that one was dirty.
The went to sleep. Peacefully and trustingly.

That's why we woke up in Virginia Monday morning instead of Delaware. I will never forget hearing those sounds of emotional and physical abuse. I will never stop being thankful for the life I have and the life my kids have. I will never stop being thankful that we were gone before whatever else happened that night. I will never forget my first visit to Delaware.

This is the only photo I took in Delaware...as we were driving into Wilmington.
I just noticed the motto on the bottom of the sign. It says: "A place to be somebody"
.... hmmmmmm.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Vampire Tour

(This is not my photo)
We made a last minute decision (seeing a pattern here?!) to do the vampire tour of Philadelphia last night. We were driving around trying to find a place to eat dinner. We had already done a mall food court a few times, and it was looking like we were going to have to do McDonald's or Chili's... We made a rule earlier in the trip after having had KFC and Steak n Shake, that we wanted to try our best to eat at places we do not have at home.
Since Corey will be busy the next two days all day at the music show, we decided to go ahead and drive into Philadelphia to eat a Philly Cheese steak. With several recommendations, we decided to eat at Pat's King of Steaks. Our photos didn't turn out well so I found this one online.

We brought our food back to the car because there was no indoor seating and it was COLD!
Katie and Noah had hot dogs.

Corey got his "wit whiz" (with onions and cheese whiz)

I got mine "wit widdout" (with onions, without cheese whiz, provolone instead)
We got plenty of cheese fries too! Mmmmm!
The cheese steaks were good!
Since we were already downtown and SEPTA still on strike, we decided to just go ahead and see what we could see together! We saw...Washington Square...a beautiful park with memorials.
Here is the tomb of the unknown soldiers of the Revolutionary War.

After MUCH walking around and seeing other sights, we finally found the Liberty Bell!
They were doing construction all around it and it turned out we had actually parked RIGHT beside it but we didn't know. We were actually getting in the car to leave and Corey went to check out one more place...and there it was!
(all my maps were in the hotel room!!!)
This is through the window because of course the building was closed for the night.
You actually can't get super close to it inside anyway.
There was a fence outside the building with a brick ledge.
I suggested we put the kids on the ledge so they could get another good look (they had already seen it up close from the side and heard the automated narration).
When we put the kids up there a guard across the street blew his whistle really loudly a few times and yelled something.
It kind of startled us!!!! We really didn't know you couldn't do that, there wasn't a sign at all!!
Oh well..we got down and left. ha ha. It is funny now, but not at the time.
There were policemen on every street corner and especially around the monuments.

After seeing the Liberty Bell and many other big and awesome buildings around the city, we decided to go ahead and find the "Rocky Steps."
IT WAS SO HARD to get where we wanted to go! We accidentally got back on the interstate headed back to King of Prussia accidentally because the lanes were so confusing! But, we were determined, since this was the last thing on our "must-see" list.
FINALLY, we found it!

We took so many pictures here! These are just a few.

Katie and Noah "running" up the steps. Corey and Noah really did go all the way to the top but those photos didn't turn out well because of the lamps.
Katie wanted to go to the top but we got up the first flight and when I turned around I got really dizzy from looking down the stairs so I know I couldn't have come down once I got up there!

Here is one more shot from our night tour. This building had lights to make the Phillies emblem!
Now we had seen and done the "big" things we wanted to see in Philadelphia. AND we got to do it together! I am very happy about that. It was cold, but the kids were thrilled to see the Liberty Bell in person and we had a cheese steak! Check, check, and the Rocky Steps...check!
Today we plan on seeing Valley Forge.
We will get to spend much more time there than we did in actual Philadelphia, but with the schedule being what it is, this is just the best plan for us.
At least we got to come! We had never seen any of it before, and now we have.
Driving around Philadelphia was a MAZE and now that we have seen most of what we really wanted to see (that is free!) there is no reason to pay for a bus pass even if they do end the strike.
Valley Forge is less than a mile from our hotel. I can drive there myself!
I would NOT want to drive around Philadelphia by myself...it was SO confusing! (plus it costs to park anywhere!)
Between Valley Forge and the King of Prussia Mall, we have plenty to keep us busy until Monday (New York New York!)
Oh, and there is also all the schoolwork I brought as well. We spent several hours yesterday on bookwork and have plenty more of that to do too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Impromptu Fall Break!

Last Friday, Corey came home and reminded me about his upcoming trip to Pennsylvania.
I asked, "Can we come?"
I have often asked that question but then we usually both decide pretty quickly that the timing wouldn't work or something. BUT, this time...there wasn't a reason to not go, so there I was planning for an over a week road trip with only two days to prepare!
If you know me at all, you know I am kind of an obsessive trip planner! ha ha!
Laundry, packing, and quick research and we were on our way, early Monday morning!

Our kids have been FANTASTIC road travelers!

Our first stop "of note" on our drive from Adairsville, GA to Pittsburgh, PA, was at the Sanders Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky. Here they are sitting with "The Colonel."
(by the way....not too impressive of a stop, ha!)
We made it all the way to Wheeling, WV on our first day's drive! Talk about great timing! About an hour from Pittburgh. (if that) Here they are enjoying their favorite feature of traveling with Daddy, especially to the north where most pools at hotels are indoor!

Riding on the cart...another fun activity! ha!
We spent that next day around the Pittsburg area. I have to say, the view when you go through the Ft. Pitt Tunnel and come out onto a bridge and see THIS view...is breathtaking! My photos don't do it justice and it is impossible to get the affect because you go through this really long tunnel and then see that view...amazing! Click on that link to see someone else's better photo! ha! We got out at a mall in Pittsburg while Corey drove around to see some music stores. Then the next day, Wednesday...we spent part of in Hershey. Of course in between all this stuff we are stopping at music stores (the purpose of the trip so far).
Hershey was pretty fun. They have a free chocolate factory tour..well, it is a simulated "ride" that shows how chocolate is made from the beginning to the end.
Here is Katie enjoying some chocolate barbecue sauce. It was really delicious. Not sweet chocolate, but made with a tad of cocoa. Mmmmm.
We stopped outside Hershey while Corey plotted out the next stores and places to see on our way to the Lancaster area.
They played on a playground and wrote postcards. I have to say that the GPS has been amazing for this trip. We just searched for "park" and went straight to the closet playground!
Yesterday, Katie and I decided to be twins for the day. I curled my hair like hers.

Here we are in Lancaster County...Amish country!
It rained.
We had lunch at the Bird-in-Hand Family restaurant. DE-LI-CIOUS! Homemade food and desserts. I had to get this photo for my Beverly Lewis loving friends! So cool!
The horse and buggy carriages were everywhere. We didn't take a buggy tour because we are trying to save up our money so we can do everything we really want to do that we have to pay for (more on that later). It was neat to drive through, even though it was raining the whole time.

These are our church t-shirts. Everyone who travels gets their photos made to put in our bulletin to show where all our "shirts" have been. It is a fun thing to do! It was so cold and rainy that we just threw Corey's and my t-shirts over their coats to get a photo!
My husband..the Amish farmer.

I thought this sign was so funny! The photo was actually taken at a Wal-mart parking lot. They had a separate parking area for horses and buggies. One had actually just backed up and pulled out but we missed getting the photo! :(

SO....I am sitting in our hotel room right now. We are in King of Prussia, PA for the weekend for a music show. Katie and Noah are enjoying another perk of hotels rooms...cable! ha ha! We have our schoolwork to work on when we have time.

When Corey is finished with set-up today we hope to head over to Philadelphia or Valley Forge. The plan was for me to take the local bus system and see some things on my own with the kids, but the local transit is on strike! Total change of plans! I do NOT feel comfortable driving over to Philadelphia by myself. It is about 20 miles from where we are.

Now...for the really fun news! We hope to take a train from New Jersey to New York City on Monday!!!! We found out it would cost about $60 round trip for the four of us...so that is why we are being very frugal with what we choose to do! I have never been there and being so close I am very excited about the idea!!!!! New stuff to research! ha ha!