John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

John, Sara Beth, Callum, Haley, Kobe, and Samuel

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There Aren't Enough Days In The Weekend

Have you ever had a great weekend? Not just great but GRRRREAT? We did this past weekend. I decided late Thursday night that we would have to get out and about and really have a wonderful weekend for a couple of different reasons: 1. Since I had been sick and cooped up inside all week I felt the need to “get the stink blown off of me” and get out! 2. I really needed some quality family time since I had pretty much slept for three out of five days and the other two I spent feverishly working at my job or at home trying to play catch up from being sick. So, the decision had been made. I was going to come up with a great weekend! My plans were altered a tad from what I had envisioned in my mind but it ended up even better!

I was literally running for my SUV at 4:30 last Friday because I could not wait to get to my two little boys. Those two sweet babies had been so patient with me and helped take good care of their momma while I didn’t feel well and I could not wait to surprise them with what I had up my sleeve. As soon as they were both in the car I told them that John and I had a surprise for them. Of course that got them super excited! I had a couple of errands to run and John wasn’t due home for a couple of hours so we took off to stock up on candy. Not just any candy either. The “movie” candy at Wal-Mart. The kids love having candy in the boxes like you get at the movies. I let them  pick three boxes each and I grabbed some for myself and John. I had a couple of other things to grab and then we were out the door. Of course the boys were trying to guess what we had planned but they had no idea. They thought we were having a special Rainey Family Cinema Night when they saw that we were buying candy (I normally buy the candy without them being there so I can surprise them). I told them that it was something none of us had ever done before. Then they were stumped! We finished our errands and went home to get ready to leave for our adventure. The boys saw me packing a cooler. This really puzzled them. Are we going on a boat? Nope. It’s something we’ve never done before. Then I had them each grab their small blankets and a throw pillow off of their beds and two large blankets and put them in the back of the car. OH! They had it now they said. We were going Camping! Nope. It is something we have never done before! At that moment John pulled into the driveway and we loaded up in the car and headed out. The boys were so excited. It was so sweet. We turned in to King Drive In. They still had no idea what we were doing. Once we explained what you do at a drive in movie they were really excited. Even more excitement came when they found out we were there to watch Cars 2 and The Green Lantern. Two movies? Kobe couldn’t believe we were getting to stay for two movies. I set up the back  with blankets and pillows and the boys headed to get popcorn. We had a fun time together. We didn’t really do anything special. Just sat together and laughed and watched a movie together. Those are the best kind of times though. As soon as Cars 2 went off of the big screen John immediately began looking around for a “better spot” to watch The Green Lantern. He ran off with one of our chairs and found the perfect spot and “saved” it with a chair! We drove up very close to the screen and set everything back up. The boys really thought it was cool that they got to ride in the very back just sitting back there…not in a seat…or a seat belt! We fixed the boys inside with blankets and pillows and John and I sat outside (it was so nice and cool with a breeze) in our chairs. Before the movie even started the boys were out like a light. So, we kind of got a little “date” too! John was SUPER excited about this movie. I on the other hand, well, I didn’t “get it”. I ended up falling asleep as well but we were all together so that is all that matters! When the movie was over I helped pack the car up, well, not really I was super tired and John saw me trying to put my chair in the back and he told me just to get in the car that he would get it all put back inside. Sweet man! We chatted on the drive home and talked about how we need to make that something we do often. The boys were so tired that they slept through us buckling them in and getting them out and putting them in their beds. It was truly a great night. The best part about it was that no alarm clock was set!

The next morning, as usual, I was the first one up. I started the laundry and began cleaning a little bit. One by one my guys began waking up and then I stopped with the cleaning and came to the living room. John HATES breakfast food so he always has a frozen pizza on Saturday mornings. He says it is his little treat for the week. He really looks forward to that frozen pizza. I decided to have some pizza for breakfast as well. Kobe and Samuel wanted to play some games so John and I did something we enjoy. Netflix. We found a documentary we had been wanting to see and watched it while we ate our pizza. My original plan for the day was for us to get up and head to the pool. Due to some complications in scheduling we ended up needing to drive to Tennessee for the day to pick Haley up from her grandmother’s house. We decided to make a day of it. We, once again, packed up the cooler with a picnic lunch, plenty of snacks, and plenty of drinks and headed out. We took John’s car. The kids LOVE his car. It is small and sporty and….(drum roll please) it has a sunroof! We had no particular plans at all except to go get Haley and then see what we could get into. The first thing we decided to do was go see John’s grandmother, Effie. We call her Maw Rainey. She is in a nursing home and so we try to take the kids and stop by as often as we can to help her have a better day and honestly…to try and help her remember John and them as well. As a side note, it is very heart wrenching to say goodbye to someone who isn’t for sure on who you are when you walk in and you think they MAY know who you are when you leave…but you know this is a battle you will face the next time too. My heart goes out to John each and every time he has to do this. I cry each time. I can’t help it. The boys LOVE going to the nursing home to visit. I wish I could say it is because they like to cheer up the residents but that isn’t why. It is because of the food service staff. They have been known to load them up with ice cream, cookies, apples, drinks, and pretty much anything they want. Once Sam climbed up in this huge chair and sat by a resident and put his little hand on his shoulder and just watched TV. It literally melted my heart. Kobe sat on the other side. They all three ate their cookies and looked at the TV. I wondered who that man thought they were or if he even realized they were there. OK, enough of the sad/sweet stuff and back to the weekend. Everyone always feels a little “down” when we leave and John always feels nostalgic. So, we drove around and John showed us different landmarks of his youth. I love that I know these stories. I know that when he was little his mom would give him a nickel and he would go to the little store near the airport and get a sucker. Not just any sucker either. One of those suckers that were made like a sweet tart. They were round and had different colored layers on them. They would last forever. I loved those things when I was little too. Every time we pass by that airport market I will think of him being little and riding his bike and getting a sucker. Once we were through going down memory lane we decided to head to Shiloh. First things first, we headed straight to the river and had our lunch. We watched boats and even got a barge to honk at us while we watched them travel the river. We looked around and walked up to an old house and looked around it and at the trees and then we just drove around looking at everything. It was beginning to get a little late (we had a LATE lunch at about 3:00) and we had a big day the next day too. So, we started off towards home but quickly came upon the Sunrise CafĂ©. We couldn’t pass it by because it had a sign on the front of the building that said, “SLUGBURGERS ARE HERE!”. If you know my husband, you know this made him stomp on the brakes real quickly! He LOVES slug burgers. So we waited in the car and he ran in to buy one… well four. He was so thrilled. Kobe ate one up right away and Sam ate a few bites too. I even tried it and it was DELICIOUS! So we were all pretty happy on the drive home. Next time though, I am getting a catfish plate… I mean how can I go to the catfish capital (that’s what the sign said!) and NOT get a catfish plate??? So we finally made our way into Florence and stopped at Miami Ice for a nice COLD surprise. I got “Jonas Brothers” (mango and cream), John got “Silver Fox” (vanilla), Haley got watermelon, Kobe got “Roll Ride” (cherry and cream), and Samuel got “Superman” (Blue marshmallow and Cherry). On the way home we decided to stop at the splash pad and let the kids run and play for a little while to get some energy out since we had been in the car for a while. Once we got home we showered and got all clean and refreshed and lounged in the air conditioning and watched movies. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Sunday was a BIG day. We had church in the park. Last year and this year we have had a “Service in the Park”. We LOVE service in the park because it is very intimate and we get to just fellowship with our friends and family. We packed our cooler with our portion of the picnic lunch (we got our use out of our cooler this weekend!) and headed out to Veteran’s Park in Florence. We even got there on time! That in itself is amazing. We worshipped the Lord through song and heard a great message from Pastor Bill. Even Samuel put his little hands up in the air and the kids all just listened and focused on the message that was being delivered. Several people came to Christ that morning. It was awesome. Each family brings a picnic lunch for themselves plus a little extra. We had chicken tenders, chips, potato wedges, and rice krispie treats for dessert. It was so much fun. Then the kids headed off to play and I headed off to chat with friends. John chatted a little with his friends and then they all decided to play a game of football with the kids. It began to look like it was about to rain so most people began to leave and so John and the boys helped get all the sound equipment and chairs put away and Haley and I put stuff in the car. About the time we were ready to leave the bottom fell out! I mean, it POURED. We got DRENCHED running to the car but it was fun. It was a nice cool down type of rain. Once home we dried off and got ready for my favorite part of the week… Sunday afternoon naps! Once nap time was over we threw it into high gear and got ready because we were headed out to see the group Acappella perform at a local church. The performance was great. I mean it was fabulous. It kept all of our attention and all of us really enjoyed it and clapped and sang and participated. It was a really great way to end such a wonderful weekend. I am really looking forward to more PACKED weekends like this one.

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless. ~Bill Watterson
There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million.  ~Walt Streightiff

Monday, June 27, 2011

52 Home --- Week 26

On the way home...
Saturday June 25th, 2011

Half of A Decade

Half of a Decade. That is just five years. But what a difference it can make. Five years ago, I married my best friend. A few people didn’t think we should get married. We had only dated for around 8 months but we knew we wanted to be married to each other and why wait? So, we didn’t wait! We planned our wedding in less than two weeks and it was absolutely perfect.

We got married in Gatlinburg. We were married overlooking a beautiful mountain in a little flower covered gazebo. Callum was John’s Best “man”. Haley was my Maid of Honor and Kobe gave the bride away. I wore a white strapless dress with large black flowers on it that I found on the clearance rack at GAP and some beautiful black stilettos (my shoes cost more than the dress!). John wore black pants and a white shirt. Callum wore a button up shirt with orange and blue and brown and khakis. Haley wore a pink tank top and a floral skirt. Kobe wore a pink button up shirt and white shorts. That morning John surprised me with some beautiful pink flowers to serve as my bouquet. I can’t believe I had forgotten that I would want a bouquet! When he gave them to me he said, “Every Bride needs a bouquet!”. Our parents were there and John’s sister and her boyfriend were there. It was exactly what we wanted. Small and surrounded by the people we loved most and that most loved us.

Some days those five years seem like they have taken FOREVER and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. One thing is for sure: it is true what they say… that you love someone more and more…even more than the day you married them. I love who John was, is, and is becoming. I am loving living life with him and raising our family together. There have been rocky times but I am so thankful that we chose to “stick it out” and get through the bad parts so we could get to the good parts. I am glad that he is my best friend and I am thankful he is my partner in life. I have to brag on the Lord a little…He knew what he was doing when He put us together!

We had planned on having a date night to celebrate our anniversary. The kids packed their little backpacks and headed out to Nana and Poppa’s house and there we were. Alone. It rarely happens. We don’t know what to do when it does either! So, we decided on frozen pizza and Netflix! Just relaxing and talking and having no particular thing in mind. The next morning we slept in and then decided to make a day of just being together. We hung out all day long. Just us. We went to a flea market and just browsed around and talked and held hands and laughed. Then it was on to lunch. It was so nice to have lunch with him without taking a child to the bathroom and telling a child to eat and all the fun of having young children during a dining out experience. We went to Fat Boys Grill where they were playing episodes of Lost, which is one of our favorite shows. We took our time eating and talking and just savoring every moment. The owner, who also goes to church with us, decided to treat us to dessert since it was our anniversary. We shared our dessert and then it was time to go.

By that time it was time to go get the boys picked up. We were refreshed and ready to see them. We ended the day just as we wanted. All Together. I look forward to many more years with John and I am so thankful for our marriage.

On our Wedding Day June 17, 2006

Just Hanging Out June 17th, 2011

Five on Friday 06-24-11 (Summer Blockbusters)

Here is this week's Five On Friday! I got the list at HERE if you would like to participate and create your own Friday 5 blog. I hope you each had a Fabulous Friday, friends!

This Week's Topic: Summer Blockbusters

1. What transformation do you undergo on summer Fridays at midnight? **A Transformation that takes place for me is that I get into FULL weekend mode. This means no emails, no work, no work phone calls, John is home and I am home, the kids are home, no waking up early and going to bed late! The whole family is together and we just try to pack as much fun and “stuff” in as possible.**

2. What super power do the kids in your neighborhood seem to have? **The ability to run off NO sleep!! I wish they would pass that my way!**

3. Who (or what!) is your nemesis in these warm summer days? **BUGS! I don’t care for ANY bug of ANY kind and they seem to all creep out about this time of year.**

4. What is your trustiest weapon against the evil heat monster? **ICE CREAM!**

5. What seems to be invading your life lately, and how will you fend it off? **Offensive actions and words. I plan to fend it off with prayer and limited contact with those that hurt me.**

Thankful Thursday 06-23-2011

I was feeling “under the weather” last week and had a severe case of food poisoning so I am playing catch up this week.

The following make the list for the things I am most thankful for this week:

1. God’s Love. Wonderful.Perfect.Pure.Unconditional Love.

2. Jesus. How powerful of a name. Speak His name and He WILL come to you. At just the mention of his name the enemy MUST scatter. Thank you Jesus!

3. My Husband. John is just pitching in with so much lately and helping make my life a little lot easier. I really appreciate all he is doing. While I was sick he called to check on me A LOT and took very good care of me.

4. My Boys! Those two have been such a sweet and big help to me this week. I haven’t been able to move let alone do anything with them at all. They understood and brought me sprite,straws, and crackers. They rubbed my arms and most importantly stayed quiet so I could try to feel better. Then, finally Thursday night I began to feel a tad bit better and decided to preheat the oven and put some mini corndogs in for dinner. I know, great dinner, huh? But, just as I was feeling guilty for not making our regular type of dinner they both came running to tell me that I make the *best* mini corndogs ever and that I am the best mommy ever.

5. My Parents. I just so happened to get food poisoning the week of the month that John is super busy with work. He did as much as possible and helped as much as he could but there were times he simply wasn’t able to be there. My mom took and picked the kids up when we needed her to and my mom and dad took them for dinner, church, and then they got talked into ice cream too on Wednesday night. My mom also drove me to the doctor and waited with me. Nothing like good parents.

6. Medicine. I normally do not take a lot of medicine. Not even really a Tylenol. It has to be serious before I will even consider it. Let’s just say I took medicine this past week and I am so thankful for the doctor and the prescriptions.

7. Good Popsicles. I had Mayfield Popsicles (Sugar free) this past week and they served as my “meals” for a couple of days. They were yummy! All of the flavors were good but Cherry was my favorite.

8. TV Marathons. Criminal Minds and The First 48 kept me occupied this past week while I was at home and I really like both of those shows so I am glad that these were in “marathon mode”.

9. Answered Prayers. I have had a desire in my heart for quite some time and the Lord is working it out for me. It isn’t TODAY but it is so NEAR! I am so thankful for the opportunity and I can NOT wait to start a new “Chapter” in life.

10. My GREAT Church Family. I am so blessed with great Pastors and great church friends and family.


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Dark Knight

Friday night Samuel and Kobe spent the night with my mom. They LOVE going to Nana’s because it normally involves some sort of spoiling. This weekend did not disappoint. Friday night they got their choice in dinner: McDonald's. Once they were to Nana and Poppa’s house they were allowed to pretty much do anything their little hearts desired. I probably don’t want to know everything they did but I do know that at some point Samuel found a Batman costume that Kobe wore once for Halloween. That night they watched The Dark Knight and I am sure that Samuel dreamed of bat mobiles, fighting off the “bad guys”, and of course, the Joker. The next day they got up and got their Saturday morning breakfast Nana and Poppa style… fast food sausage and biscuits…their favorite! Later when I talked to them they were on the way for ice cream and slushies. At this point, I began feeling bad for my mom because I KNEW that in a short while they would lose their little sweet minds due to sugar so John and I headed over to pick them up. As soon as we got there Samuel ran straight to John and asked if they could “talk inside the house”. John went in while I looked at all the Pokemon cards that Kobe acquired while with his Nana and heard about all the things they had been doing. Samuel and John came back out with the Batman costume that they had found earlier. My mom had told Sam he could take it home as long as we didn’t mind. Of course we didn’t mind. But, we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into at that point.

The whole ride home was filled with the following: Can I put this costume on when we get home? Yes Sam. When will be home? In a minute, Sam. So as soon as we hit the living room he began getting undressed. We put him in his new costume and off to the bathroom he went. He wanted to watch it light up. The chest has the emblem of batman on it and it lights up. It really is a very cool costume. He wore that costume ALL day long except for the time that he fell asleep and I took it off of him because he was so hot inside of that costume. As soon as those little eyes popped open from his nap he wanted it right back on. He played like this making sound effects and jumping and darting all over the place and walking with his little chest puffed out! The costume also has built in muscles so he was flexing those as well.

Soon it was time for John to go pick up Haley from the airport and for us to go to the grocery store. Yep. You guessed it. Samuel was not there. Only Batman. We had been instructed earlier in the day that we were to no longer call Samuel by his name but only by Batman and he began referring to himself as Batman. Batman is hungry. Batman needs to potty. Batman wants a popsicle. And so on and so forth all day long. So, I took Batman to fight crime at our local Wal-Mart. Kobe wanted to DIE. He said he was so embarrassed to be walking into Wal-Mart with Sam dressed that way. He couldn’t believe I was really going to let him go in like that! I reminded him that there were a few times that I have taken him dressed as a Red Power Ranger with TWO swords. So that shut him up real quick!

Samuel is a good little actor! He walked all around with that chest puffed out hopped all around and “swooshing” his cape around and “Climbing buildings” that were really shelves that held 2 liter drinks. We had fun and Kobe and I shared a few laughs. The other patrons of Wal-Mart were just as amused. Samuel had several people come to him and say Hey Batman! Or I have always wanted to meet a SuperHero…and that made him REALLY get his acting skills going. He was SO funny! It was a great time and a cute little memory.

Later all I heard was: "Batman wants to watch a movie." "Batman wants popcorn and M&Ms" "Batman needs a drink"...Batman was beginning to get a little too needy and then, once Batman's every request had been fulfilled he walked over and climbed up in my lap and put his arms (with built in muscles) around my neck and said, "Batman loves his mommy with all of his heart!" and that is when I decided that Batman could stay.


Batman showing us his muscles

Batman got hot. He took off his costume but kept the cape and mask. He likes eating Cho Cho chicken from The Rice Box too.

Fighting crime at Wal-Mart

And yes, for those who were wondering...even Batman needs his rest.

52 Home--Week 25

June 19th, 2011

It Takes Someone Special

When I first met John, watching him with Callum and Haley is one of the reasons I knew I wanted to be around him and possibly date him. When I began watching him with Kobe, that is when I knew I loved him. It really does take a special kind of man to come in when relationships have already been built and established and be a dad to a three year old child. John has always treated each child with love, consistency, and patience. Samuel is his little pal. Those two are the sweetest little duo. They love each other and always want to be around each other. Samuel is definitely a daddy’s boy. John works very hard to provide for our family and tries to show the children things and take time and care to teach them about all different areas in life. I am so proud that he is the father to our children and for the type of father he is to them. It takes a very special person to be called Dad.

Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad. ~Author Unknown

I have an amazing father as well. My dad has always showed me the important thing in life. He showed me that you have a good work ethic. You work hard. You do your best. You don’t lie. You don’t cheat. You don’t steal. You treat your momma with respect and love. You are there for the people you love when it is good and when it is hard. You are especially there for each other when it would be easier to walk away and when everyone else does… even if you are the only one left there…you stay! I have had a lot of times when I looked around and the only one there was my daddy. The day after Kobe was born is one example. I woke up that morning and looked to my right. Empty. Nothing there. An empty bassinet from the nursery. I panicked. I looked to my left. There was my dad. Sitting in the rocking chair holding Kobe and just “being” there. Sometimes, he had to love me by showing tough love and other times he loved me from a distance but he has always loved me and always swooped in to save the day even if he didn’t want to because he would have rather me learned a lesson. He is a great dad. He is a great poppa. My boys adore him. He takes time to show them things and teaches them how to do things and takes them fishing and hunting or just to look at the boats. I am blessed to have him as my dad and John as my children’s dad.

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty. ~Author Unknown

With that said, here is how we spent Father’s Day this year:

I woke up a little early so that I could make homemade biscuits for sausage and biscuits. John is not a big fan of breakfast food and sausage biscuits are about all he likes in that department so I decided to make biscuits for breakfast. I ended up making biscuits, sausage, bacon, and eggs. While I was cooking John came through the dining room where the boys were sitting drawing and painting and I heard “Happy Father’s Day” from Kobe and “Happy Daddy’s Day” from Samuel! We had a yummy breakfast and then headed to church. After breakfast the children wanted to give John his gifts. Because John LOVES the outdoors the boys wanted to get him ALL camping stuff for Father’s Day this year. So, that is just what we did. They picked out a “Day Trip” first aid kit, some sort of set of utensils that has all kinds of tools on them (for sure a spoon, fork, and knife), a mess kit, and a knife (to fight off bears, of course according to Kobe and Sam). The card they picked out was super cute too! It was a camping scene with a little tent that actually “opened” up on the front and had a campfire and on the inside it said, “Dad You Have Made Me One Happy Camper!”. They each signed the card and drew a separate picture to put in with it as well. Samuel made John a little book about dads at school and a cup and bookmark and church. Kobe made him a card with coupons in inside at church. One of the coupons was good for a game of Modern Warfare and Black Ops for them to play together... I don't know if that is for John or Kobe.  Kobe picked out a wooden cruise ship and Samuel picked out an “Army” helicopter and they painted them for John. Haley made John a cute little puppy dog and colored it. Church was wonderful. After that we went to The Rice Box (of course!) for lunch and enjoyed time with my parents as well. While we waited the boys were really “playing it up” so I snapped some pictures. I wanted to get a few pictures of John with the kids and my dad with the kids… of course, it didn’t happen as planned. We always say we will get the picture after we eat so this time while we waited on our food I got a picture of the boys and my dad and right as I was getting ready to get the kids with John… the food came out! So, we said we would get it when we left. Samuel ended falling asleep in John’s lap so that didn’t happen. I always seem to FAIL when trying to get pictures. After lunch we went home and relaxed with John. It was a great day. I am glad that we were able to spend time with John and with my dad and honor them for the great fathers that they are.

"Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys."

~ Author Unknown

Funny Brothers!

WILD brothers!

This is *SO* Samuel!

My favorite!

Same as above but the boys' wouldn't be serious and their facial expressions really crack me up in this picture!


My mom and the boys

My dad and the little guys

Friday, June 17, 2011

52 Home--Week 24

June 17, 2011

All Kobe needs is a piece of string to be entertained!

It's A Ladder

And a mask

Cat whiskers!

Five On Friday 6-17-11 (Around The House)

Here is this week's Five On Friday! I got the list at HERE if you would like to participate and create your own Friday 5 blog. I hope you each had a Fabulous Friday, friends!

This Week's Topic: Around The House

1. Of the products you use just to keep yourself clean and presentable, what seems to be the most overpriced? **I usually am pretty price savvy so I don’t really spend much on any ONE item. The one that I would say I splurge the most on is Victoria’s Secret Body Wash**

2. Where in your house is a reliable place to get a few quarters? **John’s change jar on the dresser. We aren’t supposed to get into it because he is saving his change for something …but there are times that I rob that little jar!**

3. A rare yes-or-no question on Friday 5: Have you ever dropped your cell phone onto your face? **HAHA! YES!**

4. What did you last take out of your freezer? **Ice Pack for Kobe’s lunch cooler for Summer Camp.**

5. How many rolls of wrapping paper do you have in your house? **Maybe two. Three tops. I don’t “stock up” like my mom does. I buy the roll I want for that particular occasion but I mostly use gift bags.**

Thankful Thursday 6-16-11

Things that made the “top ten” things I am thankful for this week:

1. God’s Love. When I think of how much God must love me to send His only Son to DIE for me and for my sins…it is overwhelming!

2. Jesus. Sometimes I find myself thinking about bad choices I have made and things I have done that were unpleasing to the Lord and then I think of how He reached down in the middle of that mess and got right in the middle of it all and lifted my chin and fixed His eyes on me and changed my life forever. So thankful for a Loving Savior.

3. John. He is a good husband and a great dad and most of all a *best* friend. I am so thankful that he is mine. Plus, he cleaned the oven for me!!

4. My sweet baby boys. So, maybe they aren’t at an age that is considered a baby anymore…but they are MY babies and always will be! They make me smile with my mouth and with my heart!

5. My Parents. Good mom and dad. Great nana and poppa. Enough said.

6. Church of The Shoals. I am so thankful for my church. I love the Pastors and every single person that comes through the door of that building. Belonging to a wonderful church family is one of the greatest things in life.

7. Faith. I don’t want to lie, sometimes having Faith in certain circumstances is hard. But, the Lord has proved to me over and over again that HE knows what is best and HE will provide and show me the way. He will do the same for you. You just have to trust him.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

8. Thunderstorms. I love a good thunderstorm at night. Last night I was out like a light! I love to hear the rain on the roof and the thunder and lightening too.

9. Good Friends. It is so nice to be almost 30 and still making new friends! Especially friends that have so much in common with me, my family, and my situations. I am so thankful that the Lord is still placing friends in my life!

10. Lemonade Pie. YUMMY. That’s all I can say. It has been a “slice of heaven” to enjoy a cool slice of pie on these past few hot evenings.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


The day of Samuel's birthday party we all got a great big surprise!

John and Kobe were outside putting Samuel's big boy bicycle together while Samuel and I were inside getting ready to go to an event for a friend before the party began when all of a sudden Kobe came running in and said that Paw Paw Bruce had just pulled up with Diane! We were hoping they would make it but since they lived so far away we sent an invitation but figured they might not be able to drive here for a couple hours worth of party. Kobe said the best part was that they were on the motorcycle. Two words that will put two little boys in a fast pace are: Paw Paw Bruce and motorcycle. So, Samuel hurriedly ran to his room to put on socks and shoes and Kobe went back out the front door. Every single second that Kobe was outside and Samuel wasn't was KILLING Samuel. About a minute later he came running into the living room with what appeared to be Kobe's socks on his feet. I told him to go back and get his own socks because those were too big and looked funny on him. To which he replied: "Mommy, you know something happened to my Paw Paw Bruce's eyes and he can't see. He won't care what socks I have on!". How could I argue that? So, outside he ran. We were all so happy to see Paw Paw Bruce and Diane. We don't get to see them very often so we were thrilled that they surprised us all and came for Samuel's party. The boys even talked them into a motorcycle ride!

Ahoy, Matey!

This year Samuel had his first "real" party. In years past, we have stayed with our family parties at home or a family only outing. For Samuel's first party we just did a little dinner and cake at home. For Sam's second birthday we had pizza, Cheetos, Sponge Bob Cake and played in the slip and slide at home and last year we went to a Monster Truck Show for his third birthday. So, this year I decided to do a "real" party since he was getting old enough to have friends from school.

We went back and forth A LOT on what the theme would be and finally he decided on PIRATES! He wanted it at the Splash Pad near our home at Gattman Park. I decided since this was his FIRST party I would put a lot of little extras and hand make some of the things so that it would be sort of special.

First things first. An invitation I picked out an adorable design and my friend Lori set them up and printed them out for me and they turned out so adorable!

Then I had to decide on a menu. Since the party was outside I chose to rent the pavilion for later in the afternoon so it might not be SO hot and chose 5:30 as a starting time for the party. Once I decided on that I decided it would be close to dinner time and chose to ask Samuel if he would rather have pizza,chicken, or hot dogs. He chose hot dogs. Well, he is four. And, he is a child who loves cold weenies. So I wasn't really shocked. Samuel LOVES the little bags of individual chips. I always buy the big bag of individual bags that have a variety chips for the boys to have here at home so I decided to buy two of the boxes and then I put them in cute navy blue tubs on the food table at the party. We had Goldfish, pineapple, and animal crackers (regular and chocolate) and mini marshmallows. SO our menu and menu tags read something like this:

Sea Dogs (Hot Dogs)
Yo-Ho Potato Chips
Fruit on a Sword (the children got to use toothpick swords to eat their pineapple)
Buried "Gold" Fish Treasure (Goldfish crackers in a large bowl with a small bowl scoop to dip it out)
Pirate Mix (Regular and Chocolate Animal Crackers with mini marshmallows)

I chose to go with bright RED tablecloths and ROYAL BLUE and BABY BLUE plates and napkins to match the invitations. I sprinkled pirate confetti with shapes of treasure chests and palm trees along the food table and golden pirate's coins too. I set up the Sea Dogs first and then the children (and parents) chose which Yo Ho Potato chips they wanted and then on to the fruit, goldfish, and pirate mix.

When our guests first arrived everyone played in the water at the Splash Pad while we awaited every one's arrival.My dad grilled our hot dogs while the kids played. Once we felt confident that all were there we called for everyone to come on to the pavilion to enjoy dinner...Pirate Style!

I put a basket of "How to Chose Your Very Own Pirate Name" game printables on each table so each child could pick their own pirate name while he/she ate. Once we ate we decided to go ahead and have the cake and sing Happy Birthday so the kids could play without interruption for the rest of the time.

This year I did not go with a traditional cake nor did I do a cupcake cake. I ordered cupcakes with red icing and royal blue icing and made cupcake picks that would match our theme to put in them myself. I bought 3-D stickers at Hobby Lobby and bought the longer,nicer toothpicks and made them at home. They turned out better than I could have imagined! They were absolutely adorable. Some were pirate ships, pirates, treasure maps, pirate ship flags, and even some gold coins.

We sang Happy Birthday, which Samuel really enjoyed, and then he blew all of his candles out (which were pirate candles too!). Then it was time for cupcakes and ice cream! Once everyone was satisfied and finished with their goodies they took off for more playtime. The splash pad was open until 8:00 and so I let all of the parents know that there was no rush and that there were plenty of drinks (water, apple juice boxes, Hi C Orange Lavaburst juice boxes, and Capri Suns) for everyone until they were ready to leave and I left the snacks out just in case the kids needed a little snack.

Samuel had already spotted his big boy bike that John and I had bought for him but he honestly didn't seem that interested in opening gifts. I decided that we might just skip on opening gifts until we got home. But, then just as those words came out of my mouth he decided he wanted to open presents. Some kids came from playing to watch and some stayed to play in the water (I don't blame them!). He got LOTS of cool and great gifts! My mom bought him the Batman "castle" he has been wanting and he got a few accessories from friends that went with it and a host of other cool toys that he has played with every single day.

Our guests begin to leave...but NOT without a "Pirate's Loot Bag". I made these from the cutest little black and white striped loot bags and we filled them with bubbles, gummies, Whales crackers, and pirate stickers. I also made little Thank You tags that read: We hope you had a swashbucklin' good time. Thanks for coming---Samuel. They were so cute and the bags were a hit. John also got plenty of knobby balls to go around and handed them out as favors when they first got there to have something to play with in the water.

Well Shiver Me Timbers and Sharpen My Sword, Samuel Rainey is turning 4!

These are the 3D stickers I bought to put onto long toothpicks to make cupcake picks for Sam's party. They turned out so cute and looked so adorable in the cupcakes.

Pirate Candles we used for Samuel's cupcakes!

"Major Trouble" bicycle Samuel got from me and John for his birthday party

He also asked me for one of these handy dandy water balloon pumpers

The Batman "Castle" he has been asking for since Christmas! I wasn't sure he was old enough to handle this back at Christmas time but believe me, he certainly is old enough to know what to do with all of this!

The designs I used on the "Thank You" tags on the loot bags. I did some with pirate flags and others with Pirate Ships on red and blue card stock with the wording: We Hope You Had a Swashbucklin' Good Time. Thanks for Coming---Samuel

The Chart I chose to put out for children to pick their very own Pirate Name:

Here is the chart, so you can pick your pirate name too.

Long.......... John.......... Kidd

Black......... Eye............ Bart

Evil............ Beard........ Bonny

Hook.......... Leg........... Jack

Captain...... Calico....... Bob

Peg............. Skull......... Ned

Big.............. Bandit...... Sam

Stub........... Boot.......... Bruce

Blind.......... Tooth........ Willy

One............ Patch........ Sam

Blue........... Lips........... Henry

Limp.......... Wreck....... Joe

You pick one name from each column and that is your Pirate name. Ex: Blue Patch Sam

My Sweet FOUR year old Sam!

The "Knobby Balls" were a hit!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hair, Compliments, and Sam-isms

Yesterday when I left work I went to get my hair cut FINALLY. I love it and I think Susan (at Loxx in Muscle Shoals) did a great job and I love spending time with her so it was an enjoyable couple of hours. The main point is not in the hair cut or the stylist but what happened when I got home. I left the salon and went to pick up Kobe and Samuel so that we could have dinner with my mom and then go to Target to get a  birthday gift for a friend's birthday party this weekend. When I pulled into the driveway, Samuel came running out and said, “Mommy, me and daddy fixed your… Mommy? did you get your hair cut? I LOVE your new hair cut! And mommy… me and daddy fixed your door!”. I thought it strange that he said that about my hair because I put it up in a ponytail when I left to save time of washing and styling and so that Susan could get home to her own babies but I took that compliment. I picked him up and loved him and kissed him and told him Thank You. Then Kobe came running out, “Mom, did you just get back from getting your haircut?” I said yes. “Well, I LOVE it!”. uhm… that is awful strange. So, as we are on the way to my mom’s Samuel is telling me about using a hammer and screwdriver to fix our glass door on the front of the house (it blew off the hinges during the last round of storms and wouldn’t shut properly) and then he said, “And, then on our way out Daddy reminded us to tell you how pretty your hair looked.” OK, that explained it. I knew something was weird. But, I was so grateful that John was teaching our boys to remember to compliment. He reminds the boys after almost each and every meal I cook to tell me Thank You and that it was a great meal. Even if I KNOW it wasn’t they still tell me. I know that their wives will be thankful for their dad telling them, teaching them, and showing them how to compliment. Love those guys!

Within the past few days I have received several compliments about what good little boys I have. There are many different contributing factors to that. I won’t take all the credit. They have had great grandparents, great Pastors, great Sunday School teachers, great teachers at school, and some great role models. But, as they say, it does all start at home so to hear those words really made me proud. John and I have made our share of mistakes in life but we do one thing really well: raise good kids.

Last night we went to eat dinner with my mom. She made chicken casserole, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and garlic buttered rolls. She also cut up a couple of fresh, ripe tomatoes. We all ate very well and it was so delicious. I wish there had been leftovers so I could have had more! I believe Kobe ate his weight in tomatoes after he ate his plate of food at dinner. That child LOVES fresh vegetables and fruit but a good ripe tomato is his favorite. He makes me laugh because he reminds me of a little old man. He tells me he wants a big cold glass of milk and a cut up tomato with every meal during the summer. He is so funny. He loves cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh pineapple, oranges, and strawberries. He also loves green bell pepper just cut up…not cooked! I wish I had his eating habits!

After dinner I needed to run to Target. My Uncle Greg ended up having dinner with us and since he wasn't able to come to Samuel’s birthday party he gave him some money for his birthday. Well, that meant the money needed to be spent RIGHT THEN. Kobe is a saver. He will save his money until he gets enough to buy EXACTLY what he wants. Not Samuel. If he has a dollar he wants to go shopping and asks me for some to put with it so he can get what he wants! At least Sam gets it honestly, he gets it from his momma! So, Samuel decided he had to be in on this trip to Target. Kobe decided he would wait about spending his report card money because he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to buy yet and opted to stay at my mom’s and watch basketball and get ice cream with my dad. So, off we went. With money in hand, Samuel took off for the toy section. We walked up and down every “boy toy” isle and looked at all toys…TWICE. My mom joked him and told him to save enough to buy her a Barbie too. He said, “Nana, boy’s money-s (he put an s on the end) can’t buy girl’s toys!” That tickled me and partly because I could just see John’s proud face if he had heard it. Finally, he made his FINAL selection and we went to the check out. He bought an add-on to the Batman “castle” that he got for his birthday from my mom. It is the Joker’s “house”. Trying to be as interested as I could I asked, “Samuel tell me all about this toy!” He said, “It is the Joker’s house. You know, the bad guy. The one from The Dark Knight!”. I should have known he would throw that in since that is his favorite movie. That movie still has scary moments to me but he LOVES it… even chooses it as a “bedtime movie”. He also got a pair of camo flip flops. So, with his prizes in hand we left. He  helped “load” them into the back of our SUV and we headed home. It was getting late and he knew it so he quickly began trying to stay awake by asking me if he could play with that toy when we got home. It was going on 10:00 and I still needed to get Kobe picked up and drop my mom off so I put it off on John. I told him he would have to ask his daddy when we got home. We got Kobe (barely!) in the car. He was so tired he could barely walk. He was asleep in the car before the door even shut. On the way home I learned the following (Sam-isms):

Samuel: Mom, I wish it would snow again.

Me: Yeah, me too. That was a really fun day.

Samuel: Yeah, it was but I mean because it is so hot. I want some cold!

Samuel: Mommy, I wish we didn’t have to go home.

Me: Well, I am sorry but we do. Plus, it is late. Everything is closed.


Me: Samuel, you are my sweet baby and I am happy you were so sweet and good tonight.

Samuel: I am not a baby anymore. I am four.

Me: Well, I thought you told me I could always call you my baby.

Samuel: (after a few moments of silence and thought) Yeah, you can always call me your baby…UNLESS I am at hunting with my poppa and Greg. Then you call me Big boy!

And finally, I learned that Saturday is his favorite day.

Samuel: Mom, do we go to school tomorrow?

Me: Yes. It is Friday.

Samuel: Well, do we go to school on Saturday?

Me: Nope.

Samuel: Do you have to go to work on Saturday?

Me: Nope. We get to spend time together and fun ALL day on Saturdays.

Samuel: Then, Saturday is my “Fravorite” day.

Me: Mine too!

As we pulled into the driveway his little eyes were so heavy. Kobe was fast asleep. I figured it would be a pretty much done deal of a day. Not so. Kobe got just enough sleep to get an energy burst and when Samuel asked John if he could play his new “Joker House” John said yes. John said he would normally say no but with it being such a cool toy they could play, mainly because John wanted to play too. So, Kobe finished watching the game, Sam and John played and I got stuff ready for the next day.

It was a great day.

Five on Friday 6-10-11 (What Goes In?)

Here is this week's Five On Friday! I got the list at HERE if you would like to participate and create your own Friday 5 blog. I hope you each had a Fabulous Friday, friends!

This Week's Topic: What Goes In

1. What goes into your coffee or tea? **Coffee: Splenda and Creamer! Tea: I buy the Milo’s Sweet Tea Sweetened with Splenda.**

2. What goes into a good omelet? **Ham, onions, cheese, tomatoes, and ground pepper**

3. What goes into your ears on a good morning? **Some good Christian music! Some Skillet or Jesus Culture would be great**

4. What goes into a healthy but yummy lunch? **Turkey sandwich on whole wheat with miracle whip and a slice of tomato with ground pepper, sliced cucumbers and baby carrots, chips and salsa, and fresh pineapple and strawberries**

5. What goes into a productive evening? **Nothing. The most productive are the ones you let everything else go and just be with your family. You know, sitting on the front porch, swinging while the kids catch lightening bugs kind of time.**

Thankful Thursday 6-9-11

This Week’s Top Ten things I am thankful for are:

1. God’s Love. It NEVER runs out and He NEVER gives up on us!

2. Jesus. So loving and forgiving… and really easy to talk to!

3. John. This week has been tough. Just life in general. John just hugged me and told me it would all be OK. Then, he started problem-solving with me. It makes such a difference when we are “in it” together and working together.

4. My BOYS! Oh these two are constantly in to something, aggravating each other, and argueing… but they are my babies and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

5. My Parents. We went to eat ice cream with them Wednesday night. That was so nice. Just sitting out on the patio of Frostbite while Samuel played with a friend from church and chatting with my parents and just being together.

6. Individual Time. I like spending one on one time with each of the important people in my life. Unfortunately, I don’t get to very much but when I do it is special. I got to spend some time with Samuel last night while he spent his birthday money and I plan to spend some with Kobe tomorrow when I take him to spend his report card money.

7. Splash Pad. I LOVE the splash pad. Not only is a way to cool off and free… both of my children LOVE it. Plus, at the one at the park a couple of streets up from our house…they sell ICE CREAM so my boys are happy! The one a few miles away has music and lights at night and is HUGE. I see plenty of splash pad days in our future!

8. Good Haircuts. I mean, who knew there could be “bad ones”?I didn’t until yesterday but apparently that is a yes. Thankful for Susan rescuing me yesterday and getting my hair in order! I recommend her to everyone… Susan Ward at Loxx in Muscle Shoals…make an appointment!

9. Summer Meals. They are light,easy,and quick. Or at least they are at my house. I am going to have to start “cooking” more though because Kobe told me two nights ago that he misses the days we had “real” food. I asked what he meant, he said chicken and vegetables! So, looks like that is what we are having this weekend.

10. Good Friends. I am enjoying my friends. I am so thankful for some ladies that are in my life right now. They are such great friends and I enjoy them so much. I am thankful the Lord led us to each other!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

52 Home--Week 23

Saturday June 4, 2011

Riding PawPaw Bruce's motorcycle before Samuel's birthday party

52 Home --Week 22

Letting Franklin Go...

Kobe and Samuel wanted to keep this little turtle that they named Franklin but he needed to be returned to his natural home so we took him to Spring Park.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just because ...

Just because I am feeling like it...I am going to post a picture of my boys today.

My little fearless leader Samuel on a hike we took at Cane Creek

Kobe's new hair creation ... he wanted a spider web and a checker board... I would say John did exactly what he asked!

Five On Friday 6-3-11 (Summer)

Here is this week's Five On Friday! I got the list at HERE if you would like to participate and create your own Friday 5 blog. I hope you each had a Fabulous Friday, friends!

This Week's Topic: Summer

1. What was your best summer vacation like? **The BEST summer vacation was last year when the whole family boarded a cruise ship and headed to Mexico. The kid’s faces were priceless! The trip was so much fun and I look forward to doing it again.**

2. What was your worst summer vacation like? **As a child, my parents took me on a GREAT vacation to a new destination each year. I honestly can NOT think of a summer that I didn’t enjoy.**

3. What food or drink reminds you of a particular summer? **The spring/summer of 2001. The smell of peaches and mac & cheese reminds me of that summer. One of the *best* summers ever! Me and Susie.**

4. What summer-only activity do you now look most forward to every year? ** Sitting on my front porch swing eating watermelon and watching the kids run around the yard catching lightening bugs.**

5. What summer movie or summer reading are you most looking forward to this year? **Any movie that involves all of us having Rainey Family Cinema Night is a PERFECT movie and I am hoping to get through reading Heaven Is For Real and move on to reading The Shack.**

I normally don't add pictures to my Five on Friday posts but these fit this week:

We were standing near the cruise ship terminal "looking" at the big ship and then we told them that they were getting on it for vacation. They had no idea until that very moment that we were even going. This was Sam's reaction!

Kobe and Callum's reaction

Sam's face tickles me here... so happy, Callum is trying to hide his excitement a little, and Kobe looks like he may cry tears of joy and Haley is just shocked!

Thankful Thursday 6-2-2011

This week's TOP TEN things I am thankful for:

1. God. I am so happy that God hears my praises and my cries for help. Thank you Father for leading me.

2. Jesus. So happy that a prayer I have been praying has been answered and that I am able to open my heart and receive it!

3. John. Well, I always have something good to say about this man. Don’t get me wrong, I get on his nerves, I “nag” about things, but you know…he puts up with me and still loves me at the end of the day. So… enough said!

4. My Boys. Those two boys. OH MY! They can get into an argument quicker than anything I have EVER seen. They can throw punches and yell and get aggravated with each other. But, within literal MINUTES they are “best brothers” again. Ask Samuel who his best friend is and he will say Kobe---He’s my best brother. Kobe adores Samuel but he is at that age where he is a tad bit annoying and coupled with the fact that I have spoiled them both ROTTEN… you get the picture. I am so thankful for forgiving (and forgetful) little boys.

5. Parents. I can’t say enough about my parents. My mom is, as Sam would say, my Best Mom. My dad is the best too! They do so many things that help us out daily and I am so thankful for them. We are thankful for time spent with them just sitting around or on a boat fishing or just talking on the phone too!

6. Good Co-Workers. I have always been blessed with pretty good co-workers. But, I have never worked in a place where I like ALL of my co-workers. I can honestly say that I enjoy working with each and every single person I come across daily. That makes getting up early and leaving my babies a little bit easier!

7. Friends. I am so thankful for all of my “old friends”, my “new friends”, and my “new found friends”. This is weird to say but Lori and I have been friends for more years than we weren’t friends. When you get this old I guess you can say things like that. I am thankful for her friendship. I am thankful for my sweet friends at Church of the Shoals. I absolutely adore each and every single one of them. They are the sweetest! Over the past few days, I have gotten a chance to reconnect with an “old friend” Tracie. I don’t know if she will ever know how much it means to me. I have also took a second look at someone that I had begun to shy away from and realized that there is a different side to them and can now say I found a new friend.

8. Kobe’s cell phone. I know that sounds weird. I am thankful for that because it allows me to be able to talk to him during the day when I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. He sends me silly messages and I send him silly ones too but then sometimes I get the good “I love You” messages.

9. Creativity. This past week I have really flexed my creativity muscle. I have been making things and designing things for Samuel’s party. I have had so much fun with this! I really wish I had been an event planner, wreath maker, or professional gift buyer when I “grew up”.

10. Garden Salsa Sun Chips. I LOVE THESE CHIPS!