Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Fairy Good Halloween


This is easily one of my favorite pictures of Madison.  She's about to go out trick-or-treating here, all dressed up as a blue fairy.  Not a butterfly, she'd correct you.  She's a fairy, made obvious by the fact that she's carrying that wand there.  It glows in the dark, a little gift from Mommy before going out on the night's adventure.

Note the pumpkin to the left.  Madison's was slightly rotting from a week ago, and Daddy's "Linus" pumpkin didn't make it even to Wednesday.  That said, we had an extra pumpkin to carve, so Daddy did a carving of a Minion that turned out pretty decent.  You'll see that as the sun goes down a bit.

In the meantime, let's go do some trick-or-treating!


Aunt Shain and Nana came along for the trip this year, and it was lots of fun.  It was chilly outside, but that's exactly what October is supposed to feel like, isn't it?  The thing is, it was supposed to be raining. Again, we find that it was supposed to be raining, and again we find that the weather held out long enough for the kids to go and do their thing... and then it rained.  And yes, it poured through the night.

So we marched along, getting farther this time than we have in previous years.  Madison was quite eager to go from house to house, and this year, the neighborhood was absolutely packed with people.  Streets were filled with trick-or-treaters, and we pitied anyone who actually lived on that main strip who actually wanted to drive anywhere, because there were so many cars in the road, all moving along slowly for one reason or another.  That never bothered us, as we did everything on foot.  We're blessed to live in Spook Central, where we just walk out and do our trick-or-treating without having to go anywhere elaborate.

And the decorations on each house were so amazing this year.  Look at this one - this picture only captures part of the yard:


There were several large Halloween-themed inflatables on the other side of this yard.  And they were all over the neighborhood too, along with plenty of decorative orange lights.  The lights were a bit more tasteful, but there were plenty of houses that had makeshift cemeteries in their front yards, the kind with skeletons emerging from the ground, reaching for those trick-or-treaters that are lagging behind.


Here's that Minion pumpkin we made, the one waiting for us when we arrived home.  Mommy was there, along with Nana, who returned a bit earlier.  Both were seated on the porch, serving up sweets to trick-or-treaters along the way.  Not as many come down our stretch of road, but there were still quite a few.  Most of the parents in this neighborhood were outside with bonfires and music playing, seated in lawn chairs waiting for costumed kids to come by.  Madison was in her element!

It was a great night, of course.  And again, it didn't rain, despite the threat of it doing so time and again. All week long for our various events, there was the dire forecast.  And in each case, the clouds refused to release any precipitation until the festivities were over with.  It was just plain awesome.

Earlier today, after Daddy got home from work, there was a bit of celebrating to do.  After all, today is is birthday.  The cousins, Aunt Shain, Nana and Ye-Ye all arrived with a birthday cake and some presents and cards - it was nice to see everyone drop by.  We talked for a while, ate cake and in the cousins' case, played zombie video games.  That's the sort of thing you do on Halloween.

It was a very nice day, all said and done.  And looking back on the last two weeks, we've certainly filled them with fun for the whole family.  It's been wonderful as always.  Today wrapped it all up, a great birthday to end a great month!

Trunk or Treat



Never one to shy away from yet another chance to go and dress up and do something fun, we went tonight to visit Edge ATA Karate, which is a local place run by a very nice couple that come to our church.  They helped us out a lot with our "Kung Pow" series, and have been huge in volunteering with KidPak ever since.  Tonight, they had a 'trunk or treat' event, which is something Madison hasn't been to yet.  The concept is fun:  go from decorated car to decorated car, and get some candy from each trunk!


Which was fun!  There were many cars there, all decorated and lined up for Madison to come visit.  There was a TNMT car, a 'Minions' car, and plenty more.  It was a lot of fun for all the kids, and once again, the weather was perfect.  But there was one more thing for Madison to do tonight:


Madison has always wanted to do this, she said.  She broke one board with a punch with her hand, and then did this mighty kick, showing that little meddlesome little board a thing or two!


This was one of those things on her "to do list," one that she had always wanted to do.  She was quite proud of herself, so much so that she has those two boards with her at the house now!

It was a great night for the whole family.  We did a bit of work earlier, stuff setting up for the weekend's new series at KidPak.  Madison had off of school, and did a lot of piano practice, although there was a bit of Minecraft thrown in for good measure.  It was a great day for everyone, ending with another chance to dress up and get more free candy!


And break boards too...!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cowtoberfest

It was a Thursday, and the last one before Halloween, so why not go to Chick-Fil-A again.  That's what we did today, as they were having their "Cowtoberfest" celebration tonight.  Kids who dressed up in costume got free kids meals, but that wasn't all to the event.  There were costumed characters going around greeting the kids, such as Anna and Elsa, Spider-Man, Cinderella, and even Captain America, who had the difficult job of making balloon animals for an endless line of kids.


We ran into friends from church there, and as you can see, Madison was wearing her new Evie costume, from the movie "Descendants."  This was a great surprise moment for Madison, who earned the costume after doing all her homework and piano practice.  The reward was a motivational tool, although she didn't know what reward she was going to get.  When she saw the costume, she squealed - it was just the type of thing she wanted!  Immediately, she put the costume on, and there she was the rest of the day, our little Evie.

We ate together, and picked up our calendars for next year as well.  These are the calendars that have cards in them that give you monthly freebies.  All in all, a nice visit as always.

We got home and went to bed shortly after that.  Madison has had a few late nights recently, and has a few on the way the next couple days.  We read our Bible, and we read "Descendants" again, and soon all was quiet in the house.  Except for perhaps the television on the screen downstairs:  Mommy and Daddy were watching "Ghostbusters II."  It was during this movie that we discovered the next 'far-off' date to look forward to:  February 14, 2016.


According to Elaine, a psychic, that's basically the end of the world.  At least that's what she heard from an alien and a Holiday Inn in Paramus.

It's funny with these 1980's movies how far off years like 2016 was.  Just like with "Back to the Future," and 2015, it was something we thought was so far off.  And yet, here we are, right on the precipice of the end of the world!  Somehow, I don't think there'll be as many "Ghostbusters 2" viewings on Valentine's Day.  But you never know.  We might...!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Festival 2015

The weather today - that was the story.  And what a story it was, where the entire week the forecast was showing rain, rain and rain for the night.  It was at 90% at one point, and that wasn't going to work because we needed to host our Fall Festival in Gainesville.  Over a thousand kids show up to this event, and the rain was looming all day long.

But it passed over so quickly, and for the first time in days, we saw something we hadn't seen before: sunlight.  It really was amazing - we were desperately discussin an indoor 'plan b,' but we never really needed one!


Madison got to come to the Fall Festival tonight, dressed this time as Ladybug Girl.  Before Fall Festival, there was ballet practice, where she was dancing in costume - along with the other little girls.  Even the teacher was dressed up for the fun tonight.  They had a bit of a Halloween party in class, just another excuse for Madison to dress up.  And from what we heard from Madison, she really enjoyed herself in class.  Next week the parents can come in and enjoy bits of class as well, so that will be fun, and of course a bit of a photo opportunity as well.  Look for those next week, particularly on Monday.

Today, though, was all about the Fall Festival afterwards.  At one point, Madison was not going to go to Fall Festival, as she just went to the one this past Sunday at Gwinnett's campus.  But some last minute transportation issues popped up, and we figured, "Why not?"  So here she was at Gainesville's Fall Festival, having a great time with the other kids.  And it was indeed a great time.

She got out there early, and did the slides and a few rides, many of them inflatable.  And some of them quite intimidating!


The obstacle course was the one thing she was determined to get across - and boy, did she.  Seriously, only about 8% of the people who try to get across this inflatable obstacle course are successful.  And although she struggled and worked hard to make her way, she did find the end - to much celebrating!


There was this other thing she was anxious to try out as well, where she stood on her pillar and tried to knock down her opponent with this large foam object.  She just loved this.


She loved the whole night, actually. Yes, there was more free candy for the kids - a whole bag full - and there was a dance party and a few rides and friends and costumes and fun.  It was a great night, and it was so wonderful to have such perfect weather for it.  Madison loved it, and so did all the other kids, all of whom went home with smiles on their faces, and no doubt went straight to bed, quite worn out from the adventure!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

E.T.

Madison met E.T. tonight, or at least watched a movie about him.  This was our "Halloween" movie of the night - the reason we put this movie in this category is that the characters go trick-or-treating at one point.  So yeah, it's a "Halloween" movie.

It's probably the most mature of the movies that Madison has seen, and it was pretty fun to watch an older classic movie like this through her eyes - for the first time.  Meaning, she had no idea if E.T. was going to live or not, and that whole bit was a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  Of course, and here comes the spoilers, you know that this part of the movie has a great pay-off, including that race through the streets on bicycles.

Anyway, it was a fun night.  And there was Elliot, who is basically the same age as Daddy, who had the same exact toys in the house before this movie came out.  It was such an iconic movie for the 80's.  When you think of that decade, of course, there's "E.T."  There's Michael Jackson and Pac-Man.  But no list of popular 80's cultural moments is complete without "E.T."

Madison is working with fractions a bit, adding those together.  She's also reading more, and of course Daddy is still reading to her at night.  We're continuing with the "Descendants" book, and tonight's reading from the Bible is from Nehemiah, which is not just about building a wall.  But that's what you think.

SPEAKING of "Descendants," we were able to get a costume for Madison, one she will be so excited to get.  It's Evie's costume, one that she'll be pretty happy to see.  Madison is content with either Mal or Evie.

We had piano this afternoon, and Madison is doing well, for the most part.  We're learning to play songs together, that is to say, two people playing at the same time two different songs.  That will be happening soon, believe it or not, and Daddy is thinking he'll get to play a little tune with her, one we can play at the same time.  Should be fun!  Also coming up soon, Madison's Fall Recital!  Yes, that'll be here really soon, and she's been practicing almost daily for that as well.  Can you believe this will be Madison's last Fall Recital?  Yep, next year it becomes a Christmas Recital, which will be her last winter recital of this program.  Trying not to think about that far in the future though... Daddy's trying to keep her this age forever!

The rain from Patricia is here, and it's constant and frequently heavy.  And amazingly, it's looking like it will clear out just in time for tomorrow night's Gainesville Fall Festival.  We're praying for a window tomorrow night, and that just might happen.  A week ago, the forecast was 90% chance of rain.  That's dropped quite a bit, gradually over the week.  It's been great to see.

Oh, speaking of which, it's time for Mommy and Daddy's 'date night.'  Time to head up to the guest room, pop on the television and watch the latest episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."  See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Costumes Day


This is always such a great week for dressing up, but on top of everything, today is the 50th day of school.  So for Chestatee Elementary, it's "Fifties Day," which is somewhat ironic considering we just had Madison dress up for the fifties with our "Back to the Future" party, which of course features some folks from 1955.  The difference in the costume above is the pair of glasses.  Madison was quite excited to give these a try.  Keep in mind there are no lenses in there - they're just purely decorative.

After school, it was time for ballet practice, and so long as kids could dance in their costumes, they were welcome to wear them.


Madison was wondering how Cinderella here could dance in that costume, but we told her not to worry about it.  Seriously, it was cute to see all the ballerinas show up in their costumes, and Madison was quite excited to be a cat.  Someone said she looked like Catwoman, at which point Madison became indignant.  After all, she's not carrying a whip around.


Daddy snapped a few pictures before class, before they got started.  And this is somewhat how they'll look on Wednesday, when they're invited to return in costumes again for practice.  Although next time, their instructor will be wearing a costume as well - we hear it is a pumpkin costume!


The rain is coming down again, and so is the temperature.  This system is one that we're all very concerned about, as it coincides with Fall Festival on Wednesday night, and we're not quite sure if the weather will pass by that point, or if we'll have to do everything inside.  We'd much rather do things outside, but that decision is not up to us at the moment.  We'll see how it turns out.

Either way, Madison got to experience Fall Festival at Gwinnett yesterday, and it's all good for her this week.  The weather looks okay for Saturday and trick-or-treating, and we even might go somewhere familiar to Daddy this upcoming Friday night.  That's a teaser there.

It's cold and rainy, and windy too.  Leaves and debris litter the roads, and the soaking rain continues to fall.  Tonight, Mommy and Daddy watched an old episode of Cirque du Soleil's "Solstrum," one where there's a visit to an old haunted house.  It was fun to watch that show again - we remember watching it last when Mommy was recovering from her sickness in 2006.  And of course, we were watching the multitude of extra features on that new "Back to the Future" Daddy got for his birthday.  It's totally sweet, easily the ultimate collection of the movies, and all the animated television series as well.  Lots of fun.

There was piano, and there was homework too.  Madison raced through these, because tonight we were also watching this year's "Boo-to-You" parade on the big television.  That's become somewhat of a tradition.  If we can't watch these parades live, it's fun to watch them online.

We read from our Bible about King Cyrus tonight, which is an odd thing for a children's Bible.  Still, it is in there, and one of the most fascinating things about his life is that he was chosen by name over a hundred and fifty years before he was alive.  He was not a Jew, and yet here he is doing so much for them, including getting them Jerusalem back.  And just as in today, there were plenty of folks not happy about that.

We also read from this "Descendants" prequel book again, which Madison is enjoying.  It's a monster book though, one that will take a few weeks to get through.  Daddy might have to read two chapters a night, rather than just the traditional one.  Madison won't mind a bit though - she likes all things related to this movie.

So the wind is howling and the cold rain still pours.  But it's been a most wonderful October, despite whatever happens this week with the weather.  And we're very thankful for that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gwinnett Fall Festival


It was time to wrap up our series for KidPak, or as the license plate says, "OUTATIME!"  We ended our series with a fun final drama, and a great message about heaven.  Madison was with us for a couple services this morning, but we didn't linger after service because today was a big day once again.  Yes, another party for Madison to go to, and if you're keeping score, that's three in a row.

It was time for the Gwinnett Fall Festival!  Here's a picture of Madison, having a wonderful time!


At our Gwinnett Free Chapel campus, we had inflatables, music, hay rides, popcorn, and bags of candy.  We had all kinds of fun, but Madison seemed to like this event the most:


This was a simple soccer match, with two people versus to others - but you wore mini-zorb balls as you played!  As you can expect, the game was pretty slow going.  Players rolled around upside down, trying to get back on their feet long enough to possibly get to the soccer ball.  Madison did this at least three or four times tonight - but she also did the hay ride, slides, and an obstacle course race (one that she never lost, even against the boys, she pointed out).  The weather was just right for the night's event, and although everyone on staff was pretty tired, it was a refreshing and fun event for everyone who was there.

We got back just in time for bed too.  It wasn't a late night for us at this event, as it started earlier.  But it was time for bed when we got home - Madison was asleep pretty quickly when she got there.

Afterwards, Mommy and Daddy watched a lot from the new "Back to the Future" box set.  Daddy's birthday gift was the newest edition, the one with a glowing flux capacitor on the front.  It has the movies, and hours and hours of extras - including all the animated cartoons.  Madison might be seeing a few of those in a bit.  But not tonight, obviously.  She's had a pretty exciting, party-filled weekend, and is due for some important rest!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sixth Annual Pumpkin Carving Party 2015


Here they are, the final results of this year's Sixth Annual Pumpkin Carving Party.  What a wonderful afternoon it was, too.  First of all, special thanks to God for such amazing weather outside.  It was just perfect for setting up the tables, the canopy, and gathering together with our pumpkins for some creative fun.


Here's our friend Chris, following in Daddy's footsteps in a way, carving up a princess for his daughter Violet.  But there were quite a few more people showing up today as well.


We had some first time visitors to the party, although with them we've been friends for some time.  The girl Camille over there on the left is actually allergic to the interior of pumpkins for some odd reason - but she was here with her gloves on anyway.  She wasn't going to miss it!  And so was this little girl below.


This was the first year that she did her pumpkin entirely on her own.  She pulled the stuff out, designed the pumpkin's face, and got to carving right away, right in the midst of everyone else.


And here's Daddy with Pastor Lance, and our friend Robbie.  As you can see by the sunny fall weather outside, things were just perfect for a day like this.  The leaves were colorful, and the air was crisp, and it was an absolutely special sort of afternoon.


Here's Jordan and Joey, who have been with us the last three years for this party.  Joey is working on his Jack Skellington design, while Jordan is working on a more decorative design.  This time next year, these two will have one more family member joining us, hopefully!


Here's our family, posing with the pumpkins.  Madison has been so looking forward to this day, having everyone come over and join us for the fun.  Mommy spent much of the day preparing, making her famous chili, and cooking some creative snacks and treats, including those brain cupcakes that sort of stare right back at you like in that movie, "Fiend Without A Face."  The Hunter family brought all sorts of assorted dessert items as well, so by evening's end, everyone was well-fed.


Here's Pastor Lance, who despite his busy schedule made this a priority to drop by as well.  Like I said earlier, this has become a big event at the end of October, hopefully one we'll continue for many years to come.  Daddy's pumpkin, by the way, turned out really well - it's a tribute to "The Great Pumpkin," an image of Linus, who is pretty happy to see the Great Pumpkin, finally.


But there were a lot of great pumpkins.  And it was a great time for all of us, one we look forward to each and every year.  One last time, here's one final shot of the rogues gallery of pumpkins, with the Cheshire Cat, Tinkerbell, Jack Skellington, Linus, and all sorts of assorted faces.


This is a great time of the evening, lining them up, lighting the candles and just sitting around the great room, looking at the pumpkins and talking with one another.  Such a great time!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Too Darn Loud


It was a big work day, but as you can see above, we had time for a little party tonight - it was a "Back to the Future" party our friend was hosting, where everyone could come dressed up as a character in the movie.  And rather than go with the obvious Doc Brown, Marty or Biff, we went the more obscure route for true Back to the Future Fans.  That's why Mommy above is dressed as "Jaws 19," and Madison is a girl from 1955, while Daddy is Huey Lewis' character, who holds a megaphone and tells Marty and the Pinheads, "I'm sorry, but you're just too darn loud."

We hadn't been over to their new house - it was down by Candler, so it was a little bit of a drive from our house.  But it was fun.  There were themed posters, plenty of food, and of course there was the movie "Back to the Future 2" playing in the background.  A fire was set up out back, where the kids could roast marshmallows, and our friend Javier came over to take pictures like the one above - and the one below too:


This is Madison with Camille, another 50's girl who showed up for the party.  And there were lots of costumes too, by the way.  There were a few Marty McFly's, a Doc Brown from the 1885 and a Clara Clayton as well.  And there were plenty of kids there as well, so Madison had fun simply running around with them for a bit.

The rest of the day was a bit of work, as we're wrapping up our Time Travel series this weekend with one final message, and one final drama.  The message is a simple one with a simple title (which is also the title of a song off the "Back to the Future" soundtrack):  "Heaven is One Step Away."  The theme of the weekend is "time is short," and the obvious thing to say here is that each day that passes by, this becomes more and more apparent.  Fortunately, we have plenty of friends to spend that time with!

Oh, and here's someone else we spent the morning with:


It's the Creepy Chiropractor.  We'll be interested to see how he dressed up for Halloween - he's always got some creative costume going.  Last year he was Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz."  Yes, our chiropractor is probably more interesting than yours...!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lost in a Maize


Hmmm... which way do we go?  The answer is simple:  to the corn maze!  Today we were at the dentist on one side of Gainesville, so we decided to go afterwards on up to Jaemor Farms, where there's plenty for the kids to do - starting with this large corn maze they've got set up.


Here's Madison and Mommy inside the maize.  The sunlight was filtering down through the rows of stalks, and the weather was just right for our little adventure.  The bonus for this year was that we didn't get lost!  Madison had that map, and together we navigated through it all without any problems.


It took us a bit, but the maze was just a nice walk, and a fun one for Madison.  We'll update this blog in a bit - slides, skee-ball, apple-apple shooting, pumpkin trains and dusty hay rides.  It was a nice afternoon!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future Day


So here we are at October 21st, 2015.  This is the day we've all been looking ahead to see if we could make it to - probably with even more interest in any of those last four blood moons.  It's not Doomsday - it's Back to the Future Day.  And it was a sweet one.  We saw a clip of Doc Brown this morning, reminding us that our future is unwritten - and to make it a good one.  Furthermore, Doc and Marty McFly had appearances on television last night.  It was good to see.

Madison has not seen the "Back to the Future" movies yet, but she knows a lot about them, certainly today.  In "Back to the Future 2," Doc Brown sets the time traveling DeLorean to go forward in time 30 years go the year 2015.  That seemed so far away at one time.

The movie's most famous props are flying cars and hoverboards, neither of which are as prevalent in 2015 like we all hoped.  The conspiracy here is that we're actually living in an alternate 2015 right now, one where people where single ties, and there is no "Jaws 19."

Regardless of the various disappointments, things aren't really that bad, of course.  It's a good future we're in, and despite the fact that there are no rehydrated pizzas and Mr. Fusions, today was a pretty good day.

Part of the celebration involved us doing a special service tonight, one dedicated to the world of the movies, and one where we talked about the future, especially about the promise of Jeremiah 29:11.  We had a race set back in 1955, and we had some new video clips, including one we sort of threw together at the last minute.

Meanwhile, Madison had a short day at school - it's that week each October where teachers meet with parents, and report cards come out.  Friday is a day off, and the next few days are early-release.  Madison still had ballet to go to, so she and Mommy were off to Brenau for a bit.  But the day was a nice relaxing one, and with the weather so beautiful outside, we all had smiles on our faces throughout the day, quite content with things.

Happy "Back to the Future" Day.  It's a once-in-a-lifetime day, and it was a great one.  Here below is one last thing Daddy wrote for this series, one more thing to share before signing out for the day.  So, until this time tomorrow, it's time for me to make like a tree… and get out of here.

*********



     If there’s one thing to learn here, it’s that nothing is impossible with God! You may be along a road in life where every direction is blocked. But God’s answer is: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
     The Bible – and history beyond that – are filled with stories of supernatural deliverance. At his lowest hour, King Hezekiah asked God to be healed – and to prove His power, God actually moved the sun backwards! The sundials telling time suddenly started going back in time!
If you’re in a desperate situation like King Hezekiah, there’s One you should talk with. With just a few words, our God created the heavens and the earth. His spirit hovered over the waters faster than a hoverboard, and when He said let there be light, it was there with more power than a flux capacitor! What’s a flux capacitor? Don’t worry about it – the point is this: God is powerful!
     So don’t limit Him, and if you’re in need of something more, there’s no better source to call out to. He’s the God of miracles, and with Him all things are possible! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dairy Intolerant Trolls


Yes, there's Ernest again.  Tonight we saw "Ernest Scared Stupid," and learned an important little factoid about trolls that steal children:  evidently they're all lactose intolerant.  The irony, of course, is that Daddy is currently operating under the assumption that he himself is dairy intolerant.  Fortunately, it is not as severe as it was with these trolls:  all you had to do was load up a squirt gun with milk, and with one well-aimed shot, each troll was obliterate, transformed into a puddle of smelly goo.  Daddy is grateful that this sort of thing doesn't happen to him while he's exposed to milk.  But as noted earlier, milk inside food products is everywhere, and in places you just don't think.  For example, inside Ramen Noodles.  Yes, it's true.  If you threw a pack of Ramen Noodles at a troll, he'd disintegrate - because there's milk in there.  Other choice weapons that contain milk:  doughnuts, biscuits, cookies, cheese puffs, and chocolate kisses.  And all these are the less obvious choices in our arsenal, because there's also dairy in pizza, ice cream and cheese sticks too.  Our house is filled with dairy products.  And basically, this is why we have never seen a troll around here.

So troll-free, we enjoyed our day today.  There was music class once more, which was great once more:  Madison did her first Irish jig today.  One of the tunes she is playing is in fact called "Irish Jig," which everybody has heard before, of course.  You can't help but hear it each March.  Madison and the other students in class are learning a bit of rhythm, so Mrs. Pam showed them how to do an Irish jig, with hands at their sides and feet sweeping to and fro to the rhythm.  The hope was to have a troop of Riverdancers there, but of course it turned out into something completely different.  Amongst the students, there was no Lord of the Dance!

But they still enjoyed themselves, as they do each week.  Madison has not fallen behind in class, or with any of her work, and is right there where she's supposed to be as far as learning goes.  So this is all good, and we've been pleased with her progress, and her work moving forward.

Well, and now for the bad news.  Lice again.  This is such a regular story the last two years:  the special shampoo, the nit-picking, the stripping of the bed, and stuffed animals in quarantine.  We're not sure where these little critters are coming from, or who, but it is pretty draining on the spirit.

To liven things up, Daddy started a new book with Madison, while Mommy picked through her hair.  It was one based on the "Descendants" movie, so as you would expect, the time went by quickly for Madison.  We did about three chapters, actually.  This gives you an idea of how long it takes to go through Madison's lengthy hair, looking carefully for those little nits to click and drag out.

The weather has been gorgeous, but rain is apparently on the way soon.  And it is on the way via a very bad storm that's coming.  We won't see the winds of Hurricane Patricia, but we'll see a lot of the rain.  And that may affect our Fall Festival next week, but we'll see how it all unfolds.  Until then, our prayers are for those folks in its path.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Minor Miner


Today's field trip was a lot of fun for Madison, the kids in her class - and Mommy and Daddy too!  We got to tag along for a nice little trip up to Dahlonega, and as you can see above, we all got to do a little sifting for gems and shiny little rocks.  Madison found a small chunk of pyrite, which pretty much made her day - although all the kids walked away with colorful polished rocks and other assorted minerals.


Here she is with a treasure just found - all the kids started out with buckets of sand.  They shoveled the sand into the sifter there, and put into the running water.  The sand filtered out, and the larger rocks stayed in the trays.  It's quite a little operation they have going up there, with room enough for about three classrooms to be sifting for gems all at the same time.  And yes, Mommy and Daddy got to do some sifting themselves.  We went home with a few bags of rocks.  Poor Mrs. Loftus, the teacher, had to carry those rocks the rest of the tour!


Speaking of which, take a look where we went!  Down, down, down.  It was about 200 feet down, or at least that's what the advertisement says.  Madison is seen here descending the stairs to a lower area, one where the dwarves mine for all sorts of gems and gold.  As you can see, there was plenty of light down there - and running water too.  Check out that little stream down there to the right.  There is in fact a Wal-Mart directly above this mine, and the joke is that this is right about where the bathrooms are...


It did sprinkle on everyone a bit, but that was part of the adventure.  Our tour guide continued on, and did really well with the kids.  You can see how much Madison was paying attention here.


She looks like she's ready to invest heavily in the next mining operation, possibly managing it all herself!  Seriously, she had a great time and paid attention to quartz veins and the occasional hanging bat in the rocks above.  We spotted a few of those, especially along this stretch of cave here below.


This was where they filmed that one part of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  Or not.  Still, it made for a nice little walk, as our guide told us about how far back in time the story of Dahlonega gold goes, and all the different ways the miners went after it.


It was a nice day, and something new for all of us to see.  Above, he's pointing out where there's a big area of quartz, where there could be gold chunks inside.  Soon, they did the whole "let's turn off the lights and see how dark it gets in a cave underground" thing, and the kids were screaming.  They were screaming later on too, "Fire in the hole!"  The acoustics underground are really good.

But all good things must come to an end, and so we ascended back to the surface, and eventually back home again as well, saying goodbye to the Consolidated Gold Mine.


There was ballet today, grocery shopping and a bit of LEGO Jurassic World.  But we'll remember the day for the trip underground.  In fact, it might have been Madison's first trip into a cave anywhere.  She enjoyed it - we all did!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Penultimate


Check out the display case that Mommy made for our time traveling series.  We've only got one more Sunday of the series after this, which is amazing.  Here's the ironic question:  where does the time go?  You can see in there a small Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock, a HG Wells book, "The Time Machine," Sherman and Peabody, a Tardis, a John Cleese Ministry of Silly Walks clock, a Gravity Falls time machine, and of course a whole bunch of "Back to the Future" stuff, including a flux capacitor.

Today's service went really well, a service dedicated to the concept of stopping time.  There was that scripture where the sun was stopped in the book of Joshua, which of course needed to happen so a battle could be won.  But the thing about that battle is that the Israelites didn't need to be fighting it, because they made an alliance with someone they shouldn't have.  And this was because... wait for it... they didn't stop to ask God what He thought they should do.  So anyway, it was all about stopping time.

It was the penultimate* drama in our ongoing series onstage, one that's been wildly unpredictable for the reason that our cast has been in and out all month long.  But amazingly, it's all been pretty sensible as far as the story goes, despite the fact that it is being made up as we go along.  Lots of funny moments for the kids - Madison enjoyed it this morning, especially the bits with our twelve-year-old George Washington Carver character, who is a genius while being obsessed with peanuts.

It was a great morning at church where Madison got that memory verse down easily:  "Be still and know that I am God."  That's Psalm 46:10 NIrV, one of those verses that's easy to remember, and difficult to forget.

The rest of the day was nice outside, although we didn't stay outside much.  Mommy was feeling a little under the weather - still recovering - so we stayed home, rather than go out to see a movie like we intended.  The thinking was that we did something yesterday, and we'll do something tomorrow.  So today, it was back to Isla Sorna to fend off that annoying spinosaurus, and finish up with part three of the LEGO Jurassic World game.

When Mommy woke up, we continued our October movie series with "Igor" and some popcorn.  Again, this movie is underrated.  I misjudged it myself, looking at the cover and thinking it wouldn't be that great. But it is better than you think!  At least we all enjoyed it - we'll keep that one in our collection each October from this point on.

So tomorrow is a field trip, and it'll be a fun one.  That said, we did our usual reading tonight, and everyone was off to bed early.  It's going to be a great day tomorrow, and we all want to be well-rested.  It doesn't hurt that it's nice and cool suddenly, time to burrow in those covers and snuggle where it is warm!

*"Penultimate" is such a great word, isn't it?  I think that's what I'll name this blog entry!