Sunday, August 27, 2006

My husband

This is my husband. Cute, huh? Tall, dark headed, and handsome. Yes, I know. Some catch! He is a wonderful friend and an awesome dad. He has lots of hobbies - hunting, fishing, making pottery, cooking, computers, and the list goes on. I rarely find time to enjoy a hobby, so I get my thrills through his. Where am I going with this, you wonder? Well, as I was cleaning my kitchen this morning, I see in my cabinet: three bags of different types of Espresso, two bags of different kinds of coffee beans, two cans of coffee (Folgers and Yuban) (the only normal types available) and four bags of different types of coffee - Millstone Dark Roast, Jamaican Blue ??, Paul Newman's Breakfast something or other and Eight O'Clock Columbian roast. We have enough coffee to last 6 months. Don't get me wrong- I am addicted to my cup, well really its a mug - a huge mug - of morning java! I enjoy it with half-n-half - not liquid non-dairy creamer. My husband too is addicted. However, his addiction is more complicated than mine. He recently invested in a ------Cappachino machine! Granted, I was expecting a gigantic machine with gadgets on every side, but this one is compact and fits nicely under the cabinets. It does take a rather busy 6 minutes to create his morning fix, but he enjoys it all the same.
Now, let me use this as a segway into his previous feddishes (is that a word?) Anyway, we went through: 50 different kinds of juice, but not ordinary juice, it was the kind you find in the Mexican food isle of the grocery store. We had nectars, we had Guava something, pineapple, strawberry, peach (yuk!), pear, and any other fruit you can think of. I don't even think some of them were a fruit.
Then, he went thru a stage of hot teas - yes, a cup of hot tea. This is the guy who does not like his coffee hot, but he did enjoy hot tea---for awhile anyway. We tried: Earl Grey, Lady grey, flavored tea with what?, green tea, lipton tea, Darjeeling tea, English breakfast tea and many others - which by the way, many are still in the cabinet, - but he did finish this session of interest with the Irish Breakfast tea being his favorite.
Next on the list of exciting things to learn about was: No- he is not a wino, just interested in different things. We gave lots of bottles of wine as gifts, but not without him researching - did you know there are white wines, red wines, Chardonnays, blush, dry wines, Pinot Griogio (something like that, I can't even pronounce it!) Cabernet Sauvinagh and more, but this would seem to simple. There are hundreds and hundreds of different brands of each. Some from Italy, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Columbia and the 50 different states in the US.
We even had fun looking for a wine called the Funky Llama - this is no joke.
Another interest he has had recently was 100's of different kinds of fish. I'll not even try to name all of them. Nor will I go into the stories about the different kinds of goats, chickens, ducks, or dogs. All in all, his interest and desire to learn and understand takes us all on interesting journeys, bizarre conversations and lots of fun. I guess that's why I love him so!
Lucky for him, there's only one type of me. That search ended 9 and 1/2 years ago!

Our Walker is 7 1/2 months old

Walker and Grandaddy

Walker is 7 and 1/2 months old now. Wow! how time flies. He is crawling everywhere. Grabbing at everything! Pulling up on anything! Clearing the coffee table in no time flat. Jabber! Jabber! all the time. (Imagine that?) He's full of smiles! He has four teeth now and constantly chews on all kinds of stuff! He is in constant motion. Thus our lives stay busy! To this day, he has only had shoes on his fat feet one time! I guess when winter rolls around we'll have to invest in some. His routine - well, some things he does during his busy day: up at ???? whenever he's hungry! He's especially playfull and sweet in the mornings! He cat naps at some point, gets rejuvinated and off he goes again. He LOVES being outside, especially when GD has him and they swing and swing and swing and swing and swing and swing. He will happily take a two hour nap as long as he can swing and swing and swing. How Granddaddy can stay put on the porch swing with the little man laying next to him for that long is amazing! He doesn't get that type of one-on-one here, but they love it! Walker lights up when Hunter comes around. He also tends to need momma a lot when she's around- that means "I need to see you, so don't go far. Three feet is too far!" He is a blessing to all of us!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Sunflower Patch

One of my favorite flowers is a sunflower. This admiration stems from the hundreds and hundreds found growing wild on the Texas highway every year. Once I moved to NC, its only on our annual trip home that I get to smile at their wild beauty. I did use them as part of our home decor when we lived in our 150 year old love shack - but the pretty fake ones only give me a glimmer into the sites of home. However, my sweet hubby, knowing me so well, came upon an area where sunflowers had been planted row after row after row. They were beautiful! Why a farmer in Tobacco land wanted to plant them, who knows? Sunflower seeds? dove hunting? Hmm? Maybe he loved his wife so much, he planted them for her? We can dream. Anyway, earlier this summer in July, while our Tarheel girl was home,we all loaded up for a moment in the sun---sunflower field that is. Although it felt we were trespassing, especially when the dogs down the road came barking--but my family indulged me for a few photos. Hunter wanted to play hide-n-seek. Danielle just wanted to go. Walker wanted to touch and grab them. Brittney was just Brittney and helping all have fun. A delightful sunshiney day!

A Sunday Picnic at Reservoir Park

It's Sunday. A day spent at work preparing for the upcoming survey! I think we all will be glad when it comes and goes. Nevertheless, Hunter had been wanting to have a picnic all week, so we decided today would be great. Tim loaded all the goodies, the children, the bike, the stroller and, of course, the baby. The weather was pleasant. A nice breeze by the lake. We could have done without the flies, but that's part of a true picnic, so I guess we should be glad for the authenticity of the moment and our pesty guest. Once our delightful lunch was over, off we went - Hunter on his bike, me and Walker strolling along, with Tim and Danielle winding up the rear. The trail around Reservoir park in Southern Pines is about a mile long. About half way around, we hear a crackle in the dry leaves in the woods around us. First a few, then a lot, then the feel of wetness on our face- it began to pour down rain! It had been overcast, but no dark blue to warn us of an impending rainstorm. Where did this come from? There was little shelter provided by the leaves and branches of the surrounding trees, so we opted to keep traveling. So we walked, and walked, and strolled and smiled - laughed through the puddles Hunter enjoyed - smiled as Walker just kicked his feet at the rain drops on his legs. Tim was soaked. Danielle was none too pleased that her whole attire was a mess due to some unexpected rain! My mascara was running, my hair dripping wet, but we were enjoying it together - so another memory in time. By the way, guess when the rain stopped? Yep! As soon as we got around to the parking lot!

Hike at the Moss Foundation

It was a hot Friday afternoon. Tim's latest hobby - going on two years now- GEO-Cashing! What is that you ask? It's kind of like a treasure hunt. Online you find coordinates to place into a GPS device - fancy compus like thing! Then off you go....Well today's adventure was at the Moss Foundation. This is a 4000 acre piece of land outside of Southern Pines. Big horse country out that way. Although lots of trails, they are more intended for horseback riding than walking, however, that would not deter my husband from his hunt, so off we go. Danielle being as excited as she can be, thankfully wearing good tennis shoes and not flipflops! Hunter full of energy and excitement. He loves going for walks in the woods. Me in my scrubs from just getting off of work. Walker in his stroller - thank goodness for the investment in a "jogging stroller". (I never have had any intention of jogging, but the larger wheels make it great for adventures, such as today.) Tim with his GPS, his bag of goodies to share and several water bottles for us all. "Are we there yet?" ask Hunter after 30 minutes of walking. Hmmm?? Where or how far I should say, is this treasure? One mile into the woods we trecked, all for the pleasure of finding the plastic container! I was the one who found it, by the way, just laying there so casually. So- Hunter gets to pick a prize, Tim gets to put his name on the log of others that have come before him. Now, back to the van - another mile I need to add. The sun is beginning to set, the birds are singing, except for when Hunter tries to yell to add something to the peace and quiet. Whew! Walker loves being outside. It's a good thing too because pushing the stroller in soft sand on and off for 45 minutes is tough! We enjoyed petting some horses at a nearby farm which was a treat. Such beautiful animals. End results: mom with thighs burning and sweat dripping, Danielle with silence from ??? I guess exhaustion. Hunter re-energized somewhere along the way back and talking non-stop, Walker just happy to be outside and Dad - soaking wet with sweat, but successful in his goal. Pizza and some cold iced tea was the prize we all got after the end of a busy afternoon. A delightful family outing!

Friday, August 4, 2006

The end of our Texas summer Adventure 2006

We left Alpine on Wednesday morning - 12 hours later we were still in Texas! and not even half way home! Bob Will's song "I can see miles and miles of Texas" is going round and round in my head. Another night in a hotel and our journey continues. We went on a couple of treasure hunts along the route home. One, of which, was in the middle of some big town, that we couldn't easily locate. Do you think we would stop for directions? Maybe we can say its "the Martin curse or carma". Stubborn and determined is that of my better half---an hour later the treasure was found. And off we go again. The Tarheel girl was a huge help with driving as well as keeping dad awake in the wee hours of the morning. Where was I? Why in the back seat - for three days long- tending to a baby! :) Thank goodness the other two children were occupied!-movies, a new cell phone, an IPOD, Game boy, Su Do Ku!
We arrived home safe and sound at about 4:30 in the morning. A quick little nap and off to work I went. Tim had to work that night. Upon returning from work that day we had to get Brittney loaded up to return to UNC that weekend. Wow! Life stays busy! A great vacation, and then reality quickly sets in!
*The picture above is at the Mississippi state line.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Alpine, Texas

So our ending point on our Hwy 90 West tour was Alpine, Texas. This is the gateway to Big Bend and views of the Davis Mountains can be seen. Due to time and all the excitement of our earlier sight seeing tour, we elected to forego the beauty (and 1 -2 hr drive) into Big Bend National park. Instead, we opted for the McDonald Observatory. Night Star Gazing would be our decision. Alpine is not a city, but a busy little town. It's about 45 minutes off of the Interstate and has two main roads through downtown. Tim and Hunter visited a local museum and the girls and I did a little shopping. We enjoyed delicious Mexian food and opted for the Ramada Inn. The free fast wireless internet access was really the thing the realed us in. The indoor pool, although sounded great to Hunter, was much too cold to enjoy. The hot tub on the other hand was perfect.
Tim calls it "the Martin curse or carma", but our plans for night star gazing was dampened by, of all things, rain! It was flooding further west, so we still enjoyed the presentation. In an auditorium of about 100 plus people, my brave 8 year old raises his hand and patiently waits his turn to ask a question. Inside I'm holding my breath about what will come out of his mouth, but his unusual interest in the constellations came through. He was curious about "if all stars eventually blow up, then why doesn't that action make millions of other stars?" Great question, however, the speaker attempted to answer, but still not real clear, thus a one-on-one after the presentation. Now the Tarheel "college" girl on the other hand was ever so curious about the presentation on the prisms and different colors and blah! blah!blah! It was 10:30pm, past my bedtime and I was dozing through this portion. Overall, it was an educational trip.

I have left the best part of our stay in Alpine for last. Many of you know my husband's interest in treasure hunting. ( I recently learned that I'm to be quiet about GEO cashing sites -its a secret order of the current day pirates looking for treasures! I have to keep to the code...sshhh!)Anyway, in the middle of somewhere, see the photos above, is a flat rock. A treasure hunt ensued, but to no avail. None of us "tourist" were brave enough to stick our hands under the rock, so we went away empty handed. (According to the secret society communication log, the next pirate that ventured to this site found it immediately. Go figure!)

On a side note, off in the distance were the clouds of a storm, the sound of thunder and the smell of fresh rain. It was great! The mountains in the distance and the setting sun only added to the view.

Meet Muskit

Meet the newest member of our family--Muskit! She/he??? is a two year old ferrit! Hunter saved up his money for a guinea pig and we came home with a ferrit instead. "Quite a deal!", said the sales person. "Yea right!" I said after my weak moment when my subconscious forgot to ask
are you crazy? Its more money out of your wallet! The creature, however, really is sweet and fun to watch. It prances about when you first let it out. Walker has swung it around by its tail more than once with no ill feelings being left behind. I couldn't believe this creatures easy-go-lucky attitude. Pell-the family pooch- loves to chase and smash him with his paws, but the creature eventually gets away only to look back at him from under the shelves and taunt him. "he! he! you can't get me now!" On a closing note, a take away message for all those who think this is so sweet....they stink! Yes they literrally stink! Oh well!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Highway 90 to West Texas

After a tearful good-bye, off we go to continue our Texas adventure 2006. Somewhere in West Texas is our destination, we have a couple of ideas, but the day is young. We had an exciting sight-seeing tour. Buckle up!

Deer leases are very common and popular in this part of Texas. Hunting season is quite the money maker. Exotic game leases are also something that has become quite popular in our vast, bland scenery. In between Uvalde and Brackettville, our Tarheel girl squeals in amazement. On the road in front of us – you would expect a deer since this is big deer country, but instead it is an Alpaca or maybe it was a Llama! We pull over in hopes of getting picture, but it was not an easy target. We did, however, get to observe the sheriff deputy trying to “round it up”, BUT in his vehicle no less! My older brother -one of the few remaining "real" cowboys, in my opinion of course - would have been laughing!

It really makes you think of how the years have really changed the old fashion way of “rounding up”. No handsome cowboy wearing jeans, boots, a big belt buckle and a Stetson, Not on a horse, not on his feet, no rope in hand, no “whooha” yell – just a Dodge Ram with a Sheriff’s emblem on it driving and turning, driving and turning. Not the true Texas experience I would have like my kids to see! Oh well. Our adventure continues.

Once out of Del Rio, almost unexpected, the Pecos river in its great canyon is seen. We pull over to the “overlook” and enjoy the peace and beauty of it. My brother, Jerry, tells us that somewhere along this river are caves and Indian petroglyphs, not to mention Texas size catfish. None could be seen or caught from where we were, but the kids seem to enjoy the diversion – out of the car, something different to see rather than the dry brushlands of the Texas countyside. Pictures were taken like that of true tourist – but hey! That’s what we are! It's hard to believe that this huge river, not to mention Lake Amistad that we just passed, has all of this water, but with no benefit to the brush country. You can see miles and miles of Texas and it holds a beauty of its own - not found in a tree or different shades of green -no clastorphobia here - just Texas.

Everyone has heard of road-kill, especiallyl if you have any redneck blood in you! I think Texas must have coined the term. As we continue on Highway 90 West, we see a huge deer plastered on the side of the road. The size of the deer was not what was so impressive – it was the enormous size of the buzzards eating at the carcous. These creatures are no where near the size of those seen in NC. Often when spending time on the river, if you saw buzzards circling in the sky, you knew some great dead thing was fixing to be dinner. I think they must circle trying to decide which part will be the first course, the main course and, of course, dessert! But how do they determine which one gets which part? A deer is a feast but what about the armadillos? Rattle snakes? Yuk! And then there are the Jackalopes!

If you’ve never been to West Texas beyond Del Rio, its miles and miles of nothingness! There are towns along the way, but very desolate and small. We stopped in Sanderson, Texas – wanting to venture into the “visitor station” and get some information on Big Bend. The door is padlocked. Quite a statement from a small town. The hours of business are Monday – Friday 10am- 2pm. It’s five minutes till noon. Where is everyone? The Tarheel mouth proclaims that this is a “ghost town”. There are no people, yet there are businesses and cars about. One store for buying used tires has the front door open, so people must exist. Quite the contrary to the padlock - maybe safety was a factor depending on which side of the road you lived?We did find a short distance down the road, the happenin’ place. It was a convenient store for locals to get gas - $3.15, the highest noted on our trip so far, but also a place to get food from the grill area. The people are not openly friendly or loud like you would expect from a Texas hang out, but they weren’t rude. We see a fellow tourist – licenses plate reported Maine. I found nothing of a connection to engage in conversation , so we both continued our journeys. Them going on their way – ours going…I’m still not sure where.

15 hours later, just kidding, it was only 8, I think, we reach our destination- Alpine, Texas - Home of Sul Ross State University- where boys become Cowboys! Yee Ha! We can get out the van!

Rowdy Boy in Texas

These are pictures of my nephew, Rowdy. He's thirteen and girl crazy! Hunter loves him. Brittney is not quite sure. They were constantly playing jokes on each other - Brittney won the prize with the pink painted toenails he acquired while sleeping!

Pictures of my little brother! :)

Click on the blue sentences below for a picture. I have not idea how I got to this. Sorry!

This is my little brother, Jerry Lee. He works hard, plays harder and being a dad is the highlight of his life. These are a few pictures from our summer vacation.