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A Wedding in the City

 

We left the hills of Kentucky this past weekend to travel to the big city of Cincinnati for a family wedding. Our niece, on my husbands side, got married. We used to live outside Cincinnati, but we haven’t been back in several years.

 

The wedding ceremony was at an old church downtown.

 

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The church had not been used in 25 years, according to the website. Another church purchased it and finished the rehab just a couple of months ago.

 

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It looks like the outside was kept as the original. The inside was a combination of the original and the new. It had the most gorgeous stained glass windows.

 

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And an amazing ceiling and columns.  They had painted the bottom part of the walls black. They surrounded the columns with metal, lights, and speakers. Hung a large, retractable screen in the front.

 

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It’s so awesome that they rehabbed an old church so it could be used and enjoyed again. Only it left me feeling sad. Sad that they painted the walls black, and added so much modern “stuff”. Just my opinion, of course, but I can’t help but think how much more awesome the church would have been if the walls weren’t black and they had found another way to incorporate the technology.

 

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The ceremony was beautiful! Then we ventured back into Kentucky to an event center for the reception. We had never been to this Kentucky city before. So we got a little, shall we say, lost while trying to find it. I was reading the map on my phone, but it’s not my fault that my husband drives faster than the gps can spit out the directions! lol

 

The reception was a lot of fun! I meant to take the place card, but forgot it on the table! At least I got a picture of it, though.

 

They had a maid of honor, a matron of honor, and two best men. They all gave speeches, as well as the father of the bride, my husband’s brother. So there was a lot of toasting and glass clicking. Thankfully, they offered a non-alcoholic champagne version to drink. That’s what I, my husband, and our kids drank.

 

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They had a dessert table that included chocolate cakes, several different kinds of cookies, several different kinds of pies, candies, and a few different gluten-free desert options. They removed the wedding cake from the table before they turned us loose on the desserts. I’m not sure if they ever served wedding cake, as we left before the party and dancing was over. It was pretty, though.

 

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They had these to-go boxes on the dessert table along with a sign encouraging everyone to take some with them. It’s a neat idea, and gave us something to snack on for the almost 3 hour trip home.

 

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I saw this car in the parking garage and my first thought was it’s their car. After thinking about it, after I took the picture, I came to the conclusion that it couldn’t be their car. There were other parties going on at the event center, so it made sensee that it wouldn’t automatically be their car, but I didn’t do much thinking before I took the pic. lol So I ended up with a picture of some random car that belongs to some bride and groom that I don’t know. So I thought I’d share it with you. lol

 

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This next picture makes me laugh. I hadn’t worn high heels in years. The last time I remember wearing them was when our daughter got married 8 and a half years ago! I managed to get through the day, though, including walking down city sidewalks, and going down two sets of stairs to get to the reception. When we left the reception, I took them off to go back up the stairs. lol  I didn’t feel bad, though! When I was in line to get dinner from the buffet, I saw a woman that had taken her shoes off. So I lasted longer than she did. lol The walk back to the parking garage almost did me in! I so wanted to take the heels off and walk down the side walk in my stocking feet! I would have if it hadn’t been so cold out! I made it to just inside the parking garage before I took them off. lol

Those were some tough pantyhose! When I took them off that night and checked the feet, you could not even tell that I had walked quite a ways on cement with them. lol

 

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I guess you can take the woman out of the country to a city wedding, but you can’t take the country out of the woman!

 

 

Why We Don’t Celebrate Halloween

 

Both mine and my husband’s families all celebrated halloween when we were growing up. So it just seemed natural to us to do the same with our children.

 

We started out celebrating halloween with the kids when our oldest was 4 months old. We dressed them up in non scary costumes, and went out to see family and friends. We never went door to door in the neighborhood. By 1990, 4 years later, we decided that that wasn’t working for our family and that we would just have parties instead.

 

So we got together with some friends and had a halloween party for the kids. With games, decorating their own cupcakes, and a jack o lantern pinata. It was a lot of fun, for the kids and the adults. After that year, though, we felt parties weren’t the answer either. So at the age of 4 & 2, our 2 oldest kids had celebrated their last halloween. Our four youngest kids have never celebrated halloween. (I’m talking about while under the age of 18, by the way.)

 

Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween

 

Why We Don’t Celebrate Halloween

 

We just FELT that there wasn’t something right about it. So we set out to learn about the origins of halloween and what a lot of the halloween traditions started as and represent. This information convinced us that our feelings were right.

 

Over the years, our convictions about halloween have grown. In the beginning we didn’t know the facts that we later learned, we just knew how we felt. Yes, I believe that God gave us those feelings. Thankfully, we followed those feelings, and now we know why.

 

We only have one child under 18 now. Those over 18, 5 of them, have chosen different routes. One doesn’t celebrate halloween, one has celebrated halloween with parties, etc., two participate in trunk or treat at church, one just turned 18 and I don’t know what her choices will be yet.

 

No, we don’t hold it against others for trick or treating. Or our kids for deciding to participate in halloween activities after they turn 18. In fact, when we lived in an apartment for a few years, we purchased candy & Christian tracts to hand out to the kids that came to our door. All of our nieces and nephews celebrate halloween. And, no, we haven’t told them they shouldn’t. They just know that we don’t. It really hasn’t been a problem with our families. We live out in the country now, and don’t get trick or treaters. If we did, I would have to scramble to find something to give them. lol

 

A lot of churches encourage celebrating halloween, including hosting “Trunk or Treats”. They park their cars around the church parking lot, and the kids go from car to car and get candy. Call it what you want, it’s STILL trick or treating and it’s STILL celebrating halloween! And we don’t need halloween “alternatives”! Why do so many Christians have a hard time standing up and saying “This isn’t a Christian holiday, and we aren’t going to celebrate it?!”

 

That being said, I do not tell others they shouldn’t celebrate halloween.  In fact, you very well may see me liking and sharing other people’s halloween posts on social media. Because, come on, their kids are cute! And some of those recipes look really yummy!

 

Celebrating or not celebrating halloween is a matter of fun for some and a matter of conscience for others. Not celebrating halloween has been the right thing for our family.

 

It’s Been One Crazy Summer

 

 

Fall is now officially here and I am reflecting back over our summer.

 

It’s been one crazy summer!

 

It's Been One Crazy Summer!

 

My mother moved in with us! After being in 3 different hospitals for a total of 4 months, my mother was finally able to come home. She chose to move in with us until she was ready to go back to her home. We all get along, so that wasn’t a problem. The dynamic just changes when someone else moves into the house. She was here for almost 4 months. I’m happy to say that she has now moved back to her own house! I’m happy for her not happy she is gone! lol That was her goal. As soon as she was aware of what was going on in the hospital and starting to get better she said she wanted to go back to her own house. Here she is on her 80th birthday this summer eating her seafood feast I made for her birthday dinner.

 

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I spent the majority of the summer driving 3 kids to work. At three different places. All working different hours. In 2 different towns! I felt like I was living in my car! lol

 

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One daughter, Hannah, saved enough money and bought her own car this summer. So now she drives herself to work. Which is awesome because she is the one that worked in another town about 30 minutes away.

 

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The 17 year old girl quit her waitressing job, so I didn’t have to drive her anymore. My son, unfortunately, fell and broke his leg. His work laid him off since you can’t work in a factory with a broken leg. :( I’m happy to report he is leg has healed, and he is currently looking for a job. He did get his van running before he had to stop working. So I will only have to drive him to the new job for a couple of weeks until he can get insurance on it again. Even though he had a broken leg, he still helped us set up the huge clothes giveaway at church.

 

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We had a litter of 3 kittens and a litter of 3 puppies born about 24 hours apart! May 17th and May 18th. My kids were so happy! They love when the animals have babies. It got a little crazy in the house though. (If crazier is possible!)

 

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Our cats have always been outdoor cats, except when they have kittens. (Sorry for the blurry pic. One of the kids took it, and it’s the only pic I have) Then they get to stay in the house for about a month. They love it! lol And so do the kids. Mama kitty has to round up her kittens when she wants to feed them, as the kids are always holding the kittens.

 

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Piper, the mama dog, was very unappreciative of the cat being near her puppies. This sometimes led to a little fighting. Mama kitty always won. lol Piper doesn’t like getting her nose scratched. lol

 

I worked in the kitchen for Vacation Bible School at our church. That’s a lot of food to prepare.  We served Nachos one night. This is just some of the bowls of nachos.

 

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We even made a 12 foot ice cream sundae on the last night!

 

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My youngest son went to two different camps this summer. He went to Kung Fu camp put on by his Kung Fu instructor. He was gone from Monday to Thursday afternoon, and had a great time. The next week he was home, before leaving the following week for church camp. He was gone from Monday to Friday afternoon. He turned 16 while at church camp!

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He always has a great time at both those camps. This was his 2nd year at Kung Fu camp and his 5th year at church camp. As soon as he gets home, he’s talking about going back next year.

We, meaning he, kept homeschooling all summer. Well, except for the 2 weeks he was gone to camp.

To end the summer with some additional craziness, he got his drivers license permit! We survived teaching his 5 older siblings how to drive. I hope we can survive him! lol He and I have laughed so much over this picture. I happened to take this picture at just the right moment, after the flash from the official camera went off. His picture on his permit came out good, but this one is just hilarious. lol

 

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So after a very busy, very crazy summer, with 90 degree temps the whole summer, I’m ready for fall!

 

How about you, did you have a good or crazy summer? Are you ready for fall, too?

 

 

It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Gets Scared By a Paper Towel!

 

I went to the dentist with my husband the other day. They put us in a little room, took xrays, then left us. In a tiny room. For an hour. Can you say bored?

 

Oh, to add to the fun, there was no chair for me to sit on! So there I was. Standing there bored. I had already read all the pamphlets. Played with the electric toothbrushes on display. And checked Facebook on my phone several times. Apparently, I don’t do bored well. lol

 

Then the paper towel dispenser caught my attention.

 

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The paper towel is hanging out because I was trying to see how long I could it. For the record, you have to tug on the paper towel before it will dispense more.

 

So then I decided to see how close I had to walk to the paper towel dispenser before it would dispense. I was bored, remember? lol

 

I walked by, getting closer each time. Which was not easy, since the sink is right there next to the dispenser.

 

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All this time, my husband was sitting in the cushy (ha!) dentist chair. Watching his crazy, bored out of her mind, wife.

 

After about 4 passes by the paper towel dispenser with my shoulder, I came to the conclusion that my shoulder was too short to set off the automatic dispenser. Short person problem #4,357

 

As I was telling that to my husband, with the dispenser behind my shoulder, it decide that I was indeed tall enough. And dispensed a paper towel onto my shoulder.

 

I, however, was not expecting it. So I jumped a mile. And jumped away from the dispenser. I may, or may not, have screamed a little. And had a funny, scared face.

 

Now my husbands boredom was relieved as he laughed his head off at me! I’m sure he wishes he had a video of it!

 

The moral of this story? Don’t leave me in little room with a paper towel dispenser. Unless you want a good laugh!

 

Give Kids The World 30th Anniversary

 

 

Give Kids The World, a nonprofit organization that provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families week long, fantasy vacations, celebrated its 30th anniversary in March, marking three decades of providing the happiness that inspires hope.

 

My family stayed at Give Kids the World in 2002 on my son’s wish trip. I wanted to be sure to share this with you since I have first hand experience in how awesome Give Kids the World really is!

 

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Since 1986, the organization has hosted more than 143,000 children and their families. Give Kids The World partners with more than 240 wish-granting organizations from around the world to bring these families to Central Florida to experience the world’s most beloved theme parks. There is no cost for visiting families.

 

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The inspiration for Give Kids The World was a wish that went unfulfilled. Thirty years ago, a 6-year-old girl named Amy wanted to visit Walt Disney World. But despite efforts to make that dream come true, Amy, who had leukemia, passed away before all of the pieces could come together. An Orlando hotelier and Holocaust survivor named Henri Landwirth was so moved by her story he pledged that no child’s wish would ever again come too late.

 

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With the help of his friends and colleagues in the hospitality industry, his new venture could make a wish come true in as little as 24 hours. Give Kids The World started in 1986 as a few rooms spread out between several local hotels. Three years later, the whimsical Give Kids The World Village resort opened in Kissimmee, and has grown to encompass 79 acres with 144 two-bedroom villas.

 

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The one-of-a-kind Village looks as if it leapt off the pages of a child’s storybook. It features the Castle of Miracles, where golden stars personalized with each wish child’s name twinkle on the ceiling. There’s a magical carousel, a child-size train, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course, two pools and a spectacular splash pad. Halloween and Christmas are celebrated every week, as is the birthday of Mayor Clayton, a six-foot rabbit who serves as honorary mayor of the Village. All the amenities are designed to help the children and their families forget – if only for a week – the challenges that living with a life-threatening illness present.

 

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Today, the mission of the Village is fulfilled with the help of dozens of corporate partners and countless donors, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, as well as Kennedy Space Center, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Gatorland, all of which provide admission tickets.

 

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Visiting families enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner provided by Perkins Restaurants & Bakery, Boston Market and Papa John’s Pizza. Additional support comes from longtime partners such as Mears Transportation, InterContinental Hotels Group Owners Association and Orange Lake Resorts, Home to Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

 

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“Over the last 30 years, we’ve welcomed thousands of children and their families into our Village home and into our hearts. Each one of them has made an indelible mark on our lives,” said Pamela Landwirth, President and CEO of Give Kids The World Village.

 

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“As we look back through the years, we are so thankful for the incredible generosity of our corporate donors, our partners, and everyone who has helped support our mission,” she said. “They have shared their time, talents, and resources to ensure that our families leave the Village with memories they will cherish for a lifetime.”

 

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Every wish kid gets a star on the ceiling of the Castle of Miracles, shown above. My son’s star is just inside the front door, on the ceiling right outside what used to be the Fe Fi Fo Fun Game Room. They’ve done a lot of changes since we’ve been there, so I’m not sure if that is still a game room, though.

 

In 2015, the Village welcomed more than 7,700 families, a number expected to grow in 2016. To accommodate the continuing growth, additional villas are under construction. The first phase of Banyan Park, which includes an additional 24 villas, is scheduled to open this fall.

 

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Also this year, Give Kids The World is bringing memories of the Village to “alumni” families during “family reunions” to be held in cities throughout the country. These ice-cream socials will allow guests to reconnect, reminisce and rediscover the feeling they had at the Village while meeting other families with stories much like their own. The family reunions are scheduled in cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Columbus, and Philadelphia.

 

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Our time at the Give Kids the World Village was amazing. The peace that you feel when you are in the village can not be felt any where else in the “real world”. It truly is an incredible place for the wish kids, and their whole families.

 

For more information on Give Kids The World Village’s mission, the resort or how to make a donation that will help provide the “Happiness that Inspires Hope,” please visit GiveKidsTheWorld.org.

 

The Sandwich Generation – Revisited

About a year and a half ago, I wrote about being in the Sandwich Generation. In case you’ve never heard that term, it’s when you are caring for your children and your parents at the same time.

 

Now, we find ourselves in the middle of this again. Another one of our parents has been sick and in the hospital. It’s still up in the air about what is going to happen when they are finally discharged. Going to a nursing home? Going to their home? Coming to my home?

 

So I am re-reading my posts on being in the Sandwich Generation.  Because even though we’ve been through this before, I need reminders, too!

 

I need to remind myself that I am doing ok. Even if I feel guilty for not being available to everyone all the time. I need to remind myself that it’s ok not be able to be everything to everybody. I need to remind myself that there is no need to feel guilty when I am doing everything humanly possible.  And you don’t have to feel guilty, either!

 

 

To read more about my journey through the Sandwich Generation, read these posts.

 

 

The Sandwich Generation

 

The Sandwich Generation

 

The Sandwich Generation – Making Decisions

 

The Sandwich Generation Making Decisions

 

The Sandwich Generation – When Is It Too Much?

 

The Sandwich Generation When Is It Too Much

 

If your parent, or other loved one is in the hospital, here are my 5 Tips for Staying in the Hospital with a Loved One.

5 Tips for Staying in the Hospital with a Loved One

 

Kentucky Blizzard 2016

Here are a few pictures we took after the blizzard came through last week.

 

My youngest son gave up on sledding in the deep snow and just laid there. Some of the dogs thought he was trying to play with them. lol

 

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Bear, one of our Morkie puppies loves the snow.

 

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For some reason, he likes digging in the snow with his nose. lol

 

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The front of our house, looking across the yard.

 

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Looking down our road. Our house is on the left. That’s Piper, the Morkie, walking down the tire track. Max, the German Shepard and Lab mix, in the background.

 

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That’s our picnic table buried under the snow! Notice that the snow is up to the seats on the picnic table!

 

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The big pine trees are weighed down by all the snow.

 

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My husband parked my car next door up by the road before the blizzard hit. We have a long driveway with a hill that goes up to the road. That makes it hard to get out after snow and ice storms. So he parked my car up by the road so we could get our easy. Can you see my car in the picture below?! It took my husband over 4 hours to dig it out!

 

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This is my husbands car in the driveway! You can see a little bit of one mirror, and a glimpse of the front tire!

 

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When my husband took this picture, it was still snowing. It snowed for almost 2 hours after he measured. So we are calling it 17 inches of snow! That’s a LOT of snow!

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While I was standing on the front porch, because  I don’t do snow, taking pictures of three of my kids trying to sled in the deep snow, a neighbor went by with his tractor. He was scraping the road! That’s how it goes when you live in the country. The county takes care of the bigger roads first. Leaving us on the smaller, back roads for last. Thankfully, we have awesome neighbors around here that pitch in to help!

 

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Did the blizzard blow by where you live? How much snow did you get?