Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Six Flags

Last week Steven and I took Joshua and Zach to Six Flags. It was Zach's first time. We had a blast! The kids get free tickets from a reading program at school. So, I bought some tickets for me and Steven, got food vouchers for refillable drinks and popcorn, dropped Elijah off with my sister and headed out to the amusement park.

I must admit, I very much enjoyed roller coasters as a kid. Not once did it ever occur to me that they were not safe or that anything could happen to me. Now, in my old age, I have to admit that it was ALL I was thinking about as I sat next to Zach on the MindBender. (I told my sister where my will was located when I dropped off Elijah.) Here I am, on a ride I've been on many times before, seeing it in a whole new light. Zach, who just turned 6 and is just tall enough to ride these types of rides, sat next to me with giddy excitement. I sat there, holding his hands, and explaining to him that he needed to push his head back against the seat so that he wouldn't flop around and could enjoy the ride more. He said "Okay Mommy" and we were off. The coaster started up the hill very slowly. As we ascended, he was watching the other coasters around the park. We got to the top and virtually stopped (Steven's LEAST favorite part) before heading around the curve to the first loop. We started going faster. All I could do was hold Zach's hand, make sure our lap belt was tight, and pray that God would watch out for us. As we got faster and faster, I was yelling at Zach to hold his head back. Then we started down. Before I knew it we were upside down and whipping around. I was 15 again, but still very aware that my 6 year old was next to me and this was his first ride. We hit the abrupt stop at the end. I was still holding Zach's hand. We pull back under the canopy and get off. I'm thinking that was too much for Zach and that he wouldn't want to do it again. (We had already done the Mine Train and Scream Machine and he liked those. But this one went upside down.) We are walking thru the exit and I asked Zach if he liked it. He looked at me, smiled, and started jumping up and down. "Let's do it again, Mommy! Let's do it again!" We rode it at least 2 more times that day.

What a great day it was! I love Elijah, but it was nice to spend some time with just my 2 older boys without worrying about Elijah's diaper or his whining. I could finally focus on my quickly growing oldest boys with whom I could have an almost adult type conversation. We walked around the park riding rides, drinking Coke, lemonade, Powerade, Sprite and eating bowl after bowl of popcorn. We rode the Mine Train, Scream Machine, Mind Bender, Shake Rattle N Roll, Log Jamboree, Wiley Coyote ride, something like the swings, Monster Mansion, and probably a few more that I can't remember. And, as afraid as I was that Zach would have trouble on the roller coasters, the ride that frightened him the most was....Monster Mansion. Yes, I'm serious. Something about the dark part with scary and unexpected noises. I cracked up laughing when he told me that!

I did, however, discover that I am not as young as I used to be. I still enjoy roller coasters, but I can't take it all day long like I could when I was a kid. I'm just really glad that I was able to enjoy that with my kids. From my memories, my parents didn't ride with us. My mom would ride the Gasp (once I think...and now I'm dating myself) and she rode the Scream Machine once, but never again. We got Daddy on FreeFall (once only!) and the Mind Bender, but that was it. Oh wait! They did ride the log ride. Anyway, I had fun as a kid and I had fun this time. I hope that is a summer tradition that we can continue. I assume Elijah will get a free ticket once he gets to school too. Then the ever dreaded situation of....who's going to ride by themselves?????

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Team of the Night - Peachtree Ridge Blue Lions

Joshua's All Star team party was held at the Gwinnett Braves game on Tuesday, June 30. It was great! They get to watch the game from the "Team of the Night" Deck and are provided food. It's a great place to sit and watch the game. It's down the 3rd base side and in the shade. All the kids on the team got certificates for participating in the All Star tournament.

In addition to the deck, they get to go down to the field before the game and get autographs from the players. Joshua loved that! Steven, Zach and Elijah went and sat in the stands while he did that. Elijah, having memorized the entire Gwinnett Braves line up by number, helped tell the team who each player was. Reid Gorecki was quite impressed with my 3 year old and gave him a high five. (Reid would later hit a pinch hit grand slam to tie the game. I think Elijah brought him good luck!) Here, Joshua is getting an autograph from Jordan Shafer, former centerfielder for Atlanta who was sent down due to an injured wrist. (I've talked to him several times. He's quite a nice person.)

The kids also got to run out on the field with the players during the National Anthem. Joshua, having played catcher some during the tourney, went out to the catcher's spot with Clint Sammons. He and Corey (here with Coach John) got to yell "Play Ball" into the mic before the game. What a great experience! (Thanks Chad for the info!)

Thankfully, my co-worker who works the Team of the Night Deck switched with me so I was working the deck this day and got to see it all! I wouldn't have missed it for anything! It was so cool! Thanks Coach John for making this possible!
I brought Steven and the boys to work with me early that day and game them a quick tour of the stadium. (The rest of the team came by bus.) Nothing much, just places they wouldn't normally see. Then I got to watch the game very near them. What a great game it was too!
The GBraves were down 7-1 in the 7th inning, so the rest of the team decided they were ready to go. We said bye to them and my family stayed to watch the game. And are glad we did! Reid Gorecki came up and hit a pinch hit grand slam to tie the game! Then Jordan Shafer hit a home run (very next batter) to put us ahead. The GBraves ended up winning the game 8-7. It was awesome! Steven called Coach Mike and told them what they had missed. He wasn't very happy. That is why you NEVER leave a game early. You never know what might happen!
A great time was had by all! As the other kids on the team were running up and down the stairs and around the stadium and goofing off on the deck, I'm proud to say that my kids, yes all 3 of them, sat and watched the ENTIRE game. Joshua and Zach even kept score!
Afterwards, they waited at the player's parking lot and got some more autographs. It was a perfect day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"The I Believe Bunny" by Tish Rabe, Illustrated by Frank Endersby

"The I Believe Bunny" is a cute story for children ages 2-5 about a bunny who finds himself in a position to help out mouse, but isn't confident that he can do it. Bunny was afraid but knew he had to help. So he prayed to God and asked Him to help give Bunny strength. And He did!

This is a sweet story of prayer and faith. Though I agree with the moral and lesson of this book, I was not taken with the story. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful and the lines all rhyme, but I feel the author was really stretching to make a connection between Bunny and faith. I read it with no real feelings welling up inside. I could, quite frankly, take it or leave it. However, let me stress again, that the lesson of faith is very clear and would come across to any child. Though not the best story around, it could very easily be used as a teaching tool of faith.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zach's 6th Birthday!

Zach has turned 6! I just can't believe it! Where has the time gone?

As is custom, I asked Zach what he wanted to do for his birthday. (Remember, last year he wanted to see the White House.) This year, the Red Sox were in town playing our own Atlanta Braves, so he wanted to go to the game. (For those of you who don't know, the Red Sox are our OTHER favorite team, besides the Braves.) So we got tickets to the Yankees AND the Red Sox games...all in one week. (By the time the week was over, Steven and the kids had been to 1 Yankees game, 2 Red Sox games and a Gwinnett Braves game! Whew!

Elijah is showing everyone the big screen in center field. Zach and Joshua are enjoying keeping score in the game. (That is SO cool that my kids like to keep score!) And we got this big tomahawk outside the stadium for free!

We got to the game early enough to see the Red Sox taking some batting practice and warming up. We saw Jonathan Papelbon, Dice K and Kevin Youkilis...

And we saw John Smoltz!

We sat in down the right field line so we could get a good look at David Ortiz, aka Big Papi! We also got to see Dustin Pedroia...

Jeff Francouer and JD Drew!

Amazingly enough, the Red Sox fans were louder than the Braves fans. We enjoyed cheering for both. I think we ended up cheering more for the Red Sox, but it's all good. We had a great time!

St. Simons Island

Every year, Edward Jones has a Summer Regional meeting at a beach somewhere nearby. This year it was at St. Simons Island at the King and Prince Resort. We don't get to the beach often, so the kids and I decided to tag along with Steven.

It was a very nice resort. This is the view from our 4th floor balcony. Yes, the 4th floor. It wasn't so bad though. There were stairs and an elevator. Joshua and Zach would take the stairs and race us to see if they could beat the elevator. They usually beat us going up, but we would tie on the way down.
This is the view down the beach...when there was beach. It was gorgeous! But, as you can see, there are rocks lining the back side. We realized quickly that those mean high tide comes in very high. This picture was taken at low tide. At high tide, there is NO beach. Nothing! We would sit on the rocks and watch the waves roll in. The stairs down to the beach would be covered in water. It was pretty, but I wouldn't let the kids get in.

This year was MUCH better than last year! Elijah didn't want to have anything to do with water or sand last time. This time, as you can see, he is on the beach! He even let the waves come up over his feet....with his sandals on, of course. He enjoyed playing in the sand too. We made castle shapes and fish and dug big holes. All the boys enjoyed that!

Joshua and Zach had no problem with the water. They particularly enjoyed jumping the waves as they came in. They aren't big ocean swimmers (like Mom) because they can't see the bottom. But they had fun. One time Zach kicked his BRAND NEW Spiderman beach ball into the ocean and the current started taking it out. He got very upset. Mom became an ocean swimmer very fast. It took a while, but I finally got it. It had gone out very far before I could stop it. Needless to say, I deflated the beach ball for the rest of the trip.

There was also a little pool about 1 foot deep. (We played in the pool at high tide.) And Elijah got in! It was great! (Thanks for the picture, Kelly!) He usually screams and cries about it. But this time he WANTED to put on his bathing suit and WANTED to get in the pool. So we did. He had fun throwing balls and running around after his brothers. After a while, the older boys wanted to go to the bigger pool. Elijah did that without fussing too. By the end, he was pretend swimming and even jumping in from the side! (With me holding his hands, of course.) I was so thankful.

Last year's beach vacation was a disaster! This one was VERY pleasant. I just wish it could have lasted longer!