Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation Part Two

So on Friday morning we all slept in until 9:00 (that NEVER has happened), and then hit the breakfast buffet before hitting the huge indoor waterpark. Let me explain just a bit about this indoor park. IT IS HUGE! They have specialized glass walls and ceilings making it feel like you are outside, but somehow the temperature stays 86 degrees in there year round. It was very comfortable in there...especially seeing as how the temps outside were 98-100 every single day we were there. The kids went down the tunnel waterslide at least 100 times each and then went down 2 red slides that bounced into water another 100 times each. They played with all of the ropes, buckets, waterguns, etc... that they could get their hands on. They stood under the HUGE bucket that dumped 750 gallons of water every few minutes and then they would wait for it to do it again. We rode in the lazy river and...discovered that although Brody gets NOTHING else from my side of the family, he does have a TRUE LOVE of lazy rivers and THAT would be from me! I could ride around in those things all day long and so could Brody. You should have seen him all kicked back with his arms behind his head just relaxing! So sweet. While there, we also hit the "hot pool" as Brody called it. My kids loves hot tubs and always want to get in one. So that didn't last too long, but we did it. We also rode the waves in their mock ocean pool. That was awesome. Chloe and Brody both loved going up and down in their floats while riding the waves.
After that excitement came to an end, we rested up and then headed out the the Tanger Shopping Outlets for a few hours of shopping and dinner. While there, we decided that there was still so much we wanted to do that we couldn't leave the next day so David used his Hilton points and got us a free room stay at a different hotel.
The next and final full day there, we went back into Gatlinburg and had breakfast at the famous Pancake Pantry. YUMMO is all I can say! After that we hit a few stores, walked around a bit more and then switched hotels and rested for a while. Then we went out to finish out the trip in true Gatlinburg style...putt putt, go cart racing, and bumper boats. Brody and I won the go cart racing, Chloe and David won in bumper boats (aka  they remained the most dry) and the kids both were way over par on putt putt so we didn't keep up. Brody needs a golf lesson from his OpOp.
Sunday morning we packed up and headed back to Clarksville. It was a wonderful vacation that I hope we all talk about for a long time to come.
Oh, and the camera...let's just say I bought a disposable one...took horrible pictures and the CD I got of them so that I could upload them on here doesn't work. Pictures just were not part of the plan.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vacation Part One

Well, I am certainly going to regret not using my packing list for vacation this time around. I forgot several things...namely the CAMERA! How does a mom obsessed with taking photos of her family forget the camera? Well, when you are packing for yourself and two kids the morning you are leaving it can happen. Especially if you don't go by the packing list that has never failed you before. Oh well, I am getting a disposable camera tonight to use the rest of our time here.
Yes, you read that right. I am blogging from vacation during a rest break. Since I have no pictures thus far, I wanted to get it all written down so I won't forget anything. I'll start with Wednesday when we left home to come to the Wilderness in the Smokies (Sevierville,TN) near Gatlinburg. We got all the way to Pleasant View (10 miles from home) before Brody started screaming about his shoes. He screamed about them all the way to Joelton (10 miles) and then we threatened to "turn the car around and go right back home." That helped for while. Then in Crossville I made a new aquaintance...State Highway Patrol. He pulled me over for speeding and then asked where I was heading in such a hurry. I wanted to ask him what the right answer was, but decided just to tell him the truth. "Officer, we are heading to vacation and the kids are just being loud and crying and I'm trying to find an exit to stop at." He still asked for all of my information and again, I wanted to ask him "oh, was that not the right answer? Am I still getting a ticket?" Instead, I apologized and told him I knew better. He confirmed that by handing me a $200 speeding ticket. Thanks officer...thanks. Great way to begin vacay!
We got to the resort a few hours later, settled in, and headed to the water park onsite. It was just OK. We were tired, the kids were CRAZY hyper, disobedient, whiny, etc... We didn't stay too long at the park before we came in and went to bed. Everyone at that point needed sleep and attitude adjustments. Thank the Lord that His mercies are new every morning.
So, day 2... we got up and had brunch in town and then headed over the the Ripley's Aquarium. It brought back lots of memories as it's identical to the one in Myrtle Beach that we took Chloe to when I was 8 months pregnant with Brody. It's hard to believe that next month he will be 3 years old. TIME FLIES! We all enjoyed the aquarium! Brody loved the sharks, and the little frogs. Chloe loved the sharks, frogs, and seahorses. I loved all of it...except the numerous trips to the potty! Brody wants to try to potty about 60% of the time now and Chloe has a urinary infection so I was back and forth the whole 3 hours we were there. After that, we walked around downtown Gatlinburg for about 3 more hours. David and I have a new nickname for that town. We call it "The Airbrush Capitol of the South." It's true. And yes, we are so getting some airbrushed t-shirts! Every where you look there are air-brush shops and confederate flag bikinis. Geesh. Anyways, we didn't get back to the resort until about 7:00 that night so there was no waterpark...just dinner and bed. And believe it or not David and I were both awake before either child was the next morning!!! That hasn't happened in 4.5 years.
On to part 2 of vacation in a few days...with pictures that will be taken by a cheap disposable camera cause this mama forgot the good one. Oh well, at least I remembered the children and swimsuits.

Monday, July 18, 2011

34...and loving it!

On Saturday I turned 34 years old. Now I know some people think it's odd for a gal to share her real age, but this gal LOVES birthdays...especially since I wasn't sure 2 years ago that I would have any more. This was the first year since 2008 that I have had a super healthy birthday! And it felt great.
I started the morning with a 5.6 mile run through a beautiful big neighborhood right down the road. I was going for a full on 10K but was short by about 1/2 mile. It felt good though to get back on the road since I have been "taking it easy" for a week now due to full on shin-splints/possible stress fractures. After the run, I came home and was greeted by my two kids with screams of "mommy, mommy, mommy's home. Happy birthday mommy!" It was awesome, and then my hubs took them out to pick up a few things while I iced my shins and chilled on the couch. By the time they got home, I was off the couch and showering up for the day. When I came out of the room, they had set up a Tangled Party for me. Chloe had wanted to give me a princess party so she picked all of the decorations out. I must say it was super cute and fun. We enjoyed cake from the Looking Glass which was amazing, and then we all settled in for a nap. Can you believe how awesome this day was so far?
After naps, the babysitter came and David took me to the outdoor shooting range in Southside, TN. Yes, I wanted to go there for my birthday! We have handguns so I wanted to learn how to shoot them in case I ever need to defend myself. I had never shot a gun before (other than in my police class which was only 18 rounds) so I was quite surprised when the range master told me I was a really good shot. The first bullet fired hit right in the center bullseye! He helped me with my form and gave me lots of tips (he was a sniper in the army for 30 years), and then I finished up my time at the range with an amazing looking target for a first time shooter.
Next we headed over to the new Buffalo Wild Wings in Clarksville. This is mine and David's favorite restaurant for lots of reasons...and from here on out it will be referred to as BW3 (no one here seems to know that is what it is really called). First, we had our first "hangout" at BW3 when we were first getting to know each other and we were too shy to call it a first date. HA! Second, with the exception of when I was on call at the hospital in Columbus, OH, we spent EVERY single Saturday at BW3 watching TN football because we didn't have the football package on our TV at home. And then during basketball season we went with our friends to watch my Tarheels play Duke every time they played. The BW3 has lots and lots of amazing memories for Team Blevins...pre-kids. HA!
After that, it was time to come home. All in all...the perfect birthday. I cannot wait to see what God has planned for this next year for me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Four Minutes Is No Big Deal

Please take 4 minutes to watch this video. It was filmed by a gal who visited the trash dump in Korah, Ethiopia which is the same place David will be going while he is there. For those of you who are so kindly donating to Team Blevins so that he can go on this mission trip, we want to keep you updated with news and videos of what he will be doing, the people he may come into contact with, and just how much your donations will impact the lives of the people of Korah.
Now go grab a Kleenex, or just use your shirt sleeve if you have to (you can always change it later), and hit play. Your heart will be broken for what breaks God's heart but that is where we, the children of God, can take the simple step of obedience and reach out to those who need so desperately to see the love of Jesus.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Africa Bound...

I seriously doubt that what I am about to write could be any more exciting than this: David is going to Africa...in approximately 50 days!!! At the end of August,  he will go with 9 other people (mostly from Clarksville) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to love on some sweet little orphans, help rebuild a boarding school, and spend time investing in the lives of adults and children who live in a trash dump (more on that in a minute). 

This has literally been the most unexpected thing to happen to our family in 2 years! We would have NEVER thought that this would be happening, but when Jesus calls, you either obey or you wind up in the belly of a whale (you remember what happened to Jonah!). So, we are stepping out in faith and just trusting Jesus. I say "we" but truly it's David as I will be staying behind on this trip and praying fervently for David, the other team members, and the people of Ethiopia who they will meet (and selfishly that the Lord calls me to go one day also).
 Anyways, while they are there, the team will do 3 projects as I briefly mentioned earlier. They will work on a project at Resurrection Orphanage where our dear friends met their beautiful daughter (they brought her home 6 months ago). They will also travel to a place called Korah, a literal trash dump where an entire community lives off of the trash brought there. It is painfully heart-wrenching to know that these people have to go through trash to find food for themselves and their children. Can you even begin to imagine that being your life?!?  In Korah they will partner with an organization called Project 61 to help them with whatever they need. Finally, they will complete a project at the boarding school where children from Korah are able to attend by sponsorship through Project 61. 
 The trip will be 10 days long and costs $3000. That price includes everything except a few meals and any souvenirs that David may want to purchase to help stimulate their economy. We have prayerfully considered how to get this much money is such a short time frame and honestly, I have had some anxiety over it. HOWEVER, I KNOW that Jesus has specifically called David to this mission and that He will provide exactly what we need. He always does. Thankfully, the organization that this trip is through - Ordinary Hero - has a great fundraising program. If you will check out their website store by clicking on this link Ordinary Hero Store, you will see many amazing items that you can purchase and 40% of your cost will go directly to David's account! All you have to do at checkout is click on David's name in the "Affiliate" box and it's done. Simple! I have already chosen 3 T-shirts for me and the kids to wear and I'm telling you they are absolutely adorable! They also have jewelry, accessories, etc... Just go check it out for yourselves though and see. AND...if by some chance you don't see anything that appeals to you, but you want to help us out, then you can click on the button on the side of my blog that says OH and donate to David that way, or you can donate directly to him. If you choose a direct donation though, the check will need to be made out to Ordinary Hero. And if you are unable to help out financially, then we ask that you would PLEASE help out by praying for David and the entire Ethiopia team. Pray that they will have safe travels, have the physical and mental strength that they will need while they are there, and that they will come back shining the light of Jesus even more than they already do. Pray that the Ethiopians that they will come into contact with will see that they are loved and cared for. Pray for their health, security, and salvation. And pray for those sweet little orphans to find forever families.
Thanks for reading this entirely long and informative post. I will post periodic updates as to where we are with our fundraising efforts mainly so you can see how Jesus is providing and how you can still help if you feel you are called to do so. Feel free to copy, paste, and forward this blog link to anyone you know who may want to help change a life and become an "ordinary hero."
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the timelines for funds being due which is where some of my anxiety lies...EEEK! July 20th is the first due date for $1400 and August 20th is the final payment due date of $1500. Whew...typing that just increased my heart rate...trust Jesus, trust Jesus, trust Jesus is my new mantra!!!
Hugs to each of you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fourth of July...Part Deux (2)

OK, where did I leave off? Oh, I think we had finally gotten to Atlanta in the previous post. So, we arrived after lunch on Saturday and spent that evening just hanging out with family, catching up with everyone, and letting the kids go crazy with Gramom and Grandaddy and Granny (D's grandmother). We settled in pretty quickly and then after dinner the first night we watched a firework spectacular presented by David. Afterwards, the kids were tired so sleeping arrangements were settled. Brody would sleep with David and Chloe would sleep with me. Probably sounds a little crazy, but they are not ready to sleep alone at Gramom's house yet (especially with us there) so this makes them comfortable and us uncomfortable...er, I mean it makes us feel better knowing they are sleeping soundly.

Anyways, on Sunday we hung out, watched the Casey Anthony trial (which totally sickens me to no end), and relaxed. The kids went to the park for a bit to play and we did more fireworks that night.
On Monday, we headed to downtown Marietta, called The Square, and watched a great parade! We got there early enough to have front row seats at a prime location (thank you Grandad!) and had a HOT blast (it was 90 some degrees). After that, we had lunch downtown and then walked around and checked out all of the vendor booths, had a fried banana pudding (God's gift to me I am sure), and sweated to death. It was the most ridiculous heat ever! In the afternoon we left to go home and get rest before the firework show that was to come later at The Square. However, rain came and they cancelled the show. It was good though as we were all worn out from the day.

Getting ready to go celebrate

one thing I love about these 2 is that they literally can just look 
at each other and crack up laughing

ready for the parade to start

sweet pretty girl of mine

i just thought this would be a cool pic...plus I love the headband

Mr Patriotic himself!

Brody had 3-4 firemen come up to him during the parade and give him hi-5
He loves all things firetruck, tractor, and dumptruck/bulldozer related

I just had to take their picture. The Pink Suitcase Sisters! These ladies of 
all ages travel the US and world together. And...they all have pink suitcases!
Google them and check out the places they have been!

These are the lawn chair dudes. A group of neighborhood dads who
put together this routine for the parade. It was hysterical.

David enjoying his boiled peanuts on The Square

And Brody being Brody...crossing the lines when he is not supposed to.

Tuesday came and we were supposed to head back home, but we decided to stay for one last day. Gramom was kind enough to watch the kids for us and we had a date day. We went to tour the new Coke Museum, which was fantabulous! Then we went to the hotspot The Varsity for the famous hotdogs (wha' ya' have? wha' ya' have?). You better know what you want when you approach the counter as they don't play! If you have never been and know nothing about it, google it and see what all the hype is about. Tons of famous people go every year. It's awesome! After that, we headed to IKEA...also known as "Heaven On Earth." I could have spent all day and all night in there. When we build our new house you better believe that IKEA will be a place we get lots of our stuff. Whew!


If Chick-fil-A doesn't work out...well then, there's always the Varsity

New and improved Coke Museum

Check out Japan's bottle...all blinged out!

I love this original label of Coke. It's referred to as Brain Tonic...the cure
for headache and exhaustion.

David studying all of the profits/losses in the first years of Coke

Check out these Coke coolers. Wouldn't Pawn Stars or American Pickers
love to own these things!

And finally, this is the coolest alligator made out of coke cans. There
 was a whole display of things that were made with Coke products.

And finally, on Wednesday, we packed up and hit the road back to Clarksville. After a full and fun 5 days we had to get back to get the dog...and hopefully/prayerfully my car this week!!!! Thanks Gramom and Grandad and Granny for allowing us to come and invade your home, make a huge mess, and eat your food, oh yeah, and partake of your babysitting services!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Scroll On

I put 3 new posts up tonight and there will probably be 2 more tomorrow so keep on scrollin' to catch up on the going-ons of Team Blevins 4.0

Fourth of July...part 1

So we decided this year to take our July 4th trip to Atlanta. David's parents live there and they have an amazing July 4th celebration in Marietta (the city they actually live in). We loaded up David's car on Friday as mine is STILL being repaired from when David wrecked it by backing out of the garage without paying attention. It's been in the shop for over 2 weeks now and Lord only knows when I will get it back but I am praying it's this week as I am tired of driving a small car when I have grown accustomed to having room in my SUV. And that sounds pretty pathetic given the fact that many many people have no food or shelter much less a second vehicle. Geesh...forgive me.
Anyways, back on topic. We loaded up the car and set out around 2:00. At 4:00 we noticed the car started riding funny so David pulled over and checked the tires. Uhhh, right rear tire shredded and left rear tire punctured. So here we are on the side of Interstate 24 on a holiday weekend with massive traffic flying by us. There are no mile marker signs around, our cell signals are in and out, and we do not have roadside assistance or a spare tire. Furthurmore, the tires on David's car are a specialty tire so very few places keep them in stock (except the BMW dealers), and it's a holiday weekend!!! Also, by the time we could get there, most places would be closed. GRRR!!! Anyways, after calling our amazing insurance company (USAA), we were able to get a tow truck out to us by about 5:30 and they took us about 30 minutes back on the interstate to Murfreesboro where we were truly blessed! Firestone had 2 tires in stock like we needed, but they could not work on our car until the next morning. BUT... there was a Hampton Inn right beside the Firestone so we just got a few things out of the car and walked right over. We are Hilton Honors members so we always stay in Hampton or Hiltons anyways. AND...we got the VERY LAST ROOM they had! Thank you Jesus!!!
By 9:30 the next morning, we were back in our car and on our way...again...to Atlanta. We made it safely and spent the next 4 days there enjoying our family.

And the drama begins...

Hazard lights turned on and left on for 1.5 hours. LOOOONG time to 
wait with 2 kids in the car.

Look at this SWEET boy of mine enjoying his night in the hotel.

Part 2 comes tomorrow... stay tuned.

Summer Summer Summer Fun...

So these are the things we do in the afternoons when rest time is over. The Blevins kids love being outside using their imaginations and I love watching and playing with them.

Brody is "Handy Manny" and is going to fix Daddy's car

"I'll just saw this rim right off."

Chloe coming back from the neighbor's house. Her little friend Hailey lives next door.

Drawing a "city" on the driveway. See the road, cars, house and people?!?

And now Handy Manny is Captain America (with the manny glove still on)

And finally - the lawn mower. One of his newest obsessions.

Funniest Thing I've Heard

Brody said the funniest thing ever while we were in Atlanta over the 4th. We were in the kitchen at David's parents' house and I was standing beside Brody when out of nowhere chocolate milk landed on the floor. I bent over and asked Brody if he threw up and if he was okay. He said, "I fine mommy. My burp just falled out."

I am still laughing at random times when I think about it. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kinda Heartbreaking

I thought we were nearly over the chemo and cancer comments around here...Chloe has been living it for 2 years and has grown accustomed to hearing the terms, and asking questions (and hard ones at that). We have always been open with her and have been told by counselors to always answer her questions as openly and honestly as possible.
So the latest question/conversation was this:
"Mommy, I am NOT having a baby ever."
"Oh, that's okay. Not everyone has a baby."
"Well mommy, I am not going to have a baby because after you have one you get cancer and have chemo"
(uhhh, wow! not expecting that) "No Chloe, that's not true"
"You did mommy. When Brody was a tiny baby...when he was zero years old, you got cancer and had chemo. Remember?"
"Well, that is right Chloe, but having a baby does NOT give you cancer. It just happened and I am fine now. Remember my doctor telling you that mommy's cancer is all gone and I am NOT sick?"
"Yeah, I guess I will have a baby one day."

I can't imagine what goes through her head at times to make her think of things like that. I'm just glad she voices those little concerns so that I have an opportunity to speak truth into her.