About Me
Name: Lauren         Location: Middle Tennessee, USA

Welcome to my blog! I am a Christian, wife, and mother who enjoys reading, running, and all things Disney. Stop by regularly for a glimpse into my life!
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Friday, June 29, 2007
Our Chattanooga Finale
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't added pics or links in yet.)

For the past several years, Dad has travelled to Chattanooga on a regular basis. The kids and I have tagged along at least twice each year. There are so many fun things for families to do there; we always have a great time. Alas, all good things must come to an end. Dad will no longer be working in Chattanooga, so the kids and I accompanied him on his last visit.

When we arrived on Monday, we just played around at the hotel. Tuesday morning we woke up ready for fun. We have visited many attractions in Chattanooga (e.g., Rock City, Lake Winnie, the Aquarium), but our favorite place for fun is the Creative Discovery Museum. We always spend one of our days there. My best girl enjoys playing in the water exhibit, and my favorite boy enjoys everything. On this visit, we did not stay in our usual hotel right next door to the museum, so we also rode the free shuttle. This was fun as well.

On Wednesday, we headed to Coolidge Park. They have a fun merry-go-round and some great fountains for cooling off on a summer day. The kids loved that the stone animals sprayed water out of their mouths.

After spending some time in the water, we went back to the hotel to pack up our things. We had a few hours before it was time to pick up Dad, so we headed to Ruby Falls. My favorite boy loved learning about how the falls was discovered (there was an informational video at the beginning of the tour). We descended into the earth on an elevator, and then walked about a half of a mile to the falls. In the picture below, my best girl is touching one of the formations. This is one of the only times during the tour that I wasn't holding her. I carried her for the entire mile walk in the cave, and my arms are sure sore today! I don't know why she didn't want to walk, but I am sure if I had needed to hold her she would have wanted to walk without help. I guess that's typical for age two, right?

After our trip to the falls and back, we went up to the observation tower. Ruby Falls is on Lookout Mountain, so we had a great view of the Tennessee River and Chattanooga.

We enjoyed our last visit to Chattanooga (I'm sure we'll go back just for fun at some point); now we are home. With the exception of a few hours, I have been gone since last Friday, so I am happy to be here. Of course, now it's laundry time! I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday!

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Monday, June 25, 2007
My Trip and We're Off Again
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't gotten pics or links back in yet.)

I just wanted to check in and let you all know that I had a wonderful weekend in Albuquerque with my brother, sister-in-law, my nephew, and my niece. My mom was even there for the tail end of my brief visit. I got home Sunday night around 10:30, and then the kids and I packed up Monday morning to travel to Chattanooga with Dad. Dad works in Chattanooga every now and then, and the kids and I tag along a few times a year. We do have internet access in our room, but I have to wait until nighttime to use Dad's laptop. So, I will not be able to visit and comment as usual until we return home Wednesday.

Here are a few pics from my trip. The first two are of my niece (yes, that's me in the first one). She was under 5 pounds at birth, and she is now a whopping 7 1/2 pounds. It is so funny to think that my best girl weighed about 7 1/2 pounds at birth, and my niece is 6 weeks old! I did have a special moment with her; I was holding her during church on Sunday morning, and she grinned at me. It was her first big smile, and I was so excited. Since I won't be able to see her often, I was glad to experience that.

My nephew turned one the week after his sister was born. He is absolutely adorable. He is starting to talk, and he is so friendly. I haven't seen him in months, but he just grinned as soon as we met in the airport. I had a ball playing with him.

Although my trip was short, I really enjoyed the time with my brother's family. Because they have their hands full with two babies, they won't be travelling to Tennessee like they usually do this year, but we will be counting the days until we see them!

I'll be back to blogging as usual sometime on Wednesday! Have a great week!

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Friday, June 22, 2007
Mom's Leaving!
(This is a post from my deleted blog.)

I am leaving this afternoon to go and visit my new niece (born in May) and my nephew (born last May) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I will also get to see my brother and his wonderful wife as well; but you know, they are way down on the totem pole. :) Did I mention I am going ALONE? I am actually looking forward to the long flight and the hours in the airports. I plan to read without any interruptions and eat without having to clean up messes. I will return late Sunday evening refreshed and ready to be with my precious children 24/7 (yes, I will miss them a lot). I will not be able to participate in Photo Hunters and Weekend Reflection, but I will be back Monday. Special thanks to Grandma! Although Dad will be here, he has enlisted Grandma's help for the weekend. I appreciate her willingness to help. She may be ready for a vacation after being with her grandkids for two days! :)

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Wordless Wednesday: Hooray! It Rained!
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't put the pic back in yet.)

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Sunday, June 17, 2007
Weekend Reflection
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I have put the pics and links back in yet.)

We had a great week at the Baseballs and Bows house. My parents arrived last Saturday from California. Not only did we have the opportunity to spend time with them, but they also kept the kids for us a couple of times. On Sunday afternoon, hubby and I went to see Ocean's 13, and on Tuesday evening we used a gift certificate from Christmas for dinner at Stoney River (yes, it took us almost six months to go). I also managed to sneak away on Friday afternoon for a pedicure. All of these outings were wonderful!

Because my parents were here, my aunt and uncle came for dinner on Thursday. They also brought their grandson. We grilled burgers and had blackberry dumpling cobbler; the grownups visited and the kids enjoyed playing. My parents left on Saturday afternoon, and we were sad to see them return to CA. Grammy and Papa will be happy to know that my best girl didn't really want to believe that they were gone. This morning, she wanted to run straight to the guest bedroom to see them. I am sure we will have to explain for several days that we won't see Grammy and Papa for a few months.

Yesterday, we celebrated my husband's Granny's birthday at our house with around 35 of my husband's closest relatives. We had BBQ other yummy things to eat. This is an annual event, and we usually take pictures of the whole gang. Sadly, we forgot to do our group photos this year. I did, however, snap a picture of the birthday girl. Granny is a very young 87! We hope we will be celebrating with her for many years to come.

(You'll notice in the picture that our grass is brown. Middle Tennessee could really use some rain!)

Finally, my favorite boy had swim lessons this week. I was really proud of him. He is very hesitant around water; he likes to play and splash, but when he is in deeper water, he becomes very nervous. Several of the things his teacher wanted him to do scared him. Most of the time, however, he willingly did what she asked him to do, even though I could tell he didn't want to. I hope that by the end of next week he will be feeling much more comfortable in the water.

That's it for us! We had a great week; I hope you did as well! For more Weekend Reflections, visit Judi.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007
Memes
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't added pics or links back in yet.)

In recent weeks, I was tagged for two memes. I thought I would include them both today. Holly from Puddin' and Princess Stories tagged me several weeks ago for this meme about me. At the time, we were in St. Louis, so it has taken me a little while to respond. Here goes!

What were you doing 10 years ago? Ten years ago, in 1997, we were preparing to buy our first house. We lived in a very small apartment for a year, and moved into our first home on the weekend of our first anniversary, July 27, 1997. I was also in graduate school at Middle Tennessee State University working on my M.Ed.

What were you doing 1 year ago? Last June was very similar to now: playing with the kids, cleaning, typical stay-at-home mom stuff.

Five snacks you enjoy: M&Ms, Skittles, Cheetos, Lay's Sour Cream & Onion chips, and Starburst Jelly Beans. I am obviously a health nut.

Five songs that you know all the lyrics: "Jesus Loves Me", "My Favorite Things" (from The Sound of Music), the theme song from The Brady Bunch, the theme song from Veggie Tales, "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi. Can you tell I haven't listened to much grown-up music lately?

Five bad habits: Drinking Sun-Drop, eating the aforementioned snacks, eating too much of all the other foods I didn't include in the list above, talking too much, procrastinating

Five things you like doing: reading, blogging, talking with friends, eating, exercising (enjoying this helps with the eating part).

Five things you would never wear again: acid-washed jeans, tight-rolled jeans, blue eye shadow, parachute pants, red socks

Five favorite toys: my camera, the computer, scrapbooking stuff, my cell phone, books (sorry if these don't all count as toys).

I know that's plenty of information about me, but now you will learn even more! Lu tagged me for this 4 Things meme.

Four Things I Learned or Experienced in the Last Four Years

1. Things don't always go according to my plan. Many of you already know how I learned this, but if you haven't read about the birth of my daughter, click here.

2. As much as you love doing things with your husband and children, it's okay to hang on to things you enjoy as well. I have always loved reading. For several years, I didn't take the time to read books because I was always busy participating in what everyone else wanted to do and taking care of endless baby tasks. A few years ago, I went with my husband on a business trip. I was alone during the day, so I read and read and read. I haven't stopped since. While it is still important for me to enjoy activities with those I love, I plan spend time doing things I enjoy as well.

3. A true friendship can grow even when the friends are separated by physical distance. Over four years ago, a close friend of mine moved. We were friends at the time, but through consistent e-mails and phone calls, we are closer now than we were when she lived a mile away from my house. We have shared so many ups and downs over the last 4+ years. I am thankful for her true friendship and for the email and free long distance that allow us to be in touch daily. A friendship like ours is truly a blessing.

4. If your button comes off your pants at an inconvenient time, you can use a safety pin to hold yourself together. :) I found this out when I lost a button this week. I just thought I would share this very important information.

Four Things I Want To Try or Do in the Next Four Years

1. I would like to go on a trip with my husband for a few days (alone). We haven't done that in a few years. I enjoy going on trips with the kids, but it's nice to have some grown-up time every now and then too! I would especially enjoy going back to NYC. My husband has never been.

2. I want to take both my kids to Disney World for a week. We plan to do this in September. I can't wait to see the look on my best girl's face when she meets Snow White and Cinderella in Cinderella's castle!

3. I want to redo some of my old scrapbooks. I have been scrapbooking since ninth grade. At the time, acid-free materials weren't widely available. All the photos from my high school years are in old magnetic albums, and I don't want my pictures to ruin. I hope to take some time to do this in the fall.

4. Most importantly, I want to continue to train my children to know and love God and to obey Him in everything. Obviously, this is an ongoing goal, but it will be the most important goal for me in the next four years!

There you have it. If you haven't done one or both of these memes, and you would like to play along, let me know. I would love to come and visit your post as well. Have a wonderful Thursday!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Wordless Wednesday: A Kiss for Daddy
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't added the picture in yet.)

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Monday, June 11, 2007
Entitlement
(This is a post from my former blog. It doesn't contain links or pics from the original.)

Several weeks ago, I watched a program on CNBC about Warren Buff*ett's children. Warren Buff*ett is the world's second richest man. From all accounts I have ever read or heard, he is a regular guy; from his lifestyle, you wouldn't suspect that he is worth $41 billion dollars. What about his children? Are they spoiled? Do they feel entitled? Do they feel that they are part of a privileged class of people?

Amazingly, Susie, Howard, and Peter Buff*ett say that their childhood was very normal, and they had no idea their father was amassing one of the world's greatest fortunes. Last year, Mr. Buff*ett announced that he plans to give his fortune to Bill G*ates' foundation. While a small percentage of the money will go to his children's charitable foundations, Mr. Buff*ett is leaving no money for their personal use. Most people in the world were shocked by this announcement, but his children say they were not surprised at all. Their father has always expected them to make their own way in life.

I couldn't help but think of Mr. Buff*ett's children this week during all the Paris hoopla. What a contrast! While the children of the second richest man in the world are virtually unknown (I had to look up their names even after watching the program), Paris seems to purposely throw herself into the spotlight. While it is true that I don't know her or the intent behind her choices, her actions tell me that she is focused on pleasure and self-promotion. She seems used to getting her way, and she does not appear to deal well with negative consequences.

As I continued to ponder this situation, I realized that whether you are a billionaire or in debt, it is possible to raise spoiled, dependent children or productive, responsible citizens. More and more in our society, we are allowing our children to grow up thinking their needs are the most important and that mom and dad will always be there to bail them out of trouble. As parents, it is so easy to bend to the temptation of making the road smooth for our children. We do not want them to suffer pain. We want their lives to be easy and happy. It hurts us to see them hurting. Unfortunately, making things as smooth as possible for our children does not lead to their happiness as adults; it leads to adults who cannot cope with the realities of rules and responsibilities and adults who have no compassion for the needs of others.

Mr. Buff*ett could have made the lives of his children very easy, but he allowed them to make their own way. What an example! I pray that I will love my children in such a way that they know I hold them in the center of my heart, but also realize that they are not the center of the universe. I want them to know that while I am here to guide and help them, actions have consequences. I want them to understand that they have the responsibility to care for themselves as well as for the needs of others. What a challenging job!

Of course, our greatest example in this is Christ. If anyone was entitled to a life of ease and privilege, Jesus was! Nevertheless, Jesus left his home in heaven, humbled himself, and became a servant (Phil. 2:5-8). As we strive to follow the example of Christ, we must remember that our primary objective as parents is not to make our children's lives easy, but to teach them to follow Christ's example as well. As parents, we hold the future of our children (and our society) in our hands. I pray that we will make wise decisions as we help to mold our children's hearts!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007
Weekend Reflection
(This is a post from my deleted blog. It doesn't contain pics or links from the original.)

Isn't it amazing how my weeks seem so full, but when I sit down to write about them, I can't remember what happened!

Here's what I can recall:

We enjoyed several events at the library this week. We attended a program with Joel Reese the Singing Cowboy on Monday and went to story time on Thursday. Because the summer reading program is a "Reading Roundup," they had a rodeo cowboy at story time, and the kids got to sit in a real saddle. My son loved it.

We were able to swim with some friends on Tuesday. The kids played, and the other mom and I got to visit (while keeping a careful eye on the children, of course). My son is gradually becoming more comfortable with swimming. This is good because he starts lessons on Monday. We also had our neighbors over on Thursday for some sprinkler fun. It turned serious when the boys starting shooting me with water guns. I had to get the hose and nozzle and show them who was boss! :)

On Wednesday night, we started a new summer series at church. Each Wednesday night during the summer we have a different guest speaker. It is always uplifting and helpful to hear these speakers. I hope to share some of the things I learn throughout the summer.

My parents arrived from California yesterday. After they arrived, we headed to a neighboring town to watch my cousin's son, Jon, play baseball. My favorite boy watched every detail of the game while my best girl entertained those in the bleachers. Even though his team lost, Jon hit a home run, and we were so glad to be there to see it.

Oh, yes. I remember one more thing. I have a spider bite. It is quite unattractive, and it is so fun to have the doctor fascinated by your skin's appearance! Hopefully, antibiotics will solve the problem soon.

That's all I know. Have a great week!

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Wordless Wednesday: Don't Come Any Closer or I'll Shoot
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I haven't added the picture in yet.)

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Sunday, June 3, 2007
Weekend Reflection
(This is a post from my deleted blog. I have not added the pics or links that were included in the original.)

Once again, it is time for Weekend Reflection. This week was pretty normal for us, but we did have some highs and lows.

On the down side, both my kids started antibiotics on Wednesday for sinus infections. As much as I hate for them to be on medication, I am glad that they are improving. My son had a mild virus on Thursday evening as well. Thankfully, it didn't last long, and the rest of us dodged this illness (so far).

We did spend Memorial Day with Grandma and Papa Don (my husband's wonderful parents). We grilled burgers and visited. Of course, the kids enjoyed having a couple of extra people to entertain. Other fun events this week included library story time and a visit from a friend. I guess my son really considered it a play date since his girlfriend was the guest!

On Saturday evening, we hosted our family group from church. We had about 40 people at our house for BBQ, fellowship, and fun. I spent the day on Saturday cleaning my house and preparing for everyone to come. My plan was for the kids to eat outside. It hasn't rained here in a month, so I never considered that this would not work. Wouldn't you know it? It rained! I had 15 kids under the age of six eating in my kitchen while the grown-ups found spots in the rest of the house. If I had known that this would happen, I would have skipped cleaning the kitchen! After all the kids finished eating, it looked like food had exploded everywhere! Even though the evening was a little more rowdy and loud than it would have been with sunny weather, we still had a great time, and we were thankful to have some rain. By the end of the evening, my tired daughter said, "Mom, can we go home?" I just laughed and said, "We are home!" To this my best girl replied, "Then can we go to someone else's home?" I guess she was ready for the circus to end!

Overall, we had a good week! Now that everyone is well, we are looking forward to starting another one. For more Weekend Reflections, visit Judi!

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Previous Posts
  • A Disney December, The Final Chapter
  • A Disney December, Part Five
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