Whew! What a busy week! I know I've been a little slack on the blogging this week, and for that I apologize. I am going to attempt to recreate the past few days with as few details as possible. Of course, I'll likely add a note of sarcasm here, and a witty wisecrack there, but my goal is to "spare you the details" and report, "just the facts, ma'am!"
We had a great day Tuesday! I actually had a little time to myself today as my golf-addicted mother took a day off from the links and agreed to watch Sam and Addie so I could have lunch with my former colleague, but forever friend, Jane Manning. Jane and I met at Qdoba on Martha Riordan's recommendation and it did not disappoint. The taco salad was scrumptious and the restaurant was clean and inviting, but not as inviting as the tables outside the sunshine! I ran into my former assistant principal, Jason Andersen and found out that his new assignment is teaching fifth grade at Hardin Valley Elementary. He expressed much relief at the prospect of being out of administration and West Valley Middle School. It seems he had a rough couple of years there..."and stuff!" :) (My personal inside joke intended for my enjoyment). Once he went on his merry way, Jane and I enjoyed catching up with each other and reminiscing on the good times we used to have way back when. Whenever she gets around to writing a book, y'all need to buy it because her stories make me laugh so hard, tears run down my cheeks and and my face hurts! After our lunch, I picked the kids up at Mom's. Would you believe she was working in the yard and didn't even notice me pull up the driveway and load the kids in the car?! It's hard to find good help these days. Katie was there too and was quite concerned about the lack of attention the children were receiving at Grandmom's Drop-off Day Care. Aw well, no harm done. The kids were all there and they were unscathed. Grandmom accomplished her mission-She kept 'em alive until my return.
Much to Sam's delight, we headed straight over to Evan's house to pick him up for a play date! Sam and Evan are like Mutt and Jeff - good friends who love each other SOOO much! I cherish this small window of time when my little boy will hold hands with his friend and bear hug him good-bye. The day will come when some obnoxious third grader will call him a name and the days of unhindered, genuine love will be gone forever. The boys spent the afternoon playing outside with waterguns, Pokemon cards, and, occasionally, the girls- Taylor and Addie. Of course, a playdate with Evan would not be complete without a trip down the railroad tracks for some penny smashin'! The kids have also discovered that Roger's side yard is an ideal spot for playing "Indiana Jones!" Translation: Getting covered in black dirt, yelling, and pushing on each other. Of course Roger came out to see what the commotion was and he shared his version of the WestLake Church drama. Olivia Knowling called to tell us the Icee bear was a Weigles, but we opted to stay put and she came by and joined us later. Judy and Alan Fethe stopped by and we enjoyed a little neighborly chit-chat while the kids tore up Roger's manicured yard and raided his garage refrigerator. I was struck by how genuinely good it feels to be in a neighborhood and have good friends. I wish Tom could have been home to enjoy it with me.
Once Evan's dad came by to pick him up, Olivia invited Addie, Sam, and Taylor over to her house to play the Wii for a while, but we opted to head to the Cove for a late afternoon swim. We drove thru McDonalds for our Dinner in a Sack, and headed west into the sunset. The evening was beautiful, and the park was not crowded at all. Lori and Katie have gotten me addicted to this book called Redemption that is part of a five book series and I literally cannot put the thing down! I read and watched the kids swim for about 45 minutes, then Ed brought Taylor and Olivia out to play too. Taylor and Olivia did not have their swimsuits but they didn't let that stop them. All four kids were in the lake with no reservations whatsoever. Pretty soon though, it was time to head back home. As I drove my happy, wet, exhausted kids back to the house, I was overcome with gratitude for the good things in my life. Today was an A+ summer day!
Being at the pool with Katie and Lori the other day was probably the best day we've had since Tom, Drew, and Chelcie have been gone, but definitely the second best day was Wednesday. Katie, Lauren, Ben, Ed, Olivia, Addie, Sam, and I headed up to Dollywood at about ten. The park was very crowded, but the day was gorgeous! The kids all had a ball riding rides, laughing, playing, and enjoying being together. The sno-cones that Lauren and Ben got turned Ben's little bottom blue and stained Katie's hands. The whole incident brought back memories of her blue prom dress that bled on her arm back in high school. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera, so I have no proof of the fun we had, you'll just have to take my word for it! Another incident that brought a smile to my face today was receiving a check from Chick-fil-a Corporate for $500 signed by Mr. S. Truett Cathy himself! We didn't even have to ask for it!
That brings us up to Thursday. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I spent most of the day reading that book! I have my chair all set up on the back deck complete with a stool on which to prop my feet. I have my giant syrofoam Sonic cup full of Sonic ice, so I've pretty much got the ideal reading situation! The kids enjoyed being at home today. They would join me on the porch with their books, or jump on the trampoline, or just sit beside me while I read. I've done quite a bit of soul-searching lately, so having this "down time" to evaluate and consider my blessings has been good for me. About noon, I started feeling a little guilty for having spent so much time reading, that I took the kids for an Icee walk! Again, I was overcome with gratitude for Sam and Addie! This week has been precious time with them, and I've enjoyed it. Sam spotted a green snake by the side of the road. Addie and I walked right past it and never even noticed it! We chatted about life and birds, and dead animals on the road as we made our way down Ebenezer. One of the things I love about walking to Weigles is that every so often a teenager would stick his head out of his car window and yell, "Hey Mrs. Crawford!" or a carload of teenage girls would wave and honk their horn like crazy. A couple of times, adults even beeped at me and waved. Most of the time I have no clue who is in the cars, but it still makes me happy and grateful to be "known" in my hometown.
Once we finally managed to make it to Weigles, we were delighted to find that all Icees were on sale for .69! We left with two large ones! On the way back, we talked about setting goals and reaching them then setting more goals. As we walked, we would pick a landmark up ahead of us then walk until we reached it, then we'd pick another target farther up the road. Sam liked picking goals that were close and easy to reach, but Addie tended to push herself farther and set fewer goals. Interesting insight into the minds of my children and how they think.
When we finally made it back home, it was time for me to prepare for my Reach Them meeting. I had made plans to meet with Summer Tucker at 4:30 before our big meeting at 5:30, so I needed to get my act together. Anderson emailed me to say she had car issues and wouldn't make the meeting, so I offered to pick her up. Somehow I managed to put an agenda together, shower, and read a few more pages of my book! Lori agreed to watch Addie and Sam while I was at the meeting, so I headed her way about 4:00. From there I headed to pick up Anderson. On my way, I got a call from Bill Gentry letting me know that he would like to help out with bringing teachers from MOH schools to our event in October. (God's provision) After I spoke with Mr. Gentry, I called Emmette Thompson and he said that Bill Williams has been out of town, but that he would be sure to get back in touch with us in the coming week. (God's provision some more) My meeting with Summer was incredibly productive as she is a highly-motivated, gifted woman who is passionate about bringing in outlying counties and other groups that serve the needs of children in our area (God's provision). Dean called for directions to Citadel and said he would be at the meeting (Another one). Today's meeting was exceptionally well attended. We had Candice McQueen, Dan Lavely, Martha Riordan, Phil Burnette, Tom King, Ed Knowling, Anderson Little, Tom Vandenburg, Mike Bailey, Anthony Ingram, Laurie Macnair and Summer Tucker at the table! Noticeably absent was Dave Gorden who is out of town. We were also missing Kathy Seagrist and Jo Bruce as well as Hillary Hudson and a few other key players on our team. but overall we had a good group there.
I am constantly amazed at what God is doing through us and how he brings the right folks, at the right time to accomplish His vision. I am overwhelmed at times in the way He uses people like us to accomplish great and wonderful things.
After the meeting, I went by Lori's to reclaim my young 'uns and Addie opted to spend the night, so I grabbed Sam before he could protest and stopped by my parents house to de-brief with my dad. We chatted for about 30 minutes then Sam and I headed home for the night. Unfortunately though, I accidentally put the broken window down and couldn't get it back up! I wrestled with it in the driveway for about an hour before I resigned myself to parking in the garage and dealing with it later. Ugh! That'll teach me to talk on my cell phone and mess with the windows! Okay, probably not, but it's a pain having a broken car.
Today was Panera day, so I met Sherry, Lisa and Phil at 8:00. I brought Sam along today and he was not too happy about it. Then I picked Addie and Natalie up at Lori's and stopped by the mall to pick up a surprise for Tom. We've been at home waiting for the phone call from Atlanta since about 11:00. Hopefully, we'll see the rest of our family very soon.