Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Picassos

We skipped pumpkin carving last year because we had so much going on.  We had just moved back to Alex City.  Derrick was still living in Birmingham, his work schedule was hectic and it just wasn't a festive time of year.  Although we have a lot going on right now (we just moved, I just got back from Uganda and life is hectic in general) I told myself that I was NOT going to make the kids skip this tradition again this year.

We didn't go to a Pumpkin Patch this year so Marlie & I got up today and headed to Wal-Mart to pick out four pumpkins.  She got a little one at the pumpkin patch at her school but it was tiny that I got her another one.  The boys stayed him and soaked up some peace & quiet - a luxury they don't get when the ladies are home :)

Alex wanted a scary pumpkin so he decided to do one that looked like it had been cut several times on the mouth and then stitched.  I'll let you decide how that turned out.

Derrick wanted something easy so he went for the easy, typical pumpkin.

Marlie didn't really have a preference and I wanted her to be able to help me so I decided not to carve hers.  Instead we hot glued some black buttons to say "BOO".

I decided to do a "Mummy" pumpkin.  Oh, it was going to be so stinkin' cute! I carved it and then painted it white to look like bandages.  It was a complete failure.  Papa Johnny (what the kids call my daddy) came up while we were working on our pumpkins.  He's a jokester and of course he, along with Derrick & Alex made fun of mine.  

* Excuse the date on the pictures.  I didn't realize it was wrong.

 Marlie was SO excited about decorating her pumpkin...

 ...then she was SO over it and decided to ride her tricycle.

 Derrick gutting his pumpkin

                   Alex is not a fan of "diggin' out the guts".

  "Can't I just turn it over and dump it in the trash?"

 Alex carving away

   The hot glue gun burned one of her fingers so she was very hesitant about touching her pumpkin. This is the best picture that I could get.


The Allen Family Pumpkins

My pumpkin
 Marlie's pumpkin

Alex & Derrick's pumpkins

Pick A Peck of Pumpkins

Marlie's school (Harbor Learning Academy) had their annual Pumpkin Patch this past Friday.  I did good to pay the $2 for her pumpkin and get there there and since I work 30 minutes away, I couldn't be there.  I am glad that HLA posts their pictures on Facebook so I can snag them off there.

Ms. Brannon's class with Ms. Rose, the scarecrow

 Ms. Brannon's class with Ms. Olyvia, the scarecrow

 Ms. Rose & Ms. Olyvia

 Ms. Brannon & Ms. Olyvia

 Marlie & her classmates.

Marlie's "best frand" Sophie :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dang It! I would have to go soon...

I still can’t believe I went overseas.  And Africa?! What in the world was I thinking?  I had been planning this trip since early 2011.  My sister, Christie ( made the decision to move to Uganda full time in December 2010.  Our first trip was scheduled for the first two weeks of July 2011.  Christie & George decided to visit that month and I must admit that I was relieved that I wasn’t going.  You can read about that visit here:

I was just so scared; and for many reasons.  Leaving the kids, the LONG flight, how the travel would affect Mom’s health, and just being so far away from home.  And quite honestly, I’ve always been a pansy when it came to stuff like that.  Christie & George announced their pregnancy and stayed in the States for a few months to have Josiah.  Awesome! I could stall a few more months.  Josiah was born in October 2011 and they didn’t go home until the end of December.  I knew they would not be coming back for some time.  Dang it.  I would have to go soon.  George kept asking me when I was coming.  Christie & George’s older children (Moses & Zziwa) kept messaging me on FB and asking  when I was coming.  I could sense their disappointment. Every time I said “soon”.  They were losing hope.  I couldn’t let them down.  Dang it.  I would have to go soon.

Fast forward to July 2012.  Christie & Josiah came to visit and I was once again relieved that they were coming.  We would get our Christie & Josiah “fix” and I would be good to go for another 6 months or so.  By that time, surely something would bring them back to visit the States and I could dodge it for another year maybe. Christie had planned on staying for about 4 weeks and Mom was going back with them.  They planned for me to travel (by myself, might I add) to Uganda and travel back with Mom.  Dang it.  I would have to go soon.   

 Josiah, Me & Christie ~ Atlanta ~ July 2012

The day before they were supposed to leave, Christie became very sick.  So they would just leave the following week. Christie never got better and ended up in the hospital with malaria.  She was pregnant on top of that, which made her condition a lot more serious.  The team of doctors at UAB advised her NOT to go back to Uganda (long term) until the baby was born.  She didn’t need to risk getting malaria again while pregnant.  I hated that Christie was so sick but again, I was relieved.  By my calculations, the baby wasn’t due until March of NEXT YEAR. I didn’t have to commit yet again.  Whew!

Christie laid up in the hospital.

Somewhere along the way, I failed to keep in mind that this was Christie we were talking about.  Just because she was “advised” to do something, didn’t mean that she was going to do it.  Or even consider it.  I knew she wanted to be in the country that she loves dearly.  I knew that she missed her husband (who recently had his Visa revoked and could not travel to be here with her.  That’s another story in and of itself). I knew that she missed her other littles back home.  There was NO way she was going to stay here for that long.  No way.  Dang it.  I would have to go soon. 

Christie fully recovered and changed their tickets.  I would ask my boss if I could take two weeks of my vacation time.  He would surely say no.  Two weeks off at one time for a branch manager was pretty uncommon.  He said yes with no hesitations.  I had just gotten a quarterly bonus.  It just so happened to be the amount of a plane ticket to Uganda.  There was nothing stopping me from booking my ticket but I put it off for about a week.  Christie tried booking my flight one night and it said that particular flight was full.  OK so surely that’s a sign.  Christie called me the next day and told me that she was able to get my ticket booked.  Holy Crap! The next week, I applied for my passport and the following week, received it and got my shots.  

There was no turning back.  DANG. IT!  I would have to go soon…  

Volks Folks?!?

So I changed my blog name.  I wanted to start blogging about our family happenings and really just our life in general but at the same time didn't want to completely start over.  Luckily, blogger allows you to change your blog name and address.  Woohoo!

My children are the funniest kids ever, my husband is a blessing to me (most of the time) and I wanted to have a place to be able to come back to. A place to read fond memories when Derrick & I are old and gray.  I so wish that I had done this when Alex was born.  I’m not even sure if there were blogs in 2003 or not? Gosh, that was only 9 years ago but it makes me feel SO old.  I should have taken it up a lot sooner than now but it’s kind of like that tree you hate to plant because it’s so tiny  and it would take YEARS to grow. 

Now coming up with a family blog name is a tough business.  Thank God I don’t make my living that way.  I’ll be sticking with Finance.  I bet I have spent (wastefully) a good solid week trying to think of a name fitting for our family.  I got me a piece of paper and started writing down things that I thought related well to our crew.  Some of the choices that I considered were: LaughLines (I LOVE to laugh and hope that I am instilling that in my children, MixedNuts (hahaha but we really are crazy. It runs in the family on BOTH sides), WeareTHATfamily (you know the one), Making Lemonade (Life is tough. Like super tough. But you have to chose how you handle it.  We chose to make lemonade with the lemons we are dealt) and MischiefManaged (if you read my Facebook statuses, they’re mostly about my children and their quirky sayings and mischievous ways. 

Volks Folks?  It rhymes and all but WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD? Let me introduce you to my charmingly handsome husband: Derrick.

Cute isn’t he?! Quit lustin’ over my man.  Focus.  Back to the story….

Shortly after we got married, Derrick was introduced to the Volkswagen world.  And he has been all things VW ever since.  The vintage VWs are our favorites.  If you’ve never had a chance to see a variety of them in person, I urge you to do so.  The newer VWs are ok but there is just something about vintage VWs.  Volkswagen has THE coolest ads, a HUGE fan base and unique vehicles.  Derrick had a friend who sold him his 1985 VW Vanagon.  Now, this van was not a looker by any means.  I think the back windshield was actually busted out.  But he was proud to own his first older VW. And I LOVED driving this van.  I had to drive it several days to work while Derrick drove my car when he was working out of town.  Shortly afterwards, we bought a 2002 VW Beetle.  It was a straight shift (first one I had ever owned) and you wanna talk about fun? I so miss my Beetle!  We have not bought any other brand car in the past 10 years.  His prize possession came in November of 2007.  He bought a 1987 VW Vanagon Camper.  This van, which he named “Happy” is the center of his world.  I’m his 2nd wife.  She is his first (yes he refers to her as a “her”).  He takes good care of her and even talks to her.  Yes, I’m a bit jealous.  And he knows it.
We do a lot of camping in Happy so the name of “Happy Campers” fit well.  We all love Happy.  Marlie loves to play in Happy and looks forward to rides with her daddy.  Alex is in 3rd grade and by now should be embarrassed to have to ride in such an old “clunker” and completely freak out if he had to get out of “that thing” in front of his classmates.  I know it embarrassed me when I was dropped off at school in one of my Mom’s old boats or that dreadful brown rust-colored Nova.  Rant over.  Alex’s chest pokes out when he sees his Dad pull up to get him at school.  Makes me proud!

Hope you enjoy these pictures of our times with Happy!

 We heart Happy :)

See the redneck ingenious air conditioner project?

Headed to Stone Mountain, GA. 

 Happy is covered with all kinds of stickers from all of the place.

Derrick & Alex introducing Happy to the newest family member ~ Marlie Ann

 DA & I are enjoying Happy shortly after we got her.

My Playlist :)

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