The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the tag “fun”

Ordinations, Battleships and Dinosaurs, Oh My!

Several weeks ago, Mark got a phone call (or maybe an email or text, I can’t remember) that made him feel really honored. His buddy Chris was asking him to preach at Chris’s ordination service. Wow. An ordination only happens once, so getting to be a part of it is a very big deal. The service happened to be at Chris’s church, which incidentally happened to be in Mobile, over 300 miles from home. So, we decided to make it into a fun weekend getaway for the whole family.  I got online, found out some fun stuff to do and found a hotel with a suite that could accommodate our family.  Our plans looked a bit like this: Saturday: visit the USS Alabama (WWII Battleship and submarine); Sunday: attend Christ Fellowship Church in the morning, come back to the hotel, hang out, maybe go to the pool, then go to Crawford Baptist that evening for the service; Monday: See the Exploreum (hands on science museum ) and go to the beach.  Something each day, but not so much as to be worn out.  Looked like a very promising vacation.

Friday: packing day

  • first order of business, Samuel’s suitcase. This kid would wear nothing but flannel, corduroy, and sweats. So, I packed his suitcase without him nearby. I was determined he would wear shorts part of the time, at least. I did pack flannel to sleep in. I am not a total meanie.
  • Next, the other brothers. They are old enough to at least help out. Although, Benjamin had to be reminded to pack underwear, pjs and more than one change of clothes.  Nathaniel did better, he only had to be reminded to pack his water shoes.
  • Mom and Dad: with Mark preaching we needed to pack a  suit.  I did not want it to be crushed in the suitcase with everything else, so I used our garment bag. It was perfect for his suit, shoes, shirt, belt, two ties, my dress and shoes. So then I hang it the living room closet and go on to other things. I got my bag packed and then we packed his. He did not want to wear his suit all day, so he packed a pullover and some khakis for the morning service.

One little hitch in our getalong: When Mark told the boys it was time to get ready to go jogging, Nathaniel goes into his suitcase to get out a pair of shorts for jogging.  (This kid has hit a rapid growth spurt. None of his shorts from last year are long enough. We have found 2 pairs this year that are long enough, but not too big around. So instead of jogging around the church parking lot in some that are a little short, he got the ones for the trip out. GRRRR) So that meant laundry to do after showers. Not that big of a deal. I put two baskets in front of the hamper, one for lights and one for darks. I told the boys to put their clothes in those instead of the hamper. Got the laundry washed and dried (or at least in the dryer) before going to bed.  Also before going to bed, I put every kind of medicine I could think of into plastic bags, as well as toiletry items. I then put post-its on the computer so I would not forget things like toothbrushes and toothpaste in the morning.

Saturday: heading out

  • 3:30 am- the alarm goes off. Ugh. Really glad I made muffins the night before, because I definitely do not feel like cooking breakfast this early. All the little things get packed then Mark loaded up the car. We take the muffins with us to eat on the way.  Shorts were not in the basket that I got out of the dryer. Turns out he put them in the hamper instead of the basket. Head out with just one pair of shorts for Nathaniel.
  • Start down the road, Mark realizes that I did not pack his razor. Stop by Wal-Mart to get a new one.
  • Get on I-65 South at exit 250. Keep going to exit 3.  Not too exciting.
  • Get to hotel at 10:30. Room is not ready. Staff says they will get it ready in about and hour and a half. We go to eat lunch.
  • After lunch, we decide to head on over to the Battleship. It was awesome! It is a trip I highly recommend if you happen to be in the southern Alabama/ North Florida region.

The battleship

the boys in the mess hall

Mark and the boys in front of a flag

The boys and me on the top of the USS Drum Submarine

  • Go to our hotel.  It was so relaxing.
  • 3:30 pm- look at our luggage and realize that the hanging bag is not there. Almost cry, but that is not any good. Get ready to head back to Guntersville, then come up with a hair-brained scheme that just might work. Call my mother and see if she would be willing to go to my house, get the bag, and meet us in Birmingham. (We had to see if someone could go to our house and let them in first) She agreed to do it, and even come all the way to Clanton.  Not only that, but they are going to do it early enough that we can still make it to church to see Steve Lawson preach.
  • Meet our buddy Chris at a Mexican Restaurant and have dinner. Go back to hotel and get in bed early.

Sunday: the big day

  • Get up extremely early to get the bag. Not fun. boys are sleeping in the backseat. Mom and Dad are struggling hard to stay awake in the front. We have to go to exit 208. From exit 3. So round trip it was around 400 miles. We did not make it to church that morning. Steve Lawson denied!!!
  • Get back to hotel. Lay down for a little while, then get up, eat lunch and take the boys to the pool and hot tub. Nobody else was there so the boys had the whole thing to themselves.
  • 1:30 we went back to the room to get ready.
  • Showered, dressed and left to go to Chris’s church. The ordination council had to meet at 4:00, the service started at 6:00. So we had a long time to sit. The boys did some drawing during that time. I had a little nap.
  • Service was wonderful. Crawford Baptist is a loving church that made us feel very welcome.
  • Went back to the hotel and crashed.


  • Slept late, we did not get up until after 6:30!!!
  • Had breakfast, asked the hotel attendant how long it takes to get to the beach. She told us which beach would be the best for our family, and even wrote the directions down for us.
  • Started to the Exploreum Museum, realized how late it would be if we went to the museum and the beach. Decided to skip the beach and go back another day so we can spend more time at the museum.

Mark and the boys in front of a dino display

Riding a T-Rex

We had a wonderful time at the museum. It was very informative. We came home tired. Have decided that next time we go anywhere, we will have a very detailed list taped to the door and mark off everything as it is being taken out. On a funny note, I took a personality test to find my Star Wars twin several years ago. I came out to match up with Grand Moff Tarkin. This is the guy who is responsible for designing the Death Star. He took care of so many teeny tiny details, but overlooked the huge security threat that made it possible for Luke Skywalker et al to get in and blow it up. Hm… maybe those goofy internet quizzes are on to something after all. I take two kinds of chapstick, but forget to make sure that the most important bag is carried.


What Makes a Book Great?

I’m talking about children’s books. Last night Samuel wanted me to read Moog-Moog, Space Barber to him. I think that book is near the bottom of my list of favorite books. The story is alright, the pictures, so-so. It just doesn’t move me, ya know? There are other books, however, that I could (well, DO actually) read over and over to the kids. Sometimes I think I enjoy them as much more than the boys. Take the obvious choice: Where the Wild Things Are. (Coming to a theater near you TOMORROW) I had that book as a kid. I loved it. I credit that book for me never being scared of monsters. The monsters in it weren’t scary. They were fun. Even when they tell Max “We’ll eat you up….” it is followed by “we love you so”.  When Max gets home, his dinner is waiting and it is still warm. His mom loves him even though he has been bad. (kind of like Benjamin lately)

Or think about the book Goodnight MoonIt is such a simple story, with simple pictures. A little bunny tells everything in his room goodnight. My kids have gone though stages of doing that. It makes bedtime However, if we said “goodnight” to all our things at the same time the bunny says it to his stuff, it goes by much more quickly. (okay, so maybe not much, but some)

Nathaniel wanted to hear The Tub People every single night in kindergarten. They had a special reading month where we were supposed to read a certain number of books per night to our kids. I was reading more than was required, or fibbing and just putting random book titles because I did not want his teacher to wonder if we only had one book. It is a sweet one, too.

This week in school we learning about India. There are not a whole lot of fun books about India. Not that I know of, anyway. Imagine my surprise when the Tapestry of Grace assigned reading happens to be one of our long time family favorites: Little Babaji. Little Babaji is the story of a little Indian boy whose parents buy him some fancy new duds and he goes for a walk in the jungle. By and by he meets up with some hungry tigers that threaten to eat him. He cleverly trades an article of clothing for the promise not to be eaten, telling the tiger that he is the grandest tiger in the jungle. You may have heard this story before, only set in Africa, and the boy being named Sambo. That’s how I first heard it. My grandmother used to tell me that story. It was written by Helen Bannermann in 1899. She was originally from Scotland, but lived 30 years in India where her husband served as a medical officer. The stories she wrote celbrated Indian or Tamil children. The children in her stories are all very bright, like little Sambo outwitting the tigers and being rewarded with pancakes. Her stories were not racist. Not in their original forms. However, as time went on, they were published by one company, then another. The more times it was published, the less like the original the story became. By the time it got here (to the US) the story was set in Africa and the people looked like plantation slaves. Sambo actually became a racial slur. The book was eventually pulled off the shelves.You can probably find it on e-bay. You can find it in a few libraries.  In 1996 Fred Marcellino published a new, updated Sambo where he had changed the names to something more politically correct. Usually I am not a fan of the PC police, but I do think there is no sense in intentionally insulting people. I also think that a beloved children’s story should not be forgotten. This is a book that is sooooo much fun to read. I love to do little voices in it. Babaji has an Indian accent. The tigers all have deep, growly voices. Mamaji and Papaji both ahve very excited voices. Samuel did his worksheet and drew a picture of little Babaji eating his big stack of pancakes. scan0001 To celebrate, can you guess what we are having for supper? (in Mamaji’s voice) Pancakes!!

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