Monday, June 29, 2009

Killer Punk Vampire Squirrels!

Ok, maybe the title sounds a bit dramatic, but let me tell you what happened....

This morning I had decided to take the kids to the Lake Crabtree playground. It is peaceful and beautiful and in the middle of the woods, where I could sit and just have some quiet time while the kids played on the playground.

As I pulled in, I was excited to see that no one else was there...we were going to have it all to ourselves! As I was unhooking Cody from his car seat, I heard a rumbling next to my foot. I immediately thought it was a snake, but looked down to realize that it was a squirrel!

He was only a couple of feet from me and was frozen in his squirrely stance. At first, I thought I would say, "Oh look Cody, a squirrel!" But then I figured he would run away before Cody would get to see him. Plus, I didn't want Cody chasing after him as he did the last time we went to that park.

So, I opted to just "Shoo!" him away. It didn't work. I kicked at him and he didn't even budge. He actually took a step forward. I swatted at him and he didn't budge. He moved even closer! At this moment, I was wondering why he didn't move. Any other "normal" squirrel would have ran away and up a tree. Not him, he moved even closer and was about a foot away from me with his I'm-getting-ready-to-jump-on-you stance.
I feared that he might jump into the car with my kids...that would be horrific!

I decided I really needed to protect my children at this point and pulled out my keys and jingled them in his face. Nothing. I didn't know what else to do, I grabbed my purse, told Cody to scoot over and I jumped up into the car (in the back seat with the kids). I tried to close the door but my purse was caught in the door and it left about a 4inch opening. I started hearing the ee-ee-ee music from "Psycho". He had moved in even closer at that point and was ready to come in with us! Ahhhhhh!!!!!!

Quickly, I pulled in my purse and closed the door. At this moment, Cody is asking me, "Mommy, what's going on?" I immediately started thinking about the situation and began laughing and said, "Mommy is afraid of a little squirrel, honey. If Daddy were here, he could help us, but I don't know what to do." He thought for a moment then asked, "Ohh, can we go to another playground that doesn't have squirrels?" That's all I needed to hear. I climbed up into the front seat and we got the heck out of there.

Looking back, I wonder.....was the reason that no one else was at the playground due to the crazy punk vampire squirrels who creep up on you and bully you into leaving? I don't know, but I'll be ready for them next time.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

East Triangle Church of Christ

Today we "church dated" East Triangle Church of Christ in Cary, NC. I wish had my camera with me today, but I didn't take it with me. So, I used pictures from their website for this post. I have no idea who these folks are, but I'm sure we shook hands with most of them today. : )

Well, long story short, we met a guy named Alex at the Crabtree Lake park yesterday with his kids who were Cody & Abby's age and he invited us to come to his church today. We took him up on his offer and we really enjoyed it. The church was actually in an office park. There were a lot of folks there from all ethnicity and age....probably the most diverse church I've ever attended.

The folks were super friendly and the music was as diverse as the people. The started off with a hymn and worked through several worship songs (with an amazing choir) and a band with guitars and drums. Clay said it reminded him of early Seacoast days. The congregation was really into the worship too, swaying from side to side and snapping was nice to hear everyone singing in tune too! : )

The message reminded me of the good ol' baptist church I grew up in. The pastor was very animated and made some good points that drew a few "Amen Brother!" and "Preach It!" shouts from the crowd. His message was called "Dead Man Walking", which talked about how we must die to live. As he preached, I started to remember this verse that I learned many years ago at Church Camp. Next thing I know, he referenced it in his message!

I didn't really get to check out the kids ministry while we were there. They used a piece of masking tape and wrote "Abby" on it and stuck it on her back for a name tag. All of the classrooms were kind of small with little decor, but they were full of kids and had plenty of workers (which is way more important). I'm not sure if Cody liked his class because he was too busy trying to find someone with lollipops after church. FYI: They don't have a lollipop man was very frustrating for him.

The overall experience was uniquely different than any other church visit I've ever done. I felt like everyone knew we were first-time visitors, yet they were very inviting and genuinely nice to us like we were already part of their family. I don't think it was just because we were new, but because they are really friendly people...or at least it seemed that way to me. I am intrigued with this church and look forward to going back to learn more about what they are all about.

New Horizon Church

I'm a week behind in posting this....but last weekend we visited a church in Durham, NC called New Horizon Church. Kids' Pastor Cathy had met me through twitter and had invited us to come visit once we got moved up here, so we did. After our visit, she had asked for some is some of what I sent her:

Kids Areas:
I just have to say...WOW! I loved the kids ministry. (Let me back up a little...the HUGE inflatable was really exciting to see when we 1st pulled in! They have a team of folks who set it up out there every week. The kids loved playing on it!) Ok, back inside...The rooms were themed well. Everything seemed organized, clean and new. The quality of equipment/lighting/video/signs/murals, etc.etc...was outstanding. Many churches would envy the quality of equipment/design that they have. She even let me look backstage and it was immaculate & organized.

They had some terrific signs in the building. Everywhere you went was beautiful signs and murals. A lot of their signs were hand painted by talented folks in their congregation, but I think some of the design was from Wacky World...very nice!

It was so funny when I said we were first-time visitors. Both of the ladies got very excited! As I filled out the paperwork, she added my info in the was very fast & efficient. The ID number tags were explained very well. The kids loved their goodie bags...I was impressed with how much stuff was in them (candy, stuffed animals, bubbles, playdoh, stickers & more)...and very nice stuff at that! I liked that someone walked me and Abby to the Nursery and showed us where to go. It is obvious that newcomers are very welcome and appreciated. : )

Like I said before, the classrooms were fantastic! With all the space they have available for the kids, it seems like there would have been more kids there. I would say that was the only thing that surprised me about the whole church was that there were a lot of empty space/empty seats. With a facility like that and a quality team of folks they have on staff, they should be packed out. Once the word gets out about how fantastic they are, they're gonna be busting at the seams!

Big Church Message:
Loved it all. I thought Pastor Jamie had a cool radio-DJ voice. And man, was he funny! He did a great job with the message. My favorite part was when he asked folks to open their Bibles. Too many churches get away from that nowadays. It was nice that everyone around us had their Bibles out and open. Very cool.
We also loved the "peanut galley" in the audience. It made it feel very intimate and open when the audience felt comfortable enough to interrupt Pastor Jamie and he was ok with going off topic for a bit. Overall, he hit a home-run with the message...didn't hold back...just preached it! : )

Overall....two thumbs up! (Or 8 thumbs if you count my husband and kids.)

Since our visit last week, I have received a follow-up phone call to thank us for coming and welcome us to the area. Plus, I received a hand-written thank you with an invite to their Block Party. It is obvious that this church loves its people and loves to welcome new folks. The quality of the facility, the signage, the materials, equipment, etc...shows that they invest back into the church and care about making a good first (and lasting) impression.

Great job New Horizon Church! We hope to go back again soon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Watching Monsters

This is what happens (every single time) when the kids watch the movie Monsters Inc.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Powder Bandit Attacks

I left the room for two minutes to make some juice cups for the kids. I walk back into the bedroom to a familiar aroma (is that [snif, snif] baby powder?) and a priceless look on Cody's face. He was thinking..."Busted!" Here is what I found...

Monday, June 22, 2009

What do I do all day?

I guess I had never thought much about what my average day would be like after I stopped working at Seacoast...I just knew it would be different. My life before becoming a stay-at-home-mom or SAHM (yes, there is an actual acronym for it!) just felt right. There was a set time to be at work, there were goals and deadlines, projects and planning meetings. I even had a desk with pictures of my remind me of what it was all about in the end....working hard to ultimately spend quality time with my family.

Well, now I'm here at home with my family 24/7 and things are so different than before. I have daily play dates & outings and chores & dinner that I try to get done before Clay gets home. Wait, that sounds a lot like projects and goals. Hmmm....maybe this stay-at-home thing isn't as different as I thought. I'll blog more about this topic again....I think I'm on to something with this.

So, here it is...a glimpse of an average day at home with the kiddos:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day with the Stuckeys

For Father's Day, we took a trip to the Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, NC. Before going in, we stopped for a quick lunch from a street dogs, yum!

The museum had a lot of cool exhibits (including a chocolate exhibit) with a nice mix of live and "stuffed" animals. There was a hands-on learning room for the kids to run around and be ok with them touching everything.

We had fun at the museum and it will definitely be a place we would like to come back to without the kids some day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rocking at the Java Divine

This morning I took the kids to a place called Java Divine in Holly springs, NC to see Stacy Clearman. My new friend Lauren invited us to go and boy, it seemed to be the place to be. The place was packed with toddlers and mommies.

As soon as he started playing, Abby took to the dance floor. She felt right at home dancing and playing the drum. Hmmm....wonder where she gets that?

Stacy played a variety of songs from traditional kid songs like "Wheels on the Bus" and "If you're happy and you know it" to some originals like "Ridin' a Horsey". He even played some big people songs too. He had instruments for the kids to play and let kids sing along with an extra microphone. So much fun!

Cody was more interested in hanging with me and eating Cheetos (yes, Cheetos for breakfast) but I think he was secretly enjoying the show. He found one song that he really liked and got out on the dance floor and boogied a little. It was the song "Life is a Highway" from the movie Cars. That's why he likes it so much...he calls it the "Cars Song". After it was over, Cody went up to Stacy and gave him two thumbs up and a high five.

First Impression: Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I think the kids did too. We will definitely go back again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beetle Juice

I've been noticing that my flowers are looking a little funny lately. Some of the petunias had chew marks on them and we started noticing more and more insects in the soil.

We also noticed that our neighbors had these funny looking bags hanging in their yards. I asked around and it seems that we have Japanese Beetles eating away at our plants and trees. So, yesterday we joined the battle of the beetles and got some beetle traps for our yard too. In one day, we have caught about 50 beetles! Wow!

Hopefully, we will win this battle. I have worked too hard to keep these plants alive. They came with us from Charleston and despite my black thumb, they are thriving. I'll keep you posted on our beetle epidemic.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Marbles Museum