About Me

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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Probably a little too personal for a public blog

I keep starting posts about bras, and never end up publishing them. But tonight I just have to finally put this on virtual paper.

Some of you know I have been losing weight. I've maintained my weight (having lost 20 lbs since Oct. 23, 2009), but my body continues to change. I have more to lose and am finally back on track to get there. After vacation, I struggled to get back to eating yeast-free, but am eating right now and Kris and I manage to get to the YMCA on most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It has become even more important to me now that I am not in physical therapy anymore for my knee. My knee has really been bothering me and doesn't seem to be back at full strength like it is 'supposed' to be. But I have noticed when I work out it loosens up and feels better. I've added some weights in as well, the machines anyway; trying to strengthen my quads, which I understand will help my knee to heal.

Anyway...back to bras.

I need to start this out by saying those of you who are well-endowed, people don't understand what you have to go through! I used to be one of those people. My family made fun of me for being the flat-chested one. I always loved that line in "While You Were Sleeping" where Sandra Bullock's character is talking about her dad and says "He was a lot like me. Brown hair. Flat chest." I could really relate to that! And then I had kids. And something happened. Everyone told me that after I quit nursing, *they* (the girls!) would likely go back to the size they used to be or worse, they'd be smaller.

I have come to realize that this did not apply to me. Instead, I believe I was what I like to call a late-bloomer. A REALLY late bloomer. I had my first child when I was 20. Now granted, I did have my first three children back to back to back...all three within 2 years and 5 days. Beat that without having twins/triplets!!! But it's been 11 years...and I'm still waiting for them to shrink back to my high school/early college size. Something tells me this just ISN'T going to happen!

The reason I am writing this is partially to vent. I HATE bra shopping. Bra shopping is great if you have nothing to put in the bra! You can find all kinds of cute bras and since you don't really need the 'support' I don't believe it is nearly as difficult to find a GOOD bra. Granted, they are not all comfortable...so if you have 'small-ish' chest and think I am saying all bras are comfortable, I am not. Remember...I used to have a 'small-ish' chest! All I know is that bra shopping is much more complicated if you are 'large-ish'. I figured I would stay on the 'ish' theme. :)

I finally discovered Victoria's Secret a few years ago. The only problem? E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E!! $40-50 for a bra is more than I want to pay. BUT, in my opinion, they are worth the price. It's just hard to shell out that kind of money for ONE item. The problem with Victoria's Secret is that they do not specialize in sizes above 38DD. They typically have a decent variety of styles and colors up to 38DD but not beyond. You can get a 40/42DD in black or white, in one or two styles.

I know that there have been a few different thoughts going through here...I think/hope they will all tie together. I'm getting sleepy and when I get sleepy, I get confused and loopy!

So, now that I have been losing weight, I've shrunk. Unfortunately, not where the DD's are concerned! However, I have lost 4 inches around and so none of my bras fit me. And it's just time for new ones. I got measured, that's how I know I lost the 4 inches. 42 down to 38. Unfortunately, the cup size hasn't changed. So I started trying bras on. The lady that measured me told me to try a 40DD. It was too big! But then she told me that the 38DD's would likely be too small in the bust because they are made differently. I tried a couple of those on...and she was right. Way too tight. I was beginning to feel a little frustrated. I asked her what my options were...because the 40's were too loose and the 38's too tight. She recommended that I tried a 38DDD! WHAT??? So I asked her "Do you even carry those?" Of course the answer was NO. So I asked her how high the sizes went up for the bras that were on sale--since I had seen some when I walked in saying they were 2 for $49. I can justify that price! So she grabbed some 38 DD's and without much hope of them fitting, I tried them on. I wasn't hopeful at all. But I just had to try because I need a new bra. Oddly enough, they fit perfectly! And I didn't have to pay $50 for one bra! I paid $52 after tax for TWO!

So here's my question for you ladies out there. What is your favorite bra and where did you get it?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Funny photo and cute videos

I love my kids!!! I can't say that enough. I really, really love them.


The above picture was drawn by Kaleb recently. My sister commented on this picture on Facebook with "The apple looks like a vampire and the WORM is the freak?" Great and yet creepy imagination!

The next two videos were taken of Livvy and Abbey on the way home from Virginia. We were at a rest stop and the girls decided to do some stretches/exercises. And without anyone saying anything, Abbey just jumped right in, singing a song they apparently sing during P.E. when they exercise. It was so adorable I just HAD to post it. If you read my Living Yeast-Free blog, the first video is a repeat from an earlier post today. The second video is Livvy attempting to do the same thing.

Reason #575 that I love having my kids at a Christian school:




How the years have changed me

I am so different these days. For starters, I'm more obsessive-compulsive that I ever used to be. I can't stand to drink after Kris or use the same utensil he has eaten off of. This never bothered me until a few years ago. As I get older, I become more...what's the word...well, we'll go with anal retentive. I just looked it up to make sure I had the most accurate definition and found this: "A term used to refer to a person who feels a need to be in control of all aspects of his or her surroundings. " Yeah, that about sums me up.

Oddly enough, I'm not tidy, at all. I was just walking through the house, stepping over piles of laundry that is spilling out of the kids' rooms and covering the hallway, thinking about how messy my house is. And I took the thought a step farther and thought "I really don't care." And while that isn't technically true (I care a little), I don't care enough to do anything about it...right now.

Tonight is a late night for me. I am just now sitting down after filling out a spiritual gifts assessment that I had to do for church. Sidebar-things like that always make me feel like a loser and like I'm just not good enough! I know it isn't true...in my mind...but when I see myself on paper like that, it is hard to see what God sees. Well, let's face it. It's just always hard to see what God sees! But I won't go into that right now...that's a whole other blog I do not plan to write...

I went to a friend's house and "did" a PC show tonight. I'm not sure how else to say it. "Conduct" sounds too formal. And believe me...this was NOT formal!! "Did" sounds ridiculously stupid but I don't feel like trying to come up with just the right word. It was a laid-back, casual, fun evening where I got to cook for people. Though I am not sure you can call it cooking if you just layer foods together in a bowl. Do you have to "heat" something to call it cooking? I don't think so...so we'll say I cooked!

Here is the picture of what I made tonight, Lime-Berry Mousse Trifle:


Here is what it was supposed to look like, but I'm not a 'professional' and didn't have a 'professional' camera/lighting!


Still...it could have looked worse!! This is a great dessert...I know it sounds really strange, but it tastes REALLY good!! And this is coming from someone who doesn't like limes and who is not a big fan of mixing a bunch of weird things together!

But the reason I am writing this tonight is because I am just reflecting on something I share at my 'shows'. They're really 'parties', because I'm so fun (yeah...right)! I wouldn't really consider myself shy, but in certain social settings, I am very uncomfortable. I don't like new places. I don't know how to really just approach new people. And I certainly never used to like anything that required me to get up and talk in front of people.

I share this a lot when I am at a party--I was the kid who got extremely nervous in speech class, floundered my way through, and then sat down and burst into tears. I HATED to be in front of people. I managed to suppress my fear of being up in front of people during my sophomore year of college, when I joined a very small singing group. It covered half of my room and board and so I figured the benefits would outweigh my fear. Looking back I really don't know how I managed to make it through that whole year, going to different churches and singing in front of people. I had very little confidence; yet somehow I made it through and then, when the year was over, I decided "I'm never doing THAT again!" And I didn't!

But what I did do was overcome my fear of talking in front of people. With PC, there are so many rules and regulations for where you can and can't post things that I am not even sure if I can post this without somehow overstepping the bounds of what I am able to "advertise"; so if you don't know what PC is, you'll have to ask someone who knows me or figure it out from the pictures above. PC forced me to break out of my little cocoon, or I believe the popular term these days is comfort zone. What I learned about myself is that I actually thoroughly enjoy being the center of attention IN THAT SETTING! I love being in other people's homes, cooking for them and making them laugh. There is a lot of satisfaction in that, and whether they are telling the truth or not, people SEEM to enjoy my shows. I have so much fun teaching people how to use my favorite kitchen tools! 10 years ago I would not have believed it if someone had told me I would ever be able to do this. And yet here I am...and I am very thankful for the confidence PC has given me--and it has taught me that I can be good at something, and THAT is a wonderful feeling!

I feel like I was really trying to go a different direction here tonight, yet I somehow got sidetracked and you are stuck with that, and I can't remember my original point. And now my sleepy pills are kicking in and I can't think straight, so I think it is best if I get off of here. I have an early (not to mention LONG) day tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

7pm bedtime

When the temperatures start to rise and the kids are all outside playing, it becomes extremely difficult to put my kids in bed at 7pm and expect them to actually go to sleep. The noise level outside is ridiculous and it won't quiet down until at least 10pm. The kids' bedrooms all face the front yard, making it even more difficult for them. I struggle living in this neighborhood. I get annoyed whenever spring and summer roll around because I know everyone will be outside. And I wouldn't care about it, if they could somehow figure out how to congregate in front of someone else's house! It's sad that I look forward to rainy days because most of the kids will be inside.

Oh yeah...and while I'm talking about the neighbor kids...am I just insane or is it just plain wrong that there are unsupervised children under the age of 4 roaming around my neighborhood?? Seriously? Where are the parents? I'm really sorry if I offend...I truly am. Maybe I'm just too paranoid. Well, we all know I am TOO paranoid. But aren't those kids a little TOO young?? It always makes me sad when I see little 2 year olds running around half naked without even older siblings out there looking out for them. What about the predators or just people minding their own business, driving through the neighborhood who some day might just not see your little baby? I'd rather be safe than sorry. My kids are not allowed in the street without me...EVER.

I'm agitated and a little down tonight-no doubt from the sugar and gluten I have still been consuming since vacation. I forced myself to clean out the fridge tonight. I'm one of those disgusting people that still had stuff from before Christmas in my refrigerator. It's all 'current' now though! Finally. I had a Pampered Chef stone that had been in there for quite some time and was surprised to find that there was nothing growing in it! And, though it was a tough job, I salvaged ALL of my Gladware containers that had mysterious items in them.

I knew that if I didn't clean out the fridge it would continue to bother me. It's been bothering me for months...but obviously not enough to do anything about it. Don't get me wrong...I had cleaned out the fridge every now and then...but the last couple of times I overlooked the things I didn't want to deal with quite yet. Today was the day I braved the unknown and tackled all of those dreaded leftover leftovers! And I used those green Lysol wipes that smell so good. It's funny how a scent can bring you just a little bit of joy. You're thinking That's not funny; it's weird!' aren't you? I can live with that.

I had hoped that by cleaning out the fridge and cleaning up the kitchen and dining room that I would feel more like cooking and getting back to eating yeast-free again. Yet as I am sitting here trying to think through what we should eat the rest of the week, I am totally unmotivated and dreading cooking.

I don't know what my problem is. The weather combined with cleaning up some SHOULD have made me happy, not sent me into this odd, dismal hole I'm in. It's not incredibly dramatic...I feel more apathetic than anything. I've been so tired this week...again, I am sure due to the sugar and gluten. I've had so much trouble staying awake at work that I have resorted to caffeine in the form of my good friend Diet Dr. Pepper. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that. I know that my moods are less stable when I have the yeast-filled goodness we call food. And yet...I've become apathetic towards even TRYING.

Well, we are watching Psych now...so that should cheer me up!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

GRRRR....

PLEASE BEAR WITH ME AND READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END-I WILL BE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP IN A MOMENT.

I'm mad right now! I am very competitive, especially when matched against my husband. While in Richmond, we split into teams and had ourselves a little adventure. A photo scavenger hunt. It was more fun than I have had in a very long time, and I am thrilled that I enjoyed it--because sometimes I struggle to stay engaged in 'fun' activities with the kids. I tend to get bored easily or more often than not, incredibly anxious; especially when there are a lot of people around. I have a hard time letting go and just enjoying time with my family. It isn't intentional...it is just how I am. I do not relax easily. Thus it is very difficult for me to really have FUN with the kids. I don't like to be touched (yeah yeah yeah I know--I have four kids but that's different and I'm not explaining it to you!)...so being in places with a lot of people crowded around puts me on edge.

I guess I will back up a bit and explain how we came up with the idea for our 1st Annual Bishop Family Scavenger Hunt. I was just looking back through and realized that I hadn't actually told you about our scavenger hunt and adventures in Richmond, Virginia last Thursday. I wish I could take credit for the idea of having a photo scavenger hunt but it is not a new invention. The resort we stayed at had a few scavenger hunts throughout the week. The first day we did an ABC version, where we found items on the resort that started with the letters from A-Z. It was OK. Not as fun as I had hoped but it kept the kids engaged for a little while. We read in the activity guide that on Thursday they were having a picture scavenger hunt and we were actually excited about that!

When we picked up the list on Thursday we were quite disappointed. We THOUGHT we would get a list of items we would have to find and photograph. That sounded cool to us. What we got was a list of PICTURES taken on the resort that you had to go around and find. This could have been interesting, had we stayed at the resort that day, but we already had plans to drive to Richmond for the day, and honestly it just wasn't what we had in mind.

So being as technologically advanced as I am (I'm not seriously gloating here-so for those of you that don't know me well, simmer down), I pulled out my laptop while we were driving to Richmond, connected to my phone's internet and Googled 'scavenger hunt ideas'. I decided we would just make up our own list and our own rules. We took some suggestions from the kids and combined that with some things I found online, and I added a couple of my own (i.e. something funny and something weird/unusual). We ended up with 25 items to look for and photograph. As Kris and I discussed it more, we decided to add a little competition and divide into teams. This left us with one big problem! We only had one digital camera. Well, we had no other choice. We had to find a Walmart. And then we had to buy the cheapest (but 'decent' quality) digital camera we could find.

Katherine and Kaleb were team captains. They got to choose their teams and come up with a team name. The teams were Pink Lightning (comprised of me, Kaleb and Olivia) and Fast Thunder (comprised of Kris, Katherine and Abbey). I can't write too much about it right now, because Kris has FORBID it, and because the 'judging' is still going on, so we wouldn't want anyone to be biased towards one team. We each had our own notebook with our 'list' and so we set off on the scavenger hunt. In the back of our minds, we knew there would be two levels of winning. The first level would be "First team to finish" and the second level would be "Team with the best pictures".

I can say that my team, Pink Lightening, won the first level. We finished just one item ahead of the other team! We each got to choose our own dessert that night, while Fast Thunder had to share their dessert. Here are pictures of our respective teams.

Fast Thunder

Pink Lightning


Now comes the part where I need YOUR help. Yes YOU. If you are reading this (and you have a Facebook account) you can help us judge the pictures. My brilliant husband designed yet another little Facebook application that allowed him to put the team pictures side by side (in random order so you don't know whose picture you are voting for). You just click the picture that you think best represents the idea/item on the list. You can't put too much stock into the quality of the picture, as one team had a higher-quality camera. We came up with our own captions as well. So if you want to get in on the voting/judging, just click this link:

Right now, Fast Thunder is KILLING Pink Lightning and I am NOT happy about it. AT ALL. In fact, I'm angry. I do not think that some of their pictures truly represent the item...and their justification for some of their items is just absolutely ridiculous. Now I know that they feel the same way about some of ours...but still! 47 people so far have voted on the pictures (I LOVE ALL OF YOU GUYS!!!) and Fast Thunder is leading with 594 to our piddly 504. Are you recent voters insane???? I don't like to lose! But I suppose fair is fair. You won't know who most of the pictures belong to, so it is really the best way to judge who won.

The voting will run until the end of the month. We wanted to give people plenty of time to login to their Facebook accounts (for those who only long in once every couple of weeks!), and keep the sometimes-not-so-friendly competition alive! At the beginning of April we will post the winning team with their pictures on Facebook, and I will take that opportunity to justify why I think some of Pink Lightning's pictures should have won via my blog. Yes, I am already accepting defeat. I am not sure how we can come back from our current position.

And we finally decided on a prize. We are going to buy a picture frame and create a certificate that has both teams on it, the year and place of the scavenger hunt, as well as a picture of the winning team holding first place ribbons. And each year we will continue to do this. We have begun a new tradition and everyone is very excited about it. It will be exciting to plan for it and gear everyone up for next year. We don't even know where we will be going for vacation next year, but the scavenger hunt will be a MUST! I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for something fun to do with your family. And if you are on Facebook and want to utilize my husband's application, I think he can tailor it to suit your needs. Just let me know if you are interested.

Oh and if you want to look me up go here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1274451426
Just send me a message to tell me that you read about this on my blog so I know who you are!



Random sayings

I'm going to try to do this more and it may be annoying for those of you who 'follow' me, so sorry (I'm not deeply sorry-this is MY blog after all!) But I want to really capture more of the funny things my kids say. So tonight when Olivia said something that just sounded odd coming out of her 4 year old mouth, I just started typing it as she was saying it, and so from time to time I will have a random short post containing something one of my kids said that made me laugh or smile or any other emotion/reaction I feel is 'blog-worthy'. Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine was weighing out whether or not someone was 'sponge-worthy'? Not quite the same...AT ALL...but whenever I say something is 'blog-worthy' I can't help but think about that.

So here is what Olivia just came up to me and declared:

"Mommy there's something funny going around here. All our money that we had is gone. That what happened. And now we can't find it."

Just like her mother...

Kids notice everything!! I mean EVERYTHING!!!

When we got home this evening, we saw a girl (I don't think she is older than 13) walking down the street in some questionably short shorts. This always appalls me. Look, everyone is entitled to dress the way they want, but in a society that is dominated by sex (because let's face it: SEX does sell), I tend to get angry. And when I see these young girls walking around with barely anything on I just don't understand. And if you don't want to hear me ranting about something that you may find offensive, I suggest you skip over this post.

The clothes get tighter and shorter and I see this and I think 'My mom was worried about what I wore 20 years ago?' I suppose not much has changed; perhaps it is my perspective that has changed, especially now that I am an adult and I have little girls of my own. The last thing I want is boys (or even worse perverted old men) ogling them because I have allowed them to dress inappropriately. As long as they are under my roof, they will not be allowed to wear bikinis or short shorts, or 'belly shirts' as my girls call them (because they show the belly). I know that some people would think it is just plain stupid that I won't allow my girls to wear bikinis but there is no reason to encourage them to flaunt their bodies. Pornography is rampant and I do not want ANYONE looking at my girls in *that* way. This is not just me jealous that some women have the body to pull off a bikini either. I KNOW I can't pull it off, nor would I want to...I'm not comfortable walking around in public in my bra and panties so I'm never going to feel comfortable in a bikini...even if I had the body.

Where was I going with this? I got interrupted and distracted and I was really off on a tangent and can't get back to it now. Oh yeah...I remember...scantily clad girls aside...seeing this neighbor girl set off a conversation in our van with the kids. I told the kids they wouldn't be dressing like that and Katherine of course said she wouldn't want to. But then we saw a neighbor boy, wearing very loose pants, hanging down too far with a belt securing the pants to his 'bottom' (I'll use the word we allow our kids to say). I know this is in style and many people dress this way. I actually prefer the girls dress that way too...all covered up! But I do think it looks silly. Katherine was talking about how weird or gross it looked, even though he was fully dressed. Well, that was really the 'end' (pun intended!) of that conversation, as we were all getting out of the van and going into the house.


The reason I even started this post is because a little while ago I overheard Katherine outside talking to one of the neighbor kids saying "I know you think it's cool but you should pull your pants up!" Kris scolded her and I just laughed. The reason I entitled this 'Just like her mother...' is because that is totally something I would say. Maybe not to a neighbor kid...I have learned some tact over the years. But I tend to speak my mind (POOR KRIS!). What I think usually comes out of my mouth and usually it is in some form of sarcasm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Funny chats with Abbey and Katherine

I really wish I could go back at any given moment in time and play back something one of my kids have said.

Abbey and I had an interesting conversation on the way home from speech therapy today. And because I don't have the ability to play back what she said, I can't remember how the conversation started. But I told Abbey that she was the most loving girl and was kind to everyone and that those were great things about her.

Then she told me that no one likes *Sarah* (name has been changed partly because I can't spell the real name and partly because I'm just trying to respect the child). I asked her why and she told me that Sarah always does bad things and so no one wants to be her friend. She said that Sarah told her everyone hates her. So I asked Abbey what she thought of Sarah and she replied "I actually kinda like Sarah." I told her that she should really try to be her friend and tell her that she loves her and wants to be her friend and that she could really show her that God loves her. She told me that sometimes Sarah says that God hates her too. And I reminded Abbey that sometimes she feels bad about herself and says those kinds of things too and that she should really try hard to be friends with Sarah because she understands how she feels.

It was a cool conversation to have with her, but my favorite part was her saying "I actually kinda like Sarah."

Last night I had quite an interesting chat with Katherine about sex and (close your eyes men) periods. She's 9 and I already had to discuss sex with her a couple of years ago so we had a little head start on the issue. Again I don't remember WHY we started talking about this...just that we had the conversation. She's already so emotional and can burst into tears at any given moment. I told her that in a couple of years she would start her period and it would only get worse, as far as the emotional roller coaster goes. What really stood out to me about the conversation is Katherine laughing so hard she started crying because I was telling her how God created a man and woman to fit together, like a puzzle. And I was trying to emphasize that she should respect her body and know that God gave her a gift that she should save for her husband only! And she assured me that she understood this. But what she couldn't get over was picturing Adam and Eve doing that "special thing". She knew that they must have, because they had kids (and we have talked about how this is necessary to make a baby), but she just kept giggling thinking about it. It was funny!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Embassy Suites with a sense of humor

I have pictures of two more Embassy Suites door knob hangers. I thought perhaps they just used the same ones and swapped them out every few months throughout all Embassy Suites hotels. But I found out when we were staying there in Louisville the hangers were completely different. In fact, the first one we had said one thing, and so I took a picture. Then I went to my mother-in-law's room and saw that hers was completely different, and so of course I snapped a shot of that one too, and swapped hers for ours. The kids were asking why I traded with her-I told them it was because I wanted to get a picture of it-and then I just never traded back.

But for whatever reason, this morning, Olivia took Grandma's back and replaced ours with its original. Kind of funny. She was very proud and excited that she had 'tricked us'. Everything with her is "Tricked ya!" Like when you say "Olivia did you go potty?" And she says yes, but you can tell she still needs to go. And you confront her and she says "Tricked ya!" Or when she says "I feel like I'm going to throw up" (which freaks me out!) and then you press her and she says "Tricked ya!" She hasn't quite learned the difference between tricking and outright lying. Maybe some day...

Anyway, here are the latest creative door knob hangers from the Louisville Embassy Suites. I think I like the second one better...though when you've got four kids in the room with you...it really just means you're sleeping and sleeping only!! Either that or the children have locked you in the closet and are running wild in the room.





Chill out man, it's just a toll booth.



Here's my problem tonight. I found the above picture because I was too scared to take a picture of the actual State Trooper that tried to kill us at the toll booth. First off, I hate toll booths. The list of things I hate is getting quite extensive.

Toll booths make my blood pressure rise. I'm convinced of this. I would drive out of my way to avoid a toll booth. We had two tolls driving through Virginia. Now, my mother-in-law warned us about them in advance and we had the cash needed for them. HOWEVER, when we went to Richmond on Thursday, we had NO idea there was going to be a toll. Surprise, surprise...a toll...

This was no ordinary toll either, at least not for people naive to all things toll booth related. When you live in an area where there are no tolls on the roads, it can be very nerve-wrecking trying to make sure you have the right amount of money and that you are in the right lane (let alone knowing where the tolls are located!). Unfortunately for us, Kris and I were NOT in the right lane. We realized this after it was too late to just easily pull over to the correct lane. We wound up in an 'exact change only' lane, and we did not have 70 cents on us or anywhere in the van. So what choice did we have? We had to back up and switch lanes.

Now, while Kris is doing all of this, paranoid as I am, I notice everything. And I can see that there is a State Trooper standing guard, hands on his hips, watching us, VERY closely. He continues to watch us back up and proceed to get in the right lane.

I am not kidding you. When we were lined up for the correct lane and approaching the booth itself to pay, the trooper reached his right arm back behind him and held his hand steady, waiting to pull his gun out and use it if necessary. It was frightening and ridiculous at the same time! What did he think we were going to do? Drive through the toll booth, refusing to pay 70 cents? We had the money, just not the exact change.

I understand that he was doing what he was assuredly trained to do. However, we're in a silver minivan with obvious out of state plates. In Missouri, you have to have a license plate on both the front and the rear of the vehicle, so we obviously were NOT from Virginia. And any good cop should be observant enough to notice our license plates. So what is a family in a silver minivan with out of state plates going to do? Blow up a toll booth? Somehow try to 'sneak' by and avoid paying a meaningless toll? C'mon! Be aware. Notice what is going on around you. But seriously...putting your hand on the butt of your gun ready to draw at any moment?

In the words of Abbey, 'Home Sweet Home!'


Our journey ended much as it began. Cold and rainy. I am so thankful that the weather was gorgeous while we were in Virginia though, and I am hoping the forecasted snow misses St. Louis tonight.

It was wonderful seeing our beloved city of St. Louis again.


The kids are all happy to be home and Olivia has already asked to go to bed. Granted, it is only 10pm here but her poor little four-year-old body is on Eastern time still...I'm pretty sure almost every night though she has asked to go to bed. She's 'out like a light' so the saying goes. Tonight is the last night the kids will get to stay up well past their bedtime. Tomorrow night...it's back to 7pm bedtime for all children in the Bishop household.

I do have a couple of others things to write, specifically pertaining to our vacation but I wanted to go ahead and get this one completed. Primarily because this is what was on my mind right now.

We are ending our vacation with pizza/movie night. We're finishing up the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, At World's End. Here's to hoping for a smooth transition back to our chaotic family life. I'm ready to get back into some sort of routine, and I know at least 2 of my children that NEED to get back to that routine.

What a DEAL!

From time to time Kris and I allow our favorite mechanic to change the oil in our cars. Other times we just go by Valvoline or Jiffy Lube. Granted, it is cheaper to do it ourselves...but well, it takes time and is annoying. So we choose to pay for it. The air filter on the other hand, most of the time we just pick that up from Walmart and change it ourselves. $10 or so and it's done. So it makes sense that in an effort to gain new business, a company would offer a free oil filter with the purchase of an oil change. But this?


FREE OIL CHANGE WITH YOUR OIL FILTER???? Is it just me or is that a really GOOD deal??? We didn't need an oil change OR a filter, but it was quite tempting! Also, is it done out of the trailer?

An unreasonable fear of bridges

I hate bridges. I tolerate the ones I am used to, going in between IL and MO. This vacation though has shown me more bridges than I care to see in my lifetime. I do not know when the fear began...I just remember having the fear when I was a sophomore in high school, when I went on a mission trip to Panama. It's been a long time since that trip, but I can still remember cowering in the seat of the bus we were on, avoiding looking out the window! I can't be sure that it took a good 10 minutes to cross by bus, but I really think it was at least a 10 minute drive across. Here is a picture of *that* particular bridge. I'm citing it because the page says something about using the picture but being sure to cite it, or give credit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Centenario1_(1).jpg)


Once, I think I was only 16, I was with my dad and drove him to somewhere in Kentucky. I can't remember the details of why or where, but I know that we crossed a bridge from Indiana into Louisville KY. And I was scared and I remember my dad waking up to me crying and I don't remember it being a pleasant experience. I blame it on the bridge!

When Kris and I were dating, he found out the hard way that I didn't like bridges. He thought it'd be cool and romantic to take me across a bridge that goes into Alton IL. Granted, the bridge is a sight to see, especially at night, but what Kris had in mind and what transpired was not quite what he pictured. It wasn't awful, but he learned quickly that I did NOT like bridges. See how pretty it is...from a distance???


Whenever we go anywhere, I tend to get a little anxious on new bridges (i.e. bridges that are new to me). Yesterday, to be nice and let Kris work on a website he was wanting to create, I volunteered to drive. I drove through part of West Virginia and Kentucky. Do you know how many bridges I had to drive over?? SIX. Six bridges of various sizes and heights. After about the third one I made him take a picture of one of the bridges.


I wasn't thrilled. Knowing we would be approaching Louisville, I opted to let him drive again when we returned to the car after getting gas. All was well and we made it to the hotel in one piece fortunately!

Today however was...interesting...and I am not too happy with my husband of 10+ years. Even if it isn't really HIS fault. I still blame him!

After checking out of the hotel in Louisville, we decided to go to something called Falls On The Ohio, which is neither in Ohio nor Kentucky. It is across the Ohio River, in Indiana. Bridge #1 for the day:


I thought surely this will be the last one before we get to Missouri. We went from Kentucky into Indiana. It seemed to make sense that we would continue in Indiana to Illinois and the onto Missouri. That, however, is NOT what happened. Kris accidentally (maybe?!?) went the wrong direction, which took us over THIS bridge:


You see, this bridge took us back into Kentucky. It then stood to reason that in order to get back the direction we needed to go to get home that we would have to cross YET ANOTHER bridge. While it wasn't immediate, within 10 minutes we were faced with this:


So Kris was in a little hot water with me today. I really, REALLY don't like bridges!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

For my friends Shane and Jen

This is a picture that I posted on Facebook, but I felt that it was 'blog-worthy', especially since I don't know some of you through Facebook to begin with. You see, apparently not everyone in the world is able to get high-speed internet. Charter and AT&T might suck (while I can't speak for AT&T, Charter is on my 'I hate you because you never work' list), but at least we have the ability to get high-speed internet in our 'neck of the big city'. 'Neck of the woods' didn't seem quite appropriate given where we live, though it does fit my friends Shane and Jen. They live out in the middle of nowhere, almost quite literally! And they have the unfortunate, dreaded, out-dated DIAL UP! Can you believe that? People really do still have dial up. So my husband, knowing that I love signs and knowing how much we like to tease Shane and his SLOW internet connection, pointed out this sign to me. It was so important that I actually got out of the car at this intersection (thankfully there was no one behind me) so that I could get a picture of it. So if you are still a dial up sufferer (or annoyed with Charter or AT&T), give Kevin a call.



No Parking? But I didn't know...

So we're driving into Gordonsville, VA, nearing the resort. And off to the right, I see a No Parking sign on the side of the road. And then another. And then another. And then another, and then still another. I believe in the small stretch of road there were at least 10-15 No Parking signs all just about a car length away from each other! We were driving so I wasn't able to get the best pictures; so I held the camera out the window and just started snapping pictures as we drove by them. It doesn't do justice at all, but after the dead deer on the side of the road I wrote about previously (after a sign warned no animals were allowed on the interstate and we realized they mean business!) there was NO WAY Kris and I were going to park there just to take a picture! If they kill deer for daring to enter the highway, what will they do to humans who park where they are not supposed to?

I missed the first couple of No Parking signs and I know this really doesn't show you quite how ridiculous it was, but it will have to do.


Here are a few more (though I don't know how or why the text has turned blue here):


And some more:


A couple more:


And I know it is hard to see, but just a little farther down the road, yes that is one more No Parking sign.


I think perhaps the oddest thing about all of this is that there are no houses here. There are no restaurants or businesses, no scenic overlook nearby. So why would you need to park there and why is this absurd amount of No Parking signs there???? Wouldn't it have been sufficient to just put up ONE sign that said "No parking on the shoulder"? If I were a tax payer in Virginia, I think I'd be a little annoyed that my money was going to pay for such useless, unnecessary No Parking signs.


Signs

What would my vacation blog look like without pictures of signs? I have no idea! Here are a few I saw at a restaurant last night. Unlike the others I usually post, I really liked these!

We went to a place called The Hornet's Nest for dinner last night. I'm not impressed with any of these little 'dives' here in and around Gordonsville. The food has been sub-par to say the least. However, I really liked the atmosphere at them. The first one with its saws and other tools (weapons) hanging from the ceiling threatening to kill you, and then this second one with it's sarcastic signs that really just suit my personality!!


I'd love the have this sign posted in every room of my house:



This one is just something I'd like to wear around every day!


And this one I had to get because when I was growing up, my mom had this plaque on the wall in our bathroom that said "Our aim is to keep this bathroom clean. Your aim will help!" However, this one takes that sign to a whole new level and it just really made me laugh!



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pictures of me...this is a rare occasion

Here are a few pictures of Kris and I (and a kid randomly thrown in from time to time) on vacation, either together or separate. I usually hate being in the pictures but I am trying more and more to overcome that. Some of these the kids took and didn't do too bad!


Above taken by Kaleb; below by Olivia


Another taken by Kaleb:


I think Kris told me to 'smile with your mouth closed' here...this is how it turned out.


Dinner in the 'torture chamber' I wrote about previously, which I also forgot to mention that I would have probably preferred the torture to the food. It was so NOT good!


Taken during our day without the kids getaway.



You know, I usually hate ALL pictures taken with me in them, but I am actually starting to like this one (above). It helps that there have been a lot of Facebook comments about it--maybe I am starting to see myself a little differently...maybe. It's been a long road and I know it isn't over yet with regards to my own self-loathing issues but step by step I am learning to maybe start to see myself a little bit how other people see me. I know that the distorted image I have in my head is NOT what everyone else sees...now if I could just consistently believe that myself!


My handsome husband, who looks a little angry here, though he would contend that he is indeed smiling.


Enjoying some kid-free time in the cabin. Not *that* kind of kid-free time...get your minds out of the gutter! I am trying to get more and more pictures of us together because as I look back, there aren't that many, primarily because I used to hate being in them!


This one I had to include. We were at my parents' house, on our 2nd day of vacation and this is a picture of Kris asking me for my receipts. He likes to enter in those receipts...and it always makes me laugh--because I know that when he is in a mood to check the finances, he will be right there to make sure he has all of my receipts to enter in!


Restaurant OR Torture Chamber? You decide.

Having the entire day to ourselves, Kris and I decided to try out a new restaurant. We were originally going to The Melting Pot, but those plans changed when we realized we'd have to drive farther than we wanted to, just to get there. *Plus we have a couple in St. Louis if we really felt the need (and had the money) to go!

So we wound up at a little restaurant called "Silk Mill Grille".


You can't go wrong with a restaurant that serves steak, right? WRONG! The atmosphere, while somewhat horrific, was very interesting, with items from the 50's/60's/70's on the walls and hanging down from the ceiling. What I found most interesting, as well as frightening is that the majority of these older'original' pieces of 'art' or decoration were weapons. Kris and I felt, in a small way, that we were in some sort of torture chamber! Axes in the wall, saws hanging down, etc...it was weird!








Mixed Signals

We have gone into 'town' (Gordonsville) two different times now. We keep passing this house that has a ton of what some people would call "Jesus" signs. Not those green and white one that you can spot on 50% of the lawns in St. Louis. Just signs that say 'We must be born again' or 'Real men love Jesus'. There are also several different sizes of crosses through the yard. It's like a lawn over-decorated with gnomes and flamingos, only this one is crosses and signs encouraging people to follow God. See below:





What I really found interesting about this is how 'inviting' it seems, as far as proclaiming that we all need God. And yet, as you approach the entrance to the driveway for this home, this is what you will see:


That's right...take a closer look:


I'm just saying...I don't know whether to feel like they want to keep people out, or they want to encourage people to accept Jesus. I just thought with the amount of "Jesus" stuff, their driveway wouldn't seem so uninviting!

Here I Am Again

I haven't been extremely busy the last two days; I just didn't want to bore you with things that weren't...well...interesting! Not that that has ever stopped me before...

Today Kris and I spent the day together, just the two of us. Cindy and Dean took the kids to Monticello today and they had an excellent time. They were so excited to go and learn about Thomas Jefferson. Abbey came back and said "Thomas Jefferson didn't have a middle name!" I said "He didn't?" And she said "Yeah it says so on this paper!" and then she held the paper up in my face. It was so cute-it was a little fact sheet about Thomas Jefferson. Apparently there was a lot to do and see there because Cindy left with the kids just before 10am and they all stayed there until it closed at 5pm! They soak in that history in ways that I do not remember doing and I am so thankful for that.

Kris and I on the other hand took a nap in the morning and then we went to Walmart. It's a tradition for Kris and I, as corny as that might sound. It started on our wedding night and anytime we go out of town, we tend to migrate towards Walmart. For whatever crazy reason, this is fun for us. We bought little gift bags for the kids with cheap (BUT FUN) toys for the kids to occupy them on the drive tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are going to Belle Isle. I had stumbled across it when I was looking for something semi-close by for us to do as a family. Then when I was going to 'map' it to see how far away it was, I found out that it was actually almost 3 hours from here!! But we had heard it had a suspension bridge that you cross to get to the island and that it has portions of ruined buildings, one of them being prison that held Union soldiers. Thankfully I decided to look it up again tonight, only to find out that I had actually been looking up the address to Belle Isle STATE PARK. These two places are NOT the same!! At all. Belle Isle State Park (which I had been looking up tonight and thinking it sounded boring) IS almost 3 hours but the actual Belle Isle I wanted to see was only 1 1/2 hours from here! What a pleasant surprise!!! It's actually located in the heart of downtown Richmond. You walk across a suspension bridge (though it looks more solid than what most of you are probably thinking and I am thankful for this!). The bridge is actually directly beneath the Lee Bridge. This led me to look at what else was around the area and there is The Museum of the Confederacy there in Richmond. Some of you know that we went to Gettysburg last year with the kids over spring break, so I think that this will be a great place to go with the kids. They really do love history and I am excited about taking this trip with them. Can't wait to get out there and get some pictures and just have a fun day with our kids.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Katherine the Composer

I have had a few posts in the past about Katherine and her artistic side. This is another post dedicated to the artistic styling of the one and only Katherine Grace Bishop. My heart is swelling tonight with love for her. Last night she had a very hard time falling asleep. She had taken quite a long nap in the van before we got to the resort, not waking up until 6pm. Naturally, she could not fall asleep at 9pm, or 10pm or even 11pm. We finally let her get up and finish watching Temple Grandin with us. Well apparently even after we went to bed she still could not fall asleep. I didn't find out about this until this morning.

Katherine came up to me (I was of course sitting in a chair with my laptop in front of me, as it is a part of my body!) and asked if she could sing a song that she wrote. I was in the middle of something so I had her wait a few minutes, so that I could give her my full attention.

She explained to me that she wrote it herself because she couldn't sleep last night and it helped her. So she sang it to me (FROM MEMORY I MIGHT ADD) and I was just so proud and I asked her if she thought she could sing it in front of the camera. I also asked her to write the lyrics down so that I could of course post them on here. She titled the song and everything! So cute...and if you listen to the lyrics, you can see that Katherine has a deep love for God and a very real understanding of why Jesus came to earth.

The video is sort of dark because it was night and the lighting isn't great in here. The lyrics are posted below the video.


We Will Praise Him
*written and performed by Katherine Grace Bishop, age 9, on March 14, 2010.

Verse 1

Jesus died on the Cross to save us from our sins,
All those nails felt worse than needles or pins.

Chorus:
And that's why we give Him glory, glory, glory
'Cause He's so holy, holy, holy
And we will praise Him, praise Him, praise Him
For all of our days

Verse 2

They killed Him even though He was an innocent man,
No one can do miracles but Jesus can.

Chorus

Verse 3

They wrapped Him up and in a tomb He lay,
He rose from the dead after three days.

Chorus

Verse 4

Now that you know the story of the Cross,
You know that Jesus is the ultimate boss!

Chorus (2x)

Temple Grandin

Claire Danes as Temple Grandin



The 'real' Temple Grandin



A few weeks ago Kris and I were watching The Colbert Report and Claire Danes was one of his guests. She was promoting a new movie she was in, called Temple Grandin. When we heard what it was about, we were both left longing to see this movie. It's about an autistic woman (based on the life of Temple Grandin)who overcame many obstacles and a cruel society and has led an amazing life. It was riveting...I couldn't take my eyes off of the screen the entire time, for fear I'd miss something. I wasn't sure how I felt about Claire Danes in this role when I first saw previews for it. But let me assure you, 10 minutes in you forgot you were watching Claire Danes and she really became Temple Grandin. It was an amazing performance and an extremely well-written script.

If you know anyone with Autism, or just want to understand Autism better, watch this movie. When Temple Grandin was 4 and diagnosed with Autism in 1951, they suggested she be institutionalized for the rest of her life and her mother was told she had a form of infantile Schizophrenia. How limiting our society and medical professionals were in the 50's. There wasn't much understanding of Autism at the time, and so the 'professionals' assumed that parents of autistic children just weren't nurturing their children and that is why they behaved the way that they did. Unbelievable. Can you imagine being told that it was YOUR fault that your child couldn't talk or interact 'normally' in social settings, when you'd done whatever you could to help them succeed? I'm thankful there is so much knowledge out there now about Autism. This movie is just another step in the right direction towards showing the world how intelligent and FUNCTIONAL people with Autism can be. Unlike Rain Man and I Am Sam, which are both good movies for becoming more aware of people who are not 'like us', Temple Grandin is based on the life a real woman who accomplished incredible things in her life! Obviously there are different sides of the spectrum and some people will be higher-functioning than others. I was fascinated by this film and recommend that you see it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Times

It's been a long time since I posted a song on here. Unfortunately, I can't find it on YouTube. The video that is there is blank and doesn't play. BUT, you can listen to it here:




The catch is that you have to create an account to listen to it (I just realized that(sorry!) and can only listen to the whole song one time without purchasing it (though it is totally worth purchasing!). I don't know if you can find it online anywhere else. I have the lyrics listed below. Amazing song. The first part is from the perspective of us...sinners...who feel lost and alone. The second half is what God says to us in those times, how HE responds and loves us in ways that we will never fully understand. It is a very powerful song. If you have a chance, listen to it while you read the lyrics. I hope that you are blessed by it, as Kris and I were today.

The song is called "Times" by Tenth Avenue North, who will actually be touring with Casting Crowns next month; they will be in St. Louis on April 2 and I am hoping that Kris and I can get tickets to the concert. I like Casting Crowns, but it's Tenth Avenue North that has some of the most profound lyrics that I am looking forward to (hopefully) seeing/hearing!

I know I need You
I need to love You
I love to see You, and its been so long
I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
And I need to hear You
Is that so wrong?

Now You pulled me near You
When we're close I fear You
Still I'm afraid to tell You
All that I've done
Are You done forgiving?
Or can You look past my pretending?
Lord I'm so tired of defending
What I've become
What have I become?

I hear You say "My love is over, it's underneath, it's inside, it's in between the times you doubt me
When you can't feel the times that you've questioned 'is this for real?'
The times you've broken, the times that you mend
The times you hate me and the times that you bend
Well my love is over, it's underneath, it's inside, it's in between, these times you're healing
and when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace
The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal
In times of confusion and chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame
I'm there through your heartache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone
I dont care where you've fallen, where you have been
I'll never forsake you
My love never ends, it never ends

WOW...

The Cabin-Shenandoah Crossing

First things first:

We have internet. It isn't ideal...we *have* to connect through our phones, but since we are in the mountains, we were worried that our phones wouldn't get strong enough signals to connect to the internet-I'm glad our worries were unfounded.

I need main level laundry.

I need more than one bathroom in my house.

OK, now that we have that out of the way...we are HERE! We all made it safe and sound. The cabin is nice--very rustic, just like you would expect a cabin to be! The 'resort' has more of a camping-type feel to it and the kitchen/dining room remind me of an old farmhouse. There are quite a few pictures on this post, primarily because the kids crack me up with how they organized everything. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Kaleb's room, as he is staying in Grandma's cabin. I'll try to go over there tomorrow to see if there is anything of interest worth photographing.

One thing to note: in Abbey and Livvy's room, Abbey has a picture frame she got that she just loves. Katherine helped her find a picture to put in it, and when you see the picture, I just think knowing a little background information would be helpful. I don't know if I have written it here or not, but Abbey is very particular about who she loves. She loves God and Uncle Brandon the most. Then she loves herself, and then she loves everyone else. So the picture in her picture frame should come as no surprise to anyone. Oh and she also has a mirror right by her bed, probably so she can see herself and make sure she still looks beautiful!