Friday, December 30, 2011

The Makings of a Derby Car

Our very first Scouts Pinewood Derby Car race is coming up on Jan 28th. Vaughn had a few days off and so it was time to make a car, or in this case, a tank! Tyson was intrigued with his Uncle Brett's car that was actually a tank, and it won when Brett raced it. This convinced Tyson that he was making a tank instead of a car. Tyson and Vaughn spent the better part of one of our warmer afternoons outside cutting and sanding this block of wood. We don't own the fancy jig saws, just a plain little hand saw and a knife to cut out the tank. Love our ingenuity. Once the pieces were cut and sanded well, it was time to paint. Tyson wanted the American Flag painted on top of his gunner. Anything to add some flair!

Once painted, we began the gluing process. We are half way done with the tank. More updates to follow as we travel this journey to the Pinewood Derby.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After Activities/Lumberjack Feud

Once Christmas was over we still had a lot of playing around to do. We took the family down to Pigeon Forge to find some fun and games. The boys had their eyes on the slick tracks after they saw about 5 different ones. Then it was just finding the right one to go to. Now the weather up till this point had been beautiful and fairly warm, but not this day. IT WAS COLD! And riding in those cars in the cold, didn't actually appeal to me, so Sue and I watched the boys and Taryn ride. Tyson loved every minute of it, Taryn...not-so-much.

Taryn rode with Papa and she was none too happy to be in the car, going fast around the track. She was mad, to say the least. Every time they came around the track she was either crying or had this look of disgust on her face. It was funny to us, not to her, but to us!

Uncle Trey was in the lead the whole time.

Tyson and dad, the race car boys.

It turned into the demolition derby at the end. If you look at the left side of the picture you can see Taryn's little body slunk down in the seat. She was hating it!

Tyson's reaction is one of pure excitement. He wanted to go again, Taryn did not. So the boys went again and I took Taryn to the car to warm up and to let her have a good cry. Sometimes you just have to cry and then all is right with the world.

After fun at the slick tracks and some grub at McDonald's, is there anywhere else, then we went to the Lumberjack show to "Get Our Plaid On!"

Here is the stage that we would look at for the next 2 hours. There were two sides to sit on: the McGraw side, which was the side we were on, or the Dawsons' side. These were the feuding families in the show. Right as we sat down, one of the actresses on our side walked up to where Vaughn and I were sitting and introduced herself to Vaughn. (I thought she was hitting on my sweetie and was about to show her that we Circleville girls don't take kindly to strangers moving in on our territory) Then we found out why she was being so friendly; she wanted Vaughn to participate in the "logging games" for the McGraw side. This was going to be good.

We watched each side participate in logger games such as: cutting logs with chain saws, axes, standing on trees and cutting trees, water games and races of all kinds. We won the first 3 games and then the Dawsons won a few.

It came time for Vaughn to show his stuff. They had him and another guy harnessed up to the tall trees in order for them to climb up them while the lumberjacks pulled on a rope. Vaughn had spikes clipped onto his shoes to stick into the tree as he climbed and was told to take his harness and throw it up the tree and climb up to the yellow stripe 3/4 of the way up. Come to find out, Vaughn was racing against a marine. (I figured we were beat) Vaughn later comments that I had no faith in him which isn't true, I had lots of faith he could do it, but I figured the Marine was going to just sickle up the tree.

Showing Vaughn what to do.

Up the tree he goes. I was impressed with Vaughn's speed. No wonder he was called "The Jet" in high school. He still has it. He threw his harness up over the yellow line just before the marine did and won!!! I was yelling as loud as I could the whole time. Everyone knew who his wife was, because of all the noise I was making.

Lots of congratulations all around for the McGraw side. Vaughn won our side another event and clinched the winning trophy for his efforts. The McGraws beat the Dawsons. Tyson loved the fact that we won and that his dad won as well. It was an awesome show and such a fun night.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Came To Town

Christmas came and so did Santa Clause. The kids didn't wake up till about 8ish and Vaughn was actually able to come home early, so we waited on him to get home and then let the kids come downstairs to see what they got. Tyson was thrilled to get roller blades and a Thundercat sword.

Taryn wanted a Pop The Pig game and a Lalaloopsy doll that has moveable hair. They were both tickled to play with their new toys. We then had a big pancake breakfast and then it was off to church. It was just sacrament meeting with the two wards and I was under the impression that it was only going to last an hour, but much to my surprise and many others, it was almost 2 hours long. WOW! My kids were going crazy with anticipation to open up their other presents.

A quick family photo before we opened gifts. Left to Right: Tyson, Trey, Sophie (the dog) Papa, Taryn, Grandma Jackson, Vaughn and myself.

The Jackson's.

The other half of the Jackson's.

This is my new black dress from my in laws. I loved it!
And then it began...the kids torn into their gifts.

Tyson has been asking for some camo so that he can go hunting with his dad, and he got it. Look out deer, here we come.

The kids didn't care what gifts they opened, they just opened gifts. Taryn was opening gifts that didn't even belong to her. HA HA. The excitement of ripping paper was just too much for them. She was grabbing them from under the tree and then opening them before we could stop her. What a child. She finally was stopped and was a little put out that we made her only open her gifts.

Here she is again, helping Tyson open up a gift. At least she was getting into the spirit of it all.

Tyson got a tractor from Papa. This makes two for the collection. Some day we may have them all.

Taryn got a Princess scooter and she was tickled pink; we love pink. She couldn't wait to try it out.

Grandma T gave Tyson a telescope. I used to have one when I was young and I loved it. Tyson always asks about the stars and now he gets to see them up close.

The Princess robe was a hit!

The sleigh dumped at our house. Thank you to all our family for the wonderful gifts. We were spoiled this year. Thank you, Thank you!

After the presents were opened and while they were being played with, we fixed a delicious dinner. My good friends the Laney's and her mom and dad sent me a complete Christmas dinner. (Thanks Laura) We had Honeybaked ham, green beans casserole, sweet potatoes and cheese cake. We added some rolls and Voila, a wonderful meal. Once the meal was consumed, the kids were begging to go outside and try out their scooter and blades. We just had to show Taryn how to ride the scooter one time and she took off. She loved it and hated it when we had to leave.

Tyson, on the other hand, needed some help to get started.

After a few falls and some encouragement, he finally got the hang of it. He is able to sort of skate on his own. Give him a few more tries and he will have it all figured out.

The kids had a ball and when it was time to leave they didn't want to go, but we were all frozen. Such a great day. I loved it all. A very memorable Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve and Santa has already set up early this year. No princess kitchens or Wolf Mountains to assemble this Christmas Eve. Lucky for me, the kids asked for things that just had to be taken out of the box. Vaughn is working but hey, I am grateful for that one. (because that means he is healthy) This is going to be a much better Christmas than last year when all heck broke loose. I am even lucky enough to have my in laws and my brother-in-law Trey here for the festivities. We have just been blessed to have family for both Thanksgiving and now Christmas. It doesn't get any better than that.

My tree is my most favorite thing. Not many things can I claim as mine, due to the fact that I have children, but the tree, she is all mine. I love my Santa Clause decor.

We are rebels and give our Santa Coke and cookies instead of the traditional milk and cookies. I figured that Santa needs to have a little pick me up since he has to run all night long delivering presents all over the world.

On a side note, we were able to Skype with my brother-in-law Brett who is out on a mission in Mexico. He looked great and sounded just like a Mexican. His Spanish is well spoken. He was able to talk to all of us and the kids loved that the most. They haven't seen him in over 1 1/2 yrs. It was a real Christmas treat.

This Santa is going to bed. Let the games begin in the morning...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Four other moms and myself have taken it upon ourselves to have a little twice a week preschool for our children who need a little more than just being little. We started this preschool back in September and it has been wonderful for Taryn. Each mom takes turns teaching and being a teacher's helper. We have a letter of the week, work on writing their names, crafts, songs and memorizing. This month was my month to teach and I have had a ball. I miss teaching anyway, so to be able to come up with fun ideas to introduce letters has been a blessing to my un-used brain. I am missing two kids from the picture below. This was taken on Tuesday at our Christmas party. Left to Right: Lauren, Madison, Taryn and Aaron. Taryn really enjoys going to preschool and learning and playing with other kids. It has been good for both of us, because when I am not teaching or helping, I have 2 uninterrupted hours to do something for me. (which doesn't always happen, but hey).


Lately my little princess has taken on a whole new language. It is SASSY! (and not the cute kind, well...I guess it is a little cute).

Her new phrase is "Awe Come On". This is used whenever she is told that she cannot do something right now, or have something. Her response is "Awe Come On". She says it in such a cute way that it will leave us in a fit of giggles. Which, in turn, makes it extremely hard to tell her "no". Thank goodness I know how to stick to my guns.

Her second saying is "The deal is off". Vaughn was talking to her a few weeks ago while she was all dresses up in her darling little princess outfits. Right in the middle of his sentence she looks him straight in the eyes, puts her hand up like she is a police officer saying "stop" and tells her dad "The deal is off". I lost it! I laughed so hard I cried. It is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen her do. She is constantly keeping us in stitches.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pellissippi Ward Christmas Party

Ah...the annual ward Christmas party is always fun. I asked Melinda to come with us this year to enjoy the festivities. Here is Brother Rankin telling the kids a story about how the candy cane came about. Surprisingly they all sat and listen. If you look towards the front of the kids Tyson is staring and Taryn is smiling at the camera.

The primary kids ready to sing for everyone.

Taryn knows all the primary songs so when they called for the Primary kids to come up and sing she ran right up. She hasn't graduated to Primary yet but in two weeks that will all change. She almost yanked up her shirt to her belly, luckily we avoided that scene. I was sitting there cringing about it though.

Next came my performance with a bunch of ladies I work with in the primary. Stormi came up with this cool idea to do the song "Santa Baby" and have us do the upside down singing thing. She made all the Santa outfits. We just had to be crazy enough to perform this nutty act.

It didn't take long for all the kids to come up and try pulling off the dresses from our faces and tell us "Hi mom." HA HA HA. I just kept singing and laughing.

I am the one on the end.

There I am singing away.

Then the biggest surprise of them all, SANTA came. Taryn was so excited to see him, but when it came time to stand next to him, she was a little timid. The meal was great and seeing everyone and their families is always a good time. They had some games for the kids in the classrooms. My kids especially liked the presents race. They stood in lines and raced presents from one end of the room to another. Another great party; now we have one more week and Christmas is here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chilly Time In Dollywood

Yes we are the idiots who go to the amusement park when the lines are low and the weather is FREEZING!!! Vaughn got free tickets to Dollywood for this past weekend and since we have never gone, we went, freezing cold temps and all. We invited our friends Adrian and Melody and their two kids to come brave this crazy ride with us.

Our kids have never been to an amusement park. It was an over load right from the start. We rode the 3D Polar Express ride first and then Vaughn lost his glasses, the ones he needs to work and read. So we all ate lunch as he looked for them and then we went to the county fair part of the park where it has lots of rides for the little kids. The Ferris Wheel was our first stop. Taryn loved it and so did Tyson.

Our faces were frozen in these smile, but we really were having a great time!

Next it was time for the adults to take a spin on a ride. Here are Vaughn and Adrian getting braced for this whirl around ride. This ride went up and down and then spun you in all directions.

Melody coaxed me to get on with her and the boys. Tyson was bracing for the ride to start. Xander was less than happy to be on the ride. He wanted off, but there was no way he could get off, we were strapped in.

I laughed the whole ride, trying to convince my stomach not to hurl. Whirl rides make me so sick, but I love to go on them. Tyson loved the ride and wanted to go again. Xander finally liked it when it was over and Melody had a ball. Next it was off to the spinning Tea Cups. YEAH, my stomach was hating me! After that, I was glad not to get on another spinning around ride for a minute.

There was a flying bee ride that all four kids could get on. They had a ball.

All smiles, even though we were chilled to the bone.

The kids patiently waited for some hot chocolate. They had so much fun amid the cold temperatures. We were able to watch an ice skating show, which I thought was pretty cool. We tried to catch one more ride before going home, but it was too cold and they had to shut down the rides.

They have a sanctuary for Bald Eagles that have been hurt in the wild. It was awesome to see them up close. Some they will release back into the wild, but some are not able to survive on their own, so the park takes care of them. These majestic birds are lovely. I loved showing the kids all about them.

Such a cute picture of all the kids. It was such a great time. We will go back again, when it is a bit warmer. On a side note, Vaughn did find his glasses. Some good Samaritan turned them in. It was a blessing in disguise. So glad that we don't have to pay for new glasses.