Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Here's a photo collage' of our Christmas. (Click on the pictures for a closer look.)

The first set of pictures (below) is Christmas morning at home. The boys had a great morning and were FULL of Christmas Joy. The livingroom is STILL hip deep in debris. Riley was right in the middle of all the fun, and was overjoyed to finally get his new toy - which has been out of reach, but tempting him from the branches of our tree.

The second set (below) is at Ma & Pop's house with the rest of the family. We're quite a scruffy looking bunch of hooligans...but we're harmless and loads of fun. =) We enjoyed a wonderful day together, and even got EVERYONE to pose for a family picture. Of course, there's a good picture and a goofy one. You decide which is which!

Not only was it a very Merry Christmas, it was and always will be remembered as a very Blessed Christmas. God is awesome!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You're Never Too Old to Talk to the Man...

Blake took the boys to see the Big Guy today. Even tho' they are both wise, we're never too old to talk to Santa & tell him their Christmas wishes....and have their picture taken. Actually, it all boils down to me. I insisted on the picture. I have ALL their pictures with Santa - every year since Ian's first Christmas in 1993) - in a little frame, sitting on the piano. It's always fun to look at all the pictures when we unpack our Christmas decorations & see how they've grown. Here's my personal favorite. Cole was about 17 months old & he was in full scream & panic mode. Ian was just happy to be there.

My, how things have changed!

I don't know how much longer I can make them sit down with Santa for a picture, but I'll never get tired of looking at all the little pictures on the piano.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Christmas Card

In an effort to trim costs - postage & cards - I'm posting our Christmas card for all my on-line friends & family here. Soooo ~

Here is our official family Christmas card picture. Despite many moans & groans from Ian, much silliness & goofy faces at all the wrong times from Cole, and just a little bit of wiggling from Riley - we actually managed to get a half-way decent picture of us all. (Actually, Riley was the most cooperative member of the family. He's the only one who listens & doesn't express an opinion. *G*)

It's been an interesting year - admittedly filled with some challenges and frustrations, but also filled with endless laughter...because we have to laugh at ourselves, countless blessings,and never-ending abundant love. God is awesome, and it's in Him we put our faith and hope. Merry Christmas to everyone. God Bless you!

My favorite things....

Christmas is a time of bringing out our 'favorite things'. Ornaments with special memories, the cute little things we make for the holidays, and special traditions. These are a few of my favorites things....
My goofy family as we attempt to take a pictures for our Christmas cards. Ian & Cole taking delight in an unexpected gift of hats. Blake with a twinkle in his eye. Riley mooching up for Mama-snuggles. Our little village - complete with a Quilt shop, and the boys' Bumble. My favorite Christmas wall quilt, the Floodlight Snowlady (Wahoo, I discovered how to paint!),the "Floozy" Snowlady, my wonky "Hot Chocolate & Snowmen Don't Mix" spray-insulation snowman (I sold a bunch of those!), the boys excitement about getting a tree, and our mantel decorated with angels & our stockings - so lovingly made. All these things (and many more) have a special place in my heart. I remember the joys (and sometimes frustrations) of making many of these things. And even tho' some of them are looking old & shabby, some are just plain goofy, they all bring back smiles every year at Christmas time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving - Florida Style

We spent the entire week of Thanksgiving in FL with Mama. It's great to see her, as well as old friends, and of course the bzillions relatives who gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving. According to the official family head-counter we had 60 there this year. That's actually a little low for us!

We also had some family time together. We visited Hillsborough State Park & had a delightful walk along the Hillsborough River. It's small, but crystal clear river winding through the woods on it's way south to Tampa. The funniest thing about this state park was all the armadillos. There were 1/2-grown armadillos everywhere! Along the road inside the park, in the woods next to the trails, trotting around the playground/picnic area. I've never seen so many....well, let me rephrase that, I've never seen so many LIVE armadillos. I'm quite use to seeing them dead on the highways in FL. We call them 'possum on the half-shell!' But these little guys were very much alive and lively. Riley REALLY wanted to play with them.

Despite life's problems, we really do have a lot to be thankful for. God has blessed our family beyond words. We have family that cares about each other & gathers together in joy - no drama. We have a beautiful world to explore. Its different enviroments are a testament to God's wonderful creativity. We have the Hope and Joy of the Season. The Reason for the Season is so beautiful. It's not about tinsel, garland, ornaments & things. I know we all enjoy these things ~ the bright lights, pretty bows & presents, but it's really about Love. While things may be tight and we all moan & groan about the economy, politics, or the price of things - we are still thankful for this country and it's freedoms. God has blessed us.

Of all the things I'm thankful for, I think these are the most special blessings in my life....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now we know....

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

NOW we know what Bobbin, Ethel and Riley do when we aren't home. I thought I heard some dancing feet stomping around in the middle of the night, too!

Hmmm, I bet they think this will
get them extra treats for Christmas.

Wahoo! Hee-haw Happy Dancing

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

This year we have Cole as an'Alien Gangsta Dude', Alex a Star Wars guy, and Alan is either a grumpy old man or Forrest Gump's dad...I'm not sure which. *g*

I'm photographing the football game tonight. So Ian is going as a LSHS band member, and I'm dressed as Elmer Fudd 'hunting wabbit'. (Which works as the perfect attire for the cool weather at the game!)

Happy halloween, y'all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blasts from the Past...

Here's some old pictures that I love.

The first one is Blake when he was a wee whippersnapper. Wasn't he cute! He still likes to sit on the bed nekkid & grin. *G* At least his taste in hats & shoes has improved...for the most part.

This is me ...a few years ago. Wahoo! Did I pull off that red dress & red shoes or what?! Fashion-ista in waiting? Nah, I can't take credit for it. Mama dressed me up for Christmas. I think I got the piano for Christmas, but was much more impressed with my toy horse. (It's on top of the piano in the place of honor.) The piano was given away eons ago. But I still have that horse, and several others.

And here's the four Hancock youngin's. Gary, Johnnie,David & me...all dressed up on an Easter Sunday. Me in my foo-foo dress & lacy socks -looking confused, David in that spiffy plaid suit, Johnnie in the high-waters, and Gary with the super-cool hair-doo. WHEWEE ~ we were a handsome family. *G*

Thank you, Lord, for the joys of looking back at our beginnings. We were, and still are blessed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sights from Halloween Past...

Ah the memories....

Once upon a time, Ian was Captain Underpants.

Once upon a time, Cole had a pumpkin for a butt.

Once upon a time, 'Headless Lawnmower Man' was the hit of the neighborhood. We had an absolute blast watching the reactions of cars driving by.

And Riley wanted to know...
'Hey! Who's the new guy?'

I wonder what kind of Halloween nonsense we can come up with for this year?!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Tis the Season.... MARCHING SEASON,that is!

Marching Season is in full swing now. Our Friday nights are full of excitement, yells, & cheers and thats just for the band! At this point our football team is so-so...but who cares. In my opinion, it's all about the band! *G* This year's half-time show is to the music of cool is that! (I have some OLD, OLD Styx albums in a box somewhere. Yes, by albums I mean real vinyl albums - not cds. As a matter of fact I think I had some Styx on 8-track!) It's really funny to hear Ian & Cole walk around singing 'Mr. Roboto, Renegade, Rocking the Paradise and Come Sail Away'....songs from MY HS days.

I'm the photographer for Ian's HS band - so I roam around taking pictures of everything, everyone, and every fun moment I can capture of film. Hanging out with the kids brings back so many great memories of HS & College Band for both Blake & I. I love taking pictures of the kids. Their faces, their dancing and antics in the stands, and the intensity of their concentration on the marching field...and yes, I even take occasional pictures of my Ian aka BEANS! The band's website is ~ it's still a website-in-progress, but eventually, I hope they'll put lots of my photos on there.

Oh,I am now known as Mama Beans. That's kinda cool. (And quite a change from my HS nickname...Munchkin.*G*)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boys and their toys

Cole purchased a new toy at the Powers Crossroads Craft Fair we went to yesterday. He was completely enchanted with the 'Medieval Weapons' one craft vendor was selling. I guess every boy dreams of cool medieval weapons. Cole has been playing with it ever since we got home yesterday.

Look at the concentration on his face! This is serious target practice. (We set up some coke-can targets today.)

Look carefully at this photo - I caught the arrow leaving the crossbow! You can see it moving along. Cool!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Photoshop Fun

This is my friend's precious little girl. She's starting dance classes soon at her Preschool. I couldn't resist playing with her photos.

Another Favorite Photo...

This was taken at Lake Conasauga ~ my favorite camping place in the whole world. We were packing up to leave and the boys were restless, so I sent them down to the lake to toss some rocks in, and just generally play, and use up some energy before the long ride home. I followed them a few moments later...and took this picture (with our old Canon 35mm.)
It was such a sweet setting. Brothers, together at the lake shore, fall leaves all around, reflection off the lake ...just a beautiful moment. After I clicked the picture the usual happened...Ian accidentally knocked his little brother down into the mud. The screams, yells, muddy mess and normal chaos resumed at full speed. But that's alright... the moment was over, but I caught a priceless fraction of it on film forever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to School Blues

The party is over.
No more lazing around in their underwear or PJs all day long.
No more veggin' out in front of the TV, Computer, Gameboy and/or Playstation all day...or at least while Mama is as work.
No more fun. Ever. Nope - it's ALL GONE...forever, or at least until May 29, 2009.

The saddest day of the year came around again this morning....the first day of school!!!!

While I think school starts tooooooo stinkin' early around here - Early August!!! - deep down I'm not sorry to see the boys have to get actively involved in life around them again. They have vegetated around the house all summer long. We didn't visit FL - gas is TOO high, and I couldn't take time off of work. We didn't go camping - again, gas is too high for any kind of traveling. And we kept day trips to an absolute minimum. A weekly outing was usually just lunch at Wallace's BBQ (yum!) when I got off work, then the library, and/or WalMart. yippee. :/ Soooo, it's been a short, mellow, and boring summer. But for some reason the boys were very glum this morning. Cole was beyond glum...he was plum mad! Maybe he's heard me say that when I was a kid summers use to be June, July AND August and he feels cheated. Maybe he regrets all that veggin' around. May all those 'wonderful things' he planned to do this summer never got done. But if they look back & reflect - we did do a few things.... a couple day-hikes at Sweetwater Creek, plenty of go-cart riding, Monkey Joe's and Fireworks on Cole's birthday, lots of swimming at Ma's pool, plenty of watermelon, ice cream, and popcycles, and Ian had his first job...mowing Ma's lawn all summer long. And we DID go see The Mummy 3 this past weekend. (Fun movie in typical Mummy/Brendan Fraser style.)

So life will be quite different around here. Ian will have band practice 2 days a week + Friday night football games, in addition to his HS schedule/homework and all that goes along with that. Cole is starting his last year of elementary school. More homework & the mounting pressure of Middle School looming in his future. (I think his only honest gripe about MS is no more recess. *G*) But we'll survive....but morning comes awful early when you have get 2 boys up AND dressed AND moving out the door.

***The best part about the boys going back to school....I get my Fridays Back!!!!!!!!*** So there IS a bright side to every situation. *Snerk*

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Beauty and Humor from Above

The Balloon flower filled with rain looks like it's the perfect place for fairies or angels to float & play. If you look really close - you might see one. (Other than cropping, & a tiny of bit softening, this picture was not photoshopped.)
Daisys....such a pure, sweet, simple flower.
Blake took this picture of an 'althea' or 'rose of sharon' -simply lovely. (Again, other than a little cropping, I have not photoshopped it.)

So many beautiful flowers. God is such a wonderful artist. Just look at the vast variety of flowers...His endless creativity is amazing. And if this is an example of the flowers on earth, just think of the endless variety & infinite beauty of the flowers we'll see in Heaven.

Fireflies....proof that God has a sense of humor, because how else would you explain a blinky butt. I hope there are 'lightning bugs' in Heaven, too.

Peaches & Apples & Berries, OH MY!

Our fruit trees are over burdened this year. (Click on the pictures to see a bigger/better view.) It's to the point that we've re-named them a "Weeping Peach Tree" and "Weeping Apple tree!"
The peach tree is propped up on one side to keep the limb from breaking, but it's still drooping to the ground. The day after these pictures we had some rain (Yeah!) the peach tree limbs are brushing the ground!!!! And they still have some growing to do because they are not ripe yet.
The peaches are little 'Indian Peaches', not the big ol' grocery store/south GA kind - but they have still overwhelmed this poor prolific tree!
Here's some blueberries, too. They make such pretty pictures.
The fig tree has a bumper crop this year. too. I always know when the figs are ripe because the crows & squirrels start hanging out around the tree, squawking & carrying on like it's party time. And when you consider the fact that sometimes the figs fall off the tree & ferment on the ground....then I guess it really is party time!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th and Happy 10th!

Cole's birthday is July 6th, but we always have a family gathering on the the 4th of July - so we celebrate his birthday early. (He was too stubborn to be born in June when he was due, and too stubborn to be born ON the 4th as I had hoped 10 years ago when I was HUGELY pregnant and miserable.)
Here's a few pictures from the birthday celebration AND annual family pyromanic bash. I had fun trying to take pictures of the fireworks. I especially like the pictures of Blake & Cole playing with the sparklers. One picture (3rd one) shows an odd green image near the fireworks...what is this??????? Has 'George' the ghost at Ma & Pop's house finally decided to get into the act?

All in all it was a really fun day. I think Cole enjoyed his birthday 'cake' of rainbow sherbert. Lord knows he's LOVES ice creams & sherberts much more than cake (just like his Pappy), so that what he had. We made homemade pizza for everyone - always a hit. And he was delighted with his presents...Lego Indiana Jones for PS2, some movies & books, and ALL the boys had a blast playing with the Nerf 'Rocket Bazooka Launcher'...they made it a game of 'tag'! No blood or guts happened during this game - so it must have been fun for everyone.

I can't believe my baby is 10 years old! He's such a good kid, and we are so blessed by his silliness, creativity in building things, and wonderful questions about the world. Thank you, Lord, for sending this sweet child to our family. He's a delight....most of the time. *G*

Happy 4th of July Y'all! And Happy Birthday Cole!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Family Outing

The family decided to go for a little hike at a local state park today. While climbing around on some rocks out in the creek (which is really the size of a river, IMO,) I saw bunches & bunches of these wee tiny little froggies. They were so tiny! The hand holding one in the picture is Cole's small hand, to give you an idea of scale. About the size of my pinkie nail! Maybe they were new froggies... just recently tadpoles?

Due to last year's drought (which is still happening, but not quite as dramatic as last year - yet), the water is down. This is a picture of the old historic mill in the park. It dates back to 1845 & was a textile mill (built by slave labor), later used to make uniforms during the Civil War. Union forces put it out of business. Grumpy ol' Yankees!
We left the trail once we got past the old mill ruins & were walking/climbing our way down the creek via rocks which were in the middle of the creek and should have been underwater. The rocks you can see in the mill picture should barely be visible - more like rapids, than dry path ways. Well, it wasn't exactly a pathway...more like a challenging obstacle course at times. I'm VERY happy to say I didn't trip or fall into the creek. Nope, not even once! (I think that's a record! *G*) Riley had some difficulties navigating the rocks, but he managed to keep up. You would think it would be easier for him - having 4 legs and a lower center of gravity. BUT I think he was worried....a thunderstorm built up & gave us a nice shower while we were quite a ways down stream. Riley turns into a quivering wreck every time it thunders. So instead of romping in the water like he usually does, he was rather distracted. He's quite the weather-dog.

So, despite the heat, and then getting soaked in the brief, but cooling rain, we had a nice day hike. Even Ian managed to enjoy himself...grumpy ol' teen.