Thursday, August 28

Our Vacation -- Day 2

Day 2 of our vacation was spent at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. We all had a wonderful time. My photos go sort of backwards, as I posted them somewhat out of order. Major highlights from the trip: 1) The White House tour was spectacular, as was the Log Cabin Home of Abraham Lincoln, when he was a boy. Very cool! We saw the BEST educational (fun) and interesting show there, called: The Ghost in The Library. No words can describe how very cool it was. You just have to see it for your self to believe it. There was another show, not quite as neat as the first one, but very informative and action packed (in 4D) called: Through The Eyes of a President, and Mary's Attic was enjoyed by us all.

Truthseeker and Mom (myself), play dress-up in Mary's Attic. Can you guess who Truthseeker is dressed up as?
Skaterboy is dressed as a young Abe Lincoln, in his early years at New Salem.
Truthseeker and Thumbody with their souvenirs from the day
Truthseeker wanted a spy glass, and Skaterboy wanted this very cool t-shirt. Abe with an I-pod, what's next?
Thumbody LOVED the Lincoln's House Play set in Mary's Attic. Thumbody enjoyed playing and pretending for a VERY long time with the Lincoln family dolls inside.
A family photo with the Lincoln Family.
All of us standing in front of the Lincoln family. I realized that we matched the family logistics on the wall, and just had to have a picture taken. Mom, Dad, and 3 boys. Sadly only 1 of their children survived. They actually led very tragic lives. Mary was declared mentally insane by her eldest son Robert, not long after Abraham was assassinated. She had lost 3 children, one at their home in Springfield, when Abe was a lawyer, one in the white house, and one not long after Abraham was assassinated. He almost made it to adulthood. All children died of closely related symptoms. Very sad indeed.

Truthseeker dressed up in an Abraham mask, and Yankee coat.
My grandma dressed up in period clothing. As you can see we all had fun dressing up in Mary's Attic.
Thumbody in a confederate coat. We don't have any other photos of the museum, because in most areas photography is prohibited. It is so worth the minimal cost to go. So... if you ever get to Springfield, IL. You should check it out!

Wednesday, August 27

Vacation --Day 1... New Salem, IL

On the first day of our vacation this year we visited New Salem, IL. Home of Abraham Lincoln, in his younger years. He came to this town on a flat boat, and after a time decided to stay for awhile, open a mercantile store, which by the way, went bust. He did some land surveying in this town, as well, but lost his surveying equipment, to pay off debts he owed from his store. These items were auctioned off, but the high bidder ended up giving the tools back to Abe as he felt he was a respectable citizen of the community, and probably felt a little sorry for him. Abe was respected in New Salem, and decided to become a lawyer. Abe was pretty much self educated, and could be found around town with his nose in a book, sitting under a tree, more than not. Here is our tour of New Salem.
Here is the old fashioned lumber mill, that is on the same waterway, that Abe Lincoln arrived in his flat boat on. The kids are taking turns turning the water wheel. Much of the water is dried up, from lack of rain.
117 steps each way. Not bad going down. Knocks the breath out of you coming back up.
Truthseeker and Thumbody, sitting at a desk in the old schoolhouse/church.
Truthseeker and my Grandma, resting on a bench. You can see a few log houses in the background. The complete town is built up around these log cabins standing where the originals stood, so many years ago. I would say that there are at least 12 log cabin plantations, 2 general mercantiles, a post office, drs office, tavern (which by the way was a B&B back then.) No alcohol was served in them. There were many gardens in each homestead. Grandma asked one of the workers, what some of the plants were. The lady said that many of the plants in the gardens are from pioneer seeds. We were wondering whether or not they used the garden vegetables or let them turn to seed. Too bad they don't have a farmer's market stand set up by the gift shop. You would think that it would provide them with more income.
More resting pictures by a log cabin. We did a lot of walking that day.
This is the teacher's desk that goes with the student's desk above. There was enough room for about 10 students tops. It was also their church. I can't imagine fitting more than 20 people in there. But they must have. The date above the fireplace reads: Sept. 12, 1912.
One of the rebuilt pioneer homes. The CCC's rebuilt New Salem right before WWII. My grandma told me that a couple of her brothers were in the CCC's. Not in Illinois though.
Truthseeker on a statue of Abe Lincoln. It was a fun day. Make sure you check out tomorrow's post for Day 2 of our vacation. After our very long and hot tour of New Salem, my Grandma treated us all to an ice cream cone in the gift shop. I picked coconut/pecan. Oh my, was it good! It really cooled us off. Thanks Grandma!

Tuesday, August 26

OK.... I Lied! I Won!!!!!!

No really, I was so tired on Saturday evening from the all night scrap-a-thon, that in hour 30 when they posted the winners, I didn't even see my name or email name, as the case may be. How funny is that? Here is the actually post.... I can't believe that I won something. This never happens folks! I won for hour 19. You had to list 6 goals that were very important to you.
39 mins
My Goals: 1. Not to own too much scrapbooking supplies that I am overwhelmed. 2. Never spend so much time scrapbooking, that I forget to be "present in my life". 3. Always wear pink. 4. Be a little quirky, it's adds character. 5. Never stop learning and trying new scrapbooking techniques. 6. Never forget to spend time with the people in your photos.


I read all your posts! But I'm giving my stiff fingers a rest. Thanks for all of the great suggestions, advice, philosophies and comments. This is one amazing group of women! Meredith

PS - talk soft. Sue's takin' a cat nap.

Okay, so it wasn't one of my scrapbook pages that won. But insight must count for something, right? I found out I won today when I checked my email, and they asked for my mailing address to send my package... Woo Hoo!!! I won a Compendium Journal (not sure what it is, but I am totally sure that it will be awesome!!!) I will post a photo, when it comes. Please, check out Stacy Julian's blog at and for some fun and sometimes free ways to enjoy your hobby to the fullest!

PS. See my post a couple posts down, if you are wondering what this is all about. Grandma, I can't believe I won! I was so tired from the weekend, I know that I was a bit inhospitable. I was grouchy, and didn't really have much patience. Sorry family! Sunday afternoon, I took a 3 hour nap after returning from church, and taking Grandma to the train station. The kids were napping too, and Scott took his mom to the grocery store. He did our shopping for the week as well. What a guy!

Monday, August 25

Truthseeker's Birthday

Truthseeker turned 7 at Nonnie and Papa's house.

He had a Clone Wars Birthday Party. Little did I know, that the movie is so new, that I had a hard time finding decorations for the party. I had to improvise.
Truthseeker with his Clone Trooper cake. I had to use a Boba Fett cake pan. (If you know my husband at all, you will understand why we have a Boba Fett cake pan.)
A nice family photo by the lake. I am soaked in this photo as it was taken immediately after we had water balloon fights. Or should I say, an attack Mommy fight. Don't ask... Wax Lips!!!
When we returned home, Truthseeker was treated (along with us all) from his other grandma, a trip to see the Clone Wars movie. I have to admit, it was pretty good, for a Star Wars movie. I hope my husband doesn't read this, he IS an addict! Needless to say, it has rubbed off on our children.
Truthseeker, and a bit of Thumbody, in the theatre, after the movie. What a great and memorable birthday!

Saturday, August 23

Marathon Crop!!!

Okay, so most of you know that I love scrapbooking. Some of you know that I am a big fan of Stacy Julian. Who is she, you ask? Well, have you ever seen Scrapbook Memories TV show, on PBS? She was also the editor for Simple Scrapbooks Magazine, for many years. Her blog is called, Altogether Too Happy. She also owns the company called: Big Picture Scrapbooking. It's an online tutorial for anything from photography to cardmaking, to scrapbooking, to journaling. Classes taught by celebrity scrapbookers. There are always lots of freebie classes too. Stacy's words make her a great scrapbooker, although her layouts are nice too. She uses profound words, like "Live your life... and This is Big!" One of the biggest things I have learned from Stacy is to print random photos out of the context that you intended, and look deeper at them. Look for the personality that the person in the photo is showing. Do something different. This is Big!!! In her words.

Well, this weekend was the BIG WIG BASH Party at Big Picture Scrapbooking. A 30 hour on-line marathon starting yesterday at noon. Now we were in Springfield visiting Abraham Lincolns home yesterday, so I didn't get to start until around 4 p.m. I scrapbooked until 2:30 a.m. this morning. Then this morning, we took the kids to the Funk Mansion and Mineral Museum. (Most awesome tour ever... I will elaborate on this more in tomorrow's post. So please look for it. Let's just say that if you are ever traveling on I-55 through Central Illinois, it's a must see, and it's absolutely free! Not even a donation box! You get a 3 1/2 hour tour, for free.) Okay, back to the crop. So I started the marathon again today, at 2 p.m. and finished when the crop ended at 5 p.m PST., or 7 p.m. our time. There was a challenge every hour, but not all of them were scrapbooking challenges. All prizes were rewarded during hour 30. Of course I didn't win any of them, but I had fun, and that's what it was all about anyway. It was free, and it was definitely inspirational. Out of the 10 layout challenges, I completed 7. These are listed below. By the way, we had to wear a wig for the party. Well, not for the whole party, but you had to have someone take your picture with your wig on. Mine is posted in a layout below. Enjoy, I hope it's inspirational.

These are going backwards, but Challenge 7 was to create a layout using a magazine ad as a template. I used a chatterbox ad, which I didn't post, because I know you don't really want to see the ad anyway.
Challenge 6. Sayings. Is there a saying in your family, that is used over and over again? These are ours.
Challenge 5. Scallops. Make a page using scallops. Easy enough.
Challenge 4. Strips. Make a page using strips. This is my layout wearing my BIG WIG!
Challenge 3. Make a layout using Stacy's Words. This is BIG... Etc...
Challenge 2. Make a layout using the title: 8 things that people have said or written about me that I can neither confirm nor deny.
Challenge 1. Make a layout using a nickname someone has given you. Uncle Steve, if you are reading this. You are my favorite too! You are the funniest, and most fun uncle I could ever possibly have. I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

Monday, August 4

My heart is changing for you, Oh Lord...

"God does not account for His actions nor does He reveal his plans to us; therefore, it is difficult to endure in faith and hope - difficult, but not impossible, for God never sends us trials which are beyond our strength, just as He never abandons us unless we first abandon Him."

"God loves us, not because we are without sin, but because we are his children, in whom He has diffused His grace. We should never insult God by refusing to believe in His forgiveness; neither should we become discouraged because of the faults which escape us in spite of our good will. If we become discouraged, it is because we are seeking perfection not for God’s glory alone but for our own satisfaction as well, and also because we would prefer to find security in ourselves rather than to rely upon God alone. All this, in reality, is the result of subtle pride. Instead of becoming disturbed and irritated by our imperfections, we must acknowledge them humbly, present them to God as a sick man shows his wounds to his doctor, ask pardon, and then immediately renew our efforts with great confidence."

I did not think up the quotes that are listed above, but when I read them first, they spoke to me. Do they speak to you too?

What is truly important in this life?

It's so hard to put into words sometimes what we feel deep inside. Sometimes our vision gets clouded by the many burdens that we carry day to day. We lose sight of our blessings. It's been a difficult Summer to say the least. Maybe not as difficult as last Summer, but internally difficult for me. Last Summer I spent a lot of time sinning. I was angry at a lot of things that had happened, and angry because I could not control what was going on in my very own family. I felt lost. Scott's dad had died in May, and left us with 3 more family members to help take care of. Not what I had in mind. They became a burden to me, and I hated them for it. I was not getting the nurturing that I needed at church, so I turned from God. I can't really blame the church, because I hadn't really asked for any nurturing for myself. I had lost friends, because I chose not to keep in touch. I found myself angry at the world, and God, while I had 3 beautiful blessings here on earth, with me, that I feel I emotionally forgot about. Oh, they were given lots of hugs and kisses, and of course (as I am their teacher), were taught what they needed to know, for their grade level. I just wasn't emotionally there. I had sinned dearly, and God was punishing me, or so I thought.

I remember quite a few months back, thinking that I would never be able to escape the desolation that I felt. I began reading book after book, looking for answers. I read the Bible, and searched in there for the answers. Some answers were revealed through those sources. I still felt lost, missing out on the blessings before me. I needed a change. I made it sound like the family needed a change, but really it was me. We changed churches. This helped a little. Still feeling sorry for myself, and burdened, I persisted in my struggle. Why wasn't God taking these burdens from me? I kept trying to give them to him, but why wasn't he accepting them? Maybe it was because I wasn't truly giving them to him, and I didn't recognize that they weren't burdens, but blessings.

I have recently realized, that compared to a lot of people's lives, mine has been pretty blessed, thus far. It hasn't been perfect, but it has definitely been blessed. I can choose to feel depressed and beaten down by the things I can't control, or I can take the time to feel blessed with what we have, whether I receive any other blessings in life, or not. It's my choice.

So, for today, I am saying goodbye for now. I need to spend more time with my kids. We need to unplug, and make memories together. Today, I read on another woman's blog (who recently experienced tragedy) that we need to dust off those video cameras, and film as much as we can, before it's too late. I am going to do just that.

If you're anything like me, you always weigh your decisions. So many times, I haven't called or visited someone I love, because I felt guilty about spending the money to do so. Scott and I have changed vacation plans so many times, because I felt that a certain trip was beyond our budget, and that a cheaper destination would be better. When we returned home, I always felt a little disappointed in the outcome, because it wasn't our original plan. I always felt like I wasn't worth spending a little extra on. I can't recall the last new thing I purchased for myself. Wait, I know, a $1 pair of flip flops at Walmart. I need to remember myself also. It's so easy to type things out of books, and suggestions that I someday want to try, but never do. I need to start living my life. I really do. I need to laugh out loud, I need to love with all my heart, and I need to mostly trust in God. Nothing is really important on this earth, but Him. None of this would even be here, if it weren't for Him. What we have, or what we own, doesn't matter one little bit. I think I finally know what my purpose is. Yay!!!

Sunday, August 3

Some of our favorite books from our library.

To the left you will see a list of our favorite books from our home library. The kids ask me to read these again and again. Of all the books listed, my favorite would have to be Flooty Hobbs. It's a must have, especially for kids who think they have monsters under their beds.

Friday, August 1

Picnic at the Park

I took the kids to the park for a picnic the other day. We almost didn't go, as it looked like rain was coming. Thankfully it waited until our outing was over. The small red building you see in the photos is actually one of the many Abraham Lincoln historical landmarks in our town.

Truthseeker is so thrilled that he can cross any monkey bars that he comes across, without falling.
My boys are so easy to please. Even a picnic of leftovers is a thrill, when eaten at the park.