Sunday, July 31, 2011

Some Friends from Florida

I received a call from a friend, Lisa Goodson, we met when we both lived in Venice, FL. She and her family moved to South Carolina shortly after their youngest child was born (about 6 years ago). When we moved to North Carolina we realized we only live about an hour from them. While they are busy trying to relocate to FL again, other friends of ours, Cassandra MacDonald came for an impromptu visit. So, we all got together for a picnic and fun afternoon at the Carl Sandburg Farm.

Between the three of us we have 9 children - 3 each and we are all done! But we love the bunch we have.
Left: Andy Goodson, Nathan Beadle, Audrey Beadle, Brook MacDonald, Tyler MacDonald, Elysse Beadle, Conner MacDonald, Key Goodson, Natalie Goodson.
Ms. Photogenic
This goat really thought the grass was greener on the other side.
Audrey in the action.
Elysse spent a lot of time chasing goats.
Checking out the chickens. Chickens don't really like to eat grass - in case you were wondering.
Wondering how to capture the tadpoles from the slimy old fountain.

It was a wonderful time and we were so glad to see everyone. We made some wonderful life-long friends in Venice.

Lawnmower Chaos

It was a July afternoon. Sandy was watching the kids so I could grocery shop. I had some type of virus and shouldn't really be out mowing the lawn but I didn't have much of a choice. After finishing the hill right in front of the house I left the mower right here...
I went over to get a drink - which I had left on the back of the vehicle. I watched a car come into the neighborhood and then....the mower decided it would like to go on a ride of its own. I stood there in total disbelief. The mower flew down the hill. I was sure it was going to jump the two foot wall that separates our lawn from our neighbors. Instead it decided take a very sharp turn.

Thankfully it missed these.
It then jumped the curb. Ran all the way across the street, smacked into the other curb and threw up. From there it spun around and stopped in the middle of the street - the second largest hill in the neighborhood. I was so thankful it did not continue its journey down the street or into the parked vehicle on the side of the road.
When it finally stopped I picked my jaw up off the ground, quickly looked around to see if anyone else had witnessed the incident (no one had) and then ran down to the wreckage. Unfortunately there was damage to the mower and my best attempts with this...
Did not prevent the mower wheel from being smashed into the body of the mower.
When Ryan came home we looked at it. He discovered that if he lowered the mower deck the wheel would then spin again. So, for the time being we are operating with a slightly imperfect and way to short cutting lawn mower. We are hoping to get a new one next spring.

4th of July

After dinner on Sunday, July 3rd we drove down to Hendersonville to watch fireworks. This was the first time we have been to Hendersonville for fireworks and we didn't know where we should go. We later learned that we should sit anywhere we could see the yellow balloon flying. Parking was hard to find.
We ended up parking in the VanWinkle Law Firm parking lot and sitting on a hill on the firm property. Because Ryan works for VanWinkle (Asheville office) we were able to use the iPad to connect to the internet and the kids watched Netflix movies while we waited for it to get dark enough for fireworks.

During the fireworks the kids mostly complained that we wouldn't let them keep watching the iPad... The fireworks were good, not the best we have ever seen but you couldn't beat the convenience and the pre-show activity!

This is why...

Ryan is the pancake maker. Some may ask why I don't make pancakes.

I did not even make the batter - imagine if I had...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Best Friends

It is such a pleasure to get to know another person. People are interesting in so many ways. Some people we meet and wonder why, others we bond with immediately. It is during the time of bonding that friendships can form. To declare someone as a best friend shows the pair's ability to share an intricate bond of friendship. Sometimes friends are people we have known our whole lives, others are in our lives for short times and leave a lasting impact. The best kind of relationships are those that both people involved carry their half of the friendship and express to the other their joy in time spent together. Over the course of my life I have had many best friends.

Jessica Salas - Jessica and I met when we were in first grade. She is the first friend I remember calling my house. As it turned out we both lived in the small town of Sunfield and were only a few minutes walk from one another. We spent much of our time together. Our friendship was not exclusive. Throughout our time as best friends we also welcomed Sunrae and Stacie. Jessica and I were the best of friends until we changed schools and moved from elementary to junior high. (As a side note our little group of friends was very unique. We were quite the UN. The ethnicities in our group were half Mexican, half Korean, half Black and Me.) We met up one time during college after she found my email address at MSU. I haven't seen or talked to her since then.

Jessica Elenbaas - Beginning 7th grade was very difficult for me. I was 13 and a heart-broken, crazy teen that missed the little school in the little town and it seemed that everything was changing. Leaving Sunfield Elementary meant being bused to the Woodland Junior High were four elementary schools entwinted to create the junior high. During my second hour Literature class with Ms. Ruder my class was seated alphabetically. A girl with curly hair and a sunflower on her shirt walked into class late with a note for the teacher. She took the seat directly across the isle from me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that same girl was in 5 of my 7 classes. During math class, directly after lunch, I decided I would wait until roll call to try and figure out what her name was. When the teacher called her name I quickly wrote it in my planner. Spelling has never been my strong suit so imagine how badly I butchered the last name Elenbaas. We began talking to one another a bit during some of our classes and by the third day of school we already had a graded assignment in our literature class. As we exchanged papers she said to me, "If it is wrong just mark it right." A friendship was born.

Over the next couple of years we had our parents truck us back and forth for overnights, attending high school sporting events and birthday parties. Eventually we had our drivers' license and cars. We spent a lot of time driving back and forth between our houses, to the mall, out to dinner, etc. Jessica and I did all of the things that best friends do. Our senor year had just begun. We had so many things to look forward to, senior pictures, graduating, applying for college. After work one evening I went to talk to my grandma and discovered that she had died in her recliner while watching her recorded soap operas. Jessica was there for me. I called her and she drove right over. As the year progressed all things "senior year" were placed in motion. I suppose we had always expected to go the same route and go to college together. I however, applied for an out-of-state school and Jessica had a boyfriend. Though I did not end up at the out-0f-state school we chose different paths. I left for Michigan State University without a best friend. Though we kept in touch during college and we still have contact.

Lauren Fredline - I was lucky enough to move into church owned apartments across the street from MSU. I was assigned three roommates. The four of us made plans to meet together before we moved into the apartment. I sent out letters, lists and conducted the meeting. After meeting my roommates I thought I had it all figured out. Sharon was a love-obsessed teen that I thought would "just be around." Erin seemed to be a great friend and we thought we had a lot in common. Lauren seemed to be some sort of a ghetto chick that I didn't think I would care for at all. First impressions were completely false. Sharon wasn't "just around," Sharon and her practically live-in boyfriend were ALWAYS around. Erin was a freak. Lauren became my best friend.

We spent a lot of time together and attended a lot of the social college things together. Lauren started out with a boyfriend and quickly got rid of him, which meant lots of time for us. The first few months we spent time getting to know one another. In January 2001 Lauren came home from a day with her parents' house and announced that she was going to join Weight Watchers with her mom for the new year. I laughed at first; after all, everyone knows that diets do not work. Well, I began to see her determination and success and decided I would join in for the fun. By October we had both surpassed our goals and expectations and continued on the track. We were boy crazy and both worked continued to work hard to lose weight and improve ourselves spiritually. Throughout the next year we both looked great. She lost 80 pounds and I had lost somewhere around 50 and we were much more spiritually minded. We had made the transformation together. I met Ryan and Lauren prepared to serve a mission for our church.
Lauren and I are still good friends and always acknowledge the amount of change we did to better ourselves. We only lived an hour apart for two years and only saw each other a few times during that period. She and her husband have recently moved to Nashville. We are still in contact and both treasure our friendship.

Megan VanDyke - We met shortly after we moved to Venice, Florida. While Ryan attended law school my only contact was with members of our church. As it turned out, Megan was one of the only people in our ward close to my age. Good luck for me we hit it off. We spent a lot of time together. I often joke with her about what she ever did in Venice without me! Though she grew up there and had friends other than those we attended church with. One of my favorite memories of Venice was a birthday I had while I was there. Ryan was very busy with law school. We lived an hour south of his law school which meant a lot of traveling. During at least one semester he had a night class. As it turns out, he had a night class on my birthday. I expected to be home alone that night and Ryan had even bought me DVDs as part of my gift because he knew I going to be home alone. It was in the evening and I heard a knock on the door. As I looked out the peephole I saw a cake. I opened the door to find Megan standing there with a cake she purchased from Publix and she was skipping her class for the evening. So we watched movies and ate way too much cake. It was a great birthday. Megan and I are still in contact though most of it happens to be texting. She also tells me she reads the blog but you wouldn't know because she never posts any comments!

Jeanae Davidson - After our time was over in Venice we made the requisite move to Miami. Again the only association I had when moving to Miami was that of church members. Our first Sunday in our new ward Jeanae came up to us hoping that either of us had musical talent (preferably a piano player) so that she could give up her position as ward pianist. Despite my lack of nay sort of musical talent she still invited our family over for dinner that same evening. We became fast friends. Nathan and her youngest son are only a couple of weeks apart in age. As we had play date after play date we realized all of our similarities. Jeanae is the singular reason I ever survived the Miami experience! Her husband works for the government and they move quite frequently. They left Miami very shortly after we did. While he served in Pakistan she and her children were in Arizona. They were in Washington DC for a short while and now they are living in Macedonia . I love reading her blog.

So it is natural that when we moved to Asheville I hoped and expected to find someone to call a best friend. It did not come as easily as it had during the rest of my life. It was hard. There were constantly people moving in and out of our ward. As time went on I discovered that a group of us formed something I had not previously experienced before - a large group friendship. Lucky for us all of our husbands also seem to get along really well too. As life happens half of our group of friends have been moving away. I still have a couple of good friends here and Christi Tucker and I are becoming very close friends. We are good friends for each other. As we strive to be good moms we encourage one another to do the same. We both enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. Christi has got me to do things I never expected to do like grinding my own wheat to bake all of our bread and going to farms to pick fruit. I have encouraged her to start couponing. We also enjoy taking our kids swimming and to the summer dollar movies. Individually we are both making progress in the exercise world. And who knows, maybe we will have a garden together next year...

Perhaps it is silly to some to have had so many best friends. Yet, I think that each of these friendships were developed with special people that were in my life during these different times. I believe that I was considered to be the best friend in the other's eye as well. As life moves on so do the people. I expect that each of these friends have found others that they have called best friends. I am grateful for the continuing of friendships and for the blessings they have each been in my life. I have made many other great friends along the way and I am grateful or all of you. Family is the center of my life; yet, friends provide my sanity. I hope each of you have experienced many of your own best friends!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Reading

Remember a few posts ago I told you about calling a friend and asking for a summer reading list? I asked her for a list of 5 books because that is what I believed I would be able to read this summer. The list she gave me included more than that. I have been reading, unfortunately I have only been able to read one from her list because I haven't been able to find any others at the library.

Here is what I have read so far...

A Prayer for the Dying by Stuart O'Nan
This book was set seven years after the Civil War. The main character, the town constable, was involved in everyone's lives the their small town. When someone broke a law, he was there; when someone died, he was there; when the town was in need of a quarantine he was there... The small town was devastated by diphtheria. This was his journey and struggle with the events as they progressed.

Not a bad book, well written and definitely an interesting take. It obviously wasn't a pick-me-up kind of book and is one that will stay with me for quite some time. Ryan and I were recently talking to a friend of ours and we discussed the fact that so often we learn better from tragedies than comedies - this is one of those.

The Secret Garden by Francis Hogdson Burnett
A classic that I had never before read. I do have fond memories of this story as my cousin, Sara, and I were spending the night at our grandma's and we rented the movie (it must have been the 1993 version). Though I could not remember any of the plot I did remember enjoying that time with Grandma and Sara.

When I finished Ryan asked me what the whole point of the book was. This is how I summed it up. The lesson is to embrace and cherish what you have, while you have it. Also do not fear the unknown. We cannot put life on hold because of "what ifs."

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
This is a love story about how a young women in her 20s found love in a very unlikely companion and their story from beginning to the birth of their first child. Ree is an incredible author so funny, extremely entertaining and someone you wish you were personal friends with.

She also has a blog (that is how she got her start) she began blogging in 2006 and has not stopped. Her blog includes regular blog entries, photography, recipes and home schooling. She is a woman that lives on a ranch with her husband and four children and she seems to do it all.

Up next: A Tale of Two Cities.

The Ugliest One Goes First

Ever since Christmas we have been playing a lot of games in our home. Audrey received a great game, Sequence for Kids, for Christmas and that is what got us going. We have collected games over the years and we are just now putting them to use. We were playing a game the other night and it specifically says in the directions that the youngest player goes first. When we finished that game we pulled out a new game that we had not really played before. Audrey's first question was, "who goes first?" She was expecting to hear that the youngest player goes first. So, I said with a smile...the directions say the ugliest player goes first. "Audrey, who do you think that is?" Audrey looked around at all of us (taking this very seriously) and finally decided. "I guess that is daddy because he has whiskers."