So I Married a Soda Jerk

Last weekend was the Delightful Daughter Ball at the girls’ school.  It was pretty momentous for us because it heralded the end of an era – Caroline’s final daddy-daughter gala.  It was also the only one she has ever attended with Martha Claire.  The theme was the 50’s…but, you might could have guessed that:

Although I pushed for the Tucker crew to go with the ‘Mad Men’ look, alas, it was out of reach – Caroline was not touching those fancy dresses with a ten foot pole.  I think the alternative ended up a thousand times better, especially since Soda Jerk is actually reusing his thrift-store pants from last year’s dance.

I stayed home and had a date of my own with the little man, so I didn’t get to witness all the fun and excitement of the dance, but I caught these two reliving some of the fun the next day in the kitchen –

Whoever thought a soda jerk would be so much cooler than The Fonz or Don Draper?!? I am one lucky girl.

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If you happen to be in South Dakota…

This past fall we took the kids and headed north to the Black Hills in order to experience the colossal thing that is Mount Rushmore.  It was a great trip, and well worth a blog chronicle (several months late or not).  I highly recommend this journey… if you ever happen to be within 300  miles of South Dakota.  Just remember to pack a lunch.

Apparently, there is no fast food between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Rapid City, South Dakota.  Folks, that’s a long way.  Luckily, my husband had ‘forced’ me to make a picnic lunch so that we could save some moolah.  I am so glad he was right.  (even though I didn’t think so at the time – I confess, I complained about making lunches against my will at 6 am the morning we left)

The roadside picnic lunch was made more enjoyable with the wide-open Wyoming scenery.

Too bad, if we had waited a little longer we might could have had ourselves a buffalo burger in Custer State Park.

Yum.  On the other hand, this guy did not look too keen on the idea.

The monument itself is actually visible from miles away.  Here is our first shot of it:

I hope you can see it right smack in the middle of the picture.  This is still a good 10 to 15 miles away from the entrance to the monument park.

We decided to approach the mountain from the very scenic tunnel route.  There are three tunnels you drive through, and each one has a fantastic view of the carving right through it.  Here is the furthest tunnel:

And, here is the closest:

Are you thrilled to the bone yet?!?

Well, we really were.  Perhaps you have to see it to experience it.  Like this.

And this.

And, after hiking closer we got this fantastic view of Washington up through the crack of a cave.

And, finally our hike rounded off with the ‘family view’.

I will say that one of my favorite parts of the trip was walking through the American history with Caroline, who is old enough to begin appreciating the sacrifice and courage of the men and women who helped form our nation.  Personally, I often take our freedom for granted, and so it was a good thing to revisit the words of our founding fathers such as:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation….

We just don’t write like that anymore.

The kids were totally thrilled with staring at the 60-foot faces of our presidents carved into a mountain, and they would have insisted we stay even longer if we hadn’t made plans to try out South Dakota’s largest indoor water park….

It was a distant second to the monument in the ‘thrill’ category, at least for the grown-ups, but a worthwhile diversion nonetheless.

Waterslides aside, this trip was quite an experience – to drive through the western plains of Colorado and Wyoming, then the beautiful black hills of South Dakota, and finally to end up at this huge monument in the middle of nowhere.  It was just so…American.  It stirred up the place in my heart that belongs to a pioneer, and that I believe is part of the legacy of our founding fathers.  If you do ever happen to be in South Dakota, it is definitely worth a glimpse.

Summer Trip Log One – I almost forgot I had a blog!

We have spent the last 18 or so days touring around the southeast visiting family and friends.  There was time in the car, time with wonderful people, time in the car, time eating barbecue and boiled peanuts, time in the car, time skiing on the lake, time in the car, time enjoying family and sweet moments at the beach.  Did I mention there was time in the car?  Which might have been a good time to work on the blog.  Except I surrendered the use of my laptop to my eldest to enjoy the occasional DVD distraction.  Don’t judge, the trip home alone was almost 30 hours of time in the car spread over 3 days.  Oi.

I want to chronicle our trip in my blog, but there was so much to it, the saga of our voyage will have to be written in installments.

The first leg of the journey (after we survived the drive through Kansas) was the week we spent with my mother-in-law’s family at their lake house in Kentucky and the various home visits we made to Tennessee while there.   Being at the lake is wonderfully quiet.  There is no telephone, we get very sketchy cell service, and thus no internet.  It can be frustrating to be so communication isolated, but it also forces you to spend time doing active things and interacting with flesh and blood folks while you do it.  Face to face.  It’s a little sad we have to lose technology sometimes to really focus on the people around us.  Not that I’m giving up my laptop.

First priority was some face to face with Nana and Grundaddy:

Then, the Pedigo family reunion.  Time with grandma/great grandma:

And with cousins and cousins’ kids (which are also cousins, and look like Shirley Temple):

And,

last

but

most absolutely, definitely not least, Uncle Patrick:

aka the Crocodile Hunter

After all the reunion-ness, my mom and stepdad drove out from Lexington to spend a couple of days with us over the Fourth of July.  The first day of their visit was rainy, and the ladies were trapped inside playing Perquackey while the men braved the wet elements for their own mini British Open.  They called it Geezers vs. Geeks:

The geezers stomped ’em, with a little help from ‘age, wisdom and treachery’.

By the way, Perquackey is one of the most awesome games ever.  Just sayin’

We did have some goofy fun of our own with DeeDee:

Before the weather improved and we got to have some real water fun:

Looking at these pictures reminds me of how much fun we had, how blessed we are to share some family recreation, and how I should wear mascara the next time I partake in water sports where our camera will be present.

We took a break from the lake to visit some Tennessee family.  Grundaddy’s parents, Momma Ann and Daddy John:

And more time with Grandma Pedigo, Uncle Joe and Aunt Marty before heading back to eek out as much water time as we could.  I’ve got to brag on my sweet Caroline.  She is rockin’ the wakeboard.  Check her out:

At the end of the week, we all kind of felt like

and it was worth every fun moment.

Finally, a sweet memory we capture each year on the bench swing.

Hard to believe this is only the first installment of the trip.  It was a full vacation unto itself.

We really do treasure all the time we are given with our family, no matter how much car time it takes to get it.  They have invested so much in who we have become and in spending time with our little ones and imparting their love and faith legacy to us all.

Spring Scrapbook

These last few weeks have just flown by, and in the middle of that my computer hard drive crashed (3rd time in 3 years…)  So, while I am getting used to a new computer and an already-speeding-by summer, I wanted to put together some of the highlights of our spring.

Picture it:  100 plus kindergarteners on a field trip to the Denver Aquarium.  Throw a 3 year old William in there.  Most peaceful, relaxing day of my life…not.  But, they sure do love those fish!  It was worth every crazy moment:

Martha Claire is in a Daisy troop that I am leading with another mom.  These girls are just plain adorable, every minute is an adventure with them.  We had our end of the year meeting at some of the farms across the street from our neighborhood.  The girls had a wonderful time terrorizing some poor, unsuspecting chickens and feeding baby cows.  The highlight, though, was definitely the beautiful horses.

Martha Claire had a big day at her Kindergarten graduation.  I can’t believe this magical year is over, the year of the kindergarten carpet.  For some reason, it is a big deal to me when they graduate to the “desk” style of 1st grade…once you go desk you don’t get to go back to the spotted carpet…sigh

For the record, her hair was in the headband when I sent her off to school.  Had to get my obsessive mommy comment in.

I feel better.

Memorial Day weekend we got to watch Marfy perform in her ballet recital.  Our sweet framily came to show their support, and afterwards we were surprised with some beautiful weather and got to grill and chill outside, it was so much fun…

For a minute there this was looking like the ‘May of Marfy’…

Now that we are on the June side of things and looking back, it really was a fun and fast spring.  God’s blessings to us are many indeed.  I am looking forward to the adventures this summer holds…

Mad Scientists

Martha Claire came home a few weeks ago with the school science fair application, determined to submit it.  So determined, in fact, she had brought two of the application packets home, just in case the first one spontaneously caught on fire or got sucked into a crazy wind vortex before we had the opportunity to turn it in.  She had also, on her own, checked out a book on magnetism and electricity with experiment ideas in it (with a little guidance from the science teacher).

The girl is in kindergarten.

She’s a little motivated.

We read the book together and she decided to build her own compass by magnetizing a needle and floating it on water.  She did it all herself, and then dictated the procedure and results for us to type up.  Then, she put her board together with glue and paper. 

Caroline, however, made no mention of the Science Fair until the day the applications were due.  Then, perhaps spurred on by the enthusiasm of her junior sister, she decided that she not only wanted to participate, but she wanted to be judged as well (which is an option for 4th and 5th graders).   She chose her own project…shocker, it had to do with exploding sodas.  She worked through the research and hypothesis on her own.  Except for a little help during the procedure (luckily Dad stepped in to be the official bottle opener) she did the whole thing on her own.  I am so proud of her, because she is her own girl, and very pre-adolescent, and she often struggles with motivation to go above and beyond what is required.

She had a lot of fun in the process.

Fast

shutter

burst

photos

are so

cool!

Dad

got a

little

messy,

Caroline struggled through some of the typing and creating the finished presentation, but she did the work, and…

She won first place!

I’m so proud of these mad scientists!

That’s How We Roll

This week in Awana Sparks, the kids are getting a movie night.  Not just any movie night, a drive-in movie night.  90 minutes of viewing pleasure in a cardboard creation (aka homework for parents!) that should resemble the vehicle of their dreams.  Martha Claire requested a castle car, but then downgraded to a carriage like Cinderella.  She is the middle child, and often just gets tossed around based on the demands of big sister and baby brother (who is not so baby anymore). 

So, Mom and Dad decided to compensate for their occasional neglect of this sassy little one by creating a carriage fit for the princess.  We are not perfect parents, but every once in a while we have a shining moment.  Sometimes there is only time for frozen pizza, sometimes we have to skip bathtime because we get home late, sometimes we are impatient, but sometimes we find ourselves spending a few seven hours working on the cardboard box car that she will sit in for a little over one hour.  Feelin’ like a princess every minute.  That’s how we roll…