Okay, I think this is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives! I took the boys to the Atlanta Motor Speedway today to see the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. They also got to see the NASCAR guys practice for tomorrows race! The boys were both very excited to be there! We were able to get tickets for $8 each through the Scouts. Here is what I thought of it...it's very loud! You can't even talk to the person next to you. Thank God we brought ear plugs with us! We stayed for about 4 hours and then walked around the vendors and stuff before we came home. The race track is only about 20 minutes from our house. Jon missed it because he is in New Jersey doing concerts this weekend. I am sure we will go again, because the Scouts do this twice a year...lucky us! It was worth it to see how excited the boys were...Ty almost hyperventilated when he saw Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon drive by! Our seats were pretty good. We were in the Petty Stands right on the 4th turn (I sound like I know what I am talking about, right!) and in the front row. It wasn't so bad until the trucks actually came around the corner at 190+ mph and threw rubber from their tires all over us! Then we decided to move up about 10 rows! The weather was also perfect. Blue sky and about 70 degrees, where was a breeze as well, but I don't know if it was from the trucks or not. Another thing, we were in the family section, so no alcohol was allowed, which is good, because I heard the other sections can get pretty bad with people drinking. So, all in all it was fun and I would go again (maybe bring a book next time!). I felt like a real southerner...scary. Enjoy the pics! By the way, my boys are not completely southernized yet...they did not know what the "General Lee" was and were wondering why everyone was going crazy when it came out onto the racetrack!
Last weekend we took the boys to get their pumpkins. It is always this event that makes me miss Half Moon Bay! We usually just go to a local church here that sets a pumpkin patch up on the front lawn. Its fine, but really just not the same as visiting Lemos Farm! I did hear there is a farm not far from here that does a pumpkin field, corn maze, pony rides and petting zoo, but it cost like $12.00 (per person) just to get in! Maybe that includes the cost of your pumpkin, but I doubt it! I love fall...it might be my favorite time of the year (I think I say that about the start of every season!). It has felt like summer here since May, so we are ready for a change! The leaves are starting to change gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow. You look out the window and thousands of leaves are just floating through the air...very pretty and relaxing! This week our weather has finally gone from the upper 80's to a sudden drop to mid 60's. The sudden change does shock my system a bit...right now I am freezing! But, I love the crispness to the morning air! Great time to bundle up, sit on my front porch with a cup of coffee and read my Bible! I was reading again this morning about the persistent widow...and was reminded that is how we need to be with God. Always coming before him, not only with requests, but with our praise and love as well. Sometimes I find myself getting into the mindset of, "well, He's God, He knows what I need"...but I was reminded today to try to be in constant prayer throughout my day. Not always easy when there is a pile of laundry, and the boys have different places they need to be, and Jon is trying to pack for his tour this weekend...but I am going to try! Jon will be leaving tomorrow for New Jersey. He will be back Monday night. The boys and I are going to have an adventure on Saturday...we have tickets to go to the Atlanta Motor Speedway to see the Nextel Truck Races. Should be fun...for the boys! We were able to get tickets for $8 each, because it is Scout Day! Anyway, I will tell you about that next week! Gotta run, or I will be late for bible study!
On October 11th the 4 of us with a group from our church traveled down to Pass Christian, Mississippi to build a Katrina Relief House. Pass Christian is on the gulf coast and after Hurricane Katrina hit, 90% of the homes were destroyed and 100% of the businesses were destroyed. Now 2 years later only 10% of the town has been rebuilt. Our church had partnered with a group called Square Foot Ministry and OM to build this house. The lady that will be living in it, not only lost everything in the hurricane, but has also contracted West Nile Virus from mosquitoes and is now going blind. When we got down there, we checked into our accommodations...tent city. These are the National Guard tents that were put up for the people who were left homeless. There were all girl tents and all boy tents, so Jon got the boys! We got up Friday morning and were on our construction site by 7:30 am. Our church had built all the outside walls this summer on the church parking lot and they were trucked down to Mississippi. So, we got to the site which had a foundation and front porch only to find out our house plans had been changed. None of the outside walls were right anymore. We went ahead and put them up and then the "construction" guys on our crew (the ones who really knew what they were doing!) went through and pulled apart the doors and windows, and rebuilt everything to the new plans. By the end of the first day, the exterior walls were up, windows were in, the house was wrapped and the roof trusses were up. At one point during the day, Andrew (a guy from our church) took Ty and Devon over to the railroad tracks (which were about 50 feet in front of the house!) and showed them how to put coins on the tracks. When they heard the train coming, all three of them ran to watch and wait to see what happened. Ty and Devon were excited to find there flattened coins! The next day, they placed more coins, and then decided a ham sandwich, apple and mayo packet might be just as good. Boys. So, anyway, back to the house! The second work day we put the siding up on three sides (doing this, I learned how to use a nail gun!), finished the interior walls, put plywood on the roof (which Andrew took Ty and Devon up to help with at one point!)and papered it. A ton of work for 2 days time! I was impressed with Ty and Devon. For being the only 2 kids there and on a construction site for 2 days, they did no complaining! They were always looking for jobs to do. they pulled nails our of wood, cleaned up and always made sure everyone had something to drink! they were awesome! After dinner on Saturday night our church band did an outside worship service. There weren't many people there, but I did hear that we had a few people who came over from the bar across the street to see what was going on and decided to stay for the music! Cool. Jon even got to debut a new song of his! It was a great 4 days for our family. We learned more about construction, compassion and caring for people less fortunate then we are. I would encourage anyone to find a team or organization and help rebuild the gulf coast.
The Simpson family (along with Crosspoint Community Church) is headed down to Pass Christian, Mississippi this week to help build a Katrina Relief House. Our church built all the outside walls of this house in our parking lot this summer, and now we are headed down to put it up! Pass Christian was 100% destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and now 2 years later, still only 10% of the town has been rebuilt. I read today that only 3 buildings in the whole town were left standing after the hurricane. There is still so much work to be done to rebuild the devastated areas and not enough people volunteering to go do it! It seems like after 2 years people have forgotten what happened to these cities. The lady that we are building the house for lost everything, and then contacted West Nile Virus from the mosquitoes. She is now blind. Please pray for safe travels, and that we can be Jesus in our efforts to help rebuild this city. Our band from church (which Jon is involved in) will also be putting on a worship service on Saturday night, for the whole town. Please pray for open hearts and changed lives. I am sure not only will we be changing lives down there, our own lives will be changed by this experience! Thanks for praying for us!
Ever since I moved into this house 2 years ago, I have wanted to change the kitchen cabinet hardware. The hardware was dirty, and gold...very 80's, and I really hated it. The biggest problem was I could not find anything I really liked that was under $4.00 a piece (I need to replace 50 handles)! You do the math. It seemed like an insane amount of money for me to pay for handles. So, I decided to get creative. I bought a $4 can of black hammered spray paint and painted them! I am so thrilled with the result! Anyway, just wanted to share this inexpensive decorating idea with you!
Ty and Devon have both decided they are going to go pro in skateboarding. They just started riding about a month ago. Today, after school I took them over to our local skate park so they could test out their skills. I thought for sure we would end up in the emergency room with a broken bone! They decided they have a little more practicing to do before they go pro! Luckily there was no one else at the skate park, so they could fall all they wanted and not be in anyone else's way! There was also a BMX track. We only brought one bike with us, so the boys took turns. They had so much fun with the 2 parks! I don't know why we haven't gone here before! The weather was perfect for me to sit out and watch them...about 85 degrees with a slight breeze and no humidity! It doesn't quite feel like fall here yet, maybe in another month or so. Jon is in New Mexico this week. I think when he travels in the states is when I start to get homesick. I am not sure why. Other then today we have had a pretty boring week so far! There, just a quick update on what we are doing! Gotta run! Oh, by the way, please ignore the fact the Devon keeps saying y'all! Yikes!
Okay, I know it has been way to long since I have updated this. It is funny, because I love to read other peoples blogs, but it is so hard to get mine updated! Lets see, I guess I will start with our summer. In June as most of you know Jon was in Turkey for 2 weeks. If you would like to read his tour journal go to the ministry section of our web page. The boys and I had a busy 2 weeks at home. We did swim lessons and VBS. The last week the boys had VBS at one church in the morning and then again at our church in the evening! We survived the long weeks without Daddy, and were glad to get him home again! After that we spent a weekend in Talladega, Alabama. Why you ask? Well we had a OM retreat. It was fun hanging out with people from OM and getting to know others better. This is something OM does every year. In July we spent a week on a vacation (just the 4 of us!). We drove up to Williamsburg, Virginia (about 8 or 9 hours). We spent 2 days exploring Colonial Williamsburg. It was loads of fun. This was my third time there, and I still loved it! We were there for the 4th of July. The firework show that night was incredible! Even Jon thought it was the best one he ever saw! From there we drove about another 2 hours to get to Washington DC. We spent another 2 days walking around visiting all the monuments and museums. It was fun showing it to the boys. They really enjoyed the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. We took 2 days to drive home. It was a great trip! We did miss getting to California this summer, but decided we really needed some time just the 4 of us and to explore the east coast while we are here! When we got home we had about a week to get ready for Jon's parents visit. They were here for 2 weeks. We had a great time with them. One of the weeks that they were here was a mission week for our church. We did lots of community work. Jon and his dad were able to work together, which I thought was great. As always, it was hard to say goodbye to them. It seems like such a long time in between visits with family. The boys started school again the 2nd week of August. Ty is in 4th grade and Devon is in 2nd. They love school and were glad to get back. I was glad to get them back as well! :) They are both in Scouts again. This year Jon and I are leading the Wolf Den (Devon's group). Tomorrow night is our first meeting. Pray for us! Ty is also playing baseball for the fall. His first game is on Saturday. He has been practicing hard and is excited to play. There is a guy from our church named Kevin, who has been giving him batting lessons. I think it will really help Ty! Ty also won 3rd prize for his age group in a photo contest at the Tyrone Founders Day. We are proud of both of our boys!
As for Jon and I, life is good! Jon is getting ready for a trip out to New Mexico to do Crowns. I am trying to get my Southern Living at HOME business really going. We are taking the boys to Mississippi next month with our church to build a Katrina Relief House. I will update you on that later (how it went). We are happy and God is so good! Thank you for your prayers for our family! Family picture in the World War II memorial, Washington DC
Devon and Ty had fun playing lawn games in Colonial Williamsburg!
You know it is spring when baseball starts! Ty and Devon are both playing America's favorite game this season. Opening day was this last Saturday. We left our house at 9:00 am and didn't return home again until 4:00 pm! We had opening day ceremonies with the teams parading around the fields, and then a former major league player spoke (Sorry, I don't remember his name!), and then we had the "National Anthem" and "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" sung and then a pastor came up and prayed over the players (have to say there are some advantages for living in the bible belt!). After all of that the boys got to do a climbing wall and then we ran over to Sonic for lunch. Ty's first game was at 12:00 and Devon's was at 1:30. So, this baseball field that Tyrone has is pretty cool...there are about 5 baseball diamonds for the games to be going on at the same time, but the only problem is it was 87 degrees outside and there is no shade anywhere to be found! Poor Jon had a baseball hat on and the top of his head still got a little burnt!
Ty is on a team of 7 and 8 year olds, and the team they were playing were like pros! They were hitting home runs and stealing bases! The players were kinda haggling our team as well...pretty bad attitudes. The other taam won. Actually they just called it a mercy game because our team was so far behind. Ty did hit the ball and almost got to first base!
Devon is on a team of 5 and 6 year olds. They try to hit the ball and after 3 strikes they get to hit it off the tee. Devon was pretty frustrated by the middle of the game because he said there was so many people yelling he couldn't hear what the coach was saying! Oh well, I guess he will get used to that. His team lost as well.
This week we have been having record breaking temps for this time of the year. It will be in the 80's all week. I love it! The only thing I don't love is the pollen. Apparently we had almost a record breaking pollen count today. It was something like 5.460 or something close to that! There is a blanket of yellow dust on everything outside! I have never had a allergy problem, but today I have been sneezing, runny eyes, sinus pressure, and a headache. I was told if I don't feel better by tomorrow to go get some Claritin. Someone else told me that most people who move to Georgia develope some kind of allergy to the pollen. Great. I tried to take a picture of the pollen on our deck so you can see how bad it really is! We are suppost to get rain later this week, so hopefully that will clear it out some!
Next week we are going to a lake house for part of spring break. I will write more about it when we get back!
Here are some more pics I thought you would enjoy...so enjoy! Solomon getting big! Ty and Devon enjoying a milkshake on the front porch!
We had a huge blessing of 4 tickets to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. If the person who sent them to us is reading this... Thank you! It was fun to be able to surprise the boys. We didn't tell them where we were going, and they didn't figure it out till we were in line for awhile! I think they heard someone else mention what the line was for! This was Ty and Devon's first circus experience. Jon and I went to the circus about 10 years ago, but we haven't been since. I have to say it was quite different from how I remember the circus to be. I remember lions, tigers, elephants, and monkeys. Well, we did see elephants and white tigers...but the rest of the animal acts were dogs and cats! WHAT! Yes, we saw trained dogs and cats running around. It was very odd. I wondered if the circus got slammed for treatment of animals or something. Anyway, we did see all the trapeze artists and the motorcycle dome of death thing (the boys LOVED that!) and all the other normal circus stuff...the clowns had a giant food fight which was pretty funny. The best part for me was watching the excitment on the boys faces when they saw the different acts. I guess that made it all worth while.
The boys are out of school this week. We are finally having winter break. In about a month we have spring break, and then about a month after that we are done for the summer! I can't wait. By about this time of the year, I am ready for them to be done with school. If you asked me 2 weeks after summer break has started I am sure I would tell you that I am ready for them to be back in school!
Our dog is still great. Last weekend was the first time Jon was gone at night since we got him and Solomon sat by my side all evening till Jon got home. He usually likes to go lay in the kitchen, but this time he stayed in the living room by the couch. He even started to bark a little when Jon came in the kitchen door. I think he will make a good watch dog for me when Jon is away on trips! :)
Well, I think that is all I have to report on for now. See ya!
I wanted to introduce the newest member of the Simpson family. His name is Solomon and he's a lab mix (we think with poodle) and he is 8 weeks old. I just have to brag on him a bit. I really think he is the smartest puppy EVER! We have had him for 2 days now, and he already is going to the bathroom outside! Okay, so he is not letting me know yet that he needs to go out, but I take him out every few hours, AND he has been able to hold it all night! Brilliant dog! He sleeps in the laundry room for now, eventually he will be in our room...but he does need to learn a few simple commands first...like sit and stay. I have not heard him bark yet and he whines very little. He is a cuddly, warm fir ball.
Out of the 2 boys, I think Devon is most smitten. Devon has been wanting a dog for years now, and just can't believe that he now has one! Solly really gets excited to see Devon also! Devon is learning how to feed the dog, and that will be his job in the evening.
The best part about Solomon is that he is a gift from God. We really wanted a labradoodle because they don't shed and are hypoallergenic. But, to buy one from a breeder is way too expensive (especially on a missionary budget!). We found him down at the local shelter with 9 of his brothers and sisters and really couldn't believe what we were seeing. You hardly ever see dogs like that at a shelter, because people can sell them for big bucks...anyway, we put down our $5 and took him home! Thank you God! It is amazing how faithful God is in providing for us. And is is also great for Devon to see that his faithful praying for about a year now has been answered.
On other news... We had an exciting thing happen a few weeks ago. Devon climbed about 30 feet up into a tree and we couldn't get him down! Yes, I had to call 911 and get the Tyrone fire department out to get my son down from a tree! The nice fireman said it was the first time that he knows about that they have had to rescue a child from a tree, he asked Devon if he had a cat up there with him. Ahhh, leave it to Devon!
We also had a great Christmas is California. It was wonderful to see all our family (or most of it anyway) and spend some time with friends.
Our weather here is still incredible. Most days we get into the high 60's. Not like the winter last year when I was frozen for 2 months. I hope it stays like this longer! Well, I have to start my day now.