Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Rushing Family Christmas Weekend

We had a wonderful time this past weekend at Grandma’s house for the Rushing Christmas as well as the Zuhlke Christmas.  We checked the girls out early and went to Aunt Jan’s house to visit briefly with Grandma and Granddad Zuhlke.  The chaos is too much for them to join us for Christmas anymore so it was nice to get to see them.

Later that night all of the Rushing's celebrated Christmas with Grandma.  The kids had a good time playing and rough-housing.

Grandma decided to get the kids each one big present this year instead of tons of little ones. Here is a video of our three kids getting there big gifts.

After that, this is what they looked like for the rest of the night.

We had a great time visiting and the kids all had a great time playing together. Thank you Grandma for everything!

The next morning after a quick trip to exchange Anna’s shoes that Grandma got her (because ALL of the other kids were wearing theirs and she wanted to wear hers too), family started trickling in at 9 AM.  We started eating at 9 AM and didn’t stop eating the whole day.  The kids all made ornaments with Aunt Jess and Aunt Donna. Cute little handprints with snowmen drawn on them. According to Aunt Jan’s itinerary, Uncle Bill was supposed to give a speech at 10:30 and the presents were supposed to start. Somehow we got off schedule. (And I am not even joking, Aunt Jan had a printed itinerary; I should have taken a picture as proof.) Somewhere around 11:00 the kids sat down to open their first present. They were picture frames that the kids all made for each other with pictures in them.  Then, thy called everyone back in the room for Uncle Bill’s speech about the big projects and why they did them. After that the kids all received their big presents…resulting in the following picture. I am calling this one ‘A Forest of Presents.’

There were bets made, lies told, and lots of speculation about what these gifts were. We were taunted all year long about what they could possibly be through a Facebook Zuhlke Family Christmas group page. And after much anticipation, the following was revealed.

These quilts were made by each of the 16 grandkid's respective grandparents over many many months. We know that they were made with love and the kids love them. We want to thank Grandma for making ours.

After the big quilt reveal, everyone opened their Christmas bags that are filled with things all year long. The kids love getting them.

For the past three years, they have done an M&M jar guess, this year Anna won for the kids. She got this blanket.
The adults were forced to play a game that my children play in school. A story was read and every time the word left and right were said we had to pass the present in that direction. It was silly but the kids all enjoyed sitting in the center and watching the adults have to play a silly game.

Sometime after that, the kids all had to play Christmas Bingo to earn their acrylic cups that Mrs. Joyce and I decorated for them. I never had to work so hard for Christmas presents in all my life….Then, we were finally able to eat! I think that is what the adults were looking forward to the most.

Throughout the entire day, Will had the camera set up in the living room taking pictures of the families and and different groups that wanted them. Here are some of them. Oh, and I have to say that the kids kept on getting annoyed because all day long they just wanted to run and play and we kept calling them back in for pictures, presents, games, and food.

Here is Grandma with her seven grandkids.
Here is Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie with their six grandkids Logan, Kayden, Kelly, Candice, Kayley, and Caleb.
Here is Uncle Bill and Aunt Debbie.
This is Heather (Aunt Debbie’s daughter) with her husband Hector and their daughter Kayley.
Here is our group.
Here is Aunt Jan and Uncle Steve’s family.
Here is Donna (Uncle Bill’s daughter) and Rick and their kids Logan, Kayden, and Kelly.
Here is Mike and Jessica, Matthew and Lydia.
This year, Uncle Ron and Aunt Judy (Granddads sister) and their daughters Jennifer and Jamie were able to join us from Mobile.
Here is Scott (Aunt Jan’s son) and Shannyn with their kids Hannah, Carter and Hilary.
Here is Steve and Angela with Parker and Graci.
I didn’t have a picture of Billy (Uncle Bill’s son) but I know he was there.

Also, I have to say that we missed Sabrina (Aunt Debbie’s other daughter) and her husband Larry as well as Aunt Sue, Chris and Dani Zuhlke.

And how was that Grandma and Aunt Jan for knowing everyone’s names and who they belong to? I didn’t even have to take notes or have a cheat sheet. I may not have gotten the spellings all right, but I know who they are and who they belong to. Ha!

We had a great weekend and are counting the days until next years Christmas.  364…

And one more time I just want to say thank you to Uncle Bill, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Steve, Aunt Jan, and especially Grandma for all of your hard work and planning and preparations that went into Friday and Saturday for our families.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 JFBC Children’s Choir Christmas Musical

Last night the Children’s choir at our church presented their 2011 musical.  The 60 kid choir did a fantastic job of leading our congregation in worship.  Below is a picture of the entire group.  (It is a little blurry because I took it with my phone.)

2011 JFBC Children's Christmas Musical

Isabelle had the privilege of leading the opening song with a brief piano solo.  She told me she was really nervous, but she still did a good job.

My favorite song of the night was the finale song entitled, “Carry The Light.”  The kids were excited to use their battery powered candles, while the congregation lit real candles.

Isabelle and Anna enjoyed being a part of the choir.  After the musical, we had a birthday party for Jesus which included cake, popcorn, & hot chocolate.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This past week, the girls were out of school all week long. We had talked about maybe going camping during the first three days or going early to see family, or possibly putting up our tree and Christmas decorations since we seem to be so rushed after Thanksgiving. In the end, we had three deaths in our church that week that Will had to either preach at, be at, or we had to cook for. So between, that and my procrastination, we didn’t do much of anything productive. It was nice though to just be home with the kids.  I enjoy cooking for the families that have lost loved ones. It is about the only thing I can do while having to take care of the kids because Will has to be there and visit.


On Wednesday, we left for Mrs. Joyce’s house. Everyone was able to be there the day before Thanksgiving so the kids all helped her decorate her tree. I am not sure where Parker is in this picture unless that is him bending over in the back just past Matthew’s head.



Thursday we had a very laid back and relaxing Thanksgiving. That morning, the kids all made Oreo Turkeys. Luke ate everything on his plate instead of making anything out of it.



I made a new cake this year from a recipe I got off of Pinterest. It was good at first (very rich), but after a day it dries out (that is why I like boxed cake mixes).  It looked good though.



And of course what is a Rushing family get together without Mrs. Joyce and Will making everyone stand there for fifteen minutes just to get one good photo. Here is our group shot.



After lunch, we traveled to Mobile to eat leftovers with my family and do some Black Friday shopping. After a lot of discussion about whether or not we dare go to Toys R’ Us on Thanksgiving Day, Amy and I decided not to go until three AM on Friday. We went to Target, Belk, JCPenney’s, Shoe Station, Toys R’ Us, Lifeway, McDonalds, the gas station, Walmart, Kmart, and Dirt Cheap; in that order. We had a productive day and were able to get almost everything we saw in the ads that we wanted. After eight and half hours, we decided to call it quits. All I have to say about the photo below is…SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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That afternoon the kids helped to put up Nana’s tree. All Luke wanted to do was ride the tractor. Here he is with Paw on the tractor. I think Paw created a monster.



Overall we had a great week! Now to just find time to decorate my house. And find the energy to tell Luke no three thousand times a day. On second thought…maybe we should wait to put up the tree until the week before Christmas.

Veterans Day 2011

I know I am a little late, but I just wanted to give a few quick posts about what we’ve been up to lately.  During our Veteran’s Day weekend we camped at Styx River. Will was able to take that Sunday off and we had a nice time spending it together. Usually when we camp, Will has to leave on Saturday evening to prepare for church on Sunday and then he doesn’t get back until Monday and we have to start packing up to go home (meaning that we only get one night and two half days with him as a family). So, it was nice to get to spend the entire weekend with Will.


My brother Will and his family rented a cabin that weekend and we were able to spend some time with them as well. The kids had a blast playing with Riley. They normally only get to see her for a few hours at a time when we visit Mama’s house. She is growing so fast and is now at that stage where she wants to chase them around and be right in the middle of things. It was pure chaos!


That Friday we met Uncle Charlie, Mama, Daddy, and some family friends at the parade in Mobile.  I wanted the kids to get a sense of Veteran’s Day and why we celebrate it. If we don’t take the time to teach our kids how important it is and what a sacrifice the Veteran’s make for us, then the kids just think that they are getting another day off of school.  Thanks again to all of the Veteran’s for all that they have sacrificed (time with their families being the greatest of all) for our freedoms.


Here is a photo that we took with Uncle Charlie at the parade.


Monday, November 21, 2011

What Remains of Styx River Water World

During our family camping trip a couple weeks ago, Isabelle wanted to “go exploring.”  I took her for a walk around the campground and then decided to go over to the old Styx River Water World Park to see what was left.

One of my many childhood memories is that of making an annual summer trip to Styx River Water World.  I remember riding the bumper boats, carrying my mat up the steep hill for the water slide, and the many hours I spent shooting other kids with water in the children’s play area.  I even remember my dad climbing the many steps carrying his and my sled for the Rampage. 

Isabelle and I walked around the desolate area of what was left of the old Styx River Water World.  The entire time, she wanted to know all about what the park use to look like.  While I attempted to describe the former park to her, we took pictures of the parks current condition. (You can click on the pictures to see them larger)

I searched through Google images and found this scanned picture of a brochure showing where the various attractions of Styx River were located.  

Styx River Water World Map

As you can see from the picture below, most of the old structures of the park have been demolished and pushed in to large junk piles.
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There are still a couple of the large fiberglass animals that once adorned the park.  Here are Isabelle and Anna posing with the animals.
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We did discover one of the old speed boats lying in one of the piles of wood.  I remember always wanting to drive the speed boats, but never being old enough.
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This building still has the artwork and disclaimer from the water park.  It housed the bathrooms.   Right across from the bathrooms was the concession stand.  The two buildings use to be connected by a covered dining area. 
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As best as I can remember this picture is taken from the walkway the went by the landing pool from the water slides.  I always hated carrying my mat up that big hill.  As you can see, there are no remnants of the slides remaining.  At the top of the hill, you can see the concession stand and bathrooms.
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This is the covered pavilion that stood next to the Rampage slide.  You can still see the brightly colored picnic tables lined up under the dilapidated structure.
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I think Isabelle and Anna enjoyed the adventure and it was a nice trip down memory lane for me. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Isabelle’s Baptism

For the past year Isabelle has been wanting to get baptized.  After several discussions with Will and me, we finally felt she was ready to make a profession of faith. 


Today our church held our annual Homecoming Celebration & Fellowship.  As a part of the worship service this morning, Isabelle, along with 6 others, were baptized.  Here is a video and a few photos from the day!




Isabelle's BaptismIsabelle's BaptismIsabelle's Baptism

Isabelle's BaptismIsabelle's Baptism

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School 2011!

Well…I just about had a nervous breakdown last night after going through all of the paperwork for third grade and realizing that the years will only be hard from now on and there will be no more easy years. But after a good nights sleep, LOTS of prayer, and encouragement from my FB friends, I think I am over it!


We woke up early this morning and the girls were ready in record time. I tried to enjoy it since this will probably be the only day this year that that happens. I’ll take what I can get!


Here are the girls all ready for school!


Here is Anna with her teacher Mrs. Hendricks. Everyone says that she is a great teacher, so we are excited! She was a little upset about a little boy (who apparently is a problem child) being in her class. She doesn’t like anyone to draw attention to her or get her in trouble. Neither of her ‘good’ friends are in her class but, she does have some kids in there that she knows so please pray that she makes new friends and has a productive year.


Isabelle and her teacher Mrs. Free. This is who she wanted and I think this will be a GREAT year for Isabelle even though it will be tough. Mrs. Free was our school’s teacher of the year last year. I have high hopes!


The girls put one of their little backpacks on Luke this morning and he followed them around all morning with ‘his’ Dora backpack on thinking he was going to school with them. He tried to run into all of the pictures that they were taking so we had to take one of him with ‘his’ backpack. Now we just need to pray that he is not clingy and whiny all day every day since the girls are not here. He has gotten very used to them being at home.


Today I am praying for and thinking about all of our other friends and family that are starting school today. I am especially praying for our friend Amanda and all of the things that she is going through this morning with two (I think) girls starting school today, one sweet special needs baby boy, and a baby on the way. So I just wanted to end this post by asking for a little extra prayers for all of the kids and families that are starting school today. 

One Last Camping Trip Before Summer Is Over…

A couple of weeks ago we took one more camping trip to Munson before school started. We had two other families go this time, so we had lots of fun!


Here are the girls waiting patiently on their food.


Jason grilled the chicken's again this time; don’t they look yummy?

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Thank you to Jenny who allowed my children to play in the water-hose at the end of her camper and dig a mud-hole. It entertained Luke more than anything else.

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And the big girls too!

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On Saturday we had a church cookout by the lake with a few more families showing up…here is Bailey (Luke’s friend from church) and Luke riding in the bike trailer. Will was tired!


And the kids had movie night while the grown-ups played cards.


Check out this food….not bad for camping, huh?


Here is Jada and Isabelle…they are growing up and changing so much.


It was a fun end-of-summer trip and we had a blast! Thanks, Janet, Henry, Jason, and Jenny for helping to make it so much fun.

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