Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Pictures

Here are some Christmas pictures from this year for you to enjoy. I think instead of taking a whole bunch of time to upload the photos here, I will simply post the public link to my Facebook photo album. From the link, you should be able to click the first photo in the album and then click "next" to see the next photo. I hope it works, and enjoy the pictures!

http://ggc.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10939&l=dbd19&id=603748360

Merry Christmas!

It looks like today I'll be able to post about the Cunninghams' Christmas.

On December 22, we went to Grandpa Mike's house for our annual Christmas grazing/ feast. I wasn't feeling well that day (probably still recovering from the stress of the wedding the day before and falling ill with pneumonia), so I didn't get that many pictures as I usually do. We enjoyed the delicious punch, ham, fruit, and much more. The kids were downstairs with the Playstation, and the adults were upstairs in various conversations.

On Christmas Eve, we went to Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy's house for Christmas Eve. There was Uncle Jason and his family, Uncle Josh and his family, Grandma Linda and Great-Grandma Kline, Grandma Linda's sister Diane and her two children who came down from Chicago to celebrate with us, and then us five. The kids were excited about opening the presents and kept asking when they could open them. We enjoyed dinner first, and then the kids went outside to play. The puppy Tucker has grown huge, and he enjoyed chasing the frisbee and the boys. It got cold, so I went inside. Shortly after that, everyone gathered in the living room for presents. All the kids got Crocs for Christmas, and I've fallen in love with mine. Mandy and I got journal sets and bracelets from Grandma Linda, and we both got new shirts and new, warm fleeces. Dad got a new knife and a sweater from Alaska. Uncle Josh, Uncle Jason, and Dad got together and bought Grandma Linda a new digital camera that she has fallen in love with and has been inseparable from =). Then, the adults had a white elephant gift exchange, which was absolutely hilarious. One of the funniest items was a 30- year old electric saw that used to belong to Grandpa Mike and that is still being passed between Uncle Jason and Uncle Josh and is bound to last for a while. After we left Uncle Jason's house, we were almost to church to clean up when we had to turn around since Mom forgot her purse. We drove back to Houschton and then back to Buford once more, where we cleaned up the church. At home, we had our little annual Christmas Eve gift- opening. You see, every Christmas for the past few years, we kids have gotten a DVD set or individual DVDs, so we open those on Christmas Eve. This year, we received "The Princess Bride," " Men in Black," " Armaggedon," and I believe we got one more, but I don't remember if we did or not.

Christmas morning came. Mandy, being impatient, woke me up early at 8 AM, which she has been doing for the past few years and disturbing my sleep. Darn kid. Anyway, we got up and opened our presents. This year, Mom got spoiled big time. She got binoculars with a camera so she can get pictures of her birds, a MP3 and a car adapter, a CD of ocean music, and two big books. Dad got a frying pan and a spatula (since he's the breakfast guy and he always has problems with cooking his eggs just right) and a nice new coat. Seth got a CD of space music, new clothes, a board game, and more. Mandy got a board game, clothes, etc.... and I received a board game, clothes, a squishy pillow (although that was a late gift), a new bag to carry my laptop, etc... Then we cleaned up the living room and had quiche, our annual Christmas morning breakfast. Then we packed since we were driving down to Florida that afternoon.

I never knew on Christmas Day how many places were closed. We had passed Atlanta while driving down to Gainesville, Florida, and there were no restaurants. We ended up going to QT and finding whatever we could. We drove for several more hours, and it was close to 7 PM when we finally arrived. We had a late dinner of turkey, potatoes, rolls, and salad. Grandpa Large's house was nice, and the weather was pleasant outside. After watching some TV, we were put into our rooms. Seth had his own bed in the office, Mandy and I had a room, and Mom and Dad had their own room. I'm afraid I made sleep impossible for poor Mandy since I kept coughing. On Wednesday, we were going to go to Silver Springs but it was too expensive so we stayed home. We kids took turns playing Mario, and we watched Conan the Destroyer. After dinner of fish sticks and fries and dessert, we kids played Rummikub, a gift from Grandma Gail. That night I was put in Seth's bed, he moved in with Dad, and Mom moved in with Mandy since I was still coughing. On Thursday morning, we woke up for breakfast, packed up, and left. We drove all day and arrived home with Zaxby's for dinner. We watched a movie and hung out.

On Friday, Dad went in for one day of work. Mom took me to the doctor, where we discovered I had pneumonia. We hung out at home on Friday evening. On Saturday, we ran errands and did nothing of great importance. On Sunday, we went to Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy's church to see little Audrey Mae baptized, and we went to their house for lunch.

Well, New Year's is tonight. We're going to two get- togethers, I believe, this evening, and I'm looking forward to it. And so, a late Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wedding Pictures

I don't have many pictures of Jake and Brittny's wedding since I was a minor photographer. I promise to try to find pictures of the actual ceremony and of myself in the bridesmaid's dress. But, here are some pictures to tide you over until then.

Photo album 1: Preparations and events before the wedding
http://ggc.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10161&l=00715&id=603748360

Photo album 2: Preparations right before the wedding and the reception
http://ggc.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10162&l=4fbe4&id=603748360

The Cough

For those of you who saw me or heard me over Christmas, you probably noticed I've been under the weather with coughing. Around 2 AM on Friday morning, several hours after returning home from a quick vacation in Florida, I suddenly had a dry coughing fit that lasted for 10- 15 minutes. I couldn't breathe, and I didn't know why I was coughing since there was nothing in my throat for me to cough up. Mom grew worried and moved me to the couch. She remembered that about ten years ago I had coughed like that... when I had had pneumonia. While I lay coughing on the couch, an amazing thing happened. At that moment, Mom received an e-mail that said, in case of a cough, to rub Vick's Vapor Rub on your feet. She told me to rub it on, and it worked! I had a great night of sleep, one of the best in a while. I'm sworn on it now.

On Friday afternoon, Mom took me in to the doctor to find out about my cough. After asking some questions, I was given a breathing treatment and told to go upstairs to get an x-ray since the doctor wanted to make sure that I didn't have pneumonia. I was so shaky, and my heart was racing from that breathing treatment of albuterol. When I got upstairs, I had another dry coughing fit while waiting to get an x-ray done. I got two x-rays done and took them back downstairs for the doctor to look at. He confirmed that I had pneumonia, in the early stages, in one of my lungs. Then I was given my prescriptions of albuterol, prednesone, and an antibiotic. I know now the pain Mandy goes through when she has her asthmatic attacks in the winter.

I'm feeling fine, except that I sometimes get a small fever and cough. I hope I can go to Audrey Mae's baptism tomorrow, and I would hate to stay home alone while everyone else goes. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's when I'm sick and everyone else is away with others. It makes me feel alone, and I don't like it. But, I hope, with this medicine, I should get better within the next week. I hope so, since I don't want to be sick while starting the second semester of school.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Managing a Wedding

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I've been pretty busy lately with finals at GGC and then with Jake and Brittny's wedding. I did good on my finals, only having three out of five classes. I finally received my grades for my classes, and I made straight A's, so I'm happy about that. On the last day of finals (which was last Thursday), the little Tuesday/ Thursday lunch group met for probably the last time. We talked about what foods we liked and disliked and other random things. It was enjoyable.

On Monday, Seth and Mandy began their finals for Geneva. I stayed at home both Monday and Tuesday, cleaning the house. On Tuesday night, Mom "organized" a little science study group for her science students. We ate fried rice and potstickers, and the students mixed studying with goofing off. On Wednesday, the Geneva students finished their finals and began their Christmas Break.

Mandy's cough is doing somewhat better. She's not coughing as much as she used to, but if she runs around, she begins wheezing. So, Dad and Mom have her under strict orders not to run around or be too active. I've come down with a cold that has turned into a hoarse cough. Last Thursday, Seth left school early because he wasn't feeling well, but, as usual, he recovered quickly. Dad's attempting to keep us on our vitamins, but we haven't been as faithful in taking them.

And now, to talk about the wedding. The craziness of the whole thing started on Wednesday, when the bridesmaids, the bride, and the bride's future mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, and mother got together at Pottery Barn to paint bowls. We had a good time, and it took the bride's mind off of the wedding and helped her stress. On Thursday, Mom took us kids shopping for things for the wedding. We bought makeup for me, a new outfit for Seth to wear (which looks great on him), a few White Elephant gifts for Christmas, and I bought a gift for a friend. When we got home, I had to get ready since I would be spending the night with the Greers that night and would not be able to be home until late Friday night. It was hectic, and I admit that I was not in the best of moods. Finally, Mom dropped me off at the church for the rehearsal. I had bought new black shoes to wear for the wedding, and standing in them for ten minutes killed my feet. I was glad to switch shoes to my other high-heels. The rehearsal went well, except the flower girl Lydia did not walk down with her escort, so we decided she would walk down with her mother instead. After the rehearsal, we drove to the rehearsal dinner, which was very good. There was meat, mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, potatoes, rolls, salad, and cheesecake. After the meal, everyone gathered in the living room for a little movie/ slideshow chronicling Jake and Brittny's lives. Then people had the opportunity to stand up and talk about Jake and/ or Brittny. After that, while everyone prepared to go, the groomsmen took some beer down to the basement for a little "party." From what I heard, they played poker and dared each other to leap from a hot hottub into a freezing cold pool. Anyway, I went home with the Greers since I needed to get my hair done in the morning. The Greers had guests staying with them, so I shared a bed with the maid-of-honor Bethany. Now, I've heard Mandy tell horror stories about sharing a bed with Bethany, and now I can say that they are all true. She tried to steal my blanket, forced me to put my legs on top of hers to keep them from moving, and slept right beside me, breathing right in my ear. Oh, well. I lived.

On Friday morning, we ate breakfast and then Brittny, Bethany, and myself went over to John Hudson's hair salon to get out hair done. We had fun taking pictures of each other during the process. Bethany and I wore smocks to be able to take our shirts off without damaging our hair, and it was cold outside. Brrrrrr. I wish that the brief period of summer temperatures had lasted longer. Anyway, while we were waiting, Brittny got hungry since she hadn't eaten breakfast. Mr. Hudson was generous enough to let us snack from his popcorn tin. It was just after 2 PM when Bethany was finally done. We had to go back to the Greer house to pick up a few things, and the car died right in the driveway. Thankfully, Brittny's cousin Nathan drove us over to the church to get ready. When we got there, we bridesmaids started putting on our dresses and applying our makeup. Many of the bridesmaids had trouble zipping into their dresses, and many of them also had trouble pinning the cloth at the top of the dress. Well, we finally managed to get ready and get started on pictures. Pictures took a while, and we had to go outside for a few of them, which was freezing cold even though the groomsmen were convinced it was hot inside the church. After pictures, we snacked in the little kitchen and began to get ready for the ceremony. The last hour, especially the last thirty minutes, were the hardest. I kept thinking "let's get this over with. Hurry up, clock!" Mr. Greer spoiled his daughter by buying her a "sinful" burger, fries, and coke from Burger King. The bridesmaids got pictures with the bride, re-applied makeup, and sat around waiting for the guests to arrive. In the last half of an hour, there was a problem with Brittny's zipper. The dress was tight around her waist and could not be fully zipped up. Mrs. Greer and the wedding coordinator Mrs. Raney were busy trying to fix the dress so that it looked decently zipped up. The bridesmaids went into the hall, waiting to go, but they were delayed because the mother of the bride was busy trying to fix her daughter's dress. Finally, we got started. We bridesmaids had adrenaline running, and we were excited.

Dorothy Forrester, who's married to Brittny's cousin, went down the aisle first. Then I went second. The groomsmen were waiting in their places, and they took the bridesmaids' arms to their positions. Brittny had organized the bridal party in such a way so that there was a groomsman, a bridesmaid, and another groomsman in a line. There were six bridesmaids and seven groomsmen, so Brittny's little brother Caleb provided the needed balance. I was excited when I walked down the aisle and wasn't that nervous. I couldn't see a thing without my glasses, so everything was in a blur. All the attendants and the flower girl had come down, and now it was time for the bride to show. The music began, and she entered on Mr. Greer's arm. One of the bridesmaids later told me that Brittny had been crying a little while walking down, and I noticed during the prayers that she was dabbing her eyes and cheeks with a tissue. The ceremony began with a short prayer and then a song. I was afraid of fainting or falling, so I kept bending my legs. And, heeding the advice of my mother, I did not close my eyes during the prayers. It helped keep my balance, and I suppose the step that I leaned against helped as well. The ceremony went well, and there was the usual "she's all yours," motioning that the bride and groom can kiss. Then, we walked back down the aisle and went into one of the rooms. I was told we didn't need pictures, so I rode in the van to Covenant for the reception.

The reception was beautiful, and the ladies who did it did it well. There were Christmas lights under the lace tablecloths, some of the food in, what looked like, Christmas present boxes. The groom's cake was clever. It was a piano with chocolate frosting and looked adorable. The bride's cake was pretty as well. The bride and groom arrived and greeted the guests. Then, there was the cake-cutting. On the groom's cake, Brittny shoved it into Jake's mouth, and the result was chocolate all over her cheek. After a while, it was time to toss the bouquet. I was close to catching it, but another girl caught it. Then, there was the matter of the garter. It went missing, so people had to go find it, which they did. Ben, brother of the bride, caught the garter. Later, the guests received their "wedding rice" to throw upon the bride and groom as they departed. Some people, claiming it tasted like sprinkles, began eating it. Then, the bride and groom appeared and ran out. Someone dumped a whole bunch of the "rice" all over the two of them. The wedding car was covered in toilet paper and the "just married" in some type of cream. The two drove away, and the wedding was over. Mom and Dad stayed behind to help clean up. After eleven PM, I was exhausted from such a big day, so Dad took me home.

The wedding was busy yet enjoyable. This was my first involvement in a wedding since Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy got married ten years ago, but this time I can actually hold the memories. I've got pictures, but I haven't uploaded them to the computer yet, so you'll have to wait for them. I will be sure to post them soon. Well, I gotta dash. Today is the Christmas feast at Grandpa Mike's house, and I don't want to miss out the meal.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Last Week

While this is my week of exams, it is Mom's last exam and also the last week of classes for Seth and Mandy. Tonight, Mom has her biology final. She's definately looking forward to Christmas break. She needs it. Seth and Mandy have their finals next week, and then they are done for the semester. I believe that this week they are having their Christmas party and gift exchange at school. Today, I am officially done with math. On Wednesday, I'll take the Spanish exam, and on Thursday I'll take the computer exam.

Mandy's cough has not improved. On Monday she went to the doctor to get her prescription medicine. However, despite that medicine and the natural stuff and vitamins she was taking, her cough would not go away. On Friday, she got some more medicine. On Sunday night, she had a slight fever and didn't look like her normal, happy self. She's been sleeping on the couch in the living room, and she's had a humidifer by her side. But, the cough has yet to go away or lessen its grip on her. At night, she spends the first two hours coughing and then quiets down. But, waking up at 6:30 is hard since she's not slept very well. On Friday, Mom let her sleep in, and Dad (who had the day off) brought her over to school later. This morning, Mom let her sleep in again.

Yesterday was fun. Mandy had Bethany over after church, and Seth invited Christopher. The four went on a walk and then had a pinecone war. It was funny to watch. Dad borrowed Uncle Jason's motorcycle, so after night church he went home while Mom went to go pick up her cleaning check. When we got home, Dad had this forlorn look on his face, so Mom asked him what was wrong. I thought he had burned dinner or something, but nope. When he had gotten home, he checked on his two things of fermenting beer in the dining room. One of them looked gunky, which is a sign of very, very active yeast. Dad slowly began to relieve the pressure, and then a gallon of beer suddenly burst out and went all over the dining room wall, ceiling, floor, and table. Dad was in shock, and he was covered in it. When we got home, the house smelled like a bakery. It's cleaned up now, but there's beer spatter on the ceiling.

Nothing else much has happened. Oatmeal, who has been inside the house for a few weeks, got outside yesterday, and Mom is trying to find him before he vanishes for a month again. Fuzz has a sore on his tail, so he's wearing the Elizabethian collar. Our car's transmission has been acting funny lately, so Dad and Mom are taking it into the shop to have it looked at. Last night, when we were driving home, Mom noticed that the gas tank was empty. We panicked because the meter was right on E, and no one was carrying a cell phone. While waiting at a traffic light, the meter went up to 1/4 a tank, which is what it should have been. I'll be sure to post more family news as it comes.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Almost There!

Today marks the beginning of the last week of classes at GGC. I have this week of classes, and then three days next week for final exams. And then, I am done for the first semester! It's that time of the semester when the teachers start cramming assignments. I have an English portfolio due next Monday, a career paper due Wednesday, a few computer assignments to deal with, and upcoming quizzes and reviews. I'll be glad when this break is over. So will Mom. Her classes are almost over as well, and she definitely needs a break. At least next semester won't be as bad because her Geneva at Home class will be using a book, which will make her job a lot easier. Seth and Mandy have two more weeks of classes; they have their final exams a week after Mom and I have ours.

Nothing extraordinary has happened lately in the house. On Saturday, I was supposed to go to the youth group/ white elephant gift exchange, but my eyes started acting funky and I suspected I was getting a migraine. The migraine never came. Sadly, while Seth and Mandy were gone, so were Dad and Mom, starting their Christmas shopping. The gag gifts party apparently was fun and a large success. Mandy's gift was a huge pair of men's underwear. She's been having a bit too much fun with them, I fear.

It seems that every year in January and February, Mandy gets a nagging chest cough and always needs to go to the doctor for medicine. This year, her cough came early. Last night she had to sleep on the couch, but she says her coughing still kept her up. Dad and Mom are figuring out a way to get her prescription medicine without going to the doctor, since she's had this cough before and we know what it is.

I've been counting down the days until Brittny's wedding. I'm eager to put on that dress, the makeup, and everything. I haven't been in a wedding for years, not ever since Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy got married and I was a flower girl. The only thing I'm dreading are my shoes. I wore them yesterday for a few hours to see how they felt. My feet were dying within fifteen minutes. I've got to practice wearing them and walking in them. Well, I still have eighteen days left to perfect a bridesmaid's walk down aisle and eighteen days to perfect standing up for about an hour at the front.

That reminds me. I have signed up for my 2008 spring semester classes at GGC. I've organized it better, hopefully, so that I only have to go in Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And Thursday night. I'll be taking English, digital media (another required computer class), geography, chemistry w/ a chemistry lab, and political science aka American government. I'm thinking of deleting a class so that I can spend my lunch hours with my friend Blair and maybe the Tuesday/ Thursday lunch group.

Well, Spanish is calling my name. I have an interview today in Spanish, which is part of my final grade, so I better keep studying.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fall Invasion

The Cunningham house has been invaded! All men to their posts! No, literally, I mean it has been invaded. By the creepy, gross cockroaches. They seem to be popping up everywhere, especially in front of Mandy, lately. The reason is unexplainable since we have never had this many before. Perhaps they're tormenting Mandy for some unknown reason. She's been seeing the most.

But I have my own tale of fright to tell about these gross pests. Last weekend I had to shower before going to the church's annual Thanksgiving dinner. I got into the shower and screamed when a cockroach fell from the curtain and into the shower. Dad heard me and merely said that the roach was more afraid of me than I was of it. Well, that didn't stir me up to take up the weapons of war and fight. I turned on the water and pointed it at the roach, hoping to drown it. At first it seemed as if I had succeeded, but no. (Sadly, I learned the next day that roaches cannot be drowned). I did not know what to do. There were no shoes in the area, only some bottles of soap. I grabbed Mom's shampoo bottle and waited until the roach was confused by the water. SLAM! I hit it as hard as I could with the bottle. I had just about disembodied the pest, and it was still moving. So, I kept hitting it. Finally, it stopped moving. Permanently. Ugh.... creepy bugs.

Mandy's beloved Bubba Dubba had to go to the vet last week. It looked as if he had gotten into some fight, and something was sticking out of his eye. It was disgusting to look at. We took him to the vet and discovered that his third eyelid had been ripped. They did a little surgery, and Trouble was home the next day. He had to wear the dreaded Elizabethean color, which meant that we had to keep the yowling cat inside. But, Trouble looks much better. He's been taking to sleeping with me at night and snuggling with me after I wake up.

This year, we had two Thanksgiving feasts. First, last Saturday was the annual church turkey dinner. We enjoyed the beginnings of the feast and enjoying fellowship with our fellow believers. Then, on Thursday, we went to Grandpa Mike's house. The whole clan was there. We enjoyed mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, stuffing, ham, a turkey (which tasted and smelled divine), and much more. We stuffed ourselves, and it was hard not to go back for seconds or thirds. It was a fun time.

We Cunninghams only had two days of school this week: Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday in computer class, someone brought in a Wii game console. I enjoyed bowling and playing tennis with a few of my classmates. On Wednesday, we lounged around all day watching TV and playing on the computers. On Friday, we were busier since Mom and I cleaned the church and Mandy had (is having) two friends over. It's been nice to sleep in for a change. After this week, I'll only have two more weeks of classes and then a week of finals. I'm excited to be almost done with my first semester of college.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Some Pictures

Here are some pictures to enjoy.
First, here is the bridal party for Brittny. Only one bridesmaid is missing.



Second, here is me in the blue bridal dress.


And lastly, here is my new phone that Grandma Gail gave me. Thanks, Grandma!



Relaxing at Last

For the first time in weeks, we Cunninghams had a relaxing weekend without being expected to be somewhere. It was great!

But first, the week. Nothing memorable happened during the first half of the week. On Wednesday, it was a different story. Chubbs, one of Pooky's sisters, who is the sweetest, most lovable female cat we have, went to a new home. For a while, Dad has been trying to cut down on the cat population from eight to four. Well, we found a home for Chubbs with the MacCallum family from our church. She left Wednesday morning while I was at school. From what we heard, Chubbs has a new name and is doing splendidly with the MacCallums. It was sad to see her go, but we're happy she's adjusting well. And, it appears as if one of the other cats is gone. Oatmeal, Trouble's older brother and Boo's oldest surviving kitten, has been a wanderer for some time, wandering from the house and rarely venturing back. He had a hideout in the cul-de-sac behind our house, but we went there a week ago to find him with no success. We think he's moved to a new hiding place. He's been gone for almost a month, I estimate. This may mean that our cat population has dropped down to six. Now to get rid of Pooky, Claws, and Socks. Speaking of Pooky, yesterday (Sunday) he caught and killed a goldfinch. In Mom's mind, the cats can kill all the squirrels they want, as long as they leave the birds and chipmunks alone. Well, Pooky found the dead bird later and gobbled it up whole. Or from what I was told. Disgusting cat.

On Friday, the church's homeschool co-op had their quarterly performance, with a dinner this time. Seth and Mandy went to help out, so Dad, Mom, and I stayed home. We watched "Bourne Supremacy," and Dad brewed two types of beer. After Seth and Mandy came home, we decided to watch "Chronicles of Riddick" since Mandy wanted to see it before we returned it. We went to bed after midnight. This meant sleeping on in Saturday morning, which was wonderful.

On Saturday, Mom and Dad got up and took the van to the car shop. The stupid brakes had been acting screwy despite the fact we had just fixed them a few months earlier. They also did some errands. We kids got up late and did our chores and homework. After Mom and Dad came home and had lunch, it was fun time. Grandpa Mike, instead of buying presents for Christmas this year, gave each family some money. We kids got a hundred dollars each. For Mandy and myself, we both had clothes shopping on the brain. We got our money and eagerly waited to go shopping at Kohls. We spent a few hours over there. Mom found herself some pretty shirts, and Dad got himself a few shirts as well. Mandy found a black polka- dot top and some black pants. I found myself four pretty shirts. I had the hardest time finding jeans because they all were too skinny- legged, didn't have my size, or are the low- riding ones that I can't stand wearing because it feels as if they're about to fall off my hips. When we stopped by Wal-Mart later, I found a nice pair of jeans that fit me perfectly. I was ecstatic since I only had one pair of jeans that are looking peaked. We returned home, then Mom and Dad went to go get the car. Then Mom and I went to go clean the church for Sunday. We spent less than two hours cleaning, which was excellent. Then we went home and stayed there for the rest of the evening.

Sunday was hilarious. After church, we stayed and talked as we usually do. Well, Cliff Price accidentally got left behind by his mother. She was horrified when she found this out later. We took pity on Cliff and took him home with us. It was fun to have a guest over. Mom, Seth, Cliff, and Mandy played Settlers of Cataan. Then when Mom went to have her nap, we kids went outside. We were going to film a video but discovered the recorder did not work. So, we took a walk instead. We all had a deep conversation regarding teens in our church. We then went to night church, where Cliff went home with his family.

All in all, it was a relaxing weekend. Thanksgiving break is quickly approaching, and we're looking forward to a break from school. I've checked my calender, and after Thanksgiving I only have two more weeks of school and then a week of exams. I'm almost done with the first semester of college. Yea! This week I'll be registering for spring classes. Today, I should be picking up my altered bridesmaids dress. I'll be sure to post a picture of it. And also a picture of my new, blue cell phone/ music player/ camera that Grandma Gail gave me. It's a cool phone. Now to start downloading music for it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Busy, Busy Weekend

We Cunninghams had a busy, busy weekend. Seth has recovered from his cold and is back to his old self. The weather has taken a turn for the colder side, but the strange thing is, not all the leaves have fallen despite the fact it's November. It looks more like October with a bitter chill in the air than early November.


On Friday, we had our sci-fi night. John and Cliff Price couldn't make it, so we just had the Abrahams over. The girls are so cute! Avalyn is quite the chatterbug, and Kiera has the cutest smile. We watched "Chronicles of Riddick" and ate burritos for dinner. Mandy, by the way, was not home that night. She was spending the night at Uncle Josh's with Sunny. Speaking of which, the Cunningham family is only getting larger. Uncle Josh and Aunt Sarah are expecting their fifth child next year. That means Grandpa Mike will have twelve grandchildren. I, the oldest, will be nineteen, and the new baby will have just been born. Scary.


On Saturday, Mom woke me up so we could go to Brittny's wedding shower. We drove up to the Houschton area. The house in which the shower was held was big and roomy with a gorgeous kitchen that makes all the ladies envious. After enjoying a brunch and opening the gifts, we got a few pictures of Brittny with her bridesmaids. It turned out good, except one of the bridesmaids was not there. It was funny because I'm the shortest bridesmaid of them all. I should get my finished dress by this weekend, and I'll be sure to post a picture of it.


After the wedding shower, Mom and I dropped Mandy off at home and then went back to the church to do our Sunday cleaning. It took us two hours, as usual. Dad met us at the church, and we drove back up to Jefferson, this time for the monthly family gathering at Grandma Linda's house. We had chili and hot dogs for supper, and we celebrated Granny Kline's birthday with a German Chocolate cake. The kids had fun playing Mafia, and I was always convicted of being the Mafia despite the fact I was innocent (except I was guilty once but got away with it). We also had the opportunity to see baby Audrey Mae, who still looks like her big sister Abigail. The adults also discussed Thanksgiving and Christmas. And now, I can participate in the adults' White Elephant/ Attic gift gag.


On Sunday, something hilarious happened. We were getting in the car to go to church when either Seth or Mandy said that there was a cat on top of the house. It turned out to be Claws, the biggest and fattest cat of our eight. She had climbed onto the roof using our van. We had to get going, so we tried to coax her down. We failed. Dad set up a ladder on our back deck in case Claws would get down that way. That was about nine twenty. We arrived home from church around two o'clock due to the church potluck after service. Mom and I arrived home first, and we saw Claws sitting on the roof. She meowed at us, and we managed to coax her down. She was certainly hungry after being on the roof for five hours. I would be too.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween

Well, Halloween has come and gone. For the first time in seven years, Seth and Mandy went trick-or-treating. They went with the Strevel kids Christopher, Caroline, and Claire and with Cliff Price. They had a blast dressing up. Seth dressed up as an 80's punk, and Mandy wore Mom's bridesmaid's dress with my black Spanish shawl. The night was pleasant and not too cold. Mom had biology class at Perimeter, leaving Dad and me at home. We went to prayer meeting and then to the Strevel home to pick up Seth and Mandy. They had accumulated a lot of candy, and we are looking forward to enjoying it.

However, Seth has not fared as well. On Wednesday night, Cliff noted that he was looking a bit pale. Seth had trouble sleeping last night, and I could hear him shivering from my room. This morning, Mom felt his head and determined he had a fever and chills. She gave him some ibuprofen and let him go back to bed and sleep. Knowing Seth, he'll be fine when we get home this afternoon. Like Dad, he recovers quickly from illness.

Tomorrow will be busy. Seth and Mandy will dressing up for Friday in some form of uniform. I don't know what Mandy will be wearing, but I know what Seth is. It is frightening. He's wearing Dad's blue navy uniform, and it fits him perfectly. On Friday evening, it will be the sci-fi night with the Abrahams and John and Cliff Price. I'm not sure what we're watching yet, but Mom's planning dinner. Also, on Saturday, we have a wedding shower to go to, as well as the monthly family gathering.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hilarious Video

For all you cat lovers out there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMXCuW9LDps

Absolutely hilarious.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Around Here

Nothing big has been happening here in Georgia. Last weekend, though, was busy. Dad and Seth went on the annual Father-Son campout in Winder. They've gone every year for seven years. This year was not as cold as usual, thankfully, and they had a good time. That Friday, Mandy went over to a friend's house with a few other girls to spend the night. That left me and Mom to do whatever. First, we went to a little shop to alter my bridemaid's dress. It was cheap, I must say. Only $85 to hem the dress and fix the sleeves. I should get it by November 10th, so I'll be sure to post a picture of it. Then, we ate Zaxbys for dinner and rented "The Ring" and " The Notebook." We watched "The Notebook" first. I have never cried out loud in a movie before, so this was the first time I had done so. Mom was crying too, probably because I was, even though she'd seen the movie before. After we had calmed down, we put in "The Ring," a horror movie without the blood and gore. I had seen about half of it before, but it had been with a bunch of teens who wouldn't stop talking so I couldn't understand the movie. This time, I understood it, creepiness and all. After finishing our movies, I hung out in the living room with my laptop while Mom studied for her biology test that she is actually taking today.

On Saturday, Mom and I woke up earlier than usual to go pick up Mandy and then go to church. Brittny Greer's wedding is quickly approaching, and Saturday was the wedding committee meeting. This is when a whole bunch of ladies get together to volunteer to cook some of the food, help set up, decorate, or clean up, and what rooms will be used for what during the reception. We spent a few hours discussing the wedding. Then, Mandy went home with the Greers because they had invited her to spend the night. Mom and I spent a few hours cleaning up the church before going home for lunch. That evening, Mom and Dad decided to go out for a date night. They went out to dinner and a movie, leaving me and Seth at home. I turned on America Top 40, where they play the top 40 songs in America. For the first time, I listened to it in entirety. Talk about booooorrrrrrrrrrring. I was all "music-ed out" by the time it was over. Well, around nine or so, Dad called and said his car wasn't starting and that he and Mom were walking home. They arrived forty-five minutes later, earlier than I expected them to. Then, they had to go back out to get some brief shopping done.

Needless to say, we do have the car fixed. Dad thought it was a bad battery, but he learned it was only a bad terminal that cost only $4 to fix. So, that was a relief. However, I think that several cars are conspiring. On Saturday, Mom had to take the Greer ladies from the church to their home because their car died. I heard a few other cars have been dying lately as well. Conspiracy, I say.

After being away for two nights, Mandy came home on Sunday afternoon. She looked exhausted during church and also that afternoon. Dad and Mom told her to take a nap, but she never did. It was Sunday afternoon when I discovered something cute. Mandy has her favorite cat called Trouble (whom she affectionately calls Baby or Bubba Dubba). She scolds him whenever he does something bad. For example, yesterday, he was watching two butterflies and was ready to pounce, but Mandy caught him. She attempted to explain to him that butterflies are pretty, but Trouble just swatted at them. It was funny to watch. Also, later, Mandy challenged Trouble to a race. She told me that they do it often and that he usually wins. The cat won, as usual, but it was cute to see the two run from the front yard and to the back deck.

The weather is turning cooler here. Nights and mornings are chilly and require sweaters. I am reluctant to put my faithful tevas away, so I am trying to see how long I can stand cold feet until I put on the heavy winter shoes. Afternoons are pleasantly warm here. The leaves are changing color, and it is beautiful. Mornings are a joy when we have to get up and leave our nice, warm beds. Dad and Mom refuse to turn on the heat yet, so it's c-cold. Speaking of cold, on the radio this morning the talkshow hosts were talking about using persimmons to tell what kind of winter we'll have. According to those who use persimmons, which I would suppose to be the old-timers and country folk, if the seed is shaped like a knife, it means a bitter cold winter. If it is shaped like a fork, it means a mild winter. But, if it is shaped like a spoon, it means wet snow. Well, the oldtimers are supposedly saying that the seeds this year are shaped like a spoon. That means snow, maybe. I do hope we get snow. It would help make up for the lack of rain here. And then, we rarely get snow here. I'd love a snow day when I get a break from school and when I can play in the snow. Hmmm.... maybe a blizzard like the one of '93. But... I suppose we'll have to wait to see if this comes true because the coldest months are January and maybe February.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Unusual Weather

I mentioned last week how dry it is in Georgia. Now, it seems as if the sky can't make up its mind on whether to rain or not. We've had many cloudy days with sometimes no rain. Today was even stranger. Mom was dropping me off at GGC this morning when we noticed the sky was a yellow/ amber color. I noticed that there were dark clouds moving in from, I think, the West. It was creepy to see. My algebra teacher Mrs. Barron later told me that we had been under tornado watch earlier. That's was weird. A tornado in late October? I don't think I've ever heard of that before. But now, it's raining hard. I can hear it through the open window and screen porch door. Now if only it would rain like this over Lake Lanier for a week. I read a report that says the lake has dropped fifteen feet because of the drought. If it'll just rain for a few weeks, maybe we won't have to worry about losing water.

Seth and Mandy have returned safely from Tazewell, Virginia. When they came home, Mandy looked as if she was about to drop dead of exhaustion. According to her, she went to bed late and woke up early every morning that she was there. The kids had a great time in Virginia. They went on a long hike, watched a woodchuck get skinned, played pranks on each other, and lots of other fun stuff. I wish I had pictures to post, but Seth and Mandy forgot the camera. They're both glad to be home, enjoying Mom's homecooking and the privilige of showers.

Oh, here is one funny incident that Mandy and her friends Megan and Bethany took part in. There were near the sheep pens when the gate accidentally came open. The sheep started chasing the three, especially a black sheep with a unique "baa." The girls escaped safely, but when Mandy told me and Mom the story, Mom burst out laughing and continued to do so for a while. A couple of the boys played pranks on the girls, jumping out from behind the bathroom at night and even donning a horse skull and bones and frightening them. There are many other stories as well, such as throwing a woodchuck tail and foot at one of the boys. The teachers also have stories, such as cleaning out the car after the trip (which apparently smelled terrible, since the kids had only had one shower and were in the fields most of the time). It is nice to have Seth and Mandy home again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dry, dry, dry

Things are about to get serious here in Georgia. We have recently learned that Lake Lanier, our major water supply, has about three or four months worth of water left in it because of the stupid mistakes of the engineers and also because of the lack of rain. It's been cloudy lately, but there has been little rain. This morning, there was a downpour, but I don't know how long it lasted. Everything is looking brown, dead, and bleak with the cloudy skies and trees that are turning brown and ugly. It's been getting cooler lately, cool enough to wear capris and a sweater, so no-sleeve shirts are out of the question.

Seth and Mandy left on Tuesday morning for Virginia. It was hilarious on Monday night after the memorial service we attended. Seth and Mandy needed boots, so we went to Wal-Mart to get some. We found a type to get, and they looked more like black rain boots. Mandy looked horrified at the thought of wearing them. To appease her, she was allowed to draw pink flowers on them. It's been very quiet without Seth and Mandy in the house. They should be back sometime on Friday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Joining the Craze

Well, four of us Cunninghams have joined the biggest on-line social craze of 2007: Facebook. I had heard people talking about it, but I wasn't really interested. On the ladies' retreat last weekend, Mom and I heard people talking about facebook and how cool it was. After we got home Saturday, I signed up. Then, Mom signed up, then Mandy, and then Seth. It is the coolest thing! You can put videos up, throw food at your friends or send them gifts, add pictures, or even have a pet! I think we'll be using Facebook for a while, hopefully. But, I will still update the blog as frequently as news comes.

Seth and Mandy will be leaving for Virginia tomorrow with the Geneva students. They are busy packing and buying clothes. They got to sleep in today (lucky!). The house will certainly be quieter without Mandy's liveliness. They'll be returning on Friday evening, I believe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Promised Pictures

Well, the camera found its way back to me after being in Mandy's locker at school. So, I have the promised pictures of the recent youth group gathering. And, there is some news around here. Mom took her midterm yesterday for biology class. Tomorrow, she and I are going to Helen for the church's annual ladies' retreat. On Tuesday, Seth and Mandy are driving up to Virginia for the school retreat. They were supposed to leave on Monday, but a recent death in our church has changed that. There are many busy weekends coming up as well. Closer to the end of the month is the church's annual father-son campout that all the boys look forward to.




Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Newest Cunningham

Well, the long wait is over. A new Cunningham was born on October 1st to Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy. It all started late Sunday night. Uncle Jason called Dad around midnight to inform him that they were going to the hospital. However, he also said that the baby's heartbeat had been irregular, so there was some concern. Dad informed us Monday morning on what had happened, and nothing new had been reported. Around 9:30 AM, Dad called me at school and told me that the baby had been born safely and both mom and baby were doing well. A name had still not been chosen yet, but we did know it was a baby girl.
Later that day, Uncle Jason sent us a picture of the newborn, and we were eager to go see her. After Dad cut one of Seth's lawns, he decided that we would go and visit. Mom got home just as we were about to leave, so she went with us. When we arrived at the hospital, Uncle Josh, Aunt Sarah, and the girls were there visiting as well. We cooed over the baby and how pretty she is. She looks like neither of her parents, but there are traits of her three sisters in her. And, we learned the name: Audrey Mae Cunningham. A very southern name. And since, I did find the camera, I have a little picture of her.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Busy Week

We Cunninghams have been busy this past few days, which is why I have not posted. Last Friday, we had the Price family over for dinner. They stayed until eleven, and we had a good time. Cliff spent the night with Seth. On Saturday, it was youth group meeting at Buford Dam. Mandy and Bethany are now old enough to attend, so they were thrilled about it. We had a great time. It was pleasantly windy outside and not too hot. The boys played frisbee and football while the girls had fun with Eden and Lydia, two adorable toddlers and the daughters of the youth group leaders. Then, the boys went down to the river. They skipped rocks and had throwing contests. Then, we went back up to the grass and played kickball until everyone scattered to help get ready for lunch. We enjoyed burgers and chips. After lunch, we had a short devotional and sang. Then, the fun began with the cellphones. Cliff Price is the best person I know who can imitate all kinds of accents and all types of voices, and he can think of the funniest phone calls. So, we dragged Cliff into making a couple of prank calls to some people from church. He did some hilarious ones, even pulling one on Mom, claiming to be selling some new energy drink. We all laughed so hard at the calls, and we tried not to burst while he was talking. After cellphone fun, we went on the other side of the river to goof off. Cliff and Ben Greer climbed a tall tree, and we were careful not to get in their path, or we'd get tormented with acorns or twigs. Bethany Greer got pushed into a small creek so the lower half of her pants were wet. Also on Saturday, we rented a carpet cleaner, and Dad cleaned the carpets. That night, he and Mom went out for dinner and a movie.

Monday college classes were interesting, to say the least. My English teacher Mr. Lilly asked us if we had read the homework assignment over the weekend. I was the only one who had read it. The teacher then shooed everyone who hadn't read out of the classroom and said he was disappointed and also that reading was a part of their grade. So, it was a small English class. We talked about forming a thesis from the essay I had read, and he complimented me on my work and for doing the homework. So, I feel proud, but it does feel a little uncomfortable to be the only person doing the assigned work. On Friday, we had our midterm Spanish exam, which took four people, including myself, less than thirty minutes to finish. My algebra midterm is on Thursday. So far, I'm not totally happy with my grades. I have a 79 in English and a 76 in computer, and I probably have an A in the GGC- "How to be a good college student" class. Seth and Mandy are excited because they only have one week of school left before they go up to Virginia for the school retreat. I'm still jealous because they get a break and I don't. Oh, well. I went on two student retreats, a trip to Callaway Gardens, and a ten-day eastern coast trip over two years. I should at least begrudge them time to shear sheep and chop down trees. Ha! At least they'll be camping and I'll be in a warm house.

Sad to say, I would post pictures of what we have been doing lately, but my camera has formed a bad habit of disappearing from me. I have pictures of the youth group meeting, but I did not transfer them when I should have. My bad. Well, I will post them as soon as the camera stops playing hide-and-seek with me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Evening of Laughs

Our sweet little Mandy has been in pain for a day or two. One of her toenails was growing into the skin, and she said it hurt. On Friday, Dad tried to cut it but could not. He's still not sure what it is, but it's hard for Mandy to walk or apply pressure to it.


Nothing much has happened this week. On Friday, Mandy and I were called last-minute to babysit Avalyn and Kiera's cousin Clayton. He is the sweetest boy with the cutest smile and laugh. We had a good time watching him. He liked to push us over gently, and he enjoyed us picking him up and then he would fall backwards again. This week, Mandy and Seth learned about the annual Geneva retreat. Instead of going to northern Georgia, they and the other students are going to Virginia, where they will be going to a farm for a week. I am envious about them going places, but I am reminded I took off ten days in my junior year to travel to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington DC. This means a week at home alone with Mom and Dad. It'll be much quieter, that's for sure, and Mom will get another break. She definitely needs one.

Tonight, we went to the Murphys' house for supper. We ate Little Caesars and enjoyed good conversation. Little Emma was adorable and squealed and laughed as Mandy played with her. The Murphys also introduced us to "The Office," a TV show about a boss and his workers. We had not laughed so hard in a long time, and we added the three seasons to our Netflix queue. We're looking forward to watching it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Busy Saturday

Well, I have ordered the bridesmaid's dress for Brittny's wedding. I am a bit freaked out because the size 8 was too tight in the back, so I will have to wear a size 10. Mom keeps telling me that dress sizes vary among the styles. But still, a size 10. Well, it's a gorgeous dress. I've been wondering how I will walk down the aisle with such a long dress and in heels. I am not a very graceful person, and I don't want to step on the dress. Oh, well. I've got a few months before I have to worry about that. The dress should come in late October, and then I will have it altered to fit me and my petite frame. I'll be sure to try it on and post a picture of it. In the meantime, here is what it looks like.

http://www.davidsbridal.com/bridesmaids_bycolor_detail.jsp?stid=2982&sid=15395&cfid=61

On Saturday, after I ordered the dress, Mom, Mandy, and I went shopping for several hours. We went to Old Navy, where Mandy wanted to buy some clothes. If I had had the cash, I would have gone shopping as well. She bought three cute shirts, and one is like a striped tunic with a hoodie that screams "Mandy" all over it. After Old Navy, we went to H Mart, an Asian food mart that sells the cheapest and freshest fruit. Mom loves buying her soy sauce from there, and she is especially excited since they are building an H Mart close to our house. Then, we went to Costco to buy supplies for Geneva/ church. It was hilarious to see us pushing this cart of cookies, crackers, gatorade, granola bars, and such. One can only wonder what people think about us. Our car was packed to the gills with stuff, and we had to warn Dad and Seth not to open the trunk.

In regards to our hot water heater, you can be assured that we now have hot water. We replaced the whole heater. Mr. Tripiano from church helped Dad put it in Friday and Saturday. It is nice to have hot water to be able to wash dishes and do the laundry. Speaking of hot, that is no longer what Georgia is right now. The past few days have been pleasantly cool, and the mornings are beginning to require sweaters. On Sunday, Dad, Mandy, and I went for a walk in the late afternoon, and we were not sweating at all. We are entering the fall stage. Well, at least we can be grateful that we no longer really need to have the fans on in the house. I think very soon it will be time to get down the sweaters and go shopping for fall clothes.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It Had to Happen

I spoke too soon yesterday when I said nothing interesting had happened. Well, something else did happen. Our hot water heater is out of service. Dad had suspected it a few days ago, but we were not aware of it. This morning when Dad got us up, he informed us that we had no hot water. It seems the cooling and heating parts of the house are conspiring against us after we have known them for almost twelve years. We joke around that we're going back to primative days. All we need is a log cabin in the middle of the woods, and we're good. Well, we have survived without air conditioning in muggy, hot Georgia. Surely we can survive without hot water.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What's Up?

Times have been busy for us Cunninghams. Mom had a biology test or quiz yesterday and scored a hundred. She's been working hard lately with cleaning the church and school, teaching classes everyday, attending college, and then caring for us. Because of her schedule, this means simpler meals such as grilled cheese and chicken caesar salad sometimes. Seth and Mandy are doing well in school. Every Wednesday, she babysits for another family from church. Seth is still mowing his lawns every other week.

College is going fine. Today I had an algebra test and a computer test. Thankfully, I had several hours between the classes to study. However, these breaks are often boring. Next semester, I will be sure to organize my classes better so that I do not have to go in every single day. I am applying for a job at the college library, and I hope I get it. For English, my class has begun a series of "blogs", more like message groups, that only students and teachers from GGC can read. It is divided into teams, each team defending a certain political issue. I am on a team with two other people, and we are responsible for commenting on other blogs, posting an essay once a week, and posting article links and their summaries. My team is slow. One of the members is not working at all, and the deadline for choosing a name has already passed. I get to write about how the Bush Administration has not helped matters in Iraq and that we need to change that. Exciting stuff. I've made a friend in college. She is in two of my classes, and her name is Blair. She is nice, and I enjoy talking to her. It's nice to be able to talk to someone as a friend when you are in a place full of complete strangers. Quite a big change from Geneva.

The weather is cooling down here. Nights are becoming cool, and the temperature during the day is going down as well. At college, some yellow leaves are beginning to fall sporadically. The house is no longer an oven, but we still turn on the large fan in the evening. The mosquitos are bad, and so are the ants. We have been plagued by the ants a few times these past few weeks. At college, they are especially bad. I like sitting outside in the sun because the buildings are cold and dreary. In the front of one of the buildings are several benches and such to sit down on. Most of the time, I sit down on a bench to read or study, and sometimes these ants will appear out of nowhere and begin to plague me, even when I am not eating. They seem to be attracted to my backpack for some reason, but I have no clue why. Speaking of which, my backpack is a pain. I have to climb up and down stairs a lot, and the backpack must weigh between twenty to thirty pounds with the laptop and a few large books inside. I tried using another backpack, but it only hurt my shoulders (without the laptop inside). Well, enough of my college ramblings.

Nothing much has happened in our family lately, and we are not expecting anything new to happen. Well, actually, I am going to get my bridesmaid's dress for Brittny Greer's wedding on Saturday. I'll be sure to post a picture of it soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

For Cat Owners

Dad got this video from a coworker. It's hilarious, but only cat owners will really be able to appreciate it. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qit3ALTelOo

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day

I'm still kicking myself since I forgot to bring the camera to the family get-together for Labor Day. I really need to start taking more pictures since the blog looks empty without them.

Well, we slept in on Monday. Dad went to go cut a few lawns that Seth usually does (since Seth didn't want to do them). He came home sweaty and dirty and told us about how he killed a snake with the lawnmower. Mom was cleaning the church to clean up because we had potluck on Sunday and because we had school the next day. We kids did our chores and worked on our homework. In the afternoon, Dad took Seth out driving, and he did pretty good considering he has never driven before. He wants to get his permit soon.

Around four o'clock, we left the house and stopped by the store to pick up some sodas. We ran into some traffic on the way but were not late. As usual, we were the first ones to arrive at Grandma Linda's house. Uncle Josh and his crew arrived next, with their dog Kona in a tow. Kona is a year old chocolate- colored dog. She used to be totally out of control but has calmed down somewhat. Uncle Josh brought her along to keep Tucker the puppy company. Tucker did come with Uncle Jason and his family. He has grown big in only a month. Tucker was curious about Kona and liked following her around. At one point, the two were wrestling in the yard. It was hilarious to see Kona flip Tucker over and then him get up and then get knocked over again.

Supper was lasgana, rolls, salad, and some fruit. Dessert was red velvet cake and ice cream. We have had three birthdays recently: Dad's, cousin Noah's, and Uncle Jason's wife Aunt Nancy. The older kids sat outside while the adults and younger kids sat inside most of the time. There were humorous stories. Grandma offered money to us kids if we could find and get rid of an annoying green frog that has been plaguing her. For example, it decided to hide in her patio umbrella and then leapt at her when she opened it up. She sprayed it with bug spray, and Mom said it was probably dead already. Aunt Nancy entertained us with stories of Tucker wrecking her house and expressed her anxieties as she wonders if she is expecting a boy or a girl.

Dad and his brothers went over to Uncle Jason's in-laws' house to move some furniture, and they took Tucker home so Aunt Nancy wouldn't have to worry about him. Seth, Gabe, and Noah played "Settlers of Catan," Seth's favorite game that he always wins. Mandy kept the little girls in line and played with them while I hung around with the adults.

Among the topics of discussions were upcoming family gatherings. We are still debating over who is hosting Thanksgiving. And, there was also talk of the big family trip down to Florida next summer. Because our family is huge, we can no longer squeeze everyone into six bedrooms. We are going to be looking for a house with seven bedrooms on the beach. We haven't been down to Florida for a couple of years, and I think we are all looking forward to this family trip. It will be a week of happy chaos, swimming, playing in the sand, tanning ourselves, and taking lots of pictures. I hope we can go.

We left Grandma's house around 8:30 and drove home through the backroads to avoid traffic. Mom did some work for her science classes, and we kids got ready for bed. And that was Labor Day.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Second Week of School

I think we Cunninghams have gotten used to the school schedule. We know when to leave the house to pick up the two who carpool with us, to drop me off at college, and to get to Geneva. However, it is very busy for us. Mom, besides teaching the students and cleaning the church and school, is taking a science class at Georgia Perimeter in order to get her major in biology. Her classes are at six and happen on Mondays and Wednesdays. She always has something to do. Well, with Labor Day next week, she is ready to sit down and relax. She definitely needs it since our next break won't be until Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, Seth and I went to the Greers' house, where we carpooled with them and drove up to Winder, about thirty minutes away. Brittny Greer's fiance Jake Bailey's family built a large house up there and have a nice pool. The Covenant Youth Group from church were going to meet there. We all had a blast. The boys enjoyed torturing me, spraying each other with the hose, wrestling, throwing the toy torpedoes, and playing a violent game of water basketball. We enjoyed pizza and an ice cream dessert then had a devotional. Afterwards, the majority left to go home. However, those who hadn't left yet climbed back into the pool. Ben Greer enjoyed chasing whoever had a ball in their hands, and it was fun trying to keep them away from him. While we were at the pool, Dad, Mom, and Mandy went to the Abrahams' house to celebrate Kiera's birthday.

The second week at college has been easier now that I actually know what I'm doing. I can eat lunch in the cafe on campus (which costs $4.50 just for a sandwich, a pickle, and some chips). I've fallen in love with the philly steak sandwich that they offer. So, I am enjoying it. Seth and Mandy are doing well at Geneva as well. Recently, Mandy did a newspaper article for her class about the pool party Seth and I attended. She has Latin classes with Pastor Strevel, and she says he gives quizzes everyday. Seth has been doing well under Mrs. Boyd. As long as he does what she asks, he'll survive her wrath :)

Well, the weather seems to have taken a better turn. Just about everyday for a week, it has either been cloudy or has rained at least once a day. It has been much cooler. Mom's plants are looking better. We have harvested a few Roma tomatoes, and the japaleno peppers are ready to be picked. We're waiting for Mandy's bell peppers to get bigger as well before we pluck those off.

Nothing much is scheduled for the future. Tomorrow, after Mandy gets back from Bethany Greer's birthday party, we five are going out for Dad's birthday lunch (which we have rescheduled too many times to count). On Labor Day, we are going to hang out with family. I'll be sure to post pictures from that occasion.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The First Week

Well, we Cunninghams have started our fall, winter, and spring schedule for school. I started college, Mom began as the science teacher, and Seth and Mandy have returned as students to Geneva.

On Monday, Dad woke us up around six fifteen, which was a big change from sleeping in until nine or ten AM. We ate breakfast and got dressed. We were in a hurry, so we did not have the chance to get first-day of school pictures. Because it was the first day of school, Geneva was having a sort of orientation/ breakfast for the parents of the students. Dad drove to me to Georgia Gwinnett, and I walked into it. The college is taking over Georgia Perimeter, which will be fully gone by next year. The college is made of up three buildings, A, B, and C. A is where Perimeter still is, but the bookstore and information desk is also there. Buildings B and C have GGC classrooms, and B has a restaurant that I will be eating in starting next week. Anyway, the college is brand-new and is all for the latest technology in helping students learn. I don't call it helpful; I consider it unnecessary and complicated, one more thing to do. All the students have three accounts (and they will probably get more over the rest of the year). The first is the banner account where the schedule is posted; the second is the Web CT Vista where the students get to see their grades, announcements, and homework assignments; and the third is the e-mail account that the students use to e-mail teachers and get messages from the school. Well, the first week of school went bad for me technology- wise. My Vista refused to work, and my e-mail refused to log me in and I was unaware of the account number and password. On Tuesday, I got my Vista solved. I spent the next few days feeling stressed out about the lack of a working e-mail address. Finally, today, with the help of my algebra teacher, I got to fix it. I hope next week will go smoothly.

My schedule is weird and means boredom. My first classes everyday begin at 8 AM and end about an hour later. On Wednesdays, my next class begins at 11 AM and school is over by 1 PM. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, school is over at 3:20 after a two- hour computer class. Mondays and Fridays mean two hours of waiting before going home. I guess it serves me right for not knowing how to drive myself yet. Thankfully, my laptop with Internet helps spare me from boredom and I'm reading "The Amber Spyglass."

School has gone well for Mom, Seth, and Mandy as well. Mom is enjoying it thoroughly. On Wednesdays, she teaches Geneva at Home, a program for homeschoolers before they can enter Geneva in sixth grade. She loves this class, and the students are like little sponges and have said that science is their favorite class. Mandy has her best bud Bethany as her classmate as well as another girl Megan. She also has two annoying boys in her class, Ian and Micah. Seth is doing well, considering this is his first year with Mrs. Boyd, the infamous strict English teacher. On Tuesday, she gave him an assignment of summarizing various chapters of "The Count of Monte Christo." Poor Seth spent six hours finishing it, and that meant missing a trip to the pool. When he returned to class on Thursday, he learned his classmate Michael had only taken an hour to complete the assignment. He then learned that he had only to do five chapters, not the whole thing. Well, at least Seth won't have English homework for a while, hopefully.

Well, enough of school. The weather has been miserably hot this week as usual. However, we have found a way to keep the house cooler. We turn on the master fan when it is cool in the evenings and have smaller fans running all over the place. Our yard and back deck were looking poor for plant life. However, we have received a special blessing and a relief. On Thursday, we had a rain shower that didn't last that long. It was so good to see rain again after not having it for several weeks. Tonight, we had a thunderstorm pass through the area and got poured on. The air is humid but cool, and the house feels wonderfully cool. Nights are getting cooler, now let's hope the days start getting cooler as well.

On Thursday, Dad turned forty. We did a little intimate family celebration off- the- cuff. Mom and I went shopping and bought him some tobacco, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and some beer. We kids all got him cards and signed them. Mom made BLTs for dinner and made pumpkin pie as a surprise (since it is Dad's favorite dessert). I believe next month is the party, but I'm not actually sure about that, so don't call me reliable on that.

Tonight the Hortons, good friends of our family that we have known since late 1991, invited us over for dinner. Dad was suspicious. Ever since his surprise 30th birthday party, he has insisted on no more surprises. He asked Mom if she was up to something, but she denied it. On the way to their house, Dad kept looking around the neighborhood to see if there were any recognizable cars. Dinner was lovely with salad, grilled chicken, bread, cheesy potatoes, and a chocolate casserole. We enjoyed good conversation and watched "Much Ado about Nothing." Around ten PM, we came home.

So, it has been a good week as a starting point. Tomorrow will be busy for us. Dad, Mom, and Mandy will be going to Kiera Abraham's 1st birthday party. Seth and I will be going to a youth group pool party, which we are both looking forward to.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Feeling the Heat

The weather has been unusually hot and muggy lately. The temperature has gone up into the hundreds, making it miserable. Watering plants is impossible during the heat of the day, and they only quickly become wilted again. Our grass is turning brown, though it does not look like it did several years ago. We desperately need a hurricane or something. Anything that's cool and gives us a nice, long rain shower.

Well, things always break down when they shouldn't. We are having one of those moments, with our air conditioning. On Wednesday, it was hotter than usual in the house, so Mom ordered me to stop doing laundry, since we thought it was only making the house hotter. Well, she took Mandy and Bethany Greer shopping, leaving Seth and me at home. The air was on, but the house was absolutely sweltering. I was so sweaty that my shorts were clinging to my legs, and Seth decided to go shirt- less. When Mom got home, she checked the temperature. It was ninety- six degrees in the house. We quickly realized that the air was not working properly, so we called John Presley, an air conditioner repairmen, to take a look at it. While we waited, we opened all the windows and turned on our monster hall fan. The outside air was actually cooler than the inside. Well, we got it looked at and learned that we needed to fix it or buy a new one. And, our furnace in the attic isn't working well either, so we need to replace that too. Dad and Mom decided to replace both at the same time, which may happen in a few weeks. So, until then, it'll be fans in every room and open windows.

Now for something slightly more humorous. Over the past few weeks, Dad has brewed fifteen gallons of beer (three different types in different buckets). Well, beer is supposed to remain in relatively cool temperatures or it will go bad. With all the heat in the house, Dad grew worried about the beer going bad. So, we called the Strevel family and received permission to store the fifteen gallons in their dark and cool basement. Dad carried the three buckets down to the street and put them in the back of the van. He sat in the back and held onto them until we arrived at the Strevels'. After the delivery, we went to Boarders to cool down and relax. That night, we kids and Mom stayed at the Strevels' house, and Dad joined us the next night. Tonight, we will be sleeping in our own house, kept cool by the fans.

Well, the day is approaching. On Monday, school starts for four of us Cunninghams. I start college at Georgia Gwinnett (and I still need my last book, which hasn't come in yet. Grrrrrr). Seth and Mandy start their classes at Geneva, and Mom begins as her first year as science teacher. Her science room looks great. It has a bookshelf full of books, pictures of butterflies and plants, several quotes on the walls, and some plants. And, she bought a beta fish and wants to get a tarantula. I hope the boys at school don't try anything with the tarantula, such as let it out of its cage. Mom says that the hairy spider may be staying with us in the future. Yikes! I hope the cats don't knock its cage over, or I shall die of fright. So, anyway, the day is getting closer. Mandy is trying to finish her summer English assignment, and I need to start working on a project for one of my classes (the stupid one about being a good college student). This will be the first time in many years (since third grade) that I will be attending a secular school. I can only imagine that things have changed significantly since then. I will definitely miss Geneva and all the teachers and students. Well, I can't always be there forever. One of these days, I ought to do a slideshow with pics from Geneva.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Busy Times

Times have been busy for us Cunninghams lately. Recently, there was a Girls' Day Out, a Boys' Party, a couple days of hard cleaning, and a lovely shopping spree.


Last Thursday, we girls got up to go run a couple of errands. One of those was going to the college bookstore to pick up a couple of books. I had to buy them, and they were not cheap. The graduation money came in handy. I took a look through my English book, and it looks like a philosophy class full of writings from Martin Luther King Jr., Freud, Marx and Engels, and other writers. I'll definately miss Mrs. Boyd's English class. My Spanish book doesn't look too bad. Mom picked up a couple of books as well. The store at the college has everything: snacks, books, pencils, medicine, and other supplies. After that, we drove to the mall to see "No Reservations." It was a cute movie about cooking and romance. And that was the girls' day out.


Last Friday was busy. We never celebrated Seth's birthday formally because of a busy schedule, and he had wanted a poker party. So, we planned it before school begins. Seth invited the cousins Gabe and Noah and then Cliff, Christopher, and Ben from school/ church. We had Little Caesars for dinner and watched "Casino Royale." After that, the boys began their poker games. They played for a while, and Dad was the dealer. After dessert was brought out, the boys went outside to torment each other. Christopher and Seth had fun locking the other boys outside. Then, everyone decided they wanted to watch a movie. We watched "Mystery Science Theater: The Killer Shrews." For those who don't know Mystery Science Theater, it was a TV show where two robots and a guy are forced to watch horrible movies, so they make hilarious commentaries during the film. The movie was weird, so the guys decided to watch "Hercules against the Moon Men," the best Mystery Science Theater ever. I went to bed around two AM, but the boys were up until four AM until Dad ordered them to bed. The next morning, the boys nearly ate all the biscuits and gravy for breakfast, but Dad saved some for me.

On Sunday, Mandy and I were enlisted in the services of Bethany Abraham, who needed us to watch Avalyn and Keira for her while she ran errands. So, we went to her house on Monday morning and watched them for a good part of the day. We went to the pool after Bethany came home, since it was over a hundred degrees outside, which is very unusual for Georgia. We enjoyed pizza for dinner and watched "The Incredibles" on my laptop. Mandy and I spent the night because we were still needed for the next day. On Tuesday, Mandy stayed with the girls while I accompanied Bethany to her rented duplex, where she needed my help in cleaning it up. We did almost the entire downstairs and made good progress. The house was filthy, and it made me thankful that our house never got that dirty. After swimming at the pool again, Bethany took me and Mandy home. On Wednesday, I helped Bethany finish cleaning the house. It was a scorching day again, over a hundred degrees. We desperately need rain before Mom's lovely back deck garden dies. Also on Wednesday, Dad harvested his hops before they died in the heat. He couldn't be more happier and is anxious to use them for his next brew.

Today, we girls decided to go shopping for various things. We went to Cato, Mandy's favorite clothes store. I found two shirts and a skirt, but there were cute outfits that were too big, since the smallest average size was a medium. Mandy found some khaki capris that she can wear to school. We then went to Georgia Gwinnett bookstore to pick up more of my books. We have had some trouble accessing my college account, but we got that cleared up. And, we changed my schedule so it is more balanced, deleting the history class and putting math in its place. I spent over two hundred dollars buying my math book and my computer class book, and I still have to buy one more. Thank goodness for graduation money. Then, we girls went to Kohl's. Mandy found some jeans and a cute top while I found a couple of shirts. Next week, Mom is buying more for Seth and Mandy because of Geneva's dress code. Lucky for me, I have no dress code to worry about. Tonight, we are probably going to watch "Disturbia," a modern version of Hitchcock's "Rear Window."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting Back in the Scheme of Things

Well, as of now, we three Cunninghams have gotten back into the summer scheme. Seth is back to work, Mandy is back to babysitting, and I am back to.... lounging around the house. Speaking of the house, it has been decided that we are not moving due to sad state of the house market. So, we have a couple more years in this one. Not that I'll complain. I love this house, as it is the one I have lived in the longest and remember the most. And then, we get to continue to feed our fat birds and to scare off those stupid squirrels on our bird feeder.

Last week was busy somewhat for us. On Wednesday, Mandy had a babysitting opportunity, and I got to go with her. We went with Bethany Abraham, her two cute girls, her sister and nephew to a nearby pool. There was a nice water slide, a lazy river, and some interesting thing where you have to cross a narrow part of the pool using slippery things that look like giant lily pads and some rope above your head. Mandy tried this one the most, and I fell down my first time. Mandy and I switched off on watching after Avalyn, who hates getting water in her face. She liked jumping in and out of the wading pool. Mandy and I had lunch with Bethany and her sister then settled down to watching the three kids for the afternoon while the moms went to go to do some shopping. Clayton refused to nap, and Kiera wasn't tired, so we let them just play. Clayton loved the toys and made the playroom a disaster area. At one point, he was carrying a wooden frying pan and holding it above Kiera's head. I thought he was going to drop it on her, but he never did. Mandy had the privilege of getting hit with it a few times. I had my camera with me, and Kiera always smiled for me when I took her picture. Avalyn then woke up from her nap, and we had the three. It wasn't too hard. Later that day, I got to change Kiera's diaper and put a clean outfit on her (not an easy task, may I add).

On Thursday, we girls spent the day cleaning the house. We had some old friends of ours, the Bauers, over for burgers since they were in town. It is amazing to see how Breanne (who was Mandy's childhood bud until they moved) and Brendan had grown over the past several years. It was a nice evening filled with conversation and enjoying the food. We were up until after midnight before the Bauers left.

On Friday, Dad took the day off because he was tired from the night before. We Cunninghams cleaned the house and were pushed to start reading more. Dad and I went to the library, and I picked up a couple of books to read. Mom was busymaking food for a family at church. No kidding, every week for the past month, someone has given birth. So, Mom's been busy preparing food for various families. So, we enjoyed Chinese pork and fried rice for supper. Mandy had her friends Anna and Kristen over to spend the night in Kristen's tent. Mandy was up late, as usual, at least until 3 AM.

On Saturday, Dad went to go help a friend bottle some beer. I went to keep Avalyn and Kiera company but learned they were off with their mom. So I just sat and read. Later that afternoon, we went to Grandma Linda's house for dinner. Every month, we try to have a family gathering of some sort. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs this time. It was fun because Uncle Jason brought the new family puppy Tucker. He was a soft and adorable puppy. All the kids had fun playing with him. It was close to nine when we left Grandma's house. We came home and prepared for bed but did not go to bed until eleven PM.

And so, that is what has happened so far since we came back from Arizona. Mandy is getting excited about school and keeps asking to go school shopping. Mom is busy getting ready for being the science teacher at Geneva this year and also for Geneva at Home, a once-a- week program for homeschoolers under sixth grade. And so, summer is drawing to a close. That means college is rapidly approaching.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Second Week

Now here begins the second week. Scroll down if you haven't read the first week. Sorry for taking so long, but it takes a while to download all these pictures.
Anyway, we woke up in Sunday to cinnamon rolls and fruit for breakfast. It was odd not to be in church as we usually are. Mandy received a call from Dad, who asked why she had called Bethany during church. Mandy denied that she had done it, and Bethany later asked her the same question. After lunch, we drove to Fossil Creek. The ride was unforgettable. It was the longest, bumpiest, and dustiest ride I have ever been on. The road was narrow, winding, and bumpy since it was not paved. There were no guard rails on the side, so we drove along the side of a cliff. The creek was beautiful and unexpected. It was clear and bluish green in color as well as icy cold. We kids played in the water, and Mandy had to ask Seth to carry her so she would not get carried away by the current. It was getting cloudy, so we drove back to the cabin. We began playing rummikub when it started raining. Then, lightning flashed less than fifty feet from the house, and the thunder cracked. Grandma looked like she was about to have a heart attack, and Seth's game pieces were all over the floor. It scared us so bad, and our hearts were pounding for a long time. We later learned that the lightning had destroyed a neighbor's shed.



On Monday, after Grandpa Tom came back from his doctor's appointment, we drove up to Clarkdale to visit two places: the mining town of Jerome and the ruins of Tuzikoot (unsure if I spelled that right). We first ate lunch at Jerome at the Haunted Hamburger than went shopping. Mandy got a gift for Bethany, Seth got a sign for Dad, I got butterfly earrings, and we all bought Mom more hairclips, since her favorite one came from Jerome and she needed more. The sky had been sunny but now was dark and threatening rain. We drove down to Tuzikoot. The ruins were cool, and the views were beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer there, but the rain was coming quickly. After leaving the ruins, we drove down to Phoenix to have dinner with Grandpa Tom's family. We stayed for two hours because we had to leave early the next morning.


On Tuesday, we got up early and ate breakfast before driving up to Williams. We boarded the train there for the two- hour drive to the Grand Canyon. We arrived at the canyon around noon and spent some time admiring the view and taking pictures. It was good to see it again after ten years, especially when you can take your own pictures and remember things that happened there. After snacking for lunch, we hung around the area since it was beginning to rain and thunder again. We picked up a few things, including a head scarf for me and a cap for Grandpa. That afternoon, we boarded the train and drove back. I forgot to mention our stewardess Jodi. She was lively and talkative and played games with us. The marshall from the Wild West show came to our car and gave a nearby boy a hard time, making us laugh and get glared at by the marshal. Late that afternoon, we arrived back in Williams. We drove to the restaurant The Sizzler, a good place. The only downpart was finding a bug in my food, but we got refunded for that meal.


On Wednesday, our original plan had been to go to Sedona and see the formations there. However, we were all tired from our long driving the day before and decided to relax that day. We had Pizza Factory for lunch, and then Grandma took us kids bowling. She gave us good tips on how to do better, and Seth did the best out of us kids. After bowling, we went to Fireside for smoothies. Mandy and I had decided to make dinner that night, so we spent some time trying to figure out what to make. We settled on poppy seed chicken and went to the grocery store for supplies. We spent a few hours making the meal, which everyone enjoyed.


On Thurday, we woke up and eat quickly so we could leave for one last sightseeing trip: The Petrified Forest. A few years ago, my family had wanted to go there but did not have the time to do so. We arrived at the forest and watched a quick video on the park's history. It was interesting to see how the trees became rock, who used to live in the park, and how the park was founded. We were severely warned not to pick up any pieces of petrified wood under pain of arrest and fines. Afterwards, we toured the park. The rocks were beautiful and smooth. The day was hot, and we had to carry around water. We saw rocks with ancient Indian pictures, a couple of annoying and croaking ravens, some beautiful landscapes, and the Painted Desert, which is made of red rock. Seth saw the Indian ruins, but the rest of us were too hot and tired to go see them. After our tour, we left the park to go get some lunch. We drove a little on Route 66 and saw some of the old shops, motels, and gas stations along it. When we got back to the cabin, we kids started getting our packing ready and organzing what went where. Mandy's suitcase was stuffed, and mine quickly started looking the same. We went to a local restaurant for dinner. That night, Mandy and I talked before bed about going home.


On Friday, we had breakfast of French toast with bananas, strawberries, and whipped cream, a delicious alternative to the usual syrup and butter. We drove to Phoenix, where Grandma had a doctor's appointment. We kept ourselves occupied by playing Mexican Train. After lunch, we ran some errands since we still had time before we had to go to the airport. We went to Petsmart, where we got supplies for JD, who would be arriving on Saturday. There were adorable kittens there. We wanted to take them home, but we decided that Dad would not like it. After a few more stores, we drove to the airport. We tearfully said good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa outside of security. We passed through it easily with no problems. We waited around for a couple of hours, waiting to board our plane. Our plane arrived late, so we boarded later than usual. We took off after a while due to airport "traffic jam." The trip seemed longer, and I was tired. We finally arrived in Atlanta at one thirty Saturday morning. We met Mom and Dad then went to go get our luggage. We did not get home until after three. We gave the gifts and then went to bed.

All in all, a fantastic trip. It was amazing to see all the ruins, the beautiful country, and old towns. We learned about the Indians, the mines, and more. It was amazing. The country is beautiful, especially watching thunderstorms over the plains far away. And now, a big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for making this trip possible. Hugs and kisses to the both of you!

The First Week

Well, we Cunningham kids have safely returned from a two- week vacation to Arizona. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the sightseeing, and just visiting with Grandma Gail and Grandpa Tom. There is too much to say, so it will require two posts: one for the first week and another for the second week.

Well, we drove to the airport late Monday afternoon and arrived two hours before our flight was supposed to leave. Shortly after arrival, we learned that our flight had been bumped from seven thirty to eight twenty or so. After getting through security with no problem, except I did not scan my laptop properly the first time. We ate some supper at the terminal and lounged around, waiting for boarding to begin. We did not board until around eight thirty, which was an impatient wait. We kissed Mom and Dad good-bye then boarded. What happened next had no good reason. The plane did not depart until nine thirty, which made the wait even more boring. There were some kids on the plane near our seats who would not be quiet with all their whining, complaining, and crying. Finally, the plane took off. It was exciting for us, since two of us had not flown before and one had not for ten years. We read, slept a little, and watched a movie during the trip. We had a little turbulance during the trip, but it was cool to see lightning from above, not beneath. Around ten fifteen, Phoenix time, we landed at Sky Harbor Airport. We met our grandparents then went to go find our baggage, which took some time. We drove to a nearby hotel for the night, since it was too late to drive up to Pine.

The next morning, we woke up still feeling tired due to the time change. We thought we had lost the new red phone, but it was soon found, much to our relief. We ate breakfast then began the two- hour drive up to Pine, in the mountains of northern Arizona. For the first hour, we saw cacti, and it looked like a desert. However, that changed when it became rockier and we saw trees. We finally arrived at the cute little cabin near the little town of Pine (which Grandma said that if you blink you could miss it, which is true). We got settled in and had lunch. After lunch, we went to go visit Grandma and Grandpa's future puppy JD. He was the biggest, fattest, cutest ball of fur. Then, we girls went to town to get ready for supper. We ate outside, even though it was in the 90's, but it didn't feel like it at all. That night, we discussed our plans for the next week and a half.

On Wednesday morning, Seth accompanied Grandpa Tom to a tractor breakfast, where some tractor-loving guys gather once a week for breakfast. Later, some of them would come by and try to work on Grandpa's John Deere tractor. We girls went to a little place for breakfast then went antique shopping. We enjoyed it very much. The stores were nice, clean, organized, and professional, not junky at all. They seemed to go on forever, and there was so much to see. That afternoon, we played a long, long game of Mexican Train. Grandma beat us all by a long shot. We had juicy steaks and baked potatoes for dinner, which was delicious.

On Thursday, we woke up around seven and ate breakfast. We drove to Kohls Ranch to go horseback riding for a couple of hours. It was a bit scary at first since none of us really knew how to ride a horse. However, that faded away soon. The first hour was fun. Most of our horses stopped to relieve themselves in the middle of the trail, which made us laugh. The trail was narrow in some parts, and it was creepy to ride so close to the edge of a steep slope. After the first hour, it started getting scary. We were getting sore and were looking for the end of the trail. Our horses got hungry and decided to stop by the edge of the steep slope to eat. Two of them actually wandered off the trail, which scared the two riders. After the ride, we were sore. The men went to Fireside, a local coffee shop, for a break, and we girls went to get ourselves pampered at the spa. Afterwards, we went to the Pizza Factory for a late lunch. It was good pizza. We went home and decided to go to bed early since we had to get up early the next day. That night, Grandma and I saw a skunk while sitting outside.



On Friday, we woke up around six thirty and got on the road to Tombstone, which is on the other side of Arizona, far to the south, almost in Mexico. We mistook the time of the route since we took the longer, scenic route instead of going through Phoenix. Arizona is a place of contrasts. It can be beautiful and mountainous, a desert with cactus, or an African savannah. We drove through Salt River Canyon, which was beautiful. When we stopped in Winkelman for gas, it was over a hundred degrees outside. Talk about hot winds. We went to Biosphere 2 and got to see how it works. We were plagued by little ants that kept climbing all over our feet, but we were forbidden to kill them. The further south we drove, dark clouds kept getting bigger and bigger. We rented a hotel in Tombstone, and the storm was no more than a couple miles away. We could see the rain falling in the distance, and it was beautiful. We drove into the old cowboy town to look for a saloon to eat in. The wind picked up, and then it started to rain. After dinner, the rain had stopped. The adults went to bed, and we kids watched some TV before going to sleep ourselves.




On Saturday, we woke up and got our things together. We ate breakfast in Tombstone then toured the shops. Mandy got a green hat, and Seth got his cowboy hat. We took a tour around the town in a covered wagon and learned about its history. We also visited Boot Hill, where the cowboys from the infamous shootout with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were buried. We then began the long drive back up to Pine, this time taking the shorter route through Phoenix. We saw dust devils in the distance and passed by the place where Dad got his cowboy hat a few years ago. When we got home, no one was really hungry for supper. We went to bed tired. And that was the end of the first week away from home.