Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It's been a very busy Christmas this year, and it just seemed to sneak up on us. Last week, Seth and Mandy had their finals at Geneva, so there was no time for shopping that week. That left the week of Christmas as the only time for us to shop. On Monday, Mom took us girls to the mall to go shopping. The mall, despite it being a few days before Christmas, was packed full of people, which meant loooong lines. At Dick's Sporting Goods, while we bought Dad some long johns, we waited in line for about twenty minutes, mostly due to a couple in front of us that bought about one thousand dollars worth of shirts and sports gear. Then we went to a couple of stores to look for a new bathrobe for dad because his old one has certainly seen better days. I also tried to find a gift for Mandy, but I had no luck. We managed to complete shopping for the cousins, so we were done. We wanted to eat a late lunch, but the food court was jam-packed, so we left the mall and went to the Panda Express that opened not far from home. It was delicious, and I've fallen in love with the orange chicken and fried rice. After we got home, we made quick preparations to get ready for the Christmas program at church that night. On Tuesday night, Mom and Dad went out to shop for us kids. On Wednesday (Christmas Eve day), Dad took us kids out to Target to go shopping for each other. We quickly split up, and I headed for the pajama section to find some for Mandy, who wanted footie pajamas. They didn't have what I wanted, so I called Dad and asked for his help. While I waited for Dad to arrive, Mandy showed up in the same section. Her eyes widened, and then she walked away. I later heard from Dad that Mandy had wanted me to leave the section so she could buy me my gift. Anyway, I settled on buying Mandy these blue stripped pajama bottoms that are totally her. Then I want over to the electronic section to buy Seth some headphones. Seth enjoys playing his game "Celtic Kings," but often there is a lot of noise so he wears headphones... that is, my headphones because he doesn't have a pair. I found some headphones for Seth, paid, and then went outside to wait for everyone else to come out. Then Dad took us home and went out to buy White Elephant gag gifts while we wrapped our presents. Then we drove to Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy's house for the clan Christmas Eve gathering.

About the Christmas program on Monday, we had a fun time. The program began with the newly founded children's choir singing a couple of songs (Sunny is part of this choir but wasn't able to make it due to a stomach bug), then other people got up to sing or play Christmas music. Jake Bailey entertained us with a 20th century remake of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" that Mom said would have fit perfectly in a Tim Burton movie. The highlight, for me, was when the Karen people stood up to sing. Earlier this year, some of the Karen people from Asia moved here from refugee camps in Asia, and they have settled onto a self-sustaining farm on some property that belongs to the Davis family in our church. They've been attending church with us for some time, and it was exciting to hear them get up and sing Karen hymns in the Karen language. After the program, there was a nice little meal that everyone enjoyed.

This year, as always, we got together twice as a family for two different occasions. We got together with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Marsha on Saturday afternoon and then with Grandma Linda and Granny on Wednesday. On Saturday, we drove over to Grandpa's house and enjoyed the lovely banquet that we grazed on all afternoon, including the infamous pina colada punch that Grandpa makes every year. Yum! The kids played downstairs on the Wii and the playstation, and the adults sat upstairs and talked. I'm afraid I didn't get many pictures, but you can see some of the pictures at the below link.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48429&l=f88e7&id=603748360

On Wednesday, we drove to Uncle Jason's house for the annual Christmas Eve gathering. We first enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner, complete with a delicious fruit punch that everyone kept sipping all evening. After the meal, we gathered around the Christmas tree to open presents. Grandma played Santa this year, and she made sure everyone had one gift before we opened them. I got a lovely black purse from Uncle Josh and his family, a pink sweater from Uncle Jason and family, and then two shirts and jeans from Grandma and Granny. Mandy got clothes but also a UGA hat that she's been wanting for some time now. Seth got himself a Mario t-shirt and some other clothes. After opening presents, we gave Grandma a picture of all twelve of the grandchildren (back in November right after Thanksgiving, we sneakily got together and got the pictures of all the grandchildren, though the next weekend we five Cunninghams had to get some of the pictures re-done because the originals turned out blurry.), and she loved it. Then the adults (including myself) had our second annual White Elephant Gift Exchange. We then took some family pictures, and then the kids scattered outside. I snapped some funny pictures of Seth, Gabe, and Noah tipping over the hammock. After a while, we got together to play the picture telephone game that Mandy, Seth, Mom, and I had played at the youth Christmas party. It was absolutely hilarious. A picture of a strong man evolved into a man with tree branches for arms, a quote "fish is good" turned into Lucifer/ a cat person eating fish, a fire-breathing dragon turned into a fire-breathing Loch Ness monster, Chicago turned into a city being destroyed by a tsunami, and there were many other funny ones. There were a couple where it looked like we were rolling with laughter. Everyone seemed to enjoy the game. We hung out for a little while afterwards and then went home. You can see the pictures at the two links below.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48431&l=7c4dd&id=603748360

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48434&l=3cbce&id=603748360

When we got home, we five sat down and watched a movie called "Merry Christmas." It is the touching story of how on Christmas Eve in 1914 German, French, and Scottish soldiers had a ceasefire and became friends, much to the dismay of their superiors. Besides the one irrelevant sex scene, I highly recommend the movie. After we watched it, we started "Bourne Ultimatium," but we went to bed at midnight, so we didn't finish it. However, we did that evening do our annual tradition of opening one gift. Mandy opened the pajama bottoms that I gave her, I opened the gorgeous green Christmas nightgown that she gave me, and Seth opened his gift, but sadly I've forgotten what it was. Mom opened one of her gifts, which was a new pasta scoop since our loyal white one has lost several of its teeth. It is funny because Mom had been teasing us about buying her a new scoop, so Mandy and I often had to cover our mouths and try not to laugh when she mentioned it. We gave her the scoop Christmas Eve so we could sneakily throw her off the scent of one of her other gifts.

On Christmas morning, there was not your usual "peace on earth, goodwill toward men." Mandy is always impatient to open the gifts, and for years she has delighted in waking us up early. This year was no exception, as she woke me up at 8:51, demanding that I get out of bed. I had no choice but to comply. Once we had all gathered in the living room, we began opening presents. Mom and Dad had gone to Kohls to give us girls clothes (since we both need them badly), so Mandy and I got cute tops and sweaters, including some new underwear. Mandy got a new Canon camera (since Bethany broke hers), and we've told her that she is not to let Bethany borrow it (but Bethany got the same camera for Christmas as well, so that shouldn't be a problem), Seth got a new wireless mouse for his laptop, and I got a gorgeous red 4 GB MP3. We gave Dad his new bathrobe as well as a nice big frying pan, then we gave Mom a knife sharpener and some frying pans, one of which was identical to Dad's. There is a funny story behind the pans. Mom knew Dad really liked the egg pan we gave him last Christmas, so she decided to get him a bigger one. Meanwhile Dad knew that Mom needed new pans, so he went to a cooking store at Northpoint Mall to get her a set of two pans that cost as much as the pan that she got him. We laughed over this, and Mom is going to return the pan and get Dad another gift. After opening the gifts, we cleaned up and ate quiche for breakfast. We hung out and enjoyed our gifts, even enjoying a visit from Grandma and Granny. However, after they had gone, things got dirty and cluttered. Our attic for some time has needed an extensive cleaning, so Dad decided that Christmas Day would be the best day to clean it out. We got everything down and put it in the living room. Our living room was flooded with dusty boxes and junk, and we couldn't even get out of the house because all the doors were blocked. After several hours, we finally managed to decide what was junk and what was staying, and the living room and attic were clean. Dad joked that all the stuff we threw out looks like we just cleaned out Santa's sleigh.

Thursday was busy. Mom took me and Mandy to Kohls so we could use a gift certificate she got. Mandy got a new shirt and a furry vest there, but I couldn't find anything there. I'm looking forward to this South Beach diet that we're starting in January so that I can actually find stuff that fits. Anyway, then we girls went to the church to clean up and get it ready for Sunday. Mandy and Sunny were going to spend the night at Grandma's house, but sadly Granny got the stomach bug that has been going around, so we decided against it. Dad, Seth, and Mandy went over to Uncle Josh's house, and I later went out with Blair, her mom, her sister, and some of her sister's hyper friends to the Night of Lights at Lake Lanier. After we enjoyed the lights and snapped some pictures, we had a late dinner at Chick-fil-A and went home. When I got there, Mandy and Sunny were back, which meant that Seth was spending the night with Noah and Gabe. We watched a movie and hung out that evening.

We have nothing planned for today. Mandy and I were going to go shopping with Grandma and Granny, but we had to cancel the trip because Granny is still sick. Meanwhile, next Saturday we may go to Commerce and spend our Christmas money there, as every year we try to find a time to go shopping with our money while everything is on sale. So today will probably be one of those lazy, relaxing days where we don't do much. Well, I think I have remembered everything about our crazy Christmas (though I will probably remember something later and kick myself for forgetting). I hope you all had good Christmas, so have a happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

End of the Semester

Well, we have just about finished out the school fall semester of 2008. Mandy and Seth are in the midst of finals, as they had yesterday and then today and tomorrow. They've been studying hard the past few days, and we're hoping they'll do well. Mom and I have been waiting for our grades. She has gotten hers, and they are A's, as expected. However, my teachers must be slacking on turning in final grades because I only have 1 and a 1/2. Spanish is a 97, and I have my chemistry half of science, which was over a hundred, but mind you that is only one half. I'm guessing that I have all A's, but I don't want to make premature assumptions, so I sit here, impatiently waiting for my grades to be posted.

I finished my finals on Tuesday when I took the music final, which covered American music. It was not that hard, and I'm expecting an A on the test. After my final, Mom picked me up and we drove to the Johnson house for Geneva's Christmas party, although one of the youth group members also attended. We played some fun games together. First, we had to play Carol Pictionary (I probably misspelled that), where we had to draw something that represented a Christmas carol and our team had to guess what it was. One of the carols, King We- something, was drawn by Mr. Price but my team had no clue to what it was, but the other team was "oh, I know what that is. Haha." After that, we played a bow game and then played a hilarious game. We had eleven players, so everyone got eleven pieces of paper and a pen. The game is sort of like "Telephone," but you have to draw and write it. For example, Mom wrote "your mom" on the paper (it's a common term around Geneva and the youth group), and she passed the paper to Mandy, who drew a picture of a mom and then passed it to another person who guessed what the drawing was. However, people's interpretations vary, so the drawings can become hilariously skewed. Mom's started off as "your mom" and ended up with monsters playing football. Mine was "The Hobbit" and ended up as the quote "argh! How are we going to get out of here?" with a picture of a two men standing on a beach. There were several other hilarious ones that made us roll on the floor with laughter. We enjoyed the game a lot, and we're thinking of playing it at one of the family Christmas parties. The second part of the party was the White Elephant gift exchange with some hilarious gifts, including rapper grills, a whopee cushion, Hannah Montana Lip gloss, and an oven mitt. After the gift exchange, we went home. I sadly did not have my camera that day, so I have no pictures of the event.

So I've been out of school for a few days. I've spent most of my time working on my novel (I am roughly halfway through the second draft), though I have also cleaned like crazy. The kitchen has often looked like a disaster, but I, the kitchen master, have conquered it twice in two days. Not to mention the laundry that is going right now. I feel proud of myself, but I need to find some books to read over the break. I've been making slow progress on the book of Southern Secession, but I'm getting interested in finding more of Stephen Lawhead's historical fantasy books. Also, for about half the week, I've been getting more serious research done when I discovered the ugly truth behind Celtic Woman and its corrupt management practices. I did not do this research myself; I discovered a detailed blogpost written by someone else, and I contacted him a few times via e-mail, asking him questions and receiving detailed answers. It's not pretty, and I'm glad I'm not in the music industry. That aside, my break has been going well, and I'm hoping to be productive over it.

Despite the fact that Mom's been out of school for a week, she's been extremely busy. She's had finals to type up for her students, and yesterday she baked things for Dad to take to a party at work. Tomorrow, she will give her finals to the Geneva students, and then she will be free for a couple weeks before she heads back to the grind.

The weather has been unseasonally warm around here. On Tuesday it was foggy yet somewhat warm. Yesterday, it felt like it was in the 70's. Sort of strange, especially when it's freezing all over the rest of the country. Oh, well. I'll savor it while it lasts and before the bitter cold returns to haunt us.

Oh, I nearly forgot! For some years, we have not gotten a Christmas tree because of a lack of room in the house. However, this year, Mom and Mandy decided that they wanted to get a tree, and Mom suggested moving one of the lamps and putting a tree there instead. So, on Monday, Mom and Mandy brought home a medium-sized tree. We decorated it, and it looks nice. Mandy's had fun with the new Christmas lights that can blink, fade, or look like disco lights. It's nice to have a tree, and we've forgotten how good a real Christmas tree smells. I'll be sure to post a picture or two of the tree.

Times are about to get slightly busy again. This Saturday we're going to Grandpa Mike's house for an early Christmas celebration, and there is sure to be a large spread of food and plenty of talking and family fellowship. Then next Wednesday, we're going to Uncle Jason and Aunt Nancy's house for our Christmas Eve celebration. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures and share them with you all. :D

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Almost There!

The fall 2008 semester is winding down both at GGC and GCA, and things are getting tense! It's been the usual: teachers cramming in as much as they can while the students choke and keep thinking "slow down!", projects all due the same week, and, of course, the lovely cumulative finals that everyone loves. So, nonetheless, things have gotten very busy, which is why I have not posted for a few weeks. I shall do my best to inform you of what has happened.

GGC has been hectic ever since Thanksgiving break was ended. For physical science, we had about three days of classes with a quiz and a test and also a science project on Robert van de Graaff and his generator all in one week. Hannah and I were nervous about presenting the project, but we did well, and I'm confident we got an A. I also did well on the test, only missing one question. However, the science final was a different story. It was today, but I began studying on Saturday afternoon and spent about ten, eleven hours on Tuesday studying. Now this final was like two tests combined into one since one half was on physics and the other half was on chemistry. I think I did good on the exam, but I'm waiting to see the grade posted. Spanish was also busy but not as much. I had an essay about a party, an interview, a "pop" quiz, and then the final within a period of a week and a half, but I'm not concerned about passing the class because my midterm grade was 97.7 and I've gotten A's on all my quizzes and tests. I'm not concerned about the music final on Tuesday because it's not cumulative and won't be that hard.

However, there was one class that just made me boil on Tuesday and left me in a foul mood for two days. Dr. Rafshoon, my history professor, gave us a little review in preparation for our final test, and she implied during the review that all Southerners are slave-beating White supremicists. That was it, and I left the class fuming. To cool myself down, I did a little writing therapy, which helped vent my anger. I was going to take Dr. Rafshoon again next semester, but I'm going to skip her, take a world history class, and finish US history when I get a better teacher. In the meantime, I'm reading a book about Southern secession and why it was right; I swear, the more I read about Lincoln the less I like him.

Mom is done with her ecology class (she took her final this morning, which had some hard questions that she wasn't expecting), and tomorrow night she will take her mycology final and be done with college for a few weeks. Next semester will be easier for her, as her cellular biology class is said to be very fun and she'll only be taking one class. Plus, her class will be during the day so she'll be able to spend the evenings with us.

Geneva is also winding down. This week is review, and next week the school is having their annual Christmas party and then three days of finals. Mandy is studying like crazy for her Latin class so that she will get an A on the test and not have to take the final exam, and she's also studying hard for her geography test since she's been having more trouble with that class. Both Seth and Mandy are looking forward to their Christmas break.

With all the business, there has been some time to be social. Last Friday, Mandy and I went to the Abrahams' house to babysit their three adorable children, and we spent the night there. The next morning, Bethany Abraham dropped me off at home, and she and Mandy went to a cookie exchange hosted by a lady from our church. Yesterday (Tuesday night) we had Cliff spend the night with us. We watched "The Dark Knight" (great Batman movie and great sequel) and then they watched "The Italian Job" while I studied in the back. I'm hoping that maybe someday soon we'll be able to film another funny video like what we did for "Bobby's Bad Day," but we'll need to get Cliff writing. Speaking of being social, I'm looking forward to Monday when I can buy tickets for me, Sarah Howland, and her aunt to go see Celtic Woman in late March, and we're really excited about going, as this will be our first show.

Well, I think I've said everything of interest that has happened since I last posted. I'm going to relax after studying like crazy for three days and watch "Gladiator" with the family.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

For only having school two days this week, Thanksgiving week has been very hectic with plans to do this and that. Monday and Tuesday weren't bad, beyond the usual school days and getting up. On Tuesday, I was happy that the history debate on John Brown was over and that I could turn in my Clannad paper. However, it was on Tuesday that I began planning to see what projects I should get done when because next week is going to be hectic with due assignments. I've already done some of the due assignments, though some will get done today and some I cannot finish without my science partner. It was weird on Tuesday to go home and relax with no thought of homework. On Wednesday, we had to do some last-minute shopping and Mom began cooking the food for Thanksgiving that evening. Some point early in the week, we watched the chick flick "Music and Lyrics" which was entertaining and really makes fun of 80's music and modern pop artists.

On Thursday, we hung out around the house and then around noon and drove up to Grandma Linda's house. The tables were set up in the garage and were decorated with pretty tablecloths and Thanksgiving decorations. There was plenty of food on the kitchen table, and we all greedily stared at it. After Uncle Josh and his family arrived, we prayed and then loaded our plates with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, the green jello dish, sweet potatoes, and lots of other excellent stuff. We took our plates to the garage and enjoyed the meal. After eating, we went around the table and Dad asked us what we were thankful for. After this, the kids took off to the backyard to play croquet, and I snapped several shots of the game. The game was entertaining, with people often clustered around one area and trying to push others backwards, and with the hills adding a little extra challenge. Closer to the end, Mandy and Gabe ended up getting very close, but Mandy won by a hair. Mandy gloated over her victory and said something about putting ice down Gabe's shirt, so Gabe went inside for some ice. He chased Mandy around and put it down her shirt... twice. Mandy chased him a little down the street for revenge, but she can't run right now because it could stir up her asthma. After this incident, we had dessert and gathered on the patio to talk before we returned to the garage, where it was warmer. Another hilarious moment was when Grandma Linda gave Rivers a hat covered with flowers. Rivers wore this hat most of the time, and she often put her hand on her hip, which made everyone laugh. Around seven PM, we began packing up and split up the remnants of the food among everyone. After we had say good-bye, we went over to Uncle Josh's house to watch "Sense and Sensibility" with them, as he had never seen it before. We enjoyed more family time there and stayed until about 11 PM or so. Then, we went home and went to bed at midnight. For pictures of Thanksgiving Day, follow the Facebook link and enjoy!

http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=43747&l=6cecf&id=603748360

On Friday evening, we took Mandy over to the Greers' house, where she was to spend the night for two nights with her BFF Bethany. However, when I woke up this morning, Mandy was home. Apparently, Bethany got the stomach bug which seems to be going around our church, so Mandy came home. We were going to go up to the Howlands' farm today, but the event was rained out, so we are going to relax with books and computers today.

The weather down here has been cool and often gloomy. It was very cold earlier this week, but it has warmed up a little to the 50's during the day. The past two days have been cloudy and rainy, though we can't complain about the rain. The leaves have been falling, so the trees are looking barren. Mom's birds disappeared for a few weeks, but today they have come back in full force. One could say, fall is over and winter is coming soon. I'm still hoping to have some good snow this year.

Health-wise, most of the concern has been about Mandy. Earlier this week, Mandy was feeling very tired and yucky, and she went home early on Monday, where she slept for several hours. We weren't going to bring her to school on Tuesday, but she woke up feeling better so we took her. Dad's been making sure she takes her vitamins and her wellness pills, and she's also been taking her inhaler. So far, she's been doing good, so we hope her asthma doesn't kick up again.

Well, I must go. I have some homework and a little writing I'd like to get done... not to mention the fact that lunch is sounding pretty good right now. Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Physics Lab

Today I had an interesting physical science lab. After we had turned in last week's lab, Dr. La stood up and asked if anyone had heart problems. One smart-alack decided to say "I have a pace maker," but of course he wasn't telling the truth. Then Dr. La asked if any of us had claustrophobia, were afraid of the dark, or if we could stand to be frightened. No one answered, though a few smart-alacks made comments about it. Then Dr. La pointed towards the storage closet and told us that he would take one group at a time (usually for lab the class is divided into four groups of four or five) into that room and that no matter what happened, even if someone screamed or banged on the door, that the others outside should not open the door. At this time I kept wondering what he was going to do, either a late Halloween joke or something else. My team wasn't the first to go in, so we did another small experiment. During the experiment, we heard screams from the closet, but they sounded a bit forced, which made me suspicious. Finally, my team went into the dark closet, and the teacher turned on a sodium lamp. We talked out about how light impacts color, and nothing creepy happened. We did scream, to scare the others outside, but we tried not to laugh afterwards. One of my teammates Kimberly kept stifling her laughter, so we could not leave the closet until we were good and looking scared. When the final team went in, a classmate named Megan decided to pull a joke on those inside, so she put duct tape on the door handle and on the door in the hopes of making it unable to be opened. Her plan backfired when one of the guys inside caught her, but we all laughed. When Dr. La came out, he looked at the duct tape and then just laughed his weird laugh.

Well, gotta dash. I've got pizza dip to make for sci-fi night tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Cat That Did Not Learn

Well, we had an incident with a cat on Sunday and Monday that we hope will be a lesson to her.

It all began on Sunday morning when Mom lamented that Claws had not slept with her like she does every night, and we realized Claws had been missing since Saturday afternoon since we never put the flea stuff on her. We did not have time to look for her on Sunday morning, but after church we went to the backyard to see if she was nearby, since Claws never roams far from the house. We thought we heard meowing somewhere, so we followed the sound to the neighbor's yard and, lo and behold, the fat cat was found... up in a tree branch thirty or forty feet above the ground. We don't know why she ran up there, but we think the neighbors' possessive, protective dog Rossi may have had something to do with it. We tried coaxing her down, but she wouldn't come. By nightfall, it was cold, and she was still up there. On Monday morning, I put on my coat and went to see the poor cat, who was still on the branch and was meowing pitifully. By now, we figured we'd have to borrow a ladder to fetch Claws down. However, when we arrived home on Monday afternoon, we saw Claws on our front porch, meowing to be let in. We let her in, and she ran inside to chomp down on food for the next five minutes. She hasn't been back outside since yesterday, and we hope that she'll figure out how to climb down from trees next time she gets stuck or just to avoid them altogether, as this is the second time in two months she has gotten herself stuck in a tree. Stupid cat. Maybe she'll finally learn her lesson.

Most likely, she won't.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Family Tree

I love researching the family tree. It's been so much fun. Lately, the Cunningham family joined a website called Geni, where you can put and organize your family tree. We started off small, but we've added on significantly on the Cunningham side and on Mom's side. For example, for the past few months I've been trying to find more information on "Grandpa" Jesse Jenkins but have had little success. I finally found him yesterday, and we discovered that his wife's name was Jane, not Cora, and that Cora Jenkins (Jesse's descendant) married George Large, my great-great grandfather on my Mom's side. I haven't found much on the Large side of the family (though I'll keep looking), but I did trace the Jenkins family back to the eighteen century, where it suddenly ends. My guess is, Thomas Jenkins may have been a slave and was freed during that time, which could be why there are no records of his parents. I also found more on the Pope side of the family and discovered that Thomas Pope moved from England to Plymouth in 1627, seven years after the Pilgrims first arrived there and about ten years before Captain William Cunningham arrived in Virginia. Anyway, Thomas seems to have been a part of the Plymouth colony and bought lots of land from the Indians, land that became a big homestead for the family for years before they began moving west in the nineteenth century. Mom also added on to the family tree, and she informed us that we have Rushmore blood in us, that they were florists (a big comparison to the belligerent Scottish Cunninghams... haha), and that our ancestors once owned the land that Mount Rushmore was built on. I'm still looking for information on the Irish Dawson side of my family, but none of them are listed on Rootweb (though I will still keeping looking). I'm also working on finding members of the Kline, Cline, and Long side of the families, and I hope I can find which generation it was that one of the men married a Cherokee woman. So, I'm having a blast with this project.

I can't think of much else to post, but I will mention a few things. First, Seth and Mandy got their midterm grades for Geneva. Mandy has all A's except for a C in math, and Seth has a mixture of A's and B's with one C. Mom got a 97 on her paper on beer in science class, which she is happy about. I had a debate in class last Thursday whether Jackson was right or wrong in forcing the Cherokees to leave their homes. I never got a chance to speak, and I was sort of chomping at the bit to do so. I'm still waiting for Dr. Rafshoon to give me a grade on my debate paper, and it's unlikely I'll get it this week. I'm nervous about my physical science quiz, because the teacher informed us yesterday that the highest grade in the class was 80 something while the lowest ones were in the teens. I didn't think the quiz was that hard, but now I'm more worried over what I missed. I'm excited about an upcoming music project because I get to write about one of my favorite Irish bands, Clannad (they invented the Enya-esque sound before she used it but put out a much greater variety of music than she does), and I think I'm getting too picky about which three songs I have to use for the paper. The weather down here is cooold! It has suddenly cooled down to the point where you must wear a coat outside. Nights are cold, and days are cold and windy. The weather is too cold for late October, which may mean a colder winter. Maybe we'll get a nice snowstorm this year with actual snow instead of that powdery stuff that you can't make into snowballs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Funny Incident

I was not present to witness this incident this morning, but I heard about it this afternoon.

On Wednesdays, if Mandy has to babysit for the Young Mother's Bible Study, Mom wakes her up around 7:15 or so, so that Mandy can accompany Mom to school and babysit there. Well, when Mom woke up, she thought the clock said 7:00, so she got up and got ready, not noticing that the coffee pot (which is timed, I believe) had not started. When she went to wake up Mandy, Mandy said, " Mom, why'd you wake me up at 6:15?" Mom denied it was 6:15, but Mandy insisted. Well, Mom figured out that it really was 6:15, so she sent Mandy back to bed to sleep for another hour.

Also, on an unrelated sidenote, I have my college midterm grades. I have all A's! Now if I can keep them up for the rest of the semester....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Busy Week

It's been a busy two weeks since I last posted. Dad, Seth, and Mandy returned safely from Virginia. There, they helped build a shed (which I hear was greatly admired by Mr. Barringer) and picked apples for apple cider (we have some in our outside fridge). Seth was a bit unlucky in that a two by six fell on his arm while he was helping build, but his arm is fine; he also got stung by a yellow jacket when it crawled up his pants, but he hasn't given him much grief. From what I hear, the boys did pull a prank on Mandy, but I don't know what they did; all I know is that it made her cry. They were happy to be home, and Mom and I were glad as well. For us two, it had been a quiet week, as she had spent her time working on her college projects. We sometimes would watch a "Criminal Minds" episode together, and we enjoyed steak and a movie on Tuesday, but otherwise we did little else besides school. It was very quiet at home, but now it's back to normal.

School has caught our full attention again this week. Mandy wrote a short story for English class about Jesse and Cora Jenkins in an attempt to escape slavery (I believe she based them on our ancestors Jesse Jenkins, who was a Black man who owned about fourteen slaves and married a White woman named Cora). Mom has been busy with her classes as well, and she got a 100 on one of her recent tests. Yesterday, there was nearly a panic attack when she discovered her paper that she had worked so hard on was not what she was supposed to do; but her mycology teacher was merciful and said she would accept the paper. GGC posted the spring 2009 semester schedule, so yesterday Mom and I looked up to see what classes we would be taking. I talked to my faculty advisor Dr. Timpte, and I learned that in the spring I will have completed all my core classes, so I'm really happy about that. In the spring, Mom will be taking a cellular biology class (or something like that), and she's considering a second class. I'll be taking physical science 2, history 2, political science, and psycology, and my schedule is a bit weird and I'm still trying to make sense of it. Midterm have passed for me and Mom, and she has a 98 in one of her classes. I'm not sure about my grades, but I think they could be all A's, though the grades won't be posted until next week.

A few things have happened at GGC. First, I took my first history test and got a 98, and I also took another physical science test and got a 93. I got also got a 100 on a recent music test. History class is getting busy, as I'm currently reading a book on Frederick Douglass (in preparation for a discussion of slavery that's coming up XD), and we have a debate on Andrew Jackson next week in a discussion of whether he was a "pragmatic politician" or a "scheming devil" in dealing with the Cherokee. I got on the "scheming devil" side, which won't be hard to argue, especially since I am of Cherokee descent from that time period... hehe. I also got a project to work on for science class, and my partner Hannah and I are still working on the topic and what to do exactly, especially since the topic and teams are due tomorrow. It's getting busy around here, so posts might become scarce.

On a side note, the weather here is cooling down. It's getting down to the 50's at night and can get to the lower 80's or the higher 70's in the day. The leaves have begun to fall, and our yard and porches are covered with them. There are some beautiful days with absolutely gorgeous blue skies. I love this time of year, but the constant switching from cold to hot is making it difficult to choose what to wear during the day. I am somewhat looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear my cute long-sleeve shirts that I have been wanting to wear.

Well, I gotta go. My stomach is ordering me to get food while the line at the cafe is short, and I still have to finish this reading and get prepared for the debate next week :P

Friday, October 3, 2008

Around Here

I apologize for the scarcity of posts, but I either am too busy or too lazy to do so. And since I have some free time, I will update you all to what is going on the Cunningham household.

Nothing much of great importance has happened of late. Last Sunday, Ainsley was baptized, and there was a family gathering at Uncle Josh's house afterward, where we enjoyed a meal and conversation. I did have my camera, but I gathered few interesting shots. We all did have a good time together, as it's been a while since we last gathered together as a clan.

School has kept our attention fully lately. Seth and Mandy are doing well in their classes, though Mandy is having trouble with math and geography. Seth is doing better in English as well, I believe. Mandy was overjoyed yesterday to discover she made a 100 on her Bible test, something she hasn't gotten since the 6th grade; she's been proud of it ever since. Mom is also doing good in her college classes of mycology (the study of fungi) and ecology. She is sad that her geeky ecology teacher was in a car accident and is most likely out for the rest of the semester. I've been doing fine in school. Yesterday I had my first history test (and I'm anxiously waiting to get a grade for it, but that is unlikely for a few days :P), and on Tuesday I will have my first music test. A few weeks ago, I got a 99 on a Spanish test and a 95 or so on my physical science test. I'm really wanting to get at least a B in physical science so I can finally pass a science class, but with my new teacher that may be tricky. I don't know why they thought to torture the students this way, but my physical science class is divided into two sections: chemistry and physics. My chemistry teacher is Dr. Bell, whom I had for my brief chemistry class last spring, and her part of the class is fairly easy. However, my physics teacher is Dr. La, a man with a strong accent and a completely different way of teaching from Dr. Bell. I am still figuring him out, and I hope that he doesn't get into the math of physics, or I will surely die prematurely. Nothing much has changed at GGC except for the new food court a hundred miles away from Buildings B and C, where the main student body is focused. The new food court is great and has options of three restaurants: Quiznos, Pete's Arena (a pizza place where they make pizza right in front of you), and Marketplace (which a friend of mine described as "cafeteria food"). However, I do wish they'd change the prices of food because now it costs at least $5 a meal at Quiznos or GGCity Cafe (the original, crappy cafe in Building B where few go anymore), which has risen about 50 cents in price since last year, and they still only allow us to put $200 on our cards.

Well, enough of ranting against GGC. I've recently decided that after the spring 2009 semester, I am going to stop going to college for the time being and get a job through a temp agency, as I really need a job and I'd like to get out into the world a little more. I may return to college after a year or two, but I'm considering going back when the school finally gets accredited and maybe if it offers a history major.

Well, it's going to be an interesting next few days. Tomorrow, Mom is taking all of the Geneva students on a field trip to Tellullah Gorge, and tonight a majority of them will be spending the night at our house. We've got a Boston Butt cooking for some delicious carnitas, and the kids are excited because they get to devour Mom's food again, get a field trip, and get to goof at at a bowling alley this afternoon. Well, they should have the right to celebrate because next week Geneva is taking a week-long field trip to Virginia, like they did last year. Dad is one of the chaperones, and everyone is looking forward to riding with "Mr. Cunningham" because of his music selections :). Mandy and Seth are excited about the trip to the sheep farm, and they're sure to bring back great stories like the one about the black sheep, the woodchuck's foot, strip poker, and pranks the boys played on the girls. With Dad, Seth, and Mandy gone, it'll just be me and Mom from Monday until Friday, and Mom certainly needs a break from teaching. She's already said she is going to use the free time to get started on a college project of some sort. It'll definitely be quieter around here while they're gone.

Well, that's about all for now. I've got to give the house a look-over to make sure it's clean and then it'll be time for goofing off after a week of studying and battling a cold.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family Research

Last week, after discussing the early colonists in America during history class, I remembered that a few years ago Mom tried to research the Cunningham family but had no luck because she couldn't find my great-great grandfather anywhere. I decided to do some research of my own and found a free site called RootsWeb.com, where you can type in a name and find out about that person, their birthplace, how many years they lived, etc.... So I went here and began some research. To make a long story short, I've managed to trace the Cunninghams all the way back to 1066, when the first Cunningham Wernebald, a man from Flanders who is said to be of Norman descent, arrived in Scotland with William the Conquerer. It's been exciting, so I thought I'd share it with my readers. I won't give the entire line, as the early years are confusing and not very reliable up until the late 13th century, but I'll mention some high points. A Cunningham supported Robert the Bruce during the Scottish War for Independence and was awarded a lot of land for it, and his grandson married a member of the Bruce clan, which could make us part Scottish royalty. A Robert Cunningham sat in the Scottish parliament and may have been murdered by members of the Montgomery clan (from what I've read, we Cunninghams had a looong feud with the Montgomeries that led to castles being burned down and people being murdered). An Alexander Cunningham moved to Dublin, Ireland, and the family lived there for a few generations. In 1636, Captain William Cunningham and his family arrived in Virginia on the ship "Speedwell" (the ship supposed to sail with the Mayflower but couldn't due to problems). During the War for Independence in America, there was a Cunningham known as "Bloody Bill" for his taste for blood and for killing Patriots. Another interesting detail is that a close relative centuries ago was a good friend of the Scottish reformer John Knox. It was fun to do all this research, and I've thought about doing other branches of my family, but I haven't found some of the names I need to jumpstart the project.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Animals and Creepy Crawlies

Today has been quite a day for animals and insects, causing happiness, anger, and fright on three separate occasions. When Mom, Mandy, and I went to Petsmart to look for a few things when we stopped to admire some hamsters, get a new Betta fish (since Mom's classroom Betta Jay-Z was given a merciful flush down the toilet a few weeks ago), and then we stopped to admire some adorable kittens. Some were quiet, some wanted a lot of attention, and some enjoyed chasing my finger across the plastic that covered the bars of the cages. It made us want to get a new kitten, but there's no convincing Dad, as he wants to lower the cat population from seven to three (which is not easy since Mom doesn't want to get rid of any of the cats).

When we got home, the angry occasion began. For the past two weeks, we have had a weaver spider living in a large web in front of our dining room window (Mandy named him Rhys). He's been quiet, but it's been freaky to watch him move (especially since I fear and loathe all spiders). Well, when we got home from Petsmart, we noticed that Rhys had caught something huge in his web. It took us a split second to figure out that he had caught a hummingbird, probably when it crashed into the window then got caught in the web (so far it's been a miracle that no other birds have hit Rhys' web). We panicked and ran outside, but we feared the hummingbird was already dead or close to it. Mom destroyed the web so both Rhys and the hummingbird fell. When we returned outside a few minutes later, the hummingbird was gone. We hope that it flew away and got rid of Rhys along the way.

The terrifying occasion had to do with a stupid roach. For the past few months, Mandy has held possession of a toy brown roach (unnamed, considering she names everything) that she uses for pranks. Well, she had just closed my laptop after checking Facebook, so I decided to get on. I opened the laptop and gasped in terror when I saw a roach there. I soon realized it was only that stupid roach, but Mandy and Mom laughed. Mandy hid the roach, so my evil plan of finding it and burying it where she'll never find it is on a halt, though I'm going to keep an eye out for it. Maybe I'll get her back and put it in her bed at night... hehe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Latest Activities

Sorry for the lack of a new post, for so much has happened lately, but I've been a bit busy with school and youth group.

I'll start first with school. We all started school last week, though not on the same day. Seth and Mandy began their classes on Monday while mine and Mom's started on Wednesday (a bummer since I'd been waiting for school to start since June... no kidding). Mandy is bound and determined this year to win the Latin award, especially since Geneva's Latin genius student won't be coming back for a few more years, and we're trying to help Seth do better in English than last year. Geneva once more has shrunk in size and is down to nine students, but from what I hear, nothing has changed much from last year. Mom has less science classes to teach, as she's teaching advanced biology, physical science, and then human anatomy to the Geneva at Home students, so that leaves her with more time for her ecology and mycology college classes. My classes started on a Wednesday. Due to a problem with the English class I originally signed up for, my first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is at 11 AM, at the same time Mom has her ecology class. So, that means I get to sleep in on those days. Physical science is going to be tricky, as there are two teachers, one who teaches chemistry and the other who teaches physics. I want to pass this class because I dropped chemistry and because next semester I would get to take Earth science and astronomy, provided I pass the class (which makes me wonder why they give us the hard classes first for physical science and not the easy ones... oh, well). After physical science, I had to endure a very long walk from building A to Building B for lunch (which is hard, especially when carrying a thirty pound bag), and when I got to the only cafeteria on campus, it was a traffic jam... without the cars. After quickly eating lunch, I hurried upstairs for my Spanish 2 class. To my surprise, Blair showed up for the class, so we have two classes this semester together. Spanish 2 is going to be fun, as it was last fall, and I'm looking forward to it. On Thursday, I had three classes: US history, music appreciation, and Transatlantic Literature. History is going to be interesting, but I've always liked history, so we'll see. Music appreciation is fun, and today we analyzed a Gregorian chant... and I mean analyzed. Then came the class I had been looking forward to: Transatlantic Literature. This class was packed to the gills with many people, and the teacher was excited to teach us. However, when she passed out and discussed the syllabus, I completely lost any desire. The class would be dealing with the theme of rebellion (and would portray it as a good thing), would study Christianity hybrids in the Caribbean and South America, and would read an erotic homosexual poem. I lost all taste for the class since we would not be studying literature and I had no interest in reading that poem. I dropped the class that afternoon, and I'm going to wait to take literature when I get to Christ College, where I can study real literature! Anyway, it's been nice to get back into schedule and not be lounging around.

On Friday, we kids were excited for the youth group camping trip to northern Alabama. Because I did not have a physical science lab that day, I went to school with Seth and Mandy, where I sat in the kitchen and did homework. After school, we waited for our ride to arrive. Our youth group leader Mr. Brown and his wife Chris finally arrived, and twelve kids piled into the Howlands' white van. Everyone soon got hyper with the Mountain Dew and the candy, but then that was expected. It took us about three, four hours to drive to Alabama, counting the dinner stop at Wendy's. On our way, we had a little surgery when Bethany asked Ben to pull her tooth, which he did (and I got it on camera too!). We ate dinner at Wendy's, where a few of us spoiled ourselves with frosties (which were sooo good, but mine melted too fast sadly). It was getting dark when we arrived at our campsite, which was about ten, fifteen minutes from the boarder of Georgia. The boys set up the tents then we all went exploring around the lake/marsh in the dark. After finding firewood and starting a fire, we all decided to play "Capture the Flag" in the dark and without the use of flashlights. Because I was wearing flipflops, I was mainly just a guard who did nothing except point out intruders. My team won when Cliff single-handedly crossed the enemy lines through the woods and stole the enemy's flag. Then, we had time for a second game so we switched sides. The second game was boring because no action happened. The only action was when Micah threw grass on Mandy and Bethany and made them scream because they thought it was bugs. After we returned to the camp site, a few people gave tree-tipping a try. We made sm'ores around the fire and were on the constant lookout for a hornet that was in the vicinity. I went to bed around eleven and crashed asleep pretty quickly. That night though was restless because it was so windy (probably due to Tropical Storm Fay in the south), so the tent was constantly moving. The next morning, we had a breakfast feast of donuts, muffins, and fruit. Because it looked like it was going to rain, we took down the tents and packed up the cars. Then Mr. Brown gave us some pages to read, and we all went out by ourselves to read them. Then we came back and discussed what we read, prayed, and then left the campsite. We drove to Little River Canyon, where we looked at a scenic point and then ate lunch before driving downstream to go swimming. I didn't go swimming because it was too cold (the temperature that day was in the 70's, which is unusual for August in the South), but I took several pictures. Everyone had a great time jumping from the ledges, and a few even had the courage to jump from a 40-60 foot tall cliff. After our swimming excursion, we piled back into the van and drove back to Atlanta. It was a shorter trip because we took a different route, but it was more entertaining. Mandy and Bethany were hyper as usual, but they soon fell asleep. While Mandy slept, Cliff took Noah's deodorant and put some on her foot and leg. When Mandy woke up, Cliff pretended to lick his lips and said, " you know your feet are salty?" Mandy, of course, panicked, but we assured her that it had just been deodorant. When she fell back asleep, Cliff took a pen and drew a face on her leg. We all laughed. After arriving in Atlanta, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for supper then drove back to church where our families waited to take us back home. It was a great trip, and I think we all had a blast.

For the past few days, Fay has hit our area with strong winds and lots of rain. Some days it looks like it will rain but it never does, and some days it does rain. This morning, it rained hard here, so hard it looked white outside, though not as white as I've seen rain fall before. It's certainly making everything look pretty and green again, and it certainly helps especially with Lake Lanier's low lake levels. The rain and wind has also kept things much cooler than usual, which is nice since August is usually sweltering. As I write this, it looks like the rain and wind are coming back with a vengeance after a few hour's break.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention something that happened Sunday. On Saturday night, Dad thought he heard a cat meowing outside, but it never came inside, so he didn't think anything of it. On Sunday morning, we were close to leaving when Mandy discovered Claws, our biggest and fattest cat, stuck up in a tree branch about 20 feet from the ground. We had to go, so we left her there for several hours until we got back from church. She was still there when we got home, and we could not get her to come down. Since Uncle Josh and his family were coming over for supper that night, we waited for them to arrive. We did get the cat down, and she's fine, but we hope she won't try it again anytime soon. Dumb animal...

Nothing else has happened around here. Tonight, we girls are going over to the Murphys' house to watch "The Notebook," the saddest romantic movie I've ever watched; Mandy and Amy haven't seen it, but I'm sure we'll all be bawling like babies afterwards. The week is almost halfway through (has time gone by that fast), and we'll see what happens next. Down below is a link to pictures from the youth group trip, so enjoy them!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=29657&l=2dffc&id=603748360

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Western Journey

I apologize, but I am not happy with my first description of our trip out West. I've decided to re-write it, so here we go.

Way Out There
On Thursday morning, after a delicious and filling breakfast at Waffle House, we finally got on the highway and began our long trip. To keep us occupied, the car had Sirius Radio (which we didn't use often; I mean, why use it when you got a 1 GB MP3 player full of music everyone likes?), a TV, and a power adapter to use for two laptops (though we later discovered that the adapter only half-worked and later stopped giving sufficient power for the laptops). Using all these technology made us wonder how we survived driving for three weeks without TV or Internet. Speaking of Internet, throughout the whole trip, it was entertaining to go war-driving through certain areas, though it really doesn't work when you're on the move. War-driving, as I learned from my fall computer class, is when you use your laptop to find a wireless signal in a certain area. I tried it on several occasions but most of the time couldn't get a signal until we had stopped and found a signal with free, easy access. Anyway, we had plenty to do to keep us occupied, including the complete second season of "Criminal Minds," which we enjoyed and actually finished on our way home. On our first day of driving, we drove over twelve hours from Atlanta to Houston, Texas and encountered a lot of lovely rain, something we had a lot of on this trip (I think it followed us everywhere just about everyday).

After our visit in Houston, we drove north through Dallas to Oklahoma City, then turning around and going to Amarillo. The day was very hot and very windy (even blowing some of my Pringles away during lunch), and we were surprised it was that hot for that area. Texas and Oklahoma are flat though not too unattractive. A common sight for that area are giant wind mills with blades six times as long as a car. On the drive that day, Dad accidentally went the wrong way, so we had to make an hour-long loop back to where we were supposed to be.

On Sunday, we drove from Amarillo, Texas to Pine, Arizona. The land turned from plains to shrubs and desert with large herds of cattle scattered everywhere. Much to our surprise, the temperature was only in the 80's the entire day (often dropping, depending on if it was raining or not), which was odd compared to Oklahoma's hot weather. One our way to Pine, we passed by the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest, where we saw a reddish-colored dust storm developing and growing, and also by the town of Winslow where the huge crater is.

Texas Visit

We arrived in Houston, Texas late at night and were ready to go to bed. The next day, we just relaxed, talked, watched movies, and played with the dogs Shesou and Rozzo. Those two little dogs were cute, energetic balls of fur who loved following us around. After breakfast, we kids played with the dogs for a while and enjoyed it. Everytime we sat down, they would dash to us and settle in our laps. Sometimes, they even playfully fought each other for lap space, which was cute. However, we kids sadly wore the dogs out, and they were quieter for the rest of the day. Another memorable thing was Aunt Susie's little coffee/tea maker that we all enjoyed using during breakfast. Aunt Susie also gave Mandy some jewelry, which she loves, and Uncle Cal gave Mom his laptop, so she now has her own. The visit to Texas was short, but we all enjoyed it.

Touring Arizona

We arrived at Pine late in the afternoon and were greeted by Grandma Gail, Grandpa Tom, Uncle Jack, and his girlfriend Judy. We enjoyed a family dinner together and took several family pictures.

On our first day in Arizona, we woke up early to go to the Grand Canyon. It was the first time Mom and Dad had ever seen it, so it was nice for them to be with us. We enjoyed a tour that took us to several points of the canyon and allowed us several different viewpoints. At one of the places, we were on a ridge with no railings, which was terrifying and made me nervous to get near the edge. It was even more nerve-wracking to watch people nearby get dangerously close to the edge. I think whenever we go to the canyon we must impact the weather because it rained on and off all day, which happened last year when we kids took the trip. It took us two hours to get to the canyon, and it took us two hours to get back to Williams. On the way back, we were "robbed," and I had fun recording the whole crime. They won't get away! :) After a delicious dinner at a Pizza Factory on Route 66, we drove back to Pine.

Our second day in Arizona was a relaxed day. Grandpa Tom took Mom and Dad on a motorcycle ride, which they enjoyed, while Grandma Gail took us kids out for lunch and for bowling. We had fun bowling three games, and I think I may have finally figured out a method that works for me when I bowl. When we grilled out that night, we saw a small herd of elk across the street. I wish I could have gotten pictures of them, but they were too far away and I didn't want to go out into the rain to take the pictures. Lazy me.

On our third day in Arizona, we spent the day touring. We went to Tuzigoot, the old Indian ruins, Jerome, where we ate at the Haunted Hamburger and toured the shops, Sedona, large red rock formations, and Montezuma's Castle, a large Indian dwelling built near the top of a cliff. After driving back to Pine and continuing to flee from the rain that had followed us around all day, we relaxed. Grandma Gail showed Mom some pictures and gave her a few things to take back with us to Georgia. Our rental car didn't have room for the stuff Grandma and Aunt Susie had wanted to give us, so we only took a few things with us; Dad is thinking of going back out to Arizona this winter and picking up everything.

The Journey Home

We left Arizona early on Thursday morning, bidding farewell to Grandma and Grandpa. We drove from Pine to Oklahoma City, over twelve hours. We had an unending battle with flies who kept getting inside the car and annoying us. Every time we thought a fly had been gotten rid of, another one appeared. When we finally arrived in Oklahoma City, we went over an extremely bumpy road, which we didn't expect on a highway. When we went to bed, we were all awake and kept talking and laughing over random things.

On Friday morning after a delicious continental breakfast, we began our long, over twelve-hour drive to Atlanta. In Arkansas, we were happy to notice that we were headed towards more heavily wooded areas and coming out of the plains and deserts. When we stopped for dinner in Birmingham, we had an incident with a traffic light. The light refused to turn green after several minutes, so Dad turned, made a U-turn, and then made another turn that bypassed the light. We finally arrived in Atlanta after eleven PM and spent about thirty minutes cleaning out the disaster of a car (the car was filled with snacks, bags, DVDs, and the like, and it looked like a tornado had gone through it).

Foreign Bathrooms

Before I end the post, I wanted to mention something else on this trip: bathroom cleanliness. When you make a long road trip, you will inevitably end up using a bathroom at a gas station or rest stop that is not up to your standards of cleanliness. There were some pretty bad bathrooms at a few places. One place in Mississippi had yellow water, which freaked us girls out at first. One rest stop in New Mexico was infested with flies, which was disgusting. Another place had three bathrooms, all three of which were out of service. But not all bathrooms are bad. There was one place in a remote part of Texas that looked like it would be gross, but the place was actually one of the best bathrooms we stopped at on the trip. Strange gas station and rest stop bathrooms definitely make you appreciate your own clean bathroom.

All in all, it was a fun trip. We hadn't been on a family vacation in a while, it was nice to spend time together. It was also enjoyable to spend time with our western family, something we don't get to do that often. Thank you, Uncle Cal and Aunt Susie, for funding our trip, and thank you to them and to Grandma Gail and Grandpa Tom for letting us stay with them on the trip. Hugs and kisses to you all!





Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer, Sun, and Hail

Sorry for being lazy lately on the blog, but there's either not something to post about or I think about posting and then forget about it.

Well, first things first. There is a new Cunningham in the family! Last Sunday, Ainsley Clementine Cunningham was born. For some pics, click the link for about sixteen of them (and if I'll stop being lazy, then I'll add more pics that I took last Saturday when we visited Uncle Josh's house to bring the family dinner). When we went to Uncle Josh's house, he showed us pictures of Rivers as a baby, and we realized that Rivers and Ainsley look almost alike. Only time will tell if their personalities will be the same ;)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=24962&l=e8710&id=603748360

On Monday, we Cunninghams had a blast at Lake Lanier. At our last youth group, we had gone to an area next to Buford Dam to go swimming. However, that swimming excursion had been cut short because of time. Cliff Price decided to get some people together and have a swimming party of sorts at the same place. We had a nice crowd with the Price boys, Sarah and Michael Howland, Ben and Bethany Greer, Gabe and Noah Cunningham, and then Seth, Mandy, and myself. I didn't take that many pictures because I was swimming, and the ones that were taken were from great distances and are nothing spectacular. We spent about five hours at the lake. Dad came to pick up Seth and the boy cousins while Mandy and I went home with the Greers because we would be going shopping with them the next day. We had tacos for dinner and then the Greers took the Howland kids home. I slept in Bethany's bed while Mandy and Bethany slept in the living room. Ben had some pranks up his sleeve because he pulled them early Tuesday morning. He came into Bethany's room and put aluminum foil on my face (my response? I just threw it off and went back to sleep), and then he threw pillows at Mandy and Bethany. We woke up on Tuesday morning and had breakfast before leaving to go pick Brittny up and then drive to the Tangers Outlet in Commerce. We arrived there around ten and shopped for clothes in the smaller outlet center before going to the larger one. Mrs. Greer packed an excellent picnic lunch, and then we all scattered to various clothes and shoe stores. We finally met up around four o'clock and began the long, hot walk back to the car. Mandy and Bethany mainly bought school clothes (the dress code of blue or khaki bottoms and blue or white polo shirts has not changed in like three, four years). I bought myself a cute blue dress, some black gauchos, two pairs of socks, and a cute gray and green striped shirt (I was trying to shop for more fall-esque clothing and not do the usual summer shopping for tank tops). After our shopping was completed, Mrs. Greer drove me and Mandy home.

Now begins the third exciting event of Monday and Tuesday. While at Commerce, I had noticed large cumulus clouds developing, a sign of thunderstorms later in the afternoon. My prediction was correct when around six thirty it began to grow darker outside and thunder began to rumble. The rain began to fall, and small hail began falling as well. Usually a heavy rain makes out internet connection go down, so we prepared in case the Internet should die on us. What happened next was unexpected: our power went completely out. A few minutes later, a huge branch from the top of a dead pine tree near the house fell on the yard (providentally, no one had been outside at the time, but it could have killed someone), and the yard was a mess (Seth and I cleaned it up about an hour ago, and it is still a mess). The storm began to calm, but our power still did not come back on. Dad went to Uncle Josh's to return his truck that he had borrowed, and he came back and said that some of the houses down the street had power, but the rest did not. Mom had to study for a computer final (which she is taking today), but there was no light, so we went to Boarders. Around ten o'clock, we left because they were closing the store. We returned home, but the power had not come back on. It was dark, and the house was stuffy because of the humidity. We began to worry about all the meat in the freezer, so we decided not to open the fridge or the freezer. We then decided to go to bed because there is little you can do in the dark. Then suddenly, our power came back on after being off for four hours. Dad told us to go to bed and not stay up (except for Mom who studied).

Nothing else much is going on. Mandy is off babysitting the Abraham kids, Seth is doing his school reading, and I am preparing to continue writing my book (I'm almost at halfway point, though the chapter numbers are constantly changing and are not reliable). Mom has a computer final, as I mentioned. Oh, before I forget, we Cunninghams are going to Arizona in a few weeks! We're driving out to Arizona to visit Grandma Gail and Grandpa Tom and then on our way back stop to visit Uncle Cal and Aunt Susie. We'll be gone for a little over a week, and we're planning on bringing our laptops (which'll be funny especially since we'll be bringing back a fourth laptop for Mom; this is making Mandy a bit jealous, especially since Seth bought his own laptop a few weeks ago). Well, gotta go. My story is calling my name, not to mention hungry stomach.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Two Hyper Teenagers

Nothing much has happened this week, but this summer is flying by so fast. It seems forever since I was in college, and I'm looking forward to going back. Lately, I've been close to college as I've been going four days a week to the gym on campus. I've been riding the bike machine, using the stairmaster, and walking on the treadmill. I think the exercise is helping, as my heart rate isn't as high as it was when I first started a few weeks ago and my legs are getting used to it. Still, I feel guilty afterwards when I am hungry and eat a candy bar or a bag of chips after I just lost a couple hundred calories from lunch. While I go to the gym, Mandy's still going to the pool almost daily, usually finding a friend to bring along. She's turning dark in the sun, and a few weeks ago she had to skip a day at the pool to give her skin a break.

I forgot to mention that Mandy was not home for the 4th of July. The Greer family was taking a trip to see their kin up in North Carolina, and they invited Mandy to go with them. They left the day before the 4th, and they got home Monday evening. Mandy had a fun time with the Greers, and she came back with several wacky pictures that clearly show she and Bethany are weird, hyper 14-year olds.

Speaking of Mandy and Bethany, Mandy had Bethany spend the night last night (Friday the 11th). I had wanted to go shopping at Kohls because I finally received my much-belated paycheck, so Mandy and Bethany decided to accompany me. Knowing those two, I was worried about how hyper and weird they would be, but I didn't know much of what they did until after the trip. The trip was successful, thanks to the girls' fashion sense. I found a cute shirt, but they only had it in one color (black), and the next size up didn't look good. The girls helped me find tank tops to go under the next size shirt, and it worked nicely. So I paid forty bucks for six shirts. Mandy and Bethany had fun trying on everything (they took several pictures of this, and I've only seen a few), and they both bought something simple like earrings and underwear. After the trip, we came home, and the girls decided to watch a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie that our neighbor Anna let them borrow. The movie was stupid, as was expected, and we chose to watch something else for our pizza dinner. We watched a Brian Regan performance then Mom and the girls went to Blockbuster to find a couple of movies. We ended up watching "The Village," a movie we already own, and saved "10000 BC" for tonight. After watching "The Village" and watching Bethany jump and scream during certain scenes (which was hilarious, and at one point she would have hit Dad if he hadn't held her hand still), Mom and Dad went to bed. The girls played The Sims Unleashed, continuing a game they had played that afternoon. The next morning, I woke up late, but there were chocolate muffins and cantalope for breakfast. The girls cleaned up the mess they made and then played more "The Sims." Bethany went home around 3:30 or so, and we enjoyed having her. Still, it's an interesting experience to put Mandy and Bethany together in a small house with sodas and a computer game; they can get hyper and crazy really quick.

Before I forget, something unexpected yet happy happened this week. Oatmeal, who disappeared in late May during our camping trip, showed up suddenly on our doorstep, yowling to come inside. When he entered, he was shaking and frightened, and Mom gave him some canned cat food. He was thinner than when we had last seen him, but he wasn't skinny, a sign he has been eating someone else's food. He's calmed down and is back to his normal, lovable self. However, not all our cats have been happy. For the past few weeks, Fuzz seems to have caught another bout of FUS and has been squatting and peeing everywhere. The blood in his urine is gone, but he still squats and makes a weird noise while squatting. Pooky has begun spraying and peeing outside the litterbox, which has made him subject to being chased around the house and thrown outside. We've also come up with a new nickname for our fattest cat Claws: Shai-Hulud (the name comes from the "Dune" book series and refers to a giant worm that roams a desert planet and creates the vital spice that keeps the universe in balance). I think she's becoming used to the name because she now reacts to it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July 2008

Instead of giving you, my readers, links to pics, I had a better idea: why not combine the filmed videos and pictures into a ten-minute slideshow? Enjoy! The pics are from the 4th of July, from the two places we went to: Grandpa Cunningham's house and the Howlands' farm.


video

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Invasion

Set up a perimeter! March onwards, men! Show no mercy to the enemy!

Yep, we Cunninghams are now waging a battle within our own household. The enemy, the evil cockroaches. We were watching a couple of movies together last night, and we were ambushed three times in about the course of an hour by the enemy. The first was in the dining room, across from where I was sitting with my laptop. The thing was giant and crawling up the wall. Mandy spotted the enemy first, and we sent in the troops (aka Dad) to neutralize the threat. He dealt with it quickly and flushed the enemy down the toilet after squishing him. That threat over, we returned to our normal lives. Less than thirty minutes later, Mandy walked into our bedroom and once more spotted the enemy. We summoned the legendary hero Jeff Cunningham, cockroach hunter for help with that threat (it was hilarious, since Dad did a Steve Irwin accent and everything. It cracked everyone up.). The threat was once more dealt with, and we could breathe again. Bedtime soon came, and I was waiting to use the bathroom when I spotted a third enemy on the doorpost of the girls' bedroom. The witness was terrified and leaped onto the nearby cedar chest for protection, especially when the enemy moved to the carpet. Captain Seth Cunningham showed no fear and did a most foolish thing, picking up the enemy with his bare hands and throwing it into the toilet. The threat seemed over with, but the nightly battle was not over. The witness went to use the bathroom, and when I lifted the toilet lid, I saw two enemy antenna moving around. The witness panicked again and ran to the bed for safety after the enemy exited the toilet and began walking around on the bathroom floor. Captain Seth had clearly not done his duty, which is shameful in this military war. We summoned the troops once more, and the threat was done with. However, it left the witness scarred and unwilling to use the bathroom afterwards. I believe the troops must search for new weapons in this war: those things where roaches come to take supposed food and then die afterwards (I can't think of the name). Those lazy bums aka the cats clearly aren't doing their duty of protecting us from this villains. The cool house (which now has air-conditioning thanks to Mr. Presley) must be attracting the enemy in. Oh, well. Back to war troops! The battle continues......

Monday, June 9, 2008

Things on Our Minds

One major thing on everyone's mind down here is rain or the lack thereof. Our lawn is beginning to look peaked, and Mom's been watering her plants. There has been plenty of rain in the Midwest but none over here. When it doesn't rain that much or if a summer is dry, the humidity is horrendous. Like today, for example. Mandy and I went to the pool with Megan Presley and her kids, and she told us that her husband had told her that the heat index would be about a hundred degrees today. We've yet to discover if this is true, but I'm not particularly looking forward to discovering it. It's bad to have temperatures in the 90's in June, but what will it be like in July and August, the hottest months of the year? I can imagine something pretty horrible. And, with a broken air conditioning, that's not something we're looking forward to. We're scheming to figure out ways how not to be home between three and six PM, when the sun hits the windows of the front room and when the house becomes an oven.

Seth has gone back to work at Radiant and has been doing well there. Mandy has not gotten a job at the hair salon, as Mr. Hudson has other people who are coming to work for him. I applied for a job on Friday but am unlikely to get it because I lack the experience they are looking for. I'll continue to keep looking, or I'll content myself with babysitting, especially ever Bethany Abraham had her third baby last week. Mom starts her summer college classes tonight. She's taking calculus and another computer class. She's happy because she's taking ecology and mycology in the fall and she loves ecology.

Nothing else exciting has happened around here. My ankle is slowly recovering, but it is still swollen and still purple and bruised in some areas. I can walk without the brace on my ankle, but it's sometimes hard to stand up and climb down stairs. On Friday it started hurting after I climbed up on a chair, and it refused to let me put any weight on it, so I was hopping around the house on one leg, feeling like an idiot. It's somewhat recovered, but it still hurts.

That reminds me. Last Friday after my failed job interview, Mom and Dad drove up to Helen, Georgia for a little 20th anniversary trip. They spent the night up there and came back Saturday afternoon. It was my first time spending the night alone at home, but I survived. It didn't get a bit creepy until I went to bed, and I had a hard time falling asleep. On Saturday morning, I went to a literature conference where Elizabeth McCallum, a woman from our church and author of "The Book Tree," a book of good literature for children from preschool age to high school age, gave an excellent speech on what books to avoid and the like. It was helpful, because if I'm going to be an English teacher one day, it'd be helpful to know what to give my students to read, not to mention any books I might buy for my kids in the distant future.

I almost forgot to mention two other concerns of ours. The first is about our cats. Ever since we came back from camping, our loner cat Oatmeal hasn't come home. Mandy and I tried to go find him, but when we found him, he ran away from us and hasn't been seen since. Fuzz hasn't been seen in over a week, and we haven't found him in his usual haunt down the street. Trouble, Pooky, and Claws have shown up maybe once a day, but they don't hang around like they usually do. We think it's because the attic fan scares the cats and also maybe because there's construction work going on at the house behind ours that burned down two years ago (the property has been bought, and a house is currently being built there); whatever the reason, Mom is getting worried, and I think she thinks Oatmeal isn't going to come back. If Fuzz doesn't come home, she's going to start thinking the same about him. The second concern really isn't a concern, but it's worth noting. Due to the heat, the roaches love entering our house and climbing on walls and the like. They terrify Mandy, and I must admit they creep me out too. The other night, we came home and there were five in various places on the porch. *Shudders*

Monday, June 2, 2008

Camping

Last Wednesday we Cunninghams drove up to Lake Blue Ridge to go camping with the family until Saturday. Uncle Jason and his family arrived shortly after we did, and we got two camping spots. Uncle Josh and his family and Grandpa Mike arrived in Thursday, and everyone had fun on Friday going to Vogul State Park to swim. It was too cold to go tubing, so we're going to go later in the summer like July or August when it really gets hot down here (like it isn't already).

I don't want to give a long detailed account of the camping trip, but I will mention some of the more memorable moments. On the first night, there was a bullfrog that kept croaking its head off and annoyed Mom. We joked about finding the frog and frying up its legs. On Thursday, our first full day there, we woke up to what we thought was a bear growling across the bay from our peninsula. However, we learned it was a dog when we heard it bark. The dog would not be quiet, as he kept howling all day almost non-stop. Usually when we go camping, we have to deal with some flying pest like mosquitos or yellow jackets. This time it was flies. They were all over us (except at night), but they never bit us. Nonetheless, they were extremely annoying. We joked that there was a corpse buried somewhere nearby, which is why the flies were around, but hey, flies are better than dealing with biting mosquitos or stinging yellow jackets. Look at the link below for some pictures from the trip.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=21054&l=d6193&id=603748360

Another thing happened on the trip that was memorable though not in a good way. We were at the Passes' cabin for dinner on Friday night when I took Abigail down to the hot tub to show her a spider that someone had found there. I was about to take her back up the steep hill when I tripped and fell. Thankfully, Abigail wasn't hurt. However, I couldn't move either of my feet for some minutes, and my left ankle was killing me. Dad came down and helped me up to the porch, where I reclined on a chair and put my ankle on a pillow. I was in pain all that night and couldn't sleep, and I was not in the best of moods on Saturday morning when it turned swollen. I felt like a slacker because I didn't help take down the tent or pack up the car, or unpack the car when we got home. When we got home, I put a splint on my ankle, and it helped greatly. I've worn the splint ever since, and it's been helping me walk somewhat normally. At church last night, Mr. Presley pointed out that my heel was turning purple. Today, my foot is indeed purple on the sides, but Dad says it's a good sign that it's healing. But, at least I'm walking, so I'm not too worried about it.

Our summer vacation has officially started, but Dad is reining us in. He's restricting our computer time and our movie-watching time for good reasons, so I won't be posting frequently. That reminds me, I've got to call someone about a possible job opportunity this afternoon. I'm looking for a job this summer so that I can curb boredom (which I didn't do very well last year) until school starts up back in August. Mandy's got a job working for a hair cutter at our church, and I believe she starts tomorrow. Seth may not be working at Radiant this year, but that still remains to be seen. Well, gotta go. I'm still on a computer time, and the banana bread is going to be done soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Well, Seth and Mandy are done with school for the year! Last Friday, we went to the church/school for the awards ceremony. I didn't have my camera with me, so there are no pictures. However, I can give an account of what happened. This year was different since there were no seniors. Instead, some of the classes either did little presentations or had little boards with writing, sample papers, and the like set up in the back of the room. I did a slideshow of the school's recent trip to the aquarium and had it run constantly on my computer for about an hour after the awards. During the awards, there were several things to replace the usual senior speeches. The Spanish class did a little skit about going to the doctor, Mrs. Boyd's class did a discussion of a poem, and Pastor Chris's Bible class read their final papers on various topics. After that, the awards were given out. Mandy received the award for Most Improved Student because she did such good work the spring semester, and she received an English award along with three of her classmates. She was also a nominee for the Latin award, but she was beat out by her younger classmate Micah who did well the entire year. We were very proud of her. After the awards, we got together to enjoy the food and some fellowship. Mandy spent the night with her classmate Megan, and the rest of us went home. We decided to celebrate the end of the school year and stay up late to watch "Underworld", though Mom fell asleep ten minutes into it.

Saturday was busy. Mom and I cleaned the church for almost two hours. Then we went to Target to find a black dress for Mandy, who needed it for a costume party that evening. It took as a while to find it. While we were looking, a storm came in, and I mean a big one. It was coming down in sheets, and I couldn't see the parking lot because it was so thick. After we went to Target, we went to a few other places and then home. Ben and Bethany Greer, Cliff Price, and Christopher Strevel came to our house for dinner since they were going to the party as well. We enjoyed fried rice and part of a movie before they left. The costume party went great, but I have no pictures of it. I do know that it was like a 20's mystery/murder party where all the guests had a part to play in the story.

Today was the annual Memorial Day picnic at the Howlands' farm. We arrived there around 11:30 or so and left closer to 5 PM. We had a blast. There were various activities to do like wiffle ball, a hay ride, boat rides, conversation with friends, volleyball, and other stuff. I took over two hundred pictures, but I could only add 60 to a Facebook photo album. To give you a taste of today's festivities, check out the the link.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=20709&l=a0220&id=603748360

We're going camping between Wednesday and Saturday, so I'll make sure to post more pictures and more of the happenings of the Cunninghams.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some pictures

I've got some pictures that I've taken lately.

Trip to the Aquarium:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=18592&l=45a69&id=603748360

A recent family gathering:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=18888&l=72c31&id=603748360

Random pictures:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=19434&l=33737&id=603748360

I've finished my first year of college. I have two A's and a B, and I'm waiting for my English research paper grade. Seth and Mandy have their last full week of school this week and then three days of finals next week. My first week off from college was nothing spectacular, although I did go shopping with Brittny on Thursday. I had a good time, and I got some new PJs, some tank tops, a new skirt, and some body wash. Mother's Day today started out as dark and cloudy because of severe thunderstorms last night. It later turned sunny and was breezy though pleasant. Right now the wind is still blowing hard, and it's getting to get cooler tonight. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Funny Incident

Here's something funny I'll post before I forget. I was asleep on Thursday morning (since I didn't have classes) when Seth and Mandy got up. Mandy was still in dreamland and decided she wanted to bring pizza for lunch. Instead of putting it in a container, she put it in the microwave and began heating it up. Seth asked her what she was doing, and she answered that she was bringing pizza for lunch. He then asked her why she was heating it up, and then Mandy realized what she was doing. But by the time she stopped the microwave, the pizza was piping hot. Funny, to say the least.

Oh, and keep an eye on the blog. We took a trip to the aquarium with some friends last week, and I'm editing a slideshow on it. I'll be posting it here soon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recently

Sorry for not being more diligent with posting. It's been busy around here lately with college winding down for the summer and other events. I hope to post more regularly over the summer.
For me, this is my last week of the 2008 spring semester. I turned in my English research paper a few weeks ago, which meant I am done with English. Digital media's last real class was on Friday, and yesterday was a brief review for the final on Wednesday. Geography is over too, and my final is open-book on Friday. I've already given thought to what I'm going to take in the Fall, and for now I'm taking the following: English 3 (which is actually literature this time), Spanish 2, Music, Physical Science, Physical Science Lab, and American History 1. Last week, I received an email saying that I had made the Presidents' List for Fall 2007; this basically means that I had a 4.0 during the Fall. I attended a boring and un-inspirational breakfast with other fellow schoolmates on the list yesterday morning.

Friday was fun for us girls and our daddy. The Baileys up in Winder hosted the second Father-Daughter campout. We drove up there and had fun camping out with our friends. It was nice weather, and I walked barefoot the entire time (which I now regret because I have bites all over my arms and legs). The next morning, we enjoyed pancakes for breakfast and some of the girls returned to the Baileys' large backyard pool. On our way home, we stopped by Grandma Linda's house to say hello.

The weather has been fickle for us. It seemed to be warming up, even into the 80's during the day and the 60's at night, but Sunday, Monday, and today have been cooler than usual. We've been getting lots of rain with thunderstorms on Fridays and Saturdays (which seems to be happening every single week, no kidding). Our grass is looking gorgeous, tall, and green, and the flowers have bloomed everywhere. Our trees have lost their flowers, sadly, as they never last long. Mom's begun planting her spring backyard deck plants, and Dad has moved his hops plants to the side of the house. Dad's been using controlled fires to burn out the weeds and poison ivy in the backyard, and he's also been slowly working on putting up a tall, wooden fence in the backyard to replace the metal one that was placed upside down by whoever put it there. It is nice to have warmer weather, and I've been sitting outside to get a tan, which hasn't happened yet.

School is winding down for Mom and the siblings too. Mom has her final on Thursday, and she's already finished her biology lab final. Seth and Mandy have a few weeks left of school. Seth might be returning to work at Radiant this summer, and Mandy's going to get a part-time job working at a hair salon run by one of the men at our church. I'm looking for a job as well, something close to home that doesn't involve working at fast food or a gas station.

And now to talk about the cats. Pooky, the big fat gray girly idiot of a cat, has become a big bully around here. He loves instigating fights with Claws and Oatmeal especially. He doesn't suck on necks as much as he used to, but he still kneads and sucks on us. He's no longer the sweet, poor cat; I'm so ready to get rid of him. Oatmeal has undergone a huge change in personality ever since Mom has forcibly kept him in the house since he had a tendency to wander. He used to be so quiet and didn't really have a personality. However, ever since he's been in the house, he's changed a lot. For one thing, he has become so playful. There is a small brown rope from one of Mandy's hoodies that he loves chasing around like he's a kitten. He's also become more loveable and loves rubbing on us. When he purrs loudly, he sometimes grunts, which we take as a sign he is very happy.

Well, I've gotta dash. I got a final tomorrow to study for. I'll try to post again soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bobby's Bad Day

I had a digital media project due on Friday, and the project was to make a 3 minute movie. I didn't know what I was going to do until Mom said that since some of the boys were coming over to learn how to brew beer that I should just film a movie with them. Cliff was gracious enough to write the screenplay and the story, so I had no clue what we were filming until fifteen minutes before we even started.

Instead of filming the whole thing at once, and following my friend Blair's method, I filmed several little pieces and then made a whole. It was funny. However, things changed quickly when the local neighborhood punks ranging between ages seven and ten showed up and started asking stupid questions and bothered us. Cliff got one wet with a water balloon, and the kid didn't seem to care. However, later, his father approached us and sternly told us not to touch his son even though we hadn't.


video

Friday, April 4, 2008

Busy times

Sorry for not posting for a few weeks, but it's been pretty busy around here. I've been working on an English paper (which I've finally finished) for two weeks, and I've got two digital media projects to turn in next week. Typical end-of-the-school-year stuff.

It seems spring is finally here! The weather has been warmer, and it's certainly been raining. Two of the trees in the front yard bloomed beautifully, but they've lost their flowers. The cloud-9 dogwood has white flowers, and it's beautiful. The lawn is nice and green, and it's not as sparse as it has been.


Seth celebrated his 16th birthday last week. We bought him a frisbee and a croquet set, just like he asked, and he's partially paying for a new computer for himself since he wants a faster one so he can play games on it. On Monday night, Mom made Focacia sandwiches and went off to her college class. We were expecting Dad to be home to celebrate Seth's birthday with us, but he was forced to stay at work until 2 AM, which has never happened before. We were bummed that he didn't get home until late, but we made up for it the next day. On Tuesday morning, Mom made apple and cheese muffins (which were excellent) and bacon, and we all sat around the table for breakfast. Then, later that night, we went to Five Guys for dinner, as that was Seth's dinner choice.


Last week was spring break for Mom, Seth, and Mandy. They definately been enjoyed their time off. Mon was busy, but none of it had to do with school. She was sick earlier that week, but at least it was that week and not during a school week. On Wednesday, Mandy suggested that we do something fun over spring break besides stay at home and do nothing. So, last Friday they planned to go on a picnic at the park with the Greers, but it was too cold and misty to go, so they didn't.


Last Tuesday was a big day for Mandy. After breakfast with Dad, Mom took her to the orthodontist, and she got braces on her top teeth. Mandy was excited about it, but now it's far from glamorous. Her teeth hurt her all week, and a wire was sticking out and poking her cheek. It's been hard for her to eat. It was humorous on Tuesday night at Five Guys. Mandy was slowly chewing her food in a manner much like that of a cow. It was funny to watch her. Because the wire was poking her cheek bad, she went to the orthodontist on Thursday to get it cut. The woman merely pulled the wire, and now I believe it's poking Mandy's other cheek. She's bummed out she can't eat certain things, and I feel her pain, although I don't remember them being that strict with me about forbidden foods.