Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Brad had a business trip in Atlanta Georgia and since it was during my birthday and anniversary and because we haven't been away without the kids for a long time we decided it would be fun to go together. Brad's mom watched the kids while we went and I think they had a great time. Big thanks to Diane for helping us to with them so we could go! Brad stayed a week and I went for 4 days. The first day we spent flying and getting to our hotel. The second day we got to spend together since the conference didn't start until the next day.  I bought a city pass which had a list of several things to do that I could pick from. As I was planning the things I wanted to do while Brad was at the conference all day the History museum was the first thing I crossed off my list because it sounded kind of boring. When Brad saw it on the list he was like, "Wow! I want to see if I can go to that with you!" so we went and it was really awesome! Below Brad and I are posing in front of some massive gardens at the history museum. First we went through a section about African-American history which was really interesting and then we decided to go through the homes that were at the museum to tour. 
Below is a picture of the Swan house, it use to be a home that was on a cotton plantation. It is also the place were some of movies Catching Fire and Mocking Jay were filmed!!! We didn't know that before we walked into the house! This is a picture of the front of the house.
 This is a picture we took in the kitchen. There was a lady in there dressed like a maid and role playing as if she had lived and worked in the house. She shared a lot of neat tidbits about the people that lived there and what life was like. The lady who owned the house originally bought this oven and when it arrived she decided she didn't like it but she never sent it back, and never used it.
 In the movie Catching Fire when President Snow comes out on the balcony to talk to the people of the capitol while at the party this is the view of the garden where all the people were standing.
 Below is the same pic but looking from the balcony President Snow stands on
 I thought this stair case was awesome.
 This is the back of the house, the doors in the middle are the ones President Snow comes out of for his little speech
 This is a picture of the back of the Swan house. Unbelievable how massive the back yard is! I'd hate to mow that back in the day before riding lawn mowers!
 Next we toured a home of a family who owned a farm in Georgia and who had slaves. We learned a little bit about how the home was run and toured the home where his slaves stayed. They had an actor there too that we visited with. They had everything set up like it would have been back during it's time including chicken, sheep and a vegetable garden. Below is a fantastic picture of Brad holding a mop that they used made up of corn husks
After the museum we went to a Braves game. They won! Yeah! 
The next day was our 11th anniversary! Brad had class all day, so I was on my own. First I rode the metro and then walked about a mile to the temple. I was a little nervous about being on the metro alone and also about the walk. I was so scared I'd get lost, mugged or that it would rain while I was walking and then I'd be wet all day. It was suppose to thunder shower all week. Everything worked out, and the weather was beautiful. 
After the temple I got back on the metro and went to the art museum. This was one of my favorite paintings. It's of a mother and her daughter together at the table.  I took a lot of pictures but a picture of a picture isn't as good as the real thing so I just picked one to share.
For dinner we went to a place called Pitty Pats Porch.  The food was amazing, and very southern. I had crab cakes, cheese grits, vegetables and peach cobbler with cinnamon ice cream. Brad had fried chicken, ribs, collard greens, black eyed peas and the best pecan pie I've ever tasted. The guy playing the piano played us a song for our anniversary and asked us to get up and dance...it was fun but I felt kind of silly because people were watching and taking our picture. 
 He played, "You are so beautiful." He was a great pianist, his father use to play at the restaurant before he started
 This is what the restaurant looked like when we walked in. We ate down stairs
The next day I was on my own again.  First I went to The World of Coke. It was fun to taste all the different kinds of soda from around the world, some of it was really yucky. I enjoyed learning about the process of making coke, and bottling it. I watched some old commercials about coke and saw the vault where the "top secret" recipe is kept. I had a good time looking at everything.
 Outside the world of coke
 This is a machine that shows how an assembly line of coke works
After the world of coke I went across the street to the aquarium. The first part of the aquarium is all about what's inside or ocean creatures. It was really neat to see sharks, fish,  manta ray and octopi that had been preserved and opened to see their gills, fins, brain and everything else.
I took a lot of pictures, I loved the aquarium and wished my kids could have seen everything. That being said it was nice to wander at my leisure and not worry about snacks, naps and potty trips. 
 One of my favorite things was the albino alligators, there were 2 of them swimming around in the tank
 I also liked the lion fish
 I didn't get to watch the dolphin show but went up after everyone had left the show and watched the dolphins swim. This one kept doing a nose stand
 I loved watching the 2 belugas
 My most favorite thing was the whale sharks! There were 4 of them, they were SO big!

The last thing I got to do that day was a tour of CNN. It was neat to see everything that goes into it. I rode the escalator below up inside the globe. It is 8 stories, the longest free standing escalator in the US 
 The building this is in is like a mall, and a hotel and CNN and the spanish CNN all connected. It was huge
I flew home all the next day and made it home for Ethan's first baseball game! Go Cardinals! They played the Dodgers..the only time the Cramers had to cheer against the Dodgers. It was a great trip, a lot of fun to get away. I was ready for hugs from my little people when I got home. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

March & April 2014

My Dad and sister Jeni and her 2 kids Shyla and Issac came for a visit from WA! Grandpa and the girls watching Frozen
 Aunt Jeni and the boys
 Lily had tubes put in her ears when she was about 18 months because of all the ear infections she had had. The tubes eventually fall out on their own as kids grow and the hole left from the tubes repairs itself. That being said, the one on Lily's right side took a long time coming out and as a result she had a small hole in her ear drum that was unable to repair it's self. The Dr said if it wasn't patched she would never be able to hear very well on that side or put her head in the water with out an ear plug. As it was she hates her hair washed because if she gets water in her ear it hurts and she cries and cries. So, we set a date to have surgery. She was so excited to get her ear fixed, I know she didn't fully understand what was going to happen or that it would take time to feel better but she was so happy despite being at the hospital by 530am!

 In her gown and socks and holding the Cheetah the hospital gave her
 The surgery was at 7 so she took a few wagon rides while we waited, colored and sang "Let it go" from Frozen at the top of her lungs while watching it on Brad's phone. When the anesthesiologist came in and talked to us he said it was a 90 minute procedure and that she would have a tube put down her throat to make sure she continues breathing and an iv in her foot. I didn't know any of that until 5 minutes before they took her away. I had no idea it was that invasive, I was a bit stressed as I watched my happy little girl being rolled away toward surgery.
 The surgery went well. She was crying a lot she we got to see her. She wanted her iv out and said her throat hurt. The nurse said she couldn't take it out until she ate something and Lily refused. They were trying so hard to get her to stop crying and get her to eat something but I think Lily thought they were the ones that hurt her and she was just getting madder and more worked up and completely ignoring them as they tried to help. Then she threw up on her clothes and the nurses left while we changed her clothes. once they were out of the room Brad and I got her to calm down and eat a little Popsicle. Bless their helpful hearts I wish I would have just asked them to give us a minute in the first place. With ear surgery equilibrium gets thrown off so she was dizzy and her pain meds made her nauseous without food and since I couldn't get her to eat anything so was pretty sick. She just wanted to sleep and sleep. She threw up several times on the way home.
 My friend Julie came and picked up Mira and kept her while we were gone and Jeni and Dad got the boys off to school. Below is a pic of Issac and Mira playing.
 These pics are a little out of order. The day before surgery my Dad and our neighbor John helped take down 3 big branches from our huge tree. Below is the before picture
 This is after 1 1/2 branches were down
 The last branch fell right after the kids got home from school, they thought it was so awesome!!! They all got gloves and shovels and brooms and helped clean up. We had my 4 kids, Jeni's 2 and 5 of John's grand kids bustling all over the yard happy to help contribute in some way.
 Poor Lily slept all day after surgery. Her dad got a little nap too
 My dad held Lily all day coaxing Popsicles down her. It was such a huge blessing to have him do that. I know she needed that extra loving and with my other 3 to take care of too i couldn't sit and hold her all day. Unfortunately poor Grandpa got peed on twice when she couldn't wake up enough to go up to the bathroom. Sorry dad and thanks! Jeni helped by taking the other kids on bike rides and cleaning my house, thanks Jeni, you were a huge help too!
 Brad and I promised Lily that she could have a chocolate doughnut after surgery, which was really a dumb thing to do since she was so nauseous and out of it (we didn't really think about her feeling so sick after surgery). She woke up just a little bit here and there always asking for her doughnut. That night she was awake and feeling well enough to eat it. She was so happy about that and was able to eat about half of it and keep it down!
 Mira licking the powder sugar off her plate. She has learned that when she sees me hold up my phone it's picture time. It always makes me laugh to see her "camera smile", she's so silly.
 Cheese! Lily's friend Allie came over and took her flip flops off at the door, Mira was so proud of her self to be running away in them (they are both on backwards). Allie was so confused when she came back for them and they were gone
 Mira loves to be outside, but not by herself. One morning I looked out and Ethan was swinging with her. He was suppose to be getting ready for school but I thought it was sweet he took the time to do that for a few minutes
 I took a picture of  the last wall standing of the old Ethel Boyes Elementary school, you can see their new school right behind it
 Mira is contributing to dad torture by poking his eyes, haha, get him guys!
 Cheese, I love books!
 I love the look on Lily's face, she looks so worried about something
 Lily's practicing Ballet!
 Lily and Danica having a Popsicle in the grass. Blue tongues
 Grandma and Grandpa stopped by for a visit
 My newest niece Penelope Kay Carpenter. Congrats Darrick and Sharon, she's beautiful! Thanks for letting me hold her for so long, I loved it!
 We had an egg hunt at Greg and Diane's. Brad's cousin's Kira and Sydney were three too. Below is Brad's Uncle Ken giving detailed rules for what was allowed and what was not, and penalties for breaking the rules!
During the egg hunt Mira was more interested in trying to climb in the pond and playing in the dirt, but grandpa helped her find a few eggs
 Mira on Easter morning in her pretty dress
 My 3 big kids looking through their Easter baskets
 The squirrels ate a hole in 4 of the plastic eggs and ate the candy out of them! That's never happened before, after the first few eggs the kids found looked like this we were a little worried they would all be like that! Ethan holding up his basket of eggs
 Eddie on the search for eggs
 Lily and Mira looking for eggs
 2 new binky's from the Easter bunny, Yeah!
 Cheese, wearing mom's boot, backwards!
Lily turned 4 March 10th! She wanted to have a pink cake, chocolate ice cream and pizza at Leo's place. Happy Birthday pretty girl! 
Pizza and games and Leo's
 Mira's piggy tails, so cute!
 Lily's got a big girl bike for her birthday, a little Rapunzel (Lily calls her Mapunzel, I don't know why) doll a book and new socks
 Lily got a music box with a ballerina inside and the outfit she is wearing from Grandma Diane and Grandpa Greg, Thanks!
 The school district gives a book to each family every year and we read a chapter each night to the kids and they are tested on it at school the next day. This year we read The BFG by Roald Dahl. BFG stands for big friendly giant, and he has huge ears (the reason for the ears below) Everyone went to the school after we were suppose to be done reading the book and did some fun activities like making giant ears. I didn't go because I had the flu, thankfully grandpa was able to go and help Brad keep track of everyone since I had volunteered to help that night and he needed to take my place. They all came home so happy! I love this silly picture!