Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

I can't believe that 2010 is here. What happened to 2009? The year went by so fast. There were so many things that I had good intentions of doing last year. I wanted to start scrapbooking Skylar's first year, clean out and organize the garage, clean out and organize all my craft stuff, go through what's left of my mother's things in our closets. I wanted to clean my house more, dust and vacuum every other day, blog more, correspond with friends and family more and get some much needed yard work done. Well, I can sadly say that I didn't do ANY of that.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions because many people actually keep them? Except for my friend GO girl! It's awesome what you achieved this past year! Anyway, I resolve this year to be more productive and accomplish more. I'm going to work on taking better care of myself, getting our finances in order and getting closer to God (cuz that's always an awesome thing to do!)

We had a very nice Christmas this year. After I got home from work on the 23rd of December we packed up the car and headed out for an almost four-hour drive to Aunt Sharon's in Alabama. I called the week before to ask if Bobbie would like to come and spend Christmas with us and she said "YES"!!! I feel bad that Bobbie couldn't spend the holidays with Amanda so I wanted her to be able to spend Christmas with her granddaughter. We arrived in Clanton around 11:30pm and checked into the Best Western that we stayed at when we were there in November for Thanksgiving. We watched a little television, Skylar had her ni-night bottle and we all went to bed. The next morning we went and picked up Bobbie and headed back to Georgia. We stopped for lunch at O'Charley's on the way home and did a bit of last minute shopping at Wal Mart too. When we got home Robert made cookies for Santa (himself) and then he put Skylar's little table and chairs together for Santa to leave for her. Grandma rocked Skylar to sleep, we arranged the presents under the tree and then were off to bed. Christmas morning Robert's parents arrived with Sarah and Rose just in time to watch us open presents. Skylar opened ONE present and got pre-occupied with a silver bow and didn't want anything to do with her gifts until we unwrapped them and took all the toys OUT of the boxes. That's no small task these days either! I swear toy manufaturers don't want you to take the toys out of the boxes with the way they cable and wire tie them to the boxes and cardboard inserts. Once my child saw the toys and knew they lit up and made noise I couldn't de-package the darn things fast enough!

The girl's played together while I worked on dinner: spiral cut ham, potato casserole, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, green beans and a cherry dump cake. It was very delicious and the girls loved it too. Sometimes I think Sarah at 9-months-old is a much better eater than Skylar. It makes me feel like I am starving my daughter but I can't force her to eat. Besides....I don't want her to eat if she's not hungry because I don't want her growing up with a weight problem like her daddy and me. Since she has been walking for the last month I can tell she is starting to slim out a little bit but her appetite hasn't really increased any.

Robert's sister, Regina and the two girls officialy moved in with us last night when Regina arrived with the U-Haul truck from Florida. I have them set up in the small guest room downstairs but because it's so drafty in there I am going to work on getting my craft room packed up so I can switch the two rooms so they'll be warmer. Plus there will be a teeny bit more space for them in my current craft room. This weekend I'm hoping to introduce Rose to a few kids in the neighborhood that she'll be going to school with on Tuesday like the boy who lives across the street and a couple of girls that Tina knows. I'm hoping that she'll make lots of friends up here and that they will be positive influences on her.

So, that's about it for now folks. Hope everyone has a BETTER 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Early Christmas at Grammy & Grandpa's

Wow, I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone by. This December 25th will mark Skylar's 2nd Christmas. This year will be her first "fun" Christmas though. Last year she didn't really "do" anything except lay there under the Christmas tree (where I posed her chubby butt for pictures) and look adorable. We did get her that galloping horse thingie last year for Christmas that she spent a lot of time in. Beyond that she really didn't play with any of her toys until this past year.

So, the Saturday before Christmas Skylar and I decided to drive up to Grammy and Grandpa's house in Blairsville to take Rosie and Sarah's gifts to them. Regina and the girls are "officially" moving to Georgia right after Christmas and I could have waited until then to give them their gifts but I didn't want them to have to wait so my Poot and I dropped Daddy off at work at 11:00am and headed north for a 2-hour drive. What happened an hour and fifteen minutes into our trip was TOTALLY my fault. Because I didn't have the dogs with me (Jordan gets carsick - plus my dogs aren't welcome at the in-laws house anymore thanks to Bailey) I decided that I wouldn't have to take the mountain roads with ease. Boy was I wrong. Skylar and I were making really good time and were about 20 minutes or so ahead of our estimated arrival time. Just before we got to DeSoto Falls I heard her gagging in the back seat. When I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could see her I saw the entire contents of her stomach pouring from her mouth all down the front of her. It looked like someone had dumped a tub of cottage cheese all over her. It was so nasty. I pulled into the DeSoto Falls parking lot and got out and "tried" to clean her up. I got her out of the car seat and set her on the back seat after I stripped her clothes off, right down to the diaper. The wind was whipping real hard and it was snowing. She was crying because she was wet, smelly, naked and cold. After I got her cleaned up as best as I could I put some more warm clothes on her and went about tackling the car seat. After I used half a package of baby wipes on it I sat her on a Wal Mart bag, buckled her in and away we went. I was gagging the rest of the way to Mom & Dad's in the warm car because of the awful smell. When I got there no one was home. Apparently Dad thought they would have time to run out for a while before I got there so Pootie and I went and hung out at the local Wal Mart and did a little Christmas shopping.

After we got back to Grammy and Grandpa's house we had Christmas with the girls. They opened their gifts and we opened ours. Anything that was for Robert and I stayed unopened until I got home and he could be there. It was a lot of fun watching Skylar and Sarah interact with one another and play with each other's toys. Mom and Dad are keeping the girls while Regina goes back to Florida for another week so they will be down on Christmas Day for dinner so more play time for the babies then!!!!

Momma's poor girl covered in her own throw up. I know, it's a nasty picture but I have to keep you all informed.

Aunt Cyndie, does this dodie make my nose look big?

These two girls are addicted to their pacifiers. Skylar I think more than Sarah. We're going to have a hard time breaking her of it I am afraid.

Rosie in her new snuggie and Skylar sporting her new dodie.! You're it!!!

Granpa had the job of putting Sarah's new wheels together. Skylar has one too. I can't wait until they are big enough to ride them at the same time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fun at the park

Wow. Yesterday was another awesome day at church. The "UnCommon Marriage" series that Pastor Steven is teaching is hitting really close to home and I've gotten something out of each message so far. It's great! Skylar cried again when I dropped her off at Baby Church. She just started doing this last Sunday. Up until now she would go to strangers and wouldn't cry when Robert or I left her. Her teachers said that she only cries for a few minutes and then she's content to play and eat Cheerios. After service when I go and pick her up she doesn't want to leave. Crazy kid.

After church we went over to Wal Mart and had lunch with Daddy and did a little shopping. After that we came home and took care of our groceries and then went to Webb Bridge Park with Tina, Joey and Josh. Skylar had a blast swinging on the swings and watching all the other kids play. It was a beautiful day outside.

Watching the other kids at the park running and playing.

What a peaceful moment.

She laughs when you push her in the swing. She is going to be a dare-devil, I can tell. She LOVES to swing high.

Pondering....lost in the moment.

Joey and Josh Gilmore

On the teeter-totter with Joey, Josh & Miss Tina. Fun times!

Come on Miss Tina! Make this thing MOVE!

Big girl sitting all by herself.

Joey and Josh were flying their paper airplanes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Smore's party at church!

I'm up early this beautiful Sunday morning so I thought I would take a few minutes and blog about what we did yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon Tina came and picked up Skylar and me and we headed to Wal Mart to pick up some digital pictures we had printed since we both wanted to do a couple of scrapbook pages. I want to start scrapbooking again and I have my next pages all laid out in my head. My first project when I start up again will be of Skylar's fall pictures that we took a couple of weekends ago. Tina wants to put together a scrapbook for Jack, April's little boy who went to Oklahoma to live with his Mammaw after April died.

Anyhoo.....enough of that or I'll start getting all sad again. After Wal Mart we went over to the church for a S'mores Creation Celebration that was being put together by Josh's Sunday school class. There was a huge turnout. First we went into a big room that was like an auditorium where a lot of the childrens church singing and dancing goes on. Josh got up in front of everyone with his class and performed a song. He did great! It was so cute. Tina, Joey, and Skylar and I sat back and watched Joshy shine! Through the singing and hand-clapping Skylar jumped up and down (in her own little baby way) and clapped her hands. She loves being a part of activities with other kids. I know she just loves getting out of the house since she's stuck here with Daddy all day. After the singing we went on a hay ride! It was a trailer full of hay being pulled by one of the guys from church in his big shiney red truck. Let it be known that my daughter does NOT like the feel of hay. We tried to get her to touch it and she screamed and just downright was NOT having it so she sat on Tina's lap for the hay ride.

After the hay ride we dressed a scarecrow. Yes....I said we dressed a "scarecrow". It was actually a life-size stick figure made out of PVC pipe, hay and burlap. All the families lined up in front of a laundry basket that had a variety of different articles of clothing in them. Next each family selected a card that told them what their scarecrow was supposed to be dressed up as. Josh pulled the card and guess what we got? GI JOE!!!! When they said, "Go"...we had to scramble around to ALL of the baskets and find all the army stuff and race back to our designated stick figure so we could put "Joe" together. My intentions were to just film the madness with my camera but Tina insisted that I help so while my baby sat in the grass watching all the craziness her Momma helped get GI Joe dressed. Robert met us at the church after he got off work and we toasted marshmallows and made s'mores and had hot apple cider before leaving. It ended up being a whole lot of fun and everyone had a good time.

Later in the evening Tina came over with a huge box of scrapbooking stuff that had been April's. It is now mine and so I think it's time that I get my creative juices going again and start putting some of our memories together in a book. Now if only I could find some time....

Joshua was up there singing with his class. It was awesome!

Miss Tina and Skylar were clapping and singing to the music.

Waiting for our turn for the hay ride.

Seriously, can you see how much she hates the hay?

Crazy silly kids! =O)

Miss Tina and Josh.

Josh was in charge of drawing a face on our GI Joe guy.

Posing for a picture with Joe. I was so disappointed that this came out blurry =O(

Josh was toasting a marshmallow for a s'more.

My Pootie with s'mores on her face.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Heaven receives another angel

On October 17, 2009 our beautiful friend and neighbor lost her three year battle with breast cancer. She fought this terrible disease until the very end. She leaves behind three beautiful children: Jack, Moriah and Micah and a ton of family and friends who loved her dearly. Below is a speech that she gave two years ago.

April Cherie Kruger
October 16, 1971 ~ October 17, 2009

WHIZZ!! That's the quiet, rushing, white noise only heard in my mind's ear as life moved swiftly into each tomorrow. But, it did not start out that way.

Kindergarten…my Mom cried as I started my first day. How excited I was to be a big girl with a place to be and something to do! It seemed an eternity I waited to break out of the single digit age group and then…it finally arrived: ten years old – double digits!! I felt older, certainly more grown up. But, still I quickly looked to the next milestone. The wait to become a teenager seemed everlasting. Oh how life seemed to dillydally as it moved at a snail's pace. I crossed the thirteen-threshold only to wait in impatient anticipation for sixteen – glorious, free sixteen! I got my first car, a used silver Toyota Corolla which stretched my confining boundaries and gave life a new momentum. Yet, it still seemed to creep as high school demanded just two more years of me before reaching the premier adult year – the coveted eighteen!

WHIZZ!! The pace of life was quickening, but I barely noticed. I needed now to be twenty one. I needed to be validated and confirmed in the age group of "real adults." I needed to proudly display my ID with an indignant, almost defiant squaring of my shoulders to anyone who dared to think my appearance youthful.

BANG!! I swung my over-sized, ego-mallet against the gong of life. I watched in adoration as the ripples of my actions waved out from me and into and through others, leaving them effected by my presence. I proudly wielded my newfound impact, looking for ways to be somebody, to feel important. Life began to truly whiz by in my happy delusion that its break neck speed would simply go on forever.

BANG!! My precious first born came when I reached the age of thirty. He was a natural pathway on the road of a life with real meaning. His presence caused the ego-driven actions of my twenties to retire in place of a reverence for that which was of far greater importance than my self-love. He inspired self-sacrifice. My ears began to prick up to that rushing, white noise of time passing in my mind's ear…it was not so quiet anymore. My second precious gift from God was born. I now had two little markers of time, growing so fast I could hardly believe I ever thought it took eternity to span two years. When my third and final child was born, time was moving with such blinding speed that it felt as if I hardly allowed a week to pass since my previous birth.

God revealed that "bang" is merely a whisper. He delivered a BOOM!! in my life that equaled a force in excess of all the banging around I ever did in my lifetime. It came crashing down on me with the authoritative destruction of an atom bomb, dropping with irregular waves like thunder.

BOOM!! came the voice of the nurse as my milk-filled, nursing breasts leaked life's liquid gold on the mammogram machine. "I'm scared with you." she said solemnly. The mammogram revealed immediately that my right breast was riddled with calcification. The doctor and nurse sacrificed their Christmas lunch party to give me urgent attention and whisked me into an immediate biopsy. So it began…a seed of fear was planted and fertilized well on that day.

My nurse case manager delivered the confirming BOOM!! that solidified my suspicion that a life forever changed was barreling down the tracks at my wide-eyed and white-knuckled self. "You have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma…Breast Cancer" she said matter-of-factly. Like the metallic scent and prickly heat that lingers after a close lightening strike, my senses over-loaded and I was reduced to paralyzed silence. A vacuum of stunned inactivity that seemed ceaseless overcame me.

The whirlwind of appointments that ensued left me feeling like I had boarded a runaway train with no scheduled stops, no final destination. I was no longer in control of my own life, no longer cruising in willful ignorance of the reality that life is finite. My oncologist and surgeons mapped out a plan. Neo-adjuvant therapy…neo-adjuvant. Neo-what? What does that mean?! I had an urge to slow everything down so I could understand it better – procrastinate myself into a false sense of comfort. But, I was on the runaway train and I certainly was not the engineer. I was the reluctant passenger holding on tightly to my dear life!

Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy was planned in order to shrink the tumor prior to mastectomy. Just the week before my first infusion, Lifetime Movie Network played a movie written by Geralyn Lucas called, "Why I Wore Red Lipstick to My Mastectomy." In it a young woman like my self was battling for her life against breast cancer. The nurses brought out an IV bag of glowing green liquid labeled with the skull and crossbones symbol at her first infusion. My scared eyes searched for the same noxious concoction to be presented as my chemical weapon. But, mine arrived in two forms – one orange and one clear…no glowing green slime like the stuff ordinary people fall into and emerge with super-powers. I cried as it began to drip – each drop stinging my heart as I was helplessly subordinate to the destruction it would bring my body. The plan was in place and underway: Neo-adjuvant chemo, mastectomy and another round of chemo followed by radiation. After that, in my estimation, life would return to something almost normal.

It began with my hair…oh my hair. I wore it long for all of my 35 years. I assigned my attractiveness to its soft, shiny length. "Not everyone's hair falls out" my oncologist said in an effort to offer encouragement. I scheduled with my hairdresser to try that edgy bob I always admired, but never dared to venture. Heck – what did I have to lose? I would certainly hate the new style and welcome the baldness, wouldn't I? Nope. I loved it! I told my hairdresser I was upset with him for giving me a beautiful style that I enjoyed…for a mere three weeks. And then it was gone. All gone.

I continued to work and made every effort to do all that I could in the name of normalcy. Never in my life had I allowed myself to slow down. I am the type that takes multi-tasking to a new dimension. Free time is an unfamiliar set of four letter words in my vocabulary. But, cancer gives no consideration to your drive or compunctions.

Breast Cancer therapy served to deconstruct all that I defined as my femininity. My long hair, my breast, my eyelashes, steroids gave me unwanted weight, my nails took a beating and I could not get pedicures due to my compromised immune system. What was left?! Would my rear fall on the floor as one more part of me waving the white flag to cancer?? Thankfully, it never did. From the destruction, a new sense of self began to form. How valuable were those things – how effective at defining me as a woman?? A new me was brewing…

Chemo ended and my mastectomy came next. They removed my diseased tissue and placed a tissue expander in its place. I derived comfort from that bag of saline. I looked in the mirror at the mound that was strangely higher than the natural breast (and conspicuously missing a nipple) and felt a sense that everything would eventually be OK. I had mapped out the descent into the pit of despair that would accompany the treatment. By my approximation, the mastectomy was the bottom of that pit. Everything from there would be on the way out, no matter how physically demanding it might be.

"Your margins were not clear, April. Your tumor had spikes into your lower layers of skin. We have to remove the tissue expander and some of your skin. You will require a skin graft from your thigh." I felt like Alice In Wonderland falling, falling, falling down an endless pit. The weeks that followed that surgery found me feeling hopeless despair. I could not look in the mirror. I felt that all I had prepared myself to troop through was dashed and I was left with a hideous skin graft that resembled an ugly mix of spam and road kill.

I sat on the edge of my bed the day I worked up the nerve to look at the wound and cried tears from deep in my soul. My daughter, Moriah, came to me with great concern, "Mama – are you sad?!" "Yes, Mo – Mommy's owie is making me cry." And she hugged me with a long, deliberate squeeze. Then she peered with conviction in my eyes and told me, "Mama – you are making Jesus cry. And you have to STOP! And that's the Truth." It was like a light came on in the darkness I had allowed to grip my soul. God is never at a loss for getting His message heard. Through my daughter, He reached to me and I grabbed His hand for the climb out of the pit that day.

I managed to get through the second round of chemo. I approached radiation with the idea it would be the cake walk portion of the treatment. I came to the hospital every day for eight weeks, except weekends, for about 30 minutes of treatment. On my first day, I met a woman in the waiting area who was nearly done with her treatments. She told me, "I'll take chemo over radiation any day!" I could not understand such a notion. But – as I entered my fourth week of treatment, I began to get it. As horrible as the radiation burns became, complete with open and oozing wounds, in just two short weeks after completion my skin was healed with only a somewhat darker shade as a remnant of the procedure. And during the treatments, my hair began to grow back! Life was going to be OK – I was going to be OK!

September 11 is the day I was born as a breast cancer survivor. A day of infamy infused with brand new meaning, a day worth celebrating!

I have told you my story, the process. But what I left out must be communicated. I cycled through emotions of fear, anger, confusion and despair and spent varying amounts of time wallowing in each one over and over again.

There are several keys to surviving the battle with cancer and emerging from it a whole and happy woman:

1) Draw close to those whom you love and love you. Allow them to come and do things for you. Their acts of service allow them to feel a part of the battle and allow you to give your body the break it needs while it fights to overcome the disease.

2) Save the cards, notes, emails and gifts people will send to encourage you. It became a treasure chest of positivity for me. A place to be reminded that I was not battling alone. I had prayer warriors across the US petitioning the Lord for my healing.

3) Allow yourself to experience the negative emotions and reach out to your closest friends and family to let those feelings out. Cry, be angry, admit you are scared. Holding it in and putting on a fa├žade that everything is manageable is counter-intuitive to the
healing your body is trying to perform. No one can endure the battle of cancer in a state of constant joy. It is human and acceptable to experience moments of defeat. The key is not to dwell there.

4) If you have a relationship with the Lord, draw nearer to Him than ever before by reading His word constantly. Just as in the book of Daniel, God will walk through the fire with you. Cancer will be the tool He uses to grow you in Him and He gives the strength you need when you keep your heart focused squarely on Him.

5) Talk openly about your cancer, even to your children. My son was five at diagnosis and we did not spare him the truth. He eagerly listened and gathered all the information we could give him. He was part of the battle and is proud to fight with me. My three year old, Moriah, found ways to be a part of the team as well. Sometimes offering me a hug and kiss out of nowhere and telling me, "That will make your cancer feel better."

6) You can't always look healthy through the treatments. Going in public bald or showing other signs that you are engaged in war can give you the opportunity to share invaluable awareness with someone. You may be the image that sticks in their head when they decide to do their first Breast Self Exam. You never know how you may positively impact someone by allowing your battle to be seen.

Crazy, Sexy Cancer warrior Kris Carr said, "Why, when we are challenged to survive, do we give ourselves permission to truly live?" Let's not spend a long time exploring the answer to that question and immediately get down to the business of living. Cancer sharpens your ability to discern what is important. Cut out the stuff that is not – the stuff that causes anxiety or stress. Life's one priority is survival! And no one can discount the unstoppable life force within each of us that finds a way to overcome, even in the face of a seemingly impossible situation like cancer.

WHIZZ, BANG, BOOM! Life is so unpredictable, crazy, fast and yet slow at times. Can it be that I have settled into a precarious friendship with my breast cancer? I believe so. It has served to slow my pace to savor the moments I used to sail through. It has given me a love and appreciation for the moments I can not control. Breast Cancer taught me to choose joy which in turn fosters hope. Breast Cancer caused a light to shine in me that was never present before. It is now my purpose in life to truly live!

Please pray for April's family and most of all please support breast cancer awareness wherever and whenever you can. Thank you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday afternoon at Roswell Mill

Sunday afternoon after church we drove back over to Founder's Cemetery to debunk what we thought was something in one of our pictures from Friday night. After we left the cemetery which is near Big Creek (used to be known as Vickery Creek) we sort of stumbled on the Old Roswell Mill. We decided to park the car, get out and go investigate further. Here's a little history we found out about the Roswell Mill and what happened to those who worked there.

Construction on the mill began in 1836 and the first cloth was produced before the Indians were forced west on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. The mill was incorporated in 1839, and at about this time "The Bricks" were built to house some of the mill employees.

Despite the economic downturn after the Panic of 1837, the mill continued to operate. Barrington King, Roswell's son, expanded the operation with other water-powered businesses including a grist mill, carding shop (where wool was processed), and a saw mill.

When the war began Roswell Mill produced the famous "Roswell Gray" that is so closely associated with the Rebel troops. During the Atlanta Campaign, Roswell Mill was a major target for William Tecumseh Sherman's forces. He ordered Brigadier General Kennar Garrard to advance and take the mill and attempt to secure the bridge across the Chattahoochee River south of the mill.

In July 1864 during the Atlanta campaign General William T. Sherman ordered the approximately 400 Roswell mill workers, mostly women, arrested as traitors and shipped as prisoners to the North with their children. There is little evidence that more than a few of the women ever returned home.

As the Union forces approached Atlanta in the early summer of 1864, almost all the members of the founding families of Roswell—aristocrats from the Georgia coast, most of them owners and/or stockholders of the Roswell Manufacturing Company mills—had fled. The remaining residents were mostly the mill workers and their families. The two cotton mills and a woolen mill continued to operate, producing cloth for Confederate uniforms and other much-needed military supplies, such as rope, canvas, and tent cloth.

On July 5, seeking a way to cross the Chattahoochee River and gain access to Atlanta, Brigadier General Kenner Garrard's cavalry began the Union's twelve-day occupation of Roswell, which was undefended. The next day Garrard reported to Sherman that he had discovered the mills in full operation and had proceeded to destroy them, and that about 400 women had been employed in the mills. On July 7 Sherman replied that the destruction of the mills "meets my entire approval." He ordered that the owners and employees be arrested and charged with treason, elaborating, "I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, whence I will send them by [railroad] cars, to the North. . . . Let them [the women] take along their children and clothing, providing they have a means of hauling or you can spare them."

The women, their children, and the few men, most either too young or too old to fight, were transported by wagon to Marietta and imprisoned in the Georgia Military Institute, by then abandoned. Then, with several days' rations, they were loaded in boxcars that proceeded through Chattanooga, Tennessee, and after a stopover in Nashville, Tennessee, headed to Louisville, Kentucky, the final destination for many of the mill workers. Others were sent across the Ohio River to Indiana.

First housed and fed in a Louisville refugee hospital, the women later took what menial jobs and living arrangements could be found. Those in Indiana struggled to survive, many settling near the river, where eventually mills provided employment. Unless husbands had been transported with the women or had been imprisoned nearby, there was little probability of a return to Roswell, so the remaining women began to marry and bear children.

The tragedy, widely publicized at the time, with outrage expressed in northern as well as southern presses, was virtually forgotten over the next century. Only in the 1980s did a few writers begin to research and tell the story. Even then, the individual identities and fates of the women remained unknown.
After the war portions of the original mill were rebuilt. In 1872 a new mill wheel was added, but it was difficult to rely on water power. In 1897 the mill wheel was replaced with a wood-fired steam generator, and in 1947 the mill was purchased by Southern Mills, who updated the buildings and began to purchase electricity from Georgia Power. The mill produced its final bolt of cotton cloth in 1975. It was a victim of foreign competition.

The machine shop. Part of the Mill complex that runs along Vickery Creek. The water was high and muddy from the 10 days of rain that we had recently had.

What would a day out with one of my besties be if we didn't take one of these?

The covered bridge that leads across the creek to the steep hiking trail on the other side.

The remains of the 1849 mill burned down by fire in 1927.

The back of the machine shop seen from the other side of the creek.

Bowling & ghost hunting

After a whole year....a very, VERY long year, Skylar's Nanny finally came back to see us after moving far away to Indiana last fall. While she was here we didn't do too much but we did manage to go bowling one Friday night after I got home from work. We had dinner at home and then went to the Brunswick Zone over in Roswell since we had a coupon for .99 cent games. Robert and I have our own shoes (because of the bowling dorks that we are) so we just paid for Victoria's shoe rental and two games each. I totally kicked their butts in the first game and Robert wiped the floor with us on the second. He claims it takes him a game to warm up. I guess he was right. After we left the bowling ally we drove over to the Founder's Cemetery where the Founder's of Roswell and their family and slaves were buried. It's supposed to be haunted but we didn't see anything or catch anything on camera. We did see something in a picture that we thought was something but we were able to debunk it a couple of days later. After we left Founder's Cemetery we went and took some pictures at the Presbyterian Cemetery. We didn't catch any ghosties there either. Roswell is one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. and they have a ghost walk every week so one night we're going to try and do that.

Family fun time! Momma, Daddy, Pootie & her Ritz cracker.

Pootie's first trip to the bowling ally.

Waiting for Momma to take her turn.

After bowling we went to the old Founder's Cemetery in Roswell. The founder's of Roswell and their slaves are buried here. Scarlet fever killed quite a few children and the first grave was that of a two-year-old.

This is Victoria's "scared" face.

Leaving the cemetery. Hope we didn't bring any ghosties home with us.

Roswell King's grave.

Graves at the Presbyterian Cemetery downtown.

Pictures from Skylar's birthday

Two days before Skylar's first birthday we had a party for her at Dave & Buster's so that not only the little kids could have fun but the "big kids" too. Grammy and Grandpa came down from Blairsville the night before so they could be here for her party on Saturday. Everyone who was invited showed up. We had a great time eating yummy food and playing games on the midway. Skylar made a mess with her cake but I guess that was to be expected. After the party Tara and Roger came home with Momma and Skylar to help us open the presents. She got a Radio Flyer wagon with big fat all-terrain tires from Grammy and Grandpa, a pretty singing purse from Miss Tina, Miss April and all the kids, jammies and a toy from Tara & Roger, a singing shape spinner (another noisy toy) from Kim, Cory & the girls and some Fisher Price Little People from Ed and Stacy who live next door. She loves all her toys....including the four toys we gave her the week "before" her birthday. I just couldn't wait to give them to her cuz I loves my big girl!

Here are some pictures from her party.

Jada just LOVED Skylar....she wanted to hold her and touch her and eventually ended up riding around in the stroller with her!

Kim, trying to hit the jackpot for the second time.

Tina helping Moriah spin the big wheel.

Moriah, Skylar and Joshie.

Momma, Auntie Kim, Jada & AhNeelah.

Look at Momma's pretty girl eating french fries with the BIG kids!

Skylar's cake. It was Winnie the Pooh....I guess you can see that huh?

Micah, Joey, Jack, Jada, Josh & Moriah.

She reached over and dug her hand in the cake.

She played with the frosting and then smeared it all over the table and high chair. She never did stick it in her mouth to taste it. How weird.

What's that up there? And is Mo laughing or crying?

Jack & friends forever.

Josh, all wet from the spilled drink, Moriah still smiling and the birthday girl reaching for a balloon.

Micah was playing with the power cards.

Moriah told Skylar that she was "this many"