Tuesday, April 15, 2014

AJ Scores a Goal


You will have to blow this video up to full size and many have to watch it more than once, but you can see AJ score a goal.  (AJ is just to the right of the goal - makes a nifty move around the defender and scores.)  FINALLY, the mom curse is broken.  AJ has been scoring at every game I haven't attended (almost anyways) but when I am able to go to the games, it seems he never scores.  His team won against our cross-town rivals 4-1 last night.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Working with the Cousins

Forgot to post these pics from the cousins' visit a few weeks ago.  Since I've been sidelined with a torn rotator cuff, my sister decided to help me clear out our property line from a bunch of vines, brush and briers. 
AJ headed up the group, but of course Shelby didn't want to be left out. We also recruited neighborhood children(of course).

Cleaning vines out of the tree

Had to call in the big guns to clear out the vines


Snack time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jumprope Fever

AJ has enjoyed another season on his school's jumprope team. 
His skills have also improved greatly.

AJ & his good buddy Nathan

I wish you could see AJ's face better in this one.  His tongue is out in concentration, just like my Grandpa Neild did all the time.

The whole school started chanting "AJ! AJ!" during his recent solo performance at the school.

The team travels to local venues for several of their performances.
This performance was the half-time show at an Asbury University Women's Basketball game.

The girls have 1 more year before they are eligible to be on the team, but they have gone crazy with learning new skills in the hopes of making the team next year. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Break Hiking Trip: Part Two

We were just about wiped out after our 8-mile hike on Monday, but the kids had a little energy left for about a half day more exploring, so off we went to one of our favorite out-of-the-way state parks, Kingdom Come.

Chloe ready for another day in nature

Kingdom Come State Park gets its name from a book by Kentucky author John Fox, Jr., called The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, which was an early-20th century novel about a boy from this area during the Civil War era.

Our picnic spot had this nice big rock to climb, which was good practice for our hike later on. 

Can you see AJ's blue shirt at the top?

Kids pose from one of the many spectacular overlooks along the Little Shepherd Trail that runs along the top of Pine Mountain

Getting ready to head down the Possom Trail to Raven Rock.  (Mom drove down to meet us at the bottom.)

Climbing up on Raven Rock

Essie gets comfortable in her stone throne

Chloe finds a rock seat of her own

The view from atop Raven Rock

A panoramic shot from the top of Raven Rock

Chloe makes her way down the rock face

A panoramic view from the Bullock Overlook

One last picture of Mom and Dad, then back home - tired and sore

On our way home, we decided to stop and eat at a restaurant in Lexington.  It was a very nice dinner, and we were all very hungry.  Then our waiter got into a fight with the owner back in the kitchen.  The argument spilled out into the restaurant, and our waiter was asked to leave.  He did not leave graciously.  So...the rather embarrassed owner gave us our meal for free!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Break Hiking Trip: Part One

The kids' Spring Break happened to fall on the last two days of a special rate on cottages at some Kentucky State Parks, so we headed down to Pine Mountain for a couple of days exploring.

Our 2-bedroom cottage was really cool.  And it even had a television so we could watch the Kentucky Wildcats punch their ticket to the Final Four!

Essie & Chloe were really proud of their color coordination (and their new water bottles).

AJ exploring around the cottage

Chloe showing off her climbing muscles

Some early morning reading so Mom & Dad can sleep in...a little.

The ladies are ready for a hike!

A bison on the Virginia side of the mountains

Way up there is our destination - the White Rocks, on the border of Kentucky and Virginia

Our path up the mountain - a 3-mile hike, one-way!

Dad offers some guidance on stream-crossing 

Cool mountain stream

Our climbing girls

Can you see the cliffs above us?  That's where we're headed.

Slowly climbing upward

And the views begin to get more spectacular

A quick rest with a nice view

The girls begin to drag, so Dad offers two helping hands.

Looking up at our destination

Almost there!

Surprised to find some snow remaining on top of the mountain

AJ makes a snowball on a 70-degree day

Essie, with the White Rocks in the background


Eating lunch on top of the mountain

The last few hundred feet

And what a view!

Looking back into Virginia

More climbing opportunities

Mom & Dad

Some kind hikers from East Tennessee were nice enough to take our only family picture of the trip.

Always monkeying around

Heading a mile across the ridge to see Sand Cave

Descending down to the cave

Sparkling waterfall next to Sand Cave

Sand cave is not so much a cave as it is an overhang - over a football field-sized expanse of deep, soft sand.

Some ice remains on branches below the water drizzling off the overhang

Looking back at the waterfall

Amy's been asking for a beach vacation.  This isn't exactly what she meant.


Chloe:  "That looks like nostrils!"

The cave really is a spectacular sight.  But not very easy to get to.

Essie finds a perfectly-sized seat.

Chloe checks out the waterfall

Climbing back up to the ridge.  Legs getting pretty tired at this point.

Finally, headed back down the mountain

This was by far the most strenuous hike we've ever been on - about 8 miles, half of which was uphill.  Honestly, it nearly did us all in.  We got back to the cottage as one tired family.