Saturday, July 12, 2008


There are times when God just brings us to our knees because of how He provides for us and loves us. Nick just called, and I'm overwhelmed.

Nick: Well, the truck is unloaded.
Mom: Great! Who did you call to help?
Nick: We started unloading and this guy from a few doors down came by and helped us. You won't believe this - the guy is a former professional mover. He's huge! The two of us (scrawny, skinny Nick and the burly fellow) unloaded the piano by ourselves.
Mom: WOW! That's great!
Nick: Guess what, Mom? He has a son who is 2 1/2 also. His birthday is three days before Ethan's! He and Ethan played in the waterhose and while we were unloading.
Mom: You're making me cry!!!
Nick: And, there's another family three doors down that has a 3 yr old son.
Mom (still crying): How wonderful! God has surely taken care of you, hasn't He?

So...can you count the number of answered prayers?
1. Jobs for Nick AND Angela
2. Awesome place to live
3. Not just help unloading the truck, but a professional mover!
4. Not one but TWO boys Ethan's age for him to play with!

Thank you, Lord, for taking care of my kids!!!!!

A really long day

We spent Friday helping Nick and Angela pack and move to their duplex in Jarrell. We left Paris at 8:30 Friday morning and returned at 5:30 Saturday morning. Yep...21 hours. The things parents will do for their children and grandchildren!!

Angela rented a moving truck which they had just gotten home with when we got to Bedford. Nick and Chris left pretty soon after we got there to get their stuff from their storage unit while Angela and I packed. She had these great boxes from Outback that were all the same and made packing and stacking go very well.

My main assignment for the day was to entertain Ethan. We took walks, ran errands, watched movies, and played in the truck while the others did the hard work of loading the truck. My favorite Ethan quote of the day was while he was "driving" the truck - "Look out all you peoples! Here comes Ethan!" He was so adorable. His absolutely favorite thing to say these days is "Is it?" which is 2 yr. old speak for "What is it?" We played "Is it?" with everything in the truck from radio to air conditioning to speedometer to signs and posters inside the cab.

We finally got on the road around 8:30 last night, obviously much later than we planned to leave. What a caravan we had! Nick drove the big truck, Angela followed in her car, Ethan and I were next in Nick's car, and Chris pulled up the rear in the Jeep. Ethan was asleep before we got one block away from the house, so I didn't hear a peep from him for a couple of hours. I discovered that my cell phone was dying and that Chris had my charger, so we stopped in West to get it. The next stop was even more unexpected - Chris got stopped and ticketed for having a tail light out. I pulled over at the next decent place to stop and waited for him to catch up. Sheesh! Just what we needed.

When we got to the duplex, Nick and Angela were walking around using their cell phones as flash lights trying to find the breaker box. The four of us wandered around for a while until Chris finally found it. What a relief to have lights and air conditioning! We spent a little while with them oohing and ahhing over their duplex and then unloaded the three cars.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stay last night to help unload the truck today. (Chris has to be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, this afternoon with the Arkansas Brass for a wedding.) I made Nick promise he would get on the phone and find some teachers or coaches or kids or SOMEONE to help them unload. The boxes won't be a problem for them, but the furniture and piano will require additional muscle power.

The duplex is fabulous!!! It's a two-story, three bedroom, two full bath unit with a galley kitchen, great pantry, and large living/dining area. It's 300 square feet larger than the house we built in Little Rock. I'm including a few pictures from another duplex that is arranged just like theirs. I'm thrilled that they found such a great place so quickly that is close to work for both of them. (Angela will be teaching middle school math in Jarrell!!) The only negative is that they're at least two hours farther away from us.

It was about 1 AM this morning when we left Jarrell. We stopped a couple of times for drinks and snacks and to replace the pesky tail light. I napped a little and made Chris let me drive the last couple of hours while he slept. We fell into our bed around 5:30 this morning. YAWN!!! What a day!
1st picture - Front view; they have the unit on the right
2nd picture - Living/dining looking toward kitchen
3rd picture - Ethan's room with the dormer window

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Celebrating the 4th of July always meant a huge family gathering when I was growing up. Unfortunately, we've gotten away from that in the past few years, but I caught myself thinking about those fun days quite a bit today.

My grandparents hosted a 4th of July celebration from as long as I can remember until they couldn't do it any more. They had two daughters and a cousin who lived with them who was just like a daughter to them. Each of their daughters married and had children (two of them had 4 children, and one had 3), so when just our families got together we had 11 kids. I was the oldest of the group, but I don't think that distinction earned me anything. Mamaw and Poppa each had several brothers and sisters, so most of the time some of them and their families would join us. By the time my generation got married and had kids, we had four generations under one roof. Trust me, when the Woolard clan gathered, there were LOTS of people involved.

We spent the day outside eating and playing all kinds of games. I remember playing in Poppa's freshly plowed field making what I called "foot houses." We climbed trees and played in a wading pool. They lived outside of town and their water came from a well, so that dip in the wading pool was cold! My kids are mortified when they see home movies or pictures of us in the pool wearing nothing more than our underwear. No one thought ahead to bring bathing suits, so we just stripped down to our whitey-tighties and jumped in.

Food was always a major component of any Woolard family gathering. We didn't grill hamburgers and hot dogs like most people do on the 4th. We just pot-lucked it. I remember one year that we had some really good barbecue - barbecued goat, that is. I think a cousin brought a friend that year, and everyone watched to see what he thought about the barbecue! We had everything you could imagine to eat. Poppa built some extra long picnic tables for us, and one was always completely filled with food.

Poppa always grew watermelon. I never see watermelon without remembering Poppa's garden. He grew red and yellow watermelon and always had a cold one ready to eat. He was pretty particular about his watermelon - I remember him throwing out just-opened watermelon if he thought it was too ripe or if it just didn't taste right to him. I learned at an early age how to spit watermelon seeds particularly at my siblings and cousins.

After lunch, it was firecracker war time. Oh my, did we have fun! We each had packages and packages of Black Cat firecrackers to pop. It was a sign of maturity when we graduated from propping our firecrackers on the sidewalk or fence post to light and then run like the dickens before they popped to being quick enough to light and then throw them. Another rite of passage was twisting the fuses of several firecrackers together before running or throwing. Of course there were always misfires and firecrackers that were thrown in the wrong direction, but thankfully we never had any serious injuries. I remember one year when Uncle Ken threw several at me and I threw a hissy fit. He still makes fun of me about that. We never got really big stuff for after dark. We always had Roman candles and sparklers and bottle rockets, but we didn't get much that went "boom" with big displays. One year my Roman candle was a dud and sent balls about two feet in the air. I couldn't wait for the next year to come so that I could redeem myself. We had fun with various forms of "chasers" that chased all of our moms out of their lawn chairs more than once. About six years ago we went to my sister's house on the 4th and did some of these same things. I felt twelve years old again with my cup full of Black Cats and my "punk" lighter! I think I scared Natalie!!

Even though Poppa was a World War II veteran and my dad served in the Marine Reserves and Uncle Ken served in the Air Force, I don't remember spending time talking about patriotism. For my family, patriotism was something we lived, not something we talked about. We spent the 4th of July enjoying our freedom to gather as a family. It was always the highlight of our summer. I'm so thankful for my grandparents and my parents for making sure that we spent time together as a family. My, do I miss those days!

Here's a trip down memory lane and a picture of my sisters and me in Mamaw's kitchen on July 4 in 1981 or 1982. Sorry I don't have a picture of me in the wading pool to share!