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Just another stay at home mom trying to do it all, save the world, and not run out of coffee.
My published articles: exm.nr/gkA1yp
Twitter: @CarolBruckmann

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Bruckmann Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Ohio involved Caitlyn making her first sweet potato casserole (until Granny's decades old hand mixer started spinning out of control as if possessed), Elijah's first brussel sprout, the first annual Bruckmann play (come over, I have the video), Caitlyn and her cousin Bryson working on their monkey ring skills, and a trip to the Creation Museum courtesy of Jamie's aunt. It was amazing to see creation and science from the perspective of a biblical worldview, and I was impressed at the solid science they had backing things up. You should go!
The costumes and production of the play were amazing thanks to Granny!

Yes, I was totally calm while my kids held this snake... until Elijah was about to bite it!

You can see more pics from the weekend by clicking here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

September Flashback - Melinda comes to town (An apple a day does not keep the doctor away)

My kids and I are rarely sick, but just before Melinda & Clara arrived my husband introduced a malicious super bug from his high school into our house. One by one we succumbed to the power of the virus, even sending it back to Texas on the plane with the Piercefields. Being the strong willed women that we are, we were determined to muddle through the infirmary vacation and make the most of it. So we relished in bumming around the house while feeding the children enough honey to fulfill Winnie the Pooh's letter to Santa.

In order to at least experience a small taste of North Carolina as well as breathe a bit of fresh air, we traveled west to Hendersonville - apple capital of the world. As luck would have it one of the apples available to pick that day was of the Jonagold variety -  Melinda's favorite. The kids had a blast running around picking up pesticide laden apples and munching them for free sampling nature's bounty. Grandad's Apples also had a cute country store, some photo ops, and an area to feed a goat and a llama through a fenced in area oddly decorated with dinosaur statues. Elijah to this point had not been much of a talker, but the whole say he walked around saying "ABBLE! ABBLE!" Since then we haven't had a moment of silence.

Since Melinda is a super shopper and I despise shopping, we hit the mall so she could force me to shop for some things my kids needed and pick out some cute shoes for Clara. On the way to the car Elijah twisted away from Melinda's hands and tore up his face. We got him calmed down and pressed on. People at the mall said super helpful things to me like, "Stop hitting that baby!" Despite the mockery we successfully spent our husband's hard earned cash, and the kids had a blast playing in the free play area.

We were so sad to send the girls back to Texas, but we knew her family would come get her if I didn't! And now it all works out because Melinda is now preggo with baby #2, but she needs your prayers because she is very sick with hyperemesis.

You can see more fruity pics by clicking here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fabulous pictures

My 2nd/3nd cousin-in-law took these amazing pictures at the family Thanksgiving gathering.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

September Flashback - Melinda comes to town (The International Festival & Dan Nicolas Park)

On Saturday we hit the International Festival at UNCC. It's a great place to experience new cultures and try their food. I was surprised how many people were eating Chinese and Mexican rather than being adventurous! The kids loved the Chinese dragon and all the cultural costumes. Caitlyn's favorite part again this year was the dancing. She decided that she wants to move to India because she loved their music best. Wouldn't it be neat if she ended up being a missionary there? (My friend Becky's husband is Indian, so we went out to eat Indian food with them another day, and Becky gave Caitlyn some cool ankle bells!)

My parents, niece, and nephew came down to see Melinda and Clara, so we all went to Dan Nicolas Park in Salisbury. The park is amazing and has a train, carousel, gem mining, paddle boats, a petting zoo, mini golf, and a nature center as well as several playgrounds. I am PETRIFIED of having my children on things like paddle boats. I am positive that someone is going to almost drown and I'll have to save them. Jamie and Caitlyn paddled our boat while I sat on the back and tried my best to keep Elijah from wiggling his way to certain death. Thankfully we all pulled through and headed for a real NC BBQ experience in Lexington, NC to celebrate my dad's birthday.

You can see more pictures by clicking here (same link as last blog).

September Flashback - Melinda comes to town (Monkey Joe's)

I was so excited that my BFF Melinda and her sweet daughter Clara flew up from Texas to visit. It's probably the last time they can fly up because Clara is going to be two next year and also will become a BIG SISTER! The day after they came I was still watching a boy around Elijah's age, so we thought we would go to Monkey Joe's to get some energy out. I didn't realize that Clara had never even been in a bounce house, so she was overwhelmed at first. With some encouragement from her mom and Caitlyn she eventually warmed up to the place.

One great thing about Elijah is that he doesn't need quarters to enjoy video games yet!

Needless to say, our house was not much quieter than Monkey Joe's!

You can check out more pics by clicking here:

September Flashback -The UC/UT game

Jamie's parents treated the whole family to a trip to Oak Haven Resorts in Pigeon Forge along with tickets to the UC/UT football game. We had stayed there once before on a trip to Carson Newman's homecoming and really love the place. The cabins are spacious and have a pool table as well as a retro video game table that was the hot spot of the house. Of course Alice and I cooked some amazing food, and we decided it would be easier with the kids to tailgate at the cabin. The only problem was that our cabin had a sewage issue, so the first night was pretty stinky before we got it fixed! Saturday morning we hiked the cave trail - a pretty steep trail that involved a lot of hand holding.

Then it was off to Neyland Stadium. I had warned the kids that some people might say mean things and that no matter what we had to be kind Christians, but I need not have worried. The UT fans were so kind! Of course it didn't hurt that UT blew us out. But we started off the game by going ahead first, and the marching band and the tribute to the armed forces were something that even the Cinci fans enjoyed.

And just because he is so cute when he walks - a video of Elijah racing with the other kids at Cracker Barrel while we waited for our table:


You can check out other pictures from the weekend by clicking here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

September Flashback - the party

For the second year we had a joint birthday party for the kids to accommodate our out of town family (and make it easier on me). Caitlyn was set on a helicopter cake for her and an airplane cake for Elijah. Thankfully my friend Jennifer helped me out and made the cupcakes and cake for us. We surprised the kids the night before with a bounce house, which was much cheaper to buy than rent.


It seemed like a great idea to party in the backyard again until a terrible storm blew in the night before. The backyard was a mudpit, but we got most of the branches picked up and some games set up before the company arrived. With a firm rule of only coming inside for emergencies we had to think fast to decide how to squish over 50 people on our deck for cake, ice cream, and other junk. When the time came to sing Caitlyn hijacked Elijah's cake and insisted that her candle be put on it too. When I saw how muddy my deck was after the party I new it was totally worth moving everything to the great outdoors. I just felt bad for all the parents literally hosing off their kids before going home!

On Caitlyn's real birthday she woke up to a My Little Pony playhouse with several individually wrapped ponies. She was super excited, and so was Elijah.

Caitlyn had really wanted to have a party at Chuck E. Cheese, but that was a bit pricey. So my family went for lunch there on her real birthday. Thanks to my husband's great bargain skills I was able to hand out tokens like beads at a Mardi Gras Parade. The kids even climbed on stage to join Chuck E's show!


You can check out more pics from the birthday festivities by clicking here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Audrey's birthday

My grandparents have always been an inspiration to me. So it was a blessing to make a spur of the moment trip up for my Grandma's birthday party. Caitlyn had soccer, but Elijah and I loved seeing family and celebrating the life of such an amazing woman. (And yes, he's trying to sneak frosting while his Great Grandmother poses with her children.) She had a wonderful smile during her party, even though she is dealing with so much pain and inability to walk. We love her!


You can click here to see pictures from three other November birthday parties and a trip to the park.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Flashback - August 2011 Part 2

The week after we returned from Missouri Elijah turned 2. Since the kids' birthdays are close together but our families are far away, we combine their birthdays into one super party. Nevertheless we try to make the actual "birth" day special. As usual Elijah woke up and rushed to find me. As a result he totally missed the train and car city his Daddy and I had meticulously constructed the night before in his room. (Best $10 consignment sale purchase ever!) Caitlyn gave him a microphone (so she wouldn't have to share hers anymore) and a plastic dinosaur that he proceeded to chew in appreciation.

Caitlyn and Jamie began soccer season - Jamie as "Coach" and Caitlyn as "player least interested in soccer". When the preschool choir performed a couple of their songs at the end of the summer her dance moves were great, but the kids didn't really sing. I misplaced the cd, but I still thought they would be louder. When I asked her why they were singing so softly she replied, "Well you were singing quietly!" Point taken.

We also made a super quick trip to Ohio for Granny's 70th birthday luau. We survived the trip up thanks to 5 Hour Energy and a Blockbuster kiosk rental of Barbie: A Fairy Secret, a movie I hope to never see or hear again! The luau food was fantastic, and the one man band was super entertaining! Jamie's parents and their friends still know how to party! We adore our Granny who is more fun at 70 than a lot of grannys are at 30!

You can see all the August pics by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I've stopped making excuses for why we are always late or things. Honestly saying things like, "I was actually running ahead of schedule until I went downstairs to get my shoes, and Elijah dumped the corn meal on the floor and started licking it up with the dogs" is only getting me odd looks.

Flashback - August 2011 Part 1

August began with a swim at the Duncan's community pool, much easier with Daddy there to help our non-swimmers play in the water. I attended a Classical Conversations practicum, basically a crash course to the intense home schooling we're doing, then off we went to Missouri. Elijah's favorite part of the trip was the curtains in our first hotel room.

We made a two day drive of it, stopping at a rest area, a marina, and a state park to hunt for letterboxes.

We stayed at a great time share with Jamie's family. We stayed in one timeshare and the rest of them stayed in the other. Caitlyn and Elijah basically had their own apartment, and since we really played it up they actually slept in there and left us alone! (Maybe I should build an apartment for them in the garage so I can get some sleep at night.) Elijah adores his baby cousin and getting to be the big kid for once!

On my birthday my wish was to go on a trail at the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area to find five letterboxes. Caitlyn and Jamie accompanied me as well as his mom, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. It was a gorgeous hike, and we found all five well carved insect stamps.

Our immediate family hit Silver Dollar City one evening so that we could get in free the next day on our passes. One afternoon was enough for Elijah and me, so Jamie and Caitlyn went back with his family the next day while I worked in peace and Elijah napped. We took a Duck tour of the city, and Caitlyn got to drive in the water. Later she graduated to driving a go-cart by herself!

But it's always the cheap and free things that are the most enjoyable, and the kids loved feeding the fish at the trout farm more than the pricey Duck ride. I was of course excited when we sat on the SOUTH side at the Dixie Stampede and all my northern in-laws helped cheer our side to a victory. On the last day we rented a boat, but Elijah totally flipped out anytime anyone would get into the water. Mostly I just held him and tried to keep him asleep, but the pictures make it seem like all was peaceful! On the way home we letterboxed at the home and grave of Laura Ingalls Wilder and ate at a famous Missouri restaurant (Sonic).

We stopped for Sunday lunch with my family, and Elijah showed off his great baseball arm with Grandmama Marsha.

On our first day home Caitlyn and I had our first day of school. I'm teaching one of the 8 & 9 year old classes to offset our cost and help me learn the material. Caitlyn knocked them dead with her introduction speech.

You can see the other pics from the beginning of August by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Flashback - July 2011

Going through July's pics wasn't that tough since I did post in July about our beach and zoo trips. Other randomness involved Caitlyn growing an 8 foot sunflower from a seed, VBS, and a trip to Roxboro for my Granddaddy's birthday. We also gave our dog Rusty to my uncle. He has a big farm and only had one dog. Although I had trained him not to run out the door when I came in, I lived in constant stress that one of our kids or a guest at our house would open the door and let him escape. If he got out he wouldn't return, and one of our neighbors would call the police and blame us when any dog in the neighborhood would bark. He hated Rusty and threatened to shoot him with a BB gun. So it was a definite win-win situation even though we loved Rusty. He's doing great on the farm!

A week before Rusty left he got into a tussle with our dog Zeke over some food. His eye got cut so he needed stitches and the "cone of shame." Elijah thought the cone of shame was awesome!

Yes, Elijah is a mess - literally and figuratively. This is how he likes to eat slaw:

Caitlyn helped me make a coconut layer cake for my Granddaddy's birthday for the second year in a row. We're getting better!

Elijah discovered my other Granddaddy's linen closet and kindly cleaned out all the paper products. What a great organizer!

You can see the pics from July here:
July pics
Old & new Elijah pics
Old & new Caitlyn pics
And randomly I found some pictures from my sister to add to my Christmas album, including some great snow pics

Flashback - June 2011

Well, I'll never find time to go through all the pics and videos I have and edit them to my perfectionist satisfaction. So I'm going to spend the next few nights flying through the months helter skelter. I went through May and June tonight - that's a start!

Here are a couple of videos of Elijah playing with kittens - nothing could be cuter and you know it!


Here's Caitlyn describing the sheer terror of locking herself in the bathroom at my Granddad's church. They had to rip the screen out of a window to get her!

At VBS family night Caitlyn was a little shyer than usual, but still adorable. The second video is of the youth we worked with. Most of them were from the community, and we learned a little Drum Line!


Even if you aren't on Facebook, most of the pics I posted online tonight can be seen by clicking these links:
Some Caitlyn pics (old and new)
Some Elijah pics (old and new)
June pics

Shalom Seekers