Bell Camp: Days Six/Seven

Our last two days went by too quickly!

Day Six

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Today we went for a short hike at Moss Rock Preserve. I think the kids knew we’d do at least one hike while they were here since we’ve done several with them in the past. We took a trail that I knew would take us to a mini-waterfall. There we all took off our socks and shoes and splashed around, and ate some snacks we’d brought along in my trusty backpack. It was really quite perfect!

In the late afternoon/early evening we went to the Ross Bridge Farmers Market. This was another WIN. We got a little produce, the kids got free balloon creations, bounced around in the bounce houses and rolled around on the lawn. We then got our meals from the food trucks. The kids had some chicken tenders from Eugene’s Hot Chicken, while Grandpa  and I got sandwiches from the I Love Bacon truck. Chuck got the The BLT of Curtis Loew and I chose the Miami Sound Machine, a Cuban sandwich made with beer braised pork belly.  We all polished it off with some shaved ice. E and I both got Vanilla Cream, while JuJu and Grandpa got Cherry Limeade.

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Ladybug balloon

Day Seven

Our last day was rather low key. JuJu and I met a few ladies from church for breakfast at Panera, then made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. In the afternoon the kids’request was a return trip to the library. That night we had breakfast for supper per JuJu’s request, then a fairly early bedtime so we could be out the door by seven the next morning.

In addition to “Field Trips”, our days were filled with math, maps, and language arts; screen time; playing with, feeding snacks to and walking Ruby; reading and coloring; card games, board games and puzzles; Legos and scooters; telling family stories.

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Our first Bell Camp was a success and we look forward to many more to come!

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Outake – LOL!!!

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Bell Camp: Days Four/Five

 

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Day Four

Today we discovered Let’s Play Hoover. The kids had a blast!  Let’s Play offers unlimited all day play that allows you to leave and return the same day with no extra charge. The kids ran, bounced, jumped, climbed, and slid. We went home for a lunch break, then returned for more fun. There are plenty of spaces for parents to sit and read or use wifi.

 

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Right next door is Roll It Up Ice Cream. This is a unique ice cream shop where each creation is made to order while you watch. It’s fun to watch and oh so delicious to eat. I can’t wait to return! We ended the day watching Wall-E for the nth time. It’s one of E’s favorite movies!

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E’s creation

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Yum!

 

Day Five

This morning we went to Hoover’s new Explore Playground and Splashpad. This was another WIN! There is plenty to do on the playground and then there’s the splashpad for fun and cooling off. And best of all it’s free.

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Under the tree house

 

After going home for lunch,  we headed to the library. The kids always request a trip there. I have to admit it’s the ipads that attract them, though both kids love to read.

We finished out the day with a trip to  DQ per Grandpa’s request. Smiles all around. 🙂

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Bell Camp: Days Two/Three

Day Two

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After breakfast at the Hyatt (which was great both mornings we were there) , we headed home via Lawrenceville to do one more house drive-by – the home of Chuck’s grandparents. Then we hit up Boulder Creek Coffee where JuJu found some hidden treasure in an old trunk upstairs! We let the kids get some wiggles out at the playground before hitting the road.

After we got to Bham and unloaded, JuJu and I went to get Ruby from the vet. This was the first time for them to meet and they were both excited.

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Ruby

 

Day Three

This was Toy Story 4 Day. We started the morning with Toy Story 4 cereal. Kinda meh on the flavor scale.

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The kids wore their t-shirts and even though I messed up the tickets I’d pre-purchased, the manager saved the day and we enjoyed the show. I laughed a lot and teared up a little. It was a hit with all of us!

 

Afterwards we had an early supper at Jim-n-Nicks, then a little scootering around the neighborhood  and some Toy Story 4 Pez before the day ended.

Sav-A-Life Abides No Hatred

I have been so burdened down this past week with all the negativity on social media about abortion. I know I could just not read it all. But something in me is screaming out for the other side. Groups I am a part of on facebook have surprised me with the level of opposition displayed toward Christians. The picture below from Nick Anderson depicts what I hear so many people saying.

 

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I would like to show a different side. There is a group here in Birmingham that truly embodies the expression “Abide No Hatred”. It’s called Sav-A-Life. I know there are other similar organizations out there. I want to tell you a little about this one.

Yes, they are pro-life. They are this and so much more. They offer free pregnancy testing, ultrasound, prenatal assessment, STI/STD testing for men and women, childbirth education classes, parenting classes, and fatherhood programs. They provide counseling not only for the woman who wants to keep her baby or put it up for adoption, but for the one who chose abortion and needs help dealing with that decision, also. They have  mentors and offer support groups. They furnish assistance through the Stork’s Nest, providing clothes for mother and child, baby furniture, diapers and more. They have ongoing classes from basics such as diapering to finances and budgeting. Sav-A-Life also refers clients for community resources such as housing and Medicaid.

Watch this video to get a look at some of what Sav-A-Life does.

 https://vimeo.com/214742032

So…

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So I bragged on facebook about my winning poems. This is the first time I’ve ever won anything for my poetry, so I’m pretty encouraged. I joined the ASPS – Alabama State Poetry Society and submitted about 15 poems in different categories/contests, and three were chosen.

 

Category 9: Thelassic Poem – 3rd Honorable Mention

 

 

Starfish  

that July morning

at Siesta Key

a delegation of starfish

drew us all together

as we dipped our toes

in the warm gulf waters

beachgoers laughing and squealing

pointing and talking to each other

splashing and swimming

among the starfish that day

we formed a temporary friendship

over the joy of the ocean’s offerings

years later across the land

“Remember when” will be heard

and tales of the starfish

will be told

 

Category 2: The Mary (Mickey) Cleverdon Memorial Award – 3rd Place

 

 

Music of Creation  

 

The music of the woods

Is not just the song of the bird

But  the beat of the brook

The harmony of wind and leaf

A twig, a scamper, layers

 

The music of the ocean

Is not just the cry of the gulls

But the crash of the waves

The melody of wind and water

A splash, a scrape, laughter

 

The music of the snow

Is not just the hoot of the owl

But the patter of flakes

The rhythm of wind and white

A crunch, a frost, whispers

 

The music of the world

Is not just a song, a cry, a hoot

It’s beating, crashing, pattering

It’s harmony, melody and rhythm 

A symphonious creation

 

 

Category 3: A Spiritual Journey – 1st Place

 

 

Instructions  

 

Are there only ten instructions?

I can do that

I believe in God

You know, GOD

No way!

I don’t have any statues in my house

Football trophies don’t count, right?

OMG- that’s not really saying it, right?

Yes, I call myself a Christian

I go to the early service

(Doesn’t interfere with the game)

Yes, sir/No, sir

That’s so old fashioned

Murder in my heart? My thoughts count?

Honestly, I only buy it for the articles

It’s not plagiarism if I change a couple words

Little white lies don’t hurt anyone

Who in the world are Ananias and Sapphira? A rock band?

No, I don’t want my neighbor’s truck

I want my own

What? I thought you said ten

There are only really two?

Why didn’t you say so?

With ALL my heart, soul, and mind?

That’s a tough one

I like my neighbors – I always wave

I even put money in that kettle every December

Love them as much as I love me?

I’ll get back to you

PAD 2019 – #4 April

PAD is drawing to an end for another year. Today’s prompt was to remix a poem from earlier in the month. I decided to remix my poem from Day One. You can read both below.

 

Can’t Fool Me

 

April first brings ice on the windshield

to try to fool me

to say it isn’t spring in Alabama

But I’ve seen azaleas in bloom

and green shoots springing up

between winter’s dead blades

I’ve opened the front door

felt the breeze flow in

then out the back

being thankful for the screens

though they can’t stop all the pollen

from creeping in

to coat the porch in yellow

Longer days make me lose track of time

as I savor the sunshine

and postpone supper

All this says spring

You can’t fool me, April first

 

Not Fooled

April tried to fool me

with ice after azaleas

but now the lawn is green

the air a sweet perfume

mornings are cool

afternoons balmy

when the roses said hello

the pollen said goodbye

spring is loud and lovely

I listen to her and smile

yes, April tried to fool me

but May is on the way

 

 

 

Out and About in Bham

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In finalizing the cessation of my other blog, I thought I’d put together some bits and pieces about things to do outdoors around Birmingham.

Moss Rock Preserve

Looking for a spot to get your Saturday morning hike on? Moss Rock Preserve is the perfect place. Situated only minutes from John Hawkins Parkway and Shades Crest Road in Hoover, this 349 acre preserve is a great location for hikers and nature lovers of all ages and skill levels. This is where my husband began getting in shape for a trip to Montana a few years back. There are 12 miles of trails to explore. And it’s free!

Tips:

  • Bring water
  • Leave no trash behind
  • Bring snacks if you have a 5-year old – “I’m hungry” is a common refrain
  • A walking stick comes in handy
  • Watch out for wet, slippery rocks (I speak from experience)
  • Don’t forget your camera

 

Oak Mountain Park

This 9000+ acre park in Pelham, the largest state park in Alabama,  has so much to offer in addition to hiking. There is a beach and swimming area,  boat rentals, camping, biking, golf, nature programs, basketball courts, horseback riding –  and that’s just some of what you’ll find here – whew!

The trails are clearly marked ; when our five year old grandson hiked with us he was a great scout, keeping us on the white and yellow trails. Along the way there was a creek flowing through – a great spot for a break.

Tips:

  • Bug spray is helpful
  • Hiking shoes – it’s not about the looks, it’s about the ankle support
  • Buy a map at the park office and use it
  • Bring water
  • Don’t overdo it

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

bbg1Another beautiful and free place to visit, with so many varieties of roses! I discovered that there is a library at the gardens – mostly botanical related items. I was able to use my library card to check out a few magazines and I can then return them at the Hoover Library – sweet! There is also a wonderful gift shop that has delicious smelling soaps and candles and lots of unique items.

Pepper Place Market

This outdoor market, held on Saturdays,  has not just produce, but lots of local crafts and ready-made food items. There is music to enjoy and on hot days a mister for the kids, or hot adults.

Railroad Park

This 19 acre park along 1st street is right next to Regions Field, home of the Barons. It has numerous paths to walk, water features, two playgrounds, grassy areas for play  or picnicking and even a designated areas for skaters.

Birmingham Zoo

The Zoo is great for all ages. Your best bargain is to get a Membership for a year. This will also get you discounted admission to reciprocal locals across the country. Besides the animals, there is a train ride, carousel, playgrounds,and water play area for the kids. There are also numerous places to get a bite to eat, and also a gift shop.

Tips:

  • If you want to save money, go on half-price Tuesday
  • If you want to avoid crowds, don’t go on Tuesday
  • Use sunscreen
  • Take your time; go with your kids’ pace. It’s better to savor the moments than to try to see everything
  • May is prime Field Trip time for schools