Tag Archives: youngs

Renaissance Festival

We were invited to the Renaissance Festival with Bobby and Sidney Youngs on Saturday.  I hadn’t been to the Festival in over fifteen years so I really didn’t know what to expect.  Sidney had told me that the kids could dress up in their finest princess and knight costumes and that Wilson should bring a sword.  The kids all dressed up:  Faith was a princess, Wilson was a king, and Miller was a pirate.  Wilson looked the best donning a crown and a king’s robe.  As soon as we walked in the front entrance a wandering employee taught the boys how to sword fight.  I don’t think he knew who he was up against….


If you like to people watch then the Renaissance Festival is for you!!  I had no idea that grown men dressed up in Shakespearean/pirate/knight costumes.  Some of them had to have spent a lot of money on these costumes.  There were also lots of fairies, wenches, and boobs popping out of corsets. It was a sight to see.  It was difficult to tell who worked there and who was just in the spirit of things.

The kids loved the rides.  They were all simple rides that worked without electricity – just muscle.  The kids did the trampoline jump, the pirate ship ride, and a few other things.  I was thankful that we didn’t have to spend money on tickets to get in, because we still spent a bunch on rides and ice cream.

My favorite part of the day was the sword swallower who named himself “Tom Celectomy”.  haha.  That man coulD” do some crazy stuff.  Not sure how he was able to hammer a nail into his nose that was parallel to the floor, but he did.  He also swallowed numerous swords, a balloon and had a very quick sense of humor.  When Tom-celectomy asked who was a doubter, my Grandmama raised her hand.  Inevitably,  he called her up to the stage to help prove that he was really swallowing a sword.  It was so funny and Grandmama was a great sport.  It was so out of character to see her up on stage with a sword swallower, laughing and playing along.  She did a great job.  In the end he actually swallowed a long, blown up clown balloon that was three feet long.  It was totally disgusting and made me want to throw up!  I literally began to gag.  Yes, even with the gagging, it was my favorite part of the day…






Here is Miller and Grandmama walking the streets together…



Faith, Jesse and Wilson watching the jugglers…



One of the biggest attractions was the joust.  Three different men jousted each other and determined a winner.  The boys, specifically Wilson, loved this part.  The men rode a horse towards each other with the javelin aimed at the others’ shield.  They got points if the shield broke, the javelin broke, or the shield stuck to the javelin.  Our blue knight lost but it was fun to watch….






After the joust was break for ice cream and then home.  We were all tired from walking most of the day and we ended up carrying half of the kids on the way back to the car.  A great day outside as a family enjoying our friends’ company.



Labor Day Parade

We were told that the town of Matthews had the largest Labor Day parade in the southeast.  Who knew?  This was especially surprising since Matthews itself is such a small town.  We decided that we needed to check it out….everybody loves a good parade.  I packed up the car with the kids, and Tom’s dad, and we drove the three miles to the parade site.  (Matthews is right next door).  :)  I don’t even know if I have to say this anymore or if it is just assumed by now, but the Youngs went to the parade with us also.  As luck would have it, we sat right in front of the announcers booth for the parade.  The first group in the parade was a high school band and then the Matthews School of Dance.  The dance school did a routine of their own, and then they played two songs for the crowd to join in.  Sidney jumped right up and took the kids out onto the street to dance.  The kids loved it!!  As you can see, the four kid are in sync with each other, but not the crowd.  They were dancing to the “to the right, to the right, to right…” song.  I have no idea what the name of it is.  It is basically another version of the electric slide.


Wilson got to sit on Grandpa’s shoulders for a while….and wear his hat.


Ella and her dad Erik also joined us at the parade.  Here is Miller, Faith, Ella and Wilson….






The kids loved the parade because of the music, the princesses, and the mass amounts of candy that they consumed.  I think we will definitely do this again next year.

Florida adventure part 2

Today we decided to take the kids to the pancake house and the natural springs. They wanted to go to the pool again but the girls each had pool blisters in the bottoms of the toes from playing in the pool so many hours (again, something that I had forgotten about from my Florida youth).
First we ate pancakes at a restaurant where you cook your own pancakes at the table. I worked at a place similar to this in Colorado but there the patrons cooked their own steaks. This was much simpler…except for the five kids at the table with two hot griddles. The kids did pretty well and Robin even learned to make his own pancakes.



After breakfast/lunch (it was after 11:00 because we were not in any hurry to get anywhere), we decided to try swimming in the chilly fresh water springs. I have to mention that the park was called “Ponce De Leon Springs”. Any good Floridian knows that he was an explorer looking for the Fountain of Youth. I felt a bit of my childhood coming back after hearing the name of the place that we were playing….maybe I wasn’t such a tourist after all. The water was very chilly and the kids played in it only a little while before heading over to the playground where it was warm.


As usual, a thunderstorm rolled up quickly and drove us back into the car and back to the Ranch. The kids watched tv while the adults talked and napped. Before dinner the kids wanted to swim again. Sidney and I did cannon balls in the pool with the kids and taught them “bumper butts” (another childhood favorite). And as it happened each day, Tom (aka G-daddy) brought the kids ice cream by the pool.


We had a great tIme in Florida. Sidney and I became quite a team over the week. We tend to get along all of the time and don’t take anything that happens too seriously. We can laugh at mishaps, roll our eyes at the kids whining, and then relax each night while drinking wine and chatting with her parents. It was a very successful trip that I think we may even brave again next year.

Florida adventure

A few months ago Sidney and I decided that we would drive our combined five kids to her parents house in central Florida. We wanted to go during the week because the men would be working at their jobs during that time (we didn’t want to miss out on our weekend help). :). We planned this far in advance and we were all looking forward to the trip, especially the kids.

We were finally on our way Monday morning. We loaded up ourselves, the five kids, and a small pack pack for each person. Thankfully, we are low maintenance gals. Here we are ready to go…

The trip was supposed to take us about eight hours but it took us nine and half. We jokingly took this picture to describe the trip, but it actually went very well. (It will probably be more indicative of the ride home)


I have known Sidney almost all of my life, but I have known her parents longer. Her parents, Tom and Yibbit, are like my second set of parents so staying with them for four days was not going to be uncomfortable at all. I was looking forward to seeing where the had chosen to retire. They live thirty minutes west of Daytona beach on over fifty acres with a swimming pool. The perfect place to visit with five kids.

The first full day that we were here the kids swam in the pool for four straight hours. We finally made them get out because they kept arguing about a blue mask that they all wanted to use. The kids are together so much that they are beginning to act like siblings, which is a good thing in our book since we all consider each other family as well. The kids have had constant activity and aren’t even going to bed until after 9:00 each night. I don’t know how they do it. I am exhausted by the end of the day.

Today we drove to Ormond Beach which is about thirty minutes east. We tried to get there early so that we would have plenty of time to enjoy the beach before the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in. We did get about three hours of playtime in before it started to thunder and lightening. It is probably a good thing we left because my kids all looked sunburned, even with sunscreen on.

A few things struck me as interesting at the beach:
1. Wilson is awesome in the water. He was diving under the waves and karate kicking them the whole time. He did amazing in the ocean.

2. I miss Florida a little bit. I have been gone so long that I am a tourist in my own home state. I noticed things today at I hadn’t thought about in a long time: beach front houses that aren’t stilts, round white curb
markers in the grass, life guards on the beach, and small stuco houses with horizontally slatted windows. These all used to be common place.

3. My kids are needing some one-on-one time with me. They are having fun with their friends and are in the same room with me but haven’t had much time alone with me. I tried to spend time with wilson today while he played in the water. It made me realize that I do a better job of spending time with them at home than I give myself credit for.

Going to the beach was great. I am so glad that tom and Yibbit came with us. It was fun to spend that time together.

All in all, the trip has been fun and easy so far. There has been a lot of activity, which is good when you have five kids to entertain all day. Even when there is t an activity the kids are completely entertained by each Other. One of the best parts for me is sleeping in each morning. The kids are in the main house while Sidney, miller and I are in the pool house. A bit of vacation I would would say. Here are some pictures of us at the beach…




Triple Date




Tom and I were able to go out on a triple date on Saturday night.  We went out with Bobby and Sidney Youngs and my brother Doug. (Jacqueline couldn’t make it).  We went to Cru Wine Bar.  It is a small wine bar in the Ballentyne area of town.  It had live music, which was the perfect volume, and a very warm atmosphere.  Tom met the bartender at Starbucks that week.  She was a diver on the National Dive Team in the US.  They struck up a conversation and she told us to come in one night…..so we did.  We ordered a few bottles of wine and she came around every so often with a sample of red wine for all of us to try.  Luckily, we are all good friends because we passed around the same glass and all took a sip.  Our favorite was the Burley Cabernet.  It was delicious and cost about $90 a bottle.  That was probably a once in a lifetime taste right there.  :)

It feels so refreshing and rejuvenating to go out with friends and have a good time.  It isn’t often that we all get together and go somewhere without the kids.  It was a late night and I definitely felt the effects the next day, but it was totally worth it.

Swimming at the Y

Yesterday we had scheduled a playdate with Sidney and her kids.  We typically do the same things, either go to the playground or one of our houses.   We decided to change it up and go to the indoor pool at the Harris YMCA.  This Y has a graduated pool for the kiddies and a small kiddie slide as well.  It is a great indoor pool for children.  Compared to the air temperature, the water felt rather warm.  The kids loved it!  Rarely do I take them swimming in the winter.  Personally, I don’t like swimming or getting into a cold swimming pool, but I may have to suck it up and do it more often anyway.  The kids need to continue working on their swimming skills so that they will be ready for summer.

The Charlotte YMCAs require that kids pass a small swim test in order to swim more than an arm’s reach from their parents.  I totally forgot to bring the kids’ necklaces from last year and Robin had never taken the test.  The life guard gave them the swim test again and they both passed.  (Wilson didn’t want to take it again.)  Having a necklace meant that Robin and Faith could do something totally new and exciting:  go down the giant waterslide!  Faith was scared at first but after seeing Robin do it she went for it.  They loved it!  I think that they each went down the slide at least six times in a row.  I was proud of them – it was a really big slide.  Again, this is something that we need to do more often.  Life can get somewhat boring if I don’t change things up every once in a while.  Today I can say that we did something out of the ordinary and had a great time!


Playground fun!

Friday afternoon I met Sidney and her kids at Squirrel Lake Park. Our kids love each other and play very well together. It is great! The kids played on the playground for a while and then we decided to go for a walk. There is a nice path that loops around the park. Of course the kids liked playing off the trail instead.

Believe it or not, but it was so warm Friday that the kids could play in the creek with no shoes on. It was 70 degrees. Kids always begin playing cautiously in water but by the end they are soaked. This is what happened to Wilson and miller…mostly Miller. He stepped into the water with his shoes on and them sat down. He was soaked. He also loved every minute of it. In the end, I had to strip him down and carry him back to the car with nothing on. We all had a good laugh and an entertaining afternoon…..