Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy (Early) Birthday, Daddy!

What's the best way to give someone a birthday surprise? Give them their gift five months before their birthday!! That's what my family did for me Monday after I kind of inadvertently forced their hand. The other day, Betty told me that she had already gotten my birthday present and she was so proud of it. Monday, I came home from work with a book that one of my co-workers gave me to borrow because he knew that I'd enjoy it.

Betty saw me reading and asked me what book it was. I said, "It's a great book about Boo Ferriss." Betty couldn't believe it! She finally had found a great gift for me that I'd love and be surprised too, and here I was ruining it!!! She disappeared to the back for a minute and then came back up front and said, "Happy Birthday!" and presented me with an autographed copy of the same Boo Ferriss book! I love it! She did great! It didn't ruin the surprise for me at all.

For those of you who aren't obsessed with the Boston Red Sox or don't know anything about Delta State baseball, Boo Ferriss is a man from Shaw, MS, who pitched for Mississippi State in the early 40's and then signed with the Boston Red Sox. He made his debut with the Sox in 1945, and was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for three years until he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder that eventually ended his pitching career. He played with Ted Williams and pitched a shutout in the 1946 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. After his playing days were over, he went into coaching and ended up coaching at Delta State and became a legend over there. I've met him a couple of times and he was very gracious and even talked about the Red Sox a little with me.

Thanks, Betty, McKenzie, and Matt for the wonderful birthday surprise! I love it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Bike and Blow-up Slides

We've been wanting to get Matt a bike for a little while and we finally got around to getting one Saturday morning. Matt was so excited! We told him Friday that we were going to get him one and he woke up Saturday morning talking about it. After we got home from Wal-Mart the kids got on their bikes and Betty and I walked with them around the circle. Matt was loving it.....except when the bike "wouldn't work", which actually meant that he quit pedaling or pedaled backwards which puts the brakes on.

McKenzie's a good big sister.....always looking out for Matt and trying to help.

Saturday at 11:00, we had a Summer Splash for the kids at the church. They had a water blow-up slide and a dry blow-up slide. Matt and McKenzie had a blast on the dry slide. Poor little Matt wore himself completely out! He was delirious by the time we got home, he was so tired. Everyone who helped put the day together for the kids did a wonderful job -- all the kids had a great time. Here's a little clip of McKenzie and Matt going down the slide.

Here's Matt relaxing with a grape snow cone and his "girlfriend", Mrs. Stephanie.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rebirds and Matt's First Round of Golf

Tuesday at lunch Matt said, "Da-da, I wanna go to a Redballs game.". A Redballs game means a Memphis Redbirds game. That's all I needed to hear, so when I got back to work I checked the Redbirds schedule and they were at home so we made plans to go. Chunch (Andy) and Dah (Caleb) went with us and we had a great time -- great weather, lots of runs, and good food!

As you can see in the photo above, Matt enjoyed playing with Caleb. Matt grazed from our food and ended up eating some of my BBQ nachos, Andy's fries, and Caleb's nachos. Then he was asking for ice cream! The Redbirds lost but we did get to see major leaguer Troy Glaus in his first rehab game since coming back from shoulder surgery.

Here's our train shot. Matt and Caleb walking on the rails.

Tuesday morning, I took off half a day and Matt and I went to play our first round of golf together. We went to the Country Club and borrowed Ward Brister's golf cart. We went to Ward and BettyWard's house to pick up the cart key and Matt thought BettyWard was going to go play with us! I guess he was remembering Thanksgiving when BettyWard played football with him and thought she was up for any sport.

We played nine holes and had a great time! I haven't played golf in so long and I was absolutely horrible on the first few holes. By the last few holes I had improved to just really bad. On the last hole, Matt tripped over the cart path and scraped his knee. He was crying and I asked him if he wanted to just sit in the cart while I finished the hole and through tears he said, "No, I need a club." He's a tough little trooper when he's playing ball -- nothing gets in his way! Here are a few pictures from the golf course.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fall Dirt!!!

Matt's favorite show is Wipeout on ABC. It comes on on Wednesday nights at 7:00 and rerun again on Saturday nights at 7:00 and Sunday afternoon at 4:00. Contestants compete in four rounds of obstacle courses to win $50,000. The obstacle courses are in, around, and above mud and water -- hence Matt's name for it, "Fall Dirt". He gets so excited when it comes on that he has to play it on the couch. I recorded a little video with my phone tonight so you could get a little taste of his excitement. Also, as evidence that all this couch-jumping is done with Betty's full knowledge, you'll see her walk through the room as Matt is playing "Fall Dirt". This video really doesn't do his excitement justice, though......

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wedding Video

Just thought I'd share a little video I did for the wedding I took pictures at recently. Memories of Us by Keith Urban is the song the new couple danced their first dance to.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another Birthday

Today is another sweet little girl's birthday. Jula turns 8 today, just like McKenzie. This past December, Betty and I went to a Point of Grace concert in Memphis. Each member of Point of Grace is a supporter and sponsor for Compassion International which is a Christian child advocacy ministry that helps children around the world who are in need and helps to meet their physical needs so they can have an opportunity to meet their spiritual needs as well. POG's presentation at their concert was so moving (yes, Betty cried) and Betty and I both felt led to sponsor a child. We chose Jula because her birthday is so close to McKenzie's and we thought it would be a great way to get McKenzie involved, too. We've written several letters back and forth and have found that Jula and McKenzie share a lot of the same interests. Jula enjoys hide-and-seek, art, and singing. Click on the logo below to learn about Compassion International and see if it would be something you would be interested in doing. It's been a blessing to our family to hear how our small contributions are helping a poor little girl half way around the world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

McKenzie's Nashville Trip

This year, we chose to go on a family trip instead of having a party for McKenzie's birthday. We went to Nashville for the weekend and had a great time.

Before we left, all the Cummings family got together at McAlister's to celebrate.

We left Friday morning and stopped in Jackson, TN at the Casey Jones Village.

Matt enjoyed playing with the trains. I had to put this coonskin hat on him because I had one when I was a little boy that I wore all the time. Matt didn't care for it, though.

Our next stop was The Loveless Cafe just outside of Nashville.

The wait was long but the food was wonderful.

Matt and I went to watch the Nashville Sounds play Friday night.

We had great seats - second row beside the dugout.

Matt played the baseball speed toss. He threw it 24 miles per hour, so the gun said. I had enough sense this time not to try it.

We visited the Sounds store three times so Matt could swing the little souvenir bats.

Our hotel was across the road from a Target. Betty was in heaven! She managed to make two visits during the weekend.

Matt swinging more bats at Target.

We also went to the Cool Springs Galleria Mall where we shopped some more....

...and rode the carousel.

Saturday night, we went downtown and visited the Wildhorse Saloon and watched some dancers. They didn't have dance lessons so McKenzie didn't get to strut her stuff. We ate supper at Demo's where we had great steak and pasta and narrowly avoided a meltdown by Matt. Ahh, the unpredictable joys of eating with a three year old!

McKenzie had fun going through the stores downtown. Matt wasn't in a picture mood.

Also across the road from our hotel was a Cold Stone Creamery! So we topped off the night with some ice cream.

Matt and McKenzie loved the pool! McKenzie was so much more comfortable in the pool this weekend thanks to Miss Teresa's swimming lessons! Matt loved it even though that second step was as far as he wanted to go.

Our final stop before leaving Nashville was lunch Sunday at Monell's. It's a great restaurant downtown where you sit around a huge table with several other people and then they bring out big bowls of food that you pass around and eat until you hurt.

On the way home, we stopped back by the Casey Jones Village in Jackson, TN.

Here's Matt with a replica of Casey Jones' train.

We had to pull Matt almost kicking and screaming from the train museum. He was like Betty is in Target!

More ice cream! We got a little snack at the ice cream parlor inside the Old Country Store at the Casey Jones Village.

McKenzie said the weekend was a dream come true. She said she had dreamed about it but it was so much more awesome in real life! That made it "awesome" for Betty and me, too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, McKenzie!

Wow, time flies when you are having fun! I can't believe you are 8, McKenzie. As I told you the other day, I wish we could relive the past 8 years all over again. You are a great daughter and we have enjoyed every minute with you. I love how you are such a sweet sister to Matt. He is watching you and you are a great example for him. We hope you have a special day today!

Here is a video that David created for McKenzie for her birthday. Hope you enjoy it..... and get your kleenex ready...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fun and Games on the Fourth!

Let me introduce you to the newest game sweeping the nation.......Marbowl!!! Ok, maybe not the nation, but it's definitely sweeping the Cummings family. Some of you may remember Matt's favorite train buddy, Mr. Glen, who lives in Eupora and he and his wife are friends of Nana and Grand. Mr. Glen is an amazingly talented and creative man. Along with his train hobby, he makes wooden games and toys. All the Cummings clan gathered in Eupora Friday for our Independence Day celebration. Whenever Matt is in Eupora he has to go see Mr. Glen, and Mr. Glen gave Matt and McKenzie a game he created called "Marbowl".

It's a really fun and addictive game and the kids (and the parents) have enjoyed playing it.

As with any game or sport, Matt gets really focused and into "the zone" when he plays. The red eyes are from my camera phone.......although as focused as he gets I wouldn't be surprised if they turned that way in real life!

Matt played it until he went to bed Friday night and played it first thing when he woke up Saturday morning.

Another of Matt's obsessions right now is golf. He loves to play it and he loves to watch it. I took him and McKenzie out to The Dogwoods to hit on the driving range and the putting green Thursday. I had to drag Matt off the green....

....McKenzie, not so much. She liked it until it got hot.

Matt begged me to take him back to the golf course Saturday, so we went and just practiced putting. Check out this put that Matt almost sank from -- I don't know, what? 40 feet?!

McKenzie's cousin, Jordan, passed down her motor scooter to McKenzie Saturday. McKenzie was loving it! Man, I can't imagine how I'm going to be when she starts driving a car........the scooter makes me nervous enough!

We hope everyone had as fun a holiday weekend as we did!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Show Us Where You Live--Backyards

This weekend Kelly is having us show our yards, and since I LOVE gardening, I wanted to share ours with you. My love of gardening started when I was looking for a stress relief from teaching 4th graders all day. When I would get home from work I would dig in the dirt and it turned out to be great "therapy". My yard doesn't get the attention it once did since starting my little family, but it still brings so much enjoyment to me. Now that I stay home with my kids, its a chance to get back to myself out there in our yard. Welcome to my tour...

This is my front yard. I designed it myself and planted the plants. My uncle Wayne who also loves gardening inspired and helped me get started. Previous homeowners had dug up all the bushes so I had a clean slate in which to work with...thank goodness!

This is our front porch. I found this cute little bench in Canton for $50 a steal!! I change out the pillow with the seasons and the flowers in the wreath, too. I have a big bean pot filled with shade loving plants, a fern and urns beside the front door.

These beds are at the end of the driveway on either side and came as a result of a pine tree that had to be cut. We had the stump removed and then I needed to come up with an idea to make that spot look better. What better than two new flower beds!

This is a picture of the bed that leads to our backyard. This is a clematis vine my mother in law shared with me a few years ago. It grows on a trellis with ferns planted around it.

This is the bed I planted around our patio. I love my Japanese maple tree planted there. All of the iron things and Mexican pottery you see I found at Stafford Wells in Winona. They have great things for the yard.

McKenzie and Matt love to swing! A really sweet neighbor of ours no longer wanted it and gave it to us! Yay! It also has a slide and other things not shown.

A shot our our screen porch that we enjoy.

A picture from the other side of our patio. David and I actually made this patio ourselves with the help of our brother in law, Kenny. It is made out of quick crete and gravel. We used a mold that makes it look like stones. We will never do that again...alot of hard work!

Pictures of my containers...

Thanks for taking a look at our yard! Go here to check out more yard and garages.