york swirls

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christmas in July

These pictures are of the Mark Trammell Quartet in Lafayette last month.  Whenever we hear them sing, the girls request Christmas songs....usually Carol of the Bells and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).  I took these pictures while they were singing The Christmas Song.  The guys were really "hammin' it up" while Mark was singing a solo on the verse.  Those of you that are the least bit familiar with Southern Gospel music probably remember Mark when he sang with Gold City, The Cathedrals, and then Greater Vision before starting his own group 10 years ago.

Gary is enjoying every minute of driving the bus for these guys.  They got back to Gadsden, Alabama, in the wee hours Sunday night.  Gary called me Monday afternoon with laundry questions.  I wonder what color his underwear will be the next time I wash them!!  It sounds to me like Dustin was not the best person to teach him how to do laundry......blue jeans and white underwear in the same load?  We'll be down there next weekend, so I can do his next load of laundry.  He's already got a button waiting to be sewn back on.  I think he'll be glad to see me!

The quartet starts out in Ohio tonight.  Then on to Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri before returning to Gadsden Sunday morning.  Gary takes off after the guys are done singing each night and gets them to their next destination before climbing into his bunk.  He's adjusting pretty well to driving at night and sleeping during the day.

Here on the home front, we are managing to get by without Gary.  We are busy getting things done before we head to Alabama.  We go every year for the Mark Trammell Quartet Homecoming.  This year, Meagan will have to drive the pickup with the camper, and I'll follow behind with the van.  We'll camp in Gadsden and take some day trips whenever Gary is gone driving the bus.  When he's not driving, we'll enjoy spending time with him.  We'll all be able to attend the Homecoming together as usual.  Autumn, Nathan, & Krissy will keep things running here at home while we're gone.

Friday, July 27, 2012

From truck driver to bus driver...

I know this is a terrible picture, but it was dark and the bus behind had its headlights on and my phone battery was so dead it wouldn't use the flash, but you can get a little idea of what Gary's driving.  Gary got a call Sunday afternoon from Mark Trammell of the Mark Trammell Quartet.  He asked Gary if he could drive their bus until at least the second weekend of August.  We had 2 days to get Gary ready for his trip.  I felt like I was getting a kid ready for camp when I went to Walmart...sheets, new towel, lint roller, etc., etc.  Gary flew to Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday evening where he met the bus.  He drove the guys back to our house, arriving about 9 a.m. Thursday morning.  We all had lunch together. Then Gary, the quartet, and a hitchhiker (Meagan) headed for Bourbonnais, Illinois, where the guys were singing that night.  After the concert, they headed south.  They have concerts in Indiana, Tennessee, and Georgia the next three days.  This has been a long-time dream of Gary's, so he acted like the kid I felt like I was sending to camp.  :-)  Haha!!  I hope he has a wonderful time 'cause I'm sure gonna miss him!!  We've never been apart this long in our 25 years of marriage.  We repeatedly warned the guys that he's never ironed his own clothes, washed his own clothes, or matched his own clothes!  I told them to make sure he didn't have creases in the knees of his dress pants from the hanger.  One last minute thought was to warn Pat to be sure Gary didn't go out in public with his hair sticking up like Alfalfa.  My husband just doesn't realize how much he needs me.  :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blog Followers

Hey all you silent readers out there!!  We are planning to go to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge next month.  (Google "Titanic Pigeon Forge.  It looks like an awesome place to visit!!)  They have an opportunity for "Blogger Moms" to blog about their visit to the museum.  They give free admission to those moms and their families and other cool stuff.  I emailed about the opportunity, but I don't have enough "followers" on my blog.  All you people out there that check our blog need to register yourself as a follower on the sidebar!!

Vacation Bible School

 The Time Machine
 Professor Hoppinstopper (aka Gary Cooper) bringing a Bible character forward in time.
The boy, David, was brought forward in time when he was on his way to the battlefront to take food to his brothers.  We had to send him back at the end of the evening so he could face the giant, Goliath.  

We are having a busy week at Bible School this week.  The kids are enjoying the time machine.  We spend time working on crafts.  At the end of the evening, we have a carnival with a ring toss, moon walk, bb gun range, dunk tank, football toss, duck pond, and a gold fish game.  Tonight there were 3 horses there, so everyone got to take a ride.  The adults are glad Bible School is only running for 3 nights, instead of 5!!  What an exhausting week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Earth Night at the Fair

 Possibly too many free snow cones?
 Ryan enjoyed his first time at the fair.
 Leah & Heather help hold up the 15-foot albino African python.
 Nanna just doesn't know what to think about that snake.
 Leah was so anxious to get a turn at that snake!!
 I think the snake is tickling Laura!
What do I do with this head?

Gary & I took Erin, Heather, Laura, Kara, Leah, Nanna, & Ryan to Earth Night at the fair tonight.  The girls enjoyed playing games & winning prizes, free snow cones, crafts, and the Cold Blooded Creatures show.  We also went through all the animal barns and saw the antique tractors.    We finished up the night with an ice cream cone from the Lyons Club.  More good memories!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Two weeks ago, I posted a picture of Meagan's twin calves, Ebony and Echo.  At the time, we were afraid Echo wasn't going to live.  She was so weak, she couldn't even suck a bottle.  For the first couple of days, Meagan had to tube her (stick a tube down her throat and put the milk straight in her stomach). Then Echo got to where she could drink a pint or so from the bottle.  Meagan was feeding her every 8 hours.  She went through a brief period of bloating, so Meagan massaged her stomach and helped her walk around because she was too weak to stand and walk herself.  We think Echo had an infection in her eyes, and she was blind for the first two weeks.  She is beginning to see a little now.  Meagan has spent many hours nursing Echo back to health.  Echo has made great progress, but she isn't out of the woods yet.  Meagan is feeding her twice a day now.  She is even gets a little spunky after she's had her bottle.  Ebony is with her mom, Edna, and is doing very well.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our favorite place to camp--Raccoon Lake

We tossed our clothes in the camper last week and went to Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area to camp for two nights.  This campground is so clean and pleasant.  The shower house is clean and nice...no spider webs in the corners of the shower stalls!!  We love to camp here.

Because of the drought, the level of the lake was so low that the beach area was closed.  It was just a bunch of sand.  Gary & the girls were still able to go fishing.  They fed 50 worms to the fish.  They didn't catch anything big enough to keep, but they had a great time.

We went on a scavenger hunt on one of the trails.  Since it was so dry, we weren't able to find the wildflower and dandelion on our list.  We didn't find the raccoon tracks on our hunt either, but found them the next morning in the ashes around our campfire from the night before.

We enjoyed watching a barred owl fly from tree to tree around our campsite one evening.  He flew within a few feet of us.  He was beautiful.

It was a short trip, but we all had a great time!  Now...if we would just get some rain....

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Big Weekend

The 62nd annual Cooper family reunion began Friday night with about 40 people here for pizza.  Family members came from New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and all across the country.  The heat was unbearable.  They usually play softball following lunch on Saturday, but when the weather man said "it feels like 123 degrees", we decided to cancel the game.  Around supper time, the cold front moved through so the game was "un-cancelled."  After hotdogs & hamburgers on the grill for 90 people, a large portion of the crowd went to the pasture to play their annual softball game.  It ended at dark when they could no longer see the ball with the score tied 18-18.
 Laura playing softball.
 After dark, we all enjoyed a beautiful fireworks display.  Following the fireworks, we had cake and ice cream.  Then the fun continued with square dancing.  The pictures aren't very good with the glare from the lights, but I think you can see what a good time they were having.

 This is Nanna after a long, hot day on Saturday.  Her hair was soaked several times that day with sweat, so it was all curly.  I found her sitting on my bedroom floor when I was trying to round the girls up for baths at midnight.  When I asked her what she was doing, she just told me she was tired.  I rushed her through the bathtub, and she headed to bed without protest.
On Sunday morning, we had about 40 people in our annual church service.  We had Promise Trio there to sing and present the Gospel.  We all enjoyed that before our traditional Sunday dinner of smoked pork chops.  The crowd always breaks up shortly after dinner on Sunday to head for home.  Today was spent putting away tables and chairs, emptying the coolers, and cleaning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Exhausted, but well worth it!

We started out early this morning because of the heat.  Erin, Heather, and Laura went with Grandma & Grandpa Sanders to pick blueberries.  Don't they look delicious?  Erin washed and sorted them all after they got home at about 11:00.  

Meagan & I went over to check on the twin calves born yesterday.  One of them is weak and not doing well.  We ended up loading her in Meagan's truck & taking her to the vet.  She's still pretty "if-y".  The other twin has been sucking well and is doing just fine.  Their names are Ebony & Echo.  They had to start with "E" because their mom's name is Edna.  They're both as black as coal...thus "Ebony".  And since the one is a repeat of the other...."Echo".

Meagan & I also trimmed Grandma & Grandpa Cooper's yard and our own today.  Grandma Cooper & I picked the green beans, and she made green beans, potatoes, & smoked sausage for all of us for supper.  We also had strawberries, bananas, and fresh blueberries.

Krissy cleaned the laundry room and back porch.  I sorted and straightened the pantry.

It's just been one of those non-stop, busy days, but we sure did get a lot accomplished.  We're just about ready for the crowd of Coopers that will invade our house this weekend.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy birthday, Laura!!

Laura turned 11 on Friday, June 29th.  Just doesn't seem possible it's been 11 years since she made her entrance into the world just as the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon.  Laura makes friends of all ages wherever she goes.  She loves anything to do with space and the stars and planets.  She devours books about animals and insects, birds and butterflies.  She's a walking encyclopedia....except for her math facts, that is.

Slippin' and Slidin'

The girls have been enjoying their slip 'n' slide that Grandma Cooper bought them last week.  I'm sure with the weather forecast for this week, it will get a lot more use!!  It came with 3 slide boogies that they blow up and flop onto & slide down the "runway".  Heather's ribcage was sore for 3 days after the first time they used it from flopping on the ground.  I guess it was worth the pain because they spent several hours playing on it again Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Southern Gospels' Finest

 Mark Trammell with Ryan
Triumphant Quartet

We've spent the last two Fridays entertaining some of Southern Gospel's finest groups.  We had the Mark Trammell Quartet here on June 22nd and Triumphant Quartet here on June 29th & 30th.  These fine Christian men were a joy to have as our guests.