Friday, June 29, 2007
My workin' Buddy
Today was one of the last times to do my cleaning job, and with all the pain I have been experiencing, I knew I needed help! While Ethan stayed with my neighbor, Kim, Seth came along and was a HUGE boost! He made me so proud! That little guy vacuumed, emptied trash, removed necessities from sinks and replaced them after I cleaned, dusted all the lower parts of furniture, moved lots of things so I could vacuum, toted items up and down the stairs, etc. He was a real trooper, and it paid off - literally. He is excitedly holding his first paycheck! :-) The gal gave him his very own.

Thanks for your help, Seth. You made it a lot easier on Mommy! :-)

  posted at 4:23 PM  

Thursday, June 28, 2007
"Camp" has come a loooong way!
It has been interesting to read fellow bloggers' accounts of their camp weeks. Wow! Has it ever changed! I must admit that I am not one to raise my hand when a congregation is asked if they like "camp." Maybe a little background will help. . .
My memories are of staying in cabins like these which are also home to bands of critters and entire bug collections for the other 51 weeks out of the year. I came to believe that they did not like to give up their territory easily, for they returned to haunt the good "camp meetin'" folks! Let us not forget to mention the "dorms" that were known to house bats and other such creatures.
Now the mattresses also. . .um. . . left something to be desired. They tended to have a "scent" and "look" to them that made you wonder. . . (I do believe my good mother brought extra sheets or plastic covers for such matters.) You also ended the week feeling like you had slept in a hammock or on a railroad track.
Now there is the subject of windows in your room/cabin. I don't recall them being manufactured by Champion, and consequently you ended up with
swarms of mosquitoes attending camp with you as well. I have wonderful memories of sleeping completely under the covers just trying to survive!

Then we were graced with the bugs that were waiting in the shower. Shiver! And flying at you when you stood in the food line. And dive bombing your head during church. (An absolute nightmare if you have long hair!) And trying to make their way into your luggage so they can reproduce in your hometown.
Then there was when the "rains came down and the tabernacle filled up, the rains came down and the dining hall filled up, and the camp in the sand was going splat!" (Be sure to add the tune! :-)
That was all pre-marriange days, but camp didn't improve with matrimony! The first time I "lost my lunch" during pregnancy was at a camp meeting. I was at another when I ended up "losing my lunch" so many times I ended up in the hospital.
The best was when I had my sleeping firstborn next to me, and a prominent song evangelist almost sat on his head. My immediate reaction was to save my child's skull by giving the man a few swats, and that really got some reactions. Sigh. . .It was an embarrassing moment for me!
Before I am written off as a total wimp, I can survive under less than hospitable circumstances when needed. (Such as sleeping in a Ukrainian barn, using an outhouse for weeks, etc.)
I must say, if I had a cabin or room like some of you enjoyed, I might lose my camp meeting aversion! :-)

  posted at 3:00 PM  

Monday, June 25, 2007
Where do I start?
Yes, I am still here.
I have enjoyed some extra energy and less nausea, so instead of blogging I have been a good girl and worked really hard. I have been landscaping in the yard with Troy. (We are almost done! Yippee!) Hours have been spent finishing all the details of last year's school and preparing for the next. I am ready to start which is a nice accomplishment since it is only June. My poor closets have been ripped apart and resorted in order to make room for another little someone. Last, but not least, I am finally cleaning some places that haven't been touched for months. But it hasn't all been work. . .
We still do our weekly library visit. I thought Ethan looked so cute listening to a story.
We have spent hours outside and at the park. The boys were very excited when I took them wading in a small creek. It was so fun, and they spotted lots of minnows and saw a crawdad for the first time. Lake Robinson was another destination spot, and we even enjoyed a picnic lunch last week.
The "Aunts" ( my younger sisters) did it again and surprised us with another box of goodies.
Another special event was when our friends, Curtis and Jennifer Going, were able to join us for an evening. The boys already liked them very much, but they moved up a few notches when they presented Seth and Ethan with HUGE water guns!
I had fun preparing for the evening with the Goings and even made little place cards. I ripped cardstock, painted chalkboard paint on the front and wrote each person's first name letter with chalk.
Here is a snapshot of my impromptu centerpiece. With all the lemons and limes, it smelled like Sprite. :-)
My last closet section is calling me now, so I had better go and organize. Hope all of you are having a good Monday. I'll see ya in your blogs.

  posted at 9:35 AM  

Monday, June 18, 2007
Better late than never. . .
This post should have made its appearance in last week's archives, but I was either too sick, tired or the computer chair had another occupant.
As Father's Day was approaching, my mind began to dwell on Troy's "fatherly" side, and I wanted to chat about him for a few moments. . .
-He is wonderful when it comes to spending time with the boys in every facet of their little lives. He takes the time to answer those numerous questions that pop into their heads and gives all the time they need to "talk" with him. Countless hours have been spent reading books, playing games or with toys. Their spiritual growth is carefully tended. He works on their weak spots yet builds them, too. He makes sure they have Father/Son outings. A tradition also began the year Seth started kindergarten - each child gets their own Father/Child vacation the summer before they embark on the journey of school. Troy is very patient about letting them help him with work. (Who wouldn't want their sons to learn to mow at a young age?! :-)
Last week, Troy made Seth feel like a million bucks when he took him to work for a day. When Ethan and I stopped by for lunch, that little guy was so proud to show the work he had done!
Most importantly to the boys is that Daddy wrestles with them - even at the price of bringing officers to our door as happened last October. So far there have been no repeats of that situation!
Thanks, Troy, for being such a wonderful dad to our sons. You are their hero that can walk on water, and in their little eyes, life revolves around you!

After typing inspiring quotes to all of my mom friends, I didn't want to leave out the dads. So here's to all the men. . .
Life affords no greater responsibility,
no greater privilege,
than the raising of the next generation.
C. Everett Koop
If God gives you the wonderful gift of children, don't let a day go by without pronouncing God's blessing over their lives. This is the spiritual right and responsibility of fathers. - David Shibley
The primary learning system for children
is by example,
and you are often that example.
Chris Ewing
According to the Bible, the male parent was created for much more than just to help bring in financial support. He was created as the human counterpart of God Himself. - Billy Graham

  posted at 2:53 PM  

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Okay, okay, I give!!!!
Before I indulge anyone with a few of the "rainbow wedding" pics, I just had to show this photo. I used to work for the county where I lived and got to know numerous law enforcement officials. The gals at work wanted to give me a bridal shower, so their creative way to get me to the building was. . . They sent out a deputy with a warrant for me! It was so funny. The deputy was disappointed that he did not remember to turn on the sirens while putting me in the car. (If he had, my poor neighbors would have been aghast!)
Here I am as a handcuffed criminal. :-)
~the "official" wedding photo~
Three of my favorite pictures include this one of a
very bored little girl,
a very bored little boy, and
Troy hugging my grandmother.
~the Guys~
~the Gals~
Les is gonna love me for this one! :-)
The "kiss" to which Becky referred.
Troy first kissed my hand, and there was an audible noise from the congregation because they thought that was "it." They were all very happy when he next kissed me on the lips. Another audible sigh followed the second kiss. :-)
Funny how your "taste" can change! Prior to my wedding I remember sitting at a friend's house and viewing her parents' wedding photos. That wedding used brown. I was laughing and telling the mom that it looked like she had a UPS wedding. Well, guess what? Fast forward the years, and if I were to be married this year - - I would have brown in my wedding. :-)

  posted at 10:27 AM  

Friday, June 08, 2007
Another good day on the books!
Yes, we did have a special time, and with no nausea - I was pretty happy! Troy sent me these flowers of which I am a huge fan. (I never tire of bouquets!) We enjoyed a wonderful meal at some restaurant. (Unfamiliar names don't stick with me. It wasn't Subway or Pizza Inn. :-)
We then went to Falls Park where I captured this photo. We were high on a bridge and consequently, I was very light-headed. Thankfully I did not drop the camera!
The evening ended with us sitting on an old stone wall watching the water crash over the rocks. Very special time. Just us. . .

  posted at 9:03 AM  

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Marriage meme
Today is our anniversary, so I thought you might enjoy this. . .

1.) What is your spouse's full name?

- Troy Brannon

2.) Where did you meet?

- South Dakota

3.) Who was the first to suggest you two as a couple?

- My dad. He said he had found "son-in-law" material. I laughed at the comment.

4.) What attracted you to your spouse?

- First of all, we started off as very good friends - no strings attached. I appreciated his desire to serve God. He was kind and sensitive to his mother. His musical abilities. The deep friendship we shared - I was glad we didn't start off "starry-eyed." I always felt like I knew the "real" Troy. He was very open and talkative for a guy. That was huge; I never wanted to marry someone who clammed up all the time. He wasn't afraid to shed tears. He loved to discuss issues, politics. . . We were passionate about many of the same things.

5.) Who made the first move?

-He did. I am still all about the man being the leader!

6.) What was your first date like?

- Good question. I need Troy to refresh my mind on this one. Since we had done so many things as friends, there was no huge difference in the relationship.

7.) What was the proposal like?

- Sweet, of course! :-) His car was in AZ, so I drove my parents' suburban with Troy telling me everywhere to go. He directed me to a beautiful gazebo surrounded by flowers and foliage. Minutes after popping the question, my sister and a friend of hers suddenly trucked by on bikes! That might not have been so bad, but they decided to stop and ask what in the world we were doing!

8.) How long were you engaged?

- A few days shy of a full year.

9.) When/where did you get married?

- June, 5, 1998. Mitchell, South Dakota.

10.) Who was in your wedding?

-Gals (Jennifer Nelson - matron of honor, Joanna Sampson - sister/maid of honor, Katy Johnson - flower girl, Sarah Sampson - sister/junior bridesmaid, Lucia Howard, Leslie Clark and Suzanna Hooper)

- Guys (David Spivey - best man, Clay Dalrymple - Bible bearer, Tracy Castle - brother, Trint Castle - brother, Paul Sampson-brother and Sam Lyon)

- Ministers (Rev. James Sampson - father, Rev. Lindell Howard)

- Musicians (Lisa and David Wiseman - piano/vocals, Sam Lyon - sax, Trint Castle - trumpet and Troy Castle - vocals)

- Ushers (David Sampson - brother, Jeremy Dunlap)

11.) Colors of the wedding?

- Rainbow wedding. Okay, so I am a bit embarrassed of that now!!!!! Thought it was great then!

12.) What was your first year like?

- Pretty smooth. We had taken the time to get to know each other which erased a lot of problems in the marriage. I have very fond memories of the first year! :-)

13. How long have you been married?

- Nine years today.

  posted at 1:44 PM  

Monday, June 04, 2007
The Return of "Me"
It's finally happening! The real "Me" is starting to come back! Each day I have been less nauseated. I'm trading the nausea for exhaustion, but I would rather be tired anytime than sick!!!! I have spent the last several days trying to get my house back in order due to the lack of "Martha" attention it has received during the last few months. Sigh. . .It is a rather depressing state of being! My correspondence and blog have been sadly neglected! (As if you hadn't noticed! :-) For those who have emailed, I will try to get to you this week if possible. As for the blog. . . well, I will never be able to fill in all the fun details that happened - too much work for this already behind gal! I'll just give you pictures of some of the during and between nausea events that took place in the last few weeks.
Enjoy! :-)

We visited a travelling "petting zoo" that was a bit interesting. Above are the "lions" of which the sign boasted. There were also monkeys, snakes, llamas, ponies, water buffalo and baby tigers.

The poor camel was moving around in a small pen waiting for someone to pay a tiny fortune to ride it for a few minutes.

Seth was thrilled to feed the goats.

This was one of those "places" where you walked away feeling sorry for the animals and wondering if PETA (or whatever they are called) would try to close the thing.

We attended a few birthday parties. One for Luke,
and one for Catherine.
The balloon guy was a huge hit! Ethan was so excited to receive his balloon "sword."
Seth was very excited to get his first skateboard! He played with it constantly until it came up missing last week. Poor guy. I finally broke the news to him today.
The weather has been beautiful, so I have spent a lot of time letting the boys play outside of the house. (If I had a laptop, I wouldn't have been behind on blogging!)
Last, but not least,
we are finishing up the landscaping around our home!!!! I haven't been able to help much, but Troy has had two very willing helpers!

  posted at 1:53 PM  

queen of the castle

Martha C

To all my family and friends, this blog was commenced as a way to keep you informed during my frequent communication lapses. Enjoy reading of our life in this far, far away land called "the South."

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