This is my sister JoDee. Yes, she is on a ladder in the middle of her dining room and yes, she is installing a light fixture. Yes, she is amazingly talented (you should see her roof-top acrobatics routine...there is rumor of an X games roof sliding event in the future based on her mad skill!), and not only capable of installing light fixtures and ceiling fans, but also a life saver to me while Paul was away for 2 weeks.
She moved in with us so that she could take the kids to school and pick them up for me while I was working. She chose a new area of our home each day, that needed organizing or cleaning and had my home clean, the kids' homework done, and supper on the table when I got home. She is truly amazing in the way she gave of herself to help out our family! I would NOT have survived the 2 weeks if I had to organize their care before and after school, try to get to work on time or try to work it out with my (new) employer, keep the house clean and organized, fix meals, lunches, check on homework, make sure laundry got done...I am exhausted just thinking of it! She did all this with such a cheerful, giving heart. She is still looking for full time work and will be subbing some and hoping that will pick up. Pray for her please!
Paul got home on Saturday afternoon, so we planned to take the kids to Busch Gardens for the day since it is just 15 minutes from the airport. We took 2 of the kids with us while Holden and Riley opted to go to a baseball game with some friends from church. We had time to do some things we hadn't taken the time to do before and that Alayna has been wanting to do for a long time. That was seeing all the animals. I don't know how many of you know this, but Busch Gardens is like a theme park and zoo all in one! Here we went in to feed the birds. They landed on us and made lots of noise. This one liked JoDee and Alayna was trying to coax it onto her hand:
She finally got one lured onto her hand from mine.
And this guy picked Gabe out of the crowd. He perched on his head and posed for several pictures before G noticed something warm running down his head and the bird flew off...nice, very nice! We got the (very small amount) of bird potty rinsed off and went on our way!
The iguana laying on the rocks just above Alayna's head blended in with his surroundings just a bit too well...I am sure that he is there though! For some reason, this was the attraction Alayna wanted to hit first. Since we usually hit all the big roller coasters first thing before the lines get long and Alayna can't ride any of them, we decided this would be her day! She was thrilled!
And this gorgeous, huge Clydesdale gave Alayna a kiss just as the picture was snapped. She was thrilled that she got to pet him and talk to him and get her picture taken with him! This was just another one of our happening up at just the right time for some excitement. It happened all day. We happened by the lions just as they were getting fed. I didn't get any pictures because Alayna was on my shoulders so she could see. It was so fun to watch. The male simply caught the meat that was thrown to him in his mouth and swallowed it whole. The 2 females both would stick their paws up to catch it and then savor it more slowly. It was so funny!
We also happened to be at the hippo attraction at feeding time! Look at that giant mouth! This hippo is about 35 years old (actually quite young I think), and weighed 2,500 pounds! She was give an entire head of leaf lettuce (whole), quartered cantaloupe and honeydew melons (with the rind), giant carrots and squash. All whole!
The most fun thing about the hippo viewing area is that it is under the water level and you can see them swimming around. This hippo in the picture with Alayna is the baby, she is 3 years old.
Alayna and Gabriel pose with all the fish. There were about 10,000 fish in the pond.
It was a fun way to wind down our 2 weeks together and spend quality time together. JoDee, I truly can't thank you enough for taking charge of my house and kids and leaving me the brainpower to take care of my work issues! You are a constant source of blessing to me and my family and we certainly don't deserve such loving, kind, loyal, neat freak, should be professional organizer treatment! But thank you for pouring it out on us anyway, in spite of ourselves! We love you big bunches.
Easter + Week 33
2 days ago