Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quick Get-Away

We decided for Valentine's Day (or close enough) to make a quick trip to Greenleaf State Park in Eastern Oklahoma for a couple of days in a cabin. Greanleaf is a one of the smaller, quieter state parks, but their cabins are relatively nice (as far as state park cabins go) and really our only goal was to just relax and do as little as possible. If those are your goals, Greenleaf fits the bill.

Here's our little cabin. It had satellite TV, so we didn't really "rough it." The beds were a little firm, so those with delicate backs probably should look elsewhere. Great for an inexpensive couple of days away, though.

The state park itself is really beautiful. You don't really think of Oklahoma as covered in trees and hills, but Eastern Oklahoma is really beautiful. Even in February.

The drive down there took us through Tahlequah, OK and dinner at the Oklahoma institution: Del Rancho (home of the Steak Sandwich Supreme.) Sharon fell in love with Del Rancho on the first visit, so another visit had to occur on the way home. Here's the famous Del Rancho. Basically unchanged since 1959.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Math by Music

This is a shameless plug for Sharon's brother's project: Math by Music.

Several years ago Sharon's dad wrote a series of songs to help children learn the basics of math. He was an elementary school teacher until recently retiring, as well as a guy pretty handy with a guitar. He wrote the songs for use in his own classroom, and eventually had them produced and recorded. Sharon's brother bought the right to the music a while ago, and decided now was the right time to get them out there to a broader audience.

Sharon can still remember the lyrics to these songs from when she was little! She won't say if she sings "The Missing Addend" to herself when working on month-end close for Walmart.

If you have kiddos ags 4 and up these songs are designed for them. If you have a minute, follow the link below and take a listen to some of the songs.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Special Needs Snowman

Anyone watching the weather over the last few days knows that we had a pretty significant winter storm roar through Northwest Arkansas. We got some freezing rain, but mostly snow. It snowed from early Friday morning all the way through until the middle of the night last night, for us here in Arkansas that is a lot of snow! We are lucky enough to be able to take our laptops home and work from the kitchen table, so that's what we did on Friday. On Saturday we decided to have a crack at building a snowman. Here is what we learned:

1. Building a snowman that actually looks like a snowman is much harder than you remember from your youth.

2. You wouldn't think that rolling big balls of snow would be physically taxing. It is. Extremely.

3. The target height of the snowman will begin to diminish rapidly as construction begins.

So here's our snowman. He looks like someone whose mother may have taken drugs while pregnant with him.

We're proud of him, nonetheless. He'll last until he melts or until neighborhood kids decide to knock him down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have You Ever....

Have you ever woken up on Saturday morning totally thinking that you had to get up for work/school but then (before you get ready) the wonderful realization hits you that it is Saturday and you can spend the next couple hours in bed? What a happy feeling! That is how I felt when I found out that mocha syrup doesn't contain coffee (thank you Jen, I don't know you but I love you!). I called Starbucks to confirm and it's true...sorry to my hubby who thought he might save some money :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Saddest Thing Ever :(

My dear husband is the writer of the Gosney family blog. However, I found out the saddest thing ever on Friday that I felt worthy enough to be my very first post.

Friday was quite the frigid day as those of you here in AR know. I decided it would be nice to treat my team to Starbucks. My favorite warm beverage ever is Starbucks regular hot chocolate with caramel syrup (regular hc not signature, venti, no sauce, add a straw). They have the best hot cocoa on the planet and so while I was there I decided to ask what was in it (I've been drinking it for years, so why I decided to ask now I still don't know). The barista proceeded to tell me that they add vanilla and mocha syrup. MOCHA SYRUP, what?!? I must not have heard her correctly, maybe she was talking about the signature hot cocoa, which I find disgusting by the way. So I drank my hot cocoa and savored every sip. Matt checked the ingredients on line that night and the barista was in fact talking about my hot beverage of choice.

Matt is happy about this new information because it is going to save him some money. I on the other hand still have some healing to do. If there are any of you that currently drink this cocoa and shouldn't be drinking coffee, I apologize for posting this blog.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Unexpected Christmas

A good friend, Russ Brown, is a substance abuse counselor and also a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. One of his favorite sayings comes from AA; "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans." Our Christmas ended up being a good example of just how true that phrase is.

Claremore Christmas
Every year we get together with one side of Matt's extended family in and around Claremore, OK (just outside of Tulsa.) Generally it involves a Dirty Santa game but this year the game was tweaked into Let's Make a Deal. All of the kids had brought random items from home like movie ticket stubs and pencil stubs and rubber bands. (If you aren't familiar with Let's Make a Deal, the host asks the audience if anyone has some random weird item on their person. The first person that can produce said item gets to play.) Everyone provided the prizes; some were winners and some were losers. We came home with some smell-good bath stuff and Santa Claus ring-pops. A good haul.

It's always fun to get together with that side of the family. Lots of cowboys on that side; including one professional bull rider whose nose looks like he's tangled with one too many bulls. You'll notice the occasional cowboy hat in the background. Everyone eats and talks and laughs and comments on how big the kids are getting, and the day usually ends with everyone saying "we really need to get together more during the year." Not that this will happen, but we all feel better for having said it. It's a great chance for Matt's mom to get to see her brothers and sisters on that side of the family (Mom has three siblings on her Mom's side and three siblings on her Dad's side, so there are quite a few aunts and uncles to keep up with. This is Aunt Vicki, Uncle Van, and Uncle Tim and Mom's step-mom, Mary Ellen.)

Lots to Do in December
We didn't take any pictures of our Christmas tree this year, it looks a lot like our Christmas tree last year. But we did have to take a picture of the neighbor's yard across the street. We liked to say that it looked like Christmas threw up in their yard. But at least they do yard and house decorations. The Gosney home looks abandoned except on those nights we'd open up the window blinds so people could see we did in fact have a tree with lights on it.

Several of the local church wards put together a live nativity each year in conjunction with a series of Christmas concerts. Our good friends the Stapley's got to be Mary and Joseph, with one of their new twins playing the role of Baby Jesus. Matt made a short appearance as "the angel," obviously poorly cast but a fun way to serve and get in the holiday spirit.

No Christmas in Utah
Remember the AA quote above? Well, here is where it really rang true for us this year. On Wednesday the 23rd we drove down to Oklahoma City to spend the evening with Matt's folks before flying out to Salt Lake City on Christmas Eve. We alternate spending Christmas day in either Oklahoma City or Salt Lake with Sharon's family. This year was the year to be in Utah. Well, we got up on Christmas Eve and the weather was not cooperating. It was raining and the temperature was dropping quickly, to the point that it looked like it would soon be freezing rain. Even though we didn't need to be at the airport until about noon Matt decided that if they were going to make that flight they'd better get to the airport quickly. So Matt and Sharon packed it up, said goodbye to Matt's Mom and Dad, and headed out into the bad weather towards the airport. We made it just in time for them to cancel our flight. (Originally we were scheduled to fly out at 1:35 p.m. to Denver, then on to OKC. By the end of the day, all of these flights were canceled.)

By the time we made it to the airport the weather was getting worse and worse. A nice thick layer of ice was covering everything and then, by about 10:30 or so it started to snow. And it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. But it didn't just snow. The wind was also blowing. And blowing, and blowing, and blowing. We had 60 mile per hour winds and a total of 14 inches of snow in about 10 hours. This was the weather map at the airport. Not encouraging.

We definitely wanted to try all we could to get to Salt Lake, and we even got booked on a flight later that day. But with white-out blizzard conditions we were hoping against hope. Here's a picture of Sharon, trying to be a trooper at the airport as we were realizing that we wouldn't be heading to Utah for Christmas this year. And here is what it looked like at the airport as we left. That's a solid sheet of ice.

Eventually the airport canceled all flights for that day and we figured it was a good time to try and head back to Mom and Dad's. They live about 20 minutes from the airport. It took us 3 hours to make the drive back. It was definitely scary with the wind howling and blowing so much snow that you couldn't see past the hood of the car. We saw a lot of people stuck, lots of wrecks, and eventually the interstates all shut down (some people had to spend the night at the airport because they eventually closed all the roads down around it, but some folks had to spend the night in their cars on the interstate because they were closed down too. We were very grateful to make it back.) Our Christmas day was spent hanging out with Mom and Dad, nobody could leave their houses so we spent the day watching TV, reading books, and taking naps (well, Matt took the naps.) Not exactly what we'd planned for, but it ended up being a very relaxing Christmas day!

We made it out of the house on Saturday, all the way to the mall and back, and counted 14 abandoned cars along the way - all stuck in the snow including two 18 wheelers. It was crazy. On Sunday Matt's brother and sister and all of their family made it over to the house for "Christmas." The kids didn't seem to mind that everything was delayed. In fact, nephew TAG seemed to enjoy drawing out the whole opening presents experience.

Of course there was the normal array of pies. And what is quickly becoming the traditional Matt's lasagna. We were actually sorta glad we got to be in Oklahoma since we weren't going to be able to eat the lasagna (we made it up before we came down so that the family could just pop it in the oven for Christmas.)

We absolutely enjoyed watching the kids open up their Christmas presents. Niece Lucy is, as you can see, absolutely adorable and very adept at entertaining herself in the rocking chair.

TAG loved his policeman's outfit, declaring to all of us, "I look sharp!" He did look sharp! He blew on that whistle far too often and would wiggle through the house saying, "Officer coming through!" We were glad to be able to see that as well.

In the end, while Christmas wasn't exactly what we had in mind, it turned out to be time well spent. We were sad to not be able to make it out to Utah but we'll be shipping those gifts out shortly. We expect photos of those presents being opened and appreciated!

Hope everyone else had a wonderful, even if unexpected, Christmas!