Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sloss Furnaces

This post has been deleted because it is in our new book entitled Napkin Dreams. It can be found on

Huge furnace!

Friday, December 30, 2011

50 McDonalds - Alabama

Our stop at the Bama Golden Arches was in the small town of Childersville en route to Birmingham. It was a lovely day so the boys got to play at the outdoor playland. We have been noticing a trend with Happy Meals too - more and more of them come with both a bag of apples and a extra small fries. This is a big bonus for our three little guys who like both apples and fries, and it gives Dad and Mom a feeling that they are getting something healthy and a moderate treat with their meal.

Brendan's Big Day

Living life on the road means that birthdays can be celebrated in the strangest of places. Brendan's sixth birthday this year was no exception to this rule! After spending the day at the science museum in Columbus, Georgia,  our clan headed west into Alabama.

We did not drive long until we pulled over into a Walmart parking lot near Auburn. Patsy had already made the special cake Brendan asked for - a Sonic the Hedgehog cake. We had also previously shopped for some presents for Brendan.

So in the lonely reaches of a Walmart parking lot we held a birthday party, candles and all! Brendan had a great time and after eating some cake he played his new Wii game - Epic Mickey. In the end he was surrounded by his family, had some yummy cake and played a fun game. We are learning every day that home is truly wherever your family is!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coca Cola Space and Science Center

We stopped over in Columbus, Georgia at the Coca Cola Space and Science Center in town. Our main reason for this visit was to see a film they were showing at their planetarium screen. During the month of December the film Bethlehem Star which explores some of the possible scientific phenomena that could have happened to cause the magi to seek out the child Jesus.

The film was well presented and quite fascinating. At the end of the film the narrator stated that a miracle does need a scientific explanation, which made the film a true hit in my book. There were several possible scientific explanations for the star, but in the end the film presented the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn with Earth in about 6 BC as the best natural phenomena that could have grabbed the attention of the magi.

The birth of Christ certainly took place somewhere between 3 and 8 BC, for those who were concerned about that! I also believe God could use natural wonders and phenomenas in His grand plan. After all He is the One who set the planets and stars in their orbits in the first place!

There are a few other things to explore at the museum including some flight simulators, remote control mars rovers and a weather reporter station. It is a very small little museum, but it is on our reciprocal list, so we did not have to pay to get in and got a great deal on the omnimax film.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Away in an RV

Our little family celebrated the birth of Christ while still parked in Macon. After attending a Christmas Eve service at a local church, our night was pretty typical, with four out of five boys asleep by midnight. The trouble was that Tanner was still up and way too excited to go to sleep. The second part of this trouble was his bed is right by the stockings and Christmas tree, so needless to say we had a long night in store for us!! This is one of the roughest parts of living in the RV.

Christmas morning started early with a flurry of excited activity. Everyone was pretty happy with their gifts and there was enough new inside toys that they found plenty to do on a rainy day, which gave dad and mom a chance to rest a little.

Another issue with living in Howard is cooking a huge meal. While I am sure we could have done it with our two small ovens and the crockpot, we just did not feel like we wanted to do all that cooking and find spaces to place the food in the middle of all the packages, boxes, toys, wrapping paper and boys bouncing off the walls!

So we loaded up the mini-van and the Martin clan headed to the Golden Corral. To our surprise we were joined by a large number of other folks who must not have wanted to bother with cooking themselves. We enjoyed having our choice in foods, and we really liked the chocolate fountain. We enjoyed less the swarms of roaming toddlers and sweet potato souffle fighters. It felt like Santa's workshop on Christmas Eve. Both exciting and chaotic.

After lunch we returned home to play some new Wii games, pop some popcorn and watch Kung Fu Panda 2. Eventually Patsy and I retired to our room to watch our lovable Bears get scored by the Packers, boo hoo. In all honesty I think we will look back on this and last Christmas on the road with great fondness, but are looking forward to Christmas next year in a stick and brick home.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Camp

One of our volunteer opportunities we had while staying at Hephzibah Children's Home was to give the daily devotions this past week at Christmas Camp. We had a lot of fun speaking at the camp, doing illusions, puppets, science tricks and showing some Toy Box Tales. Blake and Tanner helped us some with puppets and Brendan, David and Chase all got to attend Christmas Camp here!

Chase learning to bat at Christmas Camp!

They really enjoyed getting to play with other kids, swim, and have a bunch of snacks. God continues to not only provide places for our family to minister but He is giving our kids unique opportunities to experience and a place to volunteer as well. He has proven to us here at Hephzibah that you can't out give God!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kevin Shutterbug and the Bing Bear

We had a little fun with this installment of Kevin Shutterbug. Think of this little video as our Christmas card from our family to yours! Merry Christmas from the Martins

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Zoo Atlanta

We were very excited to receive free passes for our entire family to Zoo Atlanta! After a busy and hard week of volunteering at Hephzibah, we were happy to take a break on a Saturday and drive up to Atlanta for the day. We had some great weather for animals to be frolicking around, about 55 degrees and sunny!

We all had our favorite animals to see. Chase said he loved the monkeys, Brendan loved the bush dogs, David picked the naked mole rat as his favorite, Tanner picked the snakes, Blake was enamored by the ugly turtles, Patsy loved the Pandas and I thought the baby tigers were the bomb.

There were a lot of unusual animals including the family of panda bears which were quite adorable. We all did dig the naked mole rats who were quite active. The boys got to crawl through some tunnels into the  display and get the feeling of being one of the hairless wonders. They reminded us all a little of of dog Sherman with his male pattern baldness!

We had a great time watching the two toddler tigers play with each other and with their mom, who got a little mad at them and roared a very fierce roar at them! The gorillas were a ton of fun because of two little guys who were jumping on their mom's back.

We thrilled to see the elephants eating and chomping away and observe a zoo keeper handle and teach us about owls and armadillos! We visited the petting zoo where we all petted and brushed some goats and sheep. Patsy especially liked the smiling goat we met here!

Smiley Goat

There were many other animals to see and learn about and this is the perfect sized zoo for a family with little kids!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sherman's Hormone Issues

By Patsy

Our dog Sherman has been having a small problem of late….OK, so maybe it’s a little bigger than a small problem. In fact, Sherman’s problem is probably pretty big when you consider all the side effects he is going to have to put up with. Sherman is slowly and systematically going bald. Not just a little bit around the head or maybe a few thin spots along his legs…he is experiencing some massive hair loss along his entire back. (My sons fondly harbor the delusion that his tummy fur is not only still intact, but growing lush and luxuriantly. They apparently need some small ray of hope to hold on to in this time of crisis.)

Sherman is a Chihuahua that is mostly brown with small areas that have tan and white markings. He is adorable…or at least he used to be. For some reason, all the brown fur on his body is slowly falling out. Luckily the skin under his brown fur is also brown, so his grotesque appearance isn’t readily apparent at first glance. However, it takes less than a moment to realize that when you put your hand out to pet our dog, you will not be touching a soft, sleek coat of fur. Your hand will come in close contact with naked dog skin. 

His adorability has suffered greatly because of his nudity, although we all pretend that he is still the most handsome dog on the face of the earth. But, this charade is getting a bit difficult since his white and tan fur is all still full and showing no signs of falling out. Unfortunately, he has a little strip of this white fur running down the back of his head and along the top of his neck, giving him the appearance of a dog sporting a white Mohawk. Not really the best look for him. But this is only one of the little side effects he is going to have to deal with because of his male pattern baldness.

A larger problem Sherman’s hair loss is causing is that he has decided to drop all his hairs right in the middle of the coldest time of year. He is normally a trembling type of dog anyway, but this winter is going to be a shiver fest for him if he keeps this up. In trying to alleviate some of his worse trembling, I have made him several sweaters, but so far, I have been unable to come up with a sweater pattern that covers his back end well enough to keep his tail warm and yet stay out of the way of his , shall we say, personal bathroom activities. He should probably be down on his knees thanking us for choosing the stay in the warmer states during this winter.

One of the biggest problems with his hair loss, however, has been my overactive imagination. I have gone through several different theories to explain his nakedness and each time my husband has had to work hard to bring me back to reality. My theories have gone from intestinal worms to terminal cancer. But, as strange as some of my theories have been, the actual truth about dog hair loss is much stranger. We have been told of one dog that lost all his hair because he was allergic to grass and needed Benadryl treatments. 

Many dogs lose their hair due to some type of flea or skin irritant. But, after checking him and giving him multiple baths, I came to the conclusion that not only did he NOT have any fleas, but also that no self-respecting flea would be caught dead on a hair-less dog. I was also a little disturbed to find myself wondering why I was using shampoo on a dog with no hair and pondered the use of hand cream instead…but that’s beside the point.

Finally, we could stand the suspense no longer, and took Sherman to an expert to help us explain his hair rejecting antics. After spending over $150 the vet looked at him and confirmed my belief that Sherman had neither skin irritant nor flea anywhere on his body. He also, smilingly, assured us that cancer was not a high probability in our dog. After testing for worms, he also pronounced Sherman’s intestines clean and healthy. So, what was the cause of Sherman’s hair loss? Well, our esteemed animal doctor decided that Sherman’s problem was simply hormonal.

Now, as a woman who has known the joys of menopause, I was enraged by the fact that my dog had found a better way to get attention and affection through hormonal imbalance. I have been sweating through hot flashes, waking with night sweats, suffering through emotional outbursts beyond my ability to control and have gotten little to no sympathy from my husband or sons. Yet my dog drops a few hairs and the entire family gathers around him to come up with a solution to his problem. Maybe I should pull a few hairs out and see if I get any sympathy…or maybe not.

The vet’s nurse did suggest a Rogaine treatment, but that’s where I put my foot down. I am NOT going to be giving my dog Rogaine treatments. In fact, I am beginning to look at Sherman’s hair loss just like any man’s hair loss. I tend to agree with the woman who once asked why men were so upset with being bald. Her theory was that “If you are bald, just be bald and shut up about it.”

 Of course she also said it was wonderful to have a bald husband because then you have a handy place to put your gum at night when you go to bed, but let’s not go there. No, for our dog there will be no Rogaine, there will be no hair plugs, there will be no wigs, and there will definitely be no comb overs. If God has seen fit to give us a bald dog, we will be the proud owners of a bald dog, no matter how naked and freakish he may look. But, I just might have to shave off that white Mohawk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

42 in Macon

I celebrated my second birthday on the road this Monday. Actually it was my forty-second birthday overall, but the second one since we have been full-timing!

Birthdays in a motorhome are not a whole lot different than in a stick and brick house, just closer proximity to each other! Usually the gifts are pretty practical and modest, but that has always been the way we celebrate most of our birthdays! For my 42nd birthday I opened my gifts and cards after breakfast. My gifts were clothes to replace some of mine that had bitten the dust. I admit that I am pretty hard on clothes, but I get a lot of wear out of them.

After present time I volunteered at Hephzibah in Macon, Georgia, where we are staying. I hung some blinds in a few of the office windows and then later helped a new family who is moving here as house parents unload their U-Haul into one of the apartments here. Like most of my birthdays, I worked. Only this time I had my son Blake there to help me for a big part of it.

I was pretty wiped after this, but a quick shower woke me up and we all drove into Atlanta for a fun dinner at Dave and Busters. This restaurant was my request, because it is sort of like Chuck E Cheese for adults! We ate some good food and played several games and won a bunch of tickets! I also got a yummy brownie in place of a birthday cake!

All this goes to prove that even though we live in a small place and travel from location to location, we are still normal people!! Well almost normal. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jarrell Plantation

For over 140 years the Jarrell family owned and worked a plantation in central Georgia. Starting as a small cotton farm, expanding to a 900 acre plantation during the slave era, slowly rebuilding during Reconstruction and finally adding steam and then gasoline engines during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Jarrell Plantation is truly a piece of history.

Eventually the Jarrell family donated some of the land and most of the buildings to the state of Georgia as a historical site for posterity. During our visit we watched the introductory film detailing the history of the plantation, including the raiding and pillaging that went on when Union troops blew through town. Our boys learned here a little of the dark side of war.

After this we explored the grounds including two cabins, barns, a steam powered cotton gin, a sugar cane syrup maker and other interesting items. Live demonstrators were on hand to tell us stories of Christmas celebrated long ago on the plantation. This was the favorite part of our visit as we sat around the fire and thought of kids a hundred and seventy years ago celebrating the birth of Christ with excitement on their little faces. Even during the war, the family still found a way to remember Christmas.

We also got to sample some hot apple cider and ginger snaps and watch some demonstrators spinning thread and others sewing a quilt. We had some nice weather for exploring with temperatures in the low sixties and a few clouds in the sky.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hephzibah Children's Home

No longer will they call you Deserted, 

   or name your land Desolate. 
But you will be called Hephzibah,
   and your land Beulah; 
for the LORD will take delight in you, 
   and your land will be married.

Isaiah 62:4

One of the goals of our trip was to find some ministry outside of being a pastor's family. Jesus certainly did not limit the ministry he did to inside a church (Ok a synagogue)! We really prayed that God would open some doors for us in this regard.

The door opened for us to stay at Hephzibah Children's Home for most of the month of December. There is a small RV Park with full hook-ups here at Hephzibah for people who come here and volunteer at the home.

Hephzibah has been serving the needs of children since 1900. For more than a century, the Home has been a stable influence on hundreds of children and young people in need of out-of-home care. Hephzibah is located on a beautiful piece of property, around 200 acres in Macon, Georgia. The mission of Hephzibah Children's Home is to provide a Christ-centered, safe and wholesome environment for children and young people in crisis.

So far we have been at the Home for almost a week and we have picked up trash, helped a new mother move to a new room, cleaned an apartment, set up a room for a banquet, changed light bulbs on very tall chandeliers. and other assorted tasks. We also met some new friends who have been very kind in making us feel welcomed here at Hephzibah! We have had some free time to play football and let the kids ride their bikes and all the kids love getting to ride around on the golf carts!!

This works our really well for us in Howard as well, so we can set up a tree and all our Christmas lights and we do not have to move the rig and take it all down each time we move to another place.

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