Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Finally, two weeks later, I'm back with the rest of our 4th of July weekend. It's been crazy busy around here. We're getting ready for VBS at our church and also getting ready for a little mini-vacation. I have a to-do list as long as Rip Van Winkle's beard (isn't he the one with the long beard? The only other "weird" name I can think of is Rumpelstiltskin and I know it's not him. He had a wooden cooking spoon. I remember that because my brother used to hold me down and would "torture" me until I said the "magic word" which was always some random list of stuff/names that he'd make up in an attempt to confuse me enough so that I couldn't remember it to repeat it back to him.... it ALWAYS began with "Rumpelstiltskin flying on a wooden cooking spoon..."

So this to-do list of mine is long, but I wanted to post these pictures from my very first Nascar race before we go on our trip....

I wish I had time to tell all the stories, but I don't. I'll share a little. Let's just say there was lots to see. I should have taken seeing Santa Clause driving a semi and smoking a cigarette down I-95 on Friday evening as a sign of what the weekend was going to hold for me. Not even that could prepare me for some of the sights we'd see. Let's just say when we first got to the speedway, I felt totally out of place. For one, I had way more clothes on than 80% of the people we'd seen in the first ten minutes....male and female. There were SO many people. I cant remember a time when I've been somewhere and there were that many people. I could just sit and watch them all day. But, I know how the men in this family are. I'd get left. So I tried to stay focused and keep up, and all the while feeling VERY out of place.

Once we got deeper into the stands I began to feel at ease and see lots more people who actually had clothes on.

We stood by the fence to see the drivers take a lap around the track in a Corvette and then get in their cars.

Here's the driver we root for, Kyle Busch. Let me just say now, I am fully aware that everyone else besides DW and I DESPISE Kyle Busch. We know. The reason I go for him, is because DW does. He does because Kyle is the driver that took over after DW's old guy retired. We like him. We just do.

I was so excited to get to our seats. I felt like a kid, filled with excitement and anticipation for the unknown.
Never having been to a race before, I had no idea what to expect. And after all the sights I'd seen on just the walk in, I couldn't wait for the real show to start. That's when I looked down and almost fell out of my chair. (Yep, they have "chairs". Well, chair tops anyway. The chairs we sat in were metal church "fellowship hall" chairs that were bolted down (just the seat part, there were no legs) to the concrete stands). I gasped and hit my brother in law on the shoulder and pointed down....with big eyes and the air knocked out of me, I managed to tell him that, "SHE DOESN'T HAVE A SHIRT ON!!!!!!!!!!!" To which he replies, "HE doesn't have a shirt a on." Ohhhhhhh... refer to Subject A in the picture below.

We had a couple of Kyle Busch fans sitting around us. I was shocked. I expected us to be the only two. I also expected people to be ugly to us when they saw DW's hat, but they werent... there were actually quite a few fans there. Of course, there were LOTS of Dale, Jr. fans there....

When we got settled into our seats, I looked up at the blimp. It was still sunny and bright outside and even with plenty of daylight left, the moon was out. The sun's reflection on the clouds below the moon caused them to shine bright orange. The blimp was also right there and it was such an awesome sight.

Awesome because it really was beautiful. But more so, because the moon always makes us think of our Cooper. Of course everything we do or see makes us think of him, but especially the moon. Not to mention, that "oange" was his favorite color. I had already had that lump in my throat earlier in the day as I watched DW on the beach with Cooper's sister. What I would give to see them both splashing in the water. Coopie would have been so fun at the beach at this age. I know he'd want to go way out in the water with his Daddy and it would scare me out of my mind. He would probably want his Daddy to throw him all over the pool and this would most likely be the summer he would have started swimming without floaties. I also thought about how Devin wouldn't ever get to take him to a race. It just about did me in. Praise God that HIS strength is made perfect in my weakness. We could not survive without that. I feel like the moon being out and that beautiful "oange" sky was a gift from my Heavenly Father. A small little
something to bring me peace and comfort. DW and I didn't talk about it, but as soon as he saw it, he leaned over and asked me if I had seen it. We both knew what the other was thinking.

The pre-race festivities started with a prayer. Then the AirForce choir sang The National Anthem.

Oh. My. was it amazing. Of course I'm always feeling emotional, but especially so after the blimp and the moon and the orange sky... and then the AirForce choir doing such a wonderful job... it was just such an awesome experience. During the song, they shot off fireworks (when they sang, "the bombs bursting in air" &

they also did a flyover with the fighter jets during it.

It was just something.
It was time for the famous words, "Gentlemen, start your engines". I cant remember who they had say it. BUT, look who waved the starting flag... It's Papa John. (as in the pizza).

My cup was seriously running over, otherwise, I don't think I would have gotten SO excited about Papa John, the pizza guy, being just a few rows from us....I was feeling so loved by my God after the moon deal and more patriotic than Betsy Ross after the National Anthem, that I was just floating on a cloud of emotion and I must have taken 45 pictures of Papa John.... him climbing into the tower, him looking around, him talking to the Sprint official, him waving the flag, him climbing down, him leaving the stands....

Looking back, I am thankful we weren't sitting a few rows closer to the bottom. I might have gotten caught up in the moment and embarrassed myself by asking for his autograph like two little girls actually did. He signed something for the first one, but refused the second, and motioned that he had to go. SERIOUSLY? Come on Papa John, yes, you're on TV, but it's a pizza commercial.
Anyway, back to the "Gentlemen, Start your engines..." I have never felt so in tune with men than I did at that moment. I totally got it. It all made sense. All those years of my brother revving up his truck motor or putting those exhaust things on it so it would sound different made sense. Sitting around the TV every Sunday afternoon watching racecars go around and around in a circle finally seemed like fun. What had been a mystery to me for years suddenly made perfect sense. I've never heard anything like it. When the announcer came over the loudspeaker, he rattled off some numbers about how were listening to 10 million dollars worth of metal out there and I think 350 thousand (or some big number like that) horsepower. Wow. As they took off, I instantly had the urge to get in a car and drive fast, which is an urge I battle....this wasn't good for that urge.

We listened to what the drivers said and even got to watch their in-car camera on the nifty headset we rented.

I informed my guys that if I was going to the race then we HAD to rent one. I'm way to nosey not to know what they are saying out there! How lucky am I that they didn't tell me just to keep my sometimes-high-maintenance self at home?!?!? We had 2 sets of headphones, so 2 people could listen at a time, and we took turns with it. Everyone else's drivers wrecked around halfway through the race, so me and DW got to use them for the majority of the time to listen to our guy... who stayed in the top 3, what seemed like the whole race to me, but I don't know how long it was. I just know on the last lap, at the last turn, he had passed Tony Stewart for the lead. Then, RIGHT where we were sitting, he wrecked and his car flew up in the air. It was something...the camera in his car went blank and static came over the radio. There was an instant of silence then cheers all around us. Everyone was thrilled Kyle had wrecked and wouldn't win. I was worried he was seriously hurt.

I saw the bottom of his car, yall, as it flew past us. Within a minute he was out of the car and the race was over. We "high-tailed" it back to the truck to beat the traffic out. As we made our way out of the stadium, we could hear and see some of the fireworks...

I'll be honest about the whole race thing. As much as I wanted to experience it just one time, I never thought I would have a good time. It turned out to be a GREAT time... Not sure if my ears could handle another one (it was so loud they ached) or if the boys would let me crash their man-fun again, but the first time was certainly fun.

Now, about that mini-vacation.... We board the ship on Thursday for a little 3 night cruise to the Bahamas in celebration of a few things with 4 of my cousins, & their husbands. We're excited for the trip, but not excited to be leaving our baby girl for that long. She will be with my parents, and I know it will take us two weeks to get her back to normal after being spoiled by them, but it's still hard to leave her. I am praying so hard that we will be able to have a good time and not worry or miss her too much.

And for not "making a long post," I sure didn't do very well at keeping it short...


Stephanie said...

WOW! That sounded like an AWESOME experience!!!!! I will have to see the interesting pics of the people at the race, because I am so a people watcher. I am glad you had so much fun! Maybe one day I will go and understand all the excitement!

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

I would have thought that was a girl with no shirt too! Really cute hair to boot, on him!

Hines House said...

If you guys are doing the Boomerang Express... Kimberly and I will gladly take any left over decoration off your hands for our VBS :).

And yes, you can see some sights at the races.

Aunt B said...

I have laughed. I have cried. I have smiled. I have admired your picture taking ability. I have prayed. I have thanked the Lord for letting me know someone as great and wonderful as you.... I LOVE YOU.


Tania said...

Annie- WOW! Your writings leave me speachless. I think the comment Aunt B left, pretty much speaks for a lot of us who read your posts. I know it does for me. Glad you had so much fun at the race. After reading about your "day at the race" it made me go back and think about my first race day. I was 5 months pregnant with Kaelyn. Needless to say, I have been hooked ever since. =0)

Carrie said...

I'm with K.Q.H. laughing and crying over here. First of all, I totally thought that was a topless woman and you had surely seen "all the sights" while at Daytona. Thank goodness it was not!

I love that y'all had a moment while at the race. I'm so glad you claimed it! Just know that you are not alone. Adam and I see things that remind us of Coop all the time and we love to talk about whatever it is! (You know Adam especially loves it when we see a dump truck like the one he was sitting up in "driving" in his 1st birthday party invitation. That gives us a big smile for your sweet boy!

I hope y'all have a wonderful time on the cruise!

Heather said...

That's a he?? Oh my gosh is all I can say! Funt times besides that! I love reading your posts, you make me laugh all the time!

Stephanie Heintz said...

Finally got to read this post! Hilarious. But like a few of the above girls, there have been laughter and tears. I stinking love you. You and DW are too awesome for words.

Jennifer said...

Hi! I followed your link from Lemonade Makin' Mama. I just wanted to say hi, and that I love your blog! :)

Whitney said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I read your profile and I'm so sorry about your precious little boy! I can't imagine!

I'll have to read your blog now!

Whitney said...

And you daughter is ADORABLE! :)

Katy said...

Completely thought that was a woman and I was thinking: what in the world, she's just there in all her glory, for what? Then I read the part about your son and choked back tears with you. I am interested to learn how he died. Maybe you posted about it earlier in your blog or don't feel released to make it public. At any rate, I admire your focus on the Lord and the sincerity in your words. You have a struggle, you turn it right back to Him. You claim what you have in Christ and the freedom that was given to you in His death. What a day it will be when you are reunited for eternity with you first born. I am exited for you!

Katy said...

P.S. Papa Johns is my FAVORITE pizza! Love the garlic butter sauce! I used to almost live off the cheese sticks. Those are some R-Eal cheese sticks. Oh, I'm hungry now-let me go eat!

The Butcher Family said...

Okay...that took me a minute! Really? A guy? Wow- he has pretty hair!?!? We've been to Darlington here in SC and you never know what you're gonna see! Daytona would have to be the ultimate though!
I just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed reading through your blog. You amaze me, Annie! As we begin this next step in our journey and prepare to welcome Luke into our lives, I am inspired by you (not to mention that I just adore laying my eyes on another beautiful Annabelle appropriately dressed & "bowed")!
Thank you for being so real & giving us hope!
Blessings~ Rebecca

Julianne Hendrickson said...

gave your blog an award today annie :)_