Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't hate me

Sweet Mimi and Papa called and asked if they could meet us half-way and take all three children until Wednesday. Without even a nanosecond's hesitation, we agreed. I love my babies, but I need my space and time to get to all the stuff that there's just no time for. Every Mommy feels my pain at times. I know I will be aching for them by Tuesday night, but right now it's all very exciting!

We had dinner together at a great Mexican restaurant. Dinner was divine, by the way. No one begging for a happy meal, no one wiggling in my lap or elbowing me. No begging any little person to eat their veggies. Nope, just me and my man with the cheese dip all to ourselves. I'm as selfish as I am goofy, apparently.This picture captured our expression on the way out to dinner. Aren't we purty? Can you tell we need a break?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look what I made!

I had the ambitious idea of selling aprons this Christmas season. I am an amateur on the sewing machine. But, unfortunately in this case, I am a visionary optimist. Translation: I always, always (obliviously) bite off more than I can chew. Always.
When I mentioned that I was thinking of selling home-made aprons my best friend (bravely) placed the first order for three. She envisioned her mom, daughter and herself wearing them together at Thanksgiving. It took me nearly 12 hours to complete this first one! I had to drive to Hancock Fabrics twice and ask my favorite saleslady for help. She very graciously gave me sewing advice and didn't seem the least bit annoyed with my two year old, wiggly, Dora-singing sidekick.
Man, oh man, am I a nut. The funny part is that I really enjoyed this project...until the last hour. Unfortunately, the task of completing the last details lead to impatience and the utterance of a few unmentionable words. Striving to encourage, my husband said, "I bet you can finish the second one in 8 hours or less!" That helped loads, let me tell ya.
But anyhoo, I finished. I'm pretty happy with my little creation. It's hand-made, right here in the good ole USA, what more could you want? And the print is so cute- shopping in Paris with pink plaid accents. Thanks, Lizzie, for faithfully supporting me...again...in another one of my crazy schemes. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weird book-related facts about me?

I was tagged by my friend Sally for this meme. My answers are very boring and generic! I have very few weird facts that are book related. In fact, none of these are really that weird. Oh well!

1. When I first learned to read, my Mom took us to the book store once a week for a new book.
2. The first couple of months all that I wanted were the Disney princess books. Fine literature there.
3. Then I read Charlotte's Web in second grade and began to enjoy the adventure of reading (and an interesting plot).
4. I looked forward to the summer reading challenge at the library during elementary school more than swimming or ice cream. That may be an exaggeration. My favorite summer books were A Wrinkle in Time, Caddie Woodlawn, Alice in Wonderland and the Little House series.
5. I cried so hard in fifth grade at the end of Sounder that I had to ride my bike around the neighborhood all afternoon to collect myself.
5. In middle school I discovered boys and eyeshadow. I have no memories of reading for pleasure in middle school. Not a single one.
6. Then I got my honors English summer reading list the summer before ninth grade. I devoured Rebecca, Little Women, and The Great Gatsby. Literature/English was one of my favorite subjects in high school and college. I was also enamored with Hamlet later in tenth grade, my first taste of Shakespeare.
7. Today I enjoy reading very much, although it is not my favorite past time. I like to create things (paint, craft, decorate), which I choose many nights in my spare time. I read for pleasure, but also as a discipline. I appreciate the way a book, fiction or non-fiction, changes my view of the world. I like to read about people and places that challenge me. I enjoy fiction the most, specifically historical fiction. But I read a great deal of theology and non-fiction books as well. On average, I read a couple of books a month. I feel like I've done myself a great disservice if I don't read a chapter of something a day, which is not terribly uncommon. My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird and I love any well-written fiction set in the south. Some non-fiction books that have made a big impact on me are The Ministry of Motherhood, Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, The Well-Trained Mind and C.S. Lewis' works (fiction and non-fiction). I read at least 5 or 6 books a day to my kids. I could write lists and lists of my favorite children's books. I'll save that information for another post!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Israelites for a day

This week we have studied the Exodus, the ark of the covenant, and the tabernacle in history. Yesterday we took a suggestion from the book's enrichment ideas and made a tent. The kids pulled down blankets and pillows from their beds and used the kitchen table for "poles". They even took a little candle in their tent for an added touch.

We decided to get really into character and give ourselves Hebrew names: Jacob, Joshua, Sarah and Rachel. (Oh, and the cat was renamed Sphinx. She was bought in Egypt before we left for the Promised Land.) The kids acted out a typical day, as they imagined it, for Israelite children. They collected manna, found "sticks" for a fire, shot quail to eat(with cowboy dress-up guns, no less). They pretended to listen to Moses and to help take down the tabernacle and get ready to move again across the wilderness. When they got a little off track and donned their Indiana Jones hats and scoured the desert for treasure, the lesson ended. What a fun time! Later after dinner, the kids wanted to play outside-after dark. So we took our lesson one step further and built a bonfire in the backyard. We counted 6 lonely stars in the sky and I wondered how many the Hebrew children could count. I'm sure there were more stars visible than they could possibly count! Acting out these stories was such an effective way of teaching my little boys. These activities spurred on so many more thoughts and questions than simply reading the story, or even doing an art activity. We should do this more often!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas planning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqqj1v-ZBU

Have you seen this video yet? It only takes 2 1/2 minutes. Go ahead.

Christmas is going to look very differently for us this year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back in the saddle again

We are on the mend. A weekend at home seemed to do the trick. I am very thankful to be back in the saddle for a new week. Praise God for restored health, a blessing I often take for granted. Jackie reminded me, in the comments from my last entry, that we can praise God, even in sickness, that we are generally healthy. It is sweet that she mentioned it, because I had just been lying in bed praying against a pity party the night before. And the Lord reminded me that I have three healthy children, an enormous blessing. After our medical scares with our oldest son and our miscarriage (due to birth defects), I do think often when things are tough that they really aren't THAT tough.
I am very, very thankful today for good health. My verse for the week comes to mind,
Psalm 24:1
"The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it. The world and all those that live in it."
May all that I have, germ-infested home and all, be seen as a gift from my generous heavenly Father.
*Pictured above: Dad proving that you really can start a fire with a magnifying glass. When you have a nasty cold, but still feel good, you get around to stuff like this. Another reason to feel blessed!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This post is pretty nasty

Here's the low-down (and I mean LOW):
~The last two weeks we have been trading colds- all of us.
~That came on the heels of Andy's two week back problem.
~Then Monday night Lydie began to vomit, which continued throughout most of the night.
~Everyone stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday. It appeared we were healed.
~The colds were a little better, so we went on our field trip Thursday.
~Thursday evening Toot got the stomach bug.
~Lydie had an upset stomach, this time at the other end, if you know what I mean.
~Friday we all stayed home again. Jaybird's cold was not getting better, but worse.
~This morning I took Jaybird to the doctor- sinus AND ear infection.
~Tonight Andy is nauseous. Now 3 of the 5 of us have colds, the baby has a cough.
~Oh, and the clencher, the cat got into the stew...and threw up.

Now for the math. That's:
5 colds
1 sinus infection
1 ear infection
2 stomach bugs
1 more, possibly
1 sick cat
5 soiled cushions or carpet spots to scrub
2 trash cans to rinse
5 nasty "upset tummy" diapers today
3 board games played with the sick kids
4 new movies watched
1,000 legos underfoot
1 crazy mom!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Nature Center

Of all the subjects on the list, science definitely gets the short end of the stick around here. I actually like science and my husband is a biologist, for Pete's sake! It is so fun to teach to little kids. You can spend two weeks learning the intricacies of the owl, if that's what they are in to. Any way, because of my slacking, I was so excited when our little group suggested a trip to the Nature Center. It is only minutes away, and a whole afternoon full of hands-on, outdoor science lessons.
Toot was instructed to find a "living thing" with his magnifying glass. He made the very exciting discovery of a rollie pollie.
Toot's not so sure about the talons!

We met two other families and headed outside for a walk around the grounds. The children learned about many animals and habitats. We bought two new science books in the gift shop. I mainly made these purchases to support the Nature Center, but also in hopes of some inspiration. And then we ended the day with a nice picnic. For $50 our entire family can have a yearly pass, along with discounts to many homeschool classes, hikes and celebrations. Sounds like a good Christmas present to me!

Jaybird models owl eyes

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seriously?


Lydie walked up to me last night, tapped me on the arm, and exclaimed,

"I wanna go shopping!."
Is this genetic?

Pictured above: Baby all decked out for shopping, accessories, lopsided ponytails, and all

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deck the halls...for THANKSGIVING!

I love November and the Thanksgiving holiday. I become a little offended and protective when people and stores want to pass directly from Halloween to Christmas. So I typically decorate several spots in our house with thanksgiving cheer.
I have wanted wheat bundles for years. I saw them first in Pottery B*rn years ago. I don't remember the price, but I know it was laughable. Today I found this bundle for less than $4 at Wal-Mart. I just tied a rubber band and some chocolate-colored ribbon around the middle for my own cheap version.
The other day I saw the corn kernel idea at my friend's house. I have used dried beans, acorns, coffee beans, ornaments and fruit in my hurricane vases. But I had never seen this idea! I love the beautiful color! That big ceramic turkey was a present for me the day I had Toot. My Mom and Dad stopped by Cracker Barrel on their way to the hospital. (He was born on August 31st!) Isn't that funny? I love my big old turkey.


I mentioned our "thankful garland" the other day. My camera would not cooperate at all, but it is just an orange and yellow ribbon with scrapbook paper shaped leaves. The middle has a rectangular "Thankful" made with scrapbook sticker letters. I used the mini-clothespins from Lydie's party to display our messages. We have each made a new leaf daily after breakfast devotions. Toot's apparently loves puzzles- deeply. Of all the things in the world, his #1 love is puzzles. You learn a lot about one another by making thankful leaves! (Today, day #3 he was thankful for family. At least we made his list!) Next up, thanksgiving children's books...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Work while you work...



Did you ever memorize that poem as a child? Some days, when I have worked really, really hard...we go out to eat. We don't make a habit of eating out any more (we're recovering eat-out-aholics), but save it for a treat. The other day, we worked like dogs. Blowing and raking leaves, cleaning, unpacking, washing clothes and dishes by the loads, vacuuming! Around 4:00, my husband said spontaneously, go and take a hot shower and get dressed, we're eating out!
Today I am very, very thankful for the financial freedom to have a night off. I am thankful for the amazing Italian food we devoured (and dirty dishes that were not my responsibility). I am thankful for the website that we found where you can purchase a $30 gift certificate for $10. I am thankful for the feeling of a good day's work. And finally, I am thankful for the work- having a husband and three children that rely on me to get the jobs done. It's humbling, it holds me accountable, and it's good for my prayer life!
Work while you work
Play while you play
This is the way
To be happy each day.
All that you do
Do with your might
Things done in halves
Are never done right!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A month of thankfulness

A wonderful Monday, what a treat. We spent the morning decorating our house for Thanksgiving. We began a new tradition this year of reading weekly Thanksgiving devotions from the book pictured to the side. Today was our first day. We also began our "thankful leaves" that will form a garland for our mantel. A great conversation with the boys about God being the giver of all good things was a perfect preparation for our Thanksgiving party.

My friend Tammy hosted us today. She has a very merciful heart. She had the idea of putting together Operation Christmas Child boxes during the party. The kids and I spent the morning picking out our items and praying for the recipients. We found the OCC website and watched the movie clips. I am so very thankful for this ministry.
Our Thanksgiving party was a wonderful way to begin this season. We put together our boxes, made crafts and ate together. The children spent several afternoon hours outside, and the weather was perfect. The time together was something for which to be very thankful. I am humbled and very grateful when I enjoy the gift of this answered prayer- our homeschool group. We were willing to walk this path alone, but God blessed us above and beyond what we asked or imagine, even beyond what we thought we needed. In plenty and in want, He carries us right in the palm of His hand. I am very thankful.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

Away from it all

We just got home from a trip home to Alabama. We had a wonderful weekend! We spent Thursday and Friday night at "the farm". I am drawn to this new family get-away more and more with each trip. Our two days consisted of hiking (for the boys), nature walks, driving through lanes covered with thick, fall-colored canopy, and resting. The still quietness is such a stark contrast to the big, bustling town in which we live. And at night, it is pitch-black with hundreds of stars in view. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to bottle the scent of the rural outdoors? The air smells so clean it is almost a sweet smell. Too bad they don't have a candle in that scent. Any way, the point is, I am slowly becoming captivated.
Today we met my brother and his family in Auburn for a day of football. Auburn is always a special place to visit. It is where my journey into adulthood began, where I fell in love with my husband, and where I met many wonderful friends. It's a beautiful, friendly town. The weather was perfect and the kids were busy and happy with cousins. And I love to be with family.
It's all the calm before "the storm". Tomorrow begins a week of Thanksgiving parties, a field trip, our first basketball practice, swim lessons and art class. I think there is a birthday party in the mix, too. We'll enjoy our day of rest tomorrow, and then off we go!
Pictured above: the old barn

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Regarding options

What will I make my focus?
~Runny noses or hot cocoa mustaches
~Tired, sick kids or a chance to snuggle
~A disappointing occurance within our church or the blessings of our church
~A missed day with friends or an opportunity to be at home all day
~Two episodes of spilled Gatorade on the new sofa or the opportunity to break bad habits
~Hurt feelings or seeking the truth without bias
~To distance myself from a friend or to embrace her
~Pouting or praying
~Looking for a way out or Looking for Joy right where I am
~Myself or my Savior
Pictured above: Lydie taking care of business

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Comic relief

This morning Andy stayed around for the morning. Around 9:00 he suggested that I head out to vote and leave the kids with him. As I headed for the door, I yelled over my shoulder, "See ya, kids. I'm gonna go vote!" Surprisingly, my 25 month old Lydie bug yelled, "Boat Nic-cain!" Vote McCain? Does anything get passed this little one?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Laying the tracks

Finally, after a year of wanting to get on the ball, I am going to memorize scripture regularly. Why is it that I am so disciplined to teach my children to memorize, and yet I do not do so myself? If my children's verses do not count, I have memorized only a verse or two from God's word this year! I know it is so important ("Hide my word in your heart, that you might not sin against me.") for walking in obedience, for parenting my children in a godly way, for joy and understanding, and for encouragement, to name a few. Why have I not enjoyed this means of grace?? The important thing is that I am "laying the tracks", as Charlotte Mason says, right now!
My best friend and I agreed to start holding one another accountable for this discipline beginning Monday! We have the very simple, small goal of adding 2 words a day to our verse. Slowly, one day at a time, His Word will become part of my being- not just in theory, but the actual words. I am so excited!
Here's my first verse:
"Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. Keep straight the path of your feet and all your ways will be sure." Proverbs 4:25
*I think a verse regarding "staying the course" is appropriate, don't you?