Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear Josh,

Today you are nine years old. You are happy, comfortable in your own skin, and brilliant. Your tender heart, quiet disposition, and creative mind intrique me. I love to watch you draw or build. You are an encouragement and I love that you help without wanting recognition. You are a delight, sweet boy! Your passion for Jesus is growing, growing. You ask very mature questions and defend your faith with fervor. On the other hand, you are innocent and silly often! I think you are practically perfect.

Here's what you love at this time in your life:


Gatorade (red, of course)

Hershey bars

Wheat Thins

Meat...ribs, pork chops, burgers


Baseball (Braves)

Swimming in the lake

Building with legos



Art class

Playing with your brother

Taking care of your sister (even though she is fiercely independent!)

Your favorite friend is the same one that you have cherished since you were one- James

You are neat, precise, and quick with school work!

Your least favorite subject: creative writing

Your favorite subjects: Math and Chemistry

Things you dislike: when I take your picture, riding in the car, too much talking, dressing up

You get up before me or your siblings, usually around 6:00 am.

You fall asleep before we can get out of your room at night (usually around 8:30 pm).

You also love to travel, particularly to the beach.

Happy birthday, son! You are so, so, SO loved!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Laughter from the tire swing

Dear Lou Lou,

I love your vivacious spirit. You laugh and smile, all day long. Your tenacity is something to behold; if you really determine to do a thing, you don't give up. And that boundless joy is contagious. Can't wait to see your confidence slowly transcend into gospel-confidence as you grow!

Thanks for bringing warmth, beauty, and sweetness to my morning!


P.S. You are fun!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Josh's 9th birthday party: Country boy style: go-carts and creek swimming

Our three children's birthdays are all within a six week span. Josh's is the second of three. He asked for a party here at the farm with a go-cart/4 wheeler course and pizza. So yesterday we cleaned and prepped for his big bash! A few decorations out on the screened in porch (aka "farmhouse dining room")

Go-cart races

Lunch time

Presents and cake

Enjoying the cool water in the creek

Relentless jokes about Uncle Ben's wife-beater shirt.

The whole family went out to eat at a bbq restaurant in town tonight. I stayed behind to clean up and take a breather. I think my sweet boy had a fabulous day and I am praising the Lord for great weather and another wonderful year with our Joshua!
It's pretty clear he felt loved and celebrated!

We are THAT family

The second shenanigan lasted the span of the week. I am trying the HCG diet with a nutritionist where I get the hormone treatments. It's a controversial diet, I know. And I've never really done a diet program, per se, except Weight Watchers once. So this little adventure is not the norm for me, as I am not a big diet program kindof girl. But what can I say? I needed a jump start!

By the beginning of the week I realized my monthly visitor hadn't been around in a while. When I checked the calendar I realized I was really late. Just a side note, I have never been late or irregular except the four times I was pregnant! So I reviewed the facts: husband has had preventative surgery, I am taking hormone treatments, I am on a diet where I have small doses of HCG (pregnancy hormone) daily. I wasn't too worried. But since I only consume 500 calories a day (sounds crazy, but I really am not hungry due to hormones. No need to send anxious emails or post negative comments. I did the research!) I knew I needed to know for sure about being pregnant. (Besides, we are that family. The ones who live in the .0001% of crazy things that happen!) So I bought a couple of pregnancy tests. The first test...positive. Let's try again, the second test...positive. I sent a frantic note to the nutritionist: "Can these small doses of hcg cause a false positive pregnancy test??" She didn't know the answer. So I call a local doctor who also oversees this type of diet, and ask him the same question. "Hmmm, I have always wondered that!" Strike two. Now I get a little more concerned. Why haven't they heard of this happening before??

I bite the bullet and make an appointment with my doctor. My doctor is now a family friend, in fact, he was our first family friend in town. (Remember Josh's cronic strep throat in the spring? That equalled over a dozen doctor's visits, which gifted us with our new friend.) When I told him the entire story- diet, hormone treatments, pregnancy test- he didn't seem too concerned. He did, though, request the name "Feddy" for the new baby, after the Fed-Ex man. :) Any way, after endless Feddy jokes he gave me another pregnancy test, which was also positive. Then drew blood for a definite answer. (I think he began sweating at this time and wondered if his Feddy jokes were out of line! :) )

Yesterday we found out that we are certainly NOT expecting a baby. That result came after a week of "what ifs??" Crazy, crazy life this is. I found myself rubber-necking at every baby and pregnant belly wondering..."Will this be us again?" Fearful, but not completely opposed. (Although Andy wouldn't even discuss the possibility of sleepless nights again.) We aren't out of the normal age to be having a new baby, just thought we had closed that chapter five years ago!

I guess three is our number. Three beautiful, vivacious, healthy gifts from God. And I'm thankful for what we have! This is what a house looks like after a great week of school, golf, classes, gymnastics, guitar, prep for a birthday party, and wondering if you are unexpectantly preggers:

Why should we put the food in the pantry when it will all be eaten eventually??

The bed never got made this week and where's the artwork that belongs on those shelves??

Why use a trash can when we can dump our trash and junk right beside us on the floor?

Not a huge laundry pile, but which ones are clean and which ones are dirty again??

It's going to be a busy afternoon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just call me grace

We have had two super crazy shenanigans around here this week. Here's a description of the first one. Yesterday evening my Dad came by our farm with a new toy. This type of event is commonplace. We were inside after dinner cleaning up and I heard a motorized vehicle pulling up. I don't know the names of these things, but it looked like a mini-motorcycle with off-road tires. Two wheels, required balanced, smaller than a motorcycle, fatter wheels. Any way, he said it would be fun to have in our new barn down by the fields in case the tractor ran out of gas. I immediately told him to, "Hop up and give me a turn!"

I am not a super adventurous, free spirit...except when it comes to go-carts and atvs. I just love them! And there's plenty of them to go around at our house. So without further instruction, I hopped on (in my short dress) and revved the engine. Note to self: figure out how to apply the brakes first next time! At the first little twist of the handle bar it didn't move. So I revved it...big time. It all went so fast, but I remember trying to find the brakes on that same handle bar. I didn't know the only brake was on the other handle bar. And I drove straight into an electric pole surrounded by a rose bush!

I have ALWAYS hated this pole. I have been so spoiled with the luxury of underground utilities in Atlanta. The look of a pole, right there, with draping electrical wires connected to our house chaps my hide. And on top of the aesthetic, I hate mowing grass around it. Also, I wasn't a big fan of the rose bush as I got up, covered in blood dripping from the 50 or so thorns embedded in my face, arms, legs, and hands! But I see now that the pole and the entangling thorns saved a big accident, as I would have gone down the big hill in our front yard and into the road! I will never look on the pole with detest again!

Well, I immediately began laughing hysterically. First of all, it was like an episode from Funniest Home Videos. Very funny, very foolish! And second, I peaked over at my Dad and thought he was going to have a heart attack. He is very over protective of me, and he doesn't handle blood well. So I knew I had to laugh, for his sake. I ripped my arms out of the bushes (ouch!) and said, "Hey Dad, are you gonna come get this thing off of me?" And while he woozily walked over, I just sat and laughed like a buffoon. In the end, other than scratches and a burn, the only damage done was to my pride and my poor daughter's emotional stability. She cried for an hour. Lots of blood makes her turn pale. Poor thing.

Here's the damage to my arms. Silly me!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bumps in the road (literally)

So funny how things can change in an instant! Laughing at my last post today. Thursday the week took a bit of a sour turn. We were rushed through school work in order to run to a meeting for our cover school. After the long drive to and from the meeting and the meeting itself, we arrived home four and a half hours later!!

That enormous task on Thursday put us behind on school for Friday. Understandably, the kids were in no mood to finish school when we got home, and I was rushing along fixing dinner so I could have my first "girls night out" since we moved here in March. I saw "The Help" with some friends. Unfortunately, the nearest movie theatre is an hour away! (Total of four and a half hours in the car that day!). The movie was incredible! But I am not sure how many more times I will agree to a day like that one!

I woke up Friday not wanting to get out of bed. I was so discouraged with how incredibly long it takes me to drive to get any where. I told Andy I was overwhelmed already and had a little pity party first thing in the morning. Not good. Then we crunched in school and drove an hour to my doctor's appointment. Lovely.

There is a constant struggle between doing without vs. being in the car. For example, play a team sport and commit to driving 45 minutes each way to practice and games or just not let the kids play. The doctor's appointment for me was to see a nutritionist. I am on a crazy, but effective diet, that requires weekly trips to Birmingham. Drive or not? The kids will continue to go to their hybrid school because it has been the first place that I have found like-minded parents/educators since we moved here. And I feel like the kids need those iron-sharpens-iron friendships. But the two days of school requires Andy to drive 2 hours, and I drive 4 hours each week.

I predicted when we moved here that the toughest challenge would be making connections in this new community. But the time we spend in the car in order to give the children valuable opportunities is BY FAR the most difficult adjustment. Trying to speak truth to myself...but where to begin?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Favorite words found today

"Living logically means talking to yourself instead of listening to yourself. And when you're talking, talking Scripture."

~Andree Seu (World News)

Very much enjoying our first week back to school. Smiles, giggles, "I love you!"s, and hugs. But when the trials come, and they will, I hope to remember these words! His words are steadfast, true, and transforming! Hope to spend these good days hiding his word in my heart. Storing up a big treasure trove and enjoying the riches.

Monday, August 15, 2011

First day

Out to eat for pancakes The boys' first day at the hybrid school. Excitement and nerves...
*Josh's art teacher loved his shirt. Love this kids' sense of humor!*

Lydie's first day of kindergarten at home with meThe Ant ate an Apple

Lydie's first day at gymnastics Comments:

"That was the best day ever." ~Jackson (11 yr. old)

"I loved chemistry!" ~Joshua (8 yr. old)

"I love my teacher, Mrs. Mommy!!" and "Did you see my moves at gyn-nastics??"~ Lydie (4 yr. old)

A GREAT day had by all!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stored up for later

My kids are all a delight to teach. They like to get done with their work in a timely fashion. They can focus and listen. They are mostly curious and willing to learn. But, the boys both have their weaknesses, as I am sure I will discover in Lydie, too. So, I will remember the following words when Jack is struggling with math and Joshua is in tears because he doesn't know what to write about in his journal. Storing away encouraging words for the school year. I'm encouraged to push forward and keep my eye on the prize!!

"The education process is as much about mental and character formation as it is about information and subjects. The formative value of the subjects we teach in school is as important as- if not more important than- the actual content. Math teaches logical, accurate, and precise thinking; history teaches judgment, discernment, prudence; literature teaches sensitivity to the human condition; penmanship teaches the beginning student the basic skills of concentration, accuracy, correct spelling, and the patience and persistence required to do quality work. These mental habits, work habits, and skills transfer to every day life. They distinguish the educated person from the uneducated." --From The Real-Hands on Learning by Cheryl Lowe

**and found on Heidi's blog

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Farmhouse renovations: Multi-purpose room

Our multi-purpose room (formerly called the library until our neighbors made fun of us) is in the center of our house. This house was a small, ranch, farm house with a living room, kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms for most of its life. Later, two big rooms were added to the back, this one and our master bedroom.

The space in this room is required to serve many functions: farm office, laundry room, and school room. I WISH I had "Before" pictures. Imagine this: brown wood paneling, brown mantel, brown beams, dirty red brick fireplace, nasty carpet, sliding glass door, and windows with wasp nests ON THE INSIDE. It was REALLY bad. (No one had lived in this farmhouse for years when we bought the farm!)

We had the walls painted a light shade of gray. All the woodwork, including the beams and mantel, is now white. And we painted the bricks on the fireplace a shade of gray that is one shade lighter than the walls. Whether you like painted wood, wood paneling, or brick, I can almost assure you that you would consider this lighter room a better version than what it was before! I chose accent colors of blue and yellow after falling in love with this fabric. I use it for laundry room curtains, but really it's just two tablecloths from Target!Here is the view of the room as you enter from the kitchen. The back of the room is wall to wall brick. We hired a carpenter to install the bookshelves on the ends of the hearth for storage. There is almost no wall space due to doorways or windows in this entire room, so we had to find a creative solution. I just put the books on the shelves yesterday and I am LOVING this space so much! We use the frames above the mantel to display their colorful artwork. Won't it be fun to have a fire in here during the winter?Here's the always cluttered, always messy farm office. And my solution to not having space for my own desk: share with the boys. They will do school here: And on the other side of the table is my desk:

I re purposed our old dining room chairs (we don't have a dining room any more) into fun chairs for the school table. I was itching to use this brown and cream chevron fabric. It is a fun accent. Hoping to add wheels/casters to the bottom of the chairs at some point!


My daughter's art table is facing a window and just beside our table. (She needs a table a little lower to the ground.) It is an old, preschool Sunday school table and we paired it with bright chairs from IKEA. She spends at least a couple of hours here a day. There is always dried paint, glitter, and marker scribbles everywhere. I LOVE it!
Next to the art table are two stacked IKEA shelves (my best friend handed them down to me last year, along with Lydie's art table). The left side stores my sewing stuff. And the right side has the boys' work boxes. We are trying our own version of the work box system this school year. On top of the shelves are little pieces of inspiration. My favorite quote framed:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --Mark Twain
A fun poster from etsy, along with a bird lamp and cow oil painting. Also, I have a bulletin board on the wall with schedules, quotes, nature study post cards, Psalm 145, I Corinthians 13, and this beautiful manifesto.

My laundry room is behind the drapes (tablecloths), next to a storage closet for my scrapbook stuff, cleaning supplies, gift wrapping supplies, and other stuff. (View from the rocking chair)

And that's our multi-purpose room! I am linking this room to the Not-Back-T0-School Blog Hop at Heart of the Matter. Hope everyone is ready for the school year! We're, no that's wrong, I'M excited! (The kids would prefer to live in an endless season of summer break!)

Other farmhouse renovations: