Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Home Again, and Giggling

Pin It First, thank you all for the concern and prayers regarding my last post.  I really am doing okay, it's just that some days are hard.  I know you all know what I mean.

We got home safely, and I really just have a minute to post, but I am totally giggling and have to share.

Our Christmas ornaments have been through a lot.  Some have been through several moves, and most were not top quality to begin with.  I started a series of Disney ornaments about 19 years ago with the intention of saving them up and then giving them to my nephew when he was old enough to have his own tree.

Not gonna happen.  Sorry, nephew.

These ornaments really were so cute to start out.  Various Disney characters, brightly colored and cheery.  Through the years though, well, they have shown some wear and tear.

My oldest commented that opening the Christmas decoration box is a combination of Christmas and Halloween all in one.  Peter Pan is missing an arm.  Scrooge McDuck is missing a leg.  The number of intact dalmations is way less than 101.  The worst off is poor Snow White.  I am not sure what the dwarfs did to her, but she is missing a head.  (The only dwarf that is still here is grumpy.  'Nuff said.)

Now I can't stop giggling at the Christmas/Halloween tree.

At least it looks really pretty when it's dark and the lights are on!

(And yes, pictures are to come.  My memory card is full of pics from our trip and I've been afraid to get them off because I'm hoping that the perfect Christmas card pic is on there, and I don't want to be disappointed!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Six Months.

Pin It It has been six months since the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri. That means it's been six months since my brother died. It seems like yesterday and also like such a long time.

I hadn't seen Troy since the summer of 2006, when my grandmother died. His health had been bad for the past eight-ish years, something like that.

In 2009, his health took a serious turn for the worse, and we expected that he would not survive. At that time, I had a ton of stuff going on at home. I was a single mother for all intents and purposes because Jim was in Afghanistan. I couldn't just take off and go. Then Troy got better, against the odds. He kind of did that several times.

Then the urgency of going to visit went away. He got better and the "last time" and the "say goodbye" didn't seem as pressing. We talked on the phone a few times, and I have an email from him which still makes me giggle. He knew Jim was gone and told me to let him know if I needed anything. :)

When Jim got back, life kind of took over again and we just didn't make plans to visit. I desperately wish now that we would have.

This last week, I have been remembering silly things. Games we used to play - our house in Nashville had a hall that was completely dark if we closed the doors. We did this silly charades in the dark type game. I remember the BRIGHT red carpet in his bedroom in that house. Last week I got a couple of boxes of old stuff out of my old bedroom at my parents' house and remembered him out there listening to Bill Cosby and Howie Mandel records. I remember him watching Spies Like Us over and over and laughing hysterically through the whole thing. And OH MY HEAVENS, his son Tommy? So many mannerisms of Troy. Things he says and does ... it's a little freaky. And very cool. I would have never remembered Troy singing and dancing (a little strangely) to some old Michael Jackson song until I saw Tommy do it just last weekend. And this is a blessing. :)

And now it's Thanksgiving. Really, I'm not feeling all that thankful. I have regrets for not doing things because the cost to me was perceived to be too high. And then ... to survive all that he did and be killed by a tornado? That doesn't make sense to me. So, I am partly a little angry.

Then again, I am SO thankful. We had a perfect childhood. I have great memories. I see my childhood family somewhat mirrored in my own. I have faith that one day this WILL make sense. So as I sit here in a dark house in the rain, far from home and far from my parents, I'm trying to let the thankful things outweigh the "want to pitch a fit and say this is unfair" things.

And right now? I think that's good enough.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 331 - 340

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Woot!  Two weeks in a row!!

331.  For the oldest finishing her Texas History course!  We are rejoicing much for this class to be done.  She's getting much more out of the Texas history she is doing at our homeschool co-op, and all we were doing at home was basically doing just enough to check the box to say that we did it.  It took up a lot of time, so we are very glad to have it done!

332.  I've probably mentioned this before several times, but I am thankful for white chocolate raspberry creamer.  I have been in coffee bliss.  When the day starts with bliss, well ... everyone is just plain happy about that. When the day starts with bliss AND a clean sink ... well ... doesn't get much better than that!

333.  For watching my oldest get involved in a service project.  I'll post more about this later, because really it deserves a whole post to itself.  I am just thankful to watch her really think about some needs and find a way to help fill those needs. 

334.  For a repair that could have either been a minor fix or financial destruction.  You know how that goes?  It might be something that needs to be cleaned, or it might be the whole darn system needs to be replaced.  Thankfully our repair was of the minor sort, and if it should ever get cold here (ahem ... 4:30 pm on 11/14, and it's 81 degrees right now) we're all set.

335.  For tweaking The Pioneer Woman's chili recipe to just where I want it, and on our cold day last week (giggle ... it's all relative.  It was in the 60's okay?  When you live here, that IS cold!) I made a double batch, so there is perfect chili in the freezer for another day.  It's all in the chili powder/cumin ratio.  Get that right and it's chili bliss.  (So ... start off the day with vanilla coffee with white chocolate raspberry creamer, end it with chili ... the only appropriate word here is bliss.)

336.  For really good dental insurance, as we start the braces process with the middle one tomorrow.  And for the oldest one not needing them. 

337.  For how exciting it is to watch the middle one doing her math.  She really *gets* what she is doing now and is doing her math well and quickly.  And especially I am thankful that she is realizing that she is really doing well and is excited about it herself.  (And while I'm praising her, I'm sitting here with a poem she wrote that she is wanting me to type for her.  She did an excellent job!  Her handwriting is neat, spelling is good, and you can tell she put some effort into it.  Go middle one!)

338.  For snaggle toothed smiles from a six year old who runs up to give me hugs when he sees me at church.

339.  For getting plans together for high school and figuring out a plan there.  It's overwhelming, a little, but both the future high school student and I are excited about it. 

340.  For plans for a relatively easy week this week, then time off next week for Thanksgiving!  And for having much for which to be thankful. I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today. Hop on over and read some other gratitude journals.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 321 - 330

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It's been a while since I've done one of these, and as this has been a *bit* of a challenging day, a little bit of gratitude will likely go a long way!

321. That co-op is over for the day. LOL Today was one of THOSE days; tired kids I think from the time change. Or something.

322. My junior high co-op class. How I love that class! They keep me on my toes and make me giggle. They are a precious group!

323. Coffee bliss. White chocolate raspberry creamer is in my fridge (thanks to friends!!) and it is SO nice to start my day off with a smile and yummy coffee.

324. For a completely fabulous weekend! We got to visit friends, do a little shopping, and visit with my family all within a couple of days.

325. The oldest will finish her Texas history class this week. This class has been okay, she has enjoyed it well enough, but it takes quite a while and we are all looking forward to her school day being a little bit shorter when she switches from Texas history to English grammar. (Plus she enjoys grammar and is looking forward to it herself.)

326. The fact that when, just now, I picked up the little one's milk rather than my tea, and realized it BEFORE putting it in my mouth. Sometimes it's the little things. ;) I have a serious milk aversion and it would not have been pretty had that gone into my mouth. (And yes, I can appreciate the irony of my happiness a second ago over cream. LOL)

327. For cooler weather and a promise of rain in the forecast.

328. For an easy week without a whole lot of extra stuff. One child has an appointment and I think that's it for extras. This makes mama happy. We've had a LOT of going and going lately so it will be nice to have a break.

329. I am delighted with where we are in our homeschool so far this year. The kids are right on track and it's going smoothly. I also found a scheduling method that works even better for me than what we were using. :)

330. I have an easy meal planned for tonight that the kids should enjoy, and it's convenient because we have Upwards basketball evaluations tonight. I didn't plan for the evaluations when I made the menu, so I was glad to see an easy meal on there.

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today. Hop on over and read some other gratitude journals.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh my goodness. Do you know these babies?

Pin It The GOOD thing about using the desktop again? 

Pics like THESE scroll across my screen! 

I can't keep up!

Pin It Wow, my blog has been so neglected lately.  I have great plans and think of blog posts I need to make and then get up in the morning and am pulled 17 different ways before eight o'clock, and that's the QUIET part of my day!  LOL

I was talking with a friend about school this year.  I'm not gonna lie - three kids, three different curriculums, three different Heart of Dakota programs going makes for a BUSY day.  Add in the fact that these little darlings think they should eat at regular intervals and want to wear clean clothes and such, and something has to give a bit.  Apparently that something is blogging. 

I really do enjoy blogging though.  I love to look back through old posts and seeing how the kids have grown and what we were doing a couple of years ago.  I completely dropped off the Project 365 bandwagon.  After Troy died and then having surgery a couple of weeks later, I just couldn't keep up.  I will say - I did P365 for 2009 and 2010, and although it's nice having all of those pictures, it's been nice to take my camera when I want to rather than feeling obligated to come up with some sort of picture for the day.

I do have some fun pictures for a week in review post (um yeah ... I know ... MONTH in review at this point) that include a couple of field trips we've done recently.  They are on my laptop - and that's another blogging hindrance.  The girls use my laptop for a couple of their classes, which means my laptop time is reduced.

(Um.  Retitling this post:  in which Melanie makes a bunch of excuses.)

Hopefully I'll get some laptop time and will be able to do a couple of field trip posts!  Plus we've had a few cute snack days and other fun stuff. 


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week in Review - Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7 ... the little one

Pin It And finally a post for the little one!

He is doing so well with school!  He has figured out his routine pretty well and knows what is expected of him, and most of the time does it.  He's generally a pretty compliant child who is eager to please, so that makes things a little easier.

He finished his math program.  The math program I expected to last all year.  (Do I have a mathy child?  Could it be?  Please say yes.)  After some searching and scrambling, we decided to go to Singapore Math 1B.  Hopefully it will be here the first part of the week and we can run with it.

He is using Bob Jones Kindergarten Beginnings and now sings along with Hopscotch on the DVDs.  He is doing amazingly well with his sight words and getting there with his word families and blends.  Some days he can get them right away and then other days he looks at us like we're speaking a foreign language.  Which, I guess if you're just learning, is pretty accurate.  :)

We are still really enjoying Heart of Dakota Little Hearts for His Glory.  His favorite part of the day is when it's time to read about Reddy Fox.  Even though we finished the Reddy Fox book and are now on to Peter Rabbit, he still calls it Reddy Fox.  I love snuggling up with him and reading to him. 

In history, he has gone from Creation to Sampson so far.  It is absolutely amazing to me how many of these stories he already knows - from either Mrs. Russell's class, Sunday school, AWANA, or Veggie Tales.  LOL  When I start to read a story and he finishes it for me and I ask him how he learned that story, I never know what the answer is going to be.

In science, we're talking about plants, and if I were a good mom, I would have had him plant something.  ;)  Maybe I'll get to that soon.

We are doing a mix of the Bible study recommended in the HOD guide and his AWANA verses for Bible, and he is doing very well with that.  He gets SO EXCITED when he has a verse memorized and can't wait to go share it with his teachers.  GO my little one!

I have to say though - his favorite part of all of his schoolwork is snack time.  About once or twice a week, it's Snack Day with Hopscotch.  They are cute and clever snacks that he makes himself.  This means there is usually peanut butter all over his desk.  Here's one snack day treat:

Can you tell it's a mouth?  Apple slices with peanut butter and marshmallows for teeth.

Usually the sisters get in on the snack day action:

These are traffic lights.  (Did I already post this picture?  I went to find the mouth picture and this one was next to it.  The bed was still in the family room though, so this may have been from one of the other weeks I blogged!)

And I think that's it for our weekly (or monthly!) review!  We have several field trips coming up in the next couple of weeks.  We are very happy to get out of the house a little!  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week in Review - Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7 ... the Middle One

Pin It Because I'm combining four weeks on my Week In Review post, I decided to separate it by child so I'm not ending up with humongous long blog posts.  :)

The middle one! 
Can I just say that I really like fifth grade?  It seems like some kind of groove kicks in at about that time, and school just kind of rocks along.  I love it!

She is moving right along with Bob Jones Reading 5 and English 5, and with Teaching Textbooks math 5.  I have to brag on her a little - we talked about neatness when doing math problems, and from that moment on, her notebook where she works out math problems has been perfectly neat and easy to follow.  She has also done a lot better on her big multiplication problems.  Wonder if these things could be related ... ;)

She really enjoyed the unit in Reading about puppets and made several rather interesting puppets that her brother destroyed before I pictured.  :(  I need to get her to make another one, especially the one with the grocery bags!  It was darling!

She is writing a business letter in English, and her letter is going to be written to Dairy Queen requesting that they add a nutella blizzard to their menu.  Awesome!

In her Heart of Dakota, I have to say that we are LOVING the book Tirzah!

It is offering a perspective about the Israelites fleeing Egypt that I hadn't thought of before.  I love it when authors really draw the readers into a story.  We are both anxious to see what happens next!

Also, she is really enjoying Usborne Internet Linked Ancient World, and looks forward to pulling it out and telling me all about it.
In history, she in in the middle of the desert.  ha!  She has fled Pharoah and Egypt but not made it to the Promised Land yet.

When I take pics of the oldest's notebook, I will take pics of the middle one's history notebook.  Both girls have projects from various Draw and Write through History guides, and let me tell you - these are TREASURES!  The middle one did frogs this week (from one of the plagues in Egypt).  Fabulous!

In Science, she has gone from the Arctic Tundra to the Cactus Desert.  She is enjoying the One Small Square books and the science she is learning.

For Bible, she is mainly doing her AWANA guide.  There is Bible entwined with both her history and science, and we are pleased with that. 

Okay, I think that's it for the middle one these past few weeks.  I'll write up a post for the little one in a bit.  :)

Week in Review - Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7 ... the Oldest

Pin It Seriously?  I haven't done a weekly wrap-up since week 3?  Oh my.

(I realized this is likely to be a long post if I put all three kids in it, so I'll do each kid in a separate post.  LOL ... nothing like no blog posts for a month, and then ten in a day, right?)

We are continuing to love, love, love Heart of Dakota for all three kids.  (Oldest is doing Resurrection to Reformation, Middle is doing Preparing Hearts for His Glory, Little is doing Little Hearts for His Glory.)  We have figured out a basic schedule so each child has me with them when they need me, and the other two are staying (mostly) out of each other's hair when I'm busy.  I think this has been the hardest part of the year.  We seem to have finally settled into a schedule routine that is working though.  That schedule I posted a couple of months ago?  ha.  Nice idea, but most of it has gone by the wayside.  I will try to update it and post that soon.

The Oldest:
She is getting close to finishing Texas History, and we are all happy about that.  I knew she wasn't going to love doing it in the format I had chosen, but she is also getting it at co-op, and with the time constraints of schooling three, and my personal ... ahem ... notsomuch enjoyment of history, we're making the best of what we have.  Since the middle one is also getting it at co-op, I plan to add this book to our read-aloud list:
In Math, I am happy to report that she has about 20 lessons left to finish 7th grade Teaching Textbooks math.  Maybe a few less than that.  She will be done right around Thanksgiving.  We will go directly into 8th grade at that point.  I'll probably just let her take the quizzes for the first couple of review chapters and see if we can get her on track for finishing by May.  That may or may not happen, but it's okay.  She is doing well in math and working hard, so I'm pleased.

We are both enjoying IEW for writing, and she is moving right along with it.  Nothing to really add about that. 

Everything else she does is from Heart of Dakota.  (She will be starting English/Grammar when she finishes Texas History since both are one semester classes.)
We finished Mystery of the Silver Coins as a read aloud.

This was an enjoyable read!  We're actually wanting other books in the series because it left us with a bit of a cliffhanger.

In History, she has gone through Attila the Hun, to Theordoric, to Clovis, to St. Patrick, to Benedict and Gregory the Great, then to Boniface, Justinian, Mohammed, Charles Martel and the Moors, to Charlemagne, and Julius Caesar was just introduced.  As she's reading and learning about these people, she is doing geography that goes along with it.  She has read From Bondage to Freedom: A Tale of the Times of Mohammed, and has started Black Horses for the King.

She is still quite enjoying the Shakespeare study, finishing up A Midsummer Night's Dream, doing Winter's Tale, and then starting Much Ado About Nothing.  (She is reading overviews of these plays, not the actual plays.) 

In science, she is still doing Astronomy.  This is going to bridge into physical science pretty quickly, and I think she is quite happy about that.  :)

She is also studying through the book of Philippians this year, and the book Beautiful Girlhood. 

I think that's it for her overview.  I will get motivated to take some pictures of some of the things she has done soon.

I will write up posts for the middle one and little one shortly.  :)

Inconsistent Blogging!

Pin It Wow, am I ever rocking the inconsistency lately!  I feel like I am behind on everything except school, which is taking up most of my time.  I am going to do a weekly wrap-up post today.  (I am.  I am.  I really really am.)  I think we had a couple of birthdays I neglected to post about, and some other fun things we have done lately.  I am planning to do these in separate posts, so I may end up posting a bunch today.  Or not.  Because I seem to be all about inconsistency regarding the blog lately. 

In the meantime, a couple of really sweet pics of my oldest and my niece.  These two girls are a year and three days apart.  From the time I heard about my niece being on the way, I pictured giggling and sleepovers.  Since we don't live in the same city, that hasn't happened as much as I pictured.  Well, at least the sleepovers haven't happened as much as I thought.  The giggling has. 

You can totally see the family resemblance, right?  haha ;)

And one more:

This one was from the camp they went to this summer.

Okay, working on a weekly wrap-up post now.  Or maybe I should call it a monthly wrap-up at this point.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 311 - 320

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311. For starting our fourth week of school with everyone working together well.

312. For a successful and happy first day of co-op.

313. For walking approximately 735 miles during the first day of co-op. Woohoo for exercise!

314. For getting out of co-op, coming home, and getting our work finished for the day.

315. For a new CD that I am SO enjoying listening to! (And later this week, I want to share it with you and will be having a giveaway for it!)

316. For melatonin, which is helping me to sleep much better.

317.  For old memories with friends.  And the fact that EVERY SINGLE TIME I make anything with broccoli that requires chopping, I am suddenly 20 years old again, watching Dana Carvey sing about Chopping Broccoli on Saturday Night Live.  It's awesome to be all alone in the kitchen getting supper together and having an attack of the giggles that prompts a YouTube search.

318.  For the hilarity of a six year old singing "Dream On."  Over and over.  And over.

319.  For spending long hours cleaning this weekend and having a clean family room.  It was clean for all of about four hours.

320.  For it being nearly bedtime after a long day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week In Review - Weeks 2 and 3

Pin It So now we are three weeks in and have some of the kinks worked out!

I am giggling.  As I planned school for the oldest, there was one part of her curriculum that I felt iffy about.  I had decided we'd give it a try for a couple of weeks, then re-evaluate to see if we needed to skip that portion.

Would anyone care to guess what she told me her favorite part of her curriculum is?  LOL  Never fails, right?  Glad I ordered it.  Who would have guessed I would have a child who loves ... SHAKESPEARE of all things.  I think she only has a Shakespeare overview once or twice a week, but she really loves it.

In week 2, she studied The Tempest.
In week 3, she studied Midsummer Night's Dream.  (She is only halfway through this.)

This just fascinates me.  Those of you who I talked to through the years about my child who could read well but hated to read?  Never mind.  LOL  Sometime in the last couple of years, she decided that she really enjoyed reading.  Apparently even Shakespeare.  I loved reading, but I can't think of a single time I EVER said "hey!  I'd like to read some more Shakespeare!"  LOL

She has gone from Rome to Alexandria to Constantinople as she is studying history and geography.  Her curriculum has her do a bit of research on these cities every week and then write a postcard to a friend telling them about the city.  This is fabulous to me and I am really enjoying what she is learning and writing about.

She makes a timeline every week, starting where her curriculum from last year left off.  So far she has gone through Polycarp, to Constantine, to Theodosius, to Alaric the Visigoth.  I have no idea who most of those people are.  Maybe I should do some of her history with her!  She's in about 400 AD now.

She is enjoying some art as well.  This was her first time to use chalk, and we really liked the way this came out.

In science ... well, in all honesty, science is our weak area.  She's starting off in astronomy, and is learning about atmosphere, craters, and has been focused on Mercury.  I imagine most of the science learning she will do will come from co-op.  I am trying to make more of an effort with her in science.  We'll see how that goes!

The middle one has found her groove and is doing well with school.  She is writing her first paper in English, and I am finding it hysterical.  Bob Jones English has one grammar chapter and then one writing chapter.  This writing chapter was a compare and contrast essay.  I suggested cats and dogs, oranges and apples, tennis shoes and sandals, etc.  She chose to compare and contrast herself and her friend.  Um.  Okay.  She has really done well on her paper though, and I can't wait until she is finished with it so I can make a copy to give to her friend's mom.

In history, she is studying creation.  She is really enjoying Draw and Write Through History and has drawn some dinosaurs, early people, Noah's Ark, and her latest, cave drawing style wooly mammoths.

This topic is carried over into her science class, where she is studying the Ice Age.  I'm doing some of this along with her and we are finding it very interesting!  We are particularly enjoying this book:

We read it together and honestly are both finding it fascinating.  These are topics I have never thought about too deeply, so it's been fun learning it along with her.

She is also doing a timeline, and since her curriculum starts with creation, her timeline currently includes creation, Noah's Ark, and the tower of Babel.

She enjoyed painting using watercolors.  She was supposed to make a rainbow, and she did.  I like the smiling sun.

The little one is getting used to school too.  His kindergarten class is still reviewing things he already knows, which he enjoys telling me frequently.  ("Mama!  Ms. Russell already teached me this!")  He has learned a few sight words and is sounding out some new words, and he is having fun doing it.

He is enjoying his Heart of Dakota curriculum as well, and especially looks forward to reading about Reddy Fox every day.

The best part of his week, and the girls agree, is the snack time he gets every week.  The first week, he decorated cupcakes with his letter.  Let me tell you, it's tough to make a B out of sprinkles on the top of a cupcake!  The second week, he made a firetruck out of graham crackers, frosting, pretzels and gumdrops.  Week three was a traffic light out of graham crackers, frosting, and m&m's.  It's amazing how the girls' ears perk up from all over the house when the DVD says "Snack Time!"
It was firetruck day; see his fire hat?

Sister wants in on the firetruck action!

Now both sisters are making traffic lights.

(btw ... I am DELIGHTED to report that there is no longer a mattress set in the family room!  DELIGHTED.  House is back in order!)

This past week was rather hectic getting everything done with a bunch of extra activities thrown in, but somehow we managed.  I still can't say enough good things about the Heart of Dakota curricula we are using.  It has been such a blessing to us!

Co-op starts tomorrow, so next week's review will include co-op, day 1.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If it's Monday, it's hamburger.

Pin It This whole summer I have felt out of control. Those of you who know me well probably know that this isn't a very good state for me. I don't have to be in control of everything and don't stress about (a lot of) things that simply are not in my control, but I really am much happier if the things that ARE in my control are well-controlled.

I had a major wake-up call a couple of weeks ago, when just for grins, I pulled up our Quicken spreadsheet and clicked on itemize by category. I glanced at the "Dining" category and just about fell over. Seriously, there was no more grinning, and quite a bit of shock at the total. Unbelievable how much money we had been spending on dining out. We went from a family who went out once every couple of weeks to a whole bunch of "I didn't plan anything tonight, so let's just go out."

Bad idea. The thing is - we are on the run a lot, especially during the school year. I was trying to make plans with a friend for a couple of her kids to come over and realized that we are running a LOT.

Mondays - co-op. Tuesdays - piano. Wednesday - church. Thursday - choir. Nothing Friday or Saturday, but usually we either have an extra child or one less child those nights. Sundays - church. With all of the busyness and running, there HAS to be a plan or it's the "we're already out in the car, let's just go to Jason's Deli." (I'm sure I have spoken of my deep deep love for Jason and his deli, right?) So, we're making changes. I want to have the meal situation under control, but still allow for some flexibility too.

Here's what we're trying out.

Breakfast - this has the most flexibility. Kids can choose from whatever we have. I do a big grocery trip every two weeks and buy two boxes of cereal, eggs, and oatmeal. Generally the cereal is gone first and then onto the other stuff.

Lunch - Jim is with us for lunch two or three days a week. On those days, we have hamburgers or chicken nuggets, and usually on Fridays, he makes a pizza or calzone. Other days are sandwiches, soup or ravioli, leftovers, or quesadillas. I think I would love to get an organization system for lunch but other than these options, I don't have it more scheduled. I'm not sure how well it would work, maybe I'll try to implement that soon.

Supper - this is where I have the most planning done. Every two weeks, I plan a menu out and make the grocery list and shop from that menu.

On Mondays that we have co-op, we need a crock pot meal for supper. It needs to be something that Jim can toss in while we're at co-op, before he goes to work. We get home from co-op and have half a day of school, and Jim works late, so Mondays are chaotic, I am worn out, and I need as little meal prep time as possible. On Mondays that we don't have co-op, it's some meal with hamburger. Spaghetti, tacos, lasagna, sloppy joes ... something along those lines.

Tuesdays, Jim also works late. Chick Fil A has their family night with two free kids' meals with every adult meal, so we do that once every two weeks. The next Tuesday is breakfast for supper. Everybody likes that, and it's pretty easy.

Wednesdays, we go to church. (Well - Jim and the kids go regularly. A lot of the time, I stay home. I feel bad doing that sometimes, but I get so little alone and quiet time, and I can have about 2 1/2 hours on Wednesdays if I stay home.) We do plan to eat at church, which I do realize is officially dining out. ;)

Thursdays, the girls have choir. This is a casserole, crock pot, or Jim cook night. Generally it's going to be something quick, and probably chicken. If I ever do the freezer restocking (AFTER hurricane season!) then we'll plan one of those meals for Thursday nights.

Fridays are "try a new recipe" night. I actually enjoy cooking and trying new things. :)

Saturdays are the nights that someone other than me chooses what we're having. This is usually a meat, potato or rice, and vegetable type meal. About half the time, Jim makes it.

Sunday nights the kids have church. Usually this is a crock pot night. I don't work in a church program any longer, but I do attend a Bible study when there is one offered, or do lesson plans if I'm at home. It is very convenient to throw something in the crock pot when we get home from church Sunday morning and then it's ready when the kids get home from church. Usually either Jim or I is at home, so we aren't exactly chained to the crock pot if there is something else that sounds good.

We got serious about this a few weeks ago. The last two week period went very well. No dining out! Then this past weekend came and well ... let's just not talk about that, mmkay? (In our defense - the oldest had a birthday. I took her out for lunch thinking we were making supper for her at home. Then Jim said he thought we were taking her out for supper, and well, who could turn that down? Apparently not me. LOL) In the ... ahem ... two days since then we've done very well. The menu is on the wall and we're following it. :)

So ... if anyone is interested, there are our meal plans. I'm happy to feel like we're taking control over the dining situation, and it's nice to have one less thing to think about.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 301 - 310

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301. For rain, and lots of it ... and the ability to pray for rain for our neighbors to the north and west who so desperately need it.

302. For a successful second week of school. (Yep, I forgot to write up a weekly wrap-up post. I actually took pics and everything. I'll try to remember to combine weeks two and three and do that this week!)

303. For a "still needs bedding but otherwise complete" little boys room. And for the bunk beds that the little one and middle one think are ultra-cool and the easy bedtimes we've had since they have been installed. I am fully expecting the "new" to wear off pretty quickly, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying it!

304. For the world's easiest dog. She likes to be inside, in sight of her mat at all times. She does not want to be anywhere in the house where she can't see her mat. Sometimes I wonder about her a little, but for the most part, I'm just thankful that she is so easy.

305. For a nice, unexpected, visit with a friend yesterday morning. It was so nice to catch up with her!

306. For all three of my kids having birthday parties to attend this weekend. So great to share the birthday party love! (And so nice to not have one or two upset because SHE/HE got to go to a party and *I* didn't!)

307. For a fabulous first day as the mom of a teenager. :) Wow. How is that even possible? More on that later this week.

308. For the high temp of 74 degrees on Saturday. I know it will be back up to sauna level later this week, but it sure was nice to have a reminder that fall is indeed on the way. It probably won't get here until late November, but it IS coming!

309. For successfully taking control over one area of the finances and spending. Let's hope for that motivation to continue! It was just a baby step, but baby steps count, right?

310. For what feels like some renewed motivation in a couple of other areas, and that the Lord is faithful to provide motivation when we need it and ask for it. :) More on that later. Maybe. ;)

I will probably, if I remember, be linking up with today. Hop on over and read some other gratitude journals, and consider starting your own! It really is a blessing!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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Somebody please tell me.

How did this ...

become this ...

so quickly?

Happy sixth birthday to my sweet baby!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 291 - 300

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Wow ... up to 300 on the list!

291. For a good first week back to school. And for me not flipping out too much when I realized that changes needed to be made. Okay, to be honest, there WAS a little stress (um, have you met me?) but there was not outright panic. I'm calling that a success.

292. For this week of birthdays at my house. The little one turned six (yesterday) and the oldest turns 13 (next Sunday). My children are such blessings!

293. For watching the middle and little ones play together so sweetly for several hours. These two aren't the closest of my kids, so it's an extra special blessing to see them playing together so nicely.

294. For an awesome haircut and color. Sometimes it's the little things that can be such a boost!

295. For watching the confidence of one of my kids just blossom. I have a couple who have my personality and tend to be a little shy, so it's great watching them come out of their shell a little.

296. For the completion of the construction in the house. Both bedrooms look so nice! They're both pretty bare bones right now, but pictures will be coming soon, I promise.

297. For a very nice, but too short, visit with my parents this weekend, and enjoying the three "T" boys as well.

298. For birthday cake.

299. That the birthday cake is nearly gone.

300. For a big six year old who knows he is not too big to snuggle his mama. :-}

I will be linking up with today.  Feel free to hop on over and read other gratitude journals, or start your own!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up -- Week 1

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Woohoo, week #1 is done!  It's been an interesting week ...

The oldest:
Her Heart of Dakota curriculum is PERFECT for her.  I was worried that it was going to take her way too long to complete a day because there is a lot of reading and journaling.  It is actually just perfect!  She started off learning about the times right after Christ, and about some martyrs.  She's also reading Beautiful Girlhood and started a Shakespeare overview.  In science, she is starting with astronomy.

We decided to change from Bob Jones English to Easy Grammar.  We don't actually have the Easy Grammar curriculum in yet, but I am looking forward to it for several reasons.  One - DVD time is a hot commodity around here, and Easy Grammar doesn't require a DVD player.  Two - I think it will take considerably less time, even doing it for a whole year rather than a one semester course (which BJU is.)  Three - we're already using IEW for writing, and she already has an excellent grammar foundation (thank you BJU!) so some skill maintaining is really all that is required at this point.

Math is rocking along, as is Texas History.  (Oh yeah - we were going to hold that off until next semester, but while we were holding for English/grammar, decided there was no time like the present, and let's just go ahead and get Texas History done.)

Writing is rocking along as well.  We got a great start with this last year and then decided to just start over rather than picking up where we left off, so this is all review to her right now.

I think this is really going to be a great year for her! 

The Middle:
We discovered very quickly that we needed to revise the Heart of Dakota plans for the middle one.  (Remember that the girls both did Creation to Christ last year.  It was a struggle for the middle one, so we dropped her down a level for this year.)  We were originally planning to stretch Preparing Hearts for His Glory over two years.  I did not realize that there is quite a skill jump between the Preparing level and the Creation to Christ level.  She breezed through day 1 and I realized that we needed to not do it half speed, plus we needed to add the extension package.

(NOTE TO SELF.  When you plan lessons six weeks in advance, DO THEM IN PENCIL.)

I think she really is going to love this curriculum this year, and I am excited about it for her. I think once we have the kinks worked out with the schedule and figuring out exactly what she needs to do every day, she is going to love it.

She is doing well with her Bob Jones English and reading, and with her Teaching Textbooks math.

The little one:
Woohoo for no changes necessary!

His Heart of Dakota curriculum has been fun this week.  He's a squirmy little boy, so it's great that the readings are short.  We do school with him about 15 minutes at a time in several intervals throughout the day, and this week it has worked well.  He is very clearly still adjusting to school and figuring out what is expected from him.

His phonics/reading BJU class is going well.  Again, it's taking some adjustment to get him to focus well.  (Funny - he can sit and watch Phineas and Ferb and not move, but I put in the kindergarten dvd and he turns into a squirmy worm!)  He's figuring out how it all works though, and I'm proud of him.

We're still a bit at a loss for math.  I bought him a Singapore math book then realized that he was a little past where it started.  We're going to finish it up in the next couple of weeks and then go to ... something.  Maybe just the next Singapore book.  I really don't know yet.

All in all, it's been a very good first week.  Yay for getting back into a routine!  The kids have complained about getting up earlier, but in all honesty, I think everyone is happier when we have a schedule and normal daily plan.  (Or maybe it's just that *I* am happier when we have a routine ... and when mama is happy ... you know the rest.)

I will be linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers today.  :)  Hop on over and see how other first weeks went!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just some random stuff.

Pin It 1.  The little one said something funny the other night.  "Mama!  That is LOADED!!  You shoot the WALL, not the SISTER!"  This was after I picked up his Buzz Lightyear shooter thingie, aimed at the middle one, and shot her.  OOPS.  Who even knew he had a clue where the little disks were?  Things I never thought I'd hear my kids say ...

2.  The oldest and I watched American Ninja Warrior the other night.  Oh my heavens.  We loved it and were amazed (and a bit horrified, to be honest) through the whole thing.  I cannot believe we invested two hours into that show and NOT A ONE of them made it through the third course.  I don't usually get into shows like that but I hollered out "NOOOOO!" just like the oldest did when the last guy was SO close and didn't make it.  I can't imagine the strength it takes to do that.  Can't imagine.

3.  The house is back in order, mostly.  I still need to put the little one's books back on his shelf, although I was actually planning to just randomly scatter them through the house, because no matter how much effort we take to put them neatly on the shelf, within minutes they will be scattered randomly through the house.  Why not just save some effort. 

4.  Because I evidently have expensive taste, the kids don't have bedding to match their new pretty rooms yet.  In time ...  Their rooms look FABULOUS though!  I keep seeing the red wall in the little one's room out of the corner of my eye as I'm in the living room and it is continually taking me by surprise.  I love it though.  I had a huge "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?" moment while the paint was going up, but after it was all dried, I love it.

5.  There will be a school report tomorrow.  Remember my last post said I was trying to be flexible?  Yeah, that.  For a preview of things to come, we're also changing some things up for the middle one.  Thankfully the little one seems to not need any changes at the moment.

6.  Is this the most boring post ever?

7.  We are all very excited today because the little one's lesson involves cupcakes.  We are all wishing we were still in kindergarten and thankful for a little boy who loves to share.  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First day report

Pin It Flexibility.  A skill I'm working on.  A skill I currently do not possess.

I believe I'm going to need to change a class for the oldest.  I know, this is not really a crisis, but I've had everything laid out - either physically laid out or laid out in my mind - for months now.  Realizing on day 1 that a change will very likely be necessary has me a little stressed.  It will be fine though.  It's a class at which she excels, so it will be fine to change everything up at the last minute.  Right?  RIGHT??

Other than that, day one went smoothly.  The middle one had the easiest day.  She finished early and enjoyed everything she did.  WOOT!  The oldest one had a long day.  I guess that's to be expected.  (At least the change mentioned above will cut a bit of work out of her day.  I think.) 

The little one cracked me up.  A fair portion of his curriculum consists of me reading to him.  He was flipping all over here and there.  I asked him what he did last year when Mrs. Russell read to him and he said he sat on his mat like he was supposed to.  Um.  Not sure if I should go get the boy a mat or what.  hehe ;) 

First day of school pics:
MY BABY!!  How could he be in kindergarten already?

My sweet 5th grader.  I hope today was a preview of a great year for her!
The oldest, saying "I cannot believe my mom is making me take a pic with this dorky sign."
One more thing ... it's not only public school moms who cry on their baby's first day of kindergarten.  :-}  I just can't figure out how that happened so quickly.  It really does not seem possible. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

And so it begins ...

Pin It The 2011/2012 school year that is! The home construction is finished just in the nick of time. There is still work to be done, but at least all of the furniture is (mostly) where it belongs. We have discovered that I have very expensive taste so the decoration of both bedrooms will likely take a while. I'm okay with that. Mostly. We are cash only and intend to stay that way, and let me tell you, that is sometimes TOUGH with two who enjoy instant gratification! Pics of the redo will come eventually, but I want to wait until it's done. Right now both rooms look like big ole' messes with really pretty walls, trim, and doors.

Oh wait. This post was supposed to be about school, wasn't it?

I am so glad to be getting started. I think every one of us will be happier with a normal routine and schedule. Or at least I will. And if *I'm* happier, everyone else will be too. :-P

I know I posted our curriculum choices already, and I really want to commit to a weekly wrap-up, both for my benefit for future reference, and to connect with others doing the same things. I don't think I've posted our schedule for the year though. I'm sure there will be some tweaking required because I don't know exactly how long our Heart of Dakota curriculum(s) will take. I know how long it took last year, but I'm not sure I can use that as a basis for this year because that was two kids together and a third one not in the mix. I had to have a plan to start with though, and here it is.

8:30 -- oldest does English with DVD
9:15 -- oldest moves to computer to do math
middle starts Reading on DVD
little one starts Heart of Dakota with mama
10:00 -- oldest starts Heart of Dakota independently
middle one goes to English on DVD, then to Heart of Dakota reading
little one does math with mama, then playtime
11:00 -- oldest works on writing (Institute for Excellence in Writing) with mama and does dictation for spelling
middle one moves to the computer to do math
little one moves to the DVD player to do his phonics

12:00 -- hopefully all of the above stuff is done and we have lunch

1:00 -- everybody goes to Heart of Dakota. The little one might be done now, I really don't know yet. We might do our read alouds all together at this time, or just see what works. Looking at this, it looks like the two younger ones will need me at this time if the little one isn't already finished, so we'll see how this works. The middle one will be doing her history and/or science projects at this time, and when those are finished, so is she.

2:00 -- everybody should be finished by this time except the oldest, who hopefully will just have some independent reading left.

So, this is clearly very much a work in progress. That's okay, we have a plan to start with and can adjust as we need to.

I went through and looked at the school room posts all around the blogosphere. To be honest, I was so envious of all the gorgeous dedicated school spaces I saw! We don't have a dedicated school space. We have the family room, the kitchen, a bedroom, and the living room. I remodeled my house (AGAIN) in my mind to carve out a space. It was gorgeous. It had a DVD player, a school computer, maps on the wall, a humongous bookshelf, and comfy chairs. It was so fabulous.

Then I remembered my children. Have you met them? Miss "please leave me alone because I prefer complete silence while I learn." Miss "I am so easily distracted I need a room with nothing moving around." And of course Mr. "I am a loud noise covered in dirt and my favorite thing in the world is annoying the snot out of the middle one."

Our school space is perfect for our needs.

They all move around from one room to the next, they all have their space, and distractions are at a minimum. As much as I would love the school room I daydreamed about, it would likely be an exercise in frustration for all of us.

Giggle ... I realize I have barely blogged all summer long and then made it up all in one blog post!

YAY for the first day of school!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 8/5

Pin It The Homeschool Mother's Journal

I've seen this link up here and there and haven't ever participated before.  But now, I'm sitting here avoiding the laundry and sink full of dishes, and proud that I accomplished something homeschool related, so I want to shout it out!  LOL

In my life this week…
There has been much chaos. LOL Redoing a bedroom, a spastic refrigerator, and nothing in its usual place. This is not good for for my mind, which operates so much better when there is not clutter! 

In our homeschool this week…
We are getting there! I came back from the conference, as always, all inspired but with the realization that some of the inspiration was a little idealistic. It's good to be aware of that now! I have gotten our schedule put together and the first six weeks planned out. I'm DELIGHTED with this! 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
This is a very practical tip, but it has helped me. Take your worktexts that have tear out pages to an office supply store. For about $3 per book, they can spiral bind them and VOILA no more loose pages covering every flat surface in the house. At the end of the year, you've got a nice completed book to file away. 

I am inspired by…

Remember I just got home from a homeschool conference. Right now I am inspired by Sally Clarkson. I bought a few of her workshops on CD at the conference. She just encourages me so much! 

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
The main place we are going these days is Lowe's. I think I have used an entire tank of gas going to Lowe's and back. It will be awesome (and oh yes, there will be pictures) when it's done! 

My favorite thing this week was…
Last night. I looked at my planner and saw plans written through all of September. Makes me so happy!  And I'm also going to have to throw in that the meal I had last night for my birthday might have been my other favorite thing.  YUMMY~!!

What’s working/not working for us…
I am loving Heart of Dakota curriculum and it worked so well for us last year. 

Questions/thoughts I have…
How on earth am I going to take the curriculum that I loved so much last year for two children and split it into three children doing their own? We'll see ...

And the mail just got here and it's time to pick up my daughter and I suppose I shouldn't avoid the laundry any longer because I think it's giving me the evil eye, so I'll close for now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Not" Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week

Pin It Not Back to School Blog Hop

I thought maybe I'd ease into blogging again by joining this blog hop.  We loved all of our curriculum choices last year, so we're continuing on with them this year.

The oldest:  8th grade
She will be doing Bob Jones Writing and Grammar 8 this year.  She is actually just going to be doing the grammar portion of it this year.
She will be completing IEW, which we started last year, for writing.
She will be doing Teaching Textbooks for math.
She will be doing the Resurrection to Reformation study from Heart of Dakota for history, science, and Bible, with a lot of extras thrown in (like poetry, art, and spelling).  She did Creation to Christ last year, and OH, how we loved it!  I am very excited to see what this year is going to hold!
She will be doing Switched on Schoolhouse Texas History in the spring as well.

The middle one:  5th grade
(Let me just take a moment to GASP.  Eighth and fifth grade?  Wow.)
Her plan is pretty easy this year, and I am anticipating a good year for her.
She will again be using Bob Jones for English 5 and Reading 5.  She is well familiar with these, having used them since first grade.  We are former homesat customers, and have DVD's for classes from K4 - 8th grade. 
She will again be using Teaching Textbooks for math.
She will be doing Preparing Hearts for His Glory from Heart of Dakota this year.  She actually did Creation to Christ with her sister last year, and I know it's weird to go down a level, but she is not ready to go up a level, and I would actually like her to repeat the Creation to Christ curriculum when she is in 7th grade, so I think it's going to work well to have her do Preparing spread over two years.  This will cover her history, science, poetry, art, Bible, and spelling.

And, the little one:  Kindergarten  (also unbelievable.)
His plan is very simple this year.  He is ready to learn and asks me two things just about every day.  1. Can one of his friends come over, and 2. Is it time to do some school.  I'm anticipating a fun year with him!
He will be also doing a Heart of Dakota curriculum.  His is Little Hearts for His Glory.  (Yes, I am a bit nervous about running three HOD programs at the same time.)
He will be doing Bob Jones K5 Beginnings for phonics, reading, and handwriting.
He will be doing a Singapore Math workbook.  I'm really not sure where we will land for math.  I'm really not sure exactly where he is now, so this is the one area that might change quickly.  We may end up starting Math U See Alpha pretty quickly, or sticking with this workbook, or really I don't even know.

Okay, so that's it for our curriculum choices.  It looks so overwhelming to see it all written out here!  (No, it REALLY looks overwhelming now that it's all sitting on our bookshelf!)  I am very excited to see what this year holds for us though.  :)

I will be linking up with Heart of the Matter today and plan to join in with all of their August blog hops as we get ready for NOT back to school!

**NOTE -- I would love a "buddy" who is going through the same HOD curriculum that we are, so please be sure to leave me a message if you are!  Especially the RtoR.  I'm a big fan of comparing notes and sharing ideas along the way!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 281 - 290

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Still on something of a blogging break ... but gearing up for back to school soon and will likely be posting regularly again.  In the meantime, I remain thankful ...

281.  RAIN!!  We've had a lot of rain recently and the grass is green, the burn ban is lifted, and it feels back to normal around here.  I'm sure we're still way under the amount of rain we need, but it's nice to not be walking on crunchy grass and worrying so much about a stray cigarette thrown out of a car taking out a whole neighborhood. 

282.  For days like today with nothing on the calendar.  Friends are going to come over for lunch and playtime and we have just an easy day today.

283.  The smell of cookies in the oven.

284.  That the oldest and her cousin had a fabulous time at camp.  I was a little worried because the cousin didn't know anybody other than the oldest and sometimes they're the best of friends and sometimes notsomuch, but it could not have gone better!  The cousin made some new life-long friends, and the oldest also had a fabulous time!  :)

285.  The National Guard "two weeks in the summer" is over.  We only had one bad day here with Daddy gone, so I'm calling it a success.

286.  For a fun family day on Saturday.  (And for being reminded that I am officially old now.  We went to an army "welcome back" type party ... and OH MY at the young army families there.  I really did leave feeling old ... but thankful because I'm not sure I would really want to be in my early or mid twenties again!)

287.  For the fun the girls and I are having planning their new bedroom!  Walls are coming out very soon and new walls coming in ... and then the fun begins!  I'm very excited to give them a pretty bedroom!

288.  For a great time the two little ones had at VBS at my friend's church last week.  (Although I think I have heard enough of the "b-b-b-b-b big apple adventure" song!  Ha!  No seriously - I'm glad they learned the songs and go around the house singing them.)

289.  For a great weekend visit to my parents last weekend.  The oldest sang in their church and we just had a great visit.

290.  And for a huge big enormous praise ... which I already mentioned in another post ... but have to shout out again:  my mom is DONE with cancer treatment.  AWESOME!!

I will be linking up with today.  Feel free to hop on over and read other gratitude journals, or start your own!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I really am still here.

Pin It I didn't leave the country or anything.  We have just been so busy!  So much for lazy summer days.  (Although - there have been some of those ... and on those days, I've even been too lazy to do any blogging!)

I did have to come on today though, and post for those of you who aren't on my facebook.

My mom FINISHES her cancer treatments today!  Like within the next hour she will be ringing the bell and will be D.O.N.E.

I know many of y'all have prayed for and with us and I certainly would love for you to share in the praising now that it's done!

Thank you all for your kind words, prayers, and encouragement through this!  :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 271-280

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271.  For my sweet little one, who greets me every morning with hugs and snuggles and gives me kisses and hugs before he goes to bed each night.

272.  For lazy days ... when, even if I wake up early, I can be lazy and lay around in bed and snuggle with small children.

273.  For cold sweet watermelon on hot summer days.

274.  That the surgery recovery, which started out at record pace seems to have slowed down.  This is a good thing because it's forcing ME to slow down and enjoy some quieter moments with the family.

275.  For a family who hasn't grown completely tired of doing just about everything for me.

276.  For a sweet memory of being a little girl hanging out with my grandmother as I made purple hull peas the other day.  Oh my, yumminess.  Next time I will by them unshelled so that I can have the kids help shell them and tell them about my Mema teaching me how to shell peas!

277.  For a fabulous VBS program, complete with a family night at the pool, which my son declared "the most fun EVER." (and MAYBE this week I will finally upload the pics from my camera.  I have REALLY slacked off on the pictures lately.)

278.  For having our 2011/2012 homeschool stuff all organized and ready to go.  Everything is on its proper shelf and looks nice.  It will look this nice until the moment school actually begins.  haha

279.  For finally having a "book club" buddy.  The oldest is reading some books I have enjoyed and it's been really fun getting her take on them.

280.  Did I ever even post about the middle one's birthday party?  That is definitely a thankful list item.  Great group of girls, fun girly stuff, no sleep ... and the middle one loving her party and feeling like a princess.  :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not Me!!

Pin It May I just request that SOMEONE take it upon themselves as a MINISTRY to take the phone away from someone who has just had surgery and is hopped up on pain meds?

It was not me at all who had "female surgery" last week and then apparently a lot of inhibition-reducing drugs and decided in a bout of 3 am wakefulness to post on facebook and COMPLETELY overshare.  I certainly did not discuss a catheter (and spell it wrong half the time) and internal plumbing and all manners of things that are just entirely inappropriate for me to discuss on facebook.  Nor did about half of these posts make absolutely no sense at all

And if I had, I certainly would well remember the conversation and would not, almost a week later, read through it and be completely horrified that I posted such details.

And then I wouldn't laugh at myself and instantly write this blog post in my mind.

So yeah ... someone take it upon themselves as a ministry to people having surgery to just quietly slip in to their hospital rooms and remove their phones for their own good.  I promise you, the patient will thank you later.  So will all of the people who really don't want conversations about catheters all over their facebook walls!

(And I can see from my call history that I had a couple of conversations with people ... conversations that I can't remember AT ALL.  If you happen to be one of those people, and I completely overshared with you ... please either erase it from your mind or NEVER EVER SPEAK OF IT, and since I can't remember at all, we'll just call it good and move on.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 261-270

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Oh.  Hm.  I have a blog?  I seem to have forgotten.  I will ease back in to the blogging with a thankful list.

261.  For quiet mornings when it looks really pretty out, even though at 6:30, the temperature gauge already says 86 degrees, so looks are probably a bit deceiving.  It really does look pretty though because the wind is gently blowing, the sun isn't scorching (yet) and it's quiet and pleasant in my house.

262.  For our local Chick Fil A, which is doing another "bring them home" fundraiser tonight for this family.  How completely awesome! 

263.  For skilled surgeons.  I had some surgery last week.  I am especially loving that my new laparoscopic scars are at the edges of my c-section scars, and are at an angle, so now I have a smiley face.  Awesome.

264.  For the hope that the surgery will be successful and the pain will be gone.  :)  I am very hopeful because other than the first day or two, the pain of the surgery was actually less than the pain the surgery was supposed to treat. 

265.  For awesome friends who have taken such excellent care of me and my family over the last week.  I am so incredibly blessed!  :)

266.  (I can't believe I haven't posted this one before now!)  For the COMPLETION of our 2010/2011 school year!  We actually finished over a week ago, and will be starting our (very abbreviated) summer schedule this week.  Summer schedule is about an hour a day; mainly to keep up skills and give the kids something to do when it's tooooo hot to be outside.

267.  For the 2011/2012 plans and curriculum all being in place.  Everything is here for the next school year except math for the oldest, which hasn't actually been released yet.  When I can lift things again, the new stuff will come out of the bins, onto the shelves, and the stuff currently there will be put away for future use.  :D :D

268.  For all of the mindless and entertaining things with which I've been occupying myself for the past week - Words with Friends, Psych DVDs, books on my nook, etc.  And for the various children who have enjoyed the mindlessness with me.  :)

269.  For my sweet husband, who has kept up with all of the stuff around the house and put up with me requesting a specific smoothie that required more than one stop to find and for keeping the kids entertained.

270.  For the pictures my dad has sent ... which have made me laugh and made me cry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Preschool Graduation

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I am way behind on the Wordless Wednesday posts. I still have recital ... and I don't remember what else ... to post. At least it will be some filler from the lazy days of summer. :)

So ... my baby graduated from PreK. It was the sweetest ceremony.
Before the ceremony.
Getting his diploma.
This was their prayer at the end.  Forgive the picture quality; it was taken from my phone through teary eyes.  It's just the sweetest thing though!
They had all of the kids list something they enjoyed this year and something they are looking forward to next year.  This was my son's.  Let's all say "awww!!"  :)  (and hm ... his favorite thing was going on stage?  Really?  I have another performer? LOL)

We thoroughly LOVED Learning Hands Preschool this year!  I am so glad we chose to have him there this year!  It was such a blessing to him and to all of us!  :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 251 - 260

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This is a reach.  I honestly don't know if I'm coming or going these days.  One day I'll be thinking about Troy and can just laugh at all the typical growing up siblings stuff and the next minute we'll be out of the dressing that I like and I will cry and want to scream.  I guess that's how grief goes. 

I do believe that God is good and God is sovereign, even though I don't understand, so I really am trying to keep my gratitude journal going.  I usually write these posts in advance and I didn't last night, so I guess this is an "on the fly" gratitude journal.  Just forgive me if I recycle a bunch of things.

251.  It is raining as I type.  Like a serious soaking rain.  A desperately needed rain.  Usually I am complaining about all the rain we get down here, but it's been over a month since there has been any kind of rain!  I was in the mood for a good storm, and that's what's happening.

252.   I have downloaded a bunch of free books for my Nook and I am really enjoying reading!  Most of the free books I have are from authors with whom I'm not familiar, so it's been a surprise when I've started reading them.  Most of them I have thoroughly enjoyed.

253.  For a fabulous day with friends on Friday.  Last Thursday was a bad day.  From being attacked by the radio to running out of my favorite dressing to dealing with some regrets to just stuff ... bad day.  Bad to the point where I almost canceled going shopping with friends on Friday.  I am so glad I didn't.  It was nice to just get away, to get the last of our curriculum for next year purchased, to eat some yummy Mexican food, and just relax. 

254.  For Pandora and a radio receiver in my car, so I can create my own radio station on my phone, play it on my stereo, skip songs I either don't like or am not emotionally stable enough to hear, and listen to what I want to listen to.  We've I've enjoyed some 80's stations and let the girls make their own stations too.  Super convenient little app and gadget!

255.  hehe ... the aforementioned storm just knocked the power out and the little one kind of freaked.  While I'm in here still typing, I'm listening to the oldest comforting him.  Very sweet.  (Don't worry about my parenting abilities - a) he is being a BIT dramatic and b) she is good to him and loves this sort of thing.  If my assistance were required I'd be in there.)

256.  For the smell of rain, which I was rather enjoying before every candle we own has been lit.  In a few minutes, I will actually be enjoying the smell of candles.  Apparently we take power outages very seriously around here.

257.  For the fact that I had already planned to have sandwiches for supper, so I'm not needing to change any plans at all if the power stays out for a while.

258.  For about six hours of school and the 2010/2011 school year will be officially wrapped up for us.  This has been a good year, but now I'm done and ready for our (light but still existent) summer schedule.

259.  For puzzles and games, which are being pulled out as I type to entertain small children.  I'd love to send them out to play in the rain, but not so much with the thunder and lightening!

260.  For reassurance, as I am haunted by the memory of a 10 year old sobbing at a funeral, that the Lord has a plan for that child, and that He loves him.  (And his brothers, of course ... I just looked at my sweet 10 year old nephew and his similarity to my 10 year old daughter, and my heart has been tied up in knots ever since.) 

Y'all please keep praying for my family.  My mom starts her radiation treatments today and needs all the prayer support she can get.  I'd love to ask y'all to pray for NO side effects of the radiation.  Pray for my dad as well, as he is taking care of her and my nephews, and just for an extra measure of comfort.  This grieving thing is hard for me, so I know it has to be so much harder for them. 

I will be linking up with Ann's blog, A Holy Experience today, so feel free to go visit and see some more gratitude journals. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Flash / Muffin Story

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To develop the proper appreciation for the story, you need a picture of the dog in your head.  This is not the actual dog.

Troy fell in love with English bulldogs.  He was in high school at the time, which means I had to be in college.  I'm not sure if it was the Baylor days or the Sam Houston State days ... probably both??  Oh wait ... it had to have been a little later than that now that I think about it.  So yeah, definitely SHSU days (for me) which means he was out of high school.  Well ... 20-ish years ago, anyway.

So ... the parents got him an English bulldog. 

(pause for a moment ... did *I* ever get an English bulldog??  Nooooo ....

.... not that I actually wanted one.  Just had to take this sisterly opportunity to complain.)

She really was a cute dog.  Tongue hanging out, ran kind of at an angle, like her back legs ran faster than her front legs, did the head tilt ...

In typical short round dog fashion, she did not move very quickly unless there was a lawnmower around, in which case that dog could BOLT.  TO the lawnmower.  So evidently not the sharpest knife in the drawer ... but I digress.

So ... Troy named the dog Flash.  We're all great fans of the sarcasm, so that was probably a really good name for her. 

BUT ... I was a big sister.  Getting along peacefully?  Um, no.  Needling and annoying?  Yes, please.

So ... *I* named the dog Muffin.  Which annoyed the SNOT out of Troy.  Which meant I had to RUN. WITH. IT.  Which meant, not only did I call the dog Muffin, so did all of my friends.  I made a collar for the dog with Muffin on it.  I bought him a stuffed dog and put Muffin on the collar.  I was generally as much of a pain in the butt as you can ever picture any sister being.  Ever.  And, bless his heart, I think he got really mad every single time I referred to the dog as Muffin.  Which is exactly why I kept doing it.

You want to know the really funny thing though?  I remember Troy coming here for a visit several years ago and we were talking about the dog.  Generally now I refer to that dog as Flash/Muffin.  HE ACTUALLY REFERRED TO HER AS MUFFIN.  Then he gave me that smart-aleky face that brothers always reserve for sisters.

This is the actual Flash/Muffin with Troy.
So that's the Flash/Muffin story.  And the story of how I was a rather obnoxious sister.