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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 241 - 250

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I'll be honest. I'm not feeling a whole lot of gratitude right now. I'm feeling a lot more like wallowing. Maybe that's the very time I need to make this list the most, right? And there ARE things for which I am very grateful.

241. For faith - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. I am filled with a lot of things unseen right now, and a lot of "BUT WHY" and yet, through all of that, there is still faith, somehow, whether I ever see it or not ...

242. For a pastor that I love dearly ... and his ability to say "I don't know why things happen like they do, and it's okay to wonder and to ask."

243. For friends willing to drive five hours to attend the funeral of someone they had never met simply because they love me.

244. For friends who meet us at home with exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

245. For reconnection with old friends ... and promises to keep in touch better.

246. For fried squash, which has been the main staple of my diet over the last week. And for fresh squash, which I bought yesterday.

247. For a fabulous first year of t-ball for the little one, complete with fabulous coaches who taught a lot about baseball, and a lot about sportsmanship.

248. For the completion of all of our school year activities. Except school. Sigh. We'll get that finished this week. Probably.

249. For an "extended" church family who welcomed us in and took care of us, making us feel very loved in the process.

250. For memories, which honestly are just making me cry right now, but there have been a few giggles through the tears, which is nice. :}

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today. You can feel free to hop over and read other gratitude journals, or start your own. (And if you do start your own, be sure to leave a comment and I'll happily visit your blog.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

L.E.N.S. Challenge - Comfort

Pin It Today's challenge is comfort. I saw it and immediately thought of this picture, taken almost ten years ago.  Actually just seeing this pic of my grandmother and my middle one is comforting to me.  :)





eta -- looks like the graphic is trying to decide to not show up! This is linked up with Home Is Where You Start From, so hop on over there to see other comfort entries.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just a bunch of stuff.

Pin It My mind is still reeling. Just wanted you to know that in advance in case this entire post makes no sense or something.

The funeral was today and we just got home a little while ago. I am exhausted, seriously. We stayed in a hotel last night, and apparently I missed the part where the hotel said it had double beds and not queen beds. Wanna guess how much sleep happened in a double bed with me, Jim, and the little one? Ding ding ding if you said little to none.

I was remembering being a kid and sitting in the back of the car and playing this game with Troy where we sat with our backs on the doors and put our feet together in the middle and kicked back and forth. I remember mom or dad telling us not to do that and thinking that they just didn't ever let us have ANY fun. I can't imagine why in the world they didn't love that game! Giggling now thinking that that particular game is a kick in the face just waiting to happen and wondering why *we* didn't realize that at the time. Probably because *MY* legs were longer. :-P

Since I pick on my kids here at the ole' blog all the time, now it's time that I can pick on my oldest nephew a little. Last night at the visitation at the funeral home, I kept seeing people that I really KNEW I should know but couldn't remember exactly who they were. For a while I could solve it by slipping up to peek at the guest book but then there got to be too many people there so that didn't work anymore. I asked my 18 year old nephew who somebody was, and his exact words to me were "I don't know, they all look alike after 45." Awesome. (Really - I have giggled about that ever since he said it.) I'll be 42 this year, so sometime over the next three years, I guess I'll morph into indistinguishable features as well. Again, awesome.

I REALLY hope that there are pets in heaven. The very thought of Troy running around with Muffin/Flash is making me smile. I wonder if her name is Muffin or Flash in heaven? Probably Flash. I hope that she will still let me call her Muffin.

Okay, I suppose that's it for my rambling for now. I do reserve the right to ramble more later ... ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Brother Troy

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January 17, 1972 - May 24, 2011
Love you, brother.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Want to help a child? (And my daughter at the same time?)

Pin It This Saturday, the oldest and I will be participating in a 5K WALK (nope, there will be no running on either of our parts at this event!) to help bring Kirk home.

Who is Kirk?  Kirk is the son of a friend of a friend.  Not only that, but he just happens to be a close friend to a new little friend.  Got all that straight?  LOL  Let me see if I can do a better job explaining it ... or at least linking to people who CAN explain it.

Kirk is the son of the Hazeltons.   They are currently raising the funds required to bring him home.

I know most of you who read my blog know Jessica personally, but some of you do not.  Jessica just got home with her three little ones a few weeks ago.  One of her little ones is a good friend to Kirk.

Just read this post of Jessica's.  Kirk and Jessica's son Alik are good buddies who have likely been together from birth.  Then they both are adopted to families halfway around the world ... and end up five minutes apart from each other!

So now we need to get Kirk home.  And we ALL need to tell Jessica and Shannon that when those boys see each other again for the first time, there must be video and it must be shared.  I seriously cannot even let my mind go there without getting teary!!

The oldest and I have dusted off our running walking shoes and will be getting out in the sticky heat Saturday morning to help raise money to bring this little guy home.  We would love if you would consider sponsoring us!  If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please email me at itsmelanie@gmail.com.  I promise you - no amount is too small!  If you want to help out in other ways, I know the Hazeltons would love some prayer support! 

You can go here to find out more about the 5K!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 231 - 240

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Woot!  I think I'm back~!!  Now on to the grateful list ...

231.  For the winding down.  All we have left is one week of t-ball and one week of preschool for our outside activities. 

232.  For something that I complained about that turned into a humongous blessing.  More on that to follow ... probably in an overly wordy Wordless Wednesday post. 

233.  For yet another reminder that when I sit and focus on me me me, I miss out on so much!  And yes, I am very thankful for this, because eventually I'm going to be reminded of this enough times that it will sink in.

234.  For a very sweet lady who may have only had a short season in the life of my girls, but whose impact will stay with them through the years, I know.

235.  For a fun, fabulous, close to the AWANA program for the year, and forever for the oldest.  They all worked incredibly hard this year and I am so proud of them.  (Again ... pics to follow ... maybe another overly wordy Wordless Wednesday ... which I think I'll just call that from now on.)

236.  For being able to watch the oldest work really hard for something that she wants, and for her recognizing that it will take a lot of work and watching her being willing to put in that work.  And for the encouragement of others, when her own mother would have looked at what she wants to do and said it was too hard and she should try again in a few years. 

237.  For seeing the absolute delight that the middle on has in performing.  That child loves to be on stage and spotlights?  Awesome. 

238.  For remembering an AWANA musical when the middle one was 4 or 5 ... the one where she performed her ENTIRE dance recital.  All of the other kids were standing and singing, just like they were supposed to be doing, and the middle one was dancing with abandon.  I am pretty sure at the time I tried to stop her, to make her sit down and do what she was supposed to be doing, which of course did not work.  Today I'm going to find that video and laugh. 

239.  For my baby, who fell asleep in my arms last night.  I know at 5 1/2, there aren't too many more nights for that, and I absolutely cherish it every time it happens.

240.  (sorry, have to yell this one ...)  SCHOOL IS DONE EXCEPT FOR THE FINAL TWO WEEKS OF HEART OF DAKOTA CURRICULUM, which I might combine into one week and be D.O.N.E.  (Can I get a big WOOHOO?!?)

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today.  Feel free to hop on over and read some other Gratitude Journals!  Oh - and that background song on her site?  That is #236 on my list.  :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Oldest Cracks Me Up

Pin It We're still in the midst of the busiest couple of weeks of the year, so there will likely not be a whole lot of blogging going on, but I had to write this down before I forget.

Saturday we worked all day at a garage sale fundraiser.  My niece was here and I dragged the girls out of the house at 6:30 by luring them with Starbucks and they seriously did WORK at the garage sale.

We finally got home and there was a dog beside our house.  They were all convinced that it was the neighbor's dog, and the neighbor's dog is never loose!  I told the oldest to see if she could catch the dog and take it over there.  She did, and then went next door and came back saying the neighbors weren't home.  I told her that if she was CERTAIN it was their dog, to put her in our dog's crate and go put a note on their door to let them know that we had the dog.

Here's her note:

Hi!  We have your dog.  Either that or we have stolen somebody's dog that happens to look like yours.
~ The Neighbor Children

The neighbor had been out looking for her dog, so she saw the note pretty quickly and came to get it.  (It actually seems to be a sweet little dog, and I take back most of the bad things I've said about it.  I guess it can't help it if it has the yapper gene.)

Anyway ... the note just cracked me up ... my child the dog thief.

Giggles ...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Read Something Fabulous

Pin It I read a BUNCH of blogs.  Seriously a bunch.  Some people read news, or magazines, or such ... I read blogs.  I figure if something is going on in the news that I need to know, somebody will blog about it.  That's worked pretty well so far.  ;)

Yesterday, I was flipping through blogs in my reader and came across this:

"I'm Never Inviting You to MY House!"

How awesome is that?  I have been kind of thinking of that lately as I was talking with a friend about dropping our masks and being REAL with each other, and remembering a fabulous Sunday school teacher from a few years ago trying to get us to realize the same thing.  What can I say?  I'm apparently a slow learner who needs the same message delivered in many different forms before it sinks in.

My kids have asked me before when I've gone on a mad cleaning spree "Who's coming over, Mom?"  Yikes. 

Think maybe I'll give myself permission to just accept myself and my house as they are?  Probably not.  Maybe I WILL relax a bit though.  :) 

I can tell you with reasonable certainty that I will likely NOT vacuum though.  I hate vacuuming and don't do it.  (Thank you Jim.) 

So local friends?  Come on over and see my lived in house.  Not so local friends?  You come too.  :)  But let's all give Jim time to vacuum first.

(See ... slow learner.)  ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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What I did for Mother's Day!




I just love this picture!  We got together with some friends and did a "let's play at the park and have a picnic" evening.  It was AWESOME!  Living in Texas, in May, usually we would expect hot, sticky weather.  Not this night!  It was breezy and amazingly pleasant.  Perfect weather!  I handed my oldest the camera and she got some great pics of the kids and a few of the adults too.  This was my absolute favorite shot.  What a fabulous, fun night!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Plan B, Anyone?

Pin It Homeschooling 2011/2012.

Adding to my list of things I've learned:  As they get older, it gets more expensive.  LOTS more expensive.  That's just a tip that has really nothing to do with this blog post.

Another tip:  it's a lot easier to combine a 4th grader and a 7th grader than it is to combine a 5th grader and an 8th grader.  At least that's how it's appearing.

The combining thing was good while it lasted, but after trying to figure out how to make it work for next year, I have basically given up.  The girls will use two separate curricula next year.  We love Heart of Dakota and will still be using it - actually using it for all three kids.  I was planning to still combine the oldest and middle one and just kind of drag the middle one along with the expectation that it was okay if she was dragged along because she would be repeating it when she was in junior high.

That is/was a great plan, but when I think about adding in the little one next year and what that's going to require of me, do I really want the battle of dragging a child through a curriculum that is too old for her?  Really?  Exactly who will benefit from that?  None of the options I came up with really worked  - like, having the student notebook half filled out would bother me (yeah, I know ... it is what it is) although it would be better for her to do less writing, etc.

Then again though, I wanted her to do (redo) the Creation to Christ curriculum in 7th grade, and she'll be in 5th next year.  So, a year off if we went down a level (which I suspect will be perfect for her).

FINALLY ... in hashing it out with a friend, I came to a solution.  She will drop down a level, but we're going to half-pace it to spread it over two years.  She'll still be doing Bob Jones reading, English, and something I haven't decided yet for spelling, so she'll still get a full day's worth of schoolwork and, I think, a complete school year.  There is a lot of reading in the Heart of Dakota (Preparing) curriculum, and she loves to read, so that will work well too.   

WHEW for solutions.  Now if I can find a math plan for the little one and a spelling plan for the middle one, I'll have it all figured out.  At least until I change it again.  ;)

 Hip Homeschool Hop Button 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gratitude Journal - 221 - 230

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221.  For a really nice Mother's Day hanging out with family and friends at the park. 

222.  For this, which would be our co-op end of the year Open House.




(Every year the Jr. High science class does an egg drop.  They make a structure out of toothpicks and hot glue, drop it from the 2nd floor, and whoever's egg doesn't break wins.  I think my daughter went for symmetry and a cool looking structure and kind of gave up on the "try to keep your egg from breaking" part.  Haha~!!  She even said "Well, it LOOKS good!")

223.  And for this, also from Open House.



Pardon the blurry photography.  The middle one's class did various projects from different countries, and this is her Faberge egg.  (And she was in a skit later; that's the reason for the vest.)

224.  For this, my nephew's high school graduation.



I cannot BELIEVE he is old enough to graduate!  He was in a high school/college concurrent program for the last two years so he already had a lot of college behind him and will be going to Houston Baptist University in the fall. 

225.  For this, also from Nephew's graduation. 



My mom was well enough to be there.  :)  (And that would be my sister too.)

226.  For another class being scratched off the list this week - the middle one's English.  WOOT~!!!

227.  For a compliant child, who, when I realized we had missed a class that she needs, agreed easily to do it over the summer to make the fall easier for me.  I *really* appreciate that, oldest child! 

228.  For a fun family day at the local botanical gardens.  Especially for a FREE fun family day at the local botanical gardens! 




229.  For the upcoming week, which I KNOW is going to be crazy because the calendar on my phone is full of dots every single day - dots being things that must be done; activities, appointments, etc - but which should also prove to be lots of fun.

230.  And for the laundry which must be done today.  Having a humongous pile of laundry means that we have sufficient clothing to wear.  Also for kids who are old enough (mostly!) to fold and put away their own laundry.  :)

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today.  Hop on over and read some more gratitude journals, or start one yourself.  :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Busy Busy Terribly Busy

Pin It I was going to look for the Busy Song from Veggie Tales and post it as a video here and decided that y'all probably didn't want that song in your head all day long, so I didn't.  You're welcome.  :)

(Although I DO realize that most of you saw the title and the song started going through your head anyway.  hehe.)

I have lots to blog about.  End of the year co-op open houses, field trips, more t-ball, graduations, recitals, and concerts, but unfortunately, because of the above-mentioned list, I haven't had time to do a bit of it.

I'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging soon.  In the meantime, we're going on a field trip!  And then going to graduation, possibly TWO graduations if I can fit it in! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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The little one had his first t-ball game!

Woot!  A hit from a coach pitch!



Enough with the pics, Mom!



He had so much fun, but probably less fun than I had watching him.  Their second practice was rained out, so they only had one practice before their first game.  This was hilarious.  He picked some grass, he didn't have the first clue where to go when he hit the ball, he tried to hold the bat with his glove on, he moved the base, he said his favorite part was the snack afterwards.  LOL  I. LOVED. IT. (And so did he.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gratitude Journal 211 - 220

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211. For lazy Sunday afternoons.

212. For a sweet little boy who zips out of bed long after he has been sent to bed, just in case he forgot to kiss his mama goodnight.

213. For lunch with old friends and for being able to catch up, just as if years had not passed since we'd last been able to visit with each other.

214. For exciting things going on in said friends' lives.

215. For the little one's excitement about playing t-ball this year, and for his first game Tuesday night. He can't wait ... and neither can I!

216. For completed classes -- the oldest one's English, the middle one's reading and math! WOOHOO!

217. For surviving another year of co-op, and knowing that I will look back and say it was a good year. It really was. Always after spring break, I'm ready to be DONE with co-op, because I'm usually ready to be DONE with school in general by then. We do still have a few more weeks of school, but we're checking things off our list right and left.

218. For my kids' friends. :)

219. For sitting in Sunday school this morning, and *hearing* a verse for the first time. It's a verse I've come across many times, but this time ... well -- I made this face: :-O when I heard it because it was a perfect answer to a question that I hadn't even fully formed yet. Need met before the need was even realized. I love it when that happens!

220. For my mom's good report from her doctor visits on Sunday. :) (And for my sweet praying friends who I know prayed for us!)

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today. Feel free to hop over and read the gratitude journals of tons more people!