Thursday, December 28, 2006


It was such a nice Christmas. The only thing I didn't get do that I really wish I had was to make lots of pictures. I had the camera back, so I really have no excuse. We did video it for the most part though. We slept in until 7:30 which is *wonderful*. No more 4am Christmas mornings! The girls were all happy with their gifts. They got these new cell phones that they have absolutely not let out of their hands. It's pretty sweet.

I got a heated blanket! I'm in love. I tend to always be cold and I drift off like a baby when I'm warm. So this is a perfect gift for me. I also got candles and many gift cards. So lots of shopping in my future! Mike also always renews my B&N member card. I love that.

My aunt got me this little chocolate pot that melts chocolate for you. Now this would be a lovely gift by itself, BUT it's funny too. I used to make molded chocolates for Christmas for everyone. Boxes and boxes of chocolates. With all different kinds of homemade fillings. It would take 2-3 full days and the kitchen would look like a disaster area. But it was so beautiful and *so* good (if I do say so myself). This is the 3rd year that I've not done it. It has to be done not more than a few days from when you want to give it (so very close to Christmas) and that is such a hard time to commit that kind of time to a project. So the chocolate pot was a subtle hint. LOL Well, that and then asking me flat out where the chocolate was this year. I suppose I'll have to find some way to do it next year. And I love the chocolate pot.

We took the tree down yesterday. It's early I know. But late for us. We usually do it on the 26th. We've been known to do it on the 25th before. I like to get my house back in order. So we got all the Christmas stuff put up for another year. Or 10 months at least. ; ) And I cleaned for an hour or so. I plan to do some more cleaning today. And do a little grocery shopping.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

And So It Begins

We've already had our little Christmas get-together with part of my family. That was this past Tuesday.

Today we go to the in-laws. I was up early making a cake. I made some slaw last night. I think I have everything done. LOL I hope so anyway.

Tomorrow morning is church, of course. Then it's Christmas Eve with my great-aunt.

Lots to bake and do and even groceries still left to buy. It's going to be a busy few day.

And I'm so looking forward to it.


Thursday, December 21, 2006


Today is my 21st wedding anniversary.

Where have the years gone? They slip through your fingers like water.

In honor of this day I'm going to list 21 things that I love about my husband.

1. He's smart.
2. He's the sexiest man I've ever met.
3. He has an incredible sense of humor. He "gets" me. I "get" him.
4. He has a huge heart, though he tries to hide it at times.
5. He has the best work ethic of anyone I've ever known.
6. He's determined.
7. He's persistent.
8. He is fierce with his love for our girls.
9. He loves dogs.
10.He loves Christ.
11. Though he probably gets scared, you'd never know it.
12. He never seems to mind handling any bug that happens into our life.
13. He's enthusiastic.
14. He loves my cooking.
15. He warms my side of the bed at night before I come to bed.
16. He always has words of encouragement.
17. He has a calm, soothing presence.
18. His arms. Always have loved them.
19. He roots for the underdog.
20.He won't lie.
21. He listens.

The list could go on, but in keeping with the theme, I'll stop there.

I'll just say that after all these years, he says he still feels like I'm too good to be true. That he's waiting for the other shoe to fall. And I happen to feel exactly the same way about him.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Looking Up

Well, it looks like things are looking up around here. The girls are better (and we've not gotten it yet). They're still coughing this deep chest cough, but they *feel* good now and that's a good thing. Plus the fevers are all gone.

Thank you so much for your prayers. camera came back in the mail today! There may be Christmas pictures after all!

I took some pic's of our gingerbread house that Jillian and I made while she was feeling poorly with my digital camera. I'll try to post that later. Though the quality will be poor.

Julia has an overnight tonight, and we have to get a birthday gift for the little girl. We also have 3 other last minute gifts to get and some dog treats for their stockings (I know, we're insane).

Normally, I would feel a bit stressed to have to do this so close to Christmas, but today I just feel so blessed that we're all able to get it done. Perspective is everything.

Note to self: Write about our Christmas party with my family.


Friday, December 15, 2006

This Week

The girls finished their co-op school this week (and Jessica finished her college exams), just in time to get sick. : (

Jillian came down with some type of fever/sore throat thing on Wednesday and is *still* not feeling well. She's been in bed since then and I know when she's in bed, she's not feeling well. Plus, the fever is still there when she's off Tylenol for more than a day. And I would just try to let the fever run it's course. I'm a big believer in the body healing itself. But unfortunately, my girls are like me and get sick (tummy sick) with *everything*. Including a fever. order to keep fluid in them, Tylenol it is.

So about 5am Julia got up with a fever too.

They're both so disappointed because they had the pretty rare sleepover tonight that it looks like they'll have to miss.

Hopefully this will all be gone before long.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Just Another Manic Monday

It's shaping up to be a busy week. Well, its not really "shaping up" to be a busy week, it's *been* a busy week on the calendar for some time now. This week we have something to do outside the house *every* *single* *day* (and many days two different things-including one overnight) until late Saturday.

And then everything abruptly stops for the Christmas weeks. Well, we have our anniversary next week. And a Christmas party with my mom. And the girls and I were invited to the beach for a couple of days at the beginning of next week (that I seriously doubt we'll do, it's just too close to the holiday). And it's my oldest daughters boyfriends birthday.

Nevermind. It's going to be busy right up until Christmas it looks like.

Better get this day going.


Monday, December 04, 2006


Well, BestBuy can't fix the camera. : ( BUT...the part this is messed up has been recalled so Sony will fix it for free! Yay!

But it will no doubt be after Christmas before we get it to them and they get it back to us. After we get it back from BestBuy of course.

I have a 35mm that I can use, but I never realized how SPOILED I am with my digital. I will surely appreciate it more now.

Another lesson learned.

GirlScout cookie meeting tonight for me. Julia has a party for her Spanish class tonight as well. Better go make the cookies!


Monday, November 27, 2006

Good and Not so Good

We got the tree up and many of the inside decorations. It was such a fun family time. Even Jessica (19) wanted to be here with her boyfriend so we planned it for Saturday because she didn't work.

All (except 1) of the gifts that are here are wrapped and decorated and under the tree. I finished that while Mike and the boyfriend watched a football game after the tree trimming.

So I went to make a picture to put on on the blog yesterday and my digital camera is messed up.

: (

We took it to the shop, but even if they can fix it, it won't be for 10 or so days. pictures till then. I just hope it can be fixed. I passed by several good (and cheap!) digital cameras on my Black Friday shopping trip.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lovely Week

Our Thanksgiving was so special. I think every year it just gets better and better for us. This was the first year in my great aunts "new" house. The one they had to move into because their "old" place was too much for them to keep up. : ( So we thought it may not "feel" right.

How silly of us.

It was more wonderful than ever. All of us there together. And it also happened to be her 80th birthday! Cause for a double celebration if there ever was one!

The food was wonderful and the whole day flew by in a flash.

Then a really good Navy buddy of Mike's was in town visiting relatives, so after we left my aunts we went to a local park on the mountain to meet up with his family. How fun!

That night the girls and I looked up all the sales and then got up at 4am to hit the stores. This is the first year the girls have done Black Friday and it went much better than I could have hoped! I didn't buy too awful much. I didn't need to. But it was the experience I was after and I'm *so* glad we did it!

I even got a *great* deal on a Christmas tree for my great aunt. We'll have to take it to her one day this week if possible.

Off now. Headed to Church!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

I've read many "I'm thankful for's" over the blog world and they all touch me. I too have much to be thankful for in my life. And then I came across one "I'm thankful for" that floored me. And caused me to look at this day in an all together different light.

It was a listing of the hard things in life. And I think I'll add a couple of my own.

I'm thankful that my mother had me so young that she couldn't care for me. It gave me many sweet years with my great grandmother and made me want to be the mother to my children that I never had.

I'm thankful that I lost some of the closest people in my life at an early age. It showed me how short life is on this earth, and to never take time with someone you love for granted. To love them today, because they may not be here to love tomorrow.

I'm thankful that I had adults in my life who never showed me how important I was to them as a child and only later told me so. It taught me that you have to not only love your children with all your heart, but *show* them every chance you get.

I'm thankful for the recent injustices that my family has suffered. It's taught me that we're stronger than I'd have ever thought and that we can make it through anything. And it's showed us who our real friends are.

I'm thankful for the fillings I have in my teeth because we couldn't afford toothpaste at the end of the month when I was a little girl. It's made me, to this day, appreciate that I can afford that tube of toothpaste every time I put it into the cart.

And I'm thankful for the blog I read that showed me to be thankful for these things.

And so much more.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday Week

Jillian has school today! (Co-op.) I admit that I'm a bit miffed about it. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE her co-op. But one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we get to take holiday weeks OFF. And while the co-op is only meeting Monday...that happens to be when my baby girl goes.

And if that's not enough, they have a test today. So she really *needs* to go.

And if *THAT'S* not enough? The teacher that is giving the test isn't even going to be there. She started her holiday week yesterday.

I may have to talk to them about this one.

On another note, I didn't make it to Sam's last Wednesday. It was dreary and rainy and cold. So that means the big trip is today. And it's beautiful and sunny and freezing.


Wish me luck!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Inside Outside (Upside Down?)

For the last several days I've been on the go. It's like that here from Sunday 'till Wednesday. I had planned to do a big Sam's shopping trip today after I drop Julia off at her co-op classes, but it's ***dreary*** and drizzly and rainy and chilly. I think it's a good day to stay in and get some of the housework done for the possible houseguest we may have in a couple of weeks.

: D

And besides, for some reason Sam's is a hard place to shop in the rain. I have no idea why. I suppose because you have to unload all the stuff you get individually? Or because the lot is so big that you have to park several blocks (heh) from the door?

I'll save the trip for Monday.



Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Small Brag

I got *every* *single* *Christmas* Present* (that I've gotten so far for my family) wrapped last night. I've *never* gotten it done this early. I hope to finish up my shopping on Monday, and hopefully have it all wrapped and done by the end of next week.

Then, when we put up the tree after Thanksgiving, I can more fully concentrate on the things that give me joy. Baking. Spending time with my family. Doing the little "last minute" touches. Maybe entertaining a little.

My lists of everything seem to be helping.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Busy Times

Things have been so busy lately that I feel like I'm running on a treadmill about 12 hours a day! If the calendar proves to hold true, it looks like things will slow down a bit after Thanksgiving, but until then...

Saturdays have been full day Girl Scout activities for the last 2 weeks. This week is the third. I have opted out.

Sundays are full with worship. Both morning and night.

Mondays Jill has co-op and then we have Girl Scouts in the evening.

Tuesdays both younger girls have the YMCA homeschool group.

Wednesdays Julia has co-op and then both girls have youth in the evening.

Thursdays and Fridays are typically "my" home/homeschool days, but this week and next are dental appts and tonight is the mall parade!

And we also have some tentative company coming in from out of town in the next week or two. So I've been trying to get the house in tip-top shape.

Oh, and I've been *teaching* at the Tuesday YMCA homeschool group this session, and while it's a blast and better than I could have even imagined, it's *soooo* time consuming. I'm putting in approximately 10-15 hours a week getting things ready for that class.

I'm really looking forward to things calming down a bit! Until then, I'm still here. Just for a shorter amount of time. :)


Thursday, November 02, 2006

And on a More Serious Note

I want to start out by saying how much of a blessing it is to have finally found a place online where there are so many Christian women. I believe that what we surround ourselves with *does* matter. A lot. Even in online situations. Maybe even *especially* in online situations. :)

And so many of the women that I read are so inspiring. They exude so many qualities that I admire and want to emulate. They give me the added punch to take on my day with a different attitude. And I admire them.

And still there are so many Christian women online that appear to be extremely judgmental. This is something that I just can't rationalize. I know that we are to take a stand. But we are NOT to judge.

Again, I tend to find this more in the younger women as a general rule. And I'm not sure what this says about the collective "us" here.

Think about the recent Halloween blogs that have been written.

Judge not.

Simple really.

Mat. 7:1
Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Mat. 7:2
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

It's certainly something that I strive to apply in my own life.


Oh My Goodness!

Do you ever have so many thought swirling around in your head that you just have to write them down or you know you'll forget them? Or not be able to sleep because you keep thinking of all that you have to do? Or things that you need to get done and not forget?

Well...I started on my "list". And it ended up over three pages. Yes, pages. With teeny writing! No wonder I was feeling stressed!

Well, I still feel stressed. Maybe more so than before seeing all this stuff that needs to get done. But at least now I can *see* it. And don't have to just try to remember it.

And don't ya just love marking off your "to do" list with a big fat red line?

: )


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Because I'm Really Excited about Christmas!

If you've never read Lindsey, you're in for a treat. She's down to earth. I'm really excited to see this new Advent Blog!


Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween - YMMV

You know how it is when you're "new" somewhere and you don't want to say anything controversial? I've been here for a few months now and I've not posted a lot of substance because I realize that written words can easily be taken the wrong way. Particularly when it's matters that are dear to us.

I have many blogs that I read daily. And by "daily" I mean the days that I get to sit down and read blogs. ; ) A least a couple of times a week usually.

Some of the blogs are from women close to my own age (40) but many are women that are much younger. I'm not really sure why this is, except that younger people tend to be online more I suppose. I've searched for blogs of older Christian women, but the majority of blogs that I've found are younger women.

I suppose that at my age, I've learned that there is wisdom to be found everywhere you're willing to look. So I really enjoy many of these young women's blogs. There are sometimes in very different seasons of their lives and it brings back some sweet memories.

And many of these young women have some strong ideas on things. Strong ideas are wonderful. And I suppose I was very similar when I was their age. But we all have things to learn. None of us know the right answers to every question. And some questions may not even have "right" and "wrong" answers.

This brings me to Halloween.

I do allow my children to participate in Halloween activities. I always have. Most of the activities are either at our church or the church that we have Girl Scouts. But we also have a little get-together at our house every year where all their friends come and they go around the neighborhood together. It's a great Halloween neighborhood.

We do not dress in anything scary. We are not celebrating anything other than this kid holiday of dress-up, fun and candy.

We walk up to houses that have lights on, doors open, and pumpkins glowing. The elderly neighbors really seem to get joy seeing all the little kids all dressed with faces shining. The adults walk with steaming mugs of cider or cocoa and fellowship. The girls get an evening with their friends.

And let me say here, that I totally respect your right and opinion to NOT celebrate Halloween. Certainly if I (or my husband) felt convicted to not celebrate, we wouldn't.

And I wouldn't need any other reason. Not a single one.

But please understand that we don't go "begging for candy". We don't force people in the neighborhood to participate if they don't want to do so. We don't celebrate anything evil, ever.

So please, let your words (even the written ones) be gentle. You may feel in your heart that something is wrong for you and your family, but that doesn't mean that my family has the same convictions.

And it doesn't mean that either of us is wrong.


Monday, October 23, 2006

A New Week

I only have a minute, as usual, this morning. Jillian has to be at co-op in a little while and she has her second science test. She's studying right now. It's so sweet to watch.

Last week was our first week teaching at the YMCA. My girlfriend Brooke and I signed up to teach one of the classes for the LITs (Leaders in Training, which is the 11-16 year olds). We're teaching a class in Environmental studies and we have 5 more weeks (one hour a week) to define an environmental problem and solve it.


I told them last week that we probably wouldn't be doing anything about space litter or anything on that level. It's amazing what kids that age want to accomplish when given the reigns. It's heartening.

Brooke, who is a certified teacher, was out of town on the first day. I had a bit of anxiety about teaching the class all by myself (there are 18 kids!) but it turned out *so* *incredibly* *well*.

The homeschool coordinator "sat in" (read: watched my every move) to make sure things went well. Talk about feeling graded! But the kids made it so much fun. The boys were great, and they're sometimes NOT great. The conversation flowed and we all learned so much! I had TONS more material than I could possibly get through, so that was good. Not much worse in a classroom setting than running out of things to say. They can turn on you pretty quickly! ; )

After class was over (and time flew so quickly) , the instructor came over to me and just beamed. Said that it was far better than she had anticipated and she was so pleased. And this woman is a bit stingy with the compliments if you know what I mean.

I was happy for the rest of the day.

Words...they mean so much.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


Sunday, October 15, 2006


I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating, I LOVE my church. How we got there is a story in itself, and I'll try to remember to tell it soon.

Today our preacher was out. He's an amazing man with a talent for speaking directly to the hearts of all who listen. His daughter got married yesterday out of town, so we didn't really expect him to speak today. We went to church anyway, though honestly, we'd have preferred to stay at home.

Once we sat down and opened the program, we were a bit surprised. Our speaker today was going to be Chris McDaniel. Formerly of the country/rock band Confederate Railroad.

So he got up there and started singing, and playing the keyboard and it was *amazing*. He was so good.

And then he started to speak.

He spoke of his life, his upbringing, his relationship with Jesus, his whole life. He told stories of life on the road and life as a child in a small southern town. He talked of his children with awe and love. He didn't hide the ugly parts of his life. He laid it all out. And told how God had welcomed him back home.

In between stories, he'd sing and play the keyboard. Songs that told us stories every bit as much as the words he spoke.

How glad we were to have gotten the opportunity to hear this mans great story. How humbling and inspirational. I only wish our preacher could have been there.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Thankfully, the girls are out of the YMCA program this week. Starting next week, I teach (I co-teach actually, my friend is teaching, but she's out of town the first week, so technically, I *do* teach next week) until the end of the year. We're doing an environmental studies class, which should be fun!

Last Friday we had a GS activity at a farm about 45 minutes from here. Mike decided to go with us. It was a really nice family time.

Here is Julia, Jillian and Mike with this creepy thing that was walking around and moving it's weird arms!

This is Jillian and her dad with a dancing something.

There was a campfire and they let you make smores. There were adults dressed up passing out little boxes of candy. And it was chilly! Jillian took my vest because I at least had on long sleeves. The place was set up pretty kid friendly. Not too scary. We don't like scary much here.

On another note, the weather is *fabulous*. Warm days and cooler nights. If it weren't for the allergies this time of year, I'd love it to stay this way for at least 9 months of the year.


Monday, October 02, 2006

My Julia (12) is such an amazing daughter. I can't even express what it's like watching her grow into the woman God wants her to be. She's at the age that mommy can't always "make it better", and that makes me sad at times.

She told me a story last night that was on her mind. I have no idea where she heard/read it, so if anyone knows please let me know so that I can give proper credit.

'Cause I'm gonna share it here.

A young girl was walking home one evening and it had gotten later (and darker) than she had thought. She had to go through an alley. She got a little way into the alley and saw the figure of a man on down the way.

She felt creeped out and scared. She had to go this way to get home, but she didn't want to walk past the man.

She started to pray. She asked God to keep her safe. She continued her walk and when she got close to the man he looked at her. She nodded and continued on her way.

After she was out of the alley she felt a little silly. She had obviously let her imagination run away with her.

The next morning her mother came to her and told her that a girl had been attacked and assaulted in that very alley that she had walked down the night before. Had she seen anything? She said that she had and so her mother took her to the police station. They had a man in custody and asked if she could pick him out of a line-up. She thought she could. And she did.

The police thanked her for her help in a dismissive way. She asked if she could speak to the man before she left. They said that was an odd request, but yes, she could.

She had questions that were bothering her. Why someone else and not her? She was alone, afterall.

She was placed in a small room with the man and a guard over by the door. She asked the man why he didn't attack her the night before when she was walking down the alley.

He said that there was no way he would have touched her with those two large men walking on either side of her.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Beautiful Fall Saturday

I finally got the house clean yesterday! Top to bottom. Well, yesterday and what I had done the day before.

I really don't want to spend that kind of time on Thursdays and Fridays to get the house together, but I think I may have to do just that. I simply have no consistent time on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. It depends on what's going on with the day. The girls are at various school related activities (or church activities) and I'm sometimes needed. Or needed to hang around and play schedule catch-up. Or simply have a coffee with friends and be there for them. So it may be easier to just not schedule ANY cleaning for those days. I'm still pondering this.

We're home (usually) on Thursdays and Fridays. It's our big homeschool days. So why not get the work done then?

Our new church had their first youth lock-in last night. The girls went, but didn't stay the night (my idea). They had a great time and can't wait for the next one. I'm so happy about that.

It's an incredible fall day here in Tennessee. The air is crisp and the humidity is low. The doors and windows are open and it's so nice to hear the outside weekend noises. After very minimal cleaning, we're going to get out and enjoy!


Friday, September 29, 2006

Changes in Attitudes

For someone who is always talking to my girls about attitude and what it means/how it glorifies (or not) God, etc., you'd think *mine* would be different.

I spend a good amount of time thinking of what I didn't get done this day or that. This week or that. And I'm going to try to change my way of thinking.

So instead of focusing on the fact that I didn't get the bathrooms done yesterday, I'm going to focus on what I *did* get done.

  • I had a full homeschool day with both my girls
  • I made bread
  • I made a double batch of laundry soap
  • We went and got Jillian's Halloween costume
  • I cooked a nice big dinner
  • I put away all the bulk purchases that I've been meaning to do for a few days
  • I sat in the hot tub with Mike for about an hour
  • I did 4 loads of laundry, folded and put away
  • I did a bit of housework
  • I started a lovely paint kit with Jillian (9) and we sat with that for over an hour

And probably much more.

I'm really going to work on my attitude and self image. I *am* busy. I'm doing my best. I'm going to attempt to be happy with that.

If only there were about 8 more hours in each day. ;)


Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Jillian felt good about her test Monday. We won't find out her grade until next Monday, but I'm glad it was a positive experience for her.

Yesterday the girls had their YMCA day. They take Spanish, Karate, music, etc. It's a pretty good program, especially for Julia (12) as she gets a high school credit for the Spanish. The only downside is that it pretty much takes up our whole Tuesday. I've struggled with trying to "fit it all in" with homeschool and balancing all the other things we do. So far it's ok, but it's a chore at times.

My friends (who also drop their kids off at the Y) all went out to lunch yesterday and then on a little trip to a cheese making farm. I was jealous, but simply HAD to get home and get some work done.

It makes me wonder if I'm not doing something right/well. Where do they find the time to spend a whole afternoon out? I *could* have went, of course. But I really had things that *needed* to be done at my home. Bills to pay. Laundry to do. Meals to cook. A house to clean.

It was definitely easier over the summer.

Our Monday's, Tuesday's, and Wednesday's are packed. We are out of the house every one of those days pretty much for the full day. Note: Anything past 3 is a full day to me. : )

That leaves Thursday and Friday to get our homeschool done (the stuff that *I* do with them, they are schooling each of the other days as well). And get the house together. And plan the meals. And all of the other things that go into running a home.

I'm not complaining. Really. I'm so blessed to be able to stay at home and do this with my family. I'm so incredibly grateful.

I just wish I were more organized. I wish that I had the time to go to lunch and to a farm. Not that I would go. But just that I had the free time.

Julia (12) has a math test today. So time to get going.


Monday, September 25, 2006

No Time Right Now

Jillian (9) has her first co-op test today and we're reading over the content. She knows it, but I'm not at all sure what kind of "school" tester she is, so this should be interesting.

And hopefully validating.

But I just wanted to say that I simply LOVE my church.

I love it.

More later.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rainy Sunday

The dog woke me up this morning because storms scare him. So I got up a bit early and that's fine because I got to sleep pretty early last night.

We had to be up early yesterday to go to Angel Food at the neighboring church. The girls volunteered.

Does anyone NOT know about Angel Food now? It's the most amazing thing. I plan to blog about it when I find more than just a few minutes.

I'm not at all happy with the way I've been keeping up the blog. I wanted to post daily and it's just not happening. I'm (still) trying to get in the groove of fall and homeschool and keeping up with all of my cleaning. Time really gets away from me.

It seems like I'm brushing my teeth to get ready for bed, I blink, and I'm brushing my teeth to get ready for bed again.


And Jillian has a stye in her eye. And looks pitiful.

: (

Hmmm...I should go have a little cheese with that whine.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

I Cannot Believe it's Been a Week

(Or more appropriately titled "The Camping Trip of Nightmares".

Where has the time gone?

Last weeks camping trip was a *disaster* on many fronts.

Let me just say, I'm not a tent camper. I'm just not. I don't like bugs. I don't like sleeping on the ground. I like warm water. I just do.

My girls feel the same way.

So why on *earth* we thought it was a good idea for all of us to do this trip is beyond me.

The girls had went up Friday night and Mike and I had a really nice evening (as previously posted). So Saturday morning he had stuff he wanted to get done, so I just packed up and headed out.

The directions could have been worse. But I don't really see how. It took me over an hour of driving on curvy mountain roads that I've never been on before. My anxiety level going up with each curve and 200ft. drop off 4 feet from the van.

I finally got there, got out, smelled the fresh air, and thought, "This ain't so bad!". That lasted almost 5 seconds. Until I was greeted by one of the other moms who goes on to tell me that Jillian had cried all night long.

(Side note: I'm one of those moms that *WANTS* to be called if her child cries. That's what I feel I'm here for. They know this but wanted her to have a feeling of accomplishment, which I appreciate on one level, but she's only 9. Let's accomplish other things first.)

So Jillian is weird tired. Her eyes are all glowy. She is clingy. And Julia (12) is super hyped up (as were the other girls in all fairness). Two of the other moms were sleeping because it had been such a rough night (mainly because of my daughter though there were others that were scared as well).

It's "free time" when I get there and so I don't have to do anything other than just sit around and get the feel of the place.

Twelve very tired girls with nothing constructive to do makes for one LONG afternoon. They ended up fussing. Hurting one anothers feelings. Tears. You know, regular camp fun. (I'm very happy to report that MY daughters did not participate in any of that drama. I suppose the night time drama was enough for them.) So we got to play referee all afternoon.

And finally it's supper time. The group of girls that I had were so tired that they were laying their heads on the dinner table. Pretty rough.

They had some activity scheduled afterward, but there was just no way these girls could make it. So we opted out. Which was a big deal to the older scout leader for some reason, but that's another story.

We went back and started a fire. It starts to get dark. Jillian's anxiety starts to go up. She begins to cry. I walk around with her, talking to her, comforting her. She's not really having any of it. She's exhausted and scared and convinced there are "killers" in the woods waiting for her to close her eyes (she'd read it on a tent post the first night, that there were killers there that had killed before. What a lovely note to leave in a little girls tent.)

She was *just* beginning to calm down and we were walking back to the camp when a truck pulls up and yells at us to come closer. That they are finding copperheads (yes, the poisonous snakes) all over the place and that we needed to get off the ground somewhere.

Oh yeah, THAT was relaxing news for my 9yo. And me too.

I couldn't leave because there wasn't enough people to drive the girls home the next day. And anyway I'd have never found my way down this mountain in the dark. So my girls and I slept in the van.

Correction: The girls slept in the van, and I sat up in the front seat all night long looking for "killers", "snakes" and trying to read a book with a flashlight. I finally dozed off around 5:30 and slept until about 7.

Then it was breakfast time. Then clean up the dirt time. Then sit around time because we were done so early and couldn't get back to the dropoff point this early.

Oh, and if I thought the trip up ALONE was stressful, picture going back DOWN the mountain with 6 little girls added to the mix.

Finally, we're home and bathed and relaxing.

You'd think this should be the end of the camping story (other than 2 days worth of laundry).

Yes, you would.

And you would be wrong.

Wednesday I'm headed to the co-op with Jillian to pick up Julia and 2 of her friends (who were also on the camping trip) when my cell rings. One of the moms hates to tell me this, but the little girls that Jillian slept head to head with on the first night has lice.

Now you have to understand how *freaky* I am about lice for this to be remotely as ironically funny as it actually is. My children are not allowed to wear hats/coats/bandanas/use combs/brushes/sleep on others pillows/use others blankets/etc. I'm *neurotic* about it. Because I don't want lice.

Jillian has hair down to her bottom. And it's THICK. Very, very thick. And now she's potentially been exposed to lice.

I pick up the girls and take them to the church and check Jill's head. There is nothing there at all, but luckily Mike agrees with me that we should treat anyway. So he runs to the store and gets the million dollars worth of lice treatment and we spent ALL afternoon (about 7 hours) treating *everyone* in the house, spraying down the upholstery, (re)washing all the clothing/bedding, vacuuming, etc.

Overkill? Yeah, I'm pretty certain it was.

And then I find out the next day that NO ONE else has treated at all. They're just gonna wait and see. I'm silly, but that makes me nervous.

I can say with certainty that we shall not be GS tent camping for a LONG time. If ever.



Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Quick Post

This week has really gotten away from me. I'm trying to figure out why.

Monday was the holiday, but we had Girl Scouts too. And this week we were getting ready for camp (which started yesterday) so it was a busy meeting. We have an over enthusiastic leader for the Juniors this year. She is *marvelous*. Period. And she keeps us *very* busy with all the badges she's working on. I complained a little on Monday morning trying to get all the stuff together. Picture whiny voice. "It's a holiday." "Where am I going to find that size metal can in this day and age?" "Do I have a bag big enough to carry all of this and the Cadette stuff too??" "Am I ever going to get all the GS stuff organized??"

And then we got there and saw how much work the leader had put into it. For every one thing I did, she did 10. No more complaining for me.

Tuesday was YMCA co-op and it's all new for middle dd this year. She moved up to a new group (the group is new, not just her in the group) and it's a LOT of work and they don't have the kinks worked out yet. So it's frustrating for all of us. That was pretty much all day Tuesday.

Wednesday middle DD(12) had another co-op. Youngest DD(9) sat in the car listening to the radio while I worked on my schedule with a couple of other moms right outside the car. Until the battery went dead. She'd turned the whole car "almost on" and the battery died. LOL Luckily, one of the moms had cables.

Then after co-op I picked up DD(12) and 2 of her friends and my little one and took them all to get some food and then to youth at the neighboring church. Got stuck in **crazy** traffic on the way home to pick up DH. We were gonna go out to eat. I made it home with 10 minutes before I had to head back out to get the girls. I had bologna. : )

Thursday we worked fervently on homeschool and DH and I had a couple of errands to run. Attempted to get a little housework done too, but it didn't go so well.

Friday we did homeschool and then had to pack up for GS camp. They've never both went together before so it was a challenge to find 2 of everything. But I think we got it worked out. We dropped the girls off yesterday around 6pm and then DH and I got to go out to eat! It was a fantastic evening. Not too hot. We got to sit outside. Very nice.

Every Friday our city has a "gathering" downtown with music and such. We walked around there for a while afterward and met up with some friends. Very nice and relaxing. I'm so glad DH suggested it.

Then we went to pick up a few things that I need to take to camp tonight. Yes, I get to go spend the night tonight, as one of the moms needs to come back today.

We came home and snuggled down. A very nice evening. And I didn't worry about the kids at all. Right. You believe that don't you?

So today I'm about to get ready to go to camp for the *first* time.

Wish me luck.

And I suppose this post wasn't too *quick* after all.

: )


Sunday, September 03, 2006

My Weekend So Far

What an unusual weekend this has been so far.

Yesterday, instead of my going to get Jill, DH did it. I had a headache that was pretty bad. I don't like taking medications unless they are really necessary, but after about 3 hours of lying around I decided it might be necessary. I ended up taking some (generic) Excedrin and felt better by the time we had to run the girls around last night.

They were both invited to a birthday party that was also a sleep-over a the drive-in in a neighboring town. Well, that seemed a bit much after the night before, so we agreed that they could *go*, but that we'd pick them up around midnight.

So we left the house around 5pm because we'd not had a chance to get a gift yet. We knew exactly what we wanted to get, so stopping didn't take all that long except for the traffic. When we got to the meeting place, we were 2 minutes early and the only ones there! The mom of the birthday girl had arranged several people to drive everyone down to the drive-in so we wanted to be on time so that we didn't have to drive all the way down there ourselves. It only took a minute for another mom to pull up. But it took quite a while for the caravan that the girls were riding with to get there. So we were outside about 45 minutes in the heat. Not great for my headache which was starting to creep back at this point.

The girls were finally off and I called DH to let him know that I was on my way back home. He was in the mood to go out for dinner and a movie (which we had done the night before as well, so that was really odd), and was just done with all the chores he was working on around the house, so I headed home.

I jumped out of my car and into his as he'd picked a movie that was starting in just a little while. So we put dinner off for a while. We sat through the movie and laughed. It was so nice. And when we left, this little restaurant that we'd not been to in probably 15 or more years was still right there and we went in for a light snack. It was so cozy and nice.

Then we rode around downtown killing a little time before it was time to head to the drive-in. When we got down there it was probably around 11:30 and DH knew everyone there! He'd grown up in that area and it was pretty funny. So he sat and talked for a few minutes and I got to look around the place. It's nice and looks like some place we'll have to go check out sometime.

We got the girls (and an extra one to boot, to take home to her family) and headed back, dropped off the friend and headed home. The girls were pretty dirty and had to have showers before bed so it was late before we all settled in (around 1am) and now we're up for church. We'll probably be a bit tired today, but we have tomorrow off!

We're normally "home bodies" so all this running around is different. And fun. We used to be out more and hopefully this will become more the norm. house has suffered for it! So I've got some making up to do today after church.

But it's all worth it. : )


Saturday, September 02, 2006


Hi-Boo is doing well. It was really hard on him for a few days. But he's up running around now and seems more active than he has in years. And that's such a blessing. He has, over the course of his life, been a thorn at times, but he's truly like a member of the family. And we're thrilled to see the quality of life he seems to have found.

Both of my little girls were away last night. Julia (12) had a youth lock-in at a neighboring church. Seems she's now called a "common visitor" there because she is on the mailing list. That made her pretty happy. And Jill (9) had a sleep-over with one of the little girls in their "group" of friends who isn't old enough to go to the youth function either.

And then TONIGHT, they are both invited to a camp-out sleep-over at a local (almost) drive-in theatre. I'm thinking I'll let them go, but go pick them up around midnight. We've got Church in the morning and I'm just not sure I want them to miss that. Plus, this second overnight coming on the heels of the last night is really just too much for many of the girls in this little group.

Julia is now home and in bed. The mom where Jill spent the night asked me not to pick her up so early because they like to sleep in. So she'll either bring her home, or I'll run get her when she gets up.

These kids *never* sleep when they're out at these functions. I just don't remember doing that as a child. We'd sit up late, but it was pretty rare for us to want to be up all night long. It makes them a little weird for a day or two.

Luckily Jill doesn't have the co-op this Monday. Julia, however, has it on Wednesday. Hopefully their sleeping will be back to normal by then.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


It took a lot of convincing to get DH to let us have a dog. I was raised with dogs. But he was raised very differently than I. Anyway, after letting it be known for a long, long time that we'd welcome a dog, he finally surprised us by driving up with one out of the blue one day.

It was a big black furball. All chewy and whiney. And so cute. Our oldest (19) named him Frisky. She was 7 at the time. Our middle daughter (12) was about 7 months old. She renamed him Hi-Boo.

So he's been here a while. We watched him grow into a big bear of a dog. He terrifies people with his size. But he's always been the most gentle of dogs.

He was a thorn in our side many, many times. He was terribly hard to confine. He found ways to escape. During one of his escapes he got a poodle pregnant through a chain-link fence. THAT kind of mischief ALL the time it seemed. He even ended up on a local TV show with a bandage on his head one morning while I was getting ready to go out of town, not even realizing he was OUT yet.

Back then, I knew very little of dog training. And he has never "minded" (obeyed for you northern readers ; ) *me* well (he minds DH). But we love him dearly. Even though he's terrified of rain and has to be held like a baby when it even drizzles. Yes, the 90lb dog has to be held.

Now, he's old. He's taken to limping when we do our evening walks. So we made him a vet appointment for yesterday morning. The limping is arthritis. We've got pills for it that should make him better. But his teeth are bad, and he needed surgery. So we agreed and he was gone all day yesterday having that done. There is also some bloodwork that doesn't look great, and we'll have to follow that.

DH and I went to pick him up around 5 yesterday and he was really out of it. It was a bit of a shock to see this big, happy, playful dog unable to stand. DH carried him to the car and we got him home. It took him much longer than normal to "come around" which doesn't bode well, combined with the bloodwork, but he's doing a bit better today. And he took him meds like a good boy.

But seeing him like this is sobering. And I can't help thinking that it's a lesson in life. That we all have our times of disobedience, perhaps even running wild, and then, in the end, if we're lucky enough to make it that long, we're slowed down.

And hopefully we've nurtured our children in a way that will make them lovingly carry us back home, sit beside us, and feed us from their hands if necessary. And maybe even hold us when we're scared.


Monday, August 28, 2006

And a New Week Begins

The rolls only turned out so-so. I mean, they were *good*, but I got mixed reviews on the frosting. I was also a little disappointed because with the last rising the night before they were literally bursting out of the pan. And then after a night in the fridge, they were not nearly as fluffy as I would have liked.

I say all of this, but they were eaten. And enjoyed. : )

Today starts the second week of "school" for my baby daughter, and I've still not really written much on how it went. It was a busy week last week with everything starting up. And even more is starting up this week. Plus, we may be having an out-of town guest this weekend. After last week, I'm going to have to be more diligent in keeping up with the household chores. I've got my schedule all written out, and it looks doable on paper. But somehow it doesn't always work as I have planned.

Can you imagine that?

I do sometimes wish there were more hours in a day.

We've been walking the neighborhood as a family many nights of the week lately. Taking the dogs for walks. It's nice. We've talked to more neighbors lately than we have in years. That can only be a good thing. I love that time with my family.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm Attempting Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

This could be a disaster.

The recipe said that it was ok to make them the day before and put them in the refrigerator overnight. Just to take them out the next morning for 30 minutes before baking.

So that's what I did. They were easy...but labor intensive. I can't really imagine getting up early enough in the morning to make these for breakfast. It would take 3-4 hours!

Anyway, they're in the oven now. And they smell pretty good. Hopefully the family will get to enjoy homemade cinnamon rolls for their Sunday breakfast.

Oh, and enjoy them.

; )


Saturday, August 26, 2006

About Yesterday

Because my girls are so active and do so many varied activities with the church and girlscouts, etc, they each have a cell phone on my plan.

I know some people think it's excessive. They're young. But it's for *my* convenience. They are only allowed a scant few minutes a month on it. And they've both showed incredible responsibility with both keeping up with it and with the usage.

Julia had mentioned earlier that she would really like to upgrade her cell phone to a picture phone for her birthday. Her friend got one for her birthday and thought it was cool beans. For about a day. Then the new wore off. Well, Julia changed her mind about wanting one. About a week before her birthday. Luckily, we had not gotten her a new one at that point.

She's at that hard age, where she's too old for "toys" but too young to have much interest in "grown-up" stuff.

So I was as stumped as she was at what to get her.

I talked to her younger sister and she suggested a video game. But we really couldn't think of anything else. And since both girls had elected to NOT have parties this year in order to get a bigger gift (it's the first time they've done this and I'm not sure they'll do it again) I wanted to make it something special.

When our oldest daughter turned 13, her daddy bought her a ring. A birthstone ring. With little diamonds. It was a *huge* hit. And we'd thought to do this with each girl when she turned into a teenager.

Well, DH and I decided that it might be the time to do it now, instead of 13, for a couple of reasons. Julia is much more mature at 12 than Jessica was even at 13. I suppose each subsequent child grows up a little faster due to the older influences in their lives. That's been our observation anyway. And Julia has super sensitive skin (notice the red hair) and can't wear much "fake" jewelry.

So DH and I went shopping and found *exactly* what we wanted. But the price was more than we could justify paying. We were discussing it when the sales lady said, "You know we're having a huge sale and these are both 40% off, right?" And she pointed to a huge sign that said just that.

We got them both. A birthstone ring AND earrings. I suppose we'll have to get "little bit" a ring, earrings and necklace when her time comes to get the special daddy gift?

Julia wanted a "Doody Plop" cake. Doody Plops are our name for no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. So we made up a batch and just poured it into our cake pan. Then used colored frosting to decorate.

Birthday girl, blowing out her candle. She then got her video game. And we told her we would go out to eat as well for her birthday. She thought the gifts were over.

We rarely go out to eat. But we decided to go out to It's one of the girls favorite places to eat. Notice the video game at the table.

Love the face when she finds out there is another gift.

She really liked the earrings.

At the second gift, she was a little overwhelmed I think. Her face started to turn red.

She loved the ring. As a matter of fact, I don't think she's talked about *anything* else since she got it. Should I sleep in it? How did you know the size? I Love It! Etc.

And then there was cake. And it was so special. This girl came out to sing Happy Birthday to her but sang it in Italian! And her voice was absolutely beautiful. It was definitely something we'll all remember.

We came home and told a walk with the dogs through the neighborhood. Which was a great way to end the day. Julia immediately got on the phone when we got back to dish to all of her friends.

What a blessed day in so many ways.


Friday, August 25, 2006


With my second daughter, we had what's commonly called "secondary infertility". I had gotten pregnant within a few weeks of trying with my first daughter. And when she was a little over 2 we wanted to have another baby. We tried for over 2 years and I finally got pregnant.

I remember taking the test when DH was away. He was in the Navy Reserves and doing his two weeks in FL. So I was all alone when I found out I was pregnant. It was such an incredible feeling. I savored it. For all of 3 minutes and then I picked up the phone and called him. ; )

The weeks wore on and I didn't even have morning sickness! I felt a little tired, but great. Nothing at all like my first pregnancy.

And then I started spotting.

I called the Dr., went in to the hospital, and they scanned me. The little heartbeat reassured us, but I kept spotting. We went to see the Dr. the next day.

And there was no heartbeat any longer.

I was about 12 weeks pregnant.

I have no idea, to this day, why this happened. And I grieved. Oh how I grieved. I wrote letters to my baby. I saved all the little, silly things that Mommies save.

We waited a week or so and I never actually "lost" the baby, so I had to have a D&C. I was told that we could try again in 3 months.

And we did.

And I got pregnant immediately.

I was *terrified*. But I was also sick. VERY sick. Hyperemesis they call it. Was a silly little word for such a monster sickness.

So they told me that I may not be able to carry this baby. That there were sometimes that the mothers reaction to the pregnancy was so much that it was in her "best interest" to abort the child. That if this continued, I could die. I even had homehealth nurses trying to stick my dehydrated veins to give me a little fluid.

Of course I would carry this baby! How on earth could the Dr. think that I wouldn't? Where had he been during my last pregnancy? Didn't he see how badly I wanted a child?

Time eventually passed. Thanks to a *wonderful* husband that brought me the oddest food combinations and helped me (literally) to eat small bites. And at around 20 weeks, the sickness started to end.

I carried this precious baby the full 40 weeks.

There has never been a child more wanted or loved. Never been a child more viewed as a true blessing.

And today she turns 12.

We have a lot to do today, even though it's her birthday. But I pray that my attitude toward her always shows her how very special she is to us.

Today and everyday.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mid-week Already

I'm running late already today, but just wanted to quickly post that "school" Monday was incredible. I plan to post more about that, maybe later today.

Today, Julia(11) goes for her first day.

And *finally* DH slept last night. Thank God.

More later.


Monday, August 21, 2006


It's the first day of school. DD(9) starts co-op today. I'm more nervous than she is!

I was feeling all together. I've planned for this day for months. The only "snag" was that I'd gotten a call a couple of weeks ago saying that one of Jill's classes had been cancelled. It was the last class of the day (as the director told me on the phone), so no huge deal. We just get her back a little early!

But the schedule, with every 15 minutes planned throughout the day, was already done. And I didn't bother changing it. Figuring I would do that today, as the day wore on and we saw how it played out.

So late last night, too late, Jillian asked to see her schedule. I brought it out. And guess what?

The class that was cancelled was the FIRST class of the day. Not the last.

I'm glad I didn't re-do the schedule. All it really meant was that we got to sleep in on this first day. Which is super nice.

And now we're off!


Saturday, August 19, 2006


The RV show yesterday was awesome! It was in a town a little south of here and we'd not been there in years. The convention center that housed the show was HUGE and most of the displays were inside in the airconditioning! So we really got a chance to walk around and explore them without dehydration and death! Yay!

We even know almost to the letter what we want now. Now for finding it, and having the money for it. ; )

We stayed there until around 3pm and then with the drive back home, there was only time for a quick clean of the house before it was supper time. I threw together some chicken fajitas and then we settled in for (Tivo'd) hours of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

The way we "play" it is that the little girls get to answer all of the questions until they can't answer them anymore (usually $2000.00 or so) and then the rest of us duke it out. DH, our oldest, her BF, and me. Pretty fun.

I got a phone call from my great aunt (who is much closer than one might think a great aunt would be) who said that my great uncle wasn't doing so well. I've got to think of some way to help them out and I'm just drawing a blank. They're terribly stubborn people who think they're being a burden if you offer to even grocery shop for them. But they're in their late 70's and on medication and NEED some help. I can't seem to make them understand that it's an absolute privilege to do anything in the world for them that we possibly can do.

If anyone has any ideas of ways to help elderly relatives in a situation like this, without making them feel badly, I would sure appreciate it.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Yesterday - Today

Do you ever have one of those days where you're busy All. Day. Long. And when you think back on it, you can't recall a thing you've gotten done?

That was my yesterday.

I had a meeting last night for the new homeschool co-op. A couple of girlfriends and I met beforehand and drank some iced tea and compared calendars. Catching each other up on Girl Scouts, the YMCA homeschool program, the co-op, etc. I thought I was pretty on top of it all, but I was kidding myself. I need to get out all of my paperwork and schedule in the things that are important to us.

Because, uh, homeschooled kids aren't socialized.


But I'm not going to do it today. Because we're out the door in a minute to go to a RV show!

I'm pretty excited. More later.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just Quickly

DH's friend is coming into town and over for supper tonight.

I slept in for some odd reason. The doorbell woke me. It was UPS.

DH was looking for some specific pictures of his old cars the other day and got out our boxes of pictures. It's amazing the memories these bring up and it's renewed my resolve to make more pictures again.

He found so many pictures that he just couldn't put back in the boxes.

We've had this frame for a while:

And we absolutely love it. Why on earth I've not gotten more of them is just beyond me. You load between 12 and 40 pictures in this frame. There is a little lever on the side that you pull and it scrolls through the pictures. So it takes about 1 second to change the picture in your frame. And they're all in there safe.

The one I had in the den (you can see it in the den pictures if you look closely) had many pictures that we could change all the time. At Christmas, we'd scroll to last years Christmas picture. At Easter, the Easter pics, etc.

It was time to get more.

I thought I'd bought this one on QVC years ago, but I couldn't find them there anymore. So I found them here.

I ordered them Monday. They came today. Excellent customer service. And now I can get more of my pictures where they are easily viewable.

And besides, I needed more stuff to do before school starts next week. ; )

As a side note, I made this spinach dish the other day.

It turned out *great* and it's so incredibly easy to make. Even the little girls clamored for more.

If anyone is interested in the recipe, I'll be happy to post it.

And speaking of incredibly easy to make...and tasty! I'm always looking to make mornings easier. I love the make ahead pans of breakfast food. And since I'm making bread, we frequently have some that is getting a little stale (2 days old with homemade bread). Amy has this super easy Oven French Toast recipe here:

I mashed some strawberries and softened a block of cream cheese and put it between the layers.

Needless to say, it was a huge hit.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

That Time of Year

I actually have a running list of things I want to blog about. But I was reading about homeschooling this morning, and it's more timely than my list, so I'm going to ramble a bit.

We usually take most of the summer off from homeschooling. At least several weeks.

But if you're like me, it's always at the back of your mind.

I've got to "re-up" with our umbrella group. Print out the ID cards. Laminate them. Print out all of my info from last year (to have in *my* folders here, yes I'm that freakish about it). I've got to make a list of the material we will use this year. It will take me a good couple of hours. I need to schedule that.

However, I've already done a lot toward this year.

Both girls are signed up for a co-op.

Julia (11) is taking math, science and drama there.

Jillian (9) is taking science, creative writing, and art.

It's not the easiest place to get into. It fills up pretty fast. And this is our first year there. So I'm absolutely tickled that we're "in".

I found *all* of my other curriculum at the local used curriculum fair this year. I've got many of my lesson plans done (several weeks worth).

And I'm not planning to "start back" until week after next.

The girls SAT tests came back and they are doing really good. Amazing in some areas.

So all in all, I feel pretty good.

But I can remember a time when I was so worried and stressed.

Jessica (19) I didn't homeschool from the beginning. I pulled her out of school after 3rd grade. For many reasons.

It was a really smooth transition even though I had no idea what I was doing. Because you see, she could read.

Skip forward a few years.

It wasn't nearly so easy with Julia(11). It was reading that we had trouble with. All of the current wisdom says that they should read by the time they're what? Five? Well, five came and went. She just didn't get it.

Then 6.


I started to stress.

Luckily I had a friend who absolutely told it to me straight. She told me that Julia was bright (she is) and that she would learn to read when it was right for her to learn to read. And then she told me that I had an OBLIGATION to Keep it Fun for her. Did I want her to dread reading? Of course not. Then keep it fun.

We bought this:

And some Bob books.

That's it.

We "stopped" any other form of homeschool reading/phonics. We just listened to the tapes in the car. We sang. We kept it fun.

It still took her until she was 8 until she could read. It didn't just change her overnight. But you know what?

It changed *me*.

At 8 she learned to read. She is now 11 and reading on a 10th grade level. She adores reading. She loves series (like her Mama). We just yesterday got 9 used eBay books in the mail for her (a new series that her older sister read years ago) and she was thrilled. She's already devouring them.

My Jillian (9)? She could read before her sister. At 3 we were listening to the tape and she told me that she didn't need to listen to it anymore. She knew how to read.

Yeah, right.

I handed her a Bob book and told her that if she could read it, she didn't have to listen to the tape anymore.

Imagine my surprise when the child opened the book and read it to me. Word for word. With total comprehension.

(I throw that last part in about Jillian because I want to make it totally clear that it wasn't the curriculum or "me" that caused Julia to read late. It was just that she wasn't ready at 5. Or 6. Or 7. And I cringe to think of how the school system would have labeled this bright child if she had been in their care.)


Monday, August 14, 2006


Okay, blogger is acting funny. I have no idea if this will post or not.

Church was great yesterday. We came home afterward and DH went for a bike ride. I mowed the yard and then the girls and I watched a little TV. Then I read the bible for a while.

The girls have a youth group at church on Sunday afternoons now. It's brand new and just started. This was the second week and the parents stayed with them the first week. So this was their first week alone. They seemed to love it.

And DH and I had a wonderful time. We went downtown to a little coffee shop, got a coffee, and then went for a walk downtown. There was a metal sculpture garden that was fun to walk through. Then we drooled at some condos that they're putting up almost on the river. There was a guy down there renting bikes. We looked into it, thinking if it were cheap enough we could drive down with the girls and rent bikes one day (and not have to haul ours down). It was **$40** a day! Each!

We'll haul ours down. : )

Not much got done in the house this weekend. We're totally out of bread. So I've got my first dough in the breadmaker. I'll make rolls out of this and then put on a loaf.

I'm working on my third load of laundry. And I've still got my "normal" Monday things to get done. Plus, there is a man here working on the pool pump. So I'd better run and take care of things.


Saturday, August 12, 2006


Our overnight guest ended up needing to stay a second night.

We were happy to have him. Truly. But not having a guest room made it a bit awkward. And it rained almost all day yesterday, so everyone was stuck inside. Plus, I hadn't planned any good, big meal for the second night. But it ended up working out. And he just left a few minutes ago.

As I mentioned earlier, he's going through a custody battle for his children. That, and his divorce, was all he talked about. Their plans. What they were supposed to be doing with their lives now. The trouble his children were having. The way they were put in the middle of this mess.

The hurt and anguish were tangible.

Mike and I have been through a lot over the years. Who hasn't that has been married 20 years? There have been times, many years ago, that I've wanted to throw in the towel. And times that he has wanted to do the same thing. Luckily, we've never both wanted to do so at the same time.
Seeing this hurt, up close and personal, has done nothing but reinforce my belief that marriage is sacred. It doesn't scar me or make me feel bitter when I hear his (or other) stories. It makes my heart swell with gratefulness.

Because as hard as the hard times were (and trust me, we've had some hard times), they were nothing compared to the bond that we have as a family.

I thank God that He has given us the fortitude to stick with one another through good and bad, richer and poorer, sickness and health.

Because we still have our family. And what could be sweeter?


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Home Tour

For some reason I get a kick out of seeing peoples homes. It's such a personal and private place to be allowed, and it feels nice to be invited in. Even if it is "only" online. Seems that everyone is doing it! So I suppose I'll do it too.

Our front door. Welcome.

The entry. Just inside the front door. The formal living room is to the right. The stairs to the left go up to the bedrooms, and straight ahead is the kitchen/dining room.

The formal living room.

This is the hallway just upstairs which I got incredibly crooked for some reason in the picture!

This is the master bedroom. That mirror that hangs over the bed belonged to my great-grandmother (who raised me) and is very precious to me.

This photo is taken from the bed toward the master bathroom area. The tub and toilet are through the door to the left. And I promise, my mirror isn't dirty, though it sure looks it in this picture.

Rest of the master bath.

Going back downstairs, this is the view of the kitchen.

The is a view left from the kitchen down into the den. And my poor, long suffering husband taking a nap in his chair.

A view from the den to the kitchen. Standing here, immediately to my right is the laundry room/half bath.

The laundry room.

The door that leads out of the kitchen, leads to the back porch. I think it may be the most lived in room in the house. Except when it's this hot.

This is our back deck. We put this in (the deck and above ground pool) several years back and it's been such a blessing to the family. We spend so much time outside now and just really get to enjoy it.

Another view of the back yard area.

We've lived here 12 1/2 years. There are things we need to get done. We have plans to make the room off of the kitchen (the formal dining room) a storage area, hopefully this fall. And I'm still working on the computer/school room. I'll post some pictures when I get it a bit closer to being "done". I didn't show the girls rooms, to give them some privacy. But if they decide they'd like to share, I may do that as well.


Outta Control

Our school/computer room that is...

I've mentioned it before, but trust me, it can be said again. I have such a time with paper. The mail. The flyers the girls get at this activity or the other. The catalogs that I *might* someday need to order something from. The nice cards I'd like to keep. The homeschool records. Trust me, the list could go on and on and on.

FINALLY, yesterday, I got my desk cleaned. It really was a big job. I cleaned out small cabinets that I'd not even looked inside of in probably 2 or more years. Terrible? I Know!

But it's clean *now*. And the goal is for it to *stay* clean *for good*.

I feel so organized.

Now, the rest of the room. Not so good. But it's gonna be. The desk was inspiring.

DH's friend came over last night. He usually comes into town once every couple of weeks or so and has dinner with us. It's nice. DH made him Boudain:

bou·din also Bou·dain ( P ) Pronunciation Key (b-dn, -d)n. pl. bou·dins, also Bou·dains (-dn, -dnz)
A highly seasoned link sausage of pork, pork liver, and rice that is a typical element of Louisiana Creole cuisine.

I made homemade rolls, slaw and corn. And a raw vegetable plate with some dip.

I'd forgotten that I had to drive DD(11) to youth at a neighboring church. So I was in and out for most of the visiting.

Tonight we have a friend of DH coming over that I've not seen in years. He's retired military and is in some kind of custody battle with his ex-wife. I really don't know any details of it. But he's coming into town for court in the am and asked if he could stay here. DH went out yesterday and got an AeroBed since we don't have any extra beds here. Hopefully, he'll be comfortable.

DH is going to cook steak and boudain on the grill again. I'm not sure what I'll do for my part. DD(9) has cheerleading practice so again, I'll be in and out.

Time to get the floors done.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


  1. I signed up to go on my first Girl Scout camp today. It's not until mid-Sept. I still have time to back out.
  2. I took Melatonin last night for the first time in forever. I'm pleasantly surprised.
  3. A friend of DH's is coming by for supper tonight.
  4. Another friend of DH's is coming by for supper tomorrow night. And staying the night.
  5. Better get busy.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I suppose I should get used to it. Fall is on it's way with all the related activities. It began yesterday with one activity and then another.

And have you noticed that when you go to any child function for the first time in the season, you'd better bring 2 things.

1. Your checkbook
2. Your calendar

Cause things are going to be piled on.

I've accepted this. Almost.

On an unrelated topic, you'd think, having a 19yo, that I'd be used to my childrens bd's. That they might lose some of the magic.

But they never, never do.

I never realized what my birthday might have meant to *my* mom. When I went about the day having my fun and parties and friends.

It's such a time of reflection to me. And so special. With each girl. Every year.

This is my 11yo and my (newly) 9yo making the cake that Jill wanted. A Coca-Cola Cake. Oh, and we had to make *2*. One for the family and one for the Girl Scouts. (Which it's a good thing we did, because the Girl Scouts ate an *entire* cake.)

This is the cake. We have to put pecans on only half because, while my girls love pecans, they don't want them on cake? And no, she's not 81. Or 8. But she insisted on using last years candle (which I have NO idea why we even still have) plus one more candle. We *had* 9 candles. Really. But you can't argue with 9yo logic I suppose.

Who doesn't love presents?

I *love* this picture. Jill has wanted a particular video game for over a year. Which at 8, is like dog years I suppose. The thing is, she didn't have the system to play this video game. So when I found one used, and found the game used, I thought it might be a hit. And I love that my girls don't at *all* care if their stuff is used.

Another face that I love. You can't fake this kind of enthusiasm. Well, not at 9 anyway. ; )

I think she likes it.

But maybe she likes the bubblewrap more?


Monday, August 07, 2006

Busy Day

I have a meeting in a couple of hours with the director of the local YMCA homeschool program. My girls have been going for 6 years. They require you to "volunteer"** there (along with pay a crazy amount) 1 day out of each 6 week week period. Doesn't sound like a lot huh? No. But they only GO 1 day a week. And it's only for 3 hours.

(**I don't have anything against volunteering. I just happen to think that if it's called "volunteering" it should actually be because you "volunteer". If it's mandatory work time, then just say that. I'm not sure why we have to nice everything up so much that we make it inaccurate.)

Anyway, back to "volunteering". It's the most disorganized chaos (for the volunteers, the children are very well scheduled) I've seen in such a professional environment. You basically go in and are forced to hang around the teachers (who really don't want/need you there) and fetch crayons or stickers in the occasional moment.

But sometimes you get the important job. You, and you alone, are responsible for making sure the children flush.

I kid you not.

Anyway, my friend Brooke and I were venting about this (for years) and decided to talk to the director about some real volunteering. So. We've volunteered to teach a class for a whole 6 week period. It's on environmental studys and it's for the teenage class. Brooke has a teaching degree (which seems to be key for the two of us to do it even though I'm hard pressed to think of anyone else there that had a teaching degree).

We get to go talk with the director (who, for some reason, is seeming anti-homeschool lately even though that's how she MAKES HER LIVING) about this today. We sat down yesterday and wrote up a sketch of a lesson plan to present.

We'll see how it goes.

Also, girl scouts starts for the season tonight.

Also, it's my baby's 9th birthday (with all the added chores/fun that go with that).

So I'm going to wake up my little girl and hold and hug on her at the time she was born 9 short year ago.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Story in Pictures

This is thermometer on the back porch. In the shade. With a fan blowing. At 7pm.

I'm frustrated that this picture is blurry because it was such a clear indicator of a bird eating the tomatoes. There is the hole, and scratch marks around the hole where it's little claws dug into the side. I'd heard about birds doing this when the heat is bad and there isn't a lot of rain.

But the vines overflow (even though they look a little scraggly), so I suppose I can spare a few for the birds. I just wish they wouldn't get the biggest/prettiest ones!

But obviously, we're not hurting for tomatoes.

And my sunflowers are beginning to bloom! It's our first year with them. They grew from little foot high plants to these huge stalking sticks. Quickly! And now the little flowers are there. They make me happy.


Friday, August 04, 2006

What is it About Fridays?

I love Fridays. Don't ask me why. It must be something of a kickback from my youth. Friday meant the end of the school week. There was nothing but fun. Friday nights were amazing. You knew you could sleep in the next day! And you had the whole Saturday for whatever your heart desired.

With children, that changed. Didn't my babies know it was Saturday and they should sleep in? No. They didn't. (As they get older, they seem to have figured this out.)

So now it Friday again. And don't they seem to be coming around more and more quickly as we get older? And it's the END of my 4th week of my scheduled house keeping. And it's all coming together. Slowly. Painstakingly. But coming together!


I made my first whole crockpot chicken the other day. I wish I'd have made pictures. It turned out *so* pretty. For a dead bird, I mean.

That night, we had chicken, fried green tomatoes (my first attempt and *marvelous* if I do say so myself) and the family had rolls.

Yesterday, the family had my first attempt of wheat bread (thumbs up all around) with shredded chicken and chicken gravy poured over the top.

Now, today, they profess that they are nowhere NEAR tired of this bird and are requesting homemade white bread rolls, smothered in mayo, with bbq chicken. And probably something real healthy, like chips. ; )

So who am I to refuse?

This $3 chicken will have provided my family with meat for 3 dinners. And there will probably be some left to go in the freezer.

I don't know how you can beat that.

Hmmm...I should think about putting a breakdown of meals here.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back to Try Again

Because I know you were all waiting with bated breath. ; )

Ok, this is the inside of the machine. Notice the lovely horizontal pan??

I only had the ingredients for a white loaf. So I quickly (after scrubbing the thing out) and carefully measure them out.

Wet ingredients first (as the manual instructed, yes, this little beauty came with a manual! And again, for $5. Oh the joy. Oh the guilt.)

Then the dry.

The yeast goes into a little "well" dug into the dry ingredients.

And presto! Chango!

Out comes this lovely loaf of bread (after a mere 3 hours 40 minutes).

That same day I decided to see if I could make hamburger buns.

Of course I can!

And all because of my $5 bread machine.

And btw, the bread in this is *really* good. It's not at all like the bread in my old bread maker. I'm astounded. Amazed.

And still a bit guilt ridden.

; )