Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gettin' our requests on the "big man's" list

We got to go see Santa last night. On John's list...a new bow and arrow (he already has one, but evidently isn't satisfied). For Ashley, a book...she doesn't really care which one. The quotes of the night come from Sara and Nathan. Sara attempted to explain to Santa what an MP3 player is. Nathan had the following conversation:

Santa: What would you like for Christmas?
Nathan: Whatever you bring me
Santa: What if I bring you a rock?
Nathan: That is fine. I like rocks.
Santa: Are you sure?
Nathan: Yes, you can bring me a rock.








Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ashley's Christmas wish list

Ashley brought home her Christmas wishes for our family yesterday. And I quote:

I sure hope my family to recieve these gifts for Christmas. I want Sara to get new art books. She could use them. John could use a new friend. I want Nathan to get drums. I want my mom to get a new oven. I want my dad to get a deer.

I must admit I'd love a convection oven. How did she know??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Bells

So I have a new favorite Christmas carol this year. It started to grow on me last year and this year it is what my kids have heard the most...I heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It was originally a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the American Civil War. The poem speaks of the despair felt within the world at Christmas and then his last line is full of our faith and hope. I've included 3 stanzas of the poem...the first, next to last and last...so you can get the gist of it. I'm sure many of you have heard the song but maybe, like me, never paid much attention to the lyrics:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Christmas Bells
I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Why I've been AWOL

My husband keenly observed the other day that I have been AWOL from my blog. Not sure why exactly. I honestly haven't been that busy. "What?!" I hear voices saying, "Not very busy?! Surely not this time of year!" But that is a true statement. I haven't been baking, caroling, doing Christmas cards, or any of that stuff. I haven't even been partying much...only one. For the first time in several years we didn't even do an open house. It's not that I planned it this way. It just kind of happened. I've been on the couch on and off since Thanksgiving and in some significant pain on and off. Most of that time we self-diagnosed it as a kidney stone. Here recently we've discovered that it is actually a couple of cysts that decided to show up and give me an early Christmas present that will include some surgery. This last week I wasn't even allowed to drive because of the pain medication. Joe got familiar with the carpool to and from school and I ran out of excuses for not doing the laundry. I was going to blog then, but seeing as it was difficult for me to even complete a sentence talking at times, I didn't think it so wise to post something while I was under the influence (so to speak). So this structured, planning person has had to be fairly flexible...including adjusting our travel plans. We'll be home sweet home this Christmas. It hasn't been as much of a bummer as it sounds. We have had some good times:

  • Lots of cups of homemade chocolate have gotten made and enjoyed around the dining room table.
  • We've read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever together. It is one of my all time favorite Christmas stories. Thanks to Sara's teacher, we got to borrow the movie and watch it tonight.
  • John and Ashley had their Christmas program at school this last week. Hopefully pictures will be forthcoming.
  • All the kids participated in our church's version of "the Christmas pageant". Nathan managed to stay on stage the entire time, not knock over any microphones or burn the church down with the advent candles, and entertain everyone so I call it a success.
  • Our tree is loaded with ornaments and memories of our kids. I am really starting to love our Christmas tree.
  • We've watched our share of all the Christmas specials. We've been saving A Charlie Brown Christmas for this weekend.
  • I've been so blessed by my "family" here who have come alongside and helped with the kids so much
  • And I cannot say enough good things about my husband...working his job and doing mine all at the same time. Not sure how he's kept all the balls in the air the last few weeks. He's doing an AWESOME job though!

So that's what's been going on with the Horn herd. I hope to get some pictures posted soon. Wishing you all a snuggly, snowy weekend before Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Way to go John!

And he did it all by himself. He was wondering if this warranted a story in the newspaper with his picture. Since, sadly, it doesn't, I did the next best thing by letting you know.

Among the children we currently have three more loose teeth. It could be a costly month!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Traditions

When it comes to Christmas I'm all about traditions. (Sigh, every time I think about that I start singing Fiddler on the Roof). So when I read Jill Savage's blog about blogging about your family traditions as it relates to putting up Christmas decorations, I thought "this should be easy". Then I relived putting them up this year. I thought it would be fun if we always had Chinese food on the day we put the decorations up. Fun, but impractical. We don't really have any good Chinese in town, so scratch that. We had Italian this year...it's red...maybe we'll continue that. We do always rotate who puts the star on the tree, but that also leads to the tradition of a huge "discussion" prior as to who's turn it is to do the task. I usually end up having to pull up pictures from last year to see who did it then. And then there is the tradition of me standing in the middle of the living room stating rather firmly (some would say with a raised voice, but I'm not convinced) that you CAN'T TOUCH ANY OF THE ORNAMENTS UNTIL I HAND THEM TO YOU! YOU MIGHT BREAK SOMETHING! The one tradition that we don't have and I'm rather glad to be done with is the untangling of all the lights and plugging them in and checking them one by one to see which light is out and then plugging them in again and then finally getting to put them on the tree. That doesn't mean that we don't have any related to lights....I changed out 40 bulbs on our tree and am still trying to figure out how to get the lights to hang on the front window. They hung on there last year, but I also remember going through the same dilemma as to how to get them to stay. It seems like I do that every year. Does that make it a tradition? How about the tradition of Joe and I going back to the tree after the kids have gone to bed and rearranging all the decorations? Yes, we definitely have some traditions as it relates to putting our Christmas decorations up. And they definitely aren't the ones I would choose to have, but that is what makes us our own little family. And I think the goal was somehow met this year in the words of Sara at the end of the evening "This is a special night, isn't it Mom?" Some of the best traditions are the ones we don't try to create, but just sort of happen on their own.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nathan's moves

Nathan got some new costumes for his birthday and decided to try his bumblebee transformer outfit with his new dance moves. Thought you would enjoy... (this is the first video that I've tried on my blog. Hope it works....)

video

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

lovin' my boys

Nathan:

So I got to spend my morning with Nathan. It was fairly typical...except I was reminded this morning how much fun that kid is! We got to sing Jingle Bells at the top of our lungs in the Kroger parking lot. He was so excited you couldn't help but join in. I turned on Christmas music at home as I unloaded the car. He said to me..."watch my moves mom". So I turned and looked at "his moves" as he, in his superman outfit, jams out to Ella Fitzgerald. Awesome!

John:

John's been learning about Thanksgiving. I was so impressed yesterday when he told me the right reason that the pilgrims came to America. Today's story was little more entertaining. Evidently, since they didn't have water faucets like we do, the pilgrims went to the river to get water and it was too salty. Sara stepped in and corrected him at this point and said "no, it wasn't too salty. It was full of fish pee." I let John continue. He said that since the water was too salty they didn't have any water at the first Thanksgiving. They just had beer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

103 kids hearing about Jesus!

As most of you know Joe posed a challenge to our kids at AWANA in September. If we hit 100 kids, he would shave off his hair. We started around 60 kids. So last night in our small town we had 103 kids. It has been close to 20 years since we've had 100 kids at our Wednesday night kids' program. You may be having the same thought as some of my kids: "Why did you have to tell them you would shave your hair." (One of them was in tears on the way home because he/she was definitely not a fan!) Because, as we explained to the kids, the cost of losing one's hair is so minimal compared to the cost of someone spending eternity with God. The fruit of the challenge: ...lots (too many to count) of kids who have never been to church before, don't know what a Bible verse is, and haven't heard about Jesus. What makes it worth it all? A little girl in my group last night who's eyes literally popped open and sparkled as she heard me explain John 3:16 to her. And seeing a little kid cry after getting her first Bible. It's definitely worth a little bit different looking husband/daddy. Now to go to the store and invest in some hats....




Friday, November 13, 2009

November update

I didn't realize until the other day how long it had been since I had blogged. Where have the first few weeks of November gone? Only two weeks until Thanksgiving! Yikes! Here are some things I've learned over the past few weeks:

Joe doesn't like blow pops. He prefers tootsie pops. I didn't know this until we started going through the Halloween candy. It has sparked a huge debate that is visited daily. I mean, seriously, what is not to like about the blow pop...bubble gum surrounded by hard candy. (And I wonder why Nathan likes gum so much). Ah well, more for me!

I have come to despise strep throat. Until this year I had never had strep throat in my life. Now I am currently battling my third round of it. It is like my body reached 36 and decided "That's it. We're done. We're not fighting off strep germs anymore." And it isn't like 36 is old. I'm going to hate to see what my body decides not to fight off when I'm 70! Of course I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I have three kids that come home from school carrying their germs and all the other 20 kids in their class germs as well.

Despite the economy, there is a really, really, really hot market in used Little House on the Prairie books. I'm getting a head start on Christmas shopping and thought I would pick up a few deals on eBay. Wowzers, the bidding is not for the faint of heart.

I've been going through Romans and am really enjoying it. God's grace is amazing!

Joe blessed me with a weekend away last week. I got to worship and study my Bible with 8800 women with some insight from Beth Moore. A little taste of heaven...

Bow hunting is hard. I didn't learn this from first hand experience. Joe is trying it for the first time this fall. They make it look so easy on Whitetail Freaks. I guess there's always a muzzle loader and a shotgun that can make it happen next weekend. Ashley's been begging daddy for some more deer steak.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!

A big Happy Birthday wish to my father-in-law! We love you Dad and Grandpa!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Nate!

In the midst of all flu drama at our house this last week, we had a huge milestone. The herd will no longer have a 3 year old in its midst. I'm sad. I like 3 year olds...a lot...especially 3 year old boys. But, as Joe has now famously put it, "we are raising adults, not children!". So I guess it is for the best that my baby turn 4. He was certainly excited about it. Here's some Nate facts:

Favorite food: marshmallows

Birthday cake: Strawberry with white icing (yes, I made my 4 year old boy a pink cake for his birthday. In my defense, he requested it over and over and over again!)

Favorite candy: You can take the chocolate and anything else sweet as long as you give me GUM!

Favorite toy: his electric guitar

Favorite pasttime: playing dress-up...it doesn't matter what as long as it isn't his normal clothes

Favorite TV show: old superman cartoon

Favorite stuffed animal: Rosie the bear, of course!

Here's my now four year old in his new birthday outfit:

Here's how poor Sara spent Nate's birthday:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's amazing how something invisible can totally take everything out of you...

Last night was the first night I've slept through the night since I had the flu. Yeah, that sore throat last weekend wasn't strep, it was the first stage of the flu. So I woke up this morning feeling really, really great. I spent about the first half hour with my cup of coffee and coughing...coughing a lot. But I hadn't woke up coughing in the night (NyQuil is really, really great!) so I didn't really mind coughing this morning. The sun came out which, frankly, has been a very infrequent occurrence lately. So I got out my to do list and at the top was to rake the leaves that are piled everywhere around our house. I took the kids to school (except for Sara...she has the flu now) for the first time this week, came home, changed my clothes, and promptly sat down to catch my breath. But I was still feeling pretty good and was very tired of sitting on my couch staring at all those leaves. So I went outside, started the fire in the pit, and tackled those leaves. After about 5 minutes I realized this was going to be much more draining than I realized. Okay, so I'll lower my expectations and only do part of them. I cleaned off the driveway (you couldn't even really tell where our driveway was) and then I was done raking. The gutters had to get cleaned out before it rained. So now it is 10:38, and after many breaks (helping Sara with her homework) I raked the driveway and cleaned out 2 of the 4 gutters. And, yep, I'm done for the day. It's back to the couch to stare at the leaves for me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The secret to good cooking

I spent most of my weekend on the couch. The body couldn't hold off the germs in the house any longer. I'm doing much better now thanks to a great husband who kept me medicated with ibuprofen and tylenol all weekend (and made sure I didn't OD on any of it as I kept asking for me). Almost back to normal except the excruciating pain that I have whenever I swallow. My throat is so very sore. Ahh, swallowing is overrated. Joe keeps hinting that a doctor visit in my future. Anyway, since I was on the couch and Joe was watching the herd I got caught up on a lot of my DVR'd shows and then some. I'm fairly TV'd out at this point. I actually watched QVC for part of the weekend. They were selling Rachael Ray's kitchen equipment so I didn't feel like I was completely wasting my time. And I picked up a very important cooking tip. It is the secret to great and perfect food. Cooking food in Rachael Ray's stoneware makes the food taste good. Who know that was all it took? I'm sure it's true...the sales lady said it so matter of factly. And here I've wasted all that money on my cookbooks. I just needed good Rachael Ray stoneware! I bet my kids would even eat creamed spinach if I just made it in that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's confession time

Joe and I are fairly responsible people. Our children get 3 meals a day and snacks if they are hungry. They go to bed at a decent time. If you ask us to do something for you and we say we will, we do it. We had good parents that taught us how to arrive on time and go the extra mile. However, there is one area that for some reason we fail every time....movie rentals. Yep, I think I can count on one hand the number of times that Joe and I have returned a rented movie on time. I don't know what it is about returning the movie to the video store or the library that turns us into completely irresponsible adults. I'm also not sure how many movies we could have actually bought with the amount of fines and late fees that we've had to pay. Because of this we usually go through spurts of renting movies...after two or three late returns we stop borrowing them. And then Joe usually says to me "We should just join Netflix. They don't have due dates on their movies." And then I always say "No! That will cost us a lot more money then we would typically spend in a month on movie rentals." And then Joe says "Really? How much did we spend this month including late fees?" And then I say "But I know we can return them on time the next time!"

Well the proverbial straw broke the camel's back this week. We returned our movie night video Star Wars: The Clone Wars three days late! Yikes! That's a lot of late fees. So yesterday I signed us up for Netflix. We'll see if I can get them to the mailbox! I mean, seriously, it can't be that difficult to put it back in the mail, can it? But then again the video store is on the way to church so you know how often we drive past it...

So I published this post and the google ad that showed up on my page after it posted was for Netflix...very funny...

The signs that the flu...

outbreak, epidemic, pandemic, whatever you want to call it has officially hit our small town:

I counted only 12 walker/rider kindergartners coming out of school one day. There are four kindergarten classes at the school. (Remember that many ride the bus, but just the fact that I could count the walker/riders is a sign)

I was on hold with the pediatrician's office for 15 minutes this morning. Honestly I was feeling fortunate it wasn't longer. Kind of scared to actually visit the office later today...

The topic of conversation everywhere is the flu...who's had it, who's not had it, what the symptoms are, the extent to which people are going to not get the flu, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate (which is kind of a weird question since we are talking about who has it and who doesn't have it in the same breath)...I could go on and on

My kids get their temperature checked every morning and extensive questioning on possible symptoms that would make a CIA interrogation officer proud.

So, you may be thinking have we been sick? Yep, everyone but me has had some level of sickness (Go mom's immune system! That and I'm surprised I'm not drunk from all the GermX I've used in the last week.) John is still feeling under the weather hence the doctor's visit. Is it "the flu"? clueless on the answer to that one. Does it honestly matter? Nope, I'm just thankful that we've not had whatever it is as serious as some of my friends and feeling blessed that I get a few sick days to hang out with John-John.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week wrap-up

Hello November! What? It's not November? I was fooled by the November like temperatures, the forecast for snow (earlier this week) and flu season. I thought we'd avoided that last one until last night. I guess my kids' bodies can only fight off so much. John's finally succumb to a fever. It really was only a matter of time...one of the other kindergarten classes at his school had a substitute teacher and only 6 kids in the class one day. The word on the street (very reliable sources...other moms) is that it lasts about a week and yes, my suspicions on this one were correct, you are contagious before the fever hits. We may only have 2 to go instead of 3...Ashley already experienced the sore throat for 2 days so I'm thinking her immune system kicked it before it overtook her.

We had parents night at AWANA on Wednesday night and it was a proud night. Sara earned her t-shirt and the other three all came home with their first patches. I love seeing them soak up God's word.

John learned all about spiders and bats this week. He thinks they are so fascinating. I think those creatures were made for little boys.

We got the older three's school pictures back. Nathan wanted to know where his were. He still is convinced at times that he should go to school and experience all that it has to offer. The pictures reminded me that it was a windy day. John's hair looked great. The girls...well, it was a windy day.

We said good-bye (actually see you later) to a dear friend this week. You can hop over to Joe's blog to read a tribute to Wally.

I'm off to family night at church (which I'm in charge of) by myself. The girls are off to a girl scout camp out and the boys, well, should be quarantined for awhile.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The incident we will call "The Whopper episode"

I tried to order a Whopper yesterday at our local Hardees. Really? It's a Hardees? Ever since we moved here over two years ago I have thought it was a Burger King for some reason and obviously keep forgetting. My coffee had worn off by lunch time. I was on an adrenaline high from a good morning Bible study. I thought I would treat my hubby to a Whopper (he's had a long week). So I pulled into the drive thru, was very confused that the Whopper wasn't on the menu, but would not be deterred so I asked the lady on the other side of the speaker "Do you have a Whopper combo?" After a pause she responded "This isn't Burger King." I was slightly dismayed and then my brain kicked in. She was right this wasn't Burger King. Evidently I couldn't get it made "my way".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

recent mom moments

I had to dry John's socks to wear to school with the hair dryer because I didn't get them in the dryer on time. Yes, he has a lot of socks and they were all dirty!

Ashley informed me that I'm no longer allowed to lick my thumb and then clean her face with it. She was pretty grossed out the last time I did it and I would probably be grossed out if someone did that to me.

On Saturday I was so proud of my kids and somewhat proud of myself as a parent. They were so very good on a marathon shopping trip I took them on...for clothes. Sunday was perhaps my most humbling day as a mom...not a good day and ended the day wondering why God made me a mom. Maybe that's why He gave me Saturday as a reminder before the storm hit.

We were working on memory verses for AWANA and I got corrected by my kids (more than once) and I had the book! I guess it helps if I look at it.

I remember at 3pm today that I would need to fix supper tonight and had no idea what I was going to fix.

I found four more gray hairs while I was waiting in the car this afternoon for the kids to come out of school.

I have recently broken 1.) the door sensor on the dryer. You can now open the dryer door and have it continue to run. It's a good thing I no longer have a toddler in the house who would jump in for the ride. 2.)the door knob on Ashley's door while I was trying to unlock it. It was easier to break than you might think.

I have a dead mum in a pot sitting on my front porch. I think it lived for a week.

Needless to say, this hasn't been my most successful month as a mom, but I also can say that I've managed to laugh my way through most of these which has been nice. Maybe I can use them in a stand up comic routine someday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday randomness

I have a bunch of random thoughts rattling around in my brain so I thought I'd share...

It is Thursday and I'm not mopping. I haven't mopped on Thursdays for awhile. I figured life is short so why spend every Thursday mopping. Instead it has turned into coffee with a friend day. And today it had an added surprise involving John Denver. It was kind of God's way of reminding me how much He loves me. He never ceases to amaze me.


Sara told me the other day that she thought we had a weird last name.


I don't understand snooze buttons. I never have. Normally they aren't a big deal because I hardly ever wake up to an alarm clock and I'm usually already up when Joe's goes off. Let's just say the other night someone remaining nameless kept me up watching a movie until 11ish (we still haven't finished it) and then the alarm clock went off at 5AM and 5:04 and 5:08 and..then he (I should say we) got up at 5:11. So why didn't we just set it for 5:11? Again, don't understand the snooze option. The attempt was made to explain but I hadn't had my coffee yet.


A friend and I came up with a great idea this morning to take a day each month and swap each other's kids so that we could clean our houses throughly or do cleaning projects that never seem to get done. We were both very excited and then realized how lame we had become that we get excited over cleaning by ourselves for a day once a month.


I'm reading The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg and really enjoying it. We'll see if I get all the way through it. I'm kind of very skilled at reading 3/4 of a way through a book and then not finishing it.


Ashley's mouth is not cooperating with her new head gear. We will be making the third trip to the orthodontist in 2 weeks on Monday. A back bracket refuses to stay on her tooth.

Joe & I got to hear the testimony of our dear neighbor tonight. God has truly been doing amazing things in her life! She is meeting with the elders on Sunday to become a member of our church. So exciting and feeling so blessed that God let us witness her transformed life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Catching up...

Well, I hate resorting to bullet points, but unless you want 12 different posts about completely unrelated things, bullet points are really the only answer. Here goes....

  • The girls had a weekend of firsts...their first sleepover at a friend's house and their first football game. We are within walking distance of the high school so I'm not sure why it took a sleepover to get them to a game. The boys are feeling fairly left out so I see a football game in our future.
  • Last week I forgot the pin number my debit card. The debit card that I've had for over a year. The pin number was completely gone. I don't know where it went but every time I went to the store I was completely blank. So I had to look it up. Nope, thankfully I didn't shred the pin number like you are suppose to. Otherwise we'd have taken an embarassing trip to the bank.
  • Soup weather has arrived! I had brocolli cheese soup and wild rice soup over the weekend. So very good! And, no, they weren't homemade.
  • I think I'm going to have to put my flip flops away soon. They are calling for frost this week. As Joe can tell you, it is a sad day in our house. I love flip flops, but when there is a chance of frost bite occuring I guess I should actually put on socks and shoes. And it is rather difficult to explain the girls why I'm allowed to wear flip flops and they are not.
  • I sorted the boys' clothes this last weekend and I'm not sure which vegetable it was this summer that they ate that made them grow so very much. It was probably zuchinni. My zuchinni plants are still producing zuchinnis. I've lost count on how many quarts I have frozen. If it was the zuchinni then they will probably grow that much this winter as well because we'll be eating it all winter. For now I just need to find John some jeans to wear to school.
  • I put my pants on wrong side out this morning. Yep, that is possible. Zipping them up was rather difficult. That was the first clue to me that something was wrong. Not really a good sign for the week.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm always up for a chance to win something this pretty!

Check out my friend's blog. (The link will highlight if you run your mouse over it. Not sure why it's not in a different color!) She's going to have a drawing to give away some of her beautiful handmade cards.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You know you have a mosquito problem when...

  • you wear bug spray to take the dog out.
  • you feel like you need to explain to people that "no, I don't have the chicken pox or any other disease. I've simply been mosquito food lately."
  • when you enter your house, you all gather around the door and on the count of three, the door is opened the slightest bit and all six of you make a mad dash inside slamming the door behind you hoping not to smash any one's feet, fingers or head. Then you stand inside gasping for breath in search of the mosquitoes that managed to escape inside while you were busy stampeding one another.
  • Benedryl cream and gel become your best friend--you don't leave home without them. (Did you know you are only suppose to apply it 4 times a day? ooops...)
  • You are so convinced the buzzing sound of the mosquito is going to wake you up in the middle of the night that you begin hearing mosquitoes that aren't there.
  • You keep asking yourself "Does frost kill mosquitoes? If so, Bring. It. On!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He may be bald sooner than I thought

I treated myself to the best pumpkin spice latte this morning. Ahh, just the memory of it makes my mouth water. That has nothing to do with this post...just thought I'd share.

Last night was the first night of AWANA at our church. They had done it years ago and decided to try it again. Evidently yesterday afternoon my husband came up with a brillant incentive plan to get kids to invite their friends. He offered to shave his head if we hit 100 kids this school year. Last night's attendance....61! Which is completely awesome for the first night. AND especially the older kids were excited about the possibility of Pastor Joe being bald. So we may be looking at a bald pastor who wears a lot of hats sometime in the next few months. The funniest part about it is our own children declared at breakfast this morning "Nope, we don't like the idea, Dad. We don't want you to shave your head." So evidently the Pastor's kids won't be inviting any friends to AWANA anytime soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to play catch up

A lot has happened in the last week. You'll excuse the bullet points as I try to catch up:



John had his first field trip on Friday. He went to the apple orchard. On Thursday he came out of school, very serious (he's always very serious when he comes out of school) and told me: "Mom, we have to wear jeans, a jacket and a smile tomorrow. We have to wear all three of those things." I think he repeated it to me about 5 times Thursday night and never cracked a smile. He had fun on Friday.

Ashley is sporting new hardware:





Sara is loving third grade. She has clicked with this teacher more than any of her other teachers. She's already surpassed her reading goal for this quarter. She and Ashley both started Girl Scouts for this fall. They are super excited for their first overnight camp in the middle of October.

Nathan, my cowboy. Last week Nathan went through about 5 outfit changes a day. He would go from Incredible Hulk, to Superman, to Batman, to a pirate, to a cowboy. Finally at the end of last week he settled completely into cowboy mode and I must say its my favorite look for him. I sometimes can't bear to tell him to change clothes when we go to the store because he looks so adorable in his cowboy costume. This picture really doesn't do it justice. I wish I could just put this stage of his life in a bottle and pull it out in several years. Because he has three older siblings I know how fast it goes and I intend to treasure every minute that it is here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How John spends his recess

I got some one-on-one time with John this afternoon. This has become rather rare since he's in school now. I would like to say that it was because he missed his dear mom and wanted to spend some time with her on her errands. I think it is probably more likely that he wanted a sucker from the bank. Hey, I'm not beyond bribing at times. We had the following conversation on our little trip.

Me: So who'd you play with during recess today?
John: "J" (we'll call her this for short)
Me: Oh, what did you play?
John: house (notice how he elaborates)
Me: Soooo, were you the dad and "J" the mom?
John: Yep
Me: Did you have any kids?
John: Yes, we had 3 boys and 10 girls
Me (with my eyes popping out): Really! So you had thirteen kids huh?
John: Yep. Then "P" wanted to play and I thought he would make a good son and he agreed. So then we had 14 kids.
Me: Wow, that's quite a few kids you had
John: They were only pretend mom.
Me: (sigh) that is good to know John

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Orchard

We love Honeycrisp apples, but I always miss them at the orchard because I don't usually think about going to the orchard until the end of September. Honeycrisp are ready at the beginning of September. So I was rather proud of myself this year for remembering and on Saturday we headed to the orchard to pick some of them.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

my current worst fear

I like to sing in the shower, or the kitchen, or the living room, or the van...pretty much anywhere. You can ask my kids. They will verify. They will also confirm that my dancing isn't much to talk about...or maybe it is something to talk about, just not in a good way. Anyway, I like to sing. This morning as I was really sweating on the elliptical I realized the Tim Keller sermon that I was listening to just wasn't cutting it for motivation. I had a goal I wanted to reach this morning and I was a little sluggish so I switched over to some more appropriate music for reaching the goal. Don't get me wrong, I was enjoying Tim Keller...maybe a little too much--I think that was the problem. So the last five minutes I had my music blaring through my earphones and I realized that I was having to catch myself several times from singing out loud. Now you have to understand, while I am at the gym with all the morning birds the workout area is actually pretty quiet. The TVs are muted with CC and people are either reading (how do you read on a treadmill or an elliptical?!) or listening to their MP3s. It would be very disruptive to have me suddenly start singing between breaths. So I've decided that pretty much my worst fear now is forgetting where I am and start singing at the top of my lungs. I'm fairly certain that it would be worse then pushing the panic button on my key chain causing the van horn to honk and all the lights flash on the van while sitting by the school with 25 people milling around waiting for the kids to be dismissed. Yeah, that was somewhat embarrassing....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When I grow up...

So Nathan asked me yesterday if I was going to be a grocery store cashier when I get bigger.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Acts 20:24

When I was in high school I memorized the book of Acts. It was externally motivated. I was a Bible quizzer and I'm a little competitive. In any case, during that time I found what I wanted to be my life verse. Acts 20:24 "However I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." It sounded like a good summary of a life serving the Lord to me, so I decided on it. I had no idea exactly what that commitment would look like. Over time during different circumstances in my life God has asked me to reconsider that verse and seriously consider if I meant what it said. Is my life, my wants, my desires really worth nothing to me in order to be obedient to the Lord's calling on my life? This past year has produced some of those circumstances and has made me evaluate my life more than I ever have before. God called me to be obedient in a way that I really didn't want to be. And He made it very clear that in my obedience my life, my desires, my wants needed to be set aside in order to complete the task that He had given me. I made that choice, but it wasn't with a joyful heart. It was with sorrow. Putting our selfishness to death is not an easy task and has to be frequently revisited after the initial decision. But one of the consequences of putting our selfishness to death that this specific verse does not address (but is addressed elsewhere in the Bible) is the joy that we will experience in it. And this joy will not be experienced just in eternity with our Lord, but God is so gracious that He lets us experience it here on earth as well. And so now I fulfill the second half of that verse—testifying to the gospel of God's grace. In ways that I couldn't even imagine God has been so gracious to me and filled me with joy here on earth since my decision to be obedient. One small moment of extreme joy was yesterday when my husband and our youth pastor had the opportunity to baptize nine adults. Wow! It was one of the most amazing things I've gotten to experience and I really feel that one of the reasons I got to experience it was because of my obedience.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above the hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

Amen and Amen!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Out of the mouths...

What's been heard at my house lately:

Mom: "How was your day Ashley?" Ashley: "I fell out my chair."

In addition to learning letters and reviewing shapes, John has been learning about fire drills and firemen. So last night he gave us a discourse on what to do in case of a fire and details about what could happen if you don't follow the intructions exactly. John loves rules that he can follow.

Nathan (in a complete panic concerning the baby I'm watching): "Mom, she doesn't have any teeth!!! " It took me awhile to convince him that she's absolutely normal and will eventually have teeth.

Sara: "It itches and then it hurts and then it itches." She has developed a mysterious rash on her forhead. We haven't figured out what she is reacting to yet, but it obviously is bugging her since I've heard this from her many times and she's not exactly one to fuss about.

Me: "I'm tired" Okay so I've not been getting my naps lately and this is a must for a morning person like me. Ya gotta sleep sometime! I'm adjusting to having a 4 month old in the house.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Joe!

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to the love of my life!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The morning birds

So last night's orange chicken was a big hit. To quote Joe: "That was the best thing you've cooked in months!" Thanks....I think... Anyway, that has nothing to do with this post. Just thought you'd like to know how my new recipe turned out.

I am an early riser--some would call me a morning bird. I always have been. My mom tells stories of me playing my record player at the break of dawn when I was growing up. I generally wake up at 5am sans alarm. It is very difficult for me to go back to sleep if I wake up then. So I get up and get my day started. I used to think that I was an odd duck, but that all changed today. I realized I just wasn't with all the other morning birds. Today I found them at the gym! I've been trying to figure out how to make use of our gym membership. They provide childcare so I could technically go during the day, but you have to pay for the childcare and this cheap girl just couldn't convince herself that she should pay for it. So I finally figured out I could go in the morning while everyone else is asleep. (Not really sure why it took me so long to conclude this). This morning was my first day at the gym. I arrived at 5:15am not really sure what to expect. It was awesome. The first person I saw was just as awake as I was and said "good morning!" And they were all like that. I don't get very many chipper good mornings at my house. I was so excited that when I returned home I forgot that I was no longer in the land of morning birds. Joe told me "one word, honey, decaf". I quickly informed him that I hadn't even had any coffee yet this morning. To which he stared at me, shook his head and mumbled something about making sure that I was still going to fix him some coffee. Sigh, I think I'm going to like this morning gym thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday tidbits

So here's what's been going on:

  • I accidently bought white bread instead of wheat bread last week. I can't even blame my children for distracting me. I only had one of them with me. You would think I was wrapping their PB&J in lollipops. They love it and they love me for buying it for them. Shhhh...don't tell them it was an accident.
  • Ahhh, I love babies. I've got one in my house now M-F during the school day. It's been so great.
  • I have orange chicken in my oven right now. A new recipe--it smells great! We'll see if it is as big of a hit as the white bread.
  • With all this cool weather I'm ready for some football! I find myself on the couch every Sunday afternoon flipping the channels wishing for some Colts blue. I'm not sure what has happened to me over the years. I was brought up a basketball girl (and watched baseball with my mom in the summer), but in all my moving around the country football has definitely become my first love.
  • We kicked off our annual Pasta with the Pastor Saturdays this last weekend. They are so fun. Last year it was pizza. Hmmm, wonder what "p" dish we could do next year...pickles?

Timer went off, starving family, time to get off the computer.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glimpses of the first week of school

John: Guess where we ate lunch? In the gym! It was great. (ahhh, simple pleasures)

Ashley: I made a new friend; her name is Abby.

Sara: During our free time at school we get to solve a mystery and you get to help if you want.

John: We had three recesses today. I don't know if we get three everyday or not, but it doesn't really matter. I like being in class. sigh...I love school.

Ashley: We got to sit on our desks to learn math today.

Sara: We played this great word game called Sparkle and I won twice! (I would so explain this game to you right now if I actually understood the rules)

Nathan: I love you Mommy (I've been getting a lot of I love you mommies this week. Nathan (or maybe I should say superman since he's been superman all week) and Sophie have also become very tight friends this week)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First day pics

The first day of school arrived with much triumph at our house yesterday. It was only a half day but I think the kids made the most of it. Here are some morning pics before they headed off.

Sara started the third grade and with that entered a new school. Here favorite part of the first day? Getting to sit on bleachers during the assembly. (They have no bleachers at the K-2 elementary so she's always sat on the floor during assemblies.)
Ashley entered the 2nd grade. She was little bummed because she has the same teacher that Sara had last year. Being a 2nd born child, one year behind my sister as well, I could relate to her feelings. She came home much more hopeful and happy about her teacher though. Her favorite part of the day? Finding out that the "theme" for the year was space and they got to make 2 dimensional space aliens with clay.

Big John or "John, John" as I like to call him, went to kindergarten. He was so very ready--more ready than his mom was. I really miss having him at home with me. He also has a great teacher (they all do--we've hit the teacher jackpot this year!) whom he really likes. His favorite part of the day? Coloring a school bus and making a new friend.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The annual back to school post

It is 4 AM and I'm awake. I'm trying to convince myself that it is because of the thunderstorm. That's probably what woke me, but I'm fairly confident it isn't what is keeping me awake. It is the first day of school today—one of the most heart wrenching days of the year for me. I'm sending my kids into a new environment and I can't be there with them. For two of mine this year it is a very new environment. Sara goes to a new school and John starts kindergarten. We went earlier this week and unpacked the backpacks, met the teachers, went over the dropping off and picking up drill, and generally convinced them that it would be fine and they would have a good time--now to convince myself. I cried praying over them at supper last night. A friend reminded me of one of Joe's infamous quotes yesterday, "We are raising adults, not children". For me, 75% of learning at school has nothing to do with academics. It has to do with learning how to apply their Christian worldview in the world. I'm not really concerned about today. My thoughts are on what I know will happen this year---life will be unfair, feelings will get hurt, friends will be ugly at times, fears will overtake them as they face academic and social challenges. The biggest part of me wants to shelter them from all this harsh world has to offer, but is that raising them to be adults? Is that how life really is? Obviously the answer is no. So I am thankful that I can send them to school, have them see life's challenges, and be able to offer them a glass of milk, a warm cookie and the Bible's answers when they get home at night. While I dread this day, I also know from experience it is the beginning of another year of in-depth conversations with my kids about the hard things of life. And my hope is one day they will be an adult ready to serve Christ with all their hearts in this fallen world and the pain of this world won't rattle their faith. So tears will be shed, I'll pray and I'll pray and I'll trust the Lord with my child today, tomorrow and the next day.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Either I'm getting old...

or they are hiring really young these days. (alas it is probably the former). We have a new superintendent of schools and Sara's school has a new principal. They are both younger than me--by definitely a few years. Yikes! I've seen them both in action and they seem to know what they are doing so I should probably follow the principle "let no one look down on you because of your youth..."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in the saddle again...

I've hit my stride once more. I somehow lost it over late spring and summer, but I'm definitely feeling back in the grove. I've cooked supper every night this week. That didn't happen much this summer, but that was mainly because it was rare that we were home every night of a week in the summer--we've put about 5,000 miles on the mini-van since the beginning of June. My laundry is caught up and I mopped the floor yesterday. We've got all the backpacks packed and and are in the midst of meeting all of the teachers before the "big day" arrives on Monday. And my kids are right back where they should be--at my kitchen counter endlessly entertaining me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sign number 376 that...

I need to be getting more sleep. I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out what was going on with my printer/copier and was pretty much completely convinced that it was broken. (I do not have a good track record with these things.) It was then that I realized that it wasn't shutting off by itself. Instead of the pressing what I thought was the "okay, print button", I was pressing the power button. Think it is safe for me to drive??

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The land of corn and pigs

I started 5 straight days of 3 hour or more car trips yesterday. Don't feel sorry for me--it's my fault for lack of proper planning. I didn't even realize I'd done it until I started out yesterday. Anyway, I went to my former homeland yesterday. It was a quick trip, but I got to attend the annual Christmas in July party and the kids got to reconnect with old friends.

My group of friends in the land of corn and pigs have taken "be fruitful and multiply" seriously. After I left our party last night I figure that the 8 women there were moms to 30 kids (one hasn't been born yet). As Joe says, that is definitely one way to grow the Kingdom!

I home now and heading out again once the laundry is caught up and repacked. Speaking of which, I don't hear the dryer anymore...

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's the most wonderful time...

of the year. I cannot get that song out of my head for some reason. We just passed Christmas in July and you know what that means. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! My parents celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary this passed weekend. And I actually got to celebrate it with them and my sister. Since I completely overbooked my summer and did not have a chance to drive out to the midwest and see my sister, my parents brought my sister to me. It was a great weekend with all the cousins hanging out together. Thanks for sharing your special day with us mom & dad!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

jump around, jump around

So I pulled (or compressed) something in my back yesterday during VBS. I was jumping. Yesterday the ibuprofen and heating pad seemed to the trick. This morning I wasn't sure I could get out of bed. Once I managed to get myself upright I headed to the computer to consult the "experts" and see if it was possibly anything serious. One of the top causes: old age. Ugh...I guess I've gotten a little old to be jumping around to "Who's that walking on the water?" It did slow me down today, but didn't completely stop me from bouncing a little. I refuse to let age bring me down. Although I do hear some more ibuprofen and the heating pad calling....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Every year during VBS the thought runs through my mind...

how do working moms do it? The voices echoing through the house this morning were summed up by Nathan: "It's a mystery mom. Where are all the socks?"

Monday, July 20, 2009

laughable moments

We made John's final medical stop prior to kindergarten. This time it was to the dentist. (We've already visited the eye doctor & the pediatrician. Yes, we have to see all three before they let him in the school doors.). Anyway, John did great partly because he's just generally a good kid and partly because he had one of the world's greatest dental hygienist. She was truly gifted! So he got his 20 teeth all shined up and we were waiting for the dentist to come check them out. We'd waited for quite a bit which is unusual for this office. The hygienist stopped by and apologized and said the doctor would be right in. He was with a patient that was taking a little longer than anticipated. John asked me what was going on and I relayed the information to him. He commented: "He must not be being good, mommy."

On an entirely different note, I had the following conversation this evening with a child who will absolutely remain nameless (I will tell you that it was not the youngest child. If it was, that would explain a lot because, well, Nathan is 3.)

"Mom, before I took my nap this afternoon I was looking at my belly button and there was a small rock in it."

What?! That just raises so many questions on so many different levels and they all seem to start with why????

Trying to do better...

What a horrible blogger I've become this summer! I haven't even posted our vacation which took place over a month ago. So I'm determined to do better. Although this probably isn't the best time to make the vow since it is Monday of VBS week and I'm in charge. Anyway, where to begin since I'm so far behind..... Here's some randomness:

  • I've somehow made my kids completely paranoid of ticks. Late last week all four of them came screaming out of the house. I couldn't even understand them. Once I got them to calm down, they were able to tell me that they were sure that there was a tick on Ashley's shirt and then it crawled down her shirt. She was in the basement and we had not been hiking recently. We have tick sightings daily.
  • I've gotten compliments on my tan this summer. I try to just say "thank you" but usually can't get it out before busting up laughing. It is a completely fake tan and I could probably pull it off if I could stifle the laughter. Who knows, maybe I could make money from this someday--a redhead who tans!
  • As I said earlier, VBS is this week. Long story, but we aren't doing preschool childcare for the workers' kids like we usually do. However, I still have to take my preschooler (who thinks he's 13) to join me everyday. Joe watched him most of the morning today (Joe's day off), but I let him get on stage with me for the closing. He proceeded to authoritatively echo everything I was saying. Me: "Alright, make sure you bring a friend tomorrow!". Nathan: "Yeah! You need to bring a friend!" Could be an interesting week...
  • People keep asking me what I'm going to do with only one kid at home when the kids start school in 3 1/2 weeks! (yes, crazy I know!). Not to worry! I've found a baby who needs a place to stay while they are at school. Yes, I'm going to start babysitting a school teacher's baby starting in August. Am I still officially a "homemaker" on all those forms that ask those types of questions or do I have a different title now?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ahhhh, the season of mowing the grass

You know it's been too long since you mowed when....

you're thankful the dog is at a friend's house because we probably would have lost her in the grass.
you're not sure why the grass is yellow after you cut it...is the weed killer actually working or did it just get so long that it killed everything underneath?
you are seriously considering buying a hay baler then seeing if you can sell the hay you cut.
it is so very, very obvious whenever you miss a spot because the grass that you missed is about 2 feet tall.
you forget that you have a couple of pretty big holes in your yard and then proceed to step in them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday USA

We've spent the weekend celebrating the birthday of our great country. We decided (okay, I decided and the rest of the family decided they'd go along with mom's idea) that we'd do go 'ole American things this weekend. Yesterday evening we hit a local drive-in for hot dogs, onion rings and root beer. Do they even have drive-ins in other countries?

Then we headed out for time at the park followed by fireworks. There is nothing quite like celebrating the 4th with 4 kids--especially when one is 3. "That was totally awesome!" was heard for every single one I think.








Today it rained all. day. long. We started the official birthday with donuts, had grilled chicken for lunch (I mark all birthdays by telling what we ate!) and then we rounded out the day with a trip to the movie theater. I'm not sure any other country likes the movies like we do here in America. We went to a small local theater that has cheap tickets. It was actually more fun than going to the expensive ones.


Hope everyone had a great day with family and friends! Happy 4th of July everyone!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Beautiful day continued....

Here are some more of my favorite pics for the park we visited today.














The above photo was at our final destination on our hike. The kids were so excited that we made it. The maps we had didn't exactly match the path so we weren't sure if we'd find it or not. The photo below is just to prove that, yes, I actually did make it to the end as well.





This final picture is a tribute to our Nathan. This was the last set of steps that we climbed. It was right at the end of the final trail. If you look closely, you can see Nathan in a dark blue shirt at the top of the steps. (Yes, John is in the red shirt right behind Nathan at the top of the stairs. He must've gotten a burst of energy since he'd been saving it most of the day.) We figured that we hiked somewhere around 5 miles today with the kids. And it wasn't a flat hike either. Especially at the first park, there were a lot of steep climbs. Nathan was always leading the pack and never complained. On the stairs he was consistently one or two sets of stairs ahead of everyone else. If I hadn't actually given birth to him, I would be convinced that he was part robot and part human. It will be interesting to see what he does with his future when he gets older. I will not be shocked if he ends up being an army ranger or something else that requires super human strength.
It was perhaps the most beautiful day we've had this summer so we decided to not mow the grass and go play instead. If you are familiar with our state you might recognize where we went today.



Let the hiking begin....we'd already been hiking for awhile when I took this picture. John has taken his normal position in the line. Our most popular statement when we are hiking: "C'mon John".

This is one of the many overlooks that we got to hike to. This was the first one. I'd share the other overlook pictures with you, but they all look pretty much the same except Nathan, at some point, decided that he was done smiling for the camera.



"Hey John, come on!" In fairness to John, we'd walked up and down maybe 1000 stairs at this point--and I am not exagerating that much. The kids were great hikers. The best quote from this park came from Ashley as we were touring the area called "French Canyon".

Ashley: "This doesn't look french"; Mom: "What would make it look french?"; Ashley: "French clothes." Ahh, somehow I think she would have rather been shopping.

After that park, we ate lunch, got spontaneous and decided to visit another one that happened to be nearby. And we were so glad we did. The first stop at the park was a replica of a fort. We felt that we definitely needed to stop and take a picture in honor of Aunt Kim.
This park was full of canyons, streams, small rivers, and waterfalls. We took the trail next to the water. It crossed back and forth by the creek. Yep our feet got wet, we walked in the mud and we loved every minute of it.

Okay, and I now I feel I am pressing my luck on the number of pictures I can have in any one post, so this is to be continued in the next post which will actually appear before this one on the blog....confusing, I know.

The first of our harvest


This is the first pickings of our garden for this year. Okay, technically not the first--I guess we picked some broccoli. I don't think that counts because, well, we had the wrong variety of plant, didn't really get any, etc., etc., etc. The broccoli was very disappointing this year. This is a zucchini for those of you who may be wondering. It's also bigger then this picture shows. I'm going to stir fry with it tomorrow night. YUM!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If I had remembered to get my camera out...

this is what you would've seen this last week:

  • both girls jumping off the diving board (we hit the public pool twice!)
  • John & Nathan swimming like fish with their life jackets on (we hit a friend's pool twice too!)
  • lots of playing in the yard with our new slip & slide (what can I say, it was very hot last week and we enjoyed the water)
  • two ticks that Nathan pulled off of himself--YIKES!
  • John dressed up as a private investigator
  • the girls learning how to do Sudoku from their Grandma Snow
  • John & Nathan riding without training wheels--but ONLY in the grass. At their rate it may be a couple of years before we ride without them on pavement
  • me cooking fruit loop cookies--hey, they were pretty good. Don't knock them until you try them.
  • Sara learning how to mow the grass. She's decided that it isn't nearly as fun as it looks. To quote "Wow mom! This is really hard work!"
  • Lots of sitting around in our lounge chairs outside with my parents who came to visit for a couple of days. It was great to do nothing.
  • me downloading my first ever ringtone to my new cell phone. What fun! But it has to last forever since I actually paid for it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Milestones

Well, today we had two milestones. First, John went to the doctor's to get his kindergarten physical. Just a couple of more steps and he'll be ready to go. (Our state requires vision and dental exams as well.) He got three big shots and was so brave. The nurse even commented on how well he did.

The other milestone I wish I had my camera. I didn't even have my new phone which happens to have a camera (I feel like I have a really cool phone now even though it was the most basic one you could get. They didn't even sell ones that didn't have cameras)! Anyway, at the pool tonight (where else would you be when it is this hot?!) both girls jumped off the diving boards into 11ft of water. No life vests or anything--not even their goggles! They did so great. The swimming lessons have really paid off. As Ashley said "Today I faced my fears!" Yea Ashley! She even did it before Sara. I think it had helped that they had gone down the water slid a bagillion times early in the evening. Yea Sara & Ashley!

We're back!

Well, we are back from vacation. Most of you probably didn't even know that we were gone. Yep, we are home--even Sophie made it home earlier this afternoon. So once we get everything put away I'll share pics and stories from the trip. Now to fix supper in my air conditioned kitchen and help the hubby put away the tent that is now dry.

PS I got a new phone today! Woohoo!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the siblings


I actually think they love each other...at least when they are together at the zoo.

Monday, June 15, 2009

best friends forever

A boy and his dog...is there anything better?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summertime

I'm always convinced that I've posted more than I really have. Maybe that's because I've started about 3 posts recently and haven't finished them. We've been in the midst of summer. I've got pictures from the last day of school which actually happened about a couple of weeks ago here, but obviously I've not gotten those shown to you yet. Here are some of our activities:

Chore time! The kids love chore time in the summer. No, I'm being serious. I didn't have their chore charts put together when school got out and they begged me until I got it done. I don't have them do many chores during the school year because there just isn't a lot of time. So I use the summer to teach them new ones and have them help around the house. This summer Ashley is learning how to do her own laundry (which will continue into the school year. Sara learned how to do hers last summer.) They are also doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, taking care of the trash, and dusting. Nathan, of course, is vacuuming. That's his one chore and he does it very well. The girls have also been learning how to do some cooking. Sara can make her own breakfast at this point. Her favorite--either scrambled eggs with toast or egg in a nest.

Library! We love the library in the summer. However, I'm not real fond of our library's summer reading program. So this summer I found a nice, although brief, alternative for the girls (you have to be in at least the first grade to participate). It is through Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/summerreading/). If they read 8 books they get a free one. They are already halfway done. Their current love is the American Girl series--especially the mysteries. Ashley did read How to Eat Fried Worms one day last week--that was one of my childhood favorites. I wanted them to read Where the Red Fern Grows but they weren't real excited about that when I told them that it has been one of the only books I've ever cried when I read. For some reason they don't like to cry when they read books.... Maybe I'll read it to all of them on our summer vacation.

Water, water, water! We usually like to hit the pool in the summer. We have this summer--the indoor one! What is up with the cold (for the summer) weather?! We have pulled out the sprinkler, water guns (love Dollar General!), and water balloons (not a fan of water balloons--have you ever tried knotting 30 balloons in one sitting? I still have a blister.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thank you Louis Rodier

I've spent most of my afternoon basking in the sun (with sunlotion on of course!) reading Street Lawyer by John Grisham while the kids have played in the sprinker and played cops and robbers with their new water guns. I just finished filling up 32 water balloons so they can each have 8 balloons to use in some manner later. (I was going to say throw at each other, but they have proven in the past that they are too creative to use them in such a basic manner.) I would have done more but now I have a blister on my finger from tying knots in them. Life is hard... which brings me to my gratitude for Louis Rodier. He invented the washing machine--patented in 1857. I'm sure there must be later forms of it patented, but he was the originator. I looked it up. I must admit that before I even looked it up, I knew it must be a man. I'm not trying to be sexist, but a woman would not have had time to invent a washing machine because she would have been too busy doing laundry! So a big huge thank you to Mr. Rodier and his successors for their wonderful inventions. Because of you I could sit in my yard, soak up some rays, play with my kids all while doing 4 loads of laundry. It's not folded yet....hmmmm...maybe I could get creative....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yeah! I get an A

So Nathan has decided that he enjoys being a backseat driver. I get all the comments..."watch out! that car almost hit you"; "you should have slowed down mom"; "why are we stopping?" "The cars behind us are going to catch us!" Today he decided to be encouraging on the way to Walmart:

"Mom, you're doing the right thing; you're staying on the road."

Whew! I guess I passed driver's ed for the day.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The gorgeous kids







a few more of our favorites




Picture day


Thought I'd give you a taste of what we did today...I'll post more of them later.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How we closed out our weekend...

"That was totally wicked!" One of the greatest movies ever! Definitely a family favorite.

Friday, May 22, 2009

One of the funniest things I've ever read...

I enjoy getting really blonde highlights in my hair in the summer so I put lemon juice on my hair anytime I'm mowing the lawn. I think it is the acid in it that reacts with sunlight and provides the lightening. It helps that I naturally have blond highlights so this just enhances it. Anyway, I'm getting ready to mow and I don't have any lemon juice on hand, but I do have lime juice. So I was wondering if it would have the same reaction. I'm thinking it would, but high school chemistry was a long time ago so for kicks I thought I'd check the internet. Because we all know that the internet is "all-knowing" on all information. I stumbled onto a "Yahoo Answers" page where the following question was posed by somebody. I thought I'd share my laugh for the day:

"Y'know what i was wondering? If you put lemon juice on your hair, it makes it go lighter and blonde right? So why, when you put lime juice on your hair, doesn't it make your hair go green?"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Seriously, you need to get out more!

I love our school. One of the things I love about it is the parental involvement. The administration and teachers encourage it and the parents love participating. Ashley had a field trip today--all four 1st grade classes. Joe & I both got to go on this one which is rare, but just happened to work out. None of the parents rode the bus because there wasn't room. So we all drove separate and created quite the line into the park we were visiting. There were enough parents that several "groups" were only made up of two kids. There were also a lot of dads and Joe & I weren't the only parents with both of us there. Anyway, the park we went to is awesome. They have attempted to have one of every kind of wild animal that is native to our state. Before we went and looked at all of them (kind of like a zoo) we went to an animal presentation by the conservationist. She was going through the different classifications of animals--fish, reptiles, mammals, etc. For the fish segment she pulled out a blue gill that she caught yesterday--one of the smallest ones I've ever seen. I kid you not--at least 25 moms pulled out their cameras to take a picture of that blue gill! It was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen until the teacher pulled out the skunk (the stinker had been removed of course). There was a chorus of "awww, look how cute" and then the cameras started flashing. We don't live in a big city. We passed at least two of them on the side of the road on our way home. Why are we taking a picture of a skunk? Seriously, you need to get out more!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome Hippies!

Okay, so I didn't post yesterday. I could give you a whole list of excuses, but I think they would bore you and really none of them are acceptable. Just like I don't really have a good excuse for not cleaning the bathrooms this week or doing the dishes since yesterday morning or ironing my husband's clothes. It seems my brain has decided that it is time for summer vacation. I've been so unmotivated. Today I tried to change that, but the dishes still aren't done. Here's what I've been up to:



  • Planted more pickle plants (the rabbits ate the other ones) and more pepper plants. I also planted zucchini plants and watermelon. Wasn't really planning on watermelon but that is what the hubster brought back from the store.


  • Cleaned out the van from the inside out. It took me over 2 hours. Wow! did we collect dirt in there over the winter. I feel so refreshed now when I settle in my taxi. I'm almost tempted to sit in there tonight so I don't have to sit in my dirty house.


  • Welcome Hippies! Our town hosts a music festival every year over Memorial Day weekend. Think small town Woodstock. I'm not sure how big Woodstock was but they are predicting 30,000 people for the weekend. So maybe it's not small town. I just got back from the grocery and realized that some of them arrived early. It's almost tempting to sit on the bench in front of the store and people watch. The police people watch--only they do it inside the store near the beer aisle.


  • We are redoing our kids' Sunday school classrooms at church. They are going to look so very awesome. I'll post some pictures. For a hint check out http://www.creativeforkids.com/.


  • We are going on a field trip with Ashley tomorrow. Woohoo! That means school is almost done. I am so ready for school to be out.


  • We got a picnic table and it is awesome. We haven't eaten inside all week. You know what that means...I don't have to mop near as much. Yeah! I LOVE it!


  • Oh, I forgot to mention--Willie Nelson is coming to this year's music festival. It was so very tempting to spend some of our vacation money to go hang out with the druggies and hear Willie. However, we're less than a mile from the music stages, so we thought we'd sit out on our picnic table and see if we could hear the twang from here.


  • I actually voted last night for American Idol. I'll let you know if my choice won.

Monday, May 18, 2009

my boys

I am so pumped about this summer with my boys. (I'm going to love having my girls home from school as well. Can't wait 'til next week!) I think 3 and 5 must be the perfect age for little boys. I was relishing in Nathan the other day when he ran in the house filthy dirty and rambling on and on about all that he had done outside--not a care in the world--any of his worlds. Their imaginations run so wild at those ages. Thought I'd share glimpses of my days with these boys.