Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's About Time

Finally we are coming home. Although I have lived in the state of Florida for 14 years, I still consider Texas to be my home. I was not born in Texas, but I agree with the bumper sticker: I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. I am also known for saying: Any good Texan is a proud Texan.

We finally get to see Mermie's new house. We are all excited about that. They have done a ton of work on it and we didn't get to see the before. But we get to see the after. She wants a small farm, but she doesn't have one yet.

And I get to see my sister. I haven't seen her in almost two years. We talk on the phone often, but it's different when a hug comes with it. And my nieces are probably huge.

And Scott. Who can not be happy about seeing him? And his partner Jeff is an incredible person in his own right. We are excited about that as well. I'm not sure when or where, but we'll work out the details.

We have so much to do when we get there, but it will be well worth the visit. I know when the trip is over we will be ready to be home in our own beds. But we will tuck ourselves in and know that we have special memories of special people. That is what I will be thankful for this year.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cooking Out and a Busy Week

Whoo wee! Am I glad that it's Friday. And not just for the obvious reason that Friday is our favorite. It has been a busy week for the kids, and for Mama, too. Monday was actually our slow day this week. I liked Monday.

Tuesday started off by taking hubby to work, early for us. We had to leave the house about 7 to get there in time. Then we had to come all the way home because the big girl didn't bring a brush. Let me tell a story. When hubby is on call, we take him to work the first day. That way he doesn't leave his personal truck at work. When he's on call, he brings the work truck home. When the kids were in school and we had to do this, I would barely get the kids there on time. It's almost an hour and a half round trip. Tuesday morning we had our volunteer day at our church's food pantry. The big girl was dressed, but hadn't brushed her hair. So all the way home for a brush. She said she would just wear the hood on her jacket, but I told her no. It really wouldn't have worked out, I've tried that. It turned out to be a really long day with a little extra work at church. We didn't get home until after 12. And then we had to school.

Wednesday is usually our busy day. But this week it seemed like it wasn't that bad. We got a lot done in the morning before we had to leave for my dance class. I got everybody dropped off and headed off. My dance teacher seemed a little discombobulated. Usually that's me. Class was fantastic, though. I always have the best time. We ran a little late, but my mother in law had the kids ready. Except the big girl. She is so slow moving. My mother says she is just like my Mamaw, not in a hurry. We had to make two stops on the way. We had to stop at 2 dollar stores to get trick or treat bags for the school supplies that were donated to us at church. They didn't have enough at the first one which is why we stopped at the second one. And on to church.

This was our last week of Noah. Next week is our Fall party. Then we start Christmas Around the World. I am really looking forward to that. We did missions with our kids and took them on a mini field trip around our church. We took them to the food pantry, the preschool, and then the sanctuary at our church. We discussed the stained class windows and what each scene means and is. My kids knew each one, but that's our church. We talked about how each of us has a mission, a ministry. And although it may not be a pulpit that we stand behind, our lives are our ministry. The way we act, talk, and interact with others is our ministry. And with one wrong word, or right action, people will either embrace Christ or deny him. It actually seemed to get through to several of them. It's the planting of the seed.

Thursday was the first day of our new science co-op. It was really fun, and for the kids, too. We talked about energy and the different types. There were 14 kids there, but only 8 really participated. The other 6 were 5 and under, and wandered off. But that was ok, too. The kids did a really great worksheet that listed several different items. They had to tell which type of energy each item started with and what they ended with. They learned that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but changed into different types of energy. They made windmills out of straws, colored paper, and brads. They turned out really well. The kids went outside and the wind was blowing pretty good. The windmills just spun and spun. It was fantastic.

Friday was park day. Today was our cookout. I brought the charcoal and everybody else brought something to throw on the grill. It turns out we all brought hot dogs, except for one family. They brought fantastic looking and smelling marinated chicken breasts. Yummy. It rained on us for a while. Shortly after I got the charcoal going, it started to rain. I covered the grill with foil to help protect the coals. It worked and we ate about 30 minutes later.

Everybody brought a side dish to share. I made a fantastic Italian pasta salad. We had homemade macaroni and cheese, banana pudding, and a cake that was simply sinful. And we had chips and dips and grapes and all sorts of goodies. Then we did our candy exchange. We had all brought candy to share and swap. I went with another mom to round up kids. We told probably 3 kids, and they spread the word about candy faster than we ever could. It's a magic word with kids. It was fantastic.

Nobody wanted to go home. But, alas, it was that time. We all headed out about 4:30 and planned to meet again next Friday. One of our moms let us know that her husband is going to "sponsor" park day once a month or so and send a couple of cases of bottled water to the park for everybody. He runs a local Sonic, and wants to try to set up a night where we can all come and get free ice cream. He is not hurting my feelings at all. Free ice cream and a chance for us all to socialize? Where do we sign? You should see the kids holding court at the park. It's hilarious.

Tomorrow, we go to church to clean out the closet we use to store our supplies for our JAM program. It is so crammed, you can't walk in there if you wanted to. Hubby got asked by one of his brothers to play in a golf tournament tomorrow. I said no! It's my turn. And I need the help. I certainly can't do it by myself with just the kids. I'd end up driving myself crazy. There won't be anyone else there, so I don't have to worry about the kids disturbing anyone. But they would be all over me every couple of minutes, and I don't have that kind of time. And Sunday I teach Sunday school. And one day comes rest. I don't know what day, but one day.

So that's us in a nutshell this week. It was long , productive, and we had a great time. Next week is Halloween. The big girl and the boy are wearing the same pirate costumes from last year. The baby is wearing a witch costume that was the big girl's several years ago. I'm all good with that. I'll post the pictures if I remember to take them.

And we are coming home for Thanksgiving. I am so excited. I need a family fix really bad. I usually get bummed out from about Thanksgiving to Christmas because I miss my family. I'm hoping this will be enough to get me through. I am excited about seeing my mom's new house and seeing my sister and some of my friends. So look for trouble come November!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great days

Today was a little busy, but not as busy as our normal days. I'm really glad that I have the opportunity to spend time with my kids, doing things that they would not ordinarily get the chance to do.

Today is the Tuesday after the third Sunday. The third Sunday is when our congregation is encouraged to bring food for our food pantry. Every day is good, but the third Sunday is what we really aim for. Anyway, today was volunteer day. We bring the food from the collection bin to the pantry to stock it. Then we go to our activity building where our contemporary service is held and collect the food from there and stock it.

We were almost done when our pastor came and asked if he could speak with me. Sometimes it feels like being called to the principal's office. But it was good news and I wasn't in trouble. Amazing isn't it? We were blessed with a large donation of school supplies. When we were done stocking the shelves, the big girl and the boy and I went to our conference room and made 22 packages. Each package had 2 folders, 1 package of notebook paper, 2 spiral notebooks, 2 pencils, 2 pens, 2 highlighters and a glue stick. It turned out to be more than I thought we would have. So each of our kids in our after school program is going to get a nice little package. The rest I gave to our preschool. There were several things that I didn't have enough of to give to everybody. Those went in the box for the preschool, too. They ended up with two boxes of stuff.

The baby was a little feisty this morning. We were all up very early this morning. We had to take hubby to work. He's on call as of today, and gets to drive his work van home. Instead of leaving his truck at work for a week, we take him to work. The baby decided that she didn't want to help us when she saw the little kids on the playground. I asked if she could play and they were more than happy to have her. They even let her go into the classroom when playground time was over. She had a much better time than she would have had with us.

We didn't get home until noon. Then I made lunch and made every one lay down and take a nap. I was so grumpy, and the kids were getting that way. We didn't get our together stuff done until after 12. Then the kids worked on their other stuff after they got up from a nap. Hubby came home and took the kids to dance for me so I could get some errand running done. It was nice not to have to buckle and unbuckle, repeat.

This is still a busy week. I still have dance and so does the boy. Our after school program is tomorrow. We have picked up another co-op lesson on Thursdays. It's a science lesson and experiment and we are all looking forward to it. Then park day on Friday. This Friday is a cook out. I'm bringing the charcoal and everybody else is bringing something for me to cook. We have had a lot of response from people that don't normally come. So it's a banner week.

Enjoy your week. I almost feel like some of the pressure has come off. Aaahh!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Today is Friday. You all know how much I love Fridays. It is a great day. The big girl had some work to finish, and the boy had to write his bible verses from Wednesday and Thursday. But they got them done in record time. We all got ready and hit the door, but I was a little late. I was going to make bologna sandwiches, but I forgot to take the bologna out of the freezer last night. It completely slipped my mind until this morning when I was going to make sandwiches. We stopped by Subway, which upset me a little. I had been holding on to my $20 since early last week and hadn't spent it. Well I spent it today! But we all had a great lunch.

My friend Melanie called me as we were getting in the van outside of Subway to ask me if we were coming to the park. It was almost 11 and nobody was there except her. That is so something I would do. But that's my insecurities showing through. Apparently, nobody from our group was there and usually the place is swarming with them. I told her I was on my way, and eventually a large group of us did show up.

The thing I like most about the park is the conversation. The topics are large and varied and can create very emotional responses, or can reduce everyone to a howling pack of wolves. Either way, today's conversations made me realize that I am grateful for so many things.

I am so very thankful to be the mother of brilliant, beautiful, hilarious, independent, free spirited children that love life, their parents and God. All of my children are so different from each other, but at the same time so very much alike. They look alike and sometimes act alike, but they think so very differently from each other. I have a quiet (yes, I have a quiet child. But really, who can get a word in edgewise?) brilliant oldest child that can be very emotional and insightful. The boy is loud and boisterous and thinks his Mama is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen (what a good boy!). His mind takes the long way most of the time, but watching the journey is amazing and magical. And the baby is exactly that. She is the baby. At two she could draw happy faces with spacial placement of facial features that was spot on. At four she is reading and reading well. She never really had to do anything for herself because her brother and sister would do it for her. But she is as independent as the day is long. Stubborn, too, but she gets that from her father (ha, ha. If I don't laugh I fear the lightning bolt.).

Being a mother to these children is definitely a blessing and I am grateful for the opportunity to even be associated with them. My prayer is that we will always be close and loving.

I am grateful for my friends. I have made some incredible friends that support me no matter what kind of junk comes out of my mouth. Sometimes it's good junk. but it can be stinky junk, too. I am grateful for the friends that I have kept, the friends that I have made, and the friends that I have reconnected with. I am thankful that I have a network of support and am a support to those who need it. I am encouraged and challenged and loved by those that I call friend. And I support and challenge and love them as well. I am here for you no matter the time of day or night when you need a shoulder or arms or whatever I can give you.

I am thankful for my husband. Our relationship is strong and loving. I love my husband. I cannot imagine a day of my life without his quiet strength and loving arms to hold me close. I am grateful for the time that we spend together. I am thankful that we have both chosen to spend time with each other working to strengthen always the bonds that hold us together. He is good to me, but he is also good for me. He lifts me up when I need to be lifted, but he also does not hesitate to knock me down a peg or two when I get too big for my britches. He is my heart.

I am thankful for the fellowship at the park. Sunday is a day for church, but every day is good for fellowship. The parents that I have met are fabulous, diverse people from many backgrounds and we still find that the most important thing is the love we have for Jesus Christ. With that, we are able to spend time with our children and spouses and friends and know that what we do, we do for a better purpose than our own.

I am thankful for my friends and family that are interested in the ramblings of a crazy Hawaiian chick that loves to hear the sound of her own voice. Or at least the sound of the clicking keys. It means more to me than you know that you have taken an interest in our lives and care about what is going on in our lives. It makes my heart sing when you leave comments and are supportive of what we do. Homeschooling is not what some of you would have chosen for us, yet you support our decision and encourage our growth. Thank you for what you do for me and for my family.

So there you go. I know this was not a typical post, but I wanted to shake it up a bit today. You know me, I'm not happy unless I'm shaking some body's tree. I hope I have encouraged you to think about the things you are thankful for.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One day... will slow down. Won't it? Please?

It has been a day. Today was co-op day. Not only co-op day, but our day to host. Like I have time for people to come over. I cleaned a little Sunday, but a little more on Monday. I got all of our laundry washed, dried, folded, hung up, and put away. The kids cleaned their rooms. But that didn't mean I didn't have 6 errands to run before everybody got here.

Thankfully, it doesn't start until 1:30. I was up about 7, making PB& Js for hubby to take to work today. I didn't tell him I have $20 in my wallet, because he would take it and spend it all today. Not happening (sorry, Baby).

Then I got the big girl up and got her in the shower. She made her bed and cleaned her room a little first. Then I got the boy up and got him in the shower. The baby got one yesterday, so I skipped her this morning. One thing off my list. They always drag their feet in the shower, and it's worse in the morning when they are tired. Or when I'm tired. Or a combination of the two.

Then I loaded the dish washer and got breakfast ready. We did our bible study while the kids ate and then moved on. Science was next and then history. Then the baby had to get her reading lesson. Out of seventeen words, she read 14 and sounded out 3. I am so impressed with her. I didn't think I could do it, but she is so fantastic. Then the two big kids moved on to their other stuff and I jumped in the shower.

After my shower, the kids had to finish getting ready and at 10:45, we were out the door. I had to stop by the post office, but that was a drive by and a drop off. I had signed up for a subscription for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and it came with some freebies. I had to mail the reply cards for the freebies. Then off to drop off some clothes for charity. I cleaned out our closet and a couple of drawers yesterday, and the stuff had to go. The dollar store was next. I needed a couple of things for the co-op today, drinks and snacks. And the kids were having a fit that we didn't have dental floss for their teeth. That only took us ten minutes and the kids did not ask for anything. Not one time.

Then to church to pick up the curriculum for our next topic at our after school program. I won't have much time after dance tomorrow to stop and pick it up, so I did it today. Then the library. I have been trying to get to the library for the kids to check out some books, but time has not been very agreeable with that. I had to pick up our video for the after school program that we are going to watch tomorrow. Then, last but not least, the grocery store. The kids didn't ask for anything there either, except a balloon from the cashier. Thank you babies for being so great for Mama.

When we got home, I put groceries away and made lunch. Today we had grilled cheese and tomato soup. I made mine with pepper jack and ham. Yum! But I didn't have soup. I have to cut the calories somewhere and today it was the soup. Then I finished loading the dishwasher, cleaned off the island, wiped down the stove, counters, and island, and swept the kitchen. I was tired before anyone got here. And I made Tang, with Sprite instead of water. The kids couldn't get enough when they all got here.

I had to prepare things for my lesson today. I did reference books. I went over the types of reference books and what was in each of them. I had examples of a few different ones. I didn't realize we had so many. I had them do a dictionary scavenger hunt that I got off one of my favorite web sites. Then everybody went and played, and the moms got to sit and talk. Like adults. Wow. They finally left about 4:30.

I did some work on the computer and answered my emails. I gave the baby a quick bath and scrubbed her dirty knees, legs, and feet. They jumped on the trampoline and it makes them black. The baby had dance class tonite, so she needed to be clean. Hair in a bun, leotard on, everybody go potty, get shoes and socks on. We had to stop at Target and get a pair of pink tights. I forgot that the baby had put a huge hole in her last pair and needed another. I changed her in the van and off we go.

When we got home, I had to make dinner. The boy wanted a bath, so hubby ran him one while I cooked. Then get kids ready for bed, read our story, and good night. My friend Melanie says I do more than she ever could. I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. If I stop too long, I think about all I have to do and end up overwhelmed. But I usually sleep pretty good at night. Until the boy and the baby come in. Then I end up in the boy's bed, because the baby's is too small. Another productive day down.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know what day it is

Of course, you do. You can tell by the happy voice. It's Friday. I will try not to say for the millionth time how happy I am about Fridays. And what a week to end.

The week started busy and never seemed to slow down. Even Thursday, my slow day, turned ito a run around errand day. On Thursday, I loaded dishes, washed white shirts that were donated to our JAM program, dried and folded them, cleaned potties, went to the church to drop off paperwork, find two books, drop off freshly laundered shirts, and turn in ink cartridges that have been in my van for two weeks. Then the library to drop off our Geronimo Stilton books on CD. And then the grocery store.

I needed to go to Wal Mart, too. But I knew that would be an ugly scene with the mood I was in. I was tired and grumpy, and felt like I hadn't had two seconds to myself all day. I knew it would turn into me yelling and fussing at the kids and I didn't want to go there. It was just easier to get what I needed from the grocery and call it a day.

Before we left for church, I also sorted through six bags of clothes that a friend of mine gave me for the baby. She just sold her house and her daughters have outgrown the clothes. And her mother in law does most of her shopping. She usually goes high dollar, so I got some really nice clothes. I had to sort through them, figure out what I was keeping and what was going to be given away. Then I had to wash what we were keeping because they have been up in her attic for awhile. Then I had to bag up what was being given away, clean out the baby's dresser and closet so the new stuff would fit, and find a place for the stuff that is too big now, but won't be for long.

In the midst of all that, I still had to school my kids, give the baby her reading lesson, and create a vocabulary test for the big girl. I ended up falling asleep on the couch at about 5. When I woke up, the big girl had given the boy his spelling test for me. I have great kids.

Then it was time for dinner. I ended up making burritos because they are quick and easy and I was tired. So I needed Friday. And so did the kids. They ran and played all day. And so did I. I got to have some great conversations with people that have different opinions than mine. It was fantastic. I hope you all have a gang of people that you can have conversations with that make you open your mind.

And on a side note: Hey, Mike. It's been a long time. I'm glad you read my blog. I hope you enjoy a look into our life. It's crazy, it's fun, and I love it.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Trip to Court

What a great time we had. I am so glad that we went on this field trip. It was a nice way to ease ourselves into the world of field trips.

We got to the courthouse a little early. Don't think, by the way, that this some grand courthouse in a large city. Tavares is the county seat, but it is large by no means. It is about 15-20 minutes from our house and is across the street from our church. We were listening to Geronimo Stilton on CD to pass the time and went in at about a quarter after 1.

As a side note: What a great series of books. Geronimo Stilton is a mouse. He has written this series of books about his life. He is the editor of a local newspaper and finds himself in all sorts of trouble. We laugh out loud when we listen to them. Edward Hermann is the narrator and what a fantastic job he does. I couldn't stand Herman Munster, but I love most of the things he's done since. What a phenomenal actor he is. He is a big reason we started listening to these books. If you have kids, these are great stories to read or listen to together. Sorry, back to topic.

We all had to go through the metal detector. Even in small town America, podunk Florida has to have things like that. What a shame. I got to put my stuff in a little bowl and watch it get xrayed. I left my purse in the car because I didn't want to deal with that nightmare. I herded the group through the security and we found our group.

The bailiff let us in and the judge was waiting for us. He was a very personable man. He welcomed us into his courtroom and we almost filled it up. The boy sat in front of me with a friend of his and the girls sat beside me. A few times, I had to just put my hand on the boy. He started to get a little loud talking to his friend.

The judge talked to us about how to be a judge, how long it can take to get through law school, and about the way our judicial system works. Then he answered questions from the kids, and some of the parents. He even asked our kids a bunch of questions, and they got most of them right. He even told us about some of the cases he had tried, no names, no specifics.

I was really proud of how most of the kids acted. There was one little girl that is quite a handful. It was her mom that arranged the field trip. She had started to irritate the boy, but he did what I always tell him to do. He removed himself from the situation. He got up, walked around the girl, and came and sat with me. She couldn't get to him, and he wasn't being aggravated. I am so proud of him. The rest of the kids were very polite and respectful. They raised their hands, and were polite, and didn't jump around like monkeys. Yea!

We didn't get to see the judges's chambers. I was a little bummed about that. But he spent over an hour with us and never once looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.

It was a good time. And I'm glad that our first field trip was successful. The kids had a great time and so did Mama. And the boy minded his manners and his mouth.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Field Trip

Tomorrow is our first official field trip. One of our home schools moms used to work for a judge. She knows his clerk and asked if it would be possible for our group to come see the courtroom and the chambers and stuff. He said yes. We go at 1 tomorrow.

I'm really excited about this. There are always free golf lessons and field trips to places that are free or really inexpensive. There are several times they give a group rate. But we haven't been able to go to any of those. This is the first time we go with our group. Just like a big field trip at school.

The big kids are excited about it, too. They are excited to see their friends and go somewhere they've never been. The baby is excited because the two big kids are excited. She keeps saying, "We're going to see the judge!" with great big eyes and lots of excitement in her voice. The boy said he wished the judge would give them all gavels. I told him that would be asking for trouble. Then the boy said he hoped they got a souvenir. That's been his big kick lately.

We almost missed it. I had it on my calendar for Friday. The same day I get to see the periodontist(?). My friend Melanie mentioned it on Sunday and I had to go look up the post to make sure. Wouldn't you know it, she was right. I was thinking we would miss park day, but I was alright with that. I really would have been mad come Friday.

Here we go. I'll let you all know how it went. Pray for us that the boy watches his mouth and his manners.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First day of JAM

It's over. And it was fantastic. Our first day of JAM. That's our "after school " program at our church. I have taken a volunteer position and it has been a little stressful planning this and making sure that everything was ready. I do the administartion work. I make the phone calls, make sure everyone knows who are volunteers are, get volunteers, coordinate the kids with the bus, blah, blah, blah. The list goes on and on, but I have had fantastic help.

In past years the program has had up to 60 kids. But this year we are very small. We had 19 that showed up and we were grateful for that. This year we also have no youth volunteers. So it is just us six adults. We have "leaders" that come in and lead a certain portion. Yesterday was Arts & Crafts and Games. But our two leaders this week were also two of our volunteers.

One of our volunteers is a fantastic asset to our program this year. She is phenomenal. She loves to do arts & crafts and she can handle a classroom like nobodies business. She taught the kids a great song that had to do with Noah (which is our topic for four weeks). She says her husband is even better. Wow! She doesn't go to our church, and as far as I know, doesn't go to any church. But she heard about our program and wanted her daughter to join. And since she is off on Wednesdays, it worked out. I am thanking God that she has joined us.

Even snack went well. We did apples with peanut butter and or caramel. Yum! I have had this thing for apples lately, and can't seem to get enough, so I was happy about that. We also had pretzels and juice boxes. Our snack coordinator is fantastic. She is a very healthy eater and likes to do good for you stuff. We have a "party" week coming up and she suggested that we ask the parents for the sweet stuff. She is a very good friend of mine and she cracks me up.

The kids seemed to have a good time. They liked the smaller groups and I think liked the set up. I know they enjoyed the games. You could hear them screaming all over he building. It was a hoot.

So a good time was had by all. We had kids show up and were excited to be there. The bus from the elementary school showed up on time with the right kids. And we all had a great time. I am so grateful for the opportunity God has placed in front of us to make this program a success.

Have a great day!