Monday, November 24, 2008

Grateful, hateful

We made it. We're here. And I could not be happier.

We took the long way here, and it was beautiful. We cut across to the coast of Florida, up to Georgia, and across Alabama. And we took all the back roads to see things we had never seen before. It took us almost thirteen hours our first day, but it was well worth the scenery and the family time to get to Mississippi.

The back road in Alabama made me long for a time that is no longer part of our culture. It was back woods, down home and something that hubby and I want for our family. It was about making do and working the land, and everyone pitching in together to help when help is needed. I know. It sounds like a fairy tale. But there are still parts of the country where that happens.

We would see signs for towns that were established in the 1800s and wonder where the town was. Now granted, we may have only seen a small part, the part without a Wal Mart or a grocery store or modern civilization. But we loved what we saw.

We saw roads that looked like roller coasters. We would even hold our hands up and yell on the down side. It was so much fun. We saw small churches with cemeteries next to them. We saw lots and lots of cows. We saw houses that had been abandoned and trees growing through them. We saw barns that needed painting, but the look didn't seem to bother the live stock that was inside. We saw telephone wires that hung precariously from the poles, which hung precariously onto the side of a hill with a very steep drop off. Hubby said he's glad he didn't have to work on those. Me, too!

And along the way we saw great signage. The one that struck me the most was this: Be gratefully humble, do not hatefully grumble. I always wonder who comes up with those. I wonder because I am grateful for the sentiment and the direction. Just when I would start to grouse about something on the trip, I would remember that sign, and shut my mouth.

So at this time of Thanksgiving, here are a few things that I am grateful for. I am thankful for a safe trip, that we arrived safely and soundly. I am grateful for my family that lives in the great state of Texas, family that I love and miss. I am thankful for the time that I get to spend with them, each moment more precious than the last. I am grateful that my children love their Auntie, their uncle, cousins, their Uncle Jessie, and especially their Mermie. I am thankful that I get to spend quality time with family. I am grateful for friends that I have not seen in forever that I get to hug and touch and spend time with. I am thankful for the beauty and grandness of love.

So this Thanksgiving, we are going to play and love and cook and eat and laugh. And we get to take a family picture, something that has never been done before with us. So enjoy your turkey and your family and all the small things that make life fantastic. I am. I plan on a turkey coma come Thursday.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gobble, gobble

We are so close to vacation. I can almost smell it. Can you smell turkey and stuffing, pies cooking, and fresh bread? I can. And it is divine. It has been so long since I have been home for a major holiday. And I need some serious family time.

Hubby came home yesterday from work with a movie for us to watch. He had a couple of dollars and stopped and rented Kung Fu Panda. What a cute movie. And it is filled with some fantastic sayings. For instance, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, which is why it is called the present." Wow. If that doesn't make you stop and think for a minute, nothing will really. And it makes me realize that I am grateful for the present.

I broke down and bought the movie for vacation. But I bought the one that came with The Furious Five and the pc video game. It will not come out of the plastic until we leave for the trip. I am not getting worn out on it before an almost 1100 mile journey.

We have had a busy week. Monday was relatively quiet, except dance for the big girl. Our youth at church did a fund raiser at a local restaurant that night. We stopped by early because of dance. Hubby met us there and we got to eat together. It was fantastic to see so many of our congregation show up and support the youth. We had people from all three services show up, which was incredible considering all the strife that we have been going through. We filled the restaurant three times that night, and the youth raised over $400. They were hoping for $200.

And the big girl's dance teacher picked their recital song already. They are doing "It's Tricky" by Run-DMC. That just happens to be one of my favorite songs and one of the first I downloaded onto my iPod. The big girl is so excited she can hardly stand herself. I love that she is so dedicated to something she loves. I wish we could afford for her to take all the classes she wants to take. Hopefully we can get the bills paid off and she can.

Tuesday brought a flurry of activity. We had a co-op lesson. I love our co-ops and so do the kids, which is really the point. We learned about Greece. We all learned some really neat things that we did not know. And my friend had actually visited Greece years ago when her father was stationed in Italy. So she had a little first hand knowledge as well. The kids did a mini Olympics that they thought was fantastic. But any time you get a bunch of kids running around like that it's a good time.

And the baby had dance. Hubby got home in time to take her. I was very thankful for that. It gave me time to get dinner made and the big kids got to finish their work they didn't finish because of co-op. But they got it all done before dinner. I love the flexibility of homeschooling.

Wednesday was JAM and busy, busy, busy. I had dance. Hubby took the day off to help us. He had to work Saturday, so he got a day off during the week. He likes to be able to participate in things like that with us. He likes to be able to share the family activities with us. It was quite a success and we are so blessed to have the volunteers we have. This program would not happen without them. And we get to spread the love of Christ and show the kids what it means to do that.

Wednesday night we had a church dinner for Veterans Day. There was a ton of good food. The church provided the meat (sloppy joes) and we all brought a side dish. I brought cracker salad. I had two plates of food, shame on me. The kids ate really well, but they also had to in order to get dessert. Then anyone who had been in the service could get up and share stories. That was a lesson in history and pride and dedication and patriotism if ever there was one. It was a privilege and an honor to be in a place with all those veterans.

Thursday was our science co-op. We made s'mores in solar ovens. That was neat. I had never seen the pizza box solar ovens before. It took a little work, but melted chocolate, graham crackers, and melted marshmallows were worth it. I would have preferred a charred marshmallow, but it didn't slow me down much. Or the kids, either.

And Friday was park day. I know I do not have to go into the song and dance about park day. Let me just say, it was fantastic once again. And we may start an art co-op that meets once a month. Yes, another co-op. But when it comes to learning and being with your friends, the kids and me, it just cannot get much better than that. But I'll fill you in on that later.

So that's our week in a nutshell. I will fill you in this week as we get prepared to visit the great country, sorry, state of TEXAS!!!!! And we will send greetings and blogs from the road. Look out world, we are headed out onto the roads. You may pull over now!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

African Body Art

The last time we were at the park, I found out that another family was doing the same history curriculum we were doing. And they are only a week behind us. I thought that was very cool. There is so much curriculum out there, that when I find someone doing the same thing we are, to me it seems pretty rare. Anyway, listening to some of the cool things they were doing with the curriculum was making me a little jealous.

The reason that I chose the program was the variety of activities that comes with the study guide. Having a friend loan me the curriculum and not paying for it was a big plus as well. When I sat down to do the lesson plans (yeah, I'm a freak that way), I had planned to do more of the really neat things that they have listed. Then our schedules got crazy with dance and co-ops and more excuses than I can count. Throw some lazy in there and the combination can be quite volatile, or nap worthy really.

But I have been inspired. I have started taking more time with the kids to do the fun stuff, not just the boring work. I have a craft planned for Thursday that I think the kids will really like because they get to drag out their paints.

Here is a craft we did last week while studying about ancient Africa. It's African body art. And while I didn't want to paint their bodies, we did the other suggestion and traced hands and feet. Then we could draw geometrical symbols on them. We had these foam stickers that the kids wanted to use. OK, no skin off my nose. Even the baby participated. Hopefully they'll post in order starting with the baby, then the boy, then the big girl. But we'll see how good I really am.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Do you remember those annoying commercials for the monster truck races? Every now and then hubby and I do that and crack up laughing at each other. Maybe it's just us.

What a day. It was good, it was productive, and it is breakfast for dinner. We're ready for the kids to go to bed and we haven't even had dinner yet.

We went to church today and somehow ended up teaching Sunday School. The two ladies who normally do it never came over. I guess they thought my friend was teaching, but she was only doing upper elementary (3-5 grade). When they failed to show up, I couldn't leave her to do K-2, so I went upstairs to teach. She had already wrangled the little ones into her classroom. I stayed and helped, and then hubby came up since all three of our kids were there. It went really well. Melanie had gotten two DVDs that had songs and kids singing them and doing motions to the words. So we filled our time with that. The kids had a blast and so did we.

When we got home we realized that we hadn't stopped and picked up milk, of which we had none. The kids had been given free frosty coupons from Wendy's. We had a couple from Halloween, so all in all we had 5, one for each of us! So we packed everybody up and went to have frosty's and pick up milk. We stopped to talk to the neighbor on our way down our driveway. He is such a great neighbor to have.

Hubby and I have a 14 year game of slug bug working with a few new rules added after time. One is no slugging while eating. You can call it, just not count it. He kept trying to call a red one circling the parking lot at the mall and we kept telling him no. He is persistent if nothing else. I got him on the way home. Go, Mama!

We had such a great time. We try to take advantage of family time every opportunity we get. The boy got a vanilla frosty. I didn't even know they had vanilla. That's how often I eat frosty's. The rest of us had chocolate. I was the first one done. Hubby did the "Look, there's Superman!" distraction, which backfired when he grabbed my empty frosty container. We laughed. Ha, ha, got ya.

On the way home we passed a yard sale at the end of our street that was putting out a free pile. We came back to the house, put our milk away, and piled into hubby's truck to see what we could scavenge. We managed to get a chair for the big girl to sit in at her desk. She's had a desk for at least a year, but no chair for it. The boy got a set of kid golf clubs. There were only three in the bag, but he didn't put them down until we went to ride scooters. He also dragged home a number of toys and odds and ends. Out of all of us, he made out like a bandit. The baby got a stuffed bunny and a Tigger magnet.

Hubby and I worked around the house and cleaned up around our shed. I can't stand a trashy yard and ours was. Partly still is, but we're working on it. We measured for a deck out front. Not that we have the funds to build one yet, but my brother in law has roofing for it and wants to know how much we might need. We figured it at 10x13, which is about the size of the kids' rooms. It will be nice to eventually have a nice covered deck to sit on and enjoy.

We drove a bunch of trash to the road and let the kids ride back to the house in the back of the truck. They rode on the tailgate and thought that was the best thing since sliced bread and velcro. Since our driveway runs three acres to the house, I wasn't worried about traffic. I walked back and could hear them laughing the whole way. Then they wanted to ride scooters.

There is a cul de sac just down the street from us that has no houses on it, so we went down there to ride. There were three little boys down there riding their bikes having the time of their lives. One had gotten stuck in the grass covered in stickers. Hubby went and carried him out, then pulled the stickers from his socks and legs. What a good hubby. The boys got back on their bikes and rode around with us. They had plastic bottles shoved between the tires and the tire covers. They made these noises like and an engine revving up, a lawn mower engine maybe. It was really cool. I had never seen anything like it and neither had hubby.

The baby fell a couple of times but jumped right up and got back on her scooter. When she noticed the miniscule amount of blood on her knee, it was time to come home. And boy was there ever drama about that. But I don't even have the time or the strength to go into that. And I smell bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon!

Now I need to go wake a baby up and put her in the shower and start the drama all over again.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I would say that this had been a boring week except for one thing-all the kids have been sick and so has hubby. My nephew got a flu shot and a couple of days later, he had the flu. Of course, his parents didn't bother to tell us that on Halloween when we were all together.

Sunday, the big girl started sniffling a little. Then she started sniffling alot. No, no, no, no, no. Well, that didn't help. She even missed dance class on Monday because she didn't feel good. She never had a fever, but her nose ran and ran.

Tuesday night was dance for the baby. She loves her dance class, and she does so good. It was a little chilly in the evening and the boy was wearing a jacket. And wiping snot all over the sleeves. It was so nasty. But he wouldn't go get a Kleenex. And it was either wipe his nose on his coat or let it run. Bleck! Bless his heart. He was in a pretty good until dinner time.

The boy had a melt down. He was tired and sick and he wanted to go to bed. I made him eat a little to get something in his belly. Then I poured medicine down his throat, put him in PJs and sent his whiny butt to bed. Bless his heart. He had a fever the next morning, which meant no dance for Mama. I couldn't drop him off at my in laws when he's that sick. We also missed our JAM program. None of us were happy about that. The boy kept blaming himself, but I told him it was just something that happened.

Then Thursday morning dawned with more fever from the boy. It never went very high, and I kept an eye on it. I try not to give my kids anything until it gets above 101. Fever is a good thing for your body, and allows it to fight. We missed our science co-op on Thursday. But again, I wasn't taking anyone anywhere with the ickys.

Thursday night was a little rough. The baby was up and down and whiny and I knew exactly why. Friday morning she asked for a waffle for breakfast but only ate about two bites. That was clue number two. Clue number three was her coming to me, no matter where I was or what I was doing, with her arms raised, a sad look, and a pitiful "Hold me." Poor baby. So needless to say we missed park day. We really weren't happy with that. But it happened. And the boy missed dance Friday night.

And all week, my poor hubby has been fighting the same thing. He hasn't had it nearly as bad, thank you God. But he can't take a day off either if we are coming home for Thanksgiving. He had an extra day, but he blew it feeling lazy one day. That'll teach him. No, it really won't. But he stuck it out and was really glad for Friday night to come. I even let him sleep a little late on Saturday. He was already up when I came in, about to get in the shower.

We ran some errands today, but we also doped everybody up good and proper. And the kids were so good at the checkout at Wally World. They even got a compliment on how great they behaved. Of course, the cashier asked if they were my grandkids. I could have slapped her. I'm only 38. Hubby said she must have been smoking something really good. I think it's because people don't normally discipline their kids. I am trying so hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. Or a great big slap. No, benefit of the doubt.

Hopefully, they'll all be better soon. Lysol is being sprayed generously, everything that has a surface is being Clorox wiped, and chests are being rubbed with Vicks Vaporub. I am so ready for a vacation.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 3, 2008


It was busy around here last week, so I'm sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. Where do I start?

Halloween is a good place. Friday was also park day. The park has a dock that leads to a very small lake. But you can still fish. The wind coming off the lake was so cold. It was beautiful at my house so I had on shorts and a tshirt, my usual park attire. The two big kids were wearing shorts and tshirts, but the baby had on a tshirt and a pair of sweat pants. My goose bumps had goose bumps, and they were cold, too. The kids didn't notice a thing, specially as they ran around the park playing and playing and playing.

Every year we go to hubby's parents house to trick or treat. We get together with all the kids and go around the pond they live on. This year it was a little disappointing. There have been so many foreclosures in the neighborhood that many houses were empty. The old crowd was still there, the ones that have lived in the neighborhood forever. But there weren't many trick or treaters this year either. It was kind of sad. We even went to a different part of the neighborhood that we haven't been to in a long time. Now that the kids are all walking and there were no strollers there was a little more complaining. But we just ignored them and pimped them out for more free candy.

The kids recycled costumes this year. The big girl and the boy did pirates from last year. The baby wore one of the big girl's witch costumes from Halloween past. We still had the hat that went with it. That is amazing in itself. I bought a pirate set for the big girl that had a hat, eye patch, and a hook to wear over her hand. She hung her bag on that and you could hear people laugh when they went to put candy in her bag. It was pretty amusing.

Wednesday was our fall party at JAM. We had a blast. The kids got their pumpkin bags with the school supplies, but there was also candy in it. We had a donation of candy and when I picked it up from the church office and looked at it, I cracked up. It was body part candy. They are gummies and shaped like parts of your body that have been cut off or out. They looked disgusting, but the kids loved it. We had to put two gift bags together for each child because we had so much candy from different people.

We had hot dogs, chips, and juice boxes for a snack. Then we ran them outside for a while. We gathered them and took them to our youth house, where the middle and high school kids gather. The youth had decorated it for Halloween and we went there to watch our movie.

I popped popcorn, and we had a ton of junk. One of our volunteers stayed up until almost midnight the night before making treats for the kids. He made cookie "fingers" with almond slivers for the nail and red icing around it to make it look bloody. He made witches hats out of Rice Krispie treats layed with melted chocolate and adorned with black licorice. We also had dirt pudding complete with gummy worms. And my favorite part was the caramel apples. He and his wife melon balled apples to make bite size pieces and covered them in caramel. They used toothpicks for the sticks. They put them in paper candy cups and they were the highlight of my day! Yummy, yummy, yummy!

I'm sure there was plenty more last week that I have left out. But it was a busy one.

Here is my shameless plug. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!! This election is so important to our country and our states. I ask that you pray for guidance and don't leave your chads hanging. We take hubby to work in the morning, so we will be at the polls early. Do what you think is right for your family. But vote, please.

Have a great day!