Monday, December 17, 2007

A Christmas memory...

My mind has wandered a lot to Christmas' of the past lately. I loved Smallworld's blog about her first married Christmas, and so, I decided to blog about one of my Christmas memories.
It actually wasn't very long ago, and I can't believe I remember much because it was the year Elisa was born, and looking back on the pictures, my eyes weren't opened much in any picture, most likely because of sleep deprivation because she was only one month old. That, or my cheeks were just that big from all the weight I gained after the c-section...
After Elisa was born, I vowed to keep her inside as much as possible the first two months since Bekah had had RSV, and was in the hospital as a newborn. And so, for two months, I stayed at home. All day. With a 3 1/2 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and a new born. I couldn't wait until 9 a.m. so I could call another adult and talk. I had my list. First, I would call Joy, if she didn't answer then Maria, if she didn't was a joyous time in my life.
About a week before Christmas, I got a chance to take Caleb and Bekah out to the mall to see Santa, and Mike stayed home with Elisa. This was the first time we tried this. When we got there I noticed there were a lot of animals in line but no kids. Strange, I thought, but stayed in line anyway. By the time we got to the front, the woman asked me where my pet was. I said, "I don't have a pet, just my children." To that she said, "well tonight is pet night, no children can see Santa." Huh? Unfortunately for her, I had many hormones still racing through me, and had been locked up in my house now for over 4 weeks. And so, the tears began to pour, and my voice got a little loud.
"I just had a baby," I yelled. "I can't leave my house with her, I had surgery, and this is the only chance I will get to take these kids out to see Santa." It was about that time I see a familiar face coming out of another store. To my embarresment, she heard me, and asked what was going on. Then she looked at the lady I had just yelled at and said, "Mom, you have to let her kids go talk to Santa." After picking myslef up off the floor, the woman looked at me and said, "They can talk to him, but can't sit on his lap because of all the pet hair.." Ah, yes, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Here are the kids with the Santa they couldn't touch....Bekah is still afraid of him...
this was also the year Bekah had many scars on her face from all the mosquito bites...and she chose Veggie Tale bandaids...
And here I am trying to keep my eyes open for the picture...literally, this is what I look like in all the pictures that Christmas.
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Dec. 17, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
I remember that night at the mall! My mom and I were at the Dollar Store and saw you right after that adventure! I've told that story several times!
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Dec. 18, 2007 - I think...
Posted by QueenoftheHill
You look beautiful! Way to hang in there and beat down the Grinch!!!
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Dec. 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Suzanne
Cute pictures! Thanks for sharing them!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Decorating the tree..

Most years, our tradition is to put up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But this year, our tree and all our decorations were sitting in a storage unit about five minutes from our house. We were hopeful that we would be in our new house by Christmas, so it was the first in the storage unit. I finally got excited enough to tackle this, and so last Thursday we all went to the storage unit and got most of our decorations.
This was my first look at all we have in storage, and wow, we have a lot in storage! Now I am wondering what to do with it all. Mike easily found the tree and was ready to leave with just the tree, but I lovingly reminded him we needed ornaments. So, as he set to work finding those, I looked for the presents I had bought through the year. After lugging and pulling and ripping tape, we got it done and here is the result....
We ended up decorating on the 6th , which is St. Nicholas Day, and a tradition in my family for as long as I can remeber. I also found my Christmas cd's, much to Mike's dismay, but, I put on Emmanuel first, which is our favorite, and it felt like Christmas. (just don't ask me how many pictures I had to take to get this last shot...)
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Dec. 11, 2007 - truly beautiful
Posted by onfire (
it just wouldn't be christmas, to me, without a tree. and I am also glad to see we are not the only family who needs to rearrange some furniture slightly in order to accomodate the bush.
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Dec. 12, 2007 - It's so beautiful...
Posted by Mom (
For me, sitting in the darkened living room with the tree lights glowing and some Christmas music in the background gives me a sense of calm and peace in this hectic hectic time. Then again, we don't have a houseful of little ones to keep the calm times at bay! As the Bible says, for every thing there is a Season, and we're in a later Season of life. My wish for you dear ones is that you continue to love each moment of your lives together - they are all so precious.
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Dec. 19, 2007 - You never know...
Posted by QueenoftheHill (
It just may be that tree that sells the house!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sharing our blessings...

Yesterday was a great Thanksgiving for us, and one like we have never had before. My brother in law is a police officer. About three months ago he arrested a homeless man (Wayne) who turned himself in on a warrant for a revoked license because he was hungry and knew that in jail, he could at least get a meal. Jeff saw something in Wayne and offered to help him if he wanted it. Not much later, Wayne came looking for Jeff and has since kept a job and an apartment. The rest is in the article I posted at the end.
Jeff invited Wayne to Thanksgiving with our family. It was so neat to have him with us. It's the kind of Thanksgiving or Christmas I had always envisioned, having someone there who needs our help, who has no family, who is truly grateful just to be here, and to be alive. He is a very kind and gracious man. When he first came in, Jeff asked him what he would like to drink and Wayne said, "Wine would be great, I get nervous around white people I have never met!" (he is a black man) He was very open with us about his life, which has been rocky, his addictions, and how he is so thankful to God for turning his life around and bringing Jeff into it.
It made me very aware and very thankful that I have a house to live in, a husband who works so hard to provide for us, and God who never gives up on us. Wayne was homeless in my little town, and I mean little, about 800 people. It really opened my eyes to the fact that this is all around us. And thankful too, that my husband, fyftn, has a heart for helping people just like Wayne. It was one of my favorite Thanksgivings. And I hope we get to share more of our blessings with Wayne in the future.
Alcoa officer answers call to help transform a life Mark Boxley Published: November 21, 2007Hanging up a pay phone at a gas station on Alcoa Highway, Luther Wayne Kennedy stood impatiently on a warm July morning, waiting for a police cruiser to pick him up and take him to jail. And the only thing he could think about was getting there before the jail stopped serving lunch.

of The Daily Times Staff

He had been living under a tree - actually, it was hardly a tree. His home was better described as a large bush with a floor made of slabs of stone scavenged from a nearby garden. There he lived with a sleeping bag and a small suitcase containing everything he owned - which wasn't much, a trio of shirts, a couple pairs of pants and whatever toiletries he was lucky enough to have that day.
But it wasn't all bad: He was within walking distance of the crack house where he got his drugs and he was far enough away to stay out of trouble if the police came. And that was something that happened more often than not.
But because his 22-year habit took every cent he came across, Wayne - as he was known by his friends - hadn't eaten in three days.
He had gotten up that morning to a grumbling stomach and with no food in sight, and he remembered he had an active warrant for driving on a revoked license. Jail's not great, he thought, but at least he would have food to eat, clean clothes to wear and he wouldn't be sleeping under a tree.
So he called the police and turned himself in.
"I would rather be in jail than live like I was living," he said. "(In jail) I got food, I got shelter, I can take a shower and they've got clothes. I know it sounds crazy, but that's how bad off I was."
Something unexpected
When the officer did arrive just before noon that July 12, instead of the gruff police officer Wayne was expecting, he was approached by Alcoa Police Patrol Officer Jeff Parsons.
"Jeff got out of the car and there was an air about him," Wayne said. "Like he really didn't want to put the handcuffs on me."
Wayne is 58 years old, and when Jeff Parsons first saw him, he could tell the man had been living a rough life.
"He just looked horrible," Parsons said. "He looked like an old gentleman who life had just beat him down."
The two made a connection, even with Wayne handcuffed in the backseat of the cruiser. Jeff could see there was something different about the way Wayne talked about his life and how he wanted to change.
"On the way to the jail, he just kind of poured his heart out," Jeff said.
It was the sincerity in Wayne's voice that moved him to give the man his police department phone number. And for Wayne, that one gesture was what occupied his thoughts during the next 12 days in jail - the thought that someone would be waiting to help him when he got out.
"He said on the way on up (to the jail ... 'If you want help, if you truly, honestly want help, I'll help you,'" Wayne said. "And all of a sudden I felt - I had a feeling like, man, I don't know, I just wasn't scared any more.
"I said, 'When I get out of (jail), I'm going to have help. I'm through with drugs.'" But that wasn't exactly how it happened.
Hitting bottom
Wayne was released from the Blount County Jail on July 24, a Tuesday. It just so happens that Jeff is off on Tuesdays, and despite many attempts Wayne just wasn't able to track him down. Nonetheless, his spirit wasn't broken yet.
Walking from the jail with nowhere to go, Wayne looked down Lamar Alexander Parkway.
"When I was in jail, I said I was going to make a left turn (in life) instead of a right turn," he said. "If I go right, I go into the hood - straight into the drug world."
And he went left, literally. Ending up at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Wayne explained his problem to someone at the church, how he couldn't get in touch with Jeff.
"They sat down and said, 'Just a minute,'" he said. "She came back in about five minutes and said, 'We have a room for you at the Executive Lodge for one night. ... This should give you time to get in touch with him.'
"Man, I was so happy."
But again, the next morning Wayne still couldn't get Jeff on the phone. Wayne had left the jail with a Bible someone had given to him, and he was angry - at Jeff, at God, at everything.
"I wanted to tear that Bible up, man, I really did because I said, 'This guy lied to me,'" he said. "So, I just tore the cover off the Bible.
"(And) I went back to the drug world."
Back to the tree
The next 10 days, Wayne says, were the lowest of his life. And looking back it was God's way of letting him hit the bottom before building him back up, he said.
"I did drugs for 10 days - for 10 days I went back to where I was at before I met Jeff," he said. "I was living under a tree, man - it was a tree.
"I was actually, actually homeless."
But one day, he remembered what it was like in the back of that police cruiser, and the hope Jeff had given him. So he made the decision to try one more time.
"So, one morning ... I was determined, I said I'm going to see Jeff," he said. "So, I got up and started walking."
He was in Rockford.
"First I went by the Days Inn, because they have a breakfast there," he said with a laugh, explaining how the staff at hotels don't always know who had stayed there and who didn't. "When you're homeless, you learn how to survive."
He made a call from the hotel to the Alcoa Police Department - Jeff was out on a call, but just knowing he was working that day was enough for Wayne.
"(The person on the phone) said, 'Do you have a number (for Jeff to call him back at)?' ... I said, 'No, I'm at a phone booth.'
"And she said, 'Why don't you come in?'"
During that long walk from Rockford to the Alcoa Police Department, Wayne could not help but think about the past 10 days.
"I wanted to be helped right then," he said. "And I guess God wanted me to go back and just see (one more time what being a drug addict was like), so I wouldn't wonder."
Life as an addict
Wayne was born on April 18, 1949, in the outskirts of Chicago. He was adopted shortly after his first birthday and moved to Rockford. He never knew his birth parents.
He grew up the son of working-class parents in Rockford, and the strongest drug he ever used early in life was alcohol. But even that got him in trouble.
He got married at 17 and was divorced and remarried by 21. He moved to Dayton, Ohio, with his second wife in 1969. But after 12 years, that marriage fell apart as well.
"She said I was an alcoholic," he said. "And looking back, I guess I was - I drank every day."
While he was married, Wayne said he had a home - a nice three-bedroom house - cars, money, and anything else he might need.
But after the divorce, he fell apart. He took his $6,000 divorce settlement and, on the advice of some of his friends, decided to make a different kind of investment.
"So everybody told me, 'Man, you can really make money off of coke (cocaine),'" he said.
"So I came here, I came back to Tennessee ... to buy crack."
"First I bought a quarter ounce, then I bought an ounce."
It went downhill from there.
"I started using - I started experimenting with it," he said. "And that's when I really acquired an addiction to crack.
"I guess I used it, now looking back, you know, to fill the space," he said. "I lost my home, I lost my wife, lost my car."
Wayne got married again, quit his job of 18 years at Dayton Power and Light as a gas and electric serviceman and moved to Las Vegas.
Feeding the demon
Soon he was working only to feed his addiction. "I was like three hours away from being in the soup line in Las Vegas," he said. And after leaving his wife and moving back to Tennessee in 1987, it continually got worse.
"I was doing great until I met Mr. Crack and it just started taking all my money," he said. "By the way, I guess I'm still married to that woman, because we never got a divorce."
He got a trailer in Rockford and started working for the Tennessee Highway Department. That is, until he got a DUI. "And I just didn't go back to work on that job," he said.
New crack users - or rookies - are the ones who get hustled, and by this point Wayne was the hustler.
"When I lived in Rockford, I had a trailer and they (his customers) would come and I would take them to Alcoa to get drugs," he said. "I wasn't a drug dealer, I was a user. And I was doing this to support my habit."
The hustle was easy and Wayne always took his cut as the middle man.
"I would go to Alcoa, get out of the car - they were white, all my customers where white - they would go to Kroger, turn around and come back. And I would walk into the hood (to get the drugs)," he said. "Say they gave me $50, well, I could get a better quantity than they could. So out of $50, I would probably get maybe $20 worth of crack - they were satisfied, I was satisfied.
"A lot of times they would sit at my place and smoke it, we would smoke it."
"I was just off into the drug world," he said. "You know, drugs draw women, and women draw men and I had a little old business there I guess - had a little crack house, I guess.
"The police thought it was, too," he said laughing.
In 2003, Wayne was arrested, charged with and convicted for delivery of cocaine.
"Well, I got caught," he said. "A guy wore a wire on me four times - a guy I thought was a friend of mine. And I ended up doing 26 months in the state penitentiary."
It wasn't the first time Wayne had been arrested, but it was the first time for a drug charge. And it was by far the hardest time he ever served. Between 1996 and 2007, Wayne has been in and out of the Blount County Jail 17 times. He was in jail three times just this year.
But while at Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, it was the real deal.
Going even lower
After he got out and returned to his drug-addicted lifestyle, his adoptive mother - a retired school teacher, who taught him when he was younger in a two-room, segregated schoolhouse - died in June 2006. "And that's when I became homeless and didn't know it," he said.
"At the time, I wasn't working, there was a mortgage on the house and taxes were behind," he said. "We were almost ready to lose the house."
But before they did, someone bought it. And while they were remodeling, they let Wayne live in a tent on the yard to look after the place. He stayed warm by burning trash discarded during the remodeling job.
"I did roll over into the fire one night," he said somberly. "I slept by a fire, a trash fire."
"By then, I was selling drugs," he said. "I was hustling drugs to get high, to stay high.
"I got hungry, man. I got so hungry at times I would just get weak," he said. "The thing about the drug world - I call it the devil, because it is the devil - the devil will get you high, but he ain't going to get you a sandwich."
It was the same for other drug addicts. "You'll starve to death, but they'll get you a beer," he said. "But they won't give you a sandwich, man. I'm talking about people you know, friends, you know? "Because they ain't hungry, they're getting high."
That was a turning point for Wayne. "This is the point that I think God brought me to, to show me what not having is - not having water, not having food, not having clothing," he said. "When I hit the bottom, that taught me a lot that I didn't learn in 50-something years."
His guardian angel
Walking up to the window at the Alcoa Police Department, Wayne asked for Jeff. The woman behind the glass asked if Jeff would be expecting him. "I said, 'Oh yeah, he's expecting me,'" Wayne said.
Talking to Jeff, though, he would tell you that the man in the lobby was something he wasn't expecting at all. He had given his number to people like Wayne before, but no one ever called him back. And when he walked into the room and saw Wayne standing there, it was a bit of a revelation.
"(Wayne) goes, 'I'm here, I need some help,'" Jeff said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is for real now."
The first thing Jeff wanted to do was get Wayne something to eat. Unfortunately, they stopped at a gas station where Wayne had a history.
"I said, 'Man, I got caught stealing food out of there,'" Wayne said. And sure enough, when the two of them walked in the cashier remembered the man who tried to leave with a can of Spam under his shirt. Wayne doesn't blame them, how could you forget a guy who said that bulge was actually a pistol when they tried to stop him.
But Jeff doesn't hold that past against Wayne.
"At the time he did what he did (use drugs), he had nothing," Jeff said. "He was in survival mode."
Jeff got so upset about the way the workers at the station reacted, the two of them left. Food wasn't really the most important thing for Wayne right now anyway, Jeff said. It was finding him a place to stay that night.
My kingdom for a couch

Jeff didn't have much luck at first at a nearby homeless shelter - there weren't any rooms available. But there was a couch.
"I said, 'Can he please sleep on the couch tonight?'" Jeff said. And the person in charge agreed to let Wayne sleep there, but just for the night.
"The very same night - and this is how God works - a guy moved out," Wayne said. "The very same night. "I felt like I was in the Hilton Hotel."
At that time, Wayne only had his small suitcase and the few pieces of clothing it contained. And he almost didn't have that.
While Wayne was in the Blount County Jail, Jeff had gone back to his tree to get the bag. But the owners of the property were cleaning up the yard and had already thrown it in the trash pile. If it had been taken to the dump, Wayne would have lost the few possessions he still had. Jeff was able to pull it out of the pile before that happened, though.
"It was by pure luck," Jeff said. "In another hour it would have been gone." There were a few other things Wayne needed at the homeless shelter - basic toiletries mostly. He gave Jeff a "wish list" of items - but it contained things that most people didn't have to wish for. And it made Jeff, and later his wife, cry to read it.
"It was a long list - toothpaste, toothbrushes, just things like that," Jeff said.
He took the list and went to the store. "He said, 'Let me see your list,'" Wayne said. "He just took the list, man. He came back, not with two bars of soap (but with) a 12-pack of soap, toothpaste, deodorant - I mean two deodorants.
"Everything on that list, he brought me," he said. "Him and his wife got it for me."
On top of that, the manager of the Alcoa Wal-Mart, Boyce Smith, donated shoes and some clothes for Wayne.
Signs of life
Far from the sad man he picked up at the Exxon station that day in July, Jeff has seen the light re-enter Wayne's eyes in the past few months.
"The change that I've seen in Luther (Wayne) is his spirit," Jeff said. "He's just happier; he's bubblier."
A week-and-a-half after he moved into the homeless shelter, Wayne had gotten himself a job at Buddy's BBQ on Alcoa Highway. And with that, he finally felt at least a little self-sufficient.
"I got 10 hours the first paycheck," Wayne said. "Ten hours the first week. "I brought home my $57 and man, that felt like $570 in my pocket."
Jeff would take Wayne to the bank every week to cash his check, and just as things were really looking up, "Bam, child support hit," Wayne said.
Wayne has five children - four girls and a boy. The oldest was born in 1967 and the youngest is in his 20s. None of them kept in contact with their dad while he was on drugs - Wayne hasn't seen his son since 1988.
"I didn't want them to see me like that," he said. "They didn't want to see me like that."
Along with not seeing them, Wayne also did not pay to support them. And over the years he fell $27,000 behind in child support. And when he finally got a legal job, the government stepped in and started taking the money back, $50 at a time.
"You know, times in the past I would have used that as an excuse," he said of the garnishment. "I'd say the hell with it, I'm not going to work and pay child support - I'm going back to drugs."
But that's not what he did. He kept working, he kept paying child support and after a few weeks was able to get an even better-paying job detailing RVs at Chilhowee RV Center in Alcoa.
Clerical error
Even with all the strides Wayne was taking to set his life straight, his past keeps sneaking up on him. One day Jeff got wind that Wayne had a warrant issued for his arrest for not paying child support. Jeff thought that was odd, because he knew Wayne was paying the support - he took him to the bank every week and saw his check.
Jeff went to Blount County Circuit Judge W. Dale Young and convinced him to remove the attachments for contempt. He told the judge, "If you put him in jail now, he'll lose his job." And in that, he would lose everything he had worked so hard to gain. Wayne certainly knows what would have happened if Jeff hadn't stepped in to help him.
"If he hadn't been my friend, I would have been homeless again and I'd have been back on drugs again. I know I would," he said. "I'd have said, 'What's the use? I'm doing everything right and I still can't make it.'"
The only condition is that Jeff had to promise Wayne would be at his next court hearing. "And he was - I took him," Jeff said. It turned out to be a clerical error, Jeff said, "It wasn't even his fault."
A working, walking man
Wayne walks to work every day from his own apartment near Chilhowee RV Center. Danny Stahl, the shop foreman at Chilhowee RV, said he remembered the day Wayne came in looking for a job.
"He seemed really sincere about coming to work," he said, explaining how he went to his boss about Wayne after meeting him. "I told him that there was something about this guy that I had a good feeling about.
"I told him I would really like to put this guy on (to work)." When he offered Wayne the job, he started the next day.
"He was here early," Stahl said. "He's been here early ever since. "He's just a really, really dependable guy."
Stahl said he would never guess by looking at him that Wayne has gone through the things he has, but everyone deserves a chance regardless of their past.
"Everybody has to have a job," he said. "I personally don't care what his past is. "I'm just glad I found Luther (Wayne)," he said, quickly correcting himself. "Or that he found me."
God's hand
Both Jeff and Wayne agree on one thing, if things had happened differently that day in July, Wayne would still be on the street or possibly dead.
If it hadn't been Jeff who arrested him that day, "I would still be over there in crack city," Wayne said. "I would probably be dead, more than likely."
"He'd still be in the street," Jeff reiterated. "There's no doubt in my mind.
"That's how wonderful God is: He did this, He planned this," he said. "Until the day I die, I'll believe this is God's work.
"We'll be friends for life, there's no doubt in my mind," he added. "He'll be someone I'll never forget."
Wayne is thankful for that friendship, and the fact that Jeff cared enough to try and help a down-and-out crack addict.
"What if Jeff had looked at me and said, 'Oh, look at him. He stinks, I don't want to bother with him, he ain't never going to straighten up," Wayne said. "But he didn't, he looked at me as a human being."
For the people struggling with the same demons Wayne was battling only months ago, he says you have to make that first step away from a life of drugs.
"I try to tell them, 'You can, you can, you can,'" he said. "But you've got to get out of there, you've got to get out from under that tree."
Still a long way to go
Wayne has only been clean for about three months - two months shy of his longest drug-free stretch, the 5½ months he was clean in the late 1980s. And he'll tell you he's not a saint.
"I'm still weak," he said. "I struggle every day."
But there are things, people and God in his life that help him stay clean. "I can look in the refrigerator and I've got me something to eat and I've got a clean bed to sleep on, and I know if I go over there and start smoking that (crack), I'll bypass the office (and not pay rent) and I'll be homeless, just like that," he said. "And I ain't going back, I'm not going back.
"I'm not going to say I'll never be homeless again," he said. "But it won't be because of crack. I promise you that."
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Nov. 23, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld (
That was a fabulous article, and I'm glad Wayne got to spend the day with you all!
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Nov. 26, 2007 - wow.
Posted by DrHibiscus (
I read that article when it came out in the paper, but didn't make the connection with you until Sarah mentioned it. What an amazing journey. And how cool that you got to spend Thanksgiving with him. Even if white people make him nervous I bet it was one of the best Thanksgivings he's had for a while!
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Nov. 27, 2007 - That was very good for me to read!
Posted by bestsister (
My husband is an officer and there have been kids he's tried to help in the past. So far none have been ready. It is frustrating to watch them continue the destructive cycle when they don't have to. But your family's experience has encouraged me that in the Lord's timing, the right opportunity to serve will come along. Blessings!
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Nov. 27, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by WaitingontheLord (
Wow! And your children get to see the adults in their family showing the love of God. Thank you for letting your light shine!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


While looking over the options for our next semester of Monday Fun classes, I saw this class listed and thought it would be fun for Caleb.
Grossology: Icky sticky science. Lots of fun and lots of experiments. Find out why you have bad breath, what’s in your poop, what’s in your throw up and why you don’t want to eat your boogers.
Sounds like a good boy class to me. So, I ask Caleb about taking it sand said, "Then you could tell Bekah and Elisa why they shouldn't eat their boogers." And Bekah says, "Yeah, especially me."
So, on the way to Bible study that night, Caleb says, "Yeah, pretty much I don't eat my boogers anymore."
I can't wait to here what he learns....
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Nov. 22, 2007 - I thought it sounded really clever, too
Posted by QueenoftheHill (
But then I noticed they are holding the class at the crack of dawn! It's a challenge, but I'm going to try to limit my boys to 1 class. It is just too hard to entertain Baby any longer than that. Probably Shakespeare will determine what time we'll be there. OS loves that!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My four year old...

Last Thursday was Elisa's fourth birthday. It's hard to believe my "baby" is four. I mean, by the time Caleb was 3 1/2, he had two younger siblings. But here is Elisa, with no younger siblings, and growing up so fast.
Unfortunately, I was not feeling well that day, and wasn't the most pleasant person to be around, but it was a great day for her, complete with a trip to Chuck E Cheese, and a new princess laptop.
Elisa was, in a way, a surprise for Mike and I. After having Caleb and Bekah 24 months apart, we thought we would spread out the next one. We found out Elisa was on the way right after Bekah turned one. So, Caleb was 3 1/2 and Bekah 1 1/2 when Elisa came along. I really thought I would have to resusitate Mike the night I told him I was pregnant.
But what a joy she is. This little blonde hair, blue eyed dimpled beauty still makes our hearts melt. The first thing she wants to do in the morning is come and cuddle with me. While she has been my biggest "turkey", she brings me so much happiness, and I feel so blessed that God gave me this precious little girl. Here she is, after being 5 days late, and in labor all night....she performed her first gymnastics stunt and turned transverse, and was delivered c-section.
And so it is fitting that she is a good little gymnast and wanted a gymnastics party this year...
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Nov. 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld (
I sure do love that little girl!!!!!
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Nov. 21, 2007 - yes
Posted by onfire (
she was the one who very politely, and matter of factly asked me to scoot over on the picnic table bench on the first day, too. imagine. (hope you have more)
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Nov. 22, 2007 - What a doll!
Posted by QueenoftheHill (
And what a bummer to labor all night and THEN have a c-section! She's a beautiful little girl, and you'll be beating the boys off with sticks when she hits teenhood. Hope Mr. FYFTN is up to the task!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


While looking at the High School Musical cd cover, Elisa starts asking me what their "real names" are.
Elisa: "Mommy, what is Gabriella's real name?"
Me:"Vanessa Hudgens"
Elisa: "What is Troy's real name?"
Me: "Zac Efron"
Elisa: "Chad?
Me: "Corbin Bleu"
Elisa: "No it's not, It's Chad. Chad Anooga."
On the way home from swim lessons today, she asks me, "Mommy, have we done the letter O in our ABC class yet?" "Not yet." I say. "Good because I have a great idea for an activity for the word OV." "OV?" I asked. "Yes," she says. "can you use that in a sentence?" I asked. "Yes, she says, OOOOOVVVVV. It's a type of tree." I told her we would have to let Dr. Hibiscus know.
Did I mention this precious girl turns four tomorrow?

Nov. 14, 2007 - cool!
Posted by DrHibiscus (
maybe she's discovered a new species that has eluded science for all these years! if so we can name it after her: In latin it will be Ov elisaensis. Now, if she can just show me where to find such a tree we can get this all taken care of!
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Nov. 22, 2007 - You need to get that girl...
Posted by QueenoftheHill (
...a book on native plants! She seems to have a propensity. One of the major differences between moms with girls and moms without is, I suspect, that those of us without don't have the CD, the movie, or any knowledge whatsoever of "High School Musical." And I won't have anyone to tell me when I'm older that the color of lipstick I'm wearing is passe or that I need to update my hairstyle... (You can already see the effects of this!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 house

Whose idea was it to move anyway? Why did I find a house I loved so much more than mine that I wanted to put me and my family through chaos for the last two months? I have asked myself those questions everyday for the last two months.
We weren't even looking to move. We were happily finishing our basement and I was one weekend away from a trip to IKEA to furnish the basement, when I found the house online. Since that day, our basement has been on hold. New ceramic tile was laid in my entry way and 1/2 bath downstairs, new carpeting in my bed room.
This is the new tile and the view is entry way going into our 1/2 bath..I really like the design in the doorway...
I spent two weeks sanding and repainting the kitchen cabinet doors to try and make them look better than they did thanks to the lady who lived here before us and painted them in ONE DAY. Oh yes, we also replaced our ugly kitchen counter tops, which look amazing now.
Here is the old counter top, which had a pink undertone to it, and wasn't attractive.
This is what we found when we took the old counter tops off...the ugly wall paper that used to be all over my was my first project when we moved here...
These are the new counter tops, which don't cover the ugly wallpaper, so we are putting up some tile for the backsplash...
We have had two couples come through who "loved the house, but hated the back deck." I guess everyone but me knew my back deck was about to fall apart. The last couple that came through wanted to get an estimate on the deck, and then would "subtract that from the amount of their offer." That was last Thursday and we haven't heard anything. So, Mike and I decided that since he is off this week, we would replace the back deck too.
I have been really pumped and high some days (not literally, although, that may be an option) and low many days. And I am now wondering what in the world are we doing? No, it doesn't make me want to stay in this house even though we have done so much to it. It makes me want to enjoy the big family room in the other place, get a new dining room table to look awesome in an actual dining room, and watch my kids get to ride their bikes in the street at the end of a cul-de-sac. But, that is not up to me.
So, for now, I will enjoy that my husband is outside doing all sorts of handy man things, (I bet he isn't enjoying it) replacing the back deck while on the phone to our friend Robbie asking what part needs to be done next. Mike isn't exactly the handy man type, but I am proud of him for all he is doing to help us get into the new house.
Here is my handy man hard at work...
Yikes...and I am afraid of heights...
And here is the view from our back deck...we are probably crazy to leave...but that nice big yard back goes straight down hill and is only good for snow, which we apparently don't get in TN anymore...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Ode to Pennie...

Last week I somehow got talked into playing soccer with my son's coaches (other) soccer team. Donnie, his coach, has three teams. His oldest, 13-16 year old co-ed team, went undefeated this season and only allowed one goal. So, they challenged the parents to a game. My friend Caroline bullied me into playing. (just kidding, Caroline)
So, at noon today, us "old folks" ran for four 20 minute quarters against these young kids. I sat out the first quarter along with another mom, whose son plays on the co-ed team. We got to talking and she asked me if I homeschooled. When I said yes, she said, "do you have two darling little girls, and do you teach gymnastics?" "Yes," I say, "you sure know a lot about me" She said " I read your blog!" and she also let me know she is not, indeed a stalker. I told her how I think in blogs, but I don't always get around to typing them. When it came our turn to take the field, I began blogging in my head. She said "I'm reading it right now."
Playing soccer was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It has been quite a few years since I have played, and I am talking P.E., not organized soccer. So, the first time the ball came to me and they are all shouting "Come on Donna," I backed away from the ball a bit and told Caroline "I'm scared!" But, soon I got in the game and had a great time playing, even getting down to shoot a goal. (which I missed) I played two quarters back to back, which is 40 minutes on legs that really hate running.
And let me tell you about my team mates. As Caleb said "Miss Caroline sure is a good kicker." She was my hero by being brave enough to play in the first quarter, and I give her more kudos for the graceful fall she had, and bounced right back up, without us having to "take a knee." And Pennie... She sure knows how to grab an opposing player and put their arms behind their back to get the ball away from them. A bit illegal, I know, but hey, it looked good. She also had some good kicks, one of them flying overhead.
And then there is Mike. I have to say, I think he was the star player of our team. While he didn't score a goal he was always there to shoot at the goal, and was so good at passing. I give him the team MVP award, but I am biased...
And so, this blog is for Pennie. My new stalker, blog lurking friend, who I found out has two sons who are very talkented on the guitar and mandolin. And for Caroline, who talked me into playing, and whose legs I hope are real tired. I actually got all this down for you today Pennie and Caorline, I hope you enjoy....It was fun playing soccer with you today, even if I now feel my legs may fall off...
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Nov. 10, 2007 - Thanks for the Shout Out!
Posted by Stalker/Illegal Grabber
Hey! I was telling my boys about our encounter. I went to show them your blog....and there was my Shout Out! I knew I could count on you....and you even spelled my name correctly! Now that I'm out of the closet, perhaps I will have to give up some of my solitaire/e-mail/phone time & get my own blog....Nahhh, it's more fun to just lurk. :) Your family is just as sweet in real life as it is in virtual world. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and may God Bless your family. Pennie
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Nov. 22, 2007 - I hope noone I know...
Posted by QueenoftheHill
...ever discovers my blog! (Outside my homeschool buddies.) What if I'm saying something nasty about them? Although, any lurker/stalker of yours, Partyoffive, is welcome to lurk/stalk at my site, too. ;-)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

10-20-30 meme...

Hanging on to Smallworlds coat tails, I thought I would also post a meme, although as she says "you don't get to do a `40 years ago`" :)
10 years ago (1997 age 23) Mike and I had just celebrated our 2nd Wedding anniversary. We just moved out of our first apartment in Bremerton, WA, and moved into a duplex owned by one of the merchants I worked with. (It ended up being a huge mistake, except that we always had deer in our yard. I worked for Seafirst Bank as a Merchant Teller, and also taught Step Aerobics. My first niece, Rachel, had just been born and I started getting the desire to have a baby. My sister lived two hours north from us, so we spent a lot of weekends up in Sedro Wooley, WA.
20 years ago (1987 age 13) I was in the eighth grade at St. Charles School in Orlando, Fl. I had my second boyfriend whose name was Eddie Pita. He broke up with me because I was scared to kiss him. I was also competing in gymnastics. This year I went on to the State competition and quailfied for Regionals, although I wasn't allowed to go, because it was the same day as my eighth grade graduation. I also helped teach gymnastics to the younger kids to pay for my tuition...My best friend was Lori Sherlock and we loved listening to the Monkees, and had just seen them in concert. I also remember listening to Richard Marx, and Debbie Gibson, oh, yes, and Tiffany too.
30 years ago (1977 age 3) I am not one of those people who can remember the day I was born, or even really when I was three, but here is what I know. My family had just moved from Nashville, TN, back to my parents hometown, Evansville, IN. It was the year of a huge snowstorm and we lived on a big hill. And mom always says about the day we moved back to E'ville, "that's the day Elvis died."
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Nov. 8, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
I remember the day Elvis died! I bought my oldest brother a Tiger Beat magazine because he had been a big Elvis fan and I thought he would appreciate it! (He was in his late 20s. I'm sure he really enjoyed reading Tiger Beat!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Fall...

I love the fall. I love the smell of fall, the feel of fall, and putting on my jeans after a long summer, well, that is, when they fit! Anyway, Mike and I were married in the fall because it is my favorite time of year. While I don't have a poem or any beautiful words about it, I just have to say I love the fall, or autumn, as Caleb would rather me say.
This past week has once again been a whirlwind for me, and now my days go by so fast, I don't think I am enjoying them. From showing our house, to teaching gymnastics, Monday fun, swimming, this, that, and the other, I pretty much melted down last week wondering why I do what I do. And I don't mean being home with my kids, it's all that other stuff. So, this week, I am trying to let go of some of my other responsibilities. And breathe. And be a nicer mommy. And enjoy the fall.
So, today is Halloween, and we have already been to three pumpkin carving parties, and have dressed up twice he are my little ones. Dorothy, Scarecrow, and of course, my Munchkin....

And here are a few from our Fall Festival, where each of my kids got to perform their gymnastics and dance...
There's Caleb and I....he really isn't that hard to spot (contrary to the look on my face)
And here are my ballerinas...
Elisa is also on the preschool showteam...
And the three of them in their bridge's...
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Oct. 31, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
Those Halloween pics...there is no WAY they could be any cuter! And, by the way, you should never lump OUR party in with other measly "pumpkin-carving" parties. Ours is THE pumpkin party! (Careful, or you may fall off the invite list....)
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Nov. 2, 2007 - Just browsing this morning...
Posted by TraciJoy
and found your blog. I love it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts & beautiful family. Bless your day! Traci :-)
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Nov. 8, 2007 - see
Posted by onfire
I love your shoes ... and I am in need of a great black pair today, for a funeral. this town does not know shoes. actually, there are only two places I could even purchase a pair, and one of those places is called the Bargain Shop. need I say more? (I did try on every black pair of shoes in town. no word of a lie) most of them a size 7, which I am not. so, I go to the funeral in heels, which are obviously NOT fall wear, and the heel will likely get stuck in the grass at the interment, much to my irritation and Neal's amusement ... but at least I will have made my shoe point. hopefully. I know Neal read Sarah's shoe post ...
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In case you are interested...

My weekend with my family did go better than I thought. That is, when I got "the call." Two days passed before my sister called me, and when she did I was at the Fall Festival. (which Smallworld wrote so nicely about.) I wasn't just there having fun, I had to work. I teach gymnastics and we had shows there all day. So when the call came to " see what you were up to today," I said that my girls were getting ready to perform. To my complete surprise, my whole family, brother and all, (who I didn't know was here) came and watched my girls dance.
I got to spend time with everyone again the next day at my niece's baptism. Here was my favorite part, but first I have to put out a note that, I am not a Catholic basher, it is what my whole family is...I just thought this situation and comment were....well, interesting?? A priest came to sit next to me and my dad, and, after my dad introduced my sister Amy and then was reminded that, he did indeed have two more children, he was introduced to my brother and I. I said, "that's OK, we are just the step children." ( we really aren't, just feeling like it..) So, he asks my son, "Do you remember your baptism?" I was curious how Caleb would react because this is something we have talked a lot about lately at my house. Caleb just shrugged and the priest says, "well you should remember , you were there." To which Caleb looks at me and says, "was I baptized as a baby?" I looked at the priest and said, "We go to First Christian Church. Caleb was dedicated as an in fant, and has not been baptized." To which the priest says, "I like to think we are the first Christian church." End of conversation.
So...what else is there to say? The time I got with my family was nice, I got to have lunch with them the next day, and a little shopping for another niece who just turned 10. My sister said to me as she was leaving, "don't make yourself a stranger." Not sure what she meant since I am the one that has to do the calling... but oh well....just glad to have gotten through a family get together without tears!
Here is the whole family, minus Amy's 3 kids that stayed home in WA.

Oct. 17, 2007 - I do have to say...
Posted by fyftn
... that was the most pleasant family reunion I can remember in quite some time. The "Catholic moments" were very humorous. I particularily enjoyed the fact that the priest, although sitting right next to you for the whole baptism, never said another word or gave another look in your direction. I don't think he was very comfortable. We made it, you and I, with no tears. I'd say that's a positive step.
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Oct. 18, 2007 - thank goodness!
Posted by the other mom
I thought about you all weekend and wondered how things were going. I'm glad to hear they weren't as bad as you had thought they might be. Looking forward to seeing you soon!
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Oct. 18, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by LaDonna C.
I'm so glad it went better than you could have hoped. I prayed that you could have something positive come out of it. I've been having family issues of my own, so I feel for ya, Sista!!!
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Oct. 23, 2007 - LOVE!
Posted by onfire
the look on your daughter's face ... it's like she is saying "um ... daddy ... are YOU a part of this family, too?" looking for reassurance or something. cracked me up. and you look peaceful and beautiful in spite of it all.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Making my way back...

So, it's been way too long since I have sat at my computer and even checked blogs, let alone posted one myself. About three weeks back, on our way home from church, my husband and I drove by a house we thought was pretty when we saw it on the internet. Well, we ended up falling in love with it, and, in the next few days, we put ours on the market, put an offer on the other house, and Mike received a phone call about a job he applied for 6 weeks earlier and really wants.
That's the short of it. The long is all the packing, cleaning, fixing, painting I have done over the last two weeks. And so, I have been too pooped to turn on the computer, let alone, sit down and type!! We havne't had anyone look at our house yet, which by the way looks so awesome, but we are trying to be optimistic about the sale of it so we can buy the new house. And, yes, I know it is a bad market.
Last week, after getting the house in shape, we took three days to go down to Chattanooga and get away. It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. We saw the TN aquarium, the Children's Discovery Musuem, a bit of Lookout Mountain, and the TN River. It was pretty much the most school my kids had had in two weeks ;) So, here are some of the 500 pictures I took while I was there...I know ,it is a sickness...and hopefully I will be back in the full blogging swing of things...please pray for us!

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Oct. 9, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Suzanne
Great photos!!!! Wish I'd known you were here! (I live about 15 miles - give or take - from the aquarium.)
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Oct. 9, 2007 - Welcome Back!!!
Posted by LaDonna
I've missed you blogging!!! And I missed you at the Mom's night out last night! GREAT PHOTOS!!! I hope you hear something about the house, it would be awful to be in limbo. But hey, enjoy your clean, organized house!!!!
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Oct. 10, 2007 - Last time I moved...
Posted by QueenoftheHill
...I said I'd never move again. It's a nightmare keeping the place show-worthy for every tire-kicker! You have THE best family photos. Love the new one at the top of the page.
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Oct. 10, 2007 - I almost thought
Posted by onfire
I was going to have to leave you a begging for another post comment. but you proved me wrong. what an excellent reason to be too busy to post. your pictures are delightful ahh ... if only I were packing for Tennessee
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Oct. 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by jenmcintyre
This last picture looks natural except Caleb looks a little on the stiff side. It is so sweet though. I wish my kids were so good natured about having their picture taken.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A lesson on birds...

So, we are studying birds in science right now. Yesterday was is what Bekah is learning...
We talked about ducks and drakes, and if our family were ducks would mommy be a duck or a drake...daddy? Caleb? etc. So, after the duck/ drake game, I asked Bekah, what do you call a male duck? "Hmmm...I don't know." "OK, Bekah, it starts with a drrrrr" And she says, "a drunk!" I'm thinking that is what I may end up being!!
Today, we talked about birds of prey. This was fun because we made up a song about vultures and condors being scavengers...allow me, if you will, and you will have to place it to the tune of "The Pirates who don't do Anything":
We are the scavengers who don't kill anything. We just find dead animals and eat them up. And if you ask us to kill anything, we'll just tell you, we don't kill anything.
So Bekah says afterwards..."so, if a car runs over a dead animal, a vulture would look around to see if another car was coming. And, if one wasn't coming, he would swoop down and eat the dead animal."
She also knows how many years are in a century!!!
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Sep. 5, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
You are CRACKING me up!
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Sep. 5, 2007 - Lovin' all over the Party-O-5
Posted by Dad2Three
Bekah is officially my new hero. You must explain to Bekah that, while vultures first look for cars before swooping out of the sky on dead prey, drunk ducks have a tendency to swoop down without looking - and get squished on a regular basis. R(Y)
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Sep. 7, 2007 - see
Posted by onfire
not only do you have things to blog about after all, but they also make me laugh out loud that is hilarious. today I entered a single stem of sedum into the Petrolia fair, among some other pathetic flowers of mine. A friend came by to see my entries and Jonam proceeded to point out that the sedum was in a shot glass, which I defended by saying that I do not drink and Neal uses it for his coffee, to which Evan replied, "or sometimes he drinks whiskey. He has had the same kind in the cupboard for more than 3 years." silence
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Oct. 4, 2007 - Hey!
Posted by QueenoftheHill
You got the grosser-than-gross tag! You're it! (See my blog or Smallworld's or Tia's for details...)
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Oct. 5, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Aren't they cute!!!! : ) Blessings, Maria ps - you should update. It's been a while : )

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How is it?

That I could love a little person so much, yet want to rip my hair out when teaching her to read? Today was just another one of my "not so finest moments". It started with history and talking about how many years there were in a century. This was the main concept I really wanted them to pick up. 100 years.
So, of course, we get to the end and I say" OK, guys, how many years are in a century?" Caleb bangs his head, and Bekah gives me her normal "I don't know" answer. Caleb finally says, "one?" Then Bekah chimes in with "three, no 83." This was the beginning of my day with my little sweeties.
So, later, moving on to reading with Bekah, which I have learned, is best early on in the day: let her read to me first, and then do 100 easy lessons. This is how she likes were reviewing "a" words today so we could move to the "e" book. Now, granted, this is a five year old who has been reading words for quite sometime, but only consistently for 3 weeks. And so, she did real well in the beginning, sounding out the ones she hadn't memorized, and I gave her the "great job, Bekah" But it went downhill. I am still trying to figure her out, when is too much, when to go on... but she does this "thing" where she sounds out the word gggaaasss and then looks at the ceiling and says "glass, gat, gan.." and whatever else starts with "g"
And, I lost my cool. Really lost it. What is wrong with me that I can praise this child one minute and then want to rip my hair out the the way it happened with pan, right after man...So ,I blew it..again.
I can't believe how forgiving our children can be, because at bed tonight she gave me the best hug and told me how much she loved me. And she pointed to her wall with all her "words" hanging on it and said, "Mom, we need to add pan and gas."
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Aug. 23, 2007 - I am never proud....
Posted by jenmcintyre
of my lack of patience. Emily asked me a couple of days ago how I could fuss at Noah one second and then calmly talk to her the next second. Literally.
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Aug. 23, 2007 - I struggle with this too
Posted by QueenoftheHill
And so often, fail. I must be the most impatient person in the world. I heard it said once that frustration was thwarted self-will. What is it my self wants so desperately that it is willing to yell and be disparaging to get it?? Totally off the subject, but why not teach them the concept of a century with 100 beads, buttons, or pennies? Seems like kids need to SEE things to get concepts. (And what kid doesn't love playing with money??) You can line them up in rows of 10 for decades, and so on, so forth. Hope that helps!Edited by QueenoftheHill on Aug. 23, 2007 at 8:22 PM
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Aug. 23, 2007 - Okay, this is why...
Posted by LaDonna C.
I have put off starting school for as long as possible this year! Clatyon WAS doing so good, then no regular reading for close to a month, then I get out a SIMPLE book and he can't even read the word "is?" I could feel my temperature rising and just put the book down and walked away!!! So, you are not alone, Sista!
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Aug. 24, 2007 - Just a thought ... or two ...
Posted by arajbrown
+maybe, just maybe, when anyone starts banging their head ... it might be a sign to back up and try a different approach (like the Queen's idea ... Cheerios works well, beans ...whatever ... try to avoid M & M's, the disappear ... and doughnuts, while soothing, are hard to manage);) +possibly there is something about the temperature outside that should lead us to not attempt any interaction with husbands or children if we have to step foot into oven we call 'outdoors' !!
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Aug. 26, 2007 - if it is any consolation
Posted by onfire
my boys dug out all of their old journals today and, upon reading them, said to me ... (each one came to me seperately but saying exactly the same thing) ... "wow, I have over 45 entries that pretty much say how mean I thought you were and how badly you treated me." I chose to simply smile and run my fingers through their hair. why? because they are probably just as right as they are wrong. and because I am just as normal as you ...
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Sep. 9, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SchoolinRhome
Hi! I recently posted on patience, too. I think MOST of us homeschooling moms often have this problem. (We just don't get the breaks that we need sometimes- just to keep our inner sanity!). I think only other homeschooling moms truly understand (besides the Lord!) It is quite a challenge to deal with everything that comes flying at you at once and do it all "just right". I feel I am failing miserably at this right now as I am juggling 5 little blessings -homeschooling. The Lord is showing me lessons all along the way though and hopefully this school year my good will far outweigh my bad. Keep Keeping on!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My life in pictures...

I have been real lazy last week, thinking of blogs, but never getting around to typing them. So, here is my last week in pictures....
Elisa's first day of preschool....this is her official photo pose...
Elisa has waited for this day, after watching Caleb and Bekah go to preschool. She was so excited, and said "Mom, can you leave now?"
This is the table Bekah sat at last year...I can't believe Elisa is already here...Bekah told her she would miss her.
Another pose for the camera!
After asking me for over a year, Caleb started piano lessons...

Caleb memorized his first song while we were there...

As I am getting ready for church on Sunday, Caleb comes up to me and tells me how cool this spider is, that it fell off a chair and "shot out his web to catch himself on the chair" He shows me this while I am "doing my hair" and I had to grab a camera....
This is my precious niece, Maggie, who is the youngest of 5, and the only girl. I have her to thank for saving my sister's and my friendship. Oh, and I just love her so much!!
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Aug. 22, 2007 - Re: the spider Caleb's holding on his hand
Posted by QueenoftheHill
You may have run to get your camera, but I would have had to run get a shoe! I can't stand insects in the house! Eek. (And my children know this and milk it for all the entertainment they can get out of it.) Elisa is so beautiful. One day, you must invite me out to sushi and tell me what wonders Maggie has worked. :)


So as to not steal Smallworlds Monday memory theme, I title this Travis. But it is a memory I had on a Monday...yesterday.
My nephew, Travis, graduated from high school last May. He is the first grandchild to do so. Travis is my brother in law's son from his first marriage, but is so very much "ours." I first met him my Senior year of high school while working at Eckerd pharmacy. My brother in law, Jeff, was my boss. He and my sister had just starte dating, and the fact he had a son didn't sit well with my parents. I will never forget the day I met this little curly, blond hair little boy. He didn't want anything to do with me and was really shy. But I remember him running around the corner and seeing him for the first time. What a cutie.
It took awhile for him to be "accepted" by my parents, he called them Rodi and Nick for a long time. That is a long saga in itself, but, long story short, none of us would know what we would do without Travis. He has grown up to be such a great young man. He harasses the fire out of me and mom, and makes us laugh. He is an amazing big brother to four younger siblings, one being 2 months old. And, he leaves for college on Friday.
Last night we had a dinner for him, and said our good byes and best wishes for him at college. I did well to keep my tears at bay, but saying good bye was hard. Brunch on Sundays at mom's is going to be a lot quiter without him. It's hard to believe that I have watched this "kid" grow up already over the last 16 years. And, really, it freaks me out that it isn't that long that we have our kids at I am thankful that's where mine are....

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Aug. 22, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by LaDonna C.
What a sweet post about Travis...I am feeling those first "pangs" of boys growing up and moving off. It has hit me hard that I only have Justin for this year and next, and then he's off to other adventures!! :( I'm so glad that I have them here at home with me for their school day!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Bekah-ism...

I think right now Bekah is the one with the best "isms" in the house, so I have to share one I just learned about. First off, I have to say that the word stupid is off limits in our house. I am sure I have heard it once or twice, but, really the kids don't use it. Caleb, however did learn "raving idiot " from his cousin which thrilled me, but , that is for another time.
Last night at our mom's night out, Amy commented to me about Bekah saying she would be the lone survivor in the family if we lived in Iraq. And then she goes on to tell me a story I hadn't yet heard.
Last March after having a nervous breakdown bad day, Amy offered to keep my kids for me. She took them to Chick-fil-a, brought them back to her house, and I had all morning to myself. She was driving them back to meet me at a gas station since she lives in Egypt pretty far away, when Bekah asks her "Ms. Amy, where are my new Chick-fil-a toys?" Amy said, "I left them at home." Bekah's response, "Well that was stupid!"

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Aug. 18, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
Ha! Hilarious!! But at least it was Amy!
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Sep. 7, 2007 - stupid
Posted by bern
We're not allowed to say that word either in our house. Although I find it funny how they pick up other not so nice words from their DVD's and such. The other day my three yr old Grady got mad at his brother for taking one of his toys that he had momentarily turned his back to. And in a split second he says" Give that back to me you scumbag!" I asked him where he learned that. And he says " from Under the Hedge".


OK, I love musicals...even when most of those who are watching are teens...We just finished the much anticipated ( at least in this house, well, minus Mike) High School Musical 2....It took a bit to get in to, but we had fun watching together and will soon be out getting the soundtrack to drive Mike a little more nuts around here!! And, of course, trying to learn a few new dance moves...
By the way I over heard Bekah the other day tell Caleb, "Troy Bolton is my boyfriend." What have I done?
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Aug. 18, 2007 - My new avatar...
Posted by fyftn
Guess it's for you and Bekah. my 5 year old going on 16.
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Sep. 9, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SchoolinRhome
My girls (and yes, I'll admit it.....and I ) liked High School Musical a lot! They have really gotten "into" musicals lately (and even just got into a homeschooling drama touring team.) This happened after I heard my daughter tell her sister (while lying in bed before falling asleep) "It would be my dream to be in a musical." This is the night after we watched HSM but thankfully the Lord gave her this dream to try out! Anyway...We too loved it and I am glad I can enjoy this with my older girls. We have the movie (#1) and the music CDS. It even got us into Karaoke. I was really happily surprised that the movie had such good modesty with the way they dressed (esp. being a teen movie, setting: a summer vacation-poolside.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Too bad...

Today I was reading from You Can Change the World for history. It was talking about Iraq. At the end it said "Two out of every three children in Iraq believe they will not grow up to become adults." So I am trying to explain this to them, saying, "there are three children in this house, so that means, if we lived in Iraq, two of you may believe that." Bekah says, "well I know I'd be the one to grow up to be an adult..."
Too bad for you, Caleb and Elisa....
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Aug. 17, 2007 - Go Bekah!!!
Posted by Blogless Leigh
She really struggles with confidence huh? LOL!! ~Leigh

Monday, August 6, 2007

First day back...

After weeks of "Monday I am going to start school," the kids and I began our third year of homeschooling today. It is Caleb's 2nd grade year and Bekah's kindergarten year. Elisa just likes to hang out and do her work books. I wasn't sure what to expect with two officially at home, and I still don't, but Bekah I do believe is going to give me a run for my money!
Where Caleb loves to listen to the books (we do Sonlight), Bekah couldn't wait until I was done with history and asked for her Math book. This bothered Caleb because for the last two years we have done history, then science. He doesn't enjoy the workbooks as much, though he does love math. We had a pretty good day, when Bekah wasn't arguing with me about how "I didn't have to write this much in preschool."
Caleb has always been an eager learner. He picked up on reading very easily, read his math workbooks within a few weeks in K, and was really an independent little guy. I do remember having a moment with him, though when we were learning the continents. He kept calling Europe, Africa, or vice versa, and when I was about to scream, "No, it's...." a mosquito landed on his forehead and I smacked him in the head to kill it. (you don't have to tell me what a good mom I am.) After I "lovingly" tell him I was just trying to keep him from a bite, I had this moment of glee that I tried to literally smack this lesson into his head. I'm sure he has known them since.
The difference between these two is amazing. Just the personality difference, coupled with the fact she is a sweet, yet emotional little girl, may just do me in. But, hey we are only at the beginning, and as I tucked her in on Sunday night, I was so thankful that I wasn't sending her away for 7 hours the next day. I just hope I can get her figured out before there are too many "mosquitoes" on her head.
And so, with that, here are a few of our fun moments....

We found K'nex at a garage sale this weekend and Mr. creativity made a ferris wheel today...

A joyful moment of Bekah working on her "All about Me" book....
And Elisa loves tracing her letters and "doing school" with us...
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Aug. 8, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SmallWorld
Don't they all look like SUCH angel! And, I hate to tell you this, but I had a quick glimpse of Bekah as a teenager in the pic....and you are gonna have to WATCH OUT! She is headed toward being a smashing beauty.
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Aug. 8, 2007 - I shudder whenever I think of it!
Posted by QueenoftheHill
I'm really enjoying not feeling guilty about NOT doing anything. (Okay, I do feel guilty about not keeping my Team X commitment -- at least most of the time.) I need to pack a lot of fun stuff into the next 2 weeks so Day #1 isn't so painful.
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Aug. 9, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by jenmcintyre
Just looking at your last two posts makes me think your kids have grown so much.
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Aug. 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by fyftn
Look at how peaceful and studious the children are. Glad to see they are so willing to learn. =)