Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yea...Sassy

Last weekend while I was working an election, the town we live in held a Christmas festival and parade.  Our church's children's minister hosted a table for the church  as an outreach and a parade float for the kids to ride on to throw out candy.

After all the festivities were over, the children's minister came to the church (where its also a polling location) to put away some supplies. She stopped by election table for a few minutes. She said, "Oh, Kelley, I have something to tell you..."

ME: Stop right there! Any time anyone starts a conversation like that, they are going to tell me a story about one of my kids!

Stacy: Yea....  Benjamin.... So. As we were starting the parade, I told the kids to stay on the float - do NOT get off for ANY reason!  Then he piped up in the back, "What happens if any of these hay bales catches on fire?" I said no! Stay on the float! Even the driver told the kids "If we catch on fire, you better hang on, because, I'll drive so fast to put our the fire!"

Me: I am so sorry! He can be sassy!

Her: No, he wasn't being sassy - he was just concerned. He wanted to know exactly what to do. He was serious.

Me: hmmmm, really? ok...

The next morning I cornered Benjamin at breakfast...

Me: So, Benjamin....I heard you were a little concerned about a fire on the float??

Ben: Yea....Well, Miss Stacy said don't get off the float for any reason...

Me: Were you being serious or sassy?

Ben: Yea...sassy.

So, later I saw Stacy.

Me: Stacy, I have some sad news for you.

Stacy: Really? What's wrong?

Me: Sorry to say, my youngest child has you snowed. He was being sassy yesterday.

Stacy: REALLY?? You know, I was feeling bad because, I was a little sassy back to him. BUT NO MORE! I'm not feeling bad now! I have his number!

Oh, that child of mine......he is a character!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Week...Soccer, of course

Last night was another soccer game for William - and he scored a goal! Actually, he scored three, but only one counted. The school we played we have beat every time we've played, so we were not surprised that we won again.  This is a smaller school - I don't think they have a JV as there were several players smaller than William. He plays again tomorrow night. At least we don't have any games this weekend - last weekend was a tournament - which means we're at the field most of the weekend. They played great - amazing! - on Friday night. Won one game and almost won the 2nd. But they came in Saturday tired. Or something.  Saturday they played horrible - not real energy. So, we lost. William did play in one JV game and scored the only goal for our team. I really didn't want him to stay and play that game, but he wanted to get some play time in since he did not play in the Saturday varsity game.  Good thing we stayed! He - along with the rest of the team - were very glad we at least got on the board. The game ended in a tie - the other team went on to the finals as they scored more goals in earlier games.

We are getting ready for Christmas. I'm just about done with my shopping....just a few minor things to get....  I do have some gifts that I want to make....but that's for next week's to-do list.

Melissa is doing lots of baby-sitting. I was quite proud of her yesterday - she put a good portion of what she made in the bank.  She is not one to save - she is one to spend! But gets a little upset when the boys have more money in the bank..... She's learning.

I haven't subbed last week or this week....I think I'll drop by the school tomorrow to see if I can pick up some days....

I tried to work on a quilting project today, but my machine gave me some trouble.  I just wasn't in the mood for it, so I packed it all back up. Another day I'll argue with it and fix it. And rip out what was sewn today as the thread was looping on the under side.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just for Sonny

After spending most of the weekend laying in bed, I feel so much better today. I still have a slight cough and a runny nose, but my fever broke late Sunday. You forget how bad a fever can make you feel until have one again.

Today I got several things done (mainly laundry) even though I had to stop a few times to rest. Tonight we had another soccer game. William got one assist. We won 7-0. In the rain. Which reminded us of playing in Guam.

Winning in the rain is so much better than losing in the rain.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Soccer Update


Friday night and all day Saturday was a local JV tournament. We were not planning on this as William is on the varsity team, but he came home from the Thursday night game (which sadly, we lost) saying that the coach asked him a two others to come out to play for the JV.

Urgg. I really was not happy. This field is all the way across town....and Drew was out of town, so it was all on me.

So. We went. (Don't really think I'll get the best mom award since I had a bad attitude - but that get a little better as I did get to visit the other parents -that's always fun.)

The good news is that William played all three games - probably 80-90% of the time in each game.

The bad news is that we lost. All three games. Badly, at times.

Friday night several of us parents couldn't help to notice the man on the field in uniform. No, it wasn't that he was a head taller than our little freshman and sophomores. And it wasn't that he was much wide in the shoulders, either. It was the full beard. Only a few of our guys even have peach fuzz on their faces and he's sporting a full beard like he was a Duck Dynasty family member.

Then Saturday we played two more games. With a few more players with full beards. And yes, those men just ran over our JV team.

Urrrrggg.

Frankly, I'm not sure if they just ignored the JV part and sent their best players or if this was truly their JV team. But William feels like at ten were varsity players based on their shorts being different from the rest of the players from that team.

I guess in the end it doesn't matter. Our boys got some play time. The school hosting the tournament got their money (all tournaments are really a fund raisers as they charge teams to enter as well as an entrance fee each day.)

It was a beautiful day - nice temperature - full sun. Could have been so much worse....now...if only we could have won...next year, right?

 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Best of America

Last week I had the privilege of spending some time with my friend, Sage, as we measured little feet for new shoes.  Eight or nine years ago, Sage wanted to help some of the needy students in her children's school. She decided that she could at least buy them  a pair of shoes. So.  She did.  She talked to some members of her church, took up money (but still most of the money came from her own pocket), and just did. No telling how many children she touched through these last years.

We now attend the same church and she has brought this wonderful ministry to our church.  Our church took up an offering - and wow! Several more schools have been added to the list, because people were generous - over $4,000!!  Thursday I was able to go with Sage to measure little feet. They were so sweet. Many were stinky - I'll be the first to say that. But all were sweet. All were thrilled to get shoes.

Well, except one. He wanted to get a pair for his little brother.  Now - that can't be any more sweeter.

One boy's shoes where torn with his socked toes sticking out. Sad. Heart-breaking. One of the middle school boy's shoes were literally falling apart - he had not had a new pair of shoes in about three years. Sad. Heart-breaking - all here in America.

One women just wanting to help. And she did - she is!  Black Friday she and a few friends will spend the day shopping - not for themselves, but for hundreds of little feet. Then the week after Thanksgiving, we'll go back into the schools to hand out the shoes (in a very private way, so no one is embarrassed.)

Sage is the best of America. She encourages me to be a better me just by being herself.




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where the Action is

Saturday brought more soccer.  Drew and I dropped William off at the gate while we waited in the car for about half an hour as William's team was not scheduled to play until then (and it was a tad cool,  so we wanted to stay warm!). As we were walking up to the field where our JV team was playing, we realized that William was playing.  Not sure why he was playing for our JV - we never got a clear answer. William, of course, was just glad he got play time. He could care less about which team it's for.

He, also, got play time for the varsity - which, of course, he was happy about.

Afterwards we did several errands that caused us not to get home until mid-afternoon. So, when Sunday came I really didn't want to go anywhere after  church. Melissa was not too happy about that. She ended up staying home most of Saturday, so she was ready to go.

She was disappointed.

Monday come with more soccer.  Surprisingly, William started for the varsity! I was shocked! He ended up playing probably 60% of the game - even got a goal!!  He was so thrilled!! I was, too! It's fun seeing him be so excited!

When I asked why he thought he got to start, he said it was because another player was late.   But I'm not so sure. Yes, a player was late, but William still got play time after he arrived.  And William was playing more than one position.

Well, whatever reason, we're all glad William is getting to play.  Last year he did not.  It's not a whole-lot-of-fun watching your child warm the bench.

Not matter how well he warms it, it's still not where the real action is!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soccer and A Dead Battery

Monday was the first scrimmage for William's high school varsity team. The game was tied. Which is a much improvement from last year. I think that team killed us last year. So, it was nice that we could hang with them.

Tonight was the second one. We should have won, but ended with a tied because one of our players accidentally kicked the ball into their gaol. And, sadly, it counted.

Then the real excitement happened. My van battery was dead when we tried to go home.

Deep sigh.

Thankfully, one of the fathers was around and one of the players had jumper cables. 

Of course, the biggest blessing is Drew is home and can take care of the dead battery this weekend.

That, I love!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Being Fanaical

As I said last year, I hate Halloween.  To seems to me it's just a time for kids to beg for candy they don't need (and in our case, my kids can't eat due to food allergies) and teens to act crazy. And many adults as well.  I think every year I'm surprised by the adults that dress up.

This year with Halloween being on Wednesday, it was easier for us - We went to church. Like normal. That's what we do on Wednesdays. Last year our church did a carnival thing on Halloween, but this year they had the event Sunday night.  The children's minister told me there were half as many kids last year as they were  the year before when they held the event on a different night.  So, she decided that instead of "competing" with it all, she would just have the event early. She wanted to have as many kids as she could get.

And if that's the goal - fine. Outreach is a good thing. But churches started fall festivals not as an outreach, but to give church families an alternative. Things are different here, I'm learning.

Once again, I did nothing for the church's event Sunday night.  Just had no desire to be involved in it. Benjamin did, though. He went with his good friend from across the street and helped out. He had a great time.

Every since the summer Melissa has known what she wanted to be - Queen of Hearts. She got the idea from our trip to Texas this summer. She saw a skirt made out of playing cards. So. she made one.   (I need to get a picture -it turned out cute!) For her it was just a time to dress up, act silly, and hang out with friends. The boys were going to dress up as well - William as the King of Hearts and Ben as the Jack. Or at least that was the plan before they all realized Halloween fell on a Wednesday.

One of Melissa' friends actually came with her to church last night (as her church cancelled all of their events), then afterwards they went to find their other friends. Of course, the youth went late last night, so by the time they caught up with the others, they were pretty much done with begging for candy and were headed home.  Melissa only came home with a handful of candy she got from her friend's father. Fine with me!

What really surprised me last night was the number of people that normally come to church who were not at church last night. I was shocked! I think the children's minister told her teachers not to worry about a lesson, so I think most of them skipped. Ben said there were less than ten kids  - when there's normal well over fifty - that's huge!!

I get that Halloween is only once a year. I get that kids LOVE dressing up and LOVE getting free candy.  But still.  Can't help but wonder what message some of these kids got last night.

(And if you think I'm being too fanatical about all of this - I get that too - and I'm fine with that.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Ribbon Week - Dreams

Last week was Red Ribbon week across the country and our schools participated as they do every year.  Red Ribbon week is one those ways educators try to get kids to commit to staying drug free. One of the activities is to allow students to dress up as different things every day. One day maybe crazy sock day or hat day.  Last week when I was subbing, it was to "dress up as your dream job". The slogan was something like "don't let drugs kill your dream".

One student in my first hour dressed up like our youth pastor. I know this, because our  youth pastor has a goatee, glasses and most Sundays dresses with a button up shirt - NOT tucked in, and a tie. This student nailed it!

Later in the day another student told me he was dressed as our pastor.(He was wearing a dark suit with a tie - very formal!) I have to admit, it warmed my heart to see these sixth graders have such noble ambitions in life.

After hearing my last name, several students asked if Benjamin was my son. I said, yes. Several student piped up about what class they had Ben in - they were sooo excited!! I told them he EVEN LIVED IN MY HOUSE!!!

This mini-pastor said, "Yea - I wish  I had Ben in one of my classes. That way I could cheat off of him."

Hmmm....Really???  ...hmmm... I think some one needs to clue him in on how pastors should live. I don't think cheating is in their job description.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grades

Last week the first quarter grades came out. Overall, we were very happy with them. William made straight A's - and that included Honor English and Honor Chemistry. (Still not sure how we got such a smart kid!) Melissa, also, made straight A's - including Honor English & Lit, Algebra, & Spanish.

Then there's Benjamin..... He made all A's except for one B. We were talking about it over dinner one night. This B is in English - not his favorite class. When we asked him why he has a B, he felt like it was because of the "daily bites". This is where they have to edit a paragraph. They usually go over it with the teacher and can make corrections if they missed any. Ben claimed he DID correct it, but she would still mark it wrong.

William piped up, "It's probably your handwriting."

We all agreed. No matter what we do, he just won't write any better!

I told Ben he should ask his teacher how he can improve his grade. And he did. Yep. It's his handwriting.

When I worked last week, I asked the teacher if Ben talked to her and so, she told me about the conversation.  She said, "I felt so bad! But I have 160 students. I just don't have time to sit and try to decipher bad handwriting!"

I replied, "Please, don't feel bad!!  We have been trying to get this kid since first grade to write better! But unless I'm literally standing over him, he won't! He needs make it better!"

We'll see how the rest of the year goes.  He really has gotten off easy with his other teachers.  He smiles so sweetly, gives them some puppy eyes and has them wrapped around his little finger! They know how smart he is (once, again! Not sure how we got these three, but very happy about it!) and that he totally understands the work. So, no teacher has made him be better in his handwriting.  He's not a  behavior problem, so they just let him do his work then do whatever he wants to do - which is usually to read a book.

In first grade he would do all his work in twenty to thirty minutes while it took the rest of the class an hour and half or so. He would finish, read a book, take a  comprehension test, go to the library, get another book, read that book, take a comprehension test, then go back to the library... He would sometimes go to the library three or four times a day! I didn't realize this until the end of the year. Had I known I would have asked the teacher to make him do extra handwriting work.

She should have known to make him to do extra handwriting work! But she hated to push him, because he would show those puppy eyes full of tears.  He hates to be told he is doing something wrong, so he ends up crying. The teacher see the tears and then backs off.

So, here we are in sixth grade still with bad handwriting.

Hopefully, he'll get it together and not only get an A in the class, but, also, improve his handwriting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday

Sunday was such a pretty day! I did not want to stay indoors- even if there were plenty of football games to watch. My first plan was to take the kids to the local corn maze and pumpkin patch.

Sadly, I was over ruled.

No one was interested. They all think they are too old for that.

We ended up going to local out door mall. Melissa, of course, just wanted to shop. Apparently, she needed some new jeans. (NOT!) William was not real happy about going. We basically didn't give him a choice. 

(Ben lucked out by being with friends for the evening.)

So, off we went. We walked around trying to find the three geo-caches that were listed on the web-site. We found only one.

Well.  Melissa, Eagle Eye, found it.

The other two  remain a mystery.

But we did end up with some Orange Leaf yogurt.

Yummy.

And yes, Melissa ended up with some new jeans. And a new tee-shirt. Because, that's what girls do. Spend money on clothes.

But we all ended up enjoying our time out of the house and in the sun and nice temperatures. So, much better than being stuck inside all day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Laundry Training Day

Saturday I needed to attend training to be a  commissioner for the election next week. But I, also, need to get some laundry done.  Usually, I would put Melissa in charge - after all, I KNOW she will do it right. But a few months ago, she complained how I was "picking on her" to do the laundry all the time instead of the boys. So, this time I decide William would be in charge. I called it his Laundry Training Day.

He was  not impressed.

He reasoning of why he didn't need it? "I already know how."

"But you need practice," I told him.

"No, I don't! Beside I'll work all day and my wife will do the laundry."

"Oh, Really?!  Do you realize that before we had children your father and I BOTH worked full time and we SPILT the chores?! Besides, your father was just lucky enough to fine me early in life - are you praying that you find your wife early in life??!!"

"Uh..."

"You need laundry training and today is your day!"

So, he was in charge of the laundry while I was gone. Over all, he did a great job. But I will say, I found it quite humorous over what I found when I got back.  The picture says it all. This boy does love his book!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Believers Class

Tonight ended the third New Believers class I have taught at our church since we have moved here. I love it! This time around I only had three girls -all fourth graders. Surprisingly, all three at different schools. All are so sweet!

I taught the class a little differently this time around. Every week (there's only four weeks to the class) I had some one come in and give their testimony. I wanted the girls to see how easy it can be to tell others that Jesus loves them.

I think hey all had a good time. Hopefully, they learned something along the way as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Way Too Early

I'm at work way too early - the sun is just peeking over the trees

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up

Over all, it was a quiet weekend. We did get a lot done Saturday. While the two teens were refereeing the church's soccer games, I weeded the flower beds - took all. dang. morning.

And I'm still sore.

But that's what I get for putting weeding off for a month....ok. More like two months... Yes, it was bad. But they look so much better now.

After lunch we dropped William off at Melissa's art teacher's house. She is a retired single lady and needed some help weeding her flower beds.  William said he only got about half of them done. She may have him come back when he has time - which may be in a few weeks.

While William was working (he does love getting paid even if he didn't really like the yard work), Melissa, Drew, and I went shoe shopping. Ben stayed home to work on home work and to continue to recover from his bout with walking pneumonia. We all found some tennis shoes that we needed as along with a few other things on our list.

The rest of Saturday was all about watching college football. It makes me giggle when one team loses and makes me sick to my stomach when (once again!!) my team loses after being in the lead for most of the game.  Seems to be a habit...which needs to be lost.

Sunday was church....some movies....some more football....nothing too Earth shattering...

Today is day off from school. But Drew is working, though, so my plan of going to pick pumpkins was nixed. Not just by Drew not going, but also because, the kids didn't seem too interested in  picking pumpkins.  I think the teens are headed to church later this afternoon to hang out and watch movies. (Love how the youth leaders like to keep them busy!)

Not sure what I'll do while they are movie watching....maybe jean shopping.....

Should be a good week -a short week - those are always nice.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Magic Day Nine

I think we have turn the corner with Benjamin and walking pneumonia. This morning his 'peak flow' number was the highest it's been since middle of last week. For breakfast he only ate a roll and for lunch he only ate a very small bowl of tomato soup. But for dinner he more of his normal amount. While that started to get me thinking he was feeling better late this evening, what really told me he was feeling?

Annoying his older brother.

Oh, yeah. Benjamin is feeling better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Ill Ben

This Tuesday brings another day that Benjamin is home from school. At first I thought it was just a cold or strep throat is now more along the lines of walking pneumonia. While he does not have a fever, he does have headaches, sore throat, some dizziness, and in general the feeling of "bla"  - no energy whats-so-ever.

He is getting lot of computer (yea for lap-tops - or in his case - chest tops as he's laying down) time and tv watching.  He did read some, but I think he finished his book. He'll need to raid his brother's stash of books.

When we were in Guam Melissa was ill for two weeks. We never got a diagnosis other than a virus. I called it "crazy island jungle fever", but now I wonder if she had walking pneumonia. Not that it really matters, I guess.

I did take him to the doctor on Friday and talked to the nurse yesterday. I won't take him back in until Thursday if he is not well by then.  Thankfully, they will issue me a note for the school. The schools here are very strict about attendance. (While we were in Guam the DoD school  was not so strict with attendance - that's changed I've been told since we left.)


Monday, October 1, 2012

Public Humiluation

At certain points in history, public humiliation was one of the ways society enforced the laws.  When Drew and I were touring Bermuda, we saw this as some locals dressed in colonial clothing acted out a public dunking. They even dunked one lady form the audience. (SOOO glad it was NOT ME!!)

In the last week I have decided that public humiliation is my children's "currency" (what motivates them). Since Melissa was very small, she has hated needles. Can't say I blame her, but at some point she needs to at least  come to a place where she can sit still and get a shot without screaming and yelling. When she was in third grade, she throw the biggest fit over getting a flu shot. She had to be pulled out of the car and dragged into the clinic - screaming the whole way.  Even last year at age 12 Drew had to hold her down in the middle of Target for the flu shot. 

This year I was going to have none of it. I was done! I have tried lots of things....promises of treats if there were no tears, etc. Some years she did better than others, but still I would have to hold her down. So, this year I came up with another solution.

Public humiliation.

I gave William a camera so he could film her getting a shot and if she throw a fit like a two-year old, he would post it to facebook for all her friends to see.  I have never seen her sit so still and quiet getting a shot since she was three! Much better!!

Then there's Benjamin.

He hates any type of liquid medication.He would rather be ill and in pain that take it! He loves that he can take a pill now and not be bothered with that nasty taste.  But this week he is taking a liquid antibiotics in order to try to kick whatever kind of bug he has that is triggering his asthma.  He wasn't happy about it at all!  He ran away from me - trying to keep our kitchen island between us - he keep his hand over his mouth... It was getting old fast for me.  I called Drew who talked to Ben over the phone...no luck.

Finally, I just looked at him and said as sternly as I could (all the while trying not to laugh because he was acting so ridiculous it was funny!!) "If you don't take this medicine, I'm going to call Ms. April from down the street to get her to hold  you down while I pour this down your throat!"

He got really still - and  you could just see the wheels turning in is his mind, then he opened his mouth like a little bird. I shot the pink liquid under his tongue, he swallowed and we were done! Finally!

Public humiliation.  A great tool.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Competitiveness: Alive and Well

Last week as Benjamin was getting ready for his first cross country meet, he asked what Melissa's time was in the race that she did last year. After I told him, he said,"Hmmm. I can beat that!"

Ah, yes. Competitiveness is alive and well in our family.

So, Saturday come and Benjamin went to the meet.

And totally pooped out before he could finish the race!! We all were disappointed! Even though he took his asthma meds before the race, he got to a point that he could not longer breathe. So, he stopped, laid down on the ground to catch his breath.

Which, of course, was a good thing since breathing is sort of important.

Latter in the day after Melissa heard what happened within just a few minutes she had a comment of her own: "Well, at least now he can't brag that he did better than me."

Oh, the love just never stops.....


(We are waiting for the results of an some asthma testing in order to see what the best way to treat him.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Geocaching

A few weeks ago a friend told us about their attempts at "geocaching". I had heard about this several years ago, but have never tried or even looked into it. But this conversation got Melissa interested enough to look through the web site and even download an app on my iphone.

Geocaching is modern day hide and seek with an object.  A person hides an item then puts  the instructions (GPS numbers) on how to find it at a geocaching web site. Usually, there's a log book that you can sign. Some even have small trinkets that you can trade for.

Melissa and I went today since we really didn't have anything else going on (other than watching the Saints lose...again). There's a nice park not too far away from us that had many. We looked for six, but only found two. The first one was in a magnetic key holders underneath a guardrail.  The other one that we found was in a Thermos like container at the bottom of a telephone pole.

We  looked for four more, but are convinced that at least three of them have been moved.  The last one we need to hunt for again. It was at the bottom of a large tree that had lots of bush and vines at the base. I wasn't sure if the vines were poison oak or ivy, so we didn't get too close. We'll go back with a stick or something that we can poke inside the bushes. I was, also, thinking that it was a great place for a snake.

Something I, also, want to avoid.  Desperately!

And it was getting hot.

So. We'll try to find it another day.

Fun times! (Well...except for the police officer....I was pulled over on the side of the road while Melissa went through the cache - he just asked politely for me to get totally off the road....so glad there was not traffic or a ticket involved...)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just a Game

One of the things in this life I enjoy is watching reality TV. Not the trashy ones. The game ones. Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, Top Chef, Project Runway.

One issue that has come up time and time again is how people see the show. Many just see it as a game....lie, back-stab...it's all just a game. Then there are those that see if a reflection of how a person is in "real" life - or at least life without a camera around. I find that view a little extreme.

I mean we don't think after seeing a quarterback do a "sneak" play, that he's a sneak. We don't think of a runner in baseball as a thief after he has stolen second base.  We don't think bad of a person if they can bluff really well in poker or other card games. So, why do people forgot that these shows are a game....entertainment?

But, of course, within these games are real people with real feelings. Even within the games, people forget that it's all about winning - and for many players winning at all cost and they leave any morals they have at the door to pick them up afterwards.

To be honest, I 'm not sure how I would do in any of these games. While I  have a deep love for Survivor, there's is no way I would ever even try to be on the show. I like a comfy bed and food way too much. But besides that part of the game, I think I would have trouble leaving morals and emotions behind.

(And my family. I like being around them, too much to leave for a long time!)

But  I do enjoy these shows! The kids got into Big Brother with me this summer -much to Drew's dismay! He hates the show - and leaves the room when it's on.  But that ended this week, so it's on to Survivor and Amazing Race....I may even give that dancing show a try....I do like Apollo Antono and Shawn Johnson....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chimps

Saturday was a "family adventure day" as we headed off to an event where we weren't entirely sure how it would go. It ended up being a lot of fun as we learned about chimps and were able to sit and watch them for a few hours. Then we continued our adventures with lunch at a Greek and Lebanese restaurant. (I may not be able to give into my wanderlust totally, but I can still experience the world.) I will say....Drew and I really didn't tell the kids exactly what they were eating until they tasted it. Overall, they all found something that they liked. Sadly, I did not write down the names of those dishes....and I can't remember the exact name!!!

Chimp yoga


What a happy bunch!
 
This big guy watched us a lot - I think he thought it was "people discovery day" instead of "chimp discovery day"!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gatherings

This weekend I attended two gathers with very different types of people and strangely enough felt at home with both.  Both are a type of family to me....one I see weekly, the other rarely. Many were new faces, but no matter. With all I had a connection with.

Friday night Drew and I attended a "Hail & Farewell" party on the base. At some bases we have been to, they were held monthly - here, it's more quarterly. Most of the time these are very informal. For this one we were asked to wear a jersey or shirt of our favorite football team. (I have to admit - I was a little taken back by wearing such causal clothes to the General's house. But PROUDLY wore my Ole Miss jersey!) While Drew has attended many here at this base, this was my first one here. Our lives here are so far removed from the base, I pretty much know no one there unless they attend my church or work immediately with Drew. But we went to this one because Drew was one of the "farewells".  (We are not moving, but Drew is moving on to a new chapter: retirement and a new job locally.)

With each family, the General told about the bases they had been stationed at, children they had, their favorite football team....With each family, I felt a connection. While names and faces and bases are different, we are part of the same military family. We understand  what is not said. We understand the sacrifice and hard work that went on at home while the active duty member was assigned to a deployment or had that job that required the most un-godly hours anyone can pull without sleeping at the office. We all understand how hard moving is, while at the same time it's so exciting to see new people and places (and how we can FINALLY get away from that crazy neighbor!)  We understand how we all have maybe too much wanderlust, but still have a  desire to see our kids have roots. In so many ways, I feel the most comfortable here. Maybe because, I'm surrounded by those who have walked in my shoes.

The seconded gathering was a training session at our church for  a new outreach program. Here, too, I'm surrounded by a family, but in such a different way. While there were a few military families there, I would say most were not. But we all have the same world-view. We all have the same faith. We all have the same destination. Here, I know I can speak of my strong faith without sneering looks of disdain. After all, if you can't share your testimony and faith here, then were can  you? If you're not accepted here, then where? I could have only named a few faces with the correct name, but yet still there is a connection here, too.  We all can laugh over the same jokes, understand how deep Peace can be, and how Truth has set us free. We're all apart of the same body.

These gatherings were bookends to my weekend. Both were fun....so different but yet so enjoyable. Oh, how I love both.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Loving - Make that The Evil Big Brother

One of the big changes this school year is for Benjamin to get him on his own instead of wanting for me to wake him  up. He did have an alarm clock, but it's too hard to work and beeps with the power goes off (which has turned out to be more often here than in Guam!! VERY CRAZY!!) So, the other day I had bought a new alarm clock. I was pleasantly surprised when William took it upon himself to set it with the correct time and the alarm for him.  I even praised him for it.

Such a sweet big brother!

Then the alarm went off the next morning...EXTREMELY LOUD!!! I mean, it could have waken the neighbors it was so loud!!

I looked at William who was already up and eating breakfast, "Did you set the alarm for loud??""

He just smiled and giggle an evil laugh.

"Here I thought you were being a loving brother, but no. You took advantage of  getting a dig in didn't you???!!!"

He just continued with his evil giggle.

Oh, the love we have for each other in this house.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Time for More Meds and Cooler Weather

Today the temp is in the mid-70's with clouds - so much better than the 102+ we had this week. I love summer and enjoy the sunshine and warmness, but it's September. I'm done melting. We are enjoying this. I'm looking forward to the next few months when we get to pull out long-sleeves and sweaters...I really love sweaters!

I ended up taking Benjamin to the doctor yesterday for an asthma check up. He has been using more "rescue" meds during cross country and soccer - more than I thought the doctor would like. And I was right. So, we are starting on some new controller meds. Also, we are going to have some testing done to see if this is his asthma and allergies or if it's more "exercise induced" asthma.  They have the same symptoms but are treated differently. 

While we were at the doctor's he offered to go ahead and have Benjamin get his flu shot. Sure! I had no problems with that....Benjamin on the other hand was not so thrilled. But he is so much better at shots than his sister.  Last year we had to hold her down.

Which is understandable at three. Not thirteen.  It was not a pretty sight.

Hate to see how this year will go....

All  in all it's been a good week. And are now enjoying a lazy weekend. We hosted a dinner party for  a few friends last night, so we are just going to hang out and watch some football the rest of the weekend.  (Of course, I think Melissa has other plans....I think she wants to go shopping......that babysitting money is burning a hole in her wallet....)

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Long Weekend

We all enjoyed our long weekend. We went to Oxford, MS to watch the Ole Miss football game. We went two years ago, but this trip was much better in that the game was a night - so it was sooo much cooler and we won.

Winning always makes the trip better.

After the game was over, we stayed in the stadium a little while listening to the band. When they were through, they played a song from the radio over the loud-system and I discovered a marvelous thing:  Embarrassing my teenagers.

What a joy!!

I started to dance to the song since we all were in a good mood due to the win and the song had such a bouncy beat - how could you NOT dance?? 

William looked at me - "Stop dancing!! Please, stop! People are starting to stare!!"

Which, of course, just made me want to dance more.  Yes, I have an evil bone or two.

He and Melissa quickly ran up the seats to get away from me....of course, then that made me yell at them  - "Come dance with me!!!"

"NOOOOOO!!"

"Oh, how I love to embarrass my teens!!!" I yelled!  One lady looked at me and laughed, then said, "I can't wait until I can do that!"

"Yep - they're such easy marks!"

And the ironic thing: I never set out to embarrass them. But oh, the joy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Busy Day

Today started out with Melissa throwing up as I was walking out the door to work.  Thankfully, I just had to go and wake up Drew and let him deal with it.  She went back to bed, slept for a few hours then woke up feeling fine. After she ate some toast and still felt fine, Drew took her to school. She had a few tests that she didn't want to miss. I was shocked to come home to no-Melissa because even though I talked to the ladies in the front office as I was leaving at noon neither mentioned to me that she was in school.

The teacher I was subbing for teaches four classes at our school then one long class at a high school thirty minutes away. Thankfully, that school found someone there to cover the class so I did not have to do that drive. Overall, his classes were good. Although, I did have to tell one girl to quit smelling the markers! You would think by 7th grade they would know NOT to, but apparently she did not.

Another reason Melissa wanted to get back into life today is that today is a babysitting day for her.  She did not want to hand over a day to William - and let him get the money!  She did bring the twins down to our house to meet all of us - especially William: the back-up. As she and the little girl were walking out of their garage, they got stung by a wasp. Yikes! Nasty bites! But both seem to take it like a pro. I didn't see any tears.

Drew is working on dinner, laundry is going, a headache is slowly making its way away from my head,  Ben has soccer (unless it continues to rain), and William has youth Bible study. Mondays evenings have been busy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

School Time = Busy Time

Yep. It's that time of the year....school starts and life get busy!   I set down on Monday and put everything (that I know of!) going on onto a calendar. Took a sweet forever!

William is doing soccer. While it doesn't start for a few more weeks, we do have the practice schedule and games already. This year there will be a formal try-out for varsity and junior varsity.  Last year William made varsity as a freshman (it was just a coaching decision - no formal system that the parents knew of), but didnt' play unless we were ahead  - by a lot. He did play a good bit at the junior varsity games. He felt like there were more people at the informational meeting that there were at the work-outs this summer.  So...we'll see how it goes.  I'm also trying to get him to join one or two clubs  - SADD or the community service or Interact. Not sure if he will or not.  He, also, plans to try-out for the school play in the spring. He really enjoyed that last year. He will continue doing gifted music. I'm hoping that we'll add guitar this year....we'll see.....might be sort of hard since we have yet to buy one.....

Melissa is doing art again this year.  The cross country teacher tried to talk her into running again this year - and almost had Melissa committed to it until Melissa found out her younger brother wants to do cross country.  Then it was "NOT IF HE'S GOING TO BE THERE!!!" I tried to work something out....even got  Benjamin to agree to quit trying to embarrassing her in front of her friends, but all to no avail. She doesn't want to be anywhere he is. (Wonder how that's going to work next year when he's old enough to be in the youth program at church.....) But Melissa is on the ambassador team at school - so she does have something that no other family has. She's happy about that!  And she will, as well, continue the gifted music program.  She has a weekly babysitting job that will keep her busy - and money in her pocket!!  Right now she says she is saving up to buy some 'Miss Me' jeans. (They are well - WELL - over my budget for her clothing needs!!)

So, yeah - Benjamin is going to try to do cross country.  Today is the first practice, so, we'll see how he does. He may find it harder than he thinks!! His elective this year is robotics, so there will be competitions he'll be involved with that. Also, he is trying out for the gifted music program. The testing is different than last year's, so I'm not sure what it will  entail or how Benjamin will do. It's suppose to happen by the end of the month...we'll see. If he doesn't get into the program...not sure if he'll take private piano lessons or not....I'm just about tired of the whining and complaining that I get from him over it! Not that he complains to his dad - just to me....urgg.  He is, also, doing soccer this fall. His first practice is  Monday - he's excited! He loves it like his big brother.

Add to that church programs and family stuff - we'll be busy! But in a good kind of way. I'm very thankful that Drew will be around (no deploying!!) to help drive the taxi.

Friday, August 17, 2012

ALL THREE???!!???

Thursday I sent the day in Jackson with my parents.  My father wanted to see his aunt that is in a nursing home, an uncle, as well as a few other stops. The day went really well.  While I doubt that his aunt knew who we were - well, who anyone is, it was a nice visit. (Even if the nursing home was depressing - not horrible....just sad, I guess.)

At one point during the morning the thought danced through my mind wondering if any of my children had a key to the house as they would be coming home to an empty house, but I  just set it aside.  After all I was sure that at least one of the three would have a key. I know I had a discussion with Benjamin before school started a few weeks ago that his key belonged in his backpack.

At thee o'clock I get a frantic phone call form Melissa that none of them had a key to the house. I think she was expecting a little more understanding from me.....instead of the yelling she got in her ear (REALLY!!!?? ALL THREE OF YOU????)

Thankfully, we are close to several neighbors. But seriously?? 

But I think they have learned their lesson. Or at least one of them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dreaming...

I had an interesting dream the other night... I was at a football game with my parental grandfather. Being at a football game was not the interesting part...growing up I was always at a football game.  Nor the fact that several people in my dream told me my team was losing or that my team would lose when their favorite team played mine.

That's all normal.

What was interesting - odd - was my grandfather was skinny - I never saw him skinny - he was always a big man.  He was also dressed in his deputy sheriff uniform.

Quite handsome he looked.

Made me miss him and my grandmother.

So comforting and glad to know that in my next life I will see them both...what a hope we have in Jesus.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Names

Over the years I have noticed that people generally introduce themselves as they wished to be called. If a person introduced themselves in their full name - no nickname or shorten name then, please, call them that until they correct you. Or if they introduce themselves by a nickname, then call them that!

William says William - Benjamin says Benjamin. My mother-in-law has a double name and introduces herself that way. A friend in Guam introduced herself as Kimberly - not Kim as Drew would call her until I pointed out this. A California friend introduced herself as Cindy - not Cynthia.

The reason this is on my mind is the other night at the school orientation, Benjamin introduced himself by his full name - not Ben. To me that told me that's how he thinks of himself.

I have been amazed at how many people here shorten names here in Louisiana. I introduce William as William. When talking about his I refer to him as William. So, why do people shorten his name??!!!

Just a small pet peeved of mine.....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

First Day of School

It's the first day of school here in the Deep South. Oh, what a glorious day!  I've been singing the Christmas song that Staples used in a back-to-school ad a few years ago: "It's the most wonderful time of the years..." Of course, my kids disagree.

All woke up on their own (yea for alarm clocks that work!), dressed, and ate breakfast without too much grumbling.  I think all are a little excited - even if they didn't show it!  I think they all were ready to see friends and get out of the house.

After waving good-bye to all on the bus, I enjoyed breakfast with several of my friends.  This is my first-day-of-school tradition - lunch or breakfast out.  It was a nice and relaxing time. Then I made a small trip through Walmart grabbing a few items that were forgotten or not in stock at the BX &  commissary earlier this week.  I even bought a few flowers for my front pots.  They are now looking a little better - now so dead.

I came home to a nice and quiet house. Love that sound - or lack there of.

I finished one book (The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon - about a lady who supported her family by sewing during the Taliban years in Afghanistan - very good!) and read some in another book (A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm by Phillip Keller - my 2nd time to read this book - love it!!). 

Now I plan to clean up around the house, get dinner started....and enjoy the quiet.  But yes. I will, also, enjoy it when all my little duckies come home from their day full of stories.

But mainly, today I'm also praying for those little duckies of mine to have a wonderful school year. Benjamin is  in 6th grade - starting middle school. Melissa is in 8th grade - ending middle school. William is in his sophomore year of high school.  I think it's going to be a great year!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another Book

I finished another book last night - Little Night by Luanne Rice. Overall, I would say it was a good read. I could have done without some of the cussing, but it was "in character" and not just everywhere. It was about two sisters falling out of favorite with one another due to one being in an abusive relationship.

Luanne Rice tells a good story - I have read her off and on throughout the years. At some places it was hard to put down! Even though most of my family went to bed around nine last night (getting ready for school to start in a few days), I stayed up reading - and finished the book.

I was happy with how most of the story ended....I wish for an epilogue, but  I guess I'll just have to use my imagination!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dang It! Another One Bites the Dust!

I broke another coffee pot today.  This time I get to add glass-cut fingers to go along with it. The first one I broke was not too long ago - since we've moved in this house in fact.  Apparently, I'm not too good with these granite counter-tops.  The last time I hit the edge of the sink - and CRACK! Since I was not able to find a new pot, I had to throw it all out. I hated to throw out that coffee maker b/c I loved it so much - and had had for twenty years - it was a wedding gift.

The new one I have had a love-hate relationship since I bought it. Love my coffee, but hate grounds in it. My old one had a cone-shaped filter, but the new one has a flat bottom. This new one spills coffee grounds into my coffee if I don't wet the filter before I add coffee.

Very annoying.....

Now I will be on the look out for a new pot.....or a new maker that has a cone shaped filter...which ever I find first will be the winner!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More Books Again

As I said the other day I came home with four books from the library after well over two months of reading some non-fiction and just not reading much at all.  I finished two of the books - can I say AMAZING!!???  And the best part? These two books are written by authors I had not read before. So, I now can find their other books - very exciting to this book worm!

The first: Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax.  Three strangers are forced to work together restoring an old house after all three lost their savings to a con-man. It's so refreshing to read a book that focuses on the relationships and the characters.  Very enjoyable read!

The second is called Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright.  It's about a husband who wrote a letter to his wife every Wednesday during their long marriage - and the children who find out what real love looks like.  One of the best books I  have EVER read! Very well done!

I'm looking forward to reading more by these authors...and looking forward to the other books I picked up - I'll let  ya know if they are any good!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Kid Sayings...

Not too long again Benjamin and Drew was playing cards.  Drew was not doing as well as Ben and Ben just had to say something. I reminded Ben that he shouldn't rub it in.  His response?  "I don't rub it in, I point out the obvious."

Oh, yes, he does....

This summer, sadly, Melissa and Ben have summer homework.  Yesterday Ben was working on his just before dinner.  When we asked him how it was going, he said he would have to re-do one part of it. Why, we all asked. "Well.....I was writing a poem and I forgot that I had to write about the book and so I need to go back and write one about the book"

"What did you write about if not about the book?"

" Bears and dogs"

Bears? Of course, there were bears!  His favorite animal!

Now, don't think that it's just Ben that has blond moments! Melissa has her share as well. While we were on vacation, Melissa and I ended up  in an elevator with one of my sister-in-laws.  After standing there for several minutes, Melissa said, "This  elevator is sooooo slow!"

Her Aunt Julie agreed.

Then Melissa realized that she didn't push the button for us to go anywhere! Oh, there's blond beneath that red!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Books

I updated the list of books I have read on the book page....or at least the books I can remember.  There may be one or two that I forgot.  I really haven't read as much in the last few months as  I did at the beginning of the year.  Just was a little burned out I guess.

And the fact that all the traveling we've done this summer was with me driving since Drew wasn't with us. So....driving and reading just don't go together, you know?

Also, I just didn't see anything that really caught my eye at the library.
 
But today? I came home with four books! Very excited!  Hopefully, they will be good and entertaining....not boring and nasty which will have me returning them to the library without finishing them.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just to Be Torn Down

Through different means both Drew & Melissa found out about a new White House being built in Bossier for a movie that is being filmed this week. Sunday we  went in search of the famous building. And found it.  While it was not complete, it did look like it's counterpart.  What amazed me was the sidewalk. It really did look like concrete - but it was wood with a VERY thin layer of concrete or grey paint over it. They really did do a good job at fooling the eye.

Just needs the top to be finished

from the side view - basically a shell with just one room in the back

the guard shack looked real

me and the kids


Hopefully, the movie will be appropriate for the kids at view. I think they will get a kick out of seeing it in person then on the big screen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

That Kid!!

Today as we were driving down town, Melissa pointed out a car with the University of Maryland car tag. I then made a comment that their mascot was a terrapin - a type of turtle.

Benjamin's comment??

"They must have a real slow football team."

Oh, how he makes me laugh!!

(Yes, he was serious!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Trip West


Monday and Tuesday the kids and I visited some friends in College Stations, TX - without Drew - again. I should rename this summer "The Summer of Single Parent Traveling".

BUT!!

Even without the love of my life, we had a good time.  One of our first stops was the Presidential Library for George Bush.  We all really enjoyed it (especially the free part for military!). It was our first presidential library - and I think we will be trying to add more to our list in the future. 

We, also, got a tour of Texas A&M.  While we were in the bookstore, Melissa tried on a tutu  - we tried to get Emma (the daughter of the friends we visited, same age as Melissa) to join in  on the fun, but she quickly disappeared - apparently, we were embarrassing her.

Go figure!




...in front of the library...


...Melissa trying on some new colors.... I still think red & blue are her colors!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another Week Gone By

Melissa spent this last week with one set of grandparents - I think she had a great time. She enjoys being the only child   - without any brothers around. She got some cousin time in as well as shopping, of course! She came back with so cute sandals. She claims they are red...I think they are more orange than red, but hey! Whatever. They are cute.

The boys enjoyed the week as well. William had soccer two nights and conditioning three mornings. (I'm really, really tired of those 6 AM workouts....two more weeks...I can do it!) We, also, spent one morning at the soup kitchen...where Ben has a close encounter with some peanut butter in a pan of banana bread....  We did ask about nuts - "no nuts!" Yeah! Then a few minutes later I heard something about peanut butter. I ran to Ben "DON'T EAT THE BREAD!!!" But he had already eaten several bites.

While he had stomach cramps and some itching in his throat, he never got sick. A few weeks ago when he was staying at my mom's while I was in Virginia, he mistakenly ate a yogurt covered peanut thinking it was a yogurt covered raisin. That day he ended up with throwing up several times. 

Fun times, fun times...not.

That's about it for this week.... I did get to enjoy a nice lunch with my parents and in-laws when I meet the in-laws to get Melissa back.  On the way home Melissa and I stopped off at a friend's house - nice visit, but way to short!  I'm sure she and I will get together for a nice meal soon - a long meal!

The boys and I did list a few things on ebay to sell - thankfully, they all have bids! Of course, we're hoping the price goes up as the bidding ends Sunday afternoon. We're now looking for more boxes, so we can sell more things! (So, far it's all books.)

Next week we have a few things....a short trip to Texas to visit friends...our first trip to a Presidential Library.....Melissa getting bottom braces....back to the soup kitchen (no peanut butter this time, I hope)...and sadly, the start of shopping for school uniforms. School starts in a month...it'll be here soon!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Books, Books & Books!

Yesterday I took William to the library for the first time in ages. He came home with 13 books. He's already on the fourth one. He has read two, one didn't hold his interest & so he's one the fourth. That boy does love to read!

The kids also went through their books and came up with the ones they are done with. We now have three different lots on sale at eBay. Last year they each made over thirty dollars selling books on eBay. I don't think they'll make that much this summer, but they'll get some play money.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Love Notes

William & Benjamin leaving love notes to their daddy trying to get the last cookie.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

DMV Times Three

First time at DMV: forgot driver Ed paperwork.

Second time at DMV: forgot social security card.

Third time at DMV: SUCCESS!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July: Past, Present, Future

Last night we celebrated our county's Independence at a festival our church held. There was plenty of food and fun for all  - ending with a very nice professional fireworks show. We were close to the set off point, so it seemed as if they were right over us - raining down on us at times.

For both Drew and I  it brought back memories of our first married 4th of July.  We grilled out with friends...made home-made ice cream. That night ended with an amazing fireworks show as well.  We were seated just behind center-field at the local high school's baseball field with the community symphony playing to the right of us.   They shot the fireworks off at pitcher's mound. It was the first time I had ever been so close to the fireworks! It seemed almost magical - just a wonderful night - a great memory!

Over the years we have celebrated the 4th in many locations...some with fireworks right over our heads (with our dear friends, Dan & Cindy, in Colorado & again in New Jersey)...a few watching fireworks off our balcony with a dark Mt. Fiji in the distance (that would be at Yokota Air Base, Tokyo). A few bundled up against the cold! (with Gregg & Melinda in Lompoc, CA where the summer is colder than the winter!)...and sadly a few apart (when Drew was deployed to Iraq and  again when the kids & I came home from Guam to the States without him). Also, two years ago tonight was the first night in our current home  - it felt so good to be home after being  "homeless" for almost a month. Most are great memories - I would rather Drew and I to be together!

My dream 4th of July would be to spend it on the Mall in Washington, DC for the concert and fireworks they have at the Capitol steps each year. In 2007 we actually made plans to attend.  Six months out we sent out invitations to family and friends to join us. We even had a few hotel rooms reserved close by so we could just relax afterwards and not fight the traffic home. But just a few months shy of the holiday, we were informed of our move to Guam - so we cancelled all our plans, packed up and moved to Paradise Lane. 

This year we were invited to spend the celebration with both sets of family, but we elected to stay home. Due to a delivery we have schedule for tomorrow, we were not able to stay the night and also, we had a few things here we needed to accomplish.  Which we did.  It's been a quiet day, but enjoyable. 

One friend is heavy on my mind and heart today on this our nation's birthday, though. A dear friend from Guam will be taking her husband to the airport in a few hours for a year apart....and she's nine months pregnant with their third child.  I remember taking my husband to the airport for a year part...it's so hard.  And I remember how I felt just a few weeks before  I gave birth to my third child. To do both of those together? My heart breaks for her. As  you read this, please, say a prayer for Erika...I know she will appreciate them.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Yea...That Movie and That Book

Lately, I have heard a lot about being holy - one preacher said we are 'to chase holiness'. After all
I Peter 1:16 says to "be holy as I am holy" (which is a quote from Leviticus). You can't get more direct than that.

But at the same time I see from many friends on Facebook comments about things that are not holy; the two latest items being a book (Fifty Shades of Gray) and a movie (Magic Mike). I'm shocked and saddened at the friends who have posted about reading this book and attending this movie.

I am NO WHERE near perfect. I constantly struggle with how much of the world to let into my life...or rather how much I need to get rid of the world in my life. It seems to be a never-ending process. (Of course, the reality of it IS a never-ending process on this side of heaven.) I have enjoyed some books and movies only to be convicted afterwards. I am constantly trying to view things through God's eyes before I partake. Sometimes I fail - as I posted awhile ago about walking out of a movie.

I have to admit: some things in the entertainment world seem innocent....harmless...but it seems to me that many things are out-right beyond distasteful. God is my standard. Not the world. Not what is the latest "must see/read". I shuddered to think of having my Savior seeing me read a book or watch a movie that trivialize and cheapens an act He deemed beautiful. I'm also fully aware of three sets of eyes on me at all times....watching to see if I really believe and live what my words say I do. It cuts me to the core to think that I will ever give any of my children a reason to doubt the goodness and the reality of the Lord.

So, I call to all my fellow Christians:

Leviticus 19:2 "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

As I said, I'm not perfect. I struggle with sin just like every other person I know. But God and His holiness need to be our standard in EVERY PART of our life. Not just when it's convenient.

Summer Homework

 I'm being the mean mom today and making the kids work on summer homework.  Both Melissa and Bemjamin are in honor and advance classes this fall - classes that assign summer homework.   Both have to read two books and then complete two written projects for each book - which we have had to deal with for the last two summers. But this summer math work was assigned as well. 

Benjamin finished his math work within an hour or so - he loves math!  He has completed reading the first book and is about half way done with the first written project. So, he still has a ways to go!

Melissa is only about a third way through the fist book. Thankfully, she can knock out the written part pretty fast since she's use to these kinds of projects. But she has even further of a ways to go before school starts August 10th.

Yep - it'll be here soon.

William being in high school has avoided summer homework - for now. Rumor has it, it'll be assigned next year.   But he's working on another project: driver's ed.  Today (and maybe tomorrow as well) he will be driving around town getting his required hours in with the driver's ed teacher.

Not sure what driver ed teachers get paid, but I bet it's not enough.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Breaking Out the Sewing Machine

Yesterday Melissa was bored. The two girls that she hung out with most of last summer are no longer talking to her (she's still not sure why - but that's another post for another time). So, she started to look at dresses on the internet and that lead to looking at purses.

Such a girl thing.

She found a purse that she really liked & that had a pattern. Luckily for her, she has a mother with a stash of fabric.

A few hours later, she had a new purse. So cute! While I helped in a few places, she did the work. She's getting better & better!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Correct Answers/Wrong Answer

When you ask Benjamin when his birthday is, he gives you the correct answer.

When you ask Benjamin when William's birthday is, he gives you the correct answer.

When you ask Benjamin when Melissa's birthday is, he gives you the correct answer.

When you ask Benjamin when Drew's
birthday is, he gives you the correct answer.

When you ask Benjamin when my birthday is, he gives you the WRONG answer. Every. Time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Van

Last week the kids and I spent on the coast enjoying the cooler temperatures and the beach. Very nice. I do miss the beach.....one of the best things about living on a tropical island was the beaches.  But, hopefully, the next time I go Drew will come along as well instead of having to work.

About Tuesday my van started to make a noise....admittedly, I ignored it for a few days.  Yes, I love to bury my head in the sand.  I finally got my father-in-law to look into it. We both thought the sound stopped when I turned off the  A/C. I felt like I could make it back home without any trouble.

And I did. Thank the good Lord.

Drew took the van in this morning. Yea. Not the A/C. At first they said it was a belt and pulley - could be fixed for $300.  Not too bad - could be worse.

Then they called back and said it was worse.  Now the price is closer to three times that amount. Hopefully, they won't be calling back with another "worse" problem.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Money, Money!!

One of our goals as parents is to instill a sense of respect for money into our children. For many years now we have given them an allowance with the purpose to help them to learn to how spend and save  it wisely. William and Benjamin has really shown a desire to save. Melissa? Yea...not so much...more like a hole is in her pocket.

At any point in time, William usually has more many than any of the three.  He has bought one large item since in the last few years - a portable video game devise (a DSi), but mostly saves. He talks about buying a lap-top and even though he probably has enough money between his bank savings account and what is in his wallet, he has yet to do the research and pick one out. He, also, has the greatest opportunity to make money as he is old enough and big enough to mow the grass for us at times.

Benjamin, also, has had one large purchase - a portable video game devise as well (but one different than William's, I think). He enjoys buying "Poke-mon" cards...so much so that we now do not let him buy any more.  He has plenty! And the fact that he doesn't really play with them all that much any more.

Then there's Melissa....yea....I guess it's the girl in her.  There's so much to buy!! Clothes! Jewelry! Clothes! Make-up! Clothes! Did I say clothes?? CLOTHES!  Yes, she's the girly-girl that wants  it all. 

Last week William and Melissa went church camp -and had a ball, I might add!  William accidentally left his wallet at home, so all he had was the $20 I gave him for meals traveling to and from camp. He spent it all on food and  entrance in to some type of water-slide thing, but said even if he had his wallet (with probably over a $100) he didn't see anything else he wanted. But  Melissa? She went through all her money. The $20 I gave her for food as well as I think $30/35 of her own money.  She bought a shirt, snacks, entrance to the water-slide thing...oh, she had fun!

But came home late Friday night broke.

Saturday she was slightly ill and spent most of the day in bed, but Sunday after church when she was all better? She was looking around the house looking for ways to make money for our vacation next week.  So far she has done seven loads of laundry, dusted the base-boards, cleaned off all the doors in the house (lots of scuff marks are now gone! - yea! that makes ME very happy!), and she even mowed some of the yard and used the electric blower to blow off the driveway. She even got to baby-sit the little boy across the street for a little while last night.

Her little nest egg is growing.  But I'm interested in seeing how she spends the money next week....will she be a little more discerning over what she buys or will she give in to immediate gratification and buys the first things she sees??   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simple and Exact

One of the things I have grown to love about my iphone is the ability to download and listen to a  "podcast". (Just think - five or so years ago the word "podcast" probably didn't even exist!)The other day I was browsing through the list of podcasts and came across one call "Stuff Catholics Should Know: Gossip". For some reason it attracted my attention and I listened - and LOVE IT!

(No, I'm not Catholic, but enjoy learning about it.)

For the first time I heard someone really break down and give a good definition to gossip. Through out the years I have struggled to come up with a  good simple definition - I usually know when I hear gossip that what ever is being said is gossip, but have had a hard time explaining it in words.

This podcast guys (several priest in seminary) broke down gossip into three types: libel, slander, and distraction.  Libel: printed lies about a person. Slander: verbal lies about a person. Distraction: anything said about a person that hurts their reputation.

That's the one I love! We all know lies about a person is gossip, but what about things that are true? One definition a few years ago was something along the lines of "words that you won't say in front of a person, but saying it behind their back." Which is true, but I really like this new one - if it hurts their reputation, then is it's gossip.

Simpler, I  think. And I have to admit - convicting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No, the Other One

....let's see if I can blow some dust off this blog....

This is VBS week at our church. I had really planned not to teach, but I have a hard time saying no! The good news is that I'm teaching preschool games, so I only have four 15 minute classes over two hours.  I can arrive late, teach, then leave early. I really like that part.

The other part I like are my helpers.  My kids. All three of them.  It's fun seeing how they interact with younger children - which, by the way, they all do really well. (I think Ben enjoys it because there's people smaller than him and for once he can be a big kid and be in charge!)

As a student just completed fifth grade, Benjamin is suppose to be actually in a class, but we are the bad parents and have given in and not making him.  He figured out a while ago that VBS is mainly for the un-churched, the unsaved child. Which he is not. So. He is helping me along with Melissa and William. Last year he did not  attend either because he had the chicken pox - yes, he had the vaccine...and this was actually his second case. My children can be over-achievers, you know. (At one point yesterday, he was complaining about something and I did threatened him to take him to the fifth grade class.  He got over whatever it was and was good as gold from then on!)

Over all our four classes were great - we just played a hula-hoop game. One classes was large at 21 four years old - WOW! Those teachers have their work cut out for them!  Several didn't want to play, one asked about the video games, another was ready for the food! Towards the end Melissa came up to me and said, "The one in the white shirt just called the one in the orange shirt the "b" word."

I just looked at her and said, "What? Butt?"

Melissa said, "Um...no the other "b" word."

Okay, then! Well now!  Oh, the things they learn at VBS.....can I say again how much I'm glad I'm not stuck in THAT class ALL morning ALL week??!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dark Shadows the Movie

Well over a month ago ads for a movie called "Dark Shadows" started to air and Melissa & I just laughed over them. Especailly "Are you stoned?" asked by a teen. The response by Johnny Depps charatcer: "They tried to stone me. It did not work," said with an English accent.

We both wanted to see the movie! But then we saw it....

First mistake:  Getting sucked in with ads.

Second mistake: Not doing any research on the movie. I had no clue until afterwards that it was a remake of some old TV show (and based on several friends' comments, a bad TV show at that).

Third mistake: Not reading the plugged-in review beforehand.

Fourth mistake: Taking my 13-yr old daughter to a movie I did not read the review on.

Yes, I knew it was PG-13 before I went, but I honestly thought it was because of the violence. After all, the main character was  vampire. Vampires kill people - I get that, so, a PG-13 rating was no surprise.
About fifteen mintues into the show, the cussing started. I looked at Melissa and said, "Hmmmm. I think I should have read the review first...."

Then there was a s*x scene. Looked at Melissa again, "Hmm...yeah...I about to walk out....."

Then there was a second s*x scene.  This time Melissa knew what was coming - it was time to go!  She said,"I'll leave first  - you follow a few minutes later so it doesn't look like we're walking out."

Sure. Whatever. But I wasn't going to sit through that show with my 13 yr old.

Many times during the beginning of the show several characters talked about the Johnny Depp character, Barnabas Collins, as a "good man" - loyal...family loving.  He talked about finding his "one true love".  But a  good and loyal man doesn't not have s*x with anyone and everyone if  you have a "one true love". I don't want my daughter to think it's okay  to sleep around - even it's you just enjoy it as entertainment - not actually participating yourself.

Once again Hollywood missed the mark.  They had the makings of a good movie! But they added useless language, senseless s*x scene, failed to develop real characters. I should not be surprised.

Hopefully, I won't be making the above mistakes agian.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Blog Life

It seems that blogging is getting harder and harder - for many reasons.  Both of our computers are on their last leg and frankly, it's not fun to be on either one at times. Our lap-top no longer recognizes the battery, so it has to be plugged in at all times. It the cord  gets pulled out as you are moving around, it totally shuts down with no warning. No fun at all.

Then finding time to get on the desk-top when the kids and Drew are home is, also, a challenge.  Several All of my kids also like to read over my shoulder while I type. Which I find totally annoying.

But then there's the fact that they are teens now (while Ben may 11 and not 13 -he's still a teen in may ways) I feel like I need to respect their privacy more now than ever. Many times something funny or interesting happens, then one of them will turn to me - "Don't post this on facebook or the blog!"

Well, fine then!

So, I don't.  They deserve their privacy...and the teen years can be so sensitive.

Life is going on....I hate to say the word "busy" - but it's full.  School, work, soccer, church....all keep us hopping.

But I will try to make an attempt to keep posting...even it's it sporadically.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Lilly

One of the first blooms: beautiful!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer - I hope that you at least whispered a small prayer for our country.You can read more about the National Day of Prayer here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Senior Projects

A ruling in our parish has made "senior projects" a requirement to graduation from high school. This morning I sat as a judge for one set of students at a local high school.  What fun! I thought all seven students I saw did a great job! Of course, some better than others...but all had done work and seemed to have learned something along the way - which was the goal.

One girl ended up researching literacy and wrote a children's book - very creative! She also illustrated the book in water colors - she did a great job!

All seven talked about attending college in the fall - several wanted to be doctors....a few were clueless about college major, but all were ready to graduate high school.

Friday, April 27, 2012

That Smell

One of my children did this in the microwave Tuesday. Three days later my microwave still sinks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Once Again

Once again, I have been a slacker blogger. Spring break was nice. The week after with William in the high school play was nice. Easter was nice. Everyone going back to school was nice.

My mom having surgery yesterday not nice. But she is recovering now - slowly. Not nearly as fast as she would like.  I think the pain in her tummy has taken her by surprise.  She was to have just a polyp out, but ended up losing 6 to 8 inches of her colon BUT the doctor thinks he got all the yucky stuff out. 

(Yucky stuff: stage T1 colon cancer)

Dad is taking is all in stride so far.  He has asked several times when she can come home. Today he was ready to get back to the hospital before I was - he was so ready to see "his girl"!  Hopefully, he'll feel the same tomorrow.

So, yes, I with my parents for the week and Drew is Mr. Mom back at home.  He'll do a great job - although, I'm sure no vegetables will be seen by any of my family all week....but that's what happens when dad's in charge, right? Junk food for all!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Praying Intently

Last night the high school play let out just  as the storm that hit Dallas earlier in the day was hitting us. As the kids and I were making our way home, I told them to watch the trees -that if they start to bend like crazy let me know. The rain was coming down so hard that I could only see what was directly in front of us.

Melissa's answer?  "I'll just pray intently."

Me: Great idea! But one of the things I have learned in this life is that when it's your time, its your time.

Melissa: That does NOT comfort me!! I just prayer even more intently!!

William: Yeah...I'll keep on eye on the trees and one eye on God.

Thankfully, it was not our time and we made it back to our house safe and sound - and laughing...love how my kids make me laugh!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Spring Break is over. Very Sad.  But we only have four days of school this week, then we are out for a long Easter Weekend - very happy about that.

Overall, it was a nice week off from our normal routine. William and Melissa went with the youth group to New Orleans to do mission work. They both LOVED it! And both want to go back next year.  We'll see...I would like to take a family trip somewhere....good thing we don't have to decide any time soon.

Ben did feel a little left out. I tried to entertain him. Sunday night we went to my mom's to help out there for a few days.  He got to spend one day with one of his friends playing mini-putt-putt, eating yummy Orange Leaf Yogurt, and just having fun. He, also, spent the night at another friend's house.

Friday I ran away to Houston to attend a ladies retreat with a friend that her church. It was really nice to get out of town! Wish I could have stayed longer!! I did get some great meals in and some shopping done as well.

While I was playing in Houston, Drew took all the kids on Saturday shopping and to a movie, Mirror Mirror.  They all said it was cute and enjoyable.

Church today, a nap, and a nice walk with Drew makes spring break over.  The house is a wreck and we are all tired. This coming week is a busy one with me working tomorrow (so the dirty house will stay dirty another day) and with William in the high school play.  Tonight he is at rehearsals as well as tomorrow night with the performances on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Throw in Melissa's art class, Ben's piano and soccer, Wednesday night church and we have lots going on!

But Good Friday is coming!! We plan to sleep in late, then help out at the soup kitchen. As of now we don't have too much planned for Saturday or Easter Sunday...I'm sure we'll come up with something...maybe a hike before the temperatures get too hot here in the Deep South.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Christmas Gift

Tonight Benjamin finally got around to putting together a kit he received for Christmas: a da Vinci Catapult.

Drew & I laughed at part of the instructions. It said "...and a heathy snack." We both thought that mean this was going this little project was going to take a long time! While Ben did end up eating that heathy snack with his dad, it didn't take too long to put together.

Of course, I really didn't like hearing "Mom, you might want to watch out!". Thankfully, he decided to shoot for bunnies instead Mom.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hate Speech

A popular quote when I was in college was "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." by Voltaire. In fact, it was at the top of the front page of the college newspaper often (if not every day). Back then I seem to remember it being more in thought of race relations and, as well, if the Rebel flag should be flown (I did go to university in the Deep South, after all).  But I also, remember it being talked about in reference to the burning of the US flag.

These days, disagreeing is no longer an option. Why, I ask?? Last week actor Kirk Cameron was on Piers Morgan's show promoting his new movie, Monumental. During the interview, Mr. Morgan asked Mr. Cameron if he was against gay marriage (which has nothing to do with the movie they were suppose to be talking about.) Mr. Cameron gave a very calm, soft spoken response in which he stated his belief against the homosexual lifestyle based on his faith in the Bible.

Kirk Cameron, of course, was BLASTED by many in the media for his "hate speech". I've seen his response. Nowhere did he tell people to go and hurt gays. So, why was it called "hate speech"?  Why can't he have a different point of view?  Isn't that allowed under our Constitution? By him having a difference of opinion, that does not stop people from living the way they want to. Why do they care what he says, anyway???

But it's not just this issue that the media and Hollywood lambaste outspoken Christians and Conservatives over. Where it's abortion, illegal immigrants, the tax code, health care or voter identification cards, it seems to me that people no longer what to discuss issues - they just want to call others names. No longer is it okay to have many views on an issue. And I'm talking about both sides of the aisle in Congress!

The message we are sending to the next generation is "We must all think alike".  WHY?? I ask!  What are we producing? Robots to run the country in the upcoming years? This country has always been a light to the world to show that "a mixing bowl" can live in harmony.  Sadly, I think those days are over.

But you can disagree with me. I'm okay with that. I'm strong enough in my own views that I don't need your approval or for you to agree with me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Connection or Not??

Monday I subbed in one of those lovely eight grade classes.  I actually was just worried about the last two classes of the day....they really gave me issues last time I was in that class. But the teacher must have put the fear of God into them because they were good as gold. They stayed quiet and went right to work - or rather at least acted like they were working...based on how many actually turned work in, I would say many were day-dreaming or faking the whole working thing.

But - it's their grade not mine.

Then there was third hour.  It's a computer class and according to the teacher they had lots of work to turn in. But most said they were done. At about five minutes left in class, I said for those that were actually working they could start to save their work and pack up to leave. Every one did and then proceeded to stand at the door...then the in the hall way...then down the hallway...then by the door to the portable building that we were in. All the while ignoring me when I was asking telling them to come back to the room and to be quiet as there was another class in the building.

So, there I was...standing at my door trying to keep an eye on the few that were still in the room and the rest of them as they proceeded out the door - as one boy grabbed another boy's hand and used it to pull the fire alarm.

Thankfully, this fire alarm was not connected to the whole school or the fire department so we didn't get a trucks in our front drive. (Of course, that could be a BAD thing if it was a REAL FIRE!)

But still. Pulled the fire alarm. On my watch. I wasn't called to work yesterday or day....wonder if there's a connection......