Monday, May 31, 2010

Hard Working Hubby

The kids and I were out running errands the other day while hubby was working a detail. As we were out and about, hubby asked us to run by the local sporting goods store and pick up some fishing line as he was going fishing the next day with a friend.

The whole trip was kind of a train wreck. I knew the store had narrow aisles and there was TONS of stuff to touch. I also knew the store would be full of men, hunting and fishing type men. I would already kind of stand out, a woman with four kids during school hours. I begged with the kids "please behave." I just wanted to get in and out unnoticed. HA!

I had the big stroller so I knew maneuvering would be hard. Boop and Little Mama both went to open the door for me (bless their hearts) but, as Boop grabbed for the door, so did LM and the big metal door opened right over Boop's foot, the metal scrapping the top of his toes. Of course, he started to cry. Here we were hanging half in and half out of the store. As I called for Nature Girl to come back toward the stroller, because she was already in the store looking around, she tripped over the stroller and fell to the floor. We were still in the doorway. So much for shopping unnoticed.

We went toward the back of the store where the fishing supplies are sold, through all the narrow aisles. Bumping into the metal shelving as we went. Bing, bang, bong, scrraaape. We sounded like bulls in a china shop. Anyway, I finally asked a young man to help me find what I was looking for. I had to call hubby and then give the phone to the young man because I had NO IDEA what I was looking for.

As we were walking quietly up to the check out counter, the owner of the store was standing there. Watching us. All of us. Smiling. He said "Either you are going fishing or you love your husband very much." I said with a smile "Yes, I do love my husband and he works very hard to provide us everything we need and then some."

Hubby works very hard and he works a lot. Sometimes more than I wish he would ;) But, when I sit back and think about all he does for us and for others, I really and truly feel blessed. Hubby has an important job and he takes it very seriously. I admire that, although sometimes that means he isn't around when I would like for him to be.

A lot of things don't get done around the house in a timely fashion (or at all). One reason is, he works a lot. But, another good reason is, that, if someone asks my hubby for help, he never, ever says no. He is totally available to whoever needs him. If the neighbors see him out working in the front yard and they need help with something or have a question about some law thing, they never hesitate to ask him. I LOVE that about him. He has such a generous heart with his time and talents and knowledge. And he has a lot of talents. He can fix just about anything. And he knows a lot about a lot of different stuff.

He isn't selfish with his time. He is patient and kind to strangers. You figure, the majority of what he does all day, every day, for work, is acts of service for others. The kids told me about the last time he took them to Lowe's and they saw a lady and child stranded on the side of the road with no gas. He took her to the gas station, bought her gas and brought her back to her car. I would like to say that I was impressed by that, but honestly I wasn't all that surprised. That is just what he does. Who he is.

Sure, I get very annoyed when he doesn't finish my "honey do" list or when I look in the backyard and see stuff that needs to be taken to the dump. But, I don't think I would change him for anything. I think I like the fact that he says "yes" all the time to others. I respect that about him.

I guess because his birthday is coming up, and Father's Day, and the kids have been planning "stuff" and shopping for him, I have been thinking a lot about who he really is. He is so even tempered, so forgiving, so darn easy going. (The absolute, positive opposite of me ;) We are so blessed to have him leading our family. We all can learn a lot from him.

Today we were going to work on the "honey do" list and go on a much needed date. But, half way through the morning, he got a call that his old lieutenant had been shot in the line of duty. (Thankfully he will be O.K.) When called to volunteer to come in, he did not hesitate.

The "honey do" list will have to wait for another day. And the much needed date will have to be rescheduled. And that is OK. I wouldn't want it to be any other way . . .

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beach

Part of the fun of going to Grandma's is going to the beach. Well, for the kids anyway ;) Sun, sand, water, sunscreen, all the stuff a family needs to bring. Definitely not like the old days when hubby and I used to go. But, again, I digress ;)

I will have to admit, and hubby will too, I think, that we had a really great time this time. Everyone loved the sand and the water and the sun. I even got in the water, which I haven't done in years, I bet. The water was perfect and it was warm. I loved being out there with the kids while they searched for shells and watching the waves hit them and how excited they would get.

EG went in the water for a little bit. I picked her up and brought her way out. Mostly she stayed on the beach and play in (and ate) the sand. She would go down to the water and when a wave would come in, she would run away from it. Kinda cute!

NG, LM and Boop stayed in the water the entire time, riding the waves and search for shells. Finally I switched out with daddy and he got in the water with the kids. He is an avid shell hunter, so they got a sifter type toy and dug in the sand and sifted out really great shells. Then they walked down the beach looking for more.

We were only there for a couple of hours, but we ALL had a really, really great time. I can't wait for us to go camping at the beach next month . . .

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bridge

The kids have an interest in bridges. Mostly because daddy "babysits" the parking lot of a major engineering firm that has built many famous bridges. He was able to get a calendar that highlighted 12 of their more recent projects.

One of their biggest projects, in my opinion, is the Sunshine Skyway. Daddy had asked if the kids could visit the office some day to look at the pictures of this particular bridge because it is located in our state. I had shown them a picture or two on the Internet but we figured the firm itself would have the best pictures.

Well, what we decided would be even better was to visit the bridge in person. It is about a hour away from where Grandma lives. I am not a builder, don't care about how things are made or how they work. I just care that they DO work. But, I have to admit, I was pretty curious about the bridge. It is really, really high up in the air. It's height is 431 ft and it is 5.5 miles long.

We drove it one way, fished and then rode back over it the other. I have to admit, it was pretty spectacular . . .

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fishing With Daddy

On Sunday Daddy took us fishing. All of us. I had to smile because there really wasn't much "fishing" involved! Daddy ran from one kid with a pole to the next kid, to the next and then started all over again. I wasn't much help, for two reasons. First, I don't think I have ever truly fished and second, I had EG duty. Trying to keep her from stepping on hooks and getting tangled in fishing line, not to mention getting hit by a car. Not an easy task with her as many of you know.

Nature Girl and Little Mama probably did the best. NG got a bite but had walked away from her pole, so when the fish bit, the pole got wedged in the bridge and the fish "got away."

It was hard for the kids not to keep reeling in the line and casting, over and over and over. (Boop wants to practise casting in the backyard.) Like Daddy said "You can't catch a fish if your bait ain't in the water." But, they are kids, and that is half the fun, I guess. Seeing the shrimp on the hook and tossing it in the water. Trying to keep track of the bobber.

Both Daddy and I had hoped one of the kids would have caught a fish. He really wanted them to feel the excitement. We were able to watch a few of the people around us catch a fish or two, though. We were also able to see a few dolphin pretty close up so that was cool.

We will be fishing a little more in the days to come. First camping trip is to the beach. Maybe someone will catch one then . . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled School Day . . .

. . . to Bring You Life. This has been the case for the last couple of months. I can't even tell you the last time we have had a couple of full days in a row, much less a full week of school. Each morning I wake up and just know that today will be the day that we will accomplish the one simple goal of finishing all of school.

By finishing a school day, I mean not only Math and Bible, which we do every morning, but History, Geography, Science etc. And almost every day by 10:30ish, something happens to derail us. Those happenings can be good, such as buying our brand new camper. Or, they can be bad, like the untimely death of our beloved dog Angel.

It wears on me. The fact that we can't seem to get a couple of days in a row, rattles around in my brain like a squeak in your car that you just can't put your finger on. It is not for lack of trying. I don't wake up in the A.M. and say "Let's find something to do to avoid school today." Quite the opposite is true. "We ARE doing a full day today!!" Then something totally out of my control happens.

I have asked God numerous times why He allows all of this distraction when He is the one who called me to homeschool. I wonder how other families manage. Families, that I am sure, have WAY more going on then us. This whole "goings on" thing is SO contrary to my personality.

But, yesterday, it was put in perspective, at least for the moment. Last week, I threatened to put the kids in school over a spilled glass of milk. (Which happens WAY more than it should. But, I digress.) So, I thought, maybe, just maybe it was time. I don't honestly feel that is what God wants from us. But, we just didn't seem to be getting anywhere. And, at times, it seemed like we were going backwards.

As we were contemplating Angel's death, I said to the girls "You know, if you had been in school, you would never have had as much time with Angel as you did." Every time the kids were outside, Angel was always right there with them, keeping watch. They were able to go to her well doggie check-ups, they fed her and watered her everyday, brushed her and gave her treats constantly. They would throw the ball for her and encourage her to do her many tricks. They would watch and see what she was barking at, or stalking. All kinds of experiences they had with her.

My next sentence was "You are not going to school. You will be home with me to experience life." Yes, education is important. But, what happens in our home on a daily, hourly, minutely basis is way more important than any story they could read. Or experiment they could do. They are learning about life. How to live life. How to handle life from a godly perspective. Life is not neat. Life is not organized. And life definitely does not go according to plan.

What is knowledge? What is intelligence? What is smart? What is successful? As I see my 7 year old rock her baby to the music on my iPod, as I see my 4 year old try to pacify my 18 month old, as my 9 year old brings me the encyclopedia with the sculpture of David in it (which she found by researching, on her own I might add, information on dolphins), I have redefined what a lot of those words mean. I want my children to be joyful in life, truly joyful. Maybe, right now, that is what we are all learning.

I know there are no guarantees, but I do feel the valuable lessons my children (and I) are learning right now, will serve us well in the days to come. Even if they are not coming out of a book . . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Angel the Dog

Angel the dog has been battling cancer these last few weeks. We had hoped the medicine the vet sent us home with would reduce the size of the tumor. But, that was just not the case. This morning she made it out into the yard to bask in the sun. But was never able to get up again.

Daddy came home from work and took her to the vet. He said when he got there "You could just tell." She was done fighting. The cancer had spread.

She truly was the best dog a family could ever have hoped for. She will be missed more than words can say. We will be looking for you in heaven Angel Girl (September 11, 1999 - May 25, 2010) . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leonardo DaVinci, The Great Observer

Part of our trip to Grandma's this past weekend was to catch the DaVinci exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The timing could not have been better. Nature Girl just finished reading a book about his life. And, he was one of the first artist we ever studied in school, so, she was also familiar with some of his paintings. But, he was SO much more than a famous painter. In fact, the majority of the exhibit was the replication of many of his inventions from his famous notebooks. Of course, there was a whole room dedicated to the Mona Lisa and a video presentation on the Vitruvian Man as well.

It was really, really interesting. I might have stayed there a little bit longer but, we were on our way out of town. And daddy had the other 3 at the mall across the street!

What I thought I would do for this post (and for school ;) is have Nature Girl tell, in her own words, her thoughts on the whole experience. As an added bonus, we were able to visit a butterfly habitat, which I will have her comment on as well.

Nature Girl on the DaVinci Exhibit: The Mona Lisa was one of my favorite exhibits. It showed a lot of pictures of her mouth, her eyes, her face, her head, her hands. I wondered why it was like that but then my mom told me and I understood. They didn't actually know how the Mona Lisa looked because someone had thrown a rock and spilled something like acid on it. (A big part of the exhibit was how the Mona Lisa doesn't look now like it did some 500 years ago because of the aging of the paint, the attempts to restore and the fact that there were two separate incidents of vandalism to the original painting.)

And then there was an exhibit I could touch. I had fun with that. One of my favorite ones that I could touch was one that you spin a handle and it was a circle except there was one flat part and when the pole hit the flat part a metal hammer would fall down and hit a metal block.

And there was one thing that I couldn't touch and I wanted to. It was sort of like a helicopter except you had four men spin four wooden handles and it would lift up in the air. But, I didn't think that would work.

And then there was a video that showed parts of a body which I thought was disgusting. It showed how you walked and how your muscles moved. It showed three parts of your head, the forehead, the eyes and the nose and the mouth. It was pretty weird. I thought it was the first aid guy on a first aid box that my dad has. (The Vitruvian Man video presentation :)

And there was this really cool town that was called The Ideal City. It had three bridges and I saw one that looked like it had been touched on the non-touched exhibit because it was knocked down. It was pretty cool. It had buildings that had lots of windows. But there was no little figurines which was disappointing.

And there was a really cool butterfly exhibit that I loved. It had Monarchs, American Ladies, and a Giant Swallow Tail and pretty flowers. Purple ones, pink ones, white ones that I took lots of pictures of.

The observations, thoughts and words of a 9 year old . . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Off to Grandma's

For a long weekend. Fun in the sun. Or, better yet, tons of swimming in Grandma's pool. Nature Girl and I are going to the DaVinci exhibit so I am excited about that. She just finished a biography about him, so great timing.

See you on Tuesday . . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We Have the Greatest

Babysitter! We haven't had a regular babysitter (except my sister) in a couple of years. So, I decided to get back in the habit of having some one come every other Thursday. And, oh boy, is she great!

Today was her second day and when I got home she had the three younger ones playing in the water. She had brought her own tarp and bubbles. Apparently she laid out the tarp in the backyard, squirted it down with soap and turned on the hose! Nature Girl informed me she did not like to play in the water. I thought that was unfortunate because it looked like tons of fun.

She brought an ice cream maker too! Last time she was here she tried to use our slushy machine unsuccessfully so decided to bring her own treats! The kids adore her. I adore her.

Hard to believe I have known her since she was four! Anyway, so glad I finally decided on a regular babysitter. Who knows what next Thursday will bring. I know the kids can't wait . . .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Things I Hope to Cover

In the coming school year. I have made a master list and started adding books under each category for both girls. I will pray over the list when I am done. And seriously hope God will help me whittle down my list and curb my expectations. Not that I don't want to get a lot done, but I need realistic goals. All from the homeschooling mom who is hoping for a second full day of school, which hasn't happened in weeks!

Personal Quiet Time/Journaling
Bible/Scripture Memorization
Reading/Lang Arts
Habit Training
History (American, World, Church)
Science/Natural Science/Nature Study
Foreign Language
Service Project/Missions Project
Read Alouds
Free Read Books

I think that about covers it. Just looking at the list overwhelms me. Hopefully by next fall I will have it all figured out . . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


That is what EG calls milk. So strange to me. I read somewhere, when I first became a parent, not to talk baby talk to my child and use proper names when referring to things. Made sense to me. My babies are always hearing and learning and trying to repeat etc. So, for the most part, I have always called things what they are when chatting with my babies.

I am not one for baby talk anyway, so that worked for me. So, when EG started calling her milk "noomy" I was mystified. Where does "noomy" come from?? What is she thinking when she runs around the house repeating "noomy, noomy, noomy"? She loves milk by the way. She is like a parrot and repeats, as best she can, almost every word that I encourage her to say. But, when I say milk, nope. "Noomy."

I have tried to think of every possible conclusion. The only one I can come up with is maybe I would repeat "yummy" to her when I gave her her milk. I love milk so that makes sense.

Every other word she speaks, and there are many, all sound just like an 18 month old would pronounce them. Of course, some clear than others ;) It is a mystery to me. When she gets older and can express her thoughts in a few more words, I just might have to ask her.

Wonder what she will say then . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kindle vs. Nook

The great debate. I am really not a gadget person. At least I don't think so. It usually takes me awhile to figure out what the new thing is and what its purpose is. I saw the Nook about a year ago at Christmas, they were selling it a Barnes and Noble. I was curious but that was about it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I started discussing the Kindle and the Nook and she shared some really interesting info with me, such as both can hold up to 1500 books! And, a lot of classics are FREE. Well, those two pieces of information got me real curious.

So, one night last week, the kids and I got on the computer and watched a tutorial about the Kindle. Oh my word, it was so cool. It had me sold. It was thin and the screen supposedly is more like a book page. It has a built in dictionary. It takes seconds to download any number of the hundreds and hundreds of books now available. And they are cheaper or free.

We picked out some names of books to look up. And, a lot of our school books were FREE! I was sold. I went to bed thinking about owning a Kindle. But, as with many things, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, for now, how impractical is was.

I love books. I love having books lining my bookshelves. I love seeing books that I have read and books that I want to read. We have school books, reference books, read aloud books, free read books, classics, New York best sellers, a set of 1976 encyclopedias and even some duds. We have Cat in the Hat books and classics that are 2 inches thick.

I like that the kids can go in the school room and look through the books and choose whatever they feel like reading (or looking at.) Even some of the books that might not be suitable for them right now, I want them to read someday.

So, as much as I want the Kindle (or the Nook), I think I will just stick with the old fashion way of reading. It suits our purpose a little better, for now . . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Some good things and some bad things have happened this week. And, through most of them I have felt judged. Not necessarily by what anyone has said or done. Just judged. Like I had to defend the goings on in my life.

This has puzzled me. All of the things that have happened, both good and bad, have happened for a divine purpose. All these things that have happened were done/made/happened with no ill will, selfishness, neglect, the intent to hurt others etc. They just happened.

Confession. I think one of the reasons I feel "judged" is because I tend to judge. It is so easy for me to pass judgment on what others are doing or not doing. It is easy for me to see on the outside what is going on and to think how I would do things differently.

I am responsible for the way I feel about others and about the way I think people feel about me. Hubby says I can be very defensive and I don't take criticism well, at all. And he is sooo right. Gosh, I hate to say that. Even if I don't verbalize my defense (which most times I do), I am thinking about the choices I make and rationalizing. I make decisions and I make mistakes. It is OK. EVERYONE makes mistakes.

Please forgive me for my judgment. First, I have NO idea what is going on in other people's homes and families. Second, even if I do know, to some degree, no family, marriage, life is exactly the same (or prefect for that matter.) So what works for me might not necessarily work for someone else. I don't know another homeschooling family of four whose hubby in a deputy sheriff. And those are just the very obvious things that are different. But, just those few things, make my life different from any other family. Just like I can't know what it is like to have a husband who works 9-5 Monday through Friday or a family who's kids go to school.

I think I waste too much time worrying about being judged. And too much time judging others. I tell the kids all the time "Who is the only one who can truly judge?" The answer is God. He holds that right all to Himself. He commands me to love. I am pretty sure if I am judging, I am not loving.

Being a mom is hard. It is great but it is hard. For every mom I know. It takes a ton of time, lots of patience and energy. It can bring the greatest sorrows and the sweetest joys. I am going to try like the dickens to not be so judgmental. Maybe that will help me not feel like I am being judged. . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Livin' Large

We took delivery of our camper yesterday. We (daddy) spent about an hour at the dealership learning how to work everything. We finally left daddy there to watch how to hook it up etc. About a half hour later I got a call and he was in the neighborhood needing me to move cars around so he could park it in the back yard.

As I was in the driveway, watching him turn the corner, I though "Oh my word, this thing is huge!" It didn't look so big on the lot. I guess because it was surrounded by similar campers and even bigger ones.

It took a minute or two to get it in the backyard and then we spent the rest of the afternoon admiring it! And thinking about all the fun we will have when we use it. We gave my MIL, my sister, her boyfriend and my mom (by Skype) a tour. They all thought it was fabulous.

Now, to plan exactly what we need for camping at the beach in June . . .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Huckleberry EG

Yesterday we had to be out of the house in the morning for an extended period of time. Our first stop was Chick-fil-A for breakfast. I LOVE THAT PLACE!!!!! As we ordered our food, the customer service person offered to roll the highchair for me. That is how our experience started. And that hasn't been the first time that happened. When Boop was a newborn, I took the girls there and an employee offered to carry our food for us, open the doors, etc.

Yesterday, after using the very clean bathroom, with a baby changing table I might add, we sat in the very clean indoor playground and listened to Christian music. Nature Girl noticed right away, in the front of the store, the 10 commandments. I love the fact that they are closed on Sunday. And near as I can tell, they treat their employees very well. I think I know this because of how well the employees treat the customers.

The young man who waited on me and all the kids told me he "commended me." I took it as a compliment ;) We have done our fair share of traveling the last couple of weeks and have stopped at fast food restaurants that were convenient. And each time I have regretted it. Horrible customer service, mediocre food, and dirty disgusting tables, restrooms, high chairs etc. (Chick-fil-A has fresh flowers on their tables.)

Our next stop was huckleberry picking with a friend. The kids had tons of fun. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. The kids saw hundreds of baby frogs and one or two other insects. Plenty of bushes with huckleberries. And even a blueberry bush which wasn't quite ripe yet.

It was the first time EG went picking. She had her own cup, just like the big kids. The only difference was, anytime she got berries (picked by someone bigger) she would plop down on the ground and eat them all. I so wanted to take a picture. Her teeth were purple, her mouth was purple. I was certain she would have a tummy ache. If a leaf or piece of wood got in her cup, she would pull it out, discard it and keep on eating.

We got about a quart full, after everyone was done eating. I think they will be good in muffins and pancakes. Or just by themselves . . .

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

School Days

Bet you think this is another homeschooling post. Not!! I am actually in the process of registering at Liberty University's online school. For most of my adult life I have either been a student (a degree in Personnel Management and a degree in Legal Assisting.) And then when I first was a stay at home mom, I took Bible precept classes fairly regularly. Anyway, I have always dreamed about going back to school and majoring in Spanish History, Art and Literature.

But, the local school does not offer online classes for that. So, about 3 months ago I started researching Liberty University. A friend of my mom's is currently enrolled (and she has a son actually attending.) Anyway, yesterday I decided I wanted to get a degree in Religion with a minor in Christian Counseling.

Religion fascinates me. And there is so much to learn. I want to fully understand, as best I can, the history of the Bible and the corresponding world history. I want to discuss theory and practice. I want to learn for my own edification, but also for educating the kids and I believe that the knowledge I would gain will help me in my witness to others.

As many of you know, I have a passion for God, family, children, and marriage. Who knows, maybe when I am older (ha, ha) and the kids are grown, I can open up a Christian counseling center. I don't really know what God has in store for me in the future. But, I have been praying about whether or not going back to school is something I should do now.

I will register, pay for my first and only class for the fall semester and see how it goes. I love being a student of life . . .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekend in Review

This post will most likely be more pictures than words. Aren't pictures worth a thousand words anyway??

Hubby was going Friday to pick up his mom. It just so happened to be about 45 minutes from St. Augustine, so, considering Nature Girl has been studying the colonization of America, we decided to take a side trip for the day to St. Augustine.

Did you know it is the oldest port in the continental the United States? Founded in 1565. Anyway, we had two main goals, one was to visit the Old Fort and the other to visit the lighthouse. Both were accomplished. And we even had a little spare time to do some shopping. Hubby bought me a very pretty shell ankle bracelet. I love ankle bracelets in the summer.

We came home Saturday so on Sunday, Mother's Day, hubby could volunteer at the church to cook breakfast for all the moms and their families. (Along with other men as well.) Boop wanted to go with daddy. We had had a long couple of days and didn't get to bed until late Saturday. So, at 6:45AM Sunday morning, hubby asked me if he should wake Boop. My thoughts were this "Wake him. If he rolls back over and goes to sleep, then we don't worry about it." But I know Boop, if we didn't wake him up he would have been very disappointed.

Daddy went in his room and about 2 seconds later out walked Boop, ready to go make some pancakes! He really was excited to go cook with his daddy! That honestly made my Mother's Day!

So the girls and I got ready and we had the special treat of my MIL coming along with us. I think she enjoyed it.

The rest of the day was relaxing. We had an easy meal and just hung out. I got a very cute card, it read: "On Mother's Day, act like the queen you are." I opened it and it read: "Smile. Wave. Don't take any crap." (As if I ever do ;) And the girls got me some really pretty purple flowers. Boop made a pretty fan for me at church and daddy took the kids to run errands while EG was sleeping just to give me a little peace.

As a lady said on our Meals on Wheels route yesterday "Really, isn't every day Mother's Day?" No truer words have been spoken . . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

Silent Sunday (Not Silent and on Monday)

It can be a challenge to travel with toddlers. Especially places packed with people. I finally had to let the little bugger out of the stroller for a few minutes. She got lots of grins from passers by on St. George Street. These are pictures of her few minutes of freedom at St. Augustine . . .

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kind of Last Minute

We are off to pick up my MIL and an impromptu field trip to St. Augustine. I will be back with pictures in a day or two . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Camping We Will Go

We are the proud new owners of a travel trailer!! It was a couple months in the works and yesterday hubby signed the papers! We are so excited. It is fabulous. It sleeps 8 and has all the amenities that you could think of. Well, except the T.V. outside - ha, ha!

The couple times we have camped we really did enjoy it and it has always been something I wanted to do as a family. We bought a pop-up a couple of years ago, but as the family grew and we (daddy) got older, we wanted something a little bigger and with a little less hassle. Now, we can go at almost a moment's notice.

Even though we have the fancy amenities, we still plan on using the campground facilities and cooking outside. To me, those are some of the things that make camping camping!

We are going to the beach in June and to the amusement park in July. Having the camper will allow us to stay for the Josh Turner concert and not worry about driving home after. We are hoping to go camping with some friends in the fall. Daddy is even planning a camping/fishing trip with the guys (including the little guys as well.)

I really am excited. I will be sure to post pictures as soon as we take delivery . . .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


For the last several years we (my hubby) have been novice gardeners. We haven't had all that much luck. Last year, or maybe it was the year before we grew beans (or peas) and I am sure a few other things but the beans (peas) were horrible. Even I didn't like them. And I really wanted to!

About 2 years ago we got a composter and that has been great getting us some really wonderful soil to use. And, in my opinion, it seems to have made a difference. On Sunday, hubby "harvested" three head of cauliflower. They looked great! We have about three more to go. He wants them to get a little bigger but you have to be careful they don't get yellowed by the sun. Our neighbor said the yellowing really doesn't have an effect on taste though.

The heads of the cauliflower are all tucked in the big leaves, protecting them from the sun. When the heads are big enough and the leaves start to peel away from the head, they are ready to be harvested.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time learning how to blanch and freeze cauliflower. In all honesty, it is easy but kind of time consuming. And I had to dirty a lot of pots. All for two servings. (One head per meal, with leftovers for lunch.) We roasted one head last night for dinner. And if I do say so myself, it tasted pretty darn good! The kids, for the most part, liked it. I think it helped that "we" grew it.

I think we have onions, red potatoes and eggplant. Next is zucchini and gourds (for bird houses and water ladles.) I would like a couple of blueberry bushes so the kids can just pick their snack right off the bushes! They also want a peach tree. I thought about an avecado tree but Paul says they are too big. Or maybe an orange tree? Maybe bananas? (I told LM we would have to research that one) And I don't think apple trees grow here. I could be mistaken. I would like, though, to do strawberries and cantaloupe.

After we "harvest" the onions, potatoes and eggplant, we are going to double the size of the garden. Hubby has already started that by making it a mini composting area. If that all goes well, and I become truly involved in this, I would like to see a larger part of our backyard turned into a garden. We have plenty of room. Nowadays, they have contraptions to hang and grow things so we could make the most of the room we have. I just know it would take a lot of work on every one's part.

But, I think it would be neat to freeze and can what we grow. Now, if we could only get the city to give us permission to have cows, pigs and chickens, we might be able to be a self sustaining compound, with homeschooling and all! Never have to go anywhere! That is a joke, of course! But, I am tickled to be growing a decent amount of veggies and then maybe some fruit . . .

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Yesterday daddy took Little Mama on a lunch date. She was so excited to just spend time alone with him! We have, in the past, attempted to do this. But, it fell by the wayside quite awhile ago. I have figured out (and have read in many books) that if you want to spend alone time with husbands or kids, to get it on the calendar. So, last week, that is what I did.

I went through my calendar and scheduled date nights for me and hubby. And every other week, I am going to take a couple hours to run errands by myself or take turns taking one of my babies with me, so I can get some alone time with each one.

Anyway, yesterday LM and daddy went to Mickey D's, two pawn shops and Books-A-Million. They had a great time and he said she talked non-stop! She even got ice cream and a Coke!

We have a great new babysitter. I have know her since she was Boop's age. I actually taught her and her older brother in Sunday school. She was such a lovely, quiet, sweet little girl. A couple of years ago she helped me in my VBS class and she was fabulous. Her mom was one of the ladies I sought out when choosing whether or not to homeschool. Anyway, she is going to come once a month for date night and twice a month for errand running and the dates are on the calendar.

I am looking forward to my time alone on Thursday and the kids are looking forward to time alone with their daddy. Now, I hope I can just keep it up. One day at a time . . .

Monday, May 3, 2010

Guilty Necessity

Today a cleaning lady is coming to our home. I have never had a cleaning lady before, but it is long overdue. I have tried and tried to keep up with everything. As I have said in the past, I feel like I must not be doing something right if I can't even keep the house clean.

So, the other day when hubby asked what he could do to help, I asked him for a cleaning lady. Just someone to come in and do the stuff that I just can't seem to get to (for whatever reason.) And he agreed! I was so excited.

It is temporary, just until I can get some things under control. It will free up some time for me to get the house organized and school organized. I think it will help me focus more on keeping things orderly. The last couple months, I have been so overwhelmed that it has been hard for me to focus on things I need to get done. Plus, I seem to seem spend most of my time on things that I feel need to be done immediately. I suppose I could list a bunch of reasons why this is a necessity and why I shouldn't feel guilty. But, I am not going to concern myself with that right now.

I am going to revel in the fact that the house smells wonderful. It is clean in places most people can't see, I don't have to wonder how certain chores are going to get done AND we got to meet the neatest lady.

It turns out our cleaning lady is 76 and barrel races! The kids and I were blown away. She promised us the next time she races locally she would let us know so we could be sure to go and watch her. To take time to chat with her was an added bonus.

The week is off to a good start . . .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Our Angel

My first born was Angel the dog. We got her when she was just a pup. Born September 11, 1999. Oh, she was the cutest puppy I had ever seen! (Wish I could figure out how to scan pictures.) Blond chow/lab. Big Dog Rescue puppy. One ear stuck up. The other laid down. She was sooooo easy to train. I remember running home everyday on my lunch hour to let her out. I can't remember her ever having an accident in the house, although I am sure she did. Never chewed on anything and we taught her to sit, lay down, roll over and give a high five. Smart, smart dog. We walked around the neighborhood a lot and everyone knew her because she was so pretty and so well behaved.

She stayed inside with us. On nights when Paul worked she would sleep in the bed with me. She was even allowed up on the couch as long as she was on her pretty flowered blanket! As she got older (and bigger) we had to find a new place for her on the floor with her blanket ;)

She was crate trained so had no problem hanging in there when we weren't home. Oh my, what a good dog. Finally when she was a little over a year old daddy fenced in our whole backyard just for her. She was big and needed to be outside to run and play. But, she still was inside a lot.

After NG was born and became mobile, things changed a little bit. Angel was big and hairy. Her hair was everywhere and so was NG. Because Angel was part chow (although she never showed any aggression toward us) we let her stay outside a little bit more. Just in an abundance of caution.

She is very protective of our family. She always barks when someone comes to the house, pulls in the driveway or walks up to the door. We joke that she is our doorbell. Whenever the kids are scared at night (and the fact that there is a police car in the driveway doesn't help) I always remind them that Angel would let us know if there was someone here that wasn't suppose to be.

Once, after Little Mama was born, we took Angel for a walk with us. A neighbor dog came up to sniff NG and the stroller with LM in it. Angel became very, very protective. Chows are known to be that way.

She loves when the kids play in the backyard and when they have friends over. She will play for a little bit, sniff and will allow a little petting. Then she just lays down in view of the kids while they play. We have been so blessed with such a wonderful dog!

This past week we had to take her to the vet. She has been limping, favoring a hind leg. Injury from a play date. Then we also noticed she was peeing quite a bit. Maybe some type of infection.

Unfortunately when the vet called, the reason for all the peeing is because she has a mass right where the urine comes out. So, it is pushing the opening closed. We were shocked to say the least. They have tested her urine and done an ultrasound. They have biopsied the mass to see if it is cancer. Regardless of what it is, it is inoperable. So, we are just waiting, hoping and praying until the results come back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The kids know, for the most part what is going on. It has saddened them greatly. Thursday, at bedtime, we talked and cried for about an hour, just discussing all the possibilities. But, it was an awesome time to discuss how life is always changing, nothing stays the same forever. Except God. We talked how it is OK to be sad, mad, angry, helpless, even guilty for things that we could or should have done better in taking care of her. We talked how those feelings are totally OK but they can't rule your life.

We talked about the joy she has brought us. That we will see her in heaven (I choose to believe all dogs go to heaven.) We talked about how we have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow and how important it is to live for today. We can worry, but it shouldn't consume our lives. We can take this opportunity to really, really care and show love to Angel, no matter how long she is with us. And to show love and care to all others around us as well.

Yesterday Angel (and the kids) were a little better. Today she (and the kids) are good. But, we can't help just checking up on her. Making sure she is OK. We will continue to pray for healing and for God to comfort us, guide us, help us, no matter what . . .