Saturday, December 31, 2011

Photos Taken by Nature Girl

Nature Girl has had her camera for almost a year.  The following are some recent pictures I uploaded so I thought I would share . . .

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thoughts for 2012

This very well might be my last post for 2011.  And probably for quite awhile.  So, I thought I would just jot down some things that are running through my head.

I want to raise Kingdom Kids.  I want to spend 2012 raising kids that want to love and serve God.  I want to encourage them to take their desires and dreams and give them to God.  And let Him work His will in their lives.

I want to be a mom that prays.  Over everything.  Whether it is going to the grocery store or trying to figure out how to encourage change in a child's heart.  Whether it is to read Shakespeare or Plutarch.  Whether we should be involved in Meals on Wheels or participate more in the local transition community.  Or whether or not I should buy that pair of shoes that is on sale.  Or, when we are having a bad day, stop and pray.  Or, when we are having good day stop and give thanks.  You get the drift.

I want our school to be different.  It isn't anything like what I had envisioned when I first started homeschooling.  I love that we read a ton and I love that I get an opportunity, everyday, to read one and one with each child.  But, we aren't doing some of the more hands on stuff that I would like.  We aren't taking the time to explore the things the kids enjoy.  I want to take more time in character building.  And handicraft stuff like gardening and crocheting and cross-stitch just to name of few.  (I have a list and will be praying over them.)

We leave for Wisconsin in a couple days.  We are soooo excited.  We are going to see tons of family and friends.  And we are praying for snow!  The kids have never seen it.

I want to read more.  I have so many books and there just doesn't seem to be enough time to read through them all.  I need to tell myself that reading is not a waste of time.  That it is OK for me to take 15 minutes during quiet time to read a little bit for myself.

We need to do better in working as a team.  That means the kids need to help.  I get behind and things don't get done because I feel I have to do it all myself.  The two older girls can certainly do more, with a little training, then I give them credit for.  Boop can be very helpful if I would just take the time to guide him.  I bet EG can even help too.  Given a little training.

I want a house of peace.  I want a house where my children enjoy being home.  That means I have to take the time to engage my kids.  Play games, go outside.  Listen to them.  (And boy can they talk.)  Be slow to anger and slow to speak.

Most of all, truly realize God really is in control.  That I need to act on my faith and have trust that He knows what He is doing.

I know there is more.  And maybe, Monday or Tuesday, if I have my chores done, I will post a few more thoughts.  But, for now, Happy New Year's everyone . . .

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blessed Many Times Over

Of course, the kids got what they wanted.  I think we all got what we wanted.

We are blessed beyond measure.  Thanks be to God and His One and Only Son.  The true gift of the season.  Of which, no earthly gift can truly compare . . . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Grandma came yesterday so it is officially Christmas.

Last night we went to a local park that fills its trees and green space with tons of light displays.  You can drive through or walk.  We met three of our family friends and exchanged gifts and enjoyed the lights.

Today will be filled with baking and wrapping.  Tonight Sissy is taking the big girls and they are going to watch a holiday movie and do more baking.  The littles and I will wrap and bake, eat fried chicken and play Bingo, a request from Boop.

Tomorrow will be filled with more baking and cooking.  On the menu for Christmas Eve is little ham sandwiches, homemade broccoli cheese soup and lots of appetizers like cheese ball and artichoke dip.  We are doing something a little different this year, in that we are going to a Catholic Christmas Eve service.  We are working our way up to going to midnight mass one year.  I enjoy the traditions of the service.  As does hubby.  We both, in our younger years, were raised in a Catholic church.  Some of my fond Christmas memories are of cuddling up in my mom's faux fur coat during Midnight Mass.

Christmas day will be crazy I am sure.  But, all the family will be here so no particular place to go.  We are excited because it is hubby's first Christmas off in awhile.  What a nice treat not to have him sitting around in his green polyester uniform, vest and gun, trying to listen to his radio amidst all the excitement of the opening of presents

Prime rib, asparagus and sweet potato mashers from the garden are on the Christmas Day menu.  I can't believe it is here already.  Where, oh where, does the time go.

Merry Christmas everyone . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boop and Broccoli

About six weeks ago, at church, the kids were learning about the virtue of thankfulness.  To encourage the kids to be thankful, at the end of the program, they handed out Thank You cards and told each child to think of someone they wanted to thank and send them the card.

The next morning, during school, we took some time to think of someone they each wanted to thank.  Nature Girl picked her Sunday School teacher and LM gave hers to her ballet teacher.

For a couple of weeks we had been praying for a son of a friend of ours, nicknamed Broccoli, who I have known since he was my kids age.  He had recently been deployed to Iraq.  He was part of some type of convoy thing.  We prayed for his safety every morning and sent letters and FaceBook messages to him.

So, when Boop picked some one he was thankful for, he picked Broccoli.  He wrote out his card, thanking him for his service and wanting to know who was winning. ;)  We put it in the mail.  I sent Broccoli a FB message just letting him know he would be receiving a card written just by Boop.  He sent me a message back letting me know that the Post Office was closing because they were being sent back to the States!

Of course that was fabulous news and I knew my mom's friend would be over joyed!  About 2 weeks later I got Boop's card back in the mail.  But, we were going down to visit my mom and would be able to leave the card with Broccoli's mom.  And she would be sure to get it to him when he was state side.

Well, this morning my phone rings and it was a number I did not recognize.  Usually I just ignore those.  But, I am sooooo, soooo glad I didn't.  It was Broccoli calling for Boop!!  I was so excited.  And, when Boop was told who was on the phone for him, he grinned from ear to ear.

They talked for a few minutes.  When I asked Boop what Broccoli said he told me "He said he thinks they won."  That soldier, who we prayed for and are so thankful for, made my son's day.  Where would we be without the men and women, who are willing to put their lives on the line, every day to protect the lives of others.

Thank you Broccoli for your service and we are so thankful you are home for the holidays . . . .

Girl's Night Out

Last night, for the first time in I can't tell you how long, a bunch of girls got together for dinner. At out last book club meeting, all of the moms were having a really great time just sitting and talking while the kids were playing.

A couple of days later (or maybe a couple of hours later) one of the mom's sent out an email trying to organize a dinner out with all of us so we could continue our conversation. And crazily enough, almost of us were able to go.

So, last night we went to a local restaurant, one that hubby would never go to and one that didn't have kids meals. The six of us broke bread together and talked. GEtting to know each other a little better. Sharing a little of ourselves. Our dreams, hopes and struggles.

It is great to rejoice with each other, all the blessings in our lives. And it is also just a wee bit comforting to know that others have struggles as well. Sometimes just the same as me.

I don't "need" girl time, necessarily. But, the longer I walk on this mom's walk, the more I understand the need for sharing a little bit of my life with others and experiencing a little bit of others' lives myself.

I am so thankful that God has placed this great group of women in my life. I know it makes my walk just a little bit easier . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sharing Our Time, Treasures and Talents

We have been given an awesome opportunity to help with a local transition community. About 10 minutes from here is a community of 48 trailers filled with local families that use to be homeless.

At Thanksgiving we put together a basket filled with all the fixings to a complete meal. A local church donated all the turkeys. We included activities for the kids, a candle and some pretty napkins, along with home grown sweet potatoes.

Then about a week and a half ago, a friend of mine organized a Christmas ornament making and cooking decorating party for their after school program. About 5 families met out there and spent the afternoon making pinecone decorations and decorating cookies. When that was done all the kids, ours included, went and played on the playground.

The lady who coordinated the Thanksgiving baskets is also coordinating some type of Christmas for all of the 48 families. We, along with our Sunday School class, have been able to provide a Christmas tree and presents for the kids and a gift card for the mom to the same family that we did a Thanksgiving basket for. And, as it turns out, 2 of the 4 kids are in the afterschool program so we were actally able to meet them!

This afternoon is a Christmas party at the community and the kids and I are going to go. Little Mama made a friend and wants to bring her a Christmas gift.

One of my goals as a parent, is to help my kids understand that one of the main reasons we are on this Earth is to serve others. Especially those who have needs. I also want them to understand how truly blessed we are as a family. And we ought not take it for granted. To wake up each day and thank God for all the provisions He has given us. And to share those provisions as He calls us to.

Helping out the transition community is just one way we can do that. And we are definitely enjoying it in the process . . .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Field Trip

We have been crazy busy with really great things to do. One of them was a trip to our Governor's Mansion last week. The following are pictures and just a couple of high light.

The front of the Governor's Mansion. This is the second one built on the same spot. The left side is the private residence. The right side is open to the public for tours.

The foyer is filled with many, many antiques. Some dating back to the 1700s. The clock still works!

Silver service commissioned for the Navy. Art on loan from a museum in our state.

The wallpaper in the main dining room was water damaged a few years back. It originally came from France a long, long time ago. When a call was made to see if it could be replaced, it could. The wallpaper is hand stamped! It was beautiful.

My favorite room, the library. It was originally a sun room.

A room where meetings are held etc.

On the table is a locked box. Back in the day it held tea under lock and key.

The gang. They did great! Great group of kids . . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Book Club

This is what our book club looked like for our December get together! We had reports on Lewis and Clark and ate lunch outside. And then after the moms got done talking (well not really done talking because we never really get done talking) but when we decided to make a break in all the good play time, we had ourselves a little cookie decorating party.

Have I mentioned I love the holidays in the South? Where else can you decorate Christmas cookies outside in December . . .

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pine Cones and Pretty Smells

Nature Girl and I hard at work making scented pine cone bags. Little Mama was the picture taker. Much fun that weekend. . . .

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Love My Kids This Much

One of the greatest joys I have in being Nature Girl's mom, is watching her do ballet. She is beautiful and lovely and graceful and so, well, just perfect. It has brought tears to my eyes since the very first time I saw her dance when she was just three years old. Oh so many years ago. I still get that same feeling. It truly is a gift to me.

One of the greatest joys I have in being Little Mama's mama, is that I get to watch her, day in and day out, express her concern and love and caring for others. Everyone from the homeless, who she made food bags for yesterday, to her very favorite baby sister. She will truly make someone a wonderful wife and mother.

One of the greatest joys I have in being Boop's mom, is watching him gladly serve others. He is always ready to help with a humble heart. He got his hair cut today and he looks SO DARN ADORABLE!

One of the greatest joys I have in being EG's mom, is, well, just being her mom. She is the spunkiest, happiest, stubbornest, silliest, smartest baby girl I have ever seen. So, so thankful she is ours . . .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

EG's Thoughts on Life

EG: Will monsters get us?
Me: No, we have daddy.
EG: Will bad guys get us?
Me: No, we have daddy.
EG: Will ghosts get us?
Me: No, we have daddy.
EG: And daddy has a gun.
Me: Yes, EG daddy has a gun.

Last night, in tears, just wailing.
EG: I want a baby!!!!!
Me: EG, you just got a new baby doll for your birthday.
EG: Noooooo, I want a real one!!!!
Me: Well, you are going to have to talk to daddy about that . . . .

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Market Days

We have had a very busy weekend. For the second year in a row, the girls participated in our local crafts fair. It actually is a big thing in our area. Vendors from all over the United States come to our town the first weekend in December and it is a great fundraising event for our local nature museum.

This year the girls did their crafts all by themselves. With a little start up help from mom and dad. Little Mama decorated Terra cotta pots with paint and buttons and ribbon and sea shells she collected from the beach. Except for some of the spray painting, she did all the decorating herself. Using a glue gun and everything! The pots were adorable and she had them displayed with pens in them, to show other uses for them.

Nature Girl made scented pine cone bags. About a month before the fair, we all went and collected pine cones and then about a week before, she sprayed down every single pine cone with a cinnamon spice essence oil. She then tied them up in a bag and let them soak in the fragrance. On Friday she packaged them all up in pretty mesh bags and tied pretty Christmas ribbons on them. The smelled and looked wonderful.

They had success on Saturday and Sunday. Each girl selling something. It is such a great experience for them to have an idea, figure out how it is going to work, put it all together and then reap the many benefits from a job well done.

I am very proud of both of them. For their ideas and their determination to get it all done. And it is kind of a neat way to get into the holiday spirit. Hopefully I will have pictures for Silent Sunday . . .