Friday, December 31, 2010

And another one bites the dust.

Well, here we are at the end of another year. Time has always been my enemy. It's stealing my children from me. It's stealing my youth, my energy, my zeal. It's making things sag and behave in ways that are not becoming of a lady.

All that aside, 2010 was a good year. We got to go on a fab Disney vacation (that the kids still talk about even though it was way back in May), Grace started Kindergarten **sniff, sniff, wiping tears**, Kristin started 2nd grade, Elliott started pre-k and for the first time ever I have 2 days to myself. No one broke any bones. No one had to go to the ER even. We got to spend some time in the mountains over July 4th and then sometime at the beach over Labor Day. We were fortunate enough to not largely be effected by the bad economy (praise God) and even more fortunate that Paul got a new job (which he squeezed in a few weeks before Christmas, another story for another post). We got 2 new kitties. We got to go camping. I got my wisdom teeth out. Alabama beat Florida in football. My sister is pregnant with her first baby, another girl for our family.

It is sad to see it go though. As I was looking back at my 2010 calendar, I saw how I had noted Grace's last day of school which was different from Kristin's. That's because back then, in May of 2010, Grace was still in pre-k. She was still my little girl. Now she's in elementary school. And it's all going to be over if I blink too long. Still doesn't make me want more kids though. Not another baby. I just don't want the ones I have to grow up. I want them to be my sweet little ones forever. I want to always hear Elliott tack, "because I love you" onto the end of practically every sentence, especially when she wants something. I want to hear Grace tell her ridiculous knock knock jokes that don't make a bit of sense but still manage to somehow be funny. I want to hear Kristin who is really too old to believe in Santa, explain to me how she thinks he is real and how he goes about delivering all those presents.

Next year, when I'm writing my "2011 is over" blog post, they'll be even older! Elliott will be getting ready to start kindergarten! AHHHHH!

Every time their life changes, my life changes too. We are all growing together. And that's good. As much as I don't want them to grow up, I don't want to go backwards either. My sister is getting ready to have her first baby and I do not envy her in the slightest. Right now, my life changes for the most part are subtle. Her life is about to change in drastic ways that you can't really prepare for. You think you can. You can take a birthing class, buy all the baby gear in the world, read a million books, listen to all the advice in the world about how other people's babys did it, blah, blah blah. But until it's your own and it's you and you've got this little, bity thing that you can't undo, and you HAVE to figure it out, you can't know what it's like. And it's scary. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back and be a first time parent again. It's a darn good thing that's impossible.

Anyway, I need to hop back on my original trail before I get to the fork in this rabbit trail and then who knows where I'd end up.

We had a good year. Good was good to us. He was faithful. He was with us through the good and the not so good and I have faith He will continue to be faithful.

So anyway, last night we had our usual no party new years party. Meaning, it was just us and the kids (who went to bed at 8) and Paul and I struggled to stay awake till 12 only to say a quick "happy new year, honey. I love you" and then roll over and go to sleep. Before all that though, we did have champagne (sparkling cider for the kiddies) and chocolate fondue with strawberries. The kids liked drinking out of wine glasses, though Grace was a bit concerned at first that I was actually giving them a grown up drink. ~Way to just say no, Gracie!~ The kids watched a movie (mostly because it was Friday and thus movie night, not really because of new year's eve), then Paul and I watched a movie (The American, 2 thumbs down, not a great pick) and then, as I said above, we read and chatted and dozed until midnight just because.

So Happy New Year everyone! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through out all generations, for ever and ever, Amen." -Eph 3:20-21

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Going Postal

You've heard the term, "going postal" right? It stems from the thought that a postal workers job is never ending, the mail never stops, seemingly progress is never made. As a result, frustration sets in and inevitably, anger. And then of course, shooting up your workplace with an AK-47 or "going postal."

Well, I think as a mom of 3 young kids I can identify with our faithful postal service people. I'm fixin' to go postal on my house and my family. The cleaning NEVER ENDS!!! There is always junk, piles of papers, hair clips, bows, random items of clothing, books, magazines, scraps of paper, dolly accessories, cat food because some one decided to make "cat soup" for the cats this morning, evidences of Grace's never ending projects that she likes to make out of tape and toilet paper and most recently pine tree branches from outside. And that's just the stuff I can see from my computer! (I didn't even include the bits of items out of place that belong my Paul or me).

It'll all get cleaned up, either because I do it or because we force the children to. But who cares! It'll look just the same or worse in 2 hours, the details will just be different.

I clean ALL DAY LONG! I feel like I yell and fuss at the kids all the time to clean up this mess and that.

I'm tired of fussing about cleaning.

And I'm tired of cleaning.

And I'm tired of the mess.

And, I'm having a bad hair day.

I'm might go postal.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Books I've Read (and am reading)

I'm starting a new Headline for my blog entitled; Books I've Read (look up, look up! There it is!). Under this headline will be books I've read (betcha couldn't figure that one out on your own) and my thoughts on them -without giving anything away-or maybe sometimes just a yea or nea (mainly because I know me and I know that there will be many times that I can't get around to writing anything more).

So to begin my list:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: I'd say, yea for this one, though it is not for the faint at heart (I don't even know what that means but it sounded like an appropriate fit here). Said girl is pretty much an amoral character with a tumultuous background. It was interesting to read though and I'll probably read the next 2 in the series.

I'm currently rereading (at a MUCH slower pace) through the Twlight books. I'm on New Moon. This is my least fav book of the series. Assuming here that anyone reading this who cares, has either read the books or seen the movies, I won't worry about giving anything away here. If you do care and don't know what happens, avert your eyes.

Edward leaves her! I've already read this book once and have seen the movie more times than I care to admit but still, he leaves her! I feel the same way I did the first time I read it; I have to get Bella through this. However, this time, her pain may last a bit longer. The first time I read it, I think I did it in a record 2 days. But now that I now what happens, I don't feel quite the same sense of urgency. She's just going to have to deal.

I can't think of a clever title for this one that won't get me in trouble

More that we are Fish Out Of Water evidence:

Grace brought home a dreidel they made at school yesterday. If she comes home with a Menorah, I'm sending in a Christmas tree activity and may even get bold enough to send in a nativity one too!

~disclaimer...again, it's not that I mind them learning about Hanukkah, it's just the fact that while it seems ok to learn about Jewish traditions anything Christian is taboo. And yes, I am aware that a dreidel, in and of itself does not really say anything about the Jewish faith, but then neither does a Christmas tree does it? (except that it has the word CHRIST in it). ~However, the Hebrew letters on a dreidel are said to form the acronym "A Great Miracle Happened Here." Who do you think performed that miracle? Yep, I did my research.

Although, you will notice the lack of Hebrew on Grace's dreidel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Us Fish

In case you don't know, the title of my blog, Fish Out Of Water is in reference to the fact that we are a Christan family with kids in the public school system. You know, "fish" being a Christan symbol and all. So far in our 2-1/2 whole years of experience in the public schools, I have not had really that much to write about. There are of course, the essential differences in that, there is no chapel, no prayer and then of course quite the mixture of faiths and I'm sure nonfaiths. None of this though, so far, has effected us in a negative way. I like to think some of it has even been positive. For one, my kids are learning at an early age about different faiths. Kristin in particular has several friends that are catholic and several that are Jewish. In fact, 2 out of 3 of her teachers have been Jewish. This has all prompted, what I think are beneficial conversations about how do these other faiths differ from Christianity. It's also prompted conversations on what exactly do we, as Christians believe on a more in depth level than I think we would have otherwise felt led to do. I did go to the local Christan bookstore to see if they had any children's books that explain the differences in other faiths as they compare to Christianity but came up empty. I found an adult book that laid it out fairly easily. My intention is to use the information in the adult book I got and write my own kids book. I've started taking notes on the info I'd like to include in the book but am still trying to come up with a good concept to present this information so that it will be appealing and interesting to kids.

This is the time of year, however that we notice the most difference being in the public schools. For example; there is NO mention of even the word Christmas. They are having a "holiday" party. It's "winter break" not Christmas vacation as it was when I was a kid. There are no Christmas decorations in the school. Any seasonal art projects are centered around snow (since we have SO much of that here in the southeast.) One big pet peeve I have though, is that for some reason, it is ok for their teachers to read stories about Hanukkah but not Christmas stories. (Grace is singing "The Dreidel Song" as I write this). Although I'm sure they are just as good about leaving the religious aspects out of Hanukkah as they are Christmas.

To be honest (and I'm not sure if this is even an appropriate fear to have) but the thing I worry about most with my kids being in the public school and not the private school our church runs is that they will feel left out when it comes to church and one day youth group activities because they are in the minority. This was a problem for me as a teen. When I was growing up, my brother, sister and I were the ONLY public school kids in our entire church. ALL the other kids went to the local Christan school. We were left out. I hated youth group. I never went. I did not have close friends at church. I did not have the type of personality to break though this barrier and include myself. I needed to be included and I wasn't. So, my friends were kids I went to school with, non of which were Christians. I just want my kids to feel included and to always enjoy church and to really feel like it is an extension of our family. And I want them to have friends they can turn to that they can trust and that will help them grow as children of God. We are giving our kids a Christan education, at home. That is something both my husband and I feel is a very important part of being a parent. I just hope the church/friend thing works itself out ok.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

help please...

Just a quick little survey for those of you who have a daughter(s) between the ages of 7 and 10. What are you getting her for Christmas? I am having the hardest time trying to figure out what to get Kristin for Christmas. She's almost 8. She's too old for little girl toys and dolls but not old enough for "big girl" or tween stuff. Any suggestions? I've gotten a few things but am still short.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Special Girl

The other night Grace woke up with a tummy ache. Ya. Uh, oh. You know what a tummy ache in the middle of the night means. So I was up for about 2 hours that night. Not because she actually got sick. (Thank you, God for that) because she didn't, but because I was worried that she would. I HATE the throw ups. HATE them! I know some people prefer that kind of sickness to a bad cold because it is over relatively quickly compared to a cold that can last for a week or more. Give me some yucky snot any day over a stomach virus.

I am writing, though, not to tell you about my irrational fear of throwing up but to mention a friend of mine. While I was up worrying about something as trivial and temporary as throwing up, my friend was laying with her 2 year old daughter as she took her last breaths. Hailey has been ill with cancer for about 2 years now. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer at 8 months old and since then has been in a battle to end all battles for her life. She lost that battle early Sunday morning. My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to Hailey's family right now. They are grieving the loss of a very adorable, tough little girl. There are many, many people grieving the loss of Hailey. Myself included. There is joy, however, in knowing that she is only gone from this world, that she now lives, whole again, no longer sick and suffering, with our Lord Jesus.

She may have lost the battle but she won the war and will now celebrate the victory forever.

Fall Beautiful Fall

Gosh, I love this time of year! It is so beautiful here now! Everywhere you look there are colors and more colors. Even parts of town that aren't usually known for their looks are picture book pretty. For the last week or so I have intended to get out and do a fall photo walk but just have not had the chance. Then it dawned on me as I was outside waiting for the kids to get home the other day that I can do my fall photo walk right in my own yard. We do have some pretty trees. Our yard is a beautiful mess right now.

There is a tiny part of me that for some reason can find the negative in all this beauty. Although I love when the wind blows to see all the colorful leaves dance to the ground, it is a tiny reminder that it's all going to be over soon. Fall is my favorite time of year and unfortunately also the shortest season. Just as the leaves change and the air turns cooler, they all fall off the trees. And then it's gone. Over. I feel a since of urgency to hurry up and get in all my fav fall activities before I've missed it. I can't believe we are only a week away from Thanksgiving! And then it's on to Christmas! I love it, but Wow! Where did the time go?

So while waiting for the bus today, I decided to take my chance and try to preserve a little of this beautiful season.

Thank you, God for your wonderful creativity!

This is our street. Just ignore all the trash cans out for trash day.
Home sweet home. Come spring, I'll have to contrast this picture with what our yard looks like then. We have about 20 azalea bushes in our front yard alone. It's quite the flower barrage in the spring.

So there you have it. My fall photo "walk." Though I didn't go too far, I think I still got some good color pics.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

3 for 3

One day last week, I somehow managed to get myself signed up to be in all 3 of my girls' classes on the same day. And, yes, I pulled it off.

My day started at 6 AM as usual, so I could get up, get myself showered and dressed before having to wake 2 of the girls up at 6:30. Once they are up and dressed, we hustle downstairs for breakfast and the making of the lunches. Then we are out the door by 7:30 to get Kristin and Grace to school. Minutes before this, poor Elliott is plucked out of her slumber and strapped in her carseat since I can't very well leave her home alone. (my hus is usually gone before 7 AM).

Then Elliott and I return home, only to do the whole breakfast thing again. I usually have a few minutes here to check email before having to get Elliott dressed and ready for school. We are out the door by 9:15 (on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

I love Elliott's preschool. It's been the one both Kristin and Grace attended, each for 2 years. This is my 5th consecutive year at the Wee School (cute name, huh?). But, they don't have a car pool line. As much of a pain as it is to have to park, get out of the car, walk in to her class, wait until 9:30 on the dot (the teachers do not open their doors for business until exactly 9:30), I have come to appreciate it. It is by doing this and not just dropping off my kiddies, that I have made some good friends. I have always gotten to know all the kids in their classes and their parents. I have (and still do ) hung out with some of the mommies I have met and made friends with, outside of school. That being said, it's still a pain on a rainy, cold day, or when you have to bring in 3 kids only to drop off one like I did when Kristin was 4 and Grace and Elliott were around but did not attend.

Anyway, all that is to say, that I had to drop off Elliott precisely at 9:30 while I was also supposed to be at Grace's class at 9:30 to be center helper. I made it by 9:40. Fortunately, their schools are not far apart. So, I was center helper in Grace's class until 10:30. Then I had to run over to Kristin's class to put together their Thursday folders. That actually is not a big deal and only took about 20 minutes. I actually had about an hour before I had to get back to Elliott's school to help with her class's fall party.

The parents are responsible for planning and executing the parties at the Wee School through out the year. The teacher in me took over and pretty much planned and lead the whole party myself. I hope the other moms (there were 2) were not offended by my apparent yet unintended bossiness. They seemed ok with it.

Nevertheless, the party went off without a hitch. The kids seemed to enjoy it.

So then, I was almost done. Elliott and I got home, had about 45 minutes before having to go outside to wait for the bus (it drops the kids off at our drive way. How awesome is that!) and then more , albeit normal, chaos ensued with everyone home. It was a busy day. But a successful one.

I intended to take pictures as I went from class to class. Unfortunately, the only class I remembered to take pictures was the last one, Elliott's. And, I only got 1 pic. And, it is pretty not great. I have this point and shoot I keep in my purse at all times, you never know when you will need to take a picture and I don't trust the quality of my phone. But, I hate the point and shoot I have. It's junk. I have yet to take a decent shot with it.

Anyway, here it is.

I am glad I get to be involved in my kids' classes. I am a very big believer in, no matter what kind of school your kids go to, private or public, you've got to be involved. Get in the classroom. See what's going on. Meet their friends. Make yourself known. Get to know the teacher on a personal level. Everyone involved can only benefit from it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two Cats and a Princess

We had a fun Halloween. We had 2 black cats and Princess Belle. Evidently, I did such a good job assisting Belle with her hair and make up that one of our black cats declared that next year, she wants to be Belle.

I think this was our best trick or treating experience to date. No one ran away screaming because of a neighbor's dog. No one had to be taken home early because she saw someone dressed in a costume that was scary. No one cried. Everyone walked all on their own. No one had to go potty. No one lost a shoe. And the weather was PERFECT. You could not have asked for better Halloween weather. Cool, but not too cold. Clear skies. No bugs. Awesome.

Elliott did declare after a few houses that she thought they had enough candy, but I think she just wanted to go home so she could eat some.

Earlier in the day, after church, we all gathered out back to watch daddy work his magic on a pumpkin. He did a great job this year. Probably his best ever. The girls didn't care to get all messy with the squishy stuff, but they had a good time watching daddy do it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gotta Watch Out for Those Repeaters

My husband says our kids are going to learn to cuss from me. Now before I go any further, let me defend myself by saying, I don't cuss. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't cuss. In this particular case, my husband is referring to words like "crap."

"Crap, crap, crap! This is going to taste like crap!" what I yelled when I realized I had forgotten to set the timer on the meatball subs I had in the oven. They were supposed to broil for 2 minutes. Because I had not set the time, I forgot about them until, "what's that smell?" and so then ensued the "cussing" my hus referred to.

So, Elliott is 3 and quite the repeater. Like, word for word repeater. Immediately after the "cuss" fest, she sing songs, "cRaP", in such a cute little, inoffensive tone.

The hilarity came at the dinner table, while we were eating said burned food. As I was munching away on my meatball sub, of which I had scrapped off the black parts and was actually pretty tasty, Elliott, watching me says, "See, that doesn't taste like crap!"

Oh goodness.

The Pumpkin Personality Test

You've no doubt heard of several different types of personality tests. They are supposed to tell you what kind of person you are and how you are bent. Well, we did our own accidental, kind of personality test the other day.

One thing I love about fall is the potential for a lot of great crafts for the kids. With Halloween being this weekend, I thought this week was perfect for decorating pumpkins. The kids got to pick out their own "baby pumpkin" and we decorated them with felt and yarn yesterday. I had cut out a bunch of different shapes to use for the faces and then they got to choose how they would use the shapes. They were pretty creative and showed their personalities through how they decided to decorate their pumpkin. Grace especially surprised me by using what were supposed to be eye shapes and making them into big teeth. She has always been our wild, fly by the seat of your pants kid. Kristin was predictable and very her. Her pumpkin was clean and looked just how you think a jack-o-lantern is supposed to look. Very by the book. And Elliott's is the product of a 3 year old just learning how to do things all by herself. She did a great job. They all did.

Elliott's pumpkin, Grace's and then Kristin's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cat Time Out

It seems that we have had to establish a "cat time out." I recently posted about our new kitties. Pumpkin, 8 weeks and Kitty, 6 weeks. I'm amazed the cats haven't cut and run at this point. They constantly have 3 pairs of little hands grabbing, jostling and toting them around. Kitty, being so little and never really having had a chance to get used to another home before ours, is pretty accommodating. And she's so playful. Pumpkin, on the other hand, had a previous owner for a few weeks, which I'm guessing is a pretty long time in cats time. She was pretty skiddish when she first got here. You had to catch her to hold her. However, once you do get a hold of her, she is very docile. Her claws never come out. Yet. I'm waiting for that. She is warming up to us though. She still doesn't like it if you charge her in your eagerness to pick her up, or if you make any sudden movements in her direction or if you close her up in the little play kitchen fridge and claim she likes it.

Regardless of her unsure attitude towards us, she does like to be around people. If she is not in the same room with one of us, she'll come find us and then just sit there. She also needs to know where Kitty is at all times. If she can't find Kitty, she'll make this moaning, meow sound until she finds her.

Anyway, Cat Time Out. We are constantly telling the kids things like "be gentle", "don't hold the cat like that", "no running with the cats!", "don't touch the cats while they are eating or using the potty." If you break any of these "rules", or any other "rule" mom or dad come up with on the fly concerning the cats, you get Cat Time Out, meaning, you can't touch or be near the cats for a certain amount of time.

They do love those cats. Here are some unrelated cute cat pics:

Elliott fell asleep on the couch yesterday afternoon and Kitty climbed up and joined her.

Cute, playful Kitty

Pumpkin just chillin

Pumpkin spent most of yesterday with Chi Chi, Kristin's most favorite thing in the world. As you can tell, Chi Chi has been well loved. I'm hoping the real cats wear better than Chi Chi has.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

It's seems that the best way to get a loose tooth out around here is to be haphazardly near mom and I'll eventually accidentally knock it out.

Grace lost her first tooth last night. The thing was practically dangling by a thread. Gross. You could see a small space between the tooth and gum. Grosser. I don't like pulling out teeth, even those that are perilously close to falling out all on their own. Even so, I was tying to pull a tooth of Kristin's last year, mainly because I was so tired of hearing her fuss about it bothering her, I forced her to let me give it a go. All the while she is pitching a fit as much as she possibly could while I had my hand in her mouth. As I kept trying to grip this teeny, tiny bottom tooth, I slipped and knocked out her top tooth with my fist. Needless to say, screaming and freaking out ensued. I laughed.

The accidental tooth knocking out of Grace's tooth was much less traumatic. We were all sitting around in the living room about to pray before bedtime when I got up off to floor and accidentally bumped Grace in the mouth with my knee (very gentle and yes, an accident). Next thing we know, she spits out her tooth. I have never seen a kid so excited to loose a tooth. She was pretty cute. The blood didn't even bother her like she thought it would. I think she was like, "hey! that didn't hurt a bit!" Her experience with loosing teeth comes from seeing her older sister freak out and act like we had pliers to teeth that had no business coming out. So, Grace, of course, thought this was how she was to behave. She's been very nervous about it coming out and wouldn't let us touch it. After it was all said and done though, she did great. She really likes the way she looks. Now I'm afraid she's going to be trying to get the other loose ones out before they are ready.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And so we got a cat(s)

Yep. We got 2 cats. And yes, Grace is allergic. And yes, we knew that before we got said cats. BUT, we also have rodents. We chose to get cats, not rodents. The cats are meant to rid us of said rodents.

I feel a bit like an irresponsible parent getting a cat knowing my daughter is allergic. She's not deathly allergic. Obviously, we wouldn't be that irresponsible. But she does get these itchy red bumps. It seems to mostly come from contact. She's fine as long as she doesn't touch them. Which it is impossible to tell a 5 year old who has been begging us for a pet practically all her life, not to touch these incredibly adorable kittens. (who are named Kitty and Pumpkin). Benedryl seems to help, but I don't want to have to give that to her everyday.

Our plan is to eventually put the cats outside for some or most of the day. These will be working cats. No free loading in this house. We are also hoping that once the newness of the cats wears off, the kids won't want to be holding them 24/7 and that that will help keep Grace's allergy in check.

Our reasoning is that cats are a LOT cheaper than paying someone to rodent proof the house. We got an estimate on that. $4000!! Ya. I know. And no, we don't have $4K sitting around the house or the bank for that matter.

They sure are cute though! Kitty (yes, I know. very original.) is about 5 weeks old and Pumpkin is 7 or 8 weeks. They are both orange and female which evidently is very rare. Most orange cats are male. The funny thing is, my husband seems almost as enamored with the cats as the kids are. He checks on them (we keep them in the basement for now) before bed like I check on the kids. It's cute.

On Aging

Well, today is my birthday. And I'm feeling it. My knees hurt. I grunt and groan when I have to get down on the floor and even more when I have to get back up. My arms have started having this weird circulation problem where they fall asleep and get all tingly if I hold them above my shoulder for more than 60 seconds. Sometimes, I just ache. And I'm only 35!!! Golly! What's it gonna be like when I'm 65??!! And my brain is showing my aging too. Yesterday while trying to iron a shirt to wear for church, I spilled my coffee. So, after watching it waterfall onto the already nasty, basement carpet, I finally made a move to stop the spill and clean it up. Then I hear this weird puffing noise coming from the iron. Of course, in my "haste" to clean up the coffee, I had set the iron down, face down, ON the shirt I was ironing. What a dummy! And then I spilled my coffee AGAIN! Not 2 minutes later! Fortunately, it was not near my time of the month or this chain of events would have really set me off and most likely ruined my whole day and therefore ruining the day of my family.
So, as I fight the effects of aging, I will most likely be spending my birthday doing laundry and running errands and shuttling kids around. You know, fun stuff like that. I do know I'm not cooking tonight. We did already do an official celebration over the weekend with my sis and her hus at a rather fancy restaurant. Minus the kids of course.
I'll pontificate later about what a good year #34 was and how much God has greatly blessed me and my family and about what I hope for year #35. Right now, my knees hurt and I'm going to get some Tylenol.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Fun even though it doesn't feel like fall right now

I am SO behind on posting stuff. Yall can get off your pins and needles now, I'm back (I am so teasing. I'm fairly certain none of you have been on anything sharp anxiously awaiting my literary return). I think I've shared this before, but I post a lot in my head, so if you count all the posts I've posted in my head while driving along in my car or sitting at gymnastics, then I've been blogging a lot lately. Today, though, I thought I'd actually write out my post.

I posted a little while back about my love for Fall. We had an awesome week or 2 of beautiful fall weather with the coolness and crispness and all. That has since disappeared though and even though it's now mid October, it's been a tad warm. Chesley McNeal tells me, however, that it should cool down in the next few days.

Anyhoo...we did manage to already squeeze in 2 of my favorite fall activities. A visit to the pumpkin patch and apple picking. My parents were able to join us for apple picking again this year, all the way from sunny Florida. (I think they may have brought the warm weather with them and so may be responsible for such.)

I had to convince Paul to do the pumpkin patch with us. Last year wasn't the most fun. We went later in the month and so a lot of the pumpkins had been smashed and had a most awesome smell. Plus, we had an unexpected cold snap and mommy did not plan accordingly with the appropriate outerwear. Hence, the children complained a lot. A lot.

This year was nice though. Not as crowded, no smashed or stinking pumpkins and very pleasant weather. It seems that everyone had fun. Even dad!

Both Kristin an Grace have loose teeth and so have to work hard and at an angle to get a good bite. Poor Grace is trying really hard.

The kiddos with Mimi and Papa.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not Helping

You know you are getting old, when your 7 year old asks if you liked living in the "olden days". Apparently, the olden days, were in the 80's.
She is not helping my "I'm getting old" complex.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Girls, Girls, Girls

I have 7 little girls at my house right now (or at least had 7 little girls over when I first started writing this post). And it's completely quiet. Do you know why? Cause they are watching a movie. And do you know what? I may let them watch another once this one is done.

This week is our county's "fall break." I put that in quotations because, although the official first day of fall was this week, it is anything but here in north GA. I'm not sure what the actual temp is right now, but according to Chesley McNeal, the high is supposed to be somewhere in the low 90's. Another reason for the quotation marks is, school just started and already, we have an entire week off. Actually, we have been in school for about a month an a half, but it still all feels pretty new. The kids are still feeling out new friends, I'm still working out my kid-free schedule, we're all still trying to get used to getting up at dawn and scrambling to get to bed on time.

Since my hus could not take any time off this week, thus making my plans to go camping go to the wayside, I've tried to come up with a few fun activities for the kiddos.

Tuesday, we met some church friends at the zoo. The kids seemed to really enjoy it. My pocket book did not, but the kids did. The zoo ain't cheap. I'm remembering why in the 12+ years we've been in the ATL, we've never paid to go to the zoo.

And then today, we invited over 2 pairs of sisters to watch the new Tinker Bell movie, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It just so happens that a couple of the girls have not seen the 1st Tink movie, so we may just watch that one too. It would only be fair.

In between movies, I do have some cookies for them to decorate. That should be fun.....right?

I've already got 3 girls, what's 4 more!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rule #12

I've come up with a new rule for our family. Does anyone watch NCIS? If you do, you know how Gibbs has all these rules, going up to 51, I think? They are all these weird, random, yet poignant rules. They all have a number. All Gibbs has to do is say, "rule # such and such" to get his point across to his team. They are things mostly appropriate to the working environment of an investigative service, not necessarily family friendly. No one seems to have a complete list, nevertheless, they know the rules. No one on the show, anyway, has a complete list. I googled "NCIS Rules" and there are evidently several fan sites dedicated to the rules.

Anyway, I think I am going to throw away my old teacher rules about having rules (keep your list to 10 or less and write them in the positive) and be more like Gibbs. (in no particular order) Rule #1 Honor always. Rule #2 No interrupting. Rule #3 Obey your parents. skipping ahead, Rule # 12 When you get to be in second grade, you become responsible for cooking dinner for the family once a month.

That's the rule I had in mind when I began this post. Kristin is in second grade now, so this rule applies to her. She made her first meal the other night; grilled cheese and tomato soup. She did pretty well and was very enthusiastic about it. In fact, Grace and Elliott have been asking when can they make a meal. Maybe the next time we have cereal for dinner.

I do think feeding the whole family, was more work than Kristin thought it was going to be. I stood there and supervised the whole thing and told her what to do. She did it all. Everyone enjoyed her efforts. It was a tasty dinner. We are proud of her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Sweet" Sixteen

Last weekend, in my other life as a professional photographer, I had an interesting experience.

As a photographer, I get called upon to photograph an occasional event. I usually just do portraits and weddings. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I would like to pursue this avenue of photography more. This past weekend was an event that still has me on the fence about do I like this or not. It was a sweet sixteen party. It was at The World of Coke. Yes, you heard me right, The World of Coke. Not just a room in The World of Coke, but the whole dang place. Can we say, "spoiled?" If you've ever seen the MTV show, "My Sweet Sixteen" which I have not, but from what I understand, this was just like that show. The party was for 2 girls. They both started the night in Cinderella type ball gowns only 1/2 way through to change into a more cocktail type dress. Still pretty fancy. There was one photographer (me), 2 videographers, 2 D.J.s, 2 performing acts (one being a belly dancer and the other being a boy/girl combo dance/rap group) a 10-12 man security team (provided by the hosts of the party, not Coke), of course food, a wedding style birthday cake to be topped off by wedding style decorations all over the place. Now, can we say, "expensive" and "ridiculous" and just plain "ostentatiously extravagant?" (I'm not even sure if ostentatiously is a word, but you get my meaning.) There was a crowning ceremony. The girls were presented with tiaras and scepters. Yes, I said scepters. A court. Uh huh. Each girl had a court of 4 other girls. These girls basically followed them around and participated in the crowning ceremony.

Actually, for me, that was all the fun part. Fun because it was a new experience for me. Oh, ya, I almost forgot, they had a Barbie there. Yes, an actual person, dressed as Barbie. She was there to greet and have her photograph taken with each of the 225 guests (of which only 171 showed). She was a nice girl. Putting herself through college. Pre-med. Easy money, being Barbie.

The not fun part for me and the part that might encourage me to not pursue event photography as a part of my business, was watching these 16 year olds bump and grind to the point of profanity. Is the word "profanity" limited to words or can it be used to describe action. I'm using it to describe action. It was gross. There were boys who were pleasured during this party in ways that should not happen for at least another 5 years and only behind the confines of a closed, married door. and I have the pictures to prove it! Though I also have the ethics and morals to not post them. Actually I erased all of the nasty ones, not that they won't see those images again. Both viedographers took plenty of footage of the sex with your clothes on fest.

Ga Rooss! I felt dirty just being there.

To the credit of the birthday girls, they were not involved in the nastiness. In fact out of the 171 guests, only about 7 or 8 were being overtly gross and immoral (that I could see anyway). But still. I have 3 daughters. What if my daughters were at a party like this? Even if they weren't shaking their derriere in some dude's crotch, they would be witness to this kind of behavior. Would they think it looked like fun? Cool? Ridiculous and profane and trashy? I am hoping and praying for the latter.

Those girls knew exactly what they were doing. The guys DEFINITELY knew what they were doing (and having done to them). And there were parents there. And no one said or did anything to stop it! At one point, this older lady, an aunt of one of the girls I think, approached me. Taking one look at what I am assuming was a disgusted look on my face she says, "I know what you are thinking. Are they making out or dancing. I'm concerned too." WHATEVER! First of all, they weren't making out. They were doing worse than making out. Second, if that lady, as a relative, was really concerned, she shoulda turned a hose on those screaming hormones and kicked their buts out, after calling their mommy's to come and pick them up. I'd have been happy to show any parent a picture of how their child was behaving.

I could go on and on about this. I have lots more to say. But, I'm done. I can't think about it anymore.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. The nastiness was really only a small/short part of the evening, it's just one that's burned into my brain. So, it was interesting. And sad. Sad, that a few kids turned something that should have been the event of a lifetime for some, into a display of debauchery and adolescent promiscuity.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's almost here!

I love fall. and I can sense it coming. It's in the change of the light. I first noticed it about a week ago as I was driving the kids to school early one morning. There was just something about the color of the light at that time of morning. Maybe it's that it wasn't quite as bright as it is on summer mornings. Or is it that it was brighter? I forget. Anyway, it was different. Later, I noticed the lighting difference on my living room floor. I am ashamed to admit that twice a year, spring and fall, I am made aware of the upcoming change of seasons when the light begins to hit my living room floor in such a way that the dust is illuminated just so. There, I admitted it. My floors are dusty.

So anyway, it's coming, it's coming! My favorite time of year! I love it for many reasons; I love the colors, the cooler air, the actual crispness you can feel. I love apple picking, fried apple pie, apple butter, apple fritters, apple bread... I love going to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin muffins. I love the change in wardrobe. I love Thanksgiving, time with family, time off. I love that the "holidays" begin with Thanksgiving (in my mind at least). Yes, I LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC! and I start listening to it religiously and almost exclusively on Thanksgiving day. I love the Thanksgiving day parade. I love that we get our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving. All of this talk to the fall and the holidays (and the mention of all my fav fall eats) makes me think of food and eating and...does anyone know of a good exercise for losing neck and/or chin fat? Ha. Just kidding. (mostly). My nose used to be my most hated part of my body and though it still ranks pretty high on the list, it's been bumped from #1 by my chin/neck area. The older I get (and the more I refuse to diet - a dirty word in my opinion), the more I dislike that part of my body. I know if I just lost 20-30 lbs, that would take care of the problem. I just don't see that happening. Not while I have little kids at home. I blame the kids. Always have.

Anywho...all that has NOTHING to do with why I started this post. Man, can I hop on a rabbit trail or what!?!

So back to my love of fall. It puts me in a good mood. Just the anticipation of it can put me in a good mood. I even like the football season part of fall. (Roll Tide Roll). My husband loves that part of fall. When I was pregnant with our first child, I went in to early labor at 25 weeks and was put on 12 weeks of bed rest, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF FALL! I had to miss it all! I was so depressed!! I was forced to lay on the couch and just look out of the window at the beautiful fall as it happened outside, just out of my reach. The only good part of my bed rest being in fall was that my husband was perfectly happy to lay on the couch with me all weekend long, because of the football.

So before I head down another rabbit trail, I'm gonna leave you with a few pics I took last year when Elliott and I went on a fall colors walk. I'm looking forward to adding to my collection in the coming months.

Excuse me

Grace has been doing better as she is just beginning to adjust to kindergarten. We've had 2 straight days of no tears. Whether or not she likes school has never been the question or the problem. She always comes home at the end of the day telling me how much fun she had and all of the cool, big girl things she is learning.
Today she came home with the same bubbly attitude. She even learned a new phrase; "cut the cheese." Yes, she knows what it means. And thank you to the very courteous little boy in her class who taught her said phrase. *note the sarcasm here.
So all during dinner, we heard, "I just cut the cheese, No, I just cut the cheese." and so on. One unladylike problem with our girls is that when someone does cut the cheese, they all claim it! They will actually argue over who did it, not in trying to lay blame on someone else, but possibly to even take the credit themselves. Where did we go wrong!!??

Thursday, August 26, 2010


So, Grace is STILL not loving kindergarten. She cries every day -expcept yesterday but that was an early release day. She's even taken to crying some the night before and starts crying the second I wake her in the morning. It's the same thing every day. She says she's bored, that she only likes specials (P.E., music, art and computer), that she doesn't like recess (I know!) because it's hot. She seems to have made friends ok. There are several kids she talks about. I was even approached by a mom yesterday who's kid is not even in Grace's class who wants to arrange a play date. She says they play together on the playground, yep, at recess.
I am at my wits end here. I'm torn between wanting to cry with her, hug her and tell her she can stay home with me as long as she wants, and being angry with her for doing this EVERY stinkin day!
I'm pretty sure it's all about attitude. She needs to try to not be bored, to engage and to have a good attitude. I know that's a lot easier said than done, especially for a 5 year old.
Paul and I start and end each day, praying for our little girl, that she would not only not cry, but that she would really enjoy and look forward to school. We've been spoiled with Kristin. She has always loved school and was even sad when school was cancelled last year for our flood days and snow.
Would it be bad if I just pulled her out of school? Is that coddling her? She's so cute and sweet and loving. I think she's the most like me of the 3 (not the cute, sweet, loving part of her. She's definitely surpassed me in those areas). I can empathize with her homesickness, but at the same time, I want her to be tough and NOT CRY!
Anyway, that's it. That's what's been going on around here lately. A lot of crying. Not fun.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Heart Faces Beach Fun

Beach Fun is this week's challenge at I Heart Faces. This is a pic I took of my brother in law the last time we were all at the beach together, back in 09.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And then there were none

I feel I've been remiss in posting much about Elliott and her first day of pre-k. It's actually a pretty big deal, if not for her, then especially for me. You see, since she has started school, this is the first time EVER that I have had any child-free days. Since we first began multiplying, 7-1/2 years ago, I have always had at least one kid to keep me company (or to drive me crazy, depends on which way you look at it). Actually, today will be my real first child-free day. Even though Tuesday was Elliott's first day, after I dropped her off, I had to go pick Grace up from school for a dentist appointment. So I was alone for about 10 minutes that day. Today I have no plans. My husband asked me what was I going to do today. I can tell you what I should do; laundry, laundry, laundry (I have 3 baskets to fold and put away, hence the repetition), sweeping, vacuuming... However, I know my precious 2 days a week (3-1/2 hours a day) of no kids will most likely soon be filled with volunteering at the older kids' school, meetings, working on my photography business, and of course housework, but today, I think I might not do any of that. I just might go to Starbucks, get me a WAY over priced coffee and read-a-book. I will say though, even as I write that, I feel a little guilty for not using my time wisely. That laundry really needs to be folded and put away. And the least I can do is straighten the house.

And Elliott. She's been great. She even decided yesterday, of her own volition, to throw away her passy! So we ran right out and got a really big lolly pop as a reward. She has done amazingly well too. She has asked for her passy a few times, but after I remind her that she threw it away, she says nothing else. All my babies are growing up! "Yeah" and "Boo Hoo" at the same time! We've finally reached a level of independence with our kids that has allowed us to actually enjoy things we haven't in the past. We really don't have any babies any more. But then, we really don't have any babies anymore. (note the difference happy and is a good thing, one sad that they are growing up so fast!).

It is a little sad to not have any babies anymore. Maybe.....

I could keep writing on my woman feelings on how I feel about all my kids leaving me and the good and bad things about it, but I think I'm going to try to fold a basket or 2 before I have to take Elliott to school.

*side note.... Grace didn't cry today!!! Her teacher immediately emailed me this morning to let me know she did great! Love email.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another first day of school

I can't let today go by without posting about our youngest and her first day of preschool. Elliott started 3 year old preschool today. She'll go 2 days a week. She's been very excited about it. She has the same teacher Grace had when she was 3 so she knows her a bit. She just wants to be like her big sisters and go to school too. She seemed to have a real good day.

An update on Grace and her recent lack of desire for school...

I have resorted to bribery. I told her if she does well all week and does not cry, then we'll go get a toy on Friday. She loves new toys. I told her anytime she feels like crying, to first stop and pray and ask God to help her to be happy and then to think about what new toy she wants to get. I know. I know. I'm just trying to do what works. It helped Kristin when she went through a similar thing.

Today she did great. Of course, she was only there a couple hours today because I had to pick her up for a dentist appointment. She had 2 cavities. That's another post for another time. Lets just say (and oddly enough) after having been on the laughing gas, she wants MORE cavities. Weird kid. Can't figure her out. Scared to go play at kindergarten, loves the dentist's drill.

Tomorrow will be the test to see if she can get all the way to school without any tears. I'm hopeful she can do it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kindergarten Woes

Well, Grace's enthusiasm for kindergarten has waned. I knew it would. She's always been the homebody of the 3 girls. As an infant, I was paged EVERY Sunday for the whole first year of her life to come and get her from the nursery because she wouldn't stop crying. The nursery workers were always amazed that the second I picked her up, she would stop. For a long time as a baby, she wouldn't let anyone else hold her. At the grocery store, if a bag boy/girl looked at her too long, she would break into a wail.

She did completely fine for two years of pre school. Didn't cry once. I reminded her of this. She says she's just used to being with me and her blanket all day and misses us (me and the blanket). She cries every morning now and sometimes at night. It's heart breaking for me to see her so sad. I do take some comfort though, in knowing that Kristin is there and can at least walk her to class. I remind myself, that even Kristin who is my social bug, never afraid of a new situation as long as there are other kids to play with kid, had some adjustment issues in kindergarten. It took almost the whole first semester for Kristin to completely adjust. But once she did, she never looked back. This year, I only got to walk her to class once. After that, it was, "moooommm. I can go by myself!" For her, one thing I did was to print out a picture of me and one of her very favorite, stuffed cat, Chi Chi, to keep in her lunch box. If she got sad, she could look at our picture. That seemed to help her a bit. I tried that with Grace. She said she did not want a picture because if she looked at it at school, it would just make her miss us (again, me and the blankie) even more. Makes sense to me. I can identify with Grace. I very much like my comfort zones. I remember being that way as a kid.

I know she'll be fine. I just hope that it's sooner than later. I hate seeing her sad. It makes me think crazy, like I might want to home school or something!

This picture is the one we took so she could have it to take to school. You can tell she'd been crying, but she put on a brave face for about a second and a half for the picture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This is Elliott waiting for Nana (my hus' mom) to arrive from AL. It was 9:30 AM in these pics. Nana wasn't to arrive until 5 PM.