Friday, July 31, 2009

SUMMER DAY 62, Friday July 31

Another month of summer has flown by! Hard to believe it's almost August! August is a month of milestones for us. Savannah is, gasp, becoming a teenager. Larry & I celebrate our 15th year of marriage. The kids go back to school & I go back to working 5 days a week. Ah yes....lots of things happen this month.

Are you ready for August?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

One of those days........

Today was one of those days.

You know the ones. Those days where you wake up & pray that God will somehow warp time & you can blink and find yourself at the end of the day. The ones where you'd just rather skip the whole flippin' thing and avoid what is ahead. Maybe it's nothing life-altering or monumental, but it's a day you're dreading none the less. Whatever the case, we've all had one of those days, right?

It actually started last night, the dread of facing today. This was my facebook status before I went to bed last night:

Don't you love that feeling when you get home at the end of a busy day & you're actually home to stay for the night? Yeah, I'm looking forward to that about 24 hours from now. :)

See, I knew last night that today was going to be one of those days. Too busy. Too full. Too stressful. Ugh. At 10:30 last night, I was already looking forward to today being OVER.

Let me explain. It all started on Tuesday the 21st. LAST week. We were at Samuel & Sarah's evening swim class when a storm blew in. Halfway through class, they had to get out of the pool due to lightening. The teacher said we'd make up the class later. No big deal. Then they went back on Thursday night the 23rd. Ten minutes into the class, they pulled everyone out of the pool & shut it down. There was some sort of leak in the pool. The water level had dropped 5-6" in the few minutes since we got there. yikes. Big problem. Ok, so now we have 2 classes to make up. To make matters worse, on both of those nights, we had made arrangements with the swim teacher, Mr. Eric, to stay after class for a short private class. Samuel & Sarah are actually the only two Level 2 swimmers in their "Level 1 & 2" class, so he's having to spend so much time working with the Level 1 students that he hasn't been able to work with my two kids very much. Thankfully they're holding their own, but for them to pass the class, they have to do certain strokes, kicks, etc and he hasn't had any time to work with them on those specific things. Anyway, since the classes were cancelled, we weren't able to stay late & work on those things. This week, tonight actually, was due to be our last week of class, however with the make-up classes still needed to finish things up, we knew that things were going to stretch longer. Thankfully our sweet teacher offered to meet with us on Monday & Wednesday of this week (privately) to work on the Level 2 stuff, in addition to coming to regular swim classes with the rest of the class to make up for those 2 classes we had to miss last week.

Ok, so fast forward to Sunday night. Mr. Eric called to tell us that the pool was still closed--til Tuesday. There went our private Monday lesson & the regular Tues night class. We'd try again on Wednesday for a private lesson. Wednesday rolled around & he called to say the pool was opened again, but it was still very cloudy & the water was a chilly 80 degrees. Not quite up to regular swimming temperature, so no Wednesday lesson either. :::sigh::: We agreed to meet him TODAY at 3:45 for our private lesson & then come back tonight for the regular class time.

I guess that's when it hit me that it was going to be one of those days. I knew that this would follow my day at work.

Let me just say this first before I go on. I love my job. I adore my job. I love the atmosphere. I love the 'family' I have at work. I can't imagine enjoying working anywhere else so much. I love teaching preschoolers. Sometimes there are kids who challenge my teaching skills...others that cause me to want to rip my hair out... but even still, I love my job. Really, I do! But Tuesday, well, let's just say it was not a heavenly day, if you get my drift (you know...not from Heaven, but from...). We'll leave it at that. The truth is, I have great kids in my class. But there is always that one that makes a teacher want to consider retirement at 35. Yeah, well, this summer I have 2 of those kids. I went home from work that day sweating from every pore on my body, my nerves were shot. I felt frazzled in the worst sense of the word & started thinking that maybe Preschool was not my calling after all. I wanted to crash into my bed & not get up til the next day. Knowing that I had to go back today & be in the same classroom full of munchkins had my skin crawling before I even went to bed last night.

I guess the biggest thing is that it has rained lately & the past 2 school days it was too wet to go outside at recess time. Trust me, a room full of 9 cooped-up three year olds is not ideal. And guess what? Last night we had a storm. I went to bed last night listening to the rain, realizing that the playground would be too wet to go out today & sighed. I knew it was going to be one of those days.

It was just past midnight when I turned off my lamp & began to drift into la-la land. At 3:25 am, my husband's cell phone rang. It was the local television station's Thunder Call. This is a service you can sign up for to get calls when there is threatening weather headed your way. We had it on our home phone at one time but I got sick of the middle of the night phone calls to tell me that the wind was blowing, so I removed our subscription to the service. When his phone rang, the ringer was turned up really LOUD & it jolted both of us awake. When he hung up he said "Hey...they wanted to let us know it's raining." We both busted out with a silly case of sleep-deprived giggles because there was no way we could miss the constant thunder & lightening & pouring rain we'd dozed off listening to. We lay in bed, wide awake, for an hour. We talked about whatever stupid things came to mind at 3:30 in the morning. We laughed like a couple of kids over a lot of things that probably wouldn't make a lick of sense to any sane person after 8am, but at 3 in the morning it was pretty funny. We both groaned as we started to get drowsy about 4:00 am & commented on the lack of sleep we'd be feeling all day today. Surely, it's going to be one of those days.

Larry's alarm went off a couple of hours later & mine soon after. Just before mine went off, my mom called to tell me that the weather radar showed a HUGE storm system barrelling toward us. With the way it looked on the radar, there was NO WAY it would miss us. In fact, it should hit by 10am & come and go til nearly 5pm. Great! Just great! Another day stuck inside the classroom with a group of stir-crazy kids who really need to get outside & run off some energy. I already knew we'd be stuck inside, but somehow knowing that we had a huge storm driving toward us made me dread the day more. I'm not sure why though. Stress over how serious it might be, I guess. Good's gonna be one of those days.

Before I left for work, I pondered the day ahead.
8:30--leave for work.
9:25-2:45--wrangle the class from you-know-where
3:45-4:30ish--Samuel & Sarah's private swim class (we live far enough that it wouldn't make sense to go home & come back, so we would stay at the school a little late & then go straight to class)
5:40--take Savannah to Sunday School class party, figure out supper for the other 4 of us
7:00--leave for the regular evening swim class
9:00--arrive home for the night.

I'm a homebody. My kids are, too. When we have a day where we go, go, go, everyone's cranky at the end of the day. Surely this was going to be one of those days.

As I left for work, I posted this facebook status update:

Sure wish I could blink my eyes & be done with all of today. Prayers for a calm day are very much appreciated!

When I arrived at work, one of the first things I said to one of my fellow teachers was "Is it 2:45 yet?" (quitting time) She just laughed. I laughed. I wasn't trying to be funny, though. We shared looks that only teachers understand. The one that says "Yesterday was bad...I'm dreading's gonna be one of those days....gimme a hug!"

That's about the time I started feeling the prayers of my friends....I knew people on Facebook had seen my status by that time. I was encouraged by my friends at work & while it didn't alleviate my dread, I knew that all I had to do was holler & one of them would come running today. We all try to do that for each other when we know someone's having a bad day.

It hit me as I got the room ready for the morning that I had dropped the ball on something. I had not prayed over each of my students yet this summer. During the regular school year, I usually spend my drive time on the way to work praying for the day ahead, praying for each of the kids individually by name, praying that God will grant me a special time, even if it's just a few moments, with each of the kids that day. A special moment where that little one feels like he/she is the only child in the universe...the moment when we lock eyes & share a sweet connection, where I see them light up & "get" whatever I'm teaching, or when I see them glow from a moment of praising them, or when I see their eyes shine when I realize that they know I love them. My drives to work this summer have been filled with breaking up my kids' arguments or listening to Hannah Montana. I've been too distracted to realize what I wasn't doing! And so, right then as it struck me, I began praying for the day. I prayed for my 'stinkers', for my interaction with them & their interaction with the other kids. I prayed for a peaceful day. I prayed about the weather, specifically that big storm coming toward us. I prayed that God would grant me favor & show me a little calmness today.

Then the phone call came in at the school. One of my students would not be there. I have no idea why, but ok...that's 1 less child. Then I checked my class roll when the kids started coming in. I had already marked 1 child off whose mom told me last week that she wouldn't be at school today. I had forgotten til that very moment. Wow. That's 2 kids I'd be missing. And then I realized that a 3rd would be gone because he only comes when his mom subs at the school. Wow. My stuffed full classroom was quickly dwindling. I only had 6 kids today. That is completely manageable! Relaxation washed over me as I realized that God was answering prayers....fewer kids would certainly grant me a little calmness.

The big storm was due to hit us about 10-11am. I saw the radar picture myself this morning. A HUGE storm couldn't possibly miss us. But it did. Somewhere along the way it turned & moved around us! Not a single raindrop, no lightening, no thunder. No loss of electricity or scared children. I kept going back to the window peeking out to see how the sky looked. By 12:00, I realized that it was NOT going to hit us after all. Thank you, Lord! While recess time was still spent inside (too wet from last night's storm), we were able to go outside for our extended day program that I work with. Hallelujah for running & screaming outside!

When school was over, we drove to the 1st swim class for the day & I watched in complete bliss as my sweet girl, who is a decent swimmer but has no confidence in her ability, thrived under the one-on-one attention of her swim teacher. Seeing her swim a greater distance than I've ever seen before had me cheering for her from my upstairs window that overlooks the pool. Something about seeing her give the teacher a wet little high-five gave me goosebumps.

We left swim class & ran home for Savannah's quick change. She threw on her swimsuit & grabbed a towel. We made it to her SS class party on time and I grabbed some McDonald's for the other kids & I on the way back home. By the time we got home, we only had about 1/2 an hour til it was time to leave again for their second class. The storm that was supposed to come through early in the day had not messed up my school day, nor was it messing up the swim class schedule as I had sort of half-way feared it might. (Remember, lightening=cancelled class, again!)

We made it to & from the class without any problems and as we drove home, I popped a CD in the CD player. I wanted to hear some worship music at the end of this, the day that should've been one of those days. Honest to goodness, I grabbed it randomly from my collection of music & hit play. Want to see what made me giggle with delight & cry (happy tears!)? The irony killed me. Note the title.

I absolutely LOVE this song. Please pause right now & listen to the lyrics of this song before you continue reading. Close your eyes & drink it in. The video itself really isn't all that strong, so just listen to the words.

And want to hear what one of my sweet friends wrote on the morning facebook status? She hit the nail on the head for TODAY specifically. "Jesus calmed the storm surely he can calm your day." She had no idea that a STORM was one of the very things I was dreading & expecting to make my day so tumultuous. (Thanks for listening to HIS words to speak into my life today, Jimette!)

As I listened to this song tonight on my way home, I recognized how much PMS was affecting my attitude & outlook on my day last night & this morning. I recognized that I had not been relying on the saying that I try to take to heart all the time: "If you're going to pray, don't worry...if you're going to worry, don't pray." I realized how useless my aggrivation really was. I didn't have to face an oncologist today. I didn't have to watch a loved one die. None of my children were sick. I wasn't dealing with a tragedy of unspeakable proportion. I was just looking at a too-full schedule, some rowdy kids, the cost of running up a lot of gas & the dread that I'd be exhausted & worn out from the day after it was all over. I hung my head in shame that I had let myself get into such a dither over these "no big deal" sort of things. And then I remembered that God is a God of DETAILS. Whether it's facing a giant of physical or spiritual or emotional proportions, HE CARES. He doesn't always care about my happiness when He's working on making me more like HIM, but He does care about me. He does want me to live a full life that brings HIM the glory, even in the tiniest details and He does desire to see me have a peaceful day when I am wallowing in the floor begging for it. He longs to love me & show me His mercy.

Today He gave my friends the right words to calm my heart. He removed three kids from my classroom to help me feel a little less frantic. He literally calmed the storm raging outside, and in turn, the one inside. He helped me relax enough to get all mooshy-mama about my sweet girl's swimming ability. He took away the hectic feel of my evening. He gave me time to spend with my husband in the early hours of the day, even if it didn't come in a way we usually would have hoped for. He reminded me to pray for my class and in doing so, allowed me to spend time in His presence before I started the majority of the day...always a good thing.

And in the end of the day, He reminded me of the HOPE I have in Him. Heaven. Eternity. IN HIS PRESENCE. Indeed, ONE OF THESE DAYS I will be seeing the mansion He's built for me and I will look back & think on this silly day. One that should've been "one of those days", but it became "just another day" before my "one of these days".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SUMMER day 56, Sat July 25

When Larry began his new job in April, we knew that there would be days when he had to work off-the-wall hours. I mean, you can't control the things he deals with every day....but in that, there is immense job security. This past week, he's had 3 or 4 nights that he was at work til 10 or 11pm. Last night it was 11:30 before he got home. Bless his heart...he could stay late & finish up or go in today & do it, so he decided to stay late & get things done so that he'd have all day today to spend with us as a family. I'm so glad he did, too. He needed a break and we all needed some daddy/hubby time!

We went to the theater at 12:30 today & saw G-Force. What a cute family movie! All the previews looked cute, but I had a different idea in mind of how it would turn out. In the end, it was a funny movie, lots of action & adventure....even a little romance! It was a fun family movie. Here's a preview movie trailer if you haven't heard about it. (Sorry, I can't embed the video...they disabled embedding on this one!)

After the movie we came home & hung out for a little while before heading to our sweet friends' house for their little girl's 1st birthday party. She has been nicknamed "Cupcake" so there was a distinct cupcake theme for the party. So cute! Lots of pink & girly-ness.

Tomorrow is Sunday, my favorite day of the week! Bring on the worship time & Bible study!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Review: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

A few weeks ago, I received the book, Jesus Calling, in the mail from Thomas Nelson. I am a book review blogger ( & am blessed to have selected this (primarily ladies') devotional book to review.

Sarah Young is a missionary who decided to quit writing so fervently in her prayer journal, always asking God for something. Instead, she chose to start sitting & listening to God speak. In doing so, He gave her various messages & over time, that evolved into this book. I'm always looking for a good devotional book and this one surely fits the bill. There is a short article for each day of the year that includes a couple of Scriptures that relate to the article. On some articles, quotes relating to the passage are also included.

I've only been reading this book for a few weeks, but it will most definately stay on my shelf to be read throughout the year. The articles are deep and relevant to my daily life, yet short enough to read through in just a few minutes' time. All the things I look for in a good devotion book!

I'd highly recommend this one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SUMMER day 53, Wed July 22

What a great day we had. My niece spent the night last night & so this morning, the kids & I went to the "dead animal museum" in town and then took a detour to Chuck E. Cheese before we took my niece home. How fun!

Just a sampling of our day (because trust me, there were soooooo many more pictures)!

First we went to the museum.
Everyone bearing their fangs!
Gimme a hug, but fella!
Samuel, quick! Move before he bites you!
I suggest you buy a house & put it on Boardwalk.
Samuel & the lion, duking it out.
Cheetah vs. Samuel staring contest---who won?
Pucker up, baby!
Uh oh, now the gator's got Savannah in his sights!
Here's where the real fun begins.
Sarah & my niece on the horse ride
Savannah & Sidney in the picture taking machine
me & Savannah (from that same machine)
me & Samuel
me & Sarah...and Samuel who poked his head in & made his sister really mad at the last minute!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ok, who needs this today?

I feel a pretty strong "tug" by God to post this video. Right now. Someone reading my blog needs it. I LOVE this song & was just listening to it & watching the video when God clearly said "POST IT". So here I am.

I'm praying for you, whoever you are, as I hit "publish post".

Friday, July 17, 2009

SUMMER DAY 48 - Fri July 17

This week has FLOWN by. In fact, the whole summer has! Here we are mid-July and I'm realizing that we only have about 1 month to go before the kids are back in school. I swear, every year it goes by faster. Not just the summer either. Time in general just flies with each passing year.

I'm instilling a new 'program' next week! Remember our weekly Bible verse that we've been doing this summer? Well, I should hang my head in shame because I haven't done too well at updating the verse-of-the-week the past couple of weeks. My desire in doing that with the kids is not only to hide God's word in their hearts but to allow the Holy Spirit to change them from the inside out....especially the way they treat each other. While I LOVE having all three of them home during the summer, it's usually a quick descent from "WooHoo it's summer!" to "Good Lord, how long til I can separate the three of them with school days?". They argue & fight & look for ways to irritate each other from sun up to sun down. Or at least it seems that way. I know every mother of grown children smiles & looks back on the sibling rivalry & would tell me that it'll all turn out fine...that all kids fight & argue a lot. And I know that's the case. Before I know it, they'll be packing up boxes to move to their own apartment or college dorm. They'll be moving out & on their own and I'll look back fondly on these argumentative summers & laugh. But in the meantime, my goal is not to just stand over them & yell and be the monster mommy that I feel like sometimes. My goal in parenting them is not to just say "no" but to have them understand "why" and really GET that.

And so, we're starting a new program of sorts on Monday. I got the idea from one of 2 sources....and I can't remember which it was. It was either from Lynelle Zandstra, mother extraordinaire OR from Lisa Whelchel's book Creative Correction. I've learned a ton from both of these ladies over the years and find myself putting lots of their ideas into action with our kids.

The program we're starting is a Secret Servant program. The idea is like a secret pal system. On Monday, the kids will all draw a name of one of their siblings from a hat. For 1 week, they'll look for ways to serve/help that sibling without being caught. Sneaking in to make their bed while they're in the bathroom....finding a way to do one of their chores for them when they're taking a bath....making their favorite snack & delivering it without being caught. They'll be able to think up fun ways to do sweet things for each other and they'll be on the look out for ways that their Secret Servant is helping them! It's a win-win situation! I told them about it today & they all got excited and started verbalizing different ways they plan to serve their siblings. I loved that conversation!!! At the end of 1 week, they'll be able to reveal their identity & THANK their servant for all the kind things that were done for them. We'll re-draw names each Monday til each of the kids has had each of the others...and we will keep going if they want to. (crossing my fingers)

And so, we're on the verge (I hope!) of something that will really change their relationships. I can't wait to see how it plays out!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SUMMER DAY 46 Tues July 14

First & foremost, today is my niece Robyn's birthday. It's hard to believe that six years has passed already. You see, my sister and her husband had fertility troubles and Robyn was such a sweet blessing. I remember the day that Cindy called to tell me she was pregnant. I remember sitting on the floor in the kitchen holding the phone & being so excited that I cried a few happy tears while I listened to her giggle & talk. Then the day came that she'd have an ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. I remember being tickled to death when we learned she was having a GIRL!!!!!! I think Cindy stopped on the way home & bought about 5 little girl outfits for her first daughter. :) And then came the day that she called & said "My water broke! I'm in labor!". I stayed home all day long waiting for "the phone call" telling me that Robyn was here. I didn't want to cook anything for supper that would be super-involved or time consuming because I kept thinking that "any minute now" we'd get a phone call that she was here & we'd leave to go meet her. Finally late in the day, I gave up on waiting & VERY QUICKLY ran the 1 errand that had to be done before the place closed. And wouldn't ya know it? While I was gone, we got the phone call!!! All of the family congregated around the bed at the birth center to meet little Miss Robyn. What a sweet little treasure she's been to our family! And so today, I want to wish Robyn a very happy 6th birthday! I love ya, sweetie!!

As for my day, it's been an interesting one.

About a year ago, Savannah had a migraine headache. It was painful enough that she ended up vomitting from it. It came on fast & hit her like a ton of bricks, but once she reached the point of throwing up, it passed pretty quickly. That was the only one she'd ever had. We had no idea what brought it on or why she had it so we just moved on and forgot it.

Unfortunately, today it hit again. She's had a stuffy nose for a few days. This morning when we got to work, she mentioned some sinus drainage (I thought) symptoms. I got her some Advil to take at one point because she mentioned that her head hurt. At some point, she told me that her vision was blurry & she was seeing lights. I had her go lay down in a spare classroom at the school but it wasn't long til she came back to tell me she felt nauseated. I called for help & went to the bathroom with her....and sure enough...she threw up. Poor kid. That's when it hit me that she was having another migraine. All the symptoms she'd mentioned before were classic migraine symptoms but I missed it! We quickly moved my class to other teachers' rooms & packed up and left. On the drive home, she threw up several more times (thank goodness for car trash bags!). She came home and went straight to bed with the blinds closed & a sleep mask on to block out as much light as possible. Poor baby girl...I felt so bad for her! Thankfully she was able to go to sleep & after a couple hours she had "slept it off" and felt better. I hated to see her hurting so bad. I'm glad it's over & done with now!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friday's trip video

Our church's youth pastor just posted this video of Friday's day trip that Savannah went on. At about the 5:40 mark, you can see her in a pink Tshirt trying to get the ball away from the wall during a Whirlyball game.

Friday, July 10, 2009

SUMMER DAY 42, Fri July 10

First things first! Happy Anniversary Greg & Kathy! You guys are some of my very favorite people! You have a beautiful family. So here's to your 10th anniversary! May God bless you with many more years together!

Today, Savannah went on her first 'trip' with the youth group at our new (?) church. They simply called it a "Dallas Day Trip". They've done mission trips & they're going to camp in Colorado soon, but she's not really ready for lengthy, distant trips w/ the group yet so we felt like this was a good 'starter' trip for her. They started out this morning by going to a place in Plano, TX to play whirleyball. It's kind of a combination of bumper cars & lacross & hockey or soccer all at once. Our youth pastor posted this picture on his Facebook page, so I'm stealing it to show you. (She's just to the left of the center of the pic in a pink shirt.)

When they left there, they went to a mall & hung out for a couple hours. I know that Savannah was thrilled with that (ha ha....she is sooo not into shopping). After the mall, they headed to a baseball game that began at 7:00pm. They'll leave the game about 10 & will make it home somewhere between 12:30 & 1:00am. She'll be EXHAUSTED tomorrow after not having much of any 'down time' today, but I hope she's having a BLAST.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

SUMMER Day 40, Wed July 8

We had a lot of fun tonight going to the RODEO! It was the first time I've ever been to one in my life and of course it was the kids' first. Such fun!

A long time ago, Larry told Samuel about Mutton Busting, and ever since Samuel has begged us to take him to a rodeo so he could do it! I'm not sure if he was more excited about the idea of chasing down a lamb or the money he might win. For a couple weeks now, we've talked about going to the rodeo & Samuel's asked us repeatedly "Will they have muttle busting....errr ...musson butting ....err muttle butting......?" We kept telling him we weren't sure. As it turns out, at the rodeo we attended tonight, they had a calf scramble where they release 2 calves with a ribbon tied around their tails. They have all the kids out in the arena try to chase down the calf & get one of the ribbons. Samuel tried really hard but he didn't get a ribbon. Oh well, his grin afterwards was SO worth it! :) (Make sure you click on the first 2 of these pictures so you can see where Samuel is---I labelled the pics, but I don't think you can see it unless you click on/enlarge them.)

We saw all the crazy events the guys & girls do and while it was exciting, I know that I know that I know I'd never be able to pull that off myself! I spent most of the night gasping & jumping & throwing my hand over my mouth when the cowboys were thrown off the bull or nearly trampling by a bucking bronco....or when they looked like they'd be snapped in half by the bareback horse that wanted them OFF its back! yikes!! No thanks, it's not the career for me!

Before we left, we had these cool Weenie Octupuses. (I keep questioning myself on the plural of octupus actually octupi? I can't remember.) You may remember my posting the recipe on here a month or so back. You take the dry noodles & thread them through the pieces of weenie and then boil the whole thing. It comes out looking really interesting. I sprinkled some garlic salt over mine. yum!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SUMMER Day 39, Tues July 7


After my concern over the new carseat law that Texas is putting into place Sept 1st, I posted the info to Facebook so that my other Texan friends would know about it. I mean, it hasn't been real widely publicized, so I was afraid someone might miss it. One of my sweet girlfriends on there saw my post & pointed me to the Texas Department of Public Safety's site where it gave some clarification about the new law.

Apparently the wording of the new law is stated in such a way that a lot of people are misunderstanding it, so they posted this to their site:

New Booster Seat Law Clarified
There has been some confusion about a new state law that requires all children younger than eight (8) years old, UNLESS taller than 4’9” to be in child passenger safety seat system. (“Child passenger safety seat system” includes traditional car seats with harnesses AND booster seats – both high-back and backless versions.)
The law also requires all safety seats and booster seats to be installed according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.

Because of the changes of the wording in the law (SB61), the following legal interpretation should be applied:
• Once a child reaches eight (8) years old, they are not legally required to be in a child safety seat system.
• If the child is younger than eight years old, BUT they are already 4’9” tall, they are not legally required to be in a child safety seat system.
• If a child is eight years old or older, and not yet 4’9” tall, they are not legally required to be in a child safety seat system.

Can I just shout & squeal for joy right now?
I was really stressing over the feelings & ego-slam my sweet boy would've experienced in relation to what I thought this law was saying. I hate to see my children's heart broken over anything....and I know that car seat laws are meant to help keep kids safe... but this one would've dealt a really deep blow to my already complex-ridden child. Thank goodness I misunderstood it!!

Tonight was Samuel & Sarah's first swim class for the summer. We were so excited to get there & see that they have the same teacher as they did last summer. We love Mr. Eric! He is such a sweet guy and works SO well with my kids!! They did great & had a fun time.

Tomorrow night I get to do something I've always wanted to do. I'm going to my very first rodeo!!! The kids are soooooo excited, too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

SUMMER DAY 38 Monday July 6

Before I post about today, can I have a moment to express some frustration? A few weeks ago, my mom told me she had seen an article in the paper about a new carseat law for Texas (where we live). She usually saves her newspaper's comics for Savannah, so she said she'd throw the article into the bag of those papers. I never got a chance to look at the article. She told me that it basically said kids 8 & under would have to be a booster seat. I was OK with that. That just meant that Sarah would have to be a booster from Jan 1st (2010) til her 9th birthday which is only about 6 weeks later. I figured we'd just borrow a booster from someone because it didn't make sense to buy a booster seat for her to use such a short time. We've been talking to Sarah about it these past couple of weeks and she's gotten to the point that she's OK with it, although she's not thrilled. She keeps asking us about her friends' birthdays & whether they would have to be in a booster seat, too.

WELL, tonight I went a-googling (yes, I just made up that word) to find the actual wording of the new law. It says that as of Sept. 1st, 2009 (about 8 or 9 weeks from now) the law goes into effect. However, rather than the 8 year old cut off, it also includes that children must be in a booster until they're 4'9". In other words, my 9 year old son who already has a complex about being "little"...the same child who's been OUT of a car seat since he was 5 years old (because that was previously the law) will suddenly have to go back into one as well. And his little sister will likely grow out of hers before he does. She's only a few inches away from hitting that 57" mark (4'9" = 57"). Samuel, however, is quite a bit further away. Unless he hits a massive growth spurt all the sudden (please, Lord!), he will take a huge blow to his ego when his LITTLE sister gets to come out of her booster seat before him.

Oh boy....I can't wait to share the news about this law with them in the morning.

On Friday morning when I go buy groceries, I'm going to take Samuel & Sarah with me to pick out their new seats. Looks like we'll be buying some since they'll have to use them for quite a while. My plan is to get this variety. It seems the least umm.... "invasive"....for two kids who've been out of any kind of carseat for several years now.

And to top it all off, my eldest child who will turn 13 in less than a month is only 56". Or she was the last time we measured her. I will NOT put her back into a booster seat. Sorry cops. I refuse to make my JUNIOR HIGH daughter climb in & out of a carseat when she goes to an out of town football game to play with the band. Good grief. I'll lie or pay the fine.

Ok, now..........moving on!

Today was great! Larry had the day off (for 4th of July) so we took a "vacation" day. Since he doesn't have vacation time yet, we're not having an official vacation this summer, so we figure on his 1 or 2 days off, we're going to make a special day of it. So today was our Vacation!!

Savannah had an orthodontist appointment at 10:00 this morning.

When we left, Larry realized that he hadn't ever eaten breakfast. It was only 10:30 and our next event (I'll get to that) didn't start til 11:50. While we would need to arrive by 11:30-ish, it just didn't seem right to go a full hour early, so we stopped at a little place with a breakfast buffet & watched him eat their last dried up biscuit & greasy strip of bacon (they were already taking the breakfast stuff out & putting in lunch stuff). We left there & headed to the next event. We took the kids to see Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It was really cute!!

When that was over, we came home to clean up a few things & take a break before leaving again. You see, the exterminator was coming to spray the house (inside & out) so we had to get out of the house for a couple hours while the poison settled. We had planned to go try out a new seafood restaurant in town but it's been closed for about 3 days now. I'm not sure what's up with that. Since they were closed, we went to an Asian place instead. It was a whole new experience for our kids because the only Chinese food they've ever had came from the grocery store deli. This place was sort of quiet & refined, so giggling & talking in their usual loud voices wasn't allowed.

The weirdest thing happened during dinner. Savannah nearly had an anxiety attack over the crab in her rangoon. She wasn't upset about the presence of the crab, but she panicked about whether or not she could be allergic to crab. We assured her that she's eaten shellfish before without any problems, but she was still too freaked out to eat her food. I don't know if she's recently heard of someone being allergic or if she saw it on TV or what, but she started crying & freaked out and wouldn't eat it because she was terrified that she'd be allergic & might have to go to the hospital. I have no idea where that came from....but once we got out of the restaurant, she was fine. Between these teen hormones & her anxiety troubles, she may do me in before it's all over. When we left there, we went to check on our friends' house (the ones who are moving that we've been taking care of things for) before we came home.

Oh....and I forgot that we made a trip to the library before supper! Indeed it's been a great "vacation" day!! Time for bed!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

If I were a.......

I got this from my friend Amber's blog. If you do it on your blog, leave me a comment so I can see your post!

If I were a flower, I would be a red rose.

If I were a song, I would be Nichole Nordeman's "Legacy".

If I were a movie, I would be The Notebook. While the circumstances aren't exactly the same, when I watch that movie, I totally see Larry & I. Our personalities are just like the main characters' and we have that same awesome love story. I know...we're kinda blissfully disgusting aren't we?

If I were a place, I would be a cabin in the mountains. Quiet, peaceful, tranquil. ahhhh....

If I were a book, I would be a Karen Kingsbury novel. (Trust me, it's too hard to narrow down my favorite!)

If I were a holiday, I would be Thanksgiving. No one has messed it up yet with commercialism and greed.

If I were a time of day, I would be nap time. (I totally agreed with you on this one, Amber, so I'm stealing this too!)

If I were a drink, I'd be an ice cold bottle of water.

If I were a food, I would be a veggie pizza. Yum!

If I were a gadget, I would be a massage chair!!

If I were an article of clothing, I would be a pair of jeans.

(Note: If my legs were EVER this long, I would be cheering & ain't gonna happen for my 5'3.5" self!)

If I were a pair of shoes, well...I wouldn't be. I'd be barefoot like always!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

SUMMER DAYS 35 & 36 July 3 & 4

On Friday morning, Samuel, Sarah & I made our trek to a town on Interstate a little north of here to pick up Savannah. It's our meeting place when she goes to visit her girlfriends. Seeing these girls & their mom was such a treat! Watching the girls all say goodbye, however, was hard. They love each other dearly & miss each other so much between visits. Knowing that it'll be Christmastime or possibly next summer before another visit, parting was hard. They shared hugs & last minute words before crawling into separate vehicles to head home. Despite the sadness, I was able to elicit a grin from Savannah before we drove away. (I took pictures of her girlfriends, too, but prefer to protect their family's privacy, so I'm not posting those.)

We made it home in time to make supper & enjoy our first meal together as a family in over a week. It was nice to have all three kids under 1 roof again. There's something to be said for the security of having everyone here, tucked into beds in the same bedroom to watch a movie together. Of course, there's also something to be said for the distance a visit with girlfriends provides for the eldest two who fight like cats & dogs when they're together. :::sigh::: Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder, ya know?

Last night, I made my weekly trip to the grocery store. I was talking about my obsessive-compulsive tendancies with a couple of friends this past week & had to take a picture of this for them. Yes, I write out my list like this every week. It bugs me to have to re-walk the same areas of the store over & over. This prevents that!

And that brings us to today---the 4th of July!!

You can read about our mid-day lunch with old friends in the previous post. The rest of this happened after that visit.

This past week, a friend of mine introduced me to the "Fire Cake". I don't know the real name of the cake, but that's the name she gave it....because the first time she made it, the pan overflowed & caught fire in her oven. :) I figured a "fire cake" was needed on Independance Day. After all, fire works, fire fits. So today, I made a Fire Cake! If you want a rich, extremely moist cake that doesn't require frosting, go for it. These are the ingredients.

Mix the cake mix like you normally would, then blend in the pudding mix & sour cream. Then fold in the chips. (The recipe called for mini-chips but I couldn't find the teeny ones....the regular ones worked just fine.) Bake at the temp the box suggests, but beware, it'll take a lot longer to get done than usual. I had to cook mine for right at an hour to get it cooked through. The toothpick or knife test won't work due to the chocolate chips throughout, but when the center stops looking watery/wobbly & you can touch it and it bounces back in the center, you know it's done. Everyone enjoyed a piece, or two, tonight!

After the kids all took a shower & got into their pajamas, we headed to our traditional fireworks display. We park across the street from the church where it's held & watch from our car. I tried to get some decent pictures of the fireworks, but they were all sorta blurry. This one of my pajama clad kiddos will have to do.

I hope you had a great 4th of July. God bless America!

Words are so very powerful!

Last night, Larry got an email from an old friend of his from his hometown. Floyd is a preacher. Years ago, Larry became friends with Floyd's family. While Larry was in seminary, Floyd let him come preach at his church a couple times. Floyd's daughter, Kristi, is Larry's age +/- a year or two (can't remember exactly). The two of them were friends in high school & have kept in touch via email over the years. When Andrew & Kourtney moved in with us a couple of years ago & I started this blog, Kristi got the link to the blog & started reading. Every now and then, she has posted a comment, but I didn't realize she ever read it religiously...or that she still reads it. (actually I'm kinda stunned that anyone reads my blog on a regular basis, so the ones who've been reading for 3 years are extra special!)

Last night's email was an invitation to get together with Floyd and his wife and Kristi & her kids today for lunch. We spotted them driving up at the restaurant today & got excited for the reunion ahead. When they approached us, Kristi's eyes lit up & she said something like "I feel like I'm meeting a celebrity!". She was grinning from ear to ear when she hugged me. Wow. She was talking about ME. I was surprised by her statement because I feel NOTHING like a celebrity. I'm just a goofy east Texas girl with a blog. Throughout the lunch (we stayed for 3 1/2 hours!), she repeatedly said things that touched me & blessed my socks off. Before we left, she told Larry he was lucky to have married me, stated that she was honored to have met me and then she looked at me & said "If I learn just a few things from you, I'll be a blessed woman." I thanked her, probably blushed til I was beet red and walked out shocked. I think you could've knocked me over with a feather.

You see, when I type posts on here, I am certainly not doing it to inspire someone or teach something. I do it because I love to write. I jokingly refer to this blog as my 'brain dump'. Whatever is left at the end of the day gets poured out here. I think in words. I read an article recently about a lady who was having a conversation with her little boy. Her son asked her about whether she thinks in pictures or numbers. She had to tell him "neither". She said that she thinks in words. That struck me because I, too, think in words. I talk to myself almost constantly all day long (that is, when I'm not talking to someone else). In fact, I only get online to keep from annoying my poor husband to death. If I get on here & talk to someone else, it gives his ears a break. ha ha! I walk through my days constantly thinking of new blog posts & stories that could come out of whatever crazy situation I'm in at the moment.

I have spent the afternoon wondering what Kristi sees in me, through this blog, that inspires her...what has touched her. Wow. High words of praise, I tell ya. I am unbelievably moved & humbled by her sweet comments. (Loads of cyber hugs & kisses coming your way, Kristi!!)

Over the past several months I've found myself "nudging" Larry to praise me for doing this or that, "hinting" for compliments when I've done my hair & make up some special way. I never realized it before, but apparently "words of adoration" is one of my love languages. (If you don't know yours, read the Five Love Languages book--it can truly transform your marriage & relationships in general.)

And so, because of the sweet glow I've felt all day, I wanted to take this time to point to some women who inspire me through their blogs. These women come from all different walks of life and live all around the globe. Some have been through unspeakable tragedy. Some I know in real life, but many I do not. Some share almost identical lifestyles with me, others don't. But one thing holds true about all of these women. Their WORDS, those powerful little tidbits that flow from their fingertips as they post on their blogs, move me. They push me to seek HIM more. They inspire me, they lift me up. They make me laugh. They move me to tears. They force me to my knees. I am so grateful for these beautiful women and for the technology of the internet that brings us all together.

Ladies, my hats are off to you!

First, there is Candice. She is the younger sister of Larry's best friend from his teen years. She sang Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be There" in our wedding. There is Ruth who taught an abstinence program when I was at youth camp and all these years later, she still points me to Jesus with her words. Then there's Terri who God dropped in my lap a few years ago in Samuel's 1st grade classroom. Her family moved into the district & her daughter was in Samuel's class. We've been friends ever since, even when she moved 1/2 way across the country. There is Angie S. who, well....I can't even explain how deeply her words have impacted me. Through a horrible loss in her life, she's pointed to God & has left a legacy with thousands of people who read her blog & see the Heavenly Father in her words every day. And our private emails do the same thing! She's awesome. Susie's life & ministry & heart shows in every one of her posts....and she's got some beautiful kids! I met Ivy online in 2003 when her son, Luke, was in his final months of living with a brain tumor. Marlo's beautiful spirit & dedication to the Lord has lived on past the pain of losing her precious daughter, Anna Jane, to cancer as well. Patrice's son has a rare skin disorder and she still points out all the things she is grateful for & blessed by on a regular basis. JMom, a mother of triplets, has such a great blog where she shares her 3 little ones' lives. She is a sweetheart. April & her husband are in the process of adopting their first little one, Harrison. I can't wait to see the pictures of him when he arrives in the U.S.!!! Julie & I have gone to church together off & on for the past 10 years. I love this girl!! Lisa reminds her readers whose hands her life is in with every post. In 2007 when we were planning our trip to California, a mystery reader emailed me & said that she lived near Disneyland & would be happy to mail us some maps so we could look at the park ahead of time & figure out which things we wanted to ride. I was thrilled & so were the kids. Darcy's blog chronicles her Disney-loving family's daily life & faith. Angie O. lost her husband to cancer in March. The strength & beauty & honesty of her posts are so powerful. I can't even remember how I found Amber's blog, but I'm glad I did. She challenges women to strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Rachel's daughter & Sarah are penpals. And last, but most definately not least is Alyssa. She & I met through an online Christian moms group over a decade ago. While we've never lived near each other, we've talked on the phone often & have kept up with each other's families for 10+ years now. She is amazing!

If you click on these ladies' names, you'll see their blogs....and you'll understand why I admire each one of them so much. You'll be blessed, too! I check on these blogs every single night to see if there is a new post, to absorb whatever the authors post about each day. I LOVE every one of these ladies' blogs and I think that if I were to ever get to meet the ladies behind these blogs (of course, other than the ones I already know in real life), I would absolutely feel like I was meeting a celebrity icon....someone who's had a great impact on me over the years. And because I can imagine how I'd tear up and hug their neck, how I'd want to sit & talk to them and hear their wisdom poured out over a cup of coffee (for them, I'd drink some water, thanks...), I am overwhelmingly honored and touched by Kristi's comments today.

And so, Kristi, THANK YOU. You have no idea how much your sweet words...those very POWERFUL words...meant to me. You made my day!! But it all boils down to HIM. I hope you see HIM in my posts long before you see ME.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SUMMER DAY 34, Thurs July 2

Ok, first & foremost, THANK YOU for the prayers. A couple of you emailed or commented to me on Facebook about having prayed. I really appreciate it!!! Today went soooooooooo much smoother than Tuesday. Don't stop praying....I still have to survive the rest of this summer!

Outside of work/school, it was a good day. Today marked Larry's last day in 'school' for his new job. When he began the job on April 6th, he started rotating back & forth between time in the office and time in school to train for different aspects of the job. He'd go to school for 2 weeks, then spend 2 weeks on the job...back & forth til now. Today was the last day of being a trainee. As of tomorrow morning when he goes back to his office, he's official. All done! WooHoo! To mark the occasion, the kids & I took him to LaHacienda for supper tonight. (hey...any excuse for me to eat vegetarian/spinach quesadillas and chips/hot sauce!!!)

I've been pondering something the last few days. For our LIFE group at church, we're working on a marriage study. We only meet for the study once a month, but in between, our leader is sending us assignments via email. She challenged us to write out a list of our husband's strengths & then share it with him to encourage him. I forgot about it for a few days (oops...sorry honey!). A few days ago, I finally pulled out a blank journal style book I have and started writing. As I hit page 2 or 3, I realized something. I wasn't listing Larry's strengths. I was listing things that I like about him...things he does for me or our kids. It struck me how selfish my list was -- not things that Larry is good at or strong in, not character qualities or traits that people admire about him....but things he can do for me. I guess in the long run, if we're talking about a marriage study, those things are important too, but that wasn't the assignment. So I'd like to challenge you to sit down & consider your spouse's strengths. Consider what people see in him/her that they admire, not just what you can get from them. And when you're done, show them your list! I promise it'll bless their socks off!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SUMMER DAY 33, Wed July 1

Oh my gosh. Where has the summer gone? I realize we still have 50-something days to go, but it seems like the kids JUST got out of school & it's already JULY. Sure, it's just July 1st, but wow. Before you know it, we'll be going to meet the teacher nights for my younger kids & registering my (by then) new teenager for 8th grade. I find that one hard to believe....I remember the things I learned & pulled in the 8th grade. Thankfully my own daughter is no where near most of that stuff (no interest in boys, no devious behavior...that I know of. Dear God, I hope mom has forgiven me by now!). Ugh. And we're on the verge of "that" too. And she'd probably DIE if she knew I wrote that here on my blog for the world to see. So umm, if you see her, shhhhhh...don't mention it, ok? Boy ... I swear the time goes by more quickly every year.

Ok, let's recap the last few days.

A week ago today, I took my eldest offspring (the one I embarassed in the paragraph above) to meet her best girlfriends in a nearby town. They moved away 6 years ago and somehow, the three of them (they're twins) have kept in touch & kept the friendship going strong enough to want to get together & visit a couple times a year. I love watching them all blossom & change & grow. It's been so neat to see these three little teeny girls (who met when they were in Kindergarten) grow into beautiful young ladies....and to watch their friendship grow & change over the years has been sweet, too.

Originally, the plan was for Savannah to stay there 1 week and come home today. Due to a change in plans, we decided on adding 2 more days to the visit. While I know she's loving every minute of the visit and their family adores her like one of their own.......I sure do miss her. Samuel, Sarah & I will make the drive Friday morning to go pick her up again. I'm getting anxious to have her home! After all, I'm having to do all the dishes & laundry with her gone. ha ha! And besides, if she stays much longer they may start charging her rent. ha ha!

In the days that have passed since Savannah's departure, we had the health scare with my father in law and then just regular day to day stuff.

On Tuesday, my school began the 2nd summer session. My class mostly stayed the same with just a couple of new little faces added to the mix. Can I ask you to take 2 seconds & stop reading right now & say a prayer for me and this class? (It's ok, I'll wait. Just look for these words in red to know where to start again.) I'll have most of these same kids for the rest of the summer. And for the first time in a long time, I'm dreading going to work tomorrow. Having 1 child who is a challenge is one thing. I kinda like a challenge. Having to work extra hard to get that 1 child into the school mode is fun. Holding them in your arms to talk to them, sitting them in your lap during circle time to assure that they're focused & listening, sitting next to them every day at lunchtime's a pretty sweet way to get their attention & help them learn the routine. And by the time they're promoting out of your class, you've fallen in love with the kid (or at least that always seems to be how it works for me). This session, however, I don't just have 1 challenging child. I've got well...quite a few. And some of them are HUGE challenges. Not just little speedbumps in the road but full blown mountains with volcanic activity under the surface and acid spewing from the cracks. Boy oh boy.... I need strength to get through the rest of the summer....and some strong hair follicles because I'm afraid I may pull all my hair out before August 20th. Thank goodness I only do this 2 days a week during the summer. {NOTE: I have some absolutely precious kids, too, but the challenging ones sure take the focus off the sweet ones.}

Ok...moving on.

I love watching my kids use their imaginations during the summer months. Don't get me wrong, they use them year-round, but it's especially fun during the summer. Sometimes the smallest things amuse them. Take Monday's marker/basketball bowling for example. Samuel came up with the idea & set up his "pins".

And then it was time to get ready for the first roll of the ball.

Can you see that blur of a ball flying past the camera? Oh took out a few pins.

Only four more left! (but I didn't get a pic of the final bowl)

And last night after work, my husband went to my parents' house to pick peas. They have a huge garden & grow tons of veggies every year. We always get blessed by the abundance of their produce and still have loads of peas in the freezer from the past couple summers. We really don't have a place to store any MORE peas. But my sweet honey wanted to go pick some more anyway. I tried to remind him that it's 100+ degrees and picking peas is hard work, but alas, I couldn't deter him. He went to pick for the simple joy of doing it. Hey, whatever floats your boat, baby. (by the way, I did find a place to put the 2 bags he brought home)

Today was an especially productive one. A friend of mine asked me if I'd found some kids' ADD medicine today. I had to laugh because I'm not usually able to stay focused long enough to finish this many tasks. So ha ha...even without my dose of Ritalin, I finished the following:

1. several loads of laundry
2. dishes (x 3 loads before the day was done)
3. made all of my July lesson plans & supply lists
4. typed up a letter to my class kids' parents
5. cooked/served 3 meals (2 easy ones and 1 more complex & involved)
6. made our menu & grocery list out for this coming week
7. watched several episodes of Phineas & Ferb w/ the kids (while folding laundry of course)
8. watched House Hunters & Twins by Surprise tonight
9. checked my email/facebook a few times throughout the day
10. packed up a bunch of books to ship tomorrow
11. cleaned off the bar (trust me, this is a pretty major feat)
12. cleaned my kitchen sink (yikes... have you seen what's on the backside of the faucet/handle thingy?.....gross!)
13. read a few chapters in my current Karen Kingsbury book (Halfway to Forever)
14. and others things I'm sure, but it's getting late............

Whew. It's just past midnight & I need to hit the sack. Time to rest up for my workday tomorrow. Thanks again for your prayers!