Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer has arrived!!!

Today was the kids' last day of school. I'm looking forward to all these things. What are you looking forward to this summer??

Our weekly Bible verse

Sunshine (but not the broiling 900 degree temps variety!)
Playing in the sprinkler
Playing on the slip & slide
Sleeping late & taking naps
parks & playgrounds
Family movie nights
icecream cones
a few nights in hotels
the local park's sprayground

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Check out this giveaway!

A sweet friend of mine is hosting a giveaway on her blog! Check it out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Bridge

A few weeks ago, Savannah came home with an assignment to build a bridge. Made of nothing but toothpicks & Elmer's glue. It had to fit some particular measurements & had to hold at least (I think?) 5 pounds of weight before breaking. The kids were told to get online & research various bridge structures and decide what design they would use & start building.

And so, for the past 2 1/2 weeks, Larry & Savannah have commandeered the coffee table with (seriously) over 1000 toothpicks & 2 bottles of glue and all sorts of printed & hand drawn 'blueprints' for The Bridge.

After lots of deliberating about the best design, they created this bridge.

Today, Savannah turned it in & they tested it to see how much it would hold. I was totally stunned when she got in the car this afternoon telling me that it had held EIGHTY EIGHT pounds before it broke! Hers was the 3rd strongest among her whole grade! The strongest one held 111 lbs! Wowza! Maybe I have a bridge engineer on my hands?!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'll never understand boy brains!

Today, Samuel decided to help with the laundry. Being a proud mama, I didn't stop him. When the washer stopped & I went to switch the clothes over into the dryer, this is what I found.

That should've been my first clue. With a family of 5, we never EVER use the small load setting. We ALWAYS use the large or super-size setting. This is what was inside the machine. When I moved it to the dryer, I counted how many items were there. Four. Yes, four. Only four.

Nevermind that this was sitting at the end of the dryer, waiting to be washed.

Friday, May 21, 2010

So long, friends

Another year has come & gone. I wanted to share a little about my friends at school.

This was my Monday/Wednesday/Friday class. One little guy was absent when we took this picture.

This was my Tuesday/Thursday class.

After opening boxes & bags, cards & candles, they all went home to embark upon a summer of adventures. I'm delighted to see them grow & mature & move on, but sad to see them go at the same time. I'm sure I'll see most of them again in the summer school program or when they return for the Fall, but they'll never be in my class again. I found this little poem/article/passage (not sure what to call it?) online & it sure fits the way I feel.

Dear Parents,

I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then.

Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.

We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must. Take care of him, for he is precious.

Remember that I will always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes. His joys and sorrows I will always be happy to share. God bless you & your family as you move on.


As I read this little letter above, I got tears in my eyes. I recognize that it's time for me to let go of all these little hands & watch them skip & dance away. And so, goodbye sweet friends. I love you all & will continue to keep your family in my prayers. Thank you for coming to play & learn with me this year.

Book Review: An Honest Love by Kathleen Fuller

Recently, I got this book from Book Sneeze, the Thomas Nelson publishers blogger book review program. (You can click the link in my sidebar for more info about Book Sneeze.) To be quite honest, I chose this book for one reason alone.

I've never read any Christian fiction novels set in an Amish community. I've seen quite a few on the market, but I've never chosen them because I've felt like I wouldn't enjoy them. This one was free (to me) so I figured if I didn't like it, I hadn't lost anything. Boy am I glad I chose it!

An Honest Love is a great book! I was touched by 2 sweet love stories that include honesty & virtue and integrity without anyone having to rip their clothes off to get their point across. Kathleen Fuller is a fabulous writer. I have no ideas if the story in this book is true as far as the Amish traditions & language & such, but if it's not Ms. Fuller did a great job of convincing me.

There are two stories running side by side throughout the book. A quick synopsis of the two:

1. Anna has been heartbroken by the man she was engaged to marry. After a failed wedding, she & her mother move to town to escape it all & start fresh. Her uncle's recent back injury gives them a good reason to move in with him & care for him while opening an Amish goods store in town. Anna feels like she can hide all her problems, including her physical ones, from the world in her new hometown, but when Lukas enters the store, and her life, her heart changes. In an effort to keep from having her heartbroken again, she puts off Lukas's attempts to court her for a long time, but eventually falls in love and they are married. Anna's physical problems include those of the feminine nature, which will render her infertile. Will Lukas still love her when he realizes she can't have children? Read the story to find out....

2. Elisabeth realizes she is not much of a woman that any man would want. She can't figure out what to do with children, she's not much of a cook, she's outspoken & loud and not exactly graceful. As she stumbles through early adulthood, feeling insecure & uncertain of herself, her brother Gabe offers her a job in his blacksmith shop as the bookkeeper. But Elisabeth finds herself more interested in one of the blacksmiths than the books. Aaron Detweiler has his own insecurities, though. Having strayed from the church and sewn his wild oats, so to speak, he got into drugs & landed himself in jail before realizing the wrong of his ways. He moves back home, gets back in church & starts working for Gabe at the blacksmith shop before Elisabeth shows up in his life. Initially quite annoyed by her, Aaron finds himself falling for her as she befriends him and shows him that she cares & can see past his past if he'll just open his heart & let her in.

While the storylines seem a bit like one of the quirky, romantic comedies that I love to watch in a movie so much, the truth is that they're very different. After all, when is the last time you saw a CLEAN, sweet love story in a movie? With a horse & buggy and prayer coverings involved?

I enjoyed this story so much that I've already found the book that came before this one in the series online & bought it. I can't wait for it to arrive!

Thank you, Book Sneeze, for offering this book! I loved it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In the middle of the storm

This morning I was reading Job chapter 38. I've been reading Job for what feels like months. It's been kind of wearing on me spiritually because I feel so dragged down by it. Job has been through some miserable circumstances & he spends chapters & chapters & chapters telling his friends how God has abandoned him or that He must hate him for putting him through all these trials. The friends all speak out of turn, in an attempt to comfort Job. They do a lousy job of it, but Job's mind is set on God either fixing all the problems he's facing or going ahead and killing him to "put him out of his misery".

And then, in the midst of all these chapters of doom & gloom, Job 38:1 hit me like a brick.

The NIV translation says " 1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:"
The NASB says " 1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,"
The Message says " 1 And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:"
Several other translations I looked up sounded similar. You get the idea.

The thing that got me was this. In the middle of our storms, do we assume God will do things like Job did --- either fix my problem or remove me from it. And yet, that's not how God works. Well, sometimes He does....but often our plans & ideas about how He can "fix it" do not look the least bit like what He does for us.

You see, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORM, God spoke to Job & answered His questions. God didn't remove Job from his doom & gloom, He spoke to him in the middle of it. I love the way the Message says it: "God answered Job FROM THE EYE OF A VIOLENT STORM". Wow. How many violent storms have you lived through? Did you hear God speaking? Did He have to scream to be heard over your cries or did He whisper in your heart?

I am reminded of one of my very favorite songs by the David Crowder Band called "How He Loves". The video is below. The lyrics always overwhelm me when I try to swallow them. I hope they bless you, too.

God, call out to me in my storm. Remind me to shut up so I can hear you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saying goodbye once again

I am anxious for the start of summer. We'll be taking a short vacation with my parents and then jumping head-first into days of sweet summer freedom. I can't wait! Snowcones & swimming pools, day camps & road trips, movie theme nights & VBS, games around the coffee table & mid-day naps 'just because'. Ahhh...the sweetest time of the year! (Ya know, if you stay inside & avoid the 100 degree temps & 95% humidity that Texas brings!)

But before I get giddy about summer, I'm walking the last few days of teaching my current batch of kids at school and as always, this time of year makes me a little sentimental. As the PreK kids have been practicing their graduation ceremonies at school, I've been hearing rounds of Pomp & Circumstance and all the Frog Street Press songs I can stand for weeks now. The Frog Street stuff I could do without (because I can only stand so many versions of Apple Annie & B-L-U-E spells Blue) but that dang Pomp & Circumstance gets me every time. I have to shut my door so that I don't hear the music & see them marching in every day. I get all misty-eyed and they're not even my class or my own children! But the special thing about THIS particular group of graduating PreK-ers is that they were my first group of kids when I started working at my school. Seeing them reach the point where it's time to wave goodbye & see them off to Kindergarten makes me a little sad. I'm thrilled that they've grown & matured & learned so much, but I get attached to my crew every year & seeing them off to a new stage of life is kind of sad.

My own group of kids this year consists of 14 sweet three year olds. Watching them grow & change this year has been a pleasure. Every year I feel like the year goes by a little quicker than the last, but this year has REALLY seemed to fly by! It seems like we just got started back in September & now, all the sudden, we're talking about last day of school parties. It's hard to believe that it's zipped by so quickly. If you follow me on Facebook, some of these pictures will be familiar. I had to share, though! Can you see why I love my job?

Grayson, Emily, Brayden, Tyler, Avery, Alexander, Catie, Starr, Addy, Audrey, Blythe, Max, Riley & Cullen....I'm gonna miss you guys!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's all about the putty.

In early April, I found some Silly Putty at the drugstore. I have always loved the stuff. Squishing it & smooshing it is kinda therapeutic to me. I bought the package & put the little red egg of delightfulness in the console of my van. Almost immediately I found myself squeezing & squishing the putty every time I got into the van to go anywhere. With the steering wheel in one hand & the putty in the other, I squished & smooshed my stress away. I found a cool way to smoosh it out flat, wrap it around 2 fingers, seal off the end at the tip of my fingers, then close up the other end, and you're left with a big air bubble of sorts that you can squeeze & make a loud POP sound. I's stupid, but I'm a little weird. I get addicted to the oddest things. All three of my kids know how to make the putty pop now. Tee hee...the legacy I'm leaving behind is so profound.

About 2 weeks into the month, I looked down one day & realized that my fingernails all had little white tips on them. This is something a nail biter does NOT see very often. Not on her own hands anyway. It struck me then that I must do most of my biting in the car while I drive because I'd spent 2 weeks squishing putty & my nails had grown. Wow. How about that? Of course once I realized there was some white there, I had to bite it off. You know, like a moron.

No sooner had I bit them off then I regretted it & wished I had executed a LITTLE self control & let them grow longer! The truth is, it's an addiction. I found myself really having to fight the urge to stick my thumbnail in my mouth one day when I lost my silly putty, so I stopped and bought a new package! Something just clicked in my head & I said "I'm done" (with biting my nails). I went back to smooshing my putty and lo & behold, here we are mid-May and my nails have never looked this nice. They're long enough to look nice without getting in my way (too much). Long enough to paint, long enough to need to clean them out now & then. Long enough to file a little. It's kind of weird. I'm actually beginning to get compliments on my nice-looking hands. I have never gotten compliments on my fingernails. Ever. 'Cause you know, I've never had them. I've always gnawed them off. But thanks to my little friend, Silly Putty, I have fingernails.

And it's a good thing I had the putty these last two weeks because I surely would've had a big ol' helping of fingernail sandwich by now if I hadn't.

You see, two weeks ago our computer died. We'd had some struggles with some virus-like issues off & on for about 2 months prior, but it finally caught up with us. We took it into the local Best Buy store & handed it over to the Geek Squad. They told us it would take 3-5 days to get the problem identified & fixed. We signed our invoice, choked a little when we saw the number at the bottom, and walked out of the building feeling a little sad. We crossed our fingers & hoped for the best. Unfortunately our crossed fingers didn't QUITE do the job. After a *VERY* frustrating two WEEKS in their care, it's fixed now and everything seems to be perfect, but I can tell ya one thing. We will never use them to fix our computer again. I won't get into the details, but they've lost a customer.

And ya know what? Although I've been able to check my emails on Larry's work laptop, it just doesn't quite seem the same if I can't blog or read other blogs or see what's going on with my friends & family on Facebook. I've felt a little disconnected from the world. But somehow I've kept busy. We went on the Cub Scout camping trip I mentioned in the last post. We came up with a pirate costume for Samuel's school play coming up this week. We had plumbing issues. We've been to a local church library. We've stayed so busy in fact, that yesterday I folded nearly THREE weeks worth of laundry that I had not previously had TIME to fold.

My stress level's been up. And somehow through it all, I still have my fingernails. No nubs! It's amazing. It's gotta be the putty.