September 30, 2007

Sadness can be a good thing

Robert left tonight to start working out of town again some. We're all really sad about it. Especially when he has to leave while we're awake. (It's not so bad when he leaves 5AM b/c he's leaving a sleeping house.) It's so hard to load him up and watch him leave!

We were talking about our frustration with it today and I remembered something I often tell Jacob when we're leaving visits with extended family. Being sad when we say good-bye just shows us how much we really love someone. I am glad that I hate to watch Robert go. I am so glad that we're both sad when he leaves! I am incredibly thankful that we'd rather be together...every day. What a blessing the Lord has given us in this richness in our relationship. I see how much better it's gotten year after year, and I can't even imagine how much better it will get as we enter the golden years! The Lord is so good to us!

September 29, 2007

Our Family Vacation

We are finally settled after being gone for a week. I think vacation is a lot of work! (Actually, I've also been readying our house to get it back on the market. I enjoyed our three week break- because of a burst pipe in our basement- entirely too much, and now it's time to get it back in shape again.)

We went to Destin...officially Santa Rosa, I suppose. We stayed at Topsail Hill State Park with our friends in their camper. We had a great time! It was a bit cramped in the camper, as we felt like our kids were constantly in the way, but our friends were incredibly gracious and seemed to be fine.

Our gracious hosts, Pam & Eddie

This beach was absolutely incredible! Topsail Hill has three miles of private beach, and since it's a preserve, there are no buildings. (I never realized how much the buildings detract from the setting.) So it was the dunes, sand, and water. Oh! It was absolutely beautiful! I felt like we were on our own private island. The beach was virtually empty all the time.

The one time we went down at the busiest there were a total of 12 people in sight, and 6 of them were our party! The water was clear (I could see my feet clearly at 2 feet deep) and sea grass free, the sand was beautifully clean and soft, and the sky was enormous. It couldn't have been more beautiful.

See what I mean?

Apparently the winds were blowing in the wrong direction, so we had biting dog flies to contend with. That was a major bummer that drove us off the beach several times. The kids and I just started staying covered up if we were out of the water and the flies were out. It was cool enough that this worked out okay. Actually, this time the kids enjoyed the sand more than the water...completely different than in St. Pete Beach a month ago! (Maybe the 15 degree temperature difference explains that!)

That girl loves her paci and blanket!

Jacob enjoying his sandbox.

This campground has tons of space for bike riding, and we spent many hours doing that, Jacob and Robert especially! Jacob would wear out several adults and be asking for more! We have fulfilled our entire first grade year of PE, that's for sure!

Jacob waiting by the curb for a grownup to ride with him...again. (He and Robert had just come in from a long ride.)

Robert had a couple of great fishing days about 100 yards out in the gulf. One day he saw a long gray shadow that seemed to be a shark, so he came in. The next day, this long gray shadow started coming directly in his direction. Not so good... Thankfully, at the same time a Coast Guard helicopter on patrol saw it as well (okay, kinda scary!) and started circling and finally hovering low enough to scare the shark off. Wasn't that nice of him? The third day (uh, yes, he went back out, much to my chagrin) he managed to avoid the shark.

Mattie enjoying the sand.

One of our other favorite things was searching for sand crabs after dark. We'd go down as the sun was setting and look for them for awhile. It was beautiful walking on the beach by the moonlight! (Would've even been romantic if the kids weren't there!) Robert was quite brave and caught several of them. I was the only weenie who kept shoes on to be sure I didn't step on one by accident, much less catch one on purpose! Anyway, the kids both loved chasing them! Mattie would squeal and squeal as she found one and ran it off.

I love it when little ones crouch down like this to look at something! She spotted a crab!

Jacob on his crab mission.

And Robert with one of his catches.

After looking we'd ride bikes back to our campsite (a mile or so) in the moonlight. This was a beautifully peaceful way to end our evenings, and a great review of the moon phases!

My handsome boy, getting waaaaay too big in so many ways!

On the way home we stopped overnight in Pensacola to visit Robert's grandparents. They really enjoyed the kids, and we got a night out to dinner without the children! (Their maid watched the kids so we could go out without them. Ahhhh!) They treated us to a local high-end restaurant where we sat at a table once enjoyed by (the first) President Bush and his wife. While we were there we stayed in Robert's mom's childhood bedroom and Mattie slept in her crib! That's kind of neat, I think.

All in all, we had a great trip. Robert enjoyed it more than any other trip we've taken, I believe. That's worth a lot since it's his vacation, after all!

September 13, 2007

You know you're at Taco Bell too much when...

The manager remembers a request you made over a year ago!

I pulled up at the drive through window today, and the manager says, "Didn't you request a Nutritional Brochure a while back?" So, in spite of my efforts to not eat out while I'm running errands so much recently, she still knows me! Oh well.

Oh, and they still don't have the brochures! That was what she wanted to tell me after all.

September 12, 2007

"Nice Matters" Award

I have been awarded this award by two different people now, so I suppose I'd better acknowledge it! Thank you Michelle and Michelle! (Yes, two Michelles.)

Here is a description of the award:
"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world.”

So, what a compliment! I do hope I can be an encouragement to others who read. And ten years ago, who would have thought that we'd even have a "blogging world!" When I first began reading blogs, I wouldn't have thought there'd be anything other than nice ones, but boy was I wrong! There are many blogs that are incredibly nasty, inappropriate and my biggest pet-peeve...cynical. Maybe I can be the opposite and lift someone up! (Though I must say, I think the line about "inspiring good feelings" is a bit cheesy.)

Because I've waited so long to do anything about this (maybe I'm not so nice!), almost everyone else around me in my blogging world has already received this award. One other blog that is excellent and quite meaty is Sally Clarkson's blog, Whole Heart Moms.

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I have been wanting a new storybook Bible for the kids for a couple of weeks now. We've read through our other story Bible four or five times now and I'm getting tired of the same one. Anyway, I found this one at the Christian bookstore and I LOVE it! It phrases things in wonderful ways and explains little things like I've never seen in another story Bible. If you click on the picture, you can go to the CBD site and read the Creation story. There is also an entry at the beginning explaining what the Bible is... "But the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It is about God and what He has done."..."There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them."

There are just little things it explains that are left out of our other that Satan was God's terrible enemy and where he came from. (Instead of just telling us a serpent appeared.) And each story makes a connection to the grand scheme of things and draws a connection to Christ and His ultimate rescue. It's just an excellent story Bible. Anyway, I am so excited about reading through this with the kids and wanted to share it with you!

September 10, 2007

Our week with Madeline

This was a very fun week for us! Madeline is such a cute story! Jacob and I both love any story that has a good rhythm and rhymes. He has picked up on this and is saying many things in rhyme since last week.

We used Madeline's appendix issue to kick off our My Body/All About Me study. Jacob and Kaitlyn both seem to be enjoying this so far!

Then we spent some time leaning about Paris, France. Jacob has enjoyed coloring pictures with and spotting the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in cartoons and other books we've looked at. And it was fun to look back at our photo album with pictures of the day Robert and I were in Paris 7 years ago. Major blast from the past at our life before children!

And for art this week we finished up our scant Monet study. We've been looking at Water Lilies lately and decided we should finish up and make our own water lilies craft this week while we were talking about Paris. Jacob is a bit confused, though. This summer we saw a baby alligator among the lily pads in my Aunt & Uncle's backyard drainage swamp area. So, Jacob says Monet should have included the alligator in his paintings! Oh well, we're just going for exposure.

Jacob's tissue paper "water lilies"

And tonight we're going to finish up by watching the movie, Madeline. I found it at a discount store in Florida a few weeks ago, so we're going to have a family movie night! (We were going to do this last night, but Jacob spent more time complaining about his dinner than eating it, so he lost that chance.

September 08, 2007

All about my great birthday today

Actually, my birthday celebrating started last night when a group of girlfriends/SILs took me out to dinner last night. We went for dinner, a quick drive through Starbucks, and ended up at the used bookstore until closing time! Thanks, girls!

Then I woke up this morning and decided to make chocolate chip pancakes for Jacob...and decided they are just as yummy as they were when I was eight! Mmmmmm, what a way to start the day! It can't ever go too badly if it's started with chocolate!

As I was making pancakes, Jacob brought me a gift bag. As he delivered it, he asked where our cake and ice cream was. "You can't have a party without cake and ice cream and with just a foursome!" (vocab word from last week) Anyway, in the bag were
this sweatshirt and this long sleeve tee! I love "Life is Good" stuff as I tend to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, so he hit a bullseye with these! :) And these were accompanied by a personally illustrated card from Mattie and Jacob!

I was quickly out the door to our church to help with the "Queen for a Day" Banquet. Fifty ladies were personally invited to attend, each of them coming from abusive situations. They were offered a nice lunch with an entertaining gospel presentation, facials, free coupons for haircuts, bags of clothes they got to choose themselves, and manicures. I was in the manicure department...way out of my comfort zone! (Long time for conversation with people with whom I have nothing in common...and I have to run lotion on their hands!) I thoroughly enjoyed it though. And it was a great way to spend my birthday focusing on those ladies instead of being home orchestrating "me" things all day!

When I got home we packed the kids up and dropped them off at Val's house for a few hours while Robert and I went out to dinner and a movie...the Bourne Ultimatum. It was great! And so was my full rack of ribs...and free caramel pie! We came home in the dark to our kids bathed and in bed, thanks to my good friend Pam who picked them up at Val's before bedtime.

And as I was running around like crazy packing the kids up this afternoon, I was stressing about our really dirty master bathroom. Pam was going to be bathing the kids tonight and it was so yucky! I was in such a hurry getting ready it took me almost 5 minutes to notice Robert cleaned it for me! Aaaaaah :) Wasn't that soooooooooo sweet of him?

It was a great day! My brother didn't even call and I'm not even the least bit bitter about it!

September 07, 2007

Jacob and reproductive organs

I made the mistake of telling Jacob the real word for his well, you know, two years ago. It is still haunting me! Now I know better...

Today we learned about our bladder and kidneys in our My Body study. A couple of hours after our bladder conversation here's how another conversation went...

Hey Mom! My bladder is right here and I can make it stop when I'm going to the bathroom. But how does the tinkle get from my bladder to go out my p****?
Well, there is a tube that connects your bladder to your p**** and the tinkle goes through that tube.
How does it work for girls? They don't have a p****.
Well, they have a tube from their bladder that goes out their privates too.
What are girls' privates called?
I'm not going to tell you!!
Oh, Mo-om. I can't wait until we get to learn about our privates! (As if I'm going to tell him then! Fat chance!) this is when it's bad that he can read! I'll be hiding the book from him on that day because it clearly labels the "t" word for boys! (Why is the word "ovary" so much less weird to say? and why don't I get to teach that one instead??) Thankfully it does not broach the subject of any external organs.

He obviously has no qualms regarding conversation of private matter how many times we talk about it! So, we won't be having the s*x talk anytime soon or he'll be sharing it with every one of his 5 (and 6 and 7 and 8 and 9...) year old cousins!

Updated Creation Unit Posts

In an effort to post about each week we did (for each day of creation), I updated the posts for the Creation Unit. And in order to get them in the right order, I altered the dates on them, so they won't show up as new posts. Here is the Creation Unit section. Days 3 & 4 are the things I hadn't previously posted about. So here they are just in case you're interested!
Day 3
Day 4

God created man & animals (Creation Day 6)

We are finally finishing our Creation unit! We got sidetracked for a couple of weeks and I just couldn't let it go without an official "man" week. So this week as we rowed Madeline, we began a study on the Human Body. We're using a book called My Body. We drew an outline of Jacob & Kaitlyn's (my niece) bodies on a roll of paper and hung them on the wall. Each day we're learning about one body part. We color a picture, cut it out and paste in on the wall. The kids seem to be enjoying it and learning about how God made us for all of our parts to do certain things and work together. Net week we're going to talk about the body of Christ and the strengths and weaknesses each of us has.

Here are their body outlines and what we've completed so far.

For our study on the animals God made, we just did a general review of the animals we've learned so far because we've done quite a bit of in depth animals stuff. We sorted lots of animals with the classification board and read some books on unique and rare animals. One thing we really focused on is the individual characteristics God gave each animal for survival and how He knew exactly what He was doing when He did it all!

September 02, 2007

Children's Museum of Oak Ridge

On Thursday we were on our way to a state park in Kentucky when our plans were foiled. We had two carloads of kids, so we went on to a museum we've been wanting to see for awhile. It's the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge, and it was great! It is a 5400 sq foot elementary school they converted into a large museum. It was incredibly hands on and preschooler friendly, which is always a plus! (Not many people encourage us to have fun and make noise!)

(I've started watching my 3 1/2 year old niece, Kaitlyn, now, so you'll see her in lots of the pictures.)

The life-sized dollhouse built like a Williamsburg Colonial. It was very cool!

Mattie thought she found her jammies in the toddler bed!

Jacob and Kaitlyn about to blast off!

Sliding down the castle slide

Mattie enjoying the waterworks. She proceeded to dump the boat-fulls of water on her head and ended up quite wet! No surprise there...

We were walking down the hall and Mattie noticed all the dollies in the display case. It's so fun to watch her have preferences and interests!

And whaddya know, a Thomas table!

And a big, gorgeous model train display! Mattie loved this as much as Jacob!

Our crowd in the castle.

And this week we read The Bee Tree for our Five in a Row book. We did a hunt (excellently written by Valerie) with clues to go along with it and the kids had a great time reading clues and finding their treasures!

Reading the clue to the the location of where to find the next clue.

The kids and their treasures

One other neat thing we did this week was make beeswax candles. I forgot to take a picture of those, but I'm tired of the computer for now, so you're out of luck! We also ate lots of honey and learned all about bees and beekeepers!

Some random pictures

We were sitting outside last Sunday night visiting with Robert's parents when it started to rain. The kids were having so much fun I decided to let them stay out and they ended up having a blast! (Yes, they're still in their church clothes!)

Happy kiddos!


And Jacob has outgrown his first bike. We had hoped to wait until Christmas, but his back wheel wobbles pretty good when he rides it and we've already replaced it once. So here he is on his new bike! The seat needs to go up, but we want him to get used to the taller bike first.


And remember when we were praying for birds?? Well, the Lord has brought birds! Some mornings it's almost freaky there are so many. Lately we have had ruby-throated hummingbirds that fight over the feeder. One female usually sits on top and flies at any others who try to come eat. Apparently they've reached a truce, because yesterday there were actually 5 hummingbirds on the feeder at one time!

Four hummingbirds hovering

This looks like Chicago O'Hare! (Notice the two on the feeder next to each other, so we have 5 in all!)

September 01, 2007

Jacob's words

Jacob had a few cute phrases today in the midst of his incessant talking...

While eating peanut butter balls for dinner:
"Mom, thank you for making my peanut butter balls. I really appreciate it when you do that!"

Coming out of the bathroom while Robert was lifting weights:
"Daddy, I just love the sound of your weights clanging together as they go up and down."

While waiting with Robert for me in WalMart today:
"Hmmm...I'm just enjoying the peace and quiet."

After playing with Mattie:
"I'm just exhausted!"

Where does he come up with these things??