Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still Here!

Yes, we're still here! Just a busy weekend. We said goodbye to a precious lady in the church who is whole and in the arms of Jesus. We saw our church work together with an attitude of "let's help each other so we as a whole can truly minister" instead of each one trying to minister to the family on their own. What an awesome thing to be a part of! Then Doug and some other men of the church headed to a Traveler's game in North Little Rock while the ladies and kids stayed behind for a fellowship and Mary Kay party. I think all of the above had fun, although some of the ladies (myself included) have agreed that next time we're taking everyone to the ball game! :-)

I'm sure many of you in southern towns are seeing or will soon be seeing an influx of refugees from the Gustav evacuation. Our four hotels/motels are already booked and have been for a couple of days, so I know many people are having to head further north. Pray that our churches will be able to minister to these families and point them to true hope if they don't already have it!

Steven is still wearing his bear tie every Sunday! He's so proud of it! He has about half a dozen other ties, but he won't have anything to do with them. One Sunday I'm just going to have to put another one on him - try to slip it on without him realizing it. Yeah right! :-)

Livie and Angie are singing tonight in church for our fifth Sunday sing. They're so excited! I will take the camera, but I don't know if the video will upload or not. We'll see!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recent Tidbits

There are always cute little things the kids do that I think, "Oh, that was so funny! I need to put that on the blog!" But, I won't be able to do it right then, and then when I get the chance to blog I forget what in the world it was that was so cute in the first place! Here are just a couple of those things...

Steven is really grasping the concept of complete sentences. He seems to have come up with a great way to "practice" sentences. He loves his nickname (Pooka), and even though he knows and responds to his real name, he calls himself Pooka. So, we'll say, "Are you Steven?" And he'll respond, "I'm not Steven! I'm Pooka!" "Are you Mommy's boy?" "I'm not Mommy's boy! I'm Pooka!" "Are you Daddy's boy?" "I'm not Daddy's boy! I'm Pooka!" And on, and on, and on. And, of course, he's grinning from ear to ear the whole time, knowing for sure that he really is all of these things...and Pooka!

We were wondering why he really had started outgrowing his clothes...he has grown 5/8 of an inch in a month! Growth spurt!! Meanwhile, he has finally decided that dinner is good! For those of you who have seen him at dinnnertime or heard us talking about, you know that he got himself in the habit of rejecting his dinner no matter what it was. It has been a battle to get him to actually even taste his food (as soon as we felt the Lord saying he was old enough for it, we began insisting on that one bite before being excused!). But, now that he's started tasting it, he's actually decided it's good stuff and he's been eating full meals - the fact that he's shot up so much in height might be helping the hunger factor!

Angela and Olivia have an accent that I really want to get on video. I'm working on that, but I never seem to have the camera when they start it up. I think they learned it from their friend Rachel from Olive Branch, who they think VERY highly of! Olivia is cute with it, but as prissy as Angie is, it just fits her so perfectly! I just laugh and laugh!

Exciting Day


Just in case you're having trouble counting, yes there are SEVEN!!

As we were having school yesterday, I had the sense that it was going to be the "big day" - the day we would welcome our new kittens. Smokey had been dead set on being near us all morning (especially me), but she also seemed dead set on being in some kind of tucked away cozy place. She was anxious and restless all morning. After we had finished lunch and our read-aloud time, she seemed very pleased that I was headed to the back of the house (I was going to settle Olivia in for rest time and help Angie get a game for Mommy and Angie time). Smokey darted for our closet where we had a towel laid out for her, and she began calling to make sure I was coming with her! Angie and I set up our game on the floor right outside the closet so I could stay near her, and that seemed to calm her down. About fifteen minutes after I sent Angie off for naptime, the first one arrived. Once Smokey had cleaned him up a bit, I called the girls to come look. We watched her tend him and saw number two arrive. I stayed through number three while Olivia and I had our time together, and then we all tried to get back to our normal afternoon, checking on her occasionally. When we left for church there were four, and I had felt one more in there. We were quite surprised to come home and find not one but THREE more for a grand total of SEVEN! No wonder she was so huge! :-)

If any of you want a kitten or know anyone who does, please let us know. Above all, though, God has really been reminding us that we are to glorify Him in EVERYTHING we do (see 1 Cor 10:31), and I can't help but think that everything includes giving away kittens. (The word "everything" does tend to be all-inclusive!) So, please pray with us that He will arrange their new homes over the next couple of months and that we will be able to glorify Him even in the process of sending the kittens to those new homes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Tuesday

This morning we woke up wondering how in the world it could be only Tuesday! We crammed so much into yesterday, that it felt like it should have taken the whole week, and today felt like it should be Friday. It was very tempting to find a way to keep Doug at home today so we could have a family day, but we knew better than that. But, my wonderful creative husband came up with an idea to give us a bit of variety in our week. We packed up all the school books we'd need for the day, loaded up in the van with Doug when he left around 8:00, and spent our morning at the church!

We started on the playground in the cool of the morning where the kids found a fruit I need to investigate. It's about the size of a large cherry, but looks just like a plum. Anyway, I am curious to find out what it is! (If anyone has any ideas, let me know!)


Then we found a couple of rooms to use for the morning and had school there. It was a nice change, and the kids seemed to really enjoy it as well. And now we seem to be a bit rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Can Read!

Today was a proud day for Angela! For reading we spend a week learning a set of letters - two to four letters a week. We practice their sounds (which she already knows well) and then practice combining them with all of the short vowel sounds. To break up the monotony and show her that her hard and sometimes distasteful work does truly pay off, we then have a book that uses that set of letters scheduled for the following week. The intention was to work on the book all week before going back to learn the next set of letters.

Well, that plan backfired today when Angela picked up her first book and read it flawlessly on first reading! I must say I'm so proud of her, and I guess I better get ready to reconsider my lesson plans for the next 13 weeks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Biedenharn

Angela wanted her birthday pictures taken in The Biedenharn, a beautiful garden in Monroe where we went to do Olivia's birthday pictures. Yesterday was the day, and we had a great time roaming the gardens with Doug's parents and then joining them for lunch and a shopping trip to Sam's. Ah, groceries - such a dreadful necessity! :-) Anyway, you'll have to wait until Angela's birthday for her pictures (which are precious, if I do say so myself!), but we did get a few other precious snapshots. There are actually several more I need to post, but this is a sufficient start.







This is Steven

The other day Doug had the camera while the kids were playing, and he was just snapping pictures. He just happened to snap this picture, which really is the perfect depiction of Steven! The smile, the expression, the attitude - this IS our son!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Snapshots

Steven crawled up into Olivia's lap during school Thursday. I love little moments that let us get snapshots that often are some of the best pictures we could get!
The girls decided they wanted to try their hand at taking pictures, and this is the result.


Friday, August 22, 2008

I Like Helicopters!

As Doug was coming home for lunch on Wednesday, he called and let me know that we needed to get ready to hop in the van with him for a minute. Not knowing what we were going to do, we excitedly got ready to go somewhere with Daddy. The surprise was that we were going to see a helicopter. Steven absolutely loves helicopters, planes, trucks, cars, and trains, and Doug knew for sure that it would be an exciting trip to see a helicopter up close. While he was out and about that morning, he had seen this one parked in the parking lot of a local motel. It definitely was a fun little outing. And yes, Steven and the girls all three enjoyed seeing a helicopter up close and personal!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For Nanny & Papaw

The girls have been practicing "This is the Day" in Arabic...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crayon Disks

Don't you just love a brand new box of crayons? The 24-pack of Crayolas was 25 cents a box thanks to school shopping and high demand, so we picked up a brand new box for our brand new school year. Meanwhile, our tub of miscellaneous crayons will stay handy for Steven and for every day coloring. But, Olivia and I decided to use "Mommy and Livie time" yesterday to find something fun to do with all of those crayon fragments scattered through the tub. Here's what we did...

Waiting for the puddles of wax to cool and harden....The end result...fun crayon disks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Cool Saturday

It's another beautiful day in Monticello! A little humid, but the windows are open nonetheless, allowing the amazingly cool fresh air to flow through the house. Could this really be mid August in Arkansas? Our outdoor thermometer is indicating that it's 73 degrees out there! I love it! Thank you, Lord!

The kids decided to throw a party this morning. The girls were dressed up in their finest, and all three kids sat down at the keyboard to give a concert and entertain us all. Here are father and son enjoying the concert (once Steven decided to abandon the effort in favor of a "sip" of coffee and some Daddy snuggles).
Okay, here's the truth behind those "sips" of coffee - he barely licks the cup! He thinks putting his mouth to the cup means sharing Daddy's coffee, and it's such a treat to him! (Who knows, Nanny - you might actually have an offspring from your daughter who will drink coffee with you! :-) I'll stick to hot chocolate...)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tidbits

It was a blessing to see the sun yesterday! We were so very thankful for the rain and the break from the heat that it brought. It was a nice blessing yesterday to see the sun and still have the break from the heat! The kids enjoyed having breaktime outside yesterday, riding their bikes while I worked to tackle some of the chaos in the carport. It's just been too hot to try to work on it before now!

We are moving through a transition time with Steven in school. He and I are struggling with how to meet his needs, but not his demands, and keep him happily occupied - either with us or on his own - while I teach the girls. Please pray for wisdom and for Steven to get used to being back in school.

The kids are absolutely loving church! They are always so excited to go. It's kind of funny - one of the main things I was worried about in this move was Steven and church. He'd settled in so nicely at Carriage Hills, and I really fought against moving him again. But, he's really done fabulously here at Calvary! I'm so excited! He interacts with people more than he ever has in his life. He runs and plays instead of clinging to me. He doesn't fuss when I leave him. And he begs to go to church! God is so good, isn't He?

Life these days is pretty routine without very much to distinguish one day from the next. There don't seem to be a whole lot of things that just "stand out." It seems like that would get boring, but somehow we never have time to be bored! :-) We do miss Mother's Day Out and the people there, but we really seem to be thriving on the consistency. Occasionally we get cabin fever and need to work out with Doug a time for all of us to get out of the house. But, our life right now is further proof that when God is the Author of the details of our lives, we can be content in any situation. I love the way He does that! It's been quite the blessing to be able to sit down at the computer to blog and to think, "Wow, there's nothing big going on!" I like getting to share the tidbits of life. So, welcome to the new phase of Hibbard life, and the "tidbits" to come!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Littlest Big Helper

This afternoon Angie decided to take forever to go to sleep, so she was still down for her nap when it was time to gather trash throughout the house to prepare for pickup tomorrow morning. So, it was left up to Olivia, who happened to have a little two-year-old shadow at the time. They had been picking up some things in the school room so they could play out there, so Steven naturally tagged along behind Olivia when she had to leave the school room to do the trash. Sweet patient Olivia walked him through the whole process. He followed her around as she picked up trash cans from all over the house and showed him which ones he could carry. As she emptied them, she talked him through returning them to their proper locations. It was so precious to see teacher and student and to see them working so happily together. I just love those sweet moments!

Growing Up

You know, sometimes I do sniffle when I think about how quickly the kids are growing up. Time moves so quickly, and I only have them for just a moment in time. But, I can't say I'm sad about it most of the time. To me, it's really a precious thing, actually. I will admit that as they grow they become more useful here at home. Slave labor can be a great thing! :-)
But, really and truly it's not even about having someone else to clean the bathrooms or bedrooms or do the dusting. It's really about discovering our identity as a family. We are learning how we all fit together. It's not just a daddy who goes to work to bring in money, a mommy who does all of the at-home stuff, and kids who frolic and play. It's about discovering how we work together as a family to make life flow. It's about how we grow spiritually together and learn from each other. The older the kids grow, the more we see that unity develop. I'm so excited about the thought of how this will flesh out in ministry and how it will flesh out when my children are adults and beginning their own families. It's neat to see the progress of growing up. And the slave labor will always be a GREAT side benefit! :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

All About Steven

Our sweet Steven came into this family two years ago today. He has been such a blessing! Yes, there are a lot of pictures, but I just couldn't cut more out. They show different sides of who he is. So, here's a glimpse into Steven...
Side note about the tie...back at Christmas Steven wore this bear tie and loved it so much that he didn't want to take it off! We've been looking all spring and summer for button-down dress shirts for his age and couldn't find them! We finally found one for his birthday so he could wear his bear tie again - and the shirt even has a little teddy bear on the pocket!
Steven is a big snuggler. I frequently hear, "I snuggle Mommy!" So precious!


Steven's favorite things are cars, airplanes, balls, Legos, and of course, trains...



Steven is an introvert who is learning to like people. He's doing pretty well with it, too. We're so proud of him!
Steven is silly and loves to make us laugh. He comes up with the most unexpected things! Yesterday I was standing at the table making the kids' sandwiches for lunch. He crawled up into the chair behind me, pulled me down on top of him, and said he wanted Mommy in Pooka's lap!
Our sweet boy is extremely active and rarely sits still unless it's to discover something new and exceedingly fascinating. These still pictures really do not show his true nature unless you realize that each picture was snapped in a timely split-second fashion, just happening to catch him in a brief posing moment!


Steven loves to watch baseball, VeggieTales, Muppets, and a variety of other shows, including "Pooka shows" (home video of himself or other members of the family). He also likes to watch people, cars, airplanes, trains, animals, and anything else in life that sparks his interest.

Did I mention he loves balls?



Steven is a very thoughtful, sweet, and sensitive little boy. He loves to "help you, Mommy (or Daddy)." He also likes to take care of his family by making sure they have what is theirs. And he insists on giving night-night hugs and kisses to everyone in the house, including a sweet stroking of the kitty each night! Then he gets Mommy snuggles and songs in the rocking chair, always a special time of day for both of us!

Steven insists on having a clean room before naptime or bedtime. No matter how tired or sleepy he is, I always hear, "Clean-up, Mommy!" (meaning that we're to do it together - not as a command to me) followed by the clean-up song he learned at MDO. No messy rooms for this munchkin!
Steven greatly dislikes not getting his way, eating dinner (regardless of what it is!), being separated from Mommy, Daddy, or his beloved sissies, and...did I mention not getting his way?



Happy birthday, my darling little boy! Thank you, Lord, for two wonderful years with our precious son! May he grow to love and serve you all his days!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Camping In

Most of us remember how much fun it was to try to create tents in the bedroom, living room, wherever with blankets and sheets. The girls had been trying to do it in their bedroom with their small blankets, and I had just told them that I would get out some extra sheets and blankets to make a BIG one in their room. Then they received a very fun gift! A sweet friend from church has been cleaning out some of the things her son no longer needs, and we've been the recipients of several things - books, including a couple of sets that will be great for KG, and a kid-sized pop-up tent!
We set it up Thursday afternoon, and they decided to sleep in it. They've had such a great time! Thanks, Lindy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Van & Life

Okay - van update first. We got it back yesterday, and it runs quite nicely now! God really has worked out all of the details. We were able to get no-interest credit with the dealership that allowed us to pay for the van without waiting for the money to come in. But, we do know where the money is coming from. Doug has a 401K with UPS that doesn't have enough money in it to remain active. So, he has to cash it out. It was originally going to have to cover other things, but God has covered those things in other ways, so we can use it to take care of the van repairs! I was struggling for a while with the idea that I wanted God to do something huge and mighty to show His hand in all of this, but He's reminding me that more often than not He works through the simple and everyday things. That's why we miss Him so many times. He's reminded me that my job is not to say, "See what incredible things God does." Instead my job is to help people see how He works all around us constantly, helping them to recognize His hand more clearly is our everyday life. I love the way He so sweetly and gently steers us to open our minds when we have our tightly kept preconceived notions about how He's going to work!

Despite the stress of the van, this has been a good week for us. I sat down on Monday and created our daily schedule. Some of you will laugh at me, others will reiterate the idea that you think I'm so organized, and others of you will say, "But of course you did! Isn't that what everyone does?" :-) I think it's the only way I can actually stay caught up with life without being bogged down by it. The big picture overwhelms me - housekeeping is an impossible task; looking at a pile of books not specifically included in a step-by-step curriculum (or looking at a stack of KG books that I have no curriculum for!) makes me feel so inadequate as a teacher; looking at the number of things that still need to be done as we continue setting up the house makes my head spin. I have to break it down, to see it one step at a time. I can't look at the elephant, take a bite, and be encouraged that I'm going to be able to consume it all. I have to cut the elephant into manageable segments and focus on one segment at a time until I look up and realize the whole thing is gone!

So, that's what I did on Monday. I made a daily schedule and also made a to-do list of those extra things that don't fit on the daily schedule - finishing school planning for the year, hanging curtains, organizing my sewing area, making a giant stuffed Larry the Cucumber for Steven's upcoming birthday, etc. We started school and the extra list on Monday and then began sticking to the daily schedule on Tuesday. It's made a difference! As you can tell, I haven't done a whole log of detailed blogging this week because I've been trying to cram as much school year prep and Larry sewing into free spots as possible (gotta get those done - birthday party is Saturday and the planning has to be ready to put into action on Monday!). But, once I get those highly time-critical activities done, blogging will have a time slot again!

Okay, so maybe those are more my thoughts than details about the family, but they really are relevant. The kids have been so much happier this week! Steven's had his ups and downs while he's chewed on his fingers to work on that last tooth. But, overall it's been much more peaceful around her. School has been good this week. Angie finally decided she was willing to sing the silly song I made up, and with the help of that song she got the short "e" sound figured out! God has granted me wisdom to help make addition and subtraction problems less of a torture for Olivia (she's good at them, but they bore her so she doesn't focus on them!). I've been able to create a music and art appreciation program for the year based on two books we have, so I can use that until I can find sources for borrowing (or funding for buying) books from the incredible list my friend Joanna created for me. Steven is learning the short vowel sounds right along with Angela, and he showed this week that he can definitely count to ten! All in all, a good week.

Now I must get back to the day - laundry awaits!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

Many of you joined in the mourning and praying when Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter Maria was killed in a tragic accident in May. In mid-July SCC and his sons resumed touring, but the family also agreed to specially chosen interviews to share with the world the way the Lord has brought them as a family through this tragedy. Two are on tv - tomorrow morning (Wed, Aug 6) on Good Morning America there is scheduled to be the airing of an interview with the Chapman family, and Thursday night, Aug 7, the family will be on Larry King, Live. The third is an article in People magazine, scheduled to be out next week. The prayer is that God will be incredibly glorified and His message will reach people who are hurting and in need of a comfort that can only come from Him. Pray for the Chapmans, too - I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for them to talk about this! For more information, go to SCC's manager's blog - this is a great information source for keeping up with the Chapman family and their ministries.

E says...

Okay, so the video is a little dark because I didn't turn on the living room lights, but hearing is the main thing in this situation! :-) This just shows one of the reasons I love homeschooling - the younger ones learn from the older ones!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Van Update

Well, the dealership finally looked at the van late this afternoon and quoted us three days and $1500. We've had several offers of rides and vehicles. God brought a couple from church into the dealership with the church van right as Doug was talking to them about our van, and between them an arrangement was worked out for a borrowed vehicle for the next two days. Thank you so much!

I would be lying if I said I'm not sitting here a bit frustrated and wondering how God's going to work this all out, but He's reminding me that He's in control and nothing surprises Him! We are seeking as a family to reduce debt and not add to it. I know that as we are committed to Him in that area, He is going to show us ways to honor that commitment even when huge emergencies pop up with no other apparent option. I can't wait to share the praise of God's provision! I just love seeing God work, don't you?

Van Update

Doug took the van to Advance Auto Parts, and all sorts of codes showed up. The way they all showed up, it appeared that the codes revealed were NOT the real problem, so Doug decided to take it to one of the mechanics mentioned by some folks at church. It took him ten minutes to get the van started in the AAP parking lot, and then it died again as he rolled it into the parking lot of the mechanic. Doug then called the pastor who lives across the street from us (pastor of 2nd Baptist here in town) and asked him for a ride to the church.

As for the van itself, the mechanic just called and said he can't fix it. He can't even find the problem. He gave the name of another mechanic, but he also said that it might just have to be taken to the Dodge dealership. We are praying for wisdom and provision right now. At this point, Doug has to work out the details of getting back to the mechanic, and then he has to try to get the van to the next stop, which will be wherever he feels the Lord leading him to go. Then he needs to be able to get to and from the church. It's not a bad walk, but in this nasty heat even the short walk is not all that safe.

God is so good! I'm so thankful He has every step of this worked out already! Please continue to pray with us and we'll share the praises as they come!

School Started!

Well, we have the school room set up! Here are some shots of the process and completion.
I asked the girls to help me by carrying books from the living room to the school room. It was a rather slow process - the pictures will explain why! :-)

Shots of the whole school room. I think it's going to work so well! A project for somewhere down the road will be to repaint the concrete floor and maybe add a soft rug.

The book corner...this was created because we needed the back of one set of bookshelves for hanging the chalkboard. The added blessing was that it created a secluded corner for reading, playing, and independent work. Eventually we'd like to get them a small bean bag chair or two to plop down in there.

And here is our awesome closet! This first shot is looking from one door down to the end where Doug's tools are organized and all of the holiday stuff is stored.
This shot shows about a third of the closet, maybe a little less. Half of the closet is lined with these shelves, and I was able to totally organize everything! (The drawer set you see here is NOT the same one as in the first picture - that one is about two feet further down the shelf. That should give you a little idea of the length of this closet!)
This week we are getting back in the swing of things - finishing up the science that we didn't get done because I packed the book, finishing up a few other tidbits, and getting Angie used to the idea that she actually does have to do work of her own rather than just sit in on a few things and then play while Olivia works! Starting today I'll be back to putting what we're learning in one of the sidebar spots, so if you're interested, check it out! We're so excited to be back in school!