Monday, January 31, 2011

Desperate Cat

Apparently my kids just aren’t exciting enough right now, because the cat-venture continues and I can’t help but share. 

When we walk and our mama cat Smokey is already outside, she tends to follow us around town like a puppy dog. She frequently follows us to church and waits outside for us so she can then walk us home.

Yesterday was no exception. We headed to church and she went right along with us. I was suspicious, though, that there might be something a little odd in her behavior when she tried to follow us inside! Then, when we wouldn’t let her in, she went around the building, found the windows of Doug’s office (where we were for the moment), and started fussing at us. We just ignored her, figuring she’d give up and go home.

She didn’t.

We had Sunday school and went on to church. Doug had just gotten good and settled in his sermon delivery when we heard it – pitiful and loud meowing outside the sanctuary. I knew that meow immediately. I looked down at my Bible to avoid making eye contact with Doug because I knew if I did, that would be the end of the sermon. Then Olivia leaned over and said, “Mommy, I think that’s Smokey!” I nodded and tried to maintain my composure. But I could tell Doug was losing his. Finally he stopped, looked at me, and asked, “Is that our cat?” All I could do was nod.

As rapidly as I could, I was going through my options. What could I do? How could I calmly and quietly settle the kids so I could slip out and leave them? Then, what could I do? I couldn’t just run her off – she’d come right back. I could put her in the car (Doug had left it at church a couple of days before and we just hadn’t gotten it back home yet) if I could remember where I left my keys. Or I could take her on home, but would that be leaving the kids unattended for too long?

While I was wildly rushing through my options, one of the deacons got up and slipped out to see what he could do. I am the only one who has ever caught that cat when she’s been outside, so I had no idea what he could do. But, the meowing stopped and church proceeded.

I found out after the service that he must have a “magic” touch with her because she came when he called and he managed to catch her and shut her up in a storage room. I went to let her out while we got ready to head home, and she then proceeded to stay right outside the fellowship hall door wailing while she waited! When we left, I had to go to that side of the church and call for her so that she would know we were leaving. She followed us home, then spent the next couple of hours glaring at me. And no, we did not let her follow us to church last night.

Never mind the kids giving me gray hairs – I think the cats doubled the count this weekend alone, leaving me to question once again why in the world we have these monsters at all!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Want a Cat? Or Two?

I am mad at the cats. And not just a little either. They have been banished outside and I’m not sure when they’ll be let back in. Fortunately for them, it’s 74 out today, but it wouldn’t have mattered it it was -7. They still would’ve been kicked out.

What have they done that was so horrible? Well, just before I got sick, I had my regular laundry day. But, we didn’t manage to get the laundry folded. So, it’s all been in baskets on the floor in my room. For some crazy reason through the course of the week at least one of the cats (the only one free from suspicion is Jack) decided that one of the baskets of clean laundry was preferable to use as a litter box than the two completely fresh real litter boxes in the laundry room!! We discovered the crime when we started to fold the laundry today. (Yes, they had managed to cover the smell by digging deep into the pile and then burying it with other clothes. Grrr.)

So far I have rewashed the load of laundry three times. After the first time, it still stunk, so I washed it again. After the second time, I assumed the stink was just all in my head. So, I decided to go ahead and dry it. That’s when I found the lumps. YUK!!! So, I shook out every piece of clothing and washed it all again.

No, I’m not happy with them right now. In fact, it’s going to take a lot of convincing before I let them back in the house at all. I’m sure they’ll break me at some point, but it’ll be a little while!

On a brighter note, the gorgeous weather is wonderful! I don’t particularly like the ups and downs in temperatures – I’d rather it stay one way or the other. But, since we have a 74 degree day before the temperatures plummet again next week, we’re enjoying it. The windows are open and the kids are outside. Perfect!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Exceedingly Random

I currently have a nice, quiet house. Everyone is resting. Okay, so I’m blogging, but that’s still restful! We intended to have a “real” day of school, but Angie was sleep-deprived from being sick in the night (she claimed to feel fine – just tired – this morning) and Olivia can’t seem to get rid of a persistent headache. So, we went over our Scripture memory, talked about our reader, handed out limited independent work, and called it a day. On the plus side, Steven (the completely healthy one!) and I got to do a little extra stuff together this morning. He liked that.

Anyway, so with all of the pitifulness this morning, it was decided that there would be naps all around this afternoon.  I don’t think anyone has actually napped, but at least they’re resting. As for me, well, I think my stomach bug symptoms are finally gone, but I’ve got the energy of a sloth. Okay, maybe a panda. I have actually accomplished some things this morning, so that elevates me above the sloth, right? I just found things I could do that didn’t require being up. Teaching. Planning some needed curriculum purchases for Steven. Listening to the lyrics of an album I need to review soon. Reading the next book review book.

So, that’s where we are!

I did want to comment about the Etsy shop. There is not going to be a lot of pushing the shop on my blogs because that doesn’t fit with their purpose. But, I wanted to give this one plug, and then I will probably set up a static page on each blog with current shop information.

The address is http://www.etsy.com/shop/notquiteordinary. Right now I mainly have scarves showing. The tie selection was supposed to be listed this week, but then the stomach bug hit. So, it’s coming. As soon as I get caught up. Even if boys’ ties and fleece scarves aren’t up your alley, will you help me get the word out to others who might be interested? Thanks!

Oh, and mainly so I will remember this sweetness, I have to share one more thing.

One day last week I was sitting on my bed reading a couple of chapters from a review book between chores. Steven climbed up on the bed beside me saying, “I just can’t go on!” Wondering what he was talking about, I turned to look at him. He crawled over to me and wrapped his sweet arms around me repeating, “I just can’t go on without one!” He needed a Mommy hug. Once he got his hug, he jumped right back off the bed and resumed his playing. Yes, it made Mommy’s day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Outside my window...lots of rain and gloom.  Nice day for sweet snuggles.

I am thinking...about my new “daybook” title.  Okay?  Too long?  My new Etsy shop is called “Not Quite Ordinary,” and I liked that phrase for this weekly post, too.  Now I just need to come up with a suitable picture idea.

I am thankful for...Doug being able to go to the Evangelism Conference this week and kids who are very capable of taking care of themselves and a sick mommy (fortunately only a mild stomach bug).

I am wearing...black knit pants and a red knit top, green fuzzy house shoes.

I am creating...well…I was going to make ties for the shop yesterday and today, but I got sick instead.  So, that is still to come.

I am remembering...being sick when the kids were much younger children and needed to be cared for.  Today is much easier than those days were.

I am going...to do a whole bunch of nothing for the rest of the day.

I am reading...a couple of book review books.

I am hoping...to be back in the swing of things by tomorrow.

I am hearing...the pattering of rain – we’ve gotten a lot this morning, by the looks of the backyard; Olivia humming; Angela turning the pages of her book; Steven pulling around his wagon, which still hasn’t made it outside – once the weather improves, it will!

On my mind...a friend having a rough day; our house in MS; Steven’s education between now and when he should start first grade in a year and a half.

From the learning rooms...a sick day; for the week: rounding numbers to the nearest 10, 100, and 1000; early days of the Civil War; Abraham Lincoln; something electricity related – real specific, huh?

Noticing that...my children have such beautiful hearts.  I was handed multiple sets of stuffies this morning to help me feel better, and Olivia worked hard to come up with all sorts of “treats” for me.

From the kitchen...mild foods.

Around the house...things falling behind a bit.  We’ll get caught up, though.  Later.

One of my favorite things...hubby coming home.

A few plans for the rest of the week...nothing major, which is probably a good thing!

A picture worth sharing...I don’t think I ever shared the girls’ snow creations.  Here are Angela’s snow castle and the girls’ skinny snow man.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Can Read!

Steven is obviously suffering from third child syndrome.  His big sisters know and are able to do so much more than he is, and that's tough!  He was being so diligent to learn his letter sounds over the fall months, and he kept begging to learn how to read.  So, I had told him that after Thanksgiving he could start learning how to put letters together to make sounds.  He was delighted!  Naturally, there were a lot of interruptions in the school schedule between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so progress was slow.  But, I really didn't want to push him too much.  After all, he's not even 4 1/2 quite yet.  Since Christmas we've continued to work at his pace.  On the days when his brain just doesn't work that way, we calmly put it aside.  Although, the first time that happened he cried because he wanted to be able to read so badly!  But, we did something else fun, and he was okay.

Yesterday I pulled out the first little Step Into Reading Phonics First Steps reader that both of the girls started with after learning their sounds and learning the basics of consonant/vowel blends. Those books just seemed to make reading "click" for the girls after learning the initial basics.  So, I read it to Steven and showed him some of the words yesterday.  Today we pulled it out and I expected that I would be mostly reading it to him again.  I was wrong.  He read it to me!!  He's definitely relying heavily on some memorization and the pictures, but he's definitely really reading as well.  And he's proud of it!  He can't wait to try book 2!

He let me video him reading his book...

video

At lunch he read it to Daddy.

A whole new world is about to open up for our big boy!  So proud of him!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011

Outside my window...increased visibility now that the fog has lifted a bit, but still very gray.

I am thinking...about all of the projects I have my hands in right now and the most efficient and timely way to tackle it all.

I am thankful for...the ladies at church who let me tag along with them for their monthly luncheons, my hubby who is very comfortable being daddy to the kids even when I am gone, and a church that allows my hubby to work from home when needed.

I am wearing...jeans, navy tank top, heavy cream-colored ribbed cardigan, low black boots that haven’t come off yet since returning home from lunch.

I am creating...ideas for various blogs I'm involved with, a few other writing projects, and an Etsy profile (yes, it’s finally up – just have to get items listed!), and a new plan for this weekly post.

I am remembering...this past summer and its immense heat.  Makes me even more thankful for winter!

I am going...to get as much of my to-do list done as possible.  It’s not looking promising!

I am reading...Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner (book review), Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling and The Perilous Road by William O. Steele (both for school), and still working through Sense and Sensibility when I have the time.

I am hoping...to start seeing more productivity in my afternoons.

I am hearing...the girls talk softly as they work; what sounds like crows cawing outside.

On my mind...friends in ministry.

From the learning rooms...catching up from last week’s sick days.

Noticing that...I really don’t like to make phone calls.

From the kitchen...Doug and the kids had chicken pot pie for lunch.  It’s time to menu plan again…not sure when I’ll get to that, though!

Around the house...things mostly caught up.  That’s nice.  Very nice.

One of my favorite things...organizing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...a meeting tonight, then a mostly “normal” week leading up to Doug being gone for Evangelism Conference next Monday and Tuesday.

A picture worth sharing...hmmm…seems I haven’t taken any pictures since the snow.  Guess I better get back on that!

 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Museum Fun

The Tuesday morning after Christmas we got up and had a relaxed morning and then headed our for some museum entertainment.  Well, I say it was relaxing.  The kids were chomping at the bits from the moment they heard the word museum, but it didn’t open until 10:00.   But, it was worth the wait.

The museums are all connected to the Biedenharn Gardens where we took the girls’ birthday pictures a couple of years in a row, but we’ve never actually toured any of the facilities before now.  

Our first stop was the Coke museum.  (It’s the only thing I actually got pictures of.)   Joe Biedenharn was the first one to bottle Coca-Cola, allowing consumption to spread outside of soda shops.  In the Coke museum we were walked through the history of bottling – quite a fascinating journey!

Coke Museum 1

The soda shop was the primary attraction, but there were also a few other pieces of Coke memorabilia…

Coke Museum 2Coke Museum 3

…including an old Coke delivery truck.

Coke Museum 4

Next stop was the Bible museum.  Joe Biedenharn’s daughter collected Bibles and biblical art.  The museum combined her collection with the art and memorabilia of other collectors.  The museum actually had a fire several years back that closed the museum for quite some time until the property and collection could be restored and returned to display. 

Finally, we toured the Biedenharn house itself, each room decorated with a different Christmas emphasis.  It was beautiful!

After a fun tour and an enjoyable lunch with Grandma and PopPop, we headed home via Monticello and the dentist.  Angela had cracked a filling and tooth on Sunday and was in need of some dental work.  They were so gracious to work us in with their orthodontic patients, and after about two and a half hours at the dentist we pulled out of Monticello with a brand new shiny cap on her tooth.  The timing was a blessing, considering we were making the trip anyway and didn’t have to worry about trying to figure out where to take her here (and get her records transferred in the process), and also considering God had already provided every penny needed in the form of Christmas gifts.  He’s good!

Our return home Tuesday night officially ended our Christmas celebration.  All fun, but nice to get back to routine!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Doug!

No, I don't have birthday pictures or anything like that for this birthday.  Just homemade oriental for lunch and his traditional frozen peanut butter pie.  Then I'm running off and leaving him with the kids while I join a fun group of AR Baptist pastor's wives for a ministry planning retreat today and tomorrow!  But, I did want to find some small way to honor him, even as we celebrate in the middle of the rush of daily life, so I wrote a little birthday wish on my thoughts blog.  You can click here to read it. 

Happy birthday, handsome!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Monroe

I’m almost caught up with Christmas posts!  The Monday after Christmas we packed up and headed to Monroe for the extended Hibbard family Christmas.  Steph & Morgan had arrived Sunday and stayed through Christmas dinner Monday, and we arrived a little before dinner Monday to stay through Tuesday.  It made for a nice overlap without cramming too many people into too small of a space. 

Monroe 5Grandma let the girls have a special treat for the day – she pull out her real fur stole and let them wear it for a while! 

Meanwhile, Angie and Morgan decided to display their fashions by trying on Grandma’s different hats. 

Monroe 8

Later Angela holed herself up in Grandma and PopPop’s room with ALL of the Red Hat hats, arranging them all neatly around her and trying them on in an orderly fashion.  Yes, she was in priss-pot paradise!

Monroe 6

Steven participated in the silly dress-up theme on Tuesday – his has of choice was a lampshade. 

Monroe 1

I ended up without very many pictures this time around, but it is safe to say they had a lot of fun on Monday.  This was proven by the fact that we didn’t hear a peep from them after they had book time Monday night!  They were worn out! 

Monroe 3Monroe 4

Coming up next, the final installment of the Christmas posts – our Tuesday outing and trip home.  Then next week we’ll hopefully be back to slightly more real time blogging!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simple Woman

For Today...Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Outside my window...a carpet of white slowly fading away under the cold winter sun and wind.  Wondering if we’ll get above freezing today – doesn’t look like it!

I am thinking...about following a blogger friend’s lead and changing up this Daybook.  The host is no longer participating, and I’m wondering if there are a title, image, and maybe even sentence starters a little more personal to me.  I’m thankful to have been motivated by Peggy to start this, and now I’m excited to see how it might evolve from here.

I am thankful for...a well-insulated house with a well-functioning heater and a wonderful fireplace.  All blessings while living in a part of the country where houses are built to protect from extreme heat, not persistent cold.  Oh, and I’m thankful that the jury trial Doug was supposed to show up for this week was cancelled!

I am wearing...jeans, a black suede-like shirt, hair pulled partially back, bare feet (yeah – realizing that’s a mistake! Where did I leave my warm house shoes?)

I am creating...my Etsy site.  Much more slowly than I’d hoped, but it’s coming.

I am remembering...last year’s snow and traveling in it to go visit my parents.

I am going...to enjoy the fact that this snow has slowed down our week tremendously.

I am reading...Sabbath by Dan B. Allender and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I am hearing...the kids playing very happily together.  I like that.

From the learning rooms...an unplanned day off to catch up on some housework.  All Sail Set; parallel circuits, conductors, and insulators; War with Mexico; Gold Rush; the history of chocolate!

Noticing that...the fire has gone out and it’s feeling chilly in here.  And that lunch is supposed to be ready in about 20 minutes and I haven’t started anything yet.  Oops!

From the kitchen...obviously the need to work on some lunch!

Around the house...catching up on those things that got neglected in the busy days before Christmas and glossed over as we worked to get back into a routine.  It’s encouraging, though, to see how quickly we’ve been able to catch up on them – we weren’t as behind as I thought!

One of my favorite things...winter.

A few plans for the rest of the week...a birthday party tonight; visit on Thursday with a friend and co-teacher to determine where we’re going with a missions class at church; Doug’s birthday on Friday; women’s ministry planning retreat Friday & Saturday; Doug and the kids going to celebrate niece Abigail’s 1st birthday on Saturday.

Two pictures worth sharing…I ran across these pictures recently – Steven making a mess in Doug’s office at church one Sunday afternoon.  He had so much fun, both making the mess and then playing on the shelf once most of the books were on the floor!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

You are about to be witness to a rare occurrence – a blog post about something on the day it happened!  Don’t worry.  It will continue to be a rare occurrence, I’m sure!

Yesterday Olivia and Steven were under the weather, so I kept all three kids home from church.  We vigilantly watched for the beginning Snow scenes 5of the winter storm that was coming through, expecting to start with our typical sleet.  Instead, we skipped the sleet and went straight to snow – the fluffy, light, “real” snow!  It started around 1:30, and within 15 minutes the roofs were white and a light dusting was starting to accumulate.  Within a couple of hours, the ground was covered.

Snow scenes 4By the time we went to bed, we had a nice blanket of snow over three inches deep and it was still coming down, although it was obviously slacking off and was set to stop before too much longer. 

Snow scenes 1When we woke up this morning, we realized that little more had fallen – just enough to level everything off and cover up the last of the leaves that had been poking through the snow.

Snow scenes 2

 

 

 

 

Snow 9

I took the ruler out just out of curiosity.  It was pretty consistently four inches deep throughout the yard, a few places measuring three inches.  All fluffy snow.  All the way down.  Nice!   The roads and concrete were slick under the snow, but we didn’t have the layer of ice like we normally do.  Just enough of it melted today, though, to freeze back over tonight and create a mess!

But, who cares about road mess when we don’t have to go anywhere and there’s gorgeous, fluffy snow to play in!  So, we bundled up and headed out!

Snow 6Snow 8

Steven enjoyed throwing snowballs and eating snow.

Snow 7Snow 5

The girls built itty bitty snowmen.  Doug took a work break toward the end of our time outside to come help build a snow tower!  We’ll probably go back out this afternoon and round out the tower to make a bigger snowman. 

Snow 4Snow 3

But, we just didn’t want to have a relapse of yesterday’s cold symptoms by staying out too long (and the girls’ pants didn’t stay dry nearly as well as Steven’s awesome snow suit!).  So, we kicked off our boots…

Snow 2

…and headed inside to dry everything out, drink some hot chocolate, and snuggle on the couch for some read aloud time.

Snow 1

Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Awesome Field Trip…

…and I forgot my camera! 

Oh well.  These things they happen. 

We are used to taking family days at least once a month, if not twice.  They are usually as low cost as we can make them and frequently include running an errand or two if we’re in an area where errands need to be run (aka Little Rock).  But, the main focus is on doing something as a family purely for the fun of it.

Well, as Christmas was rolling around we began to realize that we hadn’t had a “real” family day since our trip to the Air Show in early October.  And the most recent family day before that was a rather spontaneous – but greatly needed – day in Arkadelphia in early August.  I don’t think we realized just how much these days are true needs for us until we started to neglect to take them.  Oh, we’d been together as a family.  And we’d been out and about as a family.  But, it was always to fulfill obligations.  To run errands.  To be with extended family.  Little “extras” might be tagged on to those days just for the fun of it, but we were lacking in intentional fun mini-retreats for our family.  Top that off with the fact that we didn’t take our planned vacation this year (which, just for the record, I’m learning more and more is truly an essential), and it all boils down to the fact that we were just downright lacking in family retreat time.

So, the week before Christmas Doug and I started making plans.  The determination was that Jan 7 would be the date and a museum would be the destination.

After much contemplation, we decided to return to the Historic AR Museum.  We’d been there a couple of times before – including to see a model train display the night before the Air Show.  But, every time we’d been we’d not had the opportunity to go on the tour to see the outdoor displays.  Three houses and some outbuildings displaying residential life on that block in Little Rock in the early to mid 1800’s.  (Plus, the trains were still there, minus the one running set, so we couldn’t resist peeking in to see them again.)

The kids were thrilled to walk through the three houses, peek into the windows of other buildings, and catch a glimpse into what life was life for a German immigrant couple who built their home around their business and two well-to-do men who ended up journeying to California to open stores during the Gold Rush.  In one of the homes, a woman playing the part of a house slave greeted us.  She told of her life on a Louisiana plantation, and then told how upon the death of her master there she, her husband, and their two young children had been sold to different owners and separated.  It was a very powerful enactment, and I found myself completely caught up in her story as if we were truly listening to a heart-broken slave pour her life out to us. 

Yes, we still ran a few errands to avoid making a second trip to Little Rock in days to come.  But, the focus was the family day.  And it was good.  Very good.  We will definitely be getting back into the habit of this!  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book report questions

I know this blog is typically where you get to read all sorts of neat stories about our family and the things we do.  Those are usually well-written, fun, and packed with pictures.

This is not one of those entries.  The writing will be different since I'm not Ann, and it's not really a story.

We were trying to brainstorm book report and book comprehension questions.  This is because Ann is needing to free up a little time to read and write her own personal stuff, and just cannot keep trying to read everything the kids are reading.

So, we came up with these questions, and I'd like to know if any of you have any additions or suggestions (this is in an outline-type format):

I.  Setting

A.When does the book take place?

1. In real time?

2.  In book-world time?

For example, The Chronicles of Narnia have a timeline in Narnia and a place in real world history. Where does it fit?

B. Where does the book take place?

II. Characters?

A. Major Characters

1.  Who is the most important character?

2. Who are other important characters?

3. How does the author let you know these characters are important?

4.  Why are they important?

B. Minor Characters

1. Are there minor characters?

2. What do the minor characters add to the story?

III. Plot

A. What happens in the book?

1. Not every detail

2. What are the important actions?

B. What is the most important thing that happens?

1. Why do you think that is the most important thing?

2. How is it accomplished?

C. More objective questions:

1. Where do people go in the book?

2. What do the major characters do in the book?

3. What are the major events in the book?

IV. Theme

A. What is the book about?

1. Ideas?

2. People?

B. What do you think the author wanted you to notice?

V. Personal

A. What did you like most about the book?

B. What did you not like about the book?

C. Would you want to read it again?

1. Why?

2. Why not?

 

Obviously, this is not exhaustive, but I hope it's helpful.  If anyone looks at this and sees that it's actually someone's copyrighted work, let me know---sometimes I remember information without sources, and that may be what happened at the dinner table tonight.

Have a great day.

Doug

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Fun

Continuing with the “catching up” mode of blogging, here are some highlights from Christmas.

Alli arrived Christmas Eve morning while I was decorating her birthday cake.  No, she’s not a Christmas Eve baby – her birthday was December 15.  But I had promised her a froggy cake (she loves frogs) if she came to spend Christmas with us.  Yes, I’m conniving.  And it obviously worked, to our delight!  So, we had her belated birthday celebration over lunch on Christmas Eve with her froggy cake.  And yes, I’ll admit it – I’m pretty proud of the fact that the frog turned out just like what I had envisioned!

Cake 1Cake 2

That night we had the best Christmas Eve service I’d ever attended.  We really didn’t expect much of a turnout because we knew a lot of people had long-standing family plans for Christmas Eve.  We understood that, and we were willing to do the service even if it was just us and a couple of other people.  We were shocked when nearly 50 people showed up!!  It was a really precious service that combined congregational singing with Scripture reading and a few stories and ended with the candle light to “Silent Night.”  Beautiful.

We came home and introduced the kids to fondue for a late Christmas Eve supper.  Then everyone headed to bed. 

The next morning we really expected the kids to wake us up.  But, when we got up at 7:00, there was not a single stirring!  It was 7:45 before the first child appeared.  The thing that was the most precious to me was that there was no begging to open presents.  Instead there were snuggles.  Angela headed to Alli’s lap while Steven and Olivia joined me in the recliner. 

Christmas 14Christmas 10

We snuggled until the breakfast casserole that Doug had already put in the oven was heated through.  Then we enjoyed a relaxing breakfast and the lighting of the advent wreath before digging into the presents.

Then came the chaos! 

Christmas 9

Christmas 4Christmas 6Christmas 7

Followed by Christmas Skype video chats with Grandma & PopPop and Nanny & Papaw.  So thankful for technology!

Christmas 5

We enjoyed Christmas dinner with the extended Hillman family, and then came home for a relaxing afternoon and evening.   Yes, it was a beautiful Christmas Day. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Simple Woman

(Don't forget to click on the picture above and visit Peggy's site!)

For Today...Tuesday, January 4, 2010

Outside my window...a sky that alternates between completely cloudy and almost completely clear; a cat patiently waiting at the base of a tree for a fat squirrel to decide to come all the way down.

I am thinking...about a nap.  Deep thought, I know.

I am thankful for...the amazing man who is my husband.

I am wearing...Razorback attire!  Oh, and I guess the jeans & socks are relevant, too.

I am creating...the handful of items which will be the first things for sale on my Etsy site.

I am remembering…learning to write.  I hated it.  But I can write now because of it and because of Mom’s perseverance in teaching me.  Now I see the same frustration in Angela’s eyes when we talk through writing assignments.  And I confess that I don’t enjoy teaching it.  But, we will persevere, and one day she will be thankful.

I am going...to get that nap.  And hopefully get a few more things checked off my list, too.

I am reading...Possession by Rene Gutteridge.  Haven’t progressed very far in Wilberforce’s book, but I still plan to read it.  The list of “want to read” books is rather long right now.

I am hoping...that we’re not all getting sick.  It’s day two of immense sluggishness all around.

I am hearing...Rich Mullins’ version of “Sing Your Praise to the Lord” fading, Downhere’s “All At War” beginning, Doug’s clock ticking, and Olivia’s pencil scratching on her paper as she sits beside me to do her math.

On my mind..From the learning rooms...slavery & the years leading up to the Civil War – comparing & contrasting timeline & events of emancipation in the United States & the British empire, Harriet Tubman, place value, learning/solidifying multiplication facts (both girls), basic addition principles (Steven – per his request), strengthening the grasp on consonant/vowel blends (Steven), early American inventions, All Sail Set by Armstrong Sperry.

Noticing that...we have a very wide range of musical tastes. Since I’ve been sitting here I’ve heard old and new Christian contemporary, country, Star Wars, and secular pop.  And that’s nowhere near the full range available.

From the kitchen...the delight of having a meal plan in place.  It’s amazing the difference it makes!

Around the house...no Christmas decorations.  It seems strange, but it’s nice.  Everything’s getting back to normal.

One of my favorite things...curling up with a blanket, a good book, and plenty of time to read.  Not that such things come around very often.

A few plans for the rest of the week...dinner & Sugar Bowl party tonight with friends (Woo Pig Souiee!), possibly a museum trip later this week, overall a mostly low-key week in preparation for next week which promises to be pretty busy.

A picture worth sharing...what are aunts for?  Horsey rides!  Poor Aunt Alli!

Christmas 17

Monday, January 3, 2011

Catching Up – Sun, Dec 19

I feel so far behind on blogging about what we’ve been doing lately!  I thought about just letting it all go and starting over again with the here and now, but then I remembered that this blog is as much about recording for our memory as for sharing with others.  So, I’m going to back up and fill in a few gaps.

For the most part, December was filled with getting to a good stopping point in school, getting all our Christmas presents made (I’ll probably devote a post to those!), and keeping up with the obligations (most of them fun!) before us. 

We tried something new this year at church – new both to our family and to our current church – that, in my opinion, turned out to be a lot of fun.  The Sunday night before Christmas we had a service devoted to Christmas music.  Not a cantata – more of a Christmas singing, for those of you familiar with rural church services such as the 5th Sunday Sing.  Whoever was so inclined got up and shared a Christmas song or two.  We had solos, duets, trios, groups, and congregational singing. 

I was so proud of our kids – all three of them.  Karlyn, one of the kids’ teachers at church, had been working with Olivia and Angela, preparing them to sing their solos.  They sang “Joy to the World” together, and then Olivia sang “Away in a Manger” by herself. 

Church 5Church 4 

Church 2As the service was drawing to a close, they got up with their friend Madelyn for an impromptu trio singing “Silent Night.”

 

 

Church 1All the kids big and small joined together for a couple of songs through the course of the evening. 

 

 

But, Steven couldn’t be left out!  Once he realized that his sisters were getting to sing by themselves – with the microphone, no Church 3less – he just had to sing a song, too.  I never dreamed he’d actually get up there and do it!  He wanted me with him (you can see how he’s literally clinging to my arm!), and he giggled through the whole song, but he sang “We Three Kings” (his favorite this year) for everyone.  If any of you have ever watched the Claymation Christmas camels sing “We Three Kings”, you know how hard it can be to ever sing the song in a relatively calm manner again.  But, he pulled it off (although thinking about the singing camels just might have been what caused the giggling).

Of course, there was a lot of adult and congregational singing mixed in with these cute kiddos!  And, of course, being the good Baptists that we are, there was plenty of delicious Christmas food as well!  All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend the Sunday evening before Christmas.