Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storms

For those who might want to know…we’re still here! The storms in Arkansas last night proved to be less damaging than expected, praise the Lord! We had several tornado warnings in our area, but never anything more than cloud rotation or a few high funnel clouds. The tornado danger ended around 8:30 last night, so even though the severe thunderstorms extended through the night and are still rumbling through this morning, we were able to get pretty good sleep last night. The kids slept through it all, and we were only awakened occasionally by the storm warning updates on the phones.

The storms keep coming, and the flood warnings are everywhere. There is supposedly a current tornado warning for just south of us (not all sources agree on that one), so the tornadoes might be coming back as the sun is heating all of this up. That is a rather humorous thought to me, though, as the sun seems like a foreign object right now.  It is VERY dark outside.

Thanks for the prayers for us and others in the path of these storms. Keep them up – they’re still coming through here, and the states east of us are dealing with them, too, or will be soon. We’ll keep you posted!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, April 25, 2011

Outside my window...currently cloudy, but still rather bright as the sun peeks out now and then; deep “puddles” (if they can still be called that at that size!) from all of the rain we’ve had recently; thick, tall grass rising above the standing water – we can’t mow because it’s far too wet. The days it has finally dried out enough to mow, we’ve been gone for one reason or another, and then it has always stormed again the very next day.

I am thinking...about the to-do list. Not making as much progress as I’d hoped, but I am getting the stuff that HAD to be done today accomplished.

I am thankful for...Jack the cat’s recovery. He was very sick last week, and we honestly didn’t expect him to live through Thursday night. I’m still not sure he’s eating, but he is mobile, drinking, and purring again. All good signs.

I am wearing...denim capris, red sleeveless top, bare feet, hair in a ponytail.

I am creating...nothing right now. I need to start on Olivia’s second gown, and then get busy with her birthday present.

I am remembering...flooding from three years ago about this time of year. Wonder how this year’s flooding will compare.

I am going...to start posting these “observations” on Monday again instead of Tuesday. For a while Tuesday was working better for me, but now I think Monday will be easier.

I am reading...In the Company of Others by Jan Karon, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer. Yes, I’m a little ADD in my reading right now.

I am hoping...the next round of storms is mild and does not dump as much water on us as is expected. The expected amount could be disastrous for our farmers.

I am hearing...the kids playing on the Wii behind me - their exercise on days like today when going outside is just not possible.

On my mind...those in AR and MO who are getting more rain or are closer to the rivers than we are and are dealing with some major flooding.

From the learning rooms...history: early discovery and uses of oil, beginning of catalog sales (Montgomery Ward and Richard Sears); science: more about atoms, molecules, and elements, including molecular movement and how that affects the state of matter; reading Caddie Woodlawn (love that book!) and Old Yeller. Still working on the week’s preview and specific assignments, so I’m not sure about LA and math yet.

Noticing that...my chosen cup for the day doesn’t hold much water. Love the cup – don’t like having to refill it so frequently.

From the kitchen...chicken quesadillas today; still need to plan for the rest of the week, but I know that tomorrow will definitely include beef.

Around the house...lots and lots of Easter candy. Lots and lots and lots. And yes, I am being good so far. I’ve only had one small piece of Reese’s candy and one little caramel egg. And I’m going to stay out of it for the rest of the day.

One of my favorite things...a good pencil. Okay, so that’s really trivial, I know. But, I am trying out some Bic mechanical pencils right now, and they are awesome!

A few plans for the rest of the week...trying to keep from floating away. Otherwise, I think it’s a rather uneventful week – school, church, household tasks. That thought makes me smile.

Pictures worth sharing...my sister’s pictures of the flooding in NW AR are much crazier, but this is what it’s like in our neck of the woods right now.

Between the house and the garden – most of this is about 2-3 inches deep.

Water 1

The garden: the standing stalks are our corn. Nothing else had a chance to sprout before the weekly flooding began. I doubt we’ll have much of a harvest this year.

Water 2

Another round is expected to hit this evening sometime. The last prediction I heard was six inches of rain in a very short span of time.  I guess we’ll see!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Family Pictures

Last month during Alli’s spring break, she came down to practice her budding photography skills on our family. (She said she needed new faces.) Since then I’ve been intending to get the pictures up here and on Facebook, and I just haven’t gotten around to it. I was going to pick out my absolute favorites and put them on here, but it’s so hard to narrow them down – especially when there are 350 of them!! So….

I’m going to put on here the ones Alli touched up and played with a bit and just send you to Facebook for the rest of the “chosen ones.” Click here to see the FB album.

Poor Alli had to work against the allure of cats, crop dusters, and the desire to climb trees, but we had fun nonetheless!

family1Family2Girls1Girls2Girls3Kid2Kids1Olivia BlueSteven

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sewing

Something that is very hard for me is teaching my kids skills. I can teach them facts and information. You know, school stuff. But there are other things they want to learn, too. Things like cooking and sewing. Those are the things that are a little tougher for me to teach. I really have to just choose to have patience, because I guarantee you, it does not come naturally!! But, I’m working on it.

So, part of Olivia’s Christmas present this past year was a day of sewing with Mommy. She wanted a new dress for her sock doll, and so I told her we’d make it together. We started it right after Christmas, but, as is typical with teaching situations as opposed to me just doing it, it took longer than expected to go through all of the steps. So, we put it aside to come back to. I really didn’t intend for it to take over three months to get back to it! Really! But, the schedSewing 4ule got busy and other sewing projects had to take precedence. Like these…

Olivia had no summer pajamas this year. So, I promised to make her whatever she wanted. She picked out the material and let me know which pattern she wanted to use. Meanwhile, Angie’s pj’s are all very worn, so I told her I’d make her a gown, too. Olivia will get one or two more, since her choice is this gown or t-shirt and shorts – and she has still not quite outgrown real pj’s yet!

Anyway…back on point.

Olivia finally stopped me one day and said, “Mommy, we need to decide when we’re going to sew and just do it.” Knowing she was right, we made our date. And, because of unexpected issues, we had to push our date back a few more days. But, last Monday, we finally got it done!

Since it was a doll’s dress with very small seams and pieces, I still had to do most of the work. But, she learned a lot (I hope!).

She threaded the sewing machine for the first time.

Sewing 2

And she pinned the skirt and sewed the straight side seams. I think she also helped with the gathering.

Sewing 3

The picture doesn’t do it justice because the white just doesn’t show up well, but the simple little dress really did come out looking quite pretty!

Sewing 1

Next time, though, we’re sewing something without the teeny, tiny seams!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...April 19, 2011

Outside my window...bright sunshine and ever-increasing winds – bringing in another round of storms tonight, apparently.

I am thinking...about things that need to be done that I haven’t written down yet. Probably should stop and do that right now!

I am thankful for...my church family and their desire to enjoy one another outside of Sunday and Wednesday meetings. Being in their company on a regular basis is such a blessing to me.

I am wearing...blue short sleeve top, white capris (yes, it’s before Easter, but it’s also nearly 90 degrees outside – summer is here, I don’t care when Easter is!)

I am creating...actually finishing up…two new ties to be delivered today. Probably another gown for Olivia will come next.

I am remembering...when my girls used to always dress alike. Even if they didn’t necessarily have matching outfits, they would find ways to make what they had match. Similar styles, colors, something. It hasn’t really been that long ago, but it seems like it ended almost overnight.  Not that it is disliked by them – they still enjoy it, but it’s just not thought of much anymore.

I am reading...well…between books again. I’m caught up on book review books for now. I think next on my list is Jan Karon’s In the Company of Friends, loaned to me by a friend and Andy Andrews’ The Traveler’s Gift, prequel to The Final Summit that I recently read and reviewed.  And, I still want to reread Jane Eyre. It’s been a long time, and that was one of my favorites.

I am hoping...the storms fizzle out tonight. Praying for no repeat of the last terrible storms.

I am hearing...the air conditioner. Was hoping we’d make it closer to May before needing it, but so thankful that we have it!

On my mind...answered prayer and more prayer requests. The answered prayer always encourages me as I continue to pray for other requests.

From the learning rooms...History: cowboys and George Washington Carver; Science: introduction to the scientific method and elements, drawing and building circuits; Olivia: prime factoring, using an encyclopedia, and understanding the writing process; Angela: equations, measuring, ratios, root words, prefixes, and suffixes; Steven: new phonics blends, basic math concepts, and coin familiarity.

Noticing that...I haven’t done Polish in a long, long time. I need to get back to that regularly.

From the kitchen...sugar cookies and buttercream icing in preparation for tomorrow night’s Easter celebration at church.

Around the house...falling behind just a bit on things. Should start catching up by tomorrow.

One of my favorite things...teaching my children. It has its ups and downs, but I can’t imagine not doing it.

A few plans for the rest of the week...birthday party tonight; celebration with the kids at church tomorrow night; a Civil War event on Saturday; sunrise service, cantata, and Easter service Sunday morning.

A picture worth sharing...Olivia and Angela might not match frequently anymore, but Olivia and Steven did yesterday. Steven thought it was really cool to be “twins” with his big sissy.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Pictures

I’m finding pictures that don’t really have a real “place” but are just begging to be shared. So, here’s a random picture post.

Living in Almyra puts the kids in “tractor” paradise. They are everywhere, and the excitement and enthusiasm over them never wanes.

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Angela loves stay-at-home days when she doesn’t have to wear real clothes. If she has her way, she’ll go several days in a row moving straight from pj’s to dress-up clothes of some sort. Sometimes she even talks Olivia into joining her. A few weeks ago they were ballerinas for a couple of days.

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I love it when the kids read together. Occasionally these days the girls even let Steven read his little books to them. Precious! Here, Angela’s reading Steven’s history to him. 100_8946

Steven started his job last Friday and got his first pay envelope. Oh, was he ever proud!

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I was going to include a picture of the penguin all dressed up, but apparently it’s not been uploaded from the computer yet. So, stay tuned for that one. It’s pretty impressive!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Outside my window...bright sunshine and cool, northerly breezes working to dry out those nice, big pools of water from yesterday’s thunderstorms.  Oh, and a garden showing its first signs of life!

I am thinking...over the day and the week. Not wanting to waste any of it.

I am thankful for...functioning plumbing, and friends who sacrifice such conveniences so that others may hear the gospel and read God’s Word in their own language.

I am wearing...black knit capris, short-sleeve knit top with diagonal blue, white, black, and yellow stripes, hair up in a clip, tan sandals (aka – “I don’t really plan to leave the house today” attire)

I am creating...quite the mending pile. I think I might have to do something about it soon.

I am remembering...to pray for the aforementioned friends.

I am going...to be productive this week, despite the effect of spring on my ready-to-explode head.

I am reading...Max on Life by Max Lucado; ready to start another fiction read – probably The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen, another one of my upcoming review books.

I am hoping...Doug and I both feel better soon.

I am hearing...quiet; a certain times of day, that is actually a rather natural thing around here. This is not one of those times. Hmmmm…should I be concerned?

On my mind...Wednesday night lessons for the youth girls class I co-teach. Not sure where to go next.

From the learning rooms...a light week because of several interruptions, both planned and unplanned.  But, that gives us a chance to catch up on some read-aloud and science work we’d fallen behind on.

Noticing that...I don’t feel nearly so overwhelmed this week after really trying to maintain diligence last week. Nice feeling.

Pondering these words...no specific words; just Olivia’s increased tendency this week to ask me what different Scripture verses really mean. Last week we had a rough week and some intense talks with her. This week she seems to be approaching things very differently – really taking some of what we said to heart and showing a hunger to truly grow.

From the kitchen...leftovers today. Simple things like beef pot pie, parmesan chicken cordon bleu, and sloppy joes for the rest of the week.

Around the house...signs of summer: the protective rug removed from in front of the fireplace, sandals and flip-flops by the door instead of warmer shoes, no jackets lying around, couch blankets staying in place better because they’re being used less. We even had to give in and run the AC for a couple of days when we approached 90 degrees with a delightfully high level of humidity.

One of my favorite things...growth.

A few plans for the rest of the week...catching up on some things around home; the kids going to spend some time with their beloved JoJo, a lady from church who has gone through withdrawals because life has kept her from having kids over to her house lately; and that means some “us” time for Doug and me (we’re going to get spoiled around here).

A picture worth sharing...the kids’ play spaces at church yesterday:

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Monday, April 11, 2011

“Quick” Fix!

Some of you might remember the great plumbing disaster of 2009 that stretched on for a lovely eleven days. In fact, just linking one post doesn’t come close to covering the story – the last post related to the less than pleasant event came over a week after the first one. I just reread it and had to laugh over Steven’s delight at watching the work going on in our yard that final day.

Anyway…yesterday (Sunday) morning as I was taking a shower, I noticed that the shower was backing up a bit, and then I heard the same “glug, glug” in the toilet that I’d heard that fateful day two years ago when we ended up with nasty sewage backed up and pouring out of the bathroom and into the hall. All I could think was, “Oh, please, no!”

Since I was the last to shower, I poured some Drano down the drain and was relieved to find that it seemed to be fine. No more issues throughout the day.

Then came this morning. Doug had showered – no problem. But, about halfway through Olivia’s shower we heard her call out, “Mommy, the shower won’t drain!” And, yes, the toilet was still making noise. It went from bad to worse when, while Doug was checking it all out, the toilet backed up without even being flushed. Apparently all the water being run down every drain was backing up through the toilets.

Fortunately, unlike the last experience, this was all relatively clean water.

So, Doug made a phone call or two, looking for a snake to try to take care of the clog. But, no clog could be found. So, as thunderstorms rolled in, the plumber was called. I braced myself for another adventure and packed up to take the kids to church for the day.

Early in the afternoon, Doug got a call saying the plumber was at the house! No two-day wait! It was delightful! So, he headed back to the house while we continued to hang out at the church.

Once again, it was a broken pipe – well, a broken gasket that caused a connection to break. It was a relief to know that we hadn’t actually clogged the drains, but goodness! Does our presence cause pipes to break?

Again, I braced myself for a long drawn-out process.

Instead, Doug returned around 5:00 to say that everything was fully repaired!

I had supper in the oven at church, so we went ahead and ate and then packed up and came home to fully functioning plumbing! One day! Just a few hours, in fact! Ahhhh….

Needless to say, today didn’t go quite as I had planned. And it means that the week won’t go quite as I had planned. But, we have functional plumbing! Pretty soon I can go take that shower I missed this morning (I was due up after Olivia), and not have to make plans to get the kids up and to the church bathrooms first thing in the morning. So nice!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Grandpa’s 90th

I found my pictures! They were right where they were supposed to be – I was just having a little trouble figuring out where “supposed to be” was. But, now that I’ve found them, I can tell that I have several posts worth of pictures. Yay!

I’ll start with Grandpa’s 90th birthday party, mainly because I don’t know how many pictures Mom and Dad have seen of it. (Excited that you’ll get to be there for #91!!)

Still a cute couple, even at 90!

Gpa 4

Two of their three kids – we’ll have to take another one this fall when Dad gets home.

Gpa 2

Cake time!

Gpa 1

Abigail on her daddy perch waiting patiently for cake. She was in SUCH a fun mood that day!

Gpa 3

Visiting.(My uncle Glen in the rocker, my two brothers Ben & Tim and my aunt Polly Ann on the couch. Ben’s wife Ashley in the chair. And, of course, precious Abigail visiting with Aunt Polly Ann. We missed visiting with Tim’s wife DeAnn who had to work that day.

Gpa 5

But, there’s no doubt as to who is the most popular one with all four cousins. Yep, Aunt Alli! It took about five seconds for them all to descend on her when we walked in the door.

Gpa 6

Although, Abigail did make her little beeline toward Olivia pretty quickly! Aren’t they cute?

Gpa 8

Grandma needed some great-granddaughter loving, too.

Gpa 7

It was a whirlwind day for all of us – none of us could stay very long. But, it was a good visit. We are so blessed to still have my grandparents. I didn’t know any of my great-grandparents, and even my mom’s parents passed away when I was pretty young.  So it’s pretty special to me that my kids have both sets of grandparents and a set of great-grandparents to know.

Happy birthday, Grandpa! We’re thankful for every single year God allows you to remain with us!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Missing Pictures

Well, I had lovely plans for putting up a blog post with fun pictures. To be honest, I don’t know exactly which ones I was going to use (considering I don’t really remember all that I have) – maybe Grandpa’s birthday party from two weeks ago. Maybe some of the silly snapshots I’ve taken since then. But, unfortunately, that’s not happening today. I’ve updated my photo importing software, and it doesn’t seem to want to import the new pictures from the camera. I’m sure it’s just a simple little detail that I’m missing. And, I know I can access the pictures from the folders other ways (if they even uploaded off the camera!), but those other ways are clunkier, and I’m just not in the mood. So, pictures will just have to come later. Maybe this weekend.

The silliness in our house has toned down a little bit over the last couple of days, although it is still highly present. We’ve had a couple of rather unmotivated days, but school has still seemed to progress alright. And, amazingly enough, we’ve made great progress on the to-do lists also. Working to be diligent even when we don’t feel like it. It’s amazing how the kids follow through when Doug and I set the example!

For now, though, we’re about to get ready to head to Little Rock to run a few errands and meet a friend for dinner. Sometimes getting out of routine or out of town is just the boost we need.

Olivia just came up with a list of really fun topics to write about – makes me want to hear her stories on all of them! I know she’ll have to write up at least one of them for school, but hopefully she’ll choose to write the other ones.

Angela might actually be going through a growth spurt. She’s the one who has been the most stable over the past year. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to her growth spurt! We could be in big trouble!

Steven learned the concept of subtraction this week, and has commenced going through life creating subtraction problems. This is the one he came up with as we walked into Wal-Mart this morning: “There were four birds pecking on the ground. Four flew away. How many were left?” And yes, he usually knows the answer to his own problems.

So, that’s our pictureless update. Pictures to come soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Outside my window...a clear blue sky and much stillness, a great contrast to yesterday’s dark storminess and phenomenal winds.

I am thinking...thoughts that are so shallow I’m almost embarrassed to admit them: how much I really want cookies right now.

I am thankful for...the flexibility of homeschooling; friends who share fun event information with us; amazing provision

I am wearing...jeans, long-sleeve brown knit top, bare toes (although they’re chilly right now) – odd for me to still be in long sleeves and long pants at the beginning of April!

I am creating...silly monsters, apparently, based on all of the goofy things that have gone on in my home lately!

I am remembering...when my kids were little, truly little. Sometimes I miss that, but then I think about how much fun they are right now and I realize I wouldn’t trade any one time for another. Every age is special. (Although I’m suspicious I might not think that the closer we get to the teen years!)

I am going...to have a productive afternoon. If I say that over and over again enough, will it really happen?

I am reading...The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

I am hoping...to get caught up on some of the kids’ school stuff – I got behind on a few things and it’s making implementation a little more difficult.

I am hearing...scratching of pencils as the girls do school work in here with me; birds outside; music in the distance – we have it playing somewhere in the house, apparently.

On my mind...marriages. The list of struggling couples I’m praying for seems to be growing. That breaks my heart. Trying to be more diligent to pray for marriages to stay strong rather than waiting to pray for them when there are struggles.

From the learning rooms...finally finishing the Civil War: the girls are reading books to Steven describing what life was like as a soldier and as a nurse during the Civil War; Olivia: math - estimation, money, subtraction reinforcement; LA - gathering information for writing; Angela: math – equations, line graphs; LA – foundations of a sentence; Steven: math – foundational concepts for addition and subtraction; LA – more consonant blends.

Noticing that...I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing in science this week. I forgot to preview it! Fortunately, the lesson plans are done for me…

From the kitchen...leftovers for a couple of days and then a determination to truly return to diligently maintaining a menu plan. I so need that!

Around the house...little projects nagging for my attention. One at a time. One at a time.

One of my favorite things...cool spring days that delay that horrid summer heat just a little bit longer.

A few plans for the rest of the week...lots of stuff at home, and maybe a library trip.

A picture worth sharing...not today! Getting pictures off the camera is on this week’s list.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One More

I can’t believe I forgot this one earlier!

I walked into the dining room earlier today and found Olivia in the dining room with Jack the cat and a handful of food. Instead of reminding her once again not to carry around cat food (yes, this has been a problem on multiple occasions for various reasons), I sighed and asked her what she was doing.

“I was trying to train Jack to sit, but it’s not working!”

Before I had the chance to even wonder where in the world my child came up with this idea, she told me. A friend from church had loaned us a book with all sorts of useful information, the intention being to help us with our rookie attempts at gardening. But, come to find out, the book also includes some, well, less than useful information as well – like how to train a cat.

Olivia, in her excitement about training the cats, had overlooked a key piece of information. The instructions discussed training young cats. Our youngest cat is two and a half years old, much older than the “young” to which the book was referring. But, she didn’t even start with that cat.

Instead she started with the oldest cat in the house.

And with plain ole cat food instead of real treats (which we don’t have).

And for some reason it just wasn’t working. I just can’t imagine why!

But, it did work to provide yet another laugh. Thanks, Liv!

Hibbard Humor

Life is just fun sometimes. Shall I give you some examples?

The other day when I went into the kids’ bathroom to help Steven with something, I found this.

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Yes, it’s a roll of toiler paper with a finger hole in it. The hole goes much deeper than it looks in the picture. I asked Steven about it, and he didn’t know anything. So, I asked the girls about it. Olivia confessed with a sheepish grin. When asked why, she said, “I wanted to see how many squares of toilet paper it took to go all the way around the roll.” She then proceeded to unroll the toilet paper a bit to show that she could count the squares between the holes for her answer.

After regaining control of myself, I challenged her to pay attention to see if the count stayed the same the closer she got to the middle of the roll. Then I promised an enormous squishing if she did it again!

Then this morning I walked into Angela’s room to find some of Steven’s dress clothes in her little chair: a white button-down shirt, a sport coat, and a clip tie. When I asked her about it, the same sheepish grin that had been on Olivia’s face showed up on Angie’s.

“Yesterday morning when we took the Star Wars pajama shirt off of Napoleon, we thought we’d put some dress clothes on him so he would be appropriately dressed for Sunday.”

Napoleon is a life-sized stuffed emperor penguin. He is technically Steven’s but Steven generously shares him, and he is well-loved by all three children. Typically the poor penguin gets dressed in various dresses and girl clothes. But, the kids have discovered that Steven’s clothes fit Napoleon, so he is finally being dressed a little more appropriately.

For some reason they never did get the dress clothes onto Napoleon. Maybe because we had to leave for church. So, no, I don’t have any pictures. I’m sure, however, that at some point in the future the clothes will once again find themselves out of the closet and on the penguin.

Steven continues to be hilarious, but I have completely forgotten the funny story about him that I was going to share. So, it will have to come later. Instead, I’ll share about his job! Yes, my four-year-old is now employed – and no, it’s not by mommy and daddy. Every Friday he will earn 50 cents for retrieving a trash can and returning it to its rightful place after the trash truck comes. I think he’s pretty proud of this new responsibility! He will start this coming Friday.