Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Outside my window...a hot, still, humid day. Summer is definitely here.

I am thinking...that I am not ready for the intense, humid summer heat. Not exactly wanting to go back to winter, but can’t we just stay in the 80’s for at least a little while longer?

I am thankful for...the Skype chat with my friend Joanna to end the day yesterday; generous friends; air conditioning; many conveniences that I tend to take for granted.

I am wearing...denim capris, red sleeveless top, tennis shoes (I think those need to come off!)

I am creating...fruit leather. Or at least trying. It won’t dry because of the humidity.

I am remembering...dry heat. I miss it. Well, I miss it in the context of having to deal with heat and preferring what I have to deal with to be dry instead of wet.

I am reading...Washington by Paul Vickery; hoping to finish it up today for review. Next up is The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden. Also reading Discipleship by Bonhoeffer. I’ll be in that one for a looooong while.

I am hoping...to be able to both have a productive day and make it to the pool for a little while. I think the pool will probably win out, though, if I can’t have both!

I am hearing...the girls cleaning my bathroom; the washer running.

On my mind...finding a balance between continuing to do school throughout the summer and making sure to not overtax our family as summer busyness hits.

From the learning rooms...reconstruction; Thomas Edison; I totally forgot what we’re doing in science!

Noticing that...I’m sluggish today.

Pondering these words... “It is not as if our church’s preaching were no longer God’s word, but there are so many dissonant sounds, so many human, harsh laws, and so many false hopes and consolations, which still obscure the pure word of Jesus and make a genuine decision more difficult.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Discipleship

From the kitchen...an odd week – not a lot of pizazz from the kitchen. Today it is beef stuffed french bread. Oh, and then of course there’s the fruit leather experiment.

Around the house...a little disorder from some changes in Olivia’s bedroom last night. Some friends gave us a gorgeous antique bedroom set. (THANK YOU!!!) Olivia is on cloud nine! I’d been praying for a new mattress for her because hers was pretty bad, and instead God gave her a whole set, mattress included!!

One of my favorite things...keeping in touch with friends, even when miles separate us – whether 60 miles or thousands. Technology can be a pain, but it is also such a blessing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...girls’ night tonight with a group of friends; finishing up some planning for our upcoming church Rec Camp (can’t believe it’s week after next!); church; missions planning meeting on Thursday; Rec Camp training for youth and adults on Saturday; trips to the pool as often as we can; as much school as we can squeeze in through it all.

A picture worth sharing...Angie’s favorite hairdo of late, all thanks to little foam rollers Mom brought with her when she came. We’d been using rags, and it curled up a good bit with those, but these foam rollers make MUCH tighter curls. Her hair naturally falls down to the middle of her back, but when we pull the foam rollers out in the morning, it’s usually pulled tightly up against her head, no longer than chin-length. 100_9513

Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthday Celebrations

I suppose a decade of life deserves a lot of celebration because Olivia has sure had it this year! We’ve been celebrating for weeks!

bday2It all kicked off with a trip to Olive Garden when we were in Monroe a couple of weeks ago. Olivia had been hungry for Olive Garden for quite some time, so Grandma & PopPop took us all.

 

Then Olivia wanted to go to the mall for a carousel ride. Her choice of rides was no real surprise to any of us!

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We got home from Monroe last Tuesday night, and the next day Nanny came for a visit. She brought a cake and birthday cards, and we had a little birthday celebration at lunch that day.

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Sunday night we had a fellowship meal at church, so I took a cake and we asked everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” to her. Then on Wednesday night as we were all hunkered down in the hall at church waiting for the possible-tornado-bearing-thunderstorm to pass, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her again.

Finally the actual day rolled around! We had decided to head to Little Rock to take more birthday pictures and let her go shopping with some of her birthday money, but first we let her open presents after breakfast.

(Susan the sock doll joined the party so she could meet William as soon as he was unwrapped!)

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After breakfast and morning chores, we headed out. We started at Target where she bought a new watch (a rather grown-up one, too!), and then we went on to her lunch of choice – IHOP. She wanted breakfast for lunch, so that was the place! Then we went to Hobby Lobby where she found some delightful craft kits.

She, William, and Susan celebrated at bedtime with the sock dolls wearing their new outfits that match some of her pj’s.

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Since we were gone on her actual birthday, we had her meal of choice – chicken pot pie – and her cake – angel food with strawberries and whipped cream – today at lunch.

Meanwhile, Daddy had one more surprise for her. Years ago – she probably wasn’t much older than three or four – Olivia went through a phase when she was constantly asking when she could drink Coke. Doug finally told her that she could have her very own Coke on her tenth birthday.

She forgot about it (as did I), but Daddy didn’t! He bought her a Coke in a glass bottle (the ultimate Coke-drinking experience!) and gave it to her for her birthday lunch. bday7

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Since her celebration was so scattered into so many activities over so many days, I forgot to hang the banner and balloons like I do every year, and I didn’t even buy cool plates and napkins for her! But, she didn’t seem to care. I think she thoroughly enjoyed her tenth birthday.

And now to begin the second decade…

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Olivia

Ten years ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I noticed I was more uncomfortable than usual. By mid-morning I was very suspicious that this could be The Day. By early afternoon, I knew it was definitely going to be The Day. By 8:19 that night, it was proven when Kathryn Olivia Hibbard made her appearance in the world and uttered her first cry.

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I was a mom, and this beautiful creature made it happen. Olivia - newborn

I learned a lot about myself that first year of her life, and she was so patient with me. I’m still convinced she was the perfect baby.

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I could hardly believe it when her first birthday rolled around.

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It’s true what they say – if you blink, you’ll miss it. Today I’m celebrating a full decade with this amazing child. A decade! Miraculously, I’ve been able to spend all ten years right where I’ve wanted to be – at home with her.

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The perfect baby turned into a little girl, and her little personality revealed itself more and more with each new day.

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Each year as I’ve taken her birthday pictures, I’ve marveled at how much more grown up she seems.

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I’ve marveled at the new signs of maturity…and chuckled at the things that remind me she’s still a little girl.

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This year I’ve gotten to see her establish her independent self more than ever before. She and Angela have always done almost everything together and have wanted identical things. But, the older Olivia’s grown, the more she’s discovered her own interests and has branched away from what she and Angela have always done together.

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Olivia still loves Bunny, reading, and playing with her brother and sister. She’s still fascinated with history, and still wants to take things apart.

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But, she’s also discovered that she really doesn’t like to dress up and just isn’t prissy. She likes wearing pants, getting dirty, and climbing trees. If it’s messy, she’s happy!

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But she’s definitely still a little lady. She wants to learn to cook and sew. She has learned that she really does enjoy writing, and she’s gained a greater confidence in math this year.

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Olivia, I’m so thankful to have had you for ten years. You are beautiful and a blessing to me as your mommy. I thank God daily for blessing me with you, and I so greatly look forward to watching you grow the next decade. May your heart hunger for your Savior more and more with each passing day.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Allison’s Graduation

Let’s see…where did I leave off in our spring activities? As I look back over the past couple of months, I realize just how many opportunities we’ve had! They’ve been a little more scattered than the blog shows – it’s just that I’ve been slow to post about the festivities, so I’ve posted in clumps. But, we’ve still had a lot of opportunities. How fun!

On May 13, we headed up to northwest Arkansas to celebrate Alli’s graduation from the University of Arkansas. What a fun whirlwind trip it was!

We arrived late Friday afternoon, got settled into the hotel room, and then headed to the house where Ben and Ashley were staying. There, in honor of Alli, we had mansaf – the traditional Jordanian dish. (Click here for a post that describes mansaf, how it is served, and how it is traditionally eaten.) Mom splurged and got lamb for this mansaf. Yum, yum, yum!

Olivia is the only other member of my immediate family who likes the jamiid that goes on the mansaf. This time around, she decided she wanted to try to eat with her hands like Alli, Ben, and Ashley were doing (Mom and I have skin sensitivity problems when we eat with our hands, so we just stick with the spoons). Uncle Ben walked her through it…

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…and on her second try she had a nice little ball that she was able to flip into her mouth without her hands touching her mouth. Great job, Liv! Now we just have to teach her how to do it with her right hand since eating with the left hand is a no-no in Jordan!

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Before and after dinner, we had lots of fun just hanging out together. Steven demonstrated his new-found skill…cartwheels. He is my only child who has successfully taught himself how to do a cartwheel, and he does them VERY well. At some point, I’ll upload a video.

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The cousins all had fun playing together. It’s so neat to watch Abigail jump right into the mix wholeheartedly. She has so much fun with other kids, and my kids think the world of her! I especially love to watch Steven play with her – he’s so good with younger kids. It’s precious to me!

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They all four managed to squeeze in a game or two of “dog-pile on Aunt Alli.”

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And Uncle Ben got conned into some horsey rides. He’s getting practice for when Abigail and any future younger siblings are much, much bigger!

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Tim and DeAnn didn’t make it until about the time we were heading back to the hotel to get the kids in bed. So, we missed getting to play games with them that evening. But, we promised some visiting the next morning and headed to the hotel for a restful night’s sleep.

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The next morning we had a relaxed time getting up and around (which led to the stuffy sillies I shared a few days ago), and then we headed to Alli’s apartment for more visiting and a light pre-graduation lunch.

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Oh, and some group pictures, of course!

(Left to right: Tim, Mom, Allison, Me, Ben)

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The whole gang!

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Ben, Ashley, and Abigail left to head home while the rest of us loaded up and headed to campus for graduation. We ended up in the nosebleed section, so my camera couldn’t handle great pictures, but I was so proud to see Alli walk!

Third from the front…

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Allison graduated with a double major in Anthropology and Middle East Sudies and a minor in Arabic. She’ll be starting her MA in the fall – I think in Anthropology (Alli, you can correct me if I’m wrong!).

Thanks to her major and last name, Alli’s name was the third called out of hundreds of graduates! So, a few minutes after she walked, we slipped out to get as early of a start as possible for our next destination: Monroe. We knew it was going to be a long drive, and we didn’t want to arrive too late. We made it to Monroe a little before 10:00 that night to start the next leg of our trip.

But that will be another post…

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, May 23, 2011

Outside my window...cloudy skies, a freshly cut lawn (thanks to my awesome hubby), an insane level of humidity turning what should be a pleasant day into a rather suffocating one.

I am thinking...that the day has slipped by very quickly.

I am thankful for...healthy children.

I am wearing...black knit capris, a white cotton peasant blouse, bare feet, hair in a french braid

I am creating...clothes for William the sock doll

I am remembering...ten years ago – alternating between being so ready to get that baby out of me and being terrified of the responsibility of being a mom.

I am going...to get those clothes for William done before Olivia’s birthday. Yep. I am. Really.

I am reading...um…can I plead upcoming birthday and get back to you next week?

I am hoping...the Choates are able to find a way to get from Marulaon to Honiara since the boat didn’t show up on Sunday. (Click here to read their update.)

I am hearing...Kenny G. Oh, and the click of an unloaded cap gun being “fired”. Hmm…interesting sound, especially when the cap gun owner is supposed to be cleaning his room.

On my mind...the people of Joplin, MO, and those around the country anxiously waiting to hear from their loved ones who live there.

From the learning rooms...Industrial growth in post Civil War US, more circuit experiments, catch-up on poetry (I’ve completely forgotten our poetry reading for about a month! Oops! Can you tell poetry isn’t really my thing?).

Noticing that...it is quiet again. Wonder if that means rooms are being cleaned or mischief is reigning.

From the kitchen...I don’t want to talk about it.

Around the house...laundry. Ick. More pleasantly: a trunk packed full of Doug’s grandpa’s old train set just waiting to be sorted, cleaned, and tested.

One of my favorite things...a clean house. I don’t have it right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week...celebrating ten years of Olivia.

A picture worth sharing...the trunk full of train pieces and accessories..

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A very small sample of what’s inside.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Stuffy Mischief

For those of you who have never met Bunny, allow 100_9326me to introduce you…this is Bunny, the fourth member of our family. He joined us Easter of 2002 when he hopped into Olivia’s first Easter basket. She didn’t take to him immediately, but by year’s end she and Bunny were inseparable and have been almost ever since.

Meanwhile, Olivia was born to a father who has long loved to have a little fun with favored stuffies. He comes by it honestly – his own father shares the same love and, in fact, taught him the art of such forms of entertainment. So, Olivia has learned over the years to protect Bunny and to search for him wisely when he does turn up missing. Also, many wrestling matches have occurred over possession rights.

As more children have been added to the family, more stuffies have joined in the fun. Angela tends to vary her preferred stuffies. A small black cat. Napoleon the Penguin. A large stuffed cow named Cowabella. But, the most tempting stuffy for 100_9325her father is none other than Hello Kitty. Where Angela came up with her obsession with Hello Kitty, we do not know. But, she definitely has one. She primarily owns Hello Kitty accessories, but she does have two small stuffies. 

Having laid that background, allow me to share my absolute favorite story from our weekend.

We were getting packed up and ready to leave the house Friday morning when Olivia came in and asked where Bunny was. Now, for the record, Daddy does not mess with stuffies when we are trying to get packed to go somewhere. There is too much risk of an essential stuffy being left behind. So, he insisted that he had not touched Bunny. I hadn’t seen him all morning, and Steven knew nothing about his whereabouts either. (Steven does take after his father and frequently initiates the Bunny game these days.) Angela was in the shower, so Doug went to call to her through the door and ask if she knew anything about Bunny’s whereabouts.

“He was all alone on Sissy’s bed, so I took him and put him under Steven’s bed.” Her answer was matter-of-fact and innocent. And we just died laughing! Without telling Olivia where Angie had hid Bunny (he couldn’t give away such a good hiding place!), Doug went to retrieve the missing rabbit and returned him to Olivia. We went merrily on our way and thought nothing more of it…until Saturday morning.

We were enjoying a leisurely morning in our hotel room in Springdale, and I had just finished my shower. Olivia informed me that she was cooking breakfast. Doug was just grinning. Olivia pulled a pot from the oven, opened the lid, and out peeked Hello Kitty. Appropriate retaliation, I must say. Angie snatched her up, but that was not the end of it.

A little while later, Olivia then put Hello Kitty in the fridge to marinate in preparation from lunch. Once Hello Kitty was appropriately marinated, she pulled out a pan and placed the cat in the pan, returning her to the oven.

Meanwhile, Olivia went off to do something, and while she was gone, Steven and Angie conspired together to replace Hello Kitty with Bunny. They then sat back to wait for Olivia to discover the switch. Olivia came into our room to tell us that she was preparing lunch  and that she had just turned it down so it wouldn’t cook too fast. Doug and I were about to fall out laughing, knowing about the little switcharoo, but Olivia thought we were laughing because Hello Kitty was back in the oven!

Finally, as we were getting ready to head down to get some real breakfast, “lunch” was actually checked on, and it was discovered that the switch had been made. Olivia was dumbfounded and Steven and Angela were rolling on the floor laughing (as were we).

Yes, the children are being raised well. Who knows who the next victim will be or what method of trickery will be employed?! Never a dull moment, that’s for sure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Civil War Event #2

As promised, here is part two of our two day weekend in Little Rock after the Friday night concert with Mom and Tim.

Every year the Historic Arkansas Museum hosts what is called the Territorial Fair. This is our first year to attend, and it was well worth the time! And, like with other events across the state, this year’s fair focus was 1861, the early days of the Civil War.

Many areas of the museum that aren’t normally opened were open for the fair. So, we got to see things we’d never seen before! And to top it all off, there were quite a few people in costume walking us through it all.

We started by heading across the street to one of those rarely opened sections of the museum.

First stop was rope-making.

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The kids took turns handling each of the three tasks involved in the rope making. Here Olivia is holding the end steady using a hook around which the strands of twine are looped. Steven is holding a device that, once the strands are sufficiently twisted individually, will guide them all to intertwine to make a single rope. When his turn comes he’ll slowly walk forward, pushing the device from where Olivia is standing…

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…to where Angela is cranking. She’s turning the handle to make the ropes twist.

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When all was said and done, each had made their own rope!

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Next we went into a small cabin where a woman was cutting strawberries and cooking a few other things in the fireplace behind her. She told us that she was preparing the strawberries for making fruit leather. It’s essentially a fruit roll-up with nothing but pure fruit – and maybe a little sweetener if absolutely necessary. Yes, we’re going to try it. Yes, I’m excited!!

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One of our next stops was a cabin with a couple of rooms extending off of an open breezeway. We visited the parlor, where Steven immediately found a horse just his size! With his rope in hand, he looked quite the cowboy!

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I was immediately drawn to the table of homeschool supplies – a slate and chalk (I wish there had been a slate pencil), a board that held pages with some words for beginning readers, and a few other odds and ends. Steven had fun reading the words on the board.

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Meanwhile, the girls got to help card some wool.

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Outside on the front porch (the breezeway is evident to the left there), the girls helped stuff a pillow and mattress with hay and cornhusks.

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Steven wasn’t interested in that activity, so he waited patiently at the end of the porch.

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Back outside, we looked at the garden (this is what we need to do next year!) and the house behind it in the frame stage of construction. Inside, a blacksmith was busy making a knife.

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We finally walked back across the street to the more familiar outdoor section of the museum, but even there we got to see a few things we hadn’t seen before.

The printing house is a brand new display, built with the original construction supplies – handmade nails and all! I didn’t get any pictures of the downstairs rooms, but this is the printing press upstairs (and Steven in the fireplace!).

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We saw some kids being taught to drill.

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The actual size of the tents shared by two enlisted soldiers.

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And the first breed of chickens to be introduced to the state of Arkansas. She was soft!

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Our last outdoor stop was watching a man hand carving wooden yokes for carrying things like water buckets. This one was designed for children!

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Oh, and I don’t have a picture of it, but we also visited the lawyer’s tent where Doug and I were issued a brand new marriage license! Yes, our new anniversary is now May 7, 1861!

As we were entering, first thing in the morning, there were two men playing their fiddles welcoming guests. On our way out, this lady was playing the hammered dulcimer.  Fascinating.

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There were other things to see, but we were tired and hungry and so very full of all of the fun things we’d already seen! So, we called it a day. But, an awesome day it was, that’s for sure!