Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Sometimes I sit and wonder at how God works.  The way he puts certain people in our lives at exactly the right time is such an incredible thing. 

I met Chris my sophomore year in college.  I was briefly dating his roommate's best friend.  We hung out in Chris' room a few times.  He was not your typical college student.  On a Saturday night, he was sitting at his desk reading a book.  I was getting ready for a party.  His impression of me was equally unimpressive and deserved.

Fast forward a year.  I was getting ready to study abroad in England.  There were a dozen or so students from Baker going and Chris was one of those.  I had this ridiculous idea that I was going to marry the person I sat next to on the plane.  It wasn't an idea really - more like an excuse for why I wasn't dating anyone at the time.  But, the idea was there.  I sat down on the plane and who sat next to me?  Chris.  And on the next flight?  Chris.  God was putting someone in my life for a reason.  But I wasn't sure what that reason was.  Over the next 4 months we became best friends.  Eventually we started dating. 

Fast forward 11 years.  Four kids later.  And I still wonder about how God put Chris into my life. Chris and I loved eachother a lot.  Enough to get married.  But I think about it now and wonder at how little we knew.  We've grown SO much in those 11 years.   And our love has grown SO much.  The man that Chris has become - I probably wouldn't have recognized 11 years ago.  And I hope he can say the same about me. 

Chris is a reporter.  He's a managing editor.  He's a freelance writer and photographer.  He's a Sunday School teacher.  He's a father and a husband.  And in his spare time he's a student again.  He wakes up every morning at 5:15am to do his graduate school work in theology while the rest of us sleep. And I wonder what I did to possibly deserve such a great man in my life. 

And right now he's out of state working on a freelance job as he constantly works to find ways so I can stay home with our kids.  And I'm missing him.  And I'm just so thankful for him.  I'm hoping you all have someone so special in your lives.  Isn't God amazing?

Monday, October 25, 2010


246.  That's how many marbles it took Sophia to fill up her marble jar.  We started the marble jars this summer as a way to encourage the kids to be better helpers around the house.  In the beginning, they would get marbles for doing things like making their beds or helping with the dishes. 

As the summer progressed I started trying to reward them more for the things they were doing on their own to be helpful.  A switch from basic obedience training to encouraging more helpful and caring hearts.  So they'd get marbles when I would walk downstairs and they were already cleaning up the basement.  One day I told them we couldn't do crafts until I finished the laundry -- so on their own they went downstairs and brought up all their hangers so I could finish faster.  Sometimes it was as simple as an older sister pushing Isabella on the swing -- helping her have fun rather than focusing on themselves.  As the jars began to fill up, the girls really started looking for things they could do to be helpful.  My favorite was when Sophia looked at my cabinet under my computer -- a total disaster -- and asked if she could organize it.   LOVED that! 

As a reward, Sophia got to pick what she would do and she chose to go on a date to the bookstore with her Dad and go shopping with me.  She got a couple of books and some much needed church clothes.  But mainly, we got quality one-on-one time with her. 

Anna is only a few marbles away from finishing so we'll be planning another date soon. Isabella has a ways to go.  She's always been my M.E.R girl. (Minimal Effort Required)  Some would call it lazy -- others might think she's smart.  But really she doesn't do much beyond what she absolutely has to.  Sophia has already started refilling her jar.  I'm looking forward to seeing them find ways to be helpful.  Really, I wish I had my own jar with a prize waiting for me at the end.  Maybe I'd have a better attitude when it comes to laundry and the dishes!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another Great Idea...

I get these ideas in my head.  Ideas that, in my head, seem great.  I love doing craft projects with my kids.  I do not love the mess that follows.  Today we went to Micheal's.  Since the kids didn't have school today, I told them we would pick out a fun craft project to do.  I watched two extra kiddos this afternoon and knew I had to be creative to keep them semi-quiet so my little man would take his usual 3-4 hour nap.  Yes, I know how lucky I am! 

I found some unfinished wood jack-o-lanterns that were flat.  I envisioned them painted, sprinkled with glitter and then attached to some wooden yard sign sticks.  Cute little jack-o-lanterns lining my garden. 

I forgot to picture what 6 kids, 1 dog, 1 crazy mom, orange  and brown paint and glitter would look like when we were done.  I was so smart.  I'll do it outside on the back patio.  The mess won't be in my house, it will clean up easily.  Smart. 

I forgot about the wind.  Wind + glitter = a big mess.  I forgot about the kid factor.  Kids can make a mess out of anything.  I forgot when I turn around, they shake the glitter on everything.  In the end, we had six painted jack-o-lanterns and glitter EVERYWHERE!  I mean everywhere.  My entire patio was covered in the stuff.  Somehow my dog was covered in it.  And of course, orange/gold glitter is hard to find, so I had to buy the expensive Martha Stewart (aka fine as dust) glitter.  It doesn't come off.  I hosed down the patio so now our grass sparkles.  But I can't seem to get it off of me.  I need a shower, but have company coming and have a house to clean up.  If they could only see it now.  They might not come over!  

The kids had fun, but I bet I don't use glitter for a while. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Minute Out of Your Day

So, I hope you've seen me post on Facebook about the Pepsi Refresh grant program.  If not, then I haven't done my part.  But I'm asking you to consider taking a minute out of your day to vote for the Kyrie Foundation.  There are a ton of great organizations worthy of your vote.  Many of these groups are small groups, where $250,000 would change their organization forever.  Some of them are large national groups that can easily drop $250,000 on a single marketing campaign.  Doesn't really seem fair to be in the same boat.  But, that's the path you take as a smaller foundation.  So.....they need your help.  Vote DAILY.  Like it was your child with brain cancer.  Spread the word to all your friends.  Like it was the little girl next door.  Ask your co-workers to vote.  Like it was your child's best friend.  Together, this is possible.  Please help!

Remember, you can give the group 3 votes per day:

1) Text 103447 to 73774

2) Visit Pepsi Refresh's FB page and click "go to application" to vote.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

School Nurse

I'm starting to believe that I should personally be paying at least part of the school nurse's salary.  Sophia is quickly becoming, what I have to assume, her number one patient.  Over the last three years she had many visits to the nurse.  The usual - sick to her stomach.  Last year the nurse told me she would just take Sophia's word that if she felt really sick then she was.  On that day she visited two times, and on the way to her third visit she threw up in the hallway. (Sorry to the custodial staff - they can't possibly pay you enough to do that particular job).  Beyond being sick, Sophia has visited the nurse for at least four loose teeth.  The appeal of the plastic tooth-shaped necklace is hard to pass up!  

Lately, she's been visiting the nurse during playground time.  She is a monkey bars kind-of girl.  Always climbing.  She took a rock climbing class when she had just turned four just because she loved it so much. 

(When she was 4)
But now, as a 2nd grader, she apparently spends a lot of time on the monkey bars at recess because in the last two weeks she has visited the nurse for a sore thumb, a sore bottom, and a blistered hand mostly the results of the monkey bars.

I know I pay my share of taxes into the school district.  But I would like to designate my portion to the school nurse.  She spends a lot of time with my little girl!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

I LOVE this time of year!  Fall is so much fun.  You can get away with wearing shorts or jeans most days and it's no longer ridiculously hot.  It's also time for the holidays to start.  Halloween followed quickly by Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years!  There's always something fun going on.

Last Saturday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to Apple Jack's Pumpkin Patch.  I researched all the area pumpkin patches and was blown away by the admission prices in addition to the costs to do other activities.  Those other activities being all the fun things my kids would see and want to do.  Being a family of six on one income means we don't have much of an entertainment budget.  So we make those dollars S-T-R-E-T-C-H as much as possible. 

We came across Apple Jack's in Augusta and admission was only $6.  That covered all the activities (kiddie train, duck races, giant slide, jumping pillow, corn & milo mazes, petting zoo, and playground stuff) unless you wanted to go shoot giant pumpkin guns, and then that cost a little extra.  We are not the "shooting" type of family, so $6 it was.  The kids had a blast!  In the end, we rode out to the pumpkin patch and each kid picked their own pumpkin.  Of course, most of them couldn't hold them!  But they tried. 

And 419 pictures later.....here are a few of the highlights.
Crawling through the tires was a lot of fun!

The zip line was great. 
Isabella needed help, but her legs were moving like she was running on air.

The fun jumping pillow.

I think Chris had as much fun as the kids.

A VERY big slide.

Jacob's Ladder

Sophia in the patch.



Sam enjoyed throwing dirt.

Our pick. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Confession #3

I bribed my 2nd grader to read to my Kindergartner. 

Anna was absolutely positive that the Book-It program was also a contest to see who could turn in their sheet first.  I couldn't convince her she actually had a month to turn it in.  She wanted to win.  Over the weekend she wanted me to read her 20 books so she could "win."  I read her two books. 

And over a few days, Sophia read her the other 18.  For the final 7, Sophia earned a marble in her jar for every book she read to her sister.  Once the jar is filled up (marbles earned for good behavior, chores, etc.) then they get to go on a date with Mom or Dad.  In my head, I rationalize that it is good reading time for Sophia, good sister time, a good lesson on working towards an end goal, and a really good deal for me.

Am I a bit lazy?  Um, yeah.  But, with four kids, sometimes you have to make choices and you can't do it all.  So, for now, I'm loving that I have another reader in the house!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Confession #2

This summer we were blessed to be able to buy Chris' grandmother's van from her.  Our old van was on it's last leg and her van was nice.  By nice, I mean "special edition" nice.  That means all the features that a mother of four young kids doesn't deserve and probably shouldn't have.  Built in DVD player, stow-in-go seating, leather seats, key less doors.  The list is long. But I am currently addicted to one of the features I never knew I was missing. 

Heated seats.  Seriously.  I had never tried these before.  Last week one night we got in the van and it was pretty chilly outside.  I pushed the button and fell in love!  Now when I get in the car -- and yes, it's been 80 outside -- I put the AC on and the heated seats on.  I make excuses.  My back is a little sore.  Or my legs, or whatever.  Really, I just love how relaxing it is.  I was worn out the other night and sore from exercising and I told Chris what I really wanted to do was just go sit in the van with my heated seats.  I didn't.  But it did cross my mind!  It's something I never knew I was missing, and now hope I don't have to live without.

Life's littlest luxeries are sometimes the best!