Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winding Down 2009

The year is quickly coming to a close. It is amazing to me how quickly the years seem to be going. I remember last year and getting our New Year's Day meal together and here it is time to do that once again. Our family traditionally eats New Year's Day meal together with aunts, uncles and grandparents as a way to mark the beginning of a brand new year and a fresh start. We eat pork barbecue, baked beans and black-eyed peas, collards, homemade macaroni and cheese and other favorites. We usually have something special for dessert as well. There will be lots of bowl games to watch as well.

I enjoy the tradition of eating together and I am looking forward to starting the new year, 2010. Dear husband should be returning in the early part of this year. We will begin our second semester of school and looking towards summer! Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Galloping Christmas Dog!


My camera is broken and until the company sends out the repaired one or a new one I decided to dig out a photo from last Christmas that I love. Hard to believe this puppy is now our big Ginger girl. She is embracing Christmas in a big way this year! She loves Christmas bows and garland and smelling all of the Christmas treats on the kitchen counter top. She has decided that dishtowels make great chew toys as well. She especially loves cute embroidered ones with neat little ball fringe, oh what fun! She has not quite figured out the stockings hung by the chimney with care, but I am just waiting for them to come crashing down along with the mantle garland. Tonight she almost made off with the Advent wreath on the kitchen table, candle and all, if not for a last minute save by dear son. Decking the halls has definitely been modified at our house this year. No glass ornaments on the tree and all bows with in Ginger range have been removed. In short Christmas has been Gingerfied and simplified.


Even though she has caused some disturbances in my usual Christmas decorating I am happy for the chaos she provides. She is a handful but I love it! It has helped me to really focus on why I put up the decorations in the first place and why it is so much fun to celebrate the season of Jesus' Birth. Funny how a tiny puppy grows up to be a 50 pound galloping dog that brings so much into your life. She is a good reminder of what is important this holiday season for our family...simply enjoying the Reason for this Season and remembering all the many, many blessings that we have.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turning the Page

Dear Husband's JAG crew getting ready for the Christmas season in Iraq!!



Well, November is almost done and I am getting ready to turn the page on the calendar again. December is right around the corner and all the joy and celebration of Jesus' birth is about to begin. I am pausing to think about this last year right now and to try to make the most of this last month on the calendar. It has been a year of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, but mostly a year without my dear husband.

Nothing seems right without him here among us and I miss him. I decided to blog about how things were going as a marker to me that everything would be okay and that God is with us now, even in these last few months before he comes home to us for good. All of modern technology is wonderful and does bridge the gap of missing him, it is helpful for the kids and I to connect with their Dad using Skype and texting and e-mails and even the good old fashioned postal system. We have all learned a lot from this deployment and that is what I am trying to gather up in my thoughts today. The kids have learned the meaning of sacrifice and putting others before themselves. They have learned how to communicate with their Dad so far away and how to help out even when they do not feel like doing so. They have seen a love relationship between their Mom and Dad that I hope will inspire and encourage them when they leave home and begin their own families.

The holiday season is upon us and the page on the calendar is being turned and I want to be able to celebrate Jesus' birthday with my children and family and friends. Yes, it is going to be different, and yes it will be very difficult, sometimes the reality of dear husband not being here is overwhelming and tears flood my eyes, but I know that God will work all these things out for His glory. So I am turning the page on my calendar on Tuesday and looking forward to what December will bring for our family. I know the children are excited about two more weeks left in school! We are getting close to finishing Unit 2 of Tapestry of Grace Year 3, and we are trying to hit our goals for reading and math. Nutcracker performances begin in Chapel Hill this weekend,Advent activities from the wonderful book, Celebrate with Joy, Christmas parties, gingerbread house decorating, cookie making and decorating the house and getting the crazy tree up! I want to enjoy it all. So I am resolving to give God our holidays, give Him the month of December, really as I should do with every month and ask Him for guidance and help to know what to do and when to do it. Won't you join me as you turn the page on the calendar to the last month of this year and resolve to give the month to God!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Thanksgiving!


Well, the month is just about gone! Thanksgiving is two days away and we have taken the week of from school!! Enjoying a little free time for cleaning, cooking, thinking and preparing for the joyous month of December. Before we get there though I wanted to pause and think of all the things that we have as a family and as a nation to be thankful for this year of 2009. We are a family that is separated by many miles, but our hearts are bound together even closer than before this deployment began 13 months ago. I am thankful for my soldier husband and his service to our great nation and his example for our children. I am thankful for my three beautiful, wondrous children and all the laughter and love they bring to our lives and the growing they cause me to do in my relationship with Christ. I am thankful for all of our family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends that are family and our church home. I am thankful for the honor and the call to homeschool my children and for all of the amazing resources to do so. I am thankful for my life and my health, thankful for God's provisions and blessings. Thank you dear Lord for all that You have done for us! Thank you and help me to keep my focus on being thankful and not on missing my dear husband!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Blur That Was October


Well, amazingly enough October 2009 has come and gone. The month has faded into one big beautiful blur! Our family begin the month traveling with dear husband who was home for 16 days on R&R. Our travels took us to Busch Gardens at Williamsburg and the Great Wolf Lodge, followed by a few wonderful days at the beach, soaking up some sun, but mostly enjoying one another and making memories, the weather was a little wet!


Dear husband returned to Iraq October 9 which left us with the rest of October and we continued the whirlwind of activities with birthdays, Ginger's and mine, the State fair with the chocolate covered bacon and finally our church's Fall Festival.



Our time with dear husband was fleeting, but having what one of our friends calls a "Practice Homecoming" was wonderful. I can only hope the rest of our deployment time will fly by as quickly. I surely appreciate having a completed family time because nothing really is the same without dear husband. God continually reminds me daily even when I feel so very overwhelmed how blessed we truly are, and what an honor it is to have my husband who is following God's call on his life to serve his country and set an example for our children. Yes it is hard, but it is so worth it. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting more regularly. I will always remember the blur that was October!



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anticipation


Sweet husband has started the long Army journey home for 15 days of R&R, which in the past was called rest and relaxation, now it has some other name, but it means the same thing! His first flight on the first leg of the journey was canceled due to dust storms. The new plan was convoy! After much prayer and trusting, I received the call this morning at 4:45am, safe and sound. Now the next part of the journey begins. I do not know when or where for sure, and that is o.k., because I do know ultimately whose hands he rests in, always.

We wait with great anticipation for the final phone call, saying come pick me up, I am HOME! Preparations are going on, cleaning, grocery shopping, making sure that all the comforts of home are in tip top shape for his homecoming. I know that everything to him will seem wonderful, and I don't have to make a big fuss over him. He never has asked that of me, but I want everything to be just right.

He needs the rest. He needs the relaxation. He still has to return and finish the rest of the time of his deployment. Praying for strength and wisdom to know when to do what and how to minister to him. Thank you Lord for this homecoming. I will always remember these 15 days!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ginger's Return



Our 10 month old yellow lab mix Ginger has returned from her extended time away at doggie boot camp! We are very happy to have her home once again with us. She is now peacefully sleeping in her crate...content to be with her family once again.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tQ3v3vxfdY
You can go to the link above on Youtube and see Ginger in a very funny video. She got to hang out with a lot of really cool dogs, and I think she learned a thing or two from them! She sure has better manners. Thank you Logan and the Johnston County street gang!

We ventured to the Millbrook Exchange dog park with her today. She loved running around with all of the other dogs during the work day for the park. She came back to us when it was time to go! I was very impressed!

When we got her home we gave her a very long and soapy bath with Dawn dish washing detergent! She is squeaky clean and smells great. She had a compressed raw hide bone and lots of hugs and pats and some ice cubes too!

Now I have to continue all of her training at home with a firm hand and authority. We will see...I believe I have it in me...I just have to find my pack leader mentality and we will be set!

Welcome home Ginger baby! We missed you so much! Sandy even missed you, I think!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront is a great way to show your support for our military and their families! Sandee Lehto, a friend of mine, is running to honor the memory of her Dad, Panther 10, and current deployed military, her brother Wayne, my husband John, a Sunday School buddy, Mitch and others. I can't run with her, cause I don't do marathons, that's for sure! I would like to show my support for her as she is running in October for this marathon. If you would like to support this great cause and feel wary of doing so on line, you can get your donation to me, and I will pass it on to Sandee. Thank you Sandee for supporting all of our men and women in the military and the families that they leave behind to carry on with their daily lives! We appreciate the support!

www.operationhomefront.net
Active.com Donations
Source: www.active.com
Hi friends! I'm part of a group of runners who will be participating in the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2009. Please help us to raise money for the families of soldiers who are deployed, as well as wounded warriors returning from active duty.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rainy Day Reminders


I am grateful for the rain. Today is a reminder of how much I thirst for God's love, to show it to my children, to feel it from Christian friends, to give it with graciousness to all the people in my life. Thank you Lord for the rain. My sweet husband needs to feel the "rain" of God's love in the dry desert land he is in right now. He is weary, he is parched from long hours,sleep that is hard to come by and separation from his family. He would be receiving words of encouragement and rest if he were here with us in his normal daily life. Please pray for his comfort, for him to feel God's love all around him in a dry and barren place that sees dust storms, not rain storms. Pray for him to see the "rain" in the desert. Thank you and hold on sweetie, the rain is coming for you too!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Time and the Livin' is Easy!



We have been going pretty fast through the month of June and the start of summer with all kinds of fun and adventures. I want to catalog the events of June before we get too far into July! First, we finished up Ginger's obedience classes for puppies. She did graduate, but she is a handful and then some! I cannot believe how much she has grown. She weighs 40 lbs. and is much taller than Sandy our 15 year old hound mix. Ginger is a sweet dog and fills Sandy's days with lots of boisterous puppy behavior!


Youngest son has been playing coach pitch baseball this summer and has had a blast. He has never played before so it has been an experience watching him learn to run the bases and when to run and when to stay. He has mostly played in the outfield but he can really field a ball. It has been great to watch him as he plays and learns more about the sport. He has gotten at least one hit every game and has been able to bring in some runs as well. It has been a great first year of ball. Go Volcanoes!



My dear daughter had her friend birthday get together this month as well. Just could not pull it together during the month of April so the slumber party to end all slumber parties was held in June. There was swimming, jewelry making, blindfolded makeovers,silly string and more! It was lots of fun for the girls and for this Mom! She chose a luau theme, just perfect for a warm summer night!





Finally at the end of the month, after a week of teaching Missions on the Boomerang Express in VBS at our church with 450 kidderos. It was time to help pack up oldest son and send him off for a week of Boy Scout summer camp. I have received reports of low humidity and cool evenings, a campsite by the lake and night time owl hunts. Sounds like fun to me! It was quite a feat getting him to hold still and actually let me get a picture to document this outing, but I did get one. Hope he had a great time! He comes home July 4th so we will see. He looks extremely happy to be having his picture taken doesn't he? I do what I gotta do to capture the moment!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Climbing up the Attic Scrapbook Pile


I have been working in the attic for the last several days. I had to stop for a couple of days because it has gotten so hot here, near 100 degrees for two days. I realized that the attic had become a sort of scrapbook pile from our last 8 months or so. I came across fall decorations, Christmas odds and ends, winter clothes and outgrown clothes, wreaths from the seasons, Easter eggs, lots and lots of Easter eggs... I realized that since dear husband has been away that I have not put away things like I use to. The attic door gets opened and items are placed strategically so that they will not topple over onto the other piles.

I finally realized that I must address the situation because we are going to start repeating the time frame, and I will not be able to find what I need because it will be on the very bottom of some pile. Sigh...I cannot believe I will be repeating the same time frame without dear husband. Well, on a bright note I am making progress. The kids say the playroom looks like a hurricane went through with the explosion of clothes everywhere. I have finally learned that I procrastinate the jobs I do not want to do because I am forced to make a decision about what to do with something so it is much easier to just put in on the pile! Put it in a pile and put off making the decision.

Perhaps I will show an after picture when I am all done. I need to work on school stuff next. That is another area I have been putting off because I just do not want to make the hard decisions about what stays and what goes out of the house to someone else. I did get two bookshelves and I bought the paint for them. Now I need to get them painted up, then they will find there way up to the playroom area and immediately be filled with books. It will be great and I will be so excited to see it all done. The hard part is getting to the end product!

We have VBS this coming week. I will be teaching the Missions lessons to 400 plus Outback Trekkers preK-5th grade. Always a fun but exhausting week! Not sure how much I will get done on cleaning up the attic scrapbook piles, but I will keep plugging away. Fall is not too far away and I would like to hang my wreath and find my fall flag and youngest son keeps on growing so he will need some clothes that have been tucked away for him and...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pictures from Afar




Sharing some photos from my sweetie, remembering the brave fallen heroes KIA of the 30th HBCT at their memorial service. Praying for the families who lost their brave soldiers and for the long road they have ahead of them. Praying for the soldiers that continue on, that they be encouraged.


I am really thankful that we have the internet to stay connected to dear husband. It is amazing what a little bit of conversation and laughter can do for the morale of both soldier and family. Thank you for the internet dear Lord and for Skype!



My sweetie and his legal buddies over in the desert. They look pretty cool for temperatures around 110 degrees! What a handsome bunch of soldiers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Boys Of Summer



I cannot believe May is just about done and June and summer time is upon us! This last month has really been a blur of activity. We are finishing up with school and getting ready for next year as well. I need to get some new bookshelves so I have started to look into that. I would love to get some heavy duty ones that will hold all of the books that we are collecting with our Tapestry of Grace studies. I love books and I thought I had a bunch, but now I really am getting more because of our Tapestry curriculum. I want to find just the right bookshelves to hold the books.

I have also been really sick this week. I think I must have picked up something at the NC Homeschool Conference last week in Winston-Salem. The kids and I had a great time. Dear son went to many of the Teen track classes, the kids swam in the indoor pool and went to the Talent showcase one night as well. We stayed right next to the convention center so once we arrived the car stayed parked for the entire time. It was a great conference, very different from the other two times I have gone. This year was very laid back because of having the children with me, I did not make every session I wanted to do, but I got to the ones I needed to hear. The kids got to experience the book fair, but I did not buy a lot in the way of curriculum this year. I bought just a few handwriting books and phonics books. I did make one major purchase from Summit Ministries. Bradley and I listened to the a speaker from Summit named John Stonestreet. He was amazing to listen to as he lectured about world views and the importance of having a Biblical world view as a Christian and what that really means. I also enjoyed talking to him in the book fair at great length. I got the curriculum to work through at home with dear son. We are both excited about it.

After the conference crazy Mom decided we should fit some time in at the beach as well. We drove from Winston-Salem to Pine Knoll Shores for some beach fun with the my in-laws. The kids had fun with cousins and we got a little too much sun. The weather was cloudy and some showers so we kept wiping on and off the sunscreen and ended up a little crispy! It was a good peaceful time, and I enjoyed the Sunday Memorial Day service at Bogue Baptist church. I had a difficult time over the holiday weekend and going to the beach and being at the service at Bogue Baptist were the things God used to show me His love for me as I walked through this stressful time. He is such an amazing God, so intimate and personal to me. Even the music on the radio made me feel loved and held by Him.

I praise God as we head into this new month and into the summer time... I know He has much to show us as we start off our summer. I hope that I can embrace all that He has to teach us with as much enthusiasm as the boys of summer in this great picture!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Colonial Field Day Fun!


Our TOG Co op group had their Unit 3/4 Celebration last week. We celebrated with a Colonial Field day with all of the festivities and fun. The lower and upper grammar students participated in games such as ninepins, lawn bowling, horse shoes and croquet. The dialectic and rhetoric students were the "colonial guides" and led the other students in the games. It was great! We all ate lunch together and celebrated with cake. We will take the summer off from TOG and begin anew with TOG Y3 studying from Napoleon up to Teddy Roosevelt in the fall. I am already excited about the new year, but I am grateful for a pause to regroup and organize and REST.

The kids and I will be attending the homeschooling conference in our state later this week. I have never taken them before and I am really looking forward to seeing their reactions to all of the people and the book fair. I will post about our experiences at their first homeschooling conference.

Eloise Indeed!


Dear daughter had her end of the year recital, "Pages from Childhood" Each class performed a dance to coordinate with a classic children's book. Dear daughter's ballet class did the book Eloise. It was a fun dance and the girls did a great job! The night was special as her bf, Grandmommy and dear Uncle and Aunt were able to attend the opening night's performance.

May Festival Time!


We headed to our town's May festival for some fun on a cloudy, humid Saturday. Dear daughter had her bf with her and of course dear son tagged along as well. The girls enjoyed visiting a lovely lady who makes doll clothes for their American girl dolls and having tea at the tearoom. They picked out some church clothes, pj's, patriotic dresses and a blue jean jacket and hat ensemble. It was fun shopping for the dolls!

Dear son pet every dog walking by, of course only after asking,played all of the games, like hole in one golf and fishing for a prize, and got a homemade bow and arrow set. He also taste tested some yummy Granddeddy Dave's Barbecue sauce with Mom! He got a fireman's hat, a Hawaiian lei and stickers. We ate famous local hot dogs with chili and had old timey glass bottled Cokes as our lunch treat. Just a little different from the girls' strawberry soup and tea!

When we all got back together, the kids made their own candles, guess who had the most colorful one ? While waiting to let the wax harden we walked around awhile and listened to a band for a bit. Then we went back to get the candles and headed on home. Where else could you have all of that fun? We had a great May festival, and I even was able to find a parking space without too much trouble.

Dear son had his picture taken with Granddeddy Dave's barbecue pig!

The Blues Brothers...



The brothers got in on the fun at the birthday party, one was forced. I think they could pass for the Brothers Blue, well maybe not, but they sure make my life an interesting adventure with all the craziness having 2 boys can bring. What a blessing it is to have some boys mixed in with my girly girl. A good time was had by all!

Scattered Pictures...


We celebrated another birthday at the end of April. Dear daughter is now in double digits! She was so looking forward to this birthday. She got a special call from her dear Dad. What a present that was. The family celebration included all of the usual suspects, plus dinner at one of dear daughter's favorite restaurants. She was definitely the birthday princess!

Let There be Posting

Well, about another month has flown by and I have had every intention of posting on my blog, but no time to put my intentions into actions. My dear husband is missing the postings so I need to catch up again and hopefully I can really try to stick with once a week in the future. We have had another birthday, beginning of baseball and puppy training class, the end of our first year of TOG Year 2 (Tapestry of Grace for all of you who may not know), and the winding down of the school year. I am going to post some pictures and more comments with the pictures as soon as I find the cord to go with the camera! That should be later on today. Now we are off to the YMCA to let the oldest take his swim test for summer water activities in Scouts!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Time out!


I need a time out, you know the kind you get when you are running around crazy in a game of tag and you almost get caught and you yell TIME OUT! Things around our house are in overdrive and trying to get a schedule going is just not working out as easily as I had thought it would. My Dad fell and injured himself seriously, one of my children is battling allergies terribly this week and everyone else is just moving like we are in JELLO. Will we master division, will George Washington survive the Revolutionary war, are all Bob Books so much fun ? I am so glad that I know this too will pass, but man, I need a TIME OUT! I also remember playing tag and to keep from getting caught you could sit down and say the name of a cartoon show! Wouldn't that be great if we could do that now! Well, school is winding down for the year, testing is going on, spring fever is in high gear and life is crazy, but it is life and I am glad to be living it, even if it is crazy. Captain Caveman!!! Phew...I am safe! Hope you have a great day playing tag too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You


Today is Dear husband's birthday. I am honored to have celebrated 19 of his birthday days with him! I hope he enjoys his Baskin Robbins today. I am remembering his special day and how much I love and appreciate him today and every day. We will not be together for the traditional candle wish, but I bet I can guess what that wish would be! Happy, happy sweetie!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's About Time!

O.K., I have one final post before turning in for the night or the morning...I promised my co-op class I would post their outstanding display board projects on my blog. They completed display boards with topics from colonial times covered in Tapestry of Grace Year 2 Unit 3. I am very proud of them and all of their hard work. They researched their topics, chose graphics for the boards and wrote up the research in an interesting way to make top notch display boards. These display boards represent their first attempt at a project like this for co-op and they are very good. The topics covered are Jamestown, Louis XIV, the economy during Colonial times, Pocahontas, the Cherokee Indians, and the Lost Colony. Great jobs kids! I am so proud of you...Enjoy their display boards.






Easter and a Special Birthday

We celebrated Easter with family this past weekend. The kids dyed Easter eggs at Grandmommy and Granddaddy's house with their cousins.
We went to a huge Easter egg hunt and Spring festival sponsored by our church. We are talking over 10,000 eggs for the hunting! It was fun and a great distraction for me. My niece and nephew were with us as well and so was my Mom. Dear son and daughter climbed the rock wall, ringing the buzzer at the top and ate some cotton candy and snow cones. We had a great day outdoors. Easter Sunday was beautiful. We went to church and enjoyed Easter dinner out at a special restaurant with family.

I love Easter and the renewing of all of life around us during the Spring. It reminds me of the new life we have in Christ because of His resurrection Easter Sunday. I love the sense of new beginnings that Spring brings. Easter is a time to reflect on God's love for us and His overwhelming sacrifice on the Cross.

We also celebrated a very special birthday. Dear son's 13th Birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year. We our now blessed with a teenager in our family! I remember that feeling of growing up so well! Good times, good times... We celebrated in grand style with balloons, a guitar cupcake cake and all of the trimmings. Really, he will do his celebrating with his friends in the days ahead. The family party was sweet and special with everyone reminiscing about the day he was born. This birthday day was special and started off with a special and unexpected call from Kuwait. What a present! Dear son never lost that smile all day long! What a great birthday. I am so happy to be the Mom of a Teenager!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Catch Me If You Can! Part 2


This is part 2 of our great adventure doing lots of fun things with Dad, like eating at the Kanki and throwing baseball at Fort Bragg. We also gathered with family and church friends for a farewell barbecue supper! We packed in as much as possible in just a short amount of time. We have collected more memories for our mental scrapbook to help sustain all of us in the time ahead. Here are some more photos from some of the adventures including our time at Fort Bragg with dear Husband. It has been quite a ride!

We were stuffed after eating lunch at the Kanki. I think that lunch will go down in history as the most exciting and the quietest lunch ever! The kids were awestruck. Maybe I should take up Japanese cooking! I am not sure about those sharp knives...

Dear husband celebrating his birthday a little early, surprise honey, I got you! HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Always connected, no matter where he is...amazing.

Our son learned the finer points of baseball catching and throwing from Dear Dad. He will start baseball in a couple of weeks and Dad wanted to get in some practicing with him


A quick photo with my sweetie!