Thursday, May 31, 2012

first day at the pool….

IMG_0463 This was our first day at the pool for the season. This winter, I felt like it would never come, and yet, here it is! =)

Last summer at this time, I was a waddling behemoth in a maternity suit.

This summer, I have a little water baby to snuggle. He LOVED the pool, splashing and kicking those tiny arms and legs for hours. I fed him his cereal in a shady spot in a plastic chair, a big beach towel wrapped around him for leverage. I think he enjoyed it more than any of my other babies, and he definitely kept his hat on far better than they did.

Sooo….. lots of friends that we love at the pool to play with us- check.

Plenty of fun picnic food- including the Lunchable and the squeezable applesauce that had Evan saying, “Thank you for the Happy Meal, Mommy!” – check

Lots of summer fun to look forward to- double check!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Real moments…

Been having some trouble with 5-year-old temper tantrums for the past few days. I’ve been praying for wisdom with how to deal with them. As usual, when you ask, you eventually receive. =) Today I came up with something that worked. As he was about to hit, I told him to count to five to calm down, and he actually did.

His hand was still raised like he was going to hit, though. =) So I said, “Ok, if you choose to hit, you’re going to get some disciplinary action that shall not be named on the internet that rhymes with “frank”, and then you’ll go upstairs to time out for 15 minutes. If you choose not to hit, you’ll only have to go to time out for 5 minutes upstairs. I hope you choose the right thing.” Would you believe it, the little whipper snapper actually chose option no. 2. Hallelujah! (I’m writing this down because I’ll need to remember it later when it all goes to pot again… hopefully temporarily.)

I got them all ready to go to a friend’s house after Seth’s timeout for a little playtime. Of course, the bottom fell out of the sky as soon as I’d snapped Ben into his infant carrier.

So I set it down, and we stood in the open front doorway and watched the rain pour down and blow sideways. Ben was mesmerized. The boys ran out onto the porch and squealed and yelled, “Batten down the hatches!” They’d run inside, pretend to have a hard time closing the door, and then sigh exaggeratedly in relief. Then they’d open the door and do it all again. At one point, Evan bent down and put his arm around Ben’s little head in the carrier. He said, “I’ll protect him from the storm, Mommy.”

Such a simple little thing it was…. just watching a storm together. But I’ll remember it.

NCHE Conference, here we come….

I shoulda planned on getting fast food tonight. I’m sitting here at the computer, and I know if I look behind me, I’ll see some dirty dishes. I’ve got a list a page long of things to pack into our van tonight, and I just came from upstairs where I got all the boys’ stuff that we’ll need out of their rooms. No rest for the weary…. =)

But tomorrow we’re headed to the North Carolinians for Home Education Annual Conference. If I wasn’t so tired and feeling so cruddy from yet another nasty thing that’s blooming, I’d be excited. =) Maybe my enthusiasm will peak once we reach Winston tomorrow.

David came in tonight, and as we kid wrangled, he said, “It just hit me today that we’ll be a homeschooling family by this fall.” It was cute. I teased, “Are you excited, honey?” =) I’m glad he’s so jazzed about this new phase of life. It’s a big blessing.

This fall, we’ll be joining all of our siblings in homeschooling. We’re both surprised by that, actually. Terri will be homeschooling Isaac, and Kelli started homeschooling all the other nieces and nephew this year. I guess its unanimous for now. =) We all like to be weird and wonderful, right guys?

Maybe it’ll hit me when I’m walking around the convention center tomorrow, hand in hand with my husband. To homeschool my children has always been one of my biggest dreams for my life, and its actually coming true. This is where I wanted to be one day when I was a teen. This is where I hoped I’d be headed one day when I was in college. The dream never really changed, and I’m getting to live it now….

Thanks for instilling a love for this kind of family life and learning in my heart early on, Mom. I’m where I am today because of you and Dad…. I know you wanted to give up many a day when we hit those tricky middle school and high school years. Thanks for not giving up….

And now off to console the cranky baby and load up. We’re hitting the road soon…

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

mother’s minutia…

I have shamelessly borrowed the heading of this post from the title of a new blog I’m enjoying following. Check it out….

From the email I sent to David earlier today….

“The good news is that we dropped by the new nature preserve this morning and got a personal nature lesson in their awesome nature room from the resident naturalist. We must go back there often…

The bad news is that, while I was quizzing Seth on his life cycle of a frog knowledge, Evan was drawing all over his arms with blue marker. The marker is not coming off well.

We’ll be keeping it real at soccer lessons tonight.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

anniversary surprise….








He always loves me extravagantly in a million different ways…. but this time there was a limo involved. =) What a mighty fine man.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

11 years….

wedding day

Happy anniversary to the wonderful man who halves my sorrows and has tripled my joy….


Thursday, May 17, 2012



My brother and his family came to town. And when I asked him to help me figure out if we had a limb that would be strong enough for a rope swing, he didn’t stop there. “You got anything I could make one with?” I pulled out an unused decking board from the shed.

My brother took it back to his father-in-law’s house in the afternoon. Did I mention that his father-in-law is a builder? =) That board came back looking nothing like a decking board. It got sanded, routered, drilled, and sprayed. =) He was also given some leftover climbing rope.

My view from the kitchen window while fixing dinner was of Vance and David trying to throw that rope over the branch. They had it up and all the children swinging before the homemade pizza was done…

claireswinging Another childhood memory of ours…. created for our children….

I love you, Vance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother’s day…

wine glass

I don’t even drink, and I want this. =)

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve had a hard time feeling emotionally balanced. All the running around left David and I feeling pretty grouchy and ragged by the time we made it to Friday at my parent’s house. I wasn’t the most positive person to be around as we kid wrangled to get the family picture my mother wanted. Sorry, Mom…. and everybody else in my family.

It’s waay too easy to feel sorry for yourself when you’re a mom to three young children. I feel like I’ve been on a downswing emotionally… just tired and grouchy and wanting a break more than usual. Trying to get the boys out the door in the morning to go to meetings seems harder, getting lunches on the table seems harder, etc., etc.

But tonight, as I was cleaning up, sweeping the porch, watering plants, etc., I felt myself start to relax and get re-centered, for lack of a better word. Maybe it was the quiet walk around the cul de sac with grumpy Ben in the stroller. Maybe it was talking to my neighbor who is a proud new grandma. I don’t know, but I was thankful.

And a little song that my mom taught me when I was a child started playing in my head. “If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be a servant of all.” It’s true. And I do want to be great in God’s kingdom, so I guess I’d better get on with it and stuff the bad attitude.

So when my amazing husband offered to drag his exhausted self into a Mother’s Day frenzy for me, I said “no.” He’s just as worn out as I am. He’s ordered me a pizza to be delivered to our house when we get home from church tomorrow. We’re going to skip Sunday School to have a little more relaxed morning before we head to church. And he’s going to go across the street to Burger King and get me something greasy for breakfast. =) That’s MORE than enough.

I am beyond blessed. I have three wonderful children, and I get to enjoy them every day. This will (probably) be my last Mother’s Day with a baby in my arms, and I’m going to enjoy that to the max. Sniff.

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all. Whatever you’re doing or getting, let that be more than enough. We are blessed….

Tuesday, May 08, 2012




It’s late, and I should be in bed. I just can’t get my brain to shut down so I can go to sleep. I have been lying awake planning out this coming week. You know how that can go. We’ve got last MOPs, last CBS, a baby shower (that I’m hosting), a birthday party, a graduation, a work picnic, taking a meal to a family with a new baby, visiting my bro and his family at my parents, a baby dedication, and Mother’s Day.

And I’m doing it all with an almost 3-year-old who is potty training and a baby who has learned to sit up on his own, (!) but has now discovered that he gets bored easily and wants to be entertained.

We started Evan potty training this Saturday. It amazes me how one can get a little guy to try and potty every 5 minutes, and he can still have an accident. Sigh. He’s done really, really well at going, but he’s definitely having accidents. He went through two outfits at church on Sunday. I’m not as freaked by the whole process as I was the first time around…. and I’m also not expecting anything other than for it to take a long (and wet) time.

We’re enjoying lots of drawing time around here lately. Seth has suddenly become completely fixated on drawing animals. I bought a set of drawing books by Usborne before he was born that I remembered from my childhood. He has worked through a lot of “How to Draw Animals,” drawing lizards, frogs, cats, fish, etc. He draws them, and then he cuts them out. He’s made huge improvements in his drawing ability in a couple of short weeks.

Since Seth is doing so much drawing, Evan wants to be in on it, too. He scribbles furiously on a page, and then he holds it up. “See, Mommy, I drew a starfish.” Un huh. =)

We’re going through a lot of printer paper.

I’m dealing with spring allergies. I have been mildly dizzy for a few weeks now, and I don’t expect it to end anytime soon. This week, I’ve had a sore throat and lots of drainage. I guess I should be thankful that it took this long for me to be plagued by them. My mom had to start getting allergy shots in grad school, and it looks like that’s where I’m headed, too. I say I should be thankful. I’m struggling with that. I hate feeling slightly cruddy with no end in sight.

Mom came to visit on the spur of the moment last week. I called her and said, “Hey, Mom, you wanna come play with us?” And she said, “Sure I do.” And then she packed an overnight bag, jumped in her van, and flew down the road to her grandsons. She stopped on the way for fresh strawberries. While she was here, she offered to pot my hanging baskets and plant zinnias for me.

My mom rocks.

Tomorrow is my last MOPs ever. I’ve been going since Seth was 6 months old, and he’s 5 now. Most of my friendships have come through MOPs, and I am going to feel lost and sad without it come fall. I know this, but I know its time to move on. Seth is starting kindergarten, and I need to focus on getting our school days established. We’ll still have Bible study one day a week, and some of my MOPs friends are in that as well. It’s going to be different, though. Time to leave one season and start moving into the next…

Ok, time to be done with this drivel. Oh, how do ya like my cute baby? He’s 8 months old now, and I think he might turn blonde….. =)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

before and after….

IMG_0016 Before processing in PicMonkey….



…. and after…..

I’ve wanted to figure out how to use Photoshop for years. I actually have a copy that I asked for for my birthday several years ago. I gave up relatively quickly in frustration. It was too difficult for me to figure out without lots of classes and books.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t longed for beautiful photos. I’m a visual person, and pictures of my family mean a lot to me. If the lighting doesn’t cooperate, and I don’t have the “good” camera on me, it doesn’t matter anymore. I now have a better chance at getting the image in my mind’s eye that wouldn’t show up on the tiny camera screen.

I love it. =)