Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Friday!

We've been enjoying our Chick-fil-a coupons from the First 100 Event we attended. This week Piper discovered ketchup and LOVED it!

I made a homemade pizza for the first time in a while. Man, do I love homemade pizza!

The little kids and I picked up a couple of friends and headed to Sunshine Park. I totally underestimated the difficulty of directing a four-year old and a three-year old on bikes plus a two-year old on a tricycle while pulling a two-year old and a one-year old in a wagon down the street where people were dropping off kids for camp. Yeah. Duh, me. But thanks to a kind woman's help we made it all in one piece! I think everyone had a good time and was ready for a popsicle when we got back home.

We tried banana "ice cream" this week. You just slice up ripe bananas and freeze the slices then stick them in the blender and blend until smooth. You can eat it right away for a "soft serve" texture or refreeze it for something more like typical ice cream out of a carton; we liked the refrozen better. It was a great cold treat that is 100% healthy. I think it would be great with some granola, too.

A friend gave me this beautiful sign this week. She and her family are preparing to move to Africa soon to ministered there. Thanks for thinking of me, Ashley!

Ryland love, love, loves playing with my camera. He had just taken about 100 pictures on it one morning when he discovered this little camera at Wal-mart later that day. He never asks for toys but he wanted this one and, believe me, if I'd had an extra $40 it would be his. = (

While we were at Wal-mart, Ryland ended up falling asleep sitting up in the buggy. Little did we know, this was the beginning of him being sick.

Unfortunately, Ryland suffered through a sick day this week. Poor little guy.

And guess what happens if we can't go outside for a whole day? *Certain* people don't want to take a nap.

This morning Ryland felt a little better so we went to the playground. He was still kind of tuckered out and sat in my lap most of the time but Jathan and Piper ran around and played.

Cuddles from my babies. = )

Piper just loves the playground. She walks all around now and especially likes drawing with chalk.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Library Champions

The kids are participating in the summer reading program at the Jefferson Parish Libraries. We've been working hard reading a ton of books, and yesterday Jathan, Ryland, and Piper got rewarded. (Keeleigh still has a few books to go...I don't get to read to her and she has spent more time at the pool than with her nose in a book this summer!)

We just so happened to stop in during story time and got to meet Boudreaux, the Zephyr's mascot, who was there for the baseball-themed story time.

We also chose a *few* more books and four movies for this week. We'll meet the 50 book requirement and be entered into the drawing for a big prize. Here's hoping we win!

Now here are a few pictures of the littles wearing their new reading shirts in front of our yard sign (what do you do with a yard sign if you have no yard?).




Hopefully Keeleigh will get on the ball and I'll have a celebratory pic of her up here soon!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Reading

I signed the kids up for the summer reading program at the library, and a couple of weeks ago we picked out a few books to take home. I let the kids choose freely and we ended up with 32 books! One of the books Piper had chosen all by herself. I may end up buying a copy of this one because she absolutely loves it. It's so adorable seeing her flip through the pictures and light up. She points and says, "Baby," while I try to keep my heart from bursting. = )

Saturday, June 23, 2012

This Week in Pictures

June 2012, Week 3

Keeleigh and I visited the homeschool resource room on campus searching for material for the 2012-2013 school year.

The boys helped me make our first batch of homemade laundry detergent. For under $5 we made enough concentrate to last for at least 160 loads of laundry!

The little kids visited the Floores one morning. Carley showed Ryland how to drive.

We tried to hit the playground early and enjoy the little bit of shade. The kids love drawing with sidewalk chalk!

I traced around each of the kids. Piper thought that was so funny and kept laying down smiling waiting for me to draw her some more. Seriously, could she get any cuter?

"It's hot outside," Ryland tells me. He was happy to head upstairs to cool off with a snowball!

At least someone is enjoying the hot and humid weather. My tomatoes are soaking up the sun on the balcony and grow, grow, growing. Can't wait to have a garden someday!

This one was from today and looks very similar to the other shot of her earlier this week but I just couldn't resist. Adorable!

So, apparently Piper has an independent streak. She really, really like feeding herself. Sometimes the food actually gets in her mouth, too.

A package arrived in the mail!

Nana and Pappy sent masks for the boys...

and lots of birthday goodies for Keeleigh!

Those masks have seldom left the boys' faces since they got them. They wore them out to eat, to the grocery store, and yes, even in the pool. Hey, even superheroes need to cool off in the pool every once in a while.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Week in Pictures

June, Week 2

I made black bean quesadillas (click here for the recipe). Everyone (except Keeleigh) ate them up. Ryland even said, "Good food, Mommy!" This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Keeleigh constructed a play tent for the boys. They loved it!

We had planning on going to Fontainebleau State Park Wednesday to let the kids play on the beach for the afternoon, then Keeleigh suggested we camp out for the night. "Why not?" we decided. It was our first family camping adventure---so much fun! I see many return trips in our future.

Jackie and I needed to go buy Keeleigh's birthday present so my friend, Melissa, volunteered to keep the boys, Keeleigh stayed with a friend, and we got a date night (Piper joined us but we didn't mind!). Hears photographic proof that I'm a cheap date. We used my coupons from the First 100 Event and got all of this food for $2.66. Good deal!

This shot is from the Causeway...I love seeing NOLA in the distance. Almost home!

I froze some little toys in ice and let the boys use hammers to free their animals. Jathan loved it! My apologies to everyone in our building, however. It honestly didn't occur to me how loud it would be giving two little boys hammers!

13 years ago I had to eat yucky hospital food but this year for Keeleigh's birthday I enjoyed a great meal: BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, rice and corn casserole, boiled cabbage, and garlic bread. I ate until it hurt.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Worst Excuse Not to Home School

I met someone new last week and as we were talking I mentioned that I home school my children. As with many people, I got the response, "Oh, I could never do that!" I know that everyone does not agree that homeschooling is a viable, desirable option but no one has ever been rude to me (at least not to my face!) when I mention that's what we do. Almost always people bestow compliments on me. I try not to let this go to my head because I happen to know that I am nothing special.

Yes, I have four children and their ages sometimes make things challenging. Although I have a natural creative bent and love learning, I didn't exactly plan that I'd be homeschooling a teenager, a preschooler, a curious two-year old, and a mama-lovin' toddler. It's hard juggling geometry and diapers! I like to think of myself as an innately patient person (when it comes to dealing with people) and that helps, but that is not my secret.

Over and over I hear people say, "I could never teach my own children. I'm too <insert character flaw here>." They usually go on to explain to me something to the effect that they are impatient with their children. It's not the educating part of home schooling that frightens them; it's the idea of having to interact with their children all day long, everyday. One lady actually told me that after a time of helping her publicly-schooled daughter with homework, her child turned to her and said, "I'm glad you don't home school me." She didn't take it as an offense even though I think she should have.

It's different. You have to not only push yourself outside of your comfort zone but you have to live outside of it and that is not something you can do on your own. And that, in my humble opinion, is THE worst excuse not to home school your children if you are a Christian.

If you are a Christian, then you have the HOLY SPIRIT--God's very essence--living inside of you.  We all love Jesus and spend a lot of time talking about Him, but Jesus said that it was better for us that He went away so that this Helper could come and walk with us! Why do we live as if this is not so? As if we must do all these good things that either are expected of us or we feel compelled/called to do by our own power? Maybe it's wrong of me to do so but sometimes I doubt that people even know Jesus because they don't seem to have the Spirit working in their lives. I'm thinking of the "fruits of the Spirit" verse.

 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

I did not love. I had not joy or peace. My patience only stretched so far. My kindness and goodness was shallow and aimed at getting the greatest return for myself. I did not understand faith. I lacked gentleness, especially in speech. And don't even get me started on self-control! This was me until I submitted to the lordship of Christ and agreed to at least listen to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. That's a hard, hard thing-- dying to self day after day (or minute by minute) but I decided to do it because I believed my God loved me and wanted what was best for me. I definitely have not arrived, but I can honestly say now that I undoubtedly know the power of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life. It's not just for preachers on Sunday. It's not just for missionaries in foreign countries. It's for you and me in every moment of every day.

I do things that most of you don't understand, things you wouldn't want to attempt. I have committed my life to bringing up four children into adults and would gladly welcome more children into our family. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes the children are trying and difficult. But you know what? The times when things go wrong are not when they are acting up--no, not even on their worst days. When things go south, you can be sure it's because I've turned away from my source of power and strength. I don't want that. I don't want to waste this precious, precious gift the Lord has given us of Himself. I want to love--really love. I want to know joy instead of chasing the ever-elusive element of happiness. I want peace deep down in my soul. I want to be patient and kind and good. I want be be found faithful. I'm tired of harsh words and tones escaping my mouth; I want to be gentle! And, perhaps above all else, I want to be able to control myself and put myself under the constant control of God because that just makes sense.

I don't think home schooling is the right avenue for everyone. Actually I'd love to convince you all to do it but I have friends who have been specifically lead of the Spirit to place their children in "regular" schools and by that I know God must not want it for each of us. But I do think our hearts should be open to it. We should pray about all the ways to educate our children and not simply take the path of least resistance. Why? Because we can trust that God knows best and that He has equipped us to handle anything. That's a scary word: anything. Those absolute words in the Bible have tripped me up before. Surely You don't mean ALL things, Lord?! I've actually considered researching whether or not there's any wiggle room in the meaning of "nothing" for some verses, ha ha! But God means what He says and when He says we can do all things through Him, we can take Him at His word. Even if that thing is home schooling!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's gone.

My mom texted me this evening and asked if I remembered that today would have been my granny's birthday. Sadly, I hadn't.

My granny passed away several years ago and her death was the first time I'd truly understood the phrase, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

She was the kindest person I think I've ever known. Soft spoken with blue eyes that conveyed emotion--whether sparkling behind a chuckle or welled up with sadness.

I remember the way her heavy blankets felt on my body when I spent the night at her house as a child. I remember how the tinsel star on her Christmas tree sparkled. I rarely eat a slice of pizza without thinking of the many times she told the story about her and a friend picking up a pizza once and hungrily devouring almost all of it before realizing it had anchovies on it. I think of her when I walk through a misty rain as she liked to do. When I visit my parents' house, I close the window shade that faces the direction of where her house was because the memory of her walking that old path from her place to ours is so burned into my mind that I fear I'll see her still walking it.

There are a million ways I would change the way I treated her in life. I can only hope now that somehow she knows that love her, respect her, and admire her. A very big part of me wishes I could have her back. I wish she could hold my babies and sing "You Are My Sunshine" to them. But I know that she must be happy where she is--with Jesus. She's pain-free and tears never touch her eyes anymore. I'm guessing she's so happy there that she forgot her old birthday as well.

I'm certain the impression she made on me will last my life, through, however. Happy Birthday, Granny.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Project 365. June. Week 1.

I've been on the lookout for bunk beds for the boys' room. Although I adore their car beds, they just took up far too much space in their small room and they had no floor space to play. Then a friend mentioned that they were giving away their loft bed! I love that Ryland got to keep his toddler car bed and they got some play space. Plus I think it look pretty cool in their room, too.

No nap + 2 hours at the pool + warm shower = a snoozing Ryland! We had just returned from the pool and I stuck Jathan and Ryland in the shower to wash off while I nursed Piper and put her down for a nap. When I finished I found Ryland like this--with the water still running over him! He was very sad that I got him out, too. = )

Our supper one night this week. Penne pasta casserole except I used rigatoni because that's just what we happened to have. I think I liked it better that way! Everyone else must have loved it, too, because an entire 9x13 inch dish of it was eaten. Delicious.

Piper has been learning to climb but still has trouble with her descent. She goes as far as she can (in the rocker in her room, on the stool in the bathroom, on the playground, etc.) then screams until I come save her!

I've declared this the summer of crafts and am attempting to do at least one crafty, Pinterest-y thing a week. This week's project: new magnets for our fridge. We are forever in need of magnets to hold everyone's artwork so these will really come in handy!

So I've always sort of made fun of answer sheets for preschool worksheets. Until this week. We came across this picture on a worksheet and had no idea what it was so we didn't know which color to color it. And there was no answer sheet! What do you think it is?

I've been working on fixing my hair volumizing and flipping it as best I can. What do you think?

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Favorite Song

There are four adorable, golden-haired girls who live in the apartment directly below us. We have the pleasure of hanging out with them on the playground quite often. From time to time I hear them singing pop songs in their sugary little voices. It's so funny to hear Selena Gomez and Justin Beiber and Katy Perry lyrics coming out of mouths.

The other day I heard Jathan singing joyfully. "The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout..." he caroled. He stopped there, smiled at me, and said, "I just love that song!"

You're not likely to hear Justin Beiber crooning it, but I'm pretty fond of it, too, Jathan. = )

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New 'Do

I have been eager for my hair to grow out some so that I could add some layers. I've been scouring the Internet for ideas. Finally my hair had reached shoulder length and I thought I could go for it. Jackie even found a Group On for a haircut. I called. They didn't have anything available that day and I was impatient not wanting to wait for Jackie's next day off so I didn't make an appointment. Instead I walked in to a Walmart salon. I really should have walked back out after seeing the customer in front of me leaving. She was an older lady and had a fairly short cut which was now extremely choppy all over. Maybe it just needs to be styled, I thought. I sat in the chair and chatted with the stylist. She was complimentary and seemed confident that she could do what I wanted. Snip, snip, snip.

Then the other stylist came over, picked up the picture example I'd brought in, and raised her eyebrows. It was too late to stop. The one stylist asked the other, "What do you think?"

"You know what I think your problem is?" she replied. Those are words that no one ever wants to hear about someone who has been chopping on your hair for 10 minutes. The second stylist then sectioned off my hair and  re-cut it explaining the the first girl how to cut hair. What. The. Heck. Don't you have to know how to cut hair before you get a job at a salon?

So I walked out dissatisfied but trying to make the best of it especially since Jackie was outside and I didn't want to hear, "I told you so." (I still don't, Jackie, for the record.) I broke out my curling iron and straightener when I got home and felt a little better. You know, as long as I don't think about what I wanted it to look like. Or how long it's going to take to grow back out. Since I was trying to grow it out. = (

So here's a before picture (didn't have a good one but this is recent):

Here's what I asked for:

Pinned Image

And here's what I got:

I think if you poke your left eye out and squint with the right one it kind of looks similar.

Keeleigh said I look like Rapunzel after her haircut. Which is good. Because then I look like a princess, right? Right?

Sadness. Extreme sadness. Head scarfs are in, right? Maybe a sun hat?