Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My favorite "Deep Thought" ever

I've recently added a scrolling "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" feature to my blog. I don't know if it's just me, but I find this Saturday Night Live feature completely hilarious. I always have. To the point that I used to own all his books. (Deep Thoughts, Deeper Thoughts, and Fuzzy Memories. They were "borrowed" by a former roommate, and if you ever want to buy me a present, one/all of those books would be awesome. It might even put you in the Best Gifts of My Life Hall of Fame, along with the clothes steamer and the label-maker that Neil gave me. Also, inexplicably but not unappreciated, one year a giant log of goat cheese. But I digress...)
Anyway, my favorite Deep Thought, possibly of all time is:
"In a previous life, I think I must have been a mighty king, because I like people to do what I say.

Ain't THAT the truth.

A clarification...about the chore store

I blatantly ripped off an idea from a mama that's on a message board with me. (Her blog is here.)
Basically, I have made "chore books" for each of my two older kids. Abbie has a magnetic "responsiblity chart" (or, as she calls it, "my sponsitility charp". I love that kid.). So each page in their chore book represents one day; the top half of the page is morning chores, the bottom half is evening chores. If they finish their assigned chores before it's time for school (or errands, or whatever I have planned) or bedtime, they get a dollar in play money in their chore bank. Then, when they have money saved up, they "pay" me for a fun thing from the chore store. Now, let me clarify, that it's not like we never do anything fun otherwise. For instance, one of the events in the chore store is "go to the pool"...we do sometimes just GO. Or to the ocean, or to the playground. But I really like instilling in them the "work before play" mindset. And in response to Kris, who commented, "You must hate baking as much as I do", the answer is yes....yes, I do. Also, it's not likely that on any given day I'd have the right ingredients around to "bake a treat", whereas the playground is around the corner and open all the time!
If they don't finish their chores before the assigned time, they don't get the money. They still have to finish the chores later, though. Also, if I ask, "Are your chores done?" and they say yes and they've missed one (like picking up dirty clothes and putting them in the hamper. Every. day.), they don't get their money. I don't make a big deal out of it, just usually say, "Well, we'll try harder next time, right?"
This is, by far, the best-working chore system I've ever tried. Thank you, Sarah!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our schoolroom

All it's missing is students! I am so excited about this school year. Today, we went to the library to get the "supplemental books" for the first two weeks. (Note to self: Do this next time WITHOUT the kids.) Between the three of them, the major themes for the first week are: Vikings, Leif Ericsson, Christopher Columbus, jungles, cows, things that live on the ground (including, but not limited to: moles, snakes, ants, snails, beetles). Our library is pretty small, but we managed to find stuff we can use. I FINALLY finished setting up the school room, complete with nerdy labels on EVERYTHING. (I slapped a sticker on Abbie when she sat still for a few seconds.) Just wanted to share my nerdiness. Also, this video: White and Nerdy.

I big puffy heart my label maker. That is all.

The former dining room, now the school room.


This has the kids' chore banks, plus the chore-store list and their Bible-verse writing.

Our "chore store" list.

Micah's Birthday

We had a birthday party for Micah at the swimming hole by the airport this year (again). It's a pretty awesome destination, as it provides shelter (a pavilion) and entertainment (swimming) for free. All I did was bring a cake, some snacks and drinks, and some goody bags for the kids (which I forgot to hand out when then left....arrrrgh).
But speaking of "arrrghhh", Micah chose a pirate theme for his party. This was based solely on his picking out a pirate ship cake from the Family Fun website. (For the record, I DID try to steer him toward the Lego cake, because he truly does love Legos, but no go. So, pirate ship it is.) I made this super-awesome cake and really didn't have enough time to do it justice, but on the way over to the swimming hole, Micah looked at the cake (Katie was holding it on her lap) and said, "Mom. This cake TOTALLY ROCKS." So there you have it folks. It's crooked, leans to one side and didn't have enough time to chill. Also, there were gale-force winds present that day, so I didn't even ATTEMPT to light the candles. But we made pirate hats, I drew pirate mustaches on anyone who wanted them, we had cake and juice boxes, Micah opened presents, and we swam in the sound. The highlights of the day were many and varied, but the two biggest were Julie cutting her foot on a shell in the water and Jon having to EMT her up (thankfully she didn't need stitches) and one of the pool noodles blowing out to sea and the lifeguard attempting to swim after it (he didn't catch it. He did yell at us for littering, though. Whatever.).
Here are some pictures:

Listing to the side, the pirate cake.

My birthday boy!
Blowing out imaginary candles (side note: Katie started the Happy Birthday song, and a higher-pitched version has never before been sung. At least by me. )
Abbie was playing paper-towel football with Jessica before we started.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My very own "Stuff Christians Like" post

If you know me, you know that the blog "Stuff Christians Like" is pretty much my favorite non-family blog to read. (It's linked at the right-hand side of this page.) Jon Acuff is wickedly funny and sarcastic and has some pretty staggering spiritual truths to share in the midst of it all. In the spirit of his blog, I present my very own "Stuff Christians Like" today.

Jumping on a fallen pastor like hyenas on a wounded gazelle

If you haven't read the buzz in the Christian community or blogosphere, allow me to catch you up. Mike Guglielmucci is a youth pastor from Australia. Also a musician of pretty great talent. He's been very popular in Australia since he was a teenager and started a youth Bible study that had incredible numbers of participants. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with a pretty aggressive form of cancer. He stated that God gave him the song "Healer" in one fell swoop. The song is amazing, by the way; I taught it to my worship team last week. There is/was a video circulating that told the story of how he wrote it. There's footage of him singing the song on stage to a packed stadium with an OXYGEN CANNULA IN HIS NOSE. Pretty amazing stuff; the text of the song says, "You hold my every moment, You calm my raging seas...You walk with me through fire and heal all my disease...".
Anyway, it came out this week that the cancer thing was a total fraud. He does not, has never had, in fact, cancer. Not only has he been creating the whole thing, but he apparently even deceived his WIFE and family, not to mention the church that employs him.
The depth of this deception is enormous. (It makes me tired just thinking about that kind of juggling.)
However, that's not even what this blog is about. It's about all the chatter that's been going on since the news broke. People who are claiming to be Christians, saying things like, "I knew all along something wasn't right about this...False prophets will burn in hell...Should we pray for him?....Did he not know full well what he was doing!!? False prophets should not be tolerated and dealt with as according tot he word - read Titus....AND I hope he gets cancer for what he's done."
Coming so swiftly on the heels of the Todd Bentley story (which I just don't have the patience to get into right now, go Google it), this really doesn't make the people of God very attractive to the world, does it? It's very disheartening to me. However, even more disheartening is how people WHO ARE CHRISTIANS are reacting to this scandal. It seriously makes me sick. When Christians hear about things like this, it seems like a lot of people say, "Grace? What is this grace you speak of? We know not of this 'grace'...only our gut feelings that say this guy was a charlatan all along!" Seriously, people? Have we not all sinned? Have we not all fallen short of the glory of God?
I am not, in ANY WAY, condoning what Mike or Todd have done. It's an awful thing to happen. But you know what? There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Watermelon Festival

I took my kids for a "fun day" (in the spirit of DOING more things and being actively involved in their play) to the Watermelon Festival at Kitty Hawk Kites on Thursday. It was a free community event (although donations were being taken for a childrens' charity). They had a bounce house, watermelon-seed-spitting contests, a pie-eating contest, live music (Milepost 13 band rocks!), a dunk tank...seriously a good time. I dressed my kids and myself in matching tie-dye, which is probably geeky but effective, especially in crowd situations. (We also got tons of compliments on them.)
Here's what we did:

Katie resting on my lap listening to music.

Abbie resting on the porch.
Abbie hiding behind the pirate.
My sweet girly, being pensive.
Micah and Abbie made friends with a baby.
This is Pirate Pete (or so I was told).
Bouncy slide
"Hey, Mom!" "Yes, Abbie?" "Uhhh... I love you."
Action shot.
Abbie is REALLY afraid of heights, apparently.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gearing up for our school year

I am soooo excited to start our first registered year as Beginning of Wisdom Academy. I've spent the past week or so culling books, curriculum, etc., that I can't use (note to self: Ebay that stuff!) and organizing our school room. (Which is actually our dining room, but we usually eat in the kitchen anyway.) I've printed forms I needed from the state, organized a really efficient binder for lesson plans, and sorted all our art supplies.
Here's the time where I REALLY out myself as a total dork. Because everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is labeled. My friend Neil got me a label-maker for my birthday (this is the same guy who bought me a clothes-steamer for Christmas. He SO knows me. Better than my husband.) and I've just gone totally nuts with it. I heart my label-maker.
I also love school supplies. I'm sure that's a memory from my elementary school years. Which, for the most part, were pretty good. (Not like middle school. Dear God, let's just not even GO there.)
There's a verse from a Carolyn Arends song that I love:

Riding along on a big yellow school bus, Elmer's Glue and a brand-new lunchbox
Writing my name for the very first time with a pencil that was bigger than me
From jumping rope and skipping school to doing things that grown-ups do
Life goes by like a big old bus, if you miss it, it's history
Paper dolls and paperweights, scraped-up knees and hearts that break
Dreams to dream, plans to make, love to give and love to take
This is the stuff (the smallest moments)
This is the stuff (I need to notice)
This is the stuff...life is made of.

The line about "if you miss it, it's history" really spoke to me. I have been so guilty of trying to get so much "done" (the house, the laundry, my job, my laziness -haha) that my kids are often left to entertain themselves. Not that I think that self-entertaining kids are a bad thing, but really, this IS the stuff life is made of. Spending time getting to know my kids and how they learn and what they dream of is one of the reasons WHY I homeschool. My former pastor's wife once gave me some GREAT advice when I was post-partum and weepy about everything and getting upset that my house was a wreck and the laundry wasn't folded and the dogs have fleas and...you get the picture. She said to me, "Sweetie, when your girls [she has 3 girls] get older, they're not going to remember if your house was always clean. They'll remember that you stopped doing what you're doing RIGHT NOW to have a tea party with them."
So we start school August 25th. I will be drastically cutting down on my computer time. And if you call between 9 AM and lunchtime, I won't answer the phone. I'm going to be teaching little brains to read, little fingers to write, little voices to sing, little minds to know the awesomeness of our Father God, and little hearts to praise.
Wow. I'm a little nervous now!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Our "school pictures"

One of the things about homeschooling is that we (oh, no!) don't have regular, horribly-posed, bad-backgrounded pictures to display on our walls. Still, I wanted to start regularly documenting our kids' growth through school. Our friend Israel, as I may have mentioned a time or five hundred, is an exceptional photographer, and really loves our kids. So I asked him to do a "school pictures photo shoot" for us before he goes away to college next weekend. :( We met him up at the north end of Roanoke Island, with the kiddos dressed up and armed with extra outfits. I think we got some great shots! (I took a few of them, too, but his are better.)

Israel helping Abbie figure out where to put her hands

My pretty girlys.
Sassy girl
I snapped this when I PROBABLY should have been telling her to get the heck away from the edge.
She had to be jollied out of a "mood" to pose in her gymnastics outfit. I'm pretty sure I had just made a poot joke right before this. Gets 'em every time.
How'd my kid get so BIG?
Israel had her holding an invisible bat because I couldn't find the real one. (Bad mommy!)
Not too into T-ball, my boy.
She won't smile with her toothlessness!
All three being cheesy (can you tell it was bright? Poor Micah.).
She looks like my sister Melody to me.
I love this guy.
Cap and gown (for PRE-SCHOOL. Good grief.)
More of the poot jokes, I'm sure.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It is very quiet in my house.

My kids have gone to Virginia to spend the weekend with Jon's parents. They will have SO much fun, I know; they don't get to see them as often as we'd like.
But my house is disturbingly quiet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This deserves its own post

My mother-in-law sent me an e-mail with a whole bunch of funny pictures of the trouble little boys get themselves into. Some of them I've seen before, but this one was too funny not to share. My boy has never done this, and (I think) is past the age where he WOULD do this, but I bet Nico or Josiah are still young enough to get themselves into this kind of trouble:

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Well, you already know I went to Creation. That's pretty much the only "big" thing I'm doing. I had a birthday, with a very nice party, courtesy of my sweet husband, and breakfast in bed, courtesy of my awesome daughters. I've cleaned the house a jillion times, sorted through the forty kabillion pictures on my computer (still not done yet, but holy crap is that a big job!), gone through the stacks and stacks of homeschooling stuff I have, mowed the lawn once (yes, the lawn's only been mowed ONCE since Creation), been to the beach a few times, and worked out some.
I don't have photographic evidence of the last, but I actually did it. Working out five days a week is the deal I made with myself for the month of August. I've also started the South Beach Diet (in week 2 right now, although I had a REALLY bad day, diet-wise, yesterday).
That's pretty much it so far. I'm looking SO forward to Labor Day weekend; some Creation friends are coming down/up/out for the 2nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Bender House Creation Reunion Gathering (wouldn't it be AWESOME if that made a pronounce-able acronym? Sadly, no.).
My boy Micah will be five next weekend and I need to figure out what we're doing for a party. I'm such a procrastinator. (Also, as I went through these pictures, I remembered a few more things: Katie lost both her front teeth! The kids had two weeks of swimming lessons, and Katie went to a summer reading program.)
Here are some photos:

Jon and Daddy lounging in the best. chairs. ever.

Chloe holding Baby Alex at my party.
Chloe, Katie and Jessica performed some tricks for us
The "other Abbie", as my kids call her.
Mom and DeAnn serve cake
No idea what he's doing here.
Jess looking pensive (she's 12)
My breakfast in bed on Monday morning. It should be noted that Katie did this all herself (the coffeepot had been prepped the night before). The tray was still sticky from the watermelon on it the day before, but I think that's pretty impressive for six years old.
Abbie: Hey, Mama, can I have a strawberry?
Katie: Abbie, STOP! THAT'S MOMMY'S BREAKFAST! (shrieking ensues)

Notice she DOES have one of my strawberries.
My three little monkeys.
My girls took Tina and I out for dinner.
What's the cheese for?
I love this kid.
They were digging for sandcrabs; I love this picture.
My favorite hairdo on Abbie.
Watch out for the hole!

Micah at swimming lessons.
Abbie at swimming lessons.