Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amazing Video, Amazing Man

This video is so amazing that it is hard to put into words what you feel when you watch it.  I won't try.  Just watch it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meeting with the Principal

Yesterday, I had #3s IEP meeting.  You just never know who is going to do the job for the "administration" sign-off.  I have had a counselor come a couple of times and fill in for that role. Anyway, the 6th grade principal was there.  When the signing was all over, she asked me if darling daughter had told me about the little "incident" that took place.  I said "no" and began to sweat thinking the worst and wondering why I HADN'T heard about it from daughter.  So, she goes on to say that there was a little incident in class this week and the "charming child that she is" called a little boy a "retard".  Of course, I was mortified, but the principal made me feel so much better by saying that she owned up to it, admitting exactly what she said and tearing up (the principal promptly embraced her) and was very sorry and repentant.  The principal went on to say that she and #3 are "friends" and that she thinks it was not a big deal for her to confront her.  She said that "she doesn't have favorites, but if she did, 'daughter' would be one of them, but she doesn't have favorites".  She also said she told #3 "You don't have a mean bone in your body," meaning that she just blurted it out without thinking and not to be mean, just to be funny.  Well, she might not know my child very well.  She does have at least one mean bone - everyone does - but she is a good kid and wants to do well both academically and with her behavior.  I came away with the feeling that those at this school seek to handle things in the best way possible and that they are "lovin' my child" and she is "lovin' them back".  I was in admiration for the principal and that when she addressed it, it was over!  She stressed that she didn't want #3 to think that she tattled on her and it was a done deal.  I, however, wanted to bring it up to my children if for no other reason than to just say "Please tell me when you have to see the principal".  So, I covered it without much fanfare and told all three younger ones to come to me before I hear from someone else.  They said they would and I don't think it will happen again.  #3 said she just forgot.  Apparently she didn't think it was as big of a deal as I did, and she knows the principal holds her in high regard.  Not a bad thing, considering I want her to see people in authority as someone to respect and, if possible,build a relationship with.  That will only help her later in her life.   Hopefully, there won't be any other "principal" confrontations to address.  

Every other part of the meeting went well and she is only qualified in "written expression".  Again, this seems to be a family trait.  The verbal skills are great, the vocabulary is great, the intelligence is there, but we just don't get it on paper very well.  Overall, she has surpassed my expectations with all A's for her semester grades.  I am very proud of her effort and the results.  She is doing well.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New President

So, I watched the inauguration and ongoing festivities for a good portion of the day today with my friend (also a conservative).  I am thrilled that we have an African-American president.  Seriously!   Everyone in this great country MUST know how much it means to black people everywhere to experience this wonderful moment in history.  I feel their joy, I really do!  I also feel their pride.  I feel their pain at all they have been through to make this happen.  I, too, am proud of him and his poise, intelligence and accomplishments.  I am impressed with his family.  I love that we have someone with new ideas and new proposals.  I did not choose him, but he can surprise me!  However, there is a big concern in my heart.  My biggest fear and pain is that he is adamantly pro-choice (or more correctly named pro-death) and will stop at nothing to see that this cause is furthered from one end of our nation to the other, state to state.  So, today, I grieve.  I grieve because it had to be THIS black president, this man who is so grossly in error about this issue.  You can say what you want about the other issues - I don't particularly like the war, although the results to me are good (at least mostly), I don't like "spreading the wealth around" in the way that it has been proposed, but these issues are not "morality issues" for me.  For me, they are political issues.  For me, the idea of killing or causing babies to die is a morality issue.  I pray for God's hand on our country and an end to this infanticide.  I pray for God to have mercy on us for our errors in allowing this to happen.  And I pray for God's wisdom in knowing what I can do to make a difference.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mini Family Reunion

#4 with my cute nephew - some of my favorite moments were seeing them interact with their cousins.  We see each other so little and there is a comfort level that they have with each other.

This photo was towards the beginning of the trip when my preschooler niece wasn't real comfortable with me.  But, I wedged her in-between me and #2 and she was very happy sitting there for a while.
These two are favorites of each other.  #3 and my niece have a quiet understanding of each other.
This picture of me is a picture of me in heaven.  Having my two nieces on my lap and happy with me and each other was sooooo fun.  It brings tears to my eyes thinking of it.  We see each other so little and they are so sweet (not to mention beautiful).  
The Risk marathon that was finally a "draw":

The most beautiful baby in the world (and this picture doesn't do her justice with her curly brown locks, dark blue eyes, perfect mouth and precious dimples - I could go on and on.....):

I am sadly having niece/nephew withdrawal!!  I spent the last few days at my parents' home in the country.  All of my siblings were there except my brother who is halfway around the world.  We didn't do much, just hung out....well the "men" did have a marathon Risk game with my youngest sister playing war consultant to all four of them.  Other than that, we cooked, held babies, watched the kids play and talked.  It was very enjoyable.  There were many times of almost "head-butting" when we couldn't agree on something, but coming away without a complete "episode" was a major miracle.  (I guess it is because there are so many strong-willed people involved.)  We each deferred a little (or a lot) to the others and we all made it through.  

Sunday was a especial trial for me as I wanted to go to the church we grew up in, but my dad had a planned preaching engagement at a small (think tiny), country church near their home.  I was very out of sorts the whole drive to church thinking of fighting my kids in a small church "on display" for everyone to see.  But, the service was enjoyable, the people were friendly, and the kids were fine.  My youngest sister didn't drive in for church, but she came later with "po-boys" for everyone.  That was a real "food" highlight.  We all wanted a small taste of food from our taste memories without going out and wrangling 7 kids.  It was delicious!  We also had king cake (with special fillings) and my sister cooked a really good, all-out meal of baked chicken, veggies, and rice for Saturday night.  

The kids, I have to say, were the highlight, though.  "Little baby" niece is so pleasant (never cries) and easy-going, the big brother is adorable playing with his football and asking to watch the game during Sunday dinner (he's only 2), the preschooler niece is sweet, fun and slowly warming up to everyone more, and even my kids in their teen and pre-teen angst were sweet, charming, mature (at least more so than usual), helpful with the babies and fun!  

We left at 7:00 PM last night, so the drive for my honey was torturous, but he wouldn't let me drive.  We got in at 12:00 AM and went straight to bed.  So now, instead of getting caught up, I am sitting here blogging....I really must go unpack and do some laundry.  The kids go back to school tomorrow and I have a birthday party to plan for Saturday.  

Monday, January 12, 2009

Post Party Monday

Pre-simmered gumbo:Tables semi-ready:

It's a Monday, and a post-party, the stuff is still out, the tables are still out and long leaves in and decorated, the dishes not all clean, "useful" clutter put up where we can't find what we need, Monday at that.  Plus there are a lot of very bad foods in my house.  I will try to make it today with them in my space, but the kids need to eat up tonight because I am going to purge them out.  I can't have them there tempting me, giving me grief.  

So, I fed 27 people!  And the consensus was that EVERYONE (except me) wants this party after Christmas.  I don't mind it being after, it is just something to kinda dread after Christmas as if any of us need something to dread after Christmas.  I felt like I wanted "honey" to know how much pain I was in doing this and taking on the bulk of the work.  But, he was grateful.  He was sweet and he is always doing stuff for me.....so I am fine.  I just need to do this for him....  I will focus on the good.  It makes him happy and his team - well, more of a team.  And that is important in this day of difficult economical situations and stress on every front.

I am done.  I will quit whining...and this is one post he won't HAVE to read.  

Again, I love you, my friends.  Don't worry, the next party is one I will choose to do.  And I did feel some pride in the tables, my home and how everything looked with lit candles everywhere.  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BIG Gumbo Thing

Every year (or almost every year), I do this big party for honey's team.  The first year I made gumbo and it was such a hit that now I feel pressured to do the same thing every year.  I make two big pots, usually in 3-4 steps - and this is not something that I take short-cuts on.  The stock is the real deal, simmered for a couple hours, rich with veggies, the veggies for the second step are hand chopped, the roux is done in the microwave so it won't tie me to the stove stirring it for 30 minutes, but that is the only thing I make easier on myself.  I love the finished product and most other people do too (or if they don't, they don't tell me), but it is a real "labor of love".  This is one of the few things that I do JUST for my spouse other than, well the other things are for me and the kids too.  I don't (for the most part) know these people, don't know their jokes or feel their day-to-day pain, don't participate very much in their conversation, but every year, I clean my house (this year with a lot of help from my twice monthly cleaning lady), straighten the clutter, and cook, COOK, COOK!!!  

Despite how this sounds, I enjoy doing this for him.  The big difference this year is that we couldn't fit it in before Christmas (this is like his Christmas present to his team), so we are doing it this weekend. I will be honest, it feels a little weird.  I don't quite know how to decorate.   I WILL use my new Christmas dishes that my in-laws so graciously helped me collect (thanks, guys), but the decorating is beyond me.  I put up the tree and most of the trimmings.  The one thing I left out is my favorite Christmas decoration - my Nativity.  I love the serenity of it and the meaning, so I left it out.   Other than that, I have no vision for the decorations.  But, nevertheless, it will happen - in less than 11 hours.....I must get on it.  The gumbo is done and simmering, the floors and bathrooms are pretty clean, so now I must pick up the last clutter left from the kids coming home from school, put up the clean laundry that litters the living room, and decorate....somehow!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby Pictures

Me as a baby:

#3 as a baby:The ages are different, but I thought it would be interesting to see these together.  I have very few baby pictures (in fact, this might be one of about two), so I am thankful to have it.  

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Puzzle Marathon

The last two days, we have been on a puzzle-making marathon.  We did get out this AM to go "make groceries" as they call it in my home state.  Then, this PM, we went to the new Bass Pro.  How I LOVE those stores!!  We had a great time on this little field trip, shopping (mostly window shopping), shooting, seeing the stuffed animals, and dreaming of very big boats and great outdoor vacations.  

Back to the puzzles, we finished one of a old-time schoolhouse (500 pieces) and are now working on a picture of San Francisco (also vintage-looking - 500 pieces).  Yes, I realize those were very easy ones, so the next one we have picked out is 1000 pieces, and a very hard puzzle almost completely in gray and white, a picture of a wolf pack.  My younger two sons picked it out.  I don't relish the thought of doing that one.  Leaving the store, I made all three younger kids raise their right hands and promise to stick with it and not leave Mom doing it all by herself.  We will see how far that goes.....

I also had a beautiful, new faucet installed by "Mr. Handyman" himself, fixed a wonderful soup for supper, talked to my brother and his family via modern technology, and enjoyed my family since everyone was home again today.  

I don't relish the thought of the kids starting back to school  They have three days left.  I feel myself beginning to mourn.  I will enjoy seeing my friends again, but I will miss my kids and I sooooo hate how homework completely takes over our lives!!  Enough griping.....I will put a happy face on for them.  And enjoy the last few days of holiday.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas- Our Traditions

We have a few Christmas traditions.  We hope that you have made your own with your family.  My friend L.B. always tells me that she longs for the "team spirit" that we have in our family.  Some of that is what others see, but not what is true, if you know what I mean.  But, we do try to sacrifice some (sometimes a lot) of ourselves for the team.  For instance, since the kids have been in school, I would love to escape often or even occasionally on a weeknight and let the kids deal with their own homework, but I stay and tough it out to support them in their school.  It also wouldn't be fair to "honey" who works hard all day.  I have also given up (at least mostly) Friday night scrap-booking crops.  I may go occasionally, but after a week of school, I am longing for the family to be together and in one place.  This might not be something we can do forever especially with the kids getting older, but right now, we can.  I have also given up my yearly "girl trip".  Truthfully, right now there is no one free to travel with me and I don't feel the urge to travel much alone without my family.  

The "manly man", of course, gives up a lot to be a good dad.  He could be hunting or fishing or whatever, but he chooses to do what is best for the family.  He rarely gets a "man break".  That does happen the weekend of Veteran's Day every year, but not often otherwise. And, he doesn't do the typical man things like watching the holiday bowl games or poker or whatever it is that other men do not involving their families.   

Anyway, that was a little off-subject.  Back to Christmas.  Part of being a team is also building traditions that make holidays (and normal days) special.  

Here are a few of our Christmas ones:
  • Christmas letters - letters written to each child to encourage and exhort them in what they have done right and things that they might want to work on.  
  • Cheese and crackers, fruit, sparkling juice on Christmas eve in the den 
  • Opening one present on Christmas Eve (parent's choice)
  • Oyster Stew - we have this for Thanksgiving and Christmas almost without fail
  • Reading the Christmas story from Luke (the kids each read a little) before presents  and then.... 
  • Prayer together
These little things help us remember what is important this time of year:  God and family (in that order).

We also always see his family the weekend before for fondue and presents, and my family the weekend after (or some time in the holidays).  We usually always seek to have Christmas day itself  in our own home.  That doesn't always happen because of various family commitments, but usually.  This helps us focus on the core unit which is hard in today's culture.  And that is kind of my point.  This is a common theme of my blog, but make time for each other.  Make sacrifices for your family and remember to do all you can to draw the string softly yet tightly (and lovingly, of course) around your spouse and kids.  I think it helps when times are tough to remember that you had some good solid memories and traditions.  Having just been to the Gardens, forgive the gardening metaphor, but it helps to construct a lattice for your family to grow on!!  

Thanks again for all your comments to me personally about enjoying my blog.  It feels good to write it simply for myself, but it does help to know from time to time that others are reading!! I love and cherish all my friends.  You make my life sooooooo much richer.