Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentines Weekend

Friday morning, HB and I tackled a mini-batch-cooking project.
 Friday afternoon, I took the kids to The Wonder Place, it's like a children's museum near our house.

 HB made this outfit (pants and shirt) for her girls and passed it on to us.
John Isaac spent the last 15 minutes of our time at the Wonder Place cleaning up ...of his own volition!  A worker saw him and rewarded his efforts with this token.  I was really proud of him.
Saturday, while Schaeffer slept and Hubby put the finishing touches on his sermon, the big kids and I went for ice cream at the Green Corner Store.  I love that place. 
My parents sent cash earlier in the week to treat the kids, so we continued the splurge by watching the Lego Movie.  (I thought it was terribly boring but the kids enjoyed it.)

Today is Sunday.  Hubby preached a sermon on remembering from Psalm 78.  (Once posted, you should be able to listen to it here.) An older couple from the church joined us for lunch.  The weather was nice so John Isaac was biting the bullet to be in the creek with his buddies.  The rest of us had naps.

After waking, I did my menu planning and headed to the grocery and came home with some blood oranges.  I peeled several and offered some to Caroline.  I thought she would love them because she loves oranges and because they are red inside.  She was appalled by the name.  It was as if I were offering her severed fingers.  Never did it cross my mind that it would gross her out.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

SNOW! Glorious Snow

It's been a cold winter all across the US.  Little Rock has had more than its fair share of snow this year (I think 3 times!)  We don't complain about snow...it's the ice that breaks power lines.
Because of ice earlier in the week, we had an overnight guest (who needed to be at the airport early the next morning.)  Mr. Sommer slept in John Isaac's bed and we had JI sleep in the master closet so we wouldn't have to root Schaeffer from his room.  Anyway, JI made a GIGANTIC pallet in the closet and loved it so much begged to recreate said pallet in his floor.  He's been sleeping in a tent this week.
 Major Grandparents mailed enemy gear a nice hoodie.
Friday night, Hubby and I were on a hottttt date when it started snowing.  We left The Fold (yum) to chat in a coffee shop but decided -en route- to go straight home.  The roads went from passable to very slick in ten minutes; we almost had to walk home.

Saturday morning, our eldest woke us up EARLY.  He was dressed and ready to play in the white stuff.  Below he was trying to make a snowman but it was still too cold to stick together.
Sister was "so 'cited!"

 My man should get a snowman making award.  He made two frozen people on Saturday.
The second one was decidedly larger than the first.  Actually he only helped with placement on the second man.  The middle ball was too heavy for JI and company to lift.  
 I think these boys could have stayed in the snow all. day. long.
 Sister just wanted to eat the marshmallows out of the hot chocolate.  :)
 Later in the day, I took my shift as "snow-playing-parent."  I rallied the neighborhood troops (via texting moms) and organized THE ULTIMATE NEIGHBORHOOD SNOWBALL FIGHT.  That's me in the Stormtrooper helmet.
These were the first to arrive.
 This was "Team McCarley."
This team called themselves "Ice Screamers." One boy brought a Rubbermaid tub full of pre-made snowballs.  Awesome.
 I think I counted 13 boys and 2 girls.  Lots of testosterone.
 Beyond a free-for-all snowball fight, we played capture the flag and a distance and accuracy game.
Good times.  And more snow is predicted for tomorrow.  Yay!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Weekend Happenings {Super Bowl}

We switched Schaeffer to forward facing (even though I know the recommendation is rear-facing until 2 years old.)  The seat we have borrowed from friends is a tank.  I can't remember the brand but it is heftier than Britax.  It's crazy sturdy.  It reclines ever so slightly so he looked really uncomfortable riding backwards.  Despite the picture below he was really happy about being turned around.  Big Brother put the glasses on him and he looked really cool until I pulled out the phone for a picture.  Then he decided he wanted them off. 
I've started The Count of Monte Cristo.
 The "Sweet Potato Lady" stopped by with a delivery this weekend.  John Isaac and pals had the best time playing with these 40 pound boxes.  They played for HOURS with them.  Who needs gaming systems when you have sweet potatoes?
 I had helpers making the Super Bowl treats.  It's a pepperoni football with mozzarella laces.
 He made a fruit stadium with kale for grass and an orange seed for the football.
We watched the game at our neighbor's.  Schaeffer sat for about 15 seconds in this chair.
Ready for another week?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Open Letter to My Dad on His Birthday

February 3, 2014

Dear Dad,

Recently I read a book called, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.  I read it upon the recommendation of several people.  Partly, I wanted to know what made a strong dad.  I also wanted to see if there was anything that would translate to me, being a mom.

So much of what Dr. Meeker wrote in her book resonated in my heart, from my experience growing up with a strong father.  As I turned the pages of each chapter, I found myself nodding my head and underlining things.  Somewhere in the middle of the book, I felt compelled to write a letter to let you know how thankful I am the Lord gave me such a strong father.

Looking back on my childhood, probably the overwhelming sentiment was the fact that you believed in me and taught me to believe in myself.  What a gift to have confidence!  As I grow older I am ever more aware of the power of self-confidence.  Almost to the extreme (a fault?), I have a huge does of self confidence.  

There were many things you taught me to do so that I would be prepared for life. You were always patient with me as I learned, allowing for mistakes and not ridiculing me when I failed.  Thankfully I didn’t rip the transmission out as I learned to drive a standard shift.  You taught me many other things on the farm like running weed eater, a chain saw, split and carry wood, drive a tractor with a wagon and other farm implements, countless other dangerous equipment. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you CAN’T.  You can do anything you put your mind to.”  

I remember calling home the first semester of college after bombing a chemistry test.  I asked to talk to you because I knew that Mom would cry with me.  I needed to talk with a cheerleader.  I needed someone to help pull my nose above the water.  You believed in me, told me I could do it.  Keep trying!  I needed that pep talk.  The transition from high school to college was a rough one for me, as I had been a big fish in a small pond and found myself as a guppy floundering in an ocean.

You were my hero.  You had an unshakable positive air about you.  The glass was always half full and never half empty.  How many sermons did I hear from you on the power of positive thinking?  Good memories.  

People respected you in our small town because you were the principal in the elementary school, (later a school administrator).  It was awe-inspiring to watch my hero, my dad, walk into a noisy crowded elementary cafeteria, make a “T” with your hands (for time-out).  This would command silence from rowdy children.  You were a leader...and a speaker.

You gave me many tips on speaking to groups of people from both your example as well as your focused time to sharpen me.  Kindergarten through fourth grade we rocked the Declamation Competition thanks to your tips for voice inflection and subtle pauses for effect.

I remember studying lists of spelling words and studying vocabulary definitions ad naseum with you late into the night. Well, it seemed like forever, anyway.  You required perfection - not as a harsh drill sergeant but as one who knows the value of quality.  This has served me well as an adult - knowing when to require quality.  (Mom, on the other hand, taught me the beauty of speed and making due with less than perfect!)  An example of requiring perfect was when we rented white chairs for my wedding.  They arrived less than perfectly clean.  You made sure the rental company knew this was unacceptable.
 My Wedding Day, 1999 (note white chairs in a barn)

Provision
You made sure I knew that you loved me by word and deed.  Often I would find notes or later, receive letters in the mail reminding me you were my cheerleader.   

I never worried about our family finances.  The year you were without a job you taught me by your example never to give up, never to get down and the power of a positive attitude.  You made me believe we had plenty of cash on hand (when now looking back, I’m sure things were tight.)  

My car was always cared for, oil changes, etc. (and you taught me to care for it...to this day I love a clean car!)  Even now when we pull out of the driveway at your house it is always with clean windows. 

When it was time to move in college, you always helped without complaining.  You attended most music or athletic events (my whole life) while cheering me on, trying to embarrass me by loud yells but I loved the attention.

You shelled out cash for worthy endeavors.  Once I remember wanting a magazine subscription.  Was it Teen Beat? or possibly the literature-rich Seventeen magazine?  You asked me to give you some reasons why you should pay for a subscription.  I can’t remember my reasons but I remember thinking, “My dad loves me.  He wants to support my passions.”

In marriage you were faithful to Mom.  Never did I doubt your fidelity to her. There were some rough spots and arguments where I wondered if your relationship would stand the test of time but I knew you were faithful to Mom.  Deep in my heart I knew you would stick it out and be faithful.  In September you will celebrate 47 years.  Thank you for staying true to your marriage vows.

You were my protector.  Having guns in the house brought comfort to me.  I knew how to shoot those guns and had a respect for their power.  I didn’t ever worry about the boogey man coming to get me at night. 


You trusted me, and treated me like an adult for as long as I can remember.  One such example was when I was only 15 years old. I didn’t think it was a big deal that you sent me -alone- to Germany, to visit extended family.  Looking back on the freedom you gave me, (within reason, of course!) I wonder how well I will let out slack in the proverbial leash for my children.  I learned so much that summer in Europe, about myself and the world.  What an incredible gift!


So Dad, on your seventy first trip around the sun, I want you to know how thankful I am for your positive influence on my life.  And the generations to come (Psalm 78:6-7).  I am a strong woman today because of your influence in my life.

Happy Birthday!  I love you.
Julie

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photo Dump & Treehouse Update

Caroline asks to "do school."  She especially loves to write.  And type.
 Big brother can be (if he wants to) a great entertainer and babysitter.
 Schaeffer loves this rubber mallet.  It's like a lollipop, I guess.
 Little Momma feeding her Big Baby.  They're almost the same size.
 All three kids love to play in the pillows from our bed.  On this day, in her red pajamas, Caroline says, "Hey Mom!  Can you find me?"  Um, dear, you need a lesson in camouflage from your big brother.
Schaeffer got a monogrammed duffle for his birthday and the bigs had the best time playing in it.
 Maybe it's just the age, but this kid is a ham.  Hubby and I think he is the silliest of the three.
Tree House Update!!
The picture below was taken from inside our house, upstairs.
 They have three walls up!  Woot woot!!

Last Saturday some neighborhood ladies met for the second time to discuss the book, Bread & Wine.
 Rubber mallet and spaghetti fork thingy.

 Little Miss is ready for summer.  Though we've had sub-freezing weather this week, she rifled through her closet to find this gem of an outfit.  I like the coordinating spider tights, don't you?
Completely random: this family lived without contact with society for 40 years.  They didn't even know WWII happened.  Here's a YouTube video about the lone survivor.

A good friend of mine from college has a blog about her journey to heal from sexual abuse.  She is a gifted writer.

Over and out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Works for Me: Smells Good

Most candles are too perfume-y for me.  Lately I've been using mostly citrus essential oils in a saucepan of water on the stovetop.  It dawned on me as I was tossing Cutie peels and grapefruit rinds in the trash that I should simmer them. (Too much citrus in the compost is not good.)  Smells wonderful up in here.  I've also been burning a candle on the dining room table during the day.  It's not a strong smelling candle.  I read this post on fighting the winter darkness and it resonated with me.  The burning candle especially reminds me to be a light to my children.  Keep calm and carry on.
Those who know me well know me to be frugal.  Mrs. Meyers is a splurge for me but her scents makes me so happy.  I'm especially enjoying the cranberry dish soap right now.
I bought this bulb and vase for about $4 at Kroger.  It's now a beautiful flower that sits in my kitchen window.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Schaeffer Turns One (We SURVIVED)

It feels like such a gigantic milestone to say we've reached a year old.  I know he has not been chronically ill (and I am soooo thankful for that) but it has been One. Long. Year.
He was unusually animated on the morning of his birthday.  
I thought about writing a post for his birthday called, "How to Loose 50 Pounds."  It's simple: nurse an eleven pound baby around the clock for 365 days.  I think it is safe to say he is heavier than Caroline now.
I think he liked the hats.
Other happenings this week: the "big kids" had a tea party.  John Isaac made the tea and I provided peanut butter crackers with carrots and apples. A neighbor brought over the dipped pretzels.  They used china plates but I guess they hadn't realized the need for plates before this picture.
Caroline will be a domestic goddess one day.  On her own accord she likes to fold the (clean, washable) diaper wipes
It rained one day while John Isaac was at a co-op.  So Caroline and I walked in the rain.  What's more fun than that when you're three-years-old?
Schaeffer graced us with a super long afternoon nap.  We made soft pretzels.  Yummo.
The birthday boy got a new (from Craigslist) jogging stroller.  Hubby wants to run more (crazy man) and is willing to take the lil' stinker along.  And yes, he sucks those two fingers when he is tired.  Adorable.

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