Sunday, June 29, 2008

Julie's Blog

Julie has created a blog. Please check it out--Julie's Journal.

The Horrifying Hill!

To find out what in the world I am doing, please read the post called Race Day and More below.

Sam at Mud Island

Race Day and More

Yesterday morning we left the house at 5:20 a.m. to travel to Memphis for the UPS Ultimate 5K and 10K Race. I had stayed up till 11:00 the night before packing sippee cups, snacks, iPods, watches, changes of clothes, the double running stroller, the potty, blankets, pillows, running shoes, and more. Sam went through 4 outfits. Outfit #1: his pajamas. I took Leah and Sam straight from their beds still in their pajamas and put them in their carseats. They went back to sleep. The three older children quickly dressed (some even slept in their running clothes) and went to sleep in the car.
We arrived at the race in plenty of time to check in and warm up. Outfit #2 for Sam: playclothes. We all ran the 5K. I will post the times in the sidebar when the UPS race website posts the official results. Here are the awards each person won in their age group: Jimmy--3rd, Olivia--4th, Julie--1st, Clay--2nd, Me--just happy to finish!! This was my first race since recovering from my knee injury. I pushed the stroller and did a run/walk combination. I alternated running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. I really enjoyed this race. It was the first time I was not competing (against my personal best time). I knew there was no way that I would have a "good" time, so I just went slowly and enjoyed the race. I talked to people around me. Leah and Sam spent the entire race looking for dogs (we saw one), and talking and waving to the people at each turn and water stop. At around mile 2.5 Jimmy took the stroller from me and I ran the rest of the way in. He had already finished and ran backwards on the course to get me.
After the race we went to Southaven to help my brother Rhett, his wife Amanda and their son Wesley (almost) 2 move across town to their new house. They are expecting another baby boy in a couple of months. My parents and Amanda's parents had been their a few days helping them pack. Saturday was the official moving day. We spent a few hours helping out and eating lunch with them. Outfit #3 for Sam: Jimmy saw Sam playing in a puddle.....I had waited too long to take him to the potty. I had packed Sam 3 outfits so we were ok....1 outfit still left in the diaper bag.
Next we surprised the children by taking them to Mud Island in Memphis. Mud Island has a to- scale replica of the Mississippi River built in concrete. Each step you take is equal to about 1 mile, and each 1 inch of depth equals 1 foot. The "river" is 1/2 mile long. The children and I all took our shoes off and waded down the entire Mississippi River. Jimmy kept his shoes on and took pictures.
As we were leaving Mud Island Clay noticed a HUGE, STEEP, grassy hill.....and he asked if he could climb up it and run back down. It looked too steep for him to do this in my opinion, but I told him to ask Daddy. Well, not only did Jimmy say yes, but he also showed him some pieces of cardboard that he could take to the top of the hill with him and slide down on! I was nervous! The next thing I knew ALL FIVE CHILDREN INCLUDING SAM were running up this VERY STEEP, VERY TALL HILL. I just knew that Sam would come toppling down any minute and we would be visiting the ER! I was growing more afraid with each passing second. Jimmy was busy taking pictures! So I had to run up the hill and rescue my baby. He was at the top of the hill ready to slide down like everyone else when I finally caught him. I had no choice but to sit on the cardboard, put Sam on my lap and SLIDE DOWN THE HILL! The video captures it perfectly. This is the most frightened, no terrified, that I have ever been!
Outfit #4 for Sam: the last set of clothes that I brought. He was soaking wet from the river and covered with grass from the hill slide.
All of the children slid down the hill and Jimmy even did it once too. We have never laughed so hard as we did at one another flying down that hill. How we escaped injury is a wonder!
After we recovered from the hill sliding we made one last stop before going home. We ate supper at Newk's. As soon as our food was served Sam threw up all over himself (he was not sick, he frequently throws up at the sight of food, then after I clean him and the mess up he is ready to eat. Very strange!!) Anyway, I was out of clothes for Sam! So--outfit #5: back to outfit #1, his pajamas, but no more underwear. Thank goodness we were going home.
We arrived home around 9:oo p.m. We were all exhausted, but what a fun day!!
Here are some highlights of the day. I will put the video in a separate post.
These pictures are out of order. I can't figure out how to move them around!

Sitting on a bridge over the river.

Leah and Julie walking in the "Mississippi River" at Mud Island

In the "ocean" at the end of the Mississippi River

Julie and Leah again (didn't mean to upload 2 of these!)

Olivia, Julie and Clay after the race.

Olivia and Daddy after the race.

My youngest brother Rhett

My nephew, Wesley....Rhett and Amanda's son

One of Those Days

Friday was one of those days, you know the kind where things don't go exactly how you planned them......I had last Friday perfectly planned out. We had a lot to do, and we needed to keep on schedule. In the morning we had our last day of Vacation Bible School. Right after that we had several mothers and children from VBS over to have lunch and swim. They were planning to stay until around 4:00. Jimmy had scheduled a Directv repairman to come for a service call between 12:00 and 4:00. Then as soon as everyone left around 4:00 I had planned to get to the Honda place before they closed at 5:00 to pick up the crossbars for the luggage rack on our van. Jimmy will install them before our trip to Seaside. After this errand I had planned to buy groceries for the week and get home to cook supper. Things went as planned until 3:15, when someone from Dircetv called to say that the service call was being postponed until between 5:00 and 7:00......would I be home during that time? My guests quickly left and I hurried everyone into the car. I figured I could run my errand and buy groceries and be home pretty close to 5:00, maybe a little later, but maybe the serviceman would be late too! We needed groceries! We arrived at the Honda place around 4:15. The part was not in! We were told that it would be there at 7:00 a.m., but it had not come. Waiting for someone to help me and then being told that it would be at least Tuesday before the part came in took 15 minutes of my time. So we hurried to the grocery store. Sam fell asleep in the car so I carried him, Olivia pushed a cart with Leah in it, and Clay pushed a second cart. I had been in the store maybe 5 minutes, still in the produce section, when my cell phone rang. It was the serviceman! He said he was at my house waiting for me! Would I be home soon??? It was not even 5:00 yet! He indicated that he didn't want to wait long so I grabbed what I needed to cook supper and quickly checked out. I was 20 minutes away from home. By the time he left I was too tired to go back to store. We were gone all day yesterday, today is Sunday....I still haven't bought groceries! I plan to go tomorrow.
What a day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Catfish Hotel

Yesterday we went to the Catfish Hotel to eat supper with Jimmy's parents and his sister and her family (Jenny, Jeff, Will, Seth, and Gracie). Our children always have so much fun with their cousins! After we ate the children played on the rocks that led down to the river. No one fell in!!

Grace (5) and Leah (4)

Sam (2)

Clay(9), Seth (13) and Gracie

Jimmy and Sam

Julie (10) and Will (16--getting his driver's license today!!)


Olivia (13)

The Johnson/Mansel Family


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anniversary Post Update

I wanted to write a little something about my super husband on our actual anniversary, but I just never had the time. I updated the post with the wedding pictures today. Scroll down to read my comments.

Cross Country Practice

Leah and Sam playing at Ballard Park
Last week Olivia, Julie, and Clay began running with the Tupelo High School cross country team--not that they are not going to school, or joining the team (we do not even live in Tupelo School District)--they just have the opportunity to run with them during their summer practice sessions. They are running at one of three locations, changing locations each week. 1. Chickasaw Village--a trail that runs through the woods around and along side of the Natchez Trace. 2. Ballard Park 3. Veterans Park. Both of the park locations have playgrounds so I have been walking/jogging with Leah and Sam in the stroller around the park until they can stand it no longer, then I let them play! Jimmy is running with the older children. They are really enjoying running with exceptional runners, and they are receiving excellent coaching. When school starts back in August, we will go back to our regular running Mom and Dad.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

What a wonderful 17 years! I married the most fabulous man! Our years together have truly been wonderful. When we married I had just graduated from college one month prior, and Jimmy had just finished his first year of medical school. He was 23, I was 21. The first nine years of our marriage were spent in Jackson, MS while Jimmy complete medical school, residency, and fellowship. I was advised early in our marriage by another physician's spouse to learn to amuse myself during medical school and training, not to resent the time Jimmy spent studying and working, and to be happy and grateful for any time we had together. This advice served me well, and I think it is good advice for any young bride. The first 3 years I taught school. After that, we had Olivia soon followed by Julie and Clay so I had plenty of things to occupy my time!

Jimmy is kind, caring, sympathetic, generous, understanding, compassionate and loving. I do not list these adjectives lightly. He really is all of these things and more. He is so gentle with me and the children. He always knows just what to say to me whenever I have a problem. He sets a wonderful Christian example for me, our children and for all who know and work with him. I am so thankful to have such a sweet husband. He never complains about anything I do (or don't do). He is an extremely hard worker both at his job outside the home and here around the house. He spends 12+ hours a day working to provide for our family, then spends his free time either working on our property or just playing with the children and me. If something breaks, he fixes it. He takes care of the yard, the woods, the boat, the barn, the backhoe, and everything else. I am grateful that he is so handy, and even more grateful that he is teaching all of his skills to the children. He usually has one of them tagging along for whatever job he is doing. When he runs an errand he always invites one or more of them to go with him. He encourages them, hugs them, loves them, and disciplines them. He is a super daddy.

The first 17 years have flown by creating many precious memories. I am looking forward to many, many more years with this man I love so much. I thank God for him every day. He is my best friend.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Canoe Trip &VBS

Jimmy and Clay went on a canoe trip to Bear Creek today with some people that Jimmy works with. They were gone most of the day and had a great time. Of course Clay jumped in the creek.

I worked on Vacation Bible School material all day. The girls helped me some, watched a movie, and read books. Leah and Sam destroyed the school room while I worked! Playdoh, counting bears, foam stickers, glue, markers, Little People, and a big toy basket were some of the things that occupied them. Thankfully, Olivia and Julie helped me get everything put away before supper.

I am teaching the 1 and 2yos in VBS. I wrote/compiled a "curriculum" for the class this year. Each day we are studying a different person from the Old Testament: Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Jonah. I am using The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes for my text. I plan to sing welcome songs and Bible songs and then read the short story for the day. Next will be a simple craft followed by snacktime then outside play. Then we will read a picture book about the person of the day and color a picture. Finally we will sing more songs and get ready to go home. I put small laminated pictures pertaining to the day's lessons in the little Bibles we use for our Bible songs. They are used to looking for pictures in their Bibles on Sundays and Wednesdays, and they really enjoy it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fun Day

Today Olivia and Julie had their friends, Dixie and Candy to spend the night. They made lemon ice box pie for our dessert. The recipe is from our dear friend from church (and an excellent cook!), Karen Clayton.

Lemon Ice Box Pie

Layer 1: Mix 1 box crushed vanilla wafers, 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup chopped pecans and press into the bottom of a 9x13 dish.
Layer 2: Mix 1 8oz. softened cream cheese, 1 8oz. cool whip and 1 cup powdered sugar. Spread on crust.
Layer 3: Mix 2 cans sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 cup lemon juice. Spread on layer 2.
Layer 4: 1 8 oz. cool whip.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sam LOVES to play with legos, or eggos, as he calls them. He builds houses and trains. Leah frequently builds things with him. Her specialty is "beds". Here is a "house" that I helped them build. Leah added beds to the middle.

Clay is spending the night at his friends' house (Parker and Carson). They were at the lake when I called Clay to ask him something. He always has lots of fun at their house. They usually wake up before 6:00 a.m. and head outside to play!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Leah Cooks Breakfast

Leah's favorite breakfast is Sausage & Cheese Muffins. This morning she helped me make them by grating the cheese, pouring in the ingredients, and stirring. Yummy!

Sausage & Cheese Muffins
1 lb. sausage, browned
2 2/3 cups biscuit mix
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients and put into 12 muffin tins (sprayed with cooking spray). Bake at 400 for 16-20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Making time for exercise is a daily challenge for me. I love how exercise makes me feel during and after, but the logistics of getting all of the children safe and happy so that I can exercise can be difficult. If you are trying to find time to exercise, let me suggest four options.

Option 1: Exercise early in the morning before the children wake up. I know lots of ladies who do this. Currently this option does not work for me because as you know, Sam sleeps with my hair! If I get out of bed in the morning while Sam is still asleep, he is awake within five minutes.

Option 2: Exercise late at night after you get all of the children to bed.

Option 3: Exercise with your children. I do this about half the time. We all go to a walking track and I push the little ones in a jogging stroller. We also frequent one track that is safe for Leah and Sam to ride their bikes and riding toys while we run. It is not near a road, and it does not have many other walkers/runners. Sometimes when Jimmy can run with us we will go to a neighborhood to run...with Leah and Sam in the stroller. Also, we sometimes run on our driveway, and Leah and Sam can just play out there while we run.

Option 4: Enlist your older children to watch the little ones while you exercise. I do this the rest of the time. I let the older ones know how long I will be on the treadmill or precor(30-40 minutes), and they divide the time by three. They set the timer and each of them will watch Sam and Leah for 10-15 minutes. After that, they let them come down to the workout room while I lift weights, stretch, etc.

You have to be creative, but you can do it!

This is what Sam does while I exercise.....jump, hang, and swing on the weights.....or smell my hair when I am lying on the floor!

Typical Summer Days

Not much exciting has been going on around here, just the typical summer activities.....since we break from school for 2 months, our routine is pared down to chores, Bible lesson, read aloud, swim, and run. Yesterday we spent a good part of the day at our church building preparing my classroom for VBS. I met 2 friends there, and our children played while we worked. Olivia and Julie were big helps! Also yesterday Olivia read the entire book, The Bronze Bow, and Julie cooked our supper. The menu was tuna noodle casserole, Caesar Salad with homemade dressing, and pistachio cake. The recipes were from her new American Girl Julie cookbook.

As you can see, I have changed my blog background.....with step by step coaching from my sister-in-law Megan on the telephone. Thanks Megan!

I am up to running 2 miles without any significant pain. I am signed up for a 5K June 28th. I will be pushing Leah and Sam in the jogging stroller which makes running a little more difficult. The race is in Memphis, so I won't have a babysitter to watch them on the sidelines while I run. Jimmy plans to jog back to get the stroller from me after he finishes the race. I hope I have run at least 2 miles when he finds me!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Beauty-- Inside and Out

Check out my sister-in-law's blog for a super article, "Beauty--Inside and Out".

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I updated the children's ChorePacks tonight. I have my children begin doing chores at around age 4. Before using ChorePacks, I listed each child's chores on a poster or piece of paper and hung it in a central location. The problem with that was that they had to keep coming back to the list to see what was next. Or they would "forget" something on the list. Then I found ChorePacks. Managers of Their Chores is the companion book for ChorePacks. This book is a wonderful resource for both the novice and experienced chore maker! It is full of ideas, tips, advice and encouragement.

I have used ChorePack clip art for my non-readers in the past, but tonight I printed out Leah's chore cards with words at the top and then let her illustrate the chore. She enjoyed doing this.

We do chores twice a day--before breakfast and before supper. We call the afternoon time the "Five O'Clock Tidy". It's what we do before Jimmy comes home--so he won't break his neck trying to get to the kitchen!

Morning chores include tidy room, make bed, get dressed, bring dirty laundry, unload dishwasher, various pet chores (4 dogs, 1 cat), practice piano, and water plants.

Afternoon chores include clean up outside toys, put away laundry, tidy bedroom, take out trash, tidy den, clean off bar in kitchen, tidy playroom, tidy schoolroom--these common areas are each assigned to one child. On Fridays they also clean out and vacuum the van.

I have my own chores during these chore times---Morning: cleaning up the kitchen, starting the washer/dryer, tidying up my bedroom and bathroom. Afternoon: vacuuming our high traffic areas, starting supper, putting away Sam's, Jimmy's and my laundry, helping Clay clean Sam's part of their shared bedroom.

Keeping the Home--Cleaning

Before I dispense advice on general house cleaning, let me make one disclaimer.....I have a fabulous housekeeper, Mrs. Barnes. I am so blessed to have her! She is wonderful!

But, I have not always had household help, and I am teaching or have already taught my older children how to dust, sweep, mop, vacuum, and clean bathrooms. They will need these skills when they move out on their own, plus there are times now that we do all of these jobs in between times when Mrs. Barnes cleans.

When Jimmy and I were first married and until the time we had Olivia, I cleaned my whole house (well, apartment) in one day. After having children I realized that I no longer had one large block of time for house cleaning so for years I used one of two systems.

System 1:
I divided the house into 5 zones. 1--kitchen and laundry area, 2--den, 3--children's bedrooms and bathroom, 4--master bedroom and bath, 5--playroom, hallways, half bath. I cleaned every part of each zone a day. This would include dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, etc.

System 2:
I divided the cleaning into jobs. I would do 1 job throughout the house each day. 1--sweep/mop, 2--vacuum, 3--dust, 4--bathrooms, 5--kitchen counters and appliances.

When I teach the children how to do a certain job like clean a bathroom I type step by step directions for them.
I am also compiling a list of chores I want to be sure to teach them before they leave home. Some of these they have already learned. The list includes: changing air filters, cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer, washing and drying clothes, ironing, cleaning out the car, washing the car, washing windows, and cleaning the grill.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Pop (Jimmy's daddy) and Will, my nephew, came by for a surprise visit tonight while we were rollerblading.

Jimmy and me taking a rest---do you see Sam sniffing my hair? Every opportunity he gets!

Clay is actually irritating Julie in this picture. She did not want him to touch her.....she doesn't know that his arm is behind her back!

Look at me!

Fabulous Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day with Jimmy tonight. He is on call tomorrow which means that he will go to work early tomorrow morning and will not come home until Monday night. :(
The children presented him with handmade gifts and cards and then gave him ROLLER BLADES! Now we all have them!

Sam helping Jimmy open his roller blades

Jimmy drinking coffee from his new mug that Julie made

Finish Line

Here is a video of the children crossing the finish line. First is Julie, then Olivia, then Clay.

Frog Level 5K

Today Olivia, Julie and Clay ran in the Frog Level 5K. They did super! Olivia won 1st place in her age division, Julie won 2nd place overall female (beat by 1 second by the same 12yo that beat her by 1 second last week!), and Clay won 1st place in his age group. Go Johnsons!
See the Race Results in the sidebar for their times.

Jimmy is working this weekend and I am still not ready to race. I did begin running Thursday. A whopping .75 mile! I plan to slowly build up my distance and run in a race June 28th.

Look at Me Momma !

Jimmy put this together for me. Thanks Jimmy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Keeping the Home--Art Work

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a permanent file for my children's art work. With 5 children, if I kept every piece of paper that they draw on, we would be covered with "art"! So this is how I manage it.

permanent file--this is where I keep the cards, letters, and artwork the children make specifically for Jimmy or me--birthday cards, thank you letters, mother's day art, etc. I actually have 3 files labeled for this category. I do not file anything that is not flat.

outgoing mail file--pictures drawn or painted for no particular reason, or items specifically made for someone to be mailed to them. These pictures are for grandparents, elderly people from our church, sick people, and just someone who may need to receive a beautiful picture and sweet note in the mail.

3-ring binders--each child has a 3 ring binder labeled "Art" filled with page protectors. As they create masterpieces that they want to keep, they put them into their binder. When the binder is full, it is easily stored.

large plastic box--this is for non-flat artwork that for the time being we cannot part with. I am limiting the items kept to what can fit in the box. Eventually, some of this artwork will have to be refiled into my last location......

file T--the trash can! Sadly, some of the art goes straight to file T. As I mentioned before, I cannot keep everything! Some people take pictures of their children holding their creations before moving them to file T.

Keeping the Home--Alphabetizing

I have two items that I alphabetize--my spices and my files.

Whether you keep your spices in your pantry, a cabinet, a drawer or on a shelf, try putting them in ABC order. You will be able to easily locate the spice you need. Assign the job of alphabetizing the spices to a child. He will receive practice in a valuable skill, and you will have neatly organized spices!

I actually have 3 sets of files. 1) files of opened mail--things to be eventually put into a permanent file, bills to be paid, forms to fill out, etc. These files are kept in a small file box close to where I open mail. I alphabetize all of my files by their name. I name them very simply so I can locate them when I need to----bills to pay, phone lists, recipes, etc. 2) school related files--kept in a separate file drawer. Some of these file titles are Bible memory, calendar supplies, Christmas crafts, elections, reading lists, etc. Again, naming them simply and filing them alphabetically helps me to quickly find what I need. 3) permanent files--all of those pieces of paper that I must keep. My permanent files take up 3 file drawers. I actually need to go through these files and see what I can throw away! Our permanent files include things such as insurance info (auto, home, boat, health, etc.), warranties, receipts for major purchases, owners manuals, children's art work (the precious things they draw and make for us), bank statements, tax documents, etc.
If your files need reorganizing, try sorting the papers into logical categories, naming them simply, and alphabetizing them. If the job is especially daunting, then just work on it for 15 minutes at a time until you have completed the task.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sick Children and a Visit to the Vet

It all started Saturday night. Leah woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. Fortunately, she took ibuprofen and went back to sleep. She stayed in the bed (well, our bed) all day Sunday, watching tv and coloring. She was a super patient. Also on Sunday Clay began complaining with an earache and we had company for dessert. By Monday, Leah was better, she still laid around all day but did not have fever. Clay's ear was worse. I called my brother (an ENT dr.) and he diagnosed him with swimmer's ear and prescribed ear drops. Monday night we had company for supper--our preacher and his wife and daughter and our visiting preacher. Clay was up most of Monday night with his ear hurting too badly to lie down or sleep, in spite of taking ibuprofen. So Tuesday morning I took him to my brother's clinic for an exam. I figured he must have an inner ear infection since it hurt so badly. It turned out to be external, just like we had originally thought. Today, Clay has felt much better.......but Sam woke up today burning with fever! He is not the super patient that Leah is. He was not content to lie in bed all day watching tv! He actually never watches tv. I have held him all day. I did as much as I could walking around with him, but he is heavy, so we spent most of the day in the rocking chair. Sam DOES NOT take medicine well, so he has to just suffer. That is actually an understatement. Sam has NEVER in his life kept any kind of medicine down. He will take the medicine, but will throw it all up within 10 seconds. It happened again today. He drank 1 tsp. of grape motrin, then 5 seconds later......yuk! Thankfully he has been seriously sick only one time. He had an ear infection and I requested an antibiotic shot. I knew that there was no way he could keep down 10 days of the pink stuff.

To add even more interest to the day, I was scheduled to take 3 of our (4) dogs and our cat to the vet for their annual checkups. I had originally planned to take 2 pets yesterday and 2 today, but since I had to take Clay to the dr. yesterday plus I had an appointment also yesterday at the foot center (picking up the orthotics for my running shoes) I had to reschedule to take all 4 today. What an adventure! I took Olivia and Clay with me to help herd them all in. Two of the dogs are yard dogs which means they have no leash training! Lilly, our inside dog, does a little better on a leash, but does not get along with the other dogs, especially in close quarters like inside the truck! The cat was on the verge of a nervous breakdown between riding with 3 dogs, two of which are very large, and being forced into the pet carrier. The cat never goes outside except for the yearly visit to the vet. The vet reported that she threw up during the exam. (must be kin to Sam!). I am sure it was stress! The ride to and from the vet was thrilling! Lucky (80 lbs.) trampled Sam trying to get to the windshield to see out. The cat was crying pitifully. Lilly (25 lbs.) rode in my lap. Olivia had the cat carrier in her lap, Lucky in her lap (after I sent him to the back after making Sam cry), and Ribsy (56 lbs.) trying to get in her lap. I could not even see Olivia's face. Clay thought it was all great fun! I was just glad to get home. I opened the truck door and got out of the way before I was knocked down by escaping dogs.

What a day!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Family Fun on the Boat

After the race Saturday we spent a couple of hours preparing the boat, packing a picnic and gathering supplies for our first boat outing of the season. Sam LOVED riding on the boat. The faster the better. When we stopped to eat our picnic at a pavilion, he spent the entire time asking, "Where's the boat? I want to get on the boat. The boat is fun!" So we hurriedly ate our lunch and loaded everyone back on the boat. Next, the children took turns tubing. What fun! Even Leah and Sam tubed! Jimmy went very slowly for Leah and Sam, and we stopped while they were still having fun so they would want to do it again. The children swam in the lake some while Jimmy, Sam and I hung out on the boat. After one more round of tubing (Leah too!), we headed home. What a fun day!

Boat Hair

Leah having fun

Clay chilling out

Leah waiting for her first tube ride

Clay overboard

Clay ready to tube


Worn Out

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Running With the King

Saturday, Jimmy, Olivia, Julie, and Clay ran the Elvis Presley 5K Race. My parents came to visit and watch the race. Olivia won 1st place in her age division, Clay won 1st place in his age division, and Julie won 2nd place overall female. Elvis provided the entertainment. Check out Race Results in the sidebar for their times.

Here are my parents (Mims and Pops) with Sam, Julie and Clay.

Clay crossing the finish line.

Pops and Clay

Olivia and Julie with Elvis

Friday, June 6, 2008

Inspiration from my iPod

I listen to my iPod while exercising. I really enjoy listening to the words of the songs I have downloaded, and some of them are quite encouraging. I am going to share the lyrics of some of my favorites in the sidebar of this blog. Scroll down to after "Race Results". I have only one song listed now, but I will be adding more as I have time. This first one is for all mothers.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cute Picture

Here are Clay (1), Olivia (5), and Julie (3) in September, 2000. I was looking at old pictures last night and thought this one was just too cute not to share! Having Leah and Sam is a little like having Julie and Clay all over again--they look a lot like them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Keeping the Home--Grocery Shopping

I buy groceries once a week at a grocery store, and I shop at Wal-Mart once a month for all of my non-food supplies. I keep a typed list of items I frequently buy at each store taped inside my pantry door. When we run out of an item I highlight it on the list. The night before my monthly Wal-Mart shopping I take my list through the house and highlight what we need. I basically buy the same amount of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, toothpaste, etc. each month.
The night before my grocery shopping day I make a weekly supper menu and then highlight the items I will need to prepare each meal. I also know how much milk, cokes, juice, cereal, produce, etc. to buy to last us one week. I rotate several of the same meals for breakfast and lunch so I buy a week's worth of supplies for those meals too. I have one month's worth of suppers typed and taped inside the pantry. I start at the top, cook each meal and when I get to the bottom of the list I just begin again. I do try new recipes on occasion, but the master supper list helps me to make a one week meal plan and grocery list without too much thought. I have tried shopping for 2 weeks and even one month of groceries, but it is just too overwhelming for me. It takes too many carts (3) and I still have to go back to the store weekly for milk and I have decided that is just simpler to buy for one full week at a time.
I have the items on my grocery list typed in the order that they appear in the store as I walk through. This is a big time saver.
Happy Shopping!

Do Not Lose Heart

Yesterday when I began exercising on our elliptical machine, I noticed that Jimmy had taped a Bible verse on the dashboard. I am assuming he wants to memorize it.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Thought outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I committed this verse to memory years ago, and I thought about it again and how it applies to our lives as I was exercising yesterday. Paul, who wrote this letter to the Corinthians, certainly had more light and momentary troubles than most people today. He was persecuted and subjected to various hardships because he was a Christian and a preacher of the Gospel. Yet, he calls these hardships (hunger, shipwreck, beatings, imprisonment, and others) "light and momentary troubles" in light of his eternal reward.

What are your troubles today? sickness? terminal illness? physical pain,? failing marriage? wayward children? sick children? unemployment? financial difficulties? an overwhelming to-do list? broken down vehicle? arguing children? aging parents? stressful job? Whatever our troubles are for this day, let us keep in mind the big picture. Our daily trials, no matter how large and ominous they seem, are just that--daily trials, light and momentary troubles achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Our hope is heaven! So let us do as Paul states and "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen".

How do we do this? How do we get past being consumed by our daily trials?
1. Practice thanksgiving. There is always something you can be thankful for. Regularly thank God for any and all blessings you can think of. Thank the people around you for what they have done for you. Thanksgiving produces joy. When you are thankful you realize all that you DO have, all that IS going right in your life. This takes your mind off your current troubles.
2. Think about the early Christians, the ones we read about in the New Testament. Compare their lives to yours, their hardships to yours, their commitment to following Jesus to yours.....we can all improve our attitudes when we realize how stressful (and endangered) their lives were, just because they were Christians. Certainly our problems pale in comparison.
3. Keep your eyes on the eternal. Loving God and serving Him through obedience is all that really matters. God has not promised us an easy life. We have no promise of a trouble-free existence. We certainly do not deserve an easy ride. Keep this in mind and be grateful. Be grateful for every single positive thing you can think of.
4. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Want to Run

Friday night Jimmy and I took Olivia and Julie to run a 1 mile race in Holly Springs. After watching the race Leah said, "I want to run! Can you get me some running shoes?" Jimmy and I both said, "sure!" She asked about getting the shoes a few more times, and she even suggested that we get them that night. However, it was too late (the race started at 8:00 p.m.). We had a busy Saturday, but Leah kept asking throughout the day if we could go get her some running shoes. Finally, at 8:30 p.m. we made it to the shoe store and purchased Leah some running shoes! Primrose and pink Nikes! Her first run was up and down the sidewalk outside the shoe store. After her bath that night she put her new running shoes back on and went to bed in them! Before going to bed she announced that she would be running the Coke Race--a 10K! We suggested that she make her racing debut at the Green Street Mile race held in Tupelo on July 4th. She began "training" today. Her sisters took her outside this afternoon and coached her on proper running form and taught her a couple of stretches. She ran, walked and skipped for about 30 minutes (she also took several swinging on the swing set breaks). Toward the end of the training session Olivia measured their time and distance with her GPS watch--.26 miles in 21 minutes. Wow! At that pace she can complete the 1 mile in 1 hour, 20 minutes.
I plan to push Sam in the stroller and jog with Leah in the Green Street Mile. I guess she can ride if she gets tired!

Olivia and Julie did super in the 1 mile race Friday night. They each won 1st place in their age group. See Race Results for their times.