Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Tonight we went to the Princes's house for their annual Halloween party. Each year we gather together for supper and trick or treating in their neighborhood. In case you think I stay up all night sewing matching costumes for my dear children, think again! At about 2 hours before the start of the party, I sent the children upstairs to the dress-up closet to find something suitable to wear. Here is what they dressed as:

The Tooth Fairy

Jason Castro (American Idol)

Mary Ingalls

Laura Ingalls

Here are some pictures from the party. Notice that Sam still does his "picture face" whenever he sees a camera!


The Girls
Leah, Avery, Anna Kate, Lilly Grace

The Boys
Parker, Clay, Carson, Ashton

We had a great time! Thanks Leigh for opening up your home.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Race For the Cure & Spartan Cookout

The Race For the Cure 5K was held last Saturday. The weather was sunny and cold, perfect for a race! This was the last race our cross country team participated in together. The Spartans competed very well! Many of them won awards, and they all had good racing times. Here are the results for my family--times are in the sidebar: Jimmy--3rd in age group; Olivia --1st in age group (4th female overall finisher); Julie--2nd overall female finisher; Clay--1st in age group.

Leah and Sam were worn out from getting up so early. By now, they are used to waking up very early on Saturday mornings, getting in the car still wearing their pajamas, dressing when we get to the race site, and spending time inside and outside of the stroller, cheering the family on.
Leah during the awards ceremony
Sam resting during the awards ceremony

After the race, the Spartan team along with their families gathered at our house for a cookout. The children had a super time eating, playing basketball, climbing in the barn, running through the woods, and playing football in the yard. The parents participated in these activities plus sat around enjoying the nice weather and visiting. It was such a fun afternoon.

Mr. Scot cooked the hotdogs. He also made friends with Sam.

After we ate, Coach Heather presented the Spartans with various awards for their success this season.
Clay listening to Coach Heather

The Spartans presented Coach Heather with a sweatshirt and gift to show their appreciation for all of her time and hard work.

Courtney and Olivia

The Spartan team awaiting their awards.

Exciting Discovery!

Clay and Sam discovered a muscadine vine this morning while exploring in our woods. They rushed in and excitedly showed me their find! The muscadines are huge and ripe. Now all of the children except Olivia have abandoned their schoolwork to pick muscadines. Fun! I know what we will be eating for lunch today!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Countdown to St. Jude Half Marathon

Some of you have asked me what my training schedule is for the remaining 6 weeks until the race (Dec. 6). Here it is: on the shorter days, after warming up I run continuously. On the long run days I alternate running 1 mile, walking 1 minute.
Week 1: 5,5,4,9
Week 2: 5,5,4 10
Week 3: 5,5,4,11
Week 4: 5,5,4,12
Week 5: 5,5,4 ,8
Week 6: 4,3,3, 13.1 (Race!)

I'm Back!

We have been without internet service since last Thursday! Since we live out in the country, we have to have satellite internet (or dial up), and our service is sometimes unpredictable and unreliable. It often doesn't work on really cloudy days, and it never works if it is raining even the slightest bit. But this time it wasn't the weather. After spending an hour on the phone with my friends at technical support in India, and another half hour with advanced technical support in Florida, the people determined that my problem was due to a satellite in outer space being misaligned. So the dish in my yard was no longer able to send or receive a signal. I asked them if I could just go outside, climb a ladder and adjust my dish until I could get my internet service working again, but the nice Indian man emphatically said, "NO! Only trained professional technicians could service the dish!" (I was only kidding!)

Yesterday, a real, live person came to service my dish. He stayed 3 hours to complete a "30 minute" repair. He was successful!

I have a lot of online work to catch up on--posting on this blog, reading blogs, reading emails, and online Christmas shopping. I better get started!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2 Timothy 4:2

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction." (NIV)

I understand that in this Scripture, Paul is writing to Timothy, giving him instructions concerning spreading the gospel, but when I was reading this verse yesterday, I considered applying these verses to parenting. Here are my notes.

Preach the Word--As Christians, our primary goal of parenting should be teaching our children God's Word. This is not a responsibility we should take lightly or leave to the Sunday school teachers. We must be diligent in teaching them about God, Jesus, salvation, Bible history, prayer, and Christianity. They must see us live out what we are teaching. Teaching children God's Word cannot be relegated to a 20 minute session a few times a week, but must be an ongoing process, a lifestyle. Consider Deuteronomy 6: 6-9. "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV)

be prepared--We must have a plan for raising and training our children. We need to communicate to them clear goals and expectations for their behavior. We also need to clearly tell them the consequences of disobedience. We may have to be creative here. I know that frequently my children will disobey me about something, and I have not thought of a consequence beforehand. I know that they need a punishment, but in the middle of the situation, I cannot clearly think of something appropriate. Plan ahead! Be prepared. Think of things that your children do that you would like to discipline them for, and then make a list of consequences. It is even more effective if you communicate these consequences with your children before they are needed. For example, for our older children I have made a list of various chores that I would like to have completed, but do not make the time for on a regular basis, or they are chores that are always needing to be done. (cleaning out the van, sweeping out the garage, vacuuming the kitchen and den, vacumming the storage room, etc.). My children know that if they complain about their daily work, bicker with their siblings, or just in general have a bad attitude about chores or schoolwork, the consequence is completing one of the extra chores from the list. You could also include raking part of the yard, weeding the flower beds, etc.

in season and out of season--Parenting, disciplining, and training our children is an ongoing process. We must continually parent our children. It is not something we do once or twice and then check off our list. The challenges of parenting continue throughout our children's lives.

correct--We must immediately correct wrong behavior and bad habits. Even when it is not convenient for us to do so (even when you are blogging and you hear your 2 year old hit your 4 year old). Don't let little things slide. Address the undesired behavior quickly every time. If you already have your plan (see be prepared), this is easier to do.

rebuke--I looked up this word in the dictionary to get an accurate definition. Rebuke means to reprimand, reproof, admonish, scold. Basically, let the child no in no uncertain terms that their behavior is wrong, and you expect them to stop. You can point out their wrongdoings quickly and kindly without resorting to yelling or threatening. But do not sugarcoat things. They need to know that they are wrong. Again, this can be done with a pleasant voice. No one likes to be berated, and a rebuke is received much easier when delivered in a kind, loving voice.

encourage--This is extremely important! We cannot spend all of our time correcting and rebuking. Don't encourage when a reprimand or correction is in order, but spend every moment you can encouraging your child. Treasure him. Smile at him. Speak to him in a loving and kind voice. Praise him for his work and behavior. As mothers, we must model a pleasant, happy, and contended attitude. It is easier for a child to function under encouragement than constant rebuke. Look for the good in your child and acknowledge it!

with great patience--We must consider the great patience that God has extended to us. "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) Patience is also listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit--qualities that we as Christians should be striving for on a daily basis. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22 (NIV) We must be patient as we are rearing our children. They are immature. We cannot expect perfection from them. In fact, we must expect mistakes and forgetfulness. We must patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage them--over and over again.

and careful instruction--Children do not automatically know how to act in a given situation. They do not know the rules and expectations we may have for them. They are naturally self-centered and selfish (just like we are!). It is our job to carefully instruct them, little by little. Teach them right from wrong. Model correct behavior. Practice expected behavior in particular situations. This has been a most helpful tool for me. I try to practice everything with my children......standing in line at the post office, sitting quietly in a church service or at a doctor's appointment, answering the door, getting in and out of the van without hurting a sibling, how to get my attention when I am on the phone or visiting in person with someone....Just think of situations when your children have not behaved as you have liked, and instruct them the right way and then practice! Practicing is usually fun for them.
Instruction will be continual. As our children grow, we have new and more lessons for them. Remember when instructing to communicate your expectations and consequences.

Parenting is hard work! With prayer, careful attention to God's Word, and a happy attitude, we can enjoy this rewarding task. Remember, the days are long, but the years are short. Let us live in such a way that we can look back on our parenting journey with no regrets.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Monday

Monday--homemade pizza: I set out personal pan sized pizza crusts, and everyone makes their own, using the following toppings: sauce, cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, heated frozen grilled chicken strips, browned sausage, and pepperoni. YUM!
Tuesday--gone to a party!
Wednesday--crock pot chili, salad, chess squares; taking a meal to a friend with a new baby--Mexican Beef casserole, chips and salsa, salad, chess squares
Thursday--chicken casserole, rice, steamed broccoli (never cooked this last week)
Friday--shrimp scampi served over angel hair pasta
Saturday--Spartan cook out leftovers
Sunday--grilled pork chops, Ranch potatoes, green beans

Diabetes Dash 5K

Thanks to our cross country coach, Heather, I ran my fastest 5K time ever on Saturday!! 25:33! I was thrilled! Heather set the pace for me at the beginning of the race, and after about 2 minutes, I wasn't sure if I could keep up. She was so encouraging though, and her encouragment convinced me that I could run that fast.

Unfortunately, running that fast did reinjure my knee. It didn't hurt Saturday, and it didn't hurt yesterday (however I have had muscle soreness), but today when I did a slow 5 mile fun, I could tell that the old injury was back. :( I had planned to run fast in the Race for the Cure 5K this Saturday, but now I think I am just going to take it slow. I don't want to jeopardize my plans of running the St. Jude half in December. Still, I sometimes feel competitive! Sometimes it is hard to just run slow and easy in a RACE!

Our homeschool cross country team did super in the 5K. Most of the team members improved their personal times, and several Spartans received trophies. My family did well too.
Jimmy won 1st place in the 40-49 males; I won 3rd place in the 30-39 females!!; Olivia won 2nd place overall female; Julie won 1st place overall female; and Clay won 1st place 9 and under males. Jimmy's brother, Russ also ran this race. He doesn't even train, and he won 3rd place in the 20-29 males.

Thanks to Aunt Jenny and Aunt Megan for watching Leah and Sam during the race.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More About Fall Break

Leah and Sam playing in the water at the Children's Museum yesterday

Enjoying a kid's drink from Starbucks
What a busy week! We have packed as much as we could into this week off from school. Jimmy has completed many home improvement projects, we are attending our gospel meeting at church, we all went to the dentist (my brother) yesterday, we shopped at Target while in Memphis, and I have tried to stay caught up on laundry in spite of all of the busyness. The children are enjoying their time off from school, and Olivia and Julie have had more time than usual to blog. Check out their blogs for more details about the fun we have been having during our Fall Break. The week concludes with a 5K race tomorrow in Corinth. My sister in law, Megan plans to watch Leah and Sam so I can run without the stroller. One of Jimmy's cousins, Stacee, is meeting me at the race so we can run together. She is also training for the St. Jude Half Marathon. We plan to run that race together too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Week's Menu

Tuesday--fruited chicken, brown rice, green beans
Wednesday--roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions, green beans, bread, banana pudding--We're feeding the visiting preacher, that's why we're having dessert!
Thursday--BBQ chicken salad
Friday--Mexican Casserole (new recipe), salad
Saturday--Chicken and Rice casserole (new recipe), steamed broccoli
Sunday--leftovers, cereal

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Break

This week is fall break. Jimmy is off work all week, and we are off from official homeschool for the week too. We came down to Jackson yesterday after our morning church service. We are staying with Jimmy's brother Russ and his wife Megan for a couple of days. We attended the church where we worshipped when we lived here last night. (We lived in Jackson for the 1st 9 years we were married. Jimmy completed medical school, residency, and fellowship while we were here.) We were delighted to visit with our old church family. They had never met Sam and had only seen Leah when she was a baby. It was great seeing all of our old and dear friends.

After supper with Russ and Megan at one of our old favorite restuarants, Mazzios, Megan and I had a rematch of Singstar. I finally beat her on one of the songs, "Material Girl". I think I had an edge, because I knew all of the words already, and Megan was probably 5 or 6 when that song was popular! Then Russ demonstrated a new game for us, Dance Dance Revolution. It was hilarious! Playing this game is much harder than it looks! It was a lot of fun, and we had a lot of laughs!

This morning we went for a family run. All 7 of us. We haven't all run together in quite a while, so it was fun. Jimmy and the children let me set the pace, so they had a pretty slow run. We did go 7 miles though.

Next on our agenda is to check out a new mall that has been built since we moved from here, and then supper with Russ, Megan, and one of Jimmy's high school friends and his family.

Enjoying our fall break!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tippah County Lake XC Meet

Earlier today was the Tippah County Lake XC meet. Our homeschool cross-country team ran excellently! We had participants in the JV girls and boys and the Varsity boys. Our JV girls' team won 2nd place overall and 4 of our girls finished in the top 15 and were awarded t shirts. They were all so happy! Julie won 1st and Olivia 2nd in the JV race. Their times are in the sidebar.
Since this race was held at a state park, we all took picnic supplies and stayed most of the day. The weather was pleasant, and the children all had an enormous amount of fun. Julie has blogged all about it, complete with pictures. Check it out.

We have been so blessed with a super xc coach--Heather! She is just wonderful, and I appreciate all of the time she has spent and the sacrifices she has made to coach our homeschool xc team. She has 4 young children of her own that she homeschools---plus making time to coach our team. Wow! Please visit her blog too for a recap of the day.

Clay did not run in this meet because he was camping with his Pops (my daddy). Twice a year, the members of our Contenders For the Faith club take a father/son camping trip. Since Jimmy had to work Friday, and he needed to attend the xc meet (to set up the tent, carry all of the supplies---you have to park a long way from the event in xc meets!-- and document the day in pictures and video), my daddy took Clay on the campout. He went with Clay on the last one too, and they both seemed to have a wonderful time! Jimmy was able to spend a few hours at the campsite last night. Clay said that he didn't go to bed until midnight, and he was up at 6:00 a.m. ready to ride his 4 wheeler. He was tired this afternoon!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fruited Chicken and Rice

29 oz. can tomato sauce
20 oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
4-6 boneless chicken breasts (I use the frozen ones)
11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1 box instant brown rice

Combine all ingredients except chicken, oranges, and rice. Place chicken in bottom of crock pot and pour mixture over it. Cook on high for 4 hours. Prepare rice just before serving time. Just before serving, mix in oranges. Serve chicken and sauce on top of rice.

Half-Marathon Training

New music on my iPod.......$21
Successfully running 9 miles today.......Priceless!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Yesterday was Jimmy's birthday. We had a busy day, and Jimmy had to work. He was able to meet us for cross country practice and run with the team. We served him a nice supper complete with his favorite dessert--pecan pie. I only make pecan pie for his birthday, so I have not perfected the recipe. The filling is always too runny, but it tastes good! Jimmy's parents surprised us with a short visit around suppertime. I think Jimmy had a great birthday night!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Full and Fun Weekend

Friday right after lunch, the children and I traveled to Memphis to meet the newest member of our family--Davis Daniel Simmons. Davis was born October 2. He is welcomed by his parents Rhett (my youngest brother) and Amanda and big brother Wesley. Davis is a beautiful baby! I enjoyed holding him so much! It makes me want another baby!

After our visit my parents followed us back home to spend the night. We were joined by Jimmy's younger brother Russ and his wife Megan. All of our guests had come to attend the cross country meet that the children were running in Saturday morning.

Believe it or not, all 11 of us were dressed, packed and ready for the meet at 7:30 a.m. (This was after Jimmy, Russ, Megan and I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. talking!). Jimmy and Russ set up the tent, complete with the Spartan banner Jimmy made.

The races were exciting! Each of the Spartans improved their times from previous races. All of their hard work is paying off. Of course I was especially pleased with Olivia, Julie, and Clay. They all ran in the junior varsity races which were 4Ks (2.5 miles). Julie placed 1st, Olivia 2nd, and Clay 17th. There were about 100 students in each JV race. I have posted their times in the sidebar.

Julie with Sarah and CatherineOlivia and Clay

My parents and Jimmy's daddy holding Leah. Jim came to the meet too.

My daddy holding a tired Sam

Megan blogged about the day too--check it out.

Russ and Megan intently watching a race

After the meet was over my parents traveled to their home. Russ and Megan went back home with us. We spent a nice day together, visiting, resting, and even working a little! Russ helped Jimmy mow the yard, and Megan watched Leah and Sam for me while I ran. It was a really nice day!


I thought I would share an update about our injured little dog, Joy. Joy has made remarkable improvement over the last 8 weeks. She can stand up by herself and even walk a short distance. In the picture below, you can see that she even attempts to come up the stairs into the house. However, she cannot get past the bottom step. We are continuing to keep her inside, but we take her outside a few times a day to visit the other outside dogs and to enjoy the fresh air. She tries to walk and move around more when she is outside. On Tuesday, it will be one year since her initial paralysis.

New Shoes for Sam

Tow Mater Shoes

I took Sam to the shoe store several days ago to purchase some fall shoes for him. I had in mind some sort of running or tennis shoe.....all he had that still fit were camoflage crocs, and it will soon be too cold for those. While I was searching for tennis shoes that velcroed, Sam spotted the lovely shoes pictured above! They truly are the ugliest shoes I have ever seen! Sam squealed with delight because he LOVES "Mater" from the movie Cars, which by the way he has seen 492 times in the van---viewing it while I cart his siblings to cross country practice, races, piano lessons, etc. Anyway, I could hardly get him to even try on the blue sketchers I chose for him. He finally reluctantly tried on ONE sketcher, keeping the Mater shoe on the other foot. The sales lady boxed up the sketchers and Sam proudly wore the Mater shoes right out of the store. And he has worn them EVERYWHERE since. I think he has worn the sketchers one time.

Supper Menu

Sunday: cereal or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Monday: beef and vegetable stew (crock pot), bread
Tuesday: taco soup (crock pot)
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Fruited Chicken (crock pot), brown rice, green beans
Friday: grilled chicken, ranch potatoes, peas
Saturday: lasagna