Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Sam!

Sam! The Birthday Boy!
We celebrated Sam's 3rd birthday today. His actual birthday was while we were at Disneyworld, so we had his family party tonight. Sam loves Tow Mater and Lightening McQueen! He actually saw them at Disneyworld, and he was just thrilled.
This is the cake I made today. Since I couldn't get the black icing for the road smooth, Jimmy commented that it was the road BEFORE Lightening fixed it! (Have you seen the movie?)

Sam wearing his Mater and McQueen shirt, opening his presents

Blowing out the candles

Enjoying the cake!
I cannot believe that my baby is 3 years old. The time is just flying by! I hope he continues to snuggle with me for a long time.
Happy Birthday Sam!

Disney Day 2

We left our hotel at 8:30 in the morning. What a long day of driving! We stopped for lunch and twice for gasoline. The children traveled great! They watched lots of movies! We finally arrived at our hotel at Disneyworld at 5:00 p.m. Both families arrived safely--4 adults and 10 children.

Leah and Avery getting ready for a long day in the van

Since it was getting late, we headed to Downtown Disney for supper and sight seeing instead of going to one of the major parks. The highlights of the night were the HUGE Disney store and the impressive Lego store. The bus ride from the hotel to Downtown Disney proved to be fun for the kids too!

The Daddys--Jimmy and Kelly

The Mamas--Lynn and me

The older girls on the bus
Clay checking out the Disney Store

Sam and me at Downtown Disney's McDonalds

The whole group of children---except for Leah and Avery
After eating and walking around a little bit, we rode the bus back to the hotel. Everyone was exhausted and ready to dream about the Magic Kingdom!

Disney Day 1

Waiting to leave!
We left our house around 7:00 p.m. Friday night. We drove until 12:30 a.m., and we spent the night at a hotel. It was 2:00 a.m. before I got everyone settled down and asleep!
The extra child in our photos is Rebekah. Rebekah joined our family for the trip. She is a friend of Olivia's and Julie's, she is a member of our church, and she is also homeschooled so she was able to take a week off too.
As you can see in this photo, Sam still has his ba bas! Yes, I took about 5 of them to Disneyworld, and we lost only 1!
All packed up!

Friday, January 30, 2009

We're Home!

We left home last Friday, January 23, and we arrived home about 2:00 p.m. today. We had a fantastic time vactioning at Disneyworld with the Mims Family! We are certainly glad to be home! I am exhausted! The children are too--Leah and Sam were bathed and in bed before 8:00. That is the earliest they have ever been to bed!
I have many, many loads of laundry to do, and lots of unpacking and straightening up to do. I plan to post pictures and highlights of our wonderful week over the next couple of days.
Be sure to check out Lynn's Blog too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Children are THE BEST!!

Well, the chaos continued this week. Sam recovered from his virus Monday night, but then Mr. Virus decided to visit more members of our family. Olivia got sick Tuesday night, followed by Leah on Wednesday morning, and then ME Wednesday night. Yuk! Thankfully, I was the sickest throughout the night while the children were sleeping. I am currently still in bed, very weak, but at least I am sitting up (and blogging! on Jimmy's laptop). We are leaving for Disneyworld tomorrow night, and being sick just did not fit into my schedule! I did manage to get all 5 children's bags packed and hem two pair of jeans for me before I crashed. My plan for last night (before Mr. Virus) was to pack my things. Today's plan included one more day of school, run one more errand, and then clean our entire dirty house. I did not want to come home to a dirty house! Well since I am too weak to even stand up right now, the housecleaning is not going to happen today, at least by me. Tomorrow is our homeschool co op from 9:00-2:00.

This morning while I was sleeping in my bed, still feeling pretty miserable, I would awaken occasionally to various sounds---sounds of the vacuum running, sounds of someone gathering cleaning supplies from the laundry room, sounds of the garage door opening and closing repeatedly (they were cleaning out the van), sounds of Clay instructing Leah the proper way to clean a precious children were cleaning our house! All on their own! Without anyone asking them to do it! My children are the very best! They knew how important it was to me to get the house in order before we left town. I have told them over and over again when they come to check on me how thankful I am! I also have given them the day off from school! I plan on feeling back to normal in a few hours, and I will finish up the cleaning and packing.

Julie, Clay, and Jimmy so far have not been sick. I am praying that Mr. Virus skips them, and that they will not get sick tomorrow! Or even worse, while we are traveling!

Monday, January 19, 2009


This is what my laundry room looks like!
What a day!
Sam has some sort of virus.....he began throwing up last night at 8:00, AT A RESTAURANT! Bless his heart, the only extra clothes I had in the van were girl clothes! I put them on him, and he and I waited in the van for everyone else to finish their supper.
He continued to throw up all night until about 5:00 a.m. this morning. I slept with him and prayed that he wouldn't throw up in my hair!
I have spent the day doing laundry, and my laundry room still looks the picture above. I should have taken a picture at 8:00 this morning! We also had a full school day, piano lessons, running, and I shopped for my Disneyworld trip at Walmart today. I purchased all of our snacks, water bottles, paper goods, etc. Thankfully, I put supper in the crock pot this morning! I had planned to begin packing today, but laundry took precedence. I will definitely have to start packing tomorrow. We are leaving Friday night.
We are going to Disneyworld with my friend, Lynn, and her family. She has a couple of sick children too! We are praying that everyone will be well before Friday!

This Week's Running Plan

3,5,8, hundreds of miles of walking at Disneyworld!
Next week's running plan is walking at Disneyworld followed by a 3 mile run on Saturday when we get home (the 31st)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homeschool High School History Curriculum

Olivia will be a freshman in high school next year, and it is not too soon for me to be planning her course of study. I know which curriculum I will be using for science (Apologia biology), math (Teaching Textbooks algebra), English (IEW and Easy Grammar), Spanish (Rosetta Stone), P.E. (running) and electives (home economics, piano). However, I do not have a plan for history. I want to explain what type of curriculum that I am looking for, and then I would love for you experienced homeschoolers of high school-aged children to leave me comments with your suggestions. Please leave the name of the curriculum and website if possible. Over the next four years, these are the subjects that I want to cover:

American history (1 year)
World history (1 year)
Geography (1 semester)
Mississippi History (1 semester)
American government (1 semester)
Economics (1 semester)

This is my "wish list" when choosing the curriculum:

1. Literature based rather than textbook based. I would love to find some sort of guide that told which "real books" (biographies, factual/informational type books, even historical fiction--as long as it is pretty accurate and realistic) to read for each period of history.

2. Something that will adequately prepare her for any type of college admission requirement or standardized test. Unless something really drastic happens, Olivia plans to attend college right here in our great state of Mississippi, most likely at a local community college at first. Therefore, she will only be taking the ACT. I can't even remember if there is a history section on that test.

3. I am not looking for a curriculum that has the student reading sections of material and then regurgitating the material by answering questions, then taking a weekly test of memorized facts. If she reads the material, understands it, and talks about it with our family, that is all the "testing' I need.

4. I am also not looking for a curriculum that has all kinds of "hands-on" projects and activities---just for the sake of having them. If it teaches a real-life lesson, great, but Olivia is not interested in building a pyramid out of toothpicks...just to build it! So far, my children are very creative. They tend to make, build, act out, cook, etc., things that interest them when they are reading. I really don't like to force those types of activities on the older children.

5. I want the program to be completed independently by the student. I certainly don't mind spending any amount of time preparing the supplies, notebooks, handouts, etc. needed for the course. I will spend time teaching Olivia how to do the course. But once school begins, I would like for her to be able to take the course notebook, guide book, whatever, and just "do" the history. She likes daily plans and checklists, which I will gladly make, but I don't want to have to give a daily history lecture.

Ok! Please give me all of your great advice!

Co op Week 1

Our first co op went very well! We have 13 mothers and 50 children (by my count, I may have forgotten someone!), and I was so pleased by how smoothly the day went. My 5 children are in 4 different groups, so I had children all over the place! They all enjoyed themselves immensely.
This week's theme was an overview of the United States....they labeled maps (I am proud to say that Olivia and Julie both can label a map of all 50 states of our great country in no time at all......I on the other hand can not!), practiced the state abbreviations (postal codes) and state capitols, recited their Bible memory verse for the week, identified all sorts of things on the U.S. maps, played geography games, etc. Leah sang lots of states and capitols songs and made the cutest American flag. She can now find Mississippi on a U.S. map! For this 4 week block I am keeping the little children in a "nursery". Sam actually let me hold another baby! Progress!
Next week's co op will cover the New England states.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Night Owl or Morning Lark?

Until 3 years ago I was definitely a "morning lark". I always had 8:00 classes in college. I taught school for 3 years, so I always awakened early to be at work. Even after I had my first four children, I still began each day at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., after the current baby was sleeping pretty well. In the early mornings I could accomplish many things: Bible reading and study, exercise, showering and dressing for the day, starting laundry, reading email, paying bills, planning for school, and preparing breakfast for the children---all before they even woke up! My bedtime was 10:00 p.m. at the latest, and I couldn't imagine staying up until 11:00 or later.

And then Sam arrived!

From his first day of life the child has woken up within minutes, even seconds of my feet hitting the floor in the morning. (There have been VERY FEW exceptions!) Even though now he only occasionally gets in our bed during the night (and therefore in my bed when I want to get up), he still wakes up within minutes (or seconds) of my getting out of bed. Even when he has slept all night in his own bed! He has some sort of sense that I am awake! Every so often I decide that I want to wake up early and "get some things done" (like I used to) before the children wake up. Well almost every single time Sam joins me! So, by default, in order to have some time to THINK and time to read my Bible, fold clothes, read email, blog, make lists, work on lesson plans, pay bills, balance the checkbook, etc., etc., I have become a night owl. Sam never wakes up within the first several hours of going to bed, in fact most nights he doesn't wake up at all unless he wets the bed, so I am guaranteed uninterrupted time from 10:00 p.m. on. I usually stay up till midnight or later, and I sleep until just about time to wake up the older children for read aloud time (7:00 a.m.)

So what about you? Night Owl or Morning Lark?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leah's Fun Day

The day began with Leah and Sam waiting for everyone to wake up so Leah could open her presents!

We make a big deal over birthdays at our house! After my wedding anniversary, those five days each year are my absolute favorite! Some of the special things we do include allowing the birthday child to choose their favorite breakfast, choose their favorite restaurant for supper, open all of their gifts first thing in the morning, enjoy a "chore free" day (their siblings do their chores for them), and a day off from all schoolwork.

Leah with her gift from Mims and Pops---a new Bitty Baby. She named her Baby Leah.

Leah in her new Cinderella attire

Blowing out her 5 candles.
Leah helped Olivia and Julie make her birthday cake.

Riding in a car at the mall.
I had to run a couple of errands today at the mall. Since it was Leah's birthday, I allowed her and Sam to ride!

Leah chose The Olive Garden for her birthday dinner, because she wanted breadsticks to dip in pasta. (She actually asked to go to Telinnis, but we suggested The Olive Garden instead!) As soon as we were served our breadsticks and salad, Leah took one breadstick to eat, and one to just hold in her hand. She held that breadstick throughout the entire meal. After eating, she asked for a "saving box" (take-out box) to put the breadstick in. She wanted to take it home for later! So we got the saving box for her one very handled breadstick plus a bag full of fresh breadsticks as well. She actually at her breadstick just before bed tonight!

Olivia and Julie at the birthday dinner--at The Olive Garden

Clay and Julie at The Olive Garden

Leah and Jimmy at The Olive Garden

After our dinner, we attended our monthly Keepers and Contenders meeting. Leah made a cute decopage plaque.
I think she had a fun birthday!

Happy Birthday Leah!

Menu Monday

Monday: out for supper--It's Leah's Birthday!!!

Tuesday: BBQ chicken, baked sweet or white potatoes, green beans

Wednesday: white bean chili

Thursday: BBQ chicken salad, pasta roni

Friday: Ko-op lunch--chicken pasta salad, grapes, cubed cheese; supper--grilled chicken, roasted potato and bacon salad, bread

Saturday: sausage and wild rice casserole, broccoli

Sunday: leftover white bean chili and taco soup

Also this week I plan to make Chocolate Chip Mocha Cookies and Banana Bread

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 3 Mileage

This weeks running schedule is the same as last week's.
I am going to try to add some weight lifting and toning exercises two days a week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My New Toy

Since we all love Singstar so much when we visit Russ and Megan (especially me!), Jimmy surprised me today with a gift: a singing game for our new Wii. I love it! You can choose to let Randy, Paula, and Simon judge you after you sing, and you can even design what "you" look like when you are performing. I can tell that for the next few days I will be spending a lot of time with my new toy. Earlier Jimmy bought the girls the Disney Sing It game, but I know only 1 or 2 songs on it....I know almost all of the songs on the Amercian Idol game. Fun! Fun!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Guess What Sam Found?!?!

Earlier tonight Sam excitedly came running to me saying, "I found it! I found it! I found it!"
He was grinning from ear to ear! I asked him what he found, and he shouted joyously, "I found my ba ba!" I asked him where? (I had put all of his pacifiers up high in the kitchen cabinet except for one that I hid in the nightstand beside my case of an emergency :)!!) He replied that he had found it downstairs, meaning the basement. I realized then that there must have been one in the shoe basket. Earlier I had asked Clay to go through the shoe baskets downstairs and bring me all of the socks to wash. I am thinking that when he dumped out the baskets, a pacifier must have fallen out too. I figured that one day Sam would find one that I didn't know about. I didn't think it would happen so soon.

Today was Day 11 of no pacifiers, and only yesterday did he stop asking for them! He has been a real trooper the last 11 days. He has sadly asked for them a couple of times each day, and each time he did I was plagued with guilt! He also no longer played with my hair. I guess the pacifier and hair smelling, holding, and twisting all went together. When he came running to me tonight, he jumped into my arms, grabbed my hair, and sniffed deeply! Bliss! He was so happy!

I have had a difficult time the last 11 days getting him settled down for naps and bedtime. Most nights it took one hour for him to finally fall asleep. He would not cry, but just romp all over the bed, singing and talking. He just couldn't be still and relax. He would not snuggle up to me with his face buried in my hair and fall asleep. Well, tonight since he had his beloved ba ba, after 3 stories and prayers, he promptly laid down, took a handful of hair to sniff, and fell asleep in four minutes!!!!

Will I take this pacifier away? I don't know. Yes, we had made it 11 days, but his joy over finding that one ba ba just broke my heart! We'll see!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lego Organization

Clay and I spent a couple of hours today organizing his Legos. We did this last year, but some of the legos have somehow gotten mixed up and misplaced. I think they even multiplied! I guess a birthday and Christmas contributed to that. I gave him the choice last year of sorting them by color and type or by the set. He chose to put each Lego set in its own box. This year I am making labels for all of the boxes. I will post a picture tomorrow if we get finished. The thing that is taking the most time is sorting through a basket of hundreds of Lego pieces that I have collected over the last year from various locations throughout our house. Whenever I clean up and find Legos, I just toss them in this basket in his closet. I think they mulitiplied too! Clay was very excited today to find missing pieces to several Lego sets as we sorted through that basket. If he can keep Sam from "helping" when he is building with his Legos, hopefully we won't have such a Lego mess next year!

Sam loves Legos too. He plays with the Duplo Legos. I have sorted his Duplos into 4 different boxes: miscellaneous (just 2 of those starter buckets), CARS (Mater, Lightning McQueen, etc.), a firetruck set, and a Percy and Thomas set.

Leah got her own box of Legos for Christmas this year---girl colored legos! They are so cute! They have pink, purple, and lime green bricks along with some traditional colors. I kept hers in the box they came in--it is pink, and it matches her room!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weekend in Jackson

Last Friday we headed to Jackson for a visit to the Johnson Hotel and to watch Jimmy run in the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon on Saturday morning. Russ and Megan were so kind to let our family of seven invade their home, especially since they arrived home from a two week vacation just an hour or so before our arrival! After visiting the race expo to pick up Jimmy's race packet, we met Russ and Megan at the Broad Street Baking Company for supper.
The children at their table

Russ and Megan at our table

After eating, we went to Russ and Megan's house for an evening of fun before settling down to sleep. Jimmy and Russ played with Jimmy's new camera, Clay played his Gameboy, Sam ran around torturing their dog, Farley, and the rest of us broke in Russ and Megan's new Singstar Country!! Fun! Fun!

Russ holding up his Christmas ornament Julie made for him.

Clay and Olivia putting together a happy meal toy

And the Singstar Stars.......

Singstar Mama

Singstar Mama with Sam climing on my head

Singstar Julie

Singstar Leah! She was singing Kellie Pickler's Red High Heels!

Singstar Megan

Singstars Olivia and Leah

After singing most of the songs, I finally got all of the children settled and asleep by about midnight. The next morning came early! Jimmy's race began at 7:00 a.m. Russ took him at 6:00, and the rest of us arrived there about 7:45.

Sleepy Julie, Olivia, and Clay at the Half Marathon

Clay, Olivia, Megan and Julie waiting for Jimmy to cross the finish line

Leah and Sam waiting for Daddy

Leah and Megan

(Megan spent most of her time waiting holding Leah while I held Sam.)

Sam and Clay.....still waiting

Here comes Jimmy!

The wait was over! Jimmy did great! He finished the race in 1 hour, 48 minutes. The course was extremely hilly, and Jimmy was glad to be finished. After he cooled down, he was ready to pose for some pictures.

Clay and Jimmy

Our family

After the race we spent a little more time at Russ and Megan's house. For lunch, we met one of Jimmy and Russ's cousin, Chris Gibbs, and his family at the Haute Pig. The food was delicious!

The children's table

After lunch the children played a couple of more rounds of Singstar while Jimmy and I packed the van. Thank you Russ and Megan for a wonderful time! We'll visit again soon!

Week 2 Mileage

I know that at least one of my blog readers is also training for the Half Marathon on April 25, and she is interested in our weekly training schedule. Hopefully some of you will find this helpful as well. Only Olivia is actually running the half-marathon, Julie, and I are training for a 10K on May 2. I will post each weeks' mileage on Sunday. We begin our running weeks on Monday, and we run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday or Saturday.

Miles this week:

Happy Running!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mrs. Barnes

Sam, Clay, Me, Mrs. Barnes, Leah, Olivia, and Julie

Mrs. Beverly Barnes has been my weekly housekeeper for over five years now. She has grown to be part of our family! Leah and Sam both have called her "Barnes", since the time they could talk. Because of extremely sad circumstances, Beverly has been coming to our house only occassionally since the end of October, and is currently taking an extended leave of absence. She will let me know in a couple of months if she will be able to continue helping our family. We miss her terribly, but we also want what is best for her---even if that means she won't be working with us anymore. Beverly is irreplacable!

Last week we had Beverly and her sister over for supper---we wanted to spend some time with her before she left. We enjoyed our meal together, and then we played a super fun, LONG, game of Uno. Leah entertained us with her artwork, which we all participated in coloring.

It was a fun evening. We miss you Mrs. Barnes!

Mrs. Barnes and Sam

Mrs. Barnes, Olivia, and Julie

Leah, Clay, and "Barnes"