Saturday, July 10, 2010

Swimming Lessons





The weekend after VBS, we moved in the same neighborhood...down the street and around the corner. This way, the kids will go to the same school, but we gain a 4th bedroom (necessary for 3 kids, 2 of which are girls!) The following week, I had signed the kids up for swimming lessons (thanks Grammy & Papa!), to ensure we got out of the house each day.

Lessons are designated by ability, not age level. Az3 was a Dolphin, as he could do everything. That class worked on perfecting different strokes, as well as swimming with his face in the water. He passed the class easily, and is even more comfortable in the water now.

Az4 was a Starfish, and she did well also. Her class worked on swimming with your arms and legs (at the same time!) as well as just overall comfort in the water. She passed her class easily, and is now jumping in as often as we'll let her.

Az5 made the most progress this year. She was in the top Preschool class, without parents, and worked hard on putting her face in the water comfortably but also moving in the water then. Her teacher told me that she has learned all she can from the preschool level, and needs to move on up to the first children's level lessons. Yippee!

VBS 2010 - Saddle Ridge Ranch






June means it's time for Vacation Bible School at our church. This is just one of the many many things our church does so well - so very well organized, the members come out in numbers to help, etc. I taught again this year, as by doing so our youngest gets to go.

The theme this year was Saddle Ridge Ranch - Rounding up questions, Driving home answers. The theme verse was James 1:5 - "If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously and without condemnation to all..." Love it!! Each day had a different theme that related to this - God has a plan for me so I can ask Him about things that happen, etc. Plus, how can you go wrong with a theme that involves cowboy boots and horses?

I taught 2nd/3rd grade crafts. I really enjoy this, as I get to see the kids each day, plus my lesson plans are already laid out for me - easy peasy! I had some friends help me this year as well - Jessica (a fellow PDO teacher), Lisa (our neighbor across the street), and Lacey (a daughter of a fellow PDO teacher). The pictures are of some of the rooms that were decorated - these teachers here go all out! Our room has the horse corral and a familiar-looking Land Run conestoga. ;)

The best part of VBS was that my oldest was asked to be part of the student-led worship team for the opening and closing ceremonies each day. He agreed and loved it! All of our kids loved the songs, and we still get requests to listen to the CD occasionally. Overall, a great week spent doing Kingdom business!

June...

June started off with the girls' ballet recital. That was an adventure (okay more of an ordeal for some of us!) but still a treasured memory, nonetheless. Both girls have taken ballet at the same place this year, a Christian school in the "city". We have loved it! They are receiving the same high-quality instruction as Big Sister got back in Texas, but in a school where everything (music choices, costume choices, etc) is done in a Christ-centered environment. The interesting thing is that Big Sister was on year 3 this year of ballet, and she seems to be not as interested now. This was Little Sister's first year, and she continues to twirl around the living room even now, and insist that you call her Clara from the Nutcracker.

I'm going to try and post videos from the dress rehearsals. Az5 is dancing to "God Bless All the Little Children", and I got weepy during her performance. She smiled so big and was so pleased and proud to be dancing. Az4 is dancing to "America the Beautiful" and enjoyed her performance...to a point. She had to wait too long backstage and had a meltdown right before she went on, to the point of almost not getting to dance. But she pulled it together, thanks to another older girl who hugged her and reassured her it was okay to be nervous. Az4 told me later she was soooooooooo glad she had gone ahead and danced - she "would have been really mad at myself if I hadn't!" I was very proud of her, and proud of how she tried so hard to do it all just right. Yes, I was weepy during her performance too!
video
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Of Motorcycles and Moms...

I have to start this post by confessing that I have never ridden a motorcyle. Never. in. my. life. I would love to.

For the older kids in Awanas, our church had an end-of-year memory verse blitz, and if you memorized so many verses, you could earn a motorcycle ride with our FaithRiders. (These are a super cool group of peeps that ride hogs, and use that to witness to others about Jesus. Did I mention they are super cool? Oh yeah!) So my oldest was the only one age-wise that could qualify, and he worked sooooooooo very hard to get all of the required verses in. I think he may have squeaked one in on the last day even, but hey, he did it! I was very proud of him.

Well the night they were supposed to ride, there were literally tornadoes and thunderstorms all around our city....as in didn't rain a drop on us, but they were north/south/east of us. So they rescheduled the event to a Sunday night, and he was so excited! I think he honestly only "earned" one ride, but nobody was really enforcing that. I personally counted 3 rides that he went on, thanks to Mr. Randy! He loved it! He's ready to buy his own, except for that pesky little detail of needing a license and money....

(PS I hope the video works for everyone. Let me know if it doesn't. I know the quality isn't that great, and yes, there's something on the lens, but it's on the inside and we can't get it out. However, he's on the first motorcycle that comes into view.)
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May...





The first weekend in May was crazy busy for us - but it was wonderful and I wouldn't have traded a minute of it! We had family in town, and to start the weekend off, my dad/brother/I all ran the Austism 5K downtown. What fun! My brother came in with the serious hardcore runners (I think 24th in the whole thing), and I came in about halfway, with my dad coming in at one of his best times as well. I finished right ahead of the Navy guys - meaning they all ran in formation, changing whomever was leading carrying the flag, running in cadence. I found the gentleman that seemed to be the officer in charge later and told him what an honor it was to run with them....then I noticed they were not running with an American flag, but with the "Don't Tread on Me" flag. ;)

The reason the whole family (and I mean whole! My parents, Az1's parents, my sister and daughter, and my brother) was in town was because Az3 and Az4 were both in the children's musical at church. Az4 had a nice solo and she did a great job as usual. Even more exciting was that Az3 had one of the lead parts! I was so proud of him....he worked hard learning his lines, trying to get inflection down, and remembering what he was supposed to do on stage. It was a great little show!

April...





was the month for the big 4th grade Land Run re-enactment! Oh my goodness - it was so very exciting, especially for those of us that have been waiting so long to do this as a big kid! We had to build a Conestoga wagon from our little red wagon that we take to the zoo, and that was definitely a Mommy project the night before. (I really can live the rest of my life without ever running into that much burlap again!)

The teachers have done a great job on making this so much fun for the kids, and a huge learning experience in the process! They must wear clothing appropriate to the time era, as well as bring an appropriate lunch - no plastic, fried chicken/sandwiches, fresh fruit, no processed chips or anything, as well as in a tin pail and with a tin cup. Then they are divided up into family groups, with "chores" for everyone as soon as they reach their land plot. My son even got to be a sheriff and before the run, had to go arrest some sooners that had tried to start early. Once they reach their land, each family had to rope their section off, set up camp, and even register with the "land office". I was so super impressed - the teachers have really gotten this down to a fine art, and everyone had a blast!

Easter 2010


Easter dawned a beautiful morning that day! We usually try and coordinate our new Easter duds, and this year was no exception. We got up and enjoyed a wonderful service at church. We have been so blessed to have a church home where the people are great, but even more importantly, the Word of God is preached without compromise. This means the worship services are designed the same way - no compromise, to lead people closer to the throne of Grace. After the service, we had a friend snap a quick picture of us all, and we went home to lunch.

After lunch, and a great long nap!, we gave the kids their Easter baskets from us. Then we hid eggs for the kids out in the front yard. I think this may have been the last year for our oldest to hunt eggs and enjoy it, and I'll take it! Last year, I came up with a new way to eliminate arguing over which egg was whose - the oldest has sports eggs, the middle one has fairy eggs, and the youngest has animal eggs. Ta da! Brilliant, I tell ya! It was cute to watch them have fun and help eachother find all their eggs.

March...




March was busy! We started out by going to the big city car show. Everyone enjoys this one - even us girls that aren't "into" cars. It's just fun to walk around and ooooh and aaaah over the new shiny cars there. We don't believe in any debt for any reason any more in our family, so the price tags become particularly interesting from that viewpoint. Everyone was wowed by the new Jag, but especially the new Camaro...with the Bumblebee emblem! I had to be pulled away from the new minivans, which look really sharp and have tons of new fun features.

We also went to my parents' house over Spring Break, as my dad had just had a BIG birthday. Everyone showed up and surprised him, and it was so nice - it had been at least 2 years since we had everyone together. (Everyone means my parents, my group of 5, my brother, my sister and her crew of 3, my aunt, and even our great aunt.) 13people in one house is a lot of fun and works best with at least 3 bathrooms, I promise! While I don't have any pictures I can post here, we did head to a studio to have some pictures done, and they all turned out great - all 50 million of them!

February...




Let's see if I can get this thing a bit more caught up....One of the big things that happened in February was the Daddy/Daughter dance our community center sponsored. We had heard from friends that it was THE thing to do, so we got tickets for Daddy and our girls.

First, we had to get ready. Each girl got a bath, as well as hair dried and in curlers. Plus, we had to do their nails....all in a coordinating color of pink to their dresses! Then they had a bite to eat, and got dressed. You have never seen such primping I promise! It was as fun for me as it was for them. Then Daddy got home, and he put on his suit with matching tie of course! He had matching corsages for each girl as well. After some mandatory pictures, they left with much pomp and circumstance.

The evening was well put together. They had a professional picture done, and danced to everything from "The Twist" to the "Macarena"....plus plenty of sweet slow songs for Daddies to teach their little girls to dance to. I can't tell you who had the most fun....Daddy or his girls! :)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Our Little Get-Away...





Over Labor Day, we went down to the SE corner of the state to a state park that apparently no one ever goes to, except for people out of state. We had a wonderful time, just camping and being together as the 5 of us. We left early on Friday morning, as the campsites are first come, first serve, and we wanted to be sure and get a good one. We ended up not 50 yards from the river - perfect! The kids loved being able to go throw rocks any time they wanted, plus we always had visitors - the river flowed down to us from the boat shack upstream. I lost count on how many tubers/canoers/kayaks we saw.

The weather was great the whole time we were there too - got a little chilly at night, but nothing to worry about. The water in the river was another matter - we tried to go to the swimming beach and lasted less than 30 minutes. That was COLD! We had a few storms pop up that got close, but managed to swing around us and not interrupt our activities. The great thing was that where we were staying was a river just below another state park where the dam was, creating a huge lake. The list of things to do were endless!

We drove around one day and looked at the lay of everything, and got out to walk around at some interesting spots. We also hiked up a mountain one afternoon - not quite our intention when we started out, but we thought the trail looked fun. After following all the blue diamonds outlined in white on the trees, it ended up being a 5-mile trail from start to finish. Everyone finished it, which was fun, but tiring. We did get a great picture up at the top though!

It was such a nice time, just to be together and outdoors in God's world as a family. The only real world thing we did was to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe outside on the big screen with the ranger one night. The kids had never seen it, and AZ3 and I had worked on reading it together over the summer, so that was fun. Plus, they had a huge nice grassy area for us to stretch out on next to the office. It was fun sitting there, counting lightning bugs while we waited, and we could hear the owls in the cages near the office (they are all for educational classes and are injured) hooting to the wild owls in the forests nearby.

On Sunday, we drove into Arkansas and up to Ft. Smith. We stayed one night and had a blast there too. The kids really enjoyed looking at all of the historical buildings and recreations and exhibits around there - I was impressed. I think they would enjoy a trip like that to the East Coast sometime also - seeing Revolutionary and Civil War places. The most moving part for my husband and I was the national cemetary there - it is 1 of only 2 in the nation to have Confederate and Union soldiers in the same cemetary. We were very moved to see those graves, plus the most recent ones from soldiers giving their all in the current wars, plus the WWI and WWII markers. A good reminder that Freedom is not free.