Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thank the Lord that we are on our way to recovery!

Thank the Lord that we are on our way to recovery! As many of you know, we've had a difficult bought with the flu...the worst was seeing our sweet, little Tressie not faring well...and once her fever reached a scary 105, Eric rushed her to the ER where they took such wonderful care of her, and I was told that she didn't even cry when given an IV! I stayed at home with our other two that were also fighting fevers, and we kept in very close contact that evening/morning! Once I knew that they had made it there safely and that Tressie was enjoying being the center of attention down there, I was able to rest a little more easily; however, it was one of the worst nights...I'm so thankful for our God-given health and our educated doctors, medicines, etc.

So now that we are doing much better, I'm thankful for all of that snuggle time that we all had together! For a while we had our little infirmary going in the family room with the sleeper sofa pulled out to sleep three, and Annie claimed the two wing-back chairs that we had pushed together to sleep one...that left one person to stand watch! Yes, looking back, it was a sweet time to pray, love and take care of one another; nap whenever one wanted to do so; wake up whenever one wanted to do so; answer the door unashamedly in our jammies; enjoy a pharmacy that delivers; watch TV Land until "paid programming"; watch the sunrise and then go to bed; receive such love from dear friends who called, sent lots of warm and comforting soup, popsicles, well-wishes, etc.; watch Christmas specials together...at least whoever was awake at the moment! I awoke on the sleeper sofa one afternoon to learn that I had missed a whole tractor-pulling competition that Eric and Annie had enjoyed watching with one another! Man...I would have like that too! (For those of you who REALLY know me, know that I'm not kidding; for those of you who don't know me that well, I know...it's shocking! But it still wouldn't have beat a Monster Truck Show! Still...shocking to some of you, I know!)

And now getting back to "normal" requires our hitting the re-set button on our home...it looks like a bomb has gone off! Is there such a thing as a laundry bomb? Throughout this bought with illness not only has our laundry room sprawled outside of the laundry room, but I had to have a thyroid ultrasound and later another test requiring my taking a radioactive pill...and once I returned, Eric anxiously asked if there was anything that I needed to avoid, and I told him that the only thing that the doctors said was that I was to stay clear of anything that contained laundry detergents!

So now that we're all getting back to "normal," we've all been SO anxious to be healthy in time for Christmas!!! So every night Eric has been lining us up to take our temps, and poor Eric has been worked like a dog, but he hasn't truly been taken down with the flu (maybe worn out from being so tired, but that's been it)! And every single night he's been registering a fever of 99.4 every time...as well as the rest of us! Well, tonight he had it, and he got out our really old thermometer, slapped thermo. covers and made us all line up again....and this time we were all barely reading a 98, so I think that we're officially safe to be around... Woohoo!!!!! And that it's safe to say that we wore that thermometer out!! We went through 93 thermometer covers, two bottles of children's Tylenol, two and a half bottles of children's Motrin, 2 bottles of coughing medicine, 20 oz. of rubbing alcohol, 2 huge cans of Lysol, 1 canister of Clorox wipes, three extra-large boxes of Kleenex, two antibiotics, and one great thermometer!

For those that kept checking on us...thank you SO much for your notes, phone calls, yummy food, and most of all your love and prayers! Our prayer is for everyone else's health as well!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hawiien Coctal

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything, and yes...I need to catch up! However, on my desk I just came across a small piece of paper that's been torn out of a spiral bound notebook, and it took me a while to be able to read it (some of us are still working on our penmanship and spelling!), but I just had to share... it's a recipe for a Hawaiian Cocktail!

Hawiien Coctal
1 cup pinapple
1/2 cup wine with 1 tsp limon jice
Blind til smooth; surv and say Yum!

Now I just can't wait until morning when I can ask what's this cocktail recipe and who's makin' it for Momma?!? Yes, we've had a busy last few weeks, and yes, momma could use a cocktail...and yes, perhaps the girls have been watching a little too much Food Network!

Friday, October 27, 2006

One man's trash is another man's treasure!

After a few cancellations of having a yard sale with some of my girlfriends, my good friend Moriah would not allow me to back out of the latest suggested date! She can attest that I called her about six times/hour on one day, and I tried to convince her that the 20% chance of rain was just too high! Well, thank the Lord that she's a tough cookie...she did not back down, and we did have our yard sale! After a bitterly cold start, I actually got a sunburn along with a very successful yard sale story! Woohoo! Our newspaper ad said that the sale was from 8-2, but we had customers for a steady 11 hours...from 7-6! We had customers' stopping by the house before the sun came up and asking if they could shop before we finished setting up! We are so thankful to be rid of some things that were clutter to us but a blessing to another!
Again, woohoo!

Trying to get back into the "normal" swing of things!

As wonderful as it is to be back at home, it's even more exhilarating to think of the possibility of getting back into a regular routine (dare I use the word "schedule"?), but then again...that was my plan not God's!

The girls were super excited about starting their new PE classes on the second day that we were back in town. Thankfully, we managed to make it there and then even a few errands to get stocked back up with groceries, etc. Then that evening, I think of my favorite line from a movie, "And the sky opened up, and God said, 'I hate you, Alfalfa!'" I became very ill! I can only assume that it was a result of our complete exhaustion, lack of sleep, taking care of others' not feeling well, as well as missing a couple of vitamins! So after a week of the girls' running the house themselves, Eric's coming home every day at lunchtime, and some wonderful meals prepared by a few friends, Momma's back in full swing!

On the road again!

So after a week of being back at home and trying to get caught up on rest, school and housework, it was time for us to return to Louisiana with the guys to load up the moving trucks. So Mom and Dad flew up there from Florida, and Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie flew there from Nashville, so that we wouldn't have but the trucks and our car to drive back home. So we began to get ready to return to Louisiana, and wouldn't you know it...as soon as we finish packing up our things for the trip, Annie and Tressie began to show the same symptoms that Macy had earlier in the week! Our dear doctor was expecting our call for this, so he placed them also on antibiotics (surprisingly, it was their first antibiotic in their life!). And after much anxiety of not knowing what to do, Eric decided that we would go ahead and travel on to Louisiana and just keep the girls away from anyone until they had been on their antibiotic for at least 24 hours.

So we left later the next day on Wednesday and traveled into the night and just stayed at a hotel there in Shreveport! You know it was late at night when we arrived when I was talking on my cell phone with my sister to tell her good morning (she's in Europe and six hours ahead of us!), and we went inside to rest for a few hours before getting up to head over to Alal's house to begin loading up the moving trucks.

So the next morning, knowing that the girls and I were in the way, we dropped off Eric and then drove over to visit with my good girlfriend Rachel G. and to allow the girls to play with her kids! So after spending most of the day with them, we returned to Alal's house to find everyone working hard...very hard...especially Eric, who I found neatly packing everything into the back of a HUGE moving truck...and he didn't seem too tired after not having had much sleep the night before! Evidently, everyone kept making sure that he was drinking lots of liquids...so they kept taking him cold bottles of Mountain Dew, and he was good to go! (And I'm afraid that sweet Pawpaw took a liking to the taste of mountain Dew as well! Oops!) And sweet Aunt Jan had electric cords running out the mail slot to a fan in the back of the truck, so Eric just kept on working like a work-horse! Later that evening...knowing that everyone needed a break, everyone quickly cleaned up, and we all had a really nice time laughing and eating dinner back at The Real Pickle. So that evening, when we returned to the house it was obvious that there was so much more work left to be done... so we decided that everyone would get back to work for a couple of more hours. Eric and I set up the girls in a corner (now I didn't say that they actually stayed in that corner) to watch a movie on his laptop, and we continued taking boxes and furniture into the driveway to determine which moving truck the items would go onto! If there were ever anything that Aunt Jan and I wished to bring back to TN, we would just ask Eric and Uncle Eddie, "Do you think this will fit?" And they'd very assuredly and manly say, "Of course it will!" And Pawpaw kind of just kept walking around in a fog, wondering from where everyone was getting all of their optimism...we were all thinking it wouldn't all fit; however, with great optimism and persuasion, we were all amazed at what we were getting to fit into those trucks! We worked for quite some time, and then Eric and the girls and I headed back to the hotel to get a few more hours of sleep.

The next morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel, packed up the van, and headed back to continue packing. Of course, our plan had been to leave Shreveport early Friday morning to drive back as far as Chattanooga/Sewanee; however, there was still just too much to do!

So after another long day of loading up the trucks on Friday, Mom and the girls and I went ahead and said our goodbyes to Pawpaw and began driving back as far as Ruston to have some time to visit with Mamaw. It was nice to just have to "walk away" and not be one of the last ones to leave; however, it was still difficult.

We did enjoy our visit with Mamaw, and to see her healthy and back at her nursing home, for the previous week she had been hospitalized. She enjoyed having the girls push her around the nursing home in her wheel chair, and we were able to pass out a few goodie-bags to some of her friends at the nursing home. The girls and I had brought some "Chattanooga favorites" for her to share with her friends. Then the guys and Aunt Jan called and said that they were finished packing and were driving on toward us. So we went outside and sat on the porch while we waited for the trucks to make it as far as Ruston. And after a while, Eric and Dad pulled up in the first moving truck and got out to give Mamaw a quick hug hello and a kiss goodbye for us to get back on the road. So Mom, the girls and I traveled on in the van, and Eric and Dad in the "FL" moving truck, and Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie in the "TN" moving truck. And with our radios and nicknames, we traveled on as far as Monroe where we stopped for dinner at a Cracker Barrel...yes, that's not too far down the road, and we weren't traveling very fast! And we had to arrange where and when we would pull those trucks off of the interstate! Uncle Eddie and Eric just said that they had to laugh every time a yellow school bus passed them! We had a quick dinner at Cracker Barrel and got back onto the road. Once Eric and Dad found us a "hotel," we pulled off of the interstate in Vicksburg to rest for the night. Thankfully, we had pre-arranged packing/unloading the luggage, and we were able to easily roll out of the cars and into the beds at the hotel (with Annie and Tressie already peacefully sleeping.) Macy slept in Mimi and Pawpaw's room; Annie slept with Eric and I; and Tressie ended up in Uncle Eddie and Aunt Jan's room...for a while! She later awoke and wanted to get up and have a party while they were going to sleep, so she came on to our room and watched Animal Planet to who knows when...and what did she learn? We'll never know, for we were asleep!

The next morning, we all joined each other downstairs for breakfast and then once again got on the road headed for TN and FL, after quite a few laughs and our parking lot photo shoots! So Mom and Dad got into their truck for FL; Eric and Eddie got in the truck for TN; and Jan got in the car with the girls and I. After saying farewell to Mimi and Pawpaw, we drove on as far as Birmingham where we all had a wonderful time having lunch with K-ren (who gave us her hysterical opinion on everything!). Then back on the road again!

Once we neared the bottom of mountain, we stopped for gas/diesel and made our plan of attack...how were we going to get that truck up the mountain with the least amount of hassle. Well, my husband chose the most difficult route, so with lumps in our throat Jan and I followed the truck up the steepest road that goes up the mountain. And now that we know that there are WAY MORE curves coming up that direction, thank the Lord we made it to our street! And as we drove down our road (by now it was dark!) we noticed many cars lining our road and men hanging out by them. Thinking our neighbors were having a party, we slowly drove past them and recognized them as wonderful men from our church! They were there waiting for us...to help us unload the truck! So in less than an hour, they had unloaded what had taken us two days to load! We were so thankful for their help, for I know that we were physically spent! What an honor to be in a church that truly operates as a church family! We felt so loved by their acts of kindness, and it allowed Uncle Eddie and Aunt Jan to stop and catch their breath before heading on toward Sewanee. So after they convinced us that they weren't going to unpack anything up at their house that evening, we showed them off on their way. And trust me...we all slept very soundly that evening...back at home in our own beds!
The next day we attended morning worship, kidnapped Brody from the kennel, called and made sure that Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie were still alive, and prepared to begin the next week!

A week at home!

Well, it was SO good to be home, but sadly we had brought home a sweet, sick little Macy. After a few days of her not recovering, we called the doctor, and he definitely wanted to see her....he had to put her on an antibiotic for strep throat, and after a few days she did begin to feel better!

October 1st came, and we celebrate Annie's 5 1/2 birthday...I can't believe it! (Most of you know that we celebrate 1/2 birthdays....two of our three children have December birthdays, so we just celebrate them all!) So for her special day, my sweet sister had arranged for her to have a horse-back riding lesson. So the girls and I picked up our sweet friend Miss Craig and then met Daddy downtown, and he drove us up to Cleveland to the horse stables. What a fun time we all had! The owner had such a loving, sweet horse name Prince to use to teach Annie (and the other girls) so many new things! At the end of the visit, she actually had Annie riding the horse and even controlling him on her own. Annie seems to be a natural rider!

Then for a fun dinner, we all went to a restaurant that we had never been to...Texas Roadhouse....how appropriate it was for us to eat there after leaving the stables! The girls had each earned a gift certificate to eat there from the library's summer reading program, and the table next to us gave us a free certificate for an appetizer, so we hit it big! Annie and her cowboy boots were quite the hit, and the hostess of the restaurant even had her sit up on a huge horse saddle to hear the entire restaurant shout a big, "Yeehaw!" for her 1/2 birthday! I'm not sure what was more fun... seeing Miss Craig having such a good time in an atmosphere like that or seeing Annie having the time of her life! She was so cute, and I'm sure that it's something that she won't forget!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Dig Deeper! Dig Deeper!" "You know what we need is a box!"

Well, I was finally able to use that "free" Northwest plane ticket that I "earned" last September 2005 when returning from Europe with Mom and Alal in the Memphis airport and after they flew on to their homes. After months of looking for a weekend that would coordinate with our schedules and planned trips, I was finally able to use my ticket to purchase a flight to Shreveport; and Dad used some of his frequent flier miles to purchase Mom, Aunt Jan, and Macy each a ticket as well. Thanks, Daddy! So early last Wednesday morning, we each flew into Memphis and joined one another and flew on together to Shreveport. After taking a taxi to Alal's home, we visited with Pawpaw for a few minutes before going to get some lunch , and then we began hitting the liquor stores for boxes to begin packing up the treasures in Alal's home.

That evening we began our packing, crying, laughing, etc. Then the next morning, we all awoke early and began working some more. And each time we stepped outside to catch our breath, we would have to smile when we looked across the street and saw a dog that would stay on his owners' rooftop awaiting their return. He was so cute and always brought a smile to everyone's face! Once we were out of boxes, we ran out for some lunch at The Real Pickle (if one is ever in the area, this fun restaurant is a must... just to read the menu...their selections are hysterical! I think that my personal favorite for that day was "Frankly my dear, I don't give a ham!") So we had a great lunch and then began searching for more boxes so that we could get back to work. Knowing that we needed to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy some protective packing boxes for china, we found ourselves behind the stores driving around for some "clean" dumpsters. We found one located behind a party store, so Macy and I watched while Mom & Aunt Jan began their search. While I saw a few "nice and clean" boxes coming out, I saw something else fly out! It was a pair of Bubba Teeth...still in their package! So I ran to assist Jan and encourage her to "Dig deeper; Dig deeper!" We were pulling out more and more toys than we knew what to do with, and we laughed so hard until we could no longer breathe! The funniest thing was when Aunt Jan was able to say, "You know what we need for all of this stuff is a box!" We had completely gotten off track! I never thought that I would find myself leaning into a dumpster and encouraging someone to look deeper (well, with the exception of our sweet Greg W. ;)! So after a little more "shopping", a quick clean-up, some Chinese take-out, we had a relaxing dinner and then got back to work! A what laughter those Bubba teeth gave us...even Pawpaw caught onto our contagious laughter! God knew that we needed some comic relief!

The next morning, we again awoke early and we realized how many new experiences Macy was having when she asked, "Are we going back to the liquor store or dumpster diving to get some new boxes!?! Are we driving or taking a taxi?" Sweet girl! After another long day of packing, the house definitely looked worse before it began to look better! We all hated that Pawpaw had to see it like that, but we did uncover many wonderful treasures! We found many photos; birth, wedding and death announcements; love-letters between our ancestors; baby and bridal clothes; family scrapbooks; etc. It was all so amazing and wonderful to behold!

Then Saturday morning, we were able to visit with two of Alal's dearest friends before Mom, Macy and I drove over to spend the afternoon with Mamaw. What a wonderful time we had seeing Mamaw. We took her out to lunch and then drove her to her home-town where there was a little festival with parade happening. We didn't know what time the parade was to begin, but with the Lord's blessing and perfect timing, we pulled the car up to a stop-sign right as the beginning of the parade approached us. Mamaw enjoyed getting to see many old friends, and we actually found ourselves as a part of the parade as the parade looped its way back out of town...we also found our newest passion...we met some wonderful people that owned a childrens' shelter and raises miniature horses, which we would love to do one day! After a wonderful day with Mamaw we returned to Shreveport, helped Aunt Jan box up a few more boxes before going to get some dinner.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Aunt Jan as Pawpaw took her back to the airport, and Mimi, Macy and I joined Rachel and Brian Grete and their dear family for church and lunch. Then we returned back to Alal's house for a quiet afternoon and packed up a few last things before packing our suitcases for our trip back home. After such a rushed and busy weekend, we were all very tired and weary (and Macy wasn't feeling well), so we were looking forward to returning home and to be able to sit and relax on the plane-ride back home. The next morning, Pawpaw drove us all back to the airport, and we began our trip back home. Perhaps that plane trip was my breaking point for realization that things would never be the same again, for as our plane lifted off of the ground in Shreveport, I burst into tears and tried to grasp the realization that everything is completely different now. Although we all told her, I'm not sure that Alal would have ever realized how greatly we all loved her and how greatly she will be missed! After a quick lunch with Mimi in the Memphis airport, we headed to our different planes and returned home safely. It was SO good to be home!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Paintin' the town red!

Last night we had an enjoyable participating in Chattanooga's Museum Caper (museum hopping). Our little family began the evening together with dinner downtown followed by a trip to the Aquarium to see the Ocean Journey exhibit...so amazing! There is always something new to learn at the aquarium! Then we walked up the hill/rode a funucular (is that a Hungarian word or an American word?) to the Hunter Museum where we saw beautiful landscapes of Chattanooga from all sides of the building...but especially over the TN River. We then walked through the Hunter Mansion, which the girls really enjoyed. I was personally surprised at all of the history of Chattanooga and the South that we learned! From there we walked over to the Houston Museum where we were given an extremely informative tour of a lady's (named Annie) vast collection of glassware, ceramics, music boxes, tea sets, etc. Then we finished our evening at Rembrandt's for some fine chocolates and coffee...believe it or not, the girls were all asleep before we got home!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A fun evening with Aunt Jan & Uncle Eddie

What a wonderful Saturday afternoon we had. After a busy Saturday morning with soccer and a fun visit with the Scott family, we took the beautiful drive up to Monteagle. I don't know why I'm amazed every time we drive up there, but the scenery is so beautiful! And as we pulled into their driveway, we were greeted by two deer...the immediate set of a magical evening!

After some relaxing time visiting with one another, we enjoyed walking around their property and seeing the renovations to the cabin...the girls and I even gave it our stamp of approval! Any cabin with granite countertops...I will give serious consideration to camping in!

Then we drove to the restaurant Pearl's where we continued our fun just being together! The food was amazing...and we all just had a good time laughing at old times and anticipating our near future with laughter as well! "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!" Thanks again, Uncle Eddie & Aunt Jan, for just being you! We love you so much!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Molinator's Visit

Last night Macy helped Annie put her "lost" tooth in an envelope that she and Macy clearly labeled "To: The Molinator/From: Annie; Subject: Annie's 1st lost tooth." Then they carefully placed it under Annie's pillow! So early this morning, Annie came and climbed up onto our bed with the same envelope and such a sad face. She said that the Molinator had not gotten her envelope. I asked her if she had opened it to see if her tooth was still inside it. Her face lit up... and she opened the envelope to see that her tooth was gone, and instead she found a dollar bill and a dime. After a few minutes of her daddy's explaining to her that "the Molinator" gave her the dime for her tithe on Sunday, she looked at us and said, "Um...I think that I'll just do what y'all do on Sunday and just write it on paper [our checks]."
She does keep us rolling with laughter!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Annie's 1st "lost" tooth!

We've had an eventful afternoon...Annie lost her first baby tooth...and will probably lose the second baby tooth by the time that the day is over! Sadly, root(s) and all!

The girls were in the family room playing while I was preparing supper in the kitchen, and Tressie came running into the kitchen with her little camera and wanted me to know that Annie had been holding the strap in her mouth...then Annie came walking in the kitchen with one hand on her mouth and one hand holding out her little baby tooth...root and all! Can you piece the story together? Thankfully, we've gotten the bleeding to stop, and she's now looking and smiling about it in the mirror! Whew! She does look different!

As I'm sitting her next to her, she just exclaimed with her sweet, happy voice, "I'd been praying that I would have a wiggly tooth, and God does serve you glories [answers to prayer]!" Too funny!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Inverse Logic...guilty or innocent?

Yesterday, as I was chauffeuring the girls around to our appointments, lo and behold...we were a little early! Knowing that Tressie has low blood sugar and that we wouldn't be home before she "crashed," I bought the girls an M&M blizzard to share with one another. SO I passed it to Macy along with a spoon and napkins, and I asked them each to carefully take two bites and pass it on to the next! Simple enough...right? Well, after a minute or two, I overheard Annie excitedly shout, "Hey! Now let's do it in the inverse!" Shocked that she knew that word and actually used it correctly, I continued driving thinking of how proud I was of them...my sweet girls using intelligent words! Then after a few more minutes...and they were still passing it back and forth, it came to me... Annie was sitting in the middle of the passing line! So if they were to share with Macy passing it on to Annie, then Annie passing it on to Tressie, then the inverse! Annie was getting double dibs!!! That weasel! I tried not to laugh; I tried not to accuse (since I can't be absolutely sure that she wasn't innocent...can I?); I tried not to fuss at Macy for not catching Annie in this ice cream heist; and I tried to be the responsible mother and to explain the math and logic of passing it: Macy, Annie, Tressie, Annie, Macy, Annie, Tressie, ...! No one seemed to be following my logic, so thankfully I heard a slurp and the whole thing was tossed out the window...conversation, cup and all! (At an appropriate receptacle!)

"I can't see Jack!"

Today I had to laugh when I overheard Annie today...I had to ask her, "What did you say?" I saw her playing with some building toys in her room in the dark, so I offered to turn her light on for her. And when I turned the light on, the ceiling fan also came on, so I jumped and pulled the string a couple of times...and the fan was spinning SO fast. Then I heard her say, "I can't see Jack!" I asked her to say it again, and she did. She then told me that she had named one of the blades "Jack" and that she couldn't see him when he was spinning around so fast! I cracked up laughing and told her how much I enjoyed being her mommy! I wish that I could catch some other thoughts of hers in that head!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"And we're off!"

The new school year has definitely begun! And we're off with lots of exciting new adventures....and what fun all of our new activities have been...but whew! We've been busy!

Last Thursday was "book club and lunch bunch" for the girls...the girls' little "club" meets once a month in the children's dept. at our Barnes and Noble, and then we head over to Piccadilly with a few friends to have lunch and let the moms catch up with one another! This year in book club, each child brought a report (or narration) of the book that they chose to read over the summer. And this year, Miss Betsy is having the kids step up onto the stage, tell their name and age and on what book their report is. Macy did really well...although I thought that she might pass out at any given moment, but she stood up there and read her LONG report! Last year, she and a friend were in constant competition to see who could write the longest book report, and Macy would tend to report the book word for word...from memory! Well, I'm assuming that her report won't be quite so long this next time!

Then on Friday, the girls and I met Eric downtown after he worked a half-day, and we all drove down to Atlanta to have lunch with his brother Josh, his wife Vicki, and their new precious daughter Ava Nicole. We had a wonderful time visiting with them and loving on little Ava! Then we went to Harry's to walk around leisurely...usually, we are in such a hurry! The girls had the best time pushing their "Little Customers in Training" buggies! They were so cute, and they enjoyed putting our things into their carts! It's amazing that Vicki and I were able to visit while little Ava slept , the girls pushed their buggies around and snacked on samples, and while we waited for the guys to get out of the large wine and beer section (not to mention us all hovering for some time over the olive bar)! We picked up some great foods for our picnic that we had with them and Eric and Josh's mom Debi and their niece Arielle at Stone Mountain. Thankfully, we all got there in plenty of time before the sun went down and to set up our dinner spread and to watch the wonderful laser show and fireworks display! After the show was all over, we hugged everyone goodbye and rushed home to get back for a very busy Saturday!

Saturday was filled with Annie's first day of soccer, a birthday party for Macy's sweet friend Susanna, house-cleaning and cooking for friends to come over for dinner. Perhaps it seemed like such a busy weekend, for it was the first weekend that we have ever had to coordinate who was going to take whom to what!

Then on Sunday we were able to spend some time at lunch with our new friend Nicole Lanni and also Beth Brodersen. Then that evening we spent with our dear friends Jonathan and Amy Stoddard. Jonathan graduated from Covenant a couple of years ago, and his sweet sisters Amy and Celeste are still students there, so thankfully we are still able to keep up with this wonderful family that we have been blessed to know. Our dear Jonathan is now living in Hawaii and is headed for a mission abroad...our prayers are with you, Jonathan! Hurry home!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A day in the school life of a Dixie Chirp!

At the beginning of our day:
Prayer Journal Entries/Prayer
Pledge of Allegiance

Math workbooks for each (ABeka)

Spelling/Penmanship/Language/Phonics for each (ABeka)

Spanish: Rosetta Stone on computer

Bible*: Nightly Bible reading with Daddy (NKJV)

Geography: Paddle to the Sea, Tree in the Trail, and Seabird all written by Holling C. Holling

American History Biographies*: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Buffalo Bill all written by Ingri D'Aulaire; Annie Oakley Young Markswoman by Ellen Wilson

History*: Trial and Triumph (Church history from a definite Protestant perspective) by Richard Hannula (selected chapters); An Island Story by H.E. Marshall, chapters 1-21 (this book known as Our Island Story in England); Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin for selected chapters; Viking Tales by Jennie Hall (hero stories and myths of Norway) Part 1, chapters 1-11

Natural History/Science (this year we'll focus on birds and wildflowers): Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (we plan to follow the Ambleside suggested rotation for nature studies in years 1-6, so we will cycle through every section in the Handbook of Nature Study...it's a book that I highly reccommend for everyone!); James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot; The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess - we'll make our selections of bird studies based on the season and which birds frequent our geographical region. (Supplements for Bird Study: our interactive CD on North American Birds, birdfeeding, nature walks, notebooking what we see/draw.)

Poetry: A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson; Now We Are Six/When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne

Literature: Aesop's Fables; Complete Works of Shakespeare; The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang; Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty

Artist Study Schedule: Study reproductions!
(September - November) Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) Flemish Northern Renaissance (December - February) JMW Turner (1775-1851) English Landscape
(March - May) Titian (1485-1576) Italian High Renaissance

Composer Study Schedule: Listen to composer's life story, then music!
(September - November) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1785) (Classical/Roccoco)
Listening selections for this term:
Piano Concerto 20 (2 weeks)
Symphony 40 (4 weeks)
Quintet in A maj for clarinet (2 weeks)
Piano Sonata in A maj K.331 (2 weeks)
Concerto for bassoon and orchestra in B-flat major, K. 191 (the only
bassoon concerto he wrote)
(December - February) Robert Schumann (1848) (Early Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Carnaval (for piano)
Scenes from Childhood for piano
Symphony no 1 in B flat Op 38 "Spring"
Symphony no 2 in C Op 61
an arabeske or humoreske
Liederkreis or other song cycle
(March - May) Richard Wagner (1813-1883); Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) (German Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Wagner: Siefried's Idyl (orchestral)
Wagner: Selections from The Valkyries (opera)
Wagner: The Love Feast of the Twelve Apostles (choral) (massive work requiring 1200 singers and 100 instruments!) (4 weeks)
Offenbach: Selections from Orpheus in the Underworld (opera)
Offenbach: Selections from The Tales of Hoffmann (opera)
Additional composer (daily listenings): Judy Rogers

Music Appreciation/Memorization/Copywork: (Folksongs/Hymns)
(September-November): Cockles and Mussels
(December-February): Minstrel Boy
(March-May): Star of the County Down

September: Marching To Zion
October: My Jesus I Love Thee
November: O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
December: Star in the East
January: Thus Far The Lord Has Led Me On
February: Blest Be the Tie That Binds
March: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
April: On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand
May: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee?
June: It Is Well With My Soul
July: Great is Thy Faithfulness
August: My Faith Looks Up To Thee

Physical Education:
Fall - PE classes at local college; soccer; ballet
Spring - gymnastics; ballet

Handiwork: Help in house and garden; clay modeling; beadwork; artwork (Draw 50 Flowers, Trees and Other Plants by Lee J. Ames); drawing from nature and from tales

*Timeline entries: we are corresponding our readings with our timeline (each of us, including Mommy, has our own 3-ring binder with our own timeline) and possibly a map

Additional Activities:
Unit Study - Little House on the Prairie
Weekly American Heritage Girls
Monthly Book Club
Monthly Writing Club
Monthly Fieldtrips
Weekly Story Hour/Arts and Crafts at Library

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Amaretto Sour Cream Pound Cake

Amaretto Sour Cream Pound Cake
(my version taken from Paul Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs
1 teaspoon amaretto

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a tube pan and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugar together and then add sour cream.
Sift flour and baking soda together. Add to creamed mixture, alternately with eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add extracts and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes and then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.

Garnish: A drizzle of an amaretto glaze would be good, but this time I'll just dusted with powdered sugar and berries (with a sprig of mint)

Too much to cook/garden; too little time!

It's five minutes until 1AM, and I shouldn't still be up! Tomorrow is the Lord's Day, and our church is expecting many returning college students, so the church families are preparing lunch for everyone after morning worship! And I highly doubt that other ladies are still up waiting for their sour cream pound cake (with amaretto!) to come out of the oven! So far, "we" (Eric, my sous chef, is assisting!) have completed two chicken poppyseed casseroles and two cornbread salads! (We've doubled everything, for we are also eagerly anticipating getting to take dinner tomorrow night over to one of my dearest girlfriends (Kendall) who has just given birth to "my" little boy, Carter!)
One reason why we didn't get into the kitchen earlier is that "we" were outside gardening... in the dark... in order to get some gardening pots set out by the church's front doors (for all of our visitors tomorrow!), doing so in honor of our sweet, late Alal, for she is who gave me my great love for cooking and gardening, day or night! And one reason why we didn't get started gardening earlier is for we had SO many errands to run in order to be fully prepared for beginning school on Monday! AND we were late getting to run errands for we had to go to Annie's "sign-up" day for soccer (which is going to be SO much fun for her and us)! So we have definitely had a very long day!
We've gotten Annie all set for soccer (yippee!), and we completed a very, long list of errands, which included running all over town looking for just the right planter and plants for the church...it's still too hot for Fall plants, and it's not early enough in the year to purchase "great-looking" Summer annuals and/or perennials! But the Lord did graciously provide a perfect $.50 annual sale, and planters half off! So I feel that we did come up with a pretty gardening container...until we can get some Fall plants! So they looked pretty good to Eric and I...in the dark! I am praying that they'll look "okay" in the daylight tomorrow! So when we finished planting our plants, we did a "drive-by gardening container drop off" at the church under the dark of night! (The poor girls sat in their jammies in the van having a great time watching mommy and daddy tripping all over the place and especially getting to see Mommy scream like a little girl when a HUGE toad jumped toward me and into my path!) After that, we delivered a welcome basket to a new college student, and now we're at home, with several meals prepared and the house smelling GREAT! So now I'm off to check on my pound cake, and then Lord-willing off to bed!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A fresh, new beginning!

Who doesn't love the fresh smell of a new school year? For it's a time of year that we can selfishly indulge ourselves in our love of the smell of new erasers, the smell of fresh new notebooks and workbooks, and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils! We can appreciate the welcomed Fall breeze that begins to blow through the leaves of the trees; and we actually appreciate the profit of having a more structured, daily routine...at least we do! Yes, gone are the lazy days of summer, and now we can feel the excitement in the air of a fresh new beginning!

Chandler Elementary school officially opens its doors (bedroom doors) to our new school desks in the family room on Monday!

Friday, August 11, 2006

A night with the Lookouts!

What a fun evening...hot but fun!

Once or twice a year, Eric's office will have the luxury box (directly behind home plate!) at the Chattanooga Lookouts! It is fun to get together and to see everyone that he works with and their families, and it is also fun to sit outside in the reserved seats and be able to go inside once we feel the need to cool off! And did I mention the food? What's a baseball game without a warm hotdog that is steaming inside a plastic sleeve and a cold drink to go with it?!? But my favorite part of the night was being able to have my mom with us, for she was in town visiting us that evening as well! The girls would probably say that their favorite part was either getting to visit with Looie the Lookout or getting to ride the tram that dropped us off at the ball park! Eric's favorite part...getting to stand in front of the air conditioner that actually spit out ice crystals it was so cold! We're already looking forward to next year! Oh...yes, the Lookouts won...in the 10th inning!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All Fired Up!

What a great day we had spending the day with Daddy! First, we went to a free movie at the Rave, "Annie's favorite movie theatre"! Lunch at Piccadilly! Some shopping throughout the mall, and then an afternoon of painting pottery! What a great day indoors while it's so hot outside! Now we're just waiting for our pottery to be "fired up"!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The beautiful sound of late Summer evenings!

It has finally arrived...the wonderful sound of late summer evenings! One can hear the sound of the "Katy-did" (as I have always called it) and/or cicada for some distance! And the sound that they make in the evening is such a beautiful sound! One thing that I love about living on a mountain is that in the Fall one can see the Fall colors creep down the side of the mountain; in the Spring one can see the new green growth crawl up the side of the mountain; and in the very beginning of Summer, one can roll down the car window to hear one or two katy-dids singing at the bottom of the mountain, and at this time of year, one will hear the dense, synchronized chorus that I find so amazingly beautiful! The beautiful sound of late Summer evenings is finally here!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cute, new guy in the neighborhood!

Look at the new guy that just moved into the neighborhood! He's SO cute!
I think that our girls just have a different way of life...somehow our girls have a life with little to no change (for the most part, I think that's a good thing!), so when we do something fun twice, they claim that "We always have to do it!" So after dinner, our tradition has become an evening walk over to feed the white reindeer...their favorites are apples and carrots! And this evening, when we went to feed them, we couldn't find any of them. We couldn't see them anywhere, but then we looked right beside us, and there is the newest member! It is the most beautiful young male reindeer that I've ever seen...and I've seen a lot of reindeer! He's so warm and soft, especially his antlers! I was really surprised at how warm and fuzzy his antlers were! And he loved having his ears, antlers, and neck rubbed! He's absolutely adorable! Now if THIS isn't education, I don't know what is! (However, Annie is still sure that they'll sprout wings to fly....around Christmas time, she says! We may need to work on her reindeer biology a little more, but for now her "knowledge" is cute!)

I love you, Mother Simpson!

101 years ago today (July 24th) my dearest, great-grandmother was born! For some time now, we have relished the fact that we have FIVE, living generations (taking photos of us all together whenever possible)...and in addition to that, my girls and I have been so richly blessed by the Christian heritage set before us!

This evening our little family called her to wish her a happy birthday. It was SO wonderful to hear her voice! The girls sang Happy Birthday to her, and we talked to her for a brief period. I always seem to be in tears when I have leave her or have to end our phone conversations. She has the most beautiful, sing-song voice with the dearest of Southern accents, and her spirit is to be admired forever! She is the most humble, gracious, forgiving, loving, and understanding lady of all ladies that I've ever known! And likewise, she is the most generous person, always willing to share what little she has. If only I could live more like her!

This last weekend, our extended family and friends celebrated her 101st birthday with our traditional, annual birthday party in a small town, which is south of Dothan, Alabama. Sadly, we weren't able to join everyone; however, we are already anxiously awaiting next year's 102nd birthday celebration!

A cute story that I'll always remember about her: for her 100th birthday party, my dad collected and retold some information about her early childhood...he questioned her about the first time that she had ever seen a car. My dad pushed her to get some more information about who owned the car, and she continued to sweetly say, "Oh, some man from up north." Dad pushed further and further to learn that the man had lived up north...Alabama that is! He was from somewhere around Birmingham, Alabama! Of course, to a small town, southern family, Birmingham, AL was a long distance in those days! She is so precious, and she does keep us laughing!

May this next year be another blessed year with our dear Mother Simpson!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Birthday, my sweet!

Happy Birthday, my sweet!

Today is Eric's birthday, and what a great day he (we) have had! The girls and I joined him at noon for a little lunch/picnic downtown at Miller Plaza for the "Rhythm & Noon" concert, which was pretty nice...acoustic folk and jazz. The music sounded like that of Gordon Lightfoot, which the girls loved and had to dance quite a bit...Eric has made them pretty, big fans of "the man that sings Pony Man"! Then the girls and I ran a couple of errands before we met up with Eric again. For his birthday, he was hoping for some great ribs (which is NOT part of my cooking repertoire!), so he humbly showed me a free birthday rib dinner e-mail that his favorite rib restaurant, Sticky Fingers, had given to him! Could it get better? Yes, it could! As we were leaving to go to the restaurant, the girls discovered in the mailbox 3 $10 gift cards as a prize for an essay that they had secretly submitted (with some help) for a Father's Day essay contest on "Why My Daddy is the Best on the Planet." 1st place was a grill; 2nd place was a year's supply of sauce; and 3rd place was a $10 gift certificate...they only submitted one essay, but they each were given a gift card! Woohoo! So the girls and I were able to take Eric out to dinner for his birthday without actually spending his money! Okay, maybe a little bit of it!
And with an extra special dinner here at home Saturday night and a little birthday party get-together (with a couple of other friends that share the same birthday!) on Sunday night, I would say that this has been a good birthday to let Eric know how much we love and appreciate him!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, my dearest Drew!

Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday, dearest Dr-ew!
Happy Birthday to You!

Ya-Ya loves you SOOOO much!

Happy Birthday! We love you!
Ya-Ya, Uncle Ricci,
Macy, Annie & Tressie

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New at Blogging!

Well, I'm beginning to think that I too can't live without blogging! What a great way this is to keep up with friends and family! And to allow friends and family to keep up with us!

I'm not sure just how often I will post; however, I believe that blogging (just as journaling does) will assist me in seeing how truly blessed I am!

I have been given such a wonderful husband, and three, wonderful, little pride & joys (nicknamed the DixieChirps by Aunt K-ren)! Wonderful parents! A dear, wonderful sister and friend! A roof over our heads! Food on our table! Man's best friend, our dog named Brody! And a wonderful group of friends and family to call my own!

Here's to my newest adventure in blogging!

Mamaw's 87th Birthday Party!

Macy and I just returned from a fun trip to Dallas, where we flew to be with my Aunt Losi and Uncle Richard. After struggling to use a ticket that I had "earned" on my last plane trip coming back from Memphis on Northwest (argh!), my sweet Dad bought me, Macy, and my mom tickets using some of his Delta miles...thanks, Daddy! Knowing that meals were in the freezer and that Eric and the girls were going to be okay (with a HUGE special thanks to the Bosshardt family AND Kara and Amelia Crouch!), we packed our bags and headed for the airport! And as we had planned, we flew out of Chattanooga on July 5th and into Atlanta, which is where my mom got on the next plane with us to Dallas. We arrived on time, and my uncle picked us up telling us that our aunt Losi was really ill. As we were planning to follow "our" plan, the Lord had another plan of His own. We spent the evening with my uncle, and we enjoyed an evening out to dinner with him...all the while praying for a quick recovery for Aunt Losi. We then returned to their home, and we spent a wonderful evening on their back porch (equipped with ceiling fans, TV, fridge, etc.) while Macy enjoyed swimming in their pool. And we have to say that Uncle Richard, whom we called "Coco, our Texan houseboy" was so wonderful to spend time with us girls and cater to our every whim!

The next day, we awoke and went straight back out to their wonderful back porch to visit some more and watch Macy swim some more. At a moment when Macy and I were alone, we decided to pray for a miracle...for God to heal Aunt Losi so that she could join us and we could enjoy spending time with each other. As we finished praying, Mom came outside to tell us that Aunt Losi was feeling better and was sitting in their living room...Hooray! Macy and I laughed and said that God does answer our prayers, even miracles! So our trip continued to be wonderful...a time to visit with one another, laugh, swim, etc. And Macy is becoming quite a good swimmer!

The next day, we sadly left Uncle Richard and drove off to Louisiana to celebrate Mamaw's 87th birthday. I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the trip was riding in the back of that fancy, new car with Macy...I'm not sure that anyone had even sat back there before we did! We stopped in Shreveport to have lunch with Great Pawpaw, and it was so wonderful to see him even if it was just for a short while! Then we hurried on to Ruston to get to Mamaw's nursing home in time for Macy to play Bingo with her! They went; they played; they won! Then we checked into our hotel, went and ordered Mamaw's birthday cake, picked up some party favors, and drove back to the nursing home where we spent a fun evening in the lobby with Mamaw and some of her friends.

Going back and forth to Louisiana this Spring and Summer, we have been able to visit with Mamaw more this year than at any other time in my life. So we have gotten to know some of the other ladies and her friends that are also living at Alpine Retirement Home. Well, we have fallen in love with another lady, Claire Rose, that was moved to Alpine last year when she and her husband were evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Since then her husband has passed away, and sweet Claire Rose is not even aware of it. She speaks with such a heavy, Cajun/French accent that no one can tell what she is saying, but we just absolutely love talking to her. There are a few words that we can distinguich, and she would call Macy "Angel." Aunt Losi and I began to talk to her about music; we asked if she could play this or that instrument, and her face would just light up. She then began to sing some Cajun songs, and we actually danced along to her "music." Mamaw even felt like getting out of her wheel chair to dance a little with us. We had so much fun! Later that evening, we returned to our hotel for a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we ate b'fast at the hotel, visited some with Mamaw, and then we drove out into the country (you've gotta love the beauty of some of those "backroads" of Louisiana) to pick up some newly published geneology books that Mom had ordered. And as we drove back to Ruston, we ran into some great friends/family from Florida that also has family in Ruston, Greg and MaryAnn Waldron! It was wonderful to see them! Then we hurriedly picked up the birthday cake and rushed back to Alpine to quickly decorate the reception hall where we had a wonderful birthday party for Mamaw! Close friends and family and many of the residents joined us to wish her a happy birthday. And as a surpise, my cousin Mike and his family joined us, and his youngest son Luke played the piano for her while we served cake and ice cream. What fun it was!

After the party, Macy and I went with my aunt Lil, my cousin Amy, and her two girls, Melanie and Miranda, to run a few errands and then back to the hotel to let the kids play in the pool while we visited, ate dinner, and played Skip-Bo, which is a favorite Bennett family past time! Amy and I rearranged luggage to accommodate 4 boxes of clothes that she brought for our 3 girls...thanks, Amy! Then we later said goodbye, and we enjoyed another restful night in the hotel talking, laughing and watching a good movie on TV.

The next morning, we quickly ate breakfast at the hotel and went to have Sunday School at Alpine with Mamaw. Of course, I'm always a little late getting places, but this time I had a great excuse....when we walked into the lobby at Alpine, there sat my sweet Claire Rose, so Macy and I offered to take her to SS with us. So Macy took off with her in her wheel chair, and there were two other wheel-chair bound ladies that wished to go too. So I pushed one and pulled the other one. We laughed all the way down the hall...I had them saying, "Weeee!" And then when we got their chairs situated in a jumbled mess in the chapel, the deacon that was there to lead SS said, "My! We have more people in here than ususal!" Well, Macy and I were out of breath, but we still let out a little giggle, knowing that we had literally dragged a few extras into there! SS was wonderful, and our family truly enjoyed getting to hear Miss Nettie get up and sing, "This Little Light of Mine" while she told us that she was a 90 yr. old Christian, loved Jesus, and loved everyone in the room! She sang and danced while most of the residents wheeled themselves out while all were saying, "She does this every, single time!" But we enjoyed it!

After spending more time with Mamaw, we sadly had to say goodbye and drive back to Dallas. Once we arrived back in Dallas, Uncle Richard unloaded his car that had never seen so much stuff! And we all ended up back onto their back porch while Macy (and I) swam a little! Then dinner, some jamming with the drums, congos, etc. and a little game of Phase 10, and we all went to bed...not knowing what we would do tomorrow morning before our flight back home!

The next morning, we awoke, packed our suitcases/bags (at least all that would fit!), and drove off toward "Sam Moon's," which is a store that I will never make it too! Aunt Losi, now being called Lo-Lo, has told me about it for years, so we said goodbye and thank you to Uncle Richard and left for Sam Moon's. And on the way, Lo-Lo drove us through what looked like Mexico for all of the cheap prices, yet "ALL" of the signs were in Chinese! We hit the jackpot! I found the extra luggage that I "greatly-needed" as well as an extreme deal on some jewelry! Mom found the turquoise jewelry that she "greatly needed"! Macy found the "cute, little, pink purse that she greatly needed"! And Lo-Lo couldn't get us back to the car to hurry on to Sam Moon's! So I still didn't make it Sam Moon's, but there is always a next time!

Then an amazing lunch at Los "Something" where we had a great time eating, laughing, and talking. Then we stood in the shade and repacked all of the clothes from Amy and our new purchases into our new luggage, and off to the airport we went! We hated saying goodbye and thank you to Aunt Losi, but we were also excited to get back home! And again, it was fun to fly on the same plane with Mimi as far as Atlanta, and then we separated our paths for us to return to Eric (aka "Macy's" Daddy), Annie, and Tressie and for Mimi to return to Pawaw (aka "my" Daddy)!

As the girls always say, "Home again! Home again! Jiggety-Jig!"

It is SO wonderful to have family to love, be loved, and just to enjoy being with one another! Thank you, dear Lord, for a safe and wonderful trip!