Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life with a boy

I love my son. He keeps me laughing.

He'll snuggle Lamby and use it to give me a kiss.
Then he'll fly said lamb through the air with a vrooooom.

He'll play with magic wands.
But after about 5 seconds of "magic," they turn into either a "pewm" or a sword.
As do drumsticks, hangers, and anything else that has at least one straight side.

He shrieks at the sight of a bug.
But then he'll use something, whatever he can find, to kill it and protect his mama and sisters.

He'll come snuggle me during the scary bits of a movie.
But he doesn't ever choose a movie until he knows it will have a "bad guy."

I've had a wonderful 3 1/2 years with him and love watching his personality blossom a little more each day. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I love Christmas music.
Yes, this is the same person who, when I first met Josh, couldn't handle listening to any of it. Years of working retail and hearing the same few songs sung 18 different ways soured me for awhile. I could only handle "White Christmas" and "Do you hear what I hear" so many times before I snapped.

But now that memories of slicing rye bread until 10 p.m. are dim, I play Christmas music nonstop from Thanksgiving to Christmas day. But it's MY music, not the radio.

We're now up to 290 songs and 17 hours of music in the Christmas playlist. I split it in half: one half for the computer, the other half on my iPod. That way I make sure the variety keeps going.

But it still doesn't guarantee anything. I did a little looking last night and discovered a fun almost-countdown:

There are 10 versions of What Child Is This/Greensleeves.
8 versions of O Come All Ye Faithful (one is in Latin)
6 songs mentioning the word "night"
5 recordings on Joy to the world
Two versions of  O Come, O Come Emmanuel
3 (The) Christmas Songs
The Halls are Decked twice
and ONE "Hippopotamus"

*photos are from last year. I haven't taken fun ones yet. They'll be coming.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

I took Jasmine grocery shopping with me last week. She's fun to shop with!
We saw a display of Wilton Gingerbread Houses. They're already put together, which at first felt like cheating, until I remembered who I'd be working with. It was a good decision to buy it pre-made! They hardly had the patience to wait for me to mix up the frosting!
We had a great time, though, but now they're anxious to eat it. I'm trying to warn them that it might not be edible, but they are hopeful.
(linked to the template in my store)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Tree Time

We celebrated Thanksgiving last weekend, so we did the same thing as last year and headed out to get our tree on Thanksgiving Day. This year we went with Josh's mom, since his dad is in Texas (which is why we celebrated early).

The only problem was, we assumed the tree farm we went to last T-day would be open this year. Apparently they weren't hosting dinner this year, so they weren't there. Which we found out after driving 50 minutes.

We headed back home, and on the way saw a sign for another place that was open!
He was friendly and the farm was huge. We picked a perfect tree and Josh cut it himself (tip: use new blades on the saw when cutting a tree. It takes 5 minutes instead of 30!)

We were more careful not to go nuts this year size-wise. It's still tall, but not as insanely so as last year's.
I didn't take my camera, choosing to play with the iPad's capabilities instead. I overdid the actions a bit but it was fun anyhow!

Hudson found a tree just his size!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


One of my goals in my 101 in 1001 was to do more self-portraits.
Here's what (could have) happened when I suggested that we might skip a tree this year (with the unknown about when we'll be moving):

they weren't so happy with me when I took the garland back. Telling them we'd need it tomorrow, when we get the real tree, didn't change the way they felt about not being able to run around with the garland today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fun Stories

I've been a bit of a hermit lately. I've temporarily (?) left Facebook because I needed a clean break. But I do still want to tell people funny stories from the kids, so this is my outlet to mention those!

Hudson came in to wake us up this morning, saying "I didn't wake you up!"

Josh, to Hudson: "Do you want to take a shower today?"
H: "No."
Josh: "Why? Is it because it hurts (your skin) or because it isn't fun anymore?"
H: "It isn't fun anymore. It hurts my body."

"Look out, Bekah. It's a BIG hug."

(when Josh was taking the kids to the park and I was staying home): "Lamby will keep you company."

And when he was tired and I asked if he'd be able to fall asleep: "Lamby will keep me to sleep."

(photo is linked to the action I used to turn it black-and-white :D  )

Friday, November 16, 2012


Train up a child in the way he should go
And when he is old, he will not depart.

Most people take that to mean train them biblically, which is definitely a huge part of our role as parents.
But there's another side of it, which a couple different people have mentioned to me, and which I've been thinking about more and more lately.
It's about finding their strengths, finding what makes them tick, and helping them hone those into skills that will hopefully give them more joy and maybe some career direction later in life.
For Jasmine, right now she has two passions she's been working on. (when she's not learning all the dances on our "ABBA So You Can Dance" Wii game).
One of them is drawing. She's gotten a really sweet feeling to her drawings lately, and her newest makes me smile. I told Josh we should make a children's book and use her as the illustrator. We could have a success on our hands!

Introducing Jasmine's clowns, Sweet Girl and Juggle Man.

The second thing she's been really working hard on is gymnastics. She has no training, and, um, Josh and I are over our heads in this arena. But she's learning, and today she achieved one of her goals:

I wasn't sure what she'd think when she saw the last picture...she knew immediately what her next goal is (to get her legs to be "straight like a board"). I'm so proud of her, and I love seeing her determination going toward something positive and awesome!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


(or is it pewming?)
Hudson likes to pyoom. With a pyoom.

Translation: he likes to shoot, with a gun.
Of course, he's never actually used a real one. I would hope that's pretty obvious. But he's very interested.

So when we went to the Wildlife Festival a few weeks ago and saw that they had an air gun to try, he was first in line.

Bekah and Jasmine gave it a try too:

(frame from my store!!)

There was other stuff to do, too...Bekah discovered she's an excellent fisherwoman.

Not only is she the only child (of our three) to catch something, she caught two!

Oh yeah, there was some wildlife at the wildlife festival ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012


The other night, Bekah and Hudson were negotiating a sleep-over.
They already share a room, but they decided they were going to share a bed. They're little, so it would work.

But then Hudson said he was going to bring Lamby.
And Bekah put her foot down.
"I don't like lamby. He's too loud."

I'd like to introduce you to "loud" Lamby.
(see me in there too?)

Lamby actually has a rather loud, high-pitched voice. I don't blame Bekah for saying no.

But Hudson and Lamby are inseparable, so I suggested to him that maybe he could make sure Lamby stayed quiet all night.

He thought about it for a minute, and agreed.

And Bekah said it was okay for a third party to be in the bed.

Epilogue: Bekah fell asleep before she was put in bed, so Hudson decided the sleep-over was on the boring side. After about 2 minutes sharing her bed, he took Lamby back to his own bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Emma's Birthday

You may remember Emma Grace. If you don't, you can read about her story here.
Today was her first birthday. It was by far the biggest first birthday I've ever witnessed.
No cake, though. Just balloons, stories, and songs.
And the most perfect weather we've had in the past 3 months.

We went home with a candle they gave us, with directions that we should light it to remember her. Of course the kids decided that needed to be "right now," so we obliged.
Then Hudson said we should sing "Happy Birthday" to her. Smart boy!
He was heartbroken that his balloon, with a Jasmine-drawn picture of us hugging Jesus, flew away before the right time. Though really, he was sad about it blowing away at all. I told him that was what was supposed to happen, but it really bothered him, so I told him maybe Jasmine could draw him another picture when we got home. Hopefully she won't mind.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our Week

Monday, we went to Target to check out their clearance costumes.

The pickins was slim.
But the girls came out with a costume each, and Hudson got a pair of gloves whose tips light up. We won't tell him they're aimed at women, because they were substantially cheaper than the costumes he decided he didn't want.
Besides, he'd just gotten the Batman costume at Kohl's.
He likes to protect and defend all the time, but especially when he's a superhero.

He also realizes that superheros need to learn to read.

Jasmine realizes the importance of always looking her best.
Too bad she has yet to carry that philosophy over to her room...but she's starting to make progress there, too. There is hope. (hear that, Josh? There is hope.)

Bekah likes being a peacock and doesn't mind that the costume didn't come with wings.

Yesterday, I told the kids we would do science experiments once they got their basic school done. Hudson fell asleep during their math pages.

The girls and I went to the kitchen and did four simple experiments (two that worked; two that, well, were educational anyways)
After lunch, Hudson asked if we could do science experiments. Poor kid missed the whole thing!

They're outside right now, looking for two pieces of wood to do an experiment that's intrigued Jasmine. I'll be curious to see if they're successful.

The girls finished their spelling book, but I'm giving Bekah more time practicing the rules taught in level 1. She's only 5 1/2, as easy as it is to forget that from time to time. She's bordering on overwhelmed, so we'll spend more time and give her more confidence.
I'm thrilled that both are willing to try to write now, though. Bekah's started writing letters/cards to people she's going to see. they're highly entertaining and nearly readable. She has yet to learn how to put spaces between words yet, thus the "nearly" readable. And Jasmine's letters are suddenly going the right directions almost all the time, so yay for victories! (methinks it was a stubbornness like my refusal to say my "r" until I was good and ready).

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2012

I took a stroll along the Sea of Galilee with Jesus this morning

"Guest Post" by Josh  :-)

Yep, it's true! Hudson was there too. But I didn't earn any frequent flier miles, and it didn't require a flux capacitor (or even a Delorean).

For the last six months or so, we've been working on making something new available through Communion With God Ministries. It's purpose is to remove all of the barriers to entry that have over-complicated what is inherently a very simple process: learning to hear God's voice.

A Stroll Along the Sea of Galilee - New Life for Your Daily Devotions

In addition to using the 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice to get anyone doing two-way journaling immediately, it's also turned out to be a great tool for those of us who have known how do this for a long time. I'm embarrassed (as I'm sure I should be) to admit that I've done more two-way journaling in these last few months since we got a pre-production copy of this than in my entire life!

After a long and stressful day yesterday getting everything finalized and posted online, this morning the Lord encouraged me in my journaling with this message:

My son, I'm so glad to see you here again with your son. This is what I long to see in families all around the world. The efforts that it has taken to get the Sea of Galilee project done are going to reap a harvest of so many people experiencing this same thing you have. I am overjoyed. I want it to be simple. To draw near to me you must be like a child. This is the key. This is the tool that will make an impact on the masses. Those who won't go to a seminar, take a course, or even read a book or a tract! This makes it accessible to EVERYONE. Period. No more excuses. Take a stroll with Me and hear what I would say to you. Who would refuse that invitation?

The Trail

{First off, it's important to note that the kids are never told what we're having for a meal. That's a key to understanding this story.}

I heard a lot of giggling last night, while I made dinner. I thought nothing of it, though.

When Jasmine came in with a sign, though, it was time to pay attention.
The sign:

(translation: Please follow the trail. It will lead you somewhere.)
I obediently followed the trail of pencils, books, stuffed animals and blankets.
Through the kitchen and dining room, up the stairs, into the kids' room, to their closet.
and nothing was there. Nothing. (well, their mostly-emptied bins, thanks to needing the contents for said trail).

I came back downstairs, confused, but thinking the trail was clever.

Then Jasmine clued me in: they wanted to get me out of the kitchen so they could peek into the pans and figure out dinner!!
And it worked!!

I suggested they have Josh follow the trail too, so he could see how clever it was. They'd need to move the start of the trail, though, since he'd be passing it to get to the original stopping point.
They didn't quite understand. They made a second trail, from the front door to the kitchen, detached from the one that went up the stairs. So Josh didn't understand anything that was going on.

But here's the video and a peek at the trail:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Batman, or the child formerly known as Hudson, resides in my house.
I don't know anything cuter than this (though his sisters are pretty close).

Monday, November 05, 2012

Flowida Randomness

1. Hudson can't wait to meet Rapunzel next time we go to Disney.
2. Jasmine thinks we're going to Disney every day.
3. I told her not to expect more than about weekly.
4. She's trying to negotiate to twice a week: Monday and Friday.
5. I'm not willing to admit that that sounds like a good plan to me!
6. The kids were excited to find out that pomegranates grow in Florida.
7. They want a pomegranate tree as much as I want a grapefruit and an orange tree!
8. There were flurries here this morning. I guess we're not in Florida yet.
9. Nor do I have any ETA of when that might be.
10. Keep the prayers coming, please.
11. This.

12. Palm trees.
13. Fresh citrus.
14. Lower taxes.
15. Less government interference in my homeschooling.
16. Mickey.
17. No snow. Ever.
18. A second bathroom (and maybe even a third, depending on the house).
19. No winter coats.
20. Frasier every evening after the kids go to bed.
21. Oh, that happens already. Not sure what we'll watch when we finish season 11 again (we're on 10 now).
22. We'll still be in Yankees country.
23. Not that I've paid attention to any games this year.
24. Citrus.
25. This person.

26. As well as others I don't have pictures of.
27. And some we haven't yet met.
28. Marco Rubio.
29. Sunflare.
30. Palm trees.
31. Paradise.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Important things in life

Every year, I try to do some sort of a daily list of things I'm thankful for. But every year I lose it after about 5 days.
So this year, I'm going to write a list of things I'm thankful for, all at once. I'll just look back at this list when I'm struggling.

I'm thankful for:

1. My husband. Josh is awesome. He supports my photo obsession/hobby/passion/career and doesn't roll his eyes when I tell him what I'm going to add to my stash.
2. Hudson. He makes me laugh, and he's incredibly insightful. He already has a gift of being able to figure out logistics, and he's only 3 1/2. What's he going to be like as an adult? I can't wait to find out.
3. Bekah. She brings such sunshine to my days. She has a serious stubborn streak, but hopefully she'll be able to steer it toward good goals. She is such a loving girl.
4. Jasmine. She's my mini-me, for better or worse. And as she gets older, she's getting more wonderful and more fun to be with. I love that I get to teach her every day.
5. Homeschooling. Now that this is our third year, I'm feeling like I have an idea of what we need to do to make school happen. We're very eclectic, mixing in unschooling with more structured workbooks, and anyone who likes schedules would go crazy. But the girls are making incredible progress and we don't have daily battles. It happens when they're ready, but it happens!
6. Photography. I love the creative outlet, and the occasional money that comes in. I love taking the pictures. I love editing the pictures. I love seeing my pictures later. Love it all.
7. Jesus. He really should have been first (*blush*). My relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in my life, and steers everything else I do. I love teaching the children about him, and I love that he's becoming the most important thing in their lives, too.
8. The ability to vote. I can't WAIT for Tuesday. Actually, I can't wait for Wednesday. I want to vote, but I want this time of unknown, this time of 100000 political posts a day on Facebook, to be over. And of course I'm praying HARD that the election will go the way we want it to go and that it will steer the country the direction that's most important to us. (for a great list of how and why I decide how to vote, read this!)
9. Thedigichick.com. It's the most awesome, drama-free, friendly scrapbooking site I've seen. I've been a member since January 2006, and have been a creative team member, an admin, and now a designer (and admin). I got to meet a bunch of the staff a couple years ago in Orlando, and another bunch last month in San Antonio. They're as wonderful in real life as online!
10. My online life. I should really spend less time on the computer, but I'm very thankful for how connected I can be to my friends and family, thanks to the internet.
11. Second chances. And third. And fourth. I'm working on yet another 6-week challenge on a fitness "game" for the Wii. I finished one back in the spring, but then got off track, so hopefully I can stick with it this time!
12. Crocheting. It's an awesome thing to keep my hands busy when I'm chatting or watching movies, and I'm making things that bless others (including my own kids!)
13. Swagbucks. If you haven't heard of it, it's a search engine that gives you points for doing searches, and when you get a bunch of points you can get things like gift cards to Amazon. I've been doing it for a couple years now, and I've earned 46 $5 gift cards to Amazon. That's nothing to sneeze at! (wow. I had no idea I'd earned that many!!)
14. coffee. yum.
15. My friends. Local friends I can meet for coffee, long-distance friends I can email...
16. My family. I have an awesome mom and a fantastic dad. I love that I'm the oldest of 11. It made me who I am today and how I see my world, for better or worse!
17. Florida. Where I'll hopefully be celebrating NEXT year's Thanksgiving.
18. The creativity of my children. Hudson has discovered the joys of costumes (see picture). He is currently wearing Batman jammies with a cape, which means he's usually zooming around the living room. He also loves dressing up as Neo, which involves wearing my knee-high high-heeled boots because they're the only black boots.
19.  ClearPlay, the DVD player we have that cleans up all the movies we watch. Because of it, we can watch things like Matrix (thus the Neo costume) and know the kids aren't seeing the gruesome bits, hearing the swears, or seeing other inappropriate scenes.
20. Josh. If I need help putting my thoughts/beliefs/ideas into words, he's my man.
21. My tripod and remote. I love that I can take self-portraits with something other than a timer or having someone else shoot it.
22. Lists that don't have to have a certain number of numbers.
23. comments ;) hint, hint hint.


Seriously, how did it become November? If you ask me what month it is, I'm likely to say "September." I don't know how time is going so incredibly quickly.
The kids loved Halloween. They dressed up in a few different costumes over the course of the day, and they love handing out candy to the neighborhood kids. They each got one piece of candy from the bowl, and that's it. Josh and I forgot to take a piece each, but that's good because we ran out before the evening ended.
It's my 6 month anniversary of being a designer at TDC! It's crazy to realize it's been 6 months doing something I dreamed about doing years ago, but never imagined being able to do. And doing it successfully!! I'm so excited. This is a big weekend in the digital scrapping world...our site is having a huge store-wide sale, there are contests and challenges and freebies and general fun-ness :)
I'm working on a huge new project for my store. Well, "huge" in that it's something I've never done and am learning as I go along. I've been dreaming about it the past two nights! Hopefully I'll finish it up today and can put it in the store next week. It's pretty fun!
We escaped unscathed from Sandy. My friend said the wind was crazy Monday night, but we didn't even hear it howl. No damage...just a few more leaves on the ground the next morning. We're very thankful for that and are praying for those who did have damage!
Aren't they beautiful? I love my children. I'm so very thankful for them. They bring me such joy and delight.