Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Cinderellas:)

I was watching a John Rosemond DVD this morning and he said his mother taught him how to clean the floors when he was just four years old... Hmmmmm.... sounds good to me. Parker is close enough to four to get in on that action. I ran them both some mop water and gave them rags and said, "you're going to learn how to clean the floor, come on". Parker said, "how embarrassing" and Andrew said, "I'm confused"... hahaha.. They did a fabulous job. They scrubbed the kitchen, dining room and their bathroom. It took them about 45 minutes. I could tell they were proud of the finished product. Cameron walked across it with his dirty shoes on and left some marks and they were not happy.

Also, just had to mention that the t.v. being off has been wonderful. The boys watched 30 minutes of Tom and Jerry this morning and I watched/listened to John Rosemond while they were playing outside.
I just had to include a picture of Cameron using some elbow grease on the dishes:)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Entertain Yourselves...

So we're kicking the habit! Cam and I have decided to not allow the boys to watch much tv at all. We've come to an agreement that 1 hour a day is the limit and maybe 1 movie per week. I've been burdened about it for a while. I want the boys to create their own fun and use their imaginations. I don't want them wasting brain cells as they watch countless cartoons, even if they do seem educational. They don't watch tons of tv right now but they definitely watch too much. We all do. We're going to start leaving it off instead of just turning it on, just because. A lady at work told me one of her old pastors use to ask the congregation to have a "tv fast" the week before school started every year. He said he would get the most amazing comments at how it had a positive effect on the families. So.... here's to creativity!

Blessed my heart...

Warning.. this is going to be a long post involving correspondence back and forth between myself and an older lady who use to attend school in the town where I teach now. Wooster had a school a LONG time ago but it was consolidated and this year our school district built an elementary school in their town. The community is so excited about this and has been so involved. We're having a "History Day" and were trying gather information about the old Wooster school. A lady wrote in about her memories and I was moved I just had to write her back. I'm pasting it all here for others to be moved by her but also so I'll have it as a keepsake. Soooo.. it's long but rich with wisdom!

Letter from Mrs. Rice:
I wanted to respond to your request in providing trivia about Wooster Elementary School in the "olden days". I still enjoy some very pleasant memories from the 1940's when my "educational career" began. Our first grade teacher was, I guess the politically correct description now is "height impaired", but we referred to her as a midget. The little first graders were taller than she and when we misbehaved she would draw a circle high upon the black board, and we would have to tippy toe and put our nose in that ring until she told us we could step down. I remember how astonished I was when she discovered a student cheating on her paper, and put a placard around her neck reading "Copy Cat" and instructed that poor child to walk through the school in front of her peers, even upon the stage. Can you imagine the law suit that action by a teacher would encourage in this day and age!

I believe we were fortunate to attend that little school. We were taught so much more than academics. My history teacher, Mr. Glover, convinced us it was easier to say "red apple" than a dirty word that could be offensive. We marched like little ladies and gentlemen to the cafeteria, where Mr. Hankins asked us to bow our heads, while he said grace, before we began eating. We sat on the front steps of Mr. and Mrs. Glover's home next door to the school building, played jacks, and ate green apples that grew from the trees in the yard. I remember it was called upon us to take a pail and walk around the campus and clean the litter. I recall one day when we were thrilled to be driving to Conway to see a movie for an "educational field trip" and just as we got near town, Mr. Hankins would stand in the front of the bus and caution us to be quiet as we were near the "junction". Another time Mr. Glover was taking us to see a movie and when we reached the "junction" he stopped to call the theater (remember, we had no phones in Wooster) and came back to the bus to inform us that we would have to return to the school as the movie that was playing was not age appropriate. I will never forget the name of the movie..."Lady of Burlesque". Why, we didn't even know what burlesque meant, so we were not very happy.

The best time of my entire life was when we presented a little three act play, "No Bride for the Groom" and I had the part of the elderly bride. How much fun we had when we practiced for that little play.

So many wonderful memories. We survived without a school nurse, without a guidance counselor, without telephones, without indoor toilet facilities, (Hard to believe!!!) etc. but certainly not without our values being re-enforced by those who dedicated their lives to "someone else's children". I do wish in loco parentis would become the philosophy of education again.

Good Luck Wooster Elementary School. You are so privileged to have such a beautiful, new school. Take good care of it and yourselves.

(Mrs.) Hope McKay Rice

My response to Mrs. Rice
Ms. Rice,
I read your letter about your time at Wooster elementary and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Oh how I wish we had those days back again! I teach Special Education at Wooster. I really enjoy it but sometimes find myself so discouraged because there is such little time to teach character. Not only is there little time, but so often parents are offended if you correct their children and try to teach them how to behave. I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall back in the 40's to witness what it must have been like for you guys.
Thank you so much for sharing!
God Bless!
Ms. Wallace,

Her Reply:
I appreciate your response to my trip down memory lane at Wooster Elem./Jr. High school way back when! I understand exactly why conscientious public school teachers must be so frustrated now. I retired from a public school (high school secretary position) in our large suburban high school after working there 27 years and I saw and heard what is happening in our schools, and I was so disheartened. From the administrative point of view it seems to have gone from a human institution to a business and our kids are the tools of the trade. Too many problems go unaddressed for fear of politically tarnishing the image of the schools and also repercussions from irate parents. Instead of parents' gratitude to know that their child needs attention to some immature problem, they threaten law-suits for "embarrassing the family". The need for prestige and privacy and the need to project a "good image" seems to have replaced the integrity of our classrooms. It is very sad, as our kids are the ones who are missing out, and it is almost impossible for parents alone to counteract all the negative influences of our present culture.
Thanks again for validating my concerns. "I most often feel like a voice in the wilderness."

Ms. Rice,
You sound like an amazing lady. I wish I had the opportunity of knowing you! We've been dealing with an angry parent this morning over the most ridiculous situation. Although it's so easy to throw in the towel, God has given me an unwavering burden to reach as many as I can. Every moment I have, I try to teach respect and responsibility. I am a young mother of 3 and am so saddened by the state of society. There's not a day that goes by that I do not pray that God will help me and my husband raise our children to honor Him. Thank you so much for your wise words. Would you mind if I shared your words with others for encouragement?
Thank you again!
Jenny Wallace

Ms. Wallace,
You have lifted my spirits much more than you know. You certainly sound like a teacher/mentor any parent should be proud to have for their child. I remember hearing the President of NEA say a long time ago, "do not go into teaching if you cannot love other people's children". How can you look the other way, deny a problem or cover up a problem, if you truly love that child? We have reached the stage in our culture when we need to work harder to protect our children, than protect the problems.
Please share my thoughts. I have no problem with my convictions.
Hope McKay Rice

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy 9 month Piper!!

Today is Piper's 9 month birthday. We went to Market Place to celebrate... okay, so we went to Market Place because they were having 2 can dine for $19.99 AND kids eat free... but Sissy didn't know, she thinks it's all for her;)
Piper is contagiously cheerful! She's almost always smiling. She loves to scrunch her little nose up! She's pulling up and standing a little bit, which the boys think is the cooooolest! One of the cutest things Piper does is every night when we put her to bed, as soon as she hits the bed she immediately sucks her thumb. It's the sweetest thing ever! She never sucks her thumb when she's up but as soon as she hits the mattress, it's automatic! I LOVE it!
Here are some pictures I took before Piper went to sleep. She was rocking out while we were watching American Idol! We love you Piper Jane!
*** Totally random... BUT has anyone seen the new Cleo's Furniture commercial?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You're kidding me...

Andrew is SO stuck on whose birthday comes next. Tonight he asked whose birthday came next and I said "Parker's birthday is next and then do you know whose birthday is after Parker's?" He said, "Who?" I said it was going to be Piper's. He then asked how long until his birthday and I told him it would be a little over 200 days and he said, in the most disappointing voice ever, "you're kidding me!!" We think we're going to have Parker's party at the bowling ally. Hahaha... just writing that makes me feel a little white trash, but seriously he wants a bowling ally party:).
Update on our new room... the plumber came yesterday and put all the pipes down so the footing will be poured this week and then they'll start framing:).
Piper is SOOOO warm and snuggly right now. She just woke up from her nap and is sporting a nice, fluffy nap-do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let it storm...

well... not yet:) but we do have our storm room blocked up. The plumber should be here tomorrow to do his part and then our concrete guy will finish the storm room and the footing. My uncle should start framing next week. How exciting!!! Just to explain a little about the floor plan... the inside walls of the bedroom will be 13X14 (which is how big ours is now, not super large but that's why we're able to pay cash). You then will walk into the bathroom and the closet/storm room door is in there. The closet is 5X8. As soon as you walk in the bathroom we'll have the sink area on right with shower on the opposite side then the bathtub beside that. The little area beside the safe room will be the toilet area. Still not totally sure on colors... we're thinking brown, but not sure.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Daddy's little helper..

We're adding on a master suite to our house. We've been saving up money so we'll be able to pay cash for it all which is definitely a blessing! It began with us wanting to just add a walk in closet or something to an existing room. We were going to make a storm room out of it. Then with my yearly National Board money we were going to purchase a hot tub hoping it would help my neck/back problems. I kind of started worrying about whether we would use it enough to make such a big purchase because we have such little time right now. Sooooo.. we decided to put my National board money with our other money we had saved and just build us a new bedroom. Our bedroom will have a walk-in closet (which doubles as a safe room) and bathroom. We've found a really nice jacuzzi tub that it's priced wonderfully. It has back and neck jets which is kind of hard to find in a tub. My uncle is a builder and is going to be doing a lot of this for us. My mom and aunt have actually built a few spec homes to sell so mom is in charge of the job;). Lucky her. Our neighbor has his own sheet rock company so he'll be taking care of that for us. Cam is really excited about this because he's trying to get to know our neighbor better. Yesterday Cameron and Andrew began digging up some lines that need to be moved before we begin. Parker was asleep, so shhhhhh don't tell him Andrew was getting to help daddy outside;). Anyway, the guy comes tomorrow to pour the footing and start blocking up the safe room. We're all really excited and hoping all goes well! Oh, and Parker and Andrew are super excited because they'll get to have our old bedroom when we're finished. It'll be great for them because there's two closets and a bathroom. Their room will double as a playroom/guest bedroom. Piper will probably eventually move into it because it has a much bigger closet than where she is now.
We know our house isn't much compared to tons of others but we are SO thankful for God's blessings with our home! I am also thankful that God gave me a simple upbringing, and sent me to Africa, so I don't desire an expensive home. Our home was built in the early 80's. It's got wood trimming inside with popcorn ceilings but that's just fine by me. It's definitely all we need and then some. God has been good to us! Even if we didn't have this house and were barely scraping by... that last statement would still be true!

Friday, January 16, 2009

We just love this place....

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Wonder Place. They have the coolest stuff and it's all about imagination. The kids love it. Even Piper got in on a little fun.

They like to Yoga ... Yoga

The boys like to do a little Wii Fit Yoga with me. It's so fun! 
Look Sissy's ponytail;) okay, so it's really one of my pigtails but doesn't it look like it could be Piper's. She'll be so darn cute in pigtails:). 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Theology of a 3 year old

This morning Parker and I were looking at the sunrise and I started singing to him You are God Alone. He said, "is God really alone?". I said, "well, he's God all by himself." He said, "Is God really by Himself?... I said, "It means He's the only God". He said, "Yea, but Jesus is God, too".... I said, "well, yea, but Jesus is also God's son". He said, "when I get to Heaven I'm not going to know who is who. I won't know which one is God and which one is Jesus because God wears a crown and Jesus wears a crown. God wears a coat and Jesus wears a coat":)... ahhhh, how sweet is that! I'm not sure if they're wearing leather coats but I can't wait to see.
The other day Andrew and I were laying in bed talking about Heaven and Andrew said, "who knows who gets to go to heaven?" I said, "only God knows Andrew, only God knows". I told him that a lot of people think they'll be in Heaven but they won't because they don't really know God and have a relationship with Him. We talked about the book of life and since then Andrew has said several times, "mommy, my name is going to be written in that book"... Oh, I hope so! Isn't that the hope of all parents that are believers? I remember my Grandma Glover had a plaque on her wall that said, "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk with the Lord". That plaque gained a whole new meaning to me when I became a mommy. It's all that really matters. What is the use of life if it's not lived to glorify God.. I pray daily that God will use their lives to glorify Him and that they will come to know Him as their Savior.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


As I was changing Piper's diaper tonight, Andrew was watching and said, "If I were a mommy and had a baby... I wouldn't do that... I would NOT do that!"
Parker was picking his own little dessert in bed last night, if you know what I mean, and Cameron said, "Parker don't do that, it'll make you sick". Parker took "the nugget" out and said... "I'll just wipe it on something".. Cam said, "just give it to me".... Cameron said it was like taking candy from a baby;)
Tonight we were at JCPenney and Andrew ran up and said, "mommy, I found some wedding pants". He then led me over to some white pants and said, "these will be perfect for Piper when she gets married". I just had to get a pic of Piper and her wedding pants:).

Here's a pic I also snapped of the boys before bedtime...

Friday, January 9, 2009

I really like it....

teaching in an elementary school, that is. The reason I wanted to be a teacher is because I am so burdened for the "underdog" student. In the past the "underdog" student was the juvenille delinquent. I loved my students at the behavioral hospital and I LOVED my students at Jacksonville High. I definitely had the Juvies there... I taught a behavior class (social skills) and literally there was usually an officer that staked out right outside my door. I know God used me in their lives. I had a Godly principal and we would pray for my students often. I was sickened almost daily with grief over the lives that they were living and the families from which they came but oh how I loved those kids. I still do and think of them so often. I keep reminding myself that McKinley is not 18 anymore and if I see him he will be a grown man.
Being an elementary teacher is soooo different. It's literally a different world. I do so miss the older kids but I know that God has a place for me with the younger kids, also. It's so neat to work one of one with some of them and really have an impact on them. I use EVERY opportunity possible to inject character into every lesson. Oh, how they need it. Yesterday as we reading a book, the song Precious Lord was referred to often. It was a sweet book about an old black lady. The kids asked me if I would sing the song to them... I was a little apprehensive because I was a little shy but I thought what a great opportunity for them to hear some rich words. It was such a neat moment I'm sure I'll remember and they'll probably remember, too. God has given me so many special moments with my students. I remember when I taught at Jacksonville some days we would sit in the floor with the lights off and candles going talking their problems... most of these days ended with everyone singing songs like "I love you Lord and I lift my voice". What a sight to behold to walk into my room and see these half grown men with checkered past, and who knows what in the future, singing together. As cheesy and corny as it sounds... it was the most touching moments. I so miss those kids!!! Even though they were not much younger than I was at the time, they were so much like my own children. I had a kid like that at the Jr. High I taught at, too. He actually text messaged me the other day and asked... "am I going to Heaven?" Ohhh.. what a text conversation that led to. I know the Holy Spirit is working in his life, he has been for the past few years. I know that's why I was his teacher. He's a stinker of a student;)... so much of a stinker that he's just so darn lovable. He literally looks at me like I'm his mom. We pray for him a lot, even Andrew does. It's sweet.
Yep, I really like being a teacher.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

nobody puts Baby in the corner....

Things have been great around here... well unless you're Piper and you're sad about getting new teeth. She's so sweet. When she's hurting she just wants to cry in mommy's arms:(. Bless her soul!
Tonight Parker was so excited because he got a "Good Listener" Award at Awanas. He ran in to tell me and said, "Mommy, I got the.... what did I get daddy?.." Cameron whispers in his ear.... "Oh yea, mommy I got the Good Listener award" :). He always does this. He runs to tell some exciting news but he always forgets what he's telling. Andrew needed to learn the books of the New Testament for Awanas so Cam and I taught him a song. He did a great job and Parker knows them now, too. It's sweet to hear them pronounce some of the books.
I had a little excitement today at work.... I got to the be the judge for the School Spelling Bee. How fun is that?? Okay... well it was a little nerve wracking with all of those parents just waiting to jump me for telling their little sweet one, "I'm sorry that's incorrect"... no, really it was a lot of fun! I was nervous for them... and all I have to say is thank goodness I had the correct spellings in front of me.
Just saw a commercial about Barbara Walters interview with THE Patrick Swayze... Cameron always makes fun of me because I had a BIG time crush on Patrick.... seriously, was I the only one with Patrick Swayze posters?
I'll leave you with a cute little dress I got for Miss Piper Jane on ebay... it was only 13.99 shipping and all:) It's size 12 months so I'm hoping it will be a good Easter dress.
*** update... seriously... Cam didn't know where my title came from... omg... he's never seen Dirty Dancing... huh??

Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 in pictures

Here's a slideshow of 2008. It has music from the boys and the last soundtrack is Parker talking when he was a wee one. It's actually from 2007 but too cute not to include:). Some of the pictures were cropped funny on the video but it takes tooooo long to upload a new one, so it'll have to do;)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A look back at 2008

Warning... this post jumps all around:) and instead of one big paragraph it really should be about 20 but oh well, here goes..
2008 was a really good year for us!! I mean, we welcomed the sweetest little thing to our family... Miss Piper Jane. She arrived in April and has been such a sweet, EASY (thank YOU, we felt we were due one) baby. We've watched the boys grow and become even closer friends. They adore one another. Andrew turned 5 :( and headed off to Kindergarten, traumatic experience (for me, not him;). I began a new job as an elementary special education teacher. Cameron learned his job would end soon at Alltel. This was hard news in some ways but we fully trust God has great things in store for him. We're hoping he will deliver him from his hour commute to Little Rock. We made the decision to pull Andrew from Kindergarten a couple of months into the year because he was by far the youngest in his class. We're very confident about this decision and Andrew is excited about being home with Parker and Parker is over the moon to have his big brother back:). Speaking of Parker, we've watched him turn 3 three this year and become a big brother. He literally loves Piper more than words can say. He is a joy to watch with his little sister. We were worried at the beginning of the year Miss Mindy, our nanny, wouldn't be able to stay with us due to back problems but God has blessed us for the fourth year with her coming to our house to watch our little ones. We traveled to Texas in August with the whole family for my cousin's wedding. We had a wonderful time with Amy and Brian and were fortunate to stay with Cam's aunt and uncle. We had a great time at their house and hope to go back to visit soon! This summer, Andrew learned how to swim. He loves it and always ask when we'll get to swim in the pool again. We went digging for diamonds and took a couple of trips to some cabins this year. The first cabin was stinky, literally, but the second was a true treat. Piper and I were in a car accident soon after she was born and we were very fortunate to escape without tragedy. A dear friend of ours lost his wife, Jill, in a car accident in November. My heart has been heavy ever since. I am constantly in prayer and thought for this sweet family.
I've thoroughly enjoyed blogging this year. It's been SO neat to go back and look through the year. I've also enjoyed getting to know others better through blogging. I get so sad sometimes because I don't have a lot of close relationships with other women. I guess it's the season I'm in right now. Blogging, however, makes me feel like I have friends... even if it is just virtual relationships;).
My goals for 2009 are to spend more time with my Heavenly Father, thoroughly enjoy my family and learn to sew:). I hope you all have a wonderful 2009.
Here are my top 5 pics of 2008: