Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas to all my cyber friends. I hope you all have a merry and blessed day and are able to enjoy the company of your friends and family on this wonderful day.

I do believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, that we should all be thankful every day for the blessing of the Lord in our lives and for the birth of the Christ child whose gifts from the wise men probably started our tradition of giving gifts at this time of year. The Lord has blessed me and my family with health, happiness and enough food, money and love to go around. I am very thankful for these things, and although the road of life is long and rarely free of trials and tribulations, would we really have it any other way?

Again, I hope you all have a blessed day and can appreciate and enjoy the magic of Christmas! Personally I adore Christmas, mostly the giving part, and the love and wonder on the face of my boys when they open their presents or see what Santa has brought them. I hope Santa is good to you all!

"and they heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Husband meme

My friend Sandra over at Diary of a Stay-at-Home mom did this husband meme and I thought it was fun so here goes:


1. He’s sitting in front of the TV: what is on the screen? Sports, always Sports or Sportscenter

2. You’re out to eat. What kind of dressing does he get on his salad? honey mustard

3. What is one food he doesn’t like? Wow, maybe sushi he's not crazy about, but that's the only thing besides brussels sprouts!

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? We don't go to bars very often at all, but sometimes at dinner he will order a Crown and Coke or sometimes a beer

5. Where did he go to high school? Cabot High School, Arkansas

6. What size shoe does he wear? 12

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? gosh, besides video games:)

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? pretty much anything, but definitely the Memphian at McAllisters

9. What would the Husband eat every day if he could? steak, seafood, probably red meat!

10. What is his favorite cereal? the Special K with strawberries

11. What would he never wear? suspenders?

12. What is his favorite sports team? Wow, which sport? LOL Football the Arkansas Razorbacks and NFL would be the Dallas Cowboys but now he likes the Raiders and the Broncos, too. baseball would be the St. Louis Cardinals and of course any team our sons play on

13. Who is his best friend? Me

14. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do? Probably talk while he's trying to go to sleep or start fussing about the boys behavior the minute he walks in from work!

15. How many states has he lived in? Just Arkansas

16. What is his heritage? American

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind? Bart's Brownie Cake, it's a delicious chocolate cake with Coke icing!

18. Did he play sports in high school? football naturally! and maybe baseball, I didn't know him then!

19. What could he spend hours doing? Playing video games on his PSP or Playstation 3 or playing the Wii with the boys, hunting, watching football or baseball on TV

Thanks, Sandra, this was fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice day, ice day

Well, snow day is inaccurate, because all we have is ice! The boys got out on Monday at 1:30. I was in the middle of Wally World shopping for the next couple of weeks and suddenly my Blackjack blinks purple which means I have a new email. I look and someone has sent a message to my younger two sons' elementary school Yahoo! group asking if it's true that schools are getting out at 1:30?!?!?!

In a couple of minutes, the principal answers yes, that the schools are getting out, it's about 12:50 by then, I'm not completely done shopping, the cart is full, the store is full, the house has gifts for the boys strewn out everywhere.... and I have to check out, get home, unload the freezer stuff, put up the gifts and then go back and wait for the boys. And did I mention that it was sleeting very hard then???

So I do those things, rush home, move the gifts, unload the freezer stuff, get back in the car after getting a big coat and hat because gosh, it's probably every bit of 19 degrees then and sleeting like crazy. I get to the school and someone has closed one of the pickup loops because it's too slick, they sent out an email about it, but because the school servers were overloaded, no one gets that email. I go and wait in line at the usual pickup point only to be told that the boys aren't there, they are at the front door of the school! So I drive around, no one knows where the boys are, I have to get out and go in and literally hunt them down! Not my finest moment, I managed to lose my temper with the secretary in the office.

The other boys finally show up in their buses from the other schools and it has been alternately raining and sleeting as hard as possible! We get home finally by about 2:10 and settle in for the afternoon. It isn't long before the news channel says that public schools are closed on Tuesday. The boys are thrilled, of course, and by the time Bart gets home and we eat dinner, the sleeting has intensified and has covered the patio, walkway out front and driveway. A very bad sign! Especially since on Sunday it was around 64 degrees!

This morning, Tuesday, we get up and get around with breakfast and the temp never gets above 28 the entire day. Nothing melts, no cars are driving on our street nor on the busy street behind us. And about 2:00, guess what? You got it, no school on Wednesday. My oldest was supposed to have a Christmas band concert on Monday night : Cancelled. He was supposed to go to school Monday and Tuesday and then be done for the Christmas break because he did not have to take semester tests. So he went most of Monday and now he seems to be done with the exception of picking up his saxophone from the school. The other boys are supposed to have tests for the end of the 9 weeks this week, concerts, parties, a spelling bee, art projects, you name it. So now we're one more day out.

Hopefully we will have school on Thursday so that the younger kids can have their parties, but the 9th grader is done until January 6th!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Today is election day in the United States and I'm urging everyone who reads this blog to GO OUT AND VOTE!!!! It matters less who you vote for than that you vote, because it hasn't been that long since women got the right to vote and it's important to our country that EVERYONE have a say in the election process!

That's all I have to say, and yes, I did go vote, I voted early more than two weeks ago and I'm proud to say that I exercised my constitutional right!

Have a great day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

If I was....

I hope Sandra from "Diary of a Stay-at-home mom" doesn't mind, but this is the best meme I've come across. I'll give her credit and go check hers out!

If I was a month, I would be... October

If I was a day of the week I would be... Sunday

If I was a number I would be... 13

If I was a planet I would be... Pluto

If I was a direction I would be... north

If I was furniture I would be... a big comfy couch

If I was a liquid I would be... sweet tea

If I was a sin I would be... greed

If I was a mineral I would be... graphite

If I was a metal I would be ...pewter

If I was a tree I would be... maple

If I was a fruit I would be .. peach

If I was a flower I would be... gardenia

If I was the weather I would be .. rainbow

If I was a musical instrument I would be...oboe

If I was one of the elements I would be... fire

If I was a color I would be... purple

If I was an animal I would be...tiger

If I was a sound I would be... baby cooing

If I was a song lyric I would be... Would I stand in your presence, to my knees would I fall, would I sing hallelujah, would I be able to speak at all, I can only imagine... I can only imagine.

If I was a song I would be... White Christmas

If I was a music genre I would be...the blues

If I was a perfume I would be... chanel #5

If I was a feeling I would be... love

If I was a book I would be… an adventure novel

If I was food I would be… lobster

If I was a place I would be ... Hawaii

If I was a taste I would be... sweet

If I was a scent I would be… peppermint

If I was a word I would be… mother

If I was a verb I would be… loved

If I was an object I would be… a tire swing

If I was a clothing item I would be… faded old jeans

If I was a body part I would be… hand

If I was an expression I would be… smile

If I was a cartoon character I would be… definitely Minnie Mouse

If I was a movie I would be… Christmas Vacation

If I was a shape I would be… oval

If I was a season I would be… fall

If I was a quote I would be… "to those whom much is given much is expected."

This was really fun, I tried to go with my first instinct when I read it, so that made it more fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

Birthday Myspace Cliparts

Today is my birthday! I'm 42 today. Now, age doesn't really bother me, could be because I feel about 26 or so most of the time, that is when I'm not feeling 86!

I've had a great day, played handbells in two services at church, Bart got the boys ready and to church on time, then went for lunch and my mom and dad's house with my sisters and their families. All in all, a terrific day!

I got promises of 2 shopping trips for clothes, etc., lunch with my sister, a beautiful quilt book I had been wanting:

a really cool Disney Jim shore piece that I collect:

I also got a new Disney Movie, sleeping Beauty:

and lots of hugs and my oldest son Ryan made me brownies after I left for church this morning (I had to be there at 7:30, that's really early for a non-morning person!!) and that was really a great thoughtful thing to do! And my parents also bought me this really cool corduroy trench coat that I saw at Target. It's olive green and has a colorful white lining with all colored leaves on it

All in all, a great birthday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fave Five Friday

Hi, it's Friday again and since I think I missed last Friday, I'm going to do this today!

Here are mine:

1. Parent Teacher Conferences! My youngest two got raves about their behavior and their abilities and how much their teachers love them, my oldest one is in high school now and it settling in nicely with very good grades and my second son has been struggling, but his grades have taken an upturn and he is showing signs of being serious about school! YAY!!

2. The fall weather and beautiful coolness of the air now, with a great breeze and lots of falling leaves.

3. My birthday coming up on Sunday, handbells at church, lunch with my family and hopefully Bart will take over chores:) I don't really mind getting older, it's certainly better than the alternative, and besides, most days I feel about 25 anyway!

4. Handbell playing at church on Sunday. I dearly love to play and it exercises part of my brain that doesn't get much exercise, and it challenges me!

5. and Halloween! We have a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating and hopefully my sisters and their families will come and my mom, since it's her birthday!

That's all for today, but please visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and get your Fave Five button now and add yourself to the linky with your blog!

Have a great weekend!

Happy Birthday, Diane

Happy Birthday, Diane!

I know, I know, it was yesterday, but since I didn't know it was yesterday, then I'm telling you happy birthday today! I hope you had a great day, lots of fun with your hubby and lots of birthday greetings and gifts!

Oh, and also...


I baked it just for you and it's sugar free, too!

Oh, and one more thing:

It's my friend Diane's birthday yesterday, so won't you stop by and tell her Happy Birthday yourself! And it's her anniversary tomorrow, Saturday, so I wanted to tell her that in advance:)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Random Thoughts on Monday...

Just some random thoughts today... I haven't been feeling well (see below) since about last Monday, I'm just kinda getting over it now, but I had some funny things on my mind....

Telemarketers.....Don't you hate it when telemarketers call? I know, I've put my name and number on the "Do-not-call" list but it doesn't seem to bother some! Our phone doesn't ring much, but when I'm trying to work from home and it keeps ringing and you interrupt your work and walk over to answer it and then no one is there...... well, it makes me think very bad words!!!

Flu shots and allergy shots.... I got a flu shot last week because I had an appointment at the allergy clinic anyway and boy, it made me feel bad! Sore, tired and sleepy and my arm had a huge knot on it! I had to be allergy tested again last week, it's been over 5 years, and of course you have to stop your antihistamine 5 days before... which is a killer for me. So I dutifully stopped my Zyrtec D and started suffering immediately! Then I go and let them prick my back with those horrible little things and put all those allergens in my back which start itching immediately... and after they were done, they found out my allergies were better.... but of course not gone. I joked with the doctor and said, "Wow, only 20 more years of allergy shots and I'll be cured!" She laughed, but I was kinda serious! I've been doing shots for more than 5 years so I see plenty of those expensive shots in my future....

Parent/teacher conferences... I love talking with my childrens teachers about their progress and how they are doing, probably because I am inordinately blessed in that my kids seem to do reasonably well in school and not have problems. But what I hate about PT conferences is at the older grades when all the teachers just sit in the cafeteria and you have to line up to talk to EACH SINGLE TEACHER. It takes hours, it's noisy and hot in there and it really makes you want to give up! I have 2 older sons who have 7 teachers apiece. If you figure in just waiting 15 minutes per teacher and if you want to talk to each one....that's 210 minutes or 3 1/2 hours. WOW!!!! unbelieveable! I try to stay in contact with the teachers, especially if one of them is having trouble, the kid I mean, but does it look bad if I don't show up for the conferences? I can't decide.... and Bart is usually out of town for the conferences so that leaves me to deal with it. Fun, Fun....

Cleaning house... I had a 13 year old birthday party this past weekend and while they weren't any messier or louder than any other age, I hate cleaning the house for a party! And then you have to clean the house after it's over!! I also hate it when the kitchen (tile) floor is gritty to your feet. But I really hate vacuuming it! LOL I really like it when the house is clean, but really hate cleaning it myself:)

I guess that's all my thoughts for today... kinda disjointed which is kinda how I feel today! I spent hours yesterday ironing and cooking and other things so at least those huge tasks are taken care of, at least until I do laundry again!

Have a great day and may God bless you every one!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday, Monday

This has been a crazy day that funny enough, started out sanely! I knew I had a parent/teacher conference with one of my son's teachers, so I got that out of the way, then had the rest of the afternoon to get stuff done and plan dinner, etc., since I have handbells at church tonight.

But God said, "haha, no, it is not meant to be!" And when I picked up Kevin and Tyler, Tyler was CRYING because his throat hurt. Well, we all know what it usually means when our throat hurts that much! Strep, right? So I call the clinic and they can get him in at 5 which is great, although I do have to drive to Little Rock which I hate to do, but obviously not enough to change pediatricians! (The boys have gone to the same pediatricians since even Ryan was born. 15+ years, who can leave now?)

Bart gets home early; my dad is here because when we had the remants of Hurricane Ike the tree next door fell down. That is only a problem for us because all the roots are under our fence and in our yard, so when the tree fell, the roots jacked our fence up about 2 feet in one spot. And Dad was kind enough to come up here and take a look at it because, frankly, I'm afraid the tree is going to fall all the way down eventually (gravity will take over, right?) and the fence will be toast which means the dog will get out and probably get run over in the busy street behind us.

Tyler and I run to the car, drive the 45 minutes to LR, endure a strep test that turns out to be negative. But he does have a red and swollen throat, but it seems to be viral. As we're talking with the Doctor, Tyler asks if he can have a sticker. Doctor X says, "Of course you can," so Tyler looks and looks and then I hear, "AHA!"

Doctor X says, "Wow, that sounded like an epiphany!" And Tyler says, (wait for it) "yes, but it LOOKS like a bicycle!"

Don't you just love them! DOctor X looks at me and says, "And THAT'S why I became a pediatrician!"

Five year olds are the very best, they are so funny and so sweet and so adorable!

Hopefully that's your laugh for the day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tip for Tuesday

Oh, wait, it is Wednesday, isn't it?

Oh, well:)

In the past I had been buying laundry detergent at the warehouse stores because, well, with 4 sons, we go through a ton of it and I do a ton of laundry every week. Because I'm anal-retentive and can't stand to have laundry all piled up on the laundry room floor where you can't get to the vacuum cleaner or the under-the-stairs storage closet or whatever. That and we used to have a cat who liked to pee on the dirty clothes. Disgusting, I know, which is partly why we don't have said cat anymore! But anyway, it got me in the habit of doing laundry every day. I don't have room for tons of laundry baskets everywhere and when I had one of those three-partioned laundry sorter things, all it did was make a mess with too much laundry falling out... You know, one of these:

Anyway, I digress.

One day I came upon this website The Frugal Shopper and she had a recipe for homemade laundry detergent, several in fact. So I tried one, then I tried one of the liquid ones and really I liked the one that was just dry ingredients. So here it is, if you want to try it. That's my tip of the day. If you check her website you can find all kinds of tips on laundry softeners, etc., that save money.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 cup grated Fels-Naptha soap
1/2 Cup washing soda
1/2 Cup Borax

Mix well and store in a closed container. You should use approximately 1-2 tablespoons per load.

NOTES: 1 cup of grated soap is about one bar, I think.
Fels-Naptha soap is not really hard to find, but I don't like the smell much so I've used Dove,Ivory, Palmolive and Pure and Natural. You can use deodorant soaps too. I like the smell of Ivory.
Washing soda is not baking soda. It does come in a yellow box, and it's with the laundry detergents, and it's usually made by Arm & Hammer, but make sure you get washing soda. Borax is most commonly called 20 Mule Team Borax.
You can double, triple, whatever, this recipe and it works wonderfully!

Good luck! This saves me a ton of money every month, I think I estimated once I was spending about $30 a month on detergent only, and I think this costs about $10 for the 2 boxes of stuff and soap. Well worth it!

ANOTHER NOTE: This will not make suds. They are not necessary for good cleaning, so when you look in the washer and it isn't sudsy, don't worry.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Another Fave Friday

Welcome to another Fave Friday! Suzanne got me started on this last week and I really think this is a great exercise, especially when you haven't had the best week, as I haven't!

And here's why I haven't had the best week: Last Sunday my great aunt Trudy passed away. We knew she had had another massive stroke, we thought, on Thursday, but she's spent the last 7 years going up and down and defying the odds when we thought she didn't have long to live. This time it was for real, she couldn't come back. She just got less and less responsive to my mom and then slipped into a coma and then died. My mom and my grandmother, who was her sister, were with her when she died. I had spent all morning at the church playing handbells in the 2 regular church services, just gotten home and had lunch and sent the older 2 boys and Bart off to the library for History Day research when my dad called. Since I have relatives in Michigan, we put off the funeral until Thursday when they could get here. Trudy was an amazing woman who fought back from an unbelievably severe stroke to have 7 mostly good years of life. She buried two husbands and her only son, most people couldn't have survived that, but she did. We loved you, Trudy!

#1 Trudy. The love and concern shown to our family members by others was a true testament to how much we all loved her. She was always my favorite aunt and she will be missed, she was loving and kind and fun to be around, even when she didn't know she was being funny!

#2 getting to spend time with my Michigan cousins even if it was for a funeral

#3 the long car ride to my grandmother's house with my 2 youngest sons that was both relaxing and interesting, getting to see the places I used to live and my different family homes

#4 The Amazing Race, I'm glad you're back!

#5 going grocery shopping. I know it sounds silly, but many people don't have money to spend or are cutting back, which we are too, but it's nice to be able to fill the pantry and fridge with food and not have to worry about what to cook becuase we have everything!

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Contest!

My friend Mary at Owlhaven is having a contest drawing for some Sesame Street K'Nex and boy, these are about the coolest things I've ever seen!

Here's a link so you can check them out: Sesame Street K'Nex

I would love to win them for my youngest, and you can have a chance too. Just comment on her blog and answer the question, "Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?"

Good luck and happy Christmas shopping!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fave Friday 5

Well, it's my first time doing this little exercise with Suzanne above.

Here are my favorite things of this week:

1. Eating lunch with my kindergartner at his school -- he loves to get a cafeteria tray! LOL

2. Keeping my niece and nephew today. It's so fun to have preschoolers around again since all mine are in school!

3. A great terrific fall bag that I made for an auction here. It's brown with this awesome fall fabric... I wish I had made one for myself!

4. Watching my 9th grader play in the band at the football game.

5. Going to the football game and the weather being so wonderful, I was actually cool in my summer shirt!

6. I know, I know, I said 5, but I'm so glad that Grey's Anatomy is back on!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Like My New Look?

Do you like what I've done with the place? I was blog-hopping last night (that's what I call it when I go to someone's blog I regularly read and then find a blog on their list that looks good and before I know it, I'm 10 blogs from where I started!)

And I don't remember whose blog I got it from.... Oh, yes, yes, I do remember!

It was here Kelly Parkison's blog. Bart and I love the Amazing Race and one night I was waiting for one of the boys to finish whatever before going to bed and I thought, "I wonder whatever happened to some of our favorite people on TAR?" And I searched and Kelly is the first one I found.

Anyway, on her site she had a button for Leelou Custom Blog design and when I went there, I LOVED this design. So here it is. And I added a button on my blog so you could go to her spot and get a new design of your own if you want!

Thanks, Leelou!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's his birthday...

It's official, as of Sept 13th at 8:44 p.m.

Ryan is 15.

WOW! How did he get to be this old? I mean, seriously. I remember the day he was born just like it was yesterday. And now he's one year from driving a car without me even in the car. HOLY COW!!!!

He had a Batman birthday, we took him and some guy friends along with his brothers out to eat at a great pizza place here where they bring pizza around to you, you just run the flag up if you want more and they have great pizza like chicken bacon ranch and chicken honey mustard and meat lovers and barbeque chicken pizza and baked potato pizza (really!). Then Bart took Ryan and the older boys to see Batman, er I mean, The Dark Knight at the IMAX movie theatre and they came back to the house and we had Batman cake:

that I made... I have a tradition of making the boys birthday cakes and I've made every single one for every boy for every birthday... and if I add right, that's 41 birthday cakes. Each and every one different. We've had Buzz Lightyear and elmo on the same cake, Pablo from Backyardigans, Mickey Mouse of course, baseball, you name it and we've had it.

Then the boys decided they were sleeping outside in the tent so they went out there, wayyyyyy after dark and tried to set it up. I think they finally succeeded and were all in bed out there... then during the night I kept hearing the "beep beep beep" of our alarm system that beeps everytime a door or window is opened. And eventually they were all inside sleeping except Ryan and one friend!

Doughnuts for breakfast, more cake and then everyone was gone.

Birthday over, oh, except for going to Nana and Grandad's house (my parents) on Sunday and having his birthday dinner, and his actual birthday on the 13th which we went to Gran's (Bart's mom) to have birthday dinner.

And so Ryan-fest continued....

where have I been?

I've been AWOL, that's for sure! But I'm baack....,,,,

I've been sick and I've been busy working at my "part-time" jobs, so busy I didn't have time to post.

So to catch up, we went to Bull Shoals White River State Park for Labor Day weekend. Me, Bart and the boys, my dad and my sister Tracy and her husband Tim. We got there on Friday, everyone else was already there, but we did get there before dark at least! And we parked and set up and got dinner going...

and this:

you got it, 1 travel trailer and 2 tents! But we had a great time, Saturday my mom came up which is amazing because she doesn't really like to camp! And the boys stayed with Grandad in the tent (except for Tyler) and got up and fished every morning, caught several several trout, and cooked Spam over a campfire before I got my lazy behind out of bed to cook breakfast! They had this hilarious thing that they put the meat on sticks and cooked it, they did it last year while we were all camping and well, there's nothing like being awakened by the smell of Spam cooked over a campfire! I'm kinda the unofficial cook, which is fine, I enjoy cooking for everyone. And if I don't plan our meals, well, who wants to go to the store every camping trip? So I planned the meals, did cooking with the help of Mom and Tracy and then I had the camper to clean up in, with hot water to wash dishes instead of heating water on the camp stove and doing it the way you have to do it when you're tent camping.

Anyway with the boys in the tent, my Mom actually slept in the camper with us (we have 4 bunks and only Tyler sleeping in there) both Saturday and Sunday nights and we were so glad to have her with us! My great-aunt has a house in Mountain Home which is about 30 minutes from the park, and we were afraid Mom would want to stay there, but she stayed with us and we were grateful because we don't get to spend enough time together. We even all trooped down to the camp showers because without sewer hookups, staying 3 days in a campground fills up the grey tank (the one that holds the shower and sink water) very fast, so I even showered in the camp showers! And I usually hate to do that!

The funniest thing was Tyler (who is 5) "caught" two trout on Sunday. And by "caught" I mean Ryan put two previously caught trout on his fishing line which didn't actually have a hook on it. And so Tyler thought he had caught fish. The first thing I know, he's telling his Dad, "I caught two fish and their names are Brownie and Ice Cream."

I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to have a heart attack! He named his fish! Then later that night he said, "Dad, did we eat Brownie and Ice Cream?" He's just so cute, it's funny! After his dad looked him in the eye and told him, yes, we had eaten Brownie and Ice Cream for dinner, Tyler was okay with it. I thought we were catching trout to eat, but apparently Tyler was naming them, too!

Ryan caught a lot of fish:

And here's Tyler fishing, and I tell you, that boy can cast!! He spent all weekend casting and casting and casting...

And here's Kevin fishing:

I never got any good pictures of Jake fishing, could be because he and Tim were getting up at dawn to fish.....

But here are some photos of the river, it was higher than it's ever been....but it's really beautiful there.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I got an award...

from a friend that's nearly related:) Her mom was taught in middle school by my great aunt!

in the South that makes us cousins, at least!

So thanks so much, Jessica, I really love it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Camping we will go....

We're off tomorrow for a long camping weekend at Bull Shoals-White River State Park and boy, am I excited! Bull Shoals is a lake in Arkansas that's terrific, it's great for swimming and boating, it's really beautiful with tons of rocks and cliffs and beautiful trees with some beaches thrown in there. And the White River is THE trout fishing place. The water is cold, like the trout like, and where they dammed the river, it became Bull Shoals Lake. And it's not very wide and very very shallow so you can just wade in ..... IF you can stand the cold!

The campground is an Arkansas State Park and a bunch of the campsites are along the river, kinda high, where the cold air coming off the river makes the temperature just wonderful even in August when it's unbelieveably hot here! It's terrific to be able to just go down some stairs and wade right into the river to fish, my boys love it so much, and I'm hoping we will be able to catch enough fish to cook! YUM!

So everyone have a good weekend and enjoy the weather while it's still summer!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Football is here

I have a son, Jake, who is playing 7th grade football this year. I can't believe that 3 years of Optimist club football went by so fast; now it's the big league, or at least the middle school league.

We had a fundraiser for the booster club on Saturday night, it's called the Steak-Out, they have burgers and introduce all the cross country teams, the volleyball teams, they have football scrimmages and volleyball scrimmages, etc. And they introduce the 7th grade football players. It's like they are entering an exclusive society, the hope of the football team for tomorrow. They introduce them, they boys run through a cool blow-up tunnel that's blue and white, our school colors, then the high school varsity players have made a tunnel that the 7th graders run through and slap their hands and other manly (boyly??) things.

It's a big deal, the kids think it's the greatest, like they are being initiated into a secret club. And Jake had the biggest grin on his face that I've possibly ever seen. Like he was in heaven and didn't even know it existed before now!

He's proud, I'm proud, his father is beyond proud, and his brothers just wanted to leave:) But it was his big moment and we're all excited and proud for him! I hope I still feel this way after I have to watch him get hit by guys who are bigger than he is!

It's Finally here.....

The first day of school.

I had to walk my little redhaired boy to his kindergarten classroom and entrust him to the care of his teacher, who barely knows who he is, for an entire day. Or for 186 days, depending on how you look at it. I have to let her know what it means when he starts sucking his thumb during the daytime, how it means that he's either very tired or anxious. Or that he won't remember or think to go to the bathroom unless you tell him. That he won't be able to find his way back to his classroom from anywhere in that huge big school. Who won't, under any circumstances, get up from his chair if you tell him not to, even if his pants are on fire. Who is loving and sweet and huggy and precious to me.

How can I tell her all that in one short conversation? It all comes down to that, the letting-go and surrendering our most precious possessions to the teachers who hardly know who is who, who don't yet know their personalities or their anxious moments or their worries.

And it's not just about this one:

It's about taking this one to high school, yes high school, and leaving him there. A place where kids aren't little anymore, where there are bomb threats (thankfully just a very few), where the police come and arrest kids during the school day, where there are kids driving cars to school, and where safety is something that every mother and father worries about every single day. Where names like "Columbine" go through your head everyday and all you really want is for them to be safe.

We took them all, all 4 of them, on the first day and I got to walk in Tyler and Kevin, who started 4th grade, and I actually didn't cry until after I got back into the car. But it was hard to tell if I was crying because of taking Tyler to kindergarten or Ryan to high school or Kevin to 4th grade or Jake to 7th grade.

I'm all by myself now all day. Last year or the year before I would have been delirious with the idea of having so much time to myself, but now I'm kinda lost. With kids in preschool a couple of days a week, by the time you get them there at 9 when it starts and have to pick them up before 2:30, sometimes it's just enough time to get a shower, go to the store and unpack all the groceries. But now it's serious time, every day, all day. And you can only clean the house so much...

So I have to find myself, find a routine, figure out what needs to be done the most and do it first, then get all the other things done. I'm lost without any of them here, but I guess I will get used to it! Probably by the end of school it will be driving me crazy that they are home all day.

But for now, I'm praying about my life and what to do with it. I never really got to find my "what I want to be when I grow up" job before, I've been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years nearly. So now I get to/have to figure it out. It should be a fun journey!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I love a rainy night....

If you need rain, let me tell you who to call: US! Let me explain.....

We made our second trip to Branson this year on Friday, instead of the beach in Alabama/Florida as we had planned, so we could use the free tickets I won to Silver Dollar City/Whitewater/Celebration City. (that's another post altogether!) We didn't get to leave until Friday after 4 because the 2 youngest boys were to find out who their teachers were for this year. The class lists were posted at 4. So we waited around. Bart had a couple of conference calls until almost 4, so that worked well. The boys and I spent the day getting the travel trailer ready, clothes and food in the camper, all manner of toys and paraphernalia that a family of 4 boys needs for a long weekend.

But I digress.... we arrived here Friday night about 8:30 and the weather was WONDERFUL! It was dark, mostly, and only about 75 degrees and not humid at all, unlike when we left home where it was 98 or so and very very humid. We got all setup and all, ate dinner and went to bed.

The next morning, we got up to get ready for SDC, I cooked some breakfast, everyone showered and dressed and we left. It was still only about 75 degrees maybe, and there were quite a lot of dark clouds around. We fell into the unbelievably long line of cars going to SDC, it wasn't very far, but at 12:30 on Saturday, everyone seemed to be going at the same time!

We parked on the "back 40" of the parking lots, at least it seemed like that, and realized we had forgotten Tyler's stroller. Now granted, at 5 years old he doesn't need it. But as long as he wants to ride in it and it keeps him happy and keeps him from complaining when his older brothers want to ride the scary/fast/thrilling rides, I'm going to take that stroller on trips until the wheels completely fall off. We hop on the tram from the parking lot, get to SDC, bypass the ticket line and go on to the turnstiles. We had a great time walking through the park to go to the Grandpa's Mansion which is like a funhouse. I found a really great store with primitive decorative stuff which I LOVE! I managed to purchase a few things while the boys were entertaining themselves in the fun house, then we played some checkers and I watched my 5 year old beat my 12 year old! We meandered to the Christmas shop where I found an adorable snowman bell for our tree.

(aside: I've made a habit of buying an ornament everytime we go somewhere on vacation or on a trip of any kind and our tree is completely bursting! When I was younger, my parents owned a gift shop that had ornaments and Hallmark stuff. They started buying my sister and me an ornament every Christmas so when we got married, we had our ornaments to start our tree with. I have done that with the boys, also, but I have bought one ornament that's fairly distinctive to the place we have been on our travels. )

Anyway, we gobbled some dinner/lunch at a great restaurant with wonderful fried chicken, mashed potatoes, etc., then guess what? The rain started! When we were here on 4th of July weekend to use our free passes for the first time, we had a torrential downpour on the day we came to SDC. It pretty much rained the entire time we were in Branson, soaking our towels, outdoor rugs, and the chairs that we set under the awning of the camper for our campfire or just for hanging out in the campground wherever we are staying.

And today was no different. I took Tyler and the rental stroller and went in search of the ponchos that they sell at every theme park in the world when it rains. I managed to find one that would fit over him and most of the stroller and then one for me. The older boys and Bart had gone to a water balloon catapult type thing and were laughing like maniacs while throwing water balloons at each other. When they finally had to give up and let someone else have a turn, that's when they decided to ride the Lost River of the Ozarks which is a water ride that you get completely soaked.

Keep in mind that the temperature had dropped with the rain, of course, and it was now a balmy 65 degrees and frigid rain falling, still. It had been raining for approximately 2 hours now and there was no end in sight. I finally talked them into leaving the park then, everyone was leaving, and a lot of the rides were closing, but mostly WE WERE FREEZING! Have you ever said that in August before? Me, neither!

We drove back the short distance to the camper, after getting to ride in an open air tram through the rain (just like July 4th weekend) which just added goose bumps on top of goose bumps! And still it rained. It rained almost all night, off and on hard rain and then sprinkles. I had to haul the wet stuff down to the laundromat because really, who wants to have sopping wet clothes hanging around until Tuesday? NOT ME!

The next morning dawned with very dark clouds, breezes and a high temp of about 75. I wore a jacket all day with my shorts, Tyler wore a long sleeved shirt while we shopped at Branson Landings, which is fabulous!

The entire weekend the boys have begged to go to White Water. But until 4:00 today, the temperature had not gotten above 75 degrees. And we all know that since school starts on the 18th, they cannot come home from vacation with a cold, can they? So we have put them off. We have used our free White Water tickets one time all summer. And we won't use them this trip at all due to the cool weather. Our next planned trip here is in November when the boys have a couple of days out of school and White Water will be closed, but it's too cold then anyway!

Am I complaining? No way! I never thought I would be wearing a jacket out in August, last night it got down to 61 degrees! We have had the doors open and the windows in the camper open to catch this beautiful fall-like weather. I have enjoyed it so much and apparently when we head home tomorrow, the weather in Conway will still be cool and rainy. Savor it while you can, I sure am!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The first day of school is coming....

We have been busy around here, buying school supplies (yes, $276 worth of them) for 4 boys, from lists that are longer than my arm it seems. And please tell me what kindergarten child needs 12 glue sticks? I mean, seriously! But they were on his list, so we bought them. Along with the 2 packages of regular crayons and 2 packages of twist-up crayons, the mountains of pencils and erasers and folders (not paper, but plastic ones) and paper and specific kind of notebooks and binders and post-it notes and pens and red marking pencils and 3 ounce cups and baby wipes and tissues and cap erasers and backpacks and lunch boxes.....SIGH

It makes you tired, doesn't it? It does me, first Walgreens for their ad stuff which they didn't have much of, then Wal-Mart to finish out the list, although they only had 1 package of twist-up crayons... then Kohls for backpacks for the high school boy and middle school boy because with the amount of stuff they have to carry around, they have to have a heavy-duty backpack!

I know times have changed and all, but all I remember buying was some pencils and loose leaf paper and that's all I remember! I don't remember teachers being so very specific about "only plastic folders, not paper" and "2 inch binder, no other size." And the worst part of all is that after the first couple of days of school, they will all come home with things that each specific teacher wants them to have just for her class (that we haven't bought already), like a stenographers notebook or index cards or something like that. It doesn't seem like much, but when you multiply that times 2kids that have 7 classes apiece and 2 more kids who have 1 teacher but may have a GT teacher or music or PE or something else... it really really adds up. Even for families with 1 child, it adds up.

I haven't even said ANYTHING about buying new school clothes, because heck, after buying all these school supplies, who has any money for new clothes? But the good (??) thing is that here in Arkansas it will be hot for several more months, they will be wearing shorts to school probably until into October sometime. So their summer wardrobe will have to work, it has been over 100 degrees for I think over 2 weeks now and it's just too hot for long pants!

Basically where we live, the boys wear shorts from mid-March until probably mid-October, and suddenly one day it will be cold and they will have to find pants that fit, and let me tell you, that is no easy task! It's impossible of course, for growing boys to wear the same pants more than one year, so I try to anticipate what size they will be! HAHAHAHAHA

If you have sons, you know that's a joke! One of my friends has a son who grew 9 inches in one summer. Nine inches. With the younger 2, I can at least make a good shot at figuring out what size they need, because when they are 9 and 5, they don't skip many sizes. The 14 and 12 year olds, that's another story. Oh, my word, how those boys grow! They are both taller than me, which, granted, isn't any big shakes. They are at least 5'6" each, have feet bigger than is imaginable, and are fast catching up in size to their father! I know my 14 year old skipped 2 shoe sizes at one time once. And that was from a 10 to a 12!

We have 11 more days and counting for school to start, it's a mixed blessing of course, for me since my youngest is starting kindergarten and I will be feeling the quiet of an empty house for 5 days a week instead of just the 2 days that he was going to preschool in the spring. The house will get cleaner more often, the dinner will be cooked and planned better, and probably more laundry will get done. I hope to get a lot more sewing done, but I would trade it all for one more year with Tyler at home. Sounds sad, I know, but when you've been a stay-at-home mom for 11, nearly 12 years, it's hard to switch gears.

But switch gears I must because I won't hold Tyler back. I won't let him know how much I will miss his sweet face or fixing him his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Because kids grow up. They just grow up. I don't have to like it, but I do have to let them go. And buying $$$$ worth of supplies is the first step towards it. It took us all weekend practically to acquire all these necessary items, but acquire them we did. And I promised myself not to get crazy when Tyler brings home 11 unopened glue sticks the end of school next year!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Contest over at my friend's blog!

My blogging "friend" Mary over at owlhaven is having a giveaway of a Lands End backpack! It looks really cool, I'm sure any or all of us could use it, and all you have to do is leave her a comment with a first day of school memory from your childhood and mention her contest on your blog/website.

So here you go, Mary, and may the best "random" person win!

Here's a picture of the backpack:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Simple Woman's daybook

FOR TODAY July 24, 2008

Outside My Window... it is very dark outside with the wind blowing because it is late at night and I should be asleep!

I am thinking... of my son graduating from Safety Town tomorrow, having learned all about how to stay safe at school

I am thankful for...the firefighters, police officers, EMTs, bus drivers and others that took the time out of their lives to teach a bunch of incoming kindergartners how to be safe in different situations and so grateful my child has an opportunity to attend this camp

From the kitchen...comes the aroma of a ham cooking in the crockpot and the rolls that went with it for dinner

I am most soft old tee shirt with a pair of pajama pants that are flannel even though it is the dead of summer

I am creating...a quilt for wintertime that's all flannel and snowmen and plaid homespun that I can't wait to cuddle up under this fall!

I am go get into my big bathtub even though it's past 11:00 o'clock at night because I feel the need for bubbles

I am reading...about six books at a time, but the one I'm into the deepest at the moment is The Mitford Bedside Companion... even though I've read all the Mitford books at least 5 times each

I am hoping...for a cooler, rainy day tomorrow, although realistically I am hoping for a quiet non-busy weekend to sit around and watch movies and avoid going outside in the heat

I am hearing...the sound of my husband's laughter from the other room, along with the sound of my son's CD player from his room through the baby monitor

Around the a lot of laundry that needs to be washed, about 5 quilts in various stages of completion and shoes shoes everywhere, they multiply when I'm not looking'

One of my favorite having dinner at home with my boys all home, not spending the night at someone's house, and then watching a movie all together in the living room, like a Harry Potter movie

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: include getting some work done for extra money, finishing up one of the quilts, making some of the pajamas that I have already cut out for my youngest son and some baking, maybe zucchini muffins!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

My son Kevin enjoying the lake and a very large bag of doritos

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Brad Paisley contest

If you know me very well, you know that I have one absolute favorite and I mean ABSOLUTE favorite singer/guitar player/entertainer and that's Brad Paisley. I've been a fan of his for a long long time, longer than most people have ever heard of him.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I found out he was touring and was coming to Little Rock for a concert. I promptly joined his fan club so I could get tickets that were VIP tickets, and that's when I realized that my DH (dear husband) and 2 oldest sons were going to be out of town! Because you see, for the previous Christmas my mom, sister and I had gotten together and gotten my DH, my dad and my sister's DH tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games since they are huge fans. It was a ticket package, with 6 games, I think, scattered over the schedule. And the Brad Paisley concert was one of those nights.

So what's a girl to do? I called my sister, who is not particularly a country music fan, and begged, no, pleaded for her to go with me, begged and pleaded our mom to keep our 4 children we had (my 2 that were staying at home as well as her twins) so we could go to the concert. And she agreed.

What happened next? I entered a giveaway on the BP website for "meet-n-greet" opportunities. If you don't know what this is, you get to go backstage and meet the person and have a photograph taken with him, spend about 10 seconds with him and be completely star-struck and incoherent at the same time.

AND I WON. Only 2 people from each concert won and I was one of them. And DH was going to be gone.

So my sister and I went and after the concert, we went to this backstage area and after a few minutes, I got to go in and meet my favorite artist/guitar player/singer/entertainer. And I got my picture taken with him and I got some sheet music autographed and a concert poster.


So the last few months, I've been watching the BP website hoping against hope he would come back to Arkansas again, when I found out he's having a contest. And you can win HIS fishing truck filled with fishing gear and autographed CDs, every one he ever made.

AND I ENTERED, of course! And so can you, I'm going to put the link to the contest in here and if you're a BP fan, you can enter to. I can't believe I'm being this generous because really I WANT TO WIN! I really really really want to win! I can see myself driving that fishing truck all over town and fishing with all that gear, and listening to all those CDs since heaven knows I've worn my copies completely out! If it wasn't for iPods, I would have no way to listen to his music anymore.

So if you have a mind to, go over to this website,

It's for a radio station, somewhere, and if you register on their site you can also register to win the truck.

Good sharing, huh?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday To you!

I can't believe I forgot this:

Happy Birthday, Heather!

Today is her birthday, I won't tell how old she is, but I hope she reads this and knows I'm thinking about her and that she's the best darn sister anyone could ask for. Have a happy day and know I love you!

Kindergarten... one last time

My youngest boy is starting kindergarten this fall. This is the same "first day of kindergarten" I've gone through 3 other times but somehow it's different this time. He's my youngest... the one baby that I thought (I guess) would be in preschool for years and years and always be with me the other days of the week so we could run errands, have lunch, play games and watch videos.

But he's 5 now and kindergarten is calling. He wants to go, I really do want him to go, but at the same time I'm sad. He's my last child, there won't be any more, no more boys to stay home with Mom and play or go to big school and have lunch with one of his brothers. He will be gone every day until 3:30 just like them, and not want to be with Mom as much, he will have friends from school that I haven't met yet, and experiences that I haven't been a part of, and hard days that I can't help him with and it makes me sad. Sad that time is passing and he's growing up and growing away and won't be the baby anymore.

And I know we have to let go. I just wish it wasn't so painful for the parents and so pain-free for the children. Now I wouldn't want him to be sad and I do want him to look forward to going to kindergarten, but boy does it hurt my heart!

I think I (we) cling to him because (a) he's the youngest, (b) I know he is my last child and (c) he had a rough time being born and spent 11 days in the NICU of our hospital on a ventilator for 24 hours with head CT scans, genetic tests, neurological tests and every other test known to man before we could bring him home. We all coddle him and baby him and I think it's because he was so sick and we were so afraid we would lose this beautiful redheaded boy that we all like to think of him still as a baby when he's not. He's 5 years old, he has completely gotten over whatever it was that the hospital thought he had (which I DIDN'T think he had) and is so very very smart, to boot. He can beat his older brothers at many video games, can read a lot of words already and has a smile with the most beautiful dimples that you've ever seen.

So I will send him off to kindergarten on the appointed day and not let him see how sad I am. Because it would make him sad and want to stay home and really, all little chicks have to fly the coop. Only us Moms don't have to always like it....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Camping fun in Branson or Off to our Typical rocky start

We are visiting Branson, MO, for the holiday weekend. We found a great campground that's on the lake, very friendly people, and "off the beaten path."

The first day we got here was Wednesday and it was as hot as the dickens. If you aren't a camper, just let tell you some of the things that have to be completed once we pull up to our site in the camper to get ready to "camp." Imagine trying to unhitch the TT (travel trailer), get the wheel chocks under the wheels (so we don't roll off), let the jacks down (with just the special wrench that you have to turn over and over) on each corner of the TT so that it won't jump and jive everytime someone inside walks around, and get all the hoses, cords, and plugs etc., hooked up to the proper connection so the sewer, electricity, water and Cable TV all work. And now imagine doing that in the bright sunshine, 90+ degrees with 4 boys helping you, dust flying everywhere and kids saying, "dad, can I hook up the XXX now?" Well, it's enough to try any man's soul!

So after about 20 minutes of this, I had scooted off to the bath house to you-know, and when I came back was when I noticed: The back of the TT was completely crooked!! And by that I mean, looking at the back of the TT, the left side was about, oh, six inches lower than the right side. I knew when I went into the TT and opened the slide and turned on the A/C and all that stuff that I do inside (I get the inside set up and DH gets the outside stuff done), that it was unlevel, but boy, I didn't have any IDEA how unlevel!

So I said to DH, "um, not to be the bearer of bad news but did you know that the trailer is unlevel?" And he said, "yes, I do know, but it's not bad and besides, if I try to make it level, I'll have to hitch it all up again, move the trailer, and put blocks under the wheels on the left side."

Well, I must have looked at him funny or something because he said, "What?" And I said, "Um, the boys will roll out of their bunks if it's not leveled, because all the stuff fell out of the refrigerator when I opened it." He didn't laugh, he didn't cry, he just looked at me. Then finally he said, "is it really that bad?" And I said, "no, it's worse!"

So the two younger boys and I went into the trailer, pulled the slide in and sat on the couch to wait out the moving business without being in the way. The TT got moved 6 inches forward, blocks were placed under the wheels and we were in business!!

After I had gotten sick from the heat, one of the other boys was sick from the heat, then we finally decided the only way to cool off was to drive off in our tow vehicle and stay in the A/C there until the sun went down and the camper would cool off. It turned out to be a wise choice because we went to eat at a buffet, our favorite since none of the boys can ever agree on a place to eat, and they have really good food! Something for everyone and lots of coolness to savor and enjoy before getting ready for bed.

One thing I didn't realize or wasn't told about this campground was that it is a public city-owned park which is great because it's cheap, but the bathhouses aren't air/conditioned, much like most of the state parks. That's not too bad most of the time, but boy, in July when our campsite is in the middle of a place with no trees and it's more than 90 degrees with at least 100% humidity, it's really too much!

For those unfamiliar with camping, we do have a bathroom in our TT but given the fact that my DH is over 6 feet tall and the shower is very small and not very tall and when you're standing in front of the sink with the shower on the right and the toilet on the left, you could stand with both arms outstretched and touch both the shower wall and the wall above the toilet and it's impossible to raise your leg without hitting your knee on the sink, campground facilities become very important! The boys except the youngest all shower, etc. in the campground facilities because really, if we all tried to shower in the TT, it would take 2 hours and given that the hot water heater only holds 6 gallons of water, it would probably be time for bed before we were all done showering!

More tomorrow on the joys of our trip to Branson.....

My first post

I've been wanting to start a blog for a long time now because it seems that I have a ton of things to say and my husband is tired of hearing them:)

First about me: I'm a 41 year old stay-at-home mom of 4 boys whose youngest is going to be starting kindergarten this fall. I've been a stay-at-home mom for 12, nearly 13 years, and I only had 2 sons when I started! As the boys were born, it seemed more practical for me to stay at home since my DH was traveling in his job a lot and when the 2 older were in daycare, they were sick a lot and when you work at a job that you haven't been in very long and have to take days off to stay home with sick kids, it doesn't make you a very popular employee.

I'm a crafty person, I like to quilt, sew, embroider, cross stitch, take photographs and just generally make a mess with either fabric, thread or glue of some kind. I've made about a million pairs of pajamas for my sons, at least 30 quilts (mostly crib quilts or lap quilts), enough cross stitch stuff to wallpaper my house with them and about 9,344,244 photographs, most of which are on the laptop I'm typing this from... and the last 5,000,000 have been since last July when I got my new Canon rebel XTI camera. It's the best thing since, well, since I don't know what, for taking great pictures, especially from far away.

But I digress again. I live in a town of 50,000 more or less, in a mid-South state with my husband and four sons who are from 14 to 5 years in age. We have a great house with a big backyard and a great not-very-smart dog named Daisy and we spend a ton of time camping in our travel trailer, playing and watching the boys play baseball, play their guitars, band concerts, and trying to get in a trip to Disney world every year. I spend my time in the car, you guessed it, doing some kind of sewing and refereeing fights between the boys!

That's all for now, I'm going to post some of my quilt photos because this blog is going to be about our trips camping as well as my quilting and my tote bags that I make.