Tuesday, August 30, 2005

couple of things to add

First, I need to add Shemar Moore & Denzel Washington to my list of celebrity crushes down below.

Second, my friend Kate just informed me that she is now blogging! I didn't figure it'd be long before she was hooked on this way of life we call blogging! Check her out! I know she'll have some good things to say (she's an English teacher....don't they all right well?!?!)

I've been tagged!

My friend Hope tagged me to do this list. I told her I was honored because I don't think I've ever been tagged like this, so here goes:

7 things to do before I die:
  1. I'd like to see my children become baptized believers!
  2. I want to be there when they marry the love of their life and be proud of their choice.
  3. When they have my grandchildren, I want to hold them & hug them & kiss them!
  4. I want to go to New England with Chris sometime in the Fall.
  5. We will pay off some debt.
  6. I will lose weight!
  7. I have a dream of writing & publishing children's books.

7 things I can do:

  1. I can be involved in my daughter's education.
  2. I can cross stitch (don't ask me if I can finish a cross stitch, but I can do it!)
  3. I can sleep!
  4. I love to read and do it often.
  5. I like to write people notes to encourage them.
  6. I can ask questions because there is so much I don't understand!
  7. I can be a little lazy.

7 things I can't do:

  1. I can't swim very well at all.
  2. I can't get motivated alot of times.
  3. I can't seem to get & keep the house clean!
  4. I can't seem to stay off the Internet long enough to get the house clean!
  5. I can't deny that God is real.
  6. I can't deny that I have a wonderful husband & children
  7. I can't forget all the times my Dad said he & Mom were praying for me.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:

  1. green eyes~there was a time I might not have said this, but Chris has green eyes and I love them!
  2. faith in God and lives that every day!
  3. intelligent
  4. hard working
  5. man of character
  6. sense of drive with his career
  7. sweet Daddy!

7 things I say most often:

  1. "Do you understand me?!?!" (this is said sternly to a child)
  2. "Yes maam!" (this is also said sternly while prompting a child to repeat it)
  3. "I love you."
  4. "Dear God..." (this is said at the beginning of a prayer, not disrespectfully)
  5. "Hello?" (as I pick up the phone)
  6. "okay, bye." (as I hang up the phone)
  7. "Hey." (when someone answers the phone when I call them)
7 celebrity crushes:
  1. Sean Connery
  2. Brad Paisley
  3. Phil Vassar (got to see him perform live at "Nashville Star" and he was awesome!)
  4. Tony Bennett (for his music anyway......I know he's way old!)
  5. Clay Aiken (don't laugh! He seems like a nice guy and I also like his music!)
  6. Adam Sandler (I know alot of his stuff is not nice, but some of it is okay and he's so funny!)
  7. Avery Johnson (He used to be on the San Antonio Spurs; now I think he coaches the Dallas Mavericks. We used to watch the Spurs all the time and he was just so cute and seemed so sweet!)

7 people I'd like to do my list:

  1. Alissa
  2. Mandy
  3. Tracy
  4. Malia
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Kristen
  7. Coley

If you decide to allow yourself to be tagged, let me know and I'll read what you write. Have a good day!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Five People

I just finished watching "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."


Friday, August 26, 2005

splish splash

Splish, Splash!

I hear this sound as I'm talking to my mom on the phone. I'm thinking, "What is that?" Suddenly it dawns on me that Katie is probably playing in the toilet. Sure enough, I yell out, "Katie, no!" and run to the bathroom. Obviously I startled her because she runs into the hallway with hands dripping. Oh good grief. You couldn't have paid Gracie enough money to play in the toilet at any age!
Gracie has drawn a picture of herself on one page. She drew a picture of our house and her best friend, Leigh Ann's house on another page. She says, "How about I staple these together so when you're lonely when I'm at school, you can look at these." so sweet.
The PTA "Meet & Greet" went well. There were alot of people there. We got pizza & diet coke & water. They gave away door prizes and explained the different things we can get involved in. Miss S was there (the only K teacher who was there~we truly think we got the best one!) She came over to talk to us as soon as we walked up and we sat together for awhile. I was able to talk with her and ask about how Gracie is doing in class. She said today they were sitting around and she was asking what they had learned this week. She said some of the kids were saying they had learned about going potty (I remember the days when it seemed my students hadn't listened to a single word I'd said!) She said Gracie said, "I learned how to read!" Miss S said, "Oh thank you. I needed that!" She is truly learning alot!

At one point, Gracie said she was going to go play. She ran off to play in a big grassy area where lots of kids~of all ages~were playing. We were surprised that she was going to join them without having a specific friend to play with. Miss S watched her run off and I said, "She has gotten alot more independent since she started school." She told us that she is shy & quiet & well behaved but she will speak up when she needs to. Thank you God. It's like I told my mom. Almost everything Chris & I said we wanted her to get out of school, all the qualities we hoped she would develop~she is getting & developing those qualities. We played on the playground later with one of her new friends and she was trying so many new things and being so brave. You kind of have to know my child to understand how significant this is.

We went to get ice cream afterwards and as we were walking up to the door, Gracie said, "Mommy. Thank you for taking me to get ice cream." out of the blue It's so refreshing when she says thank you without being prompted. As we were sitting outside eating~it has been cooler weather the past 2 days~she said, "It's nice out tonight." I told her that Daddy & I were proud of how she is learning new things and trying new things but still staying sweet. I asked her to tell me what is she supposed to remember is the most important thing. She immediately answered, "God!" *sigh of happiness* I told her that as long as she can do it and make God happy, she can do anything she wants to...a tree cutter, a cooker, a librarian, or a teacher (some of the things she has mentioned in the past!)

The 2 moms of other children in her class that I've probably connected with the most are "church goers." I don't know exactly what they believe etc. but we have spoken of church. They know where I go and I know where they go. I'm so glad that they go. Choosing the public school over the private Christian school, I was nervous about this type of thing, but within the first 3 weeks of school, I've already had "Where do you go to church" conversations with at least 2 of them. (and I think both of them actually asked me!) Whether we believe exactly the same, at least we have that basic belief in God. Thank you again, God!

Dear Lord, Once again, thank you! Thank you for many things. Please continue to help Chris & I to be good parents. We couldn't do it without You! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Thank you, God

for rockin' babies!

Katie let me rock her last night. She doesn't usually sit still long enough to allow me to do that. I was holding her standing up and she laid her head on my shoulder and played with my hair. I love that! I don't have an adult sized rocking chair in her room, so I went to get the one out of the living room. I pulled it in there and we sat & rocked while listening to Tony Bennett on her cd player. I realize Tony may not be in every child's cd player, but I like to put in more than just the traditional lullabies every now & then and he is so relaxing to me. It was such a sweet time. (Of course, when I laid her down in her bed & left, she wasn't quite as sweet!)
We are going to a PTA "Meet & Greet" tonight at the park. For some reason, I am so nervous about it. I guess it's a little out of my comfort zone. I want to be involved, but I guess I worry about feeling inferior next to other parents who know each other better, drive better cars, live in bigger houses, etc. etc. etc. I know that totally doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things. It's a family event so we're all going. I told Chris if we feel uncomfortable we'll just casually walk over to the playground for awhile then make our way back to the car. I hope it goes well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Isn't it amazing?

Isn't it amazing how inquisitive our little ones can be? Tonight at church, Gracie handed me my Bible when everyone else opened theirs during the devotional. I opened it up and let her hold it. I later told her how proud I was of her for wanting to have the Bible open while Mr. Mark was preaching. I told her we could start doing that alot so it can help her listen and she can learn more about Jesus.

She said, "Yeah! And I'm learning alot like I know Jesus died. That's my favorite story." I prompted her a little to say that Jesus being alive again is more important than him dying. (I didn't want to squealch her love for the story, but I just wanted her to remember that He arose and how important that is.)

Then the questions started. You know, the questions that you're pleased they're asking but also praying at the same time that you'll answer in a way they'll understand and also a way that's correct?

"Why did Jesus have to die?"

"He died for our sins."

"What are sins?"

"They're things we do that are wrong. We know they're wrong, but we do them anyway." I think I then said something about God & Jesus being more powerful than the men who killed Jesus and how he came back to life.

Then she said something about "yea! Our sins are gone!"

I gently said, "Well, that made it possible for our sins to go away." I then reminded her of when our friend, Kate, was baptized just last Sunday. We've talked about baptism before and what it is. I explained again how someone who is older decides to change and try not to do the wrong things anymore and then gets baptized and all the sins are washed away. When a person has done that, they can then be forgiven when they do wrong things.

She asks, "But how does the water wash them away?" (Remember she's 5!!!!)

So I explain about how it's not necessarily the water but God & Jesus wash away the sin and the Bible tells us that we should do this so we can be a Christian and go to Heaven. I tell her that is why we were so happy about the decision Kate made because now she's a Christian.

Chris stayed home tonight because he wasn't feeling well, so when we got inside we recapped our conversation for him. I try to let her know how proud I am of her when she asks questions like these. When referring to baptism, I tell her that this is a decision that she can make one day when she's older. ~Lord, please let her make this decision! I want her to be a true follower of You!~

Although she's certainly not perfect, she is the type of child who will do the right thing just because we tell her to (like holding our hand in the parking lot....she's obsessive about this!)Baptism is not something I want her to do just because Mommy says she should do it. I want it to be a decision that she makes one day when she's older and understands. Of course, we'll guide her as she grows and I don't expect her to understand everything. I don't think we ever understand everyhing while on this Earth!

I love that she asks these questions because it means she is listening and learning. She is a deep thinker!

Dear Lord, Please help Chris & I to give Gracie the answers that her little 5 year old mind needs. Thank you for her spirit of wanting to know more about You and realizing that You & Your Son are important! Please help her to continue along the road of yearning for knowledge of the Bible. Please help us to rely on You to guide us through this journey called parenting! In Jesus' Name, Amen


Today I got to do what I've been wanting to do for a long time. I volunteered in Gracie's Kindergarten classroom! Ever since we started getting closer to time for K to start, and especially when we decided to send her to public school, I have been adamant about wanting to volunteer once a week at the school. Being a former elementary teacher, I knew I couldn't take Katie with me because of the distraction factor, so I took her to Mother's Day Out at a church right across the street from the school (where Gracie went to preschool.)

I had told Miss S that I wanted to come help, but she really hadn't asked me to come do anything. Last week, with some papers sent home, there was a note requesting help from any parents with tearing out some workbook pages. I didn't say anything about it because I wasn't going to start Katie in MDO until September. However, this week I thought to ask her if she'd gotten the help she needed and if not I could start Katie now.

She wrote that she could use the help so whenever I could do it, that'd be great. So, last night I called the MDO lady to make sure Katie could go ahead and start coming then called Miss S to let her know.

At 8:30 this morning, I dropped off my baby at Mother's Day Out. for the first time. ever. I was a little sad & a little nervous and kept saying bye-bye and waving and blowing kisses. Katie just kind of kept looking at me like, "Mom. Why are you still here? Don't you have things to do?" You've got to understand. I have been a stay-at-home mom since Gracie was born. She never went to any kind of Mother's Day Out or daycare until she went to 3 day a week preschool at age 4. I have a guilt factor about sending Katie to MDO, but it's mostly to be involved with Gracie's school. I don't mean at all to imply that a mother is wrong to put her child in MDO or anything like that; it's just a personal thing with me. I know it's not wrong to put a child in MDO or anything like that........(I'm not trying to start a debate or anything.)

I went to the school and checked in with the office and got my little sticker pass so anyone seeing me would know that I was an official person and not someone there to harm the children (like I look so menacing in my denim skirt and vintage looking purse!)

Anyway, I went to the room and saw my sweet Gracie sitting on the rug with her class listening to Miss S teach. The kids (23) were all being soooo good! I was nervous at the beginning of the year about them being wild, but this teacher does such a good job at keeping them in line. When I entered the room, my eyes immediately sought out Gracie and she shyly smiled at me. I got to observe for a minute or so while the aide was busy, then she took me to the workroom and showed me what to do. I stayed in there for a little over an hour tearing out pages.

When I went back to the room to take the work I'd done, Gracie was sitting at her little green table (BTW: She says "I sit at the green table so that reminds me to stay on green."~Green is the color a child stays on when they've had a good day.) Anyway, I delivered my papers and the aide explained a little to me about what the students were doing. Miss S was sitting with one group, the aide had been with another group, and some students were working in small groups. I walked over to Gracie to see what she'd been working on and met the little boy she was working with. I looked at her journal (I've been so excited to see her journal because that was always one of my favorite things for my students to do!) I love how Miss S has written comments to her on almost each day of her journal. I was so happy to see that one day Gracie had written "I love Katie." How sweet!

Chris & I have loved hearing her sing the new songs she's learned about the penny & the nickel & demonstrating how she does her "Phonercizing." (seems to be a mix between Phonics & Jazzercise.) I love that! Learning this way at this age is so important because things like this will stick in her memory! I know every kid is different and they all learn differently, but we can tell that she is retaining so much of what she is being taught and we're so proud of her! Yesterday, she was singing a song she'd made up about the alphabet (to the tune of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town I think it was~I have no idea why!) Anyway, she said something like, "It's not just learning the alphabet and what they look like. It's like how to spell words and what they sound like. " I was like, "wow!" She has known the alphabet for forever, but I love how she is expanding on that knowledge!

Anyway, I loved volunteering! I wasn't actually in the classroom, but I just loved knowing that I was in the school being involved. I want to be such a help & encouragement to her teacher. I remember how it is to be a teacher and feel like it was a "thankless" job many times.

Dear Lord, Thank you for letting Katie do well with Mother's Day Out. You know I felt torn about leaving her there, but I felt it was so important to be involved with Gracie's education. Thank you for letting Gracie love school so much and for letting her be having a good experience. Please help Chris & I to be good parents to our precious girls! Please protect both of them physically & emotionally! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

household chore I hate

Just one of many:

CHANGING SHEETS~does it really matter if the hearts are going in the right direction in relation to the head of the crib? Apparently in my little mind it does & my mind was playing tricks on me this morning as I tried to get the sheet on the mattress. Crib sheets are some of the hardest in my opinion! UGH!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Oh Happy Day!

One of my close friends was baptized today. I am so happy for her! I knew she had been thinking about it for awhile and asking questions. I'm so glad she made the decision to be buried with Christ in baptism for the forgiveness of her sins! She is now a child of God...what a wonderful day!

Lord, thank you for Kate and her decision to follow Christ. We know that it is because of Christ's sacrifice that our salvation is possible. Thank you for that sacrifice! I'm so happy for Kate and her heart that wants to follow You & Your son! Thank you Lord for all of our blessings! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Saturday, August 20, 2005

sausage ice cream?

I need to make a dessert for tomorrow's lunch. We plan to invite Chris' cousin over after church, and I'd like to have a nice dessert. Problem is, I only have 2 eggs. I don't really want to go buy a bunch of stuff; I just want to make something with what I have.

I have a ton of cookbooks and I subscribe to a wonderful magazine called Quick Cooking. Lately though, when I have limited ingredients, I've been getting online and just "googling" certain ingredients that I have on hand. I've come across some really good recipes.

Today, I've been kind of searching for chocolate pies or apple spice cakes mainly. There are some interesting recipes out there. Ever heard of some of these?

These recipes certainly didn't make it far enough to be printed out for a further look. They just don't appeal to me. Maybe they're really good, but I don't think I'm going to try them. I also don't get some of the ingredients that are in these recipes. I consider myself a pretty good cook, but some things I'm not very familar with. Some of them include the following:

  • cake flour What's the difference between this and regular all-purpose flour?
  • sour milk Why would I want to use sour milk in a recipe?
  • bleached all-purpose flour Again, I ask, what is the difference b/w this & my normal all-purpose flour?

Another thing I don't understand is when it calls for mixing 2 different sets of ingredients into another. It will sometimes say, "Begin and end with......." Why does it matter if I begin & end with the buttermilk or whatever it is? Does that really make a difference?

If anyone can enlighten me on these things, I'd appreciate it. Also, if anyone has tried any of the horrible sounding recipes above, let me know if I truly need to broaden my horizon and try them myself. I don't think I do, but let me know!

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's just silly not to try anything new

This is coming from my daughter who isn't necessarily the first one to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to trying something new. However, apparently most of her new classmates at school eat "tray lunch" rather than bringing their own. She said, "That's just silly to bring your own lunch and not try anything new." I assured her that this weekend we could sit down and look at the menu and decide which days she could have the infamous & oh so delicious "tray lunch." Let's just see how quickly she starts asking for ham & cheese sandwiches from Mommy again!

I guess you could guess that her fever is all gone. Now, she has a rash! At first, I freaked out a little (as I tend to do so easily!) However, then I remembered what I thought earlier in the week. Katie had had a rash then Gracie had gotten the fever. I had wondered if perhaps it was Roseola. I even asked the doctor about it when I took Gracie in (showed him Katie's rash.) Remember this was not my regular doctor. He mumbled something about "viral" and didn't think it was Roseola (I think mainly because I told him Katie hadn't run a fever.)

Now that Gracie's fever is gone, she has a rash that looks almost the same. I looked it up on the Internet and it sounds just like what's been going on with her this week. Swollen lymph glands are even some of the symptoms! Soooooo, I sent her to school! I am so hoping we're right about this because from my understanding and from what I'm remembering that my real doctor told me when Katie had it a few months ago, Roseola is no longer contagious once they get the rash. It's contagious when they have the fever and you don't know what it is at that point, but of course she was home from church & school when she had the fever anyway. I think it actually said it was contagious before they even start running fever, but you can't know that at the time!

If the school sees the rash & calls me, I will be mortified! (It's mainly on her back & front torso, so they probably won't even see it.) I will hurriedly rush to explain what I think it is and can even take my trusty Internet literature that indicates it not being contagious once the fever is gone and rash breaks out. If I have to, I'll pay another $20 copay to get the doctor to sign something agreeing with me. *sigh* I hope we did the right thing! Being a former teacher, I feel stuck between a rock & a hard place. As a teacher, I know I would have immediately sent a child with a rash like that to see the nurse. As a parent, I now know that not every rash indicates a serious problem especially after Katie having Roseola a few months ago and having it explained to me by the doc.

I also had to kind of laugh at myself this morning when I walked Gracie to school. I stood at the gate that is right beside her lovely gray portable building. I let her walk into the building by herself. (They lock the gate in the morning & during the day to keep kids from coming late without getting a tardy slip and for safety.) If they get there before 7:20, they're supposed to go into one of the K rooms that's in the inside building and wait until they're sent to their own classroom. I knew we were only about 3 minutes before that time. She went inside and I casually waited. After about 3 minutes, the door to the other room opened and she & 2 other little girls walked out and up the ramp to her classroom. Her teacher & aide were both standing there at the door. I called out to Gracie and waved.

The teacher saw me. I know what she's probably thinking. Oh goodness! There's that Mrs. Shanks again. When is she ever going to let Gracie grow up. She's always hovering! Doesn't she have a life? Those stay-at-home moms don't have anything to do!

I'm getting better. I promise! I just know that if I ever go back to teaching, I will do some things differently now that I'm a parent. Not that I think I was a bad teacher, but I realize I could have done quite a few things better. Hindsight's 20/20, right?

Dear Lord, Please help Gracie to have a good day! She's been so tired lately getting used to the school schedule and being sick on top of that. I hope the 2 hour nap yesterday afternoon and going to bed at 8:!5 last night helps with her energy today! Please let her rash go away and not be anything serious. You know that Chris & I honestly thought it was okay to send her and that we weren't trying to get other children sick. Please don't let that happen. Please protect both Gracie & Katie and all the children at school both emotionally & physically. Thank you for letting Gracie be loving school as much as she does! Please help her to be a positive person in the lives of many! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

purity & modesty

I just read Brandon Scott's blog for today. (You can find the link over on the side). I enjoyed it and posted a rather long comment. Basically, he was asking for suggestions on teaching modesty & purity to our girls. Wonderful topic!

I won't go into all of my thoughts (since you could just read what I wrote in my comment to his blog) but I will ask for your ideas. What kinds of things have you done, are you doing, and/or do you plan to do to teach modesty & sexual purity to your girls (or your boys)?

I will post this link. It's the link to the "Trust Bracelet" I spoke of over on BST's blog. I'm not sure the link worked over there and I'm not sure it'll work here, but at least I tried.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

please make it go away

Her fever has returned. 102.6 *sigh* She also won't eat hardly anything because she said it makes her throat hurt. *sigh again*

Dear Lord, Thank you for letting Gracie's eye look better. Please help her fever to go away and for her throat not to hurt. Please don't let anyone else get sick. In Jesus' Name, Amen

On a happier note, my "dentally challenged" 17 month old is sprouting 2 new teeth! Whoo hoo!

tonsils the size of golf balls

When Gracie's fever was around 103 yesterday afternoon, I ended up taking her in. I didn't get to see my doctor, but the girls actually seem to like this other man better anyway.

Her fever was 103 at the office which told me she really was sick because it usually won't even register there. I always feel like they think I'm lying or something! Anyway, he said her tonsils were the size of golf balls, so he tested her for strep. It was negative. He said a bunch of big words, but the only ones I really remember were "conjuctivitis" & "pharyngitis." He said it probably wouldn't do any good, but he gave me a prescription for antibiotic eye drops. Her eyes (which had been quite red but not matted) actually look 100% better after just 2 doses! Her fever was 101 this morning but then went to around 99 and I think has stayed there or gotten even better.

She is acting like she feels much better! She was showing me how they freeze dance at school and she dressed up like a princess, so she must be feeling better! I'm hoping the fever stays away and the eye stays cleared up so she can go tomorrow.

Chris & I switched off going to Open House last night. It was fun to see her classroom again and all the neat things the teacher has for them. It's like one of the other parents said, "Everywhere you look, you can learn something!" It really is such a great classroom! I love it!

Since Gracie wouldn't be at school again today, Miss S went ahead and sent home her "Homework Folder." It will be sent home on Tuesdays and will need to be returned the following Tuesday. Gracie can't wait to get started on this homework! She also gave us a list of things that will be on her first report card so we can start helping her with some of those things. Tying her shoe is one of the first things we need to work on! Alot of the "academic" things she knows like most of the sight words, but things like tying shoes, buttoning & snapping clothes, skipping.....we'll need to work on those thing some. My little girl is smart, but she's not the most coordinated little girl (she's like her mommy!)

I must get off this computer and get to work cleaning. Gracie just informed me that Katie got the top open on the crayons and colored on her new white chair! Luckily, Comet took it out, but goodness! It's only 10 in the morning!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Katie Boo

Katie Boo is what I affectionately call my little Katie. I haven't spoken of her much on my blog because the whole Kindergarten experience kind of dominated for awhile, but here are some pictures of her. She is precious!

"Turn off the alarm." This is what I said to Chris when he checked Gracie's temperature this morning at 5:30 and it was 102. *sigh* Only the 2nd week of Kindergarten, and she's already missing school. Poor thing, she doesn't have the best immune system. She's been a "stay-at-home" kid most of her life, so maybe that's part of it. It's not really unusual for her to pick stuff up easily so I don't guess I should be too surprised.

She ran a fever pretty much all day yesterday and had a headache & watery eyes. Last night when she went to bed, it was 98 and she was acting better so we thought she'd be fine, but alas, it was 102 at 5:30. She woke up saying she was hot and thirsty, so I didn't have too high of hopes that she was fever free. By 6:30, it had gone to 99 and stayed that way for awhile, but at 10:45, it had gone up again to 101.2 (and this is after 2 rounds of Motrin!) Hopefully, she'll get better soon. I hate for her to miss school, but as a teacher, I remember the anger I'd feel at the parents who would send their kids to school sick. I mean, come on! So, she is watching a video and resting.

We have Open House tonight so I think Chris & I are going to switch off with one of us running in and then the other running in. It's important that we both be involved, not just me. I remember seeing dads near the end of the school year who wouldn't even know my name as their child's teacher. That was always so sad to me. The school even has a program called "MENtors" that Chris is interested in getting involved in. He talked to the asst. principal about it last week and it involves men tutoring students who don't have male role models in their lives. I don't know how this will work with his work schedule, but I'm hoping it will. This is a place where he could really make a positive difference with some kids!

Katie Boo is a little out of sorts with the day. She sees that "Sissy" is home but I won't let them play together too much out of fear of her getting sick. I've sent Gracie into her room a couple of times to rest and told her to close her door so Katie can't get in. Oh my! Katie does not like to see her close her door. She definitely believes in an open door policy when it comes to her big sister's room!

Katie just walked in here with a big pink winter hat on. She looked so cute! She is such a mess and I promise I'll start writing more about her soon now that Kindergarten is underway and going well. Our digital camera isn't working now. Otherwise, I'd probably have pictures posted everyday!

Unfortunately, Katie Boo does have some sort of a rash right now. Used to, I would have taken both kids to the doctor this morning, but I've gotten tired of paying my co-pay only to hear my doctor say, "It's a virus. Let it run its course." *ugh* So, I've just told myself that they both probably have a virus and it will run its course! There! I saved myself 2 $20 co-pays! Good for me!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to the most wonderful husband in the world!
In honor of our eleven years of marriage, let me tell 11 of the best things about my husband, Chris Shanks.
*He is a Christian who strives to live the way he should.
*He makes me feel special & loved.
*He is so sweet about writing little notes and sending me e-cards so I have special things to read while he's at work.
*He tells me I'm beautiful constantly.
*He appreciates all I do (even when I do spend too much time blogging instead of cleaning!)
*He works hard to support us.
*He is well respected by others & deservedly so.
*He is the epitome of a good Daddy.
*He is the kind of Christian man that our girls will be able to look up to as the kind of man they should aspire to marry one day.
*He helps with household chores even when he's tired.
*He is my biggest supporter.
There are so many more things I could say about him, but he is truly the best husband in the world! I love him and am thankful that God placed us together! Thank you God.
August 13, 1994. Norcross, GA. 2:00 pm. Campus Church of Christ. Our wedding.

Valerie (Osburn) Loe was my maid of honor. Mike Shanks was the best man. Susan (Wilburn) Newhouse, Jennifer (Reynolds) Robbins, Laura (Lyons) Rupp, Tracy (Goodwin) Brown, Brenda (Young) Oksanen, & Nicole (Deveny) Dickey were my bridesmaids. Jim Newhouse, Scott Hinshaw, Josh Jackson, Reed Benedict, Jim Brown, Jason Hosch were the groomsmen and Chad Nall was an usher.
So many of our friends flew in from Texas to be there for the wedding and we were glad! It was fun!
In the last 11 years, we have lived in Abilene, Lubbock, & Uvalde, TX and Aiken, SC. We have lived in 6 different houses/apartments. We have had 2 children. We have had grandparents die and parents be sick. We have heard of ACU friends getting divorced which makes us sad. We have rejoiced in the births of our friends' babies and have become an aunt & uncle twice and will have another niece or nephew born in February.
It has been a good 11 years and we pray for many more to come!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Here she is! Gracie, the 5 year old Kindergartener! She loves school! She did so great that first day. I was not so great. I cried at home and on the walk there. Once there, I did okay, but I wasn't too sure for awhile that I was going to be able to leave. However, when I saw how she was so happy & comfortable (and when I kept hearing Chris say, "let's go!") I was able to leave knowing that she was in a good place.

She is having a great time so far. Her teacher is wonderful (even called last night just to check on how things were going and to see if we had any questions!) I was having the best time today listening to her talk about the story she heard in the library and the patterns she & a tablemate (she's at the green table, she'll tell you) made with their unifix cubes. Of course, she didn't call them unifix cubes but from how she described them, I'm pretty sure that's what she was talking about. She is so funny the way she moves her hands and talks in such a matter of fact way about things. I promise you, she has changed already in the way she expresses herself. My mom even noted that it's funny how much more she is talking. She's always been a "yes" & "no" talker on the phone with Mom, but the last few days she's gone on & on about things. It's great!

I tried carline this afternoon. ridiculous! To the credit of the school, it was done in a very organized, safe way; it just took forever. Tuesday, I drove & parked and walked over to where I could get her. That worked well. Wednesday, I walked. That worked well. Today, I took my place in line at 1:35 and left the parking lot at 2:30. I kid you not. She doesn't get out until 2:15 but in order to not have to wait out in the road, you have to get there by at least 1:45. Then, even when they let them out, they waited awhile before letting any kids load. (By the way, when I got there at 1:35, I was not the first car. I think I was about the 9th!) I told Gracie we would occasionally do carline but it wouldn't be an everday thing. I probably would have been home 10-15 minutes earlier had I walked, but I was trying to give Katie some time to sleep in the van. We'd had playgroup today, so she didn't get much of a nap.

Don't she & her Daddy look sweet? Didn't I mention the other day that he was the best Daddy ever? He really is.

Lord, thank you for letting Gracie's first few days of Kindergarten be wonderful! I was worried and you have provided comfort. She is doing so well and I am so thankful. Thank you! Please be with everyone else's children who are starting school soon. MDM's Rachel, TMK's boys and anyone else. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

just a few quotes from our home

A.) Gracie yesterday. We passed by a construction site. She saw the port-a-potty. She asked me, "What is that blue thing?" I answered, "That's a potty." After thinking, she replied, "Where is the sink?" (Later Chris tells her that is why you have to have the gel stuff for your hands if you use that potty to which I replied sarcastically, "Yeah, and I'm sure all of the construction workers use it regularly!")

B.) Gracie yesterday. We were at a bookstore. She looks at the cover of a book and says, "Why does this say Paris?" I said, "How in the world did you know that said Paris?!?!" (She's only been in Kindergarten one day! What kind of advanced curriculum are they using anyway!?!? LOL) She said, "because of this," and points to the picture of the Eiffel Tower! WOW! I am impressed (and thankful for 'Madeline' to whom I should be grateful for teaching her about Paris, I'm sure!)

C.) My husband this afternoon home from lunch. I said, "I'm trying to clean up the house." He replied, "Thank you. It needed it." I gave him a "look" and said, "I didn't feel good yesterday." He said, "I know. That's why I didn't say anything." I gave him another "look." He said, "I know that's not one of your strong suits." At this, I threw myself on the couch and covered my face with a pillow (because the man did speak the truth unfortunately!) I asked him, "What is my strong suit?" He thought about it and said, "blogging." Thing is, for those of you who don't know my husband, he is one of the most wonderful husbands in the world who does more than his fair share of helping around the house with dishes, laundry, cleaning, and is the best daddy ever! So, it's not like he's some controlling, ogre of a husband. It just told me that I do need to try to do better. I just procrastinate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and spend too much time blogging!)

pray for Joel

My brother called from Nashville yesterday. After a few minutes of talking to Gracie about her first day of school (which I will blog about later!) and talking to me about chit-chat, he told me he had really called to tell me some bad news.

My cousin, Joel, is grieving right now because his girlfriend died yesterday morning. She was young, maybe 27 or 28, somewhere around there. Apparently, she had an anuerysym (sp?) I cannot imagine the pain & grief he is going through and I feel so bad for him. She is in our extended family picture from my grandmother's 80th birthday party last year and in the video, too. She was always such a sweet person when we were around her. I keep looking at her picture and finding it hard to believe that she's gone.

I don't want to post her name out of respect. I don't really know many details. Actually, some of the people reading this may even know more than I do because they're from Nashville.

Please pray for Joel. He needs comfort & peace right now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

specific answer

Sometimes I think I don't fully recognize the answers to my prayers. I do understand that God always answers my prayers. Sometimes it's not the answer I was hoping for, but "no" is still an answer.

What I mean, though, is that sometimes when God answers "yes," I don't always stop to recognize it as an answer or to appropriately thank Him.

As any of you who have read my blog lately know, my baby, Gracie, is starting Kindergarten this week. I know I've blogged about it an immense amount, and I appreciate those who have commented to me with words of encouragement. (I promise that my other child, Katie, is not a figment of my imagination. She is a precious 17 month old angel and I will write more about her soon. This whole Kindergarten thing is just kind of in the forefront of my writing right now!)

Anyway, it's only "2 more next days," and the anxiety (for me, not Gracie) is building. I'm very happy about the teacher & the classroom, etc. but there have been a few concerns that have crept into my mind lately. Logistical type things like if it rains, I can' t walk her so I'd have to use car line and it's supposed to rain the first day of school and there's no way I'm dropping her off that first day without walking her to her classroom and what if it rains the second day and I still don't feel comfortable dropping her off, etc., etc., etc. (Sorry for that run-on sentence!)

The first day, I already have a friend lined up to watch Katie for me and Chris is going to go in to work late so he can go with us. He told me if it's raining (there aren't many places for parents to park) he'll drop us off and drive back around after I've taken her to her room. Of course, he wants to go to the room with us, but worst case scenario if we can't walk her from our house because of the rain and there is no place to (legally!) park, he'll drop us off. But, my mind says, what about the 2nd day and the 3rd day, etc. I know after a time, I'll feel comfortable using car line, but not for at least a week or so.

So, I'm sitting in the den and my mind is racing with "what if this" & "what if that." I pray that God will help me to be comfortable with the situation, etc.

Not 20 minutes later, Chris comes in and with tears brimming in my eyes, I'm relaying my fears to him (again!) He says, "Well, 7:30 isn't too late for me to leave for work and actually Wednesday, (the 2nd day of school) I have a meeting in town at 9:00 and don't have to be anywhere for work until that time."

Immediately, relief washes over me! So, the 2nd day of school, he can go with us to drop her off which will help me and if there's ever another day where I still feel like I need help, he can probably do it and still get to work at a decent time.

All of a sudden, it hit me! I had just prayed for me to feel comfortable, then Chris comes in and basically hands me a solution straight from God! Wow! That was fast work on God's part!

Thank you, Lord. I so appreciate this comfort that you have given me!

I know some of you probably think that I'm a basketcase and a nut job. I promise I'm not. I'm just a worrywart who's sending her baby to Kindergarten for the first time. I'm trying to trust in the Lord more to help with my worries.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Isn't she sweet?

I know I already posted today, but I wanted to add a picture of Gracie Madelyn for all to see. This was when we about to leave for her Tea Party birthday party on Sunday.

I love a good book

As the title of this post says, I love a good book. The problem I've been having lately is finding a good book.

I read alot. a whole lot. I have to admit to not always remembering everything I read and sometimes even forgetting if I've read a particular book, but I so enjoy having a good book waiting for me on the bedside table, next to the couch, or maybe even on the back of the toilet (gasp!)

To help with my forgetfulness, I started keeping a list of which books I've read and writing a little summary. Since I have pretty much always hated writing summaries, I've been going to Amazon.com and copying & pasting their summaries. I just keep this information in a Word document for my own personal information.

So far, since December of last year, I've read 19 books. Some I have loved and some I am still shaking my head at. See, I like to read Christian fiction. However, sometimes I just want some good 'ole "chic lit." (You know, like a "chic flick" only a book.) The problem is that some of these recommended readings are not appropriate for a Christian to read.

I can ignore some stuff (perhaps some I shouldn't), but the "F word" is so offensive and when it's written over & over & over, it's sometimes just too much to continue reading. I can take reading about a little lovin' (if you know what I mean) but too much detail is too much detail. I mean, there are some things out there that some people do that I just don't need to know about!

Like I said, I like Christian fiction, but aren't there some "mainstream, contemporary" novels out there that don't have bad language & vivid descriptions of lovin'?

Here's a list of what I've read this year and what I've thought about them. After you've read my list, I'd love to get some recommendations from you of books you think I might enjoy, Christian fiction and not Christian fiction.

1.) A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks/pretty good
2.) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks/good
3.) The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks/good
4.) The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson/wonderful!
5.) The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down by Neta Jackson/wonderful!
6.) Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson/good
7.) Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson/good
8.) The Whitney Chronicles by Judy Baer/pretty good
9.) Superstar by Victoria Gott/AWFUL; I couldn't wait for it to be over!
10.) The Proposal by Lori Wick/really good
11.) The Rescue by Lori Wick/really good
12.) The Visitor by Lori Wick/really good
13.) The Bachelor by Carly Philips/good, although I felt a little guilty reading this one!
14.) Bet Your Bottom Dollar by Karen Gillespie/alright
15.) Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani/good
16.) Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani/good
17.) Milk Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani/good
18.) Between Friends by Debbie Macomber/wonderful!
19.) She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb/alright; this was an 'Oprah' book and there were parts of it that I definitely felt uncomfortable & guilty reading!

There are quite a few books I've started lately that I just haven't been able to finish. Just last night, I returned Speak Softly, She Can Hear. Within the first about 50 pages, the F word was written multiple times and a certain rendezvous was vividly described. A rendezvous that I had no business reading about, so that book was put away. I tried Bergdorf Blondes and couldn't get through it. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons also didn't make the cut. Citizen Girl certainly didn't make the cut either. The language was awful.

There are some books I am planning to read soon and am hoping to like. I have Home to Harmony, Beyond Tuesday Morning, and Mother of Prevention waiting for me to open. I think I'm going to try more Lori Wick and also go back to a series I started last year by Jennifer Chiaverini. I've enjoyed the Sisterchick series by Robin Jones Gunn also.

What about y'all? Do any of my blogging buddies have any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Miss Stack

As we walked through the doors, I saw a big ramp leading up to the portable building.

As we started walking towards the ramp, I saw her. She had long black hair and a cute little outfit. (I even noticed her toenails painted different colors! Now, you have to have some creativity to do that!)

She was watching us and we were watching her. I could now see the sign that had her name on it. I said, "Are you Miss Stack?" She confirmed that she was, and I said, "This is Gracie."

The moment had finally come. We were meeting Gracie's Kindergarten teacher. One of the first things she did when we entered the room was to give Gracie a goody bag filled with treats! Wow! What a first impression! Gracie then gave her the picture she had drawn for her. Miss Stack commented on how she was already writing her name. (Yes, yes, I'm sure my chest puffed out a little at that comment.)

I like her!

I have been dreaming....literally....of this day for weeks. I've been so nervous that one thing or another would make me regret our decision to send Gracie to this school. God took care of it! Did I doubt? Well, do you want me to be honest? Yes, I did doubt. I didn't doubt that He COULD take care of it, but I doubted that He WOULD take care of it. I didn't trust Him as I should have.

The classroom was perfectly put together....cute little tables with chairs that had hanging bags to collect books, etc.....centers for end of the day play.......no end to hands-on activities, etc. Miss Stack told us that they are really expected to read alot by the end of the year. That's great! I'm all for that! She said there are centers for them to have play time at the end of the day. That's great, too! She said there's really a good balance between the work & play. Also great! We even found out that one of her friends from preschool will be in her class!

This teacher is rather young. We didn't want to just come right out & ask her how many years she has taught because, being a former teacher, that can come out wrong. We didn't want her to think that we didn't trust her. However, we "fished" around a little bit and found out she'd been at this school just last year but had taught 1st grade elsewhere, so she has at least 2 years under her belt. You could tell that she was energetic and prepared and fun (did I mention the different color toenails?!?!) and that she liked her job!

I think Chris was laughing at me as I eagerly signed us up for PTA, bought Gracie a t-shirt, and a car magnet for the van! I am way excited about all of this!

I decided the other day that rather than just praying for Gracie and us, I needed to specifically pray for her teacher. Why didn't I think of that earlier? So, I started the other day doing just that. Now I have a name to put in my prayers.

Dear Lord,
Please be with my precious Gracie as she begins her Kindergarten year. Please keep her safe from harm, both physical & emotional. Please help her little mind to be open to learning and please help her to share her love of you & Christ with others, through both direct talk and just simply through the way she acts. Please be with Miss Stack and Miss Hood, who is the aide. Please help them to teach these children the academics that they need to know but also to teach them how to be good citizens. Please help them to be firm, yet loving. Thank you for all the good feelings we got today as we visited the school! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, August 01, 2005

My computer savvy 5 year old

Gracie & I were coloring this afternoon. Her coloring book had a page where you could write a letter. It had "Dear" written already and then lines where the letter could be written.

Gracie wrote "Mommy" then said, "How do you email a letter?"

I about fell out of my chair! Does my poor child really not know that a letter can be written with a pencil, put in an envelope, have a stamp put on it, and mailed from the mailbox?!?! She was embarrassed when I asked about this and said, "I know that!"

I think she does know it because I mail bills and buy stamps and mail cards frequently, but it still struck me as funny. I guess she sees me in front of this computer way too often!

Now, if she starts asking me for permission to check out her classmates' blogs instead of having playdates, we may have a problem!

I guess I am proud of her "computer savvyness" since she can get on the computer and begin, play & end her age appropriate computer games by herself. Do any of you have any stories of your children being immersed in technology such as the computer?