Sunday, September 30, 2007

Daddy with his girls on a Sunday during football season!

We may not live in Texas, but Chris hasn't lost any of his love for his Cowboys! Katie is quite proficient at saying, "Touchdown Romo!"
You may notice: Gracie has a new hole in her mouth-lost tooth #3!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

See You at the Pole 2007

All 4 of us enjoyed See You at the Pole yesterday at Gracie's school. It was a small gathering but doesn't it say, "Where one or two are gathered, there I am also." There were more than 1 or 2, probably about 20. One of the ladies I work with on PTA, she & I were talking through email yesterday, bouncing around ideas about how to spread the word better next year. SYATP is supposed to be student led which is a little more difficult in an elementary school because of their young ages. Gracie had mentioned a "what if" scenario of every student coming and there wouldn't be room, etc. I'd say it's a problem worth having! I know a few of the families who were with us went across the street afterwards to the middle school ready to have prayer time with their older children. Apparently it had been announced on the intercom at the middle school that it would be taking place, so I'm sure more of those students knew about it. I was encouraged to see some of our teachers in our little group and our librarian told me she wished she could be out there with us but she had duty that morning.

I am thankful for the prayer time we shared yesterday. I'm thankful for those at Gracie's school who believe in Christ as God's son and are bold in their belief-and I know there are many more of them than just those who were able to come to SYATP. I'm thankful that God blesses us daily.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

let it go

I read this today on "that girl's" blog.

I can’t control the decisions that affect my life but I can control my reactions. I can’t make others think of me the way I think they should but I can control the way I present myself to them.
I guess you could say this "spoke" to me. That may sound corny but it did. I think it's so true. There are so many things that I find happening: decisions made at church, rules set at school, soccer schedules, bill payments, etc. that I don't always agree with. Some things are worthy of being "fought" to have changed; I guess I can control some decisions if I'm in such a position to do so. Some just aren't worth fighting. What's the saying: We have to pick our battles?! I think that's true. Some things we just have to accept and try to make the best of it. Not always easy but necessary for sanity-mine anyway.
I also find myself with a selfish attitude, thinking that people don't "get me" or "get Gracie" or "get Chris" or "get Katie." I find myself wanting to "prove" things to people. I need to get over that. We are what we are. Like us or not. I need to just do what I think needs to be done and let happen what will happen and let people think what they want to think. And pray a lot-which I find myself doing more & more of these days!
This post is more ramble than not, but it makes sense to me!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Christian & Hope

"Help God to not get sick." This was part of Katie's prayer tonight. Isn't that sweet?
Tonight, Gracie had copied down Jeremiah 29:11 to put next to her bed so she can read it every night & every morning. The verse talks about God having a plan for our lives and how He has plans for good things to happen to us and has plans to give us hope. She has a girl in her class named Hope. Here is a paraphrased conversation we had:

Hope, in my class, her real name is Christian.


Yeah. So like, Christian and Hope. You're a Christian and you can have hope!

I love that she made that connection. I don't know anything about this little girl's family, but I'm assuming they have a Christian faith, you think?!?! LOL

I also copied down the verse about "In my Father's house are many mansions......." so that she could tape that one up to read often. Gracie thinks it's so neat to think about a mansion. I do too. Of course, talking about this type of thing really sets off my literal minded daughter. She wants to know all sorts of things about what God looks like and what a soul looks like, etc. I don't know these answers and she really wants some answers. I try to tell her that because God is God, everything will be perfect in Heaven and we won't want to change anything so it doesn't really matter about the answers to some of our questions. I try to say all of that without making it sound like her questions are dumb because they're not dumb. It's just that I don't know the answers. Really, I love that she has the questions. I love that she thinks about these things.
She told me that she had been reading the stories (in the Bible) in order and she was where the men were with Abraham and Sarai had laughed. I decided to read some of the next part to her and it was where Abraham was asking God to spare Sodom & Gomorrah. I'm glad I chose to read the next part to her. The men came to Lot's house asking him to send the men out so they could have s** with them. Later, Lot's daughters decided to do some less than favorable activities with their father. Right or wrong, I kept pausing and skimming ahead and skipping parts. Some people may say I shouldn't skip them; some may say I should skip them. Whatever the right answer is, I did skip some parts.
The thing is, Gracie is a smart girl and the girl doesn't need me to read it to her. She can read it herself-and probably already has, truth be told! She's been reading that Bible by herself since midway through Kindergarten. She said, "Why do you keep pausing? Are you reading ahead?" Goodness! I love that she wants to read the Bible and I in no way EVER want to discourage her from reading it, but I'm a little leery for her to be reading some of it right now. Her Bible is a NIV version for children. It's the "real" Bible just with simpler vocabulary. For example: it doesn't say, "The men wanted to lay with........" No. It says, "We want to have s** with them." It doesn't say something about the daughters "being with child." No. It says, "They became preg**nt....."
I guess my thinking is that if my sweet girl is reading the Bible then surely God will bless that. I will pray that God will bless her reading of the Bible and that He will allow her mind to understand the things she needs to understand right now and that He will shield her from dwelling too much on the things she doesn't need to know or understand yet. I would appreciate any prayers you could send up too!
One area where Gracie struggles is in talking to other people, specifically adults. We laugh about her being in a "Gracie bubble" (kind of like her daddy!) It's funny: last week when I was volunteering at her school, it was a kinda crazy day. It was picture day and they went to do that at the same time they should have been going to lunch. The little boy I help was pushing his limits with me to say the least. It was just a little hectic. I was complimenting Gracie on having good behavior at school and not being swayed into acting bad even though sometimes it may look like fun. She said something like, "Well, sometimes I don't really want to talk to people so it's okay." It was even funnier later at lunch when she was talking (she got to sit outside with a few other kids). The little boy who sits next to her in class and who apparently is always trying to get her to talk (I had just seen him trying to get her to talk and she just sat there ignoring him with this smile on her face!) pointed at her and said, "She talked! SUCCESS!" It was so funny!
Anyway, it's okay with us if she doesn't want to talk to kids when she shouldn't be talking. However, if an adult is talking to her she needs to respond. She is constantly being "rude" when adults talk to her. After a soccer game one of the parents will say "good job" to her and she'll just turn her head and walk off. Someone will speak to her at church and she'll barely acknowledge them and walk away. At soccer practice, her coach was trying to instruct her on something and she walked away. UGH! We have been over & over the "yes maam" and "no maam" lectures-and we prompt her to say the right thing if we see her walking away from someone. I don't think she's trying to be rude. It's just......I don't really know what her deal is with it!
Today, Chris was really upset at her for the way she had walked away from the soccer coach so she got some privileges taken away (no books for the rest of the day-UGH-I just realized I read to her tonight-oops and no iPod for 2 days) and I had her write about how she should act. Again, I know some people are against writing as punishment, but I feel this will help her think through how she should act.
I was really happy tonight at Life Group though. This "newish" couple at church complimented both Gracie & Katie. It feels SO good to hear things like that. They have 1 child out of college, 1 child in college and a Senior in high school. Mrs. W teared up one time talking about going through a bit of the "empty nest" syndrome right now. We told them about some of the problems we're having with Gracie not talking to adults the right way and she was quick to assure us that Gracie had talked to her that night just fine. Gracie had also started reading to her before Life Group began. It was a Patricia Polacco book and those can be quite long. I had told Gracie that she might not want to listen to the whole book, but she assured me later that Gracie could read to her; that she enjoyed it. I love it when "older" people (they're not old but not our age) pay attention to my children. It feels good!
Anyway, here is a picture of what Gracie wrote. You will probably have to click on the picture to make it bigger. I had to give her some clues at the end in order for her to fill up the whole page. I prompted her to put the part about God.
Baby Caroline is home!!!!!!!!!!! We're so happy about that! Her 5-7 day hospital stay ended up lasting about 8 weeks!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shake, Shake, Shake your..........

Katie has been dancing to "High School Musical" and "Jo Jo's Circus" today. She is so cute doing it-especially with her brand new short haircut, complete with bangs that we're attempting to grow out! Her favorite dance move has to be turning around backwards, slightly squatting down and shaking her "boo-hine" while singing, "Shake, shake, shake your peanut." At first I was alarmed when she started singing this because I didn't know what in the world she was saying. It has since been explained to me that this is a song sung on 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.' Interesting song, I must say! We tell her that this little dance is cute now when she's 3, but when she's 13 it won't be as cute! This girl is a mess but such happiness to us!

Monday, September 17, 2007

tidbits of our life

*We're thinking of starting Gracie in violin lessons. It seems to fit her. I would love to have her take piano, but alas-we do not own a piano! We can rent a violin so it makes more sense to do this rather than have her take piano with no piano at home for practice. Chris is 100% for our girls taking music lessons. I've talked to 1 person in town and am waiting to hear back from another place. I think it'll be fun if she starts this.

*I'm about to start working on the student directory for Gracie's school. Fortunately, some people have gotten the ball rolling on this already, so I think this year's work will be less time consuming than last year. We also have found a place that will do the printing, folding & stapling for a 'not too bad' price. This will save MUCH time & effort on my part!

*I think we may not be too far away from the "celebrity crush" phase of Gracie's life-or perhaps we're already there! Right now, she has a soccer poster along with a horse calendar in her room. However, I think she may be trading those in for "High School Musical" things soon! Here are some pictures she drew in her journal. (At least it's a 'Dora' journal which is still "little girl-ish!")
She also spent some of her allowance on having Chris download some of the HSM songs. He then put them on his old iPod and has been letting her listen to them. She thinks she is BIG STUFF! She "let me" listen to it last night and he had also put Miss Patty Cake songs and other Bible songs on there too which I was glad of. I can't let her grow up too fast all at once! ~baby steps, baby steps~ Of course, as much as I like "High School Musical," I'm not liking it as much as I used to since all the hullabaloo about Gabriella's pics. *sigh* I'm disappointed. A funny thing about me posting these pictures: I asked Gracie to bring me her Dora journal. She saw me sitting at the computer. She scrunched up her nose in her "I'm not liking this" scrunch and said, "Are you going to put it on your blog?!?" She knows me all too well!

*Here is another picture she drew that I thought was cute. She really does enjoy drawing and I think she's actually pretty good. Of course, I may be a bit biased.

*I was telling Gracie about the verse that says, "In my Father's house are many rooms....." I think when I first told her about the verse I used the word mansion. Isn't there a translation-or maybe another verse-that uses the word mansion? (update: I searched on and found that in the New King James Version, it does say, "In my Father's house are many mansions....") Anyway, Gracie has been talking about how it's neat to think about God building a mansion for her. She also asked today if we knew what God looked like. I told her that no, we didn't and I didn't think the Bible told us. I said He didn't look like us and probably looked more like a spirit (which of course means nothing to a 7 year old!) She said she always thought he looked like a person-but a really big one!

*I read these verses today and liked them. Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The words, "anxious thoughts" stood out to me because I have lots of those! I liked thinking about God knowing what they are and being able to comfort me. I also liked the part about him looking to see if I'm doing anything offensive and leading me to do the right thing. I know there definitely ARE things I do that are wrong and I want Him to lead me to do the right thing.
*We enjoyed visiting with baby Caroline & her parents last night in the hospital although we really wish we could visit with them OUT of the hospital. Our Life Group went over and shared communion together along with some songs and dinner, along with a birthday cake for her mommy! Baby Caroline was so cute smiling & watching all the kids play in the little play area that was set up. She is doing better BUT is still struggling with her eating.
*Katie is still as sweet-yet crazy-as always. She is pure joy!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fall is coming!

Fall isn't officially here yet, but it is September and Fall is hands down my absolute favorite season of the year. It is coming soon! One of my dreams is to visit New England in the day, one day! I googled these pictures and thought I'd share them along with some scriptures about Thanksgiving. Not the holiday, but just being thankful. I'm trying to be thankful these days and show my appreciation for even seemingly simple things. I find that it makes me feel better than dwelling on the negative things that happen. I don't always do a good job at this, but I'm trying!

Even though my computer says it's 77 degrees right now (which is actually not too bad!) I'm going to look at these pictures and imagine that it's quite crisp out with a cool breeze and the crunch of leaves underneath my feet and the smell of woodburning fireplaces in the air.

No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:18

And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord. James 5:13

Let us come before him with thanksgiving. Let us sing him psalms of praise. Psalm 95:2

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

They said, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!" Revelation 7:12

Monday, September 10, 2007

her community

Gracie got a Social Studies assignment last week from Mrs. Zimmerman where she was supposed to create a poster about her community. She mentioned specific things they had talked about in class such as goods, services, needs, etc. She said it would be neat if they could interview someone who could talk about how the city used to be and it would be neat to have some old pictures.
We're not "natives" of this city by any means, so Gracie & I headed to the local historical museum yesterday afternoon to get some ideas. She was enthralled by the old fire engine they had there. I think it was the first fire engine in the city and was from 1880. We took a picture of it and even took a picture of a picture of the first fire department in the city. We included these on her poster. Another neat thing was last night at church we talked with a lady who I knew had attended her elementary school. She was in the 2nd grade in 1958-1959 and we figured out that she was in the same classroom that Gracie is in right now! Yes, Gracie's school is THAT old! (No offense to anyone who was in 2nd grade in 1958-1959!) They are-thankfully-constructing a new addition at the moment although it certainly won't solve all the space problems. was neat to find out this information so I typed it up to go on her poster.
For "goods," Gracie chose to highlight Bi Lo & Target along with a recyclable bookmark she got at the local Farmer's Market. For "services," she highlighted our church, the place where she went to art class, the school district, the hospital, a tree cutter (she used to want to be one!) among other things.
I had fun helping Gracie with this and at one point she said something about this being the best craft ever! Mrs. Z said she didn't want this to be a stressful thing but something to help the children understand more about the community and to let them be creative with how to present the information. Yet one more reason that I like her teaching style!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A heavenly anniversary trip!

Chris & I got back yesterday from a late anniversary trip and it was wonderful! We went to Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa. If you want to go somewhere that is beautiful, quiet, relaxing, full of good service and not crowded then this is the place to go. As corny as it may sound, there were times that I almost felt we were the only 2 people in the world! These 2 pictures show the back of the inn.This is the front of the inn.
This is the view from the back porch of the inn.

We left Thursday morning soon after we took Gracie to school and went downtown here in town to a cute little place to get some breakfast. We then headed towards Hilton Head which is about 3 hours away. We stopped at the outlet stores which are located right at Hilton Head-well maybe right before you go over the bridge-I can't really remember but they're basically in Hilton Head. We had a little snack while there then headed further into Hilton Head. We did a little looking around then went to eat a late lunch/early dinner at Truffles, a cafe one of my friends just loves and is always talking about. We ended up being really lucky and getting there about 15 minutes before they stopped serving off the lunch menu (3:45) which saved us about $15! (I'm always excited to save a little money!) I'm a huge lover of salmon so that's what I got and it was DELICIOUS! Yummmm......sooo good!

We originally were scheduled to leave on our ferry at 8:30 that evening but Chris had changed it to 7:00 (it leaves every hour & a half). However, when we were done with our dinner so early, he called and was able to change it to even earlier at 5:30 so we headed over to catch it. We got all checked in and settled in for the 45 minute ride. When we docked, there was a bus waiting to take us to the resort. A funny thing is that there were these other people we'd seen on the ferry who got on the bus with us. A couple of them were VERY obnoxious. Well, we sat down on the bus-it was just us & the 6 of them-and the lady looked over and said, "Oh! Are you from (name of our town)?!" Chris had a note attached to a magazine that someone had let him borrow that was letterhead from our church. She saw the name and asked because they were all actually from the same town too! That was kinda weird!

We got to the resort and checked in and went to our room which was huge and really pretty with a beautiful view of the back lawn & ocean. They brought us our luggage (they brought it over for us from the ferry) and then we went exploring a little around the resort. We had one of the desk clerks drive us-in the golf cart-over to the "beach club" to see what all was there. It has a restaurant along with a pool, fitness club and beach access set up with chairs. Along the 1 mile or so drive are cottages that you can rent-which are very cute-and a little general store where you can buy a few groceries & such. We sat out on the beach for awhile where it was actually perfect weather with a great breeze that felt so nice! We walked back to the inn and stopped at their lounge for a little snack since we'd eaten such an early dinner.
We ended up going out to the beach that evening and it was so pretty looking up at the stars and listening to the waves. There were no lights right there on the beach other than the moon & stars. That was definitely one of the times when we felt like we were the only 2 people there. Very romantic I must say!

The next morning (Friday) we were able to sleep late then got up & ate breakfast at the buffet served there at the inn. It was good but so expensive! We didn't want to ask how much it was so we just went. Serves us right I guess. We bought some things at the general store for the next morning's breakfast! After breakfast we rented one of the many golf carts available for guests' use and explored a little. This is how all the guests get around most of the resort-golf carts or bicycles or walking. We saw very few actual vehicles and they were all service vehicles for the resort or spa-or construction vehicles as there was some construction going on.

We rode in the cart for about 20 minutes on some paved roads and also through the woods to get to the spa. We got lost once because some of the construction caused one of the spa signs to be down but we eventually found it. We were early so we sat out by the pool for awhile until it was time for our spa treatment. Let me tell you, Chris almost backed out of getting his treatment-he was really nervous & uncomfortable. When it was over, he wanted to stay for another one! We both got the "Sea Salt Glow." Here is what the literature says about it: Sea Salt Glow -
Excellent for sensitive skin, this gentle exfoliation process nourishes sun-exposed or dehydrated skin. Sea salt blended with cleansing gel is applied to the body using circular motions to exfoliate and refine the skin surface. Both salt and stress are washed away with our unique Vichy shower, leaving the body feeling energized and revived. (25 Minutes)

It was sooooooo awesome! The only complaint I have about it is that is didn't last long enough. It was just absolutely incredible! *sigh*Please note that this is NOT me (not that you would think it is!) I got this picture off of a website but it shows how the vichy shower is done. This is another picture of the vichy shower that I got off of the website. This is a picture of part of the women's locker room. It was all so nice! When I was done, I took a shower, washed my hair and dried it-they had everything provided that you could need!
There were some BEAUTIFUL homes near the spa!

After we enjoyed that, we went to the beach club and ate lunch after checking out what the general store had to offer. We then went back to the inn for Chris to get on his bathing suit. Then we went back to the beach club and sat out on the beach for awhile then sat by the pool. Hard day, huh?!!? After doing that for awhile, we went back to the inn where Chris took a nap and I read out on one of the inn's beautiful porches. We then set about getting ready for dinner at a really nice place across from the inn.

Chris had made reservations at Jack's Place (named for Jack Nicklaus) and it was such a nice dinner! I had shrimp scampi on a bed of angel hair pasta while Chris chose the filet. We also each had a Caesar salad and shared a large piece of Chocolate Mousse Cake-yum! It was very romantic and the food was delicious! The service staff at the restaurants are almost all from Jamaica and were so great! They gave excellent service and I love their accents! On one of the guy's nametags, it even had his name and underneath it, it said, 'Jamaica.' One of the desk clerks said she was from Jamaica and that she was only here for 18 months so I don't know if it's some sort of exchange program or what, but they sure did an excellent job of helping us have a great time!

After we ate way too much, we went back to the inn where I fell asleep around 10! Chris laughed at me for that! The next morning (Saturday) we got up and packed so they could pick up our bags for the ferry. Once they did that, we took one last walk on the back lawn of the inn to look at the ocean. We then sat on the front porch and waited for the shuttle to take us to the ferry. I was a little sad to leave, but I knew I had good memories of our time there and I was looking forward to seeing our girls! It's funny how my heart can be in 2 places at once. It was like that when we were in San Diego too-I was having a great time but really missed my girls too!

We got to the ferry and arrived back in Hilton Head where we went to the "Sea Shack" for lunch. It was one of those local places where on the wall it says, "Not fancy, just good." It was good! I got fried shrimp with fries & cole slaw-can't really go wrong with that! We then hit a couple of gift shops looking for a little something to take back home to the girls. We chose a t-shirt for each of them. Katie's is really cute. It is orange with an alligator on it and it says, "Can I have you over for a snack?" and then says "Hilton Head" on it too. It is a fun shirt and seems to fit her personality! Gracie's is more subdued. It is light pink with turtles and I think it says, "Swimming with friends" and "Hilton Head." She has commented more than once how much she likes it so I think we made good choices!

We endured the trip home although we were both really sleepy and reluctant to get back to the real world! It was fun to see the girls running to me though! Mom left soon after we got there to begin her drive home to Atlanta. We're blessed that she was able to come watch them for us.
Thanks Chris for planning such an incredible weekend! I'm blessed to have been your wife for the last 13+ years!

So begins another week. We have 2 soccer games this week, a PTA Board meeting and helping Gracie work on a Social Studies project. I am actually enjoying helping her with this and will probably post about it later when she's finished.
I hope everyone has a great week!