Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Best of the Web list???

I just stumbled across this, and thought it was pretty cool. For me at least. Somehow my blog ended up on this list. I am going to have to go check it out and see how that happened! I see some other blognames of some of my scrappy friends I recognize as well. Fun!

Catch-up #1.. See You at the Pole

I have some video from this event, but still haven't remembered to get the batteries for the remote to transfer it.

Matt was asked to play a couple of songs at the See You at the Pole event last week. He decided to ask Faith to help him with the singing part. This was one of those life-lessons where they both learned something about practicing. They waited until the night before to even nail down their song selections, so they ended up nervous and not quite ready that morning. But in the end it came together very well, and it was a great experience. Chet was given a copy of the New Testament, and since he has a Bible of his own he decided to give it to a friend.

There were about 50 people there, and during the prayer some of the other kids that were arriving came up and joined the circle. If you have an event like this in your area, I really encourage you to go and join. Hearing all these kids pray together was really moving, and very impressive.

Tagged in a Meme... my Top 5, and my bloglist

I am pretty far behind in updating my blog. I have pictures from Meet Me at the Pole, I need to chronicle Matt's "blurry" world, I have a St. Jude update, I have a new storybook authored by Todd, and a rather hysterical set of directions to share with you. But I don't have access to my pictures right now, so I am instead going to use this time to complete a Meme that Rachel tagged me with. The Meme is to list the top 5 reasons you blog.

I blog for me. It is really my fully digital scrapbook. There is no other way for me to collate the music, pictures, stories, anectdotes, videos and memories in one format that is easy to search and readily available nearly anywhere I go. I don't care about keeping track of every single detail, and I generally don't bother recording the things that hurt or worry me. I blog because it lets me keep track of all the wonderful and funny things I want to remember. I want to look back on it with my great-grandkids someday and hope to hear them laughing at the stories of their parents and grand-parents and aunts and uncles and cousins. You know that with as many kids as I do, there are going to be some rowdy family reunions in the future, and I want to make sure there is plenty of fodder for family joshing and general merriment.

I blog to keep in touch with family and friends. I have a list of friends on my right sidebar, and I have been friends with most of those ladies for over ten years now. I have several other friends who come here to read what we are doing, but don't really have an internet presence. This blog lets our families see what the kids are up to, and it lets us share our rural existence with everyone who wants to see what we are up to. My kids and I miss my mom and brother so much, and I like knowing they can jump on here and at least see pictures and stories of what they are up to. Blogging lets me keep a record of what is happening with Chet, and when I don't feel like making a bunch of phonecalls to update everyone, they know they can check that blog for updates.

I blog because I like to write. I always have. In fact, I love everything associated with writing; reading, wordgames, logic problems. Blogging gives me a place to write, sometimes properly and sometimes haphazardly, and it gives me a place to keep track of the arts and literature related items that grab my attention.

I blog because I am interested in people. I love blog-surfing and seeing what people are doing. I like to pop into my friends' blogs and catch up with their highlights. I like to read about strangers and get their perspective on the world. I like to read political commentary, I get a kick out of finding a new source of satire, and I even appreciate finding the blogs that make me cry. Blogging brings the world to me in a personal way, and I love it when I make new friends through blogs.

I blog to learn. I have my own interests that I tend to lean towards, such as photography, cooking, scrapbooking, but I also love to go blog-surfing to find new sources of information. This last year I found several gardening blogs that made clear where my own horticultural failings were stemming from. The news media is too slanted and biased to be reliable, so I like to read political blogs to get a variety of opinions and information. I find reading recommendations, recipes, parenting tips, shopping links, pictures of art I may never get to see in person, music I might never hear on the radio. I believe learning never stops, and we should always be seeking new things to read up on and get involved in. The internet is a large part of my cultural playground, and blog-surfing is my favorite toy in the sandbox.

And with all that being said, this is my blogroll and why I read them. I don't know any of these people in person, but I enjoy keeping up with their blogs. They are listed in no particular order, just how they appear right now based on who has posted most recently.

Sommer Designs... She makes some really fun aprons, purses, and other sewn items. I just like to see what she is creating.

Growing a Life... She is a mom and I found her blog while surfing BlogHer sites. She cracks me up, and I fell in love with her Magnetic Mondays and What I Would Wear Wednesday posts.

Catchin' Some Waves... This is a pastor of a big church in Nag's Head. I like to read his posts about sermons he gives, and I also like to read his posts about his perspective on different things in the world. I found his blog through his son Nathan's blog.

Cake Wrecks... I love absurdity, and this blog is full of professional cake absurdity. I like to revisit the sexual harrassment cake and the carrot jock cake posts when I really need a dose of laughter.

Ragamuffin Soul... a music pastor from a big church in the Atlanta area. I like him because he has tattoos, and he is great with technical stuff like computers and cameras, and he is on fire for his ministry. I am easy to impress... lol

People Reading.. this is one of my favorites.She finds people reading and does short interviews with them. I would love to do this in my area, but I have never seen anybody reading here. We don't have bus stops or sidewalk cafes or any of the other places she seems to find public readers. Even in our library I see more people on the computer than I do reading.

Matt, Liz, and Madeline... Matt blogs about his life as a widower. I read it to see what he and Madeline are up to, and because it warms my heart to see the outreach he has as he has struggled with his grief and loss.

Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President... I saw Adam on Colbert and had to go see his blog. I like that he has been rooting for Sarah since before she was tapped for VP. I enjoy surfing his links as well.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.... She has a goofy sense of humor, she is smart, she cooks, she loves photography and Photoshop, she has lots of kids, she lives in the country, and she has a killer blog platform that I will someday copy and use to give all my blogs one home to live in together.

The Brockovich Report... I am a big fan of what I know of Erin. I love a woman with grit and determination and brains and still isn't afraid to be sexy. Could be part of why I like Sarah Palin too!

Crummy Church Signs... more hilarity with honest to goodness signs found on churches. Please, Lord, if we ever put up a big sign at church don't let us be ridiculous with it!

The Prodigal Jon, Stuff Christians Like, 97 Seconds with God... all three are authored by Jon, and I love how he delivers his messages with wit and sarcasm.

Cheerful Scoop... highlights of postive news stories.

He's Gone Home... a blog of a widow who amazes me with her compassion for others going down the same road she has.

Confessions of a CF Husband... Nathan's blog about his wife Tricia who is living with CF, and their daughter who is overcoming birth complications beautifully.

The Well-Read Gardener... a local blog from one of our librarians. I like seeing what she is growing (no pumpkins overtaking her garden!) and I think she is just nice as a person.

Jim Long's Garden Talk... he actually has several gorgeous gardens, and he grows plants from all over the world. I found his link in our local paper, and his gardens aren't that far from our town.

I add to my blogroll all the time as things grab me and compel me to return.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Baby Girl is 5

I didn't get to post earlier today, but it is still Beth's birthday and I wanted to post about it. Here she is this morning at St. Jude showing off her new birthday purse. She did her own hair this morning with her new hairclips too. I love her style... why only use one or two clips when you can use the whole pack and enjoy all the colors at once!! Happy birthday, Beth! I love you and all your funny little ways of brightening our lives!

Monday, September 22, 2008

HappyBirthday, Chet!!!

My sweet "little"guy is turning 12 today! I spent three days of very hard labor bringing this boy into the world, and now he is as tall as I am! I miss the baby he was; I adore the young man he is becoming. Happy birthday, Chet! We love you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Carroll County Bowl

Some people really look forward to Superbowl. Some football fans watch for their college teams. But for sheer rivalry, pure antagonism, and the chance to really immerse yourself in football mania, you need to be in a small town when the high school teams meet for their yearly game to prove who is the best.

Football descended on our little town this week, and with it came a sea of red on one side, purple on the other, and teenagers desperately trying to look cool and aloof on every side.Our team and the "other" team are no longer in the same conference, but this game is taken with more seriousness than any conference game. It pits friend against friend, cousin against cousin, photographer against photographer. (Quit standing in front of me just because you are paid to be there!! I have Photoshop and I am not afraid to use it!!!)

Anyway... we got there on Friday and got all set up. We watched Matt and the rest of his team warming up. It is important for the sophomores to warm up properly so they don't pull a muscle guarding the sidelines. Don't you love how they all have the hnad-on-hip stance?

Matt didn't get to play, but that is normal when you are one of the younger guys on the totem pole. So he and the rest of JV team spent the night walking up and down the sidelines commiserating with their teammates, agonizing over every play and missed opportunity. Last year the Tigers were the champions in the CC Bowl. This year they let the Bobcats have the title. It was a sad night if you were on the red side. The "other" side was altogether too happy about their win. In the end those purple kittens won by two meager points... 17-15.

I picked up Crystal and Alex on the way to the game and brought them along. I had my spirit on with my red shirt and my 48 necklace, but Crystal was very Tigerish. She had spent the afternoon altering her shirt to show her love for the band.
And since her daughter Courtney is in it, I guess I can see why she feels that way. She asked me to take some pictures of Courtney during the half-time show. I have a problem with the band uniforms. Those hats, while cute and fluffy with the feathers, cast very unflattering shadows over their faces. I wanted to stop the music and have them all push them up a bit for me. That might have embarrassed the band director, though. I am going to have Courtney pass a memo around in class instead. I am sure she will go for it.

We hit the field and had our chairs set up, and all of my kids went in different directions. I only saw Faith a time or two, and Kyle and Todd checked in sporadically. That is the beauty of living in little towns, though. Everyone knows everybody and events like this are one big town gathering. Todd and his pal Hayden have been friends since right after we moved here. They always meet up at the games to hang out. (Football games, basketball games, soccer games)

But as fun as Friday was, the real show-down was in our yard on Saturday. My other friend Crystal (I suddenly know a handful of Crystals... doesn't anybody name their girls Jane anymore??) and her hubby Nathan and their little girl Meghan came over for dinner and a game of two-hand touch. Real men don't wear shoes to play football.

Here is Chet showing off his patented scissor-man run. I need to videotape this because it cracks me up. He forms a straight line, and his arms and legs just scissor back and forth.

Every real game needs a referee to make sure everybody plays right. Red took on that role, sitting in the middle of the field and giving himself a personal bath. Thank goodness the high school refs don't do that on the field.

It was time to huddle. The team of dads listened to Quarterback Kyle's gameplan.
Then when the going got tough, the tough called in the preschool squad. Beth and Meghan played on the team with their dads. Meghan knows the proper gear is required in any good football game, so she brought her purse with her and held onto it all through the plays.

In the end, the dads and preschoolers won with a narrow margin of 10-5. The scissor-man team have called for a rematch. The referee dog is still trying to scratch an itch that is bothering him. Check back soon for our next report here on Weird-SPN.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So You Think You Want To See Me Dance

I keep getting asked to post pictures of me dancing. I finally agreed, but only if Crystal, Alex, Matt and Chet joined me. Prepare to be blown away. (You were warned... lol) If the video doesn't work, click here. Please leave them comments on their stellar performances. I had to work with them for weeks to knock them into shape for this! .... laughing as I walk away....

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mikey Likes It!

Well, they aren't really named Mikey, but I liked the title.

I told Kevin and Debbie about the Cherry Pasta, and Kevin said he thought it sounded good. I laughed and said I would would bring it to the dinner we make on Tuesdays so he could try it.

I brought it, and he and Crystal tried it. And they liked it. Kevin said he would make it that way on purpose. They even split the bowlful and took it all home. I certainly wasn't going to eat it. It was sweeter than sweet!

Crystal thinks Johanna's idea to add cherries sounds good.

I am flabbergasted. It isn't a recipe they will be promoting on Food Network, but Kevin and Crystal like it. Go figure... lol.

Monday, Monday

Todd woke up Monday morning and told Jack , "I have to get ready for today. I have SO MUCH to doooo!" Jack asked what all he had going on and Todd said, "I have all day at school, and then I have hip-hop class." Yes, my littlest guy has had one of his dreams come true. The dance school has a hip-hop class for boys and he was able to enroll. I told him about it Friday, and he spent all weekend talking about it and getting ready for it.

I had a hard time finding a spot of the glass to shoot through where there weren't a bunch of reflections muddying the image, but here he is intensely concentrating on one series of steps.Then the mats came out and the kids worked on some tumbling. He thinks he is ready for break-dancing now. I told him to at least get the back flip down first. Look how red his little face turned while he was hanging upside down... lol
After hip-hop we headed back to town for GirlScouts. Faith led part of the pledge.
And Beth got to join the Daisy Scouts. She was so thrilled to get to stay. They learned songs and made tissue paper butterflies. Don't you love the windblown look both of the girls are sporting?
I left the girls there halfway through and ran home to make some sandwiches to feed all the little people. Then I got everybody rounded up again and we all headed to Matt's football game. This wasn't actually a real game, but a chance for the JV team to play. They wore their practice uniforms. I didn't remember Matt's practice jersey number, but I was able to spot him because he likes to wear the black underarmor.
I didn't get to take many game pictures, but I did catch this one as the huddle was breaking up and he was heading to his tightend position.

Monday was one of the "slower" nights this week. I won't regale you with the minute by minute activities of each one, but I am posting this just as I head out to round everyone up again. Today's agenda includes habitat activites for Chet and Faith, volleyball practice for Faith, youth for Matt and Chet, children's program for all the younger guys, and then home for homework.

It really makes me appreciate the mornings more when the afternoons are so busy. This is what I woke up to today. I love when the weather conditions create this foggy blanket on the property and over our pond. It is so pretty and peaceful, and with a schedule like ours in the fall we need all the restorative power of peaceful moments that we can get!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recipes you may or may not want.

I went grocery shopping this week, and picked up the ingredients for the world's best beverage. I could live on this stuff, and it is a lot more affordable to get it at the store than to pay for it at Sonic.

However, this morning proved that I am not used to having grenadine in the house. As we raced around the house this morning in an effort to get to church on time, we were also getting the rest of what we needed for the day.

I was making a pasta salad in between applying make-up, fixing heads of hair, and hunting for a volleyball kneepad. While the pasta was cooking, I prepped the veggies and was mixing the dressing. I used my dark purple measuring cup, and the kitchen was still pretty dark. I glancingly noticed the dressing was redder than usual, but I thought it was because it was a different brand of red wine vinegar. Jack drained the noodles and mixed them in the veggies and dressing. Right before we walked (raced) out the door I went to put the lid on the pasta salad and realized all the pasta had turned pink. I finally really noticed the jars on the table, and that was when I discovered that the "red wine vinegar" was really my grenadine syrup. Anybody up for some cherry-flavored Italian pasta salad???

So if you would like my version of Diet Cherry Pepsi (which I recommend), just add about half a teaspoon of grenadine to a can of soda and plop some cherries in there.

If you would like my version of Cherry Pasta (which I don't really recommend), just substitute a half a cup of grenadine for vinegar to two packages of Italian dressing mix, and toss with rotini, olives, broccoli, pimentos, and green onions. Um... bon apetit?

A whirlwind weekend

It was a busy, but rewarding weekend. On Friday afternoon Jack and I started detailing the inside of the truck to get it cleaned up. After he went to work, I took it down to a drive-through carwash to get the outside clean. (Our white truck was orange with all the clay-dirt on our road.) I really didn't realize how stubborn that orange dirt is. I don't usually wash the truck - that is why I have a husband and six kids. But I needed it cleaned for the weekend, and so I went through the carwash. Well, that didn't clean the truck, but since I paid for the fancy schmancy wash, the fancy-shmancy sealer included in the price finished gluing the clay to the truck.

With a deep sense of trepidation, I took the the modge-podged truck to the self-service carwash. There I had to pay again for the pleasure of spraying the truck down one inch at a time with a high-pressure hose. Then I had to scrub every inch I could reach with the foaming scrubbrush. Now this wouldn't have been such a fearsome feat if my arm muscles weren't still a quivering mess from the cruel warm-up and workout the day before. After I spent some more money vaccuuming the truck, I brought it home and let the professionals wash the windows and mirrors.

I needed the truck ready so I could attend a children's ministry seminar with Debbie, Lora, Crystal, and Annette. There was a whole hallway full of different books from Cokesbury that I would have loved to buy one of nearly everything of. I took pictures of lots of them so I could remember them later, but here is Debbie modeling the one I want to get for next year's Children's Church.
We went to several different classes, and got a lot of tips and ideas for incorporating in our children's program. My personal favorite was the class on creating a computer lab in your church. I don't know if I will get to implement this in our church in anyway, but I absolutely loved what this church has done.
In fact, I loved everything about their Children's program. I spent time in the hallway talking to the Sunday School director and was so impressed. The entire Sunday School corridor is all about and completely inviting to kids in everyway. My favorite was the movie room. The movie screen is painted on the wall, there are big movie posters around the room, there is a popcorn machine, and movie chair seating. I told the director I would really love to come spend a Sunday morning there and see first hand how they put all the different rooms to use each Sunday.

The last class I wanted to take had been cancelled, and Crystal needed to go grocery shopping before the storm that Ike was pushing our way hit our area. After a yummy lunch at PF Changs (sorry gals... the pics are all blurry) we walked around the outdoor mall the restaraunt is in. I don't know when the last time was that I was able to spend part of an afternoon just laughing and wandering with friends, but just getting to do it made me realize how much I needed it. I saw this gorgeous set of bowls when we were window shopping at Williams Sonoma. I am not a very materialistic person, but I do get bowl envy when I see things like this!

We finished up the grocery shopping, and headed home. The rain slowed us down, but we made it back in one piece. Then Jack took the boys to town to see Dark Knight.

The rain we drove through on the way home and through the early evening became a huge downpouring storm through the night. I woke up at 3 and saw the rain flying at different angles, and saw trees bending precariously. This morning we woke and found all kinds of chaos on our front porch. The chairs the animals usually sleep in at night were all knocked over and scattered.
One of our porch ceiling fans had a blade torn off and the rest were badly bent.
My birdfeeder was torn apart, and the wind even tossed around Jack's drill battery.

My hanging plants were torn down as well, and the baskets are now empty. We haven't checked the backyard yet to see if any of our trees came down, but lots were down all over the area. A good portion of our residents lost their power today too. These are all just minor inconveniences for us here. I really hope all the rest of my friends in the Houston and coastal areas where Ike really caused problems are okay.

We were 15 minutes late this morning, but we did make it to church. The only row left was the front row, which gave me a clear shot of the pastor with the kids. Unfortunately, my camera has been giving me problems and I wasn't able to get a clear shot. The majority of my photos lately have been blurry, and even the better ones aren't tack sharp. It is driving me crazy.
Right after church we went to Kevin and Debbie's house for a birthday lunch for Kevin, Chet, Beth, and Crystal's son Alex. Their's is one of the houses without power today, so we cooked hotdogs on the grill and served cold food with it. It was a quiet but really fun party. I love when we all spend Sunday afternoons together and get to hang around and visit.
The kids love hanging out outside together. In fact, we never saw Alex after he got on the 4-wheeler, and Matt was gone most of the time too.

I love taking pictures of the kids on their property. There are so many great natural backdrops and pretty scenery for photos.
We had to leave the party early to get Faith to her first volleyball game on time. We came upon this car accident as we left town. (There were no injuries or I would not have taken pictures, and in fact the lady driving the car was laughing.) We found it comical that she drove into a ditch trying to pull into the driveway for the insurance company. We could hear her say as we were waved through "I didn't know that ditch was there!"

After one hour of practice last Wednesday, Faith played her first set of games today. I really like this coach and this team. Most of the girls are in class with Chet or Faith, so Faith is already friends with them. I think that made a huge difference in her feeling comfortable starting in a sport she has never experienced before. She gave it her all, though, even though she never did serve the ball over the net. Her coach made her team captain for today, and she took it very seriously. Through the whole game we could hear her calling encouragement to her teammates and cheering them on. She really was born to be a cheerleader.
THis is just a shot of Todd and Beth coming back up the stairs to the balcony that we watched the game from.
WE stopped at Sonic for happy-hour slushies on the way back to town after the games. Can you tell which flavors these guys picked?

We got back to town in time to take the kids to the Awana Club that began tonight at the Baptist church. It turns out they are changing it to Wednesday nights, so my kids won't be able to go every week like they wanted to, but they did enjoy themselves tonight.

Almost all of Faith's bestfriends attend this church, so these three spent the evening being their giggly goofy selves together.

At one point I looked over and realized that Mackenzie had given Faith a purseful of make-up to put on. Although she has been rallying to wear make-up, Faith knows she isn't supposed to wear it out in public. When they saw my lens pointed their way and realized they were busted, they started cracking up. Aren't the best friends the ones you can laugh with like this?

After running all weekend, it was finally time to head home. I saw these cloud formations as we were driving down our road home, and asked Jack to stop the truck for me to take a picture. I haven't been able to check the weather to see if these are a new storm forming, or just random clouds passing through, but I still thought they looked pretty interesting.
I took this a couple of days ago when Beth was napping, but I think it really sums up how I feel. Give me a comfy couch to kick my feet up on, and I could probably sleep very well for a long time if nobody woke me up. Things aren't going to slow down again for at least a couple of months, but I am glad for this weekend of activities. I had a lot of fun, and I needed a weekend like this. Good friends, good activities, family time, a favorite meal I didn't have to cook, and some interesting but non-threatening weather really made for a pleasant state of exhaustion.