Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Extra-Terrestrial

Do you remember the scene in the E.T. movie where Mike and Gertie find E.T. and Gertie starts screaming? Then E.T. thinks it is a game and starts shrieking back at her? Then everyone hears the mom coming, and Elliott tells them to hide? Then the mom comes in the room, and Mike is covering Gertie's mouth and the camera pans across to E.T. hiding amongst the toys? Then Elliott tells his mom he was reorganizing the closet?

This scene.



Beth decided to reorganize her frogs today. Unlike the movie mom, I noticed the strange creature hiding amongst the toys as soon as I walked in the room.

After the mom left his room, Elliott told his siblings, "I'm keeping him."

I'm definately keeping her. Even if the men in white coats do show up here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A warning as I edit Christmas pictures

If you are 13 years old and refuse to get a haircut,


and your 12 year old sister is really bored,


she might just do this to you.


And then your mom might post about it on her blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There aren't enough candles....

in my baking drawer to decorate Jack's brownie cake with, so Jessica got creative with what was there.



42...wow, Babe... you're getting old!



Happy birthday!

I love you..... forever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Candlelight Service

Silent Night.

Holy Night. (Even if my girls are wearing Santa hats with their Christmas dresses.)

All is calm. (Until Daniel sees the communion chalice of grape juice and jabbers "mine, mine, mine!")


All is bright. (Except Jessica who is getting worried about Daniel talking and oohing and aahing through the service. "Look, Grampa, I have one too!")

Son of God.

Love's pure light. ("Jessica," I smile and whisper,"Jesus was a baby boy too.")


Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.

Christ, the savior is born.

Please leave the sanctuary in silence. (It makes it easier to hear the precious sounds of the squalling newborns and happy toddlers in the congregation.)

I love the Candlelight Service.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Concerts

The school had their Christmas concert a couple of weeks ago. Chet played with the band, and Faith sang with the Honors Choir. There was a huge crowd, and the auditorium was packed. Jack and I ended up sitting near the back of the room with our friends. During the concerts, I was taken back in time.

I joined the band in the 6th grade. In fact, we played some of the same songs that Chet's band played. My mom, my brother, Gramma, Papa, Great-Gramma and Great-Aunt Clair came to that first concert an hour early to make sure they had front row seats. In fact, they never missed a concert in the four years I was in band. Nor did they ever fail to be there an hour early to get their front row seats. When I was old enough for marching band, they would be on the parade route and sit through hours of floats going by just to see me for a minute or so as I marched by.

Because kids are kids, I was often teased about my family being there, front and center and early for every show. I remember feeling so embarrassed and wanting to hide under my seat. I think I even asked my mom to PLEASE sit somewhere else. But Great-Gramma needed to be up front because her diabetes was blinding her and she couldn't climb stairs or weave through rows of chairs, and I had no say in the matter.

During those years I really thought my family was there because they liked music. And it was true, they did love music. My Great-Gramma was a classically trained vocalist and a concert pianist. However, if you have ever heard a 6th grade beginning band concert, you know that nobody is there simply because they are a music connoisseur. They aren't there because the music is so intricate and compelling. They are there because they love somebody on that stage. My family was there, every single time, because they loved me. (Although Jesse didn't have much say in the matter either. Attending his sister's concerts was rather compulsory for him.)

As I sat near the back of the room because I had arrived too late to snag front row seats, I thought of those concerts of the past. I thought of how Gramma and Great-Gramma and Aunt Clair are all gone now. I thought of Papa who has been unwell and unable to travel. I thought of Mom and Jesse, who are over 2,000 miles away. I wanted to cry.

Because I wish I had appreciated their presence and their support.

Because I wish I had thanked them.

But mostly I wanted to cry because I wish they could have been there to see my kids' concert. In the front row. An hour early.

And just because they loved music so much.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weekend Kids

There is a group of kids we call our "weekend kids." At any given point, one or more of them are at our house or our kids are off to their houses. I lined everybody I could get gathered up for this photo, but these aren't all the kids we had over this weekend. At one point, there were 12 kids total on the premises. Yes, it makes things a bit chaotic, but I really like my kids' bestfriends and don't mind having them over. I just need to get a sound-proof and padded room installed at some point.


Beth was worried about getting to see Santa, so when we found out he would be visiting our local hardware store this weekend we loaded up all of the full-time and weekend kids who wanted to see him and headed into town.

Beth was a bit hesitant at first, but her desire to share her Christmas wish with Santa soon overrode her innate shy nature.

She climbed up, got settled, and posed for the official picture.


Then it was time for the serious business. Santa asked her if she was good this year, and without missing a beat she told him she was. Then he asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She looked that jolly old elf straight in the eye and said, "A frog house."

Yes, she wants a frog house. Just like a dollhouse, but made for frogs. Santa looked at her and said, "I don't get many requests for frog houses!"

I just laughed to myself and quietly said, "I am sure you don't!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Somebody is turning 18.


It's hard to believe, but Matt is turning 18 in a few weeks. We are having a party, and all of our friends and family are invited! There is an incredible deal on airfare that weekend through allegiantair.com from Las Vegas. If you are one of Matt's buddies, or just a friend of the family who would love to come help him celebrate this milestone, give me a call or drop me a line for more info on the airfare deal and dates!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

25 days of free music

Amazon is doing it again... 25 free downloads, one released daily.

Free is such a great price!

Check it out here.

What Stormtroopers do....

on their day off.

Go take a look here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Impromptu Photoshoot

It has been a busy Christmas season, just the way I like it! The kids have kept us busy with band and choir concerts, pageants, parades, caroling, and other festive activities. This really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Jessica and Brandon brought Daniel over after church today, so we had a quick photoshoot while everyone was here.

I chased everyone upstairs to change into the clothes I had bought just for Christmas family photos, and then gathered up the Arkansas 7 for a group shot.

Jessica took some of Jack and I.

Daniel had just woken up and wasn't feeling very photogenic, but we got few of his fun little smile.



Then I got some headshots of my little boys.


And my sweet little girls.


And these two teenagers who are towering over all of us as they eat us out of house and home.


Life is good.

I thought I would share a photo of another large family with you. Yesterday Bones gave birth to 12 pups. See the little grey and speckled one? He is my favorite so far. The new mama is very tired with nursing her dozen around the clock, but they are all big and fat and thriving so far.

Now I am ready to get our Christmas cards designed and start a new tradition of actually mailing them. I still have the last two year's in a pile up in my closet. I need to track down addresses before I can, though, so if you would like one would ya drop me a comment or email with your snail mail? (My comments are moderated and your address wouldn't be posted on my blog.) I promise to have them mailed before the decade is over.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some Layouts

The last few months have been swamped. I have made 2 trips to the West coast (one was unexpected), had two boys playing football, had a daughter win a volleyball tournament after her regular volleyball season, have made a few trips to St. Jude, taxied all the kids to various activities and appointments, was fortunate enough to have my brother and his family come for a visit, came down with a knocked-me-out virus that turned into two different bacterial problems, and still had to hold down a couple of jobs and keep up with copious amounts of laundry daily. With the holiday season here I am not sure if I will ever be able to get all the updates done, so I have been scrapping about some of the events recently and am just going to post the layouts I have finished instead. They are in no particular order, and really only represent a small portion of our autumn experiences.

I will be posting later today with turkey pictures. There might even be a pilgrim or two in there. But it is nearly 4 am right now, and I should get some sleep before I embark on my cooking crusade.

If you think about it today, would you say a prayer for Chet? He is okay right now, but he has been having headaches. I have to leave on Sunday to take him back to St. Jude to have an angiogram and MRI done to make sure he isn't developing blood clots in his brain. I haven't said much about it to anyone, because frankly, there are a lot of scary words in that sentence. However, even if he does have some developing they can be treated if we catch it early enough, and there is a very good chance he may just be getting headaches from growing nearly an inch a month for the last couple of months. He is obnoxious that way, but I love him anyway.

Enjoy your day!




















Friday, November 20, 2009

He plays the euphonium.

Chet joined the beginning band last year. He chose the trumpet as his instrument, and I was pretty excited as I plunked down the money to buy him one. Trumpets are pretty cool instruments. I couldn't wait to hear him play the blues, and I had visions of being haunted by Chet's rendition of Taps.

Then at the beginning of this year his band teacher asked him to switch instruments.

To a euphonium.

I spent 4 years in band and I had never heard of such a thing.

So now Chet plays the euphonium. It is sort of a cross-breed between a trumpet and a tuba. And it has its own sound. Last night Chet was practicing for his upcoming performance when Jack heard it for the first time. "What the hell is that?" he asked me.

"Oh, that is Chet on his euphonium," I replied.

"His what?"

"The instrument his teacher asked him to switch to."

As the conversation went on, I explained to Jack that the band teacher thought this would be better for Chet because his mouth is too big for the trumpet. Jack said something about Chet getting a big mouth from me.

I don't know about you, but I had no idea that personality traits could genetically manifest themselves in physical form in my offspring.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Nook, the Kindle, the Ebook.... How to Choose?




I love books. I love digital products. I love "gadgets."

I very rarely buy books anymore. My shelves are full, and there aren't many places to buy books around here. (I miss our weekly homeschool trips to the bookstore and Cold Stone.) Digital products take up such little space, and can be downloaded nearly anywhere.

I try to check out library books to get my reading fix, but I am horrible about returning them on time. I love that the e-readers can check out books, and then automatically turn the downloads "off" when they are due.

Gadgets bring me great joy. If it is kitchen, camera, or computer related, I probably adore it. I could easily fall in love with an e-reader. It is everything I adore in a gadget all in one spot.

I have been waiting for prices to go down on these ever since I first laid eyes on the Kindle and Sony readers. Now Barnes and Noble has the Nook. Do any of you have one of these? Can anybody recommend one over the other? Are they as awesome as I am envisioning them to be?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...

from a silly little raccoon,

the headless horseman

a couple of deer hunters,

a stunning witch,

Achilles and his defensive line girlfriend,

and a cute little skeleton who

spent most of his time trunk-or-treating transferring candy from his grampa's bowl

to his own pumpkin.

We hope you are enjoying rifling through your candy as much as the raccoon has.

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