Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution

I hesitate to even say what I want to resolve to do this year, because to some, it may seem selfish. However, I have come to realize that sometimes in order to be the best mommy and wife that I can be, I have to be a little selfish and realize that I have to take care of ME sometimes, too.

I am very proud of my husband and older sons in that they have worked very hard over the past 2 + years, and have worked their way up to the black belt level of Tae Kwon Do. In that time period, I have also completed my Master's Degree, started a new itinerant job that has changed locations each year, had a pregnancy with complications, and given birth to a baby and helped raise him to this point. There have been many nights...normally 2-3 a week...that I have taken care of at least one child by myself so that Chris could be in classes. I do not begrudge him this, but I do believe that it is time for ME to get some ME time as well!

I fight depression and anxiety constantly, and also have fibromyalgia. So taking care of ME helps me to stay healthy and well, and I am therefore able to care for my family and do my best work in my job and Christian witness. If I do not give myself some time away from my work and home life, I find myself becoming more agitated and depressed.

My husband and I started a weight loss regimen this time last year and we have done well on it. Before the holidays, Chris had lost almost 50 pounds, and I had lost 15-20, fluctuating as women often do! So I also want to get back on track and lose the rest of the weight that I have hanging on from birthing children!

Given the above reasons, I am going to work on asking myself,"Is it good for ME?" this year. If it does not contribute to my mental, physical, and spiritual health, I am going to work on cutting it out of my life. That may mean that I have to say no to some things that I used to say yes to, in order to make others happy. I am realizing as I quickly approach my 40s that *I* count, too. I cannot make everyone happy, and I have to live with myself 24 hours a day, whereas these people that I try to make happy are NOT with me all day, every day. If they are unhappy with me, it will pass. If I live in a manner that makes ME unhappy and unhealthy, I have to live with it all the time.

So there it is...2012 will be the year I ask myself,"Is it good for ME?" I will try to do this in a way that is not self-centered, but is done in order to serve my Lord, my family, and my own health and sanity in the best way possible.

I just about asked,"What do you think?!" LOL Yes, I am curious if anyone reading this thinks it makes sense, but first and foremost, I am focusing on the internal peace that I am feeling now that I have actually decided to take care of ME, for a change!! So here is to a new year!! I believe it will be a great one!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Good

We have had a great Christmas! I am really really tired...I think from running and running for several days and getting very little restful sleep on Christmas Eve. I have missed going to Chris' Mamaw's house, though it made yesterday a tad less stressful to not have to run to Nickelsville in the middle of the day, and we got to spend more time with my family. We showed up early AGAIN to a family gathering, which is rare for us, but now we've done it both at Thanksgiving and Christmas! Maybe we're turning over a new leaf! LOL

I am going to try to get back into a blogging groove for the new year. I miss writing, but sometimes my brain is so tired that I just can't think. My fibro flared up last week/week before last, and the brain fog is a big blogging hamper, too, but I need to push through and do it!

We're having a super lazy day today. Everyone but Robbie is still in PJs. He insists on getting dressed, so he has on a Halloween shirt with Goofy on it dressed as Mickey. Robbie's favorite toys so far have been "Mou" related, though he has wanted to watch "Do" (Dora) more lately.

I know this is a random post, but it IS a post, right?! LOL

Bless you if you read this, and many wishes for a wonderful 2012!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Peace in the chaos

I originally posted this on my teacher blog, but I thought I'd share it here, too!
Hello, friends! My day started out as one of 'those' days today. We had many activities going on all over the place and I got behind on my schedule. Add to it the fact that my ten year old and I didn't 'jive' this morning, and I was feeling pretty anxious. There were also some things going on that I was, admittedly, a bit resentful about because I was trying to make them about me when they weren't.

Then I had a meeting that I thought was going to be pretty routine this afternoon. I thought I'd basically be along 'for the ride', and say that I am going to start working with the child on some reading-related skills, and basically let the teachers take the lead.

A funny thing happened, though....

I realized that I KNEW the parent from many years ago when I taught her older daughter at another school! I immediately asked about her, and the mother's eyes welled up with tears. Things are not the greatest with my former student, and that is definitely affecting my current student and his home life. It is most likely also affecting his school performance, too.

Since I had a history with the family, I took a much more active role in the meeting than I had planned. We made some suggestions and bounced ideas off each other, and came up with a plan of action. It was a positive meeting even though the subject matter wasn't necessarily positive, if that makes sense!

After the meeting was over, however, I felt a peace that I definitely did NOT feel going into the meeting. I know the Author of that Peace. I knew what He was trying to tell me.

"This is one reason you are here," He was telling my soul. My internal 'eyes' were opened, and my perspective was changed. I was reminded that HE is in control, and that I don't have (or need to have) nearly as many answers as I think I do. It is all good! God's in control!

The stress, frustration, and anxiety I had felt earlier just melted away. I am not in control, nor do I have to be! What a great beginning to a wonderful weekend!!

Photo courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetmojo/

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trying day

Once again, I'm very negligent on posting, and once again I apologize! I have been super swamped both at work and at home, and then I got really caught up in reading The Hunger Games series. I was bordering on obsession!! I dreamed about it, I had to pace myself when I got to the last book because I didn't want it to end!! Now I cannot WAIT til the movies come out! If you haven't read them, I highly, highly, highly recommend them. They are not at all what I would normally just pick up on my own, but I'm so glad that I did!

Today, as the title suggests, was not the greatest of all days. It started out well: this week is Homecoming at the high school that one of my elementary schools feeds into, so we are all dressing up each day as part of the celebrations. Today was Nerd Day, and I went all out! See?!



I think I make a pretty good nerd! LOL I started to just dress normally and if kids asked me why I didn't participate today, I was going to answer that I did, I was dressed up as a nerd....but I changed my mind. I was in good spirits, though I was running a tad later than I like. It was very foggy this morning, so I wasn't stressing about getting to work because I knew I didn't need to be hurrying. One of the blessings of my position is knowing I don't have a classroom full of students waiting for me. I do 'hit the ground running' once I get there, but it isn't the exact same kind of pressure.

A couple of cars flashed their bright lights at me when I was going up the road toward my school. That is not too unusual on the curvy road, and I figured that there may be a cop with a radar gun or something that the other drivers were warning about. I passed my brother-in-law's house and soon saw what was going on....a dump truck was sitting sideways in the road, blocking both lanes of traffic. Several cars quickly pulled into driveways on the other side of the road and turned around. I didn't know what to do, because as far as I knew, there was no 'back road' for me to get to work! I saw a co-worker jump out of her car ahead of me, speak to the person in another car ahead of me, and run to the scene. I put on my flashers and went to see who was in the car that the coworker spoke to, and it was our guidance counselor. She said our coworker is a first responder and was seeing if she could help. Soon, she was back....there was nothing she could do to help, because the person who was still in the truck that had collided with the dump truck had no pulse. :(

It didn't hit me right then that someone's life had ended. I quickly drove back to my brother-in-law's house to use his phone and call work to tell them why we were all late, as my cell phone wouldn't get a signal where we were located. He said he'd show me and my coworkers a way that we could get to work, so I hoofed it back up the road to tell them...in my lovely nerd garb!! I wasn't thinking about how lovely I looked at the time, but I'm sure I gave some of the people who saw me pause! HA!

We did get to work within the hour after crossing a one lane gravel road across a ridge. I realized on the way across that ridge that I was gripping my steering wheel with a death grip and was very tense. I stayed shook up all day. I couldn't dial the correct phone number to tell Chris that I was okay in case he heard that there was an accident on the road I travel. I kept messing up and going to the wrong classroom or getting the wrong group of students at the wrong time because I felt like it was so much later in the day than it actually was. I felt shaky and anxious all day. When I realized that I was very anxious and sore from being tense late in the afternoon, I broke down and took a prescription pain reliever for only the second time in over two years. I feel quite a bit better now, but still could cry while typing this.

As I was leaving school, another teacher pointed out a high school student to me. She stood there with tears rolling down her face. Come to find out, her father had just texted her telling her that it was her uncle who had passed away that morning in the accident, and that she needed to ride the bus home. What a way to receive the news....with no one there to comfort her!! So I immediately went and hugged her and said a little prayer in her ear (separation of church and state be damned, I was a HUMAN right then, not a teacher) and told her that I didn't think he had suffered. I told her that I had been praying for her family all day, even though I didn't have names for which to pray. I asked if she needed a way home, and she assured me that she didn't. I left feeling very distraught for her.

Life is so precious, friends. We live a distracted life where we are constantly on the run and in a hurry, and I am just as guilty as anyone of this. I have sped through the curves on that highway many times...more times than I can count. I have felt frustrated when someone was traveling below the speed limit and lamented how I was going to be late. Though I hate that this has happened, I will definitely use it as a reminder of how I need to SLOW DOWN and be present in what I am doing, especially when I am driving. I am carrying precious cargo....my children's mother and my husband's wife, particularly. I don't want to leave them because I was in a hurry or not paying attention to what I was doing. I pray that you will use this reminder to do the same.

May the Lord bless you today!! He is always right on time!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's my blog, and I'll whine if I want to....

Oh, mercy, reader! The busy-ness! The stress! I'm one tired mama. Why, then, am I up writing on here before 6 am?

Because my body is not cooperating, and neither is my 17 month old son.

Here's the deal...the shorter version. I'm not sure there is a short version!

I'm a Reading Specialist here in our little county. I'm one of 4 full-time specialists, and one part time. We serve 7 elementary schools, and are focusing particularly on K-2 in these schools. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires each school to give each of the K-2 students a phonics assessment each fall and spring. This is something that is mostly done individually with the students. As you can imagine, this isn't an easy task for a classroom teacher when trying to also teach skills to the rest of the class. I know that first hand, because I was in the classroom for 12 years and had to try to give this individual assessment to one kid while keeping the rest of the students engaged and learning. Not a good situation for the teacher, the child being tested, or the rest of the class. So to remedy this situation and save the learning time for the students, we Reading Specialists were commissioned (not the right word here, I know, but it works...remember, it isn't 6 am yet....)to do the testing for all the schools in the county. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Right!

And it is a good plan! I firmly believe that! I think it has saved the sanity of the classroom teachers and has been one thing off their plates, letting them focus on teaching the students instead of keeping them occupied while assessing one. It has not, however, been easy on the four of us who were testing. Is it worth it? Yes, I am sure it is. Does everyone in the county think so? I'm sure they don't. But I know that I have been doing, to the best of my ability, what I can to ensure that the students in these grades have been being TAUGHT and not occupied. Does that make sense?

Anyway, we've done a good part of it! We got all students in 1st and 2nd grade tested! Hundreds of 'em! Every day, we went into our assigned school and hit the ground running. We would listen to one child read word lists and read stories, and make sure that we had assessed the level at which each was reading according to this assessment. We would take a break for lunch whenever the grade with which we were working took lunch, and then hit it again. No planning period. A bathroom break here or there. But we worked, ya'll. HARD. I promise you that!

It may not sound like this is tiring work, and compared to manual labor, it isn't! However, it does get very mundane. Sitting in one position all day, listening to the same words and sentences being read over and over is very mundane. It is also hard on a body, especially a body that has FIBROMYALGIA! This has sent me into a flare, the worst I've had in at least 2 years.

When you add to this the fact that I have also had two sick children in the midst, you can see where I'm going, maybe. And the fact that one of those children is the 17 month old who doesn't have wonderful sleep patterns anyway, and it becomes even more clear.

I've been fighting aches and pains, and pains and aches, and stress. Stress that people were badmouthing and not understanding how hard we were working. Stress that someone was thinking we weren't doing our job, despite the fact that we were working at what our supervisor thought was most important for us to be doing. Stress of the every day life of being a wife and mother to two school-aged children who have homework. Stress of getting one back and forth to football games and practice, and two sons and a husband back and forth from TaeKwonDo classes. Stress of regular family activities. You get it by now, I'm sure. My body is not happy. It is saying STOP!! And my mind is still running at top speed.

So when Robbie wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to nurse (another subject for another day....) and I really want him to go back to sleep, my body doesn't always work it out for me. I feed him, or he screams, or whatever. That part isn't the point. He eventually goes back to sleep, and I don't. See, insomnia is a part of fibro, too. So the last three nights, when Robbie has woken up, he's gone right back to sleep, but I haven't.

I'm exhausted, and I don't see where the end comes. I don't see where I'm gonna get rest, and I'm trying not to be overwhelmed, but I am. It makes me feel panicky. I know that God is with me and is helping me and if it weren't for Him I cannot IMAGINE the shape I'd be in. But here I am. And I'm tired, and I want sleep. And I can't seem to get it.

So there it is. My whine. If you read it, thanks. Some extra prayers my way would be greatly appreciated.

My alarm just went off. I'm far from thrilled! :) TGIF, right?!

Monday, August 22, 2011

It was a blind date....

I had just broken up with a fella who lived in another state. I wasn't looking for a relationship. I had just started a new job and was all about doing my very best at it! It was the job I had been waiting for, and it was just one town over instead of the hour away I had been traveling for almost 2 years.

You know how they say it comes when you least expect it?

I had been selling Mary Kay on the side, and I had had a party at my friend Laura's house, where she and her Aunt Kim suggested that I go out with their cousin Chris. They had even tried to get me to meet him the month before at a family gathering, but I bowed out at the last minute, because I had moved that day from my cute little apartment to my parents' newly bought ranch house...that was a haven of lovely 70s decor! I was not thrilled with the situation. My brothers-in-law had even offered for me to come and shower at their houses and borrow their wives clothes if I would please go meet this fella!

Actually, we had met before....my mother had been his Kindergarten teacher! But I didn't remember him. :)

Finally we did talk on the phone, and we talked for hours. We set up a date for the next weekend.


...and the rest is history...

The Lord told me while I was sitting across the table from him at Applebee's that I was going to marry him. I ignored it.

By our second date, I came home and told my cat that we were going to marry him!

Less than 2 months later we were engaged, and 9 months after that we were married!

And it all started 14 years ago this month.

On a blind date.

And I wouldn't change a thing! <3


I love you, sweetheart!! So glad I went on that blind date 14 years ago!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's that CRAZY time of the year!!

It is crazy for EVERY mother of school-aged students, but when you add both parents who are teachers to the mix, and it gets downright hairy!!

Chris went back to work for part of the week the first week of the month. We sent Robbie back to daycare that week so he could start to get re-adjusted (as could I) and not have the major change the same week as I was having to go back to work full time. That turned out to be a GREAT idea! By last week, daycare was 'old hat' for him, and he would gladly march on in each day! That made it so much easier on me!!

Last week Chris and I both went back full-time. We had county wide meetings Monday through Wednesday and then went to our schools on Thursday and Friday. My niece kept Isaac and Adam the first part of the week, and then they went to work with us each one day on Thursday and Friday.

Then we ALL went back full force this week! I find it really hard to believe that I am the mommy of a fifth grader! Wasn't I just in fifth grade a few weeks ago?! How time flies when you're having fun! Isaac (as you probably figured) is a big fifth grader now, and Adam is a second grader. Adam is excited about going back to school because he gets to go upstairs this year!!! They each are in the classroom with their best buddy, which makes going back to school lots more fun! They seem to be adjusting well!

And in additional news, Robbie is FINALLY sleeping better! He is sleeping in his own bed the majority of the night, which is a H-U-G-E relief to me. I am still not quite used to it! After 16 months of jumping up and getting him when I hear him for all this time, I did it out of habit last night instead of listening and giving him the chance to calm himself back down. Adding a fan in his room for some white noise seems to have done the trick! I'm really wishing I had done that months ago, but hindsight, like always, is 20/20!! We're still not completely there, but there is definite improvement and I feel tons better already!!!!

So there is an update on what is going on here at our house! I'd love some comment love if you happen by here!! :) C'mon, you know you wanna!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boy Mom Blog Hop!

I'm definitely qualified to participate in this! :) The Mob Society is sponsoring a Mom of Boys Blog Hop today where we can all share about our boys and our blogs! How cool is that?!

So where to start? First, to introduce my handsome boys!!



Here's a picture of my oldest son, Isaac, and my youngest son, Robbie. Isaac is 10 and is SO super helpful with his baby brother! He is super responsible and I'm probably guilty of expecting a lot from him for his age! He went to 4H camp last week and that was the longest I've gone without being with him or talking to him in his LIFE....boy, did I miss him, and not just cause he helps out so much! :) I was honestly elated when we went to get him. I felt like one of my appendages had been missing all week and my heart was re-filled when he was back with us! AND...he got camper of the week for his cabin! Very proud mama here....



Here is my middle son, Adam, who is 7. He was very much the baby until Robbie came along, and has had to adjust to not being the youngest. He is SO smart, and I'm not just saying that....he really is. He was reading at 4, and we didn't teach him...he picked it up on his own! He has a gift! He also is very good with his baby brother! He went to day camp where the older boys and their daddy take TaeKwonDo last week (cause we knew he'd be missing big brother so much) and they went to an activity where kids were trying to catch mini-beach balls. He said he was determined to catch one for his baby brother! He said it was hard to do with so many big kids there, but he just kept trying til he did! <3



And here is the best surprise I've ever gotten, Robbie! He will be 16 months old tomorrow! Time is flying with this lil firecracker around! He is full of life and LOVES his family! He is walking like a champ now and is so fun to be around....most of the time! LOL Now if I could get him to sleep all night without mama that would be ideal! I'm proud to say that he is still nursing, and though we've recently had a rough time with thrush and have dealt with both my primary care physician AND my gyno encouraging me to wean, I have stuck to my guns and decided that he and I will make that decision with the Lord's help! He's a joy to have and really is an easy child.

Well now that I've shared all about my pride and joy, about me?? I am a reading specialist by trade, and teach at two rural elementary schools helping students who are struggling with reading. I am active in our local church where I help with children's ministries, Vacation Bible School, sing in the choir, and give the children's moment in the 11 am service each week!

As far as my son's favorite books....you're talking to a reading specialist here, so remember it is hard to narrow 'em down! I'll go with what the big boys like the best right now. Isaac has just started reading the Harry Potter series and I've had to make him turn out his light at 11 the last few nights! Both boys love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, as well as the Big Nate series. Robbie just loves to be read to right now, he doesn't care what I'm reading! :)

So there we are! I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog, and will come back soon! Be sure to check out my teacher blog, Reading's The Thing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oops, I did it again....

get yer mind out of the gutter....LOL

I started yet another blog, this one related to my work! I'd be honored if you'd go check it out! It is called Reading's the Thing! There isn't too much exciting going on there...yet...but I'll try to link up to posts, etc. I find interesting and highlight strategies and products that I think are worth mentioning. There are TONS of great school-related blogs out there and I'm having all kinds of fun looking at them! I might get a chance to look at them quite a bit this week with my oldest son gone to 4H camp for the first time (sniff, sniff...I cried dropping him off, I'll admit it!) and my middle one going to day camp at KHK Martial Arts every day day this week! It is gonna be quiet around here with just me, Chris, and Robbie during the day! Chris and I are thinking about tackling painting the kitchen with less people in the house this week....we are going to look at paint here in a bit when we go out to lunch for our ANNIVERSARY!

Yes, 13 years ago we tied the knot! I can't think of a better spouse for me and daddy for my sons. I'm truly blessed and don't thank the Lord enough for him, but I really DO love him and think he's 'the bee's knees'!

So there is an update....hop on over and check out my blog, especially teacher friends, please?!

Have a great week!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life with a Toddler

ahh, this part I didn't necessarily miss...

I want down.
I want up.
I want to pull on this large picture frame hanging on the wall above our heads.
I want to pull on this light cord.
I want in my highchair.
I'm hungry.
I'm not hungry.
I want down.
I want to smash these green beans, not eat them.
I want to lay down.
I want to get up.
I want to nurse.
I want to nurse while laying on my stomach facing away from mommy.
I want juice.
No, I don't want juice! I'll throw this cup!
Uh, oh. Someone spilled some juice in here!! It wasn't me!
I want some of your poptart. Yes, I know mommy doesn't want me to have it but I WANT IT!
I don't want this piece of poptart. I'll crush it on mommy's white down comforter instead.
I want to go outside.
I want to walk around.
I don't like grass.
I want up in your arms!
I want in this chair.
This is cool! I am big!
I want down from this chair.
I want down RIGHT NOW! How do I get out of this chair??
I want to go on the porch.
Oooh, I see mommy tried to block me from this messy, dirty portion of the porch. I want to play RIGHT THERE!!
What? We're going in? We just got out here! PUT ME DOWN! What is a wasp anyway?!
I'm not hungry. I don't want to eat.
Ooh, what is that on mommy's plate? A sandwich? That looks good!
OK, I'll take some crackers.
What happens if I dump this bag on the floor?
Ooh, cool! And I can smash this in the carpet, too?
I'm sleepy. Mommy hold me! Don't want to close my eyes. DON'T WANT TO CLOSE MY EYES!
Don't wan....don't wanna.....don't.....
Ahhh, Mama.

Random political rant

If you are a regular reader of my blog (I know there are a couple of you out there....hi! Thank you!) then you know that I don't bring up politics. That is more my husband's cup of tea. I keep up with them to a point, probably more than I would otherwise because it is one of his interests. I am conservative, and I don't make that any secret. I don't associate with any one party because I believe in voting for the best person for the job. I hate that our national politics have gotten to be so partisan, and really wish that the two sides would come together for the greater good instead of only wanting what they want. Even though I may not always agree with the president....ANY PRESIDENT, that is...I still believe he deserves respect as the leader of our country and try not to badmouth him, especially in front of my children.

That being said, I was thoroughly irritated to wake up this morning by reports that President Obama is going to Camp David for the weekend after chastising Congress into not taking the break they had planned for this weekend! How freakin' hypocritical! And not only that, he compared them to schoolchildren in their inability to get things done on time, yet when the Republicans wanted to meet with him face to face to discuss this budget mess, he flat out refused. Boy, that is really wanting to work this out, isn't it? More like you need to hurry up and do it MY way, isn't it?

I'm not letting the Republicans off the hook, though. I think this is a time we NEED to get rid of some tax breaks that big corporations are getting. Our economy is in the tank, and these companies continue to make money. I sure as heck can't say that for myself!! I won't go into specifics, but I will remind you that we have another mouth to feed in this family...and we haven't gotten a raise since before he was born. It is time to think about the little people instead of the big corporations in this!!

Again, I rarely do this on my blog, but I really felt the need to express myself politically today. Please remember that and be kind if you do choose to comment either here or on Facebook. I usually keep my political opinions to myself and not put my thoughts 'out there'. Those of you that know me well know how I feel about such things as religion, politics, and sports teams, but I don't take well to public internet criticism....hey, I'll just admit it, it hurts my feelings!...and I try not to criticize others about their takes on things. So if you disagree with me, go ahead and comment, I'll try to be a big girl, but do remember the Golden Rule and treat me as you would like to be treated, mmmmmmkay?!

Have a great Independence Day and weekend, ya'll!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reminder to self...

write about the dream I had about Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill! It actually was a musical dream....but I don't have time to go into it all now, but if I put it here, maybe I'll actually remember to write about it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flashmob--Pittsburgh, PA

Check out this video! The purpose was just to brighten the day of those around this square. My niece is dancing in this...she has on a green hoodie if you can catch a glimpse of her! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Fret the Sweat!

I've got a tween who is getting smellier all the time! What about you? Check this out and like the facebook page!



Friday, May 13, 2011

On this day 30 years ago....

I follow this neat site called Finding Dulcinea, which sends me an email every day about a historic happening of some sort. Today's 'on this day' took me back to elementary school....second grade to be exact!

I remember being in Music Class out back in a trailer add-on classroom when the intercom crackled to life. We listened for a few minutes before hearing the news that the Pope had been shot! Of course, we didn't truly understand the ramifications of this as eight-year-olds, but we knew it was big. Looking back, it was a volatile time....we had lived through the Iran Hostage Crisis and our President Ronald Reagan also had an attempt on his life less than 2 months earlier.

Later on, my Sunday School class members wrote get well cards and letters to the Pope, and to our amazement, we received a letter from him in return! This was such big news in 1981 that we were interviewed on WKPT tv news!!

Just thought I'd share a memory of mine with you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Check out Made to Crave

Check out Made to Crave

We lost a family member on Friday




It was my cat of 15 years, Francie. She had been going downhill for some time. She had worn her teeth down to nubs, so she wasn't able to eat dry food anymore. Because her teeth weren't what they used to be, she couldn't clean herself as well as she had in the past, so her fur was matted. She didn't weigh much of anything. One of her eyes stayed dilated at all times. We couldn't let her in the upstairs of the house because she couldn't always wait to relieve herself.

Still, she was part of the family. She stayed either in the den in our basement or on the back deck, and made herself known, especially when she was hungry. She was my loyal companion through my single days into marriage and children and even the acquisition of other pets, and handled each addition to the family happily.

I'll never forget that after mine and Chris' second date, she came at me like she always did when I'd been away from the house by jumping on my lap, placing a front pay on either shoulder, and licking my face. "We're going to marry him," I told her that night...and we did! When Chris would get mad at her for some reason or another and threaten,"I'm gonna kill your cat!" (which he would never do....he loved her, too!) I would quickly remind him that SHE had been a member of my family longer than HE had!

My mother in law loves to tell the story of the first time she took care of my 10 year old, Isaac, by herself in our home. She says that Francie wouldn't let Isaac out of her sight! She was going to make sure that HER baby was okay, even if this strange woman was here! She was always very adaptable and a new baby in the house made her curious, but she never did anything but love us all.

Other stories about Francie I love to tell is about the times she would disappear. When we moved from my parents' house where we first lived when we were married to our current home, we kept Francie inside for several days, much to her dismay. She scratched the inside of the door frame from the basement to shreds! When we decided it would be okay to let her out, my worst fears were confirmed when she was gone for several days. I was frantic! We drove up and down the side of the road between the two houses, and after almost a week, we found her! The houses were only about a quarter mile apart on the same side of a major highway, so she had easily found her way 'home'. She continued to do so for about a year after we moved! One time I was at my parents house and we saw a cat on the front porch through the picture window. "Let Sarah in," my mom instructed, figuring that the cat was her own. Guess who came walking in the front door like she belonged there but Francie?!

Another time, she disappeared and we HADN'T moved! Again, she was gone for the best part of a week, and again, I was frantic and heartbroken. I thought sure she was gone for good. Chris walked down the street looking for her, and found her at our neighbor's house hanging around. Soon after, his wife passed away. She stayed around there the entire time visitors were coming and going, and even tried to run into the house a few times! After the funeral and burial were finished, our neighbor figured that she was there to stay and called the vet to come down and give her shots! Little did he know that she had HAD her shots as our cat! We had a good laugh about that....that her adopting Mr. C for a while only got her an additional dose of her yearly vaccinations! She hung around his house for the best part of that spring. I think she knew that Mr. C needed the company at the time. When she felt he would be able to get along without his wife or with her, she came on back.

She was always a very social creature. If we went out of town for a few days, she would go over to the neighbor's house to be petted. If we were home, she stuck close by.

Isaac was the one who found her laying in the yard on Friday. Chris thinks that she just had a heart attack or something, because he had seen her walking around earlier that day. She was still warm when he went to move her. Thankfully, she didn't lay long, and I don't believe she suffered. I wasn't at home...I was gone to the Exceptional Women Conference, and didn't get home to see her or pet her one last time before Chris buried her. I think that is good, though, because I will remember her as I last saw her, happily wandering around the back yard, wanting to be fed.

Rest in peace my precious little kitty. Though this is not a picture of you, it is very similar to how you looked when you were well. I will always love you and will miss you!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've got a freebie for ya!

Friends, first of all, if you are reading this..thank you. I know I don't blog as much as I'd like, so if you are stickin' with me here, I really do appreciate it more than you know!

Second, as you may know, I'm a reading specialist. I have found a really neat program called Complete Curriculum where I can pick and choose the skills I teach my students from their digital textbooks. I know some of my readers are homeschoolers and/or educators in some aspect, so I thought I'd share this with you!! Check it out! :)



Disclosure: I will get a referral fee if you sign up for this program. However, the opinions I have stated about the usefulness of this product are my own!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party: Welcome!!



Welcome to my little corner of the web! Glad to have you here! I'm Christi! I am the 38 year old wife of Chris (for 12.5 years) and mommy to Isaac, 10; Adam, 7; and Robbie, 1! I am a Reading Specialist by day, and am also a happy Christian and active member of our local church.

Here is a picture of my family taken last summer when Robbie was new to the world! The rest of us look pretty much the same...



and here is a newer picture of Robbie!



Browse around if you would, and I'd love to see ya back sometime! I'll try my best to visit you back during the party, too! I also have another blog that focuses more on reviews and giveaways, so stop by there too sometime!

Thanks again to 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting this bash!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One year ago....

I was in labor. It is so hard to believe that a year has passed since this little blessing came into the world! Though it hasn't been an easy year, it has been worth it! He has definitely completed our family. God is so good, and I am so glad that He has my life in His hands, and that His plan is perfect!!

Happy birthday, little man!! Mommy loves you sooo so so much!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3rd child guilt!

I'm feeling guilty. I remember when we had Isaac's first birthday party, I had it totally planned, right down to decorations matching the cake matching pictures I downloaded and enlarged and colored to his outfit that matched the decorations! Now with Adam's birthday, I don't remember it as distinctly, probably cause I had two kids to keep up with! But I do remember that we had decorations! Today we are having Robbie's first birthday party, and we'll be lucky to get there on time and have guests! I feel bad for Robbie, though I know he'll never remember it or probably even care (since he's a boy!) So why am I torturing myself over it? I know I love him as much as I do Isaac, I just have a different life now than I did ten years ago (yes--my oldest turned TEN almost 2 weeks ago! Where does time go?!).

I do however, hate that we won't have as many family members there today. You see, Chris' family has numerous members who were born in March: both his grandparents, two aunts, multiple cousins, and Chris himself. And on my side of the family, my Mom celebrates her birthday on St. Patrick's Day! We always had a March birthday party in the Scott family leading up to Isaac's birthday, and then we hosted the March party for several years ourselves. The tradition seemed to die somewhat after Chris' Papaw died. His Mamaw is still living, but is not in good health and won't be able to come to the party, and I'd be willing to bet all the aunts and uncles and cousins won't either. And again, I know that they mean no harm and that it isn't that they don't love the little fella, but I just hate that this is the case. Both my sisters are out of town this weekend...again, not a problem, I'll just miss them!

I know that the important thing is that we are there to celebrate his birth and first year with him, and I'll concentrate on that! We've had somewhere we had to be (at least Chris or me) this week every night, so we're tired, too!

So here's to almost a year of living as a family of five...something I never truly expected to do, but am so happy that I am!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Observations

I was laying down with Robbie earlier today, and he was examining both his hands at the same time, kind of like he had just discovered that he could control them separately. He would bend his fingers and look back and forth from hand to hand, then clap his hands for a few seconds, then would lift his hands up and look at them both again, wiggling fingers and such. It delighted me to watch my little creation...the little being that a year ago was still inside me forming...as he learned new things about himself and his abilities. This is such a fun age, watching him discover new things each day. He is into something all the time, but his brothers are quick to jump in and help me redirect him or move him away from something he doesn't need to get into.

It made me think of how God must enjoy watching us as we grow stronger in our faith and begin trying out our abilities. How he, too, must giggle in pure delight at seeing how we try our our new skills, much like a toddler learning to walk! What a blessing it is to look at my three children and see how they are growing and changing. Though it is bittersweet to know that this is the last 1st birthday I'll celebrate with one of my own children, I am much more content about it than I was when Adam was turning one. Somehow deep down maybe I knew that my little family wasn't complete! Robbie is definitely a reason to say I love surprises...he's the best surprise present I've ever received!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We Heart Wednesday: The Pomeranian






I found a new meme this morning and since I'm home today with Robbie (ear infection again...this is number 6 or 7 I think?? Appointment with the ENT in 2 weeks!) I thought I'd try it out!

Welcome to the 15th edition of We ♥ Wednesday: The meme celebrating pictures of the things you love, each week! There is one, and only one, rule: you must get your images from weheartit.com! That's the whole point and inspiration behind this meme! Join in, fall in love, and link up your post!


This pic reminds me of a dog we had when I was little. It was actually my foster brother's dog, but when he moved out the dog stayed. His name was Tiny. We called him a cat trapped in a dog's body cause he was so prissy! But he was a definite member of the family. He went on camping trips with us, and when we went out in the boat to fish, we would often have a bucket of live crickets with which to catch fish. If you've never seen a cricket bucket, here is a pic:


It is made with that hole in the top cause crickets can't jump straight up! Anyway, Tiny would knock over the bucket in the boat so he could chase the crickets!

He was a loyal member of our family for about ten years, and was an endless source of affection and pleasure!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday: UN-familied

Jenny Matlock


I'm not even sure that my word for U is actually a word, but guess what? I just coined it! LOL

What exactly is Un-familied?? It is surviving out of town without my family from Sunday-Thursday. Well, at least til Wednesday night...surely I'll make it til Thursday since I've made it this far, right?!

I'm out of town for a study related to work. I am even more honored now than I was before I got here to have been approved to serve on this committee of 16 , for it was a pretty elite group of Reading Specialists...I was the one with the shortest tenure in the field, so I provided a bit of a different take on things. It has been interesting and informative, and I am going back home with some new ideas and perspectives!

I have honestly learned several things about myself on this trip while I am UNfamilied. Wanna hear 'em?!

1. I can survive in a room by myself overnight.
I honestly worried about this one, being as that I haven't done this in over 12 years. I've either had my husband or my kids, or both, in the house with me every night, save for a few. The last time I was in a room overnight alone was when Robbie was still hospitalized after his birth and I stayed there in the hospital but didn't get to see him all night. That was NOT a good experience! However, I was very recently post-partum and was dealing with many hormones at that point. I did have a few seconds a few times of feeling that same type of anxiety come over me, but I was able to successfully squelch them, and get through it.

2. I'm not ready to wean Robbie. My body is most definitely used to feeding him, and I miss him! I pray that he hasn't decided it isn't worth it once I get home to him! Some will say I'm crazy, that I've done this for 11 months and that it would be a good time to stop...but you know what? I don't care. I'm not looking forward to opinions I'm sure I'll get about extended nursing, but it still is MY body and MINE and Robbie's decision. I actually made a pact with him...as well as you can make a pact with an 11-month-old...that if he'd not wean while I was gone, I'd nurse him for another year if he wanted. I plan on sticking to that.

3. I am ready, however, to give up pumping! I don't love it, but I have promised myself I'll do that for another month! Then he can drink whole milk at daycare and I won't have to purchase more formula! Pumping is for the birds. I'm proud of myself for sticking to it all this time, but THAT is something I won't miss!

4. I can get around a big city better than I thought I could. I always made Chris drive when we were in Richmond before. I'd still let him do it if I had a choice, but I have nothing to fear about it anymore. I can do it. I even got myself to the mall earlier, found a shorter way from the hotel to the restaurants, and am planning on taking a different route out of town than I came in...cause Google maps did NOT have the best route for me!

5. I'm still decent company for myself. I can survive without other people to talk to at meals, etc. That's a good thing to know for a wife and mommy, I believe!

6. But I do miss my family terribly and cannot WAIT to see them tomorrow!! I'm gonna smother them all with lots of kisses and lots of hugs, and snuggle the fool out of them over the next few days! They are such a pleasure and part of me that I LOVE! I can survive without them for a few days, but life is much more fun with them!!!

So happy Thursday ya'll!! Think of me as I'm driving down the interstate to my family!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

T is for....

Jenny Matlock



I'm baaaack! I'm so bad about missing letters and weeks around here, so thanks for your patience if I'm not doing every assignment!

Let's see....

For this week's assignment, what does t remind me of??

First thing that comes to mind is that T is for THANKFUL! I am representing this by this lovely thankful tree I found through flikr!


Photo Courtesy Jenosale

I have SO many things to be thankful for, I could be here all day telling you!! :)

The next thing that comes to mind is my favorite college team, Tennessee!! GO BIG ORANGE!



Photo courtesy View From Rocky Top

I love me some Volunteer football!

Another T that comes to mind is how much I love my TWO sisters!! I don't have a picture of them right now...maybe I'll come back and add one later, but they are two of my very best friends. God made us sisters, but I'm thrilled to also call them my friends. I know I can count on them NO MATTER WHAT!

Something else I'm very thankful for it TIME to spend with my loved ones. As I said earlier, I'm so very blessed! I'm glad that I have a job that allows me to spend evenings, weekends, and summers off with my little family. I'm so blessed that my husband and I are both so close to our families, and that they live in the area for the most part. We don't spend nearly as much TIME with them as we'd like, but we're grateful for every opportunity to spend TIME with them!! I love them all!!



Photo courtesy ToniVC

Last but certainly not least, I'm so thankful that I have the ability and the desire to THINK for myself. I have come to realize that I LIKE to learn! If someone had told me that 25 years ago, I would have laughed them out of the room. But now that I am older, I realize what a gift it is to learn new things. I am thankful that we live in a country where free THOUGHT is welcomed and encouraged. I've been very blessed to be able to further my education over the past few years. It hasn't been without its struggles, but it is definitely a reward in itself!



Photo courtesy karola riegler photography


THANKS for reading!! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday: R is for Robbie!

Jenny Matlock


Today's is a no-brainer! Pics of my favorite baby boy-child! :) He's growing so quickly! He's got a little cold/ear infection right now, so I was trying to rock him to sleep. Part of me was hoping that I could get a little nap in as well, but I stopped myself and remembered that it wouldn't be much longer that he would tolerate me rocking him, and that I need to cherish every second!



Here he is in 'baby jail', as his Daddy calls it! He's in the hallway between the living room and the kitchen, and we're in the kitchen. He loves to pull himself up on the baby gate and then sit back down, over and over! He's doing really well at pulling up, is a crawling champ, and likes to walk holding fingers, too!



Here he is in his precious little Smokey outfit! Hey, we raise 'em up right here in Tennesseee country (even though we actually live across the border in Virginia!)



This was taken at Dollywood back in the fall...I know I'm a little biased, but don't I have three handsome sons??



And last, I know I've shared this picture before but I LOVE this shot of him! So angelic he is here...til he wakes up!

I'm very blessed at the opportunity that God has given me to parent all three of my sons, but I feel especially blessed to be mommy to Robbie, since he was our surprise baby!

Have a GREAT Thursday!

Review: Power Rangers Samurai



They're baaacck...the Power Rangers, that is! I've been following Power Rangers for many many years now, back since they first started and my nephews were obsessed with the Mighty Morphin variety back in the mid-90s. Isaac, my oldest, went through a Power Rangers phase, and now my 7 year old, Adam, is having his turn.

The latest incarnation of the Power Rangers is Power Rangers Samurai, and they have also changed to a new channel: the shows used to shown on Disney stations, but now they are being shown on Nickelodeon. Either way, this show gets my thumbs up for several reasons!

One: since my boys are very active in a Tae Kwon Do school, I like having them watch a show related to martial arts. Contrary to what some people thought years ago when the series started, watching this show doesn't promote general violence. The only time that the Power Rangers start fighting is against the bad guys in order to 'save' the planet! Who can argue against fighting evil??! Not me!

Two: This show promotes healthy living. By healthy living, I don't just mean exercise and eating nutritional foods. This show does not have bad language, the characters are not disrespectful to their elders, and it promotes friendship and teamwork. I find these to be values that I want my children to embody, and not all the shows they like to watch encourage these. Power Rangers Samurai is one that I know that will continue to show them ways to act that I would support.

As a parent, I am concerned about my children getting enough exercise, and I'll be the first to admit that they probably see me sitting on the couch too much. I like showing them others getting exercise, and am hopeful that this is something they will continue to want to do throughout their lives. To be honest, THEY inspire ME to get more active!!

If your child hasn't checked out Power Rangers Samurai yet, encourage it!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Natural disasters

Hi, ya'll! Yeah, yeah....I fell off the planet there for a while again! I'm sorry about that! I guess maybe if I felt like anyone actually noticed that I didn't write, I would be less likely to neglect ye olde blog, but sometimes I feel like no one does. But then I get to thinking: who do I really write this for anyway? And deep down, I know it is for my own personal satisfaction that I write.

So here I am! I found a neat site that has a blog prompt each day, so I thought I'd put that to use today. Today's question was this:
Have you ever experienced an earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster?


And yes, I actually have experienced some small floods here in the area. Thankfully our own house has only flooded with minor damage twice: once when I was pregnant with Adam, and one other time when Isaac and Adam were little.

We've had some flooding in the area: a big flood in '77 that actually wiped a small town off the map here in the county, and another similar flood in '02, I believe. Neither were here in town, but the one in '02 got close enough for me! One side of the closest bridge to us over the Holston River was closed, and that made me nervous, especially as the mama of a small child at the time!

So there you go: writer's slump cleared! :)