Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Pictures

Here's a look back at 2008 in the life of the Huneycutts. We had a wonderful year full of blessings.
January - - We had several snow days in January. You can tell how broken-hearted Samuel was to miss school.
February - - Samuel & Hannah enjoy a warm day by swinging .

March - - We visited the Air Museum in Gulf Shores on the way back from our Spring Break trip to Florida.

April - - Hannah was a German girl for Montessori's International Dinner

May - - Hannah performed in her first dance recital

June - - a camping trip to Lake Ft. Smith State Park

July - - Swimming lessons at the Swim Ranch

August - - A new year of school brought a new activity, Cub Scouts.

September - - Samuel runs for a touchdown!

October - - Hannah gives a cheesy smile while holding Sleeping Beauty, a gift from Greg Harper, the Panasonic guy.

November - - Hannah made princess cookies for her 4th birthday.

December - - Most of December saw lots of this activity. Wii, wii, and more wii!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Choir Concert

Tonight was our church's Christmas choir program for children's choirs. All three of our children got to sing. It's hard to believe that Hannah is now big enough to sing in "big church." She was so very excited, and has been talking about it for days. Samuel's first and second grade choir was performing a mini-musical called "The Christmas County Spelling Bee." He had a solo and a speaking part and has been singing up a storm for several weeks now. Jacob wasn't particularly thrilled at having to sing in front of an audience, but he gave it his all. He's not the kid who wants to be in the spotlight (unlike the other two). All three kids did so well. We took lots of pictures and finally put our new HD video camera to good use. The quality of the video was amazing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

Thanksgiving already. I can't believe that my week off from school is more than half over! Yikes! I've accomplished a lot, but there is much left to do. We celebrated two birthdays this week - - Hannah turned 4 on Tuesday, and Samuel turned 7 yesterday. On Saturday, we celebrated with Samuel. He invited a few friends from school to go and see Bolt 3-D. The movie was pretty good, but I think I would have liked it better without the 3-D. The glasses were bothersome, and there wasn't really anything that the 3-D was needed for. After the movie, we went to CiCi's for some pizza. I thought it would be an easy place to go with a van full of kids. Evidently, a bunch of other people thought the same thing; the place was packed. Samuel had a great time, though - and what an easy party - - little or no prep! Hannah's bday was a little different. I spent a lot of prep time for her bday bash. When I was in Houston a couple of weeks ago, I went to Williams Sonoma and found a set of princess cookie cutters and an adorable pink princess apron. This inspired the party. I spent several hours on Monday baking sugar cookies and cutting them in various princess themed shapes. I also "made" some pretty cute aprons for party favors. (I had asked my mom to help me make aprons, but we found some ready-made aprons at Hobby Lobby, and I ironed-on a princess transfer. I thought they turned out so cute!) Tuesday morning, some of Hannah's little friends from church came over and frosted cookies and played in her room.

I've also gotten the house fairly decked out for Christmas. The kids and I managed to set up the big tree all by ourselves - quite a surprise to John! I switched out all of my dishes for the Christmas set, and have set out an assortment of Christmas decorations. I was really worried about where the big tree would go because our new tv cabinet takes up the whole wall where we used to put our tree. I ended up moving our big chair out of the corner and putting it across from the other living room furniture. It kinda blocks the fireplace a little, and it doesn't face the tv, but I think it looks ok - and it's only temporary. That way, the tree has a really good location in a corner by the fireplace.

We'll be headed to John's brother's house for a big Thanksgiving meal at noon. I'm sure we'll eat way more than we should! Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bring Your Parents to School Night @ Montesssori

Last Tuesday was Montessori's "Bring Your Parents to School" Night for Hannah's class. I took her, and loved watching her show me all of the "work" she does during the day while she's there. She loved showing off and having her picture made. I took some video of her "reading." I'm hoping that I can manage to post it here.

Presentations & Food

I've accomplished two main things in Houston - - 1.)getting some good new ideas for my classroom AND 2.)adding to my waist line with some really great food!! I have attended several different sessions on teaching world history. I saw an awesome poster presentation (meaning that it was a display you visit rather than a session yous it through - and you get to talk one-on-one with the presenter) on scrapbooking history. The whole project was creating a scrapbook of your "journey through time." I"m thinking of doing this as a final exam project instead of a test! It was really neat. I have visited a couple of good restaurants thanks to some Houston teachers I met sitting outside a conference room. They made all kinds of suggestions of different places that the locals like (rather than tourist spots or standard chains) and gave really good driving directions. The mexican food we ate last night was wonderful!

Tonight, we have free tickets to a special showing of a movie that doesn't come out until January. It's called Definiance. It's by the director who did Glory. It's a WWII movie about Jews in Eastern Europe. It looks really, really good, and I'm so excited that we get to go for free! We're going to go really early to make sure we get a seat. It's first come first served with limited seating. The theater is downtown and not too far from our hotel.

We start home tomorrow. I hope the drive goes by quickly. Nothing like nine hours in the car!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Houston, Texas

I am in Houston getting ready to attend the National Social Studies conference which begins tomorrow morning. I left home yesterday morning (with another teacher from McNair - Terry), and we drove as far as Dallas. We had tickets to see King Tut which was showing at a big museum in downtown Dallas. My nephew, James, and his wife Allison met us at the museum and toured King Tut with us. The exhibit was great! It was neat to see in person so many of the things I've been teaching the kids about ancient Egypt. I had such fun getting to see James and Allison as well. We stayed at their apartment last night and got to visit for a short while. (Thanks James & Allison!) We left this morning and drove the rest of the way to Houston. Our hotel is downtown and is connected to the convention center where our conference is located. It's a really, really nice hotel! The only problem is that this place is crazy because the Latin Grammy Awards are going on across the street from us. There are cops everywhere, and tonight when we were trying to come back from shopping, all of the streets were blocked off. We drove around for 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel. We also saw some crazy teenagers at the Galleria where we went shopping. There were close to 3000 (I kid you not!) teenage girls standing in line to see "Jacob" from the Twilight movie (from the famous Twilight Saga book series). We talked to some of them and found out that they had been standing in line since 3:00 a.m.! Unbelieveable! Terry and I do our presentation tomorrow morning at 10:15. I'm actually kind of nervous. I'll be glad to have it over and done!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall Family Fotos

This week has been a lot like Christmas - - all of our Panasonic stuff is here and finally installed. We've had boxes and packing material everywhere. Our garage is now full of cardboard and some old furniture. On Wednesday, Greg Harper (the guy in charge of the project for Panasonic), flew in from New York City and spent the day with us. He was incredibly nice! He spent several hours showing us the many functions of our still cameras and the video camera. It was a little overwhelming. Two guys from a home theater installation company drove down from Springfield, Missouri and set up the tv, dvd, and home theater system. Our furniture still isn't all here yet, so we made do with using a bookshelf that's about the same height to complete the entertainment center. It's going to take some getting used to (especially figuring out how to turn on everything!), but it's great so far.

This afternoon we headed outside to see some pretty fall leaves and make some family pictures. We went to the Confederate Cemetery, a favorite place for posing in the fall colors. Here are some of our pics:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Tomorrow is Jacob's 9th birthday! It's hard to believe that he is already nine years old! This year, we opted not to have an official birthday party with invitations, lots of kids, etc. Instead, we invited a couple of friends from school to go with us to Fast Lanes in Lowell for some laser tag, bowling, and pizza. I think all of the boys had a great time.

We were able to document the fun with some of our new Panasonic equipment. All of our stuff was delivered yesterday afternoon. It was like Christmas! So many boxes with so much unbelievable stuff. We had permission to open and begin using the cameras, video camera, and laptop. So, of course, we have jumped right in trying to figure out how everything works. We have to wait for the official Panasonic visit this next Wednesday to hook up the television, dvd player, and home theater system. We managed to unload the old tv armoire, move it to the garage (with only minor trouble), and put the new furniture where it needs to be. Unfortunately, the new entertainment center still has one piece that won't be delivered until late December, so it may look a little funny until then. Don't forget to check out The latest contest deadline is next Friday, October 31st. Enter - - you might just win!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2-4-6-8- Who Do You Appreciate?

Samuel! Samuel! We were cheerleaders at yesterday's football game as we watched Samuel rack up four touchdowns! Football season is almost over, and Samuel has had a blast learning to play. He really loves being coached. I just wish we had more time to practice with him and that either John or I could throw a decent pass. Last weekend, one of my students who lives in my neighborhood came over and played football in the backyard with Samuel. Boy, did Samuel love the attention!

My school has gotten some new, fun little video cameras - the flip video. I took one to yesterday's game and took this video:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Face of the Earth

I haven't really fallen off . . . . I have just been really busy. I have pushed the blog world to the back burner for a while. My schedule has remained pretty much the same, but it seems like things are flying by at warp speed. Since my last post, I have been to Little Rock for Praxis Assessor recalibration, an all day training that required me to give up my ticket to the Florida football game (we lost anyway) and be gone all day long. Missing a Saturday at home put me woefully behind on chores of all kinds. I more than made up for it this weekend as I did a whopping twelve loads of laundry! (and another one already tonight)

I go to Silver Dollar City with 110 7th graders on Thursday. I'm really hopeful that the weather will be nice. It has been so warm, and we've only had a little rain. But, it always seems to rain on field trip days.

On Sunday, I go to Hot Springs for the AAMLE conference. Another teacher and I are presenting at the conference; we're doing a session on using GPS units in the middle school classroom. From there, I leave the conference early on Tuesday to drive to Ft. Smith for Pathwise Trainer recalibration. I have a mid-term in my graduate class on Wednesday night and parent teacher conferences on Thursday & Friday. In the midst of this, we were supposed to have the Panasonic people come and install all of our goodies on Thursday, the 23rd (I've rescheduled all of my Thursday conferences), and I got an email today saying that they might not be able to come until the next week. Thus, the craziness . . . . . .

John took the boys on a cub scout campout at Camp Orr (on the Buffalo River) this past weekend. They seemed to have a great time. I was overjoyed that the boys could have some quality time with their dad. I must admit that I was also overjoyed to have a day and half with just me and Hannah. We called it our "girl's weekend." Saturday night, we rented Nim's Island and watched it in our jammies. So fun.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Football Frenzy

Our family is getting football frenzy!  Samuel had his very first flag-football game yesterday.  It was a family affair with grandparents and Aunt Ann in attendance.  Samuel's team finally got their uniforms.  They're the Dallas Cowboys.  His jersey looks really cute on him, but it's about five sizes too big.  Samuel really has the concept of the game and is trying really hard to pull flags (although I think he'd prefer to tackle!) and to follow offensive instructions.  Samuel scored a touchdown at the very end of the game.  He was so excited.  (Last week during a scrimmage, he intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown!)  Fortunately, there aren't too many games in the season, so practices and games will be short-lived and shouldn't eat up too much of our time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Was Sleeping, and Right in the Middle of a Good Dream . .

all at once I wake up . . . . with Jacob telling me that the power is out. Hurricane Ike (a tropical depression by the time it got here) was pelting rain and wind on Fayetteville. Our power was out for about two hours, something that caused Jacob to have an absolute inability to stay asleep. I was sleeping just fine; in fact, I might have slept through the entire storm were it not for the constant updates of "the power's out, the power's back on, the power's out again, it's raining really hard, the wind is really blowing, you should go look outside, etc." This morning, the sun came up, and I couldn't believe it. I thought it was supposed to rain all day long, but it has been absolutely gorgeous! Bright sunshine, blue sky, and cool temps. The high today has been 68 degrees. Just about as close to perfect as you can get.

Now, if you recognized the lyrics from the title, you'll be excited to know that I have been listening to the best of the Partridge family on my ipod this weekend while doing housework. Now, I'm not really old enough for this to be my generation's music; however, I do have older sisters who had this record, and I played it over and over again. John is amazed that I still know every word. John has worked hard over the past few weeks to update music on my ipod, and I now have quite the collection - old music, new music, things I haven't heard for years. Bobby Darrin, Bobby Sherman, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow mixed in with the new Steven Curtis Chapman and the Imperials Greatest Hits. I now know what I want for Christmas - a docking station so that I can force others to listen to my great tunes.

I have had a great school-free weekend (well, almost . . I did work this afternoon on some lesson plans, but they're lesson plans for in the future, and I enjoy doing searching and reading if I'm not under pressure for what I'm doing tomorrow!). I have done some much needed house cleaning (not that you can tell!). I spent several hours cleaning in Hannah's room and closet. I weeded out clothes to consign, clothes to give away, and toys to throw out (shh! I can't let the kids catch me). It's amazing how much I can get done when I don't have my nose buried in a book. I have read about 3500 pages of fiction in the past week. I read the entire Twilight series (I started the first book at the insistence of a student in my reading class; I didn't think I'd like it at all) and I couldn't stop reading until I'd read all four books. Now, if I could just make myself read for my grad class - - history of education. I need to read several chapters on education in the middle ages. Not quite as entertaining as a romance novel.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Official!

We have finally gotten a call from Panasonic. We really did win and will become a part of the Panasonic Living in HD family! I think it took so long because so many of the people working for that part of Panasonic were in Beijing for the Olympics.
We got a more complete listing of all of the incredible things that we'll be getting and have a tentative time for installation. We will be getting a visit and "training session" from one of the top guys, Greg, sometime in early October. (There are several winning families scheduled in front of us.) My sister is excited that he's the guy coming; he's evidently really nice and will be very enthusiastic about helping us get all of our stuff situated and working. I was very excited to find out that the tv is internet capable as is the video camera and still camera. I can post pics directly to the tv. I may even be able to blog on the tv!
John and I plan to go shopping this weekend (if Ike allows us to get out of the house) because we have to find a new piece of furniture for the living room that will hold the tv and other media components. We have to get rid of our large armoire - - fortunately, I think Ann is willing to take it and use/store it until the day we might decide that we want it back. We had the option to have the tv mounted on the wall, but we've decided to get furniture instead. We have to get something new anyway that will hold the dvd player and assorted media stuff like dvds, wii games, etc. That stuff is currently in the armoire that will be going away. Panasonic is giving us an allowance that we can use for furniture or costs incurred in upgrading to HD, electrical work, etc.
To check out the contest, visit Check out my sister, Susan, who is on the website already. It's not to late to enter the next round of the contest, but the deadline is soon!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Well, I'm finally getting around to writing another post. I can't believe that it's been so long. I've written several posts in my head about different things, but never got around to accomplishing much. I have tried to keep up with reading other blogs, though.

Things have pretty much settled into a routine around here. Mornings have been pretty good, actually. I'm now taking Hannah in addition the boys. John's school is starting earlier this year, so he has to be out the door more quickly. I just didn't think I could have Hannah ready to leave by 6:45. (Although, I think she's been ready that early pretty much every day). We try to leave between 6:55 and 7:00 to get to Montessori. That gets the boys back to Vandergriff around 7:20 and me at McNair around 7:25. Yes, it can take five whole minutes to get from the Vandy parking lot to my parking lot; you would not believe the traffic!! The boys still walk to my classroom in the afternoons. We stay long enough to get things wrapped up for the day and anything done for the next day that still needs doing.

Samuel has started football, finally. We were wondering if they would ever find enough coaches. His team is the Dallas Cowboys, which he's excited about. All of the practices are at Vandergriff/McNair, so it's pretty convenient. I think the games are at the Boys & Girls Club across town. Both boys have joined Cub Scouts (I thought we were just going to have Jacob do this, but John came home from the meeting with both boys signed up!). Fortunately, the den meetings are also at Vandy - very convenient, and we don't have to stay. Yea!

Wednesday nights have gone well so far. I take the kids to church for the Wednesday night meal, and John joins us there. The kids leave around 5:30 to go to choir (and then AWANA), and I leave to go to my class at the U of A. John and the kids are done at church around 7:45. My class is out at 8:50. So, there's not too much time when I'm not available - - the kids don't seem to notice that I'm not there (although I'm quite sure that John does). My class, the History of Education, has been ok so far. Not terribly exciting. I have to come up with a thesis for a paper (if I want to be eligible to get an A I have to write a 20 page paper) - - yuck. Any ideas? It can be on anything in the history of education - - anything that I could talk about for 20 pages.

Things at school are going well. I really like my kids this year. They are really sweet. My team is getting along really well too. I'm doing GPS stuff with my classes this week. I have parents coming to help. I'm really hoping that the weather will be ok. We can't really go geocaching in the woods if it's raining. I guess I need to have a movie handy.

John took the kids to church this morning while I"m at home. I woke up on Friday and felt kinda strange. I looked in the mirror to discover that my face was all swollen. I look like I've had my wisdom teeth taken out! I went ahead and went to school Friday morning (because we were having a special team day) but I left around 11:00 to go to the doctor. I have something called Parotitis. It's basically a virus like the mumps, except it's not the mumps (although they did a blood test for mumps!). Yes, I've had the MMR - - like three times! Yesterday was even worse. Jacob told me I looked like I did when I was in the hospital with Hannah - - great, I didn't know that I looked that bad! I told John that I was NOT leaving the house for anything! It's maybe a little better today, but it HAS to be better tomorrow. I have to go to school; a sub cannot do my GPS stuff, and I have parents coming the next day, so we have to do our intro tomorrow. John wants to take a picture of me, but I said no.

So, here's a picture of my little cub scouts. . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Week Down

We all survived the first week of school. Other than being exhausted by the time it was Friday, it was a really good week. I seem to have a really good group of kids. I have to admit to being really worried because we have about 80% boys this year. Putting that many 12-13 year-old boys together in a classroom can be a crazy thing. But, all of our boys seem wonderful. No noticeable behavior problems at all - - which is wild because usually I can tell even in the first week. My team of teachers also seems to be functioning well thus far which is a praise. We have a new team member, and he seems to be catching on quickly and nice and laid back.

The kids all seem to love their teachers. Jacob is the one I worry about the most, just for social reasons, but he seems to be doing well. He is in class with his best friend, a true blessing! Samuel actually seemed disappointed on Saturday morning when I said we weren't going to school. Hannah cheered tonight when I told her that tomorrow is a school day. I just hope their attitudes stay like this in the early morning when we're scrambling to get out the door in time.

We haven't heard anything further from Panasonic about winning the Living in HD contest. However, my sister (the one in China!) has spent the past week with the guy in charge of the contest. She told him about our connection (the one hitch I was worried about), and she said he was cool with the fact that we are sisters. He even remembered our entry and said that what we wrote about Jacob (his intense interest in weather, forecasting, maps, computers, blogging, etc.) is what got their attention. Needless to say that Jacob has pretty much got the big head now. (Of course, I think he is a pretty unique little guy!) We hope to hear something soon. Since many of the Panasonic crew are in China with the Olympics, I'm thinking that's the reason we haven't heard anything.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fabulous First Day

4th Grade - Wow!
new class - P5
first day of first grade

Well, the first day of school has come and gone. For me, it was a whirlwind! The first day always seems like such a blur with the craziness of making sure everyone is in the right spot, assigning lockers (and making sure students can open them!), and giving the same introduction over and over again. My kids all seem pretty sweet so far. I am looking forward to tomorrow which will seem like a more traditional school day. I just hope I can remember all the names and faces that I learned today.

Jacob, Samuel, and Hannah seemed to have a great day as well. They were pretty quick to get up and ready this morning. Well, Samuel was dragging a bit and had to have some prodding. Hannah even got into the excitement and was quick to get in the van and get buckled. We actually left home on time (about 6:55) and got to Montessori in record time. Hannah's new teacher was there to greet us; it's nice to be able to take her to her classroom instead of to an early drop-off room. The transition is just smoother. After dropping her off, we headed back towards Vandergriff and McNair. The boys jumped out of the van (yes, I slowed down) with smiles, ready to go to their new classrooms. They anxiously shared stories this afternoon about their days.

Tonight we went out for ice cream after dinner as a traditional "First Day of School" ice cream treat (an Aunt Ann tradition that seemed like a really good one to me). It was a yummy evening!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Split Again

I went to Vandergriff tonight for a meeting about Jacob's class placement for this next year. He will be in a "split" class again this year - a 4th/5th grade class. This is the second time we've done a split class. He was in a 2nd/3rd split as a 2nd grader two years ago. I must admit that two years ago, I was a little apprehensive about Jacob being with older kids, especially because he was already a year younger than everyone in his grade. I have a little twinge of that this time when I think about my sweet 8-year-old being in class with 5th graders! (Of course, he's almost nine.) We had such a wonderful experience with his split class before (primarily because of his awesome teacher) that I don't really have any big qualms going into this year. Now that I've spent an hour listening to his teacher talk about her plans for this year, I am feeling great about what's in store for him. His teacher appears to be nothing short of absolutely fabulous. I will be praying that she will be understanding of his special quirks and needs, but from everything that I've been told, she will be good for him. Another blessing is that Jacob's best friend is also going to be in this class. That's the biggest praise from my viewpoint. It took him so long to make some friends; I'm glad that he doesn't have to start over in that area. Jacob seems a little apprehensive, but he was excited when I came home excited. Once he knows the routines and gets to know his teacher, I think he'll be fine.Tomorrow is "Meet Your Teacher" day at Vandergriff. We'll go and find out Samuel's class (since Jacob's isn't a surprise) and see classrooms, meet teachers, pick up school supply boxes, etc. Samuel is very excited. His question tonight was, "Do we get to start going to school the next day after that??" He would start tomorrow if he could!Hannah is slowing getting into the school routine. It's been hard for her to start a different class. I'm anxious for her to start with the gal that will be her regular teacher. She'll also be better when tap lessons and tumble time start back.I have Open House at McNair on Thursday night. I'll get to meet the students in my classes as well as their parents. I'm hoping to have my room completely finished as well as the area right outside my room because first impressions are so very important. The kids have seen everything before, but the parents haven't. I can't believe that school starts next week!! I feel like the week is going at warp speed!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ok - I Can't Stand it Anymore!

I just have to share some incredible news . . . . When I got home yesterday (after a very long day at school), I asked John if I had gotten any mail. He nodded to the kitchen table and then said I had gotten something from FedEx. Hmmm. . . . Could it be? I knew when I picked up the envelope that I hadn't ordered anything. I also knew that FedEx would be bringing good news to someone just about now.

I entered a contest sponsored by Panasonic earlier this summer. I wrote a short essay and submitted it online. And guess what??? I won! I keep thinking that it's too good to be true. I had to sign an affadavit that I meet the criteria (age 18+, a bona fide citizen, etc.) and have it notarized and FedEx it back. Of course, I was at the bank at 7:30 this morning taking care of that. I can call tomorrow to insure that they received it. After that, I should get a call from someone in their office giving me more information.

What did I win? You name it; I won it. All kinds of products from Panasonic! You can check it out at

Monday, August 4, 2008

What Goes Down Must Come Up?

We are back home now. The drive back wasn't too bad. We drove from Wisconsin to Kansas City, taking a more western route back than what we took going up there. We stopped at a park alongside the Mississippi River at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It's amazing to me how different this mighty river looks further north. I always think of the way it looks at Memphis (far less scenic and much larger). We passed through one corn field after another, and Jacob found the huge windmills quite interesting.

Jacob got a new atlas on this trip. His last one was literally tearing apart. He continually gave directions and information about the state we were driving through at any given time. I think John could get rid of his gps entirely and just use jps (jacob positioning system)!

To the title . . .what's the worst way a mom can be woken up during night? You guessed it - a sick kid. We woke up on our last night in Wisconsin with Jacob at the foot of our bed telling us that he had thrown up. I hate waking up like that, but unfortunately, that wasn't all . . . Hannah was screaming from the other bedroom. She had been sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor between the boy's beds. Jacob had thrown up ALL over her! The poor thing; it was in her hair, all down her nightgown, and on her toes! John took over cleaning up Jacob (and the small area of floor - Hannah got the brunt of it) and I took Hannah and stuck her in the tub (still screaming). Poor Jacob; I didn't really pay him any attention, and he was the one who had gotten sick. I just felt so badly for Hannah - - soooooo gross! Hannah spent the rest of the night in our bed, and Jacob went back to sleep and was fine in the morning. It must have been something he ate.

I didn't have much time after getting home to plunge into school. I started teaching a 3-day Pathwise Training session today. At least I've done this enough now that it doesn't take hear as much effort or preparation as it used to. I have fun working with Gail, the other trainer. My room is pretty much ready to go. I just have a little more work to do on it. I haven't done any of the work in the area outside my classroom. That will still take a chunk of time. I officially start my contract days on Thursday, and it's a day at my school. I'm hoping that we won't have meetings the entire time, and that I"ll be able to meet with my team, including my new team member that I have yet to meet. (Leah - - it's Ben D., the one you commented about).

Hannah started her new class at Montessori today. She seemed to have a really good day. The class isn't officially open for another two weeks, so she's in with another group of students for the time being, but it's in the room where she'll be staying. I hope tomorrow's drop off goes as well. If she's like the boys, the first day back is easy. The second . . not so much. The boys are staying with my mom, and of course, are having a blast!

John had his MRI today, and he's gotten some indication that all is normal. He also went back to the ENT. There hasn't been very much change. His hearing was tested again, and there's been no improvement with his tonal hearing, but he has improved in the area of speech sounds. He will be continuing to take prednisone for the time being. He has also been told about a doctor in Ft. Smith that specializes in this kind of problem, so he'll be deciding whether or not to go there. He's also considering going to an audiologist who worked with Jacob (and I know her from having her kids in school - - she's a neat Christian lady). He would like to consult with her about different types of hearing aids. If you want more information on his condition, and to see what he's hearing, he's going to put some links on his blog that demonstrate what his type of hearing loss sounds like.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

But I Don't Want to Go!

Those are the words that have come out of Samuel's mouth every time we've said it was time to leave the condo and go somewhere, whether it's to swim, to eat, to ride the Ducks, etc. Every time he has had a blast, but he just doesn't ever want to get up and go!

We are still having a really good time in Wisconsin. We have gone to all six of the waterparks here at our resort. Each kid has a favorite slide or water activity. I'm particularly fond of the lazy river! I just love it that there are indoor parks as well as outdoor ones. We have tended to go to the outdoor ones first (while we're freshly lathered with sunscreen), stayed for a couple of hours, and then headed inside.

On Monday, we went to tour a cheese factory, only it wasn't really a tour. It was watching a "How to Make Cheese" video in the corner of the store. We did try some really good cheese, though. We drove the scenic way to Madison, crossing the Wisconsin River on a ferry. The kids hadn't ever been on one. They were pretty fascinated. We went to a zoo in Madison that a parent from this past year told me about. It was about the size of the Tulsa Zoo, and it was free! The kids really like seeing the animals. The cages were a little different than one I'm used to. We could actually stand about eight feet from two grown lions - with just a fence inbetween. We also went to an interactive science center.

Yesterday, we rode a Duck on the Wisconsin River. It was fun; the kids loved going from land to water - - just driving right in. There were some differences between the Ducks here and the ones in Branson - - no quacking, for instance. This morning we headed out early to Mr. Pancake, the local pancake house. It was really yummy. I had peanut butter stuffed pancakes. After I ordered, I started thinking . . . why do I always pick the really fattening things? Fruit on my pancakes would have been a better choice, I"m sure. But, the peanut butter ones were really good. And, it's not like I ate anywhere near all of them. I was stuff after eating just a little off my plate! After breakfast, we headed out to "The Ranch" to go on a horseback ride. Jacob rode on his own horse - - he did great! He thought it was so much fun. Samuel rode with me, and Hannah rode with John. Hannah whined and cried through the first half of the ride, so much that the trail guide stopped and switched her with Samuel. She was fine after that. I guess she's just a mama's girl. I thought the horses were pretty fun. I guess we'll have to get Katie to take us riding sometime.

I think we're going to hang out and swim for the rest of the day today. Maybe we can find a good movie for us all to watch this evening.

More pics . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We made it to Wisconsin! The drive was long, and I'm really glad we did it in two days. We drove to St. Louis on Friday. We ate a great place in Laclede's Landing downtown (Old Spaghetti Factory) which is wonderful because you get dessert (ice cream or spumoni) included with every meal. Then we went to City Museum for a few hours. The kids loved it! Unfortunately, it's not air conditioned through most of the museum, so it was pretty hot. Of course, the kids had to climb through all the outside stuff too, which was very hot and humid. (City Museum isn't an ordinary museum; it's like a giant art deco playland.) Hannah's favorite was the three-story slide. The boys just loved it all. If we lived in St. Louis, it would definitely be the place to have a birthday party.

We drove the rest of the way to Wisconsin Dells on Saturday. Our condo here is incredible! By far the nicest we've stayed at anywhere. It's huge, new, very posh. Thanks Mom & Dad!! There are six different water parks here at the resort, and all are included for guests and can only be used by guests. Some things were crowded by afternoon, but never too crowded. Some of the water parks are inside which is nice since I can't be in the sun for too long. We did an outside park this morning and an inside one this afternoon. I only had to apply sunscreen to everyone once - nice. Last night and tonight, we let the kids play in a giant indoor playland (no water). It's wonderful just to let them go and sit and watch. (Yes, I did climb through lots but am sore and bruised from City Museum!)

We plan to drive in to Madison tomorrow. The zoo there is free, so we'll probably do that and go to see the capital building. There's a free ferry across the Wisconsin River that is supposed to be really neat. We also want to tour a cheese factory.

Please keep praying for John. His hearing is ever so slightly better, but he's experience extreme tenitis (sp?). That's a reverberation/whoosing sound in his good ear (trying to compensate for the bad ear). It's driving him nuts. He isn't having any bad side effects from the prednisone, so that's a praise. He is still really anxious about whether his hearing will come back. He's being a trooper, though. We're still all having a great time. I've included some trip pictures. I don't have many water pictures yet, so more of those later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please Pray for John

John woke up unable to hear out of one ear - basically not hearing anything at all. He saw an ENT today, and we really expected to find out that he was having sinus problems, and that his eustacian tubes were just stopped up. Instead, we found out that he has a condition called Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The cause is not known. Lasting effects are unknown as well. His hearing loss was measured by an audiologist as moderate/severe, and he thinks it's continuing to worsen. He is going to be taking large amounts of prednisone for two weeks to see if that will improve his hearing. There's a 75% chance that his hearing will return in some capacity, either mostly back to normal or limited improvement. There's a chance his hearing will not come back at all. He will have to get an MRI (when we get back from vacation) to determine if there's a tumor on his auditory nerve (benign) which is sometimes associated with this condition.
We are thankful that only one ear is affected; the other ear seems perfectly normal. We are praying that it will remain that way. Please pray that his hearing will be restored to full capacity and that he won't develop any of the other symptoms associated with this condition (vertigo, loss of balance) - especially while on our trip. Please pray that he will be able to enjoy our vacation and that the kids and I will be sensitive to the situation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huneycutt Family

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Never Ever Mess With Your Layout

. . . unless you really know what you are doing. I was inspired by a custom layout on a friend's blog, and I thought, you know . . . I could surely figure out how to do that. Ha. I went to webfetti and instantly had a new background/layout. I was just playing around and didn't really want to keep the background. But, I could NOT get it to go away. I did all kinds of things to my blog before I figured out how to fix the background. When I finally got the background to go away, I had succeeded in removing all of my pictures, sidebars, etc. The most confusing thing was that I didn't have a page elements tab to be able to try to put it back on. I even enlisted John's help in trying to figure out what I had done. I have spent the last hour trying to figure it out - -- finally, I have things back to a relatively normal state. I was tempted to call my friend, Reba, to tell her my frustrations - - knowing that she would understand. Leah, I need REALLY detailed instructions. Otherwise, my blog will have to not be cutesy.

Monopoly, etc.

The boys have discovered the game of Monopoly. We have played several times in the past few days. One morning, I had intended to get a lot of cleaning done and ended up staying in my pajamas and playing monopoly for more than two hours! I just told myself that making memories and playing with my kids was more important than having a clean house. Of course, based on what my house looks like most days, you'd think we play and make memories all the time! I've been impressed with Samuel's ability to strategize what properties he wants to get as well has his ability to make change. I wish that the boys would realize that they could play without me - - hours of staying busy, how great would that be!
All three kids spent Friday night with John's parents. It was just supposed to be the boys, but Hannah asked all afternoon is she could stay too. I told her that we'd have to ask Grannie Bee which she promptly did as soon as we arrived. Grannie Bee said no at first but then saw how disappointed Hannah looked and recanted. I told her that I thought Hannah would be fine and not any more trouble than the boys. Saturday morning, John's dad (85!) took all three kids to Cracker Barrel for breakfast - - by himself! So impressive! The kids seemed to have a wonderful time, and no one seems worse for the wear.
We've enjoyed swimming a lot this past week. We went to Ann's house several times, and we also went to Ms. Terry's house (a friend from school) when she had a pool day. While there, Samuel busted his leg open, and I thought we might have to get stitches, but a butterfly bandaid seemed to work fine. All three kids have gained a lot of confidence in the water. Hannah is wanting to swim without floaties between me and the wall. I'm so glad that she's not timid like she was last year. It's so nice to have a sister with a pool - - thanks Aunt Ann for letting us come over so often!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Busy, Busy

This past week went by quickly as I was busy with several different school related things. I spent Tuesday & Wednesday working all day with a couple of other 7th grade social studies teachers. This is what I counting for my "swap" days. (In Fayetteville, we can "swap" professional development days that we do in the summer for days off during regularly scheduled professional development during the school year.) Working these two days will allow me to have the whole week of Thanksgiving off. Plus, since the teachers who worked these two days could determine what we worked on, we were able to get a whole lot accomplished. We were able to sketch out lesson plans for the first nine weeks of school. We were able to create several complete new lessons and create some new things using our new textbook materials.
My other school activity was teaching in the Non-Traditional Teacher Licensure Program. This was a first for me. I taught a group of about 80 novice teachers. Fortunately, the topic was one I know well - - Pathwise and Praxis III. The teachers had a lot of questions about doing their Praxis assessment that I was able to answer. I teach again tomorrow (for the second and final time). I'm a little more nervous because I'm using canned materials on professional ethics. I have tried to throw in some of my own stuff to "jazz" it up some. I certainly don't want my audience to feel the way I have felt in many a professional development session (like I want to impale myself with the plastic fork at my table!). It's been a good experience, something new. I think I will have the option of teaching some Saturday classes during the upcoming school year.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Swim Ranch & Basketball Camp

Our house was a flurry of activity this past week with Jacob going to basketball camp and then both boys going to swim lessons. Jacob attended the John Pelphrey camp at the U of A from 9-12:00 each morning this week. I was anxious to see how he would do with going to a camp type environment where he would just show up by himself not necessarily knowing other kids in his group. Fortunately, I did know that a couple of friends from his class were also planning to be there. He didn't get placed in a small group with these boys, but there were a couple of boys from his class this past year in his group. He seemed to really enjoy camp overall. Anything social we can do is good for him. We didn't send Samuel because we thought you had to have finished first grade to be able to go. We found out later in the week that he could have gone. Next year, we'll have to send them both.

We headed each afternoon to the Swim Ranch for swimming lessons. Both boys can swim, but neither are great at specific strokes and skills. Samuel has actually been very timid in the water this year after jumping off the diving board at Ann's house and then panicking. I think it made him think that he couldn't swim anymore. Samuel did have a couple of major fits about not swimming, but he ended up having a lot of fun as you can tell from the pictures. I think both boys will advance to the next higher lane next summer. Lessons were more fun for me this year because a long-time friend was there with her kiddos at the same time. Also, Hannah was able to entertain herself in the puddles and could play with a boy from church while she watched and waited.

We ended the week with a 4th of July party at Ann's house. The kids enjoyed swimming, especially playing with James & Allison. We will miss them so very much ! :( We ate well and enjoyed sitting around the pool and visiting while John played with fireworks. We also enjoyed another exciting round of hide and seek. Lisa broke Matt's record and stayed "lost" for at least 45 minutes. We would never have found her if David hadn't joined the game. The hiding places just get crazier every time.