Sunday, March 23, 2008

NCAA Fever

Has NCAA fever hit your house? We have one with severe symptoms and one with mild symptoms and then several who are dealing with headache and fatigue that come from caring for one with the fever.

Jacob has gone college basketball crazy! I gave him a bracket to fill out. I took a picture of it so that you could see his predictions. I don't know what's up with his spelling! Uncle Terry will be happy to see that Tennessee will make it to the final game but not so happy that Jacob has picked UCLA. Based on what I've seen of both of those teams, my money is on Memphis and North Carolina! Our poor Hogs are getting bacon made out them even as I write this post. Oh well. We've had more fun watching Razorback basketball this year than we've had in a really long time.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Panama City Beach - Spring Break '08

on a hike around Gator Lake
the whole crew at the beach
home sweet camper
the beach at sunset
pirate Hannah
celebrating Ann's St. Patrick's Day birthday

We just got back from a spring break trek to Panama City Beach, Florida. This is our third time to visit the beach for the week, traveling in our pop-up camper. We spent the night in Mobile on the way down. The whole trip is about 15 hours. This year, my parents and my sister, Ann, and her family also made the trip and camped right along side us. We set up camp in St. Andrews State Park which is located on a peninsula that sticks out into the Gulf of Mexico. It's a really nice park because it has wooded campsites that back up into sand dunes, and it also looks out into a sheltered lagoon area. The park is always packed with other spring breakers, but the sites (even though close together) feel pretty private. Because it's a state park, alcohol isn't permitted, so that keeps the rowdier crowds away. Ann's trailer was next to ours, and my parents were kitty-cornered across the street. We were just a short walk from the bath house which was nice because the boys could go by themselves. The loop we were on wasn't terribly large, so the boys could safely ride their bikes around until their hearts content.

We spent a couple of days playing on the beach. Lisa, my niece, is a sand castle architect! My kids really enjoyed watching/helping her with her construction efforts. All three kids enjoyed the really cold water, but Jacob especially loved the huge waves. There were red or double red flag warnings each day, so the kids couldn't really do much more than wade. Samuel loved flying his new spiderman kite.

My sister, Susan, and her family were vacationing further east along the gulf and were able to join us for an afternoon on the beach. It was great fun to see her and for our kids to play together.

Our one scary event was losing Samuel. We were all gathered to eat dinner outside my parents' camper. Samuel had been in our camper, and I had just seen him hanging out the door. I called him to dinner, but he didn't want to come. A few minutes later I had John go get him only to find out that he was gone. We began searching, calling his name, walking all through the camp area. Just about the time we all started to get very panicked, Samuel stood up out of a large palm bush right by my parents' camper. He had been hiding the entire time! Turns out, he didn't want to eat dinner and thought we would make him eat anyway. Needless to say, he got in BIG trouble. I don't think he'll be disappearing anytime again soon.

On the way home, we stopped at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. This is an awesome museum! (not to mention, it's free) The kids, all three of them, were really fascinated by the airplanes. We only spent a couple of hours there, but we could definitely have spent way more time. We were fairly late arriving in Jackson, our overnight spot for the way home. We made it home on Friday around 6:00 p.m.

Seven loads of laundry later, I am ready to start looking at some pictures of the fun we had.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame (I would if only I could get there!)

My stress level has just greatly increased! I got an email from Samuel's coach telling us about the first practice. I found out that practices are going to be on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m. I have faculty meetings on Wednesdays, and they typically last until 4:00. We go to church on Wednesday nights, and I lead kindergarten choir that starts at 5:30. We eat dinner at church as well (before choir). Did I mention that the park where they practice is on the other end of the earth from our house, school, and Montessori? It is relatively close to church (relatively speaking). So . . . . what am I to do? I have to figure out how to be in two places at once. I know this is a typical problem for moms of school-aged kids. For this very reason, we didn't allow Samuel to play soccer this spring. We made him choose one activity. He really wants to play baseball. I never dreamed that practice and/or games would be on Wednesdays. I guess it's not really "church night" anymore for most people. I may be able to get someone to fill in at choir for me (at least until I can get there) until I get the conflict resolved.

On a brighter note, I think I have found someone to borrow a crayon maker from. If he still has it. I should be able to find out tomorrow. That would definitely make my invention process easier. I'll take anything being easier just about now.

A prayer request: This is the time of year when we have to apply to pull Hannah out of Montessori for the summer and not lose her spot. This has never been a problem in the past, but as always, they threaten that we won't be able to get back in the same class (which would make me VERY unhappy). Please pray that this situation will work out. It will save us a large chunk of change to not pay for two months of daycare!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"It's Just Wrong!"

That's Samuel's take on Daylight Savings Time. Samuel had an emotional morning as we tried to convince him that it was really an hour later than what most of our clocks said that it was. I guess we should have been careful to change all of our clocks last night so that they would be correct this morning. Samuel just kept saying, "It's just wrong; it's just wrong!"

Today at lunch he said something else funny. We were talking about basketball teams and the fact that North Carolina beat Duke (the underdog). Samuel said he was going to be for teams that were the "upperdog," not the underdog. I guess that's because he wants to be sure of winning!

Today is finally a gorgeous day! I am hoping to get some trip preparations (for our spring break trek to Florida) done this afternoon. I also need to spend more time working on my "invention" for my graduate class. I finally came up with an idea. Now, I just have to figure out how to create it.

I am trying to make clear crayons. These would be used to help teachers with grading. When students grade their own papers (especially at the middle school/junior high age), there's a pretty big chance that students will change some of their answers. If they color over their answers with a crayon before grading, they can't erase/change their answers because of the wax from the crayon. The problem with using colors is that sometimes kids color too darkly or there aren't enough light colors to go around. Thus, the idea of the clear crayon. I haven't decided on a name yet. Maybe "Gradeables" the self-grading marker. I can't seem to figure out something to use for a mold in which to melt my wax. Ann brought over some plastic test tubes that would be the perfect size and shape, but we couldn't get the hardened wax out of it. Crayola makes a crayon maker, so I may have to break down and buy one. Any ideas?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Go Hogs!

What a game! We had a rare treat yesterday to be able to go to the Razorback basketball game. My intern gave us four tickets to the game, so John and I got to take both boys. Although both boys have gotten to attend a game this year, we've never had more than two tickets at a time. It was fun to be able to go as a family (minus Hannah, but she wouldn't have liked sitting there for that long!) and sit together. And, what an incredible game it was! We were ahead most of the game, but in typical fashion were neck and neck right at the end of the game. (Of course, it wouldn't have been such a close game if we had decent officiating!) The Razorbacks pulled it out and beat Vanderbilt!!

We also had fun walking through campus to and from the game. The weather was so nice. I can't believe all of the changes that have taken place on that side of the University. I obviously need to drive around more often so that I'm not so surprised at new buildings, parking garages, etc. Did you know that the new parking garage is the largest parking garage in the state? Go figure.

How are your new year's resolutions going? I'm still doing well at drinking water, although not as good this past week. My exercise goal has gotten a good work out this week. We bought an elliptical machine so that I can get some quality aerobic exercise without having to leave home. Finding any time (other than the middle of the night) to go somewhere - even to walk in the neighborhood - was too great of a challenge for me to overcome. So far, so good with the elliptical. I've gotten up early every morning to work out before my shower. I'm up to 20 minutes. My goal is 30 minutes every day. My quiet times still need some work. I'm having a hard time being consistent. I've tried morning as well as night. I just can't seem to get into a good routine.

Family worship was really good tonight. The kids are very enthusiastic about this time. John went last week and bought new guitar strings for his guitar. He pulled it out tonight to attempt to play some praise music. Although a little rusty (How long has it been, honey? 15+ years maybe?), he can still play some recognizable chords. I bought a family worship book by Ruth Graham. It has good selections for the ages of our kids - at least the younger two.

I've been thinking about adding a recipe section to my blog. Maybe a recipe of the week? I love trying new things. Maybe some of us could share some recipes!

Have a great week!