Happy Birthday, Christine!

It’s my middle child’s 8th birthday. She is getting so tall and is almost as tall as Amie. I bet she’ll be passing her up in a few years. We celebrated yesterday because we thought that we’d be extra busy today with church and all like we normally are. Instead, we are at the house with two sick adults. Yes, Jeremy and I both woke up feeling absolutely yucky. Christine got her birthday present last night… a Crayola kids’ video camera (digital). It takes an SD card, so it works with our Linux computer systems. She has been making a lot of videos. She was trying to save up her money for one a while back. She wanted one after seeing our friend, Martin, with his. We saw him twice this year. Once, while we were down in NC visiting my parents in the spring and then again in May when he came up and visited with us for an afternoon. He videoed the kids both times and she loved it. She seems to be a good director and comes up with some interesting scenes. I’ll have to see about posting the earthquake scene that James starred in on YouTube. I have to check out the other things she’s done today. It also takes pictures, so she’s taken a bunch of pictures with it as well. I’m glad she is enjoying it so much.

Fireproof Movie

Jeremy and I went on opening night. We couldn’t get into the showing we had wanted because it was sold out, so we went to the next one. Jeremy and I enjoyed it. You have to remember that this is only Sherwood pictures third film, so the acting and editing and stuff isn’t as good as many of the Hollywood films, but the message can hit your heart. The story was so good that it had Jeremy crying in a few places. I think he cried more than I did. You know about how it will end from close to the beginning, but the journey from beginning to end is what made it so good. It had some parts I wasn’t expecting and I enjoyed seeing the camaraderie at the fire station. Anyway, I would suggest checking it out. It was good food for my soul.

Another Year Older, But Still Young At Heart

Today is my birthday. It was such a fun day. In August, I got ahold of the leader of a homeschool group somewhat close to here and she added me into their e-mail list since I was joining the group. The first week, I got an e-mail about a field trip on Sept 23 to go to the Shedd Aquarium… for free. Normally, a visit to the Shedd Aquarium would be $140 for our whole family, not including train tickets or food or anything else like that. I’ve wanted to come here since we moved up here and so we jumped at this opportunity. Jeremy took the day off of work and this morning, we woke the kids, I made sandwiches, and we headed out to jump on the 8:16 am train. We enjoyed it so much. I really liked the polka-dot rays (fresh water rays) that we saw. I thought they were really neat looking. I enjoyed sharing my love of zoology with the kids by telling them things that I knew and getting excited about when I learned something new. We went down to the Coral Reef (which would have been another $35 in addition to the above fee if we hadn’t been taking a “school” trip) and that was my favorite place. The kids loved hearing me tell them which fish I had seen when I went snorkling in the gulf when I was on the cruise with my Dad 2 and a half years ago. They were feeding the fish when we were down there and I told them about remembering the fish swarming around me like that because the people on Cococay would feed the fish in their bay and we went snorkling during the feeding time. There were two places the kids enjoyed just sitting or standing at and watching all the different animals swimming by. One was down in the Reef area, where there was on one side, a wall of glass and large sharks, rays, and all sizes of fish were swimming around. The room also had a tank specifically for rays on the other side of the room which went under a partial floor of glass. Noelle loved this. She stood on the glass turning around this way and that to watch the rays swimming around underneath her. She really seemed to like the way they swim. She enjoyed this so much that she hadn’t even realized that the other side of the room was a gigantic wall of glass or that sharks and stuff were swimming in it until I said something to her. All the kids loved having the sharks and saw fish and so on swimming right there next to them. Later, we wanted to rest, and found a tank with smaller sharks and other fish were in it. It also had a huge sea turtle in it which fascinated Amie. I found out later that many of the sea/ocean creatures that were in that tank had been found injured and were not able to function properly in their natural setting so they’d been brought there. I had noticed that the turtle’s back legs didn’t move and that one ray had no tail and another had a huge scar on it’s bottom side.

After lunch and finishing up looking around, we went to the Aquarium gift shop for the kids to pick out some souvenirs with some money that a friend gave us specifically for this purpose. They each had $4 to spend, which wasn’t a lot, but they all found something. After that, we headed out and walked north beside the lake. It was a beautiful day. We walked up to Millenium Park and over to a Baskin Robbins where we stopped to have a snack. The kids still had some stuff to drink left in our bag. Jeremy got me a mint chocolate chip milkshake, my favorite. Then, we checked the time and found that if we wanted to not be on a rush hour train, we had to get to the train station with in the next half hour, so we headed that way and came home.

At home, we just rested for a bit. Well, Jeremy napped, I checked all my Facebook messages, and the kids watched some Tiny Toon Adventures. Then, we had dinner, and we are now in bed. The kids went to sleep very, very quickly tonight. It was a good day. I really enjoyed this birthday… even without cake (or brownies, which is what I prefer.)

Pixiemom Blog Facelift

So, what do you think? Well, those of you who actually come TO my site and don’t get it through Facebook or feed. It’s got a dark background, but I like the purple. I liked the way the purple dandelion seeds danced up at the top and thought it fit my Pixie thing. Pixies dancing with the seeds through the air at night. Yeah, that’s the way I see it. For those who don’t come to my actual site, why don’t you pop in and take a look?

Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

That’s what’s going on here! It’s been raining so much lately. This morning, Charlie cat was doing his “I’m stuck and can’t get out” cry and it was kind of early in the morning, so I got up to find him and figure out what happened in the night to warrant this call for help. He was standing on my sewing table with a few inches of water between him and the stairs to come upstairs. (The good thing… the water didn’t reach the corner where my sewing stuff is, but it came close.) With my cry of horror, all the kids were awake and coming down to see what was the matter. Ugh! The third basement flooding in the time we’ve lived here. The plumber was here this last week and thought we would be okay with this next influx of rainwater, but I guess he was wrong. Jeremy went out and invested in a wet vac while the older two girls (who have rain boots) and I (sitting on the stairs and not in the water) soaked the mop in the water and squeezed it out in our two buckets. James didn’t have rain boots, so when one of the buckets were full, I would hand it to him and he would take it out and dump it. Both of our sump pumps were (and still are) working overtime and our backyard was already completely saturated, so I was having James dump the buckets into the front yard. Jeremy arrived home with a plug for the drain that the water was gushing up out of in our laundry room and got it put in, though he knew it had a small leak still. After Jeremy got the wet vac going and the family room part of the basement was drained of water, I mopped up the yucky stuff. When we were both done, it was past lunchtime so we headed out of the house for some lunch. After coming back home, we relaxed a bit and went down and checked the leak every once in a while and vac’d up the water if it got too high. We noticed that it was getting faster and faster. I headed down to do another load of laundry when it started gushing out again. The plug had come undone. James and I worked on vac’ing it up and emptying the vac as quickly as possible so we could keep getting the water up while Jeremy worked on getting that plug out (it was kind of stuck) and then getting it back in correctly. Altogether, I think we emptied about 140 gallons of water out of our basement.

Oh, and as a good blogger, I took pictures. They are on Flickr and on Facebook.

Yesterday was AnnaBeth’s Birthday

She is now six years old! On Sunday, she was telling a lot of people that she was still 5 but would be 6 tomorrow. If they said she was almost 6, she would tell them, “No, I’m 5!” It was funny.

Anyway, yesterday was really busy. After dropping off Jeremy at the train station, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and got assorted donuts for breakfast (none with filling… too messy) and a Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cake for our dinner dessert because she’d been saying that she wanted an ice cream cake for her birthday. (Yes, Mom, I already had it when I talked to you, but couldn’t say since AnnaBeth was right there and it was a surprise.) Amie and James helped me get it into the freezer without her seeing it. A birthday is a school vacation when you are homeschooled, so the kids enjoyed the day even though it was rainy all day. We took AnnaBeth and Noelle grocery shopping with me in the morning and let AnnaBeth pick out the ingredients for her special dinner (it was soooo hard… Kraft Mac n Cheese with tuna mixed in) and I got some soy ice cream for James. I found potato bread for 99cents a loaf, so I picked up enough to last us a little while. I love potato bread! Then we headed to Target because the cats were low on food and litter. We also picked up something specifically Chicago-ish for baby Benjamin. After lunch, I took AnnaBeth to a thrift store and let her pick out a pretty dress. It’s not often that she gets a dress that the other two older girls didn’t wear first, so even though it isn’t “new”, it is still special to her. After picking up Jeremy, we made dinner and the kids had fun with the paper plates that AnnaBeth picked out for her special dinner. Then we had the cake, she blew out her candle, and opened her presents from us. We got her a “Prayer Circle Friends” Eunice the Lamb book and an “Adventures In Odyssey” CD set to listen to the stories in the car on trips or on the computer at home. The kids have sat in front of the computer listening to a few of them already. They really enjoy listening to the stories.

Anyway, it was a good day, even though it was busy.

Friday Felicities for Sept. 5, 2008

Dana has inspired me to do this because I get stressed during the week and this helps me to focus on the good things that have happened in the past week. I had a friend of mine who had always been told the bad stuff and so she focused in on the bad and as humans, we seems to let the bad stuff overwhelm the good that happens. I told this friend to make a list of the good things that happened each day until she was able to focus and dwell more on those than on the bad things that happened. I started doing the same thing. This is kind of the same only it is going over the good things that happened this last week. Of course, you all have heard about some of these things already, but it’s just good to list them out and thank God for these blessings He has given us.

1. found an awesome homeschool group

2. Christine is doing well on her reading.

3. Pastor and his wife are so wonderful to work with at our church.

4. We found the harder children’s book section at the library so Amie and James were able to get books more in their reading level yesterday.

5. School is going better this week than it had been in the previous two weeks.

6. The kids got their bicycles this week which helps James to get more of his energy out.

7. (THE BEST IS SAVED FOR LAST!) My sister had her baby! A boy, Benjamen! That gives my parents 8 grandchildren, with 6 girls and 2 boys. James is very happy to have another male even if he is 9 1/2 years younger.

A Story by Noelle

Once there was a Honey and she loved her Mom. The Honey grew up and got married. She got married in Carolina. Then she was a mom and she had her own Honey.

For clarification: Noelle’s definition of Honey is a loved daughter. She got it because I call her “honey.” It took me a while to figure out what she was talking about when she was pretending that she had a honey. She once told me that when she grows up, she will have lots of honeys and lots of boys.

Labor Day and Roller Coaster Day

Well, first let me tell you all about my Labor Day since all you guys have heard about it so far is that I have a new nephew. (Pics taken by Jill’s mother-in-law are posted on my Flickr.)

On Monday, we got up a bit early because I had to be at our church at 8:30 am to work on the float for the town’s Labor Day parade. Jeremy dropped me, Amie, and Christine off at the church and went home to finish getting the other three dressed and fed. The others arrived at 9:30 am, in time to get on the float and get to our spot. The parade actually started at 10:30 am. We practiced the VBS songs to do movements with while on the route and then it was time to take off and go. We headed out and then found how hard it is to try to dance on a moving platform that wasn’t going the same speed all the time. I had to keep at least one knee on a chair the whole time to help with my balance and even then I almost fell a few times. After we were done, I got the call from my sister that she was at the hospital. Every one on the float had heard me asking for prayers for her during this pregnancy, so when I started jumping up and down saying, “Oh yay, the baby is coming!” They all knew what I was talking about and we had a bit of cheering going on. It was cool.

After that, we were invited to a friend’s house to swim. I actually put on my swim suit and got into the water. It was hot out on Monday! AnnaBeth didn’t really get into the water, but the others did. Noelle has a life jacket like thing and she’s learned how well it helps her to float, so she was enjoying being in the water as long as I was holding onto her, whether just her hands or more, it didn’t matter. We did some bouncing and I accidentally got her under once, but she learned to keep her mouth shut and hold her breath after that and did better though she didn’t want to go that far down again that time. Maybe next time.

I got sick that evening and felt pretty bad most of yesterday as well. I slept quite a bit yesterday (but still kept the kids on their school schedule… yay). Today I was feeling mostly better. I was happy to be feeling better since a Homeschool picnic was today for a group in a nearby town. The kids really enjoyed it and I had fun meeting other mothers. The kids made one particular friend who happened to be the daughter of the one lady who I was talking to the most. Her daughter is very outgoing and has a vivid imagination, so she got along wonderfully with my kids. After coming home, we had some tempers flair (not mine, mine never flairs!!! *halo hovering*) and some kids who were just so tired that they fell asleep as soon as they let themselves relax (one on the toilet, one on the couch… I moved the one on the toilet.) Then we fixed dinner and headed to church. Pray for our church. I’m in a stressful place right now and I know God has put Jeremy and I here for a reason, but it is always so hard when we are going through these times. Let’s just say that there was a confrontation of which I didn’t really take part IN, but of which I was still a part OF. Anyway, after the meeting, I had to take over for the Children’s Praise Dance leader as she was unable to make it, so I missed adult choir. We had two new kids for the Praise Dance team and they seemed to enjoy it.

Now I’m home and the roller coaster seems to be smoothing out for the end and I must go to bed. I’ll talk to you all later!

He Has Arrived!

Benjamin came around 6:02 pm weighing in at 7 lb 9 oz.

Now THIS was a LABOR day!

Edit to add: He has had some trouble breathing, so they have put him in a transitional room. Not NICU, but has more nurse attention than a regular room. I’ll let you all know how he is doing.

Edit (again) to add: He is doing well and is in a regular room now. Yay! Oh, and I found out that he is 19 inches long.