Friday, November 30, 2007

Alternative Housing Materials

I was watching FOX news this morning and they had a story about people in, I think it was, Florida that are using steel storage containers for housing material. These storage containers have sat at the harbor and were not being used. Builders are finding the steel to be an excellent material to use in these new houses. Very strong. The houses look "normal" on the outside, but inside all the walls are made from the steel. I told Scott, "Look! They are using steel! Our metal house idea is not so weird." Actually, if you look on the net there are a lot of companies that make metal buildings. Using metal/steel buildings for homes is becoming more and more popular.

Another alternative house was in my December Country Home magazine. A couple bought a 22 acre farm in Wisconsin and instead of living in the house on the property (which was older), they chose to remodel and live in the huge Scandinavian-style barn. Wow! It is absolutely gorgeous. Wide spaces, airy, warm wood everywhere....yet it still looks like a house. I was curious as to how they insulated such a large area. I found out that they insulated with a sprayed-in-place foam from the outside (then residing), which preserved the interior woodwork.

In This Old House magazine a couple remodeled an industrial building that used to be used for making eye glasses. It was interesting because they chose to leave a lot of the industrial/architectural details. It was a lot of work to fix it up, but now they have this really cool loft home.

Scott and I have been looking over house plans for the past few days. We've been discussing options. It is exciting to think about building our own house. There are so many interesting products/materials out there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Golden Compass

I guess everyone has heard about this movie that is coming out next week. I suppose you've probably also heard about the trilogy of books that the movie is based on. The author, a Mr. Phillip Pullman, is not only a self proclaimed atheist, a hater of C.S. Lewis (and his Narnia tales) but in his own words wants to "kill God in the minds of children." His views are obviously tied up in secular humanism.

I've read several articles about this movie and about the author. I looked up Mr. Pullman and found out a lot of interesting information about him. This all got me to thinking. Contemplating. This movie is but one example (be it Hollywood or the books) of how the world wants the hearts, minds and souls of our children. What better way for the Father of Lies to create more darkness in the world then to steal and corrupt our children? Wrapping the sin of the world up in a pretty package is just what he wants. If we as Christians don't teach our children God's word, then who do we think will? Putting on the full armor of God is no small thing. Nor is it a small battle that we fight. It is hard core, full out, lives at stake... war. Now, I don't know about you but I have no plans on sacrificing my children to the gods of this world....and make no mistake about it, this world wants your children too. As Christian parents we are called to talk with our children daily about God and what He says in His Word. It is to become such a part of their lives that they are able to face the world head on with conviction. No matter what. Am I a perfect parent? No. Do I make mistakes? Of course I do. Being a godly example is one of the most difficult jobs there is, but I am not called to give up. Or to give in. I am called to keep running the race.

There is a wonderful book called Praying The Bible for your Children. It is by David and Heather Kopp. Page 148 of this book has the Armor of God Prayer based on 2 Corinthians 10:4. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

They go on to say-- Praying Ephesians 6:10-18

Lord, today I pray that You will equip my child for spiritual battles: Help_______ to put on Your full armor so that when the day of evil comes, he may be able to stand his ground, and after he has done all he can do , to keep standing. (v.13) Show my child how to buckle the belt of truth around her waist and how to fasten the breastplate of righteousness in place. (v.14) Fit my child's feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (v.15) Give my child strength to take up the shield of faith, with which he can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (v.16) Assure my child,_____, that she wears the helmet of salvation, and help her take up the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word (v.17) And after my child is clothed with Your armor, may he continue to stay alert to evil and pray at all times for himself and others. (v.18) Amen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hmmm...I Don't Know About That.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.... a famous line, but is it true? Hmmmm....I don't know about that.

I got a name book from the library a few weeks ago. It is very interesting. It contains lists of popular names and what years that they were the most popular. It has name trends and meanings of names. That is where it became interesting. I've looked up everyone that I know. Then I think to myself, "hmmm...does this name suit this person?" I find in most cases it does. I am a firm believer in people living up to their names. That is why it is my opinion that parents should be very careful in what they name their children. I've never understood the silly names that Hollywood stars pick for their children. Apple? Moon Unit? Coco? Satchel? Just strange. I bet they will have strange kids too. When I taught school, boy did I hear some good ones! Precious. Treasure. Princess. Too sugary. Then there are the students with car names like Porshe, Mercedes, and (my fav) one of my former students named ALexus. Not Alexus, but A-Lexus. Named after her mom's favorite car. Puh-leeze people! These children have to live with these least until they are old enough to have them legally changed. haha.

Okay, here is what the book said. You tell me what you think.

Dawn (that's me!) English for Sunrise, New Beginnings ----- I like it. I think I'll keep it!

Scott English for "from Scotland" That pretty much explains itself. He has ancestors from Scotland so that is neat. Also a familiar English form of Prescott.

Bradley English, meaning broad meadow. He does love running around outside in wide open spaces. So we will go with that.

Kendrick Scottish for royal chieftain. His daddy and mommy's only son and the only grandson for a long time. At least I didn't name him Henry V or George VI or something:)

Breanna Irish for strong, virtuous, and honorable. Strong is a good word for Breanna. Stubborn is another. he he he...

Ruth Hebrew for friendship. It fits. She is a great mom and friend.

Dorothy is Greek for gift of God. She is the best aunt ever. She has definitely been a gift to me.

Rebecca Hebrew for tied and bound. Hmmmm.... I would think, like the biblical Rebecca who was bound to her husband. Becky is a good wife so that works. Her husband, Eric, is Scandinavian for ruler of all or English for brave ruler. He is a godly husband and head of his household. Definitely fits. Their girls are Hannah, Hebrew for gracious. Bethany is Aramaic for house of figs. Interesting. She will be fruitful. Lastly there is Abigail, which is Hebrew for father's joy. That says it all.

Christa is the shortened form of Christina (German) which means Christian, annointed. Wow. That is a great name to live up too. A follower of Christ.

Ernest is English for earnest and sincere. Also a good choice. Two great character traits.

Jessica is Hebrew for wealthy. There are many ways to be rich in this life, and having lots of money has nothing to do with it. Jessica is rich in a lot of things that money can't buy. Her daughter,Cheyenne, is a tribal name...and her son Kade is Scottish for wetlands or the americanized version meaning a combination of the initials K and D. Her husband Eddie, is English for a familiar form of Edgar, which means successful spear man. Okay, Jessica you figure that one out! His sons are Dusty, form of Dustin which is German for valiant fighter. Wyatt is French for little warrior. Cool.

Brittany, English meaning from Britain. That speaks for itself. Her daughter Natalie is Latin for born on Christmas day. Her husband is Nathan and his name is Hebrew for Nathaniel, who was a biblical prophet. Stephanie is Greek for crowned and her son is Joseph which is Hebrew for God will add, or God will increase.

So after reading this, do you agree? Names are interesting things.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Work That Makes You Happy

I've heard it said that if you find something in life that you love to do, it won't seem like work. (even if it is!) Now, I did enjoy my teaching job. It was always more about my students then the actual teaching, I guess. I enjoy people so it is only natural that I'd like to teach. Though in all my many years of teaching I never felt I was good enough. Whatever "good enough" means. I suppose I always wondered if someone could teach these children better than what I could do? I tried to make learning fun. My personal philosophy is that learning should be fun. It shouldn't be something that children are "forced" into, but more along the lines of something that they just can't help themselves from...the love of learning that will last a life time. I think people who stop learning are boring. I really mean that. We've all met people like that. The kind of person that you can't get away from soon enough because they haven't told you anything new in the past 10 years. On the other hand, don't you love the kind of people who never stop learning and they are all the time saying things like, " I read somewhere that .......", or " let me show you this cool new thing I found out about....", or " what do you think about so and so....tell me your opinion."

Besides the teaching, another thing I really have fun with is decorating. I've always been a very aesthetic person. I love the way things it beautiful architecture, the morning sun streaming through the window, a perfectly placed pillow on the couch, a well prepared meal, or beautiful children in their Sunday best. I've always loved to decorate. I like to run my hands over the softness of chenille, or the crispness of fine linens. I love to feel the texture of high thread count sheets, or the creaminess of silk. I'm absolutely terrible when I go to places like Bed, Bath and Beyond because I'm always touching things! Just between you and me, I've been tempted on numerous occasions to throw myself head first onto one of those makeshift beds they have there. You know the kind that they display their sheets and comforters on. They always look so fluffy and soft. I just want to try it out. But alas, I've managed to contain myself for fear of them calling security on me. I have a ton (probably literally) of decorating books that I can sit for hours and look at. I also subscribe to at least 3 different magazines that teach me how to decorate. Now you might be thinking to yourself, "Why is decorating important in the big scheme of life? How is decorating going to make the world a better place?" This is true. Good decorating is not going to bring world peace...but it is still fun and I like it a lot. I enjoy painting. I like to refinish furniture. I think stenciling is fun. I believe organizational strategies for the home are a gift from the Almighty. Yeah, I've got it bad. I'd watch HGTV all the time if Scott would let me. I used to subscribe to This Old House and actually managed to get my hands on a copy the other day. I read an interesting article on remodeling a loft in NYC and a good article on engineered wood products. Okay. I admit that might seem a bit strange, but then again I never said that I wasn't strange. It could be worse, ya know. I could want to be a politician:)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I've seen several people around here that have their lawns decorated for Christmas. Now when I say "decorated" I'm not talking a few lights, maybe a wreath on the door. I'm talking about yards that look like the Las Vegas strip. I'm talking about so much blinking that if I was prone to seizures, all the flashing lights might cause me to have an episode. These people had to have bought every Christmas novelty that is on the market. It seems like every blade of grass has a light on it. Reindeer are flying over the house, and fake snow is blowing in those huge plastic snow globe balls. I wonder how long it took to get all this stuff up? I was working up a sweat just thinking about all the work that it would take to pull off this lighting-blinking extravaganza. I do like to take the kids to look at the lights. Certain subdivisions are better than others when it comes to this sort of display. Of course, I wouldn't want to be these people when they get their January electric bills!!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Just Can't Help It

Alright, I admit it. I've been having a movie marathon over the past 2 days. I love watching the cheesy Christmas movies on ABC family. I just can't help it. I know most of the movies have very predictable plots, the guy always gets the girl, and everyone is home for Christmas. Okay. Fine. But I still like them. Hey, we all have to have our guilty pleasures. Scott just smiles and shakes his head at me.

Tonight, White Christmas, is on. That is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. I also love to watch Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, and The Bishop's Wife. I prefer the old black and white movies, but the new ones are fun too.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's all a part of the plan...

Scott and I have come to a conclusion. The house that we NEED is not any of the houses that we've been FINDING while on our house hunting adventure. I have scanned the internet and spoken with at least 4 different realtors. I have looked at houses until my eyes have crossed. We went on our trip to Ohio and looked at several houses. Nice houses but just not what we really need. So.....we got to thinking about building our own house.

Now keep in mind that this is just in the planning stages. We are going to need to buy land first. We have been looking into steel/metal buildings. Steel is strong, durable, and one doesn't have to worry about rotting or warping wood as the house ages. Metal buildings don't require painting or a roof that needs re-shingled. On the outside the building would be metal, but on the inside it would look like a "normal" house. We could get A LOT more space in this type of building then in a conventional style house for less money. That sounds like a deal to me.

When Scott first mentioned this idea I was a little unsure. Okay, I was skeptical....but I wasn't against it. I had a bunch of questions. Would the house look like a warehouse building? Would people driving by, mistake it for a metal barn? Then the idea quickly started to grow on me. Higher ceilings, much more room, larger spaces, storage areas......yet, we could put up walls inside the building and add all the "expected" house things inside and it could still be cozy. So now I'm excited about the possibilities.
We have also talked about making a small cabin for our family to live in for 6-7 months, on our property, while the house is being built. The cabin would be small, but we could do this for a short period of time. (especially, if I know I'll have a great deal of space in the near future!) After the house is built and we could move in, the cabin would then be used as a guest house. We could have friends and family visit with us in Ohio and yet they could still have their own space (think some privacy) while staying with us. That would be neat, huh?

There is so much to think about, and so much to be done. We realize this. I am sure that Scott and I will have many, many planning sessions over a good cup of coffee. Scott has already called and talked to a man in Clark county Ohio about zoning , just to get an idea. We've been to Home Depot to price materials for the cabin. It sure would be nice if we could have all "our ducks in a row" before spring so we could then get started. The dream is to be in our new "industrial-style" house by next Christmas. That would be so great! I'm sure there will be many blogs about all of this in the future. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends.

May you look back with gratitude and look ahead with a good attitude. Take time to thank God for all He has done to bless.... and forgive yourself for all the rest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I have a theory...

I have a theory that laundry multiplies faster than rabbits on speed. My theory suggests that for every one piece of laundry that must be washed, 2 more take it's place. If one puts off doing the laundry for a few days than the pile of dirty clothes becomes unmanageable. I found some of Scott's socks trying to sneak off underneath the bed skirt. I caught them just before they were able to completely sneak off under the bed to multiply. It was a close call. My underwear supply is getting dangerously low. I don't like that feeling at all. I mean what if I happen to be in an accident? The rule is that one MUST have on clean undies, I wouldn't want hospital staff laughing at me. I can just hear it now, " Hey Doc, look at this lady! She has on dirty underwear. Didn't her mama ever tell her about the clean underwear rule?" Laundry is such a pain. Gather it, sort it, put it in a basket, get it in the machine, dry it, fold it, put it away. Only to start over again. Ugh!! Yes, I get the kids to help with this unrelenting task, and I do appreciate their help, but I'm still the laundry CEO. The buck stops with me...or should I say the stinky sock stops here?!

Oh, just great! I hear the dreaded buzzer on the dryer. I suppose that means I must get up and go get the laundry.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Samson has us trained

Samson is one of our cats. He is a long haired cat with a lopsided ear. He is a blackish-brown color (depending on the light). The thing is this--he is most definitely a cat, but he truly believes he is human. What is really scary is that in the morning I'm the only one up (well, I should count Samson...he's always up when I'm up) and so I am TALKING to the cat while I fix my breakfast and fix the morning coffee. He looks at me and I believe he understands me. (What does that say about me? Either Samson is a very smart cat or I am so pitiful that I've taken to a Dr. Doolittle persona.) He really is a funny cat. He LOVES paper. Anytime there is paper on the floor ( and he is not picky) newspaper, textbooks, a W-mart bag, whatever... He goes and lays down on it. What is his love of paper all about? Just recently he has taken to patting the french doors off the kitchen. He wants out on the deck. I think he likes to watch the birds. Now all he does is sit and stare at one of us until we let him out on the deck. If that doesn't work he gives us a pitiful meow. Right now he is staring at me. I looked at him. He turned his head. Now he is ignoring me. I've been slighted. Fine!! You win. I'll get the door.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dumb Blondes or Dumb Men?

Yes, I realize that this is my second blog for the day, but I just couldn't let this one go.

I just saw a story on FOX news about how men act dumber around blondes. Is that hilarious or what? Now being that I'm a blond twice over (blond throughout childhood, hair darkened in young adulthood---I didn't like it, so I chose to take matters into my own hands and make myself blonde once again) I found this story interesting of course.

Yes, I know there are all those dumb blonde jokes out there (written by envious brunettes, I'm sure) and that some people see blondes as ditzy or goofy, but I beg to differ. All of us know (and yes, as I said, I am a blond) that hair color has nothing to do with ones intelligence. Ladies, let's face it, blonde, brunette, redhead, black, hey even if you have purple act goofy and silly around pretty women regardless of what color their hair is. That is just men for you. This is not big news. This is just the way it is.

Alright, guys before you get mad because I stated you act goofy around pretty women, just get over it. You know I'm right.

Thanksgiving Or How I Am Blessed

Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on me...and well, here it is again! This Thursday is the big day. I try to think about all the things I'm thankful for and all the ways I've been blessed on a fairly regular basis, but this week I'm especially thinking about it.

There are all the obvious things that I am thankful for... food to eat (never have I gone hungry), a house to live in (never have I had to worry about shelter), clothes to wear (I have a nice warm coat for this cold weather), and good health (yes, I have some health issues, and though they can be a nuisance, they are nothing life threatening).

There are things that I am thankful for that are unique just to me. Things that have personal significance and mean so much, even though on the surface some of these things might seem odd for me to be thankful for.

I'm thankful I was born in the United States.... I've always enjoyed freedoms that so many in other lands do not have. I never had to worry about bombings, oppressive regimes, or starvation while growing up. I've always been proud of the country I live in and think that even though we might have some problems, we are still, hands down, the best country in the entire world.

I was born into a loving Christian family. I had parents that loved me and made sure I was taught about Jesus. (I've always thought my mom is one of the most intelligent women I know....hope some of that has rubbed off on her eldest daughter!) We attended church weekly and I knew that God loved me and Jesus died for me. I'm thankful that in 1979 I made a decision to give my life to the Lord and then to follow in baptism.

I'm thankful for my sister. I don't tell her enough that I think she is a great sister. Sure she drove me nuts many times as we were growing up. She mercilessly antagonized me until I blew up and threatened her life.....but I also remember playing with her, wanting to share a bedroom with her for a while, and having her hang out with me when I was in college and she was still in high school. She is now a great wife and mommy and I am proud of her. (though even now she likes to challenge me and beat me at games whenever she can!)

I'm thankful that I have relatives that lived close by my entire growing up years so that we could get together on a regular basis for birthday parties, holidays, and just to hang out with each other. My cousins were more like brothers and sisters then cousins. I'm thankful for all my wonderful memories from childhood, memories I look back on with an affection that can never be replaced.

I'm thankful I had the opportunity to attend a small Baptist liberal arts college, 500 miles from home. I learned to live on my own. I made friends. I took on responsibilities. I studied hard. I graduated with a bachelor of science degree.

I'm thankful for my very first job in a small, rural town in the mountains of Tennessee. I was an outsider. (Sort of a modern day "Christy".) I grew to love my students and they grew to love me. I'm so glad I started my teaching career in that school system. I learned a lot about people. I learned that poor doesn't mean ignorant, and that community pride is contagious. After that experience, I went on to teach individuals with special needs over the next 15 years and have gained many hilarious, touching, and sad stories to think back on and muse over. I feel like I made a positive difference in the lives of my students and their parents.

I'm thankful that I married when I was 24 to a man that taught me a lot of things about life, and then taught me a lot of things about dying. When he got diagnosed with his terminal heart condition I learned about human nature and emotion and how he dealt with the knowledge of knowing he was dying. Dying can be a difficult, scary and ugly business. (After all, we are all dying it is just that some of us realize this fact and others don't.) It was a painful lesson in many, many ways. I learned that being widowed was not the end of my life--and God is still good and He continued to bless me even during that most difficult of times.

I'm thankful for my son. Due to a medical condition, I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to get pregnant ....but to my great delight after 9 months of a near perfect pregnancy and just 2 days after my 27th birthday I was given one of the best gifts ever. A beautiful, healthy baby boy. I will be thankful to God for the rest of my days, for allowing me the opportunity to be a mommy.

I'm thankful that after 5 years of widowhood God blessed me with another husband. True, we didn't meet in a conventional way but there is no question in my mind that he is the one that God chose to bring into my life. We are coming up on our 2nd anniversary shortly, and yet it seems like we've been married much longer. (is that because we are wiser and more mature this time around, or we just have lost our sanity and don't know any better? The jury is still out on this one:) I love my husband and am glad that he loves me too!

I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to love and be a motherly influence for all of my husband's children and family. There is plenty of love to go around...that is the great thing about love--you can't "out love" someone. The love tank just keeps getting refilled. As much as I am teaching them, they are teaching me too. I'm blessed to have them in my life.

I'm thankful that I was able to resign from my teaching career and become a stay at home mom. I enjoy the new life style of home schooling and am grateful that I live in a country that allows my husband and me to teach our children how we choose.

I am a much blessed and very grateful woman. I challenge you to think of all your blessings. Thank God for all He's allowed in your life, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are We The Frog In The Hot Water?

We've all heard the story about how if you put a frog in hot water he will jump out of the pot....but if you slowly turn up the heat of the water he won't know he is being cooked and will contentedly sit in the pot until it's too late.

A young Christian girl in Colorado was valedictorian of her class last year. She included a few brief sentences about Jesus in her speech and was told because of this infraction she would not be receiving her diploma. (freedom of speech only as long as you don't talk about your Savior.)

This week I hear on the news that many hotel chains will no longer allow Gideon Bibles in their rooms. (but they are considering adding condoms instead.)

We are told to start saying, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" or to buy the family a Dream tree instead of a Christmas tree.

Some schools in California are allowing students to recite Islamic prayers and to wear traditional Muslim garb to earn extra credit and are calling it "diversity". At the same time any reference to our founding fathers religion or mention of a Creator in textbooks is seen as archaic or at least not necessary.

The Ten Commandments are having to be removed from a lot of buildings. What will be next? The motto In God We Trust?

I don't know about you, but it seems to me every week there is something else on the news about how another part of our Judeo-Christian heritage is being taken away from us. In the name of political correctness, diversity, or tolerance we, as Christians are told not to be so "exclusive".

I just wonder if we will wake up one day and wonder what happened?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hip Home Schoolin', But Still Old Fashioned, Mama

I changed the look for my blog page. I thought it looked cool. At least for now. I might change my mind next week. haha!

I'm glad today is Saturday. It is more relaxed. I am introspective about myself enough to know that I have a problem with relaxing. I'm always thinking that I should be doing something. It is true that there is always something that I could do...but I stress myself out because I will never be able to accomplish everything. I need to rest more often. Honestly, sometimes my perspective gets out of whack... and as all of us mamas know, the laundry and dishes will still be there for us later, right?

That aside, last night I started wrapping Christmas gifts. Now, that was actually fun. I enjoyed it. I've bought just about all the Christmas gifts already and have most of them wrapped. I find it fun to pick out "just the right thing" for those that I love. I've always enjoyed giving gifts. Most years I have "theme" gifts and I try to locate items that go with the theme that I've picked out for that person. Okay, so you can think I'm a dork if you want too. I don't care. (but if I catch you calling me a dork then you go to the bottom of the Christmas list for next year!)

This morning I'm up. I fixed some cinnamon gingerbread coffee for myself, and for hubby who is still asleep! Though, on his behalf I must add that he has been sick for the past two days with a sore throat and a cold. He needs to rest so he will feel better. I've been making him tea with honey, having him eat chicken soup, and drink plenty of OJ.

Yesterday I was looking through Knoxville's Holiday Events page on the internet. I want to take each of the kids out separately to participate in a Christmas activity. (I like to affectionately call this a "mom date". I know the kids smirk at that, but secretly they love it when I take them out and each has my undivided attention....and when I am gone one day, they will have some good memories to look back on.) I think I'm taking Kendrick to the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree and carriage rides. I'm taking Breanna on the Victorian house tour (decorated for Christmas). For Bradley I'm thinking maybe ice skating on Market Square. I want to take all the kids to see A Christmas Carol at Clarence Brown Theatre (with our home school group), and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to go to the Tennessee Theatre (circa the turn of the last century, that recently has been totally renovated and is absolutely gorgeous--it's like a walk back in time) to see the original black and white version of Miracle on 34th Street. I am very "old fashioned" in so many ways.

Okay, well I better go. Stuff to do, ya know.

P.S. I'm now reading Little Women on my Sony Reader. (the merging of the old and new, huh?)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Help! I'm buried under junk mail.

Yesterday I did some serious throwing out. I had accumulated a ton of mail to "look through later". You know what I'm saying. I might need to buy a diamond ring, join a new book club, buy a new sweater from L.L Bean, go to the sale at a local store, or get a free sample of panty hose. I mean this is important stuff, right? Well, looking through all of this stuff "later" got put off and next thing I know I'm being buried by a ton of paper. It is amazing how much paper is used to send out junk mail. I'm sure I had half a forest in my mail pile. Okay, so maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist. So as I'm wading through all the paper sludge the kids come into my room. "What are you doing?" Throwing stuff out. What stuff? Stuff I don't need. How do you know you won't need it? I just know...and if I make a mistake and throw out the coupon for a free ice cream at Brusters then I will just have to live with it. (Oh alright, I have to confess, if I did throw an ice cream coupon out in the trash, I might seriously consider digging it back out. I do have priorities you know!)

After much time and aggravation I finally got through everything. I now have papers I need to file. I'm proud of myself for disposing of A LOT of junk. Hey, I'm not bringing peace to the world, but it is one little thing that I accomplished to make my life more clutter-free and organized.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sweet Baby

Last night I went over to my friends house. She is a new mommy. She let me hold her son while he slept. Is there anything in the world more peaceful than that? Holding a newborn baby while he sleeps is so relaxing. He made faces while he slept, and made soft baby noises. I looked at his head full of soft hair, his almost transparent eyebrows, his little button nose, and his slim little fingers balled up in fists. How can anyone not know that God exists when they look at a baby? The verse about being known, even as I was knit together in my mothers womb....and the verse about being fearfully and wonderfully made. Babies are amazing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Colonial Days at Sam Houston School House

Yesterday I took the two younger kids with me on a home school field trip. (Bradley didn't go as he was not feeling well.) I was worried because it was raining when I woke up....but the rain stopped and off we went! I had never been to this location before and neither had the kids so it was an adventure just finding the place on the back roads of Blount County, Tennessee. What a great day it turned out to be! It was a wonderful turn out with home school mamas and their children, who ranged in age from K-12th grades. It was really neat to see everyone together and having fun. Kendrick and Breanna got to see the original school house that Sam Houston taught at. Very interesting. I told them they shouldn't complain. Students in the 1800's got a chalkboard, some slates, and wooden benches. I bet those got uncomfortable as the day wore on for those children. There was a small museum that told all about the life of Sam Houston. (He was the only man to be governor of two states... both Tennessee and Texas. ) The really fun part of the day was the stations that the kids got to participate in. There was candle dipping (they got to keep their candles), corn grinding, butter churning, and sauerkraut making. I was the one that was put in charge of the sauerkraut making. The high schoolers were excellent choppers of the cabbage. Middle schoolers still fine....but the elementary age kids made me very nervous. One of the 7 year old boys said, " I can do this! Just give me the knife!" I told him, "there will be no chopping off of any fingers at my station. I will HELP YOU." He was not thrilled, but I was a tad anxious to let him have the knife. It seemed to me that he wanted it a wee bit too much! We salted the cabbage and stored it in mason jars. The kids asked questions about how long it took for it to ferment? We discussed that during this time period preparing meals was a lot of hard work--and there were no such places like Wal-mart or grocery stores per say. One little boy looked at me, " no Wal-mart?" "Yes, no Wal-mart." "Wow."

Each family had brought food for lunch and we had a HUGE Thanksgiving meal. All I can say is Yum! We even got to use the butter we had made for our rolls.

Kendrick participated in some of the colonial style dances that a lady at the museum showed the middle and high schoolers how to do, and both Breanna and Kendrick played Capture the Flag, after lunch, down in the old schoolhouse yard.

As we were packing up for the day, around 3 o'clock, it started to pour. I was thankful that we had such a good day and the Lord held off on the rain for us until just the right time:)

Monday, November 12, 2007

House Hunting

House is interesting. As most of you know Scott and I took the kids with us to Ohio this past weekend (well actually Thursday-Sunday) to look at the central Ohio area and to begin "getting our feet wet" in the whole house hunting venture. Anyone who has ever bought a house knows that it is both exciting and a pain in the neck at the same time. I thought for today's blog that I would share some of the more interesting parts of our house hunting adventure.

On Thursday afternoon we met with the head/owner of a fairly large real estate group. He was a very nice older gentleman. He personally drove us around to several houses in the Springfield area. Scott had asked him how we ended up with the privilege of having the boss take a personal interest in us, instead of handing us over to one of his many employees? He said that I had emailed him personally (which I did from his website) and that he was intrigued by my email address. (He proceeded to tell us about the Gibson girls of the turn of the last century--which I already knew, but found it interesting that HE knew about them....turns out he is somewhat of a history buff.) So anyway, that got him interested and then once he met us he took a personal interest in our family. During our drives around the Ohio countryside, he would have us stop and tell us some history about the area. (the cedar bogs, the price of farmland during the Great Depression, the limestone basin that is situated under Clark County etc.etc.) We really liked him and think he will be the one that will find us our house. The first two houses he took us too were farmhouses. Fairly normal...but a little small. I have found out that farmhouses at the turn of last century had small rooms and even smaller closets, if any at all. (I guess women didn't have 10,000 outfits and 50,000 pairs of shoes back then.) The area around Springfield is beautiful. So, after seeing these houses we headed north toward Urbana, Ohio, in Champaign County. Another beautiful area...but the house we went to was another story. Now, the realtor had never personally shown this house before, so he had no idea.... Picture this: A dark brown house situated down a gravel driveway in the deep woods. On the way in was a dilapidated log cabin, and an old fishing boat. I didn't think this boded well for us--it didn't present well to say the least. Turns out that this house was originally built by the owner many years ago. He had since passed away and his wife was elderly and moved into town. She wanted to sell the house....... This advertised as a 4 BR, 3 full bath house. The living room was beautiful with a lodge feel to it, soaring ceilings, a fireplace and a new kitchen nook area. Okay, that was the good stuff, from there it was all downhill. The funniest part was that this man had made bathrooms in the eaves of the house. Now this is no lie...I opened the miniature door and peeked in. ( I felt like Alice in Wonderland) He had crammed in a miniature sized tub, a little sink and toilet up under the eaves. Unless you stand 3 and a half feet tall you couldn't fit in there. You'd have to take a shower on your knees, and then hunch over the sink to wash your hands....don't even get me started on the toilet area. Now, I stand at just under 5'7",to sit on that toilet I would have had to do some sort of funky yoga move and wrap my knees up over the sink. I don't know about you but I don't think this would be conducive to good bathroom time. After looking at the munchkin bathrooms I ventured into the connector that ran from the house to the garage. It reminded me of a treehouse. I knew it wasn't good when I took a misstep and my foot almost went through some rotting floor boards. Scary. Long drop down from the skywalk. I thought it might be traumatic for the family if they saw my body splatted on the driveway below. Okay, I'm ready to get out of here!

On Friday we looked at 6 houses. Most of them were nice houses, but small once again. I enjoyed looking at the barns too. I'm into the history of the homes and the barns have a lot of history too. Some of the barns were in better condition then others. It has always made me sad when I'm driving through the country and I see an old dilapidated barn.....I don't know why....I guess it just makes me think of the passing of time and how so many of those barns are unused now, leftovers from a past era. I hate to see them gone so that some developer can buy up the land and slap up a subdivision of McMansions and make lots of money. There was one house that the Dayton realtor (different from our Springfield realtor) took us to in Germantown. (a section of Montgomery County) This house was normal looking enough. Another older farmhouse. As we are looking around Scott and I notice a huge metal hook hanging from the ceiling in the large master bedroom. Now, if you are anything like us you are thinking to yourself, "What in the world??". I'm silently praying that some serial killer has not lived in this house and hung the bodies from the ceiling on a big hook. I'm having flashbacks from watching "A Haunting" on the Discovery Channel about houses that have gone "bad". You can imagine my relief when the realtor informs us that the man is into exercising and the hook was to hang his punching bag on. Thank the good Lord, he wasn't a satanic serial killer. The barn at this house gave me bad vibes. It was scary. I didn't like it at all. Now, I'm no barn aficionado but, I know creepy when I see it. No thank you on this house either. The kids have made me promise that I will do a background check on any house we decide to buy. They don't want any old house that someone has died in, or some awful thing had occurred there, no ghosts or turn of last century spirits roaming around. They don't want to be on the next episode of "A Haunting". I told them we'd check it out!

All in all it was an enjoyable weekend. Scott and I learned a lot about the area, what we are actually looking for in a house and property, and what we would like in a community and church. We also met some very nice people along the way. Continue to pray for us as we search for where God would have us live. We realize that this is a journey. At this point we are not sure where we will be, or even how we are going to work out all the details, but we know we need to go where the Lord would lead us. It is not always easy trusting Him...especially, when faced with moving to a new area. It is both scary and exciting all at the same time. I know from personal experience that God has always been faithful and He will be again. I believe that as a family we will look back on this experience one day and realize that God's plan is always perfect and it was always just our job to follow Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Well, we are leaving for Ohio tonight. Five and a half hours from here. This is our family adventure. We are checking out the central Ohio area to see if this is where we want to live. Tomorrow and Friday we will be spending a good part of the day looking at houses that I have lined up with a couple of different realtors. This should all be pretty interesting to say the least. Say a prayer for us.....that we have a safe journey and that mom (yes, that's me) doesn't lose her cool, or have a break with reality somewhere along the way. I want this to be a productive trip...I want to learn something about Ohio while we are there. I don't want to have to be forced to pitch any of our children out of the van door---while we are driving. (If I'm honest, that thought HAS briefly crossed my mind on previous trips.) On that note, I've got some packing to do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

No, I'm not a slacker!

I am not a slacker. Yes, it's 12:30 in the afternoon. Yes, I still have on the same clothes that I slept in. Oh, okay they happen to be slouchy sweat pants and a tee shirt. Yes, my hair looks like a bunch of hyperactive birds tried to make a nest in it....Give me a break! I'll have you know that I did brush my teeth and wash my face this morning. So there. I am not a lazy slacker! The REASON that I look like a scary character from Dawn of the Dead (get it? my name is Dawn I look like a zombie....Okay, already, I'll quit with the movie references) ANYWAY, the reason I look like this is because I've been busy. Yes, I said, busy! I have been frantically working on our trip to Ohio. Scott and I decided the other day that we should take a trip to Ohio to "look around". We would like to talk (in person) to the real estate agent that I've been emailing. We'd like to see what the area looks like, how close an ice rink, soccer, or horse clubs would be. We need to know the proximity of Wal-marts, Home Depots, Bookstores, and of course Coffee shops. (Hey, I don't know that I'd turn down a nice house because it wasn't close enough to coffee.....but I'd be tempted!!!) We also want to look at churches and hopefully attend a service. I'd like to talk with someone about home schooling laws in Ohio. Overall, we want to get the "feeling" for the place. So, I've been plotting our course on the Google maps (those are sooo cool!), talking to the real estate agent, and investigating places of interest while we are there. It is a lot of work---and I'm also still working with the kids on their school work! So as you can plainly see, in my defense, I am not a slacker. I instead am just a harried, hurried, and hectic mom and wife. It's almost 1 o'clock. Back to work.

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's already November???

Where is the time going? I feel like I blink and WHAM!! 3 weeks have already flown by. Either that or I'm just in a coma and don't realize the actual passage of time.....wait a minute, if I was actually in a coma I would at least be getting some much needed rest! Maybe it's just that I'm getting older and everything else seems like it is moving so fast because I'm actually slowing down..... Ugh. Okay, enough of that. My brain hurts.

Actually, I am pretty proud of myself. I've been doing a lot of Christmas shopping this week. I bought many presents. It was very strenuous work. My fingers hurt. Yes, my fingers. Not my legs. I shopped online. Don't laugh, this whole shopping online is still fairly new to me. It's nice to be able to "visit" all kinds of stores, browse, choose items, pay for them and have them delivered and never have to move from my chair. Lazy, you say? Alright, maybe a little lazy...I prefer to think of it as sanity preservation. Yes, I used to be one of those mega shoppers out at the mall. "Where can I park?" "Where DID I park?" "What size, how much, this is cute, who would wear that? Get out of my way! Does this come in a set? THIS is the new holiday color? I refuse to pay that price for a hunk of plastic!" and on and on. I liked to get all my shopping done early, less stress that way. Online shopping is the perfect answer for me. This way I can enjoy the upcoming holidays and not be so pressed for time or stressed out. Oh alright, I'll still be stressed after all I live in a house with 1 husband, 2 dogs, 3 children, 3 cats, and a horse needing some pasture land. Hey, that sounds like a song!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Survival of the Fittest

Well, I survived yesterday and believe me that is saying something!

My frazzled nerves are finally calmed down this morning, I have my mug of coffee, and as I take a deep breath I will begin to write. First of all I want to share my cat washing experience. Cat washing, you say? Yes, I say. Cat washing. In my book it is too bad that one can't throw ones pets into the washing machine, add a bit of detergent and freshener and Wa-la have a fluffy, static free fluff ball. Okay, so that is just a dream...... Yesterday afternoon, my dear, sweet husband informs me that he thinks it's time for a cat bath. Hmmm.......a cat bath. I'm thinking to myself what exactly will this entail? Now, let me fill you in....before meeting Scott I was strictly a dog person. Buster was my canine love. He was a handsome golden colored lab/shepherd mix. He had it all. The playfulness and love of a lab, and the intelligence of a German Shepherd. I was crushed when he passed away in 2004. I had lost a member of my family. Now, Scott is a cat person. When we married he brought Joe and Samson with him. They are indoor cats. (I had never had indoor animals before so that was a whole different issue to get used to.) I have to say that the cats have grown on me. They are very loving and sweet. So anyway, back to the cat washing story. It was bathtime for the feline set and I wasn't sure how this whole operation was going to go down. Now, those of you that are cat bath experts will have to just grin and bear with me through this story.....

We decided that Samson, the long furred Maine Coon Cat would be the first. We knew he'd cry and scare skittish Joe so we trapped Joe in the master bathroom while we bathed Samson in the hall bath. Scott was in charge of holding Samson while I applied the dreaded water to the fur. Did I mention that cats are NOT fond of water? Well, let me tell you, they are not. I now know from personal experience. With all the crying (Samson's not mine) and squirming you'd have thought we were trying to drown the poor cat the way he acted. What's even worse, Samson sort of sounded like a baby crying. How morbid is that? Once he was totally soaked and shampooed his fur was plastered to his skin. He looked HILARIOUS! I hope Samson doesn't take offense, but he looked like the head of a wet mop. I don't think he found it nearly as amusing as I did. Scott and I got wet too and weren't looking all that hot ourselves by the time the cat washing was through. THEN it was Joe's turn. Joe looked like a dead cat he was on his way to his execution. Scott and I tried to console him. We assured him that he would look and smell like a million bucks. He didn't seem to care about that. He hated the water as much as Samson, but acted more resigned to his fate. After the baths we wrapped our wet fur balls up in bath towels and dried them off. The kids held them and cuddled. I think the cats forgive us.....either that or they are secretly plotting their revenge.