May 30, 2009

end of the year brags...

Jakob finished 4th grade. His homeroom teacher was Mrs. Alexander (the blond right behind him). He is a great kid and a joy to have around, except on Sunday mornings. Jakob got... All A Honor Roll Principal's Award (for perfect behavior) Most AR Reading Points* Science Award (from the science teacher)* Most Artistic (from his class)* Best Sportsmanship (from PE)* Art Award (from Art)* Talent Plus Award (for playing Greensleeves on the piano in the talent show).
Drew finished 3rd grade with Mrs. Dennis.
He is wonderfully disciplined and is learning to control his issues with control. :)
Drew got...
All A Honor Roll
Citizenship Award (from Character Counts class)*
Math Star*
Commended Performance Math TAKS
Commended Performance Reading TAKS
Math Bee Participant (he tied for 3rd place)
Anna just finished 1st grade.
She is super, super smart. A complete perfectionist and a sweet, emotional girl. Ms. Teague has been perfect for Anna this year... she has seen Anna's potential but has also been adorably nurturing. Anna got...
All A Honor Roll
Gold Card Award
Highest Average in Reading*
Highest Average in English*
Accelerated Reader 30+ Point Club
Style Diva Award (voted by her class)*
Shining Character Award*
Ellie. Oh, Ellie.
What a kid. She has graduated from Kindergarten and her teacher was Mrs. Hagood. I LOVE Mrs. Hagood. I told her that I would give her one of my kids if she wanted one. :) Ellie is a good girl with spunk and emotion. I got a call AGAIN on Thursday that Ellie had no panties on... she was wearing a DRESS! That girl. I'm thankful for her sweet teacher who laughed and, I'm HOPEFUL that life with ellie will always be WONDERFUL and fun. Ellie got...
Certificate of Completion
The Art Award*
The Music Maker Award*

Note: The awards with a * are awards that only one child per class was awarded.

These kids are GREAT!! Yes, they keep me on my toes. But, they are smart and active and happy. I wouldn't change a thing.

Thanks for letting me brag!!

May 26, 2009

maiden voyage...

No, school isn't out till Friday.
But, with our first official trip to the pool--
(the first picture is pre-editing, which do you like better?)

and then there were 7... [edited]

My nephew, Justin, arrived late last night.
(He's spending the 10 months with us while his mom is oversees with the marines.)
He's SO cute, and a bit in awe of our crazy family.
I asked him how he liked being here and he said,
"Well, I wasn't really expecting the beatings." *
(I think he was referring to Anna and Ellie's love taps as they went out the door this morning... they were laughing and saying, "I can't believe you made us KISS him...")
leah just came in my room and said, "Mom, where's cousins?"... then she went out and shouted, "COUSINS!!"
Oh, sweet justin, welcome to our home!!
the beatings are just beginning...
*[note- i was telling someone at school this story and justin said, "Not Beatings, MEETINGS." He was talking about our morning devotional. hee hee... yup. he wasn't really expecting all the meetings... and we DO have lots of meetings! and beatings... and, our traffic lights go from side to side and traffic lights in Virginia go up and down. and, poor thing, he hasn't learned "leah language"... he's always asking me to interpret. i have no doubt that by the end of the summer he will know that when leah is asking for some spice, she really wants some of his soda... hold your nose justin, you're in for quite a swim!]
justin and anna are the same age-- only 2 months apart.
don't they look like cousins? i bet they could pass as twins... (wouldn't boy and girl twins be so cute?)
my sister and i don't look that much alike, isn't it funny that our kids look so similar?
even in the picture below, with ellie who always stands out in our family as the only blond, they all blend don't they? see- if my kids look like justin, then they have to look like me somehow...

Notice anna's "bangs"... a friend at school cut them for her because her hair kept falling in her eyes when she was trying to do her art project. love it.

May 25, 2009

lessons i've learned...

note to self: next time, listen when the professor says it's a bad idea to let the girls help paint. (if they can't take a bath without making a mess, purple paint might be too tempting...)

May 23, 2009

just enjoying the action...

growin' up is fun to watch...
and, i'm starting to agree with the old ladies-
it goes by so quickly.
i love the movement of life--
sweet moments.

May 21, 2009

and i wanna...

seriously? $300??!! i wanna take my girls to this concert... i wanna go to this concert... but $300... oooo that's too much. this year. next year... (when we're done and The Professor is paid what he's worth...) we're so FEARLESS!

Ready or NOT summer is coming...

Ready or Not... summer is coming!!
This year I was scared, until i started planning... now, i'm a little scared, and REALLY excited.
My nephew, Justin, age 7, is coming to live with us NEXT MONDAY... so, I'll have 7 kids under 10 at home with no money... a little overwhelming. I need to brainstorm and come up with my plan for the summer. You may just laugh and think i'm nuts... remember, in real life, i'm VERY laid back... my plans change easily. But, i need to start with a plan or else i go crazy. So...
1. Pick a THEME. I don't know why I need a theme to get excited about something... maybe it's my years at girl's camp. This year our theme is "Be a HERO." I really want to teach the kids about all different kinds of heroes... people who have overcome adversity to do great things. Regular kids, people with disabilities, smart people, athletic people, people in the armed forces, leaders... oh, the possibilities. I'm particularly excited about this because my sister, Justin's mom, will be oversees with the Marines. She's a hero, and i want Justin to know how proud we are of her. Remember this post about praise?? It seriously has changed my life. I want my kids to look at life as EXERCISE... i want them to see potential and growth...HEROES. love it. (and, i think my kids will love it too...)
-- i'm excited to find some of those neck medals and make "Kindest", "Cleanest Room", "Most Respectful" and stuff like... every Monday I'll have the kids nominate someone to receive that award... they can hang their award on their bed till the next Monday... yup. i need to find these still...
2. Go to the LIBRARY. We LOVE the library. The kids can each pick one or two books each time we go. This is so that they can't complain everyday when we have QUIET TIME. yup. we READ a lot. i love it. Before the kids are out of school i check out tons on "themey" books. This year it will be books about heroes. I just keep the books in a basket in the living room and right after lunch, when the baby is down for a nap, i read to the kids. We read and we talk and i love it. The library here has an AMAZING summer reading program. It motivates the kids to read without me nagging them. We also sign up for the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading program-- it's great! Plus, the library around here has a lot of fun, free events. i like to mark them on my calendar just in case we're looking for an outing when they're having one...
3. Have scheduled free-time. OK, i like structure, but i also like lazy afternoons. So, I usually have structured mornings with open afternoons. I think you need to have checkpoints during the day. Checkpoint one- Breakfast. Before anyone eats breakfast they need to be dressed with their bed made. Checkpoint two- Lunch/Free time/Field trip... before you leave for the day or before you eat lunch or before they play, kids need to have their chores done, their school work done and their music practicing done. You don't need to nag them, just say, "We're leaving in a few minutes, are you ready? Before you go swimming you'll need to have your stuff done." "Mmmm. Pancakes for breakfast. Who is ready?" When kids ask to play on the computer, watch tv, go outside, etc., you just say, "Sure, as soon as your stuff is done." I use this kind of visual schedule, just so the kids know what i have planned... i like to put the next day's schedule up the night before to get them excited.
4. School Work, Scouts, 4-H, Music... kids like to learn! This year i found some school based workbooks at sam's club for $5.88. They go from PK up, so I got one PK, one 1st grade, two 2nd grade, one 4th grade and one 5th grade. Sound's like a day care no? I LOVE these books. But, i don't check them or nag them, i just say, "Did you do your school work?" Sometimes I use them as ways they can earn more time on the computer... nothing official, just, "Don't you think you've had enough screen time? I'm afraid your brain is shrinking. Do 5 pages in your school book and you can play computer again." The kids actually LOVE doing this. Not all the pages, but most of them. They just leave a pencil in them and we have a basket where they're stored. i LOVE summer school work.
My boys don't have scouts during the summer, but the scout book is so fun for ideas... i like to look them over when i'm planning our field trips and projects. Keep these books with the workbooks so you see them on a regular basis. My kids are still in music lessons over the summer, violin and piano... they have regular stuff to practice, but this summer i want them to practice playing more church songs. i love music for kids. And finally, Taneil has been telling me for years about 4-H... this year i'm going to take the kids to some place that she told me about and let them each pick out a project book-- sewing or rockets or cooking or collecting... i'm excited. 5. Do fun, crazy stuff. I like to have FUN family nights during the summer. By far, my kids favorite memory is our No Manner's Dinner. Shelley Wille has some fun books with crazy, fun ideas... i don't have this yet, but i'm dreaming of a Jell-O party!! 6. Enjoy the outdoors. We have a neighborhood pool, that we LOVE. Trampoline, bikes, sprinklers, basketball hoops, jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk... oh, summer days are the BEST. There are so many great parks. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to pack a lunch, go to a beautiful place and just let the kids play. My neighborhood-raised kids, don't have much time to explore the wilderness... this year i'm on the look out for a great texas lake?? do they have those? i want a place where i can sit, they can play and we can watch the great outdoors... Maxey Park is probably my favorite so far, but i'm going to check out some of the other, pay for a pass, places. love it. 7. READ. have i mentioned this yet? OK... here are some of my great HERO books... i found this book- Amazing Tales for Making Men out of Boys, at Sam's club... here is an amazon link... it seems great. my sister in law told me about another book-- rebekah, what is it? i thought it was childhoods of famous americans, but i can't find that on amazon... oooo i need that one. i'll add to this list as we go... 8. POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE... Although I am a big fan of the time-out bench, by far my favorite discipline principal is PRAISE the right choice. My kids can be perfect all day, and i say nothing, then they do one thing wrong and BANG, i'm there. I hate that. So, I really try to praise 10 to 1 negative comment. With 7 little ones, there is usually one kid doing the right things. Instead of saying, "Jakob, go get your shoes on." I say, "Anna, I LOVE how you are all ready to go with shoes and sock on..." Yup. Positive works better. I like changes, so this year, we're doing "Tokens of Appreciation". I HATE things that require consistency, so I won't do a program where the kids get paid for everything they do and they have to pay for tv time and stuff like that... maybe this will work for you, if you want a full-fledged token system, V and Co. has a pretty reasonable system. My system is easy. I can give tokens whenever I appreciate their behavior. If they ask for a token they CAN NOT EVER have one. They can use their tokens to buy good things. We haven't started yet, but here is my set-up...
Doesn't it look fun?!!! Don't you want your own jar with some TOKENS of my appreciation? I'm a bit worried that the chocolate won't last until a kid earns 10 tokens...
9. Plan some BIG, fun things. I HOPE to sign the boys up for a 2 week sports camp and the girls up for a once a week gymnastics class. We don't do summer sports, and we try not to get scheduled in the summer, but i think a few fun things are good for summer sanity. I'm not a big swimming lessons fan-- we just are ALWAYS at the pool, and they just learn to swim. But, if your kids don't have access to a pool, swimming lessons are a great way to give them that experience. I LOVE to take the kids to live plays during the summer. But, it's expensive, so we plan a couple fun outings and then make a deal of them. Last year we got tickets to a live performance of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. We bought the dvd and watched it 3 times before the show... so, my kids knew what was happening and had so much fun. They still love that show. We also read scripture each day during the year... we usually finish up during the summer and to celebrate we do one big outing... last year it was Joyland (i know, it's sad cause joyland is not an amazing amusment park.) This year I HOPE we can go to 6 flags in Dallas... let me know if you find cheap tickets. And, we ALWAYS take a road trip out to Idaho at the end of the summer... fun, fun!
10. GO EASY!!! Popsicles, Easy Mac, Ramen Noodles, Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs, Big Pickles, Boxed Snacks, Bottled Drinks, Pringles... Last summer i learned a great lesson from Grey- have kid-friendly food available!! Stocking up on the easy stuff makes summer fun and a house full of kids managable. Yes, we LOVE fresh fruit and veggies all summer long!! But, during the summer my shopping cart is definitly more full of EASY stuff. I love the flip-top water bottles... easy to grab on our way out the door to the park. And, i try to have teddy grams and ritz bitz and granola bars as an easy grab on the way out the door... we do LOTS of pizza picnics at the park. And, POPSICLES GALORE-- yup. Between popsicles and pickles we keep our neighborhood hydrated. Our other neighbor has a fridge in her garage stocked with kid-drinks... i just have cups and a water machine...

oh. i LOVE summer! so, what are your SUMMER plans? any hero ideas??

May 19, 2009


love this.
love, love this.
have you seen this blog...
it's my new FAVORITE.
i could spend all day looking...
or at least all morning...
it's ALMOST better than chocolate!!
one more picture...
doesn't this make you smile and dream?!!
check it out here...
i'm going to do a quick clean-up and then take my babies outside to dance in the

May 18, 2009

dinner moments...

overheard at our table. the professor: we have chicken. breasts or thighs. jakob: well, obviously she was a female bird. the professor: even males have breast tissue. we're actually eating the chest muscles. mom: GROSS! do we have to talk about breasts and thighs and muscles when we're eating?? (side note: the professor BETTER be a thigh guy.) tomorrow, we'll be serving... chicken. chests and thighs.

May 17, 2009

[not so] big fella moments...--EDITED

My BIG Fella!!
He had a busy day on Saturday...
First he worked with the girls to make this--
No, it wasn't as fast as it looks, but he was first in my book!!
(not really-- actually I'M SICK OF LOOSING these races... how hard is it to look on the internet and find all the secrets to pine wood derby racing. seriously. i'm going to take over and next time-- we're going to kick some bootey...) oh, i mean, it's not really about winning, it's about enjoying the race. Notice anything different?
ooo la la!!
is that jennifer aniston?
nope just me.
both jakob and i got a little lightening...
OK. honestly. i hate it.
(please don't tell the professor- my big fella.)
he did a great job,
it's just i feel more like ronald mcdonald than mandy moore.
yup. ORANGE.
actually, it's my fault.
cause, um. i think i messed everything up.
when i was done, there were still two full packets of stuff in my box.
one was a lightening powder, i think, i did add some lightening powder, but this one says "Make sure you add BOTH packets to the mix."
and the other, some foam stuff that i was also supposed to add to the mix.
i think that foam stuff makes it so your hair doesn't fall out the next day.
makes it so it doesn't turn more orange everytime you look in the mirror.
in these pictures it doesn't look so bad...
but they're from yesterday, and it is hard to get a realistic picture...
one side is better than the other... my left side is the big orange blob.
see, you can kinda see it in this picture (below)
and, i swear, it's getting worse. today it's way lighter than yesterday...
is this possible? who knows what that foam stuff was?
i think my hair is going to fall out tonight.
but, despite the loosing car and semi-loosing hair styling...
i still love this guy.
a lot.

oh, one more of the BIG FELLA...

EDIT-- Ok, when Todd and I took the "Big Fella" pictures we just laughed and laughed. He was so excited to post them and hear all the chubby jokes. But, you guys are too nice, or polite... Yes, that is all Todd's real skin, but he isn't that chubby... it's, um, smoke and mirrors... he's been workin' out lately... he's on the skinny trail... but the Elder Holland jowls- those are forever!! hee hee... thanks for bein' so sweet to my big fella...

May 15, 2009

"go towards the light" and a math moment...-edited

i think the sunshine streaming through my window is calling to me??
i bought a "do-it-yourself" highlighting kit at target yesterday...
i'm trying to talk the professor into assisting me.
i don't have $80 to seek professional help...
sunshine in a bottle for $10.99 fit my budget.
but, i'm scared.
very scared.
my hair is DARK. and not naturally highlighted AT ALL.
my kit comes with a cap... but, after watching too many do-it-yourself videos, i think i'm going to try foil... :) or, maybe i should say, i think the professor is going to try foils... hee hee... oh what am i getting into? if he TOTALLY messes up my hair he might feel more inclined to fork out the money to fix it. no?!
any tips?
Ooops. could've-been-better Mom Moment.
phone rings---
"Hi mom, it's me, Ellie."
"I just won FIRST PLACE in the Kindergarten Math Bee!! I got a medal and a TROPHY!!"
Me- "Wow!! Great Job Honey!!"
Thinking-- (oops. i missed that one. kindergarten math bee??... and, i didn't even know Ellie knew math. bad mom. and, i was busy. looking at highlighted hair on the internet. bad, bad mom.)
hang up. call the school.
"um. any more math bees today that i should know about????"
mark my calendar-
today at 2pm- jakob is in the talent show playing greensleaves-- i did know about this one...
May 20- 10:20 3rd grade math bee... for Drew. I do know that he is almost in the math bee... IF one girl doesn't show up and Dawson gets scared, he's the 2nd place guy. :)
mental notes- practice math facts with boys and girls this summer...
i should do more practicing. my kids do fine without me, so i NEVER practice with them. i think they would like some more help with spelling and math facts...
check their backpacks EVERYday.
even ellies.
i'm sure there was a note that i missed last night.
i need some positive time with ellie...
maybe a special math champion lunch date?? hmmm. what do math champions like to eat for lunch?
EDIT-- guess what??!! parents weren't invited to the math bee-- they didn't want the little mathmeticians to freeze up... SO, I'm not a bad mom after all!!! We had a fun afternoon-- watched Jakob at the talent show and then took the whole gang out for ice cream and playground in the rain... NOW, we're having our wal-mart cook-your-own pizza (cheese for the kids and chicken alfredo, with our own added artichoke hearts, for the parents)... life is OH SO GOOD!!) i had a "sound of music moment" watching all my kids run to the car after school got out... WHAT A GANG we have!! love it.
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