Sunday, August 31, 2008

Baby Caridee

I need to ask for your immediate prayer.

My sister-in-law, Brandi's, sister had a gorgeous baby girl Friday morning. Caridee Sage Gill.

When Heather, Brandi's sister, found out she was pregnant, the prenatal test came back that their baby had Turner Syndrome. This was very scary, because this doesn't always have a very good prognosis.

Much prayer and nine months later Caridee is a miracle and here!! But now is in the NICU with some unexplained complications. I don't know if what she is experiencing is something common for Turner's babies, but please just pray for her. Please pray for peace and strength for her new, young, first-time-around-parents. Please pray that little Caridee will start doing what she needs to on her own with out assistance.

For more complete updates go here.



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Park Day Saturday

Went to the library today and got the first set of books that I had put on hold.

Then decided to head to Phillips park to let the kids run around a bit. Phillips park is a great park with a free zoo area and a huge tree covered play ground.

Beautiful day!

Convinced Paula and the boys to come and play with us for a bit. Unfortunately, Paula and I decided to walk over to the zoo portion to late and they were closing so we missed out on the alligators :( Who knew they closed at 4:30 on weekends!

To make it up to the kids we decided to take the kids to the brand spankin' new Sonic. Got there and found out there was an hour, yes you read that right, and hour wait to eat there. There were actually people lined up on the sidewalk waiting to sit at the outdoor part.


We went to A&W.

Fed the kids a ton of junk food and 99 cent big honkin' root beer floats.

The kids were all wired. I wonder why?


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vocabulary Lists

Something I struggle with in schooling our kids. Vocabulary exercises.

I don't know what it is about vocabulary lists, I just can't seem to wrap my mind around them.

I know it is important. And it seems that I always have the best intentions when the school year starts then after a few weeks the vocabulary lists, and activities take a back seat to other stuff.

Last year I started out with index cards and word lists from our curriculum. They were supposed to write the word with the definition, then I had games and such they could play with them. That didn't last long. We played a lot of hang man, which at least got the word out there and they were hearing and seeing it. We spent a lot of time playing a balderdash-type game last year and that was fun, but I don't know how much they were retaining from any of those methods.

They hate doing the standard- write the word with the definition and a sentence. I try and stay away from things they hate. Not that everything is fun, fun, fun, but I have found that if they hate doing something it just isn't a good way to get them to learn it. They just want to get it done then. And also my goal isn't to ram as much information as I can into their heads, but to teach them to love learning. And I know they don't hate vocabulary words they just don't like the method of teaching.

I just found this website. Don't know how effective it will be but it seems to have some good stuff on it. It looks like there are endless possibilities for word lists, lots of puzzles and cool stuff. Also they have the word lists broken up into categories, like the middle ages, which will come in handy as we go through our school year.

I am going to try it and see how it goes. It really couldn't be any worse than my so far unsuccessful attempts at getting them to do vocabulary work!


Fall '08 School Planning

Feeling much, much better today.

Trying to get the stuff together for our coming school year. We are going to officially start our fall season on Sept. 8.

This week was another half day summer schedule and next week we will take off so that I can gather, collect, prepare, print out, and immerse myself in Year Two of Tapestry of Grace. I already have the books on hold at the library for our first week though. Year Two takes up where we left off in the spring with the fall of Rome. This is getting into history I am more familiar with, so should be a little easier for me.

We are all looking forward to starting our new unit. I love that the kids are excited about it also.

Last year, since it was our first year with Tapestry, I chose not to add in a science curriculum. I knew that I wanted to add a science program this year so we started Apologia this summer. I love it and the kids love it so we will be doing that three times a week as well this fall. We are going to have a busy and full schedule.

Also, God has placed it on my heart for quite some time to have the kids and me involved in some sort of community service project. But I have not to this point made it happen. Paula told me about Feed My Starving Children and I looked into it, as well as a couple of other food banks, and the FMSC seemed to be the most willing to allow children in to help. So we will be adding that into our school week as well. Not sure how that is going to work out, it may be an evening activity. I am open to other ideas for this area as well.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Very Sick

I crawled down stairs to check my email.

Going back to bed. Please pray for me.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Gift of Laughter

I think God knew I needed a great laugh yesterday.

Before I begin with this story I need you to understand this is a true story.

Yesterday, when walking into the church building, for Saturday service, Seth found a cricket. He, of course, picked it up and put it in his shirt pocket. He was very excited about having a cricket in his pocket and was telling, and showing, everyone walking down the hall.

I dropped him off at class with his cricket.

After the service is when I heard the rest of the story.

Well, you see in Wahabu when they collect the offering from the kids they have a boy and a girl bucket. So as the offering bucket came around(you all ready know where this is going don't you?) Seth put in his money, and his cricket. He told me he thought the cricket was worth at least another 2 dollars.

The teacher started counting the money, the cricket jumped and scared her, at which point the offering went flying.

And although Seth and all the boys thought the cricket was worth an extra two dollars for the boys collection, unfortunately, sweet Ms. Kathrine, told them that actually it was minus 5. Too bad for the boys.

When Seth told me this story after church I laughed and laughed then asked him "Really?"

I verified the story with Ms. Kathrine and found it to be accurate.

Thanks, I needed that.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Night

Really, really tired.

Just got home. We left our house Friday at 12p.m. It is 7:37 p.m. Saturday.

Yesterday the viewing went incredibly well. So many people came to pay their respects. Todd touched so many lives. Their boys were amazing. I was so proud of them and I know their dad would have been. The pictures were hard to look at. Still too sad for me.

Today, I missed most of the graveside time, Faith was feeling faint and nauseous.

The celebration service was perfect. The worship team honored Todd with some excellent worship time. I held it together pretty well. Except when Mike was talking about his friend.

But the hardest part of my day was coming back to the building tonight and going to Saturday night service. I felt like it was all so geared towards me. I have been so angry at God this week, at times telling Him I would never sing to him again, I felt very convicted of my attitude. God is still in control and knows what is going on. He deserves better than what I have been offering Him this week. But during worship time tonight I think I was able to sort some of this stuff out. I was able to praise God again, for who He is and for His love and power. I think maybe that is the beginning to some healing.

So now I am exhausted and I am going to go to bed.

Keep praying for Paula and the boys.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoughts For the Day

So many thoughts in my head today.

The first is that this is going to be a hard day. Today is the visitation. I am going to be there with my Paula, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know she will be surrounded by family but I will be there for her for whatever she needs. I also have never been to anything like this. So, I really have no idea what I am doing. This is all new to me.

The second is I am thinking of Paula's boys today. I can't imagine how hard it is going to be. But I am in awe of my friend and her mothering. She is doing everything right. I am learning so much from her in this week. I pray that I could mother like her in a situation as difficult as this.

The third is this is a first for my kids today. I gave them the option of coming today, or not and they all said they wanted to come. My good friend Terri and her family are going to bring them. I am praying for them today.

The fourth is that I wish I could eat again. I have this strange stomach and whenever I get upset or stressed it shuts down. I always hear people talk about stress eating and can't imagine! So I am down 5 pounds. Funny that I wasn't trying to necessarily lose weight during these last 8 months of working out, but I thought if i had lost these 5 pounds I would be happy with that. So 8 months nothing, five days of grief and there they go.

Pray for the family today.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Todd Mitchell- Blessings

God is good.

This has not been an easy statement for me the last few days.

I have been very angry. I could not possibly see how God could clean up this mess. How He was going to make this "good".

But now as I am moving through this grief tunnel, I am amazed at all he is providing.

You can see God all over Paula and her boys. They are sad, but they have peace. I know they are going to struggle over the coming months but God is walking with them. I am amazed at the strength I see from her and the boys. It is so clear. I am amazed and in awe.

The blessings that are surrounding them are amazing. Here is just one. In the hospital Paula asked me to try and locate a counselor that Jackson used to have. I put our good friend Terri on the case. She is scarey good at finding people and information. She couldn't find him. The night that Todd passed, Paula got in the car and there was a message on her phone. It was from this counselor she hadn't spoken to in a couple of years. He was going into private practice and wanted to let her know! That's God for you.

And there are many more stories. But what sticks out most in my mind, what kept running through my head the whole time Todd was in the hospital were in the weeks proceeding his passing, he had some very, very, special moments with his family. Don't get me wrong Todd was a phenominal father. Really. But he was also the President of Castrol of North America! Yeah, he was busy. But the weeks before he passed he took his boys to their first Bears football game, he went on a fun family weekend with his family, and he baptized his son Jackson. I cry every time I think of that. I praise God for those gifts to his boys.

God is good.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mr. Todd Memories

So after we told the kids this morning about Mr. Todd and cried together as a family, we cleaned up and went to breakfast. We wanted to have a celebration of his fabulous life and the time we spent with him.

These are some of the facts we came up with, thought that maybe it would give you a peek into the fun guy he was.

I started off with a night two years ago when we were camping and Mr. Todd took them on a snipe hunt. This was no ordinary snipe hunt, this was the mother of all snipe hunts! Trust me you have not heard the snipe story told until you had heard Mr. Todd tell it. Who knew that snipe calls change depending on your region? Luckily Mr. Todd knew all the calls. I will never forget sitting by the fire with Paula and laughing as we listened to our two men and seven children calling for snipes. These kids totally bought it. That is how convincing he was. After they got back to the campsite they had "caught" one. Mr. Todd had stuffed a big raw hide dog bone in a sock and shoved it in a bag. The kids were so excited, some where making plans to keep it and where they were going to keep it. Let's just say none of the children talked to Mr. Todd for about an hour when he unveiled the bone. Oh, except the littlest boys, they wanted to go on another snipe hunt!

Seth mentioned his favorite was Agatha Hagatha. Mr. Todd had made a brown bag puppet and named her Agatha Hagatha. She had all sorts of adventures and she was very annoying. Her voice was a Mr. Todd classic. At one point the kids made an anti- Agatha Hagatha to combat her.

Kylee's said everything was fun with Mr. Todd. Which was just true. He was such a big kid, and everyone wanted to be around him. We also had fun remembering how he spoiled her always but most recently when they had taken all of the kids, including mine to a baseball game. He told Paula when he walked in that if Kylee wanted this stuffed monkey that had the team logo on it he was going to buy it for her. Let's just say Kylee had another monkey to add to her collection when she got home that night.

Faith mentioned our sledding trips. Mr. Todd especially loved sledding. Who doesn't enjoy standing on a cold hill while the wind is blowing at top speed, soaking wet, numb from head to toe while you slide down a hill just to walk back up? Well Mr. Todd loved it! Or at least he was very convincing that he was having a great time.

Joshi said he loved that Mr. Todd loved playing drums. He was sad that he didn't have a chance to tell him that he is going to be buying some drums very soon (thanks Mr. Brad :). I told him he could tell Ms. Paula and she would rejoice with him. He also loved the way Mr. Todd would use Joshi as weights.

Mike of course mentioned all of the many holidays, vacations, meals, games, and fun that we have had with Mr. Todd.

He was a great friend, and will be greatly missed.



My family is filled with sadness right now.

Weird that every day for the last three days i thought to myself,"this is the worst day ever."

Last night we were with Todd when he breathed his last breath.

Scott has a beautiful post here. I can't say it better.

Today we had to tell our kids.

Pray for Paula, her boys, and Todd's family, first.

Then will you please pray for me, Mike, and our kids, because we are filled with sadness right now.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lots of stuff going on. If you don't follow Mike's twitter or his blog go here.

I will write more when I can.



Friday, August 15, 2008

Better Pictures

I promised I would post better pictures of Seth's baptism, and there are some fabulous shots on Mike's blog.

Go check them out!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Digital Magazine

The second product I was given the opportunity to review was this, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine digital subscription.

When I first thought of an e-magazine I have to be honest I wasn't too sure. What if I found an article I wanted someone else to read? Or I wanted to just flip through quickly to find a specific thing? This seemed like it would be a problem with this format.

I spent considerable time this last week browsing through this magazine, on-line. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my concerns were unfounded. While reading through this magazine on-line if you want to share something with a friend you can just email it to them! Also if you want to find a specific topic like "unit studies" you can search the word and up comes all the articles in the magazine that talk about unit studies.

I also have to praise the fact that the digital copy also saves paper and clutter. If you know me you know that I can't stand clutter. And having a bunch of magazines and papers laying around piling up just about drives me crazy! So what usually happens to magazines that I am finished with, is they get thrown out and then months later I go looking for a particular article that I read and I don't have it because I threw away the magazine! But with this digital copy you don't have the clutter, but you do have access to all the issues you purchased in the archive.

Finally, if you want to take it with you to read you do have the option of printing out just the articles that you want to read while you are away.

Very easy to use, clutter free, and environment friendly what more can you ask from a magazine?


The Old Schoolhouse Planner

I was given the opportunity recently through The Old Schoolhouse, to review a couple of home schooling products and write reviews. This was such a great thing for me because I got to try out a some great new products that I may not have thought of trying before!

The first was this. It is a planner for home schooling parents, but really it is a planner for every parent! I love this planner and am excited about using it this coming year.

I love that it is an E- book. I like that I can browse through it and decide what I want to print out and only print out what I will use. A lot of planners that I have used seem to have pages of useless stuff that just remain empty and seem like such a waste, while not having the pages that I could really use. This is not a problem with this planner.

And the people who came up with this thought of everything! There are pages and pages to choose from, including fun recipes, calendar pages with big blocks for writing in dates and appointments, forms for everything, and charts that any parent would love to have at their finger tips. A lot of thought went into the planning and producing of this planner.

Check it out!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baptism Pictures

What can I say? It was an incredible day from beginning to end. The music in the morning, the talk from God's heart through Scott's mouth, the amazing stories of hope, the gorgeous weather, family to hang out with, fantastic food, and of course the highlight of the day, over 125 people baptized. One of which was my son. I got to be in the water with him and help pull him out of the water to be reborn. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes.

Yes, I was crying before he came up. I was crying tears of joy for all the other people that I had the honor of being next too in the water, as they made this huge, exciting pronouncement of their faith. Seeing the excitement in them, the promise of hope and new life. Amazing.

And yes, I really lost it when Seth came up for his turn. Thankfully, he was the last one his daddy and I got the privilege of baptizing yesterday.

Stacey, my sister-in-law did her best with my horrible camera, but I am hoping there will be some fabulous pictures of the whole day, including my Seth, soon.

And when the video is available I will post that too.

And finally, I just need to stress to you that if you are in the area next year, or you can be in the area for this event, do it. It will change your life. I promise you. You will never forget it.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

This is just too hilarious. If you don't read this guys stuff you are seriously missing out. He is so funny.

But as I was browsing his blog today, I came across this and I laughed so hard. If you aren't a regular reader go and read #368 part 1 and 2.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pirates Island

Here is the pirate ship before it went to the party, sans sails.

The pirate ship at the party all ready for it's final voyage.

And finally the pirate ship with cannons blazing.


Are You Ready For Some Football?

So it's Wednesday, and it has been a very busy week!

My good friend Paula had a birthday (happy birthday friend!) as well as her twin boys (born on her birthday seven years ago). Her oldest son had a birthday a couple of weeks ago and so they had all their birthday parties this week. I told Paula I would make their birthday cakes for them, for their parties, as a present to her, for her birthday.

I bet you can't guess what the first party's theme was?

It seemed like such a simple cake but it gave me the hardest time. Partially because I insisted on using the yummy frosting that is really horrible to work with. Partially because after I finished the logo I didn't realize that my decorating bag was dragging across the cake and wiped it entirely off the cake :(

The second party had a pirate theme. We found the cake idea on The pirate ship was no problem but I had read that it was difficult to keep together so I created an ocean out of a sheet cake for it to sit in. It was so easy and very cute. Lukey, one of the birthday boys, wanted to contribute his shark to the ocean so that was very fun!!

I loved giving this special gift to the boys and their mom! It was fun and I hope they all know from it how special they are to me and my family!!

I will post pictures of the pirates cake when I get them.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Taking the Plunge

We are all very excited about our up coming BBQ and Baptism this next weekend!!

For one, there are over 100 people signed up to be baptized this year! Awesome!!

For two Seth has decided that he would like to be baptized this weekend!! He really wanted to do it last year but didn't quite understand what the commitment was really about. We spent the last year praying with him and studying what God has to say about baptism and asking him questions. I believe that he is ready, and he is off the charts excited about it.

How cool is that?

His Granny, Papa, Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Staci are going to be able to come up for the weekend. We are all excited about that!

Also, I am thrilled because I get to help Mike in the water, baptizing people again this year. It was absolutely the highlight of my year last year. I feel honored and privileged to be allowed to participate in this day! And on top of it all I get to be there, in the water with my son when he is baptized!!! It really doesn't get better than this!

Here are the videos from the last two years. Check them out you will cry, so go ahead and get some tissues then click on the link. Here and here.

I will post pictures as soon as we get them this weekend.