Saturday, June 28, 2008

Girl Scout Day -Hellen Keller Festival

Thursday was the 1st annual Girl Scout Day at the Hellen Keller Festival. Hellen Keller's birthplace is less than an hour from here. I read the girls a book about Hellen Keller and Annie Sullivan this Spring. I thought we might go tour her house, and I looked it up on the internet and saw that they host a whole week of festival every summer. That was exciting, so I decided to wait until then to go, then I got something from Girl Scouts about a day just for Girl Scouts. I signed myself and Madelyn and Natalie up, they didn't allow "tag-a-longs". Which is what they call siblings, other parents, friends, etc. that are sometimes allowed to come to an activity. I had to get a babysitter for Hannah, and she got lucky in that her family was going to the lake on their boat that day, so she got to spend the day boating and having her own adventure.

Back at the Girl Scout Festival. We started out the day in a large Church's gym, in nice air conditioning, listening to the great great grand neice of Hellen Keller tell her story. She is the great great granddaughter of Hellen Keller's little sister whom she dumped out of the crib when she was a baby. Very interesting. Then the split us into 3 groups and our group first toured the Tennessee Valley Arts Museum. There were two speakers that talked to us there and led us around. After that, we got to take trolley rides around the town of Tuscumbia. It was a pretty long ride where we stopped off at the cemetary and saw the Keller family plot. Hellen and Annie S. are buried in Washington, but the rest of her family is buried where we toured.

After the trolley, we got some water and finally toured the house and grounds where Hellen was born. We got another tour guide for that. 85% of the memorabilia in the house is actually the original and authentic. The house was a lot smaller than I had imagined.I knew there was a den, dining room, etc. I guess I was expecting a huge house with more rooms. Another suprise was that the cottage that Annie to Helen to was probably about 25 feet from the big house. I knew it was on the same property and they drove 2 1/2 hours around their 650 acre plantation to make Hellen think that they were far away, but I still thought the cottage was more than a few yards from the house.

After touring the house we walked back to the huge Church gym and had another talk from a lady who taught us how to sign a song. Then we had a catered dinner. Dinner was good, but when we went to get into line, we saw the chicken which was leg, thigh, breas.t and wing all attached. Natalie almost didn't take it, I had to force her to just get her plate and go, and we would worry about the meat later. They did eat some of the chicken, but I thought it an odd choice for a bunch of girls. I heard other people talking about their scouts reactions too, which were close to Natalie's.

After supper, there was the annual parade that the girls all got to march in. They wanted the girls to go in pairs and Madelyn was picked to hold a sign, and Natalie didn't want to be my partner, I was able to find another troop that had and odd number, so Natalie got a girl partner, and I got to sit in the shade and watch the parade instead of walking in it. That was the last activity of the day and we got to go home. By then Aaron was had been home a few hours with Hannah. It was a fun and tiring day.

Friday I worked 7-11 in the morning, using the same babysitter I had the day before. We are still waiting to hear about the new offer we made on the house. We won't hear anything at least until Monday since her realtor is out of town. I am leaving for camp tomorrow with the girls. I will be gone at least until Friday, maybe Saturday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mortgage Headaches

Yesterday, I knew that we were going to look at the house that we almost bought a year ago. I also knew that we wanted to make an offer on it last night. So, I called about 5-6 mortgage places/banks to get the preapproval before even one talked to me or called me back. I spent much time on the phone with him, giving him all the info he needed. I still hadn't heard back late yesterday afternoon, so I call and it was supposed to be finished last night. They never called. So I called this morning and it is supposed to be finished by tonight. And guess what... they never called. So.... irritated that I needed this approval letter, I called a few more, only to get voicemails, then finally filled out the info online for the one that Dave Ramsey endorses and waited until this afternoon to hear from him. He never called, so I called him and he hadn't received the info yet, but was able to look it up. He needed some documents faxed to him, so I tried on our handy dandy (crappy, trashy, worth 1c fax machine/printer) I wasted our money on last year. Of course, after 30 min. trying to find the documentation he needed, I finally tried to fax, only to be denied twice and to be told their was a paper jam, when there was no paper in the fax. Meanwhile while all this is going on, don't forget that I have 3 kids that want to be "fed and watered" constantly, interrupting. Sad to say, I finally got to the point where I told the kids, each kid about 3 times, "if you don't want to be yelled at, then don't talk to me" I had something that I had to drop off at the realtor's office anyway, so I packed up the kids and took them with me, with strict instructions for their behavior in the office, and had the paperwork faxed from there. And the kids were good too.
I had called Aaron just to lament the way things were not working out. At that point, I realized the only thing I had to make for supper was meat loaf that would require an hour to cook or I could take care of the mortgage business, and Whaaaaa, what to do?!!. He said he wasn't that hungry anyway. How sweet. So, we stopped and did a quick runthrough of the grocery store on the way home from the realtors. And now, I am counting the minutes until 8pm when the first of the kids will go to bed and the noise level decreases by 1/3. The stress has given me a headache.
We did make an offer last night and now are waiting to see if it was accepted. I hope this doesn't draw out forever. The girls and I are leaving for camp on Sunday. Maybe we will know something before then.
About the property. Just a little since I don't want to spend a ton of time describing if we don't get it. It is a white siding house on 14 acres. Up on top of the "mountains" they have here. It backs up to the national forest. I was able to walk the few acres that were cleared last night with the girls while Aaron walked the uncleared acres with the realtor. There are peach, fig, pear, and apple trees, a barn and a spring fed pond. I will post pictures and more if we get it. Hope we do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Abraham, Sarah, and Issac

While getting ready for VBS tonight, I made some simple outfits for the kids, b/c I was going to have the children in the class act out the story. So, my girls got to be the testers for the outfits. They enjoyed walking around acting silly. We had the 3rd and 4th grade tonight, and only 9 kids. That was a break from the huge amounts the last two nights. There were 5 speaking parts in the little "play" we did and it didn't last long at all, but they had fun and we even changed costumes and did it twice so all the kids would get a chance.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Tonight was our first night of VBS. Aaron and I are doing the story of Abraham and Sarah. I greatly underestimated the number of children I thought we would have. I made 10 copies of our papers, and at the last minute, decided to make 10 more, didn't have time to finish cutting out the other 10 and still didn't even have enough. And that was just the 4year olds and kindergarten. It was wild. There was barely enough room in our room for them all to sit. Plus the fact that about 1/3 of them wouldn't stop talking the whole time, I almost lost my voice trying to read.
I would never attempt to be a teacher. I know, that technically, I am since I homeschool, but to have to take charge of others' children. Yet to not be able to discipline. That is a bad combination. There were a few tonight, that while I was trying to be the character of Sarah, I kept on having to stop to tell them to hush. Therefore, because of the obnoxious, rudeness of a few of the students, the rest probably have no idea what Aaron and I talked about. And that was proven when they got them into the auditorium, they asked the 4/5 year olds who they learned about and who did they shout out? Moses. Finally, someone came up with Abraham and the leader asked what Abraham did and the answer the kids came up with? "sat by the tent"
I was observing a few boys, who were in ages 5-8 or so, just running full speed in the church building while adults were telling them to stop. The kids would say "ok" and never slow down a bit. Not one ounce of respect for authority. One 5 year old came around the corner full speed and plowed over Hannah, got up and ran off, never apologizing while she sat there crying. Makes me so glad that there are only 3 nights left, that I am getting an older age group to teach each night, and that I am not a teacher full time. How can any adult think it is ok to not teach their kid to listen when an adult is talking? I think much of it is pure laziness coupled with busy-ness on the parents part.
Truthfully, in a classroom setting, I have no idea how to deal with it. I know how to deal with it with my own kids, and my own kids respect authority. I watch them when they don't know I am watching. When at VBS or in class and the teacher is trying to talk, 99% of the time, they are sitting there at attention - some of the few that are. But that respect starts in our home. And if you don't know how to get your kids to respect you, then go to the website that I have "advertised" on my blog. And you know what, even though we are strict with our kids - they are happy, well adjusted, outgoing, get along well with adults and with kids their own age, and enjoyable to be around. And I know I am biased, but still, after a night like tonight, with 3 more to go, I have come to appreciate the harvest of respect and obedience that we started sowing in our children when they were very young.

Perhaps there is hope! Number 10

After a depressing talk with our caseworker last week about the adoption status, I was pretty much saddened thinking that we were going to have to wait until September 1 to even know if we even had a chance. I guess I didn't realize that the date of decision as to whether to continue adoptions with the US was that day. I thought that the decision was being made right now as to whether to let adoptions continue after September 1. Anyway, I was not expecting, after that phone call, to even move up on the waiting list before September 1, but good news today... they had a girl referral, which means our number should be down to 10. There hadn't been a girl referral since April, when there were 3. There were 2 boy referrals last month. Maybe, there will be more soon. I sure hope so.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Yesterday, we had brunch at our house for those in our class on Wed. night. We had 3 other couples, plus 6 kids, including our 3. We ate, then had our badminton tournament, which I am happy to say that Aaron and I won. Of course, we are probably the only ones that have actually played over the last few months, since we put up our net. As you can see, the girls had a great time playing with the kittens. The other pictures are of some of our friends playing their game.

Hannah got in bed this morning with me. Aaron came out of the bathroom after his shower with a towel around his waist. He came out and started talking to me and Hannah said "don't talk to me with your pretty skirt on" It was so funny, and I never thought about a towel around the waist being a skirt, but it does look like one, especially to a 3 year old who is apparently uncomfortable seeing her dad in a "skirt" We got a good laugh about that one, and Aaron immediately turned and went back in the bathroom to put come clothes on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We have had a busy week so far. The girls are actually attending 2 VBSs this week. One runs Sunday through Wednesday from 7-8:30 at night and the other runs Monday through Friday from 8:30 -12:00. Which is where the girls are right now. It has been a little hectic, but that is what I love about summer, you can find all sorts of activities to keep you busy.
Sadly, the kitten I was syringe feeding died on Monday morning. It is now buried in our backyard. #1 Even though I was feeding it, it wasn't growing at all. #2 Sunday, it wouldn't even swallow the formula, it just ran out of it's mouth. So I had the girls tell it good bye Sunday night, knowing that it would be soon. They were sad, but that is life.
Still house hunting after living here 16 months. We are very picky, but we know that we will be there for a long time wherever we buy. We really liked a house with 6 acres a few weeks ago. It was for sale by owner and had a real pretty yard, etc. Bad thing was, it was about 15 -20 min. farther from Aaron's work. Well, Aaron called to make an offer, and Aaron understood the guy to say that someone was coming already that afternoon to make an offer. So the decision on that house was made for us. Kind of frustrating. There was a house that we looked at when we first moved that we really wanted to buy. It is on a beautiful road with an overlook. 14 acres. A house that has a 2 car garage with a room above that could be finished. Backs up to the National Forest. Actually a little closer to the forest than we live now. We didn't buy for specific reasons, but I have kind of regretted not buying it the last year. So has Aaron. But we couldn't come to an agreement on price. It still hasn't sold but it isn't listed either. I called a realty company I happened to find a few weeks ago and he spoke of a house with 14 acres he was going to be listing soon. He didn't know the location, but when describing what he knew, it will be a strange coincidence if it isn't the same house. He is supposed to call me back this week about it. So, Aaron and I are kind of torn about whether or not to try to buy that house we loved since it is still for sale and the realtor is supposed to call me first (I told him we were VERY interested).
Then last night, I get a call from the people from the house with 6 acres that we were going to make an offer on a few weeks ago, and they didn't sell the house. So, now Aaron and I have a choice and we don't know which way to go. Of course I know where my heart is - I hope we get the one near the forest. But I am really trying not to get my hopes up. We have been burned many times this year in our search for a house.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Frequent feedings

I started to notice over the first 24-36 hours after the birth of the kittens that the orange one never seemed to be eating at the same time as the others. When born, there were two big ones and two smaller ones. The orange one was one of the bigger ones. However, I finally realized that the kitten just wasn't nursing. Since it was Madelyn's favorite and she has wanted an orange cat for so long, I have been syringe feeding it. Although it seems to have perked up slightly and fights me and squirms a little more when I feed it, it still doesn't seem to have grown. I hope I can save it. It won't even drink from the tiny bottle I got it. Oh well, maybe next week. In the meantime, here are some cute pictures of the girls. Hannah is holding "Simba" the one that we are hand feeding. Of course nothing could be more fun for the girls than carrying around a real live pet like a baby.

I had a Tastefully Simple party tonight. We had a total of 6 people. I wish there could have been more and there were 4 people who said they would come, but didn't and a few that were maybes that didn't. Oh well, we had a good time and the food was great.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Air Freshener

Here is a cool recipe that the girls and I made a few weeks ago. If you like those air fresheners that are gelled and slowly evaporate, then you will enjoy making these yourself. I bought my liquid potpourri at Walmart. It probably comes out a little cheaper than buying the air fresheners already made. I put mine in jars, so that upped my cost. I plan on making these with the girls for Christmas presents.


2 cups liquid potpourri

4 packages Knox gelatin (one whole box comes with 4 little packages inside)

food coloring

1. Heat 1 cup liquid potpourri almost to a boil.

2. Stir in 4 packages of gelatin until dissolved.

3. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in 1 cup cool potpourri liquid.

5. Pour mixture into container.

6. Let it set at room temperature overnight or until it becomes solid.

It took mine about 24 hours to turn into a solid. I have one in our bathroom that has been there for almost 2 weeks and it is only about 1/3 gone.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Our cat Duchess, finally gave birth last night. I was disappointed that the girls were not here to see it after waiting so long for them. But, they are at Aaron's parents for a few days. Anyway, I had marked on my calender for her to give birth on the 3rd, so I was only 1 day off. Madelyn has been wanting a orange cat forever and one of them is orange, but of all the kittens, it is the one I worry about. I hardly ever see it eating unlike the others. I hope it makes it for her sake. So, if you want a kitten in a few months let me know.
We took the girls up to Aaron's parents Saturday night, getting there after 9pm. We got up the next morning and went to church. Aaron and his dad came home and started working on cutting down 3 trees in his parents yard. It ended up taking until about 4pm. I had been hoping to get home in time to attend our church at 6 pm, but didn't get home until after 8. I worked 7-4 on Monday, then Aaron got home about 4:30. We went and got Taco Bell for supper, then mowed the yard. By the time we were done, we realized the cat was in labor. I moved her into the laundry room, so I wouldn't have to watch in the garage and it was pretty exciting for me to get to watch. Aaron wasn't quite as thrilled. Needless to say, I got nothing done that evening on the house. I had these grand plans to work and clean like crazy while I had no kids around to distract me or to mess up one room while I am cleaning another.
On a sad note, last Friday a wreck was all over the news, where there was a police chase ending in one person getting killed. They hadn't released a name and since it was an hour away from here, I didn't think anything about it. Well, we got home Sunday night and had a message from a friend from college and the innocent person killed in the wreck was a guy Aaron and I had gone to college with. He was in his car when it was hit by the druggies getting chased by the police. He and his wife were on the same mission trip that Aaron and I started dating on, when we went to Mexico in '96. They started dating that same week. They have 2 little boys ages 3 and 6. We went to his funeral this afternoon. It was very sad. We were able to see some people that we hadn't seen since graduation 11 years ago. It was like a reunion of the Christian Student Center. We left at 1100 this morning and didn't get home until 5 or so, so were were gone most of the day. I have the kitchen clean and that is it. I have had a killer headache all day - a combination of sinus and stress from a funeral- and with the pain medicine, it is still not going away enough where I feel like cleaning away. So much for a clean house when the kids get home - Aaron's parents are bringing them home tomorrow, I don't know what time. I miss them, the house is not the same without them. So quiet.