Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Across the bases of the statues are the words, "A Tribute to American Statesmanship."
Here are George and Abe up close. The details are really impressive and it was a sight we've seen from the road many times and have spoken about. However, seeing it up close and realizing the immense size of these statues is very impressive.
We got a family shot with Abe and then Tia had her picture with the boys. (Rebekah was not interested in being photographed at this particular time--stubborn girl!) This was part of Tia's Fun Day. We started these "Fun Days" sort of by mistake. It seemed like every time we'd visit, there was one really special thing we were going to do. She would take off work and go with us and somehow it morphed into being called "Tia's Fun Day." The kids love their Tio & Tia and so these days are really more about spending time with Tia and the bonus is there's something fun that goes with this time.
Here's Thomas Jefferson's head next to an unfinished Teddy Roosevelt. Then we drove by Teddy and you could see inside a bit of how these giant statues are made.
What a nice start to Tia's Fun Day. Stay tuned for more of the adventures of our family & Tia.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s
a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become
He reminded the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about teachers:
"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."
To corroborate, he said to another guest: You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do
Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied:
"You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like the Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his or her very best.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts in English.
I elevate them to experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments.
I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart
...And if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no
I make a difference."
She turns to the CEO and asks, "What do you make?"
To all of my children's teachers from the past, the present and the future--
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
After dinner, we had cake for dessert. I had planned to purchase a cake at the store for Nathan, but that week my car had been in the shop not once but twice and the day in the middle where I was to run errands and order cake ended up being the day I stayed home as much as possible since the van was really acting up. So I baked him his cake instead.
I put a special 8 in the corner and Nathan got the GIANT piece of cake with the entire 8 on it.
After dinner, the opening of the presents ensued...
This is one of my favorite "Nathan" expressions. Look at the pure joy on his face. And one of the best parts of Nathan is that he is truly touched that anyone gets him any gift at all. You could wrap up rocks and he'd still be this excited and happy. He's so sensitive that way and really appreciates each gift he gets.
The grandmas spoiled him rotten with new board games and video games. There were lots of clothes, too. He's been wearing a new outfit almost every day. The clothes pictures turned out a little dark so I didn't post them. Just know that if you're a Poppa or Grandma--he loved his clothes!
It's his very own claw machine. And all three kids love it. If you're worried about them getting too much candy, you've gotta read my post about Candy Possibly Causing Criminal Behavior.
Granddaddy sent Nathan some cold hard cash.
Tio & Tia ordered one of Tia's favorite books for Nathan. It's "The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo" by Judy Blume. It came out when I was way past kid books so I had never read the story. How perfect for my Nathan!!! It's a middle child (boy) who has a big brother and a baby sister. He has to share his room with his big brother and he gets all the hand-me-downs from brother. (Now in my defense, while the boys share a room and Nathan gets hand-me-downs, that kid is so skinny that he also gets gobs of his own clothes brand new because he can't wear Andrew's old ones.)
While this boy isn't feeling special, he ends up getting to be in a play. He plays a Green Kangaroo. The rest of the story is awesome---but you'll have to go read it for yourself. To go with the book, Tia had her friend make a stuffed green kangaroo for Nathan. He loves it! It's velvet so it meets his sensory input needs and she even made a little joey for the kangaroo's pouch. He sleeps with it every night.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The day Nathan was born....
Present day: Nathan making a heart at the school Valentine party.
Showing off his boat creation.
Happy Birthday, Nathan!! You were my tiniest baby at 5# 12.5 oz. Your sweet smile and beautiful eyes have captivated my heart from the start. You were named "God's gift" and "God's beloved"---and you are. Always remember as much as Mommy loves you, Jesus loves you more.
I'll love you forever and three days, Mom
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
"I am convinced that success is not measured by what you get out of life, but by what you give back." Jerry Moran
Stop and think about that for a minute. It took time for it to really sink into my mind, my heart and my spirit. So I began to wonder what I really give back? Do all the PB&Js lovingly put in 'special' baggies with printed characters and notes attached to milk money in lunchboxes really count as giving back? Does laundry and vacuuming and doing dishes count? While I think those things do give back to my family, I'm not sure it counts in the greater meaning of the quote. What gives back to the world?
Then I thought more about the other things I do. Does talking to a friend who is hurting give back? How about the times I stepped in when someone needed help at a MOPS meeting or a church event? What about being the Room Party Mom for a class who wouldn't get a party if a mom didn't come and help?
All these thoughts swirled around until I found myself tyring to remember the lines to the poem, "The Dash." I found that poem and read it over again. And once again, I'm struck by the simplicity of the words and how great their impact is to me.
So in my year of working to be more Engaged, I want to focus on what I'm doing with my dash. What 'successes' will be counted as mine at the end of my life? I want to be a giver instead of a taker. As Jerry Moran said above, I want to be the person who is successful because of what I gave.
Enjoy reading "The Dash." And if you have picked out your word for this year, please let me know. I'd love to pray for you as you focus in on what that word is for you and your life this year.
The Dash Poem
by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
Monday, February 15, 2010
Rebekah wanted nothing to do with photos....so....
Andrew & Nathan were all smiles.
Dad is a goof and decided to make fun of my photo-taking. Told him it would go online this way and he didn't seem to care. Maybe it's his better side??
On the way back to the car after lunch, Sean made a reindeer in the snow. His hand prints (top right) form the antlers, then he drew a face and body. And, if you don't believe the snow has been bad this year, that thing in the top left corner is the backrest of the bench outside the school. It's finally melted enough that we can see it again. At one point, the drifting and piled snow from the tractors had created a pile by the front door that was almost 10 feet tall.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
It hit me that we are an 'old married couple' when everyone kept asking what we're doing for Valentine's Day. We have no plans and won't really celebrate in the typical manner.
First off, I've never been one to want to go out anywhere around Valentine's Day--the lines are long, the prices are sky high and now that we have kids--I don't need to pay a sitter for a 3 hour wait for my table. I don't want flowers on Valentine's Day--maybe another day, but not on Feb. 14. Are you kidding? I watched the prices go at our local grocery store from $1 per long stem rose to $3.99 per long stem rose. I don't think the flowers are any better at 4x the price. Buy me flowers to surprise me in March when they are normal priced again!
So Sean and I have no plans for today. Church and pot blessing (pot luck) afterwards. Rebekah will need a nap. Then we'll do something for dinner--at home--and maybe have game night with the kids. Nathan got new games and we want to check them out.
We did have a wonderful dinner together on Wednesday when the kids have AWANA Clubs. We brought home fast-ish food and were rebels by eating on the couch. (Big time no-no around here!) Mostly, we connected at a heart to heart level. There's been a lot of 'noise' in our life lately and things trying to pull us every way apart, but we chose to spend time getting close again. It was lovely.
Maybe this Wed. we'll go to the restaurant I picked out for our non-Valentine date night. New little Mexican place and I scored some gift certificates to pay for part of our meal (yes!).
Most of all, I decided along the way that there's a lot of days that are sold to us as important dates on the calendar. I've figured out that I'd rather have my dishwasher unloaded by my loving husband or come home to a house that was picked up while I was gone throughout the year instead of one big hoopla on a set day on the calendar. The little things speak louder to me in assuring Sean's love than flowers or candies or dinner out.
Yes, I've figured it out. We are the old married couple--and I think I'm happier that way. So go enjoy your dinner tonight and I'll catch up with my hubby on another day. After all, if you truly love each other, any day can be Valentine's Day.
Come and grow old with me, the best is yet to be!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHAN!!!