Tuesday, October 30, 2007



October is probably in my Top 3 Reasons For Living in North Carolina list.

(And August and September this year were quickly climbing my list of Least Favorite Things About Living in North Carolina, so this month came at just the right time!)

What a beautiful month it's been...  Our windows have been open almost all day everyday (which I LOVE), and the best part is that we had almost no days that we ran the air conditioner, and have not yet turned on the furnace (although last night we probably should have).

AND, we finally got RAIN last week!  I had really been missing rain (we all were).  When I would watch TV and on a show it would rain, I would get jealous!  But we finally got a couple of good, cozy rainy days last week, and although we are apparently still in major drought mode, at least we got to remember what rain looked like.

So fall is finally here, and with it's arrival we've done all the appropriate fall things:  made some apple pies, made applesauce, picked out pumpkins, snuggled under a blanket on the couch to read books together, pulled out sweatshirts, collected leaves, etc.  I even got to play soccer last night (definitely a good fall activity) when Strider's last team practice for the season involved a parents-vs-kids game.  (And I scored!  With my left foot!  Proving that I am better than 7- and 8-year old boys.  And that I'm still too competitive on the field.)

The only real downside to this new fall season is seeing all the socks start creeping back into the laundry as everyone wears their sandals less and less.

Oh, and the funny thing is that my backyard gardens look like this!



My white daisy-like mums FINALLY bloomed...  I've been waiting for them since June!  So between them and my pink rose bushes re-blooming, it looks more like spring than fall.  (One note on the white mums... They are all over this bed and another one... and they all started from one little pot that someone brought me from a grocery store 2.5 years ago!)

Anyway, even though my gardens don't look too fall-ish, here are some pictures that do:






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Friday, October 26, 2007

Things I said tonight

Karin has talked before about how she'd like to write a book with all the things she finds herself saying as a mom that she would never have expected to hear herself say.

Along those same lines, I found myself saying "Don't" and "Stop doing" A LOT tonight... to a lot of weird things. Here is a list of the ones I can remember -- I said all of them in the short time between dinner and bedtime tonight!

"No, you cannot do a cannonball into the bathtub!"
"Don't call your sister a 'lighted cigarette.'"
"Stop writing on the ottoman."
"Don't sit on your brother."
"Stop swinging Colsen around by his arm."
"Strider, you are not the 'king' and Rayna is not your 'servant.'"
"Don't push your little brother while he's walking around with a crayon in his mouth."
"Since you didn't listen to me and calm down, now you can only whisper for the next 5 minutes. And you have to run up and down the stairs 10 times."
"Colsen, don't stand on the arm of that chair!"
"Don't step on Colsen"
"Take the tube out of his mouth."
"You guys can only tuck each other in for bed twice. Then you really need to go to sleep."
"Don't eat that!!"
and my personal favorite...
"Strider, don't ever pee into the toilet while standing on a stool again! I don't care if you 'didn't get a drop anywhere!!'"

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Look out Egypt!

While we were memorizing a poem called "Try, Try Again" recently, we got to a line that says, "..For if you will persevere, you will conquer, never fear, Try, try again."
Strider interrupted to say, "I want to conquer Egypt."
"What??" I asked
"I want to conquer a country. Plus Egypt hasn't had anything interesting happen to it since the ancient times, so I want to, you know...."
"Give them some more interesting "history" in current times?" I asked.
"YES!" he shouted. "It's been too boring there for a long time."

He's been VERY into his "Story of the World" history CD's. He has a 7-CD set that narrates history of the ancient world, and he begs to listen to it. In fact, when he gets disciplined for doing something wrong, sometimes we've been known to tell him he's not allowed to listen to the CD's that day! He's already listened to the whole set and wants to start over and do it again.

So all this history interest has spilled over into his playtime too, and by default, Rayna has to participate. There are many days when I hear things like,
"Ok, I'm KING CYRUS! And I am going to try and conquer.... Alexander the Great! Rayna, you be Alexander the Great. Oh, no. I can't conquer him. I'm dead. But at least Alexander the Great is going to die soon too! Mom, did you know how Alexander the Great dies? He might have been poisoned, but... [very long story follows]"

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Day at the Zoo

Yesterday we went to the North Carolina Zoo -- and it was a perfect day for it.  The leaves were beautiful and the weather was great.  And thanks to the homeschool program the zoo has, the entrance fees, which should have cost $44 only cost $10! 


We took a couple of Strider's friends with us and I think everyone had a blast.  And I think we only said "Boys, get off of that" or "Boys, get back on the trail," LESS than 100 times!  At one point I came around the bend to find all 3 boys perched up high on the back of some bleachers.  I groaned, "Why do you guys always have to find the most risky place to be??" and a lady nearby chimed in, "I'll tell you:  B-O-Y." 

My favorite line of the day, though, was, "Can I throw a rock at him [a sleeping otter] to wake him up?  I've been wanting to do that all day [to all the sleeping animals]."  Guess who said it....  Pete!!  (Thankfully none of the kids heard him!)  Once a boy, always a boy.

Seriously, though, the boys were very well behaved, and even surprised us by listening to "The Secret Garden" on CD for about an hour on the way home.  :) 

Here are some pictures from our day:

































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Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Great Weekend

This weekend was lovely in many ways -- perfect weather, happy people, fun activities.  Here are some of the highlights!

Yesterday we walked into the town center for our Fall Festival... the kids had been looking forward to it for weeks!  They got to do a lot of fun things...































And then in the afternoon.... I got to escape to....


to spend a few hours with my beautiful friend Heather!  Lots of fun.  And even though we're too young to be in the Red Hat Society, we apparently both decided we should start the Red Shoes Society!











Then today, after church, Strider and I went on a special date that we've had planned for a long time:  we went to see "The Music Man" at Matthews Playhouse.  It was a great production!  And Strider loved it -- even though it was 2 1/2 hours long.  We got to sit 2 rows behind the orchestra, and Strider was in awe of all the drama.  When the lights dimmed at the very beginning, he said rather loudly "Yay!"  Awhile later, though, during a particularly long and seemingly gratuitious song-and-dance number, he whispered to me, "Does this have anything to do with the story??"  I think he was just ready to get to the point.  :)  I know a couple of his relatives that feel the same way about musicals!

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and we are very thankful.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

A little man and a big bottle of vinegar


Now that Colsen is walking everywhere, he apparently thinks it's really important to start carrying really heavy things (definitely a man).  So all weekend he kept lugging this bottle out of the pantry to play with...





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Monday, October 15, 2007

Missing the "big guys"

Pete and Strider have been gone for a long weekend, and we are missing them!  They went to Ohio, primarily to see an Ohio State football game with Pete's parents, and by all reports, they have been having a blast.   Strider calls every few hours to tell us what other exciting things they have been doing... or what good foods he's been eating.   Here are some of the conversations we've been having by phone:


Strider:  Mom, guess what!  You're not going to believe this.  It's only half-time and Ohio State is winning 35-0!  Can you believe it?!?

Me:  Oh, that sounds like it might be a boring game.

S:  What????!!!  It's great!  We're killing them!!!

Me:  Well, I'm glad you're having fun.

S:  Wait... Mom?  I can't quite hear you because of all the cheering.  Hold on a minute, ok?  Mom, this whole stadium is filled with Ohio State fans!

Me:  There aren't any fans for the other team?

S:  Well, there might be a few.  But I would say it's at least 95% Ohio State fans.  It's incredible.


Strider:  Mom, guess what!  We had quite an adventure today in the woods.  We were trying to find the apple orchard, but we never found it.  We walked and walked and walked for 45 minutes or an hour, and then we were LOST.

[Pete in the background:  We're weren't lost.]

Strider:  Ok, we weren't lost.  We just didn't know where we were.


Rayna:  HI STRIDER!!!!!

Strider:  Hey Rayna!!!

Rayna:  What are you doing??

Strider:  Just playing in Ohio.

Rayna:  Can you come home with me?

Strider:  Rayna, I'll be home in a couple days, ok?  You get to play at Nonna's house though.

Rayna:  Ok.  I love you.

Strider:  I love you, too.

[Me in the background: sob]


Before they left last week, we were eating lunch one day and Strider announced, "I'm really looking forward to the plane ride TO Grandpa and Gee-Gee's house.  But I'm not looking forward to the flight home."  I asked him why not and he said, "Because that means the trip will be over and there won't be anything to look forward to."

I said, "But won't you be looking forward to seeing us?  We won't have seen each other for 4 days!"

He said, "Mo-om, 4 days is not that long.  I could go, like, 2 weeks without seeing you!   Well, maybe not quite 2 weeks, but longer than 4 days."


But, when I talked to him this morning, it sounded like he missed us anyway.  And we are definitely looking forward to seeing them tonight.   I took this picture before they left....  Doesn't Strider look so old?  My baby is growing up.  I think the guys had a good time bonding this weekend.  Pete had made up an acronym with Strider's name full of words for what it means to "be a man" and they were going to talk about that on the trip.  Overall, a good weekend.






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Friday, October 12, 2007

Bulk foods + Poor memory = Interesting dinner

A few weeks ago I decided to stock up on some good, healthy food at our local Earth Fare store.  Since Colsen is eating more and more regular food, I thought I should branch out a little, and also get him some organic items.  So I bought several types of things from their bulk food section... including a few different grain items.

Well, yesterday afternoon I realized I had a little extra time so decided to make a good healthy dinner for the family.  I made some homemade chicken nuggets (with whole wheat bread for the crumbs- - thanks for the recipe, Mor-Mor!) and then decided to make some brown rice to go with them.  I went to the pantry and grabbed one of the bulk food bags that I had been avoiding for the past few weeks.  I was pretty sure it was short grain brown rice, but I couldn't remember exactly.  But I figured that if it was some weird grain like millet or something -- did I buy some of that or not? -- if I cooked it long enough in water, it should be fine.  And I decided to make a double batch, so I could freeze some for future Colsen meals.

The nuggets were happily baking away, and around the time the rice should have been done, I took the lid off the pot to check it:  it looked very weird.  Was this just because I was using a bigger, different pot since I was making a double-batch?  Why was there still so much water in there?  Did I measure wrong?  I decided maybe I should break down and buy a rice cooker.... although I really don't want to add yet another appliance to my very full kitchen!  Oh well... I would just cook it longer and eventually the water would all get absorbed.

And it did!  So pretty soon I had my healthy meal all ready to eat.   I put a mound of this rice stuff on each plate, thinking it didn't look very appetizing.  But I figured with butter and salt and pepper, anything would taste ok.  So we sat down to eat, and as Strider took a bite of the "rice" he said, "Mom, this tastes like oatmeal!"   And suddenly the light bulb went off in my head (why couldn't it have turned on a couple hours earlier??)....  I had bought bulk steel-cut organic oatmeal at Earth Fare!  So that's what was in that bag!  And that's what we were eating with butter and salt and pepper.  Good ol' chicken nuggets and oatmeal.

Needless to say, the kids had a lot of giggles over their interesting dinner.  (And Strider petitioned hard to get brown sugar put on his... to no avail)  And needless to say, we are freezing the rest to give to Colsen since he won't care.

  My poor, poor memory.  And my poor family!


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trying out some new words

Strider and Rayna are, of course, always adding to their vocabulary.  But the occasions in which they use their new words experimentally are always funny.  Here are some examples from this past week.


Strider was doing his math work downstairs and he yelled up to me, "Five times 13 is 85, right?" 

"No, it isn't," I yelled back. 

"I know," he said.  "I was being sarcastic."  [Hmmm... not quite right.]


Rayna was apparently trying to work "hilarious" into her conversation last week.  One morning we were driving and we saw a big truck that had about 20 wheels on it.  We were commenting on how big it was, and she said, "That truck is hilarious."  [Sorry, sweetie, not quite right.]

Then later that afternoon, I was talking to her and I said, "Rayna, you are so pretty.  God made you such a beautiful girl."  She said, "That's hilarious."  [Still not right.]


A couple months ago I was trying to teach Strider that he doesn't always have to take things so literally all the time.  (He's at that stage.)  Well, last week Pete was reading a verse to him and trying to explain more about what the word "repent" means.  He got up and was demonstrating by walking one direction, and then turning around and going the other way.  Strider said, "Daa-ad, you're being figurative!"  [DING DING DING!  We finally got one right!]


Meanwhile, Rayna has pulled an old "word" out of the archives.... She and Strider make up words periodically and some of them stick.  This one is "jengalous," -- she used to say it a long time ago, and apparently it's back now.  It's definitely an adjective, and is usually used in the form of "You're so jengalous," but Pete and I have yet to really hone in on the exact definition. Strider and Rayna seem to know exactly what they're saying, though, and they think it's hilarious


Colsen's one new "word" at this point is "eh      eh       eH        EH       EH,"  said progressively louder and louder.  And the translation is "I am currently about half-way up the long staircase.  Can someone please come get me before I fall on my head?"   He has been very consistent in trying to teach us this word, and even though we are slow learners in many ways, we have finally caught on.  He's very proud of us.


So while his vocabulary is still quite limited, he is working hard on his walking.  Here's some footage from yesterday:



There's always someone learning something new around here!  One of the great joys of parenting.  :)




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Monday, October 8, 2007

The Wedding!

Katie and Graham got married last night!  It still feels so weird to think of my "little sister" now as a wife!  But she's a very beautiful one, and we just LOVE Graham.  The whole weekend was very special, and it was especially cool to see and hear more about the 2 of them from all their friends.

We are completely exhausted today (well, at least Pete and I are... the kids are still racing around as usual).  But between the "shower" for Kate on Thursday, the big dinner at Mom's house Friday, the bridesmaid brunch Sat. morning, the "preception" barbecue on Sat. afternoon, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Sat. night, and then the main events on Sunday, I feel like I am pretty much done with talking for quite awhile.  (And I have mild laryngitis, so that confirms it.)  

Everything went so well, though... and the wedding was picture-perfect.  So beautiful.  I loved the ceremony especially, and was so thankful to have a front-row seat to watch Katie's and Graham's faces.  (Marc did a great job as the pastor!)  And the reception was a lot of fun.  They had a live band (which was very LOUD... I'm getting so old) and our kids had a great time dancing.  We had to literally drag each of them away at the end of the night. 

We have lots of pictures.... too many to post here.  But here is the link to my flickr site.

 The pictures are out-of-order and disorganized, but at least they're up!


(Thanks, Bud and Jane for coming and visiting/helping us this weekend!)


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