Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's been too long!

What a week we have had! A full house with Robert's folks - Betsy and Leslie and lots of fun! Betsy spent lots of time playing games - both bingo and dominoes and even a new dice game! The kids loved it!

We also got to gether with Brian and Lisa and we got some cute pics of Caitlin and Anna and a shot of all the boys too!

Caitlin is getting too big too fast! Already wanting to be on her feet! She is sure a cutie and enjoys being around all these crazy boys!

Well our clan is set to head out east! We are trekking to see the Lewis bunch this week! So be praying for safe travel for the kids and I as we go about 18 hours in the car on MOnday and Tuesday! We are so excited to see the Lewis' though and know it will be a great trip! I am sure we will post many pictures there and when we get home!

This weekend was my women's retreat and it was so great to get away and be encouraged! The ladies who planned it all did a fantastic job! I am so glad I was able to go - and my break out session went great too I think! God really blessed the weekend for many of us!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

One of the Fun parts of Homeschooling

Today we got to go on a great field trip! I had a friend tell me about the owner of Papa Murphy's Pizza offering to have the kids come in and get a tour of the store - she quickly told me all about it and I added it to our list of future field trips.

We have had about 25 people show up for trips so far, and we are trying to plan 3 per month almost one per week. So I really thought that not too many would opt for this trip. We had about 37 kids today and a bunch of moms! It was so fun!

We were given a tour of the store, we watched them make dough for the pizzas they would sell today and tomorrow and we even got to order our own little pizzas to take home. In addition to our personal pizzas we were given a little container of cookie dough - enough for about 3 cookies per person. We were also offered pieces of their cinnamon wheel to eat while we were there. It was really so fun! The couple that own this particular store are just wonderful and incredibly friendly and just were so sweet with the kids and very good about trying to teach all the kids something! It was just a great trip!

We even bought a pizza for lunch tomorrow with Robert's folks as a treat! We of course live pizza and Papa Murphy's is our favorite next to homemade! Anyway, it was a great morning. We even got home and after lunch we did a normal school day! So we are ahead for the week!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Many Blessings - catch them when you can!

What a couple days it has been! We are having a good week here in the Cole home. Lots of things going on and lots to do, but overall things are going well. The boys have been doing so well waking in the morning because their mommy has been a sleepy head. The other morning (the morning of the 1st 2 pics) I woke after 7am and they were still quiet. I jumped in the shower because they are usually up by 7 and going full speed! When I got out of the shower I found my three precious boys on the floor in the living room reading - yes you read that right - reading! Hans Solo was reading the Bible too! Extra points for that! I just felt like I was given a gift! It was great.
The other pics of my little Princess are evidence that she is in fact a girl. I often worry about whether she will want to be a girl or more like a boy like her brothers. If you see her out or at home she behaves more like them than I would expect a little girl to do. But when I checked on her during her nap the last two days I found evidence that she has that mothering tendency! She has put her babies (and anything else in her crib) to bed as well. Often she does put them face down, but the details will follow, I am sure. I am just thrilled that she wants to be a girl and that she is playing little mommy!
Okay so as I am writing this I hear the kids (just feet away) talking about cutting with scissors - I finally stopped and asked for them and my Princess ran over and said - "Anna cut hair" and much to my horror yes she is missing hair! This is her first hair cut, not sure I will document it as such, but I know have a treasure of a lock of her hair! Not quite what I had planned.... oh well.
So much to do these next few days! We have babysitting for FREE at church tonight, so Robert and I have a hot date planned! I think he mentioned grocery shopping! WooHoo! I think I may even take a second shower today to get myself all dolled up!! You never know who you will see at the grocery store! :)
And tomorrow we are hosting some friends for supper, Chewie is sad they are coming for supper and not breakfast so they can stay and play all day - but they do in fact have a life of their own!
Then we are so excited because Grammie and Papa are in town - presently in Dallas with Cole Crew but should arrive sometime on Monday. That is after we see them for supper on Sunday at one of our favorite spots - Chuy's in Dallas!
On the calendar for next week....a tasty Shrimp Boil - a family tradition when the Coles are in town, lots of walks and playing with Grammie and Papa and even a golf game at the end of the week!
Then the kids and I are off on a Cross Country Adventure! We are trekking out to North Carolina to see The Lewis Family!! We will stop in Mississippi to see family and cannot wait to see my uncle and aunt and my cousin who I am sure has grown up quite a lot! So I am sure we will have tons of pics to share when we get back!
That is all for now -
Oh wait - I forgot, I went to check on my little princess last night before we turned in. My heart about jumped out of my chest when I checked her bed & it was empty - well of a little girl at least. I knew she was not sleeping on the floor because her floor was unusually picked up - so when I turned around in disbelief I saw her sleeping on the Army Footlocker by the door - no pillow nothing, feet dangling off. It was just hysterical! I did move her because I knew she would not sleep well there or for long, but wow! I thought she was missing for a brief second - well maybe not so brief!! Thankfully, she was just practicing for a tougher life to come I suppose! Too bad I did not grab my camera for that shot!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Saving the Day!

Well, today started way too early and has been way too long. Mostly because of my wonderful kids, but none the less, long!

We got up early (well got moving earlier than normal) and were out the door by 7:10 to get to a local hardware store to try and aquire a generator. I was worried when they opened at 8am that they would have a rush on them and be out immediately. Instead I found a very kind group of people who were not in the least rude or offensive. We all waited patiently and we all got a generator (or 2 in my case) and were on our way.

Yes, cousin Terri and her hubby Matt made their way to our house early this am to get that generator to improve their quality of life down in Conroe TX - just north of Houston.
We had a great (albeit short) visit and they were stocked when they headed back home. I of course snapped pictures the entire time trying to get a couple good ones of the kiddos for mutual grandmas and such.Not only was I blessed to find a generator or two, but they were $300 less than the price I was quoted on the phone last night! What a deal - especially to save that on 2! So Terri and Matt were able to take one back for her mom Linda as well. So two families will have a fan on them tonight and a cooler fridge in the morning for their eggs and milk.

I thought since the kids were so active all morning that they would calm this afternoon and - Boy was I wrong! They are still running like the "little energizer bunnies" the are! Tomorrow we are doing PE at home and I am going to wear them out or wear myself out trying!

So along with my brood you will notice our cousins - the young lady is a year younger than "Chewie" and the little boy is 9 months older than "Princess" - and they had so much fun playing and getting reaquianted!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finally ... I did it!!

Finally I figured it out! With lots of thanks to Kristen who every time I said I cannot figure out how to do something on my blog would reply with "I did not think there was anything you could not do on your blog!" What a true friend! Even if she did not believe her words, the encouraged me to keep trying and now, VOILA I have a 3 column blog! Yeah!

And yes, I updated the kids aliases too! It did not feel personal enough to keep using initials, so now there is some personality involved with their titles! So welcome my little Star Wars brood - and my princess is a princess no matter what theme we are following, so there you have it!

We are enjoying a Sunday afternoon here in our neck of the woods, the kids are in front of the tv - watching the Prince of Egypt movie with a friend, Robert is helping another friend and I am trying to find a generator in the state of Texas! But I am thinking they are all out of reach. Robert's cousin and her family may be heading this way to get out of the heat, lack of electricity and no food situation they are in down in Conroe TX after Ike. Things are really bad down there! I knew it was bad, but when you start talking to families who have family there and have talked to them, it is really bad! Lots of people lost everything.
Last night I said to Robert, what would you take? Could you take enough if you had to leave? I was thinking "How would I get all my stuff out of here to "save" it?" "and you know I got the answer today from Bart. (He's our pastor) While at church he asked us, "How many of you make decisions based on how it will impact you?" And I thought -you mean like inviting family to come stay with us indefinitely - with 2 more little kids, and more adults, and more noise and more stuff.....and and and. I knew that I wanted to offer my house to Terri and her family without hesitation, but in the back of my mind I thought - what will that really look like. But Bart talked about how people lost everything, and I thought about what I would have taken.

Now I realize that I will leave here one day and I cannot take anything with me, so if I cannot leave my stuff for a hurricane, how can I really be ready to leave my stuff for my home - Heaven? And I need to fix that! I knew I wanted Terri to come with her family, honestly a little selfishly because we have not seen them in, what feels like, years! I love Terri and Matt and their 2 little kids. Their little girl loves our kids and vice versa, and I am thankful a hurricane will re-connect us. Of course I can say that because I did not lose anything, and Terri may not feel the same way having lost all their food in the fridge, freezer and power for who knows how long.
So enough about that.
Bottom line, I can leave it all - not my family of course, but I could start over, it would be tough, but wouldn't it be a little freeing too? No more clutter, no more junk, just what matters - me and Robert and our kids. Thankfully this was just a theoretical lesson, not one I actually had to experience, but I hope it changes my attitude a bit. Hug your kids a little tighter and be thankful for your power as the coast of Texas recovers from thise tough time! Blessings!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rainy Day

Well, Ike hit here today - not too bad - but it rained most of the day. It was a steady light rain, but enough to force us to stay in none the less.

For dinner we had "make your own pizza" night - so the kids were thrilled! The boys argued about who got to make theirs first, but were fine when the order was established, but then AG came running into the kitchen demanding - "AG next" - so she made hers too!

Last night I did get to get out and craft for a while! I started on my Christmas cards and had a great time just stamping with another homeschool mom friend. However, when I was done and all packed up and ready to be home in bed, I realized that I locked my keys in the car! Not a good thing - Robert was asleep, the kids in bed ( and I had their car seats) and I was not sure what to do. Thankfully with USAA they take care of everything, they came and unlocked my door and I was on my way (after a 45 minute wait, I suppose is fair it was Friday night). So morning came quickly for me after getting into bed at 12:30!

First thing this morning, well for me at least (the kids were all up and fed) I ran out to get my brakes checked before our BIG cross country trip to NC later this month. Unfortunately my brakes were bad and everything needed replacing - oh well. Better now than in NC or on the road.

That's about it for us, I think we may have 2 sick boys, so I may be on my own tomorrow teaching 1st grade Sunday School, since Robert needs to be home with the sickies. Not fun!

Oh yeah, here is little girl with her dog tags too - very excited!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another week goes by

We have had a fun week! We schooled Monday & Tuesday - then we lived school on Wednesday when we went to the municipal airport here in town. We were so excited to see the B17 bomber they had in for the week! It was great timing! The boys learned a lot about WWII and they got to go inside the plane and see what it was really like to fly in it. This bomber actually still had the guns on and it was so fun to see! Unfortunately I forgot my camera! Fortunately a friend had hers so I hope to post some pics when I get them! It was just great!

Yesterday we had our PE day and then had a friend come over and play. The boys played legos for a while on the floor while I did some stuff around the house!

AG had her first playdate alone at a friends where she went while we were at PE and lunch, then she even napped there! Neelee said the girls were so good and played so well together! It was great, AG did not even want me when I got there to get her - she ran off to play some more!
Here is a picture that Neelee took - neither girl wanted their picture but she got this one! 2 little girls - how cute!!

Today we took school on the road, we did our math in the car while we waited for Discount Tire to open. Then we did reading while we waited for them to rotate my tires. Then we got the oil changed at Walmart while we looked around (at the toys too - 2 points for mom!). Not much school there. Then for art class we looked around Michaels and got a few craft items. Who says homeschooling is boring? And don't even get me started on the socialization issue....that just gets too ugly!

Now, while we are resting (okay not really) I just checked the mail and we received the best surprise! The boys each got a pair of dog tags from Aunt Kristen - which it really is perfect timing as Uncle James just left Monday for Iraq - now the kids have their dog tags like Uncle James and will think about him and pray for him often! they love them!! They are so excited!

So this closes a great week for our family - while we brace for Ike - no telling how that will impact us quite yet. But we are praying for family and friends!

I could not resist including this......

Monday, September 8, 2008

It just feels right!

You know how when you get home from a great vacation that you did not want to end, you fall into your bed and snuggle in and it just feels right. You loved being away but being home, in your sheets, in your room, in your kitchen, and even your own toilet? Well that was a little how today was.

We were only gone for 2 weeks - gone from where? Well our routine, our life of school in our home. We took 2 weeks off to separate our summer session from our new year of 2008-2009. I wanted a break before we really hit the books for real. And today was like coming home!

Schooling in our home is not "easy" per se, but let me tell you, I was made to teach my kids and God made those kids to learn from me. We have our struggles, sure. But each one of us performs so much better in that environment that we have here. The boys got right back into their math like they have not missed a day, P was narrating better than he was 2 weeks ago - a lot better! And J, my dear first born, a boy after my heart, I think he is just a genius - well okay, pretty smart! He gets it! He narrates back to me in so much detail I wonder if he read the book before more. He remembers so much! It is great! And when I read poetry to them and they can tell me what it means, it is like music to my soul! I love it! They were even excited when I had some Mozart on this morning (instead of radio) and they thought it was Beethoven and were excited to hear about another new composer! My kids are not exceptions, we just have made learning fun, and have tried to get excited when they do about little things!

There is nothing you could give me to give away those moments to someone who is underpaid and overstressed at the school two blocks away! It is a gift that was made for me!

So yes, I am excited about this year! I am excited we are in 2nd and 1st, and even some pre-school with E. he will be reading by December with or without me, so I have decided to try and help him along to establish some good habits rather than bad. That boy is dying to read! So mark my words, by December (not bragging, like I said with or without me!).

We also started something new, a friend brought her little girls (same age as mine) and her son (same age as my youngest) to have some craft time and healthy eating time. Her kids are a bit picky and she wants them to see some other kids who eat anything (yes ANYTHING) - and we want to have fun too so we are going to do a craft. Today we did garden stones - I have been a little slow with these. AG is 2 and a 1/2 and this is only her second. The last one is with baby feet prints. Anyway, we had fun and I think they will turn out great! This will be weekly, scheduled permitting, and I hope the younger kids really start to play together. Our girls are too young to really know how to play girl stuff, so they sit around and do legos - it really is sad!
We are having our down time now - E obviously was worn out from all the schooling - really the playing, but either way he is out for the count! I am sure he will be ready to go here in a few minutes.
Just a side note, our closest friends (Kristen & James) started a blog (see my blog list) today because James left this morning for Iraq. So please be in prayer for his safety, for Kristen (pregnant) while James is away with her 3 boys (4,2,1), and just for their family in general! Thanks!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's Time!!

Tomorrow is the day for our Clan to kick off the 2008-2009 School Year! yeah!
So we are going to try to get back in the mode of school and normal life! I am looking forward to it, and surprisingly the kids are too! I reminded them a couple times today that tomorrow is our first day and they were pleased! I think they have missed our school time together!

Today was a great day for us, but tiring! We started out at church, Robert and I teaching the 1st graders, which we are loving! We talked about God creating the world and everything in it! it was fun to hear what these little people think about that and what they think about that God made! Then we spent lunch at Jennifer's house with her family, since we were supposed to be back up at church to farewell our Children's Minister. We had a nice reception to thank her for her service to our children after 20 years, since she is retiring! It was a lovely time to visit and let Sandra know how much we all love her!

Then we had to rush home by 3:15 for "you know what"!! Yes FOOTBALL - ugh! It has started again! I have to say I am never thrilled, but I will get pulled in by the end of the season. The problem in our home is I am a staunch supporter of whoever is playing the cowboys and Robert's team is the Cowboys! you can imagine this poses problems for us! And I will say that I am a HUGE Manning fan (both Eli & Peyton) and have been since Peyton played college ball in TN. Also, Eli was the #1 draft pick the day I delivered our little E! So you can see I have a place in my heart for both the Manning brothers!
So needless to say my season ended better than Robert's the last 2 years, but I still say "ugh!"

Now Robert is out playing softball - new season today, while I am home prepping my room for tomorrow. Well I am off the bed now to get some good sleep so I am a happy mommy & teacher tomorrow! Blessings to your family!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fall is coming!

We had a very nice Saturday - the kids and Robert headed out to Sam's and Walmart for some Saturday AM browsing! I was at home with my friend Alicia hosting a Ladies Tea where we were introducing a new ministry at our church! We are starting Apples of Gold at our church, but we are also going to add other groups that mirror Apples of Gold but are specific to other groups of ladies! It is a great ministry that will match up some of our seasoned ladies in Bible Study groups with younger ladies and allow them to be mentored. It will be in homes and food will be made & served! I really cannot wait to see how this will impact our church and our communities!!

We had a nice time talking about what we want to do with this ministry and defining how it will look, while we enjoyed visiting too!

After that I was lucky enough to get to nap with my little girl! Those days will not be here long where she will lay with me and nap on my chest. It was very nice, not sure I napped, but it was relaxing and sweet!

Now, I am off to prep for our Sunday School class tomorrow - we have the 1st grade class! Lots of fun & lots of energy!

I am also about to kick off a new Bible Study on Wednesday nights called The New Eve - if you have not read it, you really should! Amazing book with a powerful message for women! Check out the video here!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Day for our birthday boy!

Okay - so the day of celebration was actually on Wednesday - and we had lunch with Dad at the Rainforest Cafe! It was our first time there and the boys loved it! Little girl on the other hand, well she was terrified of the animals and why do you go there except for the animals...but Dad stayed close and she survived!

We met Dad after dropping off our 101 items at the JBF sale for consignment. The kids were great - okay - they were good while I dopped everything off. Then we met Dad for lunch.

After lunch I got to take a nap with AG - 2 hours! What a deal! Then we all got up and headed off to church. Robert met me there and took over with the kids while I went shopping! My friend and I volunteered our time to label postcards and it paid off to get to shop last night for about 3 hours - yes 3 hours! But I saved SOOOO much money!

Really I outfitted my dear little girl for the entire fall/winter this year and at least half of next year! Plus I found a Christmas gift for each child for next to nothing, and 2 dress up costumes for my little girl too! Yeah! I spent way too much - but I am done shopping for the next 6 months - until the spring JBF sale!

These pics are from the other day when we had our afternoon snack of "Green Smoothie" - spinach, carrots, naked fruit juice, and cantelope! The kids loved it and it doesn't spoil supper if it is 1/2 veggies - at least that is what I think !

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It has been a fun weekend - not too much going on - just hanging out as a family - lots of Wii time, some Central Market shopping, and a birthday celebration! Our second son will turn 6 on Wednesday, so today (monday) we had Robert's brother & family and another family over to celebrate. We started out swimming this morning, came home for some pizza and of course wii time! Oh, and don't forget the cupcakes!

The Agony of Defeat.....

I have to admit, I love the wii. Mind you, we have tons of rules regarding the wii, but when we play the kids love it! They played this morning P and his friend P2 and they were boxing. Both P & P2 were winning against their opponents (My other 2 sons) until Robert made them play each other and this was the result....

This afternoon the men played Tiger Woods golf and had more fun -without sad faces!
Here are some pool pics!

Here are Lisa and little C3 - and Robert with C2! All the C's belong to Lisa & Brian (Brian is Robert's brother) and they celebrated with us! Above is P, E on his back, and AG - all decked out ! If you can't tell her goggles are protecting her nose more than her eyes - but boy she was proud of herself!!


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