Saturday, January 31, 2009
1. Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell--this was the first book I've ever read by her, and I had a really hard time getting into it. In fact, after three chapters, I almost put it down for good. Instead I kept at it, and eventually I really was drawn into the plot. It was good, but not good enough to make me want to read more by her.
2. The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith--a truly entertaining read. I liked the characters, learning about another culture, and the clever way Mma Ramotswe solved her cases.
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo--a wonderful, beautiful story, but definitely read the abridged version!
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--GREAT book! Narrated by death, the story of a girl growing up in Nazi Germany and learning about the power of words, for good and for evil, a must-read!
5. No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke--interesting book about how no Christian is perfect and we shouldn't expect visitors to our churches to fit our ideas if "perfect" either, very thought-provoking, although by the end I felt like it was longer than it needed to be
6. Night by Elie Wiesel--famous true story of surviving a concentration camp during WWII, not for the faint of heart, excellent thought-provoking read
7. The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum--an excellent read! This book really sucks you in, you just can't put it down! The movie, although good, is almost a completely different story!
8. Multiple Blessings by Jon and Kate Gosselin--firsthand account of Kate's pregnancy and the first year and a half of the sextuplets' lives and the many ways God saw them through their challenges, well-written and very interesting, but sad in light of their current marital problems
9. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers--wonderful, beautiful, uplifting story of God's grace in action and what it really means to love someone as Christ does, based on the book of Hosea
10. Extras by Scott Westerfeld--4th book in the Uglies series, entertaining, but my least favorite of the 4, centers on a brand-new character, but Tally does appear for part of the story
11. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger--a classic that I had never read before, I didn't love it and had to really make myself read it, but I'm glad I did and can appreciate it for capturing the character of a depressed, angst-ridden teenager and for being a very ambitious and brave novel for the time it was written
12. The Shack by William P. Young--a book that has caused a lot of controversy in the religious world, I really enjoyed it and the insight it provided into relationship with God. Is it biblical truth? No, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from it.
13. A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines--the story of a group of old black men who band together to all take the blame for the shooting of a white man, I really enjoyed this book, especially the author's skill at capturing the different voices of the many charachters (each chapter is from a differnt person's point of view) and drawing the reader into their lives.
14. Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes--a thought-provoking read for every Christian wife, reminding us that after God, our husbands should be the most important things in our lives, didn't agree with everything, but definitely one I'll read again
15. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger--fabulous book! I'm amazed that the author was able to keep who knows what at what point in time straight! Beautifully written! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
16. Miss Harper Can Do It by Jane Berentson--super fun book, excellent choice if you want something entertaining that combines love, war, 3rd graders, and a chicken
17. Dracula by Bram Stoker--the perfect October book! Better than the movie, although I was a little disappointed in the ending
18. Jane and the Ghosts of Netley by Stephanie Barron--seventh in the Jane Austen mystery series, as pleasing a read as all the others! As a Jane fan, I really enjoy this series and wish the stories were true!
19. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen--a classic, a favorite, I love it every time I read it!
First, despite the fact that our Christmas decorations have been put away for nearly a month now, the kids still regularly have this conversation:
Child A: Where Kiss-miss twee? (Where's the Christmas tree?)
Child B: Is in da addic! (It's in the attic)
Child A: (sadly) Is not Kiss-miss anymore.
There for awhile we had this conversation every day, sometimes more than once. And if it isn't the Christmas tree, it's the trains. Our Christmas train is also in the attic, much to Zachary's despair.
Second, Jim found some lined Crocs on sale for the kids over Christmas too. They love these shoes because they can put them on themselves! That's why I like them too! Thomas plopped down in my lap the other day with his Crocs on, held them up for me to see and declared proudly, "It's my cwocadile feets!" Too cute!
Last, this one is a heartbreaker, for me at least. I've been teaching the kids to say their full names, and they're pretty good at it. I need to get that on tape! The other night, Jim asked Zachary what his name was, and he said very carefully, "Zac-a-ree" I thought I would cry! It was the first time ever that he has called himself Zachary instead of Za-say. We quickly turned to Reagan and asked her what Zachary's name was, so we could hear her call him Ya-ya. She did, thank goodness! Jim and I both hope she ALWAYS calls him Ya-ya. Since that night, Zachary has only called himself Za-say, but I know the end is near. Sigh.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Read Free-Range Quads and Security Measures
Read Outdoor Fun and More Outdoor Fun
Read A Day Away
Read Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves and Update from the War Zone
This post has gotten long enough, but there are so many other things I could talk about for 2008. If you just have tons of time on your hands and have enjoyed looking back at the other posts, here are a few more memorable moments from 2008:
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"That's not rain, kids, it's SNOW!! It's SNOWING!!" I shouted. Now we were ALL excited!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Well, the kids have been in their beds for about 4 and a half months now, and I have spent that time praying constantly for God to show us a way to win this war! My nighttime patience with the kids has grown shorter and shorter as time has gone by without any measurable progress in getting the kids to go to bed well. Then one day God sent us a secret weapon, and bedtime has become MUCH easier. What is this miraculous secret weapon, you ask? Well, I'll tell you!
It's darkness! And it's wonderful!
We stumbled upon this idea basically by accident. We were fed up with the nightly nightmare of trying to keep the kids in their beds without beating them senseless or duct taping them to the mattresses! So we decided to turn the lights out as a temporary punishment. We knew that they HATED being in the dark. A few times they had been plunged into darkness accidentally, incidents that resulted in immediate screams of "It's dark! It's dark! It's dark" until the lights came back on.
So one night when we were completely OVER IT, instead of yelling at them to stay in their beds and be quiet, we merely informed them that if they didn't behave, we would turn out the lights and it would be DARK. (The lights on the ceiling fan in their room are on a dimmer switch, and we generally left them on, but dimmed all the way down) They didn't believe us, so I turned off the light, shut the door, and stood outside in the hall to listen to them yell about the darkness for 15 seconds. That's all! Only 15 seconds! Then I turned the light back on and told them they needed to stay in their beds and be quiet or I would turn the lights off again. The next time, they stayed off longer. The last time one of us turned off the lights, they all got quiet and went to sleep before we turned it back on!
That was about a week before Christmas. Our bedtime routine since then has evolved into this:
1. Put the kids to bed, say a prayer, kiss them all good night, remind them to stay in their beds and be quiet or we'll turn off the lights, and leave the room with the light dim but not all the way dim.
2. If they don't stay in their beds or are unnecessarily loud, we dim the lights all the way.
3. If they still aren't quiet, we turn them all the way off. And they stay off.
It's been wonderful! I don't have to sit in their room policing them for half an hour. We don't have to yell at them anymore! We don't spend an hour and a half (or longer) going in and out of their room to get them back into bed or tell them to be quiet and leave each other alone! Some nights we don't have to go back in at all! I go in to check on them before going to bed myself and am surprised by the brightness of the room because they were so good the lights never even got dimmed!
Peace has been restored.
And in case some of you are concerned that our children have been traumatized by their dark punishment, let me assure you that they haven't been. They aren't afraid to go to bed. They don't cry themselves to sleep. They don't scream in terror. They aren't waking up with nightmares. It's not pitch black in there, and after all, they aren't alone. That's been our whole problem! Darkness IS a punishment. If it wasn't, we wouldn't be getting results! But it isn't torture! They are fine! And sleeping soundly! And we are all at peace! At least for now!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
We were so glad Jim's brother and his beautiful family could come for a visit! Aren't these kids adorable?
Baby Avery was a huge hit, and not just with Reagan!
Lovin' on the cousins and Aunt Carey
But the highlight of the visit was Tyler's birthday party! The Friday before his 2nd birthday, we threw Tyler a party! A good chunk of Jim and Clay's family was able to make the drive up from Jasper for the festivities, and we had a blast! We were so happy to be able to take part in this birthday since we had not been able to make Tyler's 1st birthday last year. It made for a crazy day and a very full house, but it was all worth it!
Oh, and JonZReaTom got presents too! Thank you Papaw and NeNe and Ashton! The kids LOVE the tools and workbench!
Thank you Bud, KayKay, George, Nancy, Aunt Jodie, Uncle Jeff, Kinley and Kallen for all the wonderful presents!
This one was by far the biggest hit with the kids. They fought over this vacuum cleaner for the rest of the day!
Bud and Zachary, sitting with Nancy, having a phone conversation (with Reagan's new Disney Princess phone, another big hit that got fought over)
When the kids came out of their room the next morning, they headed straight for the playroom. Jonathan led the pack and the whole way there he kept saying, "My vacuum cleaner! My vacuum cleaner!" He obviously wanted to make it clear to everyone that he had first dibs on the vacuum cleaner! And when they entered the room and everyone else stopped to stare at this beautiful new thing that had appeared in the playroom, Jonathan didn't even notice! He went straight to the vacuum, which was RIGHT BESIDE THE NEW KITCHEN, grabbed it and looked up at us all with victory on his face! Then the other kids descended upon the kitchen and he realized that something bigger and better had arrived!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Then it was time to say good-bye to Gammy and take a nap. I'm so glad that she was able to join us for Christmas! The kids don't get to see her nearly often enough! It was fun for us all!
After nap, we were actually able to go outside and play for awhile! The weather was sunny and not too cold! The kids had a blast! The weather here the last couple months has either been bitterly cold or raining, so we haven't been outside much. This was a special Christmas treat! And we took a ton of pictures! Have I mentioned Momma and Daddy got a new camera for Christmas? Woohoo! It rocks! Thank you Bud and KayKay! We love our present!
Zachary, having a swingin' time!
Jonathan practices his mad trike skills
Thomas, getting a little help from Daddy
HOW ADORABLE is this pic of Jonathan and Zachary? So sweet!
The best of our attempts to get a pic of all four on the slide--the weight was just too much for little Jonathan to hold back! Still pretty cute, I must say!
Daddy and the kiddos!
Mom gets a turn too!
After a rest on the big swing, the kids decided it was time to run, and they started playing the most hilarious game with each other! Here's how you play:
Step 1: Play peek-a-boo with your sibling around a tree. Make sure you're having enough fun that all siblings will want to come and join you!
Step 2: Once all siblings have gathered at said tree, someone shouts, "Look! Another tree!" and points at another nearby tree, as if it just grew up out of nowhere and no one has ever seen it before!
Step 3: Everyone runs to the new tree shouting, "A tree! A tree!" and gazes upon it with amazement.
Step 4: Someone looks back at the original tree and shouts, "Look! Another tree!" and everyone runs back to the first tree. Then the game begins all over again.
I swear they ran back and forth between the two trees for the longest time and each time they screamed as if they had never seen that tree before in their lives and it was the most amazing thing imaginable! It was so bizarre, yet so entertaining, to watch!
Well, this ends Christmas day, but the festivities are far from over! Stay tuned for more!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
So that was a lot of fun, but I have to say that technically Santa only answered half their requests. Reagan did get a doll and Zachary did get presents. Thomas did not get a Santa unless we count his picture on a gift bag or his "presence" in the house when he brought their goodies. Jonathan did not get a dolphin, but he did get a Diego boat that seems to have taken his mind off the missing dolphin. At any rate, he hasn't mentioned it!
Christmas Eve we made a plate of cookies to leave out for Santa, and the kids got to eat some before going to bed.
The whole "Santa won't come until you're asleep" thing did nothing to get the kids to bed faster, unfortunately! Maybe next year!