Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Although our time has been more limited this year, we are doing our best to keep up with past traditions.

We put up my vintage aluminum tree first and spent plenty of time staring at the color wheel as it lit up the room with changing colors.


The following weekend we put up the tree and the rest of the decorations. We had planned on getting a live tree this year, but the weather was not cooperative, and we decided we just couldn’t wait any longer! It was a little chaotic (okay, a lot chaotic) and I may have had a small OCD moment when I went a little crazy because the kids were unpacking ornaments without putting the wrappings back in their appropriate boxes, but other than that it went pretty well. We did have to stop at one point to back up from the tree and point out to the kids the thick four-year-old eye-level ring of ornaments they were creating (leaving the tree otherwise empty on the top half and very bottom) and encourage them to spread the ornaments out a little better!

And this year it was Zachary’s turn to put the star on top of the tree!


Last weekend, we went to Bass Pro Shops to see Santa, but had to postpone the visit when we realized there was a THREE AND A HALF HOUR wait!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?!?!?!? At least the store is fun to walk around in, so the kids weren’t too disappointed! We’ll try again soon!

Other than that, we’ve just been madly scrambling to get the shopping done or at least partly done. God bless the man that invented Amazon! The crazy weather hasn’t helped! We missed school three days this past week because of snow and ice! Before Christmas! That’s unheard of! It has certainly thrown a kink in the final exam schedules!

Oh, well! Somehow we will manage to get everything done! And it will be great! I’m looking forward to every minute of it! Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

We spent Thanksgiving in Memphis this year and had a blast! It was a quick visit since I needed to get back to prepare for going back to work that coming Monday. Here are the best shots from our visit:



I know, it’s not much. Apparently, we didn’t take many shots on the trip. I think Jim and I were both a little preoccupied with all the changes our lives were about to take! Oh, well! They’re cute anyway!

Thanks to everyone who made our visit a great one! It was especially nice to get to visit a little with the Perkins clan and share an absolutely delicious Thanksgiving meal with them!

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!

Learning to Write

The kids are learning to write, which means they write their names a lot since those are the best words to write! Here’s a few shots of how they are doing these days:


Obviously, there’s lots of room for improvement, but I think they’re doing pretty well so far!

Christmas is Coming!!!


I’m sure that comes as a surprise to no one! It certainly is no surprise to me! We have been crazy busy since I went back to work, but it’s been a good kind of busy!

I’m really enjoying working again, although I DON’T love getting up before the sun every morning! I’ll be glad when I no longer have to drive to work in the dark!

The kids are LOVING preschool! There’s always so much for them to do and so many other kids to play with! They are so social; it’s really been great for them to be back in a classroom!

Cute preschool-related story: Reagan and Zachary lucked out and got in the same preschool class as a little girl they went to preschool with last year! Since she already knew them, she (and her mom most importantly) also knew Thomas and Jonathan even though they are in a different class. So when this little girl had a birthday party last weekend and invited all the other kids in her preschool class, she also invited T and J from the other class! (Yea! No explaining why Z and R get to go to a birthday party, but T and J don’t! We dread that day!) Anyway, we went to the party, and everyone had a great time, but Jim and I were MOST entertained by Zachary who spent almost the entire party following another little girl around! It was SO CUTE! He kept chasing after her, yelling her name. Luckily, she didn’t seem to mind!

Now, I’m going to attempt to shoot out a quick series of posts that will likely be heavy on pictures and short on words! Enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Drum Roll, Please

After months of debating and weighing all the options and lots of waiting…

I’m going back to work!

You thought I was going to say I was pregnant, didn’t you!

No, no new baby. At least, not for me! There is a new baby on the way for my friend whose teaching position I am taking over. I’m so excited for her and so excited for this new chapter in our lives!

I start work on Monday teaching senior and sophomore English and will finish out the school year. The kids start all-day preschool on Monday, and they are super-excited too! I think they have really missed preschool this year. I know Reagan has especially missed having other little girls to play with!

So our lives are about to change DRAMATICALLY, probably in ways we haven’t even thought of yet (and believe me, we’ve thought about this A LOT!)

So please keep us all in your prayers as we adjust to this new phase in our lives. I will continue to update the blog as best I can, but don’t be surprised if large chunks of time go by without a new post. We’re going to be SO BUSY!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cousins, Take Two

The day after Jonathan got his stitches, Jojo and Co. arrived. This group included Aunt Jojo, Cousins Kinley and Kallen, and Bud and KayKay. It was a big group!

We returned to the Fruit and Berry Patch, and Kinley and Kallen got to enjoy their first corn maze!


Zachary, Kallen, Reagan, Kinley, Jonathan, Thomas

After the corn maze, we went to the pumpkin patch, but the lure of pumpkins was nothing compared to the lure of animals. The sheep were out in the pen opposite the patch, and the kids had a BLAST feeding them spilled corn from the ground. Thanks KayKay for picking up so much corn for all the kiddos!


Jojo and her girls (and her soon-to-be boy!)



Since the pumpkin patch did not provide exactly the pumpkins we were looking for, we stopped at the other pumpkin patch on the way home. (It did, however, provide some really delicious apples!)


The next day we went to the East TN Discovery Center. We had never been there before, but had some free passes, so we decided to check it out. It wasn’t quite as fancy as I expected from looking at their website, but the kids had fun! There were lots of science experiments, all very hands-on.


There was even a planetarium there! Unfortunately, the presentation was a bit over the heads of our crew.


Is it love or a need for extra body heat? Could easily have been both! It was FREEZING in the planetarium!

Then we went out for ICE CREAM!!!!! Yum!


Another quick and busy visit, but so much fun! Thanks for coming you guys! We love you!

Next post? BIG NEWS!

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Time We Stopped at Three, So Far

The week after our Indiana cousins left, we immediately began getting ready for the next set of cousins…and promptly we got sick.

Reagan started running a high fever. When she complained that her ear hurt, I thought for sure that she had an ear infection. Not wanting to put that off another day, I called the dr immediately. It was late in the afternoon, and they could only work us in if we came RIGHT THEN, so I packed up ALL THE KIDS and headed for the dr’s office. As it turned out, Reagan didn’t have an ear infection, BUT she did have strep! So it turned out to be a good thing that I had to bring all the kids with me because then they could ALL be checked for strep.

clip_image001Jim met us at the office and took this picture with his phone. Four throat checks=four popsicles!

So that was Thursday. Aunt Jojo and Co. were set to arrive on Sunday, so Saturday was a big cleaning day. At least, it was SUPPOSED to be!

Jim headed out that morning with a friend of his, hoping to FINALLY get into the woods. This trip had been postponed twice already. The kids were playing. I was cleaning. And then, there it was…the piercing cry of a child who is actually really hurt. I rushed from the kids’ room where I’d been putting away laundry and found Jonathan in tears, crying out something about his head. Apparently, he was spinning in circles in the living room and fell, hitting his head on the coffee table.

Do you have any idea how many times a day my kids hit their heads on stuff? ALL THE TIME. So I thought, okay, he’s hit his head. Hold him. Make soothing noises. Comfort him until he stops crying.

But wait…What is all over the back of Jonathan’s shirt?!?

And then I saw it drip…the blood…from the back of his head.

My kids have had a lot of bumps on their heads, but never any that bled, so I have to admit that now I was the one who needed comforting because I started to get a little panicky. But I sucked it up and forced my voice to stay calm as I explained to Jonathan that he had a booboo on his head and I wanted to take him into my bathroom to get a better look at it.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t a large cut, but it looked deep, and I didn’t know what to do. Did he need stitches? I don’t know anything about stitches! I never in my life had an injury that required stitches! But I was pretty sure he needed stitches.

So I called Jim. He was about two miles from his exit to the woods. I made him turn around. I didn’t really have a plan at that point, just a vague idea that I needed to take Jonathan to Children’s and I would have to do something with the other kids and I needed Jim. Luckily, since he wasn’t standing in our bathroom looking at our son and his bloody shirt, he could be a little more rational. He suggested I make some phone calls and see if someone could come over and watch the kids until he got home and I could go ahead and take Jonathan to Children’s. Brilliant! In the end our wonderful neighbor Scott drug himself out of bed (he had just gotten back in town about 4:00 that morning) and came over to watch the kids while I left with J.

All this time, Jonathan had been GREAT. Since he couldn’t see the blood himself, he didn’t freak out about the injury, and he was really good about holding the rag to his head to help with the bleeding.

I managed to get him to Children’s (bloody shirt and all), and THEY WERE WONERFUL! All of the doctors and nurses, and there were strangely a lot of them, were so nice and helpful and so sweet to Jonathan.

They put a numbing cream on his cut so he barely noticed at all when they did the stitches. And since they called them “string band-aids,” he didn’t even know he got stitches!

clip_image002It’s kind of hard to see, but his stitched-up cut is right there in the middle of the picture.

Jojo and Co. arrived the next day (post coming next, I hope) and their visit continued without further medical needs for anyone, but then the day after they left, my ears were yet again assaulted by piercing cries of pain. This time it was Thomas.

The kids were playing in their bedroom. Thomas was in the closet. The door was open. The door was shut. Open. Shut. Open. Thomas stuck his fingers in the crack between the hinge side of the door and the door frame.


He screamed and screamed. I was terrified his fingers were broken, but he would barely let me look at them. He just kept crying and screaming, “Put on a band-aid! Put on a band-aid!” Since that was the only way he would let me touch him, I did. His middle finger was already turning purple and there was a bad scrape along the cuticle on that finger and the next two. They didn’t seem to be swelling which I took as a good sign, but I was afraid they might, so I tried to make the band-aids loose since I anticipated having to remove them later when he was calmer. I gave him some pain medicine and an ice pack and put him down for a nap, since he practically begged me for naptime. I called Jim and the dr’s office. They said to keep an eye on it and let them know if it got worse instead of better.

Thankfully, it didn’t get worse. Here’s a picture I took of his fingers a couple of days later. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and his middle finger still has a dark purple area under the nail.


It’s been a couple of weeks now since Thomas hurt his fingers, and so far Zachary has not been injured or gotten sick enough to need to see a dr. Hopefully, in THIS instance, we can be content to stop at three.

Why isn’t the Other one Working?

This is just to check and see if I can publish a post from LiveWriter to the blog because the program on my laptop is refusing to cooperate.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cousins, Take One

The weekend after the backyard camping trip, Uncle Clay and Co. came to visit. It was a BUSY weekend, but we had so much fun!

Saturday night we all went to the Kerbela Shrine Circus. It was JonZReaTom’s first circus! They loved it! And so did their Cousin Tyler! (Cousin Avery was another matter entirely. Poor thing, she was SO tired!)

Sunday afternoon we hit a couple of pumpkin patches. First we went to The Fruit and Berry Patch, a JonZReaTom tradition. It felt a little weird to be there without Michelle, David, and Abby, but it was pretty nice to get to go with Daddy!

DSC_0572 Daddy and the kiddos headed to the corn maze.

Reagan is REALLY excited to be there!

DSC_0576 Jonathan, Thomas, Reagan, Zachary, Avery, Tyler—at the beginning of the corn maze

The corn maze is always my favorite part. David was always leader before, but this time the kids took turns choosing which paths to take through the maze…that is until the adults got tired of walking around in circles, and then Uncle Clay led!

We lucked out when we came out of the maze and were able to hitch a ride on the tractor.

DSC_0586 Daddy with Thomas and Jonathan

DSC_0587 Reagan

DSC_0591 Avery and Tyler

DSC_0593 Zachary (and you can just barely see Aunt Carey behind him)

Unfortunately, the actual pumpkin patch was kind of sad this year. So on our way home we stopped at the “pumpkin patch” at the Methodist Church across the street from our neighborhood.

DSC_0610Reagan LOVED this bumpy pumpkin!


DSC_0624 Jonathan, Reagan, Zachary, Avery, Thomas, Tyler

And we still found time to just play, play, play in the backyard!


I love this picture!

DSC_0650 Avery

DSC_0664 Tyler

DSC_0665 I love this one too!

It was a packed weekend, but we loved every minute of it! Love you guys!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween for All and All for Halloween!


When the fair Princess Reagan finds herself in peril, who can she call on for help? Who will always come to her aid, no matter the danger to themselves? Who are those brave young men, so gallant, so handsome, so adorably costumed?

It can only be…


The Three Musketeers!


All for one and one for all! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We promised the kids months and months ago that we would take them camping this summer, but we put it off at the beginning because Zachary wasn’t potty trained yet. Then we put it off because this summer was hot as blazes and who wants to sit around a campfire in that kind of heat? And then before we knew what had happened, it was October!

The first weekend of the month was plenty warm in the daytime, but nighttime temperatures were pretty chilly. Jim and I went back and forth about whether to camp out in the backyard that weekend. We spent Friday night setting up for Saturday’s garage sale and still didn’t make a decision. All day Saturday we discussed it. Finally about 6:00 Sat. evening, we finally decided to just do it! If we got too cold, we could always go inside. If we didn’t do it that weekend, we wouldn’t have another chance until the end of the month.

So we, mostly Jim, went to work. I put the kids in warmer clothes, and they went out to help Jim put up the tent.


Daddy built a fire and we ate dinner outside. We roasted marshmallows to make s’mores and just had a blast! The kids LOVED it! They especially loved getting to use the Coleman LED Quad Lantern Bud and KayKay gave them for their birthday! It’s the perfect lantern for a set of quads because each of the four lighted sections detaches from the base as an individual lantern too.


It was no hardship to get them to go to bed either. They were thrilled to get to sleep in their sleeping bags in the tent and had been begging to “go to bed” all night. Luckily, they had had no nap that day and really were exhausted, so they fell asleep in no time!


Reagan and Jonathan on one air mattress


Zachary and Thomas passed out on the other one


It’s a pretty sight, isn’t it? After the kids fell asleep, Jim and I stayed up awhile talking around the campfire. It was a fun night for us too! Then we crawled under the blankets on our own air mattress, and it was sleepytime for all!

Now, it really was cold that night, but since we were right in our backyard, we hooked up a couple of electric heaters and kept them in the tent all night, so it was quite comfortable in there. Still, Daddy worried that the kids would get cold and constantly got up to check on them and cover them up. Me? I’m not the worrier. I figured if they got cold, they’d start whining, and I’d deal with it then. As it was, the kids slept great! Thomas was the only one that made a sound all night. At one point, he sat up and said, “Daddy?” Daddy answered. “Momma?” I answered. He was satisfied we were both there and laid back down and went to sleep. Poor Daddy hardly slept at all. I slept somewhere in between.

It was a great experience, but kind of bittersweet. My kids slept in a tent in the backyard. We CAMPED with our kids! That means…MY KIDS ARE OLD ENOUGH TO CAMP! It’s just one more example of how they’re growing up, which is both joyous and sad at the same time. I don’t have to explain it. All you parents know exactly what I’m talking about.

Next time…the woods!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Well, like all things blog-related, this is late making it, but we have successfully completed our first season of organized sports! This fall the kids played soccer, and they really enjoyed it!

We signed them up with AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization). Their “team” was really just a huge group of boys and girls in our area who were all 4 or 5 years old. Every week we had one practice/game night. When we arrived for practice, the kids were split up boys and girls. They would practice for the first half of the evening and then be split up into teams of four to play a game. The four-person teams were different from one week to the next. The main goal of the season was not to teach the kids all that much about soccer, but rather to have them out on the field having fun.

Here are a few shots (okay, a LOT of shots) of the kiddos having fun:


Jonathan #14

Can you tell how much the uniforms swallowed my kids? Especially Jonathan! The shirts hung down to their knees and the shorts hung almost to their ankles.

DSC_0471 Thomas #13

Thomas was always falling down, but he often seemed to be doing it on purpose. I know many of you and not surprised to hear that!


Zachary #16

By the end of the season, the boys had really made some progress. In the final game, all three of them scored at least one goal!

DSC_0473 Thomas

DSC_0481 Reagan #3

Reagan had a lot of fun, but I think she enjoyed the social aspect of it more than anything. She just liked running around and playing with girls for a change!

DSC_0519 Zachary and Thomas

DSC_0715 Reagan

DSC_0718 Reagan

DSC_0723 Water break!


DSC_0761 Don’t forget Coach Daddy!


Carter played too! (In fact, it was Josh and Cris’ idea in the first place!)

DSC_0505 Kennedy wanted to play too, but she’s just not old enough!

DSC_0814 Jonathan, Thomas, Zachary, Carter, Reagan

(Notice where Carter and Reagan are sitting!)

DSC_0825 At the end of the season, all the kids got a medal for participation. I think that might have been their favorite part!

We had a lot of fun playing soccer this fall. I’m sure it won’t be the last season we play. Thanks to all of you who were able to come out and watch! The kids loved having an audience they actually knew!