Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a full day we had yesterday!  Full of food that is!  For the first time ever, I found myself responsible for the bulk of Thanksgiving dinner!  All that Big Dinner practice finally paid off! Yea!  It was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed making all that food.
Jim fried a turkey (delicious!!!) and I made dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, jello salad, and fudge pie.  Whew!
It was a meal to be thankful for!  And though we were unable to share it with family, we were delighted to share it with friends!
We have so many things to be thankful for this year!  If I blogged all night, I wouldn’t have time to list them all!  God has blessed us abundantly, our health, our happiness, our wonderful family and friends, our home, our jobs, a week off from teaching (ha!), so much that I should never complain about anything! 
May you all begin this holiday season with minds full of many blessings! 
Happy Thanksgiving from JonZReaTom!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I realize this is really random, but it seems like a quick and easy way to capture some of the cute and quirky things that make my kids special at this moment of their lives.  So, if five-year-olds got superlatives, here are the ones we would win.
Most likely to randomly lean over and give you a kiss and say I love you…Zachary
Most likely to be sent to timeout…Zachary
Most likely to sing really long songs that have no actual words in them…Thomas
Most likely to sing really long made-up songs with actual words…Reagan
Most likely to be kidnapped by his kindergarten teacher because he is so adorable you just want to take him home…Jonathan
Most likely to fall down on the soccer field…Thomas
Most likely to score on the soccer field…Thomas
Most likely to need to go to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY upon sitting down for a meal…Thomas
Most likely to ask for extra stickers or suckers at the doctor’s office so he can share with his siblings when he gets home…Jonathan
Most likely to come home with a green dot instead of a yellow dot…Zachary
Most likely to get in trouble at school because he is yelling at other kids WHO AREN’T DOING WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING…Zachary
Most likely to get in trouble at home because she’s screaming at her brothers…Reagan
Most likely to ask a bizarre out-of-the-blue question at bedtime to put off actually going to bed…Reagan
Most likely to visit Mom and Dad in the wee hours of the morning…Thomas
Most likely to do a chore without being asked…Jonathan
Most likely to tell you a story you don’t think will ever end…Jonathan
Most likely to ask a stranger in a waiting room to read her a story…Reagan
Most likely to name a pet Rainbow Heart Love…Reagan
Most likely to explain to you very intellectually why you are wrong…Jonathan
Most likely to explain with much crying and hysterics why you are wrong…Reagan
Most likely to just cry…Thomas
Most likely to throw himself in the floor while crying…Zachary
Most likely to still not eat chocolate…Jonathan
Okay, I better stop before this post takes you two years to read.  I’m certain I could think of a hundred more.  Some of you could probably think of a few as well!  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our little lives!  Happy weekend!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Great Day

Soccer in the morning. Painting in the afternoon. (Zachary actually painted! Twice!) S'mores and hot dogs over a campfire in the evening. It was a day for having fun! And a day worth remembering! I hope to have more days like this one!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We’re Going to Keep this Box of Kleenex

Today the kids went to kindergarten, each child to his or her own classroom.
That’s right, 4 kids, 4 teachers, 4 classrooms.
And I lost it.
I could have held it together to drop off just one child, but trailing from room to room dropping off one child after another was more than I could take.  In fact, I’m tearing up right now just writing about it.  By the time we dropped off Thomas at the last room, I was just short of sobbing. 
I’m not sure why this is so hard.  THEY were fine.  The kids walked into their rooms and barely looked back.  They were fine with being separated from each other.  Their teachers were wonderful!  Their classmates looked great too. 
They were SO BIG.  And maybe that’s it.  My babies are so big now.  They’re in SCHOOL.  THEY GO TO SCHOOL!!!
I’m so excited for them, and I’m so proud of them.  And I know that they will love school, but…they’re my babies…and they’re just so big. 
And just in case you’re curious, this is what we took with us to school today:
8 boxed of crayons, 4 boxes of markers, 4 pairs of scissors, 24 glue sticks, 12 bottles of glue, 8 boxes of Kleenex, 4 bookbags, 24 pencils, 4 changes of clothes, and 4 bottles of hand sanitizer
So now I’m going to go to work and surround myself with teenagers and talk about Beowulf and hope that NO ONE asks me how kindergarten went because I really need to stop crying.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Memphis Trip!

Just as I was about to leave for work this morning, Jonathan decided he needed to be sick.  So I’m home instead of at school today!  He’s doing much better and hasn’t thrown up in the last few hours, so I thought I’d take a minute and blog!
This will basically wrap up the summer for us!  Finally!
In July we made one last trip, and I took the kids to Memphis to visit all the fam there.  We had a blast, as always!  We went bowling, played some arcade games, played on the slip n’ slide, hung out with the cousins, and bounced ourselves silly at the bounce house.  It was so much fun!  Pictures at the bowling alley were awful because I wasn’t allowed to use the flash, and the kids were just too fast for me to get any good ones at the bounce house, but here’s some shots of the slip n’ slide:
Cousin Kallen
Cousin Kinley
Thomas and Zachary
Reagan and Kinley
And don’t forget Baby Graham!  He’s getting so big!
It was a great way to start the end of our summer!  Up next:  SCHOOL!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Over the 4th of July weekend, we took a vacation and went to visit friends in Virginia Beach!  It’s a 10-hour drive from here, so on the way there, we split the drive and spent the night in Greensboro, NC.
We had made reservations at a Days Inn there, but when we arrived, we quickly decided that we DID NOT want to stay there.  (Sorry.  We prefer that the locks actually work.)  So we relocated to a brand-new, super-nice Holiday Inn Express. 
The next day we arrived at Michele and Matthew’s house!  You may recognize them or some of their kids from pictures from Memorial Day weekend when we stayed at Matthew’s parents’ cabin.
We did actually go to the beach one day.  It was so much fun!  I wish we had been able to take more pictures than just this one, but it was really crowded, so we had to devote most of our attention to watching the kids.
The boys especially had a blast!  Reagan was a little wary of the waves, but the boys were all about them, jumping and splashing up a storm!
Reagan and Katie really hit it off!  Reagan LOVED having another little girl to play with!  I wish I had a picture of the boys playing with Andy!  They pretty much thought he hung the moon because he weapons AND Star Wars toys!
After church on Sun, we went to the Nauticus, a museum for all things naval and nautical, including an actual battleship you can tour!
Working the controls for the non-submerged submersible
Horseshoe crabs!
Who’s safer?  The kids or the sharks?
Exploring the battleship Wisconsin was really cool.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t!  But we still had a good time walking around and climbing up and down the ladders and looking at the massive guns!  There’s a tour of the inside too, but the kids weren’t old enough to go on that one.  I think you have to be 8.
Six hot, tired children! Jonathan, Zachary, Reagan, Katie, Thomas, and Andy
Before leaving, we stopped to make cards for our military to thank them for all they do!
Don’t forget me!
Yes, Baby Jack was there too!  And he was a real trooper!  So was his Mommy who carried his little sleeping self on her back for most of our sweltering tour of the battleship!
Monday was the 4th of July, and we mostly just took it easy and enjoyed each other’s company.
Still in our pajamas, but thoroughly enjoying the unexpected neighborhood parade!
Then it was time for the Slip n’ Slide!  Best $5 Daddy ever spent!
I want to slip n’ slide too!
Then we drove ten hours home the next day.  Yuck! 
What a special trip this was!  It was so nice to spend time with old friends and watch all our kids play together!  We really appreciate Michele and Matthew having a boy and a girl so close in age to our kids!  Ha!  And we also appreciate their willingness to share their home with us for a few days!  Love you guys!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Birthday Surprises

The kids’ party was the weekend before their actual birthday, but that was not the end of the festivities!  We had more surprise up our sleeves!
We went to VBS that morning (at Farragut where my amazing friend Michelle was in charge this year.  Every year I am blown away by what they do for VBS there!  It is quite an impressive production!)  So we had a big fun morning there, where I’m certain they told everyone they met that it was their birthday and they were FIVE!
Then Happy Meals for lunch!
Then a NAP to rest up for the BIG AFTERNOON SURPRISE!
Someone’s coming to see you for your birthday!  Who could it be? 
The kids guessed that it might be Bud and KayKay, but the cousins were totally unexpected!
It was a short visit.  They arrived Monday afternoon and left Wednesday morning, but it was a blast!
The girls, playing with mermaids
The boys, building with Legos
A story worth noting: Tuesday night after dinner, we all settled into the living room to watch the kids’ birthday slideshow.  While we were watching, it began to rain outside and got quite windy.  I happened to look out the front door just in time to watch the tree in our front yard bend almost over to the ground!
I yelled to Jim in the playroom that maybe we should check the weather, about the same time that he yelled something very similar to us in the living room because he had noticed the trees in the back yard.  About that time the electricity went off and Jim sent us all to take cover in the bathroom.
Now, our guest bathroom is not that big, in case you’re wondering.  At least, not when you cram in six small children and two-four adults, depending on whether the menfolk are in there or not!
Luckily, there were enough flashlights for every child to have one!
Also, luckily, the tornadic activity that occurred in Knoxville that evening did not happen near enough to our house to cause us any problems AND the loads and loads of trees that went down all over the neighborhood also did no damage to our house.  So we were safe!
We all waited around for awhile for the power to come back on so we could finish the slideshow, but it never did.  Eventually, Bud and company went ahead and left to go back to their hotel (our guest room is now a kids’ room.  One more change that happened this summer).  They had a terrible time getting to it though!  The downed trees blocked their way!
That was June 21, by the way! If you live in Knoxville, you probably lost your power that night too!
Oh, well!  It gave us a little unusual excitement!  And it was a great visit!  We wish they could have stayed longer!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Big Five! Finally!

Woohoo!  I’m finally blogging about the kids’ birthday!  (Thank you, David, for the yummy birthday cookies!)
Really, it doesn’t seem possible.  They’re still my babies!  They shouldn’t be about to start KINDERGARTEN!!  They don’t let babies into kindergarten, do they?
But, alas.  They aren’t babies anymore.  They are five.  They pick out their own clothes and dress themselves and brush their own teeth and buckle their own seatbelts. 
They are great big five-year-old kids.
And THAT, my friends, is worth celebrating!
We had big plans this year for the kids’ birthday party, involving lots of outdoor water fun and an overnight campout with the Indy cousins…but it didn’t quite work out the way we’d hoped.
Because it rained.  And rained.  And rained.
Oh, well.  We made the best of it!  Luckily little kids are perfectly content to just play with toys when there are extra kids around, so JonZReaTom and guests basically just ran around the house and played, and occasionally stopped for presents or cake!
The day started out well, with sunshine and pancakes!
Then it was time to make a camping cake!  After picking bits and pieces from several other camping cake examples from Coolest Birthday Cakes and Family Fun, I came up with this:
It’s no professional job, but I was pretty proud of it!  I loved the idea to use the candles for the campfire, and I LOVED the way the pine trees turned out.  (The recipe is on the above-mentioned Family Fun site).  The Bronco was Jim's addition along with its rock wall.  No campout is complete without the Bronco!
Putting the kids on the cake was all my idea.  I’m pretty proud of that too!
We are now well-armed with both Nerf guns and Star Wars light sabers.  Luckily, the light sabers got a better reception from Reagan than the guns did.  Perhaps because there were no other little girls opening up princess dolls at the same time!
Reagan enjoying a tea party with Kennedy and Cousin Avery
I wish I had taken better pictures.  It was hard because the kids were constantly changing activities, and our house is not that big, so it was a little crowded with so many people in out of the rain!  Oh, well!
It did eventually stop raining, and we were able to move to the backyard to grill out and pretend we couldn’t see how muddy the kids were getting.
Mud puddles!
And even though it was wet outside, we decided to pitch the tents and camp anyway!  The kids just really had their hearts set on it! 
In our pajamas with Cousin Avery, waiting for bedtime and enjoying some of our presents
(We won’t discuss the lightning storm that flared up in the middle of the night and sent us all inside)
So even though the day didn’t turn out the way we hoped, it was still a great day!  We got to hang out with friends (our friends AND the kids’) and family (We’re especially grateful to PawPaw and NeNe and Clay and family for coming in from out-of-town to spend this special day!), enjoy some great food, and have a lot of fun!
Happy birthday to my little superheroes!