Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, November 30, 2008

15th Birthday

Today my baby turned 15.

Dear Vaughan,

I love you. Today you turned 15, actually it was 24 minutes and 15 years ago that you were born. Wow, I can't believe it's been that long. You have been such a blessing in my life. I feel so privileged to have you for a son and to have spent the majority of your days with you.

It seems like yesterday you were learning to crawl, jumping in your Johnny Jump-up and climbing on everything, jumping off it and yelling, "Watch this Bubba!" I couldn't eat a bit of chocolate without you smelling it from the next room and still look to you when my chocolate stash has been compromised.

When I watch you with your friends I smile. You are a good friend, trustworthy and loyal. Your laughter makes me laugh and brings a sense of joy to my heart. You are the best big brother Justin could ask for, you are patient and loving, kind and generous, at times. You are the hardest worker I know and have helped me in more ways than you can ever imagine.

I've always said God gave you to your father and I to raise us. We were so young and immature when you came into our lives, I'm still in awe that they let us take you home from the hospital. You were so frail and tiny in size but ever so big in heart and life. You took the NICU at Dartmouth by surprise when you began to make noises at 2 months premature and under 24 hours old; you stole my heart the second I saw your face. You have brought more love and joy to our lives than I ever could have imagined, you have in some strange way helped raise us and now look at you, entering your 16th year of life.

Thank you for being you.

I know I'm not always the greatest mom on the planet, I've yelled a few too many times, not given you 100% of me as I should and have lacked in my parenting skills I'm sure; forgive me for that, but know that your Father in heaven never yells and condemns, always give you 100% of Him and doesn't lack any good thing.

As I watched you sleep tonight my heart fluttered with excitement and shuttered with fear. I am so excited to see where your journey will take you and fearful of the bumps that will arise on the way. Part of me wants to go ahead of you, smooth things out, make the path easier, but I know it's the divets that will shape and form you. You will be shaped and formed into a wonderful, godly young man.

Listen to what everyone has to say and love everyone for where they are at. Dance. Eat well and steer away from caffeine. Recycle. Be kind to your brother and put others before yourself. Spend time everyday outside and read. Get plenty of sleep and drink orange juice often. Keep in touch with the people from your youth, the bond you share with them now will help carry you in the future. Smile. Don't take things personally and pause before you speak. Travel. Vote. Accept those who vote/think/believe differently than you, enjoy the freedom the two of you share. Love. Love more than anything else. Love your neighbor, your enemy, your God. Keep your eyes on heaven and your heart devoted to Christ, in the end His Word is all the advice you'll ever need.

I love you my little one and I look forward to doing life with you another day, another year, another 15.
With all my love,

15th party pics...


Big brother Branden.

The gang, the poor van- it's getting old, just look at the roof. It's been through a lot with you guys.

Your independence is growing.

With your Mimi. How lucky you are.

Now we enter the driving years....

BABE Event 2008

I didn't get a chance to write about he BABE Event I attended with about 15 of the girls from 33oC, at the beginning of November. The event was held locally and was not only a neat bonding time with the girls but also a time for them to hear about boys, dating and enjoying themselves and their friends.

BABE stands for Beautiful, Accepted, Blessed, Eternally Significant. Andrea Stephens is the women in charge and her heart for young girls really shines through. Andrea was a New York model and gives straight talk to the girls about make-up, fashion, self-image and boys, yes boys, this years theme was Boyland... some really great stuff! Everything from how differently a boys brain is from a girls brain- some science 101- to what we wear and how it speaks to boys.

Before the event begins there's the popular "beach balls in the audience".

Here is row #1 of our girls...row #2...
The neat thing about the event being local is that it's on a smaller scale and during the break Andrea is accessible. Here some of our girls"cornered" her to ask some more in depth questions about some things she said about boys, Andrea was so real with them and hearing them dig deeper really tugged on my heart.
Here's one of the girls I've known since we moved here 7 years ago with Andrea.
This is Tiffany, one of my 11th grade girls who came with me, Tiffany is a very sweet young lady who after having a high fever at the age of 2 years had to learn to walk and talk all over again. Life is challenging for Tiff but her love for life is something we can all learn from. She's a little immature and "different" for her age but her love of life is timeless. It is such a blessing that I get to have her as part of my life and such a wonderful thing to see her peers reach out and love her for who she is.
Two of our girls clapping together while we had a performance from a Nashville star, Jeni Varnadeau!
I've attended the BABE Event the last two years and both times Sierra Minot spoke. Sierra is the current Miss Florida and her personal stories touched the girls deeply. In a society where so much emphasis is placed on looks and dating it is a breath of fresh air to hear a real life beauty queen share how life without a boy is OK. Working with teenage girls for the past 4 years I see so many who attach their importance to a guy. Sierra shared how being single is a gift, she pulled out different things from a gift box to illustrate her point;
a picture frame and photo to show time with family and friends,
an apple for education,
and her crown represented extra activities, just a few of the gifts singleness can offer.What may seem so obvious to some of us is new news to many of these girls. Sierra truly rocked the house in her time on stage.

I was also excited to hear Sierra share about her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Another taboo in many circles of society today is Christianity and the name of Jesus Christ, Sierra's boldness and openness in this area made me smile. My prayer is that each of the girls who heard her speak would feel the pull Jesus has on their heart and would listen to it.

Our time at the BABE Event 2008 is over but our relationships are continuing on, we plan to meet as a group and watch not only the Miss America pageant on January 24th but also the 4 Fridays before when the reality show of the Miss's is shown on TLC.

Here I am with Sierra, check out her blog and those of you in Florida I encourage you to follow her as she makes her way to the Miss America pageant.
Darn it, I knew I should have worn make-up...
It was another great evening with my girls and also an encouragement to see and hear what the girls learned that they can apply to their lives. It's tough being a young lady in today's society, tough decisions need to be made and for many they don't have anyone saying you are beautiful just as you are, you are wonderfully made, this event does just that.
Thanks Andrea, Sierra and Jeni.
I'm looking forward to next year!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, that is until the next one comes, then that one is my favorite! I like the traditions that come with holidays, getting together and eating lots of yummy food, cooking and cleaning up, laughing and watching movies. The holidays can be bitter-sweet for me as they have morphed over the years. New England walks with hats and my side of the family, western breezes blowing over the plains of Oklahoma at tables with military and friends from afar, southern, sunny days with a combo of Steve's family, my family and friends who seem like family.

No matter where we're at one thing remains the same: Thanksgiving is a vacation taste of what's to come in December. When the boys were in elementary school we took the whole month of December off from home school, now it's more like 2.5 weeks, but long enough to sleep in and relax.
Here are the boys and I jumping for joy on Wednesday morning!

Then of course since are convinced that we're superheroes, we had to strike our Superhero pose.
No matter where we are at Thanksgiving morning has been the same for me over the last 10 years, I wake up and by 9am need to start making the family Spanokopita recipe.

We had such a good time visiting and eating I didn't even think to pull the camera out, when I remembered here are the pics I got. The dinner table: it can seat 25, this year 15.

It was cool enough by Florida standards to have a campfire

Table decor consisted of these turkeys I got from Martha, each feather had a different Thanksgiving trivia question with the answer on the back.

A few weeks back we made these turkeys with the home school group. These are Justin's, with a pomegranate turkey I made from Martha Stewart.My turkeys.We also all wrote on leaves things we were thankful for to hang on our Garland of Gratitude.
Like I said I forgot to pull out the camera, so here are the only pics of my aunt and uncle, cousin and grandmother having dessert.

Luckily I remembered to snap this picture of my brother-in-law and his girlfriend before they headed off, taking Vaughan with them.
My guys...

I can't believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone, I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people who love me in spite of me to surround myself with over these holidays! It's a good time to really reflect on what matters, what needs to stay, what needs to go and when to say no to food!
Happy Thanks

Friday, November 28, 2008

Need help with Curtains

Here's the fabric I waited 5 years to find for my curtains in my living room.

Now I need to figure out how I will hang them? This could take another 5 years. For now they are clothes-pinned up to my matchstick blinds.
I'm thinking of getting some bamboo shoots and haning them somehow on those. My challenge is that I have 2 windows, one is normal size, the other over 10 feet wide!

Accepting suggestions and ideas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year; expecting 16-20 people with more friends joining later in the day for dessert. Above is picture of Justin making turkey decorations with our home school group this past week. We have had the privilege of gathering with the same group or over 5 years now. This journey is so much more amazing with them.

I am thankful for:
my family, Stephan, Vaughan and Justin, plus the animals: Fluff, Babies, Toby, Gigi and Jimmy, plus all the strays we feed,
extended family, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews
my friends, new and old,
the freedom of being born at this longitude and latitude, the freedom to home school, to vote, express my beliefs and gather to worship where and when I want.

I'm thankful for the music I am listening to,
thankful for forgiveness extended to me for no good reason,
grace given,
mercy received.

I'm thankful that my house will be filled with noise, love and laughter tomorrow. Thankful to gather with family I don't see but once a year and the feeling like we were just together yesterday.

I'm thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ.
Have a great day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It Took Me a Long While to Solve It, Wanna Try?

Having homeschooled my oldest son from kindergarten through 8th grade you can imagine what a change it was when he shipped off to public school each and every morning this fall.

Since I still homeschool my youngest and I still am in the local homeschool circles, I find the questions about our decision to be a reoccurring event.

To keep it basic we have always felt as though the boys would go to public high school; just as we felt called to home school, we also felt called to not homeschool high school. It's been our personal decision and we have not regretted it. OK, so I wish he were still home with me every day but I also wish he were still 2 years old and snuggly in my lap.

I thought I post one of the coolest things he's gotten to experience at public school. It comes from the engineering department. The above picture is a puzzle block he designed and then built.

Pretty cool isn't it.

My son's a genius.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Was It Really 2 Weeks Ago?

So here we are,the 40 or so bloggers who gathered together at the Fickle Pickle to met face-to-face. It was somewhat weird, but mostly a bunch of fun! For the most part I think we all had a common thread of reading Heather and or Carlos' blogs. Personally I've expanded my blog world friends and have perhaps picked up a few readers as well.

Of course after I got home I realized we had some good food but no pickles?? What's up with that?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

46 pages left...

*update: I finished it! 90 hours, 498 pages... now the first chapter in book 2 is at the end of this one... review to come soon

I promised myself I'd clean my bathroom today.
I read for 1.5 hours this morning then decided to clean the bathroom and reward myself with lunch and the rest of the book. See previous post.
Good read.
Highly recommend it.
Thinking of the midnight show with Jessica then the 1pm with Erica?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'll be gone most of the week.

I'm trying to read this entire book, all 498 pages, by Friday.
Why Friday?
That's when the movie comes out and I'm going with Erica, who let me borrow her book.
In my small group of 7 11th grade girls every single one of them loves this book and it's series. I mean love it! I've never had anything like this. Usually there's one girl who doesn't fall suit with the others. At the library: over 200 people on the waiting list.
Good thing I hang with book readers. I traded a coke and 2 candy bars for the book.
125 pages a day!

See you Friday or Saturday.
PS Big news from my picky eater, he now eats beef stroganoff AND tried a sweet jalapeno jelly! There's hope Life with Three, hang in there...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Endeavor's Night Launch

Another reason I enjoy living near the east coast beach in Florida, I get to drive 3 miles and watch the space shuttle take off.

Night launches are my favorite. It's a long video, 5 1/2 minutes, but the first 2 1/2 are probably the best. Right before 2 minutes you can see both the shuttle and the almost full moon, shortly after that the shuttle is hard to see although live we could see it and we could see the full tanks (I htik I caleed them boosters in the video) drop. It's at 2 1/2 minutes that we finally hear the sound from take-off.

Enjoy. Only 9 left.


Friday, November 14, 2008


Today is Steve's last day at the glass company, a week and a half before we originally planned, but I'm good- that makes him officially 100% self-employed;
anytime I don't have to cook or make food I'm thrilled, so when I dropped some videos/books off at Amanda's she surprised me with lunch!

What was a surprise you got this week?


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Legos Are Hands Down the Best Toy Investment- Ever!

Every time I view the memory card on the camera I can watch a movie. The boys love to create stop animation movies using their Legos. Literally hundreds of pictures fill our card and I thought I'd share a brief moment in movie making history.
This appears to be the end of some sort of meeting with Darth Vader.
Scroll down quickly to get a fell for it.

Thanks for watching...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Times Are A Changin'

Some people prefer to work for themselves.
My man is one of those people.
A step of faith.
A challenge.
I love him.
Check out his latest custom job.
More of his work.

Last day at his day job is coming soon.
I'm being stretched once again.

Salsa Packet Holder

When serving tacos I cut a hole in the box to house the salsa packet. In this particular picture I cut another hole for the seasoning pack that we omitted from the meat because someone in our family doesn't like the taste. We sprinkled the seasoning on top of the meat. It tasted OK, I wouldn't do that again, but I will house the salsa packet this way!
Works for me!
Check out more at Rocks in my dryer and WFMW.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog Party '08

Here are the blog party pics. More on the actual road trip and the visit with my fam will come later.
Toughy and I before the dinner. I got the OK to go without eye make-up, see why I keep her as a friend, am I that much shorter than her?
Heather, aka Whittaker Woman, the hostess with the mostess.
Since H was feeling a little under the weather and her voice was going, her friend Stephanie did a great job at the giveaways, which I didn't win one single one of, sniff, sniff. Stephanie is not only married to a rock star she also owns a cute children's store on the square in Atlanta called the Pink Elephant. A must visit in the ATL area.

We had the privilege to sit across from Daley, the most amazing photographer. Check out his work. He's also a guitar player and did a good job hanging out with all the ladies.

Amanda and her sweets. Being pregnant she talked about dessert from about 4pm onward.

Mocha Princess and I. With 40 people in attendance there were only a few whose blogs I actually stalk, she is one of them. She has the cutest twins and for a brief moment all her children are separate by 1 year! Don't let me scared look freak you, check her blog out.
OK, so Steve really is fine with me stalking this guy. Carlos is H's husband and he was the only one who had seen the "take a picture of yourself" trick I used. It's a youth thing for me and a techie thing for him. He also graciously gave us each one of his Christmas Cds. Thanks Los.

Jacinda wanted in on the above your head shot. She travelled from Cali for the event.

Living not striving, Erica was one of 2 people who knew my blog. Take a peak at her place.

OK so when I met this lady and her husband I had no idea they would not only have family in the next town over from me, but that her sister and I are good friends. Crazy huh? Small world. Follow her adoption story over here.

So that's about it. A weekend that rocked with friends that rule.
Gotta love a road trip.


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