Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting closer ...

We are getting closer to being ready to pour again! Yippee! This morning, we worked for about an hour and finished up the "window boxes". Then, together, we put plyforms up on half of the wall. They are too heavy for me to lift by myself, but after they were up, I was able to load the other side with pvc, straps, rebar, etc. I ran out of daylight, but next we will be able to put the insulation on and then put the other plyform on to finish the sandwich.

John teaches classes in the prison on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so he shifts his hours on those days which gives us some time in the mornings to do work. The kids and I also shift our homeschool hours to match.

We have friends coming next week who are willing to help out, so we are kind of hoping to pour this week yet and then be able to pour again next week. We'll see how that goes. The weather has been absolutely fabulous for working - NO complaints now :)


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wacky weekend!

This post will probably be as wacky as the weekend ... just to warn ya.

Friday morning was a work morning - prep work for the next pour. Wife had brilliant idea of putting windows in for the next pour. Husband agreed, although it means a lot of extra work blocking out spaces for the windows. :)

However, this is how we started our day ...

Since Thursday night was the season premiere of Survivor (in HD), and we were unable to pick up any of the major networks with our camper antenna, we got a new antenna and John started to set it up while the kids and I were at Hadden's soccer practice. (We had set the poles earlier in the week.) He decided it is a 2-person job, but he got it up well enough to watch Survivor in standard mode.

Sorry ... back to the regularly scheduled program ... Friday morning, the dogs were outside and barking at something, but we weren't sure what. Later, as I went out to help John work on the house, I saw this ... and yelled at John. It was the funniest thing - this poor little red squirrel was nearly petrified to the tree, not even twitching the slightest muscle. There was a slight breeze flapping his tail, but that was it. I mean petrified!

Can you imagine his surprise? Running up the nearest tree to safety, away from the dogs ... to find that the tree had some serious problems! I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but laugh.

We put the dogs inside, hoping he would decide to come down on his own, but he wouldn't. The next idea was to throw small rocks at him to encourage him to come down, but I couldn't hit him with the rock (John said I throw like a girl!). Finally, resorted to shaking him out of the "tree". I shook one, so he jumped to the other. I shook that one and after a few seconds, he just completely bailed off, landed with all four feet running and off into the woods he went. Y'all - he was not a flying squirrel ... until that moment ... and I am betting never again.

We nicknamed him "Freeze"! Incidentally, besides snakes, he is the only "wildlife" that we have seen on our property, with the exception of birds. So, we are thrilled that he made our first encounter with a "non-snake" critter very exciting.

Saturday morning started out with more soccer and then a trip to Lowe's for more supplies. Soccer was fun. Hadden's game was a blowout - good for his team, not so good for the other team. Savannah's game was very closely matched. We were missing a player and it got hot out, but our team managed to keep right with them. The final score (although, we don't keep score), was 2-1 them. We are looking forward to playing them again, though, as it was a fun game.

In a historic moment, OSU Beavers beat the USC Trojans to knock the Trojans out of 1st place! Why is this important? Well, it's really not, except I went to OSU and it is great to be able to have some bragging rights in a state where football is incredibly important :)

To top off our weekend, poor Hadden got sick. We were at our home group gathering after church and he wasn't feeling well, so we came home early. Poor little guy must have caught a stomach virus somewhere. I am really hoping not to catch this one!

We are busy preparing for the next pour, but my Mom reminded me that I had not given an update of how the last one turned out! Oops!

After the forms have been removed. The concrete wasn't as smooth as we would have hoped, but we are planning on trying to patch the rougher places and just enjoy them as "character" spots :)

Oh, incidentally, don't you just love the landscaping? We have been battling the weeds since we have moved here, but they seem to be winning right now.

We are excited to have some visitors come next week. Some dear friends from PA are coming down for a visit and we are so looking forward to it! Savannah and Hadden are on the countdown, too.

Heard that the new movie "Fireproof" is very good. Our church has been showing the trailers during church and it looks really good. I am hoping that we may have a chance to go and see it.

Have a great week!
Psalm 18:19
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The persistent spiders

Ah, yes, fall is in the air and the spiders are out in full swing. Remember that bugs in AL are BIG? Spiders are no exception.

On my morning walks with the dogs, I am currently in the habit of carrying a stick out in front of me so that I don't get the undesirable spider web across the face. Spider webs across my face invariably get tangled in my eyelashes. There is also the bigger concern of "Now, where is the spider?" Yuck!

I do find spider webs extremely fascinating, though (from a distance, of course). It amazes me how God created spiders with the ability to build a web. (and with their brain capacity ... ) If you think about it - how do they do it? How do they get started? How do they manage to get the first string out just right and span such of a great distance? And then, to create such intricate, delicate, precise structures that have a pattern. OK - and where do they store the silk for the web, anyway? Granted, the spiders are big here, but not that big, seemingly. And what if they get knocked to the ground in my sweeping away the web - what then? Do they find the closest tree and climb up again? (looks like I need to do a unit study for home school, so that I can learn! :).

SO - the most amazing thing to me is that almost every day, I knock down their webs because they happen to be in the path that I want to walk ... and I HATE spider web across the face. And every day, without fail, there is a new web ... persistence!

What if I were a spider? Would I be that persistent?

Some days ... unfortunately, no. I get tired. I am no longer that hungry, anymore. It's just too much work to build my web today. But, if I don't eat, I won't get strengthened.

I am so thankful for Him - each and every day. He is the one who gives me strength for the day.

I am so thankful for the truth in Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

As promised ... pictures from our pour

We started off the day taking down tree. We wanted to make it easier for the concrete truck to get where he needed.

Then, we prepped the inside of the forms by brushing on oil so that the finished concrete would not stick to the forms. We used plain old vegetable oil and a paint tray and roller. At one point, we looked over and caught Lilly drinking the vegetable oil straight from the tray! I guess it tasted good to her.

Next, we drizzled a bonding solution in the middle of the footer to help the bond between the old and new concrete.

Finally, we were ready to pour.


John working the trough and hopper.

We started out filling the forms to about halfway full so that the weight of the concrete would not push out the bottom of the form. We then moved to the other wall and did the same thing, allowing the first wall to set up some. At the very end, we ended up with the concrete a little higher and the bottom started to show signs of stress so John put additional bracing on.

After!!! Two tired but thankful people :) Yes - I am wearing the same outfit as the last pour - it has become my "official" concreting outfit.


Look closely - John's hands are orange! He used some leather gloves to wash the excess off of the outside of the forms and the gloves turned his hands orange. Here, 2 days later, they are still orange :)

Well - now we are going to head out and start taking the forms off. Now, that is what I call exciting!

Soccer was very fun again today. Hadden scored 2 goals and Savannah scored 1. John went for a long bike ride with some of the staff at the prison and then met us at the field. All before 10 am :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Blogger is NOT cooperating today, but I wanted to wish my best girlfriend, Heidi, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! This is a picture of us from last summer when John, the kids and I went to visit my family. These flowers are absolutely gorgeous and are at an outlet mall!

Heidi is a blast to be around - we met in college at Oregon State and have been friends since the first laugh together ... and there have been a LOT of laughs!!! Hope you have a wonderful day, today, girlfriend!

Another reason to celebrate:
Today is especially special also because this is the day that John, my best guy, proposed to me at the top of the Empire State Building in NYC 9 years ago! I would say YES all over again, honey! You da best, Pooh! I love you.

We have walls ...

Thank you for your prayers - we are praising the Lord that the concrete pour went very well this morning - the weather was perfect. The forms held up very well - we had one spot where John was just a little concerned, so we put more bracing in just to be sure.

Tired ... will post pictures when not tired ... :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"No - that's MY antler"

Our dogs are cracking me up these days! They are SO much like two little kids, it is hysterical.

1. Getting up at the crack of dawn (and usually before). Lilly starts pestering me around 5 to start her day. Some days, she is kind and just hops up in bed with us and lays nicely - unless of course it is too hot ... in which case, she hops up and pants, thereby shaking the whole bed. (the obvious question here is "why do we leave them inside at night?" well ... I do actually like the dogs and there are coyotes about)

2. Routine - routine - routine. Needs to be done the same every day. Unfortunately, they each have their very own routine.
Mercy's routine: Go out in the morning for a whole 2 seconds (or just long enough for me to get cozy back into bed). Immediately come back in and eat (read: inhale) breakfast and then want to go back outside.

Meanwhile, Lilly wants to go out and stay out until walk time. However, she persists that walk time is NOW by pouncing on the steps every couple of minutes. If that doesn't rouse our attention, she starts whining and howling. IF we can get her to eat any breakfast first, she always has to leave just a little bit for later. It's just her way.

3. Must take walk every day. Must. No excuses. However, walk to them means "start out all together and then dogs run off and chase whatever rustle sound they hear anywhere in the woods. Return as convenient for dogs. Bark occasionally while off in the woods - just enough to concern walkee to send hubby to look for dogs". I have not figured out why they feel the need to wait for me to go with them...

4. And, I think my personal favorite - bickering and fighting like kids ...
The other day, Lilly shows up with a half-rack of horns from a deer (I have no idea where she found them). She was very proud of them, prancing them around showing everyone - absolutely NOT sharing them with Mercy. She found an ideal hiding place for them and would bring them out as she desired.

However, yesterday, Mercy discovered her hiding place, had the antlers and was not about the give them up.

Here, Mercy has the antlers and Lilly is circling around trying to figure out how to get them back.

"Where did she go? I've gotta keep an eye on her - she's a sneaky one"

"Please - can I have it for just a little bit?"

"Nope. Not gonna share."

"Hmmm ..."


"MOM - she took my antlers!!! Will you tell her to give it back to me, please?"


They play hard together, wrestling and tackling each other all the time. So much so, that they also crash hard :)

Then, this morning the saga continues ... guess who has the antlers?

Lilly didn't learn a thing - she was prancing around parading them in front of Mercy (who, incidentally, was just exhausted from taking a "walk") and didn't seem the least interested in chasing after them. She just wanted to catch her breath.

Any funny animals stories that you want to share?

ps - Please pray for us tomorrow, for tomorrow, we POUR (concrete for 1/2 the basement walls)!!! I will hopefully update at the end of the day ...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Reviews - just my opinion

Hello Love - Chris Tomlin
I picked up this CD last week and I absolutely love it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes worship music and especially those who like Chris Tomlin worship music - some really good stuff here.

Bottom line: Super!

Ruthless Trust - Brennan Manning
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago. Although there were some really good points and some quotable quotes, this one didn't ever really grab my full attention. For me, the language style was of a higher level than I needed and I found myself having to try to figure out what the words in the sentence meant before I could understand what the point was.

Bottom line: Not my favorite, but I did make it through it.

If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat - John Ortberg
I am almost finished with this one - this one is right up my alley. Some good, challenging stuff in here regarding stepping out in faith. Ortberg has an easy reading style full of stories and illustrations. He also has a way of threading a theme through a chapter to keep the point fresh in my mind - it just works for me.

Bottom line: I recommend this one, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How sweet is this?

Brillante Weblog:
About a week ago, I received my first blog award! How very exciting - thank you so much, Simply Stork - I am honored! Go, check out her blog and enjoy her beautiful photography. I am trying to learn some tips from looking at her pictures - (she does some very cool angles, close-ups, etc).

Premio al esfuerzo personal
And, yesterday, I received my second award from Susan of Penless Writer. I appreciate Susan's faith in our Lord and that she lives life on purpose. Go check out her site and say hi - she has started a 24/7 prayer blog and has a vision to have someone committed to praying 24/7. Let her know if you would be interested in joining.

Here are the rules: Mention the blog that gave it to you and comment on their blog to let them know you've posted your award.
Publish these rules:
1. Share 6 values that are important to you
2. Share 6 things you do not support
3. Grant it to 6 people

From Susan's blog - Premio al esfuerzo personal means "Prize to personal effort" when ran through an on-line translator.

Note: I am going to be a bit of a rebel and use 7 for each of the categories instead of 6 :)

Things I value:
1. Faith in Jesus Christ
2. The Bible
3. My God-given husband and his leadership of our family
4. Savannah and Hadden
5. God's GRACE to each of us - may I never take it for granted, and may I always freely give it.
6. Cherished friendships - those people that love me even when I am not so loveable
7. My extended family on both sides - I have a wonderful family and I married into a wonderful family. Love you all!

Things I do not support:
1. Denominational strongholds - especially when they cause division among Christians.
2. The selfishness of "entitlement" mentality
3. Rascism
4. Abortion
5. Gracelessness
6. Slow driving - sorry, I have to at least go the speed limit. It stresses me out to go slower :)
7. Current television programs - we have not been watching tv anymore because it is just awful. Then, the funniest thing - we received a Nielsen rating survey in the mail - hmm, I'm guessing they don't want to get ours back :)

Blogs I want to pass this along to (in no particular order):
1. Sun-Kissed Savages
2. Simply Stork
3. Ross' Country Cottage
4. Morning Song
5. Loving Life
6. Moms, Ministry and More - I have only started reading hers recently
7. Ahhh! The Joys of Boys

I have been blessed by each of these for different reasons - I hope you are, too!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday soccer

Saturday morning was our second soccer game - still lovin' my kids. Here we are warming up before the game. I have 3 boys and 3 girls on my team. The other team had 6 boys, so I was a little nervous going into it. We did fine against them - if I have to admit it, I think they probably scored a few more times than we did, but we still had fun ... and we scored quite our fair share of goals, too.

Don't I look like I know what I'm talking about? :)

Savannah going up against a teammate during warm-ups.

Shavannen :) This is a good friend of Savannah's whose name is Shannen and when I'm calling them, I have a hard time getting the right name out, so I just decided to call them Shavannen :) She's my "take-it-to-the-goal" girl and does a great job.

Next, we headed down to Hadden's game. Same general area, but a different field. This is Hadden's first year playing and he is at the U6 level - just too stinking cute for words! They play 3 on 3. Hadden is starting to get a little more confidence playing and is having more fun. He and Savannah have been playing in our "dirt" out front.

Hadden kicking a goal-kick.

Is this not a priceless picture or what? Remember, they only have 3 on the field at a time. It's hard to imagine what Hadden might be thinking here! The little one who is more blond is a little firecracker, scoring machine! She knows what to do with a soccer ball. The other one is definitely in the "too-cute-for-words" category - just adorable.

John and Savannah cheering Hadden on.

A really cute tradition they have here - the parents line up after the game and make a tunnel for the kids to run under. The kids LOVE it - in fact, they ran through it twice.

After the game - still wearing the gear - smiling from ear to ear...

Completely unrelated, but Hadden found this cool stick bug on our property. It was the coolest little thing - anyone remember the stick bug in "Bug's Life"? I had never seen one before.

Two posts in one day is a record for me, I think. Hope y'all don't mind :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oh, yes, I did!

On Friday, we had a staff day in Montgomery and the dress code for the day was "CLASH"! It was fun to see the extreme creativity that people came up with.

Our fearless leader and his family. (Would you trust them? :)

I was threatened by a certain individual that I should not post this on my blog ... and ... sorry, but oh yes, I did! :)

Here were all of the winners - hats off to each of them for their creativity (and guts!) to wear such perfect outfits!

After the meeting (and changing clothes), we went to downtown Montgomery and enjoyed some play time - this pic's for you hi-d! My best girlfriend and I always take pictures of police vehicles wherever we go. It started when we took a trip to CA and were in search of CHiPs :)

The fam in front of a cool tile mural - in order to get the colors just right, the artist had etched another picture of a building into the tile. Duh - I should have taken a close-up!

Our friends knew of this park by the waterfront that has fountains, so the kids enjoyed cooling off in the fountains.

Savannah finally got brave enough to go in the middle of the jets.

Hadden's turn to go in a circle.

I love this one - I snapped it just as the fountain circle shut off.

John took a turn, too. In fact, he was the first to jump in!

It was a great way to cap off the warm day. Both kids crashed in the car on the way home - fairly unusual for Hadden to give up in the car, but they were both tuckered out.

House progress:
Since you asked :) ...
We have 2 walls formed, with end caps on. We now have to cut and tie the rebar and frame for the doors and then we can POUR!!! Yippee! It's getting close now. Please pray that all will go well - we really want the concrete to go nicely into the forms and to stay in the forms!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The secret is out ...

I have suspected it before, even wondered if it could be possible and yesterday ... it was revealed. In the evening, Savannah asked me if I had anything to do. Hmmm - why is she asking me that? I asked her why and she said that she and Hadden were going outside to play bubbles. She wanted to make sure that I had something to do ... "so that you won't be lonely while we go play".

So, all of those times where I just needed a few mommy-by-myself moments and couldn't find them anywhere. All of those times that I shook my head in wonder at watching them go and play together so nicely when John was home (does he have some secret that I don't know about?). It all makes sense now.

They just didn't want me to be lonely and have nothing to do! Now, what am I going to do with the guilt of needing a mommy-by-myself moment? :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This and that update

It seems like I have blocks of time that I can sit down and blog about everything ... :)

Hadden's birthday:
Monday was Hadden's 6th birthday! I can't believe my youngest is already 6!!!

Here he is on his last day of 5 - we let him open Savannah's gift to him, because neither of them could wait :) She made him a nice drawing, a long braid, and chose a prize for him for her memory verse (a set of markers).

The boy LOVES cars! Anything cars. We got him a pine car kit for Christmas last year and he enjoyed putting it together, so we got him another one for his birthday. "Can we work on my pine car now?" is heard a lot around our house. We also got him a model car that he can change the wheels on and a set of play airplanes. Do you think we should try and broaden his interests??? We do! But, what can you say? He just loves them and pays very close attention to details. It shocks me when he tells me of a particular car that he has in storage and knows the color, the wheel colors, whether or not it has a tail fin, etc.

We took him to McWane Science Center in B'ham for his birthday and met up with our friends (who also lavished gifts on him from the movie "Cars"). We had a nice time. The McWane Center offered free passes to evacuees from the Gulf Coast (for Gustav), which I thought was a very nice thing for them to do.

Sorry - this picture is just to prove that the eel is actually alive and not just a robotic creature :) Every time prior to this time, the eel has been in the exact same position - I mean exact same. Looking out of the rock, head tilted slightly to his/her right, breathing at a steady pace. We have been there quite a few times and that was all s/he would do. We started to wonder if it was actually real. This time, s/he surprised us by coming completely out of the rock, swimming for about 2 seconds and diving right back in. I didn't manage to get my camera out of my pocket in time to catch it swimming. I didn't see any cords attached, either :).

House progress:
One whole wall is formed and ready to go ... almost. We just have to cut the rebar and then tie it in on the widest side of the concrete area. We have all the parts ready to go for the second wall, but need to find a couple of hours of daylight to get them put up.

Here is my handsome hubby showing the handiwork. Looks great, honey!

Here are our little "form holders" - they are standing in the doorway, but can't get out!

In all seriousness, we actually needed their help. This part of the form doesn't have any insulation in it and therefore did not have a threaded rod to hold the form in place. John thought even though there won't be concrete in this section, we would be better off if we made sure it stayed where it should. So, we needed something or someone small enough to get down into the form to hold the pvc brace while he threaded the rod through it. (don't tell them, but we actually took the middle one out so that they would each have a job :)

In an effort to keep them interested and excited in this whole house project, we decided to give them each a board to paint. They knew that the board would not be visible after the wall is complete, but they had fun painting anyway.

Here they are with their boards put in place.

Then, they decided it would be fun to help, so we put them to work putting on the "straps" and pvc tubes.

Homeschool progress:
Some days are great - some are less great. Welcome to homeschooling :)

I don't like my decision for math for Hadden. He has a math-bent mind and I didn't want to skip the easier stuff for him because I really wanted him to be solid in the basics. Unfortunately, he is not really challenged and whizzes through it. So, I decided to just test him out of the chapters that are too easy and hitting on the highlights that I think he might need a little more attention in (math facts, for example).

Savannah doesn't like math as well, so I am trying to help her to enjoy it and to not be afraid of it. She can think mathematically fairly well, but not when it comes to putting it on paper. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

We are also doing a co-op class with a few other families on Wednesday mornings. We are studying Astronomy and it is great fun. Laura is doing a great job teaching them some difficult concepts and I am having fun learning, too! If I ever remember to take my camera, I will put up some pictures from our time together.

Have a super day!

Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."