Thursday, July 27, 2006

Remote Control Woes

Keith after doing some yardwork in the hot sun. He's got Gatorade, Doritos and the newspaper to re-fortify himself, but (alas!) no remote control!

Two weeks ago, a terrible thing happened . . .

We lost the remote control.

For Keith, this is total devastation. He likes to watch four or five things on TV simultaneously. Commercials are evil. He'll usually watch one main show, but whenever the commercials come on, he switches to another show and then goes back to the main show, unless the other show becomes more interesting. Now this is well and good for the person with the remote control, but it's a real pain for anybody else watching TV with the person with the remote. I've gotten used to it over the years and even find myself switching channels like a mad person in the rare instances I've got the remote control!

Keith seems to be doing better with the dock work. The warehouse specializes in moving goods in and out, so ALL of his work takes place at the dock, not in the warehouse. He and the other guys on his crew move things out of one truck and into another for transportation. He's gotten some easier assignments lately and looks a lot better coming home from work, but he is mentally preparing himself for when he starts back to work at Delta as well. Weekends are going to be very sweet indeed.

Next week will be the last week of Keith's vacation from Delta and the last week of our summer vacation. I'm gearing up for big school year plans:

1) Actual school days for the kids -- including Konner!

2) An weekday evening Bible study for ladies in the neighborhood. The summer study did not pan out, but I do have some interest and would like to get that started for the fall.

3) Another weekday evening Bible study/prayer time for high school girls. This is at Keri Lynn's request.

4) Wednesday evening church activities: Missions and choir for the younger kids and youth group for Keri Lynn and Kristofer. I think I'm going to help with the younger kids during this time.

5) Wednesday morning women's Bible study. Last year, I attended an evening Bible study, but didn't like missing the opportunity to help with the kids' programs. Now, I'd like to go to the morning study.

6) Thursday afternoon homeschool co-op. I don't know if this is going to work out. It didn't work out last year because I signed up too late and also because we didn't come into the Newnan area until November. I also wasn't sure if I wanted to commit a whole afternoon every week for the co-op, but someone was telling me it's two semesters, only 10 weeks a semester. And we greatly miss our homeschool contacts. If we do participate with the homeschool co-op, we can also get more easily involved with other homeschool activities because we'll actually know some of the people involved. It is not a lot of fun to go on a field trip, for instance, and not know who anyone else is. It's like just going to the worship church at church and being involved in nothing else -- Guess what! You don't get to know anyone that way.

So with all of the plans swirling around in my head, my body and brain have gone into temporary hibernation! I love the start of school, I really do, but I know it's going to get a lot more busy and a bit stressful at times. So, like a hibernating bear, I'm sleeping more, reading for pleasure, watching movies and TV, avoiding exercise and skimping on housework so that I can store up energy for the start of The School Year.

I do need to get myself together, though, to get a party going for Kylie. I think I want to have a surprise party for Kylie tomorrow night with the neighborhood girls -- maybe a slumber party, if I can work out the details at this late date. She knows we're going to have a party for her, but she hasn't asked me about the details or been too concerned about when or what kind of party it will be. So I think it would be fun to surprise her with a fun get-together. She's at the age where surprise is pretty easy to achieve.

Keri Lynn wants to go out with me tonight to get party supplies and leave Kristofer in charge. That might work, if we get everyone ready for bed. We got Chicken Little on Netflix, so maybe they can watch that tonight before bed and not cause Kristofer too much grief.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Here are a couple of cuties in front of our house. Kade with red hair and Konner with blond hair. Note the lava rock Keith is in the process of putting down in our flower beds.
The front of our house
The Wastelands, also known as the backyard. A lot of work in store for us as we plan to fence and sod it.
Mr. Perfect Neighbor's yard. Koi pond and waterfall, and not pictured, more gardens, trees and a bridge.
Our dead pool. The ground was not level enough to set it up properly, so there it sits . . . dead . . . right next to Mr. Perfect Neighbor's yard.
A corner view of our house.
A view down our road of the new houses being built.

July is coming to an end so very soon, and with July's escape comes August. August used to mean one more month of summer, but not in Georgia! It means school is starting! August 7! AHHHHH!

I've got to get the kids caught up on immunizations. There's a health clinic nearby that I need to take them to -- I think they ALL need some kind of immunization done, especially Kade and Konner. Our insurance quit covering immunizations a couple of years ago. That was a real bummer for us.

Konner will begin kindergarten this year. Can you believe it? My baby. Kindergarten. I'm going to teach both Kade and Konner the same material myself and skip the DVD program for them. Kade is just really not into sitting and listening to his DVD teacher. She's not live and in person, and he knows it!

Kade has been writing his name on all of his papers. At least he's not doing what Kylie was doing when she learned to write her name. She kept writing her name on walls and other non-paper items. I still have an old back-up bed sheet with her name written in permanent marker.

Speaking of scholastic items, I got Keri Lynn, Kristofer and Kathleen's standardized tests back right before we left on our trip to California. We were thrilled to get the results and see that they are indeed making good progress. The test shows three blocks: below average, average and above average. Keri Lynn scored at the top of the average block for most subjects. In reading comprehensive, she was at the top of the above average block. In spelling, she was below average! The reading comprehension and the spelling is a replica of Keith's strengths and weaknesses! Kristofer also scored high in reading comprehension and general logic skills. He scored at the top end of the average scale for all of his subjects. I was most interested in Kathleen's scores. I tested her at the third grade level, even though she's fourth grade age-wise, because that's the grade level she's been working at this year. She scored around third grade level in all of her subjects, but this was before her reading really took off. My bet is that she would have scored much better in just a few months because of her reading improvement. Even so, I was happy to see she was on par with what we've been doing. It will be interesting to see how she does next year. All in all, I think we were all encouraged by the kids' performance. We all felt a little more confidence in our homeschooling efforts and know what to work on for the new year.

The weather has been fairly mild. It's only 86 degrees right now with only 50% humidity. Mom says that the weather in So. Cal. has been really hot lately and with unusual humidity. Kaja reports weather over 110 at the top end of Northern California and they've been getting lots of humidity, too. The only problem with our weather has been lack of rain. We've had rain just in the last few days, but because it's so dry right now, our lawn watering restrictions have been cut back to ONCE a week. We can water from midnight until 10:00 AM Saturday morning. Isn't that generous!

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Happy birthday to you!"

Here I am with two of my favorite people. Note the red plate on the table. Mom got us the red plate for special occasions. The kids never forget to bring it out. This time, Keith and Kylie shared their cake on the special plate.
Keva loves to wear Keith's glasses. Now she's got a pair of her own.
Kylie with her little brothers' teeth
Getting ready to blow out the candles!
Keith opens up some of his DVD presents, two more gory guy flicks -- He loves it!

Birthday Weekend

Keith survived his first week of his second job . . . barely! We're so thankful he has the next two weeks off from Delta so he can get used to the physical strain of this job. He says it's a job that's paying him to lose weight! He's already lost FIFTEEN pounds. This weekend, I made sure he got lots of rest and nourishment. We shopped for more water bottles, Gatorade and Ensure to make sure he's getting enough fluids. He also got some more ankle wraps to protect his ankles.

We also got the girls safe and sound from camp on Friday. Each had a great time. As a result, though, I'm now officially behind on the laundry again. I survived the extra laundry from Keri Lynn and Kristofer's return from camp, from our trip to California, from our latest vomiting fun, and from Keith's extra dirty clothes from warehouse work. But when Kathleen and Kylie came back with damp comforters and sheets, towels and clothes, I gave up! This whole weekend, I just let the house go to pot and the laundry pile up. I was TIRED!

On a much more positive note, we celebrated Keith and Kylie's birthday on Saturday! Keith turned 43 and Kylie turned eight! Kylie will have a birthday party probably on Friday, so we concentrated on Keith's birthday primarily. We all went to Wal-Mart in search of The Perfect Gift. I ended up buying a whole bunch of guy flicks and munchies to go with them. I think he liked it. We presented it to him then had cake and we all wore goofy sunglasses and teeth. It's the Johnson way!

We had two cakes, one with "43" on it and one with "8" on it. Kathleen said that now we have numbers for when Daddy turns "83" AND "84"! I'm sure he appreciated that very much.

On Sunday night at church, the kids who went to Camp Sonshine performed the songs they had learned, and Kathleen acted in a skit with eight other fourth and fifth graders. Kylie would have been part of the singing, but she'd had trouble with a cough during the weekend and decided she was too tired. Kathleen did a very nice job with her lines. Next year promises to be a good acting year for her in that the fifth graders are given the bigger roles before they move on to middle school and are then part of the youth group.

And so we come to today. I finally got my own act together and got the house cleaned up again (mostly!) Boy, it was a mess! I'm still behind in the laundry because I also needed to go get groceries today. We were so short on food that when I got up this morning, Kristofer and Keri Lynn were re-enacting Dawn of the Living Dead. Keith did a little work on or flower beds out front and then came in for a nap before his big first day of the week back at work.

We're starting to gear up for the new school year. Keva's teacher called and would like to meet with Keva at least once before school starts on August 7 -- only TWO weeks away. She'd like to either come to our house or meet with Keva at school -- whatever we feel comfortable with! How about that! So far, Keva's class is made up of six sixth graders, one teacher and two aides. So far it looks likes she'll have another good year with a good teacher.

Birthday Fun

Keri Lynn in her silly glasses for Keith and Kylie's birthday
Kristofer really needs to see the dentist
The birthday people
Hurray for birthdays!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Warehouse Boot Camp

Here's Keva at the pool in California last week. She had such a great time watching the rest of the kids swim, but then she finally got her chance at the water park. Whoo-hoo!

This is short today as I need to go to the airport and bring Keith some stuff for his warehouse job -- mainly water and yogurt. He came home again last night looking like death warmed over. I was, and am, seriously concerned about him. Apparently, the warehouse people like to make sure that their new workers are willing to stick it out, so they don't get forklifts for a while and get the harder jobs -- warehouse boot camp. The heat is pretty bad, too, so Keith is suffering the humidity and not getting enough time to eat or drink -- thus my little trip today is to bring him a cooler with water, Gatorade and yogurt (his request) and some snacks of nuts, a little Pepsi, and anything else with high protein/carbs that I can think of. If he can survive today and tomorrow, I think he'll do okay because the following two weeks are vacation weeks from Delta. He'll have recuperation time then.

It's so strange not having the younger girls here this week. I was glad to see them yesterday, though, and I'm sure they're having a great time.

I had my walk today, doing the longer circuit. It felt good to get back into the grove that way. Keith reports that his belt has already loosened from his work at the warehouse and now I'm thinking that I better get back to being serious about losing weight myself since he's on a six hour a day massive exercise regiment!

I have to say how grateful I am to the TV show Lazy Town. Has anyone seen it? There's a cute pink girl named Stephanie and her puppet friends and their hero guy Sporticus who goes around saving people from poor health and lack of exercise. He is continually fueling his body with fruits and vegetables. He'll eat an apple and call it "Sports Candy". So Kade yesterday showed me his half-eaten apple and said that he was eating his "Sports Candy" and then went zooming off to play outside! My kids already enjoyed eating fruit before Lazy Town, but now they beg for it.

Gotta go!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Camp Sonshine Pictures

Kathleen going off the diving board. Remember how great it was to be a big kid going off the diving board into the deep end!
Kathleen's "neat" bunk!
Mr. Mike (our mission's pastor) gives a great Bible lesson to the kids.
Kylie with her brothers just outside of the cafeteria. The lake is in the background.

Kylie "The Fish"

Pork & Beans Revisited

Yesterday, after pouring over maps, going to Mapquest and reviewing who I was going to vote for, I made my way to the Voting Poles. California Primary: Drive car two blocks away, say hi to our neighbor Mrs. Collins who is always volunteers to help with voting, vote in the one Republican stall, get my "I voted today" sticker, and skedaddle back home. Georgia Primary: Drive through winding tree-lined roads, over a bridge and to a fire station FIVE MILES AWAY, fill out a form promising that I'll not vote anywhere else that day, and then step around the corner to find electronic screens instead of the usual punch card ballots. I stood agog, while a guy handed me a card to stick into the machine. I voted by touch screen! In the middle of nowhere in the back roads of Georgia. Who'd of thunk!

Having proudly voted and wearing my "I voted" sticker, I headed back home to find that children were beginning not to feel so good. Oh-oh. I had given the youngest ones -- Keva, Kade and Konner a can of pork & beans at lunch which, as it turns out, came back to haunt us all in a big way . . .

Keva, Kade, Konner and Keri Lynn all heaved up their stomach contents through the early evening and into the wee hours of the morning. This was so much fun, I have to say. Thankfully, the kids are old enough these days that they can make it to a bucket or the toilet in the nick of time. With Keva, I'm not usually so lucky. But last night, she was laying across a blanket on the floor while we all were watching TV and upchucked right onto the blanket -- the whole thing! I said to everyone, "Now, wasn't that nice of Keva to throw up on the blanket!" And we all agreed!

I spent most of the night reading a book/watching TV and alternately cleaning out a wastebasket or toilet and throwing any yucky laundry into the laundry room. Konner, I thought, was the last to settle down at about 2:00 AM. But, as it turns out, Keri Lynn was sick until nearly 5:00 AM, but was able to take care of herself.

Keith literally stumbled in from his first day at his second job at about 1:00 AM. He looked like death warmed over and muttered something about reality coming to roost then stumbled off to take a much needed shower. His clothes were filthy from what has turned out to be a highly manual job. He left a message with me earlier today with the warehouse number and sounded much more his chipper self, but I am worried that this will end up being too much for him. We'll see!

By the time I crawled out of bed this morning, everyone was feeling better. Keri Lynn was still pretty tired and decided not to join us on or trip to visit Kathleen and Kylie at camp. I left Keva with her and took the boys in a sweltering van to Camp Rockridge where the kids were having their week of camp. I only had to make one U-turn, which is pretty good for me, and we made it in time to have lunch with Kathleen instead of Kylie. But we got to see them both after lunch and visit their cabin bunks. Even Kathleen was happy to see us and proud to give us a little tour of a very pretty camp ground. There's a lake, pool, cabins, conference area. One of the girls had put on a bathing suite earlier and got stung by a scorpion three times, so that was the talk of the camp when we came. She had to be sent home to recuperate but will probably come back later in the week.

Kylie wanted us to come and see her swim. She discovered that she does not sink to the bottom and doesn't have to thrash around in a panic. As a result, she was swimming around like a fish and really enjoying the water. Kathleen went off the diving board a couple of times while we were there, too.

I was relieved to find out that neither girl had gotten sick at camp. After last night, I had visions of every single one of the 111 campers from or church throwing up all over each other. Kylie informed me that she wasn't homesick a bit. This was good because nearly all of the other second graders were kind of having a hard time being away from home. I think it helped Kylie to have an older sister nearby. Next year, it will be Kathleen (at the top of the Camp Sonshine heap), Kylie and Kade! He can't wait. Konner can't either, but two years to a five-year-old must seem like an eternity. Oh, the trials of being the youngest! Keri Lynn and Kristofer might go as counselors next year, too, so that would make it even sadder for Konner!

It is very hot right now -- about 99 degrees. Driving in the car today reminded me of the many summer drives from Kennesaw to Newnan. We were all sticky and hot and thirsty by the time we arrived, and I began wondering (not for the first time) if maybe we'd be able to afford car payments for a newer van with air conditioning! Maybe next year. We're planning on driving this van into the ground, if it doesn't get towed away for not having a Georgia license, that is. (Still haven't gotten that settled! Argh!)

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are off to Stone Mountain tonight with their youth group to go see the laser Light Show. Keri Lynn almost didn't go because she was still feeling peaked, but with a little rest today she was feeling better. It will be nice for them to go out, but I forgot to remind them to pack bug spray! After we dropped them off, I took Keva, Kade and Konner through the McDonald's drive-thru for dinner. It sure is a lot cheaper to buy McDonald's with three kids than it is with seven!

Time to go get everyone to drink more water!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

Keith left this morning for orientation for his second job that he starts tonight. He came back from orientation this morning to pick up his social security card and voter registration information -- It's voting day today! Then he went to vote and then work the remainder of his day at Delta.

It's going to be different for the Johnson household during the weekdays for awhile, that's for sure. I'm sure that a few years ago I would have protested greatly. The kids were a lot younger then and I needed a lot more energy and help from Keith to be "Mom." But today, it's a lot easier. The kids are bigger and can do for themselves a lot more and can, in fact, actually contribute to the household work. What a concept!

Today, I'm feeling the affects of travel, late nights, lots of laundry, packing and unpacking several times over . . . . I'm just a lazy slug today. But, thank God, there's tomorrow -- unless He chooses otherwise. And tomorrow I'll get back on my horse.

I went to the computer earlier today to check my email when I discovered that the Internet service was down as well as the cable. So I got the phone to call to find out what was going on, when I found out that the phone service was down, too! As it turns out, they are set up together and the cable is currently going across the street on the ground instead of under the ground and needed to be replaced. The Cable Company came almost faster than it took for me to actually get a live person on my cell phone -- which really isn't saying too much, since they put you on hold forever.

The little boys are grounded for a couple of hours this afternoon. Mac came in earlier to tell me that Kade, Konner and Brandon (one of the new neighborhood boys) had all peed right outside in front of the house. Urgh! Little boys! So I sent the three boys that were playing with Kade and Konner back to their homes and told Kade and Konner that they'd need to stay inside the house by themselves for awhile. Fortunately for their backsides, I'm LAZY today and that's all I did to address the problem.

Then I opened up a couple of cans of pork and beans for the kids to have for lunch and sat back down with my book for another couple of hours with plans to get fast food for dinner. I'm just really pathetic today, but every once in a while that's just the way it is as I recuperate! I'm thankful to have the opportunity to do so.

I'll go vote and then pick up dinner on the way home. It's great to be an American!

Monday, July 17, 2006


Here's Konner with Papa Stan at Papa's house.
We enjoyed playing with Scooter.

Here I am with Audrey and Cheryl at El Nido.

Kristofer with Great-Grandma Rich! She's going to be 90!
Isn't that amazing!

Here's Mom celebrating her birthday!

At Denny's with Grandma Alice

The kids were just beat after the water park!
They're sleeping in the car on the way back to the hotel.

Here's our Harvard house. The new owners did such
a marvelous job with it!

California Trip

Warning: This is long!

We're back from our trip to California. I always think that four or five days will be plenty of time to do all the things we want to do on our visit -- but it never is! Still, it was great to see Beth and her kids after more than a year, to visit with Mom and Rich, Connie and her kids, Stan, Alice, and many special friends from church and homeschool. Keri Lynn got her braces tightened and a special bag of new rubberbands to further torture her mouth. Everyone remarked on how big the kids were getting, especially Keri Lynn who is emerging into womanhood.

We went to a water park on our last full day with all the cousins -- that was a hoot! I was so worried that Keva would poop in the water that I really didn't want to take her, but I just couldn't see letting the rest of the kids miss out on the opportunity, so we all went. Keva, I think, had the best time of all! She and I shared a intertube and went around the Lazy River with her legs draped across mine. I tried to drape my arms across her legs, but she would have none of that. (It's fine if she touches me, but she doesn't like to be touched by anyone else.) And then, when we were done, I tried to take her out of the tube and she would not budge. It took all of my strength to get her out. I had the same problem at the tidal wave pool. She thought the waves coming in were the best thing since freedom in American, but she was not going to leave the pool when it came time for lunch. I had to literally drag her to the shallow area before she would finally stand up. After the water park, I was exhausted! And, thank God, Keva didn't deposit anything disgusting in the water!

Our room at Embassy Suites worked out very well. The boys slept in the living room on the pull out sofa and the girls slept in the bedroom. The free breakfasts turned out to be a full made-to-order breakfast. The first morning, I stuffed myself silly with a mushroom omelet, french toast, bacon, fruit, etc. Each morning, everyone left for our day's activities fully fueled. Our rental car was a new Town & Country with less than a thousand miles on it! You never know what you're going to get when you rent a car, but usually we get a nice car, but never a brand new car. That was fun! What was even more fun is that I got a really great deal for the car on orbits -- $156 from Tuesday through Saturday!

Best memories: The park visit at El Nido where I got my first sunburn of the week. What fun it was to talk with you, Audrey and Cheryl! A special visit for Keri Lynn with Hanna on one day and Missy and Kimberly on another day. Thanks, girls! She really enjoyed seeing you! A great meal with Stan and Alice at one of my favorite restaurants -- El Pollo Inka -- There are none in Georgia! Thanks, Stan! A visit to Mom's work where she cried as we all walked in and then got to show off the grandkids. A sweet drama show with the cousins and Rich where the little ones took turns being Jesus or the blind man. Connie's pleasure at seeing Keva's pleasure at the water park. Precious hugs and kisses from nieces and a nephew -- everyone keeps on growing! A relaxing lunch with Alice at Denny's. Visiting with Stan and Scooter. Sleeping in until 8:00 AM most mornings, which was really 11:00 Eastern Standard Time! Home cooked meals every night at Mom's. I ate so many of her yummy meatballs the first night, I felt a little ill later. She also took the time to make her famous rolls for our special Thursday night meal. (I've been trying to replicate those rolls, but I usually wind up with golf balls.) Kristofer and Kathleen's visit with Ian and Emily -- We made Ian talk to us with his grown up voice several times! Catching up with Sandy. Mom's birthday on Friday where we all claimed credit for other's gifts. And water, water, water at the hotel pool, my Mom's condo pool and the water park where I got my second sunburn!

Our trip might not have happened at all if we hadn't just barely made it on the plane going to L.A. I sat with Keva. Keri Lynn sat with Konner (much to his consternation). And the rest of the kids had to sit by themselves among a sea of strangers. Kade was terrified at first when he was placed next to a very large woman, but she turned out to be very nice to him, and he was fine after a while. Everyone behaved well since they all have had plenty of experience with flying.

For our trip back on Saturday, I was a little anxious just getting through security. The whole world decided to fly Delta that day, but Keith assured me that the flights to Atlanta were okay. What I really enjoyed was seeing Keva go through the security arch. She had to pass through, coming and going, by herself, just like everyone else, and EACH TIME she went over to the security guard at the other end and gave him or her a BIG hug! I'm not sure that I didn't see a rather self-satisfied grin on her face when she was done! The guard in Atlanta patted her back and told her that she did a good job! The guard at LAX looked a little startled but remained calm as I pulled her off. At least she didn't pull anyone's hair in security this time!

We didn't make our first flight coming out of LAX because a flight before our flight was delayed so stand-by passengers got bumped. The good news was that we had just enough time to go eat lunch at McDonald's in the terminal before our next flight out on a 777. Even though the 777 is a huge plane, we still couldn't get seats together -- It was packed out! But I did get to sit with Keva (a very important seating arrangement). Keri Lynn sat alone. Kathleen and Kylie sat together and the boys all sat together. We all had our own earphones and our choices of six or seven movies, so everyone was happy, except for maybe the lady sitting in front of Keva who (despite my best efforts) kept getting clobbered by Keva's soggy doll. Keva also managed to soak the seat cushion by the middle of the flight. I think she was testing it for flotation!

And it was good to see Keith there at Baggage Claim with all of our luggage ready to go. It's great to visit family, but it was good to be home!

We got back late Saturday night, so we decided to let the kids sleep in on Sunday morning. They slept (even Kristofer!) to at least 11:00 AM. I went in the morning to drop off some goodies at our Sunday School Class, but came back and went back to bed myself! It was a relaxing day and an opportunity for Keith and I to go out in the afternoon to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary!

Eighteen years! It's hard to believe that so much time has passed! We went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and then out to eat at Moe's, a very yummy Tex-Mex place where they make burritos and such just like Subway makes sandwiches. We then went shopping for stuff that Kathleen and Kylie for their camp week. They needed bug protection wipes and sunscreen. And I also needed to do the laundry that we had brought back from our trip so that they'd each having something to wear for camp! I stayed up until 2:00 this morning getting that little chore done and I'm wiped out!

The girls had to be at the church parking lot at 7:30 this morning. I packed their clothes in ziplocks, like I had for our trip, so they could pick out a ziplock for the day and not have to fish around for their clothes. Camp Sonshine is only a half hour away, so we'll go on Wednesday to join the girls for lunch. When I told the girls this, Kathleen was very unhappy that Mom would come spoil her fun at being away for the week, but Kylie looked relieved and wanted me to come. So I told Kathleen to just pretend that she didn't know us and we would go sit at KYLIE's table! Hurr-ump!

I'm full of news today, as you can tell from the length of this report. A very important piece of news is that Keith got his second job! He applied for a job almost three months ago on the good word of a guy at our church. He had given up on the possibility when the guy told him to go and talk to them again, since they want people who really want the job. So Keith did and a few weeks after that got a call back to ask if he was still interested in the job. On Friday, he had a urine test, a psycho-analysis test (that he passed, thank you very much!) and on Saturday morning had a physical that nearly killed his legs and arms. This morning, he got a call for an orientation meeting for tomorrow morning! He will probably start tomorrow night.

Keith's job at Delta starts at 8:00 AM ends at 4:30-5:00ish PM and the warehouse job starts at 6:00 and goes until midnight. It's going to be five grueling work days in a row every week, but the good news is that it will help us meet our financial obligations and maybe even get some of the extras done AND he'll have weekends completely free. We are VERY thankful for this job. Keith is also very upbeat about it being a more physical job after sitting in front of the computer all day long at Delta. He's never been one for sitting in one spot for too long! Thank you all for praying for this need for us. We are once again completely amazed and thankful for God's provision in our lives.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Um, Seven Kids

I spent a great deal of time yesterday looking for a replacement watch after my faithful watch died last week. I ended up getting the same digital Timex Expedition that I got last time. I'm fully a digital watch kind of gal and I'm very envious of the many cool guy watches out there -- none of which are made for women. I seriously considered some of them but either couldn't find a way to swap out the band for a more feminine look or thought the watch face looked too masculine. There was one in particular that I REALLY liked with both a digital face and, behind it, a regular watch face. The digital face could be turned on and off and showed the full date -- a VERY important feature for me! Another one had a digital compass! And, of course, there were the cool watches with calculators and memory storage -- NONE of them for women. What is wrong with technology these days!

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are safely home. They had a great time in Nashville. Kristofer's voice was gone. Now here's the difference between them. Keri Lynn said that apart from having to get up so early (Where does she get that from?) she really enjoyed it and wouldn't have minded going for another two or three more weeks. Kristofer, although he enjoyed his time, was so happy to be home -- he's the homebody -- and was right there to give me a big hug when I went to pick them up. They chattered away all the way home telling me about their trip. And now they have yet another set of T-shirts to add to their growing collection of church-related T-shirts!

With Keri Lynn and Kristofer came a TON of laundry. I've been working on it ever since and now am in full packing mode for our trip to California tomorrow. We have to get a very early start tomorrow, but that means we'll have the full day tomorrow to start our visit.

Because we're a big group, it was a little tricky getting hotel accommodations. Keith felt more comfortable with us getting two rooms instead of trying to squeeze into one, but as I looked on-line for great deals, I wasn't getting anywhere. Instead, I called Embassy Suites and this is how the conversation went:

"Uh, I'm coming into L.A. and I need a suite for me and my, uh, . . . . seven kids. Do you have anything?"

"Ma'am, our suites accommodate up to six people."

"Do you think we can fudge it a little? A lot of my kids are small."

"Hold on, let me check," and so began a little Jeopardy music . . . .

The woman from Embassy Suites came back on the line, "Yes, I have a suite for you, two queen beds, a couch and a sleeper cot that can be rolled in. Now, what are the age of your FIVE kids?"

"Well, I have seven."

"Yes, Ma'am. What are the ages of your FIVE kids?"


Me: "Oh! I get it!" So I gave her the ages of five of the kids and we're staying at the Embassy Suites for less than two of the cheapest rooms anywhere else. Free breakfast. Very pretty place -- Keith and I had one of our famous flings there one weekend a long time ago! Of course, this time the stay will be a little different!

It looks like we'll have our park day on Wednesday afternoon -- El Nido Park -- at about 1:00 PM when Keri Lynn is done with her orthodontist appointment. I hope this works for interested parties. We're looking forward to seeing as many people as we can.

Konner and Me

Here I am with my baby.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Early in the morning, before I was up, Kade decided to treat our latest ant problem with half of a spray bottle of De-Solv-It. I had to scrub the floor with dozens of paper towels, and I was none too happy about it, either. Now there's an interesting wax sheen on the floor around the bar. Thankfully, it didn't seem to have any lasting effects on the floor or wall and now our house has a nice lemony smell. It also seems to have done a pretty good job of temporarily getting rid of the ants! Go figure!

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are due home today! Yipee!

I happened to turn on the TV to Discovery Channel three days ago while I was eating lunch and there was an interesting show on Marine boot camp followed by an even more interesting show where guys were training to be Navy Seals. Each show came on for three days straight at noon and 1:00, back to back, and I watched with fascination at the physical and mental hoops the recruits went through. Did I feel like a lazy slug while I watched that? Yes! Will I completely and utterly stand agape if I ever meet a Navy Seal? Yes! Those guys were amazing in the hardships that they endured to make the cut. After watching that, I thought maybe I ought to step up my walking now from 30 to 45 minutes! I might be able to tough it out!

Our trip to California is just around the corner. We'll be at my Mom's house for dinners while we're there, Tuesday through early Saturday morning. Plans are taking shape. I would like to take one of the days -- mid day -- to meet anyone who wants to come to El Nido Park (probably Wednesday). We can bring sack lunches and watch the kids play while adults talk. Any takers?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Family on Pause

We're getting ready for our trip to California next week. I'm on the Internet looking for great deals for hotels and cars. It's nice to look on a map and know that that great hotel deal on Century Blvd. just across from the Hollywood Racetrack just is not the place to be.

I can't believe how fast the time has gone. With Keri Lynn and Kristofer gone all this week, I told Keith that it felt like our family was on "pause." Every time one of the kids (or two in this case) are gone, it feels like I'm just waiting for them to come back so that we can resume family life. Keith looked at me, a little startled, and said, "Yes, that's exactly what it's like!" Then we wondered how we're going to handle it when they've left home for good. That whole idea of having the kids actually growing up seemed impossible when they were so young, but now with a second kid on the brink of teenhood, it seems a little more likely.

Keva is roaming the house right now with that flag from Fourth of July. Boy, she loves that thing -- I might have her take it on our trip to keep her busy and happy. The rest of the kids are on their bikes, free to be outside at last after a wet morning. Our poor lawn needed that rain! Keith held off on watering yesterday in hopes that it would come down. Now, I'm hoping that children will not return as Mud Monsters from the Deep. They've been eating up their holiday candy these last few days. Konner very proudly showed me his stash and announced that he was going to eat only a few a day and make them last a long, long time. I nearly fell over in a faint at the thought that my baby son was seeking long-term gratification! No way!

I'm happy to report that the laundry still remains under control. I'm still in maintenance mode -- and it's the weirdest thing to think that I'm actually not behind in this household chore. For anyone who has spent any time with me at all, you'll know that laundry is a HUGE issue, especially with seven kids. The big test will be when Keri Lynn and Kristofer come home. Two big kids make a big difference with the laundry, but if I stay on top of it, we should be okay. Once I'm on top of it for a sensible amount of time, I'll go into PHASE II of The Grand Laundry Plan. PHASE II involves getting the kids more involved in the laundry work. The plan is that when they are all eventually happily married, they'll also all be able to participate in the laundry process!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Patriotic Fun

Fourth of July is amazing in the South.

First of all, the Sunday service was incredible. Instead of a sermon, we enjoyed a musical program with choir, orchestra, video, and slides of veterans and those actively serving. My favorite part was when the choir sang the theme song to each of the branches of the military. While they sang, those who had served in that branch stood up and the rest of us clapped for them. My other favorite part was when four of our veterans presented the colors. They were in their various uniforms and marched to the front of the church in dignified ceremony. I was an emotional wreck by the end of the service -- an emotional wreck in a good way!

For Independence Day, we went to the parade in downtown Newnan. Mac wanted to come, and later before the fireworks show, Christiana (another neighbor kid) joined us. So we had seven kids with us after all. (We miss Keri Lynn and Kristofer, though! Happy Fourth, babies!)

The parade was absolute small town charm. It was just plain fun. Various veterans groups walked by before the parade began passing out flags. Keva especially hung on to hers the whole night and waved away! Then, the parade started with the American flag front and center. Keith reminded the kids to stand up in honor of the flag and none of us sat down again! Seven soldiers that served in Afghanistan and Iraq served as Grand marshals. Then came the parents of a son killed in Iraq. They marched, each holding a picture of their son. I had to look down and steady my camera for a bit to get myself together. There were also many of the older vets. One very stately gentleman in his dress uniform sat at the back of a truck wearing countless honors on his chest -- he had served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Following him were several classic cars, a half dozen tractors, a marching band, horses, various clubs and organizations, churches, and campaign groups. Everyone was passing out candy and little toys for the kids, pens and fliers for adults. The kids all got servings of Coldstones icecream! They brought home enough candy to hype them up for the rest of the week!

My feet became lunch for a bunch of ants while the parade made its way passed us and over to Drake Stadium at Newnan High School a few miles down the road. It was hot and humid, probably about 95-97 degrees, but not uncomfortable. (Or maybe I'm getting used to the weather!) We had parked at the church parking lot, only a block away, so getting back to the van wasn't' bad at all.

Then we went to stake a claim at the fireworks show over at Newnan High School. We got a great parking spot, but just as we were getting out of the van, the clouds started gathering and the wind was picking up speed. Two lightening strikes decided it for us. We'd make our spot in the grass next to the car where we found a nice family who informed us that they'd enjoyed the fireworks from that very spot last year. As it turns out, this family was also new to Newnan. He's a pilot for a Delta subsidiary and she's pregnant with their third and possibly fourth little one --too early to know but ultrasound showed the possibility of twins. Maybe we'll see little ones next year.

The day was a lot of fun. I was worried that the logistics wouldn't work out since it was our first Fourth of July in uncharted territory. Instead, we were even able to enjoy a lovely fireworks show and even get back to our car before the majority of the crowds plugged up the exits. (This is a big plus for Keith!)

We dropped off the two kids who had come with us and when we got home essentially piled out of the van and piled into our respective beds, happy but exhausted!

Today, I went on my walk. The weather is fairly mild and it's supposed to rain by the end of the week. The kids are running around the neighborhood. They must be snacking wherever they go, because it's nearly 4:30 and I haven't given them any lunch yet. I made a whole loaf of bologna sandwiches for when they do come through, but now I'm wondering if they've just eaten some neighbors out of house and home! Sorry neighbors!