Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dogs and Armies

Okay, I've got 23 minutes left on my computer time here at the library before the computers close down and the library lights go off. I really miss my computer at home!

We're doing okay. This week was hard for us, though, on the homeschooling front. We were all just kind of tired all week long. I'm going to have to get the kids to bed earlier and, therefore, me to bed earlier. I find myself staying up later than I would normally just because I'm waiting for Keith to get home. Even getting to bed by 11:00, I'm sound asleep for a couple of hours, by the time he's home.

Keith is looking really good, though, these days. I haven't heard him hit the scale lately, but I bet he's lost about 30 pounds and is feeling good. He gets pretty tired by the time Wednesday and Thursday comes around, though. He tries to take some time off from his Delta job on Friday so that he can rest up for the last stint at AAA Cooper.

The thing that has been the most difficult is not having him to talk to in the evening. We manage a little bit of catch up in the middle of the night, but it's very fleeting. I can call him during the day on his cell phone at Delta, but I usually need to wait for him to take a break before he can call me back. I don't like to interrupt his work time, so I have never called him much at work anyway. To give you an example of how conversations with us go during the week:

Wednesday night, Keith comes in at 1:00 AM and gives me a kiss. I wake up (probably with a snort).

Keith: I think we might be getting a dog.

Jackie: Oh, that's nice . . . A dog? What kind of dog?

Keith: A Labrador. Black. About six months old. A lady at work is moving and needs to get rid of it.

Jackie: Hmm. A dog. Male? Female?

Keith: Don't know . . . (stumbles off to take a much needed shower.)

Jackie ends up not getting back to sleep for another full hour while she imagines the joys of owning a Labrador Retriever at last!

Next morning, I holed up in my room to called Keith on his cell phone as he drove to work so that I could get more of the specifics. (We don't want the kids knowing about the possibility of a dog until it's a done deal.) He told me that we'd get the dog house, leash, dog dish, etc. along with the dog, but that the dog still needed to be neutered and wormed. We were both a little giddy at the thought of having a dog because we've wanted one for a long time and now here was this opportunity put right in our lap. We wanted a Lab, we didn't want to bother training a puppy, and we wanted it to be an outside dog -- This dog is all three! How about that! And free.

So last night, Keith comes in to give me a good-night kiss:

Keith: Looks like we're getting a dog!

Jackie: Really! (waking up pretty fast.)

(Jackie pushes for a cat, too -- No go. Keith's feelings about cats: The best cat is a dead cat.)

I took the kids to the library earlier today, and I unwisely let Kristofer check out a joke book.

He asked me, while driving home from the library," Mom, where do kings keep their armies?"

"Where," I asked wearily.

"Up their sleevies."

I know, I know.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Woyal Ambassador

It has been a real kick to begin the school year teaching Kade and Konner. The older kids do their work almost entirely independently, so I can concentrate on Kade and Konner. Since they're so close in age, I can pit them against each other competitively as they learn sounds, blends, counting, etc. Konner is a smart little cookie but Kade is a hard worker, so they are pretty much on par.

This morning, I was working with Kade to help him memorize the Royal Ambassador Pledge for his missions group on Wednesday night. It goes like this:

As a Royal Ambassador, I will do my best:

To become a well-informed, responsible follower of Christ;

To have a Christlike concern for all people;

To learn how to carry the message of Christ around the world;

To work with others in sharing Christ;

And to keep myself clean and healthy in mind and body.

Kade is a male version of Kathleen -- both are really into drama. When they tell a story, they are fully engaged in making sure that the listener is getting every juicy detail. So in the car on Wednesday night after choir/missions, Kade told me that he really needed to learn his pledge for RAs (Royal Ambassadors -- the boys' group from first to fifth grade -- and when he learned his pledge AND attended three times, he'd get his vest. So, at his prompting, we went to work on this worthy pledge. But he has a little bit of a speech impediment, because he's not a Royal Ambassador, but a Woyal Ambassador. It was really heard for me to help him through just the first line without laughing outright, and I wanted to work on just the first few lines today. He insisted that we do the whole thing, but I convinced him that a little at a time was much better!

I ended up not getting my Upper GI test today because I got a call yesterday informing me that it we still needed to meet the total family deductible before getting the test done. This has been a bit challenging money-wise for all the medical stuff we've been getting taken care of lately, so I'll wait a bit longer for this test. I'm so sad. Really.

Anyway, I've been feeling hugely convicted about how much time I must have been giving the computer lately because since it's crashed, it seems like I have A LOT of extra time on my hand. Add to this that Keith is not home on weeknights because he's at his other job, and suddenly I also have full control of the remote! Which means I can also turn the TV off, if I so choose. I've been seriously enjoying the quiet of the evening when all of the kids are down.

Since Kathleen has taken off reading, she's been more than happy to go to bed to read her latest American Girl Book. And now Kylie, even though she's not as good of a reader, has decided that she likes American Girls, too. I would like to extend big thank you's to the Nesbitts. Cheryl, when you talked about how much Anastasia loved those Addy books, my girls were listening in! Kylie was curled up on the couch earlier today reading her book and it was a very sweet sight.

I'm going to have to dig up my reading list somewhere in my boxes, because it's getting harder and harder to find appropriate books for the kids. I always leave the library with TONS of books. They like me there, for the most part, and the librarians are mostly pretty nice. A good ratio of nice vs. mean. : )

I'll feel a little more of a crunch in my time when Women's Bible Study starts up again in September. I'm going to start going to the Wednesday morning study on Revelation. It should be interesting as it's been a few years since I've done a study on one of my favorite books. It will be good, though, to get into a more formal study of God's Word.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Medical Mania

Back at the library typing this -- Snitching a little school time away.

This week has been catch up on medical stuff week.

Friday -- I found a good doctor right here in Newnan that seems to be interested in my medical needs!

Monday -- Took Keva, Kade and Konner in for overdue well checks. From that visit, got appointments set up for audiology for Keva and Konner, cardiology check-up for Keva, and opthmology check-up for Keva. (Sometimes I think I should have gone into medical school.)

Tuesday -- Blood work for me to check on low potassium level. Wouldn't you know it, but I also had just started suffering from a UTI, so I got to go in to the lab again! So fun!

Wednesday -- (That's this morning) Just took Keri Lynn, Kristofer, Kathleen and Kylie for their well-checks. All is well. Doctor's pronouncement: Everyone is growing well. Kids are all tall and skinny, except for Kylie who is at 10% for both heighth and weight, and that was within normal limits. She's always been the runt of the family -- but a cute one, mind you!

Thursday -- I'm going in for a upper GI to check for a problem I've been having with swallowing food. I suspect it's a hiatal hernia. Thank goodness I don't have to do what my Dad had to do with his hiatal hernia -- huge incision across his stomach. These days, these type of hernias are just left alone.

Friday -- I think happens to be a non-medical day! Whew!

Keith is doing well with his job. He's looking more and more fit every day. It's hard come about mid week when sleep deprivation becomes and issue, but he's gradually getting used to it. The extra income is coming at a really good time with all the medical fun we've been having as well as the usual beginning of school expenses.

All of the kids are doing really well with school. Keri Lynn and I came up with a system for getting the DVD school work done efficiently. She has been doing five to seven lessons of math every day as well as a lesson of Spanish. Kristofer is finishing up his history (which he adores) and working on his math as well. At the beginning of the day, we all have Bible time, and then have a general history lesson and then flashcards for math, geography, or whatever needs to be worked on. I take this time to go over spelling, too.

To feel this good about school in our third week is a big accomplishment for us (or rather for ME!) Typically, I get very excited about school BEFORE we actually are IN school. Then, when we actually get started, I tend to get depressed that we're not meeting my expectations. There's a different tone this year, especially I think because we've found a curriculum that works for us and we're learning how to use it to the best advantage.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Keri Lynn decorated this delicious three-layer cake. Note that we had to keep it in the microwave to keep it safe from Keva. New on my wish list: Cake holder.
The boys were at a loss as to what to do when the girls infiltrated our house. Konner, as you tell from this picture, has had lots of practice looking pathetic. That's Mac behind Konner. Mac is an honorary Johnson sibling.
Kylie admitted to me that her favorite part of the party was Present Time!
Kylie daintily blew out her candles because she didn't want her Polly Pocket doll's hair to catch on fire.
Here are the girls the morning of the slumber party creating various works of art at the breakfast table. The little boys joined them, but they wanted to eat breakfast first!
Kade is displaying a part of a jaw bone that he and his friend Jack found by the creek. It still has the teeth in it.

Princess Kylie and her royal court
Kylie dances a jig with Keva
Kylie and Hannah in the dining room. We've only used this room once before for our first Thanksgiving. Now we've used it to lay out craft projects and organize goody bags. And now there is a pink stain in the middle of the tablecloth!

We did it. We surprised Kylie by giving her a surprise slumber party. Four of her friends came, so with Kathleen, six very active girls helped celebrate Kylie's eighth birthday. It wasn't easy, and I can't say that Kylie was completely surprised . . .

I went shopping with Keri Lynn and Kathleen and Sunday, and we managed to smuggle party supplies and presents into the house without anyone being the wiser . . . sort of. Actually, Kylie caught on right away that something was up. After all, why would Kathleen have them stay upstairs and play a game for all that time right after we'd just gotten home from Wal-Mart?

And then there was Konner asking Kylie when her party was supposed to be. That didn't help.

Kathleen, trying to be helpful, kept asking leading questions about what Kylie would like for a present and Keri Lynn made a fake list of things with Kylie that she would like to have for her party -- stuff that we had already purchased the day before. The story was that I just wasn't feeling real well and maybe we'd have her party on Friday, so we might as well start planning.

Then, there was the fiasco of trying to cool the cake without it being visible. I had two pans in the microwave and another one in a cabinet, when I decided that I could take the two out to microwave something real quick. After all, what were the chances of Kylie coming in for 1:15 minutes?

So I turn on the microwave and Kathleen pops her head in from the garage. "Kylie's coming! Hide the cake!"

I grabbed one cake pan and Keri Lynn grabbed the other and we ran around to the living room, but Kathleen popped her head in at the front door, "She's coming this way!"

"Ack!" Keri Lynn and I swung back around to the kitchen and stuffed the pans in some lower cabinets just before Kylie came scampering in.

I tried to cover up any suspicion by lecturing Kathleen on not letting Kylie come in through the garage, to which Kathleen balefully (acting) said, "That's why I brought her in through the front door, Mom!" At this point, I just couldn't keep it in anymore and started laughing hysterically. I just knew that I was a really rotten liar, and if Kylie hadn't figured out by now that she was having a "surprise" party tonight, then perhaps I'd better have her take an IQ test.

The plan was for me to take Kylie to Michaels to get craft supplies for her party supposedly scheduled for "maybe" Friday while Keri Lynn and Kathleen decorated, frosted the cake and wrapped the presents and received the guests. While we were at Michael's, Kylie asked me, "Mom, are you tricking me? Are you trying to have a surprise party for me tonight?"

And then, in an effort to build continued trust in my child, I said, "Well, sweetie, you know I haven't been feeling well these last few days. (Which is completely true -- Keith and I both have been nursing colds.) I just don't feel up to it. We need to get so much more for the party, and we still need to invite everyone . . . "

That seemed to satisfy her for the time being.

Then, as we approached home, I called Keri Lynn on the cell phone, "Everything ready, Keri Lynn?" Keri Lynn answered that it was. When I finished the call, I waited.

Sure enough, from the back of the van, "What is Keri Lynn getting ready?"

"Uh, dinner."


So when we got in the house, and everyone yelled surprised, we all wanted to know, "Were you surprised, Kylie?"

She claimed that she was. Yep, right. Oh well. We did try VERY hard!

Kylie did have a great time, though. All of her friends were very sweet and well behaved. They were very busy party kids. They danced and sang in the living room with fun music from the keyboard. They did all kinds of craft projects. They ate corn dogs for dinner (Kylie's favorite) and consumed lots of ice cream and a little cake. They watched Chicken Little all cuddled up on the floor in the family room. Hannah, Kylie's newest friend, recently moved into our development and was Kylie's bunk-mate at Camp Sonshine. The pair of them giggled well into the night.

I joked with the girls that I was going to set my alarm for 6:00 AM the next morning so that we'd all have practice getting up early for school. They really weren't interested in doing that, but they did manage to get up by 7:00ish. (This is definitely not Keri Lynn's slumber party crowd!) They were up and snacking on light breakfast food and then working on more crafts, chasing each other around a little and playing with Kylie's presents, all before I had finished making pancakes and sausage.

Kristofer said to me, "Mom, you're a girl. Maybe you can explain to me why girls scream so much!"

Hmmm. I'll have to get back to him on that one.

So with the last guest gone late this morning, we more or less have spent the rest of the day recuperating. We'll need the rest, because tomorrow Keith has the whole day off and we're going river tubing. There's a place about two and a half hours north of us where we can get on tubes for $3 per person and ride down a river for two hours! Given how much Keva loved the Lazy River at the water park last month, I think she's going to really love this, too! There are life jackets provided and I think we may be able to attach most of our tubes together -- at least I hope we can! At any rate, it will be a lot of fun, I think, and a nice break for us all.

I'm going to Wal-Mart tonight to see if there are water shoes on sale -- we'll need them for our outing. And this time, I'm going to lather on the sunscreen!