Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Adventures at the dentist

As I wrote in my last post, I took Konner to a dentist appointment. This is actually the first dentist we've seen since the last round of visits we made in California about two years ago. I have been dreading The Return to the Dentist.

Guess what! Konner has no cavities. It's rather unbelievable. He got his picture taken and put on the Board of Champions! He's very proud. He also brushed his teeth as soon as he got home from school today. So for another two days at least he should remain cavity free.

While we were at the dentist, I spotted a group of pictures in the examination room (or whatever you call that room with The Chair). In one of the pictures, I recognized the boy from yesterday's substitute teaching adventures that had gone against the crowd and told me about the correct assignment, the one who said that he had to do it because Someone was watching him.

So, I asked the hygienist who was working with Konner, "Who is the boy in that picture."

"Why, that's Max, my son."

"Well, let me tell you about your son!"

"Are you the substitute teacher he had in class yesterday? He told me about you. He said that you really liked him. Tell me what happened!"

She was thrilled to find out how he had conducted himself. She said she got goosebumps. Then I asked her if she and her family were Christians. She said that she was born and raised Catholic but that they rarely went to church. However, just lately they'd been going more, started attending a big Baptist church in the area. As it so happens, around Easter time, her son told her about how he had accepted Christ into his heart and how he had felt tingly all over when he'd done it. Again, she felt those goosebumps and I felt them right along with her. She's got three sons and a husband who does not care for spiritual things, but here her son was making a commitment to God. Obviously it was making an impact because there he was standing for what was right even when going against the grain.

I was so pleased to hear the follow up to Max and I hope to be able to continue hearing more about him. Please pray for this young man as he grows in his faith.

Riddle me this #6 (Dedicated to Kirby)

What is the next line?


Ding - dong, the witch is dead!

All I can say this morning is that at least I didn't start off my day like Kristofer did yesterday. He woke up, took a shower, got dressed, took the dog out, attempted to wake up Konner to get him going to get ready to school, when he finally stopped and looked at his watch. It was 3:00 am. Yep. So he decided that he'd go back to bed!

The high schoolers are in the midst of End of Course tests. All this week, students take tests in their core classes. The ECTs count as 15% of their grade in that class, and if they don't pass they don't pass the class. No pressure! So in the midst of long senior play hours, Keri Lynn is taking her ECTs. Kristofer, too, but at least he's getting enough sleep each night.

I took Kathleen, Kylie, Kade and Konner to the play last night. It was the final performance. Yippee! Everyone did such a great job, but I'm SO GLAD IT'S OVER! REALLY GLAD!

I'm not working today so that I can take Konner to a dental appointment so that he doesn't end up being kicked out of school. I'm pretty sure most of my kids' teeth are ready to fall out of their mouths. It's time to get them back into some good dental care. I really miss our California dentist/orthodontist. That group was the best. We paid practically nothing for the work that they did. Even Keri Lynn's braces were really reasonable. We continued going to them even after we moved to Georgia while we were visiting friends and family! But now I need to get a little piece of paper signed saying that Konner has been to see a dentist here in Georgia in order for him to continue his education. Pesky school system. I need to get a dentist's okay for the rest of the kids, too, but the system hasn't caught up with them yet! It took two years for the system to figure out that Keva was going to a school out of her school district, so I'm not in a big rush other than wanting to make sure the kids don't lose all of their teeth.

Yesterday, I subbed at Kathleen's middle school. Language Arts. Gifted.

One class tried to snow me. The assignment was to read 10 pages out of the literature book and answer eight questions on page 223. They said, "Mrs. Johnson, there are no questions on page 223 or anywhere near page 223. Look! We can't do it. The teacher must have made a mistake!"

"Okay," I replied, "Go ahead and just read the pages. There's nothing that can be done about it, but at least you can read the information."

Finally, one of the boys got up and went over to the bookcase where there were a whole different series of literature books, "This is what we're supposed to be doing. Look, here's the story we've been reading, and here are the questions on page 223. I don't want to have to read all of those other pages. Besides, Someone's watching me. I can't say who in public school, but He's still watching me."

The other kids were so mad at him. One girl said, "Let's not talk to him today or tomorrow. No one say anything to him. Now we have to do all this work."

I spoke directly to him, "I am so impressed with your character. Even with the tide going against you, you still decided to do the right thing. It may be hard now. They may make fun of you and give you a hard time, but in the long run you're going to come out ahead because you've got integrity."

Then, I turned to the rest of the class, about 10 other kids, "Maybe you think that lying to a substitute is no big thing, but it is." I spoke a little bit more on standing up for what is right and then let them get back to the work at hand.

They spent the next 20 minutes in utter silence while they worked on their assignment.

I thought a lot about the incident Keri Lynn had experienced last semester when the whole class tried to cheat on an algebra quiz and how she refused to be a part of that. It's those who stand for what is right in the midst of what is wrong that can make serious change in this dark world.

When I got home, I told Kathleen about the incident. I asked her, "Would you be able to stand up for what is right in that situation."

She thought carefully and answered truthfully, "I don't know!"

This gave me an opportunity to prepare her a little bit more for the eventual opportunity to "walk the narrow road."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Making a prediction

I've been saying for several weeks now that I think David Cook is going to win American Idol . . . We're down to the last five!

Riddle me this #5

A doctor and a bus driver are both in love with the same woman, an attractive girl named Sarah. The bus driver had to go on a long bus trip that would last a week. Before he left, he gave Sarah seven apples. Why?

Special Ed

I worked in a special ed class today. I've been in this class before, so I know the kids' names and their basic dispositions by now. Such sweet kids, all of them. I'm particularly taken with a boy in a wheelchair, blind, cerebral palsy. He says a few words, but mostly he communicates with an open-mouthed smile for "yes" and a pouty lower lip for "no." He especially loves to read a series of Froggy books. He also makes his own froggy sounds. So as I've fed him, I've talked about how he has to eat for the froggies, too. He gets a big kick out of my jokes. Anyone willing to laugh at my weird sense of humor is all right with me!

I continue to seriously consider getting into special education. If there is an opening, there might be a chance that the school district would hire me as a special ed teacher in the fall AND pay for to get my Master's degree. That would be TOO COOL for words. It would be a lot of work for a few years, but I think it would be worth it. I couldn't work with severe/profound kids -- that's just too physical -- but other levels I'd consider. I also think that it's closely associated with my psychology degree with all of the behavioral and family issues involved. My heart is in counseling, but at this season of my life, I'd rather be more available for my kids, to be off when they're off.

Keri Lynn is up to her neck in play rehearsal. All this week, she's been at the high school from 5:00 to 10:00 pm, practicing for the senior play Wizard of Oz. I think she'll look back at it and be glad she put in the effort, but right now she's just tired! I can't blame her! I can't wait to see the play, though. It opens for four nights, starting Saturday. I've got to finagle a few free tickets so that the whole family can go see it, and I'm going to try to see it at least two or three times. The high school has a ton of really talented kids in drama. Keri Lynn is part of the ensemble. She goes on stage with her group four different times. The senior play is a big deal, so much so that the drama kids are considered pretty cool on campus rather than just the usual drama geeks.

Keva has learned how to turn door nobs. This was kind of a pain when she learned how to escape from her room, but now she knows how to also get out of the house entirely. We have to be careful to lock front and garage doors. Usually we're warned if she's going out because before she makes her escape, she enjoys opening the door and slamming it shut several times in a row. This is such fun . . . for her. Lately, she's been spending a lot more time in her room than not while we try to figure out the next best course of action.

When we had Kathleen's birthday party, Kathleen and her friend, and Kylie and I all worked on two three-layer cakes. We baked the cakes and frosted them carefully and then placed them carefully away out of reach, one in the microwave and one in the cabinet above the microwave, before we all went off on the scavenger hunt. Keri Lynn came home while we were on the scavenger hunt and took the cake that was in the microwave out so that she could actually cook something in the microwave for a snack.

I got a call on my cell phone while I was out with my team on the scavenger hunt.

"Mom, Keva got into the cake! I'm so sorry. I took it out of the microwave and forgot to put it back in!"

I could tell that Keri Lynn was close to tears.

"Don't worry! Fix it as best as you can. We have a second cake!"

It's a good thing we had a back-up because that first cake did not exactly look appetizing. Kathleen was a tad upset at first but eventually got over it and we all enjoyed that second cake for her party as well as the less aesthetically appealing cake for our own family for several days after that.

Can you believe that I'm STILL not caught up with laundry. This is very upsetting to me because I think when all was said and done that I did about 24 loads of laundry in a three day period. Now that we're all getting used to school schedules and my work schedule, I've been getting them to do more of their chores again. I started getting them to make their beds again and each morning, they scour the house for dirty clothes to bring down to the laundry room. I think there ought to be a law that once a body has done 1.2 million loads of laundry (which I'm SURE I've accomplished) that he/she should no longer have to do any more laundry after that. In fact, after the 1.2 million loads of laundry mark, I think the government should provide a free laundry service. Yep, I do. I think I'll contact my local representative (D).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get on the laundry train

I have not been in the writing mood lately, but yet life keeps tramping through with no signs of slowing even a little bit.

Saturday, we had Kathleen's birthday party. She's usually on top of it for MONTHS before the event, but with a new school life thrown into the mix, she's been preoccupied. So, we kind of threw it together, like I'm known to do anyway, passed out a bunch of fliers to friends at school and church and the neighborhood, and hoped for the best. She had six friends show up, enough to have two teams of kids for an awesome scavenger hunt. We couldn't find a second driver, so I drove the van with one team, and Keith drove the truck with another. Kathleen even let Kade and Konner join in -- with a little arm twisting, that is. We drove all around Newnan taking wacky pictures. It was too fun.

While we were traipsing around Newnan, Keri Lynn was off at a French Competition with several of her fellow French students, representing her high school. She won a blue ribbon, half surprising herself in the process. I get such a big kick out of my kid speaking French. Everyone else in our family has taken Spanish, so I can help as needed, but Keri Lynn is on her own with French. Obviously she's doing well enough. She's definitely found her pace in school. She works really hard and would really rather go back to homeschool, but in the meantime she keeps racking up A's. She was in class one day and went up to the board to answer a question, along with two other really smart kids in class. Someone called out, "Great, all the brainiacs are at the board." It surprised her to be described that way, but I think she's starting to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Next month, she and her family are invited to Honors Night at her high school, since she's in the top five percent of her class. Keith and I are deciding whether we'll bring the whole clan or not.

The little kids and Kathleen are in the midst of the dreaded CRCTs. That's Georgia's standardized testing that apparently determines if students are going to continue on to the next grade, or at least that's what the teachers are telling the students. My theory is that it's really a way to scare the kids into doing their best on the test so that the county can look really good and get more money. Good test scores mean good schools. Good schools bring in better teachers. Better teachers mean better students. Good students mean good money. It seems like the whole year has been pointing to this very week. There are a myriad of activities surrounding the testing and the CRCTs even has it's own cheer. Good grief!

Meanwhile, I think there's something wrong with my phone because I haven't been getting calls to substitute this whole week. I'll go back to work tomorrow and Friday, but that's only because I'm working for a TA that arranged for me to work for her. Have I called the sub procurement office to find out if I have any problems? No. Have I done laundry instead? Yes. Have I been doing laundry non-stop from about 8:00 am to dinner time for two days straight? Yes. I figure that's about 20 loads since Monday morning. That's right. Twenty. Two - zero. I'm still not done. Have I gotten behind with laundry? Yes. If I complain to my husband about it, will he remind me that I'm not the only one who should be doing laundry? You better believe it! I've been enjoying it, though. Really. I've read two books. The TV has been off. The house has been so quiet. Kody just sits on the couch in a curled up ball waiting for his day to start at 3:00 pm when the first round of kids comes home. I figure if I keep going with the laundry, I'll actually be caught up by tonight!

Off to change another load . . .

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kathleen turns 12

For most of us, it's the Monday after spring break. It was HARD to get up this morning. Keith, however, has the week off for vacation, so he was still sleeping when I left for my substitute job.

This time I subbed for a teacher who went to go help his daughter after she was in a car wreck. She's fine, but evidently she's done this before because one of the students thought that maybe she should get her car taken away from her! A student teacher was in charge of the class, a 25-year-old guy, and I basically took attendance and observed. It got me to thinking that sometimes, maybe even a lot of times, experience as a mother and homeschool teacher, is valuable in the classroom setting. And I was reminded once again how closely related parenting and teaching are. For instance, if you threaten a consequence to an action, you carry it out . . . Just sayin'.

I've been forever telling myself that I need to have people over for dinner, maybe even once a week. We're a social bunch, but we let the week's activities, exhaustion and general laziness get the better of us. So yesterday, I bit the bullet and invited a neighbor family over for dinner. I cooked Ginny's Chicken Parmesan, that I enjoyed so much while the Kings were here. We ate and talked. The kids played together. It was nice to get that adult interaction.

Now I'm thinking, what we need is a game night or maybe a game afternoon. We invite whoever wants to come. Our house is set up for a lot of kid movement. Not a lot of breakables. Nothing that hasn't been chewed on or kicked "by accident". We could order pizza for whoever is there. People can bring snacks if they want. It just sounds like a lot of fun. And it sounds casual. I'm all about casual. Martha Stewart I am not.

We may or may not do the game night this Saturday. In the afternoon, we'll be having a digital picture scavenger hunt/birthday party for a certain member of the family.

I mention this last thing because I'm in denial. Kathleen has turned 12. That much closer to being our fourth teenager. I'm not happy about this at all. I'd just as soon wish that she, and the rest of the kids, would stop growing, but they don't listen. Instead, she turns 12, right on schedule. She continues to blossom into a beautiful young woman. She loves to work on masterpieces in the kitchen. She loves the dog and considers him mostly hers. She's got a lyrical heart spending a great deal of time writing poems and songs. She's graceful and lithe. She's always dancing and singing in the bathroom and often records these sessions using the video feature of our digital camera. She's getting "just a tad" boy crazy. She's a good student. Most importantly, she loves the Lord. I love to hear her sing to Him.

Happy birthday, Kathleen! Daddy and I are so proud of you and we love you very much!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

I've been tagged

Jennifer over at Pen of Jen tagged me for this little meme.

The Rules:
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

Here is Jennifer's Memoir, and you'll understand why she's such a great bloggy buddy:

Just a sinner saved by Blood

And here's mine:

She who fears the Lord

I'm tagging the following:

Holly at Beautiful Ancient Words
Kent at Bits of Oz
Julia at Julia's Inner Monologue
Mary at Mary Blaustone
Keri Lynn at Twilight Sky
Lisa at Our Seven Qtpies

You all see if you can come up with just a six word memoir. I dare you!

American Idol

I am an American Idol fan. It is my guilty pleasure. I even sat through the whole "We are the World" Idol Gives Back extravaganza. I sighed and squirmed through 2 1/2 hours of listening to how we all need to give, even just a little bit, to make a difference in the world. I was starting to get more and more aggravated as the show continued.

Have you thought about it? Do you see it? Here are all these famous actors, singers, comedians, politicians, sports legends, etc. urging us to give, to make a difference. We determine our destiny. We are each the captain of our own ship. Look how wonderful we are. We help orphan children with AIDS, we provide mosquito nets to protect the destitute from malaria, we provide childcare for the people of New Orleans. It is within our power, wonderful television audience, to save the world!

I was struck by the void. Did you feel it? God was not there. He had nothing to do with anything. It is humanity that must save itself. It is the way that the world thinks in this awful postmodern age.

So, when the Idol contestants started singing "Shout to the Lord" to close out the show, I perked up. I looked over at Kathleen, the only one remaining to watch with me after 2 1/2 hours of raising money, and we both couldn't believe that they were singing that song!

But something didn't sound quite right.

"They changed the words! I can't believe they changed the words!" I cried.

The first stanza is:

My Jesus, My Savior
Lord, there is none like You.
All of my days
I want to praise
The wonder of Your mighty love . . .

But they changed the "Jesus" to "Shepherd". Just like that, they managed to make the song politically correct, because now you could sing it and apply it to any god you wanted. Everyone would be happy. No would would be judging. No one would be intolerant. We'd all go to our beds that night happy that we'd just raised millions of dollars for charity.

I was fuming. I fussed. I squirmed. I threatened to boycott the show.

Tonight, to my surprise, in the American Idol results show, the contestants opened up the program with the same song! Only this time, the words were changed back to "My Jesus"! I couldn't believe my ears. I wondered who had stepped in and how much they had had to change of their original programming for the night to make that work.

Some day, the name of Jesus will get a lot more respect. Let us never forget who He is and what we are to Him. Without Him we are nothing . . .

Philippians 2:9-11

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another new blog

So I go away for the whole afternoon. I take Kristofer to a lady's house to do some yard work to earn money for this summer's choir tour. I run errands, get my hair trimmed, pick up a prescription, and stuff like that. I come home, and the husband has started his own blog.


You can find him here at familyhaze. I'm still thinking about whether or not I'm going to add him to my blog roll. : )

Riddle me this #4

What's 100 feet in the air when its on its back?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Movies galore

I've been in recuperation for the last few days, having said good-bye to the Kings. Since we have spring break, we've been sleeping in and taking it easy. I have a few projects in mind, but can't quite seem to get the gumption to actually start them. Keith is working this week, poor slave boy, so at least someone in the family is doing something.

We've also had a nice round of Netflix movies. We got two DVDs of Christy, the miniseries that was on PAX (Remember Pax?) Those have been fun to watch, except that the writers took way too many liberties with the story line. It would have been such a better venture if they'd just stuck with the story. We also got Enchanted and LOVED it. Funny, funny, funny -- particularly if you've seen a lot of Disney movies, which we have. Highly recommended from this neck of the woods. Then, last night, because we're such Jane Austin fanatics, Keri Lynn, Kathleen and I watched the newest remake of Sense and Sensibility on Masterpiece Theater. (I always feel a little pretentious when I say I've watched Masterpiece Theater.) Anyway, I had to have the remote handy to change channels at a few unnecessarily steamy scenes, but over all it was a nice version of the story.

Anybody have any recommendations for favorite movies? We can get at least one more round of Netflix before the week is out.

Monday, April 07, 2008

To keep

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... While we have it... it's best we love it... And care for it.... And fix it when it's broken..... And heal it when it's sick.

This is true.... For marriage.... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards...... Dogs and cats with bad hips.... And aging parents.... And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with..

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special.... And so, we keep them close!

This was sent to me by email. No author given. I wish I had written it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Riddle me this #3

What is more powerful than God? More evil than the devil? Poor people have it. Rich people don't need it. And if you eat it, you'll die.

Click "comment" at the bottom of the post for the answer.

Wisteria Lane

I learned about Wisteria yesterday. The flower is a beautiful purple bloom, a vine that attaches to all kinds of things. At springtime, it's not only gorgeous, but it smells divine. Here in Atlanta, spring has finally arrived, with the pollen settling over everything in a big yellow layer, but the weather has been cold and dry and then hot and muggy. Today we had drizzle and now it's back to cold again. Last night, we had the air conditioner on upstairs. I took a jacket to work today while I subbed at the high school. In between classes, I was carrying it because it was too hot, and then, on the way to the parking lot to go home, I was bundling up in it. Weird. This is not California where the weather man just has a glory job.

I spent the beginning of the week cleaning for company. The Kings were expected late afternoon yesterday. The last big job I did was to mop like a mad woman, as if I'd never mopped before . . . Wait a minute, I hadn't mopped before! At least not with a regular mop, just a Swiffer, but sometimes a regular mop is just the ticket . . . Anyway, I mopped and mopped until toward the end all I had were Kody hairs that I simply could not get off of the mop. So the last half hour of mopping, all I did was spread Kody hairs around the floor.

Some days that dog is not on my good list.

The Kings came right after I had mopping and taken a much needed shower. You know it's bad when your seven-year-old boy sees you mopping and comments about how badly you're sweating. Seven-year-olds are usually oblivious to the way mommies look, particularly when mommies are doing housework.

So, of course, I got to bed too late last night, and today our family was at school or work and the King family went off to visit relatives about an hour away. Ginny cooked a crock pot meal that is happily simmering on the counter in, not one, but two crock pots. There's nothing quite as enjoyable as a dinner cooked by someone else! They'll be here through Sunday morning, so I'm cooking the next few meals. We'll have our famous Make Your Own Tacos, which is always a company hit, and then spaghetti, the meal that feeds the masses, considering we are a group of four adults and 11 children!

A few hours later . . . .

My tummy is happily digesting. Ginny made a Chicken Parmesan soupy-cheesy thing. It was very good. We had leftovers, so Ginny so sweetly suggested that maybe some neighbors would like some. I said, "NO! This is OUR food. We are not sharing!" That's how good it was. I'll post the recipe sometime soon.

We have one more day of school and then we'll have spring break. Yippee! Keith will be at work, unfortunately, but the rest of us will be soaking in some free air.