Saturday, November 28, 2009

Zen Gorilla

Sometimes Ben and I think that our kids go to the zoo just to get on the statues and get their pictures taken. Every time we see the obligatory zoo statue of an animal - big or small - the girls run up to it and fight over who gets to sit on the head for the picture. Are my kids insane, or is this the normal fare?

Despite our general annoyance at this habit, we indulge them with relatively good humor. So when we went to the zoo this past Friday after Thanksgiving, we were able to derive great enjoyment from Olivia's gorilla statue escapade.

Since there are two gorilla statues side by side, Kelsey climbed on the smaller one and Olivia was bound and determined to sit on the big one.
Despite the fact that actually getting on the statue proved rather difficult, she perservered.
She was able to get this far on her own, then finally asked for help the rest of the way. And if you look carefully at the right-hand side of the picture you can see the temper-tantrum that Kelsey is throwing because we won't let her climb on the big one, too.
And here it is zoomed in. Are we five or two?
But getting back to Olivia. She finally (with mom's help) got onto the giant gorilla's back.
In the meantime, Ben got Kelsey happily situated on the smaller gorilla.
And what was Olivia doing while we were taking Kelsey's photo? Meditating, apparently.

And just to give you an idea of just how many of these pictures Ben and I have to sit through in a single trip, here's all the other statues they got their pictures taken on:

Rabbit (in the bright sun)
Connor's first: the Tiger
Tiger again (with his sisters, though something other than the camera caught Kelsey's eye...)
Lion family
Rhino (why it's the smallest one there is beyond me!)

And last but not least, a picture to prove that Ben and I were actually there with them. What do you think, Noni? Is it time to throw this hat away, too? He insists it's finally broken in and I'm not allowed to touch it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It has finally come. The culmination of our month-long attitude of gratitude! It's been fun, folks, but I know we are ready to move on to Christmas lights and carols decorations and excitement now. But before we do, Thanksgiving isn't over yet, and we have one more post to do today!

Ben is grateful for... a good digestive system. I'm sure it will restore his body back to comfort by morning and he will no longer be so uncomfortably full. Gluttony, anyone?

Anita is grateful for... her husband and kids. As homesick as I have been this week for our family in South Carolina, I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if I was here alone. I love these guys, and feel so blessed that my life is so full!

Olivia is grateful that... Thanksgiving is finally over! (I assume this has something to do with the "moving onto Christmas" part of the season.)

Kelsey is grateful for... having friends over for Thanksgiving dinner today.

Connor is grateful for... buttons, gadgets, tools, etc. Give him a button and he will push it. Show him a moving panel and he will open it. Show him a hole and he will try to stick a screwdriver into it. Or a key, if that's all he can get his hands on. If all else fails, he will use his finger. I think this love of gadgets and tools must be hardwired into the "Y" chromosome. He'd definitely all boy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day #25

The turkey is thawing in the sink, the pumpkin pie is baked (and my house smells wonderful, by the way!), the chocolate pudding pie for the kids in the the fridge, and my sweet basil turkey rub is already made and in the fridge. I'll have a few more things to cook tomorrow, some guests are bringing other yummy foods for the Thanksgiving feast, and the house is even almost clean. I love Thanksgiving!

Ben is grateful for... a 4-day weekend.

Anita is grateful for... the wonderful imagination of her children. They were playing in the backyard for hours this afternoon, and at one point I looked out and this is what I saw:
What is it, you may ask? It's a tee-pee they made out of branches and the grill cover. They did a pretty good job, wouldn't you say? But where in the world do they get some of their ideas? I love love love their imaginations!

Olivia is grateful for... Trixie! And here's a picture of them chilling out together tonight:

is grateful for... no school today.

Connor is grateful for... music. The little man loves to dance and groove!

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa has come a little early this year at our house! He's a bit younger than I expected...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day #24

Well, we have just two more of these posts, much to the relief of my sweet and loving husband. He's trying to make it sound like he's excited to begin celebrating Christmas, but in reality he's just happy he doesn't have to think of something new to be grateful for every night. Not that he isn't a grateful, gracious sort of man. He's just... well... grateful in the nonverbal sense. But I've loved having these posts every night and I will miss them!

Ben is grateful that... it is almost Thanksgiving!

Anita is grateful that... Ben got up with Connor this morning around 2:30 and let her sleep - even though he had to get up early for work this morning and I didn't.

Olivia is grateful for... heat. When the weather turns cold and the house gets chilly, it's nice to be able to crank up the heater! Which we did when we found her in her bedroom tonight dressed like this:

Kelsey is grateful for... that she got to go to "The Islands" today at school as a reward for reading at least 8 books so far this year. She got sea shells, bananas, coconut, a tattoo and some other nifty things.

Connor is grateful for... walks. The boy loves being outside at any time - especially when we're on the move! He rides in the backpack carrier, the stroller, and sometimes even the bike trailer. It's all loads of fun for him!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few Pictures from SC

What do you think of this stair railing? Connor loved it enough to get stuck up there a few times. Yes, you read that right. He got stuck. On the first step.

And of course, we all need a good picture of baby Lucas. He really is a cute kid. And I apparently bore him to sleep - this is a good thing, really!

Connor got a hold of a screwdriver and immediately went to "his" remote (i.e. it no longer was used for anything and didn't have batteries) and tried to "unscrew" the battery compartment. Adorable.

Especially since there wasn't a screw there in the first place.

And after lunch with the Crews bunch, we needed a few self-taken pictures. As bad as they are, they will get posted for fun anyway! Here's me and Bobbi.

Me and Gwen (and no, we're not blinking - our eyes just go that way when we smile)

This one Mom took of the three "young'uns"

And then one of me and mom. This one is probably my favorite!

Day #23

There's no place like home...

As much as I loved visiting Becky and baby Lucas, it was nice to be back home again. At least, this evening it was nice to be back home again. This morning it was stressful. There was the usual Monday morning laundry, kids, and working husband of course. Added to that was a bonus kid (Asher), unpacking, a puked in car seat that needed washing, a clingy baby with a cold, a hyperactive dog, and about 5 hours of sleep on my part. Let's just say I'm not about to win any awards for my ability to cope or a sweet and tender personality this morning. But I did survive, and - more importantly - so did the kids and the dog.

Which brings us to the end of the day, and our gratitude post.

Ben is grateful for... having a good performance review at work today.

Anita is grateful for... cheese. I love, love, love cheese! Almost all types and flavors I can imagine. With the exception of Swiss. I've never been able to really like that one.

Olivia is grateful for... being home with her family.

Kelsey is grateful for... a nice trip to the dog park with Trixie today.

Connor is grateful for... his Daddy and sisters. He missed them last week!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day #22

Ben is grateful for... a nice Sunday at church. (Do you think that maybe it has something to do with not having to deal with a 17-month old???)

Anita is grateful for... a delayed flight out of Atlanta to Wichita. If it had left on time, it would have left without me! (Not my fault, of course... the flight from Charleston left late!)

Olivia is grateful that... books were invented. She's a huge, HUGE bookworm. What can I say? The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, and she has it from both parents!

Kelsey is grateful for... getting to watch Meet the Robinsons with Daddy and Olivia.

Connor is grateful for... a clean change of clothes. With this cold he's come down with, there's been a number of times he'll get into a coughing fit so badly he throws up. Nasty, but true. And there's nothing worse than having to sit in nasty, wet, puked in clothes. Fortunately, Mommy had extra clean clothes!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day #21

This has really been a wonderful week for me, but a tougher one for the girls and Ben. This is completely understandable. In some ways, it's much harder to be the part of the family left at home instead of the part of the family doing the traveling. However, I think I can safely say now that we are all looking forward to the trip home tomorrow for me and Connor.

Ben is grateful that... he will have a warm bed to sleep in tomorrow night. Why he thinks I bring that much warmth to the bed I'll never know. I'm always the one freezing and snuggling close to my furnace of a husband for extra warmth. Of course, I also do it because that's where all the covers are. Yep, he steals them every single night. But to get back on topic...

Anita is grateful for... a wonderful lunch today with her mom, Gwen, and Bobbi. We had some good eats at The Mustard Seed (worth the drive, people!) and a really nice visit. And Beth, we missed you - get well soon! I was going to post some pictures, we took after, but I can't find my camera cable - I was sure I packed it, but it'll turn up eventually!

Olivia and Kelsey are grateful that... Mommy will be home in one day. (I feel so loved, sniff sniff!)

Connor is grateful for... Vicks Vaporub. I know you guys get tired of hearing me say it, but putting that stuff on his feet makes his colds bearable. And he got hit hard this morning with a doozy of a cold. He was miserable, the poor little man. So we detoured by Target on the way to lunch and got the magic ointment. Onto his feet it it went, and an hour later his nose slowed down to a trickle and the glazed, watery look calmed down in his eyes. And we are definitely trying to do some serious germ control in this house so he doesn't get baby Lucas sick!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day #20

Ben is grateful that... Anita will be home in 2 days. (Do you think my family has missed me? I feel so loved!)

Anita is grateful for... phone calls from home every night and a family that loves and misses her. I miss you too, guys!

Olivia is grateful for... getting to visit the state capitol today with the some friends. She's been staying with their family doing her school work this week, and they do extra work Mon-Thurs so they can take Fridays off. I like this idea - a bonus trip to the state capitol. It was so thrilling to hear her excitement and enthusiasm. Apparently, our whole family has to go now. I can't wait!

Kelsey is grateful for... being able to watch the Smurfs today.

Connor is grateful for... slides! For a long time he has been afraid of them, probably due to his foolish Mommy taking him down a really big, really fast one this summer. Prior to that trip, he had tolerated slides, though he didn't enjoy them. After that trip, he was terrified of them. In my defense, I didn't realize just what a cool slide it was. For older kids and adults, anyway. Terrifying for someone like Connor, apparently. However, in the past couple of weeks he has started showing an interest in them. First it was just the little toddler slides, but today he actually went down one that was almost as tall as I am. And then he kept asking for more!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day #19

Ben is grateful for... the Children Read to Dogs program at the local library. Again, it gives him something to do with the girls! But even better, it's a great program where 4 or 5 certified therapy dogs come into the children's section at the library and the kids get to come in and take turns reading a book to the dogs. The girls love it, too!

Anita is grateful for... showers. They are one thing that can help us feel human again no matter how tired or how dirty we are.

Olivia and Kelsey are grateful that... there are only three more days till Mommy comes home. (See? I told you I'm the life of the party!)

Connor is grateful for... beds with sides. Last night I tried to share the bed in the spare room with him, and he fell off twice. The first time in the 6 inches between the bed and wall, and the second time on the other side (because Mommy had switched sides with him). So for his nap today I moved the pack & play into the guest room for Connor. He woke up about 30 minutes after I laid him down, so I had to put him back to sleep. He kept crying all over again when I'd put him back in the pack and play, so I laid down on the bed with him. I assumed that since he had the bed to himself that it would be safe. I forgot that all my children and crazy maniacs when they sleep that much touch every single inch of the bed at least ONCE in the course of their slumber. Fortunately he had already napped for almost 3 hours before he fell off this time. Tonight, he's safe and sound in the pack and play - no matter what!

Day #18

Even though these posts for the month are not being posted on time this week due to my being out of town (no matter what the date stamp says) we are still taking the time as a family to decide what we are grateful for each day. I have to say that for me, this has helped make one of the best Thanksgiving seasons we have had in a long time. Which is great, considering it's the first year I have to learn how to cook a turkey. Since Ben and I were married we have had Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma Gin's house with the rest of the clan on his mom's side. Last year we had moved to Oklahoma and shared Thanksgiving dinner with our neighbors and they made the turkey. This year I'm considering whether it might be worth it to get Ben an early Christmas present of a turkey fryer. Assuming they even sell them in Oklahoma, that is.

Ben is grateful for... Achievement Nights. This is a bi-monthly activity they have at church for girls 8-11 years old. He apparently likes having something to do with the girls at night while Connor and I are gone. Apparently, we are the party.

Anita is grateful for... baggage carts at the airport. Specifically, the wonderful, kind soul who left one sitting in the middle of the long-term parking lot at the Wichita airport. I was wondering how in the world I was going to get a baby, a suitcase, and a car seat to the terminal, and praying that it would work out somehow - and quickly since I was cutting closer than intended. And lo and behold, there I was browsing the aisles looking for a parking space and I saw it. Next to the only vacant spot I had seen in the course of 3 or 4 aisles, no less. What were the chances of that actually happening? It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "A coincidence is simply a small miracle where God prefers to remain anonymous." I don't know who said it, but I wholeheartedly agree!

Olivia is grateful for... being able to play at Zandi's house today.

Kelsey is grateful for... her first LOOSE TOOTH. Can you believe it?! The day I leave, and she gets a loose tooth. I NEVER go anywhere without the family! It better not fall out before I get home, that's all I have to say.

Connor is grateful for... flight 1500 from Atlanta to Charleston. It wasn't full at all, so he actually got a seat of his own and got to be buckled up a like a big boy! At least until he fell asleep on Mommy's lap during takeoff...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day #17

It's been a busy few days, and this is the last thing I get to do before collapsing into bed tonight, so we're going to get right to the point.

Ben is grateful for... fall. The leaves changing... getting a little colder... everyone's getting a little sick... (oh wait, drop the last one).

Anita is grateful for... the opportunity to travel this week. Yes, it's true. I have to wake up in less than 5 hours to drive the two hours to Wichita so I can fly into (drum roll, please)... Charleston, SC! I'll be back here late Sunday, so if there's a delay in getting our gratitude posts up every day, now you know why. I get to go help my oldest friend in the world (time-wise, people, not age-wise) with her new baby. What a sacrifice, right? I'm thrilled to see her and the new baby - especially since I wasn't expecting the opportunity for about this time next year. Connor will be going with me (since he can travel for free and is still a baby himself) and Ben will hold down the fort here with the girls and the dog. I don't anticipate getting much sleep between now and Sunday, but how grateful I am for this great, great blessing. She and I haven't had the chance to spend this much time together all at once since our school days, and I'm not even sure we did it then.

Olivia is grateful for... her first chance to babysit. We had a women's activity at the church tonight, and there was a possibility of a couple older young kids needing to come with their moms, so we wanted to have a nursery available. Since I was over the activity and the nursery was a last-minute plan, I drafted the easiest candidate I knew: my daughter. She had one other girl there and they had a blast together.

Kelsey is grateful for... the glow-in-the-dark stars that Olivia put up in their bedroom today. I had been promising Kelsey they'd go up ever since we moved in, but I never could find them in the major stores, like Target and Walmart, and I eventually forgot to keep looking. Today we were checking out at Hobby Lobby, and what do you think we saw?? Stars! So we brought them home and Olivia put them up. Why does she love them? They help remind her that God is watching her from heaven and makes her feel more safe.

Connor is grateful for... his daddy. It is so cute watching those two boys bond together every night. When Connor was a baby, he was very much a momma's boy. Often when I left, Connor would cry on Ben's shoulder for about 45 minutes until he fell asleep exhausted. And Ben would let him do it without getting frustrated or angry. The man has nerves of steel. I couldn't have done it. And now he's reaping the rewards. Now Connor cries when Ben leaves, too. Every night they have a bedtime routine which usually involves Connor falling asleep on Ben. Come to think of it, I'm really grateful for Connor's daddy, too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day #16

Are you tired of reading these yet? I'm not tired of writing them, so if you are, you're out of luck! Today was a crazy busy day, and tomorrow won't be much better. However, here is what we are grateful for:

Ben is grateful that... he was able to go to work today. He likes his job, likes the people he works with, and is grateful to have a job while there are others that don't. We could always use more money, but really - who couldn't?

Anita is grateful that... Olivia does not have the flu. She complained of soreness behind her jaw yesterday, aching all over last night and this morning, and general ill feeling. Since I'm going to be out of town Wednesday through Sunday (What?! You didn't know?! Yes, yes, I haven't officially broken the news yet. Come back and read tomorrow.) I wanted to be very sure this wasn't the onset of the flu. It would seriously cramp our style - or rather, our plans. But the test came back negative, and the doc said she's dealing with a slight throat infection. How this happened, I have no idea. Let's not forget she's already been on an antibiotic for a week for an ear infection. So we're adding azithromycin to her nightly routine - in addition to the augmentin we still have to finish up, of course. At least this one tastes like bubble gum.

Olivia is grateful for... a great Family Home Evening tonight. Every Monday we have a family night and assign everyone a responsibility. Tonight Daddy was in charge of the music and assigning opening and closing prayers, Mommy had the lesson (on the family budget - using Monopoly money, no less!), Olivia had game, and Kelsey had treat.

Kelsey is grateful for... the game Olivia chose for FHE. We played Hide and Go Seek. It's a regular around here, and we get more creative every time thinking of hiding places. It's funny watching the girls cram themselves into all sorts of crazy places. Connor doesn't hide yet, so he and Trixie will often give Mommy's and Daddy's hiding places away by following them.

Connor is grateful for... his best friend, Asher. (And if you can believe it from the picture, Asher is only three months older than Connor. I kid you not!)

I've been watching Asher a couple of days every week this semester while his mom is in class - she's in her last semester of nursing school. Because I'm going out of town this week I switched my normal days and I have him while she's doing her clinicals today and tomorrow. That means he came around 7:00 this morning, and Connor was asleep when he got here. When I went in to get Connor out of his crib and he saw Asher in the doorway behind me, his face lit up like the Fourth of July. These two are partners in crime. If one of them is doing something he shouldn't, the other is right behind him. Such as shutting each other up in the dog pen, for example.
They really are the best of buds.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day #15

We are now just halfway through the month. It's funny to see the patterns developing in our family. Tonight at dinner, the conversation was typical:

Me: So, what are you guys grateful for today?

Olivia: Pizza for dinner! (Homemade of course.)

Kelsey: Chocolate pie for dessert!

Me: No more being grateful for food! You guys pick food EVERY DAY.

And they really DO pick food most days until I make them think hard about it. Maybe it has something to do with having this conversation at dinner. Maybe it would be a good idea to start having the conversation at a different time...

After some gentle nudging and making them think, they come up with some interesting things. I try very hard not to give them suggestions - I want their ideas to be original and from their own hearts. However, I will ask them things like, "Were you grateful for something at church today?" or "What happened today that you really liked?" These questions actually work equally well for Ben who informed me a week ago that he had run out of ideas. Ironically, that's one of the things I like about doing these gratitude posts this month. It really makes us think outside our little boxes that we live in and consider the blessings in our lives that we don't often stop and feel grateful for.

Today, we are grateful for the following:

Ben is grateful for... quiet Sundays with the family.

Anita is grateful for... my neighbor, Terri. The Lord must know that I need to have a friend next door. First he gave me Amber, now he's given me Terri. She's a wonderful, Christian woman who shares many of the same values that I do, and she's also a 4th grade teacher. She's helped give me confidence in my abilities to homeschool Olivia, as well as many ideas for how to teach and activities to do. Her daughter is also a great playmate for Kelsey and Olivia. And as an added bonus, they're selling us a truck!

Olivia is grateful for... a nice day at church.

Kelsey is grateful for... singing "Scripture Power" in her church primary class.

Connor is grateful for... zippers.

He discovered how to undo his jammies this morning.

And then he proceeded to try to take them off. He's hitting that "I'd rather be naked" stage in his life. For some reason, the girls never really hit it, so this is all pretty new for me. Doesn't he know it's cold outside?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day #14

Tonight we had a family movie night. I had to run to Wally World today (fun-fun on a Saturday, don't you think?) and there it was, staring me in the face: The Red Box. So I stopped by the see what they had. I have been wanting to see Disney's "Earth" movie, and the girls had seen part of it at our friends' house, so I rented it and brought it home.
If you have no idea what movie I'm talking about and want to watch a trailer of the movie, click here.

Considering how much some of the people in this family love the "boob tube", you'd think it'd always be a big hit. Normally, it would be. Apparently, we have different expectations of movie-watching in this home. Ben likes to sit and enjoy without the chatter. This is usually Anita's take as well, unless it is a documentary movie like this one. Then she likes to "ooh" and "ahh" over the cool-looking things she sees. Olivia is pretty quiet, but occasionally likes to laugh and talk about something she's seen - like that mean old cheetah going after the baby whatever-it-was. Didn't he know it was just a kid? Kelsey likes to recreate the movie in the middle of the room, generally between Anita and the TV. Connor? Well, he doesn't even really notice there's a movie on. He just likes to redecorate the den. He may as well since he can't escape, right??

Since we were watching this movie tonight, we decided to do a gratitude post about the amazing things we saw and are grateful for on this planet Earth on which we live.

Ben is grateful for... the beautiful waterfalls.

is grateful for... the Earth's 23.5 degree tilt. It is what gives us our seasons every year, and a wonderful variety of life all over this planet. And to me, yet another proof that life here is not accidental but by Divine design.

Olivia and Kelsey are both thankful for... the birds of paradise that live in the rain forests.

This is one of their favorites - the one is front is the female that the male is trying to impress. The male bird is facing the camera right now. That's right! Those are not tail feathers you see before you... the little blue dots are where his head is. This mating drama he does is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while,

is grateful for ... Balmex. And no, it was not in the movie anywhere. But apparently he had a non-odorous stinky diaper during the movie and we didn't catch it because we were so engrossed in the antics of the evening. By the time we went to change him, his little bottom was raw and red. So tonight, Connor is grateful for Balmex.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day #13

Ben is grateful for... homemade bread with dinner.

Anita is grateful for... being able to serve others.

Olivia & Connor are grateful for... their bike ride with Mommy this morning.

Kelsey is grateful for... getting to play in the hot tub at Morgan's house and "accidentally" getting wet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day #12

Ben is grateful for... "The Days of Thanksgiving". And no, this isn't actually about the Thanksgiving holiday coming up this month! (For those of you who may not know, our church has regular meeting houses where we hold our midweek activities and Sunday worship services. We also have special buildings called temples, which are considered more sacred and each one is dedicated to be a House of the Lord. If you would like to learn more about temples and their purpose, click here.) The Days of Thanksgiving are two days set aside by our local church leaders to participate in temple worship - today and tomorrow. We are encouraged to attend as much as possible. Ben was able to go tonight, we are going together tomorrow afternoon, and I am going back again tomorrow night.

Anita is grateful for... Becky. She and I have been friends since 8th grade. Ironically, she moved to South Carolina from Oklahoma City. She came in a few weeks after school had started and had to sit in one of those desks off to the side in homeroom because there wasn't enough room at the tables with everyone else. She was close to my seat, and I can still remember leaning over and starting a conversation with her. We've been friends ever since. And we've only had one "fight" that I can think of. It wasn't even really a big fight - just some general jealousy on my part - but it had to do with a guy I dated in college... aren't they all? But aside from my family, she has been the biggest constant in my life. Sometimes our lives parallel and sometimes they have been miles apart, but she is one of my best friends and I am grateful for her.

Olivia is grateful that... she's still alive. This has been a rough month for her. Starting with her head injury a couple of weeks ago, the subsequent re-injury a few days later, she's also had slips, falls, and general klutziness. I don't know where she gets it. (And if you believe that, then I have some oceanfront property I'd like to sell you.) This particular set of scratches and bruises are from this past Tuesday. We went on a bike ride for PE and she tried to ride her bike through the gate in the fence, which is actually pretty close to the house. Not a good idea. She somehow ran into the brick wall and tipped over, and the gears scratched her leg. Poor thing...

Kelsey is grateful for... Braums ice cream. Mommy bribed them today to throw away the rest of their Halloween (and party) candy tonight with ice cream cones and milkshakes. We love Braums.

Connor is grateful for... scooters. He absolutely loves to stand on the scooter and have someone push him around. I was doing it this afternoon with him and Asher, and every time it was Asher's turn Connor would scream and run after us crying until it was his turn again. The boy really needs to learn to share.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


With all our gratitude posts this month it seems like I haven't been taking the time I need to keep you guys all updated on some big things in our lives - like our decision to homeschool Olivia. The biggest response I get when I tell people that we were going to start teaching Olivia at home is, "What happened?"

Although there were things that were going on with Olivia in school that we weren't thrilled about, there really hasn't been any big incident that resulted in our decision to homeschool. Although we felt like Olivia wasn't "thriving" at her new school - both academically and socially - it actually came about as really somewhat of a surprise to me when we started leaning in this direction. I didn't expect to make this decision again so soon. We did this for part of second grade in South Carolina before moving to Oklahoma and it was stressful, to say the least. However - as Ben pointed out - I was also working from home at the time and pregnant. This time around things are a bit easier. To say the least.

It was important to us to make the decision to homeschool independent of anything else that might or might not have been going on at school. We wanted to homeschool because of the merits of homeschooling, not to escape some "evil public school system". We also feel that this is the best place for Olivia right now, and she agrees. Wish us luck!

Day # 11

Ben is grateful for... nice, peaceful walks with Trixie.

Anita is grateful for... teachable moments. This includes the ones where we can teach our children, and the ones where God can teach us.

Olivia is grateful for... our party this morning in Mommy's bed. Mommy slept in till 7:15 and Olivia, Kelsey, Connor, and Trixie all came in and got on the bed for a few minutes.

Kelsey is grateful that... we have a brain.

Connor is grateful for... suckers. Especially blue ones.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day #10

Ben is grateful for... family dinners. We always have dinner together as a family every night.

Anita is grateful for... our bikes. Olivia and I were able to go on a nice bike ride this morning for P.E., and Connor and Asher came along in the bike trailer. It was so nice! Even the uphills... sort of.

Olivia is grateful for... her first day of home school. Yes, I know I haven't told you guys all about that on the blog, but I'll update you soon!

Kelsey is grateful that... "our garden is healthy". Upon further questioning she clarified that she was grateful that the garden gives us healthy food. (This from my vegetable hater?!)

Connor is grateful for... special mommy time before his nap every day, and special daddy time before his bedtime every night.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day #9

Ben is grateful that... no matter what time Connor wakes up -or how bad his mood might be when he wakes up - he always gives him a big smile when he goes in to get him out of his crib. And that starts his day off right.

Anita is grateful for... clothes that fit well. Today was not one of those days - I felt like I was hitching up my britches and tucking in my camisole all day long, and it made me appreciate the days when my wardrobe is low-maintenance and I don't have to.

Olivia is grateful for... getting to eat pizza for dinner again. Tonight it was the $3.99 special at Little Caesars. Hey, I can't be The Candid Cook all the time, people!

Kelsey is grateful for... Mr. Moll, her PE teacher. He does breakfast duty sometimes in the morning, and on one of those rare occasions where my kids actually ate breakfast at school he was in the cafeteria acting like a chicken. Memorable, to say the least.

Connor is grateful for... binkies. For some reason no one out here calls it a "pacifier" or "paci" for short. It's a binky. (And a "soda" is called a "pop"! What the heck?) Connor has never been a binky baby - until now. His friend Asher who comes over must have his binky and blanket at nap time or if he's really upset. Connor is entranced by this idea and now wants a binky if he can get one. Oh, and his super-soft blanket when he gets out of the crib. (Jayne, I believe it's the one you gave him.)

Heartfelt Blogger Award

It's been years since I've gotten an award, but look at me now! I recently discovered Elizabeth's blog, Confessions of a Working Mom, and she has graciously passed this award on to me. I hope this doesn't go to my head! So if you've never seen a blogger award before...

Here are the rules of the game:

* Display the award logo.
* Nominate up to 9 blogs that make you feel comfy or warm inside.
* Link to your nominees.
* Let them know they have been nominated by commenting.
* Link to the person from whom you received the award

My nominees are as follows (in no particular order):

Carrie @ Maseda Mayhem - I love reading about the ups (and sometimes downs) of her cute family of little ones. I am right there with you, sister!

Sherrie @ Good News! - She has a inspirational blog that brings a little sunshine to my life on a regular basis. She has a great eternal perspective on life, and a wonderful testimony of the Savior.

Jessie @ Keep it Together - It all started with her fabulous photos, but I have come to just adore this woman and her family. Can I adopt you guys??

Amber @ Our Oklahoma Adventure - My former neighbor and fellow blogger! Her feisty side can really come through in cyberspace, but she has the sweetest little boys. And she is so in love with her husband it makes me smile even though I'm going into sugar shock from the sappiness of it all.

Connie @ Loose Lemons - She makes me smile, even when she's annoyed with idiots. Okay, especially when she's annoyed with idiots. But she also has some great insight and fabulous photos as well. She's a keeper!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day #8

It's 9:45 at night, the kids are asleep, and Ben and I are getting ready to hit the sack. And yet, we haven't had our gratitude post for today. Although I could cheat and post in the morning for today, I feel the need to do a family gratitude post tonight about something we can all agree on.

Today our family is grateful for... one another.

About 15 months ago our little family (including a 6-week old baby) picked up and moved halfway across the country for Ben's new job. We had never been to Oklahoma, didn't have family or friends in Oklahoma, and (despite our best efforts) didn't have a place to live in Oklahoma when we got here. Was it hard? You betcha. Was it exciting? Sometimes. But mostly it was just exhausting.

We have missed our South Carolina family and friends. We still miss them. We miss Sunday nights at Noni & Papa's house. I miss the friends I could have lunch with, making day-trips to Summerville to visit Becky, and the girl's nights with sisters and moms. I miss short-notice camping trips with Gwen, knowing what restaurants were good and affordable, and my fabulous mechanic. And I know that Ben misses his man-dates with Mike. Olivia and Kelsey miss their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and story-time at the library. And we all miss the cheese dip at San Jose Restaurant. Connor doesn't know what he's missing - he was too young when we moved - so Ben and I miss it for him. We miss Christmas Eve at my mom's, Christmas Day at Ben's parents with Mike's fried turkey, and Thanksgiving at Grandma Gin's house. And as the holidays roll around we miss you guys that much more all over again.

But oh, how much more we love each other here. Now that our little family is away from the rest of our extended family, we cling together that much more tightly.

We love snuggling on the couch watching movies, tickle fights with Daddy, early morning cuddles with Mommy when the girls sneak into our bed after Ben's gotten up for work. We love family walks and trips to the dog park and Sunday morning breakfasts. The girls love playing "horses" with each other, and playing games with Mommy, and reading together. Everyone loves kissing on Connor, and he loves it too. We love each other. And most of the time, we even like each other, too. We are very blessed.

Yes, today we are grateful for each other.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day #7

Ben is grateful for... our kids and how they make life so interesting.

Anita it grateful for... her sweet husband and girls who worked so hard to clean the house while she was at choir practice this morning.

Olivia is grateful that... we have a clean house for Sunday.

Kelsey is grateful for... a lost dog the girls have named "Buddy". He's been in our backyard since Friday afternoon.

Connor is grateful for... birthday parties. He had a great evening with some friends whose little boy is turning 2 years old tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Jordan!

And once we all went to the backyard, this was all Connor wanted to play with. I'm thinking we've got to get him one of these!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day #6

Ben is grateful for... "a kind and understanding wife who understands that he has to work late and doesn't complain even though she is so stressed out her head is going to explode."

Anita is grateful for... naps. She actually got one today.

Olivia is grateful for... cute Connor.

Kelsey is grateful for... her mom making the best pizza ever for dinner! (And it really was my best pizza ever. We'll have to do it again soon and blog about the recipe on my other blog.)

Connor is grateful for... his hairstylist, Olivia. (She's also his photographer.)

Mom, Have You Seen My Eyeballs?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day #5

Ben is thankful for... heating pads. He has problems with his back off and on, and these can be a lifesaver!

Anita is thankful for... the beauty of dance. She and Olivia went to see a dance concert at UCO tonight. There was great variety in music and movement, and a wonderful experience overall!

Olivia is thankful for... her parents for "giving me me" (i.e. life).

Kelsey is thankful that... her teacher, Mrs. Dodd, had her baby this past Tuesday. It was a little girl.

Connor is thankful for... being able to feed himself. It's messy, but it gets in there!