Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm still here

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I'm still here, still kicking, alive and well.........well, with a nasty sinus infection, but well. Anyway, I normally post more frequently but I've been out of town. Last Thursday, I left for a weekend retreat with the girls from church. This is the fourth year we've gone, and I look forward to this weekend all year long. It is always "just what the doctor ordered". We have such a great time. It always blesses me that we can be exactly who we are and do exactly what we want, and it's always A-OK with everybody. Now, that is a relaxing weekend.

A few of us use the weekend for our ONE chance a year to get caught up on (or at least work on) our scrapbooks. You should see the "stuff" we bring. It's nothing, if not a veritable scrapbook supply store.....and yet it always makes me laugh that we still end up needing more. I am tickled pink at what all I got done.......Bryce's book is basically up-to-date, although I need to add his baptism page; and Sara Kate's book is too, except for maybe a page or two. In my estimation, this is nothing short of a miracle. I suppose it pays to be hard-core. I think my scrapbooking accomplishments are another reason for a lack of post. It took all of my creativity to come up with pages for the book, and I left my creativity tank at the poor blog took a turn on the backburner for a while.

In spite of that fact, though, I couldn't pass up a chance to post about the weekend. The weekend is always salve for the soul. Again, to have so many ladies go, and still have the luxury of being totally yourself and doing exactly what you want, without fear of hurting someone or being judged is a blessing that I refuse to take for granted. Partly, because I think it's fairly rare; and partly because I'm smart enough to recognize a good thing when I see it.

So, thank you God. Thank you for blessing me with a group of friends that love me (neurotic, fat head, and coughing/hacking, 'hired' self and all). Thank you for giving me time away from my family to refresh, renew, and recharge. And, like Marilyn said, thank you God, for wrapping the blessing of friendships in different packages, all of which are used to minister to one another.

With all that nice stuff said, I feel like I must go on record as saying, "I'm on Nancy's team next year!!"

And, I must pay proper respect to Tammy, who bless her heart, had to sleep with my coughing, hacking, sniveling self. That's some kind of dedication, if you ask me.

Love you girls!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Just for Fun

Thought y'all might like to try these...... just click on one to try it



I've always said that I'm not creative.......Here's proof


Fun Fact Friday: Silence is Golden

Here it is, almost 7:00 PM and I have not posted a Fun Fact today. I almost brushed it off entirely, and let the day (and the post) go by completely because I had NOTHING for the post. My creative juices had officially run dry, but then the last 24 hours played back through my mind, and like a lightning bolt, I was struck with the obvious. Silence is golden!!

Now, somewhere about 30 miles from here, my brother has just passed out. In his mind, I would be the last person in the world to enjoy a little silence. Apparently, in my younger years, I drove him some kind of crazy with some sort of constant it talking, yelling, crying, screaming, or singing, or all of the above all at the same time. It's been rumored that Scott would pitifully ask of our mother, "Mom, can't you please make her shut up?" To add insult to injury, I had an older sister who loved the talking and the yelling and the singing as much as I did.......especially if we were in the car.

Fast forward about 20 years. Now, here I am with 2 children.........2 children, I might add that are A LOT LIKE ME. The tables have officially been turned and now Scott can't wipe that grin off his know the one that's saying, "Paybacks are ......" Oh, yes indeed readers, the addage is true.....paybacks are. And, I'd have to whole-heatedly agree that the absolute worst form of the constant chatter/singing/yelling torture is when you're in the car. Oh, heaven help me, there is nothing worse. Usually, one is singing and the other is saying "mom" every other word. Then, they'll go in to some sort of nonstop nonsense.......something akin to la la la la la la or some other sing-song rhythmical, repetitive insanity. Top all of that off, with the fact that Bryce usually has some sort of toy that he is banging or beating or drumming or whathaveyou......Oh yes ma'am it makes for a pleasant ride.

Just this morning, I had the opportunity to have myself some silence. It was grand. It was wonderful. It was....... a MIRACLE. Brad was not home, the kids were not home, total silence. (Not that Brad ever says's just the kids I'm talking about). But, speaking of Brad, he has this supernatural, God given ability to TUNE THEM OUT!! Oh, how I've longed for that gift. But, nope, I don't have it....probably never will. Oh well, at least I'll savor silence every chance I get.

The Fact is: Silence is golden

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Day pictures

After a bleak start to spring break, we had a picture perfect day yesterday (and we are so thankful). After lunch, we loaded up and went to the Riverpark in Chattanooga to bike. We biked along the river to downtown, across the Walnut Street Bridge and into Coolidge Park. In the park, we had a snack, flew our kites, and rode the carousel. Then we biked back and went straight to Granda & GDaddy's for supper. After supper, the kids rode their 4 wheeler, drove the golf cart, and Bryce got to maneuver with GDaddy in the bobcat. It really was a picture perfect day, so I thought I would just let the pictures (day) speak for themselves.

One of the many bridges along the bike path. We stopped to get a picture. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of us on bikes.....that would have been very hard to accomplish. Thanks, Eric for letting us borrow your bike trailor.....Sara Kate loved riding 'in style' and for letting us borrow your bike, maybe I need to get one for myself one day.

Flying kites in Coolidge Park. If you're not familiar with Chattanooga, the bridge in the background is what we rode our bikes over to get to the park. It's a beautiful walk or ride.

Does anyone else have a climbing daredevil in the house???? He's all boy!

The kids on the carousel. We were doubly blessed, because we had the whole carousel to ourselves, which afforded me the opportunity to take lots of pictures before it started moving. If you know me well, you know that I'm crazy when I have a camera in hand....I'm only posting 2 shots....I have many more!

At Granda & GDaddy's riding 4 wheelers. Sara Kate cracks me up giving us the "thumbs up" sign. By the way, if you're from church and you're planning on coming to the boys/men camping trip......this field (down by the pond) is where you'll be camping!!!

GDaddy just happened to "need" to do some work on the bobcat. Bryce didn't miss the chance to get on and "help."

On the way home that night..........WORN OUT!! Bryce certainly should have been, he totally kicked our tails on the bike ride. He was dead set on being the first back to the truck, I was dying trying to keep up, and even Brad was having to exert effort.........dead last isn't so bad either, trust me I know from experience. It's pitiful that I can't keep up with a 5 year old.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Farmer's Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day

Okay, so it's been one of those days. It's not that the day itself has been all that terrible, although it certainly has not been great. It's more that we had our heart set on doing a few specific things with the kids on spring break, and the very un-spring-like weather ruined our plans. I've been a planner all my life, Brad....not so much. And, this is exactly his argument. Why plan, when things come up and you have to change everything. I'm now starting to come over to his way of thinking, although, I'd be hard pressed to suppress the planner in me in it's entirety.

Brad is going out of town Wednesday, so we had decided that he would take off Monday and Tuesday to do some stuff with the kids. And, all the 'stuff' that we wanted to do included the great outdoors (I am married to Brad Farmer-the Eagle Scout). I think we will be able to salvage tomorrow, Lord willing, but all of us (okay, maybe except Sara Kate who is always in her own little wonder world) have kind of moped around all day. Boo-Hiss to all this wintry weather in the middle of spring BREAK! On a side note, this is the second time that we had planned to 'camp out' on my parent's property, both times, Brad had the truck all loaded down, and he had to unload it....firewood and all. (poor guy....we're gonna use that firewood one of these days)

We (I) tried to salvage the day by letting the kids help me make home made cinnamon rolls this morning. I used to make them all the time in high school......let's just say that I'm not as familiar with my rolling pin as I used to be. The kids liked spreading the butter and the cinnamon/sugar, so I guess they enjoyed it. I admit, it was a feeble attempt. But, the rolls tasted good, even if they were a little flat. Brad and I also worked several puzzles with them too. But, the rest of the day was just the same old, same old.....and we were trying so hard for it to be special for them. And, on top of that disappointment, the kids were cooped up in the house on a cold day, and the stir crazies were definitely setting in; which means there was a lot of "stop, quit, and don't" thrown around. I hate days like that!!

Obviously, we had a lot to talk about during our mad, sad, glad game at devotions (disappointments happen). But, I'll leave you on a funny note. During prayer, when we got to the "Jesus, I'm sorry for____" statement, Bryce said......."I'm sorry mom had to call me down like 55 times or something." Brad & I busted out laughing.......of course, in my head I was thinking, "you mean 55 HUNDRED times", but I assure you, that stayed in my head, and never left my mouth. It was nice to end the day with a smile. I'll leave you with a few pictures of my little kitchen helpers.

Spreading the butter......mmmmm

Now comes, the cinnamon and sugar

Flat as a flitter cinnamon rolls.....but......they were still good. Looking at this picture makes me laugh, they look more like pinwheel cookies than actual cinnamon rolls. I'm pretty sure I've admitted that I'm no Paula Deen.......if you had any doubts, here's proof.

Adoption Update

Hey guys, I posted on Malagan's Song today......if you're interested.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fun Fact Friday: Bryce's Baptism

I'm sure you all remember my post about Bryce asking Jesus into his heart. Since he did, back in December, we've been happily anticipating his baptism. Our church usually does baptisms on or around Christmas and Easter holidays. So, last Sunday Bryce was baptized. We explained beforehand, that this is something you do after you ask Jesus in your heart. He was not the least bit apprehensive, probably due in part, by witnessing his best friends baptism last December. There were four children baptized that Sunday, all of whom, became Christians at home under the direction and guidance of their parents.

It was a very special day. One which, I hope he never forgets. My brother, and several friends, helped with all the pictures and videos (thanks guys).

Entering the baptismal pool.

In the pool, before immersion....don't you love that smile!!!

Just after.....

My absolute favorite picture. Look how proud he looks and look at proud Daddy!!

This is my favorite part of the baptism. Our pastor, anoints them with oil, speaks their full name, and declares to them that they have been sealed for life. I love it because it is such a definitive statement of his salvation.

While we were changing his clothes, I again told him that when we ask Jesus in our heart, he washes away all of our sins, and the baptism is to help us remember that Jesus has washed away our sins and forgiven us, and made us clean.

On a side note, this was extra special for us because Bryce's baptism was performed by our beloved pastor. He is taking a new position within our denomination, and this will likely be his last baptism ever. He is so special to us..... he performed our wedding, has dedicated both of our children, has generally been there for us through thick and thin, and also got to baptize my eldest. Sweet special blessings, that I'm so thankful for. We sure do love you Dewey!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Happy Trails

I was planning to save this post for Fun Fact Friday to save myself the pressure of having to come up with yet another, new fun fact. But, then, I started worrying that the flowers may no longer be in bloom if I wait, so I'm spilling the beans now.

Sunday, we decided to go hiking on the Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail. It is a trail on Pigeon Mountain in Walker County. There are beautiful wildflowers in bloom in late March to mid April. If you care to, you can read an article here about how long the flowers will be in bloom. There is also a trail just beyond the wildflower trail that leads to a waterfall, and a couple of other cool trails as well. These are very easy trails. In fact, the wildflower trail is completely boardwalked (so as not to disturb the flowers). So, you could easily take someone in a wheelchair if necessary. The beauty is absolutely breathtaking. Plus, the kids super love it. Of course, they are game for all the trails, but they are certainly easy enough for them to do, especially if you put the 3 year old on your shoulders from time to time. It is a great place to take pictures......although as soon as we got there, someone's small dog decided to jump up on Sara Kate getting muddy paw prints from hither to, I'm not the least bit bitter. I tried to hide that in the pictures as much as possible, and now, I'm wishing that I had put something on them other than play clothes.....but they did get dirty, so I guess it's a trade off. You'll have to decide that one on your own.

Here are some pictures of our little hike. If you get the chance to go, you should. It is gorgeous, just go fairly soon. We went last year as well, but it was too late. The flowers were not blooming, but we still had a fun hike. We might be up to going again, if anyone wants to go, let us know.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fun Fact Friday: Fun Devotions with the Kiddos

Hey y'all. I had this idea to share the love on some good ideas and tips that I've recently found for family devotions. If you know me, you already know that I'm probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I'm not creative in the 'coming up with my own ideas' sense of the word (or probably any other sense of the word). But, I am smart enough to know a good thing when I see or hear it.

Just recently, our church's children's minister Jennifer has been facilitating a class on parenting. It is precisely this kind of thing that I'm smart enough to recognize as a good thing. I wholly admit that I can use all the help I can get on the parenting front. The class was called, "Parenting the Early Years" by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot. There were two things that I took away from the class that we implemented in our family devotion time. And, they have been a real hit. Both of our kids enjoy them, and ask to do devotions each night.

Again, these ideas are genius, so I thought I would pass them along. The first thing we do is read a small little bible story from their "Memory Bible Verse" book. It is fairly short, but includes a bible verse and a practical application. Then, (taken from the class) we play the MAD, SAD, GLAD game. It is a game where each family member goes around the table and tells what made them mad, sad, and glad that day. You'll be surprised what you hear, or at least I was. This just gives them a way to open up about what's going on in their mind. It also provides Brad & I with the opportunity to explain that certain of their behaviors disappointed us, without being "in the heat" of the moment. It would sound something like, "you know, mommy was sad today when you did this..." or, "mommy was really glad when I saw you doing this" We found we could use it as reinforcement. But, we don't always do that, sometimes we just share something generic about our day that truly made us mad, sad, or glad. The kids super love this, and I think it's brilliant. Kudos to the Parrots.

The other thing we took away from the class was a method for family prayer. Before I learned about this, we just took turns letting each child pray. Obviously, there was/is nothing wrong with that. But, the new technique just helps guide them in being a little more specific. I don't really know if the video said how they implemented it, but what we do, (to make it seem more like a prayer) is have us all hold hands around the table. Then, each person completes the first sentence, then you go around the table with the second sentence, then the third and then the fourth. Here they are:

1. God, I love you because....
2. Jesus, I'm thankful for.....
3. God, I'm sorry for.....
4. Jesus, could I have _______ please?

The reason I love it so much is that it incorporates all elements of prayer (praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and petition). I don't know about y'all, but my kids would only ask forgiveness of the person whom they offended. I don't know that I ever heard them or had them ask for forgiveness from God (I'm telling you, parent of the year, right here). My kids prayed just fine, but I would like them to get in the habit early of showing praise and thankfulness, and expressing apologies when needed, and voicing their needs too. And, the cool thing about it is, that eventually their prayer of petition (#4) will be answered and can be turned in to a prayer of thankfulness (#2). Can you see why this is a stroke of genius. Oh, and when everyone has answered all four statements of prayer.....we all say "AMEN" together (the kids especially like that).

And, since this post is already longer than the constitution. Let me just share something else. At first, when we came to the sentence of petition (#4) Bryce would always ask for material things...a new transformer or whatever. But, as Brad & I took our turns we would ask for spiritual things, like wisdom or whatever we happened to need that day. And, we would also explain to Bryce that sometimes we should ask Jesus for things that would help us be more like him. So, yesterday Bryce had a little episode and lost his temper. When he got to number 3, he said that he was sorry for disobeying, and I asked him what he thought he did that was disobedient and I reminded him of his fit. Well, everybody else took their turn for number 3. Then we got to number 4, and Brad asked for wisdom. When it was Bryce's turn, he asked Jesus to help him control his temper. Y'all, I nearly bawled right then and there (but, I didn't). I think the light bulb went off and it clicked with him. Now, I'm sure he'll still be asking for transformers or whatever, too; but I'm glad to know that he realizes there are other things that Jesus wants to give us.

The FACT is, family devotions are a really FUN way to teach our kids about Jesus. If you have something you do in your family that is brilliant, or works especially well, I'd sure love to hear it. I think I mentioned that I need all the help I can get.

And, thanks Jennifer, for hosting the parenting class! We're so thankful for all that you're doing for our kids and our families!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

We're Fenced In....Finally

Hey Folks! I'm very happy to share that we're finally all fenced in. Daddy & Brad worked for several days (inbetween rain and cold weather days) and we have a really lovely fence to show for it.
We moved in a year ago today, and for a year we've been looking at this. Which wasn't so bad at the very beginning because the neighbors didn't have a pool at first, and their poor trampoline hadn't yet been demolished by the wind. Their pool doesn't have a privacy fence around it, and I always felt wierd being in my back yard or on our back deck while they were swimming. It was like I was eavesdropping or something. So, as you can see we just needed a little more privacy.

I'm all about doing before, during, and after pictorials....and I just happen to have lots of pictures of the fence building. Just think of it as an episode from HGTV. Don't we all just love HGTV.

Here is the fence before it was built.....minus the nails. Oh, and minus the quickrete, and all the other stuff we had to go back and get.

Don't let the guys fool you, they had lots of mechanical help digging all the holes.

However, I think Brad gets extra points because for some reason He was the one that was "elected" to dangle from the chain WHILE the auger was digging to provide more weight. This picture was taken during the dig of the first hole. Most of the time, daddy was at the wheel of the tractor (smart, smart man). Later, they decided to hoist a wheelbarrow full of quickrete to provide the needed extra weight; which was Brad's idea (smart, smart man).

Here, Bryce is getting in on the action. He is helping to level the post.

Bryce also used his dump truck to get rid of all the empty backs of quickrete. And, after GDaddy sawed the top of the fence to make the arch, Bryce & Sara Kate picked up the sawed off fence tops and put them in the wheelbarrow. I know GDaddy & Brad were thankful to have such great helpers.

Here are a few pictures of the finished fence. I think it looks great. And, we are so happy to have it. I think Gigi is just about as happy as the rest of us, because now she can go out and roam the back yard a little own her own. The first picture is from the outside. The next picture is from the inside. The sun was interfering with my photography, which is why the first one is kind of dark.

The next project is to build the kids some kind of playhouse. The idea was to use the existing corner of the fence, but I think GDaddy is going to do his usual "go above and beyond" with his design. So stay tuned, it'll be interesting to see what he comes up with. Never fear, it will be thoroughly documented.