Tuesday, June 24, 2014

To Kill A Mockingbird

Kaity read To Kill A Mockingbird this year for school - a fact I was very excited about since it's one of my favorites. I had her do a special project that I remembered from my high school days. She constructed a cube from construction paper, each side representing an element from the story.

A theme, or a lesson learned from the book.

A character.

A quote.

A scene - Kaity cut out construction paper silhouettes to make a diorama. (It's covered with plastic wrap.)

Title page.

The setting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lauryn ~ 11 Months

Standing up all on her own! She'll hold that pose for a while, but no unassisted steps yet.

So then I started trying to get a shot of her pretty new teeth ...

There - nailed it.
And one more just 'cause it's funny ...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Movin' On Up!

When Kaity just three months old, Jeff started a new job with Martin Marietta Materials, operating heavy equipment at a granite quarry. About a year later we were on a motorcycle trip up to the north Georgia mountains when we rode through Jefferson, which Jeff knew had a company quarry. We liked the area and (long story short) we moved up here! Over the years that Jeff has been with the company he's done pretty much every job on the site, including running every piece of equipment, being the weigh-master, filling in for the office manager, running the plant, and being on the safety leadership team.

Last week, Jeff was offered (and he accepted!) the position as office manager for the Jefferson quarry.

Today is his first day!

Last Thursday night I took him out for a steak dinner to celebrate!
Naturally, we're very excited about his new job! It means that we will be in the area for the foreseeable future, so we're free to sell our house and find a new, larger home (praise the Lord!). We've been needing to move for quite some time, but without knowing for certain where we would be settling we hadn't put the house on the market yet. It's good to have a firm answer to prayer (other than "wait"!) and to be able to finally move forward with the next stage of our lives.In the words of Inigo Montoya, "I hate waiting."

Other than the house thing, Jeff is mostly excited about getting to wear office clothes to work from now on, and taking leftovers for lunch instead of sandwiches! I am so proud of all the hard work he's put in over the years. It's a wonderful blessing to see his career moving forward.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chore Charts and An Adorable Baby

I've completed a few projects lately, mostly related to organizational or discipline issues with the kids. First up is a reminder chart for Selah. The flower petals are lightly adhered to the paper using double-sided tape. Whenever I catch her sucking her thumb she has to remove a petal from the flowers. If she loses all the petals in a day she has to go to bed early that night. She's doing really well so far!

I made another one that's purple with pink flowers. Bonus: They are reusable!

Next up, the kids' chore charts. They have always had chores and various charts over the years, so this is just the latest permutation. It combines daily chores and tasks that need to be done weekly. On the right-hand side is a selection of paid chores they can do - after their regular ones are done. The money is clipped to the chore, but they must have permission to begin it and it has to be inspected and approved when complete.

I actually implemented this a few weeks ago and it's working very well. Kaity has been gone for two weeks (Grammie's, then camp) so she's a little off-kilter, but overall I think this latest version will work very well for us. I really like that if I need a disciplinary measure, I can require the kids to do a paid chore for free - Mommy gets the money!

Since they are now regularly earning money, I needed "piggy banks" for the kiddos to use. When Jeff and I went shopping for my birthday, that's one of the things I looked for. My on-line research told me the cheapest thing I'd be able to find was about $15 apiece, since I wanted a bank that could divide the money three ways.  I thought spending $45 on saving banks was a bit of an oxymoron, so I was crazy-excited to find the perfect boxes at the craft store for only $1.42 each!

I used an X-acto knife to cut slots in the top for Saving, Spending, and Tithing.

I measured out and cut spare cardboard into dividers.


And here they are on their new home - the top of the kitchen bookshelf.

 Ooh, look, an adorable baby!

She was so tired she fell asleep practically bent in half!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend we drove up to Brasstown Bald - the highest point in the state of Georgia. The last time we were there I was pregnant with Selah, so Joe didn't even really remember the trip.

Right away, we saw a garter snake on the trail!

Kaity made sure she and her sisters had their matching white hats.
I love how we're all sitting with our hands in the same position! Weirdos.

Of course, long drives as a family typically result in some pretty funny conversations or observations:

Jeff, upon realizing he'd forgotten to have his morning coffee said, "That's why I'm so ..." He trailed off and gave me a blank look.



Laughing, I asked, "Did you do that for irony?"

"... No, that actually happened."

I was in the passenger seat reading when I came across an outdated statistic that said, "According to recent polls 40% of American couples first discuss marriage in a car." I read it aloud to Jeff, since he proposed to me while driving down the road in his 1966 VW Beetle.

Without missing a beat, he exclaimed, "Yeah, 'cause you're trapped!"

Jeff reached over to turn up the radio when he caught sight of my expression and asked me what was up.

"Nothing, really, I was just going to start a conversation with you."

Jeff, cranking up the radio: "Then that was perfect timing!"

(And yes, he was kidding!)


On the way home, I overheard my 75-year-old daughter in the backseat say, "I'm working on my cross-stitch while playing Bingo."

I have no context for you, because that was all I heard of the conversation! And yes, that's exactly what Kaity was doing.

One last observation from the day:
Kaity used some babysitting money she'd earned to buy rock candy for herself and her siblings. I thought how they approached their candy was a funny snapshot of their individual personalities.

Selah's pink candy: *crunchcrunchcrunch* Gone in sixty seconds.

Joe's green candy: While licking it carefully, "How much have you eaten, Selah? How much have you eaten, Kaity? I have *this much* left!" So competitive!

Kaity's purple candy: "I'm saving mine."

Monday, June 09, 2014

You Don't Know Jack

So Selah has an imaginary friend named Jack. Apparently he's "handsome, like Daddy". She doesn't mention him every day, but now and then she'll make some off-hand remark about him. Walking down the stairs the other day she announced, "Jack's coming over! *sigh* But I don't love him anymore." She shrugged her shoulders and said frankly, "I'm just a little girl."

One day Selah set up a "house" at the foot of the stairs. She laid down on the bottom step and pulled her blanket up to her chin. After draping her hand across her forehead, she picked up the phone and said in a pitiful tone, "I can't marry you today, Jack. I don't feel well."

And now for some cute pictures!

Selah and Lauryn playing peek-a-boo!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

It's My Birthday!

Well, it WAS my birthday ... again with the whole "taking too long to blog" thing. Anyway, when Jeffrey asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year I told him something that completely shocked him: I asked him to take me shopping. I generally don't enjoy spending an afternoon at the mall like a lot of people do. But this year I had a few things I had been researching, some stuff I needed to get, and the kids were in need of some clothes, too. SO, I asked Jeff to give me a budget and let us spend the day together spending it. He happily obliged on the Saturday following my birthday, taking the big kids to his parents' house and keeping Lauryn with us.

We went to the downtown antique stores first, because we love going but rarely have the time and opportunity to browse. Afterward we were headed back to the van when Jeff paused outside our local department store, Jay's and wondered aloud whether "that red coat" would still be there. Back in January he had seen this red dress coat and thought it would be perfect for me. I talked him out of buying it for me then because I technically already have a dress coat. Apparently he was still thinking about it. Long story shortened, I ended up asking the store owner if they still had the coat, tried it on, Jeff and I both fell in love, and bought it for a fraction of the original price.

My mom laughed at me for buying a coat in 80° weather.

Our next stop was the local used bookstore. You get store credit by turning in old books, then you purchase books using a combination of cash and your store credit. I got a big stack of books, including one on German grammar, plus classics I didn't already own like Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, and a Henry James collection.

After a lovely lunch at the Japanese restaurant, where Jeff became Lauryn's favorite when he gave her a taste of sweet tea, we hit up a couple of kids' clothes stores and I got the little girls a few things they were needing. We took a break at home and then hit up a few stores in Athens. I got several "crafty" items that you'll be seeing referenced over the next few posts, I'm sure. I love little projects! After a quick dinner we hurried to pick up our little crumbsnatchers.

The kids were less than happy to see us arrive, but Nannie and Papa were quite glad! We had a good visit with them, then headed home to bed.

All in all it was a lovely day spent with my handsome fella and our littlest progeny.

Ballet Recital

This is how far behind I am with posting - Selah's ballet recital was May 23rd!

Rehearsal was on the day before the recital and I got a few pictures of our sweet little ballerina then:

Can you tell she was swishing her tutu around?

My parents drove up to see the actual recital, and Selah's "best friend Gabe" came to see her dance, too! He (and Miss Kim) even brought her flowers, which was very sweet.

I cooked a cold supper ahead of time so that when we got home from the performance I could just take it out of the fridge and we'd be ready to eat.

Pork tenderloin, sweet potato yeast rolls, green bean/brown rice salad, strawberry soup and fresh fruit.

I couldn't resist buying this little ballerina look-alike dress for Lauryn.

"K-K-Kaity, beautiful Kaity ... you're the only g-g-girl that I adore ..."

Lauryn was fascinated with Grammie's bandage.