Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh, To Be a Fly on the Wall

A great perk to volunteering at the boys' school from time to time is that I have gotten to know all the teachers and staff very well. They tell me all sorts of fun stuff my boys do at school that I would never know about otherwise. Today, the vice principal, who happens to be a good friend told me about an exchange between her and my 6 year old, Cade.

Mrs. D sees Cade in the morning getting hit with a booksack. Evidently the perpetrator is a little, punk boy who bugs everyone. Students and teachers alike. She fusses at the child, and then had this conversation with Cade:

Mrs. D: Cade, the next time he does that to you, you punch him in the nose.

Cade: Punch him?

Mrs. D: Yes, he bullys everyone around here and the next time, you punch him.

Cade: And I won't get in trouble?

Mrs. D: No, you won't get in trouble.

Cade: OK

That afternoon, Cade comes up to Mrs D.

Cade: That wasn't such a good idea.

Mrs. D: Why?

Cade: Because I told him "Do you want a knuckle sandwich (while he's holding his fist up)?" And he gave me one!

Mrs. D: He punched you?

Cade: Yes, I don't think that was a very good idea.

I have laughed and laughed about this all day. Cade is so much bigger than all the other kids that everyone assumes he is the tough guy. And believe me, around here, he would have no qualms about punching someone. At school, though, he just can't do it.

Please don't get me wrong. We don't teach our kids to punch, but Bryce has been a child who has been picked on quite a bit. He has such a tender heart, though, that he could never do anything about it. I am all about my children taking up for themselves.

I also know, that if Cade would hit or push this child just once, he would never bother him and possibly the other kids again. I can't stand those little punk kids who take up all the class time acting out and making everyone else miserable. They need a taste of their own medicine! (OK, sorry, soapbox moment)

I also admit, that since Cade is my third boy, I am much more relaxed as a mom than I was when Bryce was little. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

I don't want you to think the wrong thing about this teacher either. She has been a wonderful teacher for many years and has 5 children of her own. I think she has great wisdom when dealing with these children. She knew where I stood on this issue, so she tried to get Cade to take care of it.

My sweet little bruiser. (This was taken this summer. He was playing around)
Cade just turned 6 at the end of March. He is 4'4" and weighs 70lbs. I don't know where his size came from, but I can't wait to see how big he turns out to be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So Much Fun

As some of you know, we are in the process of building a house. It is coming along, and are very anxious to move in, hopefully in October. We decided a few months ago to add a secret room above Bryce's room. For years, any time we walked through a new house, he would find a closet or some little nook and beg us to build him a "secret room". We decided to build a small room above his bedroom that he will have to climb a ladder to get to. Of course, it will really be for all of them, but Bryce will have the most access. The fun part was, we didn't tell any of them! We had the builder build it and just enjoyed knowing how excited they would all be. I don't know if you can see it through the rafters, but it's framed up in the attic. It's about 8ft. X 8ft.

Well, we finally decided that we couldn't wait any longer. We brought them upstairs and told them we had a surprise for them in Bryce's room. They couldn't see it until we pointed it out. This was their reaction:

Someone really should have taken a picture of us, because I know we were smiling bigger than they were. We had so much fun. So, needless to say, they are thrilled and so excited to be able to climb a ladder to see the inside.
I'll go on and add this picture of the brick. They are working fast. It is great to finally see some color going on the outside.

Two Years Ago...Again

Well, anyone who has been watching the news, or lives in Louisiana or Mississippi knows what today is. It is the 2 year anniversary of hurricane Katrina. I know you probably get tired of hearing about it, after all, it has been 2 years, but I thought I would add my two cents.

Here is a picture of the boys on the front porch, enjoying some fun dip during the storm.

There were alot of strong winds, but we didn't sustain any real damage. There were lots of awnings around town that blew off and buildings damaged, but for the most part, we were ok. We just didn't have any electricity for a few days. Here is a picture of our backyard afterward.

Life as we knew it,though, completely changed on August 29, 2005. From that day on, our city would be never be the same. Short term was the fact that very few of us had electricity. Our city had also doubled in size because of the evacuees. Traffic was unbelievable, and grocery stores were empty. My aunt and uncle and their three boys evacuated to Baton Rouge along with some other family from LaPlace. My parents had a full house after the hurricane hit. Because of all the chaos in New Orleans, no one was able to find out if their home had survived, so everyone was on edge. The kids and I went to stay with a friend who had electricity. Richard decided to sweat it out at home. Remember it was August!

Ends up, all of our family was safe and their houses were fine. Mine would be a different story in a few days, but I'll share that later. Our city was filled with people from New Orleans. We were all collecting clothes and towels for the people in the shelters. It was a crazy time. In some ways, we still haven't returned to normal. We now have FEMA trailors scattered everywhere. This is a picture of one right down the road from me.

These are the poorest people from New Orleans. They lived in the projects down there, and two years later, they still live in this trailor park. I don't know what they are going to do. I know that some will take advantage of the system, but I also know that there are some hard working people who have landed here. It is a very sad situation. The government has a big problem, and I have no idea how they are going to solve it.

Today, as I write this, I am so thankful to live where I do. I am so thankful that God protected us during that storm. I just wish the aftermath would be over, and I don't see that ending any time soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two Years Ago

Today marks the two year anniversary of my grandmother's death. This date actually marks the beginning of a season of chaos in our house. Katrina hit 2 years ago tomorrow, and tragedy struck us again the beginning of September (more on that later). My grandmother had been ill for quite a while, and had been sent home to die. However, her home is in LaPlace, LA. That is a little town between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. With all the evacuations and uncertainty with the hurricane, my dad and his siblings moved her to my parents' home. That is where she finally died.

This picture is her with my boys. This swing is the first thing I think about when I think of her. She loved to swing on it. I can remember swinging with her when I was a little girl. She wasn't really the "grandmotherly" type very often, but I knew she loved us. I could see that "grandmother" come out in her when she was with my boys, and I so enjoyed seeing her with them. They loved her very much.

A few months after her death, we were saying our goodnight prayers with the boys. Braden started praying and said, "Please help MiMi have fun in heaven". I just love that. I would love to know what goes on in those little minds. I hope she's having fun in heaven, too.
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

What a Sunday!

When we showed up at church this morning and realized there was a guest speaker, I have to admit we were a little disappointed. Not because we knew him, but just because we love our pastor. Ends up, he preached such a powerful sermon that we were sitting there with our mouths hanging open! He talked about the judgement of the saints and how believers will be judged on what they've done in this world. What we've done will be compared to what we were called to do. It was so powerful. I just kept thinking about China. I have to admit that even though we've already submitted all our paperwork, we have wavered a bit because of the wait. We have been second guessing ourselves. Well, today renewed our faith in the fact that this is what we were called to do. I told Richard a while back, before the paperwork process started, that we had a daughter in China. We either go get her or we let her grow up in an orphanage. So, no more wavering. We are going to get our girl, we are just frustrated more than ever at the timeframe we are looking at. We know that God is in control, and he is bigger than the CCAA.

By the way, Adele at A Mei Mei for Mallory wrote the sweetest post the other day about the stuffed owl that sat in her daughter's crib in the orphanage. It has truly blessed me this weekend. If you get a chance, go check it out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Learning to Read

Last night I was reading with Cade. He is the first grade and desperately want to be able to read whatever he wants. He is doing very well, but mostly with words that are easy to sound out, or are sight words. We were reading Click, Clack, Quackity, Quack. This is the page that came up, and he insisted he wanted to read it.

He knew what sound the letter "H" made, and looked at the picture for clues. He was looking at what he thought was a donkey, but knew it started with a "h". This is what came out of his mouth, "honkey?". I about fell over. He wanted to know what was so funny. I just told him that it was a funny sounding word. I love stuff like that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And It's Back!

Well, it seems to be back this morning! And we're up to a whole:
2 months, 2 weeks and 3 days!!
Whoo Hooo!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Well, It Went Away

Don't you know, I talked about it and it went away!! What's up with that?

I'm Not So Sure

I haven't quite decided if I like this Lilypie counter or not. I think it's really cute, and I know it makes it nice to see how far we've come. But that's just it, we're not very far at all! If the counter isn't up there, I don't think about how long it has been everyday. That way, when I do, I feel like we've made some progress. With the counter, everyday is charted:
2 months, 2 weeks, 1 day
2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days..........
It's enough to make me loose it! Maybe if we had an end goal, but not even knowing how long it will take makes it much worse!

I am hoping that it will become part of the background that I won't notice anymore, or maybe I'll move it to the bottom. I don't know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

OH MY!!!

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from Greystone. This is the golf course where we are currently building a house. They were looking for a couple of kids who attend the public schools here and are going to live in Greystone to use for the upcoming Chalk Talk magazine. I know this publication well. The two teachers who put it together are good friends of mine, so of course, I excitedly agreed. They only wanted elementary aged children, so Bryce didn't do this with us. He was out of town anyway. So, I called my "honorary Doughty boy" John Ashley to join us for the pictures. Boy am I glad I did, too. (You'll understand in a minute) The photographer comes with this little bity camera and sets the kids up where they are staring straight into the sun. Not only that, they are looking over a lake, so the sun is not only glaring straight into their eyes, it's reflecting off the water as well. You know where I'm heading with this, don't you? It was all I could do to not say, "You know what, my big, honking camera is in the car. Why don't I grab it, just in case." Hindsight: so should have said it!!!! Look what they put on the magazine, not in it, ON IT!:

Want a closer look?

That has to be the worst picture of my precious children I have EVER seen!!! And they put it on the cover of the stupid magazine!! Granted, Braden's hair should have been covered with a hat, but couldn't someone have told me it looked like a mop up there? And Cade has a great smile, but his eyes are completely closed. John Ashley is a little better, but he just looks mad. Inside the magazine, there are a few more shots that are MUCH better. Why, oh why, would he put this on the cover? Can you tell I'm just a little disappointed? I am no photographer, but I can assure you, I could have done better than this! Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. Maybe just hope that no one will notice they're my kids! Darn it but, of course, they spelled their names right! Maybe it's God's way to keep me humble. Great. Thanks Lord.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fall is Just Around the Corner

Even though it may not feel like it, it's coming and you know what that means, don't you? Two things: Hunting and Football. Both of these activities have become more and more consuming in this house since the boys have gotten older. Richard has always hunted, but until last year, he always went by himself. Now, he has all three of them begging him to take them. I am not a hunter, but I love that the boys love to do it with their dad. It gives them such a special time to be together. So there are many preparations to be made before hunting season. Number 1 priority: Get some meat on Braden's bones! Braden begged and begged Richard to buy him a bow to use this year. Richard was happy to, but Braden is so scrawny, he can hardly pull it back. Richard is trying to get him to do some push ups and eat a little more to help him out. Yesterday morning we went in the yard and the boys practiced shooting the bow. They did pretty good, but we all starting dying laughing at this last shot Braden made. Now you know, he couldn't hit that nose again if he tried!

So then it was Bryce's turn. He did well. It was the first time he had ever shot a bow. Here he is with his shots:

If you know me at all, you know that I wasn't about to let those boys think they were better than me, so, yes, that is me.

I kicked their buts too!! I heard Braden say, "Man, and she's a girl". I love that. My boys will never think that girls can't kick their buts!! (At least until they get bigger than me!)
So, on to the football. Braden and Cade have been wanting to play tackle football for a couple of years. I wouldn't let them play because the program here by our house is all consuming for about three months. I can't do that. I found a program that is a little more laid back, and we decided to sign them up. Friday night we got all the equipment they will need. So yesterday Richard promised to play football with them. The problem was that by the time he got around to it, it had started raining. Oh, well, you can play football in the rain. Here they are looking too cute:

I love this one. Cade is mapping out a play on Richard's belly. Richard said to be sure I told you that he was intentionally poking his belly out, so Cade would have more room to write. OK, Honey, whatever you say!!

And here's the best one of all:

So what was Bryce doing during the football game?

Building a fort with the boxes I am packing with, of course. Bryce thinks that anyone who is going to play a game where they know they are going to get hit, is CRAZY! I have to say, he has a point.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Did YOU Watch?

Well, last night was the much anticipated High School Musical 2 on Disney channel. Disney has been promoting this movie HARD all summer long. They evidently know what they're doing because everyone I know around here was having a movie night with their kids. We did. I made a special trip to Walmart to make sure we had popcorn and other munchies. It was a cute movie, and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. They had already memorized some of the songs and were singing along. They were really cute. I don't think Richard appreciated it as much as the rest of us!
Here they are, my crew plus one:

Don't worry if you missed it. In true Disney style, I'm sure they will be playing it at least 300 more times!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

He's Nothing if Not Prepared

Can you tell what Cade has been working on? It's his Christmas List! He has actually been working on it for about a month now, but I never thought he would keep it up. As you can see, it has turned into a 3 page work of art. If you could see the back, you would see the glitter glue. He has cut, taped, colored, and tried to spell anything and everything he thinks he wants. Since he always has it close by, any commercial that comes on TV ends up on the list. The problem is that he assumes if it's on his list, Santa will come through for him. Usually they will tell me things throughout the year that they would like, but always forget before Christmas comes around. Not this year, Cade is prepared. Richard told him the other day that Santa won't bring him everything on his list. His reply, "But I've been working SO hard on it." He has a point. Honestly, makes me want to go out and buy every stinkin thing on there! One thing on the list he definitely won't be getting: a cell phone! He's 6! He thought he was pretty smart writing that down. He smiled at me and said, "I'm putting it on my list so Santa will bring it, that way you can't tell him not to". He has it all figured out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Well, It Happened

My oldest, Bryce, on his third whole day of Jr. High, looked at me this morning before we left for school and said, "Are you going to get dressed to bring me to school?". Now, granted, I just had on a T-shirt and some shorts, and no make-up, but I did have flip flops and a bra on!! It wasn't like I just rolled out of bed and jumped in the car! My reply was, "I am". He said "Oh, it just looks like you might have slept in it!!" The reason this is so funny to me is that this is the first indication that he cares about anything! He doesn't care if he has deodorant on, or if he's brushed his teeth, or if he's showered this week! He doesn't care what he wears each day, and I never even knew he ever noticed that I even wore clothes! So, I guess today was the beginning. Only the first of many times he will have to endure his embarrassing mother. You know the funniest part? As he was getting out of the car, I noticed that he hadn't even brushed his hair!! Oh, well, baby steps!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Great 1st Day of School Teacher Gift

I thought I'd let you know what I have done the past few years of school. The first day of school I get each teacher a big bottle of Advil and wrap it up. The note attached wishes them a terrific year and a hope that they will never need this gift. It also says, that in the event that they do need it, I hope that it's not because of my child. It always gets a great response from the teachers. They think it's really funny. And best of all, I earn Mommy points at school!! Just thought I'd share in case you want some extra points too!!

Of course, we wouldn't dare send it with Bryce to Jr. High this year. He would rather die!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Let's Roll

This is what Bryce said this morning when it was time to leave for school. I looked at him a little funny, and he said that they said that all the time a space camp. He doesn't remember it being used on 9/11. I love that they used it at space camp.

And yes, the day is here. All my little rug rats are delivered safely to school!! This was Bryce's first day in Jr. High. I was the one with butterflies as I dropped him off. I am praying that he finds a really good friend this year.

Bryce going to a different school definitely adds some excitement to my morning. His school starts an hour earlier than the elementary school. This means that he gets dropped off, then I go back home to get the other two ready and then bring them. This afternoon should be interesting also, doing two separate car lines. They don't ride the bus for a number of reasons. I am hoping once we move, the little ones will be able to do that.

And here are the little ones. Cade has been so excited that I am surprised he was able to sleep. He actually came into our bed in the middle of the night and said, "When is it time to get up and go to school?". I said, "In a few hours". He said, "Good.". He was so cute getting out of the car this morning. He thinks he's big stuff because he doesn't go to the kindergarten hall anymore!!

So what's a girl to do on the first day without the kids? First on the agenda: a Car Wash!!! I should really take some pictures of my car so you could see how bad it is, but I have decided not to embarrass myself like that. I also know that some of your cars are just as bad! Not anymore, I'm getting that thing cleaned first thing. Then, who knows, maybe I'll go get a pedicure!! Whatever it is, I am definitely going to enjoy it! I love being with my boys, but a little "me" time is good for everyone!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Life with all Boys

So today was the first day in a long time that we have all been home together without some big event. I have really been looking forward to it. We went this morning to run some errands. One of which was the golf store. Braden is the saver in the family, and he wanted to buy a new golf club with some of his money. He has been driving me crazy about it all week, but that was a Daddy job. I wouldn't have any idea what to get. While we were in there, this man was watching the boys and finally asked if they were all mine. It amazes me how many times I am asked that question. Like having 3 boys is unbelievable! I think it may be because they are closer in size than actual age. They were being pretty good until Cade jumped on Braden and they knocked a golf bag down. Richard made them sit on the floor in the middle of the store. They are well behaved, but very active. Even when they're being "good", they're still wild.

We then went to visit Richard's grandfather in the retirement home. He is 90 years old. He loves the boys, but they make him very nervous. They were sitting around the corner in some chairs minding their own business and someone who works there came to tell me that they were throwing food. Are you kidding me? Ends up, Bryce and Cade were throwing a little piece of french fry, left over from McDonalds, back and forth. Nothing on the floor. One little piece. Sorry lady, it takes alot more than that for this mom to get bent out of shape. Let me know when they knock the TV over or start tackling and punching each other!

I love having all boys. I can remember being upset when we found out that Cade was a boy. I really wanted him to be a girl. Of course, I got over that, and LOVE that he was a boy. He happens to be the craziest one, and adds excitement daily. As excited as I am to add a Chinababy to the mix, I'm a little worried that I won't know what to do with her. I'm sure we'll figure it out. But for now, I'll just deal with falling golf bags and food fights!

Friday, August 10, 2007

We're Melting Here!

Last night at 10:00 the news said the heat index was still 97 degrees!!! Are you kidding me? We have had heat indexes during the day of over 110. Our swimming pool now feels like a warm bath. Yuck! Have a good day, and try to stay cool!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Survivor Man!

We had a small, spur of the moment birthday party for Bryce when he got back from camp Tues. night. (My mom has those pictures because I was too busy playing with my new nephew. I'll post them when I get them.) My brother and SIL gave Bryce this survival backpack filled with all sorts of crazy stuff. Food rations, water, shelter, pocket tool (his favorite), etc., etc. I don't even know what else. All I know is that my brother was so excited about it, I think I might find him one for Christmas! Bryce LOVES it! Last night, this is what he was watching on TV:

Survivorman! All the boys in my house love Survivorman. I think anyone who intentionally gets himself lost and has to do all that stuff is crazy. Can you say 5 star?? Watching the show wasn't a surprise, but this is how I found him:

With his backpack, pulling out things that he could use as Survivorman was finding his way. Too funny! We have always thought Bryce looks like Joel. We realize now, they're more alike than we thought.
Here they are together at the beach this year:

Thanks Uncle Joel! He loves it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's Gone!

Well, school starts Monday! So it's back to school haircuts for the boys. Not any big deal for Bryce and Cade, but for Braden, it was BIG!! He has been growing his hair out since the spring, and it had gotten pretty long. Who knew it would curl like it did. This is a picture of Braden at his 1 year birthday. He had zero hair. It didn't really start growing until he hit 2. So I never had any baby curls to cut.

Fast forward 7 years and look at the curls!(I didn't make him take the hat off, because it wouldn't have been pretty.

And look at him now. The girl didn't cut it exactly how we wanted it, but that's what you get for a $10 haircut. He looks like a different kid.

NOW we're ready for school!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Bryce!

Today my first born, Bryce, turns 11!! I can't even believe that it has been 11 years since the day that I was in that hospital room waiting to see him for the first time. We didn't even know that he was a boy, so we were very excited to find out. For me, there was nothing quite like having that first baby. Of course, every birth is exciting, but experiencing it for the first time was like no other.

(I know I look rough, he may be a cutie, but he took 33 hours of labor to get here!)
Bryce was always a happy baby. He has been a blessing from day 1. Here he is at 3 months:

and about 9 months:

When Bryce turned 2, his world was turned upside down when Braden was born. He took it all in stride. He was never jealous and was always very helpful and loved Braden.

He has always been so photogenic. I love taking his picture. He always strikes a pose without me even telling him to. He is three here.

He loves frogs and being outside.

Here he is playing tball when he was 4.

As he started school. I was sad to see him go, but was so busy at home with the little ones, that I knew he would love it. He pretty much endured kindergarten because he got to ride the school bus. That is all he had ever wanted. He has always been a good student, though, and a blessing to all his teachers.

Look how handsome he is. This was taken at the beach a couple of years ago when he was 8.

Here he is last year after shooting his first deer.

And here he is now. Tall and handsome.

Bryce had grown into quite a young man. God has blessed him with many talents. He loves to build things and experiment with all kinds of things. He loves science, space, and learning. He is sensitive and considerate. He thinks that playing football, knowing you're going to get hit, is crazy. He is a very good brother. He is never demanding, and is very flexible with our family's crazy schedule. He likes to swim, play baseball, and hunt. He is loved more than he could know.

I thank God every day that He picked me to be your mom. You are such a blessing to our family. Thanks for being you, and for your sweet, kind spirit. I am so proud of you and the young man you are becoming. I pray that you will have such a good time in Jr. High this year. I can't believe you are that old! I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Baby.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Good Friends, Good Times

The past week has been filled with lots and lots of friends. We started out with my good friend Rachel bringing her kids over to spend a couple of nights. Rachel and I have been best friends since high school. I intended to get a picture of the two of us, but you know how that goes. She has three kids the same ages as mine. Her oldest is a girl. Here's a picture of all the kids hanging out.

Then another friend came with 3 of her 5 boys! She wanted to see the house we're building, but I didn't feel comfortable with 9 children (8 boys 1 girl) running through the house. I just knew someone would get hurt. So we put a movie on in the car and let them sit there for a little while. I took this picture because it is just too funny. I assure you, we did not drive this way!!

That group left and so did Bryce. He is at church camp until Tuesday (which is his birthday!). I hope he's having a good time. They don't let them call home, but I know he's having a blast. Since I'm down a kid, thought I'd better add another. Cade's best friend John Ashley spent the last two nights with us. These boys have spent almost every waking hour outside. From swimming, to baseball, to trampoline, to building forts, to fishing. They have done everything. Here are a couple pictures of them:
They had a blast making their hair do crazy things

We have a 2 acre back yard. I went to look for the boys and found them just like this all the way in the back of the lot. They were building a fort.

Here's a close up. Aren't they cute?

I have fishing pictures, but they're on my mom's camera. (Can you believe I forgot mine?) I'll get those soon and post about that.

Well, it's time to start getting these kiddos ready for bed. Tonight we will start changing our bodies back to school time. School starts one week from tomorrow!!!! Yikes! No more leisure evenings, staying up however late we want, no more sleeping in. For those of you with younger kids, just know that it is SO nice when they get older and start sleeping late!!! Part of me is ready to get back to the grind - but not really.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just in Case You Thought We Were Civilized!

On our way to bring Bryce to Space Camp, Richard wanted to spend some time at the hunting camp. He has been working really hard to make it a place that I won't mind spending some time. It's a work in progress, but I appreciate him thinking of me. Lord knows, those boys could sleep anywhere! He still thinks that I will somehow decide that I want to hunt (which I won't), but I don't mind doing all the outdoor stuff. After all, with three boys, I either participate or get left behind. I don't really do well being left behind. So, we spent two nights at the camp for some quality time together! It was fun, and the boys have a blast out there. They get to explore and shoot their BB guns. I thought I would show you what they were shooting at:

Can you tell what it is? It's a frog in the lake. Here's what the boys looked like:

Yes, I'm afraid it's true: They are a bunch of rednecks!!! (Notice I didn't include myself in that statement!) As much as I hate to admit it, I love it all at the same time.
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