Friday, October 30, 2015

Band Photos

We got Jasmine's band photos back. Unfortunately, she doesn't show in the photo of the whole band. She's behind someone. You can only see the side of her head! Can you find her?(Remind's me of Mike W's picture on Monsters Inc)

They took pictures by section too. Here is the percussion section.

And Jasmine

Be sure to check out my parenting blog for the chance to win a really nice book for your favorite toddler. HERE

Monday, October 26, 2015

Crazy Week

Jessica and I only have one more Friday of classes. They are six weeks in the fall and six weeks in the spring. We are already talking about what classes to take in the spring. She will have a baby to consider! 

Special effect setting on my camera.

Jasmine continues to feel more relaxed in her new school. She is still struggling with the work, and three of her grades are low, but much less stress and more realistic expectations.

I was able to go to Jessica's ultra sound. Everything is fine, and she is at 30 weeks. It's going to be a large baby. 

Me as shepherd (like chaplain) for our American Heritage Girls
We are reading through the book of Proverbs this month as we do every October. I got tired of breakfast food and made them a totally sugary treat at 5 a.m.

Here's my facebook post for that day:
Peanut butter and Proverbs
Proverbs day 23 Commit yourself to instruction listen carefully to words of knowledge.
What they are eating: Mom's Peanut butter Fix (If you don't eat sugar, don't even read this)
1c sugar 
1c light corn syrup (light color, not calories!)
2c peanut butter 
4c corn flakes or cheerios
Combine the sugar and syrup in a pan. Heat stirring constantly until it boils or your arm falls off. Boil one minute. Add the peanut butter, stirring constantly. When the peanut butter is blended, add the cereal. Gently stir into mixture. Remove from heat. Let sit one minute. Drop by spoonful onto the waxed paper or eat from the pan to save time.
Kaleb had a swim meet Saturday. It was a 10 and under meets so fairly short and not nearly as many kids and events as a full meet.

He swam a lap of the 200m relay, 50m front crawl, 50 m back crawl and 50 m breast stroke. There is only one distance for each age group. All the 10 year olds swam 50 meters of whichever of the four strokes they swam. ( and unders swam 25m of whatever stroke they swam). There were not other distances for them. That's why the 10 and under meets go quickly. 

He shaved seconds off of both front and back crawl from last time.

He was more confident too. The pool where he practices doesn't have start blocks so none of the kids who swim there know how to do starts. They lose a lot of time on them. He almost did a somersault off the block and went really deep on his starts, so he lost a lot of time.

They had him swim breast stroke, but he doesn't really know how to do it. I talked to him about touching with both hands at the same time, but he DQ'd for both his arm strokes and his kicks. He really wasn't ready. Six out of 13 in his group DQ'd.

Jasmine's band had a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at one of the very expensive restaurants in town. It was on Sunday when the restaurant is normally closed. The kids did all the work--cooking, seating, serving busing tables etc. Jasmine was a server, and she loved it.

It was a western theme for the band.

The $10 meal included salad, spaghetti, a roll and cake. It was really good.

Tyler took Jasmine and Kaleb to his church fall  festival. Our church had one too, but neither Rick nor I felt like going back for it once we got home from the spaghetti dinner.

This is only a bit of what we did this past week.

Right now I am car searching. I am driving a Ford Expedition with 258,000+ miles. I fear it will not make many more long trips. I may keep it for Ty.

I am between an X Terra (which is two hours away), a 2010 with 120,443 miles, so high mileage for $12,900 asking price and Ford Escape 2012 with 89,360 miles asking price $14,376.

Yes, I am going with a smaller car. Jasmine will be able to drive it. Rick has a van so we can trade off if I have more kids than seats.

Any thoughts? I am talking to the credit union about the loan this week. They have a 1.74% loan until the 31st. I have to be able to afford the payments since I don't have any book contracts in the works right now. If needs be, I'll  substitute teach, though I'd rather write. Pray me in a contract :) And consider sticking copies of some of my books in stockings this year. Seriously, Christian authors get from 25 cents to 75 cents a book most of the time so it takes a lot of books to add up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marching MPA

Sometimes it's strange to think of Jasmine in high school. With the older ones, it wasn't that way. But it just doesn't seem like Jasmine should be in high school already.

Yet, here we are.
Ready for school
Heading to marching band practice. The band practices for two and a half hours in the evening two days a week both in the fall and in the spring. Percussion, which includes Jasmine, practices an extra hour. So Jasmine isn't able to do dance this year because her classes were the same time as practice. But she still has Monday night choir.
On Saturday 15 bands performed three songs each for a panel of judges.Even though they didn't play until 8:00 pm, Jasmine's director required them there at 10 am. This school takes band very seriously. And MPA is always at the football field at Jasmine's school. The other schools didn't arrive until 3:00 when MPA actually started. Her band practiced from 10 until lunch, hung out for a couple of hours, went over and watched some of the smaller bands, went back to the school and changed, and then watched the bigger bands. She performed last.
The bands received ratings of superior (best), excellent, and good for music, marching, auxiliary (flags, batons) and overall performance. I think there are lower ratings, but they don't call them out. For one band they called "comments only" instead of a score.
 I watched Jessica perform in marching MPA for three years. 
It took me a bit to get a picture of her because she burst into tears when they got straight Superiors. There was a lot of stress on them for this performance.

We're glad this is behind us. The bands have concert MPA in March, so it's going to get stressful again after Christmas. They also have a band trip to Chattanooga in April. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Adam is having a tough time. He's making decisions about his career and trying to get into police or sheriff academy. And he's unsure about a lot of things. A lot of it is his private  story, so I won't share it. Only the part that's public thanks to facebook and other social media.

 On top of the decisions he's having to make, he broke up with his girlfriend (a few weeks back).

Then he took in a pit bull that needed a home and fell in love with her.

 Last night someone came over to his apartment in the middle of
the night to talk to him. They let the dog escape, and he found her dead by the side of the road this morning.

He's really going through a lot. Please pray he stays strong to his beliefs and values and doesn't react to all this by doing something less than wise. Sometimes being twenty can be tough. Sometimes being mom to adult kids can be tough.

I did what any mom would do. Made him supper.

He came over and played with Sash and Travis. Wasn't sure how he'd feel about being around the dogs, but they all know him.
We talked for a bit about his future plans, and then he left to pick up a friend. But I know he's missing his dog. They ran together three times a day, and that leaves a big void.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Weekend

On Fridays, Jessica and I have photography and sign language at the local college. (I'm getting ready for school as I write this.)   They are community classes though, not college classes. Photography is from 9-11:45 and sign language is 1-3:45.

There are 13 of us in photography. The teacher will go over a camera setting and then go around person to person to make sure everyone understands. That means we have a lot of time sitting and waiting. So we amuse ourselves by taking pictures of each other.

We were late to class because the baby was craving McDonald's pancakes. Or that's the story at least.

It was that kind of day.

In class.

The teacher sent us outside on break.

Sign language class is very annoying because there is one lady who thinks it's her private class. Every few minutes she interrupts to ask a question that gets the teacher totally off track, example-what's the difference between how you sign in Canada and Mexico. Really? But the teacher gives her a complete answer each time. She also stops every few minutes to say, "But I learned to sign it like this" and shows a different sign which results in another 5-10 minute discussion of outdated or alternative signs. Then the teacher tries to catch up by going through 30 signs in 5 minutes of which I retain one if I'm lucky! In three weeks time, I have only learned the manual alphabet, numbers to 10 and maybe 10 signs! 

Last Saturday the American Heritage Girls had camp out at a state park an hour away. It was a family event but unfortunately only Jasmine and I were able to go. We only went for a couple of hours in the evening. I did a devotion about glowing in the dark from Matthew 5 and used glo sticks to illustrate. I started by holding one glo stick. I called girls up one at a time to get a glo stick and add to our light.

I don't have any pictures of that, but I have some of Jasmine cooking supper.

Adam brought his dog Leah over on Saturday, and that did not go well. She and Travis went after each other. Travis is a Pomeranian/Maltese/dachshund mix (12 pounds) and Leah is a Pitt Bull mix (45 pounds).

There was no school Monday, so four of us went kayaking. Unfortunately, we are having some behavioral issues here that are keeping a couple children from taking part in some activities. It's all about choices. I tell them that, and the counselor tells them that. It's escalating, so they are requiring a lot more supervision and structure to keep them safe and on track.

There used to be two bookcases along this wall. I often used them as a backdrop for photos. I gave away a lot of books and moved the rest, along with a bookcase, to our closet. I wanted to have another wall for pictures. I have two empty frames because I don't have recent photos of Jeff and Adam. Most of these photos are ones I took at the park. Kaleb and Jessica's aren't. The rest are. I plan to take more sometime soon. I took some of Kaleb in a tree last time, but he looked scared.

These are the church directory photos and the graduation photos for four of the children. The little picture in the middle was taken at Rick's sister's funeral. It's him, his parents, Ashley and her children. I wish the composition was better, but someone just snapped it. I'll have to add a row of graduation pictures along the top all too soon.

Jessica will be here to pick me up for class soon. She lives near the college, but brings her dogs to daycare near me. It's a long way out of her way to bring me back, but this way Ty has a car to pick the younger kids up from school.

Check out my latest post on my parenting blog HERE and our Proverbs for the day HERE.