Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ode to Dad on his 60th Birthday


Many, many years ago
in the good ole days of polio,
when Clint Eastwood was just a lad,
A man was born who I call Dad.

Your parents called you Michael Pete,
what your sisters called you I shan't repeat.
I don't really know what you were like as a boy
I'm sure you would say that you were a joy.

You were living your life all hunky dory,
then comes a good part of this story.
You joined the army to make your way,
God brought this little lady & you married her straightaway.

Ya'll had one kid & he was alright,
The next one, well - what a delight!
Another fateful day, God said "don't squack"
But I want you to lead my flock.

So you went on to become a preacher,
from South Louisiana - an unusual creature.
Around that time our family grew again
with the addition of Kelly Lynn.

Now many years later those kids are grown
Living out in the world on our own.
You're a Papaw now and a good one at that.
You run in the morning so you don't get fat.

Dear old Dad you're just so funny.
You like to collect toys and money.
You can tell a good story and have us all rollin,
but you're accident prone so we don't take you bowlin.

You love your family & we love you too.
The girls love their Papaw & eating your fruit.
We're so thankful for you & the life that you've had,
I look forward to many more years with Dear old Dad! 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


  Life has been extra exciting lately - Nathan accepted a new job position and will be starting next week! So, we decided to take a little weekend trip with the family I'm not going to call it relaxing, but it was fun.

We drove down to Dallas and stopped to picnic on the way.

Our first stop in Dallas was the Arboretum. It was the #1 rated attraction on Trip Advisor. It was really beautiful, just hot! The best part was the temporary exhibit, these glass sculptures that were created specifically to display there. They will have this exhibit until November and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

the girls loved running through the grass! I don't blame them, do you? I told Nathan he needs to make our yard look like this, ha!

After the gardens we went back to the hotel, which was wonderful. We changed then went to eat at IHOP. The girls devoured everything so we had to order more food, which they also devoured! I don't think that's ever happened before.

We went down to the swimming pool and had it to ourselves for a while. The girls loved swimming in the pool but mostly playing in the hot tub!

In the morning we ate breakfast then went to the butterfly gardens. It's really hard to see the butterflies in the pictures but rest assured they were everywhere. It was neat.

Then we went downtown and rode the vintage streetcar. Again, neat but hot!

Afterwards we shopped at the galleria, played there, then went back to the hotel to swim some more. This time it was crowded but of course the girls made some friends with people there. At one point Emory asked this big burly man "are you a boy?" which he & his family found hilarious.

The next morning was my pick - IKEA. It was lots of fun, just crazy busy. We shopped for a while with everyone then we were able to put all but Emory in the childcare where they got to play. We got a really cool surprise for the kids too. I'll just leave you in suspense on that.

We stopped and ate on the way home and made it just in time to see the Saline County Fireworks that were rescheduled from 4th of July! The girls liked it much better this year, though Avery was shaking and hiding her face for a while. They still ask if we are going to eat watermelon and watch with Andy & Liz like we did when they were 1, I think. They hated those fireworks but I think they are finally over the trauma, ha!

When we got home my brother and sis in law were still there to greet us. They drove up the week before from New Orleans and ended up staying a whole week because they didn't have power. It was good to see them again before they left Monday morn.

Monday we relaxed then that evening got together with friends. All in all a nice, fun long weekend and some good memories!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Great Basement Redo cont...

Oops, it's been over a month since I last blogged. Of course it would stand to reason that the busier we are, the more I need to blog and the less time there is to do it! But I do what I can :)

So here's what we did yesterday...

 It's amazing in a month's time you can go from this...

to this...

And in between we've been doing a lot of this - 
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So thankful for friends & family who have pitched in and helped us so much! We always tell people - don't offer if you don't mean it cause we'll probably call you, ha! We were on our own yesterday though. The girls got into some mischief and then "helped" us out a little too but got most of it done. They loved playing in the big empty space when it was done too.

We still have to tile the bathroom, somehow I'm doubtful that will be done in one day.
The checklist also includes: painting the bathroom, laying tile as I said, tiling bath/shower area, installing sink, building 3 closets, painting kids space under stairs, building shelves & storage, molding, windows, and so on... So still lots to do but we're getting there! And I'm enjoying the process, honestly.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

 HAPPY 4th of JULY

Craft Time & Basement Progress

Happy Birthday, America!

We made some 4th of July crafts today - sand painting and Q-tip fireworks (thx Ashley & Pinterest). I'm always looking for anything to keep the gals busy for a little while and they do love to do crafts. I also tried to throw in a little lesson on the history of America. It was a little difficult cause History's not my strongest subject and I tried to find a globe to explain how America wanted independence from England which was across the ocean but Nathan hid the globe somewhere. Then Kaleigh wanted to know "how could the people in England be telling America what to do if they were all the way across the ocean?" I racked my brain but told her to ask her Daddy later...

We also got some sheetrock for the basement. And my that I mean we got sheetrock. And it's sitting in the basement up against the walls. But we are not putting it up ourselves so it shouldn't be long before it is actually up! I liked watching the truck deliver it. So did all the girls. Of course Nathan was a little worried about the truck pulling up in our yard. But you see the guy that was delivering the stuff? He was about 7 ft tall. I told him he could do anything he wanted! :) Kidding, he was very nice and with the ground being rock hard, they didn't mess it up at all. I couldn't care less about our yard right now, Im more concerned about the inside of our house :)

dressing up & posing
oh the things they find fun...
Lots of stuff going on this week but I'll try to keep ya "posted". Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, June 30, 2012


As I said, we have been enjoying the library's fun summer activities. They recently had an Alice in Wonderland Tea party with games, crafts, and snacks. The girls had a great time!
Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

Alexis, Mad Hatter

Cheshire Cat Cookies

Tommy Terrific was at the library this past week. He is part magician/part comedian and all fun! We love to see him, this is the third year in a row, I think. I wasn't sure what the twins would think of him, they tend to scare easily, ha! But they enjoyed him, although Avery sat on my lap for most of it. 
Tommy Terrific Magic Show

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What We've Been Doing...

Creative title, huh? I can't believe over a month has gone by since I last posted! I did do a few things on facebook but I still want to keep my blog too. So here are some pics and descriptions of what we did in May.

Kaleigh had her Kindergarten program at school, "How does your garden grow?" She was a green pea. My friends were very concerned the Thursday night before the program when I hadn't started on her  costume! I had it all planned in my mind :) Anyway, Nitzia intervened and finished did most of the costume for me. She looked so cute, even though she still wanted to be one the flowers. She had a little speaking line and did great. Kaleigh had a wonderful Kindergarten year. I think her reading amazes me most of all. This summer we will continue reading and I want her to work on journaling and writing too. She is good at writing but takes a long time so she needs to practice doing it a little faster. I think she's just a perfectionist. She came home from school and pulled out a manila envelope and said "look, Mommy. It's nothing very good." I opened it and she said "homework". "They sent us homework to do this summer." LOL. So she will do her homework this summer too. I mean seriously it takes her all of 5 minutes to finish a day's worth, ha! I hate to see her reaction when she gets hours worth.

 I'm just going to post the rest in pictures with a few comments in between.

Nathan's fine catches on a weekend fishing trip with buddies

 We went on our annual trip to the zoo. That's all we normally go, just one time a year and it's enough! It was fun, Patti always helps me out but it was a little sad that this was the first year Kaleigh wasn't with us. I felt like a traitor :) .

Avery was in a mood...
Emory - chatting it up with the miniature pony! She'll talk to anyone or anything!

The one animal Alexis wanted to see at the zoo was a cow - so we found her cow!
Mother's Day picture with the girls and Nana
Berry Picking - And these girls were good!
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Enjoying the lake with friends on Memorial Weekend

We plan to participate in a lot of the library's activities this summer. They do all sorts of neat things and you can win prizes if you complete your goals. We would be reading anyway so it makes plenty of sense for us. My kids are slowly learning how to behave in the library. We've had to make several hasty departures b/c we stayed a little too long and they had run out of "good", ha!

We recently went to a Eric Carle party at the library. This was a family event for us. It was funny b/c I think half the people there were from our church. We played the games and entered a contest and Kaleigh won two tickets to Tinseltown! As you can see, Nathan had fun too.:)

Fun at the library!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Couponing you Can do!

Thrifty Thursday pt, 2

So you've heard about couponing and you're interested, but you're not sure you want to commit half your waking hours to clipping coupons, scouring grocery ads, comparing prices, driving store to store, etc. Well, I've found a system that works for our family and it only takes a little extra time and saves me at least 25% I would say.

Things to know about couponing before you start:

Coupons +sales = great deals! - the key to using coupons and really saving money is to use the coupons when items are already on sale
Stocking up is key - try for a 6-8 week supply if possible, consider a deep freeze (buy used from Craigslist, newspaper, yard sale or estate sale) however;
Don’t buy stuff if you won’t use it or it will go bad before you can use it, and
Don’t go overboard. However much money you save, it’s probably not worth having to buy a new house or putting all your kids in one room just to store all of your great bargains!
Understand sales - items tend to go on sale in cycles, ex. Frozen goods, paper goods, canned, etc. This is the reason to save coupons and stock up during a sale
Have target/goal prices for certain items - ex. $1 for cereal, 50cents toothpaste, $1 yogurt, etc. Stick to this as much as possible. Refuse to buy above a certain price and make do until a sale comes along again.

Take advantage of double coupons -
Get a rain check if necessary, also know when stores restock

My Personal Couponing Technique:

1.Start collecting coupons - can take a few weeks. Get Sunday paper & write date on front of coupon inserts. Keep in order.  Print off desired coupons.  Keep all coupons until they are expired! I keep all my coupons in a drawer at home. Here are some common coupon sources:
  • Sunday paper - RedPlum, Smart Source & Proctor&Gamble are the most common distrubutors of coupons. On the front on the coupon insert it will say which company they are from and the date is on the outside spine. These are used to identify the coupons when you use a web site to match up
  • Friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors can save extra coupons for you if they don't use them. Even those who do use coupons may not need the ones you do and you could exchange
  • Blinkies, tear pads & peelies - these are found either on the product or on the shelf next to the product. Sometimes you may know about these ahead of time but sometimes not
  • Home mailers - signing up on websites, using store card, etc.
  • Catalinas - coupons that print off after receipt, comes from buying certain products, normally I know about these ahead of time but sometimes I'm surprised!
  • Websites - Smartsource.com, coupons.com   - I don’t print my coupons until I’m ready to shop, unless I see a really good one that I know I will use. Some prefer to print any they may use at the beginning of the month. I don’t like to waste ink & paper on ones that will not be used…
  • Ecoupons - P&G esaver, cellfire (these coups don’t double)
  • Magazines - All You magazine
2.    Check store ads & match sales with coupons - coupon mom.com is a good one to start. I prefer to use Deal Seeking mom. On the blue navigation bar, far right is an option that says "store deals". I do 90% of my shopping at Kroger now and will use this to find the best deals currently at Kroger. All the work is done for me! I just select the deals I want and...     
3.    Make list then print off/clip any coupons needed.
4.    Shop & Save! Don’t forget to always use store card if applicable.   

Couponing can become a very practical way of life but it doesn’t need to be Extreme! Consider what your time is worth and do what works best for your family. If you take it too far, you will probably get burnt out eventually.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mothering Monday

there was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

I'm not going to do all my post titles with alliteration from now on, but it does make it slightly easier somehow. I guess it's just part of the preacher's daughter coming out in me too.

We had a great day in church yesterday. I mean not that it's ever bad, but yesterday for me was just exceptional. Sunday School & Sunday morning were great lessons, we didn't have nursery duty, so that's always a plus. Sunday evening we had our parenting class then the sermon Sunday night was just excellent. I tried to take notes but I think I just ended up writing the entire sermon down!

But what I want to talk about is our parenting class. It's four weeks and being taught by a couple who are missionaries at home on furlough (?) right now. They have four kids and wrote the curriculum themselves. This week's lesson was on discipline. Seriously, how can you condense the topic of discipline into one hour long lesson? But they actually did a really good job of hitting the high points. I know we could have stayed all night and as my friend commented, we needed to do the exact same lesson all over again next week just to let it sink in well! But afterwards I was really inspired to do a better job of training and disciplining our girls.

Then I talked to Nathan. He was so down. He was just overwhelmed. But I really feel that with a few changes on our part we can see big improvement in the girls' behavior.

So today I decided to work on two major areas on my part: being consistent and not yelling but remaining calm as I discipline. And to focus on a couple of specific behaviors with the kids - tantrums and fighting for the littles, and for Kaleigh back-talking and pestering. They were actually pretty good today but I did have some issues. I want to really stick with this and see some positive changes in our household. I think the problem I've had in the past is that I get on these "kicks" of really staying on them for a few days, their behavior does improve, then I slack off again. In no time things are back to wild.

And obviously one problem I have is that with housework I can't be quite as involved as I need to be. I also worked today on having the twins help pick up and clean up. It was a low-key day so I had some extra time which worked out well. If I can keep in my mind that this is all an investment in their future and ours, I think that will help a lot.

I'm also looking forward to really getting into some spiritual training with the kids. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

I've been wanting to start this weekly segment for a while. It may just be this week, ha! But hopefully I can keep up with it somewhat. Maybe every other week, anyway. Those of you who know me & my hubby know that we are into saving $ bigtime! We don't really have a choice. He has a slightly above average paying job, I'm a stay at home mom, and we have 4 kids. I'm almost positive that people would assume that Nathan makes a lot more than he does, based on how we live and the fact that we have almost no debt, other than our mortgage. So those are our "credentials", so to speak. And when I do this "segment" I will share some of the things we do regularly to save money.

The first tip I want to share is

"BUY USED"- Buying used will almost always save you anywhere from 50% - 95% off of regular price. When I look around our house I see so many things that we got used. Here is a list of the kinds of things you can get used -
  • furniture
  • appliances, large & small
  • adult clothing
  • kids clothing
  • toys
  • home decor
  • recreational & exercise equipment
  • hobby items
  • collectables
  • etc,etc,etc...
You can see that aside from food, there's not much that isn't on this list.
And I don't think it's ever been easier to find the used things that you are looking for. There are so many ways to get secondhand items these days:
  • Garage & yard sales
  • craigslist
  • ebay
  • newspaper classifieds (also online!)
  • facebook online yard sales
  • thrift stores
  • consignment stores
  • consignment sales
  • flea markets
  • antique stores
  • Estate sales
  • asking people
  • etc, etc, etc...
 Some tips for buying bigger items 2ndhand:
  • When possible, view item first, look over carefully and ask for a lower price if necessary
  • If item was misrepresented, don't be afraid to ask for your $ back 
  • don't wait till you're desperate to start looking for something - if your fridge is 27 years old, start shopping now! Don't wait till it goes out and you have to pay full price at Sears.
  • be cautious with electronics - I probably wouldn't buy a used tv or camera unless I knew the person selling it & why which leads into my next point
  • Ask why they are selling the item, if you need to. Are they just upgrading or is something wrong with it? Maybe it's an easy fix, they just didn't want to mess with it. Or they had white & wanted stainless, etc.
  • Safety & quality - with fabrics & clothing I always look for non-smoking with children in the home. Also on toys & kids' items, if it's broken, damaged or old, it could be dangerous so be careful
When not to buy used:

I've heard it all on this, ranging from ridiculous "I just can't drive a used car". Oh really, is it not capable of taking you where you need to go? To reasonable "I can buy it new for just a little more and get exactly what I want." This is legit. And if you have the money and want to spend it, go for it. We've been married ten years and have yet to buy new living room furniture, but we will one day. We have the money now, but I prefer to let my 3 year olds and 2 year old ruin my $150 used sectional, not $2000 furniture! Once they're out of the spilled milk, potty accident, chocolate smearing stages, we will talk.  I've heard people say about appliances - I'd rather get a new one that will last than a used one that would go out sooner. Well, consider a washing machine - you can get on all day long for $150. You could replace that at least 4 times before paying what you would for a new one! Trust me, it's a no-brainer. Even if you do get burned a couple times. I try not to buy poor quality items either. If I'm in a hurry and get something home that is messed up, out it goes. It is a poor misconception that used=lower quality. If it makes you feel better, think of it as vintage or shabby chic!

So those are my thoughts. I'm interested in hearing what you think. Is any of this new to you? Any arguments? Our lifestyle may seem extreme to some, but I don't feel deprived in the least. We try to enjoy the process of saving money. It really can be fun! Sure, there are things that I would love to have and don't but I can't imagine anyone would say otherwise. Not anyone reading this blog anyway, ha!

For me it all comes back to being content & what the bible has to say about it.

Phillipians 4: 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    Thursday, April 05, 2012

    Destined for Greatness...

    Doesn't every parent immediately wonder what their kids will be like/do when they grow up? Come on, admit it! I read my kids a Little Golden book "The Bunny Book".

    The people in the book all dream of what baby bunny will be when he grows up. I used to read this when I was a kid!

    So anyway, after it was over I asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up...

    Avery said "a clown!" I'm thinking she could definitely pull this one off...

    Alexis said "a princess, a pretty princess". (not an ugly one,ha!)  I think she's already got this one down!

    Kaleigh said "a cheerleader when I'm a teenager, then a teacher". Very doable...

    And Baby Emory. What does she want to be? Well, she answered the question the way she answers all serious questions - with the answer that is almost always right.


    Okay, Emory. If you said you wanted to be like Jesus, we could get on board. But the title of Savior of the World is already taken :)

    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Identical Twin Girls - the story of Avery & Alexis

    (Welcome guests of Kelly's Korner)

    Our twin "journey" or more appropriately "adventure" began when our oldest, Kaleigh, was 2. We started talking about having another one after she was about 27 months. After about 4 months of trying, a test confirmed that I was preggo. And at that point I was already feeling symptoms. Nausea, soreness, constipation. What?! I couldn't have been more than 2 weeks along. I made the comment to my husband that "something just felt wrong". Twins never crossed my mind! Within another week or two I'd tried every anti-nausea drug on the market, along with every home remedy. I ended up in the ER not able to eat, sleep, or hold anything down. I will never forget that first ultrasound as I laid in a semi-comatose state, my husband holding my hand. The tech got on the phone with someone who could see what she was seeing.

    "Is that? ... Uh, huh... Yeah, I thought so".

    Back to us she pointed to the monitor and said "Here's your baby.... And here's your other baby". I literally gasped and sat straight up, now fully awake. Nathan just started laughing. Then crying, then laughing again.

    After spending a day or two in the hospital getting fluids and eating some, I went home. Somehow through the grace of God I pushed through that trying first trimester. Also zofran, herbal teas. We had fun sharing our news with friends and family. I was told at some point that the babies were in the same sac, which is pretty rare and dangerous. I tried not to worry too much over that and just prayed about it. My mom especially was praying also. At about 12 weeks or so, we found out that there was a membrane there, it just couldn't be seen early on.

    At 19 weeks I went in for my gender ultrasound. I had gotten pretty big by then and was feeling a lot of pressure down below. "Just twins and your 2nd pregnancy is what friends and my doctor said". They did the ultrasound and said "Two girls!" We were fine either way, just waiting for that "they both look great and healthy". That didn't come...

    The doctor came in and basically told us we needed to see a high risk specialist right away. I was bawling and wanting to know what was wrong. He didn't say much to help. We couldn't get an appointment that day so we made one for the next day. I don't think I slept much that night. The next day we found out the diagnosis. Twin to twin transfusion. I didn't get a stage, but I think it was pretty advanced. He told us we needed to do something or we would likely lose them both. The best & only real option was laser surgery. We didn't think about it long, we had them call down to Houston and make the appointment. It was for the next day. We went home, packed our bags and started driving after alerting our prayer warriors.

    I should add here two significant things - first, this ultrasound was at 19 weeks, not the standard 20. Another week might well have been too late. Also, this laser surgery is only done at 4 places in the U.S. One happened to be within driving distance for us... God was definitely watching over us!
    When we got to this huge medical complex and found the doctors, they walked us through the procedure and explained the risks and possible outcomes. It was all scary but didn't change anything for us. We also found out a further complication. My cervix was much more open than it should have been, basically I was close to going into labor. They put in a cerclage for that and also prescribed bedrest.

    The surgery went well. Those people are miracle workers and I thank God for them and the way they are using their gifts to save lives. But at this point was the most difficult time of my life so far. I was on bedrest for 13 weeks. My friends and family stepped in and came to help take care of me and Kaleigh while Nathan was working. I didn't realize it at the time but I was major depressed and constantly anxious about the babies. I went in for bi-weekly ultrasounds and got to be reassured that the babies were growing properly now. At 33 weeks I went in and Avery hadn't grown since the visit before so my doctor decided it was time for them to be born. I had a c-section. They were 3 lbs, 10 oz and 3 lbs, 13 oz. They were very healthly though, and spent 17 days in NICU putting on a little weight. We brought them home around 5 lbs!

    Those first few months were a blur. We survived is about it. Constant feedings, changing, doctor visits, etc. But overall they did very well. They had some developmental delay and got therapy for a little while but are now completely caught up. For some reason potty training was awful. They were well into their 3rd year before that was done. I've heard this from other parents of multiples.

    Now my thoughts on the ups & downs of twins. I'll start with the negative first.

    The difficult part of having young twins (from my point of view)
    1. the pregnancy - filled with potential complications, a twin pregnancy can be very stressful, although some thrive and do perfectly
    2. the first year - lets face it, the first year with one baby is hard, two is just rough. And more than that - downright scary! less sleep, more laundry, more dishes, just more work...
    3. extra expense - twice as many diapers, aahh! Or you can do like me and have another baby 16 months later = 3 in diapers! Plus two cribs, more clothes, etc. I don't think you need two of everything, they can rotate between swings, bouncers, etc. And think used!
    4.  fighting in the older years - a constant companion is also a constant rival
    5. it's hard to go places - all the stuff times two, then two babies, more if you have other kids. sometimes it's just not worth it. For the past three years I've done most of my grocery shopping at 9:00 at night, even though I'm a stay-at-home mom.  
    The benefits of twins:

    1. two at once! - pregnancy is hard, if you can get two out of the way at one time, all the better...
    2. they're doing the same thing at the same time - it's not always twice as much work to do the same thing twice. at times it's a lot easier than having two kids different ages, keep them on the same schedule and you will help yourself out a lot
    3. the like the same things - same toys, same tv shows, etc.
    4. they play together and entertain each other - it's a special bond that twins share
    5. lots of attention - it can be annoying if you're in a hurry, but mostly it's fun to see the reactions. people are just fascinated by twins. And they automatically think you're an awesome parent. I'm not sure I understand this...
    6. constant playmates - now that they are 3, my twins play together so wonderfully. There is much less fighting than even a year ago. they love to be together even just looking at books. It's fun to watch their unique personalities develop as they grow
    7.  Kids are a blessing so twins are double the blessing. Twice as much love!