Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Family Picture

It has been several years since we've had a family picture made. We had the opportunity to get one this week for our church directory or we still would not have gotten it done. Setting up an appointment was easy with three days to choose from. Preparation was a whole 'nother thing.

What do we have everyone wear?

Since this was our first in a long time, we had some pretty high standards. We were going to try coordinate the colors everyone would wear...only we started discussing this a mere two days before our appointment. After consulting my closet (since, surprisingly, Jason Slade has more clothes than I do...sad, I know), we finally decided that Jason Slade would wear a pale blue Polo that closely matched a pale blue sweater I had. Grace would wear a pale pink dress (what else?) and the boys would wear matching Polos. With my hurt leg, this put Jason Slade in charge of taking the boys shopping for Polos.  What color for the boys?  Jason Slade suggested a pale blue--something a little lighter than ours. I chimed in with "As long as it doesn't clash."

(Screeching halt to the conversation.)

Jason Slade said (among other things), "You have to remember, when you say the word 'clash''re not talking to a woman. When you say 'clash,' I just think of cymbals."

Now, I have never claimed to be a fashionable person, but I can understand what "clashing" is. In fact, I probably dress more conservatively than most simply because I do not want to err on the "clashing" side, especially since I know I don't know much about fashion as it is. I spent the next few minutes trying to make him understand this concept. I finally said, "'Clashing' just means it looks weird," and he said, "OK." (Not that he acutally understood--it was more an attempt to end the conversation. I let it go.)

The shirts were found, they didn't clash, and everything went well enough. Well, aside from the time or ten that Josiah crossed him arms and said that he wasn't going to smile. Why? Because he was mad that we wouldn't let him play outside...

For the thirty minutes or so in between him getting completely dressed until we were walking out the door. Poor thing.

Oh, and he smiled, all right. Mr. "You Can't Make Me Smile" showed all of his teeth in every single shot.

Robert, on the other hand? The photographer asked him if he had any teeth. (And, yes, it got a nice smile from him.)

Grace proved to be the most difficult out of the bunch. She kept looking to the side (she does that all the time with me, too--drives me a little nuts), did weird things with her eyebrows, and kept crossing her arms across her chest.

And I promise you, she just started doing that as we were waiting for our appointment. (Now, as I write this, I think it came from Josiah's pouting about how he was not going to smile.)

After we got home, Grace told me, "When dat big guy took my pi'ture, I not look at him," as she shook her head and furrowed her brow. She continued, changing to vigorous nodding and a sincere smile, "But when you take my pi'ture, I'll look at you, Mommy."

I'll hold her to that. Because this is what I typically get:

But these are my favorites in the parade of bad pictures...because this one from May 2008

looks strangely like this one from April 2009.

You Capture: Joy


This is Week 10 of the You Capture blog carnival hosted by Beth over at I Should Be Folding Laundry. Each week Beth presents a new challenge and this week’s challenge was Joy.

I'm still recovering from my leg injury so I haven't been on my feet much this last week...and I couldn't exactly grab my camera every time I saw what looked like a good shot. I did hobble out to the back yard for these photos, though. I love the look on Grace's face!

And you should have seen the look of joy on Josiah's face when, after I covered up bare spots and a toy sword in the middle of this photo, I added some grassy features to the kids' faces:

I will also cheat a little and use a 3 year old photo that I recently made into a button for my sidebar. The brief story behind this photo is here. Josiah was a joy-filled little boy at age three, and he still is!

Check out I Should Be Folding Laundry for more You Capture participants.

You are welcome to grab the button off my sidebar if you like it. You should be able to right click and "Save As"; if that doesn't work, let me know!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Overheard: The Vacation Edition and more!

The Vacation Edition

During the drive down to Valdosta...

Me [hoping this wasn't the start of an illness]: Why are you sneezing so much, Grace?

Grace [seriously]: 'Cause I have bad feelings.


While waiting for our food at the Waffle House, Josiah was waving out the window as people drove up and parked.

Me: Are you the greeter?

Josiah [seriously]: Not so much. I don't really work here.


On the way back home, we stopped off at a dog show in Perry...

Josiah: If I had a dog like that, I'd name her Hannah Montana and dye her hair blonde!

Grace: If I had a dog like that, I'd name her Hannah Montana. [pauses to look at another dog] If I had a dog like that, I'd name her Charlotte!

Charlotte is the name of her newest doll that Ms. Carol gave her for her birthday.


Josiah: I like the dogs who lick me the most!


We also stopped at High Falls State Park to stretch our legs. All three kids fell while walking along the trails at various times, so each came home with a (minor) scraped knee. One reacted more dramatically than the others...

Josiah [wailing after falling at High Falls]: Well, don’t just stand there! Can’t you see I’m hurt?!?

I took this picture a couple of minutes after Josiah had fallen. Apparently it wasn’t too terribly bad, because he was happily heading further away from the first aid kit in our car.


And More...

While putting Grace to bed...

Grace: Mommy, you're da best!

Me: The best what?

Grace: Da best Mommy!

Me: And you are the best Grace.

Grace: And Daddy is da best Daddy, and my brudders are da best brudders! [joyfully hugs me] I love all da peepul in my family! [more serious tone] And Mommy, I love your sons.



While at a pet store...

Josiah: When I get a dog, if he's been good, I'll give him a bedtime snack at night--a treat! And if he's been really good, I'll give him two bedtime snacks!

Jason Slade: How will you know if he's been really good?

Josiah [seriously]: If he listens to Grace.

The adoration is mutual.


While at the same pet store...

Grace [looking around, bewildered]: Where's all da dogs?

Jason Slade: They don't have any dogs here, just these cats.

Grace [roaring]: Rar! Rar!

Jason Slade [amused]: They're not that kind of cat.

Grace [matter-of-factly]: I just scarin' dem!

And she's not that kind of three year old girl, who is all mushy over cats.

And, yes, I am seeing the whole dog theme. They don't have me fooled. They are trying to chip away at my resolve...

What I learned this week

Jo-Lynne at Musing of a Housewife hosts a blog carnival called "What I Learned This Week." I am joining in this week a little late. :)

Soooo...What have I learned this week?

  1. I should not attempt to kick a soccer ball. Ever again.

  2. It is really hard to sit all day long.

  3. It does, however, make it easier knowing that I have three kids who will willingly pitch in to help in a variety of ways.

  4. It also helps knowing that I'm off the hook for dinner preparation for at least a couple of nights. (And you can't beat having a dishwasher installed on the very day I learned #1, after washing dishes by hand for 9 months!)

  5. I can get my husband Jason Slade to make tea for me, and with only minimal joking about “dirty leaf water.”
  6. If I am being forced to sit with my leg elevated, I can and will balance the checkbook the day that the bank statement comes in the mail. (That’s the first time in many, many years.)
  7. Mad Libs will keep 6 and 11 year olds occupied for hours at a time.

  8. A 6 year old boy will quickly learn everything from nouns to adverbs while playing Mad Libs.

  9. Therefore, Mad Libs can be counted as school time.

  10. If you need a body part while playing Mad Libs, “bellybutton” is consistently the funniest one you can pick.

  11. If you need a noun while playing Mad Libs, “cat” is consistently the funniest one you can pick, according to 6 and 11 year old boys.

  12. I, however, am partial to using the word “platypus.”

  13. My 6 year old did not know what a platypus looks like. He does now.

  14. The platypus and the echidna are the only two mammals that lay eggs.

  15. I already knew this fact about the platypus; I didn't think I'd ever heard of an echidna until I read its nickname, the spiny anteater.

  16. I will read aloud about animals from encyclopedias when I am bored sitting with my leg propped up.

  17. Both the platypus and the echinida are from Australia.

  18. I can read approximately 324 books to Grace in a day if I am sitting with my leg propped up. Or maybe it just feels like that…

  19. My 11 year old will still hang around to listen to me read aloud children’s books.

  20. My 6 year old can stay outside all. day. long.

Head on over to Musings of a Housewife to see what others have learned this week!


Since I have heard from a few people who were concerned about my injury, I wanted to assure everyone that I am doing better. I’m getting around much easier and, no, I didn't break any bones. It’s a muscle injury, and Jason Slade has some experience/training with sports injuries…although I hesitate to refer to this as a sports injury since I got hurt before I actually made contact with the ball…how pathetic is that? Anyway, he has been keeping tabs on the location of my injury as well as my improvement. So, I'm OK...really! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Capture: Letters


This is Week 9 of the You Capture blog carnival hosted by Beth over at I Should Be Folding Laundry. Each week Beth presents a new challenge and this week’s challenge was Letters.

Hmmm...Letters. There are so many directions one could go with "letters." Right away, I saw "letters" all over, everywhere we went, like these (E, F, H, and I, for a sample):
But, oh my! That's enough to push me over the edge, coming up with A through Z!

So I stopped...and moved on, much to my own relief. (I am still seeing "letters" everywhere, though.)

Then I thought of the most famous letters: the red letters.*

John 3:15-20

And for yet another take on "letters," this is one my son Robert took at my insistence, since I am currently unable to hop up and grab the camera whenever I want.

Check out I Should Be Folding Laundry for more You Capture participants.


* Red Letters by dc Talk

Pages filled with a holy message
Sealed with a kiss from heaven
On a scroll long ago
Phrases, words that were bound together
Now have the power to sever
Like a sword evermore

Heed the words divinely spoken
May your restless heart be broken
Let the supernatural take hold

There is love in the red letters
There is truth in the red letters
There is hope for the hopeless
Peace and forgiveness
There is life in the red letters
In the red letters

One man came to reveal a mystery
Changing the course of history
Made the claim he was God
Ageless, born of a virgin Mary
Spoke with a voice that carried through the years
It's persevered

Heed the words divinely spoken
May your restless heart be broken
Let the supernatural take hold

What You say moves me, revelation, come and take me
The more I look [the more I look] the more I see [the more I see]
The Word of God [the Word Of God] is what I need

Speak to me, breathe in me new life [x2]
Let Him in your heart [x4]

Lyrics were found online here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It was the best of times; It was the worst of times

Oh, just being a little dramatic here. :)

Dad came by yesterday (Tuesday) morning to install our brand new dishwasher (WHOO HOO!).

He had a faithful helper, and not the one I imagined would be glued to his side and talking his ear off...but she covered the former and the latter, too, all while wearing high heels and tending to her baby Emily.


Presenting...the end to washing all dishes by hand, at last! (And, again, I say "WHOO HOO!")

Thank you, Dad!!

After Dad left, things went downhill quickly. I was planning on getting us out the door to go to ALDI (Dad not only installed our dishwasher, but left us with his car while he took our second car that was having problems home with him to fix it); instead, Robert talked me into playing a few minutes of pseudo-soccer (kicking the soccer ball across the yard). We kicked it back and forth a few times, and then as I readied myself for a "big" kick (obviously too big for my abilities), I felt a "pop" in my lower leg followed by tremendous, blinding pain. I limped as quickly as I could into the house, simultaneously demanding that Grace get inside the house with us, asking for an ice pack, asking for the recliner to be cleared off so I could sit down, and asking for the throw pillows to prop up my leg. Seriously, I was hurting so badly that the sounds of the children's voices were fading away softer and softer, and then suddenly I popped back to where I could hear them again.

I don't know exactly what happened, but it's nothing so serious that it required a visit to the doctor. There was absolutely no change in color in my calf--just a little swelling and a lot of pain to walk or with most movement. Today (rather, tonight) I am moving around much better, which is perfect timing considering that my hip and knee on my "good leg" were beginning to hurt from all of the hobbling around in a strange way to minimize movement on my "bad leg."
Fortunately, the kids have been very helpful with doing and fetching things for me, and have (gasp!) even been fussing less amongst themselves. Grace, however, still can't understand why she can't climb all over me with a big stack of books...I am, after all, sitting down, so why can't she climb up for story time???

Praise the Lord, wasn't it perfect timing to get a working dishwasher?

Wordless Wednesday: Spanish Moss

This was a tree outside our hotel in Valdosta, during our recent vacation. I thought it was very interesting with the contrast between the bright colors of the tree and the Spanish Moss.

(Does anyone have any idea what kind of tree that is?)

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom or Wordless Wednesday for more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cute as a button...or cute enough to put on a button...or something like that

I've seen all of those buttons you can add to your blog that say "Children are a gift from God" or another version of that Bible verse, and all of them have sweet, serene, angelic baby faces on the buttons. I have yet to see one with an older child, or...shall we say, an energetic child.

So I made my own, using a photo that Robert took of Josiah a few years ago. It was within days of Grace's birth; judging from the photos we have during that time period, I apparently said, "Yes, Robert, you can take pictures in the back yard with my camera, and take your brother with you" a lot. ;)

This is one of my favorite photos of Josiah! It is so...him. What do you think?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Capture: Rustic


Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry hosts the You Capture blog carnival. Each week Beth presents a new challenge, and this week’s challenge was Rustic.

Rustic? I didn't quite know where to begin. But then I thought of my mom's little wagon that her daddy made her when she was litte. Around the age of 2 or 3, my mom gave herself a nickname..."Suzy Baby." From everything I've been told, no one really knows for sure where it came from but, shortened to "Suzy," it became the name that most family members called her.

This is the wagon my grandfather made for my mom in the 1940s.


It was either made from scraps of wood he had on hand, or he misjudged...this picture of the bottom of the wagon shows a little gap along one edge.

This is where the wagon sits 99.9% of the time: holding handmade dolls, safely tucked away in a curio cabinet next to pieces of petrified wood and other treasures.

My mother made all of these dolls at various stages of her life. She made the Holly Hobby-type doll for me for my birthday when I was around age 4 (with a matching outfit for me). She made the preemie Cabbage Patch baby for herself when I was a preteen; we affectionately referred to this doll as "E.T." because of the expression on the doll's face. She made the doll on the right, including the embroidery work for the doll's face and the doll's clothes, during her childhood.

I also found an old ice bucket and ice tongs, which belonged to my mother's maternal grandparents.

My oldest son asked, "Why does this have chicken feet on it?!" They raised chickens.

Check out I Should Be Folding Laundry for more You Capture participants.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Wild Adventure

Last week, we took a few days off to drive down to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia. We left early Wednesday morning (although not as early as Jason Slade would have liked) and arrived at the park around 3:00 p.m. We rode a few rides and quickly found out we have quite a little daredevil on our hands.


She started out riding this calm ride for toddlers.

Grace (3 years old)

She giggled and laughed out loud, gleefully telling me, “Look, Mommy! I flying! Look at me!” over and over again as she went around in a circle on her flying elephant.

She joined Josiah and me on the Dizzy Dragons ride, and that was where I first caught a glimpse of the daredevil in her.

She's in my lap only for the picture. Not only would she have NOT wanted to sit in my lap, she would have ridden it by herself if she could have! She frequently asked to ride by herself on other rides.

She loved it. She immediately asked to ride it again, but Josiah was already running ahead to join
Jason Slade where he was waiting at the carousel, so we rode that next. She was a little disappointed that the “pank” horses were all taken, but she consoled herself with the small bit of “pank” on the horse she chose. Then she told me I could let go of her.

Um…yeah, right.

She loved every ride, including the (kiddie) roller coasters. She even shamed her oldest brother into
convinced Robert that he, too, could ride one of the roller coasters once (He’s not a fan of roller coasters). After the ride was over, they simultaneously said

Grace: I wanna ride it ‘gin!

Robert: Can I get off now?

Grace’s favorite ride ended up being a Tilt-a-Whirl ride that she was barely tall enough to ride. You have to be 36 inches tall to ride; she’s 36 ½. The ride attendant chatted with her during her multiple trips through the line and made the mistake of referring to her as a “little girl.” She whirled around and told him, “I not little! I this big!” as she indignantly put her hand on the top of her head. We don't have any photographic proof of this ride, since I was riding with her each time and Jason Slade doesn't obsessively take pictures like I do. She rode it dozens of times, and by the last time she rode it, she was holding both hands up in the air…with a huge grin on her face, of course.

We are in so much trouble.

Another favorite ride that she was barely tall enough to ride was the huge “pank” slide that you slide down. She was absolutely unafraid to slide down by herself.

Josiah on the big pink slide. Isn't it huge?! That's another Josiah-sized child at the very top of the slide.

And she was absolutely devastated when she couldn’t ride on the big swings that Josiah rode on.

These big swings...

Josiah is the one nearly in the center of the picture.

The boys loved the bumper cars--this was Robert’s favorite thing to do at the park (Jason Slade’s, too).

Josiah surprised me with some of the rides he wanted to go on, like The Rattler that he insisted on riding by himself. (And, yes, Grace wanted to ride this one, too, but she didn't collapse onto her stroller in tears like she did at the swings.)

I have nothing but good things to say about Wild Adventures. This wasn’t our first time going, so we already knew that you can come back the next day for free. (Plus, there are hotels that offer deals with Wild Adventure tickets if you stay there.) From the time you enter until the time you leave, the park employees are very friendly and they smiled and chatted with the kids. The lines weren't terribly long. They even had water fountains where you could get free water.

Imagine that. 

After leaving Valdosta, we headed north again and stopped off at the dog show in Perry.

Josiah talked incessantly about what kind of dog he wanted. He started off with a detailed description of the size of the dog and the color and texture of the fur…as we were leaving the dog show he said, “I don’t care what kind of dog it is. I just want a dog.”

We also stopped at High Falls, where each of the kids fell at different times on the trails and Jason Slade risked falling into the water.

Then Josiah had to try it, too, of course.

Throwing pine cones into the water.

After we got back home, I asked the kids what their favorite parts of our vacation were.

Josiah said his favorite part was watching movies on the DVD player we bought for this trip. (How we survived this long without it, I’ll never know…)

Grace said her favorite part was “be-yun selly” in the closet at the hotel.

I reminded her about all of the fun rides at Wild Adventures, and told her my favorite part was riding all of those rides with her. She excitedly said, “Yes! Yes!” So I asked her again.

Her response didn’t change--being silly in the hotel closet was still her favorite part.

And Robert said he didn’t know.

Obviously, we could have just driven a ways, stopped in a hotel for a couple of nights, and the kids would have been perfectly happy.

And I would have been perfectly happy with all of the eating out, too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not just a pretty face

Showing off her silly (or "selly") side, here is Grace goofing off during bath time.

All I told her was "make a silly face." And, boy, did she ever...

Here she is pretending to be a dog and you can see how she is "tongue-tied." Believe me, it has had absolutely no effect on her speech development. ;)

And this is my personal favorite:

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