January 25, 2008

Feeling Complete!

My stepson, Z, came back to live with us this week. I missed him so much while he was away. I've raised him since he was 5 years old. He has been such a big part of our lives here. It was hard to get used to him being gone.

He went to live with his mom last summer. It didn't work out well for them so now he's back, but not by choice. I was expecting the transition to be so much harder. Really, it's been a fantastic week! I laid down the rules the first day and it's been just peachy since. We've talked and laughed and it's been fun.

Not that his heart is completely transformed. I see the man he was becoming battling with the boy he has been. Like a dear friend told me, if the actions are there, then there is hope the heart will soon follow.

I dearly hope so! I love this boy more than he will ever realize. My heart's desire is that he would choose to be with us, to fix his heart on our family. I want to save him from the destruction he was headed towards.

But for right now, I have my baby back. My family feels complete again.

January 22, 2008

Mandy's Treasure Cove

This title is very fitting for where I am right now. In the last year I have come to appreciate my family more. My brother in law died a very sudden death January of 07. It was very hard for all of us, especially my husband. We drew closer together in that time of sorrow.

Last summer Leon damaged his knee. It required surgery (which meant alot of time out of work). I went back to work with the intention of us saving my paycheck so we could buy a house. Leon's absence from work made us dependent on my income.

While working I continued to homeschool our children. It was incredibly difficult to keep up with everything. I felt so out of touch with who I am. I missed being home with my children dreadfully!! There was no time to just sit and be with my children. I had to correct their work, teach them new lessons, plan future lessons, and run off to work.

I am still working but right now it's only on Saturday and Sunday. I will still be out of fellowship with my church until the time comes that I can completely leave my job. Or until my employer decides that my availability is no longer an asset to the company.

BUT!!! I am home Monday through Friday! I don't have to hurry a lesson to be on time for work. I can sit and chase rabbit trails with them. I can stop and answer those never ending questions that come to their little minds when we are reading a story.

My home is my Treasure Cove. Here I can set anchor, and put behind me the troubling sea. It is my shelter from the storm.

January 21, 2008

First Post/Cross Posting

I decided I was no longer happy with Xanga. I don't like all the limitations. I'm going to cross post my favorite blogs and pictures. To have them in one place. This might take me a while. There is alot to do around here and I'm sorta slow and lazy.

January 20, 2008

Snow Day...I Think

We got some snow here. It wasn't much. Just enough to dust the surface a bit. Still, if you haven't seen a real snow in three years it is exciting and worth grabbing the camera for.

This guy melts my heart. Lord help me those dimples get me every time.

It's hard to get a picture of this kid. He is at the age that he runs from the camera, unless he's bribed or threatened.

The kids collected snow to make a pile. Isn't this pitiful?

Is it more pitiful that they fought over the right to this tiny pile of snow?

Me: "Oh look guys. There's snow on this tree! We have get winter scene picture for my scrapbook!"

8yo: "Aww come on mom. Don't you have enough pictures?"

7yo: "Sure, whatever." Because he's game but has to play it cool.

5yo: "Okay! Want I should put my arms around my brother and look cute?"

5yo's are good like that.

But just so I stay humble:

For the record, that is snot, blood, drool, and tears all over his face. We had a casualty on the ice. :( Poor guy.
Today we took the kids to the movies. We couldn't decide between Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Water Horse. The vote was tied so we went with the first movie showing.

It was GREAT! We had so much fun! We had popcorn and Coke and candy (very rare for us to see a movie AND splurge on snacks). I asked Joshua if he was disappointed about missing the chipmunk movie:

"Not at all! It was the BEST family movie EVER!!!"

I'm seeing some disturbing similarities in this picture...

Five year olds are so much fun!! I didn't even have to bribe him to take this picture:

Kelsea only tolerated the group picture. So I got her coming out the bathroom. Cause I'm a good mom.

Leon stepped in the tub because he loves me.

I love the two monkeys on the end!! The 5year old is taking this all a little too seriously, God bless him.

January 17, 2008

Catchin' Up

It is 9:17 and the kids are just finishing up their math. We had company over earlier and went for a 2mi walk this afternoon. Afterwards we all took a 2 hour nap. Then of course dinner and clean-up took about an hour. So here we are just getting our math work done. Well, the youngest is playing with the V-Smile.

It's been a peaceful evening. The kids are all working on their own and I'm free to be on the computer. The house is relatively clean. We will need to pick up just before bed but otherwise it's in good shape. Dh will be home soon and we'll have a brief prayer time before I send the kids off to bed. Afterwards dh and I will have the rest of the evening to ourselves.

January 7, 2008

More Knitting

Leon bought me some green and yellow yarn. It was pretty but it didn't look like a dishcloth. So I decided to branch out and try a real pattern.

This is called a Calorimetry...something to do with heat escaping the head.

It was surprisingly easy.

From My Needles

I've been teaching myself how to knit. I have a lovely friend who came over to help with technique. I got frustrated and put my needles aside for a while. Before Christmas I picked them back up and decided I wanted my children to wear scarves in our artic weather here in the south...Anyway, somehow something clicked. I finally understood what I was looking at. I can recognize a knitted stitch from a pearl and how to fix mistakes.

These are washcloths I made out of 100% cotton. I cast-on 30 stitches and knitted until it looked square enough. Needless to say they are not exactly uniform in size. I experimented a bit with stitches.

Knit 1, Purl 2 makes for a pretty stitch:

This one I didn't use a pattern for. I played around and found out how to make a diagonal looking stitch. It has the most flaws but it was also the most fun to do:

This one I would knit 5 purl 5 for five rows, creating a waffled look:

Knit 2 rows, Purl 2 rows (or something like that):

Knitted all rows:

January 3, 2008

Cozy Winter Morning

We stayed up late last night, packing up all the Christmas decorations. I always feel a little melancholy when it's officially over.

We also had our first official day of school for 2008. We had such a nice morning. I read from our Little House book, By the Shores of Silver Lake. I love reading to the kids. It's my favorite past time. I took this picture last month. You see the cozy fire and my coffee cup behind Ishmael on the hearth. I'm so glad my kids love story time as much as I do!

January 1, 2008

Come To Work With Me

Tonight we are going to drive Leon's car. It's an itty bitty Honda and I always get a wedgie climbing out of it.

Here is the entrance. Normally I'd park in the back, but the front is still done up in Christmas lights and it feels so festive.

It is 7:00 pm on the dot. Leon and the kids will come at 11:30 to bring in the new year together.

This is what we will be eating for "lunch." It looks like alot but we won't be getting off until 9am. Take note of all the caffeine. It will be your friend tonight.

Those monster drinks are actually pretty good. Low carb to make up for the high fat in the pizza.

There is also alot more water in the cooler. Good munchies are worth staying awake for.

We will be answering the phone, updating my blog, and knitting for the next few hours. Not
many people pass through the lobby today. It's New Year's and pretty dull for us. Trust me it's a good thing.

This is what we see from the desk. I have bad dreams of this view. It is so lifeless.

Those are Duke and Carolina basketball pictures that have been signed. Duke v/s UNC is a big thing here. The boss is a Duke fan but he has to appease his Carolina guests...make it look like we are impartial. GO DUKE!

Here they are! My beautiful family!

They ignore me. See they are looking to their right (our left). What they are really looking for are these:

Look under the Santa.

Those are fresh baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies. There are chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

And they are EVIL!

<------See? I'm being ignored. I am not what they came for.

Finally! Someone notices me. He wants to pretend he is checking in.

We oblidge and even give him room keys. 'Cause we can't refuse dimples.

Aren't they beautiful?!!!

I think so.

Leon goes to watch tv in the breakfast area. He is teasing Kelsea. It's so easy to get her goat. I love it when he teases her.

They all go home shortly after midnight. There is a Law and Order marathon on and Leon doesn't want to miss it. It is very important.

So for the rest of the night it is you and me. We will knit some more. Watch a few DVD's. That is not Sex and the City on my dvd player...it's not. Leon brought over Rush Hour 3. We watch the first 10 minutes before we decide we aren't that bored.

We'll read The Pioneer Woman's confessions and laugh histerically. I'll belt out a few old R&B songs from my Ipod and just to warn you I might even dance...since no one is watching. Eventually I'll get to my work. I do have a hotel to run afterall.

Oh and at about 3am a bunch of people return to their rooms. They are loud and staggering. Obviously they have had a good time. I brace myself because I know I'm going to get noise complaints...but surprisingly no one calls down. That is until 6:30 am...to report that someone threw up in the elevator...I swany...Happy New Year's to us...