Thursday, October 25, 2007

Photos that take themselves...

While I was doing laundry yesterday after school, Madeline brought the camera to me and said, "Mom, Noah was playing with this." So Noah was sent to his room (he knows he's not allowed to touch the camera without permission) and Maddy was praised for rescuing the camera. As I was putting the camera up, I thought I'd better check and see what kind of damage he'd done. Lo and behold, the pictures told a little different story than Maddy's version!

I was pretty sure at this point that even if she didn't actually USE the camera, she was aware of it well before she brought it to me. But further investigation revealed even more...

Unless Noah has mastered the timer feature (which isn't entirely impossible), it looks like Maddy actually TOOK some of the pictures. And did a good job, too! :) Here are some more of my little photographers' works...

And then there are the photos that appear to have been taken as a subtle hint as to Maddy's Christmas list. In case you can't tell, it's the American Girl catalog we randomly got in the mail (after her begging me a couple of days earlier to get a catalog and me promptly completely forgetting about it)...

She got Kathleen McKenzie, a Life of Faith doll (the Christian equivalent of American Girl), last Christmas before she knew anything about American she's torn between the doll she loves (because she looks like her) and the peer pressure to have an American Girl doll. I think we've compromised at getting an American Girl outfit for her Life of Faith doll (although as I type that I'm thinking there's some lesson about a wolf in sheep's clothing--except reversed--or turning something godly into something worldly...except does that make sense if it was just a copy of something worldly in the first place? I think I'm over-thinking this!). Santa might even ask Dani to make matching outfits for Kathleen and Madeline??!! (You know, in all her free time before Christmas) Whatever happens, I sure do love my girly-girl and her doll habit!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Only Dani will care!

I'm not sure anyone but my mom cares about the random cute (to me) things Jack if she's the only one who reads these, that's okay! As I've mentioned before, I hope to do a blog book someday of these, so I'm including everything I can think of!

This morning in the car, I went to Starbucks after dropping the kids off at school (I just refilled the envelopes this week, so you know that "blow money" is burnin' a hole in my pocket!) and Jack wanted a "grape slush", which is an indication that perhaps we've taken advantage of the 2-4pm 1/2 price drinks at Sonic a FEW times too many lately! Anyway, I never knew this but you can get a kid-sized drink (we got milk) at Starbucks. It's a little smaller than a tall, but it has the coffee lid and everything. Jack was THRILLED! He loves to drink out of mugs at home and calls whatever it is his coffee and pretends it's really hot, which means he mostly blows on it and thus ends up with more spit than drink, but hey, it's his cup. He kept saying, "Mommy, I WIKE this coffee! It's dus a wittle bit hot, I hab to be berry carepul!"

As we were driving home from Starbucks, he said, "Can we go to da shoe?" It took me a minute to realize he meant "zoo". (And for those who read my previous post, I tried writing the monologue in it's original Jack-ese, but it was too hard to read so I just "translated" for your reading enjoyment. He actually said all of those words, but it was with almost-3-year-old pronunciation!) I told him it was too rainy to go to the zoo today, and his reply was, "How 'bout da cemetery?" Only in our family is that normal! He really just wants to go for the big hill. I guess it's okay that I find it funny (and not bizarre or sad) for a cemetery outing to be a close 2nd to the zoo!
Jack just brought me his mini-tall Starbucks cup and asked for juice in it. Guess I'd better go ahead and put that travel coffee mug on his Christmas list!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I love my kids!

Some days (okay, really most days) they make me want to pull my hair out, and this morning was one of those mornings! We went to BG to visit Memaw & Grandaddy and went to church with them. Which is ALWAYS a disaster. I constantly feel the need to tell everyone there that we really do actually go to church 3 times a week, because the kids always act like they've never set foot in a church when we're there. Part of it is that they're usually sleepy (duh, they've spent the night at grandma's!), and they're used to going to church at 8 instead of 10:30 (Jack's naptime is at 11, which is why we go early!), and there are basically no other kids there, and they are usually hyped up on new goodies in the church bag and a lot more sweets than their bodies are used to. Okay, so they're not perfect at our church either, but this goes beyond normal childishness. They are just disruptive. I'll be surprised if the elders don't have a meeting with us at some point :) I have had to let go of this and realize that it is not about what others think of my parenting skills (or lack thereof) and that they will hopefully grow out of it. But I always come back from church much more frazzled!

Well, then those stinkin' kids have to go and totally redeem themselves (that's a quote but I can't even remember what it's from...J would know but he's not here**thanks to Uncle Pip for clarifying: "Just when I think you can't do anything dumber, you go and...TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF." He would know--he and his brother are the original "Dumb & Dumber"!). We got home tonight and they have been so cute. For starters, Jack didn't have any clean clothes left to come home so I put the tshirt Maddy took to sleep in on him and he looked SO adorable!! I'd post a picture, but Jared has the camera in VZ still. Maybe I'll recreate it just to get a's too cute. He put the shirt on and said, "Hey, I wook wike Maddy". I could eat him up. And as Mom says, "Sometimes I wish I had!"

Later Jack and Noah were watching a movie while Maddy and I watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Noah came and sat next to me on the couch and declared, pretty nonchalantly, "Mom, I've got a crush on you." He's the sweetest thing ever! Then of course Madeline had to explain to him that you can't have a crush on your mom because you can only have a crush on someone you might marry, which cannot be anyone you are already related to (because of course she also had to learn this lesson in kindergarten when she was determined to marry daddy). Noah was disappointed. Then he asked when he was going to be old enough to be a daddy. I explained (for the 1000th time) that he would grow up and meet a wife God has chosen for him and get married and then she would be the mommy and he would be the daddy when they had my grandchildren. This apparently was not the real explanation he was looking for since he followed up with, "But when do I get to boss people?" Yeah, when exactly do you get start bossing people? He also said he'd like to be a girl because they can boss people even when they're a kid (thanks, big sister Maddy!). So funny what goes through their heads.

Then to top it all off, when I put Jack to bed, in a hilarious attempt to calm his own fears of the dark and the monsters he may or may not believe are in his closet, he presented this bedtime monologue:

"It’s not a good idea to touch the shadows. We don’t touch the wall. Or the fan. Only mommy can touch the fan. So we don’t get in trouble. We can’t touch the squirrels. Or they might bite us. But they can’t bite us. But dogs can bite us. So we don’t touch dogs. Only pet them. If we ask Mommy. And we can’t go in the grass if Mommy says, 'Don’t go in the grass' because there might be spiders. And we might see a spooky spider webs. Ooh, I don’t like spider webs. But it’s not scary. It can’t hurt us. Only lions can hurt us. But the lion lives at the zoo. We don’t have lions at our house so they can't hurt us. But we have a kit [cat] at our house. But there's no monsters. Only dark. It's scary. But I'm not scared of the dark. It's just shadows. But they're not so scary. Oh, I think I lost my bandaid."

I kid you not. I was laughing hysterically while mentally recording every word. This was too good to forget! This, lessons in fear and obedience, from the kid unafraid of climbing up the refrigerator to get candy and in the process spilling a gallon of paint on the floor. He is a certified NUT!

Friday, October 19, 2007

BG visit

First I had to share this random picture of Jack in his horsey jacket Memaw got him last year from Cracker Barrel. He added the sunglasses because "it's so sunny outside". I'm shocked that I got him to stand still for a picture since he was on his way out the door to play...typically nothing can stop him when he's headed outside!

Now for the BG trip...we enjoyed a short visit with the Smallings this weekend. Memaw got this dress for Madeline and it looks very grown up! Actually, she probably got the boys' outfits, too, at some point, but we did bring them from home so I can't be sure. Memaw keeps us all clothed!

The kids are actually looking at Memaw, who was taking pictures first...I just jumped in because they were being good and I was afraid if I waited for a turn (for them to actually look at me), they would be out of the mood and run away! By the way, thanks to those of you who gave me some great suggestions for picture taking...especially to my Aunt Deb' who reminded me of 3 little uncooperative kids SHE used to try to take decent pictures of! (That would be me and my brothers!) Jared used the bribery method of getting them to pose for these pics...he told them if they let us take pictures we could eat at Cracker Barrel after church (2 CB references in the same post--you'd think we went all the time!)...which is their absolute favorite. Maddy used to request it as a 2 yr old, like the KY girl she is at heart, "Crack'r Burl". The grownups had already arranged to meet there with Uncle Philip and Aunt Sarah, to celebrate Phil's 25th birthday, which was last Friday. But the kids didn't know that, so they smiled like their pancake and bacon/sausage with jelly biscuit lunch depended on it!!

After church, which included me stepping on Noah's pinky finger with the heel of my boot, then taking Jack out for having a fit in Memaw's lap because she wouldn't let him draw in the songbook with his pencil, then spending the entire sermon time in the cry room with Jack (yes, he's almost 3 but there are no other "babies" there, so it's ours!) NOT letting him play, which meant I had to hold him...though I sang to him and he ALMOST fell asleep, and then finally discovering that there was a 45 minute wait at CB, we opted for a quicker and more cranky-kid-friendly lunch at Culver's. We'd never been there before but it was SO good (for fast food)! We took the corner booth so that Jack was blocked in on all sides and couldn't harrass the other customers too much. Time with our kids is always good birth control for my brothers and their wives!! (And probably everyone else there, too!) Noah was the only kid who ate all his food (or even close), so he got the free scoop of chocolate custard. This is ironic because he is the only one of the 3 who could not care less about sweets. He ate about 3 bites and then gave the rest to Jared (the only one brave/dumb enough to eat after the 5 yr old boy). Maddy, who likes her a McD's cheeseburger, was not thrilled with the super-cheeseburger she got. She prefers the unidentifiable "meat" from McD's to a REAL burger. Fortunately, Aunt Sarah was generous in sharing her cheese curds, so Mads got her protein :)

After lunch, we headed to Philip and Sarah's new house (they've been there a while, but we hadn't seen it yet). I'm so impressed by how neat and clean it was and decorated so well! They haven't accumulated much clutter yet, so it looks great! Ok, and they don't have 3 kids making messes...that's what I'm telling myself is the difference in my house and theirs!

This is Uncle Philip and his new super-monitor he got for his birthday (to go with his Philip-built computer!).
Noah found Sarah's GameBoy during the grand tour and spent the rest of his time making sure he played all the games she had. He's really good, especially since he'd never even seen a GameBoy before! He has a Leapster and plays on our computer sometimes...he's just a natural when it comes to computer stuff!
Madeline read to us Uncle Philip's favorite book, Round Trip. It's a really cool book--you read it through one way and then flip it upside down and read it back the other way. The illustrations are amazing! They're black and white and show one scene one way and an entirely different scene when flipped over. I highly recommend it! (And it always helps Maddy when she coordinates with what she's reading--it was a black and white kind of day!)

This is Noah on the phone with Uncle Philip who was on his cell phone outside. Noah was a little confused because he didn't even realize Uncle Philip wasn't still in the living room--probably because Noah was very involved in his game!

When Maddy was first learning to talk, she called Philip "Pip" and that has sort of stuck. Now that they can actually talk, I've taught them what his real name is, in case Philip doesn't want to be Pip forever! So on the way home, Jack kept saying, "His name is Philip, not Pip" OVER AND OVER. I think he was trying to get it through his own little stubborn head!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jared in Venezuela

**Final update: Jared and the McInteers have all made it home safely (after a few more delays and bumps)! Praise God!

**Update: Got a call from him last night that they made it safely and had an uneventful trip! Thank you for your prayers...keep them coming! (or going, I guess)**

My man is in Venezuela right now, hopefully close to being at his destination city of Barquisimeto. He is with a couple from church who are going to be conducting a marriage seminar for the church we work with there. They were supposed to arrive yesterday early in the day, but due to bad weather in Houston Tuesday, they are just now getting there! This trip has been a lesson in patience for giving it over to God: The original couple who went last year had a conflict come up after dates had already been confirmed--God provided a couple to go in their place; The translators who went last year and are amazingly qualified had a family emergency last week and could not go--God provided a translator from the church in Venezuela (meaning we didn't have to make last-minute travel arrangements); After arriving at the airport to leave Tue night, they were told the Houston flight was cancelled--God provided open seats on the same flights the following day; In trying to change the Venezuelan legs of the trip, we discovered that there were no seats on the commuter flights to get them to Barquisimeto on the new date--God provided 3 seats on an afternoon flight, meaning they had to spend the day at the airport, but didn't have to ride the 8 hours on a bus! Anyway, they are arriving late and missing some of the counseling sessions they'd planned to have with couples from the church, but we trust God will bless them in the conference itself and that He will bring many couples to the church that would not otherwise be there. Marriage is a huge problem there...many couples outside the church (or even newly converted) just do not see the purpose in getting married. And of those who do, many of the men leave after contributing a houseful of children, and are never heard from again. Even those who want to have a Godly marriage have so many difficulties because they've never seen a decent example. This is one of the greatest needs in the Venezuelan culture (as it is for us here in the States). This congregation has done amazing work to build marriages and reach out to non-Christians through Christian counseling. We just pray for God to show up in a mighty way this week as they seek Him!

In preparation for this trip, Jared and I have stopped and looked at each other and said, "Wow, Satan REALLY does not want this trip to happen!" He has put up so many roadblocks and tried his best to stop this work. God must have something great planned this week for His "counterfeit" to be so jealous! Still, I ask for your prayers for safety for Jared, Mark & Melinda. Mark & Melinda return Friday and Jared on Monday. Thanks!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Angels and some creative spelling

In a previous post I told the story of Noah's angel visit. I just found the notebook he was drawing in that day and this is his interpretation of what he "saw". The face is the angel with a very involved halo above his head. According to Noah these are the actual colors, including lots of red lights also in the scene...
This weekend Noah was drawing again in his book and showed this to Jared:
I know you probably guessed correctly, but he "wrote" C.3P.O (from Sta.r W.ars). Granted, there's no "C" and the "3" is backwards, and he phonetically added an "E"...ok, and an extra "O" too, but at least he's trying! We find it amusing anyway! He is a wild and crazy boy, after all, who would rather sword-fight, wrestle, or play in the dirt than write or draw, so it's encouraging that he's not afraid to try!
Okay, if you couldn't decipher that one, give this one a try (specifically the HYE part)...
I have no idea what the drawing is supposed to be--it could be related to the writing but is probably an alien or a brain and thus totally unrelated--but I was working with Madeline on an "island" project for school (hint) and Noah proudly declared that he had figured out how to spell "Hawaii". 'Cause the "H" says "Hu", then "Y", then "E"...sound it out people, he's a genius! I think the HWI was a second attempt when Maddy laughed him out of the room for not knowing how to spell Hawai`i (which she had only learned about 30 minutes before and now insists on using the ` thingy). Who needs all those extra vowels, anyway?? Keep up the good work, Noah-boy! Oh, and island diarama pictures to follow soon...


Super-Noah has done it this time! In the process of trying to defeat a band of villains who were apparently raiding our bedroom, Super-Noah leaped (off) a tall building (our tall bed) in a single bound, followed closely by Super-Maddy, and disaster struck. The man of steel may be faster than a speeding bullet but his forehead is not stronger than the closet door facing. It's hard to tell from the picture below but he has a huge (now bluish green) bump on the side of his head, thus the slightly dazed expression...

Next, we come to Captain Jack...need I say more? No, but I will anyway! He insists on wearing this around the house and would in public if I let him, BUT I DON'T! It's a Batman cape, Captain Hook hat, a brown boot of Maddy's and her black dress shoe. He says, "But I need to be a pirate!" I think he thinks the boot looks like a wooden leg, thus the 2 different kinds of shoes. I'm sure someday he'll appreciate this picture, it will probably make it into the wedding slideshow at least!

Just fun stuff today...

No new pictures because of course I have not gotten the simple AA batteries required for my camera. How hard can that be to remember? Apparently very difficult. Almost as difficult as remembering to go by the Honda place and get a van key made for my husband to replace his that I lost (when I borrowed his because I couldn't find my own). When I actually write that out, it sounds pretty lame of me...he's been very patient to wait this long! In my defense, having only previously driven cars made before the turn of the century, upon losing his key, I did go immediately to Wal-mart to get duplicate keys made. And then they didn't work. Finally, someone smarter than me (or with a newer car) mentioned that you have to now get duplicate keys from the dealership (or a locksmith who specializes in this sort of thing and costs just as much) that has a fancy-schmancy computer chip or something in it to tell your car it's okay to turn on!! I think it's 50 bucks or so, which is fine, except that my expectation was 3 or 4 bucks at Wal-mart! '93 Civic, I miss your simplicity...but not your wrecked front end, or frequent push-starting, or leaking windshield, or...Sorry, that was a lot of rambling about a key...and batteries...

I was reading my new favorite blog by Beth Moore. Beware, if you are looking for super-duper Biblical-insightfulness, you may or may not find it there, depending on the day. It usually relates somehow, but sometimes it's just downright silliness (which I GREATLY appreciate!!). Anyway, the comments are hilarious too. There's a post from a few months back asking commenters to list the things their moms or grandmas always say. Some are serious, some are funny. But one stuck out to me because it's something my dad says, that my nana used to say, that his (great) Aunt Meanie (Amelia) used to say, and I had NEVER heard it from anyone else. She would say:

To bed, to bed said Sleepyhead,
Put out the pot said Slow,
Wait awhile said Greedygut,
We’ll eat before we go.

I can hear it in my nana's North Carolina accent :-) What are some of your family's sayings?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Maddy's turn & the walk

Since Madeline wasn't in on the Jedi action, here's a picture of her watching from the sidelines. She was sitting on her bike, which is about as close as she gets to riding it. She is so much like her mama, not an athletic (or even active) bone in her body! Good thing she's cute :)

After playing, we all took a walk in the lovely old neighborhood. It was a cool night, which we haven't had many of, especially considering it's October. Jack is finally reliable enough to walk our short little circle without the stroller, which is nice. Maddy and Noah (and now Jack, of course) have this game where they have to step on the manhole covers (there are a lot on this street) to get to the next "level". No one's sure what exactly that means, but it's an absolutely ESSENTIAL part of the walk! Notice how Maddy is so light on her feet! :)

My 3 boys

This is my boys' favorite activity (wrestling is a close 2nd)...We have definitely gotten our money's worth out of the $5 light sabers! Jared surprised them by coming home early Friday and the little boys were already outside playing something else (probably in the dirt). As you can see, Jared didn't even make it inside to change clothes before the spontaneous Jedi training session!

Noah pulled out the big guns, aka the tee from a plastic tee-ball set. He calls it his bazooka, which only proves that he has seen WAY too many episodes of Legion of Super Heroes (the updated Justice League)!

My only guess here is that the little boys--Batman & Superman--are using some sort of intimidation tactic to scare off the "villain". May I point out that the yellow bat is also from the tee-ball set, further bolstering my position that the tee-ball set was NOT a waste of money (I've rescued it from the trash a couple of times, Jared), although I admit it has rarely, if ever, actually been used for tee-ball. Whatever works!

My Noah...

Goodbye, Dani & Poppi!

We sent Dani & Poppi back to Honduras last weekend until the middle of December :( Boo-hoo! Actually, we're pretty used to it now, and the kids handle it very well. We always trust they're coming back. It's been sad to not have them here all the time, but we're so thankful and proud of the work they're doing. Our kids have been so blessed to see their faith in action and also in learning to trust God to take care of them wherever they are--He really does have the WHOLE world in His hands!

We met Dani & Poppi and Uncle David & Aunt Maggie at Ol.ive Ga.rden (yum). Mom put this in a comment on the last post, but I'll put it here too in it's expanded form: After we ate (and stayed at our table of 9 yacking for a very long time after we were finished eating), we said our goodbyes (at least 2 or 3 rounds), and buckled the kids in the van. The grownups started talking again, so Mom went to the car to visit with the kids and keep them company. Madeline was tired-hyper anyway and started telling Dani about the Ba.rbie Isl.and Princess she wants for her birthday or Christmas and said, "Oh, Dani, I’m all about those dolls! I just want one so bad…oooooh…I mean, I just want SOMETHING Isl.and Princess…even just the video…anything!!!” So Noah said, "Maddy, I'm going to get all your dolls and throw them away!" Madeline got upset and he said, "Well, she likes her toys more than she likes her family!" Madeline got tears in her eyes and said, "Noah, I would give away all of my dolls and all of my toys to save your life." You just never know where their little minds are!

The 2 CPAs talking some serious nerdiness! :)

It's amazing to me how long a bowl of lemons will keep 3 kids amused! And is something wrong with us that we all (excluding Jared and my dad) LOVE lemons? (with salt...mmmm)

Maggie Jean & Maddy Jean

The men somehow managed NOT to sit with the kids...hmm...and with non-accountant in the mix (although David's working on a business degree--yay, Dobie!) they actually talk about sports and such.

Aunt Maggie did a little mini fashion shoot with the kids (in the corner of the restaurant where we were), so I hope to get those pictures from her (hint, hint) to post one of these days. I find that since I'm blogging, I'm now constantly thinking, "Oh, I gotta get a picture of that for the blog!" I've never been great about remembering to take pictures, so I guess it's good that I have incentive now! I did not get a picture of the display of decorative plates on the wall behind our table, but I wish I had. Because Jack looked at them after we sat down and said, "Those are so perfect." Keep in mind that he's not quite 3 and has never had a flair for interior decorating (unless you include drawing on walls with various writing utensils or the gallon of paint dumped on the kitchen floor). He just kept staring at them. They were pretty and colorful, but I would never have guessed that they would have held his attention for any length of time! You just never know...