Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Fun In Nashville

We just returned from a fun little family road trip. It allowed us to leave behind the tasks that easily eat up so much of the time leading to Christmas, and really experience the joy of the season for a few days together! I'm so glad that we did it!

I am writing this blog post while Corey is gone with my camera, so our family pictures will have to be added later! :)

We left on Monday afternoon. Our first stop was in Memphis for one short, but fun evening. After checking into our hotel, we went to a sushi restaurant and had a delicious dinner.

As we were walking back, we passed the FedEx Forum, where the Memphis Grizzlies were several minutes into the first half of a basketball game. There were some men selling tickets out in front, and because we were already late, Corey got a great deal on some tickets, and we went in and watched the rest of the game. It was a huge, impressive arena, and we all had a fun time.

After the game, we walked back to our hotel, and called it a night.

The next morning, we ate breakfast, and hit the road for Nashville!

We were so excited as we arrived at the Opryland Hotel, checked in and got unpacked. We spent the next few hours taking in the amazing sights at the hotel, eating a late lunch, and then taking Carson to the "Winter Wonderland" area. We got to watch him have milk and cookies as he listened to Mrs. Claus read Christmas stories, then he rode the Christmas train, and finally, he got to sit in Santa's lap and tell him what he would like for Christmas. (He said that he wanted a remote control truck!) He was soooo excited to get to visit with Santa!

That night, Caylie, Carson and I went to the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at the Grand Ole Opry! The show featured the Rockettes, and was absolutely wonderful! We all enjoyed it so much. While we were at the show, Corey and Christian chose to have some "guy time" in the hotel. They ate at one of the restaurants, and played games in the arcade.

On Wednesday, we started the day off by going to the "Ice", and "Snow" attractions at the hotel.

The "Ice" exhibit, was incredible. The larger than life ice sculptures were unbelievable, and the kids (and Corey!) had fun sliding down the ice slides!

The "Snow" attraction was an outside area that had a snow blower that provided tons of snow for the kids to play in! At one point Carson wandered in front of the blower, and got a face full of snow, he almost fell apart, but Corey helped him brush himself off, and he pulled himself together enough to continue on with the fun! There was a live reindeer that guests could have their picture made with, as well as bonfires set up, and s'more kits available for those that wanted to make s'mores.

Next we headed to the Mall at Green Hills, where we all had lunch together at the Cheesecake Factory. What a treat! Caylie and I still had a little more Christmas shopping to do, so they boys went to the "Adventure Science Center" for a little while, and then returned to pick us up again a few hours later.

We took a drive through downtown Nashville, and then returned to the hotel, where we watched the amazing indoor fountain show that was set to Christmas music and scripture reading.

After a quick change of clothes, Carson took a dip in the indoor pool (and even in the outdoor hot tub...burrrr!), while Caylie and Christian worked out in the fitness center.

Caylie and Christian then agreed to babysit Carson, and get him into bed, so that Corey and I could go to the "Old Hickory Steakhouse" for a date night. We had eaten a late lunch, and weren't very hungry, so we just shared an appetizer and dessert. We had such a nice time. The food was delicious, and we were seated in the atrium overlooking such beautiful lights and gardens. We really enjoyed it so much. On the walk back to our room, we took an accidental detour, and came across a beautiful outdoor area of the hotel that we hadn't seen yet. The lights on the trees were breathtaking. We had never seen so many trees lit up in such detail. It was a beautiful sight...a great end to a perfect date!

This morning, we ate breakfast in the hotel, and then headed back to Little Rock.

Although it took some effort for us to be able to get enough done, and be able leave town for these few days right before Christmas, it was so worth it!

Such fun family memories!

Writing the Waves,

Friday, November 26, 2010


We had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving yesterday.

Mom, Jeanna, and Elizabeth all came over, and we ate until we couldn't eat any more!

Caylie changed out the chalk board in our school room/dining room for the occasion!

Before we all sat down for dinner, we had to get a group picture! (Caylie and Elizabeth were comfy in their PJ bottoms!)

I traded out with Elizabeth, so that everyone could be in a picture!

Corey prayed before our meal, and then Carson wanted to add his own prayer. He began with the most southern "Dear Lord", that you can imagine! We seriously do not know where he got such a strong southern accent, but it sure makes for lots of laughs! :)

After we all sat down, before we began to eat, we went around the table and shared what we were thankful for this year. It is always nice to hear everyone talk about the blessings that they are thankful for. Some of the things mentioned, were Corey's job, health, family, friends, our church, homeschooling, our home, and having Jeanna with us this holiday season!

After a delicious dinner, we played games, watched movies, relaxed...the usual Thanksgiving day stuff! :)

We finished up the evening by eating leftovers, and sitting around the tv to watch the CNN Heroes awards. It is a great program that tells the stories of ordinary people who have gone above and beyond to help others in need. We've made it one of our Thanksgiving traditions!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week!

Only two more days until Thanksgiving!

We are not doing school this week, and so everyone will get to enjoy some down time!

Tonight I plan to make a late night trip to the grocery store, so that I don't have to deal with the crowds, and then tomorrow, and Thursday morning, I will prepare the dishes that I am responsible for.

Mom and Jeanna will come over for the day on Thursday, and we are all pitching in to pull together our Thanksgiving feast! I can't wait to eat mom's dressing!!!!!!

I. LOVE. IT!!!!!

We hope to do some other fun family activities this week too.

We have talked about driving to Hot Springs, and visiting Garvin Gardens to see the beautiful Christmas lights. We have gone for the last two years, and it is such a fun evening! I think that it will be a tradition!

We also hope to have a movie night at home, maybe go to a movie at the theater, and have a family game night...if we can twist Caylie's arm (she's not much of a game player!)! :)

A funny Carson quote...

A couple of days ago, Corey and I were riding around with Carson, and he was in the back seat singing, "Rock Solid, Hey, Rock Solid"...a song that the kids sing at church a lot (about Jesus...the solid rock), and that he loves! Anyway, he paused for a minute, and then said, "Hey, how does salad rock?" Corey and I didn't even want to correct him, because it was so cute and funny, but we did! He has been singing that song for months, the whole time thinking that he is singing about salad!

Love that kid!

Writing the Waves,

Sunday, October 31, 2010


We all had a fun Halloween night with our little monkey Carson tonight.

Both Caylie and Christian decided not to dress up in costumes this year. My teens are growing up on me....waaaa! :)

Kinley and her family came joined us for the evening. We decided to go to the Trunk or Treat party at the church that mom, Kinley, and her family attend.

It was a lot of fun!

One of our first stops with Carson, was at a booth where he had a football painted on his cheek.

Mom's group at church had a Veggie Tale's booth set up, and she was dressed up as Madame Blueberry! She and her friends were so cute! They had Veggie Tales music playing, and were doing little dances to the music, and giving out candy.

Carson was proud to have his Mimi dressed up as Madame Blueberry!

Caylie was pretty proud too!

There was a hula hoop booth set up where everyone had some fun!
Christian gave it a shot...

And Corey did too...maybe not so successfully!
Carson got loads of candy, and played lots of fun games!

After Trunk or Treating, we grabbed a quick dinner at Jason's Deli before calling it a night.

It was a fun Halloween!

Writing the Waves,

Friday, October 22, 2010

College Road Trip...Stop #1

We started our week of college visits last Thursday afternoon, by taking Caylie to a prospective student event at Ouachita Baptist University, in Arkadelphia.

OBU is the college that both Corey and I attended (and LOVED!), and I must say that it was VERY surreal seeing our daughter in that environment!!!

As soon as we got her registered, she was swept away with many of her friends that were there for the event as well. We were really happy to see that she felt so comfortable, but we just could not quit talking about how very weird it was to see her in a place that holds so many fun and special memories for us when we were in college!


Is she really old enough for this?!?!

The students ate a nice dinner together, and then attended Tiger Tunes...a fun, crazy campus event that is always a lot of fun. After Tiger Tunes, they went to Refuge...a worship service at a local church, and then got to spend the night in a dorm!

While Caylie spent the evening with her fun activities, Corey and I headed to his parents house with Christian and Carson to spend the night. His parents live about 5 minutes away from campus, so it worked out perfectly!

On Friday morning, Nana and Papaw entertained Christian and Carson, so that Corey and I could go on a tour of the campus. It has been almost 20 years since Corey and I graduated, and the campus has changed soooo much! We could not believe how nice the dorms, and other new buildings are now!

Caylie spent the morning attending a couple of classes, and then after a final assembly, which included both the prospective students, as well as parents, it was time to head home.

It was a fun visit for all of us!

Next stop...John Brown University...

Writing the Waves,

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ups and Downs of Life

Last weekend, we headed to Fayetteville to enjoy some fun time together.

When we arrived on Saturday, Caylie and I dropped the boys off at the U of A campus, where they mingled with the enthusiastic Razorback fans for a little while. Carson was sooo excited about getting to be a part of the Razorback scene! We came back before game started, and picked up Carson so that Corey and Christian could have some good "guy time" while watching the game.

After eating a delicious, gluten-free dinner at Carino's, Caylie, Carson, and I headed to our hotel to relax. Carson went to bed, and then we watched "Legally Blonde", while playing Speed Scrabble during the commercials! It was fun, and laid back...just what we were in the mood for!

We woke up the next morning, and went to a REALLY cool place called "Fast Lanes". It had bowling, go-carts, an arcade, putt-putt, laser tag, and a little restaurant! We chose to do glow in the dark bowling, and had a great time! It was lots of fun to watch Carson get so excited when he, or anyone else, knocked down some pins!

When we left Fast Lanes, the guys gave Caylie and me some "girl time". They dropped us off at a really nice outdoor shopping center, where we chilled out in the book store, ate at PF Chang's, and then did a little bit of shopping. I love hanging out with Caylie!

The guys picked us up after a few hours, and we all went to see, "Ramona and Beezus". It was a really cute movie that we could all enjoy. Carson is still talking about Ramona, and the mischievous adventures that she got into!

Next stop, the park. We found a nice little park, where Carson could run and play. It was pleasant weather, and so we just hung out for a while.

When we got back into the car to head back to the hotel, we started getting word from people at church, that the leader of our preschool ministry at church, had suffered sudden heart failure, and fallen off of a ladder, while painting a room at the church, was not breathing, and was being rushed to the hospital. We stopped and prayed for her right then, but quickly learned that she had passed away.

This was traumatic news for our family. Carson loved Ms. Mary dearly, and always ran to her for a hug when he saw her in the hall at church. We loved her for the wonderful way she reached out to him, and us, when we started attending our church!

Ms. Mary had her hands in so many things! She was also one of the leaders of the homeschool organization that covers Central Arkansas. If you wanted to know anything about homeschooling, you talked to Mary! She was one of the first people that I talked to after we decided to homeschool.

She leaves behind her husband, and 3 children, the youngest is her sweet 16 year old daughter that is in Caylie's grade. Mary has always homeschooled her children.

The news about Mary knocked us off of our feet, and we went back to the hotel to process through the loss of this special friend.

Mary's memorial service was this morning. It was a beautiful celebration of her remarkable life, with more people attending, than could be seated in the sanctuary.

Corey wrote the following poem, as a tribute to Ms. Mary, and her precious ministry to children. The poem was read at the service.

A Tribute to Ms. Mary (By Carson dad...Mr. Corey)

A Voice For The Children

She touched so many, who can't understand,
The ones on her hip, the ones on her hand.

They called her Ms. Mary, but just those who could talk,
They all felt her love, before they could walk.

She led a small army, a commander of love,
hundreds of soldiers, guided from above.

They all felt her care, and knew it was real,
They all knew her love, so warm you could feel.

Many are now older, and mourn on this day,
this love for Ms. Mary, it won't go away.

The ones that are little, the ones in her class,
they can't understand, and the questions they'll ask.

The parents, we grieve, we know what a loss,
we answer their questions, in bed we all toss.

In time we'll all know, why it happened this way,
it's all in His plan, we'll continue to pray.

The children she touched, her legacy alone,
Her passion unmatched, they'll feel when they're grown.

Ms. Mary they cherished, she helped them to see,
God's love for children, for you, and for me.

A woman of mercy, a gift from above,
I speak for the babies, an army of love.

Her time has slipped by, so precious it seems,
The children they sleep, Ms. Mary in their dreams.

But the children in Heaven, they rejoice on this day,
With arms raised to Ms. Mary, "Please hold me, come play!"

Writing the Waves,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Learning To Be Gluten Free

We found out today that Caylie is "gluten sensitive".

For a while now, she has been feeling fatigued, having headaches, and stomach pain. I have several friends that are gluten intolerant, and I wondered if that might be Caylie's problem as well. I started doing some research, and decided that she should be tested. After a three week wait, her test results arrived today.

Caylie's "anti-gliadin" measurement was 406 units. "Normal" is less than 10 units, and the lab usually measures up to 350 units. I called the lab to make sure it was not a mistake, and was told that occasionally someone just has an exceptionally high number, and Caylie is one of those exceptions.

The results require her to follow a "strict and permanent" gluten free diet, which is a big adjustment for most anybody...especially our little bread lover, but we know that she can do it.

A couple of weeks ago, Caylie started trying to adopt this way of eating, just to see if it helped, and she says that she can already tell that she feels better.

I was told by a well-informed friend today that we should also have her tested for the celiac gene, and if that comes back positive, that she should then have an intestinal biopsy to determine if she has celiac disease. To have this genetic test done, she would have got get back ON gluten for a few more weeks.

None of us were happy to hear that.

After experiencing the positive results from changing her diet, she is not looking forward to feeling badly again.

All of this is a lot for us to take in, and wrap our minds around. I am trying to take in as much information as I can, but there is so much out there, and honestly, much of it is conflicting!


I will be doing lots of internet research, reading books, and talking to as many people as I can to learn more about what we are stepping into with this new diagnosis.

What we are thankful for, is that we were able to quickly find the cause of Caylie's problems. Many people go undiagnosed with gluten sensitivity for years, while the damage to their body increases.

Also, we are thankful that her condition requires no medicine, only a change in diet. Yes, a big change, but still...we are thankful for that.

Writing the Waves,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caylie's Blog...

As I have mentioned before, Caylie is much more consistent with her blogging than I am. I love to read her frequently updated blog thoughts! She is such an inspiration to me! Here is what she posted today.

Writing the Waves,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank You God!

Today my sister Jeanna had her second successful open heart surgery.

She has been so sick for so long, and we are all very grateful for her opportunity to have a healthy, new chance at life.

She has been through so much. We all believe that God has a great plan and purpose for her. There is no other reason that she should be alive!

As I go to bed tonight, after a very long day at the hospital, this is my prayer...

That Jeanna will cling tightly to God, actively seeking his purpose for her life, and allowing him to guide her every step, each day.

God has been so faithful. We are thankful.

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, Here's The Plan...

So, for the record, here are our subjects for the year, and how we plan to tackle them...

Caylie...11th Grade

Most of Caylie's classes are going to be done in group settings. She loves "CoOp"! In our city, there are about 100 homeschoolers that attend a wonderful high school CoOp on Mondays and Wednesdays. Caylie's CoOp classes this year are...

*Algebra 2
*Spanish 2

She will be taking Apologia Chemistry from a teacher that holds a few science classes in her home. Caylie will attend this class with 5 other homeschool friends.

Her "at home" subjects will be...

*World History (modified Sonlight)
*World View (selected memory verses and books)
*Grammar (ABeka)
*Vocabulary (Wordly Wise)

Last year, she did not do Grammar and Vocabulary, but we are adding them this year as extra preparation for standardized testing.

In addition to her academic classes, Caylie is excited about remaining active with the youth group at our church, taking guitar lessons, playing volleyball with our homeschool sports organization, and hopes to participate in some local theater.

Christian...7th Grade

Christian's courses this year are...

*Pre-Algebra (
*Physical Science (Apologia)
*Writing (IEW)
*Grammar (ABeka)
*Vocabulary (Wordly Wise)
*Spelling (Spelling Power)
*World History Part 2 (modified Sonlight)
*World View (selected memory verses and books)

Christian also participates in our Homeschool Academy that meets one day a week. He gets to take Art, as well as several other classes. He really enjoys his days at Academy.

Starting in the winter, Christian will participate in a 4H Science day camp, called SEEK, that meets one day a week for 12 weeks. He did this last year and really enjoyed it. They spend most of the day outdoors, studying science. Last year they dissected fish, and lots of other "fun" stuff that I am happy to NOT be doing at home! :)

Christian will also remain active with our youth group, as well as participating in football, basketball, and guitar lessons.


Never a dull moment around here!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Off To A Good Start!

Well, it appears that I have officially fallen off of the blog wagon!

Caylie has been begging me for months to get back to it, and I have had the best of intentions, but my "to do" list keeps taking over my life.

Another reason that I haven't blogged in FOREVER, is that in my mind, a blog is not really very interesting without pictures. Unfortunately, when I add pictures to my blog, and sometimes, even when I don't, Blogger throws the line spacing all out of whack, and then it takes me WAY to long to get it straightened out. Unless I have a good hour or so, which I never seem to have, I don't even try to blog. Frustrating!

A couple of nights ago, Caylie convinced me that even if I do not include pictures, that I need to be blogging, so that we can keep up with our family memories.

I had to agree.

I'm going to work on doing better. Even if it means that many of my posts will be pictureless.



Today was our first day of school.

Caylie was sooo excited about heading back to CoOp to see all of her friends, and get into the groove of the school year again. She had her backpack loaded with fresh, new supplies, and was ready to roll, with a big smile on her face as I dropped her off this morning. I love that she loves it!

When I got back home, Christian was already sitting at the table, hard at work. We have tweaked our curriculum this year, so we worked through those changes, and had a really good day. We both talked about how much happier we are with homeschooling than we were before.

Sooo glad that we are homeschooling!

So. Glad.

I have been doing preschool activities with Carson most days throughout the summer. Both he and I really enjoy doing these activities, so I will continue to teach Carson this year, even though he is enrolled in a 2 day a week preschool.

Although we always welcome summer vacation, and the break from routine, it is also great to get back into the swing of things in the fall. I enjoy waking up and having a plan for the day!

Tomorrow I will post about what subjects the kids will be studying this year, and how we are going to tackle each one.

Writing the Waves,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Winding Things Up!

Today we finished Christian's first year of homeschooling! It has been a GREAT year, and we have LOVED it!

Caylie still has a little bit to go (she started a week or so later than Christian did), but it has been a successful year for her as well.

Both kids have participated in homeschool sports, in various co-ops, and have made lots of new friends! It has been such a positive experience for our whole family.

I truly can't even put into words how very thankful I am. We started this venture a lot later in the game than most do, and although I had spent many, many hours in preparation, I was still intimidated. This past year has just been a time of such confirmation to our family that God has been working out His plan in our many very unexpected ways.

I have learned sooo much this year (and the kids have too!), and while we are all looking forward to our summer break, it brings me such happiness to know that we will also be looking forward to another year of homeschooling in the fall!

I leave in the morning to go to the state homeschool convention. I am excited about selecting new curriculum and also plan to attend some classes.

One of my many goals for the summer is to catch up on my blogging. I had hoped that I would be able to continue blogging regularly during this past year, but I just really didn't seem to have the time. Oh well...that's what summer is for! :)

Writing the Waves,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Fun Little Find...

Today, I happened across two different blog sites that are designed with the intention of connecting Arkansas bloggers. Both seem to be pretty new.

If you are interested in checking them out, here are the links to Arkansas Women Bloggers and to Arkansas Bloggers. Just thought you might be interested!

Writing the Waves,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Fun and Busy Weekend

This weekend, as most of ours are, is a busy, but fun-filled one.

Last night started off with Christian's end of the season basketball party with his homeschool team. The kids all met at a local church and brought drinks and snacks to share. Dads were invited to come and join in a father/son basketball game, and some older brothers also joined in the fun. Corey had a job that he had to do, so he was disappointed about not being able to attend. He would have had so much fun! The kids had a great time playing basketball and hanging out together. At one point, the coaches gave out awards to each of the players. Christian was given the "Phillip" award, which his coach explained was "for bringing the team together in unity...also known as talking!" Funny! Christian really enjoyed the season, and making some new friends. I think that we are all a little sad that it is ending. He is looking forward to playing again next year.

Caylie attended a play last night that one of her friends from church was in. She said that it was really good. I can't remember what the play was called, but she said that the audience was actually seated on the stage, and the play happened right in the midst of them. I can't quite imagine it, but she said that it was really interesting.

Today we woke up bright and early and headed downtown for a volleyball tournament. During a break between games, we took Carson to play at a nearby playground. It was soooo cold! I couldn't believe that only 2 days ago, the kids were breaking out their shorts and flip flops, and today, I had on my coat and gloves...and was still freezing!

After the tournament ended for the day, we all came home and relaxed for a while. I took a nice long nap while Carson was taking his nap! :)

This evening, Caylie got together with some of her good friends, and has plans to spend the night with her friend Gracie. We will all meet up again at church in the morning.

Corey grilled hamburgers (in the cold!), and made some cheese dip for dinner. We ate in the den and watched "Extreme Home Makeover" together! We all love that show!

Now I am washing Caylie's volleyball uniform so that it will be ready to wear again tomorrow. As soon as church is over, we will head back downtown for day two of the tournament. Hopefully it will wind up in time for us all to attend our Sunday night church groups that we really look forward to.

Staying busy, but having fun!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caylie's First Half Marathon

Yesterday was Caylie's first half marathon! She was both excited and nervous about it.

Her weekend had already been busy. She had gone on a church retreat on Friday evening, which really lasted until Sunday, but since she and Charles (the boy in the picture below) were both planning to run the half, they rode home with our church's music leader after the Saturday night events ended at the retreat. They didn't arrive back in Little Rock until 2:30 am, which didn't make for a good night's sleep before a big race, but she's a trooper, and says that it was well worth it!

Here she is before the race with Charles, and Kaitlyn (who ran the full marathon!), as well as Kaitlyn's sisters, Betsy and Hannah. Charles, Kaitlyn, and Hannah are some of Caylie's homeschool friends, and Betsy attends the school that Caylie attended before homeschooling.

Below, Caylie is with one of her best friends, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's sister Rachel. Rachel and Caylie were running buddies for the race.

Here they are in the starting line up. It took almost 10 minutes for all of the runners to cross the official starting line, but since they all wore timing tags on their shoes, they were able to get accurate finish times.

We were around the 6 mile mark to cheer them on! It took them about an hour and a half to get to us, and they were still all smiles! Look at all of those cups scattered on the ground!

Elizabeth had made signs to hold up for both Caylie and Rachel at this point. Here is Elizabeth with her mom, and Carson. Carson L.O.V.E.S. Elizabeth (and we do too!). She has spent a lot of time with our family, and he just considers her to be one of us! :)

Caylie approaching the finish line...

Their finish time was 2:36:30. They completed the second half in less time than the first, which was surprising. Caylie said that once they got to the 6th or 7th mile, that they realized that they were going to be okay, so they picked up the pace a little bit at that point.

Here she is with Elizabeth after finishing. She said that as she was approaching the finish line, that she actually felt like she could keep going, but that when she stopped, her legs immediately started cramping up. She sat and rested for quite a while before hobbling to the car! :)

My mom had skipped church in order to arrive at the race site in time to see Caylie cross the finish line! Here they are as we started heading back to the cars...
We told Caylie that she could choose where she wanted to eat for lunch, and she chose Luby's! That seemed so funny to me, but she IS a healthy eater, and it WAS her choice, so we all headed out to Luby's!

After lunch, mom headed home, and Caylie took some ibuprofen, a hot jacuzzi bath, and then a LONG 4 hour nap...she had some sleep to catch up on even without having just run a half marathon!

In other news, Caylie told us that while on the retreat, she decided that she wants to homeschool again next year. We had told her that it would be her choice, and she has not taken the decision lightly!

Oh my...time to start planning! :)

Writing the Waves,

Friday, February 19, 2010

An Almost Empty Nest...

This weekend, Caylie and Christian are both away on a church retreat.

They are with the 6th through 8th graders from our new church. Caylie went to serve as kind of a high school mentor for the middle school girls. They were both very excited about the trip. They are at the same retreat center that Caylie attended last weekend with the high school kids from our previous church. I'm praying that they both have a wonderful weekend!

This evening, after we dropped Caylie and Christian off, Corey, Carson and I went to Chip's BBQ, one of our favorite, very casual restaurants. Although I have been trying to eat a little bit healthier lately, I had to have a piece of Chip's delicious chocolate pie tonight. Chip's is one of the very few restaurants where I always want to order dessert. Thankfully, we don't go too terribly often!

We got home a few hours ago, and have been watching the Olympics all evening. This is really my first night to spend much time watching the Olympics. It has been nice to just have an evening to relax, and not allow myself to worry about getting anything done. Right now, we are watching curling. I've gotta say...Corey and I both think that it is a very weird sport! We don't quite get it. :)

Anyway, tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day. After Corey goes to a short meeting in the morning, we might get out and do some work in our garage. It is screaming for some organization!

If the weather will cooperate, we would like to plan a yard sale within the next few weeks. It is amazing how quickly things accumulate! I think that my last yard sale was not much more than 6 months ago, but already, I feel like I'm drowning in extra "stuff". I can't wait to get rid of some things!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, February 15, 2010


I just read my sweet Caylie's post about her weekend retreat, and wanted to share it. It is such a blessing for me to be able to witness God's hand at work in the hearts of my children...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And The Birthdays Keep On Coming...Happy Birthday Corey!

Well, Corey's birthday was yesterday! That should wind things up around here (in the birthday department) until February. We get off to a big start each year!

Last night we celebrated by going out to eat barbecue with his parents, his sister Kinley, and her two children, Jordan and Jackson. We had a nice time, and then his parents and Jordan came and spent the night at our house.

This morning, Corey, his dad, Christian, Carson, and Jordan, all went to the Big Buck Classic...a deer hunting expo that was in town. (Though none of them are very much into deer hunting!) It had live animals, and other things that the kids (and the men!) were all interested in seeing.

After the Big Buck Classic, they headed to Jordan's basketball game, then with Mickey (Corey's brother-in-law) added to the mix, they came here to watch the Razorbacks.

Corey's mom, Kinley, Caylie and I all took that as our cue to run out and hit a few stores!

We wound things up with Mexican food at our house before everyone went home a little while ago.

It has been a busy, but fun weekend so far.

Now I'm heading out the door do the the c25k training that I just started on Thursday. Hopefully I will have the discipline to stick with it through the end! Thank goodness I have my own personal trainer...Caylie! She is quite the encourager...and has very little tolerance for excuses!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Cool Is That?!

We just finished watching American Idol, and are pretty excited!

We actually know someone that is "going to Hollywood"!

Charity is the talented, sweet, 16 year old, that was among the contestants featured tonight. She was shown working at her family's hair salon here in town.

Charity is a friend of Caylie's. They have attended church, and done theatre together. She and her family attend our previous church, where she sings occasionally, and she has also sung recently at our new church.

She's a sweet that we would love to see make it all the way!

Like Kris Allen (also from Arkansas!), she would be such a welcome change from many that seem to end up in the spotlight these days!

Keep your eye on her!

We're pulling for you Charity!

Writing the Waves,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beth Moore Study

Last week I began my very first Beth Moore study.

I have always heard great things about Beth Moore studies, but for some reason or another, I have never ended up participating in one.

A few months ago, Caylie went on a youth group girl's trip to Memphis, to attend a Beth Moore conference, and came back just bragging about how neat it was. It sparked an interest in me, and so I was immediately interested when I saw in our church bulletin that one was starting during the time that Christian's youth group meets on Wednesday evenings. I decided that I should give it a shot. It will be convenient, since I will just bring Christian to church, and stay for the study, and then we will head home together when we are both finished.

Since we have recently started attending a new church, this will be a good opportunity to meet some new women. Including me, there are 5 homeschooling moms in the group of about 30, so that will be something that I have in common with some of them!

The study is called "Jesus, The One And Only". I have done 3 of the 5 weekly lessons so far, and they were really interesting. It has been quite a while since I have done a women's group bible study, so I'm looking forward to it!

Writing the Waves,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Birthday To...Me!

Yesterday was my birthday!

My birthday is only 3 days after mom's, and 10 days before Corey's! January is a busy birthday month in our family!

Corey and the kids woke me up with breakfast in egg sandwich, coffee, juice, and a candle! Of course they sang the birthday song...Carson would have had it no other way! He was beside himself with excitement! It was a great way to start my day.

Corey took a picture of me with my pj's and crazy hair, but you're just going to have to use your imagination on that one!

During the day, it started to appear as though my birthday might make a bad turn.

As I was transferring clothes from the washer to the drier, I looked down and saw Christian's flash drive (with his school work on it) in the bottom of the drier! Not good.

I then walked straight into the kitchen, and looked down, only to realize that I was standing in a big puddle of water that was leaking from the dishwasher!

Love it when that happens!

Anyway, moving on...

We decided to eat at Shorty Small's for dinner. We hated to not have Caylie with us, but she had a volleyball practice that she needed to attend.

Shorty Small's has great mozzarella sticks. Carson sure enjoyed his!

He didn't seem to care about our instructions to look at the camera and smile. Here he is with my sister, Jeanna, and me...2 out of 3 smiles...I'll take what I can get!

Mom, Christian and Corey...

While we were waiting for our dinner, I got to open my sweet cards and gifts.

Mom and Jeanna gave me a Coldwater Creek gift certificate (one of my very favorite stores), and a Wood Wick Almond Orange candle. Mom had given me one of these candles a couple of years ago, and it is almost gone now. They knew that I wanted a replacement! I was so excited!

Corey and the kids gave me a gift certificate for a new blog design (which I had asked for)!

The deal that I have made with myself, is that I must get my 2008-2009 blog entries printed before I can get my new blog design. If I don't have a goal, it won't get done!

I have been playing around with the "blog to book" software that I downloaded from It is going to be more time consuming than I had hoped it would be to get it all laid out correctly, but I'm hoping to make it happen before TOO long!

I wish I could just print it out exactly as it is, with me just determining where the page breaks would be, but all of the sites I have found either mess the layout up when they automatically fill in the pages, or require me to do pretty extensive photo and text layout in order for it to make sense.

So, if you see that I have a new blog design anytime in the near future, you will know that I have finally met my goal of getting my blog printed out!

After dinner, we went to mom's house to enjoy the wonderful pound cake that she had baked for my birthday! She served it with whipped cream and strawberries! Yum! :)

It was a very nice day, and I appreciated all of the nice things that were done to make it so special!

Writing the Waves,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Celebrating Mimi at Mimi's

Last night we celebrated my mom's birthday (Mimi to my kids), at Mimi's appropriate! :)

She opened her birthday gifts, which were framed pictures from the recent photo session that we all did together. One frame held a collage of several different images from that session, and the other frame was a picture of Mimi with the grandkids...below the picture, it read, "The best things in life aren't things." I think that she liked them!

Can you tell that this picture is posed? I was so caught up in the moment, that I forgot to take pictures while she was actually opening the I made them fake it for a picture!

Another recreation of the real moment...

Here she is after we sang to her. She is about to blow out her candle.

As I have mentioned before, Carson LOVES, LOVES, LOVES birthday celebrations!

After dinner, we all came back to our house to hang out and play a game together. It was a fun night!

Happy Birthday Mimi!

I couldn't ask for a more, wonderful, special, gracious, and loving mom!

I love you!

Writing the Waves,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Spelling Bee

Yesterday, Christian participated in the local homeschool spelling bee. The winner would get to go to the county spelling bee.

He had been practicing his words regularly, and was well prepared for the day

Before the spelling bee got started, they took the kids out into the hall for a picture.

Christian did very well. He had to spell some words that had not been on the list that he studied, and he pulled it off.

The younger kids were the first ones out and two eighth graders were the finalists. Although Christian did not make it into the final group, as he had hoped he would, we were so proud of how he did, and he said that he enjoyed it.

He decided that he would give it a try again next year!

Way to go Christian!

Writing the Waves,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Homeschool Homecoming Banquet

This evening was the homecoming banquet for the high schoolers. Caylie invited some of her friends over so that they could all get ready together.

Here is a picture of Caylie with her friends Lexi, and Kaitlyn...before they get started.

They took over my bathroom, and the magic began...

Carson thought that he needed to get in on the action...Lexi was being a good sport!

Here, Emily joined the group...

Dresses are on now...but the girls are still not finished!

Ok! There's my girl! All ready for the banquet...

Don't they all look beautiful?!

Ready for a fun evening...

The banquet started off with a nice meal of lasagna with bread, veggies and a salad. A fancy night means your little finger must be raised! Right?!

Caylie and Brittany...

Caylie and Lauren...

After dinner, it was time for the dance!

Y.M.C.A....still just as much fun as it used to be! Notice how the heels came off!
Someone got a train going...

Good friends...great fun!

Still going strong!

Finally...on the way home...for a sleepover!

It was a really fun night for the girls. They had a great time!

Writing the Waves,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Always Thinkng...Part 2

As I said yesterday, today I will sort through some of what is going on in my head about Caylie's subjects for next year...hers seem much more complicated, because there are many options that we are considering. If you aren't unusually interested in high school homeschool stuff, you will probably want to make a quick exit, and check out a more interesting blog!

Don't say I didn't warn you!

First of all, these ideas are only relevant if we decide that Caylie will homeschool again next year. We still play with the option of her returning to the wonderful Christian school that she had attended from kindergarten through 9th grade. Both that school, as well as homeschooling have been very good experiences, so we remain undecided. is how Caylie's subjects are being tackled this year...

*Geometry- Teaching Textbooks at home
*American History- Sonlight at home (with some tweaking)
*Health- ABeka Health in Christian Perspective at home
*Biology- Apologia at home (Her labs are done at that!)
*Spanish 1- CoOp
*Christian World View- CoOp
*American Lit.- CoOp
*Art- CoOp
*Speech- CoOp

Many of Caylie's classes are taken during the 2 days a week that she attends our high school CoOp with about 100 other homeschooled high schoolers. Although Caylie enjoys CoOp, and being with her friends, she also says that she gets more of her work done on the days that she is at home, and that she would like to take more of her classes at home if she homeschools next year.

Here are the classes that she is scheduled to take next year, regardless of how or where...

*Algebra 2
*Spanish 2
*World History
*Christian World View (we would like her to have some form of this each year)

So what could next year look like...potentially?

For Caylie, we will not do Teaching Textbooks again I don't THINK. While it has worked for Christian, I would opt for her to be in a classroom setting for math...I THINK.

One option that we would be looking into next year, would be having Caylie take College Algebra at the local community college. In order to do this, students have to have a 23 on the math section of the ACT, or pass an entrance test, but if they meet one of these requirements, then they can take the class, and receive a college math credit, as well as a high school math credit. Students are allowed to take the entrance test more than once, if necessary, in order to pass. We (and SHE!) would love to have a college math credit or two knocked out before she even heads off to college! Many of our local homeschoolers do this. In fact, a friend of Caylie's that has just finished the Algebra class, said that the majority of her class was made up of homeschool students!

We would probably do Apologia Chemistry, at home.

We know that we would want her to take Spanish 2 at CoOp, because the teacher is great.

For her English credit next year (if we did not choose CoOp), I have looked into It is an online school for homeschoolers that a friend is currently using, and it looks pretty challenging...which is what we would want. It offers a real teacher, meeting with a group of real students, in real time, online. I really like the idea of Caylie having someone (other than me) grade her writing. She is a very good writer, and I just think that she needs someone else's objective input to develop that skill to it's full potential. One of my worries about this, is missing a class if we are having computer issues.

World History would probably be a modified version of Sonlight...much like I described doing for Christian in yesterday's post.

Christian World View- I wanted her to take this in a classroom setting this year, so that it would be very discussion oriented, and she has enjoyed it. I think that we would probably do it at home next year though.

So...these are a few of the thoughts that are bouncing around in my mind about Caylie's plan for next year.

Bet I lost all two of my readers somewhere around the second or third sentence! Sorry!

If anyone stuck it out to the end, and you have some suggestions...I'm all ears!

Writing the Waves,

Always Thinking...

I think it is funny that we are on our 4th day of the 2nd semester of homeschooling, and I can't make myself quit thinking about what things I will or won't do differently next year!

Goodness, shouldn't I be happy to coast along here for a while, and enjoy the ride since things are going well?

You would think...

But I already have my wheels turning about what next year may look like. What will I change? What do I love, and NOT want to change? What things still have me scratching my head?

Let me start with Christian's subjects(6th grade)...

What I HAVE loved...

Spelling Power- I love that it keeps moving along, and instead of spending a week on 20 spelling words...3/4 of which he may already know, we only spend time on the words that he misses. We cover many words in a week, and he learns new words quickly. I purchased the instructional DVD that explains the system (not necessary), but we have not done it "by the book". After we had used it for just a day or two, we adjusted our approach to work for us, and we have really liked it and seen results.

Teaching Textbooks Math 7- He has enjoyed this program, and has done well with it. We like the automatic grade book, and he likes the "fun" lessons. On a couple of occasions, we have had computer issues, had to reinstall the program, and lost all of his grades. Fortunately, the first time it happened, we had just figured his average, and so since then, we record his grade on his schedule each day...just in case! Other than that, we have loved it!

Apologia Elementary Science- We are just finishing the Astronomy book, and are about to begin the Zoology: Flying Creatures book. Christian has learned the material quickly, and has been very interested in, and fascinated by what he has learned. Love that! We use quizzes that I have gotten from a yahoo group to make sure he is "getting it", and because I like to have something tangible to grade.

What I HAVEN'T loved...

Apologia "Jump In" Writing- It may just be me, but I have not been thrilled with this program. I can't exactly say why...maybe it is just a little too loosely structured for me, but I am going to try something else next year...if not sooner. IEW I think.

What I'm scratching my head about...

Sonlight History- I love the schedule (even though I tweak it a little). I love much of the material (though we don't use ALL of it). Christian says that, without a doubt, he has learned more, and retained more history this year than he ever has before. He is interested in what he is learning, and I am interested in what he is learning. What I think I might do next year is purchase the "main" history books that Sonlight uses, and that Christian has enjoyed (Usborne Encyclopedia of World History and Story of the World), and rather than purchasing the long list of fictional "living history" books that Sonlight recommends, and that we purchased this year, we may selectively make our own book list for next year, and hopefully be able to get most of the books from the library. I'm not sure exactly how I will put this all together, but that is my tentative plan.

Easy Grammar and Daily Grams- I think that the only reason I am indifferent about these books is that Christian is not a grammar fan. I will probably use them again, but I sure wish that he loved them! It is my goal for my kids to enjoy what they are learning...if at all possible!

My older kid are total opposites!

Christian is my math and science guy, while Caylie does not care for those subjects at all. Caylie loves, and is strong in English, grammar, and reading, which Christian does not have as much interest in.

I will do the breakdown on Caylie's subjects tomorrow...probably!

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Changing Things Up A Bit...

When I began homeschooling this year, I planned to do my lesson plans at the beginning of each week. I had heard arguments for and against planning way ahead, and so I just had to make my own judgement call. My thought was that I could be more flexible by planning weekly...if we missed a day of school for a trip, etc., then it would be easier (or so I thought), to just tweak things accordingly, and keep on rolling.

Well, after one semester of doing lesson plans every Sunday night (or first thing Monday morning!), with our many books surrounding me, I decided that we would try a different approach this semester.

For the last couple of days, I have worked to lay out the rest of the lesson plans for the year. I know that we will have some unexpected disruptions, but I will still be able to tweak things. I THINK that this be much easier. I can't wait to feel the freedom that this will create on Sunday nights!

On a completely different note, another idea that I think I will try, is making my own washing detergent! Never, in a million years, would I have pictured myself doing such a thing, but after reading today that a friend has only spent $7 on detergent since April, and that the "recipe" only takes 20 minutes to make, I decided that it might be worth a shot! I will have Caylie help me do it. It will probably be kind of least the first time! :)

Here is a link to Jennifer's blog, where she describes how to make the detergent.

Writing the Waves,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Love My Friends!

This morning, I got to have breakfast with my good friend Teresa, and our sweet college friend Nancy, that we had not seen in years.

Both Teresa and I had roomed with Nancy in college, and we were all in the same sorority. Nancy used to live here in town, but about seven years ago she and her family moved to Tennessee, and I had not seen her since she left. They recently moved back to Arkansas, and I was so excited about our little reunion this morning! She lives in a different area of the state, but hopefully we will get to see more of each other now that she is a little closer!

We met at Mimi's Cafe, and had a delicious breakfast. We visited just like we had not missed a beat. We had all been great friends in college, and we slipped right back into that mode. We visited from 9:30 until 12:15, and could have kept going even longer!

Teresa and I agreed that we would ask our husbands to give us a weekend get-away for Mothers Day this year, and let us go see Nancy for the weekend! Hopefully that will work out!

Writing the Waves,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Family Portraits

In October, we did family portraits for our Christmas cards.

Here is the card that we sent out...

Here is the portrait that we used...

These are the best of each of the kids...



Christian, Carson and Caylie...

This is me, Caylie, my mom, and my sister, Jeanna.

Me and Jeanna...

Me and mom...

Mom and Jeanna...

Christian, Jeanna, Carson and Caylie...

Christian, mom, Carson and Caylie...

Me, mom and Jeanna...

Writing the Waves,

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