A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Monday, November 26, 2012


What a wonderful Thanksgiving this has been! First, Dad got to come visit. Then, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home. And then, Saturday.

Saturday was a great day. The kids' little cousin got to spend the night on Friday evening, and they got to spend the day Saturday running around together. Then, lunch on Saturday became our big family Thanksgiving celebration! All of my husband's family came for lunch. We made brisket, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing. Everyone else brought sides and dessert. The meal was fantastic, and it was so fun to share our new home with the family!

After the meal, we cleared off the dining room table and played Apples to Apples. (This is a fabulous game that you simply must try! Easy enough for young kids, but hysterical when played with sisters-in-law!) Later, we moved the game to my father-in-law's house to "supervise" the kids.

All the grandkids went down to PaPa's house to decorate his tree and hang up their ornament wreaths. This has become a yearly tradition, and the kids have so much fun. The wreaths are a tradition that my mother-in-law began with her children: each year, a new ornament is added to each child's wreath. My father-in-law has continued the tradition with his grandkids, adding new ornaments to their wreaths every year. And they get to pick the ornaments (fun). The funniest part is that PaPa always leaves the tree decorated in whatever way the kids make it. Here is this year's effort:

In the evening, just as everything was settling down and everyone was departing for their own homes, my daughter's friends began arriving for a sleepover. (I know, what was I thinking, right?) My son fled to PaPa's house for the night, smart boy. The girls had a great time! This is the first sleepover my daughter has ever hosted -- we'd never had the space before! She had a great time, and her friends had a great time, and I had a great time too! Imagine my surprise at being asked to participate in a game of Apples to Apples with the girls! :) My poor husband hid in our bedroom the whole night.

All in all, it was a great Thanksgiving. A memorable holiday, to say the least!

Prepping for Christmas? Try reading some of the great Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Relatives Came

My dad and his wife spent the weekend at our house! They arrived on Friday evening, and left this morning just after breakfast.

It was a great weekend! We ate together, laughed together, walked together, played games together, and just generally enjoyed each other's company.

We bought a new game, Disney Apples to Apples, which we played several times throughout the weekend. It was a great way to spend time together and laugh and laugh and laugh. We discovered that "bugs" are "icky" but not as bad as "dirty dishes"! And that Snow White is beautiful, but not as beautiful as Sleeping Beauty! :)

I had to leave Saturday afternoon to take my library certification exam, so my husband and the kids were left to entertain the company. They decided to load up on the Gator and explore the pasture and surrounding countryside. I'm glad the weather was warm enough for this expedition! It was also warm enough all weekend for us to walk every evening!

I am so blessed to have a husband who is a good cook -- and who doesn't mind cooking for a "large" crowd. We ate well! Saturday evening, we had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving! We enjoyed a feast of ham, scalloped pototoes, corn, and pumpkin pie. Mmm-mmm! Sunday evening, we had an Oklahoma dinner of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and pumpkin roll!

On Sunday morning, I pursuaded Dad to sing with me in church. That was probably my highlight of the weekend! It was a great moment, one I will not soon forget. I'm so glad he agreed!

So, the house will be empty when we come home after school today. Although it will be nice to have a quiet house, I think it will seem empty without them. But I think we successfully encouraged them to stop over on their way home after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Father is Coming!

There's a little chant repeating in my head: "My father is coming, my father is coming!"

I'm so excited! My father is coming for a long weekend. He and his wife will be here in just a few hours. I am having trouble containing myself.

We cleaned the house yesterday in anticipation of their visit. The kids were great help, even helping clean the bathroom!

We also baked cookies, and shopped for groceries (including an early Thanksgiving of sorts with ham as the main dish).

Now all that's left is the waiting. Hope I can make it until 6:00 tonight!

My father is coming!!

Here are the kiddos raking leaves! They had a great time getting ready for Grandpa's visit!!

A great book about holidays and what it means to be a family: Family Dinner by Jane Cutler.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Speeches, Basketball, and Dance.. Oh My!

Yesterday was one of those overly busy days. I'm reminded of Dorothy's famous line about lions, and tigers, and... Yep, it was a walk-in-the-woods kind of day.

During school, both kids attended the 4H speech contest. My daughter got a red ribbon, and my son got a blue ribbon. I'm just proud that they wanted to participate!

Right after school, my daughter had a basketball game. The school buses were being used on routes, so no buses were available to take the girls to the game! My husband volunteered to use our church van, so we took half and coach used the school suburban for the other half. (Hubby's logic: the pastor's daughter and the youth pastor's daughter are both on the team, so why not?) Actually, I'm glad our church can reach out to the community when there is a need!

To top it all off, my daughter had dance class last night too! She was tired for sure, but she wouldn't have it any other way. It's a good thing she's taking this all in stride, since nearly every Tuesday until mid-January is going to be basketball/dance day!

To be honest, I am glad my kids like to be involved in school and extracurricular activities. I just really wish (for my sake) that the activities didn't happen all on the same day!

A quick read, a novel in verse, for grades 6-8: Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes. The main character is a middle school basketball player, and her struggle during her first year of middle school is actually a great (and quick) book to read!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

18 Dreams

I recently read a blog post asking how life is different than you expected it to be when you were 18. (at

Well, I sat and thought about that for awhile. And here is what I discovered.

My dream at 18, headed to college, was to grow up to be a teacher. I wanted to marry a farmer, but not have any kids, and live near my family.

Hmm, much of that sounds oddly like my life today! I did grow up to be a teacher (though I'm working as a librarian now). I married a small-town boy (and although he is certainly not a farmer, we live in the country). I have two amazing children, and can't imagine life without them. And I live near my husband's family -- still near "family", just not "mine".

My life certainly isn't fairytale perfect, but it's real and it's mine. That's more than I could have ever dreamed when I was 18!

For a fun read about family (and an odd farm) pick up Dither Farm by Sid Hite. Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

"These People Are My Bones"

Sometimes when reading a book, a passage just pops off the page. The words and meaning resound deep inside, making the book more meaningful than it had been.

The book I'm currently reading is Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It's a unique retelling of the Peter Pan story. Like the Peter and the Starcatchers series, this book goes its own way, developing a story line all its own. The story is fun, but also dark. Anyway, I've been reading it just for fun, not studying it for a class or anything "studious" like that.

Then, out of the blue, this passage strikes me. Suddenly, the book resonates in a new way, and I find I'm having trouble putting it down (even to write this post).

Here's the passage:

" I could never leave," Pine Sap said.
"Why?" she asked.
Pine Sap shrugged, and gestured in the direction of the village. "Because I think people must be the same everywhere. Only these people are my bones."

It's true. People are people wherever you go. But your family, your village, are the ones in your heart, in your bones, that you carry with you. No matter how far you roam, your small town family is still with you.