Okay, it's hotter than HADES here in Maryland lately.  And you all know how much I LOVE the heat. Ahem......

So I've been on the lookout for "cool" things that will make me laugh and take my mind off the dreadful sauna to which I've apparently been banished.

And this new site fits the bill!  Young House Love says

".....the writer of this new blog, Catalog Living, is all about finding irony and humor instead. She basically takes an overly-styled room in a catalog and imagines what strange conversations must surround each beautiful but not-so-logical scene."

It's hilarious!  And FUN! Kinda like The Far Side meets Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel.  Just the kind of thing to take your mind off the thermometer.

So enjoy!  I'm off to stick my head in the freezer..............again.


Two, Two, Two posts in One!!

Okay, so I totally missed last Thursday's post on preschool and kindergarten, but I'm a day early for this week's post on first grade.  So I think we're even. 

Once again, these years are fuzzy, but I do recall a few important things.

Preschool and Kindergarten

  • My sister, Amie, was born in September, 1969, and my brother Adam in March, 1971. My mom was busy!
  • We moved to my childhood home in March 1971, right before my brother was born.  I remember walking up the road to the new house (at the time we were living just down the road) while my mom was VERY pregnant with my brother.
  • I entered kindergarten in September, 1971.  It was the first year that High Point Baptist Academy was in existence.  My teacher was Mrs. Vogt.  I don't remember much about that year except that I spent MUCH time in the playhouse during recess learning to lace and tie my shoes.  This is a skill that I still have not totally mastered.  I always have to pause and think before lacing shoes, and I tie my shoes in a very weird way.  I was probably scarred for life in that ridiculous blue and yellow playhouse while the rest of the class was out at recess.
  • I was Betsy Ross in the school play that year.  My mom made my costume.  I don't remember exactly what my role involved, but I do remember the night of the play.  I'm sure I was a huge success on the small stage. (Mom, I know there's a picture of that somewhere.)
First Grade
  • My teacher was Mrs. Hertzler.  During the fall of that year, she lost her 12-year old daughter during open heart surgery, and we had a long-term substitute. 
  • My love-hate relationship with recess continued:  I spent many recesses inside with my head down on my desk because I could not. stop. talking.  Most days that was terribly boring, but the day that Melissa Moser threw up all over her desk, I had a front-row seat for all the action.
  • My most vivid first-grade memory is the day that I dawdled just a bit too long washing my hands after bathroom break.  When I came out of the restroom, Mrs. Hertzler asked me what had taken so long.  Apparently, I didn't answer quickly enough so Mrs. Hertzler proceeded to ask me if I'd had a BM?  Now, I have to tell you that in our home, my mother NEVER allowed words like "BM".  So naturally, I had NO idea what Mrs. Hertzler was talking about.  I must have looked at her like she had three heads because she mistook the look on my face for disrespect.  My punishment was yet another class period with my head down on my desk while the rest of the class enjoyed a film strip on dental hygiene.  I blame Mrs. Hertzler for my mouth full of cavities.
  • My sister Becky was born in October of my first grade year.  On the day she was born, the school secretary came to my classroom to tell me that I had a phone call in the school office.  After I said hello, daddy told me that I had a baby sister.  I was totally bummed because I had really been hoping for another brother.  Come to find out, one brother was more than enough (I love you Adam!), and I wouldn't trade Becky (or any of my siblings!) for anything.

    And now for your viewing pleasure:

    Me and my handsome daddy, May, 1968
    Celebrating my 5th birthday, November, 1972


Quote of the Day

Tonight, on the way to Payton's soccer game (yes, somehow, "fall soccer" has morphed into a-scrimmage-every-Tuesday-night-in-summer soccer.  grr...), Sawyer and I were listening to the radio when we heard a commercial for the Maryland state lottery.  If you live in Maryland, you know the one "Maryland Lottery, let yourself play." 

Sawyer was listening intently and said "Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to play the lottery in Wyoming."  Of course, I had to know what made him choose Wyoming.  (We can address the pitfalls of the lottery at a later date.)

"Well, no one lives in Wyoming.  So I have a better chance of winning there."

Well you can't argue with that.  Apparently, all those lessons on ratio and probability are sinking in. 

My apologies to any Wyoming readers. 


November 18, 1967

Oddly enough, even though I was there, I don't remember anything about my birth.  But I can share the stories my mom has told me.  I know I was due November 11 or was it 12th?  Then again, maybe I don't know anything.  Mom, please correct me if I'm wrong. 

My parents were living in a cold, drafty farmhouse on Furnace Road in Geigertown.  I was overdue and my mom was ready to be done!  I know her labor lasted for days--and when she finally got to the hospital and they took her into the delivery room, Robert Goulet was singing over the sound system.  My mom always joked that I am a singer because of that.  I also know that Mrs. Harris (as in Miss Harris, the science teacher's mom) was my mom's labor and delivery nurse.  I was born in Reading Hospital and delivered by Dr. George Sexton (yes, funny name for an ob/gyn, huh?) at 9:28 p.m.  As you saw from the comments above, my dad was busy watching OJ Simpson and, to this day, he has a hard time remembering exactly when my birthday is.  However, I bet if we asked him right now, he could tell us the final score of that college football game without hesitation.  I try not to take that personally.

I was named Jennifer Robin.  My mother insists that at the time she named me "there we NO other Jennifers", and we all know how THAT turned out.  Thankfully, my parents were wise enough to never call me Jenny, but most people call me Jen and that's fine with me.  Thankfully, they were also wise enough to spell my name "normally".  (My sister, Amie, was not so fortunate!).  I went to college with a Jeniffer and also know a Gennifer.  Seriously?  I would never choose "Jennifer Robin" but the alternative was "Martha Louise" so, as you can see, I got the better end of the deal.  My mom wanted to name me "Brooke" but daddy didn't go for that.  And while I would have much preferred "Brooke", I am thrilled to have my own "Brooke Ashleigh" now.

The only other detail I know about my birth is that my poor mom, likely in an unsuspecting moment of pregnancy-induced stupidity, agreed to have Thanksgiving dinner at her home in November of 1967.  Of course, she thought she'd be home with a new baby and all settled and ready to go.  Well, naturally, things didn't turn out that way, and we ended up coming home ON Thanksgiving Day to a house full of eager relatives.  Mom doesn't remember that day very fondly--and those of you who have had a child and know how that first day/night home from the hospital is--can understand why.  I do know that after all the festivities, my Aunt Judy stayed for a week to help mom and I'm sure that was wonderful!

So there you have it-Installment #1.  A few days late.  Just like me. 

(I'm working on getting some pictures to spice up these posts a bit and embarrass myself into oblivion.  Stay tuned.)


A fun summer series!

Sooooooo.....you've probably noticed that the blogging has gone in waves (or trickles) recently.  I'm inspired for about a week and then life gets busy and there's nothing for two weeks.  Then I'm inspired again, then busy, then inspired, then busy.  You get the idea.

Honestly, I was dreading the summer and having to be creative with posts.  I LOVE the writing.  It's coming up with what to write about that stumps me.  I also tend to be a perfectionist (if you hadn't noticed) and so I write and rewrite, then think about the post for a few days, and then rewrite again.  This doesn't make for easy (or enjoyable!) blogging at times!

But yesterday, my summer writer's block was lifted, and I am so excited!  I came across this blog and saw that she is hosting a series about recording your youth in 15 posts or less.  How fun!  I have mentioned before that I pretty much had a perfect childhood, and I am blessed to have wonderful memories that I would love to record for my children and grandchildren.  So I am jumping in with two feet!  I am already two days behind but I don't think that will matter.  Posts will follow this schedule (hopefully!).

June 10:
Details about your birth/How you got your name
June 17:
Preschool-Kindergarten years
June 24:
Age 6 or First Grade
July 1:
Age 7 or Second Grade
July 8:
Age 8 or Third Grade
July 15:
Age 9 or Fourth Grade
July 22:
Age 10 or Fifth Grade
July 29:
Age 11 or Sixth Grade
August 5:
Age 12 or Seventh Grade
August 12:
Age 13 or Eighth Grade
August 19:
Age 14 or Ninth Grade
August 26:
Age 15 or Tenth Grade
Sept. 2:
Age 16 or Eleventh Grade
September 9:
Age 17 or Twelfth Grade
September 16:
Post High School

Hopefully, the creative juices will start flowing and by mid-September, you will know way more about me than you ever dreamed or desired!  I may even learn to use that scanner sitting in the study and post some very embarrassing pictures!  (Also, mom, I'm putting you on notice.  I may need help with recall of some pertinent facts--you know, like which football game daddy was watching while I was being born and who is responsible for that horrendous river boat ride we had to take on that Kentucky vacation!)

Post One will be up tomorrow.  Please come back and read.  I know you can't wait!


Pomp and Circumstance......

She did it.
She graduated.
She laughed and smiled THE. ENTIRE. TIME.
She had a blast, just as I hoped she would.
She had a wonderful evening and made some wonderful memories.
She sang like an angel-as always.
And I did not shed one tear.

Jessie, Sarah, Brooke at Baccalaureate

Brooke and Jordyn, Baccalaureate

Waiting for her turn to walk across the stage.  And smiling!

Seems like just yesterday she was three!

Congratulations from Mr. Van Ness, Headmaster

I did it!

On to Cedarville University--and amazing things for God!!

We love you Brooke. 
We are so proud of you!


For the love of teachers...

This is my new favorite blog! Really.  In fact, one day last week, I sat and read the. entire. archives.  Yes I did.  Because I don't have anything else to do, you know!  I only wish she posted more often! 

But, the other day, she posted these charming thank you notes, and I love, love, love them!  It's that time of year--you know the time:  teacher gifts.  I happily appreciate my kids' teachers but I am woefully bad at coming up with creative ideas that don't break the bank. 

But Dandee saved me!  She offered a free pdf for these charming cards, and I just happened to have some postcard stock and adorable red ribbon on hand.  (Miracles never cease!  I actually had some red ribbon!)  I printed off a set of cards, tied them up with a sweet ribbon, and off they went.  Hopefully, we made a few teachers smile. 

I'm sure Dandee would be happy to share the pdf with you.  Then you can make some teachers smile too!


Dear Brooke....

Today you graduate from high school.  It's hard to believe since it seems like just yesterday we were joyfully welcoming you to the world! 

Today is bittersweet.  We are so proud of you and excited for all that you have to look forward to.  We are also sad for us as we know that life in our little family will never be the same. 

Until you have a child of your own, you will never understand how very much we love you or how our hearts long for you to follow hard after God.  You are amazing and beautiful and talented.  We are so blessed and privileged to be your mom and dad. 

Today, as one door closes and another swings wide open, this is our prayer for you:

Sweet Brooke, be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you a wise mind and a spirit attuned to His will so you will acquire a thorough understanding of the way in which God works.  We pray that the way you live will always honor and please the Lord and that you will continually do good, kind things for others.  And that all the while, you will learn to know God better and better.   We also pray that you will be made strong with HIS glorious power so that you will have ALL the patience and endurance you need.  May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father who makes you strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that HE has for you!  Colossians 1:9-10

And, finally, on this momentous day, we couldn't close without reminding you of our favorite family saying:  Life is full of choices.  Choices have consequences.  Make wise choices.

Congratulations sweet Brooke!

We love you always,

Mom and Dad