Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tropicana Speech Contest

The Tropicana Speech Contest is a competition for elementary and middle school students.  They prepare speeches on a topic of their choice, and then they compete against the kids in their class. They then move on to the finals in their school, and if they make it to district, they compete against the school district's finalist.

Lana wrote, prepared, and delivered her speech earlier this week, and was chosen by her classmates as one of the top 3 in her class!

Today, the top 3 in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade presented their speeches to their classes and a panel of judges in the gym.  Lana won 1st place for her grade!

Our school can only send 1 representative for the elementary category, and the judges chose the top 5th grader, so Lana won't go on to district.  We are SO very proud of her, though!  You can watch her speech here: Tropicana Speech

This means even more to us because of how very shy she was growing up.  
In preschool, she would refuse to go on stage for musicals and plays.
We had to create a reward system for her to even smile at people when they spoke to her: forget responding to them!
Here's a great example: Dan took her on a breakfast date and asked the waitress to take a picture of them.  Because she didn't know the waitress, she refused to look at the camera:

She was painfully shy, I tell you.

So for her to present a 2-3 minute speech to her peers and a panel of adult judges is absolutely incredible!  She was so poised and prepared, and was passionate without being overly dramatic.  We were so very pleased with our daughter today!  Public speaking is a life-long skill, and she impressed us, her classmates, and the judges today.

We are headed to Tokyo to celebrate with hibachi tonight!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Round here

Lana decided a couple of months ago to take a break from swim,
and thought she might give tumbling a try.
She's in a beginners class once a week, 
and is having a great time.
She's the beauty in black "bridging up like Dan Davis,"
and look at her go on that rope!
She was so proud to finally get to the top.
I love how determined she is when she sets her mind to something.

Last week, it rained almost every day,
and Tucker was going a bit batty.  He NEEDED to get outside.
trampoline + dish soap + rain = lots of bubbly fun!

Lana (and half of her class) had strep throat last week.
It was the first time we'd been to the doctor since the summer of 2014.
(The doctors office was a little annoyed; I was a little smug.)

Tucker and I made a Sam's run one afternoon,
and I bought him a book he was really enjoying while I shopped.
I do believe I have another book worm on my hands!

Sometimes being a #ladyboss means multi-tasking:
snuggling a boy while answering emails

Pepper likes to help Lana study.

Tucker and Dan are over halfway through their t-ball season,
and it has been a fantastic one!
Dan is a great coach, and Tucker really enjoys playing for him.

I'm working on the art of the beachy wave.

I made Lana clean out her desk drawers,
and look what we found: boiled eggs.  
DEAR HEAVENS.

Dan: "Tucker, look!  Pepper wants to snuggle with you."
Tucker: "What?  We are snuggling."

Katie Barker giggles + honey vanilla lattes = sweet, sweet mornings

Tucker and I were waiting for Lana to finish her piano lesson,
and the ice cream truck rolled by.
Happy, happy boy!

We wake the children up 15 minutes early each morning before school,
and they pile in our room with comfy blankets and their Bibles
and read until we make them start getting ready.
I pray that this is always the rhythm of their life!

Lana making her favorite dish: green bean casserole.

Two of my favorite warm weather treats:
Chick Fil A Frosted Coffee

Wild Honey Dole Whip

Speaking of warm weather,
we just made our first beach trip of the year!
It's almost not worth it to go down on the weekends,
but we've discovered that if we are in the car by 8 a.m.,
we can make it down before most of the traffic,
and have had plenty by lunch time.
The water is still SO COLD - 
can't believe these kiddos were in it!

making sandcastles - Dan is an expert!

Tucker was so, so proud of his sandcastle.
He looks too old here to me:
those aviators and long legs and gorgeous grin.
I could inhale him.

Even though our kids no longer nap,
we still have a daily quiet time on the weekends and school holidays.
I came in to get Tucker after a quiet time, and found this:
I couldn't even fuss at him - he makes me laugh! 

My friend Mary and I teach the kindergarten Sunday School class,
and we have been learning about perseverance this month.
We had our children write about a time they had to stick with something 
even though it was hard.
Tucker wrote about learning to ride his bike:
He is finally starting to get the hang of it!
bike 1     bike 2     bike 3     bike 4
It's mostly our fault that he hasn't mastered this skill.
Our neighborhood roads aren't very good for bike riding,
and we don't take them elsewhere to ride very often.

cleaning out stuffed animals - these things multiply!

Just a little glimpse in to what they are learning at school:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pepper update

This poor baby lost her vision again.
She did ok for about 4 weeks,
and then we could tell yesterday that it was beginning to go again.

 We took her back to the specialist,
who confirmed that her eyes are inflamed again, and her retina is detaching.
He believes this is some sort of internal issue, 
similar to lupus or arthritis.
Her body is simply attacking her eyes.
Steroids reduce the inflammation and help her regain some vision,
but she can't stay on steroids indefinitely.

She is acting worse this time:
very lethargic, eating and drinking very little.
The high doses of medicine are upsetting her stomach,
and she's throwing up frequently.
We took her to the local vet,
where they gave her some anti-nausea meds.


We are trying a new medicine to help the inflammation;
it's tough because she can't stay on anything long-term - 
it will send her in to liver failure.

We've put her on a bland diet,
and if love could heal her, she would be better instantly.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sebaceous cyst: before and after

Wednesday, April 13
 I went to my doctor to see about this weird cyst on my arm.
He called it a sebaceous cyst.
He says it is harmless, but is very unlikely to go away on its own.
They usually grow rapidly and become infected.
He wanted to create an eye-shaped incision and remove the cyst by hand,
using only local anesthetic.
That doesn't sound like my idea of a good time,
so I asked him if I could try oils for a few weeks.
I promised I would come back to him if it didn't go away.
He tolerates my use of essential oils 
because he knows I will use western medicine too,
so he agreed.

I made up a roller bottle with this mixture of my Young Living oils:
20 drops frankincense
20 drops copaiba
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops of copaiba
no carrier oil

Thursday, April 14
I keep the roller ball I made in my pocket or purse,
and apply it on the cyst almost constantly.
Every time I see the oil dry, I reapply.
There's been a lot of improvement in just 24 hours.
I think it's smaller,
and it's definitely less painful and hot to the touch.

Friday, April 15
It's showing so much improvement today!
It's much less hard, and not painful at all.

Monday, April 18
I tried to get a really good picture of it today
to show the dramatic improvement in only 5 days!
I know I still have friends who think my essential oils are voodoo,
or at least a placebo effect.
There's no placebo affect here, friends.

The proof is in the pictures.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Round here

Resurrection Sunday was extra special this year,
as we shared the day with some of our family-by-choice.

These two.  It is my deepest prayer for them that they "know Christ, and the power of His resurrection." (Phil 3:10)  The rest of that verse is more stark...and yes, it's still my prayer for them, and for myself.

Tucker absolutely adores Colter.  ADORES.

Games after Easter lunch....love that my girl is right in there with the grown ups.
What a sweet way to spend a Sabbath!

April has already been a month full of visits from favorite friends!
Sawyer & Bennett & their precious mommy came to visit from NC for a week:

and our beloved Scotts came to the beach for a weekend
and met us for dinner:

sweet snuggles from this baby who once was blind but now can see.
(p.s. her temporary blindness rendered her absolutely, utterly spoiled.)

I love taking my littles with me to vote;
it was an interesting discussion as we headed to the ballot box for the primaries.
Tucker had a very strong opinion about who I should vote for!  Ha!

Oh, this Katie Barker.
She & I meet every other week for coffee and Jesus and real talk,
and I just love her to absolute bits.
They put this sign out in front of Fosko just for us.


This girl and her daddy are something serious.
Alike, in so many ways; they are smitten with each other.

Truth?  I think yes.
(I love Storypeople.)


Our friends Ben & Laura left this month to go on SUCH a cool adventure!
They sold their stuff, rented their house, bought an RV, and are traveling the US.
Are you kidding me with the coolness?! 
We got together for sushi one night before they left.

Pepper's favorite spot to wait while I get ready in the mornings.

Listen to me.  When this child flips his hat backwards,
it MELTS ME TO A PUDDLE. 
I'm mush just looking at this picture.
My knees turn to jello when his daddy wears his hat like this, too.
I can't even explain it.

I asked my firsties to write about something they'd like to invent.
This child wins the award for the most honest narrative:

Remember when I told you she's spoiled?
That's clean laundry she's napping in.

As he becomes more and more literate, we find him this way even more often.
His sister had just introduced him to the Flat Stanley series.

Speaking of books, these two loves left me on the couch reading on Sunday afternoon,
and when I poked my nose outside to see what they were doing,
this is what I found:

That trampoline has been a great investment for us! 
Not only does it serve as a shade for reading good books,
but it can be an awesome water feature as well:

Sometimes I catch her dreaming and wonder
where that little mind meanders
Is she down along the shore or
strolling 'cross the braod savannahs,
I know in time she'll learn to make up her own mind
In time she's gonna learn how to fly
Oh that I won't deny
(Jimmy Buffett, Little Miss Magic)
This miracle of mine hasn't had the easiest few months;
Sometimes there are hard things we have to do,
and it makes me breathless to watch her do them.
She's so brave; she trusts the Lord so much; she believes the best of everyone.
I want to be just like her one day.
Being her mama is the joy of my life.