Daisypath Vacation tickers

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New living room furniture

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The living room redo is almost complete. We have a few wall accents to find, but for the most part, the room is finished. I need to "stain" the buffet, but I've had this piece for a while (my mom stripped the old finish off of the buffet). I'm going to stain it with a red tint that matches the "orange/red" in the fabrics. It's hard to tell from the ottoman (which looks orange because of the yellow undertone), but think "barn red" and you'll know what I'm talking about.

The room was difficult to design as we have two focal points (TV cabinet and the fireplace) then two entryways--behind the couch and near the TV cabinet. All in all, I LOVE the way the room turned out. We picked "durable" fabrics to last a long time and the cats have a doctor date to get "declawed" finally. Poor kitty cats!

Christmas Pictures

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My semi-annual post. ;)

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Living in the country may be casual, but it isn't less busy! This school year, I've been swamped, but I'm LOVING what I'm teaching this year. I have the privilege of teaching English I Honors and English III. I love American literature and teaching juniors.

I also am teaching my son this year...first period! It's been quite fun, and I'm TRYING to pretend he is just another student, but I do find I'm holding him to "higher expectations."

Our football team made the playoffs this year, and it was fun to have such a winning season; we finished 8-3 for the year. Great job, Tigers!

I'm also grateful that we didn't have a COLD football season as last year we froze the entire month of October during district play.

We just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, and it was great having Kelsey home for the holiday. She is truly loving college and I'm loving watching her live a righteous life in Fayetteville.

We spent time with my family in east Texas for Thanksgiving, and for the first time ever, our family ran in a "Turkey Trot" on Thanksgiving morning. Our youngest daughter, Claire, finished second in the "Under 20 division." I'm proud of her perseverance and staying strong mentally. Thanks to Uncle A for encouraging her to finish strong. He ran to keep up with her as the rest of us were not in shape to do the encouraging! :)

We're decorated for Christmas at the farm. It's neat to decorate and not be "dog tired" as last Christmas we had just moved into our home and it was a lot of work unpacking then immediately trying to decorate and shop for Christmas.

I also got a long-awaited present a bit early. We've been waiting to get new living room furniture for the longest as our new "living room" area didn't jive with the furniture we brought from our "city" home. After a few mishaps, we've settled all the furniture in place. The only thing that would make it better is if Sarah Richardson would come accessorize the room and offer advice on what kind of draperies we should hang, but I don't think she'll come as a "Santa" present this year.

I'm vowing, after shopping for Thanksgiving groceries, to shop for Christmas online this year as much as I can. We'll see how it goes. I'm now a disciple of Bargain Briana, so I'm hoping to use some money-saving tricks from her, but at the very least, I'll avoid MADNESS in the stores, and shopping online is going to require advance planning, so we'll stay within budget too.

I love the time between Thanksgiving Break and Christmas Break. My school this year isn't ending its semester until after we return in January, so I won't have a lot of papers to grade over the Christmas break either! Woo hoo! Yea for the teachers, but boo for the kids needing to retain final exam information while they are on Christmas Break.

Have a wonderful Christmas (if I don't blog before then) and I'll post pictures of our holiday decorations soon.

Our Christmas Card

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Birdie Branch Christmas 5x7 folded card
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Back to School and good things come to those who wait

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Back to School
Since the first week of August, we've been "back to school." The kids have had Band Camp each day from 8-5! Yes, that's right. 8-5! The youngest has been "worn out" each afternoon, and I've had to have dinner "ready to go" as they are "starving" upon arriving at home.

Tomorrow, I go "back to school" officially, but I've been up at the school a considerable amount during August. My classroom is still a total wreck, but I'll have it pulled together before Thursday night as then is "Meet the Teacher" night.

I find it funny that a year ago, I knew NO ONE on that night, and this year, many of the people I say hello to I already know.

Challenges this school year?
  1. Teaching my son
  2. Teaching a "new" old prep.
  3. Organizing some new initiatives in our school.
  4. Cooking dinner and running a junior high and high school kid to-and-fro.
  5. Being in the world, but not of it.
Waiting for the right time
I've window shopped for new living room furniture for quite a while. What we had in our "city house" just didn't fit the room in our new home. I'm not talking a difference in style--I mean PHYSICALLY fitting the room.

I've thought several "If I could design this room over..." thoughts, but we've saved up the money and we went yesterday to pick out a new sofa (called a conversational sofa as the two ends fold a bit back to the center--think modified sectional), a HUGE storage ottoman that can accommodate four pairs of feet AND store all the gaming equipment/TV remotes/blankets, and odds and ends, and a swivel rocker. We were able to select fabrics (which made me feel like I was in the show Sarah's House and hubby was my design assistant, Tommy).

We just need to pull the trigger and in a few weeks, wah-lah, new furniture will be in place.

Not that getting "stuff" is the end-all, but it is helping me feel settled and less displaced.

They continue to fascinate me. I continue to ask them to get along and share the feeders. Hummingbirds are a lot like kids and probably a lot of adults too.

I'll keep you updated on the living room and classroom redos. Once has to happen MUCH sooner that the other!

Some Camp Photos

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Peyton with friends readying for water slides!

Claire with her Kickapoo buddy!

Kelsey with friends from K Kauai (the family camp where Kelsey worked this summer).

Peyton with Kabin 19 Kounselors!

Claire with Komo Kabin 12 Kounselors!

I thought I would post a few pictures of my kids from summer camp!

Where has summer gone?

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I'm a HORRIBLE blogger! I admit it. If I would publish half the stuff I "write while I'm thinking" away from the computer, I'd have volumes listed, but alas, I don't sit down to blog enough.

This summer we've been busy!

  • Cheerleading Camp for me
  • Cheerleading fundraiser for me while the little Rs went to church camp at Falls Creek in OK. They loved it!
  • My husband and I took a cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary! Mexico was fabulous! We traveled to see some Mayan Ruins in Chichen Itza. That excursion was great, but it was RAINING when we debarked the ship, so we were soaked! :) We also snorkeled and zip-lined in Cozumel. That day was quite fun and the water was fabulous for seeing fish and creatures of the sea: tons of tropical fish, king crab, puffer fish, sting ray, lobster. Great day!
  • While we were cruising, my parents came to stay with the children. They had a blast with Grandma and Granddaddy while we were gone!
  • We squeezed in, between rain, a visit to the local Blue Ridge Rodeo on Saturday night. The rain had stopped, but the arena was a muddy mess, which made for some interesting rodeo watching. Especially the mutton busting.
  • The little Raymers went to their paternal grandparents' house for the week and while there P and his cousin received their scuba certification. Peyton was one swimmer's ear infection away from getting his open water certification, but he will instead finish those dives over Labor Day weekend.
  • The little Raymers are now at Kanakuk's K1 Kamp until July 31. They seem to be having the time of their lives, but I haven't received a letter from P yet! He better write soon! Check out some of the video from their Kamp!
  • Back to School shopping
  • Dentist/Doctor appointments
  • Band Camp
  • Cheerleader Camp
  • Readying for teaching and learning! My SON will be in my class this year! Yikes!
All in all, it has been a great summer so far, and I look forward to the school year, even though I want to enjoy fully with last few weeks of summer!

Next update, I'll tell you about my neighbors who like to visit in droves! Hummingbirds!

Saying Goodbye

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Today, we said "goodbye for a while" to our friend, Thomas, who was visiting us from England. I feel he brought the cold weather from the UK with him, but I marveled the entire time he was with us at how things weren't cold to him, but to us, we were "freezing."

I hope he had a good time. He had two weeks to visit us--one while we were in vacation mode, and one while we were back to school.

We would have never met him had it not been for Kelsey's Gap Year, and knowing him and other Christians from "foreign lands" reminds me that God is NOT an American and that He has a global mission for all. Christ loves EVERYONE even people with whom we disagree politically, socially, and morally.

Words that Americans use that are NOT okay (for various reasons) for the Brits to use:
spunky, pants, fanny pack, and the American name, "Randy." Today, while Claire was playing basketball, I said, "That girl is spunky," and Thomas laughed. He also told

There were some common UK words that aren't okay in the USA, but Kelsey had done a good job of forewarning him, so Thomas didn't say them at all. lol. Thomas then told us that Allison, earlier in the week, said she was going to "Roll her pants up," and that made him laugh.

Speaking of lexicon, I should have made a list while was here as I'll never remember it all, but Thomas uses words that Americans know in different ways. I guess words that we commonly use he uses, but then extra words we might say occasionally are common for him. We were watching a Chelsea Football match the other night and one of the FC announcers said, "The team is really sparkling," which stuck with me. Things like that--but from Thomas.

We had New Year's Eve at our house and Brittany and Taylor, Kelsey's life-long friends, came over and spent the night and Allison and Anthony visited for the evening. After an intense game of Cranium and Outburst, we realized it was after midnight and said, "Happy New Year!"

I must say that in passing when Peyton's Scoutmaster would remind us that it is colder in the country than the city when preparing for campouts, I didn't really pay attention, but this week, I definitely did--temps. in the teens aren't normal for this time of year, but one perk to "country livin' " is that on Thursday and Friday we didn't start school until 10:00 a.m.

This was a blessing as Thursday night we were licking our wounds from Texas's National Championship loss, and were up late that night.

One hick-up with country life or the extreme cold is that we had a power flicker during the game, but thankfully it only happened once.

Stay tuned--a teacher told me this week that she and her husband, when driving through our neighborhood, saw a wild hog on our property. This week Kent was watching a four-part video series made by some good ol' boy with a thick accent about how to "gut a hog." That should be an interesting quest.

Thankful for the little things...

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I should be going to bed, but I felt the Spirit move to list a few things I'm thankful for...
--I'm thankful for my wonderful, transformed, husband. He is AMAZING even when he is in a bad mood. I love him more each day...not cliche.
--I'm thankful for my daughter, son, and daughter. Each were created individually and uniquely and each have God specific talents that I love seeing them develop and discover.
--I'm thankful for good friends--new and old, especially the ones at the top of the Bluff.
--I'm thankful for my teacher friends--many who are my mentors through their classroom management or crazy cool teaching ideas. I love that they are willing to share their ideas and not hide them in file drawers.
--I'm thankful for the Godly friends my children have and the positive role models in their lives. Thank you for those who pour positivity into them.
--I'm thankful for small things like perfecting a Cafe Mocha from scratch and for someone in Blue Ridge who told me what it would take to survive as the new girl in town. :)
--I'm thankful for wonderful parents and a mom who will drop most anything and come when I need her AND do the laundry even when I don't ask.
--I'm thankful that after an exhausting search, we've found a church where we feel God has called us and we can dig roots.
--I'm thankful for my husband and his ability to provide for his family.
--I'm thankful for God's perfect timing--He's showing this to us greatly in 2009.

Mid-Year Update

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I have THOUGHT about updating this blog about every week, but man, I'm too busy to be a dedicated blogger, but I want one of my New Year's changes (it takes twenty-one days to create a new habit according to Stephen Covey) to be updating my blog weekly.

Tomorrow I begin a new semester at school, and while I am ready to get back to work and see my co-workers and students, the weather outside has me in a bleh mood. I feel stuck in a Bronte sisters' novel, but I must proceed. I'm in the thick of basketball season: both with the cheerleaders and Claire playing recreational-league.

Right now my life is about making it to big milestones, which isn't the way to live. Before the semester break, I kept thinking, "If I can just make it to Christmas," and today I'm thinking, "If I can just make it to March and Spring Break."

My life has changed a lot, but I think God is using all of these changes to mold me into something better.

So much to tell... stay posted!