He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From the mouths of babes...

Today I had one of those days where I really needed a laugh at the end of the day, so at dinner tonight the girls and I sat around trying to make a list of all the funny things Miss Naomi has been saying lately.  She just comes out with the funniest, most random things sometime. I hope you will be as entertained in reading them as we were in remembering them. Some of these will probably require an explanation before hand, others you might need to hear the quote before you can understand the context.  You may notice, that in some of these Naomi refers to me as Mom and others Mommy.  Typically, the Mom is said more as "Mah- am" with all the sarcasm she can muster that has most definitely come from her sisters.  The Mommy quotes, she is usually in sweet little girl or inquisitive little girl mode.  So here goes...
 Last spring, Naomi got very excited about starting school.  We found a little part time preschool for her, and we talked it up big all summer and she remained very excited.  I was somehow operating under the mis-guided notion that she would be thrilled about going to school in spite of the fact that Abbey and Maddie were going to be home with me.  I was also somewhat selfishly looking forward to easing into homeschooling by having Naomi at preschool a few days a week.  Well, it would be a gross understatement to say that Naomi did not enjoy her school.  She was way less than thrilled and said things like "I don't ever, ever want to go there again.", "i want to stay with you forever" etc etc.  (Notice here that I am speaking in the past.  I could not exactly justify continuing to send my 3 year old off to school when my 8 and 10 year old are home with me...).  Anyway, by far the best quote from Naomi regarding her school was,
"Mommy, I want to take my new school and throw it in the trashcan." 

The next one was after we had run several errands in our neighborhood and were back in the car driving to another part of town.  Naomi by far gets the most attention of the three girls with her blond hair and blue eyes.  Everyone is always stopping her to hug her, pinch her cheeks, ask her name, ask how old she is etc.  So we were back in the car after one such afternoon of being loved on and pinched on, and as if she was completely dumbfounded she says,
"Mommy, all the peoples in the world don't know who I am."

(the skates in the picture here don't really relate to much, but the facial expression is classic Naomi...)
"Can I have stick cereal?"
Took me awhile to figure this one out, but, go figure, my three year old loves All Bran, and what better name for it than "stick cereal".

"Mom, are you a mouse or a gentleman?"
Still working on figuring this one out...  She called it out to me tonight while I was fixing dinner and then cracked herself up.  Any ideas on this one?  We're all clueless...

We kind of had this back and forth thing going for a while where she would come and say, "Mommy, I"m thirsty" or "Mommy, I'm hungry", and I'd say "Hi thirsty/hungry.  I'm Mommy, nice to meet you."  (I know, I"m hilarious and so creative....).  Anyway she'd get very exasperated and say, "Mah-am. I'm Naomi!".  Anyway, without fail, she now says,
"My name is Naomi, and I'm thirsty/hungry."

I still have no idea where this one came from...  The other night I was rushing around after supper trying to get the girls bathed and in bed, because I was hosting Bible study at our house.  As I was rushing Naomi to the back, I was explaining to her that my friends were coming over to visit etc etc.  She looks at me and says,
"Mommy, are they (my guests) kids or are they humans?"

We've talked a little with Naomi about speaking in French and/or Arabic.  She knows that the girls speak French as they occasionally read to her, and sometimes I'll explain to her if she can't understand someone that it's because they are speaking Arabic.  So the other day I will confess that Naomi was chattering at me.  I say at because I probably wasnt' doing the best job of listening.  At one point when I realized I was supposed to be responding so I said, "What, Naomi I didn't hear you."  She looks at me and says,
"Mom, I'm speaking to you in English."

One last quote... Today I was sitting on my bed during a break from school listening to the audio lecture of the new Beth Moore bible study that I'm doing.  I had on my earphones because Jason was working at his desk and I didn't want to bother him.  Naomi comes in and, of course, wants to listen on the earphones.  I had just finished so I put the earphones on her and started the lecture over thinking this would last all of 10-20 seconds.  But no, she sits there quite contentedly listening and was especially fascinated by the brightly colored screen saver that was playing along on my comptuer screen.  Being a true southern girl, I think she felt right at home listening to Beth's voice.  Anyway, she sits there listening for a good five minutes at least.  I started doing email and occasionally asked her what she was listening to and got responses like, "the lady is talking" or "they're playing music."  The last time I asked her what the lady was talking about, she looks up at me without batting and eye and says, "Submission."  Good grief!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Animal and Sea Creatures Club

One of the biggest challenges for our family about living in Lebanon is the lack of wide open spaces for the kids to play.  Being from suburbia myself, this has always been one of my biggest struggles.  Our girls have learned to get pretty creative and make maximum use of the space we have.  Over time they girls have really developed a love for clubs.  You name it, they've probably had a club for it.  American girl doll club, littlest pet shop club, Harry Potter club, No boys allowed club, etc etc etc.  They really get  creative with secret handshakes, knocks, rule books, agendas...   Typically the clubs mostly involve Abbey and Maddie with Naomi tagging along as a very willing sidekick.  Also pretty typical is for club time to end in tears as Maddie and Abbey argue over who gets to be president and set all the rules.  Abbey is pretty used to being allowed to be the leader but more and more recently, Maddie is demanding her own share of the authority.

Sunday morning, however, I woke up to a different scenario.  You see, when Jason travels, and it's for a longer time period, I try to have at least one "sleep-in" morning for myself.  Since we didn't have church until 2 on Sunday, I decided it would be the perfect day for it.  I bought donuts the night before for their breakfast, told them to have fun and just not wake me up.  When I did finally get up at 9:30 (believe me for a homeschooling mother of three, that IS sleeping late), this is what I found. 

Maddie and Naomi had estabilished their "Animal and Sea Creatures Club" and decorated their little balcony off of their room.  They have drawings of sharks, dolphins and whales, photo copies of their favorite pictures and even a list of the days activities.  Naomi is thrilled to be more than a little involved, and Maddie is thrilled to be in charge with no one fighting for that position. 

Here they are reading their favorite science books.  Especially after our trip to the Georgia Aquarium this summer, Maddie has loved studying about sea creatures and she was having so much fun "teaching" Naomi.  She even occasionally sent Naomi to me to report facts that she was learning.  Lest you think that this was a one time thing, they are faithfully storing their club supplies under the balcony table and they met again this morning.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stubborn little sisters- a walk down memory lane

I was looking through some old pictures on my computer tonight while I was waiting on the girls to fall asleep, and I came across these old classics.  I had forgotten about this series of pictures, and it is hilarious!  This is when we lived in France in 2003.  Abbey had just turned 4 and Maddie had just turned 2.  Here you see Abbey happy as can be with her new Barbie kitchen set that she got from Annie and Da in a special birthday package.  Now you need to understand, that form the get go, AJ was the classic oldest child.  Organized in all her play, meticulous about arranging and setting things up just so.  You can see that she has a great set up here for Barbie.  The little kitchen table is even set. 

Now make no mistake, it is no coincidence that she has positioned herself in the corner of her room hiding behind the bed in order to play with her new treasure.  You see, little sister Maddie is not so meticulous in her play and would just love to get her chubby little two year old hands on Abbey's new toy.  As I watched what happened next, I decided not to intervene but just see how things played out.  Let the pictures speak for themselves...

Uh oh- here comes trouble.  Maddie has discovered that something that looks pretty fun is going on and she wants in on the action, and as you can see Abbey is not about to let her mess up the set up that she has very carefully arranged.

Maddie's not giving up quite so easily, but then again, neither is Abbey...

Maddie backs up to observe from afar and think about her next approach.  Really who can blame her, the tea set in the big blue box is just not nearly as appealing.

So she apparently decided on a more aggressive approach for the second go round.

Uh oh, looks like Abbey is getting a little put out...


And the winner is....

Ok, I'm a big sister too, and I know these photos don't exactly show the best parenting techniques, but sometimes you have to sacrifice discipline for a great photo op!  (and for those of you who may be overly sympathetic with big sis- don't worry too much, she was ready to move on to something else)

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Go Maddie, go Maddie, go Maddie..."

So I"m finishing cleaning up the kitchen last night when I heard quite a commotion coming from the back of the house.  I walked down the hall and found the scene at the left in the girls bathroom.  Jason and Maddie are in the bathroom where he is attempting to convince her that her one front tooth that is left is hanging by a thread and she should pull it. (He knew better than to ask her to let him do it)  Abbey and Naomi are standing in the hallway chanting, "go Maddie, go Maddie, go Maddie..." and not exactly helping Maddie's stress level.  (and yes, Naomi is not wearing clothes- it was almost bedtime and she has taken to "sleeping naked" which has been fine as it has still been pretty hot even in the house).  So anyway, let me back up a little.  If you knew me at all as a child or if you have spent any significant amount of time with my children, you know that they like me (or like I was) have a tendency to become somewhat freaked out by anything remotely related to blood or a possible body injury which  in their minds includes losing teeth.  Funny thing is, I am now a nurse, so Jason and I have done all we know to do to down play injuries, not make a big deal out of bleeding injuries etc, but still, they all freak out.  Just to give you even more perspective, my mom likes to tell the story of my four year old birthday party when I fell down and scraped my knee and went in and put on a pair of cordury pants (in the 90 degree Memphis June heat) so I wouldn't have to look at the scratch.  Another story- I was once offered $20 (in 1982 that was pretty significant!) by my great aunt if I would let me grandfather (the gentlest man in the entire world) pull my front tooth which was barely hanging on by a thread.  I wouldn't even consider it. 

So fast forward back to the future, and here is sweet little Maddie totally stressed to go to bed with her tooth that is barely hanging on because she's afraid she will swallow it, but even more stressed by the thought of pulling it herself. 


I'm not sure if Naomi was more excited about watching Maddie try and pull her tooth, or about being up after bedtime and dancing naked in the bathroom on the toilet. 

Almost there....

She did it!

October 31

I confess that I have always loved Halloween.  I grew up going trick-or-treating, going door to door with my friends until our bags were overflowing, driving to Memommy's house to get her famous popcorn balls and show off our costumes before we hit the street.  We even had a Halloween carnival at our church back in the day before we called them harvest or fall carnivals.  Anyway, since living overseas it has been hard to do much for Halloween because people don't really go trick-or-treating here and it's really not acknowledged much.  Also, as much as I love dressing up, I am just not that creative.  So, I got a little stressed when we were invited to a harvest/reformation party by some fellow home-schooling friends and the kids were invited to dress up like a famous historical character.  First challenge- coming up with three historical women that the girls would be excited about dressing up as.  Second challenge- confessing Naomi that Snow White is not a historical character.  Thankfully she got very excited about being Queeen Esther.  Biggest challenge- once we decided on the costumes- Pocahantas, the Egyptain princess Bithia (who rescued Moses from the Nile) and Queen Esther was figuring out how in the world to create such costumes with very limited resources.  There is simply not anything close to Hobby Lobby in Lebanon!  Enter my friend Kellie- crafting genious and my new hero.   I took her to the craft store with me and a few pieces of felt, a little glitter, a few pieces of some weird gold material stuff, and a hot glue gun turned into terrific costumes right before my eyes.  I can even honestly say that I helped!  But if you know me you probably also know that there's no way I came up with this stuff myself!
Here's Maddie as Pocahantas:

Abbey as Princess Bithia (I wasn't able to get a picture of AJ by herself as Naomi for once was very into posing...

And here's silly Naomi as Queen Esther:


As part of the party that we went to, each child was invited to tell the crowd about their character and also recite something they had been learning from school.  Abbey and Maddie both did great, and even Naomi got up in front of everybody and sang one of the songs from the Veggie Tales version of Esther.  It was hilarious!                     

Here's all the kids dressed up at the party.  This family lives down in the south of Lebanon several hours away so we don't get to see them much, but the girls are so happy when we do.  They have five kids, and the only daughter, Jumeelee, is right between our girls and they have so much fun.  

We stayed with some other friends who let Jumeellee come over and spend the night and they were all thrilled.  That's been the hardest part of homeschooing is finding time for them to be with their friends.  The played so hard for almost 24 hours straight without hardly fighting at all and it was so perfect.