Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nearing the End of Summer

At the post office, mailing a love package to James' friend's family, stationed in Africa!  This family of three have to speak French to get around, and icecream does not reach them having melted and been re-frozen, so certain things are precious to these far-removed loved ones. 

We began our weekend with a search for a field, just for play. We found the perfect place on campus, surrounding the memorial built in honor of the twelve students who lost their lives when Bonfire fell on 11-18-99. This was my first visit to the site. I was a student, right here, that many years ago, when this tower of compactly-bound logs fell oppressively upon its builders, and devastated my entire school. Standing in the green grass at a distance, my gaze focused on this beautiful monument, and a flood of memories came back to me. Forgive my honesty, from my personal point of view, as I let this out. And it was one of two extremely sobering experiences that punctuated my 4.5 years at A & M.
In an apartment at last, after sharing the minuscule dorm room with my best friend for two years, I relished my flexible schedule, which allowed for a measure of sleeping later. One morning, I slept soundly when all of the sudden, my roommates burst through the door and alerted me that Bonfire had fallen. I truly didn't get it. I figured, "Okay, someone broke an arm. Let me sleep now!" I remember rolling over, trying to return to my dream, and yet, the commotion was too much. I finally snapped out of my state, and realized the seriousness of this freak accident. Fellow students were trapped within the collapsed mass of wood. Bodies were crushed. I, along with my best friends in the world, was horrified. I had two tests that day...or three...or two and a quiz. I had to ride the bus into campus. The bus, normally loud with cacophony, was silent save for the serious voice on the radio. Every power attainable was at work trying to save, trying to salvage, trying to secure peace of mind for a nation standing at attention now. It took a long time to free and uncover and be done, and it was a long agony, I remember. My professors stood at the front of the classrooms...and observing extended moments of silence, wept. I may have been pardoned from a test or two, but I don't recall for sure. I remember waiting inside a building, where I checked my e-mail (a relatively new exercise for this computer-challenged girl), and picking up a Battalion. A photo of a male student, gesturing to others while half his body succumbed to the logs, was accompanied by the newsworthy fact that he insisted paramedics tend to the females, whose voices he heard coming from within. This student, once freed, later died. He was a hero, a real, close-to-home one, I'll never forget. I doubt I ever met him, but he felt like family. He was a Twelfth Man.
Anyway, life afterwords continued on, as it does, and all these years later, I stood, stunned and respectful.
Wendy is at an age now, she asks question after question until the whole picture makes sense. In child-friendly language, especially Wendy-friendly language (those of you who know about her sleep-issues), I explained that God wanted these wonderful students to come home to Him a bit early, for His glory, and that they were instantly in Heaven and at their reward. I read the engraved bits about each student to her, and was touched to see just how much of what is forever etched into the slabs of some sort of steel or something, perhaps bronze?, reflected the student's love and dedication to Jesus Christ. It moved me to my core. And I was also moved to see how with little said, a child can somewhat grasp the gravity of this and comprehend the afterlife, even, hopefully! God bless you all. (Copied from an e-mail I sent a while ago.)

A couple in our Sunday school class invited us to their wedding, so here are pics from the reception.  Wendy is wearing a dress my grandmother had made for me.
Of all her dresses, the few that were mine are her favorite.  I love her.  Oh, I tried a "Bump It" on her crown, under her half-up wedding 'do!  Oh, and yes, that's a bow I made, which is one of the first, so the hot glue is all coming undone and well...she won't be in bows like this much longer...waaaaaa!
At a friend's house~
Can you guess what these are?
I love this kind of busy crafting---t-shirts for Wendy's former teacher's new class.
Teaching Wendy and her friend to play Settlers of Catan.  She doesn't get it yet, but he sure did!
Aunt Karen holding the newest Dollahon in the family, Hank!
Linc and the men.
Under-table girl time!
Sean'te and me
And with our other sib!
I had a wild hair.

It'll grow out.  Wendy cried.  Linc said, "Dat not peedy!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wendy said, not too long ago, with re. to the spooky part of a book (mildly spooky, mind you), "I love to feel drama-tized!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

It's been soooooo hot.  Duh, right?  We swim often, we play inside, we visit with friends, and we are just as ready as everyone else for temps to become more tolerable!
Wendy as Thor, jumping with her friend's lil' bro.
Below, Linc jumps solo.
Wendy's reading is very fluid now.  She reads signs out and about, reads words like "movement," "catering," etc, and can read almost anything! 
We had her tested for public school 1st grade this summer (unless all scores over 90%, state law = she has to repeat kindergarten since her birthday is after the Sept. 1 cut-off), and her reading was 96%!  However, her math wasn't quite there.  Although I cannot see her test, I think she likely got on a roll adding, and then missed that it was a negative sign all of the sudden, or something like that.  This test was 3 hours every day for 4 days!  She did very well, and I was proud of her!  When I registered her at our fantastic school down the street, the principal was so helpful, and we're doing the following~ she will begin in kinder, but will leave her class to join 1st grade for reading, and then, they will also re-test her in math, and if she passes, viola!  First grade!  I'd rather she commit to one or the other so that she isn't stuck straddling two grades.  Prayers are welcomed!
Below, I put my camera on darkness mode and took this pic of her reading in bed.  Then, to protect those blue eyes, lamp on!
I just became a writer for Flair!  I wrote about this experience below, Franklin Drive-Thru Safari, and took these, and other pics, for the next issue!  The pics with my kids won't be published.  Anyway, I'm very excited about writing professionally for the first time!  My editor is also my friend, and she and I both graduated from A & M in '01, journalism!  I met her at Target last summer, looking for light bulbs.  Her daughter and son are Wendy and Linc's ages!  It's just neat.  I mean, I graduated but worked for a home health agency for four years.  Then, I dabbled in other things like substitute teaching, etc, but writing was my major.

I love this cute miniature horse!  Is that not a face you'd love to see every morning?

Who's your mama, llama?

My dad is steadily losing weight through a truly effective program, and he is looking so handsome.  He has already lost almost 70 lbs.  He feels great, and I am so, so thrilled.  Truly, what a blessing. 

Below, Wendy and her little friend, as they appeared right before they gave their recital inside the trampoline!
Wendy loves to chomp on carrots.
I can SEW!  My dear friend taught me how to use a sewing machine, and it's not hard at all!  I finally made Wendy's pillow case from a little kit I bought a loooong time ago!  Now I feel encouraged because I've often drawn up fashion designs, and now, if I were to want Wendy or Linc to wear a particular outfit, it's possible that with practice, I could make it!  Or I could embellish existing basic clothes with my own designs?!  Why not?  Sewing machines are rad!
We check on the kids every night before we retire, and Linc looked too cute the other night.
Oh, and awake, he's even more adorable!
After a long day at church and out and about ~
Swimming lessons were great this summer!  Last summer, she took one-on-one lessons in a private pool, but didn't get there, at all, due to her fear.  This time, the other kids and their abilities truly spurred her on!  This was my friend's suggestion, as she was a lifeguard at one time, and she was spot on!  Wendy isn't a strong swimmer yet, but definitely eager to practice all the time!  For times that a pool is crowded, and I'm 1 to 2, I bought Puddle Jumpers, which are another friend's recommendation, and they are the best safety set-up there is.
Reviewing her chores...
Window Washer
Reading to Brother
T-Shirt Painting
Linc makes a hilarious breathing sound when he's concentrating.  I just sit beside him, watch him and listen to the tone as he crafts.
"When I grow up, I want to fight for our country, defend our freedom, and wear really cool flight jackets."  Nah, she wants to be a tightrope walker!  She wants a tightrope for her birthday!  I think her influence is a combination of Madagascar and the Olympics.
Friends from church came over for a play date.