Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jesikah's 5th grade graduation

I'm sure that you are probably tired of graduation posts, but bear with me while I post one more graduation. This fall will bring a lot of change for our family, thus all the graduations now. Jarem starts Kindergarten, Jesikah starts middle school (scary), and Alex begins high school. Tessa is the only one that will not be entering a new phase.

I know that a lot of people dislike preschool, elementary, or middle school graduations because they seem to celebrate mediocrity.  But, I enjoy them because it is a moment for me to recognize my child's accomplishments thus far and focus in on that child for a few minutes. 

I was very proud of Jesikah today, so let me brag on her for a minute.  She has always gotten good grades and done her best in school, but she worked especially hard this year.  She has had a great, but hard, teacher, and the standards have been raised this year which made it even harder.  In preparation for the TCAP writing test, she worked hard and improved a lot in her writing.  Through this, she developed a new love for writing.   She has been very responsible and always had all her schoolwork done on-time without any help or reminders from me throughout the year and always did a good job too.  Even though she's been at 3 different schools in the past three years, she has kept a good attitude and been a friend to everyone.

At graduation, she received the presidental academic award.  She also was recognized as the D.A.R.E. essay winner for her class and received a medal.  In addition, she was voted the best citizen in her class for the year by her classmates.(she didn't know about this)  She was awarded a $50 US savings bond which she was very excited about.  She was in art club the first semester and honor choir the second semester this year.  She enjoyed both, but she especially enjoyed singing.  They sang, "Lean On Me" for graduation, and she loved it.  She was also part of Jr. Beta Club.  She has accomplished a lot this year, and I'm glad she got the chance to be recognized.

Jesikah graduated from 5th grade on Monday.  It was a very nice ceremony with a great slideshow before the program.

Jesikah walking in

Jesikah's teacher calling her name as she is ready to walk out.

Jesikah with her teacher, Mrs. Watson

Jesikah and a friend, Skylar, after graduation

I got a little teary-eyed a couple of times during the ceremony.  I don't think I'm ready for this girl to go off to middle school.  She has always wanted me to be a part of her school experience and her life.  They are growing up all too fast.  Even though I don't want her to have to grow up, I do think she is mature enough to handle it and that gives me some solace.  I love you Jesikah.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Day of Preschool

Jarem in front of the preschool entrance on his last day

I know that Jarem has had more than his share of posts lately, but I just want to finish out his preschool year.  Jarem's last day of preschool was on Friday.  He had his graduation on Thursday night.  On Friday as he was walking out, I could tell he didn't quite know how to say goodbye to his friends.  As he was trying to awkwardly say goodbye, one of the mom's sensed his awkwardness and said that some of the other boys in his class were meeting at McDonald's for lunch if we'd like to come.  I decided that would be the perfect way for Jarem to end his preschool year, so we met several of his friends at McDonalds and they had lunch and played together. 

I felt a little guilty because it seems like I knew all the preschool friends of all my other kids and they had playdates together sometimes.  With Jarem, he really hasn't had any playdates with his preschool friends and I haven't really even gotten to know their parents either (except one that I had a photography class with).  I guess I just have too much going on all the time with the other kids and so he just plays with his siblings and their friends usually.  This was a good chance for him to be with just his friends.

This is them eating their lunch.  Jarem is sitting on the side with Drake and his little brother.  On the other side is Griffin and Isaiah.

Jarem and Drake...probably his best friend in preschool

They all had a really good time together at McDonalds.  I was really glad we went and Jarem felt closure I think.

This is the Baptist church that I past several times a week taking Jarem back and forth to preschool.  There are always interesting quotes on the sign.  I'll miss seeing this sign so often.  I was starting to look forward to what it would say next. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Preschool Graduation

Jarem with his teachers, Miss Julie (left) and Miss Georgia (right). He's holding Sparkle Spike (their class mascot).

The graduating class marched into the graduation song down the center aisle of the church. It was very cute.  Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for it and wasn't able to get any good pictures.

They then stood up front and sang a welcome song to everyone.

This is Jarem, Will, and Sarah having a laugh after first spying Sparkle Spike with his graduation cap on too.

This is what they were laughing at.  Here, Sparkle Spike is sitting on the piano with his graduation cap too during the ceremony.  They each had a turn during the school year taking Sparkle Spike home for a weekend and taking pictures and writing about what they did together.  I guess this kind of gives them each a special attachment to him.
Jarem spotted us and is waving.  He was very excited to find us in the crowd.

Jarem shaking Ms. Georgia's hand and receiving his diploma

Jarem shaking Ms. Juanita's hand

Jarem waiting for the rest of the kids to receive their diplomas.

Jarem and Mercedes after graduating

Jarem marching out to the graduation song

Jarem had a nice time and we enjoyed watching him graduate from preschool.  It was a cute program, but also pretty short (both good things).

Preschool Year Memories

The other day, Jarem and his preschool friends were telling each other where they lived so they can visit each other.   Jarem said, "If you see a red house with leaks in it, that's  my house!".  His friend, Drake, has a red house too, but they decided that they will able to tell the difference because Drake's DOESN'T have leaks. :)

Another day, I was dropping off Jarem at preschool as one of the other girls from his class was walking in. She waved to us as  we were getting out of the car. I said, "Hannah seems like a nice girl.."  Jarem said, "She may seem (with emphasis) nice, but she copies everyone and she always tattle tales."  It was so funny!

A couple of weeks ago, Eric and I took Jarem out to lunch after preschool.  We went to the Greek cafe in the mall.  Jarem had been begging to ride the 75 cent rides in the entrance area of the mall and Eric and I told him we were sorry but we didn't have any quarters.  Next to the cash register in the cafe, they had a cardboard stand where you could put in quarters to donate to children suffering from lymphoma and other serious childhood illnesses.  As soon as he saw the quarters, he wanted to use the quarters for those rides.  On the cardboard stand there was a picture of a sick child, so we showed him the picture and told him it was money to help sick kids.  He was thoughtful for a minute and then said, "I was sick last week, and no one gave me any quarters."

Mother's Day questions:
My Mom
My mom is 30 years old
My mom is prettiest when she wears earrings.
My mom likes to make beads.
My mom always says, "I love you".
My mom is funny when she does funny voices.
My mom likes to eat mushrooms on pizza
My mom's favorite game is her blog
My mom would never be mean to me
When we are outside, my Mom likes to plant her plants
My mom is really good at playing
My favorite thing to do with my mom is play cars with her
My Mom's favorite thing to do with me is hug and kiss me
Something my Mom has taught me piano lessons
I know my Mom loves me because she cuddles with me

I thought the "wears earrings" one was the cutest because he always wants me to get my earrings on before we go anywhere.

As a behavior incentive for his preschool class, they get a Skittle or M&M for each hour that they have good behavior at preschool. Normally Jarem is there 3 hours so he gets 3.  Everyday when I pick him up from preschool, the first thing he does is he gives me one of his Skittles or M&M's.  It is very sweet.  Then he always saves one for Eric and there is one left for him.  He has been wanting to stay until 2pm sometime since most of his class stays until then.  Staying for lunch sounded exciting, but he was most excited because he would get 5 M&M's.  I asked him what he would do with 5 M&M's?  He said, "Give one to Dad, give one to Tessa, give one to you, give one to me."  I said, "But you'll have one left".  He said,  "I'll give the last one to Alex."

Lately in his prayers, he says, "I'm thankful for my family, even Alex."  Alex teases him a lot, and is in ornery teenage mode a lot lately.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kindergarten Round-up

That's right!  My baby is off to Kindergarten this Fall.  We took Jarem to Kindergarten round-up last week.  Jarem was very excited about it.  Even though I thought the talking part would be very boring to him, he turned to me at one point while the principal was talking and said, "Mom, I'm really interested in this."  It was pretty cute.  He got a bunch of flashcards to practice before school starts, which he loves practicing so far!

Jarem and Eric rode the bus around the parking lot.  Below is a picture that Eric took on his phone of Jarem on the bus.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Surprise in the Dryer Vent

Two things happened.  First, a few months back, Alex was playing tennis off the side of the house and he broke part of the dryer vent cover.  Then, a few weeks ago, my visiting teacher was telling me about how her dryer was pouring out smoke and they figured out some birds had been in there making a nest and it caught fire so they had to reroute their dryer vent.  These two things together got me is spring, and our dryer vent is vulnerable to birds.

 I had noticed some birds being protective around the garage area as if they had a nest and then last Monday, I saw one go into the dryer vent.  Ok, now I knew for sure they probably had  a nest in there.  After school, I told Alex that he would need to get up there and check it out and pull the nest out.  (We're trying to do natural consequences, and afterall, he was the one who broke the cover).  He was difficult about it, of course, and claimed he was scared of heights and afraid of the birds pecking him.  Finally, when we couldn't take his complaining anymore, Eric got up there and this is what he found:

That is no small nest!  I couldn't believe all of that was in our dryer vent.  It's all the perfect fixins to start a fire...dry leaves, dry grass, small twigs and heat...just what I learned at camp to collect when starting a fire.  I feel very blessed that we didn't have a fire before we found it.  Needless to say, the birds were VERY unhappy about their nest being disturbed.  The kids were a little sad for the birds too, even Alex.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mother's Day and Roses

I had a pleasant Mother's Day except for the fact that I had to speak in church.  That was a bit stressful, but it was all the more relaxing and enjoyable when that part was done.

The kids all made me cute cards and the girls asked if they could make me a bouquet of roses from my rose garden.  I was happy for them to do it, but am a bit protective of my roses so we went out and did it together and I cut them.  This is the bouquet you see above and below.  They are all my roses from the front yard except the red one which was the one I got from church.  It turned out so pretty.

Eric gave me lots of chocolate and a beautiful card.  Alex got lucky and won a giant candybar in his Sunday School class for a trivia game or something and he hand delivered it to me during church as a Mother's Day gift.  I appreciated it!  He also was sure to deliver me a rose when the young men passed them out.  I could tell that he was glad and proud to have something to give me even though he pretends he doesn't have a sensitive side often.  He was even cheerful and pleasant all day which was even better than the gift.

We went on a family walk later on.  It was a beautiful evening, and we all had a nice time. 

These are my roses this year.  It is amazing how big and beautiful they are already.  Funny thing is, the 3 closest ones are huge, and the 3 on the other side are smaller.  Eric thinks it might be better soil on the closer side.  I don't know.  They've all receive the same fertilizer and water.

This is the blushing knock-out.  These do especially well here.

This is the honey perfume.  They smell really good.

This is the hot cocoa rose.  They are a red with kind of a smoky color as they open.

This is my Disneyland rose.  This was taken on Mother's Day, but so many more are open now.

This is the iceberg rose.

Hope all you moms out there had a great Mother's Day.  You deserve it!

Teen Singers and School Choir

The end of the school year brings lots of activities and concerts.  Alex has been involved in a group called "Teen Singers" that is sponsored by Austin Peay State University in Clarksville since January.  It is a group of very talented teenage singers.  Alex was introduced to it through two friends(Nick and Jeremy) at church who sing (top middle).  I think it has been an awesome opportunity for him.  The choir is very good, and not often do middle schoolers get a chance to perform with such a talented group.  In addition, Alex has been taking some voice lessons which have really helped him improve.  He is getting very good at singing tenor, I think.  Below are some pictures I took at their end of year concert a couple of weeks ago.  Alex is on the bottom row second from the left in the striped tie.

In contrast, we went to Alex's school choir concert last week.  I like the way they do electives in middle school here because they get to try everything and they rotate every 9 weeks.  However, I think it is counter-productive for choir.  I was in choir in middle school, and even many of the people who selected it as an elective weren't there to sing.  They just wanted an easy A.  I think with being assigned to choir, it makes it even more so because the kids didn't even choose to sing.  Alex says most of the class periods are spent disciplining.  And if you think about it, trying to get a bunch of moody 8th graders to sing could just be miserable.  Poor Teacher!  I have a hard enough time getting ONE teenager to cooperate. :)  Alex kept telling us it was horrible.  The 7th graders went first, and after listening to the 7th graders, the 8th graders sounded pretty good.  However, in contrast with the teen singers, the 8th grade choir was pretty sad.  I could hear Alex though, and he sounded good.  Below are some pictures I took of the school choir.  Alex is second row from the bottom just left of the middle.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Unusual Week

Well, it has been an unusual week. First, with the flooding and all, our area was in a national emergency area. Thus, the kids were out of school all week this last week. I hear they are going back tomorrow though. That was very unusual to have a week out of school in May only three weeks before school was to dismiss for the summer. The good news is that it looks like the week will be waived due to the emergency situation and graduation/school dismissal will go on as originally planned.

Second, on Tuesday night, Eric started passing a kidney stone. He's never had one before and didn't know what it was. As we were going to bed around midnight, he started to feel the pain. It was so intense he was lying on the floor nearly in a ball. I felt horrible for him. He hates going to the doctor, but after about 30 minutes of this, he got his shoes on and said it was time to go. We spent the remainder of the night in the ER, getting home about 8:30am the following morning. Most of the pain had finally passed before he left the hospital that morning. Poor was a long night!  He's still a little sore.

A couple of things that made that night even more eventful was the fact that we had 4 teenage boys spending the night at our house that night with Alex. (Fortunately they are good boys and were mostly all asleep before we left). And another interesting thing...Eric was on-call that night and Nighthawk (their overnight service) happened to be down so he had been reading the studies from the hospital up until he went in himself. The technicians were quite surprised when Eric showed up in Radiology to get a CT. Afterwards, he read his own CT. They were not able to get in contact with another radiologist to take his place until morning.

When we finally got home, we were ready to sleep, but there were things to be done for me. So Eric rested while I got the kids all situated. I did manage to get in a couple of hours before the day was done. While Eric and I were asleep, the girls decided they wanted to make Eric a cake. They were very worried about him. Here's how it turned out:

Jarem enjoyed helping frost the cake as you can see. :)

The remainder of the week we tried to recover.  The kids enjoyed having the week off school and took full advantage of playdates and sleepovers with friends.  After promising them the Science Center in Nashville all week, we were finally able to make it on Friday with one of their favorite families and they had an awesome time.  They were good, and I enjoyed having them home for the most part.  It was also nice to have a much less busy schedule with the activities involving school cut-out!

Monday, May 3, 2010


It seems that the season of spring brings the most crazy weather in Tennessee.  While most of April was beautiful and sunny with the exception of the last weekend; May has come in like a lion.  Last Saturday(April 24), the rain and tornado warnings started.  Then we enjoyed a pretty pleasant week.  Then late Friday night(April 30), the storms began again.  This time, they didn't stop!  It rained and rained and rained and rained some more.  I think Clarksville and Nashville got a record-breaking 11-13 inches of rain in a matter of 2 days!!  That is nearly doubling the previous record.  The rain did not let up at all from late Friday night to Sunday evening.  It was steady and hard.

Last weekend (in the 2-inch rainstorm), one of our basement rooms started leaking, but Eric was able to take care of the water fairly quickly because the rain only lasted one day.  We called our builders to take care of it (we had the problem once before and they thought it was caused from something else), but they didn't make it over last week.  Needless to say, if we thought it was bad last time, it was much worse this time.  It doesn't start until the water reaches a certain level.  Saturday night before we went to bed, it had just started getting damp on one side of the room.  I woke up Sunday morning at 4am when the 3rd or 4th major thunderstorm of the night began and was very worried about our basement room, so I went down to check.  The carpet was completely soaked in most of the room.  Fortunately, it hadn't gotten in the corner where the computer was yet, so I woke Eric up to help me move everything out.   We spent the next 3 hours moving things out, sucking up water with the wet-vac, towel-drying, and setting up fans.  We got probably about 10+ gallons of water out of the carpet.  It was a good thing we took care of it even though the rain was still coming because it would have definitely spread into additional rooms if we hadn't.  We also found 2 other small leaks in our house.  They didn't really do much damage, but need repair.

About 7am, we went to lay down for a few minutes before getting up for 9am church and ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours.  Unfortunately, we were late to church but we made it in time for Primary which was good since I had sharing time.  Funny thing was, Alex woke up earlier but was very quiet not to wake us up.  He said he thought we weren't going to church today which is funny because we ALWAYS go to church.  Likely excuse! We almost didn't make it home from church because Rossview Road was flooded on our side of the freeway just before you get to our neighborhood.  We watched a truck and a jeep cherokee drive through it and figured we could do it too, and we made it! WHEW! I drove back to take pictures an hour later and a cop was there not allowing people through.

The road covered with water right next to our development...the cop is on the other side blocking the road from people coming through

What you can see to the left in the "lake" is the tops of trees that line a road going up the hill to a house.  This area doesn't usually have any water.  The arrow on the left marks the hill you continue up where the house is.  These people will not be able to get out of their house for quite some time until the water recedes.  There is probably 4-5 feet of water on top of the road to their house.

The area behind our house to the left where water was like a rushing river going out of the pipe and down.  I've never seen it this deep.

My hibiscus is drowning...see the standing water.  The chair was there to try and keep it from tipping over, but the tree is very bent over from the wind and storms.

Later on, I found out that other people had it MUCH worse than us. 
  • The Cumberland River is the highest it has been in 20 years and flooding is happening all around. 
  • The Red River is also flooding (both of which go through Clarksville).
  • Nashville has it much worse than us with tons of flooding and downtown being threatened by a leaky river levee.There were 137 cars stuck on the interstate and it had to be shut down and many other cars halfway or completely covered with water in parking lots and on roads
  • People in Tennessee and surrounding states have completely lost their homes and even died due to flooding
  • There is a video on UTube of a house floating down the interstate in Nashville
  • Businesses are experiencing flooding also
  • And most of them don't have flood insurance because it is expensive and has to be purchased separately in TN
School is cancelled today due to the flooding.  The kids only had 3 weeks of school left but it looks like it will be one day more now.  I hope the flood waters recede soon. 

I feel fortunate to have the small problems that we do, even though they are annoying.  It's supposed to be sunny and in the 80's all week.  I'm thankful to see the sun today!