Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pioneer Woman!!

After the signing of new Toppers, the kids and I headed to Memphis for a different type of signing! My mom, sister, aunt and I had a GNO planned... we were going to the Pioneer Woman book signing!

We arrived at Davis Kidd, not really knowing what to expect (other than a crowd!). We got our "ticket," which was letter Q. Then we heard the announcer call the group of people with letter E! It was going to be a long wait... but what better place to have a long wait than a bookstore??

I love books. The library has ALWAYS been one of my favorite places to go... to study, research, sit and read, or check out an arm-load of books for summer reading enjoyment. My husband politely reminds me that the term for this is "nerd," but I don't care!

Some of my favorite memories involve books... I used to love the day the giant blue bookmobile would be parked in our neighbborhood! I treasured going to the library with Tootie and checking out piles of Nancy Drew books while staying at her house. My dad and I would go to Waldenbooks in the mall, and he always let me pick a new book and a new bookmark to go with it! In college, I informed Scott that if he wanted to spend time with me, I would be in the library. He promptly began showing up in the library to study with me every night, and that's where we spent a great deal of time! (He boasts about the boost his GPA took when we started dating!)

Sorry for the digression... SO, we had a long wait, but plenty of time to look at some cool books and figure out something clever to say when we reached the front of the line.

In the meantime, we hopped in a shorter line and got her husband's autograph! He was hanging out in his cowboy hat, and attracted a little crowd for himself! I had him sign this AWESOME book I had found... Seemed more appropriate for him to sign this than a cookbook!
This book is a well illustrated, complete resource for everything I ever wanted to know about (other than spiritual matters or running.) From blueprints for building a goat barn to caning chairs and basket weaving, it's in my new book!

Hillary kept teasing me about blanking out, and we agreed that we would tell her how much we love her meatballs. BTW, if you have the PW cookbook, her meatballs are the BEST!!

The scene in Dirty Dancing where Jennifer Grey awkwardly says, "I carried a watermelon," kept popping in my head. I determined that I would try to make decent conversation. After all, this lady is just a lady.

We stepped out for coffee, but made it back in plenty of time. I think they were on J! Finally, it was our turn to get in line... us and the last five people in the store! Lol, next time we will arrive at a book signing a little earlier!

I did not blank. I wish I had. While my sister stood there COMPLETELY SILENT, I said a bunch of dumb stuff about myself... it's feast or famine, and both make a person's stomach hurt! I either can't think of anything to say, or I get nervous and say a bunch of stupid stuff!

My aunt said that I ground my own wheat to make bread, and PW said, "Oh, you're one of THOSE homeschoolers!" It was really funny, because I knew exactly what she meant, but then I felt this obligation to somehow explain that I was NOT like that... Oh, I am just thankful that she probably has no recollection of our meeting or the conversation whatsoever!

The ironic thing is that my silent sister, Hillary, is the one with the most in common with her! She has taken off with her cooking skills, and made quite a name for herself within our family!

Although she had to have been exhausted, the Pioneer Woman was very kind and personable, and it was a great GNO, filled with laughter and good times!

New Toppers

Our Topper XC team is growing! We had a signing last Friday for 3 new runners! Brian McDonnieal, Bryan Cook, and Kelsea Hendrix came to sign on the dotted line and make it official! Kacie Harris signed a few weeks ago, and she came to join us for the afternoon.
I am very excited about next year's team... I think we have a great deal of potential, and I think the girls will gel together well. This new flock of freshmen brings us up to a Kacie, Casey, Kelsey, Brian, and Bryan.... and I am still holding out a glimmer of hope for a Katherine! I am going to need to come up with nick names or start calling people by their last names!
Kelsea, her parents, the principal of Alcorn Central, and I

Brian McDonnieal, his parents, and I

Bryan Cook, his parents, Coach Greer from Myrtle, and I

Here is the news release that was printed in the local papers....

Three outstanding runners from Northeast Mississippi signed cross country scholarships Friday with Blue Mountain College.

Kelsea Hendrix of Alcorn Central, Brian McDonnieal of Corinth and Bryan Cook of Myrtle will join the Toppers in fall 2011.

"This is areally strong group of runners," said BMC coach Heather Duley. "They've all had great high school careers in both cross country and track, and they will make us a better team right away."

Hendrix had an array of top 10 finishes in the fall, finishing fourth in the state 3A championships, third in the Saltillo Invitational and seventh in the Corinth Invitational.

McDonnieal, a member of 3A state championship teams in 2008 and 2010, won the 3A state championship in 2010. He was also a membere of the 3A state championship track team in 2010 and a member of three state championship tennis teams.

Cook won the 1A state championship in the fall and the Division 2 1A championship. He finished second in the East Union-Myrtle Challenge and the East Union Invitational, and third in the Tupelo High Invitational. He also won the 1A state championship 1600 meters and finished third in the 3200 meters.


Mud is fun... and runners are crazy for thinking so.
Look at these girls... They look so happy! Smiling, playing, and looking as if they might be on the verge of doing something benign, like going to the zoo on a pretty day!

In reality, they were standing at the starting line of the TCPS cross country 5K, which was held on Feb. 12, 2011. Most people in our area are accustomed to 5k races run on pavement. The mere mention of trails will send many women (and men) scurrying for the hills. However, the phrase on the race t-shirt, "Dig deep, get dirty," attracted a fair sized crowd for a first 5K.

The flyer warned runners to come prepared for mud. "Dig deep, get dirty," was going to be more true than any of us realized. As we stood around the start, not really knowing what to expect from the course, I wondered which team was going to come out on top... The Blue Mountain Lady Toppers... or the Lady Spartans! Both of my teams were racing each other, and I really wasn't sure how the morning would turn out.

About 100 meters after the start, we all knew we were in trouble. Most of my runners persevered and continued to give a good solid effort, despite the course conditions. Apparently three runners saw this...
...and decided to take it easy and enjoy a walk in the park. I understand that they could not have possibly gotten a solid 5K time from that course, but my directions had been perfectly clear: 100% effort. Race. Nevertheless, somehow I managed to beat three healthy male college athletes.
I found no satisfaction in that. In fact, it was rather embarrassing.

Well, the day ended up being one of those races where you just talk about the "experience" and totally avoid any inquiries about times. The lady toppers ended up beating the Spartans in the team category- it was a close race, though! In the men's race, Austin, Nathan, and Richard finished top 3 overall... no contest!

The Spartan girls did a fabulous job... my ladies were pretty nervous!
After the race, Sarah went home with the Sanders girls, and I took Hannah to get her ears pierced. A little later, the girls both got to go to Skate Zone and celebrate Mercy's birthday! What a fun afternoon!

February Snow Day

One beautiful snow would have been plenty. After all, we live in Mississippi. Not much is expected here. In fact, anything is sort of a treat and exciting. At the mere hint of winter precipitation, the news media goes absolutely bananas, and people can talk of little other than the weather... myself included. Schools shut down for days, Wal-Mart is laid bare of milk and bread, and children have redneck fun with sleds and 4Wheelers...

This is all grand once a winter... but twice? Really?! We had two major snows this year, and lots of COLD weather in between. The catchphrase became, "So much for global warming!"
Even our poor dog, Luke Skywalker, was desperate for a warm place to rest his fanny. We were all ready for a little warmer weather, and I know I was starting to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder... or whatever.

The good news is, two days after this...
It was 60 degrees and sunny!

Buttercups, bloom soon... we need sunshine!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Random Happenings

SO, as we have buzzed through January and are into February, things are falling into a routine.

It is a little late to mention New Year's resolutions, so I won't bore you. Mine are probably the same as they are every year... eat healthier, start writing letters, etc. This year I have added a new one, though. "Be Quiet." That's the nice way of putting it. It has occurred to me that a person can not be misjudged, misquoted, or misunderstood if nothing is said in the first place. I would also like to add another... "Never trust Nobody," but I don't think that is found in Scripture. Maybe I will just pray for wisdom and discernment. Probably a better choice.

BMC is training again... We are practicing four or five days per week, and Tuesday is our cross training day. We meet at the healthplex in New Albany and do a spin class for an hour. We then hit the pool and swim laps... working up to a 45 minute swim. It is a great workout, and it is a nice change of pace (no pun intended!)... cuts down a bit on the pavement pounding.

Tuesday is also our girls' night. My girls go with me and swim laps. After practice, we have a picnic supper in my office and then supervise study hall from 6-8:30. I enjoy getting to take them with me, and they enjoy swimming for exercise and having coffee in my office!

School has been going VERY well. It's absolutely amazing how much school gets done when I plan out our week on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I printed a weekly planning sheet off , and I plan out everyone's assignments one week at a time. This allows me to adjust for things that don't get completed, maybe need more practice, or even get completed early!

Will has taken to doubling up on school at least one day a week... he finds great satisfaction in getting to play while the girls are still doing work!

I have also changed my approach to a few school subjects. When we started homeschooling, none of my children could read. Therefore, I read aloud all of our history, science, geography, and literature each day. This would amount to several hours of read aloud time. While we all enjoyed this time together, I realized that this was one area where I could save some time. The girls are more than capable of reading their assignments, and Will can do a great deal independently. If I am going to be home, I will read to the group... but if we run out of time, they read to themselves, and someone reads aloud to Josh.

My kids are all suffering, because I am trying to eat healthy. Everyone hates it when mom cuts out sugar!

To sum up... We are falling into a routine of school and work, and things are going more smoothly now than they have in a while.

At the end of December, I started a chronological Bible reading plan, and I have been blessed with the time I have spent in the Scriptures. Isn't it funny how when God is teaching us something, He places it in so many different areas of our lives? Lately, He has been telling me to "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." which is done best by immersing oneself in His precious word.

Couple of random Josh quotes from the previous year... I think these got posted on Facebook, but I thought I would include them here, too!
"One thing I would NOT want to do is buy a plunger from a thrift store."

"Hey look, I can give myself a wedgie!"

Snow Days

Global warming? Not in Mississippi! We have had a COLD winter this year!

The day that Tootie passed away, it was projected that we would receive about 8 inches of snow! The weathermen were right, and we had a beautiful covering of snow!

On Monday we enjoyed a full day of redneck snow fun... Scott pulled kids behind the 4wheeler, we made a snow "luge" on a hill (complete with launching ramp!), and Sarah and Josh made a snowman... Sheriff Mittens!

The next morning, Will misunderstood directions from Scott. I'm not sure what happened, but for some reason, Will went to get the four wheeler and start pulling Josh... all by himself! This would not have been a big deal, except for the fact that he had never driven without one of us! Used to going at moderate speeds on our driveway, he jumped straight into driving in circles around the house... in snow... pulling his brother behind him! (He actually did a good job, though, and we allow him to go feed the deer now!)


The morning after Sarah's party, we received a phone call from my mom. My grandmother had gone to be with the Lord on January 9, 2011.

As I write this post, I am filled with mixed emotions... I am sad and don't want to write anything. I am so thankful for my grandmother, and want to write something that would explain how much she meant to me. I have so many memories... Maybe now is not the best time to share them all.

My grandmother, Irene Baugh Lark, more intimately known as Tootie, was a very special woman. Generosity, kindness, sausage biscuits, craftiness, and frugality are only a few things I learned from her.

Her funeral was Wednesday, January 12th, 2011.