Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The End is Near!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I applied for graduation this week and I only have two classes left this semester. I can't believe after all this time I will finally accomplish what I set out to do in the fall of 1980. Of course, there has been a lot of living done along the way. I wouldn't give up the years of raising children and the blessing of being a "stay at home" mom for anything. All my experiences have made me appreciate this even more. I will be interning with the Clay County Department of Juvenile Justice and I am so excited. I have been looking forward to this for over a year. The icing on the cake will be spending time with two of my favorite people; Rick and Joy Curtis. My other class is a hybrid class on Homelessness. We will only actually have class seven times during the semester. I will have the opportunity to work in shelters and participate in the Homeless census again. After going to campus five days a week this semester I will really enjoy not having to make the drive every day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Fun 2008

We finally got around to carving the pumpkins. Katie decided she wanted a "Jack Skeleton". I think it turned out really good. The pumpkins were not easy to carve especially if detail was required so Mike got out the drill and we did pumpkin surgery. We didn't get around to roasting the seeds yet, but we will.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mike and Nana

She was always Aunt Jackie to me when I was growing up. She was like a second mom when I spent my summers on the farm working in tobacco and getting myself into all kinds of trouble. I will never understand how she did it with all of us kids but she did and we learned a lot about how to run a household.
Now she is Mike's Nana and he is getting the same love and care that I got. I am so glad they have each other.

Smith Family Reunion

We had a great time this past weekend at the Family Reunion. I appreciate my Aunt Berlene and her efforts to make sure we all get together at least once a year. I want my kids to know the importance of our extended family. It is fun to watch the younger cousins trying to keep up with their "young uns" It brings back memories of trying to keep up with mine. It reminds us of the wonderful heritage we have been blessed with. I am grateful for aunts and uncle that have loved me unconditionally throughout the years and cousins who were the siblings I did not have. The best thing is to know there will be another reunion one day where we will all be together again and those who have gone on ahead will be with us once more.

Are you ready for some football? (part 2)

Grandma Kate got three free tickets and a Parking Pass so the two groups rode together and then went their separate ways!
This was Katie's first professional football game and the Jags did not disappoint. I think spending the day with two of her brothers was just "icing on the cake".

Are you ready for some football?

Jenny planned a Father Daughter day with her dad and bought tickets to the Jaguars vs Texans game. She was so excited about having him all to

Our newest Eagle in uniform

After watching her brothers march for as long as she can remember, it is finally Katie's turn. It is so much fun watching her with all her friends, working hard and enjoying the results. She has not complained at all about the heat, rain or extra practices. I am so proud of her. With this being our youngest I am beginning to see an end to our days as "Band Parents". Since this chapter of my life began with Chris in 1999 I can't imagine what it will be like not to have games on Friday nights and competitions and band trips.

I intend to enjoy these next four years for all they are worth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grandma? Mimi? Nana?

Hooray! There is a baby on the way and I am so excited. Amanda and Steve let us know on Saturday that we will be grandparents in May. Finally a cure for my "baby fever". I think Mike is relieved! So now the big question from my other kids is "What are you going to be called"? The truth is, I have no idea. I just know that no matter what I am called, I am really looking forward to it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

FSU band day.

Fleming Island Band traveled to FSU to participate in Band Day. Katie had never been to a college game before so she was very excited. She screamed so much she was hoarse the next day. I am trying to get used to the idea of being a Seminole since it looks like I will be getting my Masters in Social Work from there. I did enjoy the game but I found myself more interested in the updates on how my Georgia Bulldogs were doing!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back to School

We are all back in school now and settling in. It is busy as usual but we're enjoying it. Jenny is working as a full time nanny for a family from church so she is not in the first day of school picture. She is attending FCCJ for her SENIOR year and living at their house. Josh is excited to be a SENIOR and is participating in Chorus and a guitar class. Katie is involved in musical theatre and band and seems to love being a freshman. She marched for the first time on Friday night and I think she is hooked! Lil' Mike is a junior now and looks forward to the weekends when he isn't in school. Mike is still working two jobs, at CVS and the high school so I can go to school. I am finally a SENIOR and will be graduating in the Spring along with Jenny and Josh. For the first time I have classes five days a week so I am trying to figure out how to make the most of my time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fall Reading List...


I have always loved Sunflowers, and my husband has given me arrangements of them before, but this one was special, because these are homegrown.

Soggy Band Camp

Usually "the heat" is the issue at Marching Band Camp, but this year it was the rain. Marching in the mud made for some dirty legs and shoes. Thank Goodness, both are washable!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mike's new buddy

Introducing Callie and Pistol

We added to our family on Sunday during a trip to Middleburg. The calico is Callie and the black and white is Pistol for reasons which I am sure you can imagine. I had forgotten how much fun kittens can be. We haven't made the big "introduction" yet. The kittens are residing in our room for now and the dogs are very curious. I've no doubt the kittens will be able to defend themselves when the time comes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Four A's

The Summer grades were posted today and I finally did it! For the first time in my life I got straight A's! (Actually one of the A's is an A- but it is still an A) I was never concerned about grades in high school, much to my parent's dismay. I now realize if I had cracked a book once in a while, I could have done much better. I was fortunate that my test scores were high enough that Valdosta State was willing to take me, in spite of my less than stellar performance. Its funny how differently I feel now. Part of the issue is that now I am really interested in learning and that does have an impact on your grades.
This next semester should be challenging. My schedule includes: Into the Asylum, Sociological Theory, Sociology of Women and Sociology of Human Interaction. I will only have two classes in the Spring. One will be a sociology elective and the other is my practicum (internship). I plan on interning at the Juvenile Justice Department in Green Cove Springs. Ultimately, I would like to work in a program that services foster children who have aged out of the program. My ultimate dream is to do a study and collect data on the number of children who were foster children, currently in the Juvenile Justice System. With this information I would like to write a grant request to fund a resource center to help the kids with their educational, housing, vocational and psychological needs. Basically, to fill in all the gaps they may have so they will be equipped to be successful in life. It won't be residential, just a drop in place. If it all works out I will name it Jeremiah's Place, based on Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future". I know these are big dreams but I will keep doing what I need to do on my end and see what happens.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


They came to visit on Sunday and will be staying the week. With the two we already have, there are more dogs than humans here right now. The first few days are always a little loud as they all jockey for position but for now there is peace and quiet. I absolutely adore them which is a good thing since all the rain these past few days has made the backyard very wet and there are little paw prints all over the tile floor downstairs. I mopped once today but you can't even tell now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mama Mia

I have been looking forward to this movie ever since I saw the previews so we decided to brave opening day. The place was so packed we ended up sitting on the third row but it was worth it. It wasn't the expert singing that made it so much fun. No matter how much I like Pierce Brosnan, I have to admit he is not a singer. What made the movie was the memories all the songs brought back and the fact that everyone involved did not seem to take themselves too seriously. It was nice to relax and enjoy the music and the scenery was breathtaking. I sure wouldn't mind visiting Greece one day.

Friday, June 27, 2008


We also got to pick some of Aunt Jackie's blueberries! It took a lot longer to fill the bucket but I kept reminding myself how good blueberry pancakes, muffins and turnovers were going to be.


We took Michael up to the farm this past weekend and had lots of fun. Aunt Jackie took us to Moore's farm to pick tomatoes. Anyone who knows me, probably knows I can eat tomatoes like some people eat apples. The only person I know who might like tomatoes more than me is Mike. We were like two kids in a candy store. The deal was a five pound bucket for $6. Mike decided we needed two buckets of full sized tomatoes and a bucket of cherry tomatoes too. Then he discovered they also had peppers and picked all he could hold in his shirt! We found out later you are not supposed to pick the peppers. They pick them and sell them in the office. We have been eating tomatoes since we got home. Mike already cooked some down and they are in the freezer to be enjoyed later. Gotta Go, I hear a tomato sandwich calling my name!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And she's off....

Yesterday was quite an adventure. I taught Jenny how to drive a stick shift. Amazingly it was actually a lot of fun and she did a great job. She is now the third of our children to be making use of the Ford ranger (thanks Rodney and Cindy). I am not sure how much we will be seeing her now that she has wheels at her disposal again, but I am looking forward to not being a taxi service for a 17 year old who loves to be busy and on the go.

I will admit part of the fun of teaching her to drive was intentionally having her stall out and watching her reaction. By the way, she did not like it and declared she would not be doing that again. I assured her that she would indeed stall out again just like anyone else who drives a stick and at least now she would know what to expect.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I love UNF!

I wasn't sure about summer classes but I have come to the conclusion they are OK! It is hard to sit for 3 1/2 hours but six weeks and full credit is really nice. Social Work as a profession has been great and I have actually enjoyed the People and Cultures class. The social welfare minor contains a small close-knit group of students so I rarely have a class that I don't know almost everyone in it. Makes me wonder how many of us will run into each other out in the "real world" when we are working in the field.

We had a guest speaker today form the Women's Center of Jacksonville. It was the director of the Rape Crisis Response Team. She shared with us about the opportunity to be advocates for victims of sexual assault. Every time someone comes to talk about their job I want to join their team. When they ask if there is anyone who is interested in working in their field I realize I am. Gerontology, Child Welfare, Adoption, Foster Kids, Juvenile Justice, I should have started a lot sooner if I am going to do all the different things that have peaked my interest. At least I have time before I have to make a decision.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Last Concert

When my oldest son joined the band program at Green Cove Springs Junior High in 1998 I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know that it would become a big part of our entire family's life. Band is so much more than playing instruments together. Band is a lifestyle. I am grateful for Mrs. Mayer and her willingness to share her love of music with my children.She has encouraged them and given them a gift they will have for the rest of their lives. Band trips, competitions, football games and concerts are all a big part of our memories. What Chris began 10 years ago, Katie finished up tonight, so there will be no more "pickle suits" for us but our love for the cougar band and Mrs. Mayer will never end.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Flowers

I absolutely love flowers in the Spring. The variety in shapes, sizes and colors always amazes me. We have wanted to enlarge our flower beds in the front for years since I never have enough room for all the flowers that catch my eye during our Home Depot visits. We finally got one part done this year and I am very pleased with the results.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Three Amazing Women

I meant to post this Mother's Day but somehow I didn't get around to it.

I have been blessed with many wonderful women in my life who taught by example how to be a Godly woman. There were three women though, who were especially important.

Many of even my closest friends do not realize that my mom Kate did not actually give birth to me. She married my dad when I was five and instantly became mom. She only had three months of marriage before I came to live with them full time. I was malnourished, unruly and very insecure. From the very beginning I was her child without question. I worked in the same doctors' office with her for a while and we would laugh when the patients would recall her pregnancy with me. Mom is still working full time and I wonder sometimes if she will ever retire. She loves what she does and she is good at it. I learned the gift of unconditional love from my mom and how important it is to find your calling and pursue it.

My grandma Bishop was Kate's mom. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to her house for dinner. She made the best chicken and dumplings ever. My grandma was bedridden at a relatively early age because her bones were so brittle. I had the opportunity to take care of her when my family with our two young boys moved into her home. We had so much fun. It was not always easy but she had the best attitude. I had a third son while we were living there and he was her pride and joy. There were many days when I would lay him in her arms and she would sing him to sleep so I could get something done. From my grandma Bishop I learned the blessing of a joyful spirit that was not dependent on circumstances.

My grandma Smith was a farmer's wife. It was a hard life but she never complained. I spent my summers on the farm when I was growing up. Grandma had a full spread breakfast when we woke up every morning. When we came in from the fields for dinner she had a full spread again. It was not uncommon for people to drop in when it was time to eat. Grandma never seemed to mind, she would just add a plate. She very rarely ate when we did. She was too busy making sure we all had everything we needed. We used to joke that grandma knew our glass was empty before we did. I asked her once about it and she said she listened for the ice! I learned the gift of hospitality from my grandma Smith and the value of working hard for those we love.

I hope that I will be able to pass these gifts on to my children so that the legacy will continue.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Empty Nest

My baby birds flew the nest today. Actually, they flew from the nest into the house and we had to catch them and take them back out. It may sound silly but I feel sad. I loved to hear them chirping in the morning when I went in the kitchen to get my coffee. I wonder if they will stay around our house. I plan on leaving the nest right where it is so maybe I will get new baby birds next year. For now though, here are the last of the bird pictures.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Jenny

I just had to share a picture from Jenny's shoot on Wednesday. She is a senior model for sln studios. We had a blast and I was so impressed. For information on this amazing photographer click the link below.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Our newest additions....

His eye in on the sparrow.....

We have a sparrow that decided to build a nest in our garage. I wonder sometimes if she regrets her decision. But, I should probably go back to the beginning.....
Some weeks ago a sparrow flew into the kitchen through the door from the garage. She landed on the table with a piece of plastic in her beak apparently working on her nest. I shooed her out of the house afraid she might find herself caught up in the ceiling fans. I didn't think too much about it until a few days later when I noticed the beginnings of a birds nest in a flower pot on a shelf in our garage. I kept an eye on it and noticed one morning that we had four eggs. They were really small about the size of jelly beans. We now have four baby birds who proceed to open their mouths every time I go outside. The mama bird doesn't seem to mind me too much. I find myself talking to her every morning telling her what a good job she is doing. I am amazed at how small the birds are....Gives me a new perspective on the Hymn. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me! If I can figure out how to do it I will try to get pictures.

Yippee! 3 A's and a B plus!

I am so excited. My grades are finally all in for the Spring semester. I am very happy to have gotten 3 A's and a B plus. Data Analysis for social sciences was my big challenge and I am relieved to have it over with. However, I really did enjoy the class and learned a lot about how to analyze data with the SPSS system. I am not sure how much I will actually be able to use my new skills in the future but we shall see. I will begin summer A classes 1 week from today. I am really looking forward to Social Work As a Profession. I am not so excited about the Foreign Cultures class but it has to be better than struggling through another Spanish class.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring Break?

I really don't understand the reasoning that goes into the school calendars. Our son who is a student at UCF is on break this week. I go to UNF and my break is next week. Our high schoolers don't have break until April! So much for family time! Actually, we have made the most of this crazy schedule and although it is not ideal I still am grateful for time with Matt and Ashley. We tried this new (to us) card game last night and I still don't really get it but everyone else did. It is called Rage, sort of a combination of Hearts and Uno, or so Chris says. I still think Hot Rum or Pinochle are the best, mostly because I don't have to concentrate too hard to play them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How Long?

Where does the time go?

Once again, I find it hard to believe how much time has passed since my last post. I thought summer was going to be quiet and simple but I really don't remember what we did.

The fall was a whirlwind even though we did not have a child in Marching Band for the first time in seven years. Actually, we normally have more than one in Marching Band and even had two in two different schools one year! It was nice to have a break before next year when Katie will be joining the Golden Eagle Band.

I finally began classes at UNF which was very exciting and a long time coming. I am majoring in Sociology with a minor in Social Work. It was so much fun. Although, I would not have said that every single day. Apparently, Sociology is a major which requires much researching and writing of papers so I had a lot to learn! Thank goodness my children have had wonderful teachers who not only taught them how to write but gave me a few hints along the way. I managed to get two A's and two B's so I am pleased with the results.
I am still working three days a week but work is very different. As of October 5th Players Grille became Seafood Factory. I miss my regulars but all in all it has been a good change.

Mike is working two jobs so that I can go to school and I sure do appreciate it. He is still at FIHS and is also working part-time at CVS. We very rarely go out that he does not know someone whether it be a kid from school or someone he has helped at CVS. He says when I am done with school he is going to retire! He will definitely have earned it.

Grandma Kate is still working full-time. I sometimes wonder if she will ever retire. She hasn't lost her passion for nursing even after all this years. She is also still singing in the choir and has begun teaching English as a second language again. I guess she enjoyed her trip to Ireland because she is headed off to Scotland this year. It may have taken her awhile to get her passport but I don't think it is going to collect dust!

The kids are doing well. Chris has been working at Pinewood this fall helping out around the church. Amanda and Steve are happy especially now that Steve is finally home from deployment. Why is it deployments drag and being home flies by? Matt just completed his second semester at UCF with straight A's. Jenny is working at O2B kids and loving it. It is amazing to watch her with kids and this job also makes use of her administrative strengths. Josh is making music and is quite proficient on the guitar. He and Katie are singing with the Praise band at Christ's Church. Michael is wishing we lived in the woods so he could hunt and four wheel every day. Katie is still a delight and the icing on the cake. God sure knew what he was doing when he blessed our family with her.

I am still amazed at how our awesome God can take broken hearts and families and make them whole.