Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Play

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

LOVE

How cute is this picture?



We had the pleasure of spending a few days with my sister and brother-in-law in the beautiful Smokey Mountains.  My kids just eat up their aunt and uncle like they are food and water they need to live.  The kids have been so blessed this year to see them numerous times.  You'd think they would get tired of each other but as soon as Aunt Angie and Uncle Richard walk out the door I hear from both ends.  My kids say, "When do we get to see them again?"  Angie will text "I'm so glad to see the girls.  I can't wait to see them again."  LOL!!





                                     We found a scorpion in our cabin in TN.  Crazy!!!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit!

 I updated my homeschool blog!

http://thehallsgettingschooled.blogspot.com/

Happy Birthday Kendall!!!

Sometimes I can't believe my little baby is growing into a mature young lady.  Oh, I know she has a long way to go.  There is plenty of room to grow and learn.  I hope I always remember her 8th birthday.  Not for the presents or the party, but for the giving.  Kendall's birthday was on a Thursday this year, but her Nana and Gramps wanted to come down and celebrate with her too.  I told them to come on the weekend but forgot that Kendall and I had volunteered to work at a community outreach at the church that same day.  When I realized my goof I told Kendall she could stay home on Saturday and hang out with Nana and Gramps.  Her response was "No way.  I made a commitment (yes she actually said commitment) to those kids and they need their school supplies.  Who will pass out hot dogs if I don't go?"  She went and passed out hot dogs, drinks, and bused tables.  She didn't last quite the 4 hours, but she was the youngest kid there and she held her own.  I'm so thankful to God to have a child with a heart for service.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Motherhood as a Mission Field

A great article that lifted my spirits. All you mothers out there I hope you are blessed as you read this and have the strength to wipe that runny nose one more time!


Motherhood as a Mission Field

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

VBS...Pandamania

video

Here's a video of the girls (Kendall and Grace on the left, Maddie on the right) of the girls Sunday morning singing one of the VBS songs.  We feel so blessed to be at our church and to have a place that cares so much about the children of the church.  I took the video with my camera phone so it's a little fuzzy.  Don't forget to pause the music over on the right!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Outer Banks

We just got back from our trip to Outer Banks, NC.  I had never been before but I think I'll be a lifer now.  It is so beautiful and low key.  Not too commercial like many beach places are getting to be.  I could have spent all day in a beach chair watching the kids play and listening to the ocean.  I'm not even a big beach person (I hate fish and ocean smells) but this place was awesome.  So thankful to my in-laws for letting us tag along.  I only have one complaint.  Do we have to wait a whole year before we can go back?!?  LOL!!!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I have four fabulous men in my life that I wanted to celebrate for Father's Day.

My Father


The man who gave me life and therefore gave my children life as well. My father has taught me it's never too late to change. Never too late to accept or give forgiveness. He's taught me that it's okay to be who you are even when it's not what everyone else expects you to be. Also, in 7 years he has NEVER ever missed a grandchild's birthday.

My Father-in-Law


My father-in-law is the kind of grandfather to my girls that I always wanted to have when I was a girl. He always has a hug, kiss, and "I love you" ready when they meet and part. He has a quarter in his pocket to share. He has two knees that are usually occupied by a little girl. He knows the names of all the birds and the trees and has lots of funny stories about when he was a kid.  When you're tired, he's ready to let you lay in his lap on the couch so you can both take a nap.

My 2nd Father


The man I grew up with and is as much my dad as a dad could be. There's not enough room to list all the things my dad has taught me. I think what makes our relationship special is that he chose to be my parent. Most of us don't have that option. He knew me before he married my mother and he chose to be my dad even with all my faults and imperfections.

My Husband

I don't know if Byron ever pictured himself as the father of 3 girls. But if he has any doubts about his abilities you would never know it. He pulls teeth, removes splinters, digs huge holes in the sand, kills big bugs and countless other things that none of us want to do. He does it without wanting repayment, without requesting anything. He works hard for us but he never lets work become an excuse to be a disconnected dad. He is an awesome dad and we love him very much!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What a Surprise

What? I'm entering a blog post? Someone alert the media! I have been so absent and I will continue to be absent today, but I did change the picture! I will have the common sense to at least blog about vacation when I get back. For now, enjoy a new pic of Maddie.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just Another Day

We’ve had a crazy week.  I had a trip to Owensboro scheduled that I decided to cancel due to bad weather.  Boy was I glad I did because that ended up being the day of the tornado outbreak and there was horrible weather all over the state.  Since our trip was cancelled we had a chance to go with Byron to Columbus, OH for a few days.  Free hotel suite, free gas, free food, umm…yes please.  The kids and I swam and went to the zoo and park.  Then we got to hang out with Byron at night.  We came home and then the very next day Kendall had her very first soccer game.  Her team is so sweet but the best part is her coach.  Coach Bryan is a upstanding Christian man who loves those girls and loves coaching.  During game time he gets really excited and starts yelling from the sidelines helpful hints to the girls.  Some examples are:
“Turn around!  The ball is behind you!”
“You’re a forward!  Run forward!”
“Kick the ball!”—very helpful
“No!  Our goal is the other way!”
“Quit playing with the grass and watch the ball!”
“Don’t kick it to the other team!”
He hollers through the whole game and it’s all I can do not to lay down on the sideline and laugh until I pee my pants.  It’s so funny.

 
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

They Keep Getting Older.....And So Do I

I took the girls on a field trip today to the botanical gardens on University of Kentucky campus.  I highly recommend it.  The area is beautiful plus UK uses it for teaching purposes so they are always adding things and it's very up to date.  Plus it's right on campus and you can just feel all the good young happy feeling that a college campus always seems to have.  I was uploading pictures and I was blown away by this picture.


Kendall had set down next to that little pond; situated herself just right and asked me to take a picture.  I can't believe how grown up she looks!  I see her everyday so it's hard for me to notice these things.  She looks like a real kid!  She's lost all the baby look and even runs and walks like an older kid. She interacts with others on a more mature level and can entertain herself for a LONG time compared to her sisters.  Something about this picture just really made me realize how grown up she's getting.  Happy face, sad face?  I'm not sure what to put here.  Both I guess!   :-)  :-(





Friday, April 8, 2011

The Halls are Off the Grid





Okay, well maybe I am embellishing just a bit.  Hey, I've got to keep the blog interesting.  We packed up the van (with a ton of stuff!) and headed out to Byron's old stomping grounds for a couple days.  We camped at the Jenny Wiley State Park and then went to see where Byron grew up.  The kids even got to play on some of the same playground equipment (like the very same, totally old school) that he played on as a kid.  Okay, back to the camping.  I knew it was going to be a little cool that night but I forgot to bring the heater for the tent, duh!  It was in the 70s though and we were sweatin' it getting the camp site set up so I thought we'd be fine.  About 1:30 in the morning it started getting pretty cold.  The kids were sleeping good but I still decided to cover them up more.  I had left a blanket in the van and I headed out in the pitch black to grab it.   While I was out there I got my pant leg wet.  I come back into the tent and knock over Grace's water bottle on my foot and got my socks soaking wet.  I was so cold though that I didn't want to change my socks and pants.  Dumb idea.  I spent the rest of the night freezing!  Beyond that, we had a great time and here's some pictures to prove it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Keep Spinning, Just Keep Spinning, Just Keep Spinning, Spinning, Spinning

I finally got up enough nerve and took a spinning class.  I know you are thinking, "Alicia, spinning classes have been around for years.  You're just now taking one?"  Yep.  Hey, a year ago you would have never caught me in a spinning class.  It took me six weeks to get up the nerve to go.  Let me give you a play by play on how it went.

6:55 - arrive at class and I have to take the front row because the back row is full.  Now everyone gets to watch  my wide rear while I stumble through the class.  Oh joy.  (Note of sarcasm here).

7:00 - we start pedaling and stretching and I'm thinking "Hey, I think I'll be able to do this.  This won't be so bad."

7:10 - I'm sneaking peaks at the clock.  It's only been 10 minutes!?

7:15 - Sweat is pouring off me.  Is it even possible to sweat this much in 15 minutes?

7:20 - My legs and butt are on fire.  I can't decide which is worse.  Standing up to pedal and killing my legs or having to sit down after pedaling.  I'm pretty sure someone has replaced my bike seat with a dry skinny piece of jagged wood.  I'd turn around to look but I'd fall off the bike if I did.

7:30 - Everyone is standing up to peddle at crazy speeds.  I am peddling like I'm stuck in the mud.

7:32 - Everyone is still peddling standing up and I'm sitting down.  Of course now we're back to the butt pain problem.

7:40 - I close my eyes hoping to give the impression that I'm in the zone, but I'm really just praying that God will grant me some out of body experience.  He doesn't.

7:50 - the class is finally over and I did it!  I'm not sure I have the energy to even get off the bike and walk out of the room; but the class is over and I survived.  Yes I will be crawling on the floor by this time tomorrow.  I may have to sit on a doughnut pillow for the next few days.  I might have to put myself on an ibuprofen drip to walk up and down the stairs but I made it through the class!  The crazy thing is I'm actually looking forward to going back and seeing if I can accomplish a little bit more.  Thank goodness I have six days to recuperate.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Substitute

Tonight something we saw on TV sparked a conversation with Kendall about blended families.  These conversations usually lead into a discussion about how Kendall is related to my dad and step-dad.  While talking she says, "Now, I just want to make sure; you guys are not my substitute parents right?  Because if you were I would be so upset you didn't tell me!"  Ummm...I think she meant step-parents.  It's always cute when kids misuse words.  However, there is something about them misusing more complicated words as they get older that makes it even sweeter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Power in the Blood

For the past couple of weeks, the kids and I have been singing "Power in the Blood" complete with up tempo music and hand motions.  The girls have really gotten into it and have been hoping the worship team would sing it at church.  We have prayed it will be sung at church the past couple of weeks.  Sunday comes and pouting faces turn to me as music times end and there has been no "Power in the Blood".  Kendall asked me, "Mom, why won't God answer my prayer?"  Oh, if only I could count how many times I've asked the same question.  I just tell her that we have to trust God knows what he's doing even if it doesn't make sense at the time.  Maybe someone else needed to hear a different song more than we needed to hear "Power in the Blood".  I wish I had enough wisdom about praying through disappointment to help my kids handle it better.  I remember when we decided to move back to Kentucky that Lexington was at the bottom of my list.  The VERY bottom.  I even told Byron not to look at jobs in Lexington because I didn't feel we'd be happy there.  Look where God led us anyway?  I remember loading up the moving van and thinking it was a mistake.  I thought the house I picked to rent was a mistake.  I was on the fence about Byron switching jobs.  I was on the fence about whether we should homeschool the kids.  (FYI, spending a lot of time on the fence only leads to a sore behind.  My advice; pick a side.).  Things did not go as I had envisioned and I was disappointed.  Why hadn't God answered my prayers?  He didn't know my wants and needs at all.  Yet here I am six months later (yes, it's been six months already!) with a house that meets our needs, a safe neighborhood full of nice neighbors, kids that are asking to do more studies when the school work is done for the day.  Okay that doesn't happen EVERYDAY, but at least once a week.  A new town with some great adventures to discover and some great people to hang out with.  We are genuinely happy here; which surprises the heck out of me.  So at the risk of getting all preachy here, what part of your life are you not allowing God to answer your prayers?  Are you like me and holding out for what YOU think is the perfect situation?  Are you ready to let go of what you THINK God wants you to and allow Him to DO what he wants to do?  His plans can be scary.  They'll move you out of your comfort zone.  It can be awkward, stressful, and feel like you're back in middle school at some times.  Aren't His plans for you worth it?  My prayer for you today is to let God handle something in your life that you really want.  Let Him take you to a place that doesn't make sense to you.  He's got more brain power than you.  I speak as a 100% satisfied prayer warrior.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shiny Crack

We have been having so much family fun the last few weeks.  The kids went to stay the weekend with Byron's parents a few weeks ago and they are STILL talking about it.  They are already asking to go back and I keep trying to hold them back to let Gramps recuperate from all the socializing!  Having four women in the house is hard, just ask Byron!  I got to spend a Saturday with my sisters in Louisville and have super fun girl time.  Then my grandmother came up to visit and keep us company while Byron was on the road.  All this within a couple of weeks!  I usually have to go 6-12 months without seeing my extended family.  Now I only have to go a few weeks.  It makes all the hard work to get here worth it.  I could just love 'em and hug 'em to death.  Plus my kids learn all kinds of new things.  For example, I was getting the little ones dressed after bath tonight and Kendall said, "I see a shiny crack!"  To which I replied, "Where did you hear that?"  Kendall says, "Nana, no wait....Great Granny."  I said, "Great Granny taught you to say 'shiny crack?"  Now, shiny crack is not anywhere near the end all be all of bad words.  I know it's really not that bad.  It just doesn't sound so great coming out of your 4 year old's mouth, ya know?  Plus my grandmother is as straight as an arrow.  If you tested her blood you'd find Southern Baptist DNA.  I'm not completely convinced that she taught the kids the phrase "shiny crack".  Kendall insisted they were reading a book that had a little boy with his diaper hanging down and she called it a "shiny crack".  It's more likely that I said it and don't remember or even MORE likely that Byron taught them.  I guess I will have to keep a special eye on Great Granny from now on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ballet in the South

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I have been wanting to do this post for 2 months, but I had no pictures to back it up.  I signed the girls up for a ballet class at the YMCA.  They were in different classes, but had the same teacher, Ms. Alanna.  Ms. Alanna used to be in the Russian ballet (or so I've been told by others.)  She is way over qualified to teach 3 year olds how to point their toes, but word is that she does it because she likes it.  However, Ms. Alanna runs her class like she is still in Russia.  Before I go on, let me stress that my kids LOVE her and she is VERY good with them.  However, I've had more laughs watching her unique style of class. First, the classes are closed.  No parents allowed.  If your child cries after day 2 because she doesn't want mom to leave, she is not ready to be in Ms. Alanna's.  I have seen that teacher kick out at least 3 parents who tried to sneak in and take pictures.  We were allowed in class today because it was the last class.  We all sat against one wall and the students were told to pretend we were not there.  LOL!  The students are told when to stand, when to smile, and basically when to do everything else.  She had those kids in line!  There is even a mandatory "hug the teacher" time at the end.  When the kids finished a dance, she would look at us with raised eyebrows and say, "parents?" to which we would obediently clap.  Once Kendall started on the wrong foot for a dance and she stopped the music and everyone had to start over.  (Kendall wasn't the only one she started over for, just so if Kendall reads this some day.)  I'm just trying to point out this lady is hard core!  Would I enroll my kids in her class again?  Absolutely!!  The kids learned, they had fun, and she kept annoying pushy parents at bay. Maybe all YMCA instructors should go through Russian ballet training before teaching a children's class.  Just a thought.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some days are harder than others. Some days have more laundry, more dirty dishes,  more bickering, and more questions.  Grace had a more questions day today.  Some questions were a quick and easy answer.  Some were not.  Play a little game and see if you can figure out which ones were easy.  Please note: these are all from TODAY.

1.  Can we have chips for breakfast?
2.  Can I wear my PJs to the library?
3.  How did we get here?  (me:  In the bathroom?  Grace:  No  Me: On earth?  Grace:  no, in this house."
4.  Are Nana and Gramps married?
5.  How did you make your wedding cake?
6.  Why did you and Daddy get married?
7.  Why was I a baby when I was born?
8.  Why do we go this way to the library?
9.  Why does the library have books?
10. Where's Chloe's mommy?
11.  How did my eyes get blue?
12.  Do teeth break if they get holes in them?
13.  Why did Jesus die?
14.  Why do we live in Kentucky?
15.  Why is it hard for you to drive when I scream?

And those are just the ones I remember!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dance, Dance, Revolution


video

Byron and I took the kids to a community sweetheart dance at the YMCA.  They served dinner and then had arts and crafts and a DJ.  The girls had such a good time.  They really hit the dance floor and were trend setters.  They started spinning on the floor breakdance style and within a few minutes all the kids we're doing it.  Byron and I laughed and laughed at their dance moves and free spirits.  Check out the video.  Watch closely and you'll catch Maddie in a Flashdance/Fame imitation.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Look Who's Talking

I had an appointment with Grace's speech teacher today and to my surprise and delight she told me that Grace has made so much progress that she no longer needs speech services.  We are so proud of the progress she's made in the past year.  She went from being understood by her peers 30% of the time to being understood 80% of the time which is right on track!  On the way home I was explaining to Grace why she won't be going to see her speech teacher anymore.

Me:  "Grace, you've done such a good job (yada yada, fill in lots of praise here) that you won't need to go see Ms. Hager anymore."

Grace:  "Mom, I want to go to speech class with my friends and play with my teacher."

Me:  "I know honey, but you have done so well.  Ms. Hager will miss you and I know you'll miss her but we're not going anymore."

Grace:  "No Mom!  You are a bad mommy!!  Go to your room!!!  (short pause)  When we get home!!"

Well of course this wasn't okay but it was so cute to see Grace play out her frustration in words that I let it slide this time.  In fact it was all I could do not to laugh out loud at that little voice telling me I was a bad mommy and to go to my room.  I look up in the rear view mirror and she's got her arms crossed and a defiant look on her face.  Five minutes go by and then I hear from the backseat, "Mom, can we go to McDonald's for lunch?"  Well, how quickly we forget our anger.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Sin of the Selective Prayer

I was with Maddie tonight saying her bedtime prayers.  She usually likes to bless everyone and I often prompt her on who to bless next.  Here's how our conversation went.

Maddie:  "God bless Kendall"

Me:  "Daddy"

Maddie:  "God bless Daddy"

Me:  "Nana"

Maddie: "God bless Nana"

Me:  "Gramps"

Maddie "No!!"

Me:  "God bless Gramps Maddie"

Maddie "No way Jose!" (with a big sneaky grin)

Me:  "God bless Chloe"

Maddie:  "God bless Chloe"

Sorry Gramps.  You've always been blessed before but the dog pulled rank on you tonight.  Ouch!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

video

I know I'm bias, but I have the cutest kids on the planet.  Here are Grace and Madison singing the ABC Rock.  They are looking to the right because the letters pop up on the computer screen when you play it and they couldn't tear themselves away from it.  You'll need to pause the music on the right hand side before you begin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bedtime at the Hall House

 Kendall just walked in here, mumbled something incoherent, laid down on my bed and promptly went back to sleep.  I went back to putting away clothes and within a few minutes she woke up.  I said I'd walk her back to bed and she climbed up to the top bunk and cuddled up.  Kendall is an avid sleepwalker.  It's no surprise.  My great grandfather and uncle sleepwalk.  Plus Byron and his dad sleep-talk.  In fact Byron will shout and laugh so loud in his sleep that it's all I can do to not jump up and hit the ceiling.  The funny thing is her sleepwalking consistency.  She always sleepwalks 45 minutes to an hour after she goes to bed.  I can never understand what she says when she gets up.  She always spends a minute or two staring at us then either lays down on our bed or goes back to her own.  She never remembers it in the morning, ever.  If the other two start sleepwalking too, it's going to start being some busy nights around here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Climb Every Mountain

Not a 1/2 mile away our house is an indoor family fun center.   These things are great ideas and I wish I owned one so I could make tons of money.  This one is inside an athletic club.  It has a good 3 stories worth of climbing equipment and an arcade.  I took the girls this morning for  some much needed run around time.  We've had snow on the ground for over a week and it's cold!!!  As usual the little ones wanted to climb up a big rope ladder with Kendall.  At first I told them no because it was a long ladder and it was made to look like hills so you had to climb up and down the ropes to get to the top.  They insisted and I kept watching this other mother carry her kids up the ladder.  Well I thought if she could do it I could!  We moved at a snails pace and got to the top.
Then the little ones freaked out!   When you get to the top you can see all the way to the bottom and I guess they got scared.  You have to cross a swinging bridge at the top and they were not doing that.  I tried to cross while carrying Grace but it's the type you really need to go across on your knees!  The only way down was to go back down the rope ladder!  The girls are screaming and I'm trying to get them to go down the ladder.  I was literally moving one of them two feet at a time, having Kendall stay with that one, and then going back to get the other one to move 2 feet.  Thankfully, another mother saw my problem and sent her 11 year old daughter to come help me.  Truly a little helper from God because we wouldn't have got down without her!  We finally got to the bottom and within five minutes everyone was fine.  I came home and marked that little adventure down as my work out for the day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Labor of Love (and Stupidity)

I said a few days ago on the blog that Madison was staying a few days with my in-laws.  It was supposed to be a really simple thing of them putting Maddie in their car and driving away.  Then I would drive up half-way in a few days to pick her up.  Well I guess my brain is finally dissolving away because it turned out to be quite the chore on both ends.  First I packed her bag and forgot to send her hairbrush, house shoes, doll, potty seat, gloves, and hat.  (In my defense, I did not know we were in store for ANOTHER freak snow over the weekend.)  Then my in-laws drove off and left their coat, a shirt, a vest, a pair of pajamas, and Madison's blanket.  I discovered the blanket (which Maddie could not do without) a few minutes after they left but I couldn't find my father in law's cell phone number!  I go tearing upstairs to my bedridden husband to tell him to get his dad on the phone now!  So they had to come back to get the blanket after probably getting all the way to edge of town.  Then when I go to pick her up no one noticed that Maddie's suitcase didn't get moved over to the van.  So we both had to turn around and meet up again to get the bag.  Then I get home and my mother in law has emailed to say she found some of Maddie's clothes in the washing machine when she got home.  Ha!!  All this, and DHS still hasn't come to take the kids away.  I don't think I'll be winning mother of the year or daughter in law of the year anytime soon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Trip to the Explorium




Byron had some minor surgery earlier in the week.  His parents came down to care for the kiddos while I tended to Byron for a day.  The took the little Maddie booger back with them for a few days to lighten my load while I finished up school for the week and helped Byron.  The older ones and I headed out to the children's museum this morning and we had the best time.  I forget how quickly they are growing up!  We did the whole museum and ate lunch without a single meltdown.  I didn't even take a diaper bag, drinks, or snacks with me!  No stroller, no one needed to be carried, and we took the steps and not the elevator.  This was a big mommy moment for me.  My brain is spinning with the things we will be able to do in 6-12 months.  Can't wait!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our New Addition....Chloe


I have been promising the girls we will get a dog for about ummm.....at least a year.  Like any good mother I have come up with a hundred excuses to not get a dog.  My final (and best) holdout was that I didn't want to get a dog and then uproot the dog to move to KY.  That excuse went out the window a couple months ago.  Then I read this super sad article about how shelters are so full they are putting down more dogs than usual.  Well that was so stinking sad to hear.  Then I see there is a little dachshund mix at the local shelter that only had a few days left before being put down.  Now I would say I am not one to make decisions on emotion.  But this little doggie was the sweetest thing to cross my path in a while.  I talked to the volunteers about her temperament and she seemed like a good fit for us.  We've had her a couple of weeks and she is well loved by everyone.  She's almost housebroken already and does a good job of minding.  The only problem is the kids keep her awake all day playing and she's exhausted by the time they go to bed.  Good for me though because she's slept through the night since day one.  I never had that much luck when I brought my kids home!