Monday, November 30, 2009

All Aboard!!

Little Logan arrived around the same time as Izzy and his aunt asked me to fix him up with some burp cloths. Logan's daddy works for the railroad so I was able to try out a new design.
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Christmas Elf

At the ripe old age of four, Griffin is really into dressing himself. I use my veto power during the day but at night he tends to mismatch his pajamas. On this night he also discovered a size 12 months Christmas sweater. Being the creative being he is, he of course tried it on. I think it really sets the ensemble, don't you?
It's a good thing we don't do Santa around here. He might have been taken to the North Pole and put to work!
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Fly on the Wall

Yesterday we were at an open house for an upcoming auction. Papaw was there and he pretty much always has candy in his truck for the kids. Kent reached in to get a piece and Griffin warned him about the "toothpaste chocolate". Griffin kept going on and on about how Papaw had bought toothpaste chocolate and it was nasty so Daddy don't get a piece. Kent poked around in the console a little and discovered the offending candy. Most people know it as Ande's mints. He thought the mint tasted like toothpaste!

Friday, November 27, 2009

D is for Dinosaur

My little FOUR year old is starting to read! It's oh so exciting. He has sounded out several words with my help but two weeks ago, he read 4 words on his own! Maybe I can figure out how to get video on here. But that's not the point of this post - well, not entirely.

I have mentioned before that we made a curriculum switch to My Father's World . Griffin begged to do school so he started Kindergarten this year. In the past we have used Saxon Math and Phonics for K and 1st grade and I'm not completely sold on MFW K and 1st but I *heart* MFW Adventures and I'm curious to see how they will all mesh together. I really think Saxon is a great program and plan to stick with their math throughout all our homeschooling days. The phonics worked really well and Madisyn has a good grasp of the "whys" behind reading which is my only fault with MFW. Since Griffin is/was studying Dinos we went on a dino hunt. The last time we went to the Pink Palace was about 2 years ago. He didn't remember anything about it and was a little concerned that the dinos might try to get him. I have never been to the actual "Pink Palace" portioned of the museum but I would love to go tour it some time. The museum part is free on Tuesday afternoons and touring it as the solo adult w/ 5 little ones (mainly 2 certain boys ;) ) is about all I can handle. :)

The triceratops in the background used to move around and growl. There is a little sign up about how he's in "retirement". I believe he's been that way for over 20 years. I do realize that their are budget cuts but I so wish the dino could be repaired or replaced so that future generations could experience a "living" dino.
Believe it or not, that was the best I could do. No one was interested in having their picture taken. Griffin wanted to hurry up to see if he could find a living dino.

Griffin with another dino so he could show daddy. LOL Once he realized that dinos were dead (except for lizards, etc) he had a much better time.

This is a leg bone from a brontosaurus (I think, can't remember exactly). It's the equivalent of our femur (thigh bone).

I had to go up the stairs a pretty good way to get the entire woolly mammoth. I think Griffin grasped what a four year old could. His favorite part of the trip was visiting the model of the first Piggly Wiggly. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures there.

Since Christmas is a coming, the Enchanted Forest is set up in the mezzanine of the museum. Madisyn took this picture as proof that both Henry and I were in attendance. I think I might have a budding photographer on my hands.

This blog post was brought to you by the letter D and the number 8.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Henry is 6 months old!

Walter Henry - You are SIX months old!

You wear size 3-6 months clothes and a few 6-9 month.
You wear a size small diaper cover.
You can hold yourself up on your arms while in the floor for several minutes.
You love for someone to hold you so you can stand.

You suck your two middle fingers often though not for long (several times a day for only a minute or two).

You have slept through the night several times but haven't done it on a consistent basis.

You sleep in the crib in Mommy and Daddy's room.

You *love* the bumbo seat. We sit you in the middle of the table while eating supper and you can see everything that is going on.

You can sit up if we hold your legs down. You have the upper body strength to hold your trunk but you fall over easily.

You weigh 16 lbs. 4 oz.

You have a definite fondness for your sister. You light up when she comes in the room.

You frequently stick your tongue out, I think a tooth is coming but it hasn't broken through yet.

You have an infectious laugh. I love to hear you chuckle.

You are a very loved and treasured little man. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope that at this very busy time of year, you stop and THANK the Lord for all he has done and continues to do in your life. If it weren't for the grace of God we would all be lost and headed for an eternity of pain in hell. Thanks be to God that he sent his only son so that we could have something to be thankful for on this glorious day.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psalms 100 : 4

I plan to come back tonight and blog about Henry's HALF YEAR birthday but I wanted to share a little from our Richardson family Thanksgiving a few days ago.

We decided to have a family Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday but it was proceeded by a funeral of a very dear lady from my home church. I would like to share a little of my thoughts during her funeral.

She taught Sunday School for as long as I can remember and was very involved in mission work. In fact, she was telling us about a particular missionary when I decided I needed the Lord, just like those people the missionaries were talking to. As I was sitting there listening to her pastor tell of all the wonderful things she had done and how much of herself she poured into others, I realized just how true it was. The preacher at a funeral generally tries to comfort the family and friends by expounding upon the good qualities of the deceased. If anything, he barely scratched the surface. Mrs. Georgia was a great lady and will be sorely missed. I have no doubt that she is having the best Thanksgiving Feast ever with her Heavenly Father.

Her funeral also caused me to think about the legacy we leave behind.

Will I be known as the grandmother that sat in the back with the kids and read stories just so I could be with them?

Will be remembered as the Mom that always welcomed my children's friends with open arms and an open pantry?

Will I be remembered as the wonderful lady whom on my death bed, was more concerned about others and making them comfortable than I am about my own infirmities?

It's definitely something to ponder on this holiday and every day. Our day to day actions speak much louder than what goes on during a few special days. We are remembered for the everyday - not just the 'special'.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program . . .


While Mimi, Granddaddy, Aunt Robin and I were at the funeral. Daddy and Uncle Billy stayed behind with the kids. When we returned this is what we found. The dads had no idea that the kiddos had been sneaking cookies. In fact, they didn't believe it happened at first but you can't really argue with cookies in the floor. :)
Finally, everything is ready and Uncle Justin brings on the turkey. Since it was such a nice day, we decided to dine outside. I don't believe we've ever done that before.

The hungry masses. :)

My little turkey with his turkey. Ben can be fickle. He picked at most of his food (could it be he had too many cookies) but gobbled up the turkey.

As soon as I said I wanted a picture, Griffin shoved another bite in his mouth. I included it anyway because I think it shows the 'cut-up' part of his personality.

The Stains enjoying their meal. Raegen is talking so well know. He cracks me up. He calls Billy 'Dad' most of the time. We went for a little drive and Robin was giving Billy directions. Parrot Rae-Rae was in the back saying "Turn weft, Dad" . It cracked me up.

Ty would not sit up and act right. Aunt Kristen should have bonked him over the head. ;) It was a little cool for Izzy to join us outdoors so Mimi sat inside with her.

The first Witcher boy I fell for and the last.

The seven grandkids - Back Row: Madisyn (8) holding Izzy (3 weeks) and Ty (7) holding Henry (6 months). Front: Ben (2), Raegen (2), and Griffin (4).
I will praise the name of God with a song,
and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hay Ride pt 2

After the games, we moved on the the second part of the hayride - Riding in the Hay! LOL

Mr. Mark has been so wonderful to bring his guitar since our first hayride. We sing most any song, but seem to settle on more hymns than anything. We travel down the roads singing songs to the Lord, what could be better.
Our kiddos felt really grown-up this year. They didn't have to sit right next to an adult. Yep, I've been trying to keep them little but it's not working. Anyone have any suggestions? ;)

I loved this shot. Griffin is really belting it out. (and if you sit anywhere near him in church you know he does the same there. ) He doesn't care that he doesn't know all the words. He has the "make a joyful noise" part down.

Uncle Scott and Miss Hannah - I think this was their first hayride as Mr and Mrs. It wasn't exactly romantic but I think they had a good time.

I think grand total we had over 40 people join us at the house and over half went on the hayride. Papaw pulled the trailer and the weather was perfect. Just cool enough to need a jacket and blanket but not so warm you sweat. Hay and sweat do not go well together. :)

The sky was beautiful. All the stars were so clear. Some of the parents were pointing out constellations to the kids and we cruised along.

My little wild man. I don't think he stopped moving the whole time. Next year he sits with Daddy. ;)

Ben probably wouldn't sit still so he wouldn't end up like Griff. Yes, that little boy that was belting out songs fell fast asleep before we got back to the house. When he woke up he was raring to go again.

I think the only complaint this year was not enough chairs. I don't know if we had more people bring their own in years past, we've lost some or what. Nobody but me worried about it yet I think it's something we'll try to improve upon.

Last year I made a big pot of chili, purchased 80 hot dogs and 2 bags of marshmallows. We had tons leftover. I know I put 50 hot dogs up in the freezer and we ate them over the course of the year. This year I fixed a slightly smaller pot (maybe 1/4 smaller), purchased 40 hot dogs (and found 10 more in the freezer) and had 4 bags of marshmallows and the only thing left over was 1 bag of marshmallows. I don't think anyone went hungry and I prefer the no leftover plan.
We had a great time with all our friends and family and I can't wait for next year. (Now someone remind me of that when I'm stressing about getting stuff ready. ;) )

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Successful Children?

I came across this blog post this morning and wanted to share it. *When* I keep this in mind, the thoughts shared by the author are what enable me to keep going with homeschooling. The goal of raising children is not to fill their shelves with honor roll certificates, t-ball trophies, and state fair blue ribbons. Those things are fine but when they become the goal so many things are lost. Truthfully, all those things mean nothing.

When is the last time, as an adult, anyone gave any thought to your stellar ACT score, or cared that you had perfect attendance, or that your little league team won the state championship? We praise and reward children constantly and then when they become adults, no one lavishes praise and rewards. As moms (and this applies to dads as well but I'm not a dad so I won't speak for them :) ) , we often find ourselves doing the things that no one else wants to. Nobody comes along and gives me a certificate for having perfect attendance when dealing with my children. No one gives me an award for teaching my child Bible verses or even making sure they brush their teeth. What I do, is not looked favorably on by the world.
"Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6 :4b

Life is not about fun and games. That may sound harsh but it's the truth. When fun and games and the rewards that come from them become the focus, most children can't function when those "treats" are removed. It's seems our culture is obsessed with letting "children be children" but the Bible says "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15

Our goal as parents should not be to let children be children. Our goal should be to raise Godly adults. Childhood is fleeting, even with eternity aside, we will spend much more of our lives as adults then as children. Doesn't it make sense to prepare more for the longer journey?

I Corinthians 13: 11 says "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Here Paul doesn't say, I'm so glad that I spent my whole childhood getting on the honor roll or running track. He says that he put those things away. It's important to keep those things in constant check to make sure that we are working towards the final goal and not loosing the forest for the tress.

Are we preparing our children to put away childish things or crave them?

Now that I've written a novel ;) I hope you'll read the article below and glean something from it.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children

Lysa TerKeurst

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I don't want to raise successful children. That's a shocking thing to read, and a shocking thing for a mother to type. So, let me clarify.

I used to define success according to my child's report card. Good grades and academic achievement would surely equal a good child with great potential in this world. But then several of my children wound up being average students with average grades. Though we carted them off to tutors and spent many a late night at the kitchen table helping them, they remained average. And I remained concerned and frustrated.

One report card day I found myself facedown in the fibers of my carpet crying and wondering, "Where have I gone wrong as a mom?"

I dug into Scriptures. I begged God for wisdom and discernment. I prayed for God's perspective with each of my kids. Finally, one day it dawned on me - what if I simply chose to embrace the natural bent of each of my kids as God's way to protect them and keep them on the path toward His best plans for their lives?

What if my A student needs academic success to prepare her for God's plans while my average to below-average student needs to be steered away from a more academic future? What if my sports star kid needs that athletic excellence for his future assignments by God, but my benchwarmer kid is being protected from getting off course by her lack in this area?

And that's when it finally dawned on me. My job isn't to push success for my kids. My job as a parent is to recognize the unique way God created each child and point them to Jesus at every turn along their journey toward adulthood. Yes, I want my kids to learn and thrive and grow up educated, but it's not a flaw in me or them if they don't have straight A report cards and trophy cases full of sports medals.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).

I am challenged to ponder these words, "… in the way he should go." Are we training our kids that the "way he should go" is to chase worldly achievement or to chase God? Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults. Therefore, we must be challenged to honestly assess the way we are pointing them to go.

My daughter, Hope, is one of my average students. She has also warmed many a bench in the sports she's tried, and can always be found hiding on the back row of the stage during school concerts. Using the world's benchmarks for achievement, Hope wouldn't be seen as a child positioned for success. But God…

This past January, my 15 year old Hope, shocked me when she announced she wanted to go to Ethiopia with some missionary friends of ours and live in the remote African bush for the summer. Yes, she may not have trophies and straight A report cards but she does have a heart of gold. And because she's not entrenched in sports and academic pursuits that could have created obligations for her summer, she was free to go to Africa. Free to chase God in a really big way.

One of the first e-mails she sent me from Ethiopia read, "Mom, I've fallen in love with the AIDS orphanage children. They rushed at me when I held my arms out and I tried with all my might to hold all 30 of them at once. I love it here."

Now, don't get me wrong. I do expect Hope to return to her studies this fall, give 100% effort, and finish her high school career having done her very best. She will most likely then go to college. But she probably won't be delivering the valedictorian address or wearing the honors cords and medals. She'll be the one with a vision of a dying AIDS orphan pressing against her heart ready to chase God's plans to the ends of the earth.

So back to my original statement, I don't want to raise successful children. It's true, I don't. Though Hope's sister coming behind her is an A student and can always be found on the front row of school performances - we don't chase after success for her either. I trust God that she needs those things in her life for the plans He's unfolding in her life. We train with that bent in mind. But, we don't chase it. Just like Hope, we point her in the direction of God at every turn and pray like crazy.

I stand by what I said and I'll say it again, I don't want to raise successful children. Because--- raising God-honoring adults who will set the world on fire for Christ is just so much more rewarding.

Dear Lord, being a mom is a really tough job.
Please help me, teach me and show me how to define success for my kids.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Hay ride pt 1

Since we moved to our current home we have hosted a hay ride each fall. It began as a birthday celebration for Ty but we quickly realized that we couldn't provide such an elaborate party for all our children (who wants to attend a hayride in June!?!) So now we have the Witcher Family hay ride. It's on a weekend in October or November that works for the auction business. LOL Since our children are getting older and a little better at following directions, we decided to add some "old fashioned games" to the fun.

We started off with sack races. The idea of having such an event nearly ruined it. See, I asked by Dad AKA Granddaddy if he had any potato sacks for sack races (if you need something ask Dad - he either owns it or knows where/how to get it ;) ). Much to our delight he said he had some potato sacks. As the kids began telling others and inviting them to the party, we noticed some strange looks and laughter after the invitation was given. Eventually someone let us onto what was so funny. Apparently Ty was telling about the hay ride - what we would do, what games we would play, what we would eat, etc. When he talked about the games he told everyone that we would have sack races.
Sounds innocent enough - doesn't it. Well, he went on to ask the weight of those he was inviting. You see, according to Ty (and later Madisyn and Griff), you can't be in the sack race if you weigh more than 100 lbs. When I questioned them about their information, they told me that Granddaddy said that no one that weighed more than 100 lbs could use the sacks.
It took a while to put it all together but we figured out they heard him say they were 100 lbs sacks.

As you can see, we had a few people that weighed around 105 lbs participate and I'm happy to report the sacks held up just fine. :D

The enthusiasm of Uncle Kirk and Uncle Scott, really helped add to the races. I'm very glad they were so willing to participate *for the kids*. I know they would never involve themselves in such childish antics if it weren't for the poor children.

Uncle Kirk almost lost it here, however he was proclaimed the victor.

Next was the egg toss. I'm happy to say that no *real* eggs were harmed in the process. We have laying hens and the eggs we get from them are *real*. I'm not sure what that makes the ones at WalMart but I've learned the lingo around here.

Again, Kirk and Scott were great participants. We even pitted MIL against DIL and they won! Mrs. Janet and Mrs. Hannah's egg never broke. They made a great team. We're really enjoying getting to know Hannah.

The kids need a little more practice as eggs were often hurling through the air and the receiver had no clue. LOL It's a very good thing the ground was so soft. Most of the time the eggs bounced.

See the look of determination on Scott's face? This picture was snapped just before their egg broke. Kirk apparently has something against sweet, little blonde girls and hurled the egg of death directly at poor Molly's face. Scott saved her in the nick of time but it was too much of an impact for the egg.

Again, check out Scott.
Yes he and Kirk were throwing the eggs that hard!
I have no idea how far apart they were but I couldn't get them both in the frame of the camera. Since their first egg was destroyed through a courageous act of saving Molly, we gave them another and they got to try again.
I'm not sure what to call this game. We gave everyone a potato and they had to carry it between their knees and drop it in a bucket.

The no hands concept was a little hard for some of the kids to grasp (ok all the kids that struggled last names started with a Witcher) but I think the general idea caught on by the end.

I love the moon in this shot. The games were a big hit and will be back next year. Maybe we'll add some more. What are your favorite "old fashioned" games (ie no batteries, electricity, etc)?