29 September 2014

Splash - September 2014

This is the splash from September 2014.  This picture was taken at Greer's Ferry Lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas.  I am standing on a ledge about ten feet above the ladies and JMichael in the water.  The rocks allow for lots of jumping and the various heights of the rocks and lake let the bravest and the most timid find a jump they can handle.  Well, not everyone.  I'm not jumping off of any rocks.  I do encourage my kids to do it.  Is that great parenting, or what?

28 September 2014

1986 240DL Volvo Wagon

This happened.  Let me explain.
Rachel has been driving since she was 14.  In Arkansas, at 14 a child can get a permit to drive.  This permit has to renewed every 6 months until the child is 16, then the child takes the driving portion of the test and gets a real license to drive.  Crazy.  Notice how I refer to the driver as a child?  What do you call a 14 year old girl?  Ugh.

Anyway, my viewpoints aside, Rachel was so excited to drive.  She got her permit and she got her license.  She was ready.  She wondered where the car was.

We do not have the monetary ability to buy her a car to drive.  We don't even have the ability to pay for her insurance.  Have you ever priced insurance on a 16 year old girl?  Ha!  So James and I told her what any responsible parent tells a child with expensive taste - get a job.  Rachel got a job.

Now what?  Yup.  A car.  She searched Craigslist, Ebay, the local paper and she scoured the roadways for cars with For Sale signs.  She had in mind just what she wanted, but, her caviar taste on a hot dog budget was getting frustrating.

Finally, she did it.  With a payment arrangement from her friend, Garrett, she bought a car - a 240 DL Turbo Volvo Wagon, light blue.

Now, for any of you readers who have known me my whole life, you may be thinking - a 240 DL Turbo Volvo Wagon?  Tina drove one of those!  Yes, it's true.  And I loved that car.  I loved that car so much that I haven't loved another car as much since then.  Sigh.

My Volvo had 350,000 miles on it when we finally sold it.  It's the car I was driving when I met James.  It's the car WE were driving when Rachel was born.  It's the car that had two ignitions because the original one was stuck in gear and instead of fixing it, I just added a second ignition.  I loved that car.  It's the car that had the back glass smashed in while I was in a movie theater because I had a stash of Christmas presents in the back, covered unconvincingly by a blanket, and the presents were all stolen.

And now Rachel is driving the same car - kind of.  Mine was a 1982.  Hers is a 1986.
Here's my '82 Volvo - all dressed up on our wedding day in 1997.

20 September 2014

Josephine, Double Digits?

Josephine has entered the realm of the double digits.  It truly happens so fast.  So. Very. Fast.  Josephine was born at Women's Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina.  She was delivered by cesarean section by a French born gynecological surgeon on October 1, 2004.  I cannot remember that woman's name, but, she was thrilled that our baby girl was going to be born on her own birthday, and that we were giving her a French name - Josephine Lisette.  Josephine is pictured here in the obligatory BallTeam fingers pose - with her own spin.
Josephine is her own person.  She chronologically our fourth child and our youngest daughter.  She is bright.  So bright.  She reads easily, she loves math and she thinks puzzles and projects are just fun.  Learning comes easily to her, I think, for one major reason - Josephine asks questions.  Incessantly.  Non-stop.  It's literally exhausting.  But, it's so good for her.  She is always interested in how it works, why it doesn't work, where something is, how it got there, who knows about this, what would happen if this....she is constantly questioning the world around her and soaking in all the information she can find. 
For Josephine's party, we were graciously allowed to use our friend's pool.  We invited friends and played away a summer afternoon in September (a little early, but, hey, let's celebrate).

Another BallTeam tradition - the non-traditional "cake".  Josephine got her name in Skittles - glued down with icing.

The candles didn't stand up very well, but, they didn't have to stand for long....

No forks.....just smiles.

And it's gone.
Josephine is in the fourth grade.  She wants to be a Mom when she grows up.  Josephine is limber and loves gymnastics.  She is often on the trampoline practicing her tricks and performing for the rest of us.  James used some lumber for a balance beam in our backyard and Josephine made an even bar out of the soccer goal and a Barbie jeep (to anchor it down).
Josephine recently started wearing glasses and really kinda loves them.  Josephine has a few friends at school that mean a lot to her and she can frequently be found at their houses.  It's only been in the past two years or so that she has found this kind of confidence.  She used to be painfully shy and now she is finding her voice and making her way in this world.
Josephine is a firecracker.  Do not make her mad.  She has a temper but she only brings it out when she thinks is necessary.  Her sisters look to her as the little kid in the family, but, she doesn't stand for it.  She is thoughtful - she will text me that she misses me while I'm at work - and she is responsible - she is up and ready for school and on top of her homework.
Josephine (Joey, Jo-bo-danjle) is also a great big sister to JMichael.  He knows that he can count on her to play with him and watch over him at school. He relies on her and she is sure to take the lead and while she wants her space, she would never leave JMichael out.
Ten?  A decade?  Joey was just learning to walk when our family evacuated in the path of Hurricane Katrina.  She doesn't remember the devastation and the tragic events of the time, but I remember her bright eyes and sweet toddler spirit of adventure in the midst of overwhelming destruction.
Josephine will go far.  She is a force, an opinionated anchor in the whirlwinds of life.  She has a sharp wit, a quick smile and the determined attitude to "make it so".  We love you, Joey!

18 September 2014

Life with teenagers....

I just had to put this picture on the blog.  Life with teenagers is such an adventure.  Rachel, in the Green Lantern shirt, and Samantha, in the Nirvana shirt, took this shot on the way to school this morning.  Samantha gets up at 4 am to be ready for seminary at 6:30.  Rachel gets up by 5.  I had to get gas this morning, so they headed in to the store to get some water and they discovered Fred.  Fred is a pocket shaped water, and they added "candy powder", aka, crystal light.  This combination produces Fred candy juice.  Now we are ready to go chemistry (Rachel's first period), and algebra II (Samantha's first period).  I do love my big ladies!!

17 September 2014

James, short version?

I have to say - I love long hair on men.  It's the rock n roll in me, maybe, it's the surfer mentality from my childhood; I don't know.  When James was hurt and no longer going to the office everyday, I wouldn't let him cut his hair.  So, for three years it has grown and grown.  He was the only guy at church who had a french braid - and I loved it.
Recently, however, James received a new job in our church.  This job asked that he cut his locks and shave his goatee.  He complied gladly - and he looks so handsome.  This last shot was from this morning - heading off to his first day as an ordinance worker in the Memphis, TN Temple, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  He is so excited and he will do great.  He loves his Father in Heaven and is so happy to serve.  He's still medicated for the two and half hour ride to Memphis and he will be in bed all day tomorrow, but he is so dedicated and ready to be involved.  Go get 'em James.

14 September 2014

Shark season - Fall 2014

JMichael is playing soccer this season.  Until now he had played on the smallest field in a three on three situation.  Since he aged up, this season he will play on a larger field with a larger goal and there are four people on the field for each team.  His new team is the Sharks and he is loving his new coach and teammates.  With the Sharks he will work more on finesse, the logic of the game of soccer and work on ball handling skills.  He is getting more technical coaching and still having a blast playing with his friends.  JMichael is a little hotshot on the team and loves to score goals.  I'm just happy that he loves the sport and gets plenty of fresh air and exercise.  In his first game today, which ended with a Shark win of 11 to 4, JMichael scored 6 goals.

13 September 2014


The girls in our church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) participate in a program called Activity Day Girls.  From the ages of 8 through 12, the girls meet twice a month to do projects and activities that promote the values of service, preparedness and integrity.  Today we attended the Mother/Daughter activity and we had a sweet time.  And lunch - chicken salad croissants, watermelon and ice cream sundaes.  Yum.
Above we have Charlotte showing the candy gram she made - she made hers for her Dad and was so excited to get home and give it to him.  Josephine made one for our friends the Kuykendalls, about Joey's birthday party next week - more on that later.  The second picture is Josephine losing to me in the minute to win it games - we played games with candy and marshmallows - all things sugar.  We also went to a class on preparing a Family Home Evening lesson on M&M's.  Lots of sweet treats.
This is the group shot of the sweet girls from our ward.
Standing from left to right we see:
Atira S., Charlotte, Jayden G., Tallin B., Maddie A.
Kneeling in front:  Josephine, Kira S., and Maddie S.
And me - with my two sweet Activity Girls.
Dag, Charlie is so tall....

02 September 2014

Laker Day 2014

Ok, so the holiday is actually Labor Day - a day of rest dedicated to those who work.  We don't usually BBQ or do all that traditional stuff.  Here in Arkansas, we have lakes, so that's what we do.  We hit the lake for Labor Day - Laker Day....

Josephine demonstrating the proper stance while posing on the rocks.
Rachel in coral and Samantha in black - first as teenagers and then as mermaids.
The BallTeam, floating in the lake.

 Charlotte, sunning herself, if only briefly.
One of the major activities at the lake is cliff jumping.  All along the recreational area of the lake are rock formations of various heights.  The distance from the lake to the water's surface depends on the amount of rainfall that season.  Some jumps are about two feet and some of the jumps are about 20 feet.  On this trip we started at the 10 foot jump and garnered our courage.  Josephine and JMichael went down from there to the five foot area while the big three ladies went to the 20 foot jump.
JMichael and Josephine jumping to Charlotte.
Charlotte and Samantha jumping from a higher cliff.
And Rachel, headed for the water.
We will back again next year.