Sunday, August 31, 2008

What the "Hike" was that Daddy??

We had a beautiful day here in Baltimore - great temperature and there was a gorgeous blue sky with few clouds. Much too beautiful of a day to spend it inside or running errands. So the Ragan 3 spent our day outside. Michael took us to a section of the Gunpowder River in Monkton that he often fishes on. There was a waterfall he thought it would be great to hike to. We were all gung ho for about the first... oh, HOUR of hiking! But when it came close to hitting the 1 1/2 HOUR mark we were all about done for! Abraham did good walking for the first - 30 minutes or so...

Here I come!

Wait for me Daddy!

I can't walk!! :(

So Daddy carried Abraham for a good part of the way - I did eventually take the backpack from Michael to lighten the load. We walked and walked and walked and walked some more... Abraham was up and down, up and down. Until finally, we arrived at the river. The falls weren't quite what Michael had remembered but it didn't matter. We sat on the bank of the river and had lunch and then the boys played in the ICE COLD water. Momma took her rightful place behind the camera - at least for a while. I did put my feet in but after about 2 minutes in the water they were numb!! NO THANKS!


NO splashing Daddy!!

It's COLD in here!!! :}

Hmm... I wonder where all the BIG rocks are??

Playing together in the river - and freezing our bums off! :)

We decided to take the "easier" way back - hoping that it wouldn't take as long to get back. Yea, that was futile thinking. However, little man decided that he'd walk back and walked all but about 20 minutes of it. Near the end though we think he was so tired that he was a bit delirious! He kept stumbling and falling and laughing about it "That's bery bery silly Mommy!" When Michael offered to carry him he refused because he was enjoying finding all the trunks over the trail and getting over them... unfortunately for him he is so short that he was more like flipping over them!

We had a great day together, as always! Abraham is such a water bug, taking after his Daddy. He'd stay all day if we let him. He is a trip, literally and in his sense of humor. One time Michael nearly slipped and took Abraham with him. Abraham's response, while laughing, was "What the heck was that Daddy?" It was all we could do to NOT burst out laughing... which we weren't able to hold back. What a fun kid he is!! Nothing could be better than a day with my boys!!

Blog Day - August 31, 2008

What is BlogDay?

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

What will happen on BlogDay?

One long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

click above to find out more on Blog Day...

My sister has had this posted on her blog for a few days now so I clicked over to find out what all the hype was about. I thought it sounded interesting so I am joining in the festivities today!

Angie Smith is an amazing woman who loves Jesus with all her heart. She and her family have walked through the valley of losing a child recently, and perhaps that is why I am so drawn to her blog. I know that I am drawn too because she speaks with such TRUTH and REAL-NESS. She speaks words that I have thought in my heart and spirit but didn't know how to say them outloud. This woman has been such an encouragement to me - as I hope that my prayers for her have been. I encourage you to check her out. Even if you have not experienced life like she has you will find that your spirit is lifted just by "listening" to her.

She has also begun a new ministry that I thought I'd plug - Broken Pitcher Ministries. If you live in or around Nashville, TN you might want to check it out. She is starting a Bible Study and this blog is established to communicate with those participating but I'm hoping for some valuable insights as well.

Island Life with Kailani always has some fantastic giveaways. I have YET to win one but I'm always trying! She is living in Hawaii, a place that I would love to visit one day so I like hearing about life there.

Worm Whisperer -- This is the blog of a dear friend of mine. She is an amazing woman who loves God and the world around her. Plus she has got a great eye for photography. I am always checking in to see what new beauties she has up. Check her out!

This blog is one that I found on my sisters blog. She is always talking about Melissa at A long way from the Theta house. Melissa lives in Dallas where her husband runs an inner city ministry. She is a SAHM with 5 kids. I have just recently been reading her blog and I find the way that she shares from her heart comforting. She is REAL and I admire that in people. Check her out - not only will you get a good laugh but you will leave feeling encouraged.

I hope that you find as much encouragement on these blogs as I have!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's officially the end of the summer...

Well, it's about that time again. This pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole subject of SCHOOL! Actually, getting back in my room this past week and setting it all up has begun to re-energize me for the school year. I enjoy the beginning of the year, with all the new crayons and sharpened pencils... with all the kids still excited about starting third grade. Yes, in 3rd grade they are excited which makes it a bit easier to transition to school.

I had Open House this past Friday and about 9 of my 23 kids came in to say hello and to get a sneak peek of our classroom. I actually remembered more names than I thought I would! I really have only "met" them once, at the end of the school year. I also had a number of kids from previous years come back and give me hugs. That is the best! Two girls were from my first year teaching, 8 years ago. They are now going to be JUNIORS! Next year, the class I had my first year, will be GRADUATING! If that doesn't make you feel old I don't know what does!!

So tomorrow is D-day! My friend Mel, who is also a teacher, posted about her back to school nightmares. I typically have my own. Last years dream was that my alarm clock didn't go off and I was an hour late for school and no one at school was very happy with me. I have had dreams of being nekkid before as well as dreams of not being prepared. These dreams are enough to keep me up the night before school! Wonder what I'll dream tonight??
Anyhow, I'd appreciate any and all prayers for this school year! Check out my class website and see whatcha think too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Last beach visit for the year - boo!!

So I'm a little behind on posting this but oh well! Last Friday my sister and I went to visit a friend from our younger years, and more recently a blogging friend, Mel. She lives at the beach in Delaware and invited us up for one last hurrah before school started. We had such a good time with her and her kids, Dylan and Zoe. The kids played together wonderfully and we girls had a great time catching up and just chatting.
Thanks Mel for hosting us all! We'll be back next summer!!

The kids LOVED playing together on the beach!
Alex and Dylan had a blast jumping in the waves.

And of course my little beach bum loved digging in the sand too!

Chloe, Abraham and me

Chloe and Zoe, Mel's little girl - the 2 princesses!

We went to Funland before we left... Zoe and Abraham wanted me to ride with them in the mini-ferris wheel... there was NOT a lot of room in that thing people!! :)

Me, Mel and my sister, Kari - we had SUCH a good time!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time to get healthy

Ok folks... let me be brutally honest here. I am overweight and I know it. I know that I could stand to lose a good 30+ pounds. I just haven't had the motivation or the help to do so... that sounds like a really pathetic excuse eh? Anyhow, Michael and I have been recently talking about joining a gym since part of our problem (on top of eating crap!) is that we don't get any exercise. With Michael being diabetic and me being, well just bigger than I should be, we really need to have a lifestyle change in our eating as well as exercise. I want to be around for a long time and I want to teach Abraham healthy living.
So my friend Mel over at A Box of Chocolates has had tremendous success using Weight Watchers. She has been able to lose 40 lbs by eating right, tracking her eating online as well as exercising. I think that this could really work for me. Which is why I would really like to win the giveaway that she is having on her blog.
Whether or not I win the free 3 month subscription, Michael and I are both going to have to just buck up and set our minds to get healthy. It is important to us - we just need to put the action behind the words.

Who is THE MAN???

If you haven't heard the name Michael Phelps recently you MUST be living under a rock! This guy is just absolutely the most amazing swimmer EVER... and I mean that seriously! With 11, yes that is ELEVEN, career gold medals under his belt for every swimming stroke known to man. I am completely addicted to watching the Olympics, specifically him. Staying up until 12:30am to see him swim. Embarassing but oh so true! He swims like a sea otter - so smooth and controlled in the water. And he is breaking world records left and right.

Maybe it is so amazing to me because I have to hold my nose to go under water... hmm?

He swims out of the North Baltimore Aquatic Center here in MD. Lives in Towson so he is a local. As a B'morian I am proud to say that he is from our area!

BEIJING -- For Michael Phelps, it's not enough just to set a new standard. He has to demolish the old one.

Winningest Olympian ever? He's two golds past that already and not finished yet, just over halfway to his goal of breaking Mark Spitz's record seven in a single Olympics.

World records? In a sport measured down to the hundredths for a reason, Phelps sets a pace to crush one of them by more than four seconds.

Even when his goggles malfunctioned during the first race of a golden morning in China, the gangly, 23-year-old American squinted through water-filled lenses on the way to, yes, a world record. Of course, he was none too happy to beat it by only six-hundredths of a second.

So un-Phelps-like

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August Anniversaries

Even though our anniversary was last weekend, Mom and Dad graciously offered to watch Abraham this weekend for us to have some time to get away. We had a nice day out today. We had lunch and then went to North East, MD for some antique-ing. It was a really great day to just be "us"

I made Michael pose for a picture with me... it is ALWAYS like pulling teeth! We hardly ever have decent pictures of just us! The bottom one is about 5 shots in and he was done! But I quite like it!!

Unfortunately, today was my parents 40th Anniversary and they had to spend it with the grandkids! (Thank you Momma & Daddy!) But my dad being the good man that he is took mom out for dinner yesterday. These parents of mine are the best. They would give ANYONE the shirt off their backs and would do ANYTHING for their kids and grandkids. They are amazing parents and grandparents!

Congratulations you 2 love-birds!!

(top shot is a candid - not sure WHAT they were doing to elicit those big smiles!!)

Must be a man thing to not enjoy pictures taken cause my dad sighed just like Michael did when he saw the camera come out! Listen, after 40 years you should know better Daddy!! :) LOVE YOU!

Playground fun with the cousins

Mom and I decided to take the kids to a playground a day last week to get them to run out their energy. They play so great together and Alex and Chloe take good care of Abraham when I can't climb or slide with him. These are just a few shots of our time together.
And yes, we DID wear them out!!



This sweet girl's smile warms my heart!

Ready... Set... GO!!


This kid is getting SO big! He's in 2nd grade this year!

I think we wore Mimi out! Poor Mimi!

I Love my Momma!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Week of Giveaways

The ladies over at The Mommies United are having a great week long Back to School Giveaway.
As a kick off they are giving away a basket that includes:
* VTech V motion
* Kraft Bagel-fuls
*Gift check for Starbucks new beverage - Vivanno
* Burger King Crown Cards and and Kids Meal Crayola back to school toys
* Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps and Potato Chips
If you want a chance to win this great giveaway and all the other amazing prizes they have, check out their site here and sign Mr. Linky!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
Emilie Buchwald (1994)

Abraham and I took part in the Reading program at the library this summer. He LOVES books so it wasn't any big deal to him. We read A LOT together and enjoyed quiet "belly" time - even Daddy got in the action! I am so glad that my boy loves books and can sit to enjoy reading together. I pray that love of books will continue to follow him throughout his life.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Touching Lives

You know sometimes, as a teacher, you wonder if you have made any kind of a difference in the lives of the kids we teach. If you have touched anyones life for the good. If they even remember your name long after they are gone - because we remember theirs!

Well, yesterday Abraham and I had the pleasure of spending the day with a former student of mine, Maureen. I had her 4 years ago and our families have kept in touch since then. She and her mom have loved on me and Abraham since he was born.

She sent me this e-mail after we dropped her off and it just made my day. It is students like this that make my job worth it all. Through all the times when I feel like I've had it and can't take another day... students like Maureen are what keep me going, knowing that I AM making a difference in their lives.


I just want to thank you for spending time with me today and I truly think that God put you in my life because you're an amazing women and you inspire me. When I grow up, I hope that you and Abraham will still be in my life. I miss 3nd grade so much and the real reason I have you and Abraham on my door (she has pictures of Abe and I on the door of her bedroom) is because you both make my day a great one. Maybe one day I would spend a weekend with you all. E-mail me if you would like some help on Tuesday? Just to let you know that I can iron,wash,clean,and do anything around the house.


She must really love us if she is offering to help around the house!! Maybe I'll take her up on that offer!! :)

Another Photo Contest - Summer Fun!

This was his first real experience with the beach this summer and he LOVED it as you can tell!
It is time for another photo contest over at 5MinutesforMoms. Jump on over there to check out all the Summer Fun photos that people have put up. Join in the fun if you can!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman Update

If you didn't have a chance to catch the interview with Steven Curtis Chapman on Good Morning America today, you really should. It was a true testimony of God's grace and forgiveness even when you don't understand your circumstances.
I appreciated the words that Mary Beth shared with Robin during the interview - they are the real and raw feelings of a mother who has lost her child.

"I don't care whose lives are touched by this story or whose lives are changed or what good comes from it. The heart of a mom is that I want my Maria back. But because I know that she is completely whole, because of my faith, I know she is completely whole and completely okay... as a mom I have to shift that grief... to make sure (my family) is as whole and healthy as they can be. Through that then, when people's lives are changed and touched then I can be okay with that. But it's the heart of a mom - I'd like to have Maria back"

I haven't ever heard the song "Yours" by SCC but he wrote a fourth verse to it after losing Maria. You HAVE to listen to this song... a great reminder that everything we have been given has come from HIS hand - children are entrusted to parents for a time but are ultimately HIS. That resonated with me as I watched, and cried my way through the video. You can be sure I'll be buying his new CD as well as attempting to go to his concert when he comes to town with Michael W. Smith.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'll never get used to it...

Abraham was born at 28 weeks into my pregnancy. As you can imagine, being born that early has its difficulties for someone so small. Abraham, Moses and many preemies often struggle with breathing issues because of premature lung function. Many times they forget to breathe called apnea which leads to Bradycardia (slowing of the heart rate). These apnea and bradys are more common when babies are sleeping.

Both Abraham and Moses had many Apnea/Brady episodes. They were hooked to machines that went off REALLY loudly to let the nurses and us know that they needed help. At the beginning we would rub their backs or flick their feet to get them to "wake up". As Abraham was there longer, the nurses allowed him to bring himself back to breathing, which he did as his lungs and the breathing became more mature. Amazingly, he never had to be ventilated. He used the CPAP machines to help them to breathe well.

As I spent those 51 days in the NICU, I can distinctly remember watching their breathing - their backs/bellies rise and fall with their breaths. I would put my hands on them and feel the rise and fall as well. Those moments spent with them are ones that I hold close to my heart. It was (and still is) a precious sight to me.

When Abraham came home from the hospital, I woke up often during the night and slipped into his room to lay my hands on him to make sure he was breathing. (We didn't have to come home with any machines, which freaked us out a bit!) I would sit on the floor and watch him through the slats of the crib - breathing - up, down, up, down.

I don't think that I'll ever get used to not checking on him. Those days in the NICU are still fresh in my memory bank. And those nights after he came home were just yesterday. Last night I went in and put my hand on his back, a back that my hand no longer covers... to feel him breathing - up, down, up, down. I sat down with my sweet boy and watched his face as he slept, breathing - up, down, up, down.

I think that even when he is 15 years old and taller than me - I will still watch him sleep.

That is my baby of course!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy Anniversary Babe!

Today, Michael and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Wow, has time flown! Seems like it was just yesterday!
When we pledged to each other to be there for better or worse, in sickness and health... we certainly didn't expect the mountains and valleys that we have been through together in the past 7 years. God has walked us through some experiences together that we could never have predicted. And through it all HE has made us stronger as a couple and as best friends.
I could never imagine my life without you, babe! You make my world a better place just by being in it. Your smile and tender care warms my spirit. The love you have for your son brings a smile to my face.
I love you more today than yesterday --- but not as much as tomorrow!
Happy Anniversary Babe!!

(I love this picture, taken as we were walking back down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. We were laughing at the surprise of everyone watching at our choice of song - Let's Stay Together by Al Green! The smiles on our faces perfectly express the joy of the day!)

Everything I wanna be

Any dream I wanna dream

I can, because of your love

Anywhere I ever go

With all of my heart I know

I am the woman I am

Because of your love
Lyrics by Kenny Chesney

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two outta three ain't bad!

Being that I have the summer off, I had a few goals for Abraham and I to conquer while we had time together (nothing that he was aware of, of course!)

Goal 1: Adios pacifier!

(you can see where we had started to cut it, just like the doctor ordered)

I know that not all moms are for the pacifier, soother.. whatever you want to call it. Abraham was given a pacifier in the NICU to help him with his sucking reflex, since he was a preemie. In reality, I probably wouldn't have done anything different. He wasn't a baby that was prone to crying, so the pacifier wasn't really a "cork" so to speak but it did help to quiet him when he went down for a nap and bedtime. During the last few weeks of school, both my mom and Miss Shellie (day care mom) were saying that he wasn't using it at all. It was just at home that he was getting his way with the "fier" as he called it! Well, we took the "fier" with us to Georgia but somewhere along the way lost it (not on purpose, but really did lose it!) We didn't replace it and just said that it was lost and we'd have to wait til we got home to get a new one. He really didn't ask for it much, just at bedtime. He kept saying that it was on the airplane, and we just agreed! Fast forward to 2 weeks after getting back from Georgia and he has mentioned it 3 times maybe.

So we are sans pacifier finally! Phew, that was an easy one!

Goal 2: Get rid of the crib and get Abraham a BIG BOY BED!

Found the cutest Disney Pixar Cars bed on and showed him. He was immediately in love with the bed on the computer! Called Walmart and asked if they had it in stock - the woman came back to the phone about, oh 2 minutes later, and said they didn't have any. Somehow I didn't believe her. So we were out that way and stopped in Walmart and darn if they didn't have TWO of them! Glad we checked! Course there weren't any sheets that went with it - that was another stop at Target (my favorite anyhow!) This has been an all-weekend project. Abraham HAD to have his bed set up on Saturday so he could sleep in it - he didn't care that the sheets weren't washed! We caved of course and washed the sheets later!

Now, you realize that the little boy bed (aka. crib) had to be dismantled and taken back to Mimi's house (God knows WHERE they'll put it!). Like I said... ALL weekend!

Will wonders never cease?? Abraham is actually staying in his bed when we put him down for a nap or bedtime. Not quite what I expected but hey I'll take it!

Goal 3: Potty-Training the boy

Yea, this one isn't going so well. He likes the novelty of wearing the big boy underwear but hasn't quite grasped the concept of going pee pee in the toilet. Got the #2 thing pretty good. I bought the training pants too, the ones that are thicker and more absorbent so that they catch "whatever" and can help to save carpet, couch, bed, etc... Yea, not quite. Apparently they need to be like 10 times more absorbent to catch "whatever" from Abraham cause they sure didn't save my carpet today! I still have about 2 weeks for this one but I'm not seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Think Miss Shellie will mind doing the rest?? Or maybe, he'll get the idea by the time he is, lets say 5?? :)

So as the great singer Meatloaf would say --- "Two outta three ain't bad!"