Sunday, December 20, 2015

November & December highlights via iPhone pictures

It's interesting to log in to catch up on some of my favorite blogs (on the sidebar) and see how long it's been since I last posted.  These days are full, busy, and without much down time.  Christmas cards will not get done this year.  Pictures I had wanted to order and gifts I wanted to make. . .yea, those aren't going to happen either (it's December 20th!).  I think this is the first year I've been "ok" with that. . .that it's just been a busy year full of change -- this is the third address we've lived at in 2015 (the fourth for Tom & Thomas) -- and staying simple and lean is the way it is.

We made the trip north for Thanksgiving this year so I got an annual Cousins picture!!  AVJ and Susan have other cousins too, but these are the Foster cousins.  We have every grade from 11th - 6th represented here. . .I can't imagine life slowing down in the next 10-15 years when I think about graduations, weddings, and babies!!  These are some really great kids.

At the end of my last post, the afternoon after I hit "publish", this happened to put life into perspective:
That was Thomas.  He had gone mountain biking with a Cookeville friend here in Knoxville and texted us a picture of a hill he was going to go down.

An hour or so later, when we were out-and-about running errands, Tom gets a text from Thomas saying, "I think I broke my collarbone".  Hmmmm. . .he and his friend had hiked out of the park and Thomas had driven home before he said anything. 

Well. . .you saw the x-ray. . .we got that at the Urgent Care, who then sent us to the emergency room (where, incidentally, 3 of the 4 medical professionals we saw said, "I've done that") and then referred us to a local surgeon.

I mentioned that "life was put into perspective" because we are all so thankful that he was smart enough to be wearing his helmet.  That was smashed up -- and that would have been his head otherwise. 




So. . .Friday of that week I took my first-ever day off from school to spend the day with him getting outpatient surgery. (And really enjoyed being "just a mom" again.)




He has some super, good friends who were praying for him throughout the day and wanted updates, which gave me the power to take a couple of pictures :)

All went well (notice that they even wrote the word "correct" on his right arm so the operated on the correct shoulder!) and we left mid-afternoon. 






He was at home, relaxing, by that evening.  He had to sleep in a recliner for his first two nights so Tom and I had a roommate. . .



His recovery was very quick. . .Tom took him back to see the surgeon the following week and everything looked great.  He stayed in the immobilizer for two weeks and a sling for 3-4 weeks.  He began physical therapy two weeks ago and should be back to full-range of motion in a couple of weeks.



Sitting by the fire on his phone and being waited on by his family for the weekend wasn't too bad either ;)





















Thomas also had his 17th birthday in October.  Really, I can't believe it -- 17 years I've been a mom!!!  What a blessing this life is.

Annual "chair picture" - gift from Aunt Susie at my baby shower for Amy Robert and still in use!!


Sibling birthday pic +1


Robert chose to have a friend over for the weekend to celebrate.  Connor is really one of the *best* kids we have ever known!  And look. . .true friends cut food for one another. . .right?

Soccer also filled the month of November. . .Frederick's team came in second in their Club's tournament -- last one of the season.






















The first weekend of December we all headed to Atlanta for Marie to play soccer. . .but it was *freezing* until the last morning and I didn't get any good pics. . .
For some reason I have been lazy about pictures lately. . .I'd really like to change that in 2016 and commit to going back to recording our family's story in pictures.  I miss that part of my life.
Although the weather was less-than-perfect the Friday and Saturday of the tournament, this Sunday morning it was beautiful.  I did get a picture of her brother and dad enjoying the game :)


Frederick likes to go out and warm up the goalie and field balls for the girls.  He's a good little manager for that team in his off-season :)










Here is a great picture of Marie post-tournament. . .we got back in town just in time to celebrate one of her bestest friend's birthdays:



 And here is our favorite cheerleader. . .!!!  Although the schedule is very busy, Margaret is extremely dedicated to the sport and her team. 

















See what I mean?!?  Love having the convenience of taking a picture on my phone, but. . .at least the memories are there :)

This is enough for one post, although I have 100 other pictures from the month ;)  I still do keep up with Picture of the Day on Facebook -- most days! -- and try to record the important, as well as "every day" life, as much as possible.  I might have to cross over into Instagram in 2016 though. . .AVJ is heading to Australia (!!!) after Christmas and I want to keep up with her adventures there.

I'll leave with the one and only picture of my love and I that was taken before his holiday party last weekend. 

This will be our 27th Christmas together.  Gotta dig up that picture someone took of us after he got back from a family vacation to Cancun that first Christmas we celebrated together in high school!!  That year he bought me a wool sweater from the Dayton Mall (I ran into him while he was shopping for it -- oops).  His parents bought me a pair of earrings that I had continued to wear until I lost one just this past year.  This year they (his parents and he) bought me a storm door for our new home!!!  He was a keeper then and still is :)

Well, o.k., a few more pictures because this really is/was a super, great, gift (and I didn't have to wait until Christmas to have it installed either -- we'll probably be using it since it's supposed to be 70 degrees!!)





(Guess it's time to start learning how to use some collage options now too)

Enjoying these last days leading up to the Birth of our Savior.  What a privilege is is to know the LORD that would send his son as a baby to save us all.  And that we get to share in that celebration and everlasting life every day!!!

~ Jenni

































My mom finally moved into her new house the week before Thanksgiving!  It is beautiful.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31, 2015 - Life Lately

I know!  I got a post up the first of the month. . .and now it's the last day of the month. . .believe it or not, I haven't even been able to keep up with Picture of the Day lately either. . .but it's a GOOD kind of busy. . .lots going on, lots to do, but not crazy-exhausted-I-need-to-get-off insaneness.  At least that's my opinion.  I'm not one for sitting around :)
 I was trying to find that "one" picture that defined the month. . .this girl turning 15 and soccer mainly sums it up.  I love this girl so, so, so much.  She is strong, smart, responsible and funny.  She is one of those kids that *everyone* is drawn to (adults, little kids, and her peers) and she is completely comfortable with who she is.  Yesterday she got her temps!!!  Of course, it would have been my picture of the day, but I was not getting cooperation on that part.  Super-dad took her out of school early to go wait in line for her to take her test (she passed) -- so proud of her.  I was told she drove home from the gas station (about 1.5 miles away) and that was about it.  I don't think she's going to be a "natural" behind the wheel like her brother was -- so glad our state gives these kids an entire year to get comfortable behind the wheel.  She'll get it, no worries.  She's the one who's already saving for a car -- good girl!!!

Speaking of driving and vehicles. . .we're in the market for a replacement:

Thomas took Marie to practice on Monday. . .as he and the dog were heading home, his back-end slipped out away from him. . .a car hit him as he over-corrected into the other lane.  Luckily everyone walked away. . .the dog was the only one with a visible scratch -- right above her eye from the glass.  I imagine she probably had a pretty big headache too :(
The axle was bent and really, we have been contemplating whether to put any additional money into the truck anyway. . .so. . .Tom put it on Craigslist and within hours it was gone.
I don't think the neighbors will mind not seeing it parked out there anymore.  Thomas loved the truck, that's for sure.  So did his dad -- that's why we even still had it!!  A couple of years ago Tom bought a new one and within a year sold it, keeping this one.  We are currently on the hunt for something for Thomas and Marie to drive.  I have been leaving the house at 6:15 every morning to get Thomas to school at 6:30 (his first class is at 7 a.m.) and then get myself to school by 7:08 (my drive in the morning is about 35 minutes). . .he either takes the bus home or Tom takes a late lunch to pick him up and get him to work. . .then we're back out at 10 p.m. to get Thomas from work. . .or we drop a car off. . .just a glimpse of life lately :)

Speaking of work, this was Red Ribbon Week and also RIF (the kids each get to get a book of their choosing for free!) so school was sort of crazy.  Thursday, when the kids made their book selections, we had "We write our own drug-free stories". . .aka: dress up as your favorite storybook character day.  In my new school teams of teachers get together and do this.  I am NOT a dress-up person (we are a non-Halloween family so we don't have stashes of costumes either). . .and I was assigned the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland.
This was Thomas's "I don't really want to take your picture" picture at 6:15 a.m.

I tried a selfie so I could get Margaret's great ears in.  Tom said I looked "terrible".  Oh well.  At least I was a team player :)
I see I wasn't smiling. . .I don't really know why?!?  Margaret was my go-to person for this costume. . .she went shopping to find the orange "jacket" and "yellow bow-tie" and made those ears for me!! 

This was my entire team at school (nurse, art, PE teachers, music, librarian, behavior coaches). . .I had that unbirthday sign hanging outside my classroom all day and offered all the kids an "unbirthday" treat -- it was a fun day! 










The first grade teachers did Alice in Wonderland too. . .lots of characters walking around the school Thursday!
I had two other favorites though. . .
2nd & 3rd grade as Peter Pan

The pre-K team



































I am in an awesome school -- so lucky to have been hired here and hopefully will get to continue to grow with them. 

Last weekend we had a tournament out of town and were able to stay with our cousins.  They were so awesome and celebrated Marie's birthday with a great cake and 15 candles!
 The girl cousins. . .

This soccer weekend was for Frederick - #10


They were wearing pink this tournament for Breast Cancer Awareness month. . .normally they are blue and orange.
These two teams out on the field together looked like Easter eggs!
Frederick throwing in

I haven't been great about taking pictures this season (BAD mom). . .and now the few I took on the "better" camera, I can't get them to download right now. 
This was a rainy weekend. . .it is the only time we have played 8-v-8 this season (Frederick's team is U12 but will move to U13 which is 11-v-11 next season -- the coach moved them up this year but they haven't had much success. . .). We didn't do as well as we wanted/expected, but by this last game the boys really had their groove and were playing well. 
My mom's new house is coming along well!!!  I got to go up and see her during our mid-month 4-day weekend. . .she should be in the week before Thanksgiving.  So excited to see it all come together.

Great room area

Kitchen

Another shot of the great room in relation to the kitchen and the sliding back doors.  That's my sister and mom backlit in the photo.

I really, really want to decorate this space!!

I think she is hiring someone to help her out -- will love to see how it all comes together.










This will be a nice-size kitchen for her -- the bar will have an overhang to sit at -- the sink and dishwasher are in it.  The door in the background is a pantry.



























My photos are certainly sparse this month. . .
While I was at my mom's we did some major purging and packing. . .and came across more than a few gems.  Here are some favorites that I snapped photos of:
My senior/my sister & Tom's junior prom with my mother. . .Jodi and I went together with Tom and his best friend
 This was Tom's and my first dance together -- Homecoming 1989.  He is the same age in this picture as Thomas is now (almost - Tom had just turned 17 here; Thomas will be 17 in a couple of weeks)

My high school graduation -- we ate at Max & Erma's and Jodi & Tom had an eating contest (the are both fast eaters).  I forget who won???


And a recent picture of us:
Wow!!  That's what 25 years does to you I guess :)

I think this was Tom's birthday (in September). . .

Marie and I seem to have the same tired eyes in both pictures. 

So that is October for us.  Nana and Grandpa visited, but I wasn't here so no one was taking pictures. 

My beautiful niece, AVJ, had her homecoming and I did receive a picture from my sister:
 Man, I love this girl so much too.  Talk about smart and talented and athletic -- can't wait to see how she, too, impacts this world!  (She and Marie are 3 months apart in age.)

So. . .that's October 2015 for the Bells.  Soccer is over for Thomas -- over for good, he's decided to not play any longer -- Frederick has one more tournament coming up, Marie's school season just ended with a trip to State (for varsity -- they lost the first round) and now her travel should begin any day. . .her first games are next weekend!  Margaret's cheer season is about to start. . .they have been practicing since June so it's a long time coming.  Frederick and I are hoping to pick up tennis this winter -- I have to look around and see what our new town has to offer.  The house is STILL not unpacked -- I think we have counted 3 weekends that we have been home since we moved in the first week of August. . .
Looking forward to this season of Thankfulness as we head into November. . .and celebration of our Savior's birth as December follows. . .onward and forward!
Love,
Jenni

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October 1, 2015

My kids were looking over my shoulder while I was pulling up some blogs from my sidebar and they were like, "Mom!  Why do you have those OLD pictures on there?!?"  I thought it was funny that they noticed -- and it *is* sad that I haven't made the time in two months to sit down and record our blessings.  Sigh.

We moved at the end of July. . .the week I went back to school!!!  Oh, did I ever record the fact that I got a job. . .??  Hmmmmm. . .

So. . .in an attempt to put something new up, here are some unedited phone pictures -- even my Facebook "Picture of the Day" hasn't been kept up :(  Life, y'all.  Life.  A full, happy, sometimes stress-filled, busy, wonderful life.

We went to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend for soccer.  Originally we were going for Thomas's team (he still plays for Cookeville, although we now live 1.5 hours away) but then Frederick's new club needed a few guest players for one of their teams so they both ended up playing.  This was Sunday, after they both lost their morning matches so wouldn't advance any further.  We went to the iconic Varsity to eat, although not the one downtown.  From there we headed to The World of Coke, but no one wanted to stand in the enormous line. . .we walked around a bit, thought about going on the CNN tour like we did years ago with Margaret. . .but, in the end, ended up at the Body Exhibit.  I really, really liked it, but it wasn't worth the money for the kids to go through.

Grandpa Foster has been down to visit twice since we moved. . .I think we had just taken the dog to one of our many wonderful dog parks and stopped for a treat on the way back.  We *love* having guests -- we always have, of course -- but even more so here because they have their own room and bathroom!!!  That part is really super great for everyone :)


Speaking of jobs, Thomas is now gainfully employed at Chick-fil-A!  Frederick was sneaky and got a picture of him one Wednesday night that the younger two and I went up there for dinner.  He seems to like it, but wordy kid that he is. . .you just never know.  It seems like a good place to work.


Margaret's school team cheered at our local fair.  They came in second place, but won a spirit award which they were *very* proud of.  She has a really great coach that wants the girls to do more than just cheer at the basketball games, but be leaders in other ways also.  They are "sponsoring" a 6th grader in their school who is fighting a rare form of cancer.  .they are "Ethan Strong", putting his number on their muscles while cheering to remind everyone that it's not just about the competition or the cheers, but they also support their school and classmates all the time.

Last weekend a few of Marie's friends came to watch her play in a tournament that her school was participating in.  That was really neat for her!  She played downtown at 8 and 10:30 then we took them to one of our favorite places to eat.  She talked them both into fish & chips :)

Speaking of guests, we have gotten to host our good friends and old neighbors twice here in our new city. . .once for a Sunday cookout and then one night they came over after a soccer Saturday -- the kids are all old enough now that they stayed home and WE went out -- ha!
How is it that we get pictures of the kids but forget to get one of the four of us???

Oh!  Here's a picture of my love and me. . .probably the only one taken the last 6 months - ha!  This was his birthday dinner, a few nights late.  We tried a new Italian restaurant that was recommended by some of my coworkers -- it was just "ok".  They did put us in a tiny private booth, though. . .that was kind of special :)
A picture into my day. . .I think these are 2nd graders. . .I teach 6 classes a day, 5-K and on Wednesdays I also have Pre-K in.  We are on a 4-day rotation so I see each class K-5 for 40 minutes once every four days.  My October plan book (I don't even have my TWO weekly Wednesday meetings on here!)
My wonderful mother gave me a "back to school" and "happy new job" gift -- this awesome Erin Condren planner.  Yes, it is worth every penny -- I *love* it!!!

Well, this doesn't even begin to encompass everything on our plates these days. . .but glad that the kids shamed me into getting some new material up.  I left the house at 6:32 this morning (normal) because my day starts at 7:08, 35 minutes away.  Yes, I have it down to the minute :)  We had our first Parent Engagement night tonight and I was asked to present some technology so I didn't sign out until 7:30. . .home at 8:05.  That is unusual though. . .I can be home as early as four on days that we don't have meetings after school.  I'll try to find time to blog more about my job another time. . .it really is the perfect fit for me and the "dream" job that I begged my old school for many, many times (they still don't have a technology teacher).  My grant from the state of TN last year really opened up some great doors for me!

It's now 10:05 and my alarm will ring at 5:30.  The dog has an appointment at a new vet tomorrow afternoon.  I just realized she isn't in any of my recent pictures. . .you can tell I'm not an at-home mom anymore. . .she and I spent a lot of time together March-July!!  She's so spoiled. . .we brought "her" sofa with us from the apartment and put it in our room -- yes, the DOG has her own sofa in our bedroom!!!  Ridiculous.  
Yes, I just snapped that picture.  Yes, we still have LOTS to unpack.  Remember, the movers packed and moved us THE WEEK I BEGAN SCHOOL.  It will all get done. . .hopefully before the holidays.  We shall see.  
This is the only piece of furniture she is allowed on and we're not even really sure how that happened.  Oh well.  She's happy. . .we're happy. . .life is GOOD.
It's now 10:18.  Goodnight!