In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

My Birthday Post

Filed under: Abby Jo,Birthdays,Family,Friends,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Love,Matthew,Me,Owen,Photos — Rachel at 1:34 pm on Sunday, July 13, 2014

My birthday this year turned out to be the best ever. Matthew worked really hard to make it special for me.

On the 2nd, Matt arranged to have our small group meet at Roane County Park to celebrate my birthday. We grilled burgers and hot dogs. The kids played at the splash pad. Matt made me an absolutely delicious triple chocolate cake, and even had candles for me to blow out. Everyone sang to me. It really is the simple things in life that make you feel so loved. After we ate cake, we went swimming in the lake. I had so much fun swimming with Matt, and jumping off the dock with him and the kiddos. It was a great day.

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On the 4th, my actual birthday, Matt had arranged a surprise party for me at our house with our families. I found out about the party a couple days before, but Matt took care of everything. It was the first time that me, my parents, and all five of my brothers have been at the same place at the same time in a very long time. I even got to see my brother, Aaron, who I hadn’t seen in over a year. Matt invited everyone, grilled the burgers and hot dogs, asked my mom to make me a cake, and made sure everyone was happy. My mom asked me what kind of cake or pie I wanted, so I requested the cake that she used to make for me when I was a kid. It is so good, and was very nostalgic.

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One thing that was very fun for me was that my little brothers, Lucas and Seth, brought their guitar and drum set to play. We had learned the basics of “Don’t Stop Believing” in the couple of days before the party, and we played it together…Luke on guitar, Seth on drums, and me on piano. I’m pretty sure we drove everyone else crazy, but we had so much fun. Before everyone got there, we even sang a bunch of old hymns together. It was nice.

After a couple hours of hanging out and eating, we all loaded up and went to Kingston Park to watch the fireworks. This is my one family tradition that has been the same nearly every year since I was a young teenager. Last year, the fireworks got rained out, and we didn’t go. Every other year, though, we have been down at the lake to watch the show. It was exciting for me this year to share that experience with Matt, Hailey, and Logan, as well as Matt’s parents.

I don’t know if it was just that I am generally happier right now than I have ever been in my life or if it was because it was the first birthday with Matt and he worked so hard to make it special for me, but I can honestly say this was the best birthday I’ve ever had. I felt loved and celebrated, and I got to spend it with all the people that mean the most to me.

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Matt, Abby, and Alice (aka Grammy…Matt’s mom.)

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Mammy, Kyra, and Hailey waiting for the fireworks to start.

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This one is of Owen, Abby, and Logan climbing on Papaw John’s back.

 

An Open Letter to Everyone

Filed under: Family,Friends,General,Loss,Love,Me,Venting — Rachel at 12:33 pm on Monday, June 24, 2013

Life has taken such a drastic turn for me. I know I’ve shocked a lot of people. It has been a huge shock to my system, and I knew it was coming!

Amy and I broke up.

Wait. Just a minute. Let me tell you up front what I want you to say. If you are a friend or family member or just someone who has cared about me at some point in my life, you are supposed to say, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” It doesn’t matter if you liked us together. It doesn’t matter if you think it is weird, gross, or even a sin to be in a same-sex relationship. If you care about me, that is what you say. It’s not hard. It’s not complicated. It’s not saying that you aren’t filled with joy that my relationship ended, because I know some of you are. It is saying, “I am sorry that someone I care about is sad.”

Because I am. I am heartbroken. So is she. I may put on a brave face. I just smile at people’s jackassery and move on. Because I am strong. I don’t break when times are tough. But I am hurting, people, and the jokes and the snide comments don’t make me feel loved. They do the exact opposite, and I don’t need that right now, to be quite honest with you.

Amy is still my best friend. We are still going to live together and be roommates. We still love each other dearly. The only reason we broke up is because I’m not gay. I know that’s not a newsflash for a lot of people. I thought we could make it work without that piece of the compatibility puzzle, but it was becoming more of an issue as time went on. So we decided to end the romantic part of our relationship to save the other parts. We didn’t fight. No one is mad at anyone. So, when you say mean stuff about her, I don’t feel validated. I just want to punch you in your face. When you make jokes about “getting rid of dead weight”, I want to castrate you with a cheese grater. Just shut up. You’re not funny.

The truth of the matter is that I would not have survived the last couple of years without her. I needed Amy, and she needed me. She got me through the worst time of my life. She gave me hope when I was hopeless. She held me when I cried. Held my hair when I was sick. Held my baby when I was working. She has shared the load. She has taken on the world with me, and we are doing okay. We never asked for your validation when we were together, and we don’t need your judgments or jokes now that we’re not. We have made it this far, and we will make it the rest of the way…wherever our journeys take us. I, for one, don’t regret our decision to try to make a life together. I regret that meanness and bigotry have hurt so much along the way. I regret that I couldn’t make it work. But I don’t regret the last year of my life.

So, for those of you who care about me…

Amy and I broke up.

Pretty Good Days

Filed under: Family,Friends,Kids — Rachel at 10:31 pm on Saturday, January 7, 2012

Today was a good day. It wasn’t spectacular or anything out of the ordinary, but it was a good day. Yesterday was good, too, for that matter.

Yesterday started out good, because I had finally lost a bit of weight. I was down two pounds. It might have actually been Thursday that I found out I had lost the weight, but I was still happy about it yesterday morning. I took the kids to school, and then took a quick shower, got me and Abby Jo dressed, and jumped in the car. I drove a couple of hours to Lebanon, TN where I met up with Amy Jo and her younger sister, Julie. Julie lives in Texas, and she had flown to Kentucky to greet Amy’s husband, Joel, when he got home from a year in Afghanistan. So, anyway, I met them in Lebanon, and we went to a few outlet stores and then went to this great little Japanese restaurant. It was fantastic. It didn’t look like much when we got there, but the food was great and the prices were really good. I had some hibachi chicken and yummy sushi. As soon as we finished eating, I had to turn around and drive home, because I had to be back in Harriman to pick the kids up from school at three. I was only with them for two hours, but those two hours did me a world of good. Hanging out with Amy always cheers me up, and this was no exception. It lifted my spirits considerably.

Yesterday evening, I loaded up the kids and went to the gym, even though I was really tired already. I had a pretty good workout, and then took the kids to Chik-fil-a. They were all hungry, and really enjoyed their food. They were also on their best behavior because I told them I would take them swimming the next day if they were really good until then. Swimming really motivates them. We stopped at the library and picked up an audio book we had on hold. We are listening to “Lemony Snickett’s Series of Unfortunate Events”, and the kids were really excited to get started on “Book the Second”. It really is a great story, and the kids are all enthralled. Every time they have to go with me to the gym, it’s a forty minute drive there and a forty minute drive home. So, the audio books really help. So far, besides the first Lemony Snickett book, we have listened to “Runaway Ralph”, “Ralph S. Mouse”, and “Holes”. We really enjoyed “Holes”.

Today, I slept in. I didn’t sleep very well last night, and having two kids in the bed with me didn’t help. Abby started off the night in bed with me, but she has a cold and, after she fell asleep, she was making all manner of noises because she couldn’t breathe well. Sometime during the night, Owen came and got in bed with us, saying he had a bad dream. I kept waking up, and struggling to get back into a good sleep. Needless to say, when they started waking up a little before eight this morning, I was not ready to get up. I banished them from my room, and stayed in bed for a long time. I laid around and talked on the phone for most of the morning, and eventually made myself some breakfast around lunchtime. The kids were all playing and doing their own things throughout the house. I had to take Kyra to basketball practice at one, and, for once, the other kids were not stressing me out. The promise of going to the pool if they were good worked wonders.

So, this evening, I loaded them up and took them to the gym to swim. Most people seem to think it is a bad idea to take four kids nine and under swimming by yourself, especially when only two of them can swim, but it’s really not bad.  They are always good, and Owen and Abby don’t wander far from the steps unless they have hold of me. There is no childcare on Saturday evenings, so I couldn’t work out like I normally would. Instead, I would give Abby to Kyra, every few minutes, and swim a couple laps. If my level of fatigue is any indication, I got a pretty good workout.  The rest of the time, I played games with the kids, and pulled Abby and Owen around the pool. Abby’s great in the pool. She doesn’t freak out over anything. Even if she goes under and gets a mouthful of water, she just spits it out and says, “I don’t want to do that anymore.” Owen, on the other hand, freaks out and screams like a crazy if you so much as suggest that you might have him do anything other than cling to you with his entire body.

After we got out of the pool, we were toweling off and I felt a hand on my shoulder. This older lady who had been swimming laps with her husband while we were in the pool was giving me a literal pat on the back, telling me I was doing a good job. She told me that usually when they come to swim laps in the pool, if there are little kids in the pool, too, they make it really difficult to swim. She said my kids were very sweet, and I was doing a great job with them. This went on for at least a full minute. It got a bit awkward for me, but I still appreciated her kind words.

Chris had come to work out after work, but, since the gym closed at eight, he only got in a run and had to leave when we did. He took us all to Outback, and we had an absolutely delicious meal. The kids all went to bed when we got home without any fussing or dilly dallying around.

Now, here I sit. Telling you guys all the details of two pretty ordinary days. With the exception of meeting up with my friends yesterday, it’s all just normal stuff. I have to take notice, though, that this is a pretty good life. I am blessed. Even when I’m struggling through emotionally dark days, my family and friends are a constant light. I am blessed, and I am thankful for ordinary happy in my days.

The Freedom Tour – Days 6-12

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,Freedom Tour,Friends,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos,Road Trips,Trips — Rachel at 1:27 am on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dumas, Texas. What can I say about Dumas, Texas?

Dumas, Texas is a little town in the panhandle of Texas. Driving down Dumas Avenue is a little like visiting the United Nations. Somehow or another, Dumas, Texas has become the recipient of a number of refugees from places like Somalia and Burma. Along with that unusual addition to their small Texas town, Dumas is also home to it’s fair share of cowboys, rednecks, and teenage girls in pajama pants. They have a great Oriental Supermarket where you can get chicken and sticky rice, and a fabulous snow cone place that is open till ten p.m. Do you know about Texas snow cones? They are very different than what I’ve had in Tennessee. Far superior. Dumas has a fantastic park to visit with your kids, but, alas, none of the water fountains work. This is a real bummer when it’s a hundred degrees outside. However, if you have a more adventurous mother than my kids had, Dumas has a nice little waterpark next door where you can cool off.

Snow cones or waterparks or a backyard sprinkler, take your pick, but you’re going to have to cool off somehow. I wasn’t kidding about the one hundred degrees.

We spent most of our time in Dumas hanging around Amy’s parents house. Visits from Amy’s sisters, Jami Leigh and Julie, were the highlights of our days. Abby warmed up to Jami pretty quickly. I think it might have had something to do with Jami having the same face as her Aunt Amy.

As I mentioned before, one of the best ways for the kiddos to cool off in the Texas heat was by playing in the sprinkler.
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Over the weekend that we were there, we all loaded up and drove to Lavern, Oklahoma. The kids all wore there tie-dyed shirts that Jami helped them make.
Here are the boys in the “boy van”.And the three big girls in the “girl van”.

From left to right: Ethan, Miah, Joshua, Jeremiah, Elijah, Owen, Kaleb, Sarah, Charleigh, Emileigh, Abby Jo, and Kyra

The evening that we arrived, we checked into our (surprisingly nice) motel rooms, and then went to a small family get together. The next morning, which was the day before Memorial Day, we went to several cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of some of their family members. It was pretty sad at times, because this family had lost three children. A sixteen year old, a fourteen year old, and a baby. Watching their parents decorate their graves made me hold my babies a little closer. While at one of the cemeteries, I snapped a couple of pictures of the Oklahoma scenery.

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Later in the afternoon, we went to Amy’s great aunt’s house for a bbq dinner. The food was fantastic. Seriously, it was so good.

We went back home that evening, and started getting ready for the festivities of the coming day…Julie’s thirtieth birthday party.

Julie’s birthday was one of two important reasons that Amy was making the long trek to Texas. She really wanted to attend her baby sister’s birthday party. The other reason that two days after the party, Julie was having brain surgery. For that reason, everyone really wanted Julie to have a fantastic birthday. She had a great party, and I enjoyed getting to know some of the characters in Amy’s stories.

This is a picture of me and Julie. I’m glad we like each other. As the next picture indicates, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Julie and I could share grandkids some day.

This is, of course, my son, Owen, and the little girl is Julie’s daughter, Miah. They first met last year when the kids and I went with Amy to Dumas the first time. Apparently, they still have their spark. (I LOVE this picture!)

Amy Jo and I before Julie’s party.

Me and my Kyra Joy at the party.

Amy Jo, Jami Leigh, Amy G., me, and Janae….Jami said it was a picture with all of their mom’s adopted daughters.

The day after the party was very low key. We mostly just sat around the house relaxing. Here are some random pictures I thought I would share:

Abby Jo and Emmy-Kai-Kai, as she calls her. They were pretty good friends.

Kyra Joy and Jami’s daughter, Charleigh. They were delighted that everyone agreed that they could pass for sisters.

We were using our hands to block the sun. Jami was trying to take our picture, but the sunlight behind us was too bright. Turns out, I LOVE this picture of us. It’s so happy!

Me and my Elijah

Love it!



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The heat was getting to us.

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Our trip was drawing to a close, but, before we headed home, we had one day left. The day of Julie’s surgery. Amy Jo was going to go to Amarillo with her family for the surgery, and I was staying at her parents house with the kids. We had too full of a day to include it in this already too long post. So, until next time…

Water Fun

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,Friends,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos — Rachel at 11:41 pm on Thursday, June 10, 2010

I recently traveled with the kids to Fort Knox, KY to return Amy’s daughter, and to stay a few days to help her get settled into her new home. In between decorating and shopping and feeding kids, we made time to play in the water one evening. We had loads of fun.

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Owen’s first ever drink from a water hose.

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IMG_1857Aunt Amy let Abby have a go at the water hose.

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I love watching Kyra interact with her baby sister.

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So cute!

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Owen Shane

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I love to see my boy so happy!

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I was trying to get in on the action.

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Sarah tried to help me out.

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I finally got the hose…and turned on Sarah!

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I’ll get my own girl, too.

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I was having a blast!

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Jeremiah had been cavorting with his father, so I blasted him with some water.

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That’s right, Joel. Run! Run away!

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Joel went in the house to fill a pitcher with water to dump on me while I chased down his sneaky little offspring with the hose.

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It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

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The one in which I look like I’m pee’ing.

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In case you’re waiting for the picture of Joel dumping the water on my head…it’s not coming. He failed. He failed miserably. So, therefore…not picture.

Happy Kids

Filed under: Family,Friends,Friends of Mine,Kids,Love,Photos — Rachel at 5:05 pm on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The kids are still doing homeschool, but they get plenty of days off and plenty of time to play. Amy and her family recently moved to Fort Knox, KY. Being so (relatively) close now, I met Amy Sunday afternoon in Nashville, and picked up her seven year old daughter, Sarah…my little forever friend. Amy is at a chaplain conference in Branson, Missouri, so Sarah is spending several days with her faux-cousins just because. Here are a few photos from yesterday.

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Eating lunch on the deck.

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Kyra and Sarah have been pretending they are sisters. I wonder where they got the idea that you can just decide someone is your sister?

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So cute!

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My Pseudo-Triplets

You Asked

Filed under: Friends,Just for Fun,Me,You Asked — Rachel at 11:22 pm on Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thanks to everyone who commented either here on my blog or on Facebook and asked me a question for my very first Q&A. I’m very excited. I realize some of you must have had a hard time thinking of your questions…as evidenced by your questions…but I must assume it was a temporary lack of creativity and not that you don’t think I’m interesting. Surely you’re curious about Rachel Harmon. I know I am! So, for all the questions, I offer a heartfelt thank you. Every contribution to the great Rachel’s Blog Revival is appreciated.

Without further ado, here is the first (of hopefully several as time goes by) Nothing Gold Q&A.

Chris asks, “Who paid for your cool new haircut in the pictures you posted?
Well, Chris, that would be you. Thank you.

Brandon asks, “Which is your favorite child?”
He also warned me not to say, “all of them”. I’ll do my best to answer this one. I don’t have a favorite child. I know this because if I thought, “Which kid could I live without? If I had to choose one child to lose, which one would it be?” I cannot do it. Sorry, Brandon. However, I do have favorite children at different times. Abby Jo is always very close to favorite child position on a daily basis. She rarely throws temper tantrums about what she has to wear to church on Sunday, goes into a five year old rage and does a crazy caveman fit over being told to go to her room because of freaking out on whichever sibling made her mad, nor does she poop on herself, take off her pull up, and then try to go to the potty by herself, smearing horrible nastiness all over the bathroom. Also, she completely adores me at all times. So, she doesn’t have to do much to be the cutest, sweetest, most easily satisfied child. However, she doesn’t do random acts of service like Kyra does…she doesn’t say, “Mama…” wait thirty seconds, grin from ear to ear, and continue “…I love you!” like Elijah does, and she doesn’t make me laugh till I pee my pants over three year old one liners like Owen does. They all get to be my favorite for unspecified amounts of time. Poop has a lot to do with it.

Haley asks, “What has been the turning point in your life…the moment in which you realized something and it changed how you view the world?”
This is a hard question, not in that I can’t think of such a point, but to think of only one point. I’ve had several of those moments over the last few years. One that stands out to me, though, is the time during my third semester of college when I was taking a Psychology class, a Sociology class, and a History of Western Civilization class all at the same time. It was the perfect storm of getting really ticked off about the way women have been treated throughout history. I started to see a lot of correlation between history and my own life. I was outraged to see that the rest of the country had conceded that women were not second class citizens, but that in my own little religious bubble, in practice, the thought was still pretty prevalent. It was not the rule, but it was also not the exception. I would read about Aristotle teaching that women were inferior in Western Civ, and then see how that thinking was still going strong…if not in teaching, in practice…in my own life. All three classes just coincided with one another, and I started to get kind of upset about it. The people who were confronting me about worrying about me, my family, and my spiritual condition because I had chosen to continue my education, were not helping me to see my thoughts as in error. I felt like they were trying to keep me in “my place”. I remembered that I do have a mind of my own. I do have thoughts and ideas. I have hopes and dreams. I realized one day that I was an adult in the United States of America. I was free to pursue my education. I was free to break away from the pack if the pack was not helping me. I was free not to concern myself with whether or not people wanted me to or not. I was free, and it felt pretty refreshing.

Chris (yes, again) asks, “Which do you like better…chili or potato salad?”

Chili.

Taylor asks, “What do you do with most of your time not spent with the hubby or kids?”

The most honest and concise answer…waste time on the Internet. I read a lot of blogs, spend too much time on Facebook, and chat with friends on gmail. Following that, I talk to Amy on the phone a lot. I don’t really get out much without Chris and the kids, but if I do, it’s usually church related.


Travis asks, “Peanut butter…crunchy or creamy?” and “How do you feel about Goober grape?”

Well, Trav, I like Smuckers All Nautral creamy peanut butter…the kind you have to mix the oil all up with it. It’s the best. I’ve never tried Goober grape, but it seems like something I wouldn’t like too much.

Natasha asks, “So how are the kids? What is everyone into these days? Are you guys still planning to move?”

Tasha, the kids are doing great. Kyra is in 2nd grade, and doing quite well in school. She is into computer games, playing xbox, occasionally blogging, and reading. She loves chapter books these days, especially Junie B. Jones and Ramona. She is a great help with pretty much everything. Elijah is in kindergarten, and he loves it. He’s a fast learner, and very excited to learn. He loves computer games and xbox games, too, but he is especially adept at games of logic. He amazes Chris and I at his ability to do puzzle games that are hard for us to do. Owen is not yet in school, but he sits through kindergarten with Elijah and is learning his letter sounds. He’s our little comedian. He’s hilarious and keeps us in stitches. He likes to watch the big kids play games, and occasionally gives it a go himself. He likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Scooby Doo, and superheroes. They all love going to Awana at church.

Yes, we are still planning on moving, if Chris does go active duty with the Army. That is our general plan, but it could always change. He will be a Reserve chaplain first for a couple of years. He is not yet a chaplain, but he could be by the end of the year or shortly thereafter. We will not move until he goes active duty.

Cassandra asks, “The last few years, I have been reading your blog, and when I first started, we had a ton in common. We were both at independent fundamental Baptist churches, we had children in ACE ( I think you used to have Kyra in one-maybe I am mistaken about that) schools, we stayed home with our kiddos, both wore skirts all the time, etc. etc… Now, we still have alot in common- (our ages, our kiddos, our mommyness moments) but alot has changed for you! I’ve witnessed alot in your life the last couple of years. Starting up your schooling again, going to a different church, your husband’s change in vocation, leaving behind alot of the fundamentalist ideas…so, I am just curious. What started it all? Do you still consider yourself an independent Baptist? I am not condemning your choices in any way, I am just curious about the journey that you have started on. Was there a defining moment when you decided you wanted to do things differently, or did it slowly happen?”

Cassandra, thank you for your question. I will be happy to answer each part of it in detail, but I’m going to give it it’s own post. So, hang around a bit longer, and it will be my next post. (You were so one of the three loyal readers I was talking about.)

April asks, “Did you get your nose pierced?”

Yes.

Emily Moore asks, “How bad did it hurt to get your nose pierced?”

It hurt quite a bit, but just for a moment. As he pushed the needle through the cartilage, it hurt pretty bad, but, as soon as the needle was through, it was just sore. It was sore for a few hours, and, after that, it’s only been sore if I bump it.

Emily McMichael asks, “Do you think I’m hot?”

Emily, my dear…I think you are beautiful…lovely…talented…wonderful…hilarious…compassionate…loving…and completely awesome, but I have never thought you were hot.

Emily McMichael also asked,”Why did you get your nose pierced on the right side instead of the left?”

I had it pierced on the right side because it looked better, I thought. At the time, I had my cartilage pierced on my left ear, so I thought it looked more balanced with my nose pierced on the right. It was purely an aesthetic choice, and it means nothing.

Maurice asks, “If a hen and a half laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long does it take 7 hens to lay 7 eggs?”

There is no such thing as a half a hen that is still capable of laying eggs, so the question is moot.

Maurice also asks, “Which direction is up?”

Stand up with your feet on the floor, tilt your head backwards as far as it will go…the direction your nose is pointed is up.

Heather asks, “How do your children keep getting cuter?”

Well, Heather, the funny answer is that as they get meaner, God realizes they need to get cuter so that I don’t start beating them. The serious answer? Superb genetics. 😉

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had fun. If anyone else thinks of any questions they’d like to ask, leave them in the comments and we’ll have a You Asked: Part Deuce sometime in the future. Stay tuned to the answer to Cassandra’s question in my next post, and I’ll also have a post up soon about getting my nose pierced, with pictures and video, since it was such a popular topic.

Thanks! You guys rock!

Chris’ CHBOLC Graduation

Filed under: Abby Jo,Army,Chris,Elijah,Family,Friends,General,Kids,Kyra,Owen,Photos,School,Trips,Videos — Rachel at 11:58 pm on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

August 28, 2009 was a big day for Chris. He graduated from Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course, which finished up his chaplain training, at the Chaplain School at Fort Jackson, SC. The kids and I were so proud of him. Here are some photos and videos from our day. (I was having trouble with my camera, and I didn’t get videos of the last two platoons, including Chris’, singing their division songs, nor a photo of Chris walking across the stage.)

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Christopher before the ceremony.

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This is me with Mrs. Diann Hart, a chaplain’s wife that I got to know a little bit during my time at the Spouses’ Seminar. She, along with her two daughters, babysat all four of our children during the banquet.

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This is me with Mrs. Teresa Boone, the wife of the Commandant. I enjoyed getting to know her at the seminar.

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The whole family.

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This is us with Chris’ mom, Velvet.

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Me and Christopher

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Daddy and his boys.

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Daddy and his girls.

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Daddy and all of his young’uns.

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I love you, Christopher, and I’m very proud of you. I’m so glad you’re home!

This and That

Filed under: Activities,Chris,Family,Field Trips,Friends,General,Kids,Kyra,School — Rachel at 11:50 am on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been busy…and sick. I have had a lot of fun over the last few days, though. 

Amy and her kids came for a short visit over the weekend. They got here early (early) in the morning on Thursday, and stayed through about noon yesterday. We didn’t do a whole lot because of how I am 32 weeks pregnant, and that translates to tired, sore, and swollen feet. We watched several movies, spent a lot of time on the couch with my feet up, and broke up a lot of kid fights. Turns out, nearly two years later, our kids still only like each other about half the time  a third of the time  thirty minutes a day. Okay, maybe a little more than that, but not much. We’ve decided that, in the future, we’re going to have to divide the Maxwell kids from the Harmon kids for a portion of each day. They just get too much of each other, and then we all go crazy. Anyway, we did do one fun thing while they were here. On Friday, we skipped Friday school at church, and took the kids on a field trip the Children’s Museum in Oak Ridge. That was a lot of fun. My camera battery was dead, so I didn’t get any pictures. Amy did, though, and I’ll have her send them to me so I can post a link to them later.

It was great to see my friend again, and it’s awesome to think that I’ll see her again in right around forty days…when she comes to be with me when my baby is born! Exciting days these are!

On Sunday morning, Chris had the opportunity to preach at our church. He did really well, and I was extremely proud of him. It’s cool for me to see how he’s evolving as a preacher since he’s been in Seminary. He preached on “Have You Been With Jesus”, and it really ministered to me. It’s exciting to get a little taste of what Chris will be doing as a Chaplain. We also had Awana Sunday night, which is always fun. Chris led a discussion in our Journey class with the teenagers, and it was good to hear them discussing how they could do more for God. We really enjoy working with the young people at our church.

Yesterday, we got to go out and enjoy some of the great weather we’ve had for the last few days. It has been unseasonably warm. We played outside yesterday in short sleeves! Chris had to go to the range yesterday, so, even though he didn’t get the whole day off, he was off by three, so we took the kids and went to the park. His mom met us there, and then ordered pizza for all of us while we played. It was awesome.  A great day with our family. Here’s a link to my Facebook photos from yesterday. I’m still having trouble uploading photos directly to my blog. I’ll get Chris or Amy to help me update my wordpress sometime soon, so that I can do that again. For now, I’ll just have to link you to Facebook.

Kyra just finished taking her last couple of first grade tests, and she is now…drum roll please…a second grader! I’m awfully proud of her. She’s made a lot of progress academically since the beginning of the school year. When we started the school year, she really struggled with reading. She spent half of her school days crying over how her words were too hard and she didn’t like reading. She has made tremendous gains in reading, and does quite well now. It’s been an interesting adjustment for me. I have to make sure she’s not standing behind me while having a private instant message conversation, or it’s not so private anymore.

So, that’s a bit of an update on us, for those who are interested. 

On progress, lack of progress, and a name.

Filed under: Family,Friends,Kids,Pregnancy — Rachel at 12:54 pm on Thursday, January 22, 2009

I’m 30 weeks pregnant now. The end is in sight. I am slowing down considerably, but everything is progressing well. Abby Jo is a very, very active baby. I find random strangers watching my belly and grinning. She’s already making sure her presence is known in the world. I’m getting bigger all the time, and am consistently gaining weight now. I don’t have much of an appetite, so I’m having to make a conscious effort to eat enough. I’m sure, once I’m not pregnant anymore, I’ll be ravenous. 🙂

From Babycenter.com:

How your baby’s growing:
Your baby’s about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds. A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it’s not very keen; even after she’s born, she’ll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she’ll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

I haven’t made a whole lot of progress with all of the heavy duty cleaning and sorting that I need to do, but I did get the boys’ room (getting used to saying “the boys’ room” instead of “Elijah’s room”, still) cleaned out. I got four trash bags of toys out of their room to take to Goodwill. I haven’t got to Kyra’s room yet. Therefore, I haven’t got to the sorting of outgrown clothes yet. As a result, I have not yet got to sorting through the baby stuff I have stored away. I really don’t know how many clothes I have left from Kyra. I know I sold a lot of my baby girl clothes after we found out Owen was a boy. I sold a lot of my baby stuff period. 🙂 I need to do an inventory and see what I still have. I only have about eight and a half weeks left before she’s here. 

This may be a repeat, I’m not sure. I thought I would tell you guys how I picked Abby’s name. All of my kids are named after someone. Kyra’s middle name, Joy, is after my childhood friend, Joy. Elijah’s middle name, Christopher, is of course after his daddy, and Owen’s middle name, Shane, is his daddy’s middle name. This time around, I really wanted to name my baby after my best friend, Amy. Chris wasn’t on board with using her first name, and so I had to get creative. 🙂 Amy’s name is Amy Jo, and I call her that more often than not. So, I chose Abigail Joanna with the idea of having the same intials as Amy and having the nickname of Abby Jo. While Abby Jo is not exactly the same, it does sound like Amy Jo. 🙂 As an added bonus, my middle name is Anna, so, combining Amy’s middle name with mine was a sneaky way of doing something I always thought I should do…naming a baby after me. After all, I’m the one who does all the work. 🙂  So, that was the best I could do to honor my best friend and work with my husband and his naming preferences. 🙂 Name meanings are important to me, and I’m very happy with the meanings of Abby Jo’s names. Abigail means “my father’s joy” and Joanna means “God is gracious”. Coincidentally, Shane means “God is gracious”, as well, so Chris, Owen, and Abby’s middle names all have the same meaning. I thought that was cool. I find myself calling my second daughter “Abigail”, “Abby”, or “Abby Jo” with nearly the same frequency. They’re all fine with me, so you can call her whichever comes out. I’m not picky. 

And that, my friends, is how Abby Jo got her name. 

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