June 2011

It has been quite a while since the last family update. I guess no news is good news! Things are going well for us.

Joe is 64 and plans to teach two more full years before he retires. He continues to be an assistant football and track coach. Since he is a HS math teacher, his job is not in jeopardy with all the cuts due to the budget crunch. A girl he coached in the shot-put was the only one from Shallowater to make it to the state track meet. Joe is in great health, as always. 

We are both looking forward to spending a little more time together this summer. We will start with a trip to Raleigh, NC to visit Mike (our son) and Maria (his wife). They have build on to their house and have a brand new kitchen, bedroom and large office for Mike. I'm not sure what all else. They are in the process of remodeling the old bathroom before we get there. They live in the historical part of Raleigh, close to the governor's mansion and other points of interest. 

Sophie is completing the second grade. She was student of the month once this year, as she also was last year. She is doing well in school. She loves to be in the running club, and Joe has commented on how she has developed a much smoother stride. She wants to compete in some running events, but I think the family will not let them be more than about two miles, which sounds like a lot to me!!! 

Barrett will continue taking one class a week from a former teacher. He is reading many sight words and learning new songs all the time. He loves his teacher, Gi Gi (not sure if I spelled it right). She is a very sweet older lady. Barrett and Sophie will both take swimming lessons this summer, and Keaton may get in on the fun this year, too. Barrett just turned five and we enjoyed going to his Treasure Hunt birthday party. 

Keaton is three and a half. Grandma loves it when he asks to visit! (Well, Grandpa does, too, of course -- but I try to rub it in when he says he wants to see Grandma Barbara!!!) He is a very active child and a little ornery. He plugged up the bathroom stool twice this year by putting things in it and got in quite a bit of trouble. Otherwise he is really quite lovable! Connie jokingly says they are spending his college fund to fix up the bathrooms where the water backed up from his antics. I sort of think he might end up going to college anyway :>)

I have had some problems this year with dry eyes. First I got plugs in the drains in the bottom eyelids. Then about six months later I got plugs in the top eyelids. So now all the fluid remains in my eyes. Occasionally I have too much, but most of the time it is just right and helps my eyes from being painful from extreme dryness. Some of it is due to the dry weather here, and part is that ugly term I even hate to print.... (old age).... You didn't see that, did you? 

On the bright side, Hanna Publications is doing quite well. Sales are up considerably this year. We presently have three new books at the printer, and one that has been revised with new activities added by Lisa Smith. One of the new books is "Old Testament Cradle Roll Lessons." It has nine months of flip charts providing songs and activities for the teachers. There is a page which may be colored by babies a year old (if they can keep the crayons out of their mouths!) and suggestions for stickers to be applied for each page. My students love the stickers! Little babies mainly enjoy the songs and toys. We have one box for each baby to prevent sharing germs. Now that the OT book is published I am working on another book with nine months of curriculum covering the NT. It is a lot of fun, but challenging at times to think of new original songs and put together enough ideas for a whole class period of about 45 minutes. I believe this will be a great seller because there is not much on the market for the Cradle Roll age. Our reproducible books sell for only $18, whereas I saw a kit at a religious bookstore that was about ten times that price. 

When Sophie was a baby Angie had planned to teacher her Cradle Roll Class. She had already begun creating some songs and developing ideas of how to present each lesson. I have tried to use some of the general ideas we talked about. Angie wanted to write something for me to publish. She had planned to begin teaching the class, but died in the car accident right before she would have started. I know Angie would be proud that I have finally completed one of the books, and that there will be a full 18-month curriculum for babies age six months through two years when it is all done. Angie always encouraged me in my writing and publishing. We miss her so much. 

When I am sad I try to count my blessings and remember how fortunate we are to live close to our three grandchildren and their parents. The whole family is so good to us, including Eric's and Connie's parents. Joe is a special blessing to me. He tries to keep my spirits up, and I hope I do the same for him. We will be married 45 years on August 28, 2011. "Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments" (Psalm 112:1).

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