Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dodd Girls Take In the Ballet...

Nana has been eagerly awaiting the girls being old enough to take them to see the Nutcracker. This was finally the year, and we've all been looking forward to it all year. Nana even included her older girls too- me and J-Rae. We were just as excited as the girls. We all got to get dressed up and started out with a nice lunch. The girls were giggling and enjoying being together. Nana's always great about doing fun girl stuff. I guess she's been waiting a looooooong time to have girls in the family :)

We got to go to a little presentation before talking about the story and costuming. Who knew how many toe shoes those ballerinas wear out?

The show started out set in the huge fair Nashville had to celebrate Tennessee's centennial when the Parthenon was built. This homeschooling mommy had fun noticing all that with Ashton since we were just studying it.
The dancing was obviously quite impressive, but oh the costumes! They were amazing. We all had our favorites. Ashton's was surprisingly the snake lady that danced like a cobra. It was really good but I can't believe she liked it better than all the princess costumes. Of course, we all liked them all. It was also really neat how they used so many children. The girls really enjoyed seeing so many kids their age. Ashton has asked me a hundred times if she can try out!
It was a very special day I know the girls will never forget. However, the highlight of my day was when I asked Ashton if she liked it and she said, "I liked everything but the boys' pants. They were so tight. They were like, ewwww."
I have to agree with her 100%. J-Rae said all she could think of was the jokes David and Jon would've been making :)
Thank you so much Nana. It was a wonderful way to start the Christmas season!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

All Aboard the Minivan Express...

After snuggling and watching the Polar Express which Will especially adored, we had a fun surprise planned. I got the idea and even printed off free golden tickets from this great blog.
I popped popcorn for everyone and even hid bells in the bottom of their popcorn bowls. I also had made hot chocolate for all the boys, chai tea latte for Mommy and pink milk for my girl. When we were all in our snuggly pj's I told them to go look for a surprise under their pillow where they found golden tickets to the "minivan express". They were all so excited. Even the boys got it and knew it was their train ticket. It was so sweet!
Daddy was supposed to play conductor but stressed out when I told him he had to punch a word on everyone's ticket that meant something to them like in the movie :)
They were excited when we told them the minivan express was going to drive around looking at Christmas lights.
Then Jon and I danced out carrying everyone's hot chocolate and singing the "Hot Chocolate" song. I'm really sorry there is no video to show you of that! Then they all started singing the song as Mommy passed out the popcorn.
I was worried this boy would be upset when he realized there was no train, but he loves him some Christmas lights so he was happy.
We started out at a house in the neighborhood next to ours which is always one of our favorites. They add more each year and are out of room. We especially enjoy the cross on top.
This year when we arrived we died laughing when we saw what was in the yard across the street from the lit up house:
That is SO something I could see us doing!
Wesley surprised us by being the first to find the bell at the bottom of the popcorn. He was so excited which led the others to digging in the bottom of theirs. Wesley said, "This Santa's reindeer bell?" This planning mommy was thrilled that all 4 were so excited about their bells. I had no idea they'd enjoy them so much. They never stopped ringing them for the hour long ride. Jon and I had another of those "we really have 4 kids moments" because of how many bells were ringing :)
Jackson suggested they sing Christmas carols while we rode around and used their bells as instruments. It was so sweet to hear them all singing together.
This was one of our favorites (in Campbell Station for my local friends). You can look here forever and see more and more like the opening and closing mailbox, Santa's seesaw, gingerbread men and lots of others. Jackson suggested we play I Spy which was fun.
Besides the ditto sign mine and Jon's favorite find of the night was the house that had a Festivus pole up! You have to be a Seinfeld fan to understand how awesome that was. After I took this picture of Jon next to it, I made a video of my telling him all the ways he has disappointed me this year- hee hee, too fun! (that looks like a beer can in his hand but it's really a mug of hot chocolate in a church cup!)
By the time we made it to the grand finale house Wesley had tapped out:
We watched the house at Crown Pointe with the computerized lights for a while. It has its own radio station with synchronized music which the kids obviously had fun dancing to:
What a sweet night.
These are the memory making moments this Mommy lives for!
My favorite quote of the night was when Will tattled on Wesley who has an obsession with saying the b-u-t-t word right now after other words- every word in fact, "Mommy, Wesley said Christmas butt!" Gee, thanks for telling me!
I don't think our night could've gone better or been more fun. I can guarantee the minivan express will ride again. In fact, the kids asked if we could do it again the next night and the next. Ashton even wanted to know if we could do it at other holidays like Halloween.
I hope you print yourself some tickets and take a ride yourself.
If you do, let me know how it was!

Video From Santa...

You can imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail to see that all 4 kids had received an e-mail with a video from Santa. We gathered them all around to watch. Here's Ashton's. She was excited to see that Santa knew about her beautiful birthday party. She wasn't quite as happy to find out he wanted her to try harder in school and help around the house, but when he showed her a picture of the Calico Critters she had asked for in his book she was a little more motivated.
Next we watched Wesley's. My favorite part was when Santa said he hardly recognized him in his Spiderman's outfit because when he would wear it he would rip off his mask and say, "It's me Wesley" as if we had no idea :) Of course, he didn't so much like the part about going to bed when Mommy and Daddy said it was time. Despite our greatest wish, it didn't really work that night to get him to stay in his bed before 11:00 either :(
Will was hilarious. When Santa told him he had a special trip he just smiled his sweet smile as Santa showed him a picture of him and his beloved Snow White at Disney World. Then when Santa said he need to needed to stop throwing those silly tantrums he gasped and looked at us then tried to unplug the laptop!!!! It was hilarious, but he wasn't amused in the least.
The entire time Jackson was saying he didn't even want to see his because he knew it was going to say to be nice to his sister (just like Santa told him when we had our picture made with him). When Santa showed him a baseball picture and said he knew his team could count on him, Jackson said he remembered seeing him at his game. Last summer we all thought we saw Santa at the game in a tropical shirt! Sadly, I'm afraid this year we have a 4th grade doubting Thomas among us, but I suppose it was time. It still makes me a little sad though.
I hope you liked their videos. It was truly a priceless moment. Maybe someone you know will get one too?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look Mommy...

Mine and Jon's new favorite sound is the gasp Will lets out each time we turn into our neighborhood and he sees the Christmas lights. It is so precious and never gets old for any of us. In fact, my husband who isn't crazy about any holiday decorations has decided he has to put up lights this year. He even said if Will keeps gasping he might have to computerize the lights and set them to music :)
Our favorites are the blue LED lights in our neighborhood. Tonight as we drove by Will said, "Oh, look Mommy. It's God!"
That would be the nativity scene with baby Jesus! Oh, how I love that sweet boy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can You Ever Teach Your Kids Too Much About the Bible...

As we got ready for church Sunday morning and my kids were pushing, fighting, picking and tattling for the 100th time I gave my Sunday morning lecture, "We're about to head to God's house and you two are not showing love for each other. Do you think God is very happy with how you are acting right now?"

Without missing a beat Ashton raised her hand and sang, "Thank God I serve a God of second chances!"
I think it is from their Christmas musical or something, but I got so tickled that she had an answer for getting her out of trouble, as usual.
Last night I just happened to finish up an amazing Bible study on Jonah, which was all about 2nd chances. God really talked to me yesterday about my attitude and self-centeredness. I am as much of a spoiled brat as Jonah ever was. As frustrated as I was with my kids for their constant misbehaving God has so much more reason to be frustrated with me for my constant sinning and lack of faith. Ashton was right, but actually I am so glad that He is a God of much, much more than just 2nd chances. I blew my 2nd chance long ago but am so glad my Father is slow to anger and abounding in love!
I think I'll join my precious little "circus missionary" raising my hands and singing to our awesome God!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The World's First Circus Missionary...

Tonight we were watching the PBS special about circus life (that's what happens when I let Jon have the remote). We got to a bad patch with the road crew's language. I couldn't get it turned off fast enough so I just said, "Those people really need Jesus in their hearts."

Ashton immediately responded, "That's why I'm going to join the circus so I can tell them about Jesus. Each Sunday morning I'll have church and teach them about Jesus."

I asked her, "So, you're going to be a circus missionary?"

I heard Jon laughing from the kitchen. Then in a few seconds he came in acting like a clown, literally, spouting "Jesus loves you." Without missing a beat, Jackson jumped up dancing reciting John 3:16 and Ashton acted like a clown honking her nose and reciting Genesis 1:1.
Yeah, we're cool like that. If anyone is interested in sponsoring some circus missionaries feel free to contact me. Believe me, this is the perfect mission field for mt clowns!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Famous Daughter...

I have a very talented friend, Amy, who has taken beautiful pictures of my kiddos. She has an equally talented mother who is an amazing painter. She decided to turn this picture of Ashton into a painting: She called to ask me if she could use it in her art show. I agreed only if we could come see it. Ashton was excited. It was such a cool experience!
Isn't it beautiful? No, I don't own it, but I may have to something about that eventually. At least I know where to find the artist...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Jackson has almost completed his 11th baseball season-wow! That's almost as many as his daddy ever played since they didn't do two a year then. I thought it was so cool that his uniform color this year was the same maroon his daddy wore as Franklin High's MVP. (Jon was really excited they were the River Cats because he thought that meant catfish but was disappointed to find out it was some kind of cat.)
It was like deja vu watching him on the mound in his Little Jon outfit. Man I love those two! I love snapping pictures of him pitching:
A few times he would stand there and shake his head like he was shaking off the catcher's pitch call. The only problem is they don't call pitches at this age! Apparently he was just imitating what he's seen MLB pitchers do.
Look at the determination on this face:
He's had a great season with a great team and Daddy has enjoyed being the pitching coach. I love baseball which is a good thing since it's only a year or two before I'll have two games a day to watch.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Biggest Mistake of My Life...

Since Will was continually climbing out of his bunk bed, we thought it was time for big boy beds. Then we found some good ones at a great price and took the plunge. Biggest.mistake.ever... Now neither of them stay in their bed E.V.E.R.
On the upside, when we took down his baby bed he found one of his old pacies that had been under there for oh, about 2 and a half years and promptly popped it in his mouth:

The boys were so excited about their bunk beds:

In fact, all 4 kids decided they needed to sleep in them. It was like a free for all in there when the lights went out!

So now every night we put the boys back in the bed for an hour at which point Wesley falls asleep. Then we hand out spankings, fuss, bribe and cry (Jon and I) and about 11 or 12 Will finally falls asleep:

In conclusion, ignore the pediatricians who say when your kid can climb out it's time to get rid of the baby bed. Keep them in their until their feet are sticking out the slats. If only we could get a do over, if only...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Before and After...

Before Wesley's hair cut:

After, but still handsome:

This boy's hair has been a journey, and oh how far we've come:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Favorite Foto Friday...

Does everyone have a guitar playing Roman in their living room or is it just me?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

God is teaching me all about having an attitude of gratitude for all things big and small, good and bad. Here's is one of God's "sweet kisses" as my friend Alicia would say. This definitely falls in the small category but means a lot to me.
I am thankful for the slight incline that my sidewalk and driveway have. Yes, I just said I am grateful to God for a little hill. You see rolling down the sidewalk, turning to roll down the driveway then crashing in the yard right before they hit the road is the one thing all 4 of my children play together without fighting. They all chose their vehicle of choice out of the ride on toy car lot that is our yard, and the races begin. They take turns riding together, pushing each other and race over and over. They will literally play here for hours which means I get to take a break from my full time job of referee. I on blessed days can even be found sitting down in a rocking chair or on the front step reading (although it's usually books for homeschool- it's still counted as me time). Those of you who were blessed with children complete with halos who turn to each other daily and say, "you complete me" as opposed to "can't you leave?" probably don't understand how precious a few non-WWF minutes can be to this mommy of 4, but the rest of you with less than perfect children who have given the "God chose you to be siblings so you need to learn to appreciate His gift" speech are sighing right along with me.

So, laugh if you want, but I am absolutely serious that today I am thanking God for an incline. If you want to join me, ask God to give you an attitude of thankfulness. He is faithful, and you will really be amazed at all the things He will bring to your mind, can't be much smaller than my little yet big one.

Wordless Wednesday...

Yeah, I'm proud- especially when Jon's genes start kicking on (hee hee)!
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Mother's Day Out or As I Like to Call It "Hallelujah"...

Last year I would've sold a kidney to get these two in Mother's Day Out, but it was full. This year I didn't think we'd made it in either and was trying to make my peace with it when in August we got this blessed phone call that sent me running in the yard to share the good news with Jon (and anyone withing a block of us!). We were in!
Of course, that meant the fun part of shopping for new backpacks and lunchboxes. I lucked up and got two Cars lunch boxes at a friend's yard sale. I don't know why she had two except that it was meant to be :) So, I splurged and got them new McQueen backpacks and a theme was born. Then by miraculous coincidence Donnie just happened to show up at our door that morning with new Lightning McQueen shirts she had made them that just happened to match the shorts I had just put on them. Pretty amazing, huh?
These two were so excited about being big boys and going to school that they actually both smiled for my pictures- the biggest miracle of all!

How big does he look holding his lunch box? Wow!
I found the site of them carrying backpacks that were as big as them hilarious and stinking cute with an added bonus that they slowed them down enough that I could keep up with them!
They sat right down and got to business (notice big sister in the background who asks every day when she can stay and be the assistant teacher). Again, I was overwhelmed at how big they looked:
God especially blessed us with a wonderful teacher in Mrs. Kim who was also Ashton's teacher at this age. I'm afraid she was a little scared of them after reading my blog posts about the mischief they get into. (I never thought about people reading my blog and thinking they were like that all the time. They are sweet boys but that doesn't make for funny blog posts so...)
Since I haven't left them many times, it made me feel so much better knowing they were with such a sweet teacher who would truly love them.
They have done really great and absolutely love, love, love school. It's been really nice to have the time to focus on the other two while they are in school.
My favorite part is picking them up and having them tell me what they did. I love trying to puzzle out what they are telling me. Wesley really loves singing the ABC song, and Will is excited to know the number 2. So, hallelujah...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why I Shouldn't Leave My Camera Unattended...

because you might download pictures and find some that you didn't know were on there...

Oh, this goofy boy!