Monday, August 30, 2010

Back on the Wagon....

Happy Days to you dear friends!
How are you all this fine and glorious morn? I hope well. This has been a fabulous summer for the gang, and 1.5 weeks ago the kids started back to school. I thought I'd share their first day 'o school pictures with you all briefly.

Katie starting 7th grade, her first year in Junior High:

Katie 7th Grade August 2010
Here's Katie doing her best smile :)


The boys starting 5th Grade - Ian and Jake:

Ian and Jake 5th Grade August 2010

Here's their response when I said, "This year we're getting straight A's! Right?!":

Ian and Jake

Here's Lil' Miss Ellie on her first day of Pre-School:

Ellie Pre-K August 2010
And here's her response when I said, "You know who loves you?" (she was saying, "Mama!")

Katie is loving Junior High, she's in a few advanced classes including Band - and she will belong to the Jazz Band and Pep Band.
Ian is in a 5th/6th split class this year. Because of this he has advantages to be able to work above grade level (which he needs because he's been coasting for several years now) - he's doing 6th grade Math with an option of possibly moving up to 7th grade Math if needed.
Jake is in a 4th/5th split class this year. It's been a bit hard for him because he doesn't get recess time with Ian. Being twins, they sort of compliment each other. Jake depends on Ian to "break the ice" so to speak socially. Jake and Ian have a bond that only a mother of twins would understand. It's very strong. They go to each other before they come to me or Keith for comfort. So Jake is a bit outside his comfort zone. But we talk to him about "stepping up to the plate" and being a "big boy". He's doing great.
Ellie is her last year of Pre-K. Next year she'll be a big Kindergartener and my last baby will fly the coop. Ok, lets not talk about it because....I can't yet.
Thank you for sharing my four little reasons to get up every morning :) My little blessings.
So since....
the kids are back in school, as I've said before, this time of year always makes me do a little "self inventory", and I always come up lacking in several areas. First off, my healthy lifestyle - now although I have not totally blown it this summer - I had not been to a Weight Watcher's Meeting (or weigh in) since May 14. I've beaten myself up mentally for the past several weeks about it. Well finally I quit doing the mental dance and the time was NOW last week on August 27th. I went to a meeting - I weighed in - took my wet noodle lashings and found out that all summer I only gained 5 lbs. Now that's not so bad. All the psychological turmoil for nothing. So I got all my books out re-read them, started fresh and you know what? I am feeling better about me.
Area two.... I haven't totally blown this either this summer. I've not been doing the elliptical, but remember all those "pool days" I've mentioned. Well not to sound like the Rain Man, but I'm an excellent swimmer. Growing up with an in ground pool outside your door helped. I swam laps in the pool each time we went. And on most days my husband would get my rear-end out to walk our 2.5 mile loop up hill both ways. So I'm still in shape, but I'm ramping up the exercise now, I walk the loop in the a.m. and the p.m. on most days since school started. That's 5 miles a day. I'm not going to kid you, It stinks. I'm really hungry and I smell like a pig farmer by the end of the day, but its all about the burn. And you know what? I'm feeling better about me.
my prayer life. I have been sort of walking a desert for a year or so with this area of life. My faith isn't questionable, but my prayer life is. So, I've been ramping this area up too. The past few weeks in Mass have had Gospel readings that help a person along on this walk and it's not about what a Priest says, or what someone can give you or do for you. Nope. This area - just like any area in life you want to change is all about YOU (or me in this matter). So I've been praying more. And my desert? Well its starting to bloom. And you know what? I'm feeling better about me.
I'm a servant. Always been one. I got really mad at my husband a few years ago when he said, "Vonna you are a servant." I thought he meant it in a bad way - like I was a door mat for others to wipe their feet on. And it really angered me, sort of ate me up inside. Until I thought about it and realized. That it was good. It was me - my greatest pleasure is making those I love comfortable, cozy, giving of myself to make someone's day brighter. Treating others as I would like to be treated. The point was driven home for me when I read this passage in a Priest's blog today that I frequent:
Mark 10:43 "Whoever would be great among you must be the servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Think about it....
and you know what? I'll bet it will make YOU feel better. It did me :)
Until next time....
I'll be working on my goals and keeping my "hands to work and heart to God"~
Hugs and love,


  1. Oh my gosh! Katie OFFICIALLY no longer looks like a kiddo! She's a BEAUTIFUL young lady now ;) My kiddo started Pre-K this year too, and Kinder next year. Hugs all around :)

  2. I love seeing your first day of school pics! Our school starts Thursday, and my daughter doesn't go back to college till the week of the 11th. I think I'm ready for some routine. I think. lol!

  3. Great post, Vonna! What fantastic pics of the kids! They are all adorable, but oh my gosh, how beautiful is Katie?!? She changed over the summer into a young beautiful teenager and is no longer just one of the kids. I will say some extra prayers for Jake. I know how hard that is. My two were in classes together all the way through till secondary school, when they decided they no longer wanted to be known as The Twins. Mairead went to an all girls' school (her choice) and my son went to the one co-ed school he knew his sister had no interest in attending (his choice). When they were younger, though, they really depended on each other. She'd zip up his coat for him and help him to remember things (he'd forget his head if it wasn't screwed on right), and since she was very shy, he would break the ice for her and sometimes even step in and answer the teachers' questions. Anyway, I hope that they both adjust well to the split and that having to step out a bit helps Jake to spread his wings and fly.

    Don't beat yourself up about the weight gain, it's small, once you're back on track with everything, the routine is back in place, it'll fall off w/o a problem. Hang in there!

  4. Vonna,

    You inspire me as always! The kids looked great for their first day of school. Thank you for a wonderful post.


  5. Great back to school pics - hope they each have a wonderful year. Zack begins preschool this Fall so if you hear someone sobbing Sept 14th ... it's ME! lol Ben goes into the 6th grade as you probably know and well, I'm not ready for middle school next year.

    Good for you and swimming laps! I love the pool and going to miss it when it closes for the season. It's to be in the 90s all week so guess where we'll be most days? :)

    Tanya :)

  6. Wow, school already? Wish my kids were already back to school! LOL Your schools are different than ours too - 6th grade is considered the start of middle school.
    Sounds like the kids are off to a good time.

    Good luck with your goals and I think that you did pretty well with only a 5 pound weight gain. You'll have it off in no time - swimming will take it off fast.

  7. I am betting you love taking inventory of all the back-to-school photos you have taken over the years ... and watching the children blossom ... You have a beautiful family!

    Good to see the servant [Martha] is taking some care of her alter ego [Mary] ... you need elements of both ... though I always think Martha gets a bad rap from the usual celibate male homiletic perspective. Someday, I am going to stand up in the middle of that homily and give an alternative interpretation. I have even written a poem expressing my solidarity with Martha.

  8. Wow! Your kids look so grown up and adorable on their first day of school! Love the changes you are making (some hit home for me) and you are such an inspiration to me. God Bless you, Vonna!

  9. What a great post Vonna! I just sent my boys back to school this morning. My littlest is now in First grade, so he'll be there all day.

    I so enjoyed your "servant" issue - an issue I deal with daily, so thank you for that bit of inspiration!

  10. I love your comment about being a servant. At first I was surprised you would call yourself that, but I completely understand where you are coming from. I think that I ultimately feel the same way, and I think my life would go smoother if I accepted that rather than trying to be something I'm not. If that makes any sense.

    You are very inspirational, Vonna. Thank you.

  11. Great post and pics of the kids Vonna!!
    My little darling started 4th grade this year. He loves his new teacher which is great because he had a so so teacher last year.

    I have to get back to my exercise routine and taking care of myself now that I have me time during the day ;)
    You certainly are an inspiration!


  12. Love the school pics of the kids--Katie has changed so much--really a young lady now. But I love all the pics--beautiful/handsome kids, Vonna!

  13. Anonymous12:13 PM

    Thank you for sharing the school pictures, your children are all beautiful, I'm sure they make you proud! And I think 5 lbs. over the summer isn't bad at all! I joined WW and I will be doing my first weigh in this week, scary! Keep up the good work!

  14. Wow, but did they all grow up like weeds in that summer sun! :o (A very pretty weed, in Katie's case ;)

    You must be so proud, Vonna. Sounds like you are all fighting the good fight; don't grow weary in well-doing an all will be well in the end. :)

  15. Great pictures of your kids for the new school year. And oh my , how they all have changed, particularly Katie. She looks so much older, so grown. And I share your experience with twins. Mine were the same. Happy new start of a new school year to your kids!

  16. Beautiful kids, mine are all grown and out on their own, I miss those first days of school with them. Thanks for sharing your photos hun.

  17. I think back-to-school time is so appropriate for setting goals. I like it better than January. Good luck to you!

  18. Wow, this post was great!

    Has Katie gotten contacts? I think the fact that Jake and Ian go to each other for comfort is so endearing, very sweet. I will add Jake to my prayer list for his "school" hours. I know that has to be tough for him. I just love that second picture of Ellie. Gosh but she's a cutie!!

  19. The kids look so fresh and happy to be starting a new school year. Katie is growing up! Poor Jake, he will have some adjusting to do, but it might very well make him a stronger person in the end. It is wonderful that Ian can be challenged the way he is.

    I am so glad you are feeling better about being you. I always look at the start of the new school year as the start of a new year (more so than January 1st) and I evaluate my life and goals too. There is no sense in beating yourself up... you just keep on going and trying to get better.

    I'm a servant too.... in the good way.

  20. Great post! Such an inspiration as always!

  21. What a nice post! The kids are adorable. The first day of school is always fun.

  22. Your posts always make me smile and many times make me think. This time they did both. The kids are gorgeous and so obviously loved. I guess Keith is going to start getting nervous about letting that Katie out of the house soon - LOL.

    Taking inventory is brilliant! I have been doing some of that unofficially during this year of health trials and it does make a difference.

    I, too, am a servant. My DD (now 29) sometimes gives me grief about that automatic reaction I have. Seems she thinks it should be more reciprical. It was nice to have a positive spin on it.

    Thanks for the uplift.

  23. They really grow up fast, don't they? Nice to see smiles on the first day of school.

    I always consider this the real new year's time, so you can start being good with your exercise and diet as a new year's resolution! What's past is past.

  24. Well, blow me down!! Katie blossomed into a lovely young lady over the summer! It happens so quickly; Kirsten is now officially taller than I and ready for 8th grade. My twins are juniors this year with three classes together, which they're actually happy about! :)

    Hope you all have a fun, successful school year!

  25. What a lovely (and inspiring) post Vonna! Thanks for sharing the pics of the kiddos. They grow too fast, don't they?

  26. The kids look great! Congrats on the fine job you both have done. The boys will be fine. They just take a little longer sorting things out. Girls just seem to 'get it' at this age.

    And the diet and exercise. Keep on doing what you are doing! You'll get there!

    Something I found that helps with prayer. Find a gratitude rock! Just a simple stone that feels right in your pocket. Put it there each morning and when you touch it or feel it there - thank God for the blessings He has given you.

    Smiles - Denise

  27. Love the first day of school pics, Vonna... That was always such an exciting day in our house when my sons were little. Hope they each have a spectacular year...

  28. Great back to school pics!

    I am sure all the wonderful memories made this summer were worth the 5 pounds. Hope you have some wonderfully cool weather for your walks with your sweetie.

    Our desert experiences make us stronger.

  29. I didn't realize that was Katie, she looks so lovely. All your kids look great.

  30. Katie looks so grown up Vonna! Good luck to them all this year (and to you too, for all your personal goals!)

  31. Thanks for a great post. The kids looked wonderful for their first day of school.

  32. Thanks for a great post. The kids looked wonderful for their first day of school.

  33. What a wonderful post and great pictures! Your kiddos are cute, handsome and beautiful! You know, even though my kids are grown and long past their school years, I still look to the beginning of the school year as a time to set new goals. Our school year begins next Tuesday and I have a goal to start fresh on that very day!
    I hope you don't beat yourself up too much. Five pounds is easily taken back off and it sounds like you are still doing well exercising.
    I love what you said about prayer. Something, you know, that I am working on too. And being a servant...that was me, but for some reason not so much with my kids grown and out of school and activities.

  34. Beautiful Vonna! and I'm so glad you are feeling good about you. You are indeed a very giving person and I am grateful. :) Cathryn

  35. Beautiful post Vonna.

    Love the back to school photos. I hope Jake settles in. And oh my, has Katie grown up this summer. And little Ellie sure is getting bigger too.

    Good luck with the 5 lbs. Though that's not bad for a summer weight gain. I'm sure it will disappear quickly. :)

  36. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Cute pics of the kids! I did that too, and it's fun to line them up and see how the kids changed from year to year.
    DH and I took our "baby" to South Bend last Friday, where she's a Freshman at IU. It was very hard to leave her, but she has 3 friends from high school there, and has already made some new friends. I surprised myself by *not* crying as we drove off.
    As for being a Servant...I know what you mean!! Our church had a "spiritual gifts" class and I learned that I am a caregiver and servant. I've been on the Hospitality Committee for 7 years now and it is a good fit for me. (better than teaching, or singing!! haha)
    Use your talents as God intended!

    HEY!!! DH just brought in the mail, and my monthly shipment from DSL came! This package from Amy contains my monthly LHN ornament, AND my Family sampler! Gotta go open it :):):):):)
    Cindy from Angola, IN

  37. Great first day of school photos! Really...Katie has grown up. She just looks so different without her glasses. I'm assuming contacts because if it were me, I'd be bumping into walls! I've heard that twins share a deep bond. It must be hard for them to be in different classrooms now. And!

    Great job on maintaining the weight. 5 pounds is nothing. You'll lose that quick with the walking. Good luck with your venture.

  38. Wow! Katie has officially grown up. Does Keith have the shotgun ready to keep the boys away? :-)
    I enjoyed your comments about being a servant. You've given us all something to think about ourselves.

  39. Super pictures Vonna! Sounds like you have also been doing lots of reflecting. It really is good for the soul isn't it? Glad you are back on track with WW. I do Slimming World and although slow going "this" time around it is going in the right direction. xx

  40. Anonymous5:44 PM

    Fabulous post, Vonna! You are very inspiring! Sending best wishes to your kids for a very successful school year!

    Robin in Virginia

  41. Your kids are Beautiful and they look so happy to be going back to school.
    Your blog is very inspirational.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Hugs Beatrice

  42. Vonna, what endearing and inspirational thoughts. The children are beautiful and growing quickly. First day of school always seems to bring a new beginning in so many ways, doesn't it?
    I truly believe that God places us where he wants us and understands our desert spots....It's our day to day with each other and Him that matters most.

  43. Anonymous8:44 PM

    Darling, darling children, Vonna. You can see in their faces that they are happy kids!
    Thank you for some ideas on personal inventory. I need to focus more on a few of those areas myself. I know I would feel better about a lot of things. :) Very inspiring.

  44. Vonna,,,
    You have some beautiful children,,and like everyone else has said Katie has blossom over summer,such a beautiful young lady..and I love you goals,,I am right there with you and all of them,,may you have a blessed week,,

  45. Vonna, I so can relate to all you said here.... I also need to rethink my goals and focus again after a busy summer. We are hard on ourselves when we get off the path, aren't we? But God always loves us as we are.... so comforting.

  46. I so love seeing your family start school each year! Katie is a gorgeous young woman--she is so mature-looking. And all your kids look so sweet and mischievous and darling--what a wonderful family you and your husband are raising. I hear you on the weight/health/exercise thing. I'm back at it too. Sigh--elliptical at lunch instead of stitching, which just pains the heck out of me. Happy fall, Vonna.

  47. Hope all your children have a great school year!!! Katie especially looks so grown up :-).

    A self-inventory every once in a while is a good thing. I am right there with you on being healthier and reinvigorating my prayer life. Both areas that need work for me too. (((hugs)))

  48. Your kids look great off to start their new school years. Congrats to all for having a great days!

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration as well. I think the passage from Mark does say a lot and it's good words to live by.

    Thanks and hugs!

  49. Thanks for a great post. It touched my heart. The kids are growing up.

  50. Excellent post! I really was touched by your Bible passage-I too have been the servant in a good way.
    The kids looks great-all smiles. You are a great mom. Sometimes you fall off track a bit, I have so many times. But remember you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. I wish I lived near you so I could walk with you. You'd have to drag me a bit!

  51. I look forward to your annual 1st day of school pics, they are great! As for having kids "fly the coop" ~ you have a ways to go; I am envious. Drew just returned to PA and it is a bit lonely around here: SEND ME SOME OF YOUR KIDS... please! :)

  52. Your little ones are so charming! Those days (and moments) are so special - savour them every one! Your wagon seems to be all hitched up and ready to go, girlfriend. Here's to you and all your best choices! Thank you for your kind words about my flat fold.

  53. Your children look so grown up in their first-day-of-schoo photos. Sounds like their schooling is going to go well for them this year - all good things for each! This time of year does bring some self reflection for us moms and I enjoyed reading about yours. Your comments and thoughts about being a servant were very interesting, especially since I had similar thoughts.
    This summer my husband has been home due to his job being over (thus he is unemployeed). While he did help out a lot while I went into work at my morning pt job, when I came home I still found that it is my job to do a lot of the household things. In the mornings, since school started I still find myself getting breakfast around and making lunches. At first, I kind of resented it since he wasn't doing anything but sitting in front of the computer or interacting with the boys...but the more I thought about my role, I learned that I don't want to give up these "jobs" of making sure the family is fed, clothed and live in a nice house. In fact when he did try to do some of "my stuff" I pushed him out of the way. It is interesting to look and reflect on our roles in our families.
    Well, take care. You are doing a great job as evident by the smiles on those four faces :)

  54. Great post, Vonna! I love seeing your back-to-school pictures and your kiddos' smiling faces. And as always, you are such an inspiration.

  55. Vonna, You are such an inspiration and love my visits.

    Your children are beautiful .. I know you are so proud of them.

    Don't worry about that weight gain.. at least you went back and faced the scale ~ I'm going to do that tomorrow because of you!

    Sending you a big hug!


  56. Your children are lovely. Love this post too.

  57. Kids look great - we don't start my son's senior year until next week...dreading it!

    I know what you mean, Vonna, about prayer life. I recently was sent an email about and their three minute retreats. It has been a really refreshing five or so minutes - because I contemplate what I've read and the questions. Check it out - may be for you.

    Glad to hear you are feeling good about yourself - boy aren't we are worse critics sometimes...I know I am. Enjoy your week!

  58. This is such a lovely post Vonna. I love seeing your back to school pics. Katie seems to have grown overnight! No more little girl there.
    I hope Jake adapts well to being on his own. He may just surprise himself!

    I need to get back on that wagon sooo badly. More power to you for doing so. I've slipped up and am feeling pretty rotten over it. I'm hoping to get back on track after vacation ends.
    Thanks for the inspiring passage.

  59. The kis look so happy on their first day of school. Sounds like they are adjusting well to the schedule change back as well.

    I'm loving this year as well. All mine are in full time this year. I get to clean my house and it stays that way until they get home. What a great feeling! lol Plus, and even better, my DH and I can spend a whole day together every week instead of saving for a date night every couple of months.

  60. Great post Vonna!! I enjoy watching your beautiful children growing up:)
    I hope they all "love" their new school year!

  61. I echo the others - Katie has turned into a young lady! They all look grand starting off to school - ahh it brings back good memories of getting all new school supplies and wondering what was in store for the new year! I miss associating fall with going back to school even after being out of school for way too many years to count LOL. I know how you feel about getting back on the wagon...I fell off in the past month and have been gone from the gym for 3 weeks at least. I am getting back on this week but it's so hard to get motivated. The hot summer here in the southwest really wears on me and after growing up in the midwest I am still expecting autumn by September but no relief for us for at least another month. 5 lbs isn't much at all so I think you did good this summer! The important thing is not to give up entirely....slips and slides are normal for most of us! I'm trying very hard to get caught up on my blog reading this week - it gets out of control so quickly!

  62. What wonderful photos of your children Vonna.

  63. Beautiful family...Enjoy them while they are still little..they grow so fast..
    thank you for stopping by my blog and kind words


  64. All the best to your children for a great year Vonna! The pics of them are wonderful. Just saw your latest finish on LHN blog for the 11th ornament. You did a wonderful job . Every ornie gets better and better.
    Enjoy your labour day weekend!

  65. Wishing that fabulous family of yours a wonderful school year!!

  66. Hope the kids have an excellent school year! They look like they are excited. I wrote down that verse, to read when I'm feeling too overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing.

  67. Your kids are always so adorable! I hope they have a wonderful school year. Katie is a beautiful junior high girl!

    I think we all beat up ourselves too often for no reason. I know I do, and doesn't it feel good when you get on the right track again!

  68. Great photo's, hope every one has a happy & successful school year.

  69. Your children are growing up so quickly. Great photos!

  70. Awesome awesome post, Vonna!!

    Would you look at Katie!! What gorgeous eyes!! She looks so beautiful!! Wow, they really do grow up fast, don't they?

    I'll be praying for your boys - it will be an adjustment for them both, I'm sure... but I'm also sure they will do great and will blossom in ways you and they would never have imagined. :)

    Kudos to you on the routine assessments! Keep us updated... I'm sure you'll do great! And even if you "stumble" here and there, the Lord will help you up, and dust you off, and set you on your path again. Every time. Guaranteed.

    Have a great week!!

  71. Wow - Katie is looking really grown up! You'll be beating the boys off with a stick any day now!

    Thanks for sharing pictures of your adorable brood - you have every right to be a proud momma!


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