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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kindergarten is GREAT!

P & J have been with us since June and I have to tell you that I LOVE having a Kindergartner! I mean, I love all my kids but it is so fun to see how excited Jeremiah is about school. He is learning so much, so fast, every day.  He comes home excited about letters and numbers and songs he has learned. We bought him some bathtub soap crayons and he could literally spend hours and hours in the tub writing letters and numbers. The first day with the bath crayons, Jeremiah wanted me to draw the letter I so he could copy it. I drew the letter I while he floated around in the tub and we talked about I words. Then I added the letter T and we talked about how we had written the word IT. Jeremiah was confused about the word IT and the word IS so I had written both words.  The next day, I went into the bathroom and Georgia had just taken a shower. She had written below our words. The shower walls now read: IT IS LOVE.  The next day, Jeremiah was talking about the letter D while in the tub and we got into a discussion on the difference between letter B and letter D.  I had written the words DOG and BIG while talking about D and B words.  John got out of the shower the next morning and asked "Why does the shower say IT DOG BIG IS LOVE?"

This is what the bathtub currently looks like:

It's a special bathtub.

Jeremiah's sweet teacher sent me some pictures from the first field trip. I had to work that day, so I am very grateful for the photos. They are so cute! Here is Jeremiah with his class:

Here are some other cute ones:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our anniversary

Today is my second wedding anniversary with John and it's time to make a confession. So here goes: When John and I were just dating, in fact, we had only been "officially dating" for a few weeks, I went through his stuff.  I mean, one day I volunteered to clean up the kids rooms while he was at work, and I used that time to basically play detective and get to know this guy I was dating. John was a single dad, and the house needed some organization and clean-up, but I had an ulterior motive.  You see, my first and very traumatic marriage had only been "over" a little more than a year. I was newly "single", but quite a different person from the 25-year old naive and trusting Melissa who had married the first time around too quickly. Five years of marriage to an absent alcoholic and cocaine-addicted man had hurt me in so many ways. During those five years I learned so much about myself, God, my family, and the dark parts of the world that I never knew existed while I lived inside a Baptist bubble for 25 years. Although my first "marriage" was painful and left deep scars, I would not trade the things that I have learned about people, myself, and my God, for any other experience. I have a deep appreciation for people in recovery, people who are staying sober and clean- and I have gratitude for those who helped me stay above the surface of a raging and turbulent river that almost took me under. So much about me changed because of my first marriage. At thirty years old, I was wise in things I just never expected to know about. So there was probably (honestly) a part of me that expected to find out some deep and troubling secret about John. Maybe it was self-preservation- trying to sabotage the relationship before it became serious and I was hurt again. And so I went through John's stuff and looked for hints of his "dark secrets" that might be somewhere hidden in the house.  Instead I found: cards that his children had made for him on Father's Day, artwork he had lovingly saved, memories he had preserved on film. I found receipts for contributions made to charities and the church. I found evidence of a hard-working and faithful man. And below piles of old bank statements and report cards, I found a card from his mom - given to him on a Father's Day the year before - the year when his own first marriage had deteriorated beyond repair. His mother's card told of John's integrity, and of her pride for a son who loved his family and was honest and decent and good. And that card was a turning point for me. I realized that there were in fact a few good men left. Men like my daddy, my grandaddys, my uncles, and some of the amazing and godly men that I knew at my church. God gave one of those men. He is patient, gentle, humble, loyal, a great listener and a wonderful friend. When I lost our baby last year, John was with me every step of the way, and he never made me feel like I was over-reacting. When I said "let's become foster parents! It's always been my dream!" John said: "Let's do it!" and we took 12 weeks of classes and worked for ten months to get our home ready for an evaluation. To watch John loving not only his own biological children, but other children in our home with a different racial background, different culture, different habits, and different personalities - has made me love him more. I cannot think of the right words to thank God for His timing, His creativity, and His grace towards me in giving me John as my husband. In spite of our own imperfections and pasts, God sees past all of these things and sees our hearts. He drew us together for His purpose and of that I am certain. Happy Anniversary, John! I love you so much!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dress up!


The boys and I had so much fun looking for halloween costumes together!


This morning, all four boys received awards at school. Here are some photos of each of them receiving awards. First pictured is Mitchell with his fifth grade class. He got awards for perfect attendance (since he has the immune system of a wild animal) and also for good behavior. He is wearing a red t-shirt that I bought him for the first day of school. It says: "I put the ME in AWESOME."

Here is Samuel with his fourth grade class. His teacher is standing behind him at the microphone. She and Mitchell's teacher are both expecting baby girls this year. Samuel received awards for perfect attendance, honor roll, and good behavior. Go Samuel! Go Straterra!

Here is Peniel with his second grade class. He has a very sweet teacher who is fluent in Spanish. Today he is wearing a Georgia Tech T-shirt since I told him that John is a big Tech fan and that Grandpa used to teach math there.

Peniel won awards for good behavior and honor roll. On his report card, he got all A's with only one B in math. And it was a high B!

 Last but certainly not least is Jeremiah or Piggly Wiggly as we like to call him. Jeremiah is in Kindergarten this year. He has never been on the stage in the gym and he was very excited! He is the youngest and smallest child in his class and still received awards for perfect attendance, honor roll and good behavior! Go Piggly Wiggly!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meet Bessie!

Meet Bessie, the newest member of our family . . .

She is ten years old, but hasn't been around the block too many times. She was a real blessing from God and we are looking forward to many happy years with her! We now have a way to travel all together with room to spare for extra friends, family or more kids that God blesses us with! Come take a trip with the Line Family in Bessie the Beast! And thanks to our new friend Jason who helped us out so much!

Monday, October 18, 2010

If you could have ONE wish? Okay, two . . .

Last night after reading to the boys (Hank the cowdog, of course), Peniel just could not get to sleep so I stretched out on the bottom bunk next to him. Mitchell and Samuel were in their bunks and we were just talking softly trying to wrap up the day. Mitchell looked down at me from the top bunk and asked (typical Mitchell): "Melissa, if you could have just one wish, what would it be?"
I answered right away, "I would wish to have a baby." "Oh yeah," he said, "Well something besides that, like if you could have two wishes." "Okay," I answered him, "If I could have two wishes, I could wish to have a baby, and to publish a best-seller." Peniel asked me what a best-seller is, and after I explained it, Mitchell said, "Oh, I know what I would wish for! I would wish that every book I write would be a best-seller and then I could buy a house for my mom to live in." "That's very nice," I replied, suddenly interrupted by Samuel who I thought had fallen asleep.
"Um, hello? Anyone ever heard of pollution? Or anyone ever heard of GLOBAL WARMING?" His voice got louder and louder as he rambled on about world poverty and the rising cost of fuel and . . . "Uh, not to mention THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES! Have you guys ever watched THE NEWS? All you can talk about is publishing a best-seller!"
Looks like Samuel may be a democrat . . .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Homecoming 2010 with photos!

Since I didn't ever go to a Homecoming Dance in High school myself- it only stands to reason that I would bust my rear-end to make sure it was fun for the high school kids in my life! Here are a few snapshots of the evening:
 This is a picture of Hannah and her date, James. I have known James since he was maybe five years old, through church. He has been volunteering with our special ed department as a helper, and one night working up here at church, I asked him if he would like to be "set up" with Hannah. He agreed and they had their blind date for homecoming! Looks like it worked out: See for yourself!

Since I'm new at the whole blogging thing, you will just have to deal with the fact that some of the phots are sideways. I'm sure I will figure it out sooner or later.

And if you are wondering why the red tie . . . here is a short and TRUE story that will give you an indication of what it's like to live with a seventeen year old girl (incase you don't already know.) Up until Friday - the day before the homecoming dance - Hannah was planning to wear a red dress. It was borrowed from a friend and very cute and flattering on Hannah. Friday night, Georgia was over at a girlfriend's house and John and I, Hannah, and the four boys, were having dinner when Hannah disclosed that she was "not excited" about her homecoming wardrobe.  Oddly, this was the first time she had said "I'm not excited about my dress." WHAT?!??!??! Why am I finding this out on Friday night at 8pm, the night before the dance.  Well, lately I've become a "suck it up" kind of lady with the kids because someone in our house seems to always be irritated, frustrated, left-out or otherwise depressed about SOMETHING - could be anything. But on Friday, Hannah must have caught me at a particularly benevolent moment because I hopped up from the table in my raggedy t-shirt and shorts and said "Then let's go find something you want to wear!" And off we went at 8:30 to hit Ross, which by the way, is the BEST place to buy a teen girl a formal dress. Last year, Hannah's little pinkish-purplish dress - all sparkly and stuff - was just $14.99 -  yes, you read that correctly.  I bought Georgia's very unique dress for her last year's 8th grade dance at another Ross store for only $17.99 - WOW!!! So off we went to Ross to find something little Miss Hannah was "Excited" about wearing.  Halfway to Gainesville, I pointed out that we had already informed the blind date that he would be escorting a lady in red. So at some point during the evening, we actually swapped his tie for one of John's ties and it all worked a little better. 

 She ended up in a "zebra" looking short-dress that I have to admit was not impressive on the hanger, but it did fit her perfectly and the price was so good! Gotta love that!

Our second couple pictured here is my "adopted" son Cody, who is a senior, and his lovely girlfriend, Shelby. I also fixed-up this couple (yes, I am a matchmaker at heart, always have been.) Shelby was one of the children's ministry summer interns this past year, and Cody is a close friend of Hannah and Georgia, often staying at our house and blending in like one of the family. He is over so often these days that the dogs don't even bark at him (and if you have ever been to my house, you know this means he belongs there.) Cody is an all-around good kid. He is active in his church, goes on mission trips, and is a drummer in the marching band as well as a varsity football player (often a starter in the games.) He somehow manages to march with the band and play football all at the same time. Shelby and Cody have been dating about a month and she goes to Dacula High. She and Georgia and Hannah have all become fast friends and we love her to pieces.

So, here are some shots of the four "upper" class students. Everyone really hit it off!

Now, isn't this sweet? This is our little Georgia (a freshman @ LCHS) and her cute date, Daniel. Becky likes to point out that Daniel is a dead-ringer for Ben Folds. I first met Daniel when we took a big group of Georgia's friends to the lakehouse for Georgia's 15th birthday back in September. He is a good kid, and you can tell he doesn't really know what to think of our family. When he comes over to visit, he generally tries to stay away from the dogs. Porky knows he is a little nervous around her, so she puts on her worst behavior. Hercules, tries to sit on his lap, which you can imagine is pretty exreme considering Hercules weights twice as much as Daniel. We picked on Georgia a lot before homecoming, telling her that Daniel probably went up to the outlet mall and got his shirt and tie at Osh'kosh or Gymboree. Cody teased Daniel and said "looks like you went to baby gap." Nice one, Cody.


 For dinner, Emily had made these awesome menus for the kids to decide what they wanted to eat. They had a choice of steak or lemon-pepper chicken, and a choice of sides. We also had soup (Georgia's favorite potato soup) or salad, french bread, and the best part- desserts!!

 Of course, I cooked way too much. With 6 kids in our home full-time, John and I have gotten used to the complicated task of cooking for a crowd every night.  I can make some instant mashed potatoes in quantities that would serve the US military. And as I  have pointed out to John, teenage girls can eat just as much as little boys, but maybe not with quite as much catsup. But the interesting phenomenon with girls is that you cook a ton of food when they have a *date* and they just push the food around on their plates and pretend to be full oh-so-quickly. It's not until late at night when the date is long-gone when the teenage girls get up and raid the refrigerator and leave nothing behind but crumbs and a sink full of dirty dishes. Pay attention, guys, because that sweet little thing that says "I'll just have a salad," will likely inhale an entire cheesecake as soon as you leave the room.
 And so, after the "big" fancy dinner, they all piled into the Suzuki with John as the chaeuffer and off they went to Lumpkin County High School. Three hours later, they all smelled like sweat and perfume mixed together, Hannah and James were holding hands and Georgia had ditched the high-heeled shoes that Emily loaned her in a pinch. Cody said it was "the best homecoming ever!" I should hope so!!
Here is the whole group together:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homecoming Dance 2010

Lumpkin County High school had their Homecoming Dance on Saturday night. I promise to post some pictures as soon as I can! Emily came up and helped me prepare a fancy dinner for Georgia and her date, Daniel, Hannah, and her date James, and our "adopted" son Cody and his date, Shelby. Emily made some totally rad menus that the kids can keep as mementos (those 3 guys probably lost theirs already) and check this out: they were even laminated. I borrowed some tablecloths and nice decorations (Thank you, friends in ministry) and I would say that we set a pretty nice table. Emily put out some beautiful place cards and we lit some candles. Right before the "guests" came to dinner, Jeremiah took one look at the table and asked "where am I gonna sit?" Well, naturally none of the four boys were invited to the formal dinner so they watched TV and ate leftover tacos in the master bedroom.  (Note to self: tacos + little boys + master bedroom = what was I thinking?) But the truly fabulous part of this story is that Jeremiah is reading (or at least trying to read) EVERYTHING these days. He started Kindergarten a few days before turning five and already, in spite of being the tiniest little thing in his entire classroom, he is eager to learn to read. He is so eager in fact, that he writes on everything- including the walls of our house and upholstery on my dining room chairs. One day a few weeks ago, we thought the "foster dog" Max was bleeding around her mouth. Turns out "someone" had written the first three letters of the alphabet on her little golden face with a red magic marker. PRICELESS.

Welcome Friends, Family, and other random people who stumbled upon our blog

Best Day! John & Melissa Line

Beautiful Girls Amanda and Hannah

Georgia and Samuel at our wedding!

Hercules: Tall, Dark & Handsome

Jack - our "Yittle" dog

Pork Chop- Guardian Angel-Dog

Hiking Trip on New Year's Day!

Peniel - aka "Pepe"

John and the lovely Miss Georgia

I've been thinking that the wacky Line family should have their own spot on the internet.  After all, I'm a writer and John is a photographer and it's not like facebook is all that original. John and I have relatives in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, and other parts of the world (like Winder.) And since our family is constantly changing, we figured our own personal blog would appeal to those of you who find our life amusing. And for those of you who are just nosy, this blog will give you a peek into our wonderful world filled with teenage girl drama, rowdy little boys, and way too many pets! You will feel as though you are sitting right there on our sofa in Dahlonega (sans dog hair, of course) and watching our crazy lives unfold. So sit back and relax (no . . . I should probably say "buckle up and hold on tight," and enjoy our blog.

Jeremiah makes us Yaff a Yot

Mitchell and his amazing smile