Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Madeline Olivia!

Twelve years ago, we welcomed into this world our firstborn: Madeline Olivia Hooten. We knew she was a "she" as I HAD to know ahead of time! We couldn't wait to meet our "Maddie", named after my beloved mamaw, Madeline June Grady. After 34 hours of LABOR, she arrived on her due date. (I made a note to myself about her being stubborn, yet punctual!)

She has been such a wondrous addition to our lives. She is independent and opinionated, yet kind and compassionate. She has a great sense of humor, but HATES surprises. She's inquisitive and questions everything. So, I've learned that "because" is NEVER a suitable answer! She's intelligent, yet I worry about common sense skipping a generation! She loves to take care of little kids. She has tutored & mentored fellow students. She's learning to be responsible with chores and lots of homework. She challenges herself to try new things (except for riding a bike!) She dove right into cross country this year and we were so proud of her endurance and hard work.

Her favorite word is "No" (at least it's the one I hear the most!)

Her favorite color is Pink
Her favorite food is ice cream or chocolate or bread
She loves to watch winter ice sports! If there were a curling school nearby, she'd apply!
She loves the rodeo -- that's MY girl!
She loves school and her friends
She LOVES Jesus
She loves being quirky!

We love her!

Happy Birthday Maddie, MaddieMoo, MadHatter, Mad, Maddazzle!

Here's a photo tribute to Maddie through the years:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jacob Sterling!

Today is my baby boy's 9th birthday! How the time flies! He has brought so much joy and laughter into our lives over the last nine years. He's our "Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky"! He is the most pleasant and content child you'd ever want to meet. I honestly can say that I've never witnessed a single tantrum! He loves to sit on my lap and hold my hand. I treasure his sweet and gentle nature.

He loves sports of EVERY kind! He gives each one he plays 110%! He works hard to improve at each one. He can often be found practicing hoops, throws, hits, kicks, etc. in the back yard -- all year long, no matter the weather! He loves to watch the PBR bulls and cowboys with us too! I treasure his enthusiasm for action.

He is our little patriot. He loves military history. He loves to learn about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. He loves to study about World War 2. He loves to watch shows about the Marines boot camp. He dreams of attending West Point. I treasure his respect and love of his country, even at such a young age.

He loves time with friends & family. He loves his new school. He loves going to church. He loves Jesus. He LOVES to sing! (Journey's Greatest Hits is a current favorite!) He loves to have mock battles in the backyard. He snores. He's a good little brother. He's a nightowl. He loves Westerns. He could eat his weight in cranberry sauce or popcorn! He giggles at EVERYTHING! His smiling face makes my day!

I am so thankful to God for the blessing of getting to be his mom!

Here are some pics of my beautiful (uh-hem, "Ruggedly Handsome"!) boy through the years:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Happy Birthday Jacob #9
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

2Bme @ SOCC -- It's On!

This is a slideshow of the wonderful girls in the tween ministry that I lead at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: 2Bme -- IT'S ON!!
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cool Colors and Cooperative Children

I took advantage of the beautiful day yesterday and took the kids to Brown County State Park to take a few(hundred) pictures. We had a great time in spite of the swarms of dive-bombing ladybugs!! I LOVE the Fall in Indiana and, of course, I LOVE my kids! Check out the slideshow!


Last week was a BIG event for Jacob! He is now the proud owner/wearer of some stylin' spectacles!

After receiving a letter from school that the IU School of Optometry screening indicated that we follow up with an optometrist, we made our appointment for an exam of the ol' eyeballs. Sure enough! Glasses were in his future. The vision in his left eye is "spot on" according to Dr. Horner. Just shy of 20/20. But, his right eye was significantly near-sighted: +5.00!!! He couldn't even read the big "E" at the top of the chart! I was concerned that this had never come to our attention with the annual screenings that the kids get at school. Dr. Horner said that most kids overcompensate with their other eye.

Jacob was the model patient as he went through 2 hours of exams at IU's School of Optometry. Anthony, the resident that performed Jacob's exams, was excellent. Jacob was completely at ease -- even with the glaucoma test! He didn't care too much for the drops to dilate his eyes, but who does?! He's a trooper!

Then, the fun part: getting to pick out new glasses! He tried on a bunch of pairs and kept coming back to these. He felt so big getting to choose by himself. He could hardly wait for them to come in! So, after waiting (im)patiently for about a week, we went to pick them up and get them fitted. Needless to say, he can see much better! We think it may even improve his baseball swing! He is still my beautiful (um, ruggedly handsome!) boy!Then, the fun part: getting to pick out new glasses! He tried on a bunch of pairs and kept coming back to these. He felt so big getting to choose by himself. He could hardly wait for them to come in! So, after waiting (im)patiently for about a week, we went to pick them up and get them fitted. Needless to say, he can see much better! We think it may even improve his baseball swing! He is still my beautiful (um, ruggedly handsome!) boy!
Waiting for the tech to bend his glasses

Trying them on for the first time

Stylin' and smilin'

Chillin' in his new eyewear

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sweet Sixteen!

My, oh, My!! Where does the time go? Ross and I have been married for 16 years today! It seems like yesterday (well, maybe the day before yesterday!) that I met and fell in love with Ross while visiting my dear friend, Craig Williams, at Wabash College. It didn't take very long for us to realize that we were meant to be together. (I don't think the girl he was dating at the time saw it that way!) But, oh well, when it's meant to be, it's meant to be!
Our first official date: dinner @ Lennie's and "JFK"
October 2, 1993 @ Beck Chapel
Date selected because it was the only weekend in October with no home football game! Ross' favorite story about our wedding is that he's not sure it's legal because he never officially proposed! Now, let me set the record straight: while he never got down on his knee and asked "Will you marry me?", we had talked about marriage often. We knew that we wanted to get married in the Fall and I had always wanted to be married at Beck Chapel. We had limited dates to work with, so I asked, "What do you think?" He agreed. End of story! ;-)
We've always been the unconventional pair! (Of course, that resulted in 9 toasters as wedding gifts, but that's another story!)

Our wedding party: Jennifer, Nan & Julie -- Tom, Paul & Jeff

Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Jacob Hooten III (no, he doesn't call me "Lovey"!)

16 years and counting! I am looking forward to 16+ more!
Like any marriage, ours is not perfect, but I couldn't have picked a more perfect match for me to love and travel this highway called "life" with. I love you Ross with all my heart! You are truly my beloved, my soulmate and my best friend.
Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad! (and Pappaw!)

Happy Birthday today to the very first man in my life: my dad!

Diggin' the polyester!
Taking in an Indianapolis Indians game with the family -- when the family only had 2 grandchildren -- now there are seven of them!

I look at this picture and instantly hear Dad say: "Now, Jillzy!"

Maddie and Jacob love and adore their pappaw! Jacob LOVES to play pitch and catch (and show off his sliding abilities) with Dad.

I still keep this notecard from 1990 with me to this day. Along with asking me, "Have you been to the library today?" every time I talked to my dad while I was at IU, he always reminded me that "If it is to be, it is up to me!" How true.

My dad has always been one of my biggest supporters. Not in a "rah-rah" cheerleader kind of way -- that's not his style. He's always been there with words of reassurance or a boyhood story for an example or, sometimes, a firm "No." I often think of where I might be today had he not told me "No!" in 1989. I get it today and am forever thankful that he didn't give in to his incredibly homesick daughter! (Wink! Wink!) He's always been my voice of reason.

Thank you Dad! I hope you have a wonderful day today. I love you very much. Today, I dedicate 61 mustard sandwiches to you!! xoxxoxxoxooxxoo

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Movie Night on Leighton Lane

Movie Night at the Hooten House!
We had our favorite neighbor kiddies over for a movie last week! It was so cute as they all came over in their jammies with blankets and snacks ready for a show!
Scooby Doo was the movie of choice for the gang! It was about mummies and Cleopatra's tomb.
Can you believe your eyes??! I have a new buddy!! Ashley finally let me hold her! We shared some Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Puffs and all was well with the world!! Here she's saying, "Auntie Jill is #1!!!"
Ashley calling her daddy: "Da. Da. Da. Da. Da. Da. Da." Too cute! She knew exactly what to do with the phone! I worry about Kev and Kel's phone bill one of these days! Ha!
Ashley and Maddie playing "Who's Hiding Under the Red Handkerchief?"

Ashley thought Maddie needed a snack and kept stuffing peanut butter puffs in her mouth!

Ash starting to tucker out about 9:15.

Dylan mesmerized by the movie. Note his 3 plates of snacks! We basically had a junk food smorgasbord going that night and Dylan tried it all: Skittles, gummie LifeSavers, popcorn, breadsticks, donut holes,cereal and whatever else was discovered in the pantry. We sent him home with a doggie bag. I told Kelly and Kevin that next time I would serve chocolate-covered broccoli to get something healthy in! ;-)

Ashley decided to call it a night and napped on big sis, Hailey! We thought this was too precious.
We had so much fun! We can't wait to do it again soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Into the Lions' Den!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth. --- 3 John 1:4

The start of the school year was a bigger event than usual for us this year. It brought new supplies, new grades, new teachers and a new school!

We are now Lighthouse Christian Academy Lions!

The second semester of the last school year was heartwrenching on a number of levels for us: peer pressure, ambivilance and inattention, poor choices with negative consequences, lack of accountability, lack of communication and lack of care and concern.

We circled the wagon and plotted a new course to ensure that the kids would be in an environment that challenged them academically, nurtured them as individuals and, most importantly, reflected and reinforced the values of accountability and responsibility in a caring and attentive environment.

We had friends and several families that we know at church who send their children to Lighthouse, so we checked it out. It was just what we were looking for: rigorous cirriculum, focus on the basics, activities for the kids, and a mission to provide a quality education in the setting of strong, Christian values. After much discussion and prayer, we made the decision to transfer the kids from Summit to Lighthouse. I have never been more at peace with a decision. It will mean some changes around the Hooten House -- private education ain't cheap! -- but what price do you put on knowing that your children are receiving a quality education in an environment where they are safe and cared for. I can learn to like Ramen noodles for that! :-)

Maddie had several friends from church who were going to be in her class, so she was SUPER excited! Jacob only knew a couple of kids, but he's "Mr.-Go-With-The-Flow" and was just as excited. They didn't go to school with most of their close friends anyway, so that made it a little easier as well. They see the friends from Summit at church as well, so we'll still be seeing them.

After we got our acceptance call, we drove over to take a picture by the sign!

Maddie with friends Paige, Emily, Breanna, Anna and her new desk buddy, Luke!

Jacob on the first day of school. He is loving Mrs. Pinkard's 3rd grade class. He has made friends quickly and "can't believe how fast the days go!"

Obligatory "Mom-Made-Us-Stand-In-Front-Of-The-Building-With-The-Sun-In-Our-Eyes-To-Get-A-First-Day-Of-School-Picture" picture!

"Stop with the camera or I'll pounce!" picture

The backpack was almost bigger than the packer! Note the peanut butter "Bug Catcher" jar on the back: Mrs. Pinkard is all about INSECTS!! They get to bring in bugs and such to class (just no snakes per her request!!)

"Back-to-School" Night at his new desk

Modeling their new school colors!

They've been really busy and hit the ground running. They had to catch up a bit the first couple of weeks on things that they had not done at Summit, but they have made the transition beautifully and are very happy -- that makes me happy and assures us that we made the right decision. The theme for the school year is "Partnership with Parents" -- bullseye!