Sunday, April 29, 2007

I know, I know, it has been 3 days...

Sorry for the lack of posts the past few days - I've had a cold and so haven't done much of anything until today. Kelly has it now, so hopefully it will be short-lived for him as well.

My mother-in-law's surgery was finally set this week. She will be having a "modified radical mastectomy" on May 14 at noon. I know a great many of you have been praying for her and my father-in-law for several months now while she has been undergoing chemotherapy. She is very grateful to have that behind her, but she still has a hard row to hoe with at least 2-3 surgeries in the next several months as well as radiation. We would appreciate your continued prayers for her as well as the rest of the family as we make plans to help Kelly's parents through this time.

We are coming up on the end of our school year as well as the end of scouts for the year. We only have two more weeks of both. Then scouts will be taking a break from regular meetings until September, although there are always activities interspersed throughout the summer months. We will take off school until sometime in July. Which means this is one of my favorite times of the year - time to evaluate the year just ended and make plans for the upcoming year. I'll be making curriculum orders soon. Later this week, I'm hoping to post more about some of what I'm doing.

Kelly and nearly every male that attends our church will be going on a camping trip this coming weekend. Then the rest of us will be joining them on Sunday morning for an outdoor worship service and meal together. My daughters are a little disappointed that they aren't included in this, but it will a wonderful time for the men and men-in-training of the church to spend time together. I'm sure I can think of a few things to make it up to the girls. ;)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

One of those mornings

It started off with something from the "girls can be just as gross as boys" file:

As I'm throwing on my make-up this morning, I hear my four year old wailing. As this is not an unusual occurrence and it didn't last too long, I finished up what I was doing. When I came out of my room, Kora looks at me with a thoroughly disgusted look on her face.

"Hailey had the potty seat around her neck and it got stuck. So I had to help her get it off."

FYI, this is the potty training seat insert that we set on the toilet for Lauryn to sit on when the need arises. Can anyone say, "Eeeeeeeeeeew!"

When Hailey came back downstairs, I asked her why she had the potty seat on her head to begin with, and she told me, "Brynna put it on me." I didn't even bother to ask WHY Hailey had just stood there and let her.

Me to Brynna: "Why did you put the potty seat on Hailey's head?"

Brynna: "'Cause I didn't know it would get stuck."


From there (after some hot water and soap) we had to eat and go to a 9:30 doctor's appointment. We left the house before 9, and arrived at the office at 9:15. At 10:10, we were shown back to the exam room. Thus far it hadn't been too bad. We always know this doctor runs late, so I had everyone pack books, plus the office has a few toys, and has the Disney channel playing in the waiting room.

The exam room has none of those perks. By this time the children are read out and are tired of sitting. The tiny exam room does not have enough seats for 5 children plus Mommy. Did I mention that 3 of our kids are sick? Lauryn is the sickest, and was at her fussiest best. Between trying to keep her from crawling all over the furniture, under the furniture, over her sisters, etc., and keeping the kids who don't want to do anything but lie down pacified, I was a little frazzled.

By 10:45 I was seriously debating about even trying to keep getting onto Lauryn and trying to get her to settle down and behave. After all, I know she doesn't feel good. And if the kids are bad enough and loud enough, maybe they'll hurry up and see us so we can LEAVE! Is trying to set a good example of a larger family really more important?

Finally the doc shows up at 10:55. And leaves at 10:57. No joke. We were in the suburban at 11:03. Nearly 2 hours waiting for a 2 minute consultation. Sigh. I think trying to keep ill children under control and waiting for a really long time is probably some sort of Chinese torture device.

Fortunately there is always Dr. Pepper and chocolate.

Oh, and Brynna's legs are still doing well. After all that, they'd better be. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Price matching

UPDATE: CVS has milk for $2.49/gallon. If you take the flyer to Walmart be sure you get the Oak Farms brand milk since that is shown in the picture. If you go to CVS you need the Extracare card.

I suppose most of you know that many stores will match the prices in competitor's ads. Well, if you live in San Antonio, don't throw away the La Fiesta flyer from today. While I would probably never shop there, I have used their flyers to get items at Walmart for their lose leaders' prices.

Today, they have:
Seven bone Chuck roast for $1.47/lb (limit 2 with $10 purchase)
Russet potato 5 lb bags for $0.99 each
strawberries for $1.38/lb
Oak Farms half gallon ice cream for $1.00 each
Borden gallon orange juice $2.44
Suave 15 oz. shampoo for $0.77

and probably others I missed. Just take the flyer with you when you check out at Walmart and give them the flyer, showing them the price, and they will adjust the price. Just make sure that if the flyer lists a brand or shows a brand in the picture that it has to be the exact same thing. Believe me, I had to carry 4 gallons of milk across Walmart one time because I had picked up Walmart brand milk when the ad was for Borden. :)

Does anyone know of HEB price matches as well? I'd much rather get any produce from there.

Monday, April 23, 2007

You live in a zoo.. and you look like one too

Earlier today it hit me: we really do live in something resembling a zoo. Maybe it was the puppy dog crawling around my feet that made me think so.

Or perhaps it was the parakeet flying around (the friends we had dinner with yesterday have a pet parakeet and the girls are now captivated).

Are there spiders in a zoo? (This one's for you, Kim.)

And of course there are always horses!

Kora is actually showing signs of being human,

although we have been accused of growing a giant (she's nearing 5 foot tall even though she just turned 10 and is often mistaken for a 12-13 year old). But I measured today, and Brynna and Hailey are even TALLER than she was at their perspective ages. And Hailey is as tall as Aubrey was at age 7! (Hailey is barely 4.5). As it stands now, she is just the right size for a tall Hobbit. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Sums

Well, we stuck with the potty training, and I am happy to report that things are going very well. I learned something this week: training underwear is hard to find in the stores. I was looking for the super absorbent type, and could only find them at Babies R Us.

We are still waiting on the surgeons to set a date for my MIL's surgery. Evidently, there are some scheduling problems between the breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon, so they are working on that. We were hoping to hear a date last week, and now we are hoping it will be set sometime this week. They really don't want her to go too long without any kind of treatment, as they don't want to give the cancer an iota of a chance in coming back and spreading. So hopefully we'll have an update on that soon.

You know the old adage about it raining as soon as you wash your car? Well, IT'S TRUE - at least in San Antonio. We washed both vehicles yesterday and of course it rained today. But it was worth it as we will take as many of these cooler days as we can get. But it was worth it as we had a great worship service today and had lunch with some friends at their house. We didn't leave until 4:30 pm, so Lauryn will be in bed early tonight!

I really wish I had more family updates, but we are in waiting mode right now, just ticking off the days until we can make plans to go be with my mother-in-law. The girls are finishing up some of their school work. They have finished their science and their grammar books. We plan on planting a small vegetable container garden soon, so that will be their summer science project. We officially have 3 more weeks of school left. By then Rome will have fallen and their other books will either be finished or to the point I had planned on stopping for the year.

Our plan is to then take off the rest of May and June. This will give us plenty of time to be with our family, for me to get ready for the next school year, and to enjoy the visit of some international friends. Then we will resume again after 4th of July. But we are all looking forward to a nice break!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Our big Friday night

Last night Kelly and I had a night out - always a big deal to me. It's slightly amusing to me that we are at the point when even a night for various shopping excursions to look at and discuss things that we both need to look at but which would bore our children to distraction is considered "a night out." But when we are able go to eat a meal alone and talk uninterrupted for hours on end, it is always a banner night.

It's also funny to us that we are not all that many years away from having a babysitting-aged girl of our own. Our babysitter last night is only 4 years older than Kora!

We also watched a movie after we got back. I give Flyboys 3 stars. It's not an epic film by any means, but I enjoyed watching how they trained these pilots who fought in the Lafayette Escadrilles during World War I. Amazing when you consider all the simulators and computer programs of today. I know the film didn't do that well in the box office or according to some critics, and we wouldn't have gone to the theater to see it, but it was a pleasant rental. :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

A rose by Any Other Name...

Our kids are not overly picky eaters, for which I am very grateful, but they each have a couple of things they don't like. Hailey doesn't like gravy. She refuses to eat gravy on anything I make, white or brown.

A few weeks ago, I made what in my family we call "Granny's Meat Patties," a dish named after Kelly's grandmother. It's meat that simmers in a sauce, and is served with mashed potatoes (a good comfort food kind of meal). Hailey has always refused the gravy, either on her potatoes or extra on her meat. Well, this meal I told her, "but Hailey, this isn't gravy, this is sauce. Do you want to try some sauce?" Sure enough she did, and she told me that she "really liked the sauce."

Well, on Easter I made a roast, complete with brown gravy made from the drippings. Kelly was quick to say after prayer, "Hailey do you want some sauce on your meat today?" Sure enough she did, and liked that sauce too.

Last night I made a soup that has sliced mushrooms in it. Mushrooms are one of the few other things Hailey doesn't like, but my husband was up to the challenge.

Kelly: "Hailey, Mama used toadstools in this soup. You ought to try them, I think you'll like them."

Hailey (smiling): "Okay." (Tries the mushrooms.) "I like toadstools!"

Kelly and I were trying to hide our amusement all supper long. Kora and Aubrey weren't doing such a good job hiding theirs. Now, I wonder if I can convince Kora, who can't stand macaroni and cheese, that it's really "pasta with cream sauce"??? Somehow I don't think that one will fly. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WFMW: baking powder

If the brand of baking powder you buy doesn't come with a built in leveler like some do, you can make your own! When you open a new container of baking powder, use a knife to cut the protecting seal all the across the center, and then tear off only half of it. This still leaves you plenty of room to get a measuring spoon in there, plus something to level the spoon off with as you bring out the spoon.

In case anyone needed a picture to visualize this, I took a picture of my current baking powder container, much to the amusement of my children, who could not imagine why I would do such a crazy thing. I love these huge containers of baking powder from Sam's because, did I mention that I bake? A LOT! Works for me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Guess who we had to call today?

Yep, one of the large burners on my stove top has turned traitor on me and refuses to steam another broccoli floret - or anything else for that matter. Since the parts are still under warranty, the repairman is about the same cost as the parts are, so it makes no sense for Kelly to try to fix it. For which I am sure he is grateful. :)

When we bought this house almost 4 years ago, we paid for the upgrade to the highest Maytag appliances (stove, microwave/hood, and dishwasher) we could without going to stainless steel. Within a year the microwave needed to be repaired (it quit while we had company of course). We replaced the dishwasher over a year ago because it kept breaking, and didn't wash that well anyway. And now my range. Sigh. The non-thrifty part of me almost wishes it too had completely died so I could have bought one of these:

Not what would be in my dream kitchen, but hey! this is the only way I could get a double oven in the one I have now. I do so much baking and cooking that I am seriously drooling over a double oven. Better yet, maybe I need to get a freestanding convection oven like my MIL has and keep it on the back porch during the heat of the summer. Hmmmm....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our new 6 year old!

Today is Brynna's 6th birthday! Six years ago at this very minute I was sitting with her in the NICU, worried about our precious new baby. And at over 9 lbs, 6 oz, she made quite a funny sight in the NICU next to the preemies and twins. But she was born with a little issue that just needed a surgery a few months later to correct, so while they assessed her situation, we camped out in the NICU at Wilford Hall. But she was fine, the surgery fixed all, and she has been our cuddly, lovable Brynna ever since.

Brynna is our soft-spoken one who always seems to have a smile or a laugh for everyone in the house. She still loves to cuddle up in your lap, although she is growing so much it isn't the easy fit it used to be. She has also become quite a big help to me around the house. She loves to read, and I actually had to take away a book from her that she was trying to read WHILE sweeping, just before this picture was snapped. :)

We love you, Brynna Nicole!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Parenting Rule #247

When you decide to start potty training your child, she will decide that it is a good time to get diarrhea.

'Nuff said. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Potty Thoughts

The more children a mother has, the easier most things become. You get lots of practice on the first one, make your mistakes on her, and the rest of them are a breeze.

At least that's the theory.

Actually, there is a lot of truth to that, at least in my experience. When I get comments like, "I don't know how you do it, " I often think, logistically 5 isn't that much harder than 3 or 4. Especially as my oldest one get old enough to really be of some help. But one area of motherhood gets harder the more you have, at least in my humble opinion.

Potty training.

This is such a time consuming task for me that it gets harder with the increased number of demands. It doesn't help that I really don't mind changing diapers, never have. I do mind paying for them, however. And even experienced moms can feel a little pressure. (I know you moms of teenagers are laughing at me calling myself an experienced mom, and with a 10 year old girl I do realize that we are approaching territory unknown. But I am firmly at home with toddlerhood.)

So I look at my 2 1/2 year old and think, "I am such a sluggard, not working with her before now." I see all the other 2 year olds potty trained, and tell myself I am a bad mom.

So we pull out the cloth training pants and start potty training. And I am wondering at the end of day one, "What was I thinking?"

Since all girls get candy every time Lauryn has a success, this feeling is not shared by the rest of the family however. I've found this promotes a general good attitude of helpfulness and excitement on the part of the older sisters. I should have stocked up on chocolate for myself. :)

And then I think, how do moms of twins do it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lake Mitchell Audubon Center

Today the girls and I went on a field trip with the scouts group to the Lake Mitchell Audubon Center here in San Antonio. Kora and Aubrey are working on their Zoology badges and Nature and Wildlife Badges, so this was a great opportunity for them to complete many of the requirements for them. I hadn't even known this place existed before we started making plans for this field trip.
It is nicely landscaped around the headquarters building, so they were able observe native plants in many varieties.

There were also many insects, including roly-polies, which just fascinated Hailey and Brynna.

The coolest had to be the monarch caterpillar. And yes I actually took this picture - isn't it cool?

They did get to go out on the trails and see some birds, although the fog, drizzle and construction crew (the center is having an amphitheater built on the side of the building) kept some of it away, I think. Maybe the 70 or so people, most of them on the short side, had something to do with that as well. :)

Monday, April 9, 2007


We had a wonderful Easter weekend - hope yours was the same. We met for a Good Friday service with our church family Friday evening. Then Saturday morning we met at our pastor's house for a family Easter party. Originally the party was supposed to be at an elder's house, but that family has been hit broadside by a stomach bug, causing the need for a change in location. And I really have to tip my hat to the pastor's family - not only did they have to host unexpectedly, but the weather conspired against us as well. It was cold (about 38) and raining, so we all - including about 30 children - were all indoors.

They decorated Easter eggs.

And we listened to the Easter story, highlighted by the use of Resurrection Eggs. If you've never seen these, there are 12 plastic eggs, each with a little item inside to trigger the next part of the story, starting with a donkey, a cup, going on to a whip, crown of thorns, and ending with an empty egg, symbolizing the empty tomb. The kids love it.

And of course we woke up to a cold Easter morning. We had breakfast at church, and then worship service. This was followed by a big lunch at home and Kelly and I trying our best not to fall asleep all afternoon. Next time I have insomnia, I'm turning on the Golf channel. Evidently the one purpose of televising this game to insure naps across America. ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Is it just us...

Or would you really want to buy a vehicle from a place with a name like this?

Boggus Ford

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

WFMW: shopping list

If you have a store that you go to regularly and that you usually get basically the same items from each time, try typing up a shopping list in Word or Excel or some such program. I do this for Sam's Club. Type in the item (if you are very organized you can group like items together or group them as they are arranged in the store. Unfortunately, Sam's plays musical aisles so much, the latter is not an option for me). Then print it out when it is time to go to that store. Then either write a check mark beside each item needed, or the number needed. And you are out the door.

This helps me remember what I should be getting, and saves time writing out a shopping list. It is also convenient for my husband if he, wonderful man that he is, does the Sam's shopping for me! Works for me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Light Show

We had quite the light show in San Antonio Friday night. There was a very impressive storm that rolled in from the west. Since we live on the western edge of town, it was quite awe-inspiring to be able to watch the storm for about an hour as it approached us. Kelly took several pictures trying out different features on our camera, and this is the best one.

The best window to watch it from was Lauryn's, so the whole family sat in front of her window. At each lightening bolt (which averaged about every 1.5 seconds) Lauryn would say, "Ooooooo! Bynna, you like that? Kowa, you like that? Mama, Kowa liked that!" Quite a night!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Free shipping!

Tip of the day: Abeka is offering free shipping on any online order over $50 during the month of April.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Church at Rest

After going to church for the first time in four weeks, I have been at home, crashed on the couch, resting and still trying to get over this congestion and sore throat that just seem to hang on and on and on... But I did make it to church, which was so nice. There's just something about coming together as an assembly of believers with no other purpose but just to worship that cannot be duplicated any other way, no matter how many Bible studies you do or Christian songs you listen to. (And just forget listening to those preachers on the TV. I won't even go there.)

And on top of that, we sang one of my current favorite hymns today. Even though my husband is the song leader, I usually do not know ahead of time what we'll be singing, nor do I try to influence his choices, but I love it when we sing this one - even when congestion makes alto pitched too high for me. I'll post a couple of the stanzas:

The Church's One Foundation

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

I love those two lines - the thought of a Victorious Church at Rest. And I don't picture a rest in the sense of being exhausted, strung out on the couch (sounds way too familiar lately...). But more in the sense of how Moses used the phrase in Genesis, when God rested on the seventh day of creation. He's God; He's not tired. But He's done. His task is completed. And one day, the Bride will no longer be awaiting the Bridegroom's coming, standing as a witness to a doubtful, hating world who jeers at us, proclaiming through measures both bold and subtle, "He's not coming! Why are you wasting your time?" At the consummation, we'll not only see Him face to face, but will be free from all the toil and tribulation, doubt and sorrow, weakness and sin.

We'll see the completion of all our work. And then we'll realize that it is nothing compared to the work He has completed, and chosen to use us as a small part of the completion.

And we'll have peace.