Monday, September 29, 2008

Our Princess

Princess Lauryn had a very important date today.
She had a ball to attend.

OK, so it wasn't a ball. But it was a princess birthday party for her friend Piper! (Say that 5 times fast!) Here she is before she set out in her carriage, uh, I mean the Suburban to go to the party.

Go here for shots of the actual party, including a "pin the necklace on the princess" game, a couple of princes, and royal burgers and fries.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You know we homeschoolers are known to be a ball of laughs...

Just got back from our homeschool group's annual picnic. This year we did it at a neighborhood association park and pool instead of a city park. It was such a blast, and much more relaxing than in years past when we did it on a Friday night. Then we were rushed between Dads getting off work and nighttime. Today we ate and lazed around the pool talking while the kids jumped in the pool and had a great time splashing each other. I guess there is a little good about living in a hot climate.

Except for Lauryn almost drowning, but that is a different story.

But of course, I FORGOT MY CAMERA! (Slapping myself on the forehead....)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Irrelevant Odds 'N' Ends

* I about fell over in my chair this morning when I read this article linked on my friend Cathi's blog:

"PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk"

No joke! They want Ben & Jerry's to use breastmilk like some European restaurant is using. Can you imagine? Who would actually buy that? We use strictly homegrown mother's milk around here, and only for the one and under crowd. Although if it took off, think of all the extra money I could make, pumping and selling it...

* We had Bible Study at our house last night. I think there were just over 500 people here.

Just kidding. Sorta.

* Dr. Pepper makes life so much better. I do wish they would come out with a Splenda sweetened version.

* I have fallen in love with cooking blogs! First it was Pioneer Woman Cooks! And then I found Full Bellies, Happy Kids. And then there is A Year of Crockpotting. If you have any other kindred spirit blogs that you visit, please let me know!

* Speaking of blogs, Bloglines has saved my life! Since I have a number of blogs that I follow, I was spending waaaaaaay too much time clicking on them to see if they had been updated, especially those that only blog once a month (or year). Now I just go to my bloglines screen and it tells me which blogs have been updated! I had actually stopped looking at any new blogs because of the time factor, but now I can follow many more in much less time!

*It's the time of year in San Antonio when we ask, "Will it ever cool off?" You know you have lived in South Texas too long when you are checking your child's workbook where they have to answer the question "Is winter cold?" and you want to mark them wrong for answering "yes."

* We are still guessing at what color hair Ashlynn will end up having.

* You would not believe how much less hair we have in the vacuum cleaner now that all four older kids have cut their hair. And how much less time it takes them in the shower.

* Back to blogging, I want to share a blog pet peeve. It is really hard to read blogs where the author does not separate paragraphs with a line or even fails to make paragraphs! I know it isn't strictly proper writing to put a line between paragraphs, but when you are reading from a computer screen, it greatly increases the ease of readability. So please, if I read your blog, hit "enter" twice between each paragraph!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Look what I can do!

Oh, I see it!

If I get up on all fours and fall forward, I can just plop down over to it...

Oh, you caught me!

Aren't I cute?

I think my halo is slipping.

Look, I can sit up too!

Well, sorta...

Monday, September 22, 2008

I've heard of insects being a delicacy, but this takes the cake...

At dinner the other night, Lauryn told me:

Mama, I remember when Hailey and I ate the stomach bug!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Movie We Didn't Finish

Last night Kelly and I sat down to watch a movie after the kids went to bed. We have Blockbuster's version of Netflix, so we had an action movie, a family movie, and a comedy that a few people had told us was very funny. We were both in a mood for a comedy, so we put in Napoleon Dynamite.

We watched all of about 30-40 minutes of it. While a couple of things sparked a humorous snort - like the guy's trapper keeper, remember those? - it was soooo not funny. In fact, we were both just annoyed. Sorry, whoever told us that was a funny movie. Napoleon is annoying. We just didn't get what was supposed to be funny or where this movie was going. My theory is that people who think this is funny also think Seinfeld was funny. We never liked Seinfeld.

So while I appreciate that there are vastly different kinds of humor and that different people like different things (eg. Kelly likes Mr. Bean and I can't stand him!), Kelly and I have two words for this particular movie:

(snap, snap) Hated It!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hailey!!!

Today, our lovely brunette turned 6! Hailey, who was rather, um, challenging as toddler, is blossoming into a wonderful little girl. She loves playing, especially with Barbies, Lego's, and anything princess-y. She lives in her own little world at times. But she is also fun and funny, and we all love her very much.

After a supper which Hailey chose - grilled pork chops, fresh corn on the cob and cheddar biscuits - we had cake and ice cream. Hailey had very specific ideas about how she wanted her cake to look. She wanted blue and sand colored icing so she could have an island and the ocean. She wanted to use some of their Little People, and put the pirates swimming toward the island where a beautiful princess awaited with her unicorns and a treasure chest. In fact, after we washed the Little People, she put them on the cake herself just the way she wanted them.
I told you she lived in a world all her own. But I guess it is appropriate on "National Talk Like a Pirate Day!"
Then came presents!
A card from Great-Grandmama.

Money from Granny and Granddad! Great - a shopping trip!

A Barbie princess and a snap and style from Nana and Pa.

A purse to put the money in! And books! A princess coloring book!

I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she first saw what this was, but I missed it. Her eyes got so big!
A flying Barbie horse that lights up and plays music! Can it get any better than this?

Of course, this is all followed by the traditional getting all the toys out of the boxes and putting them together. A job for Daddy!

And of course all the girls had to check out the new loot.

All in all, a great birthday, according to Hailey. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Upmanship

One morning earlier this week, Aubrey and Brynna were settling onto the sofa and the recliner for another day of recuperation and movie watching. This was the conversation:

Aubrey: I like to pretend I'm in the hospital.

Brynna: Yeah!

A: I'm pretending I have a broken wrist.

B: Well, I have to lay here very still in the hospital because I broke both of my legs.

A: Well, I have to lay really still because I broke my wrist AND got sick.

B: Yeah, well I am really sick with chicken pox.

A: I have to stay in the hospital because I have small pox.

At that point I had to leave the room laughing. I think one-upmanship is their super power.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Sure Sign

The kids are getting on each other's - and my - nerves, so they must be feeling a little better. If I was the brave sort, I would post pictures of what my house looks like right now. Breakfast dishes still by the sink, toys everywhere, school books scattered on the counter, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals all over the living room, books and water bottles on every table, a movie continually blaring from the tv.

But I am not that brave.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthdays and Ilnesses

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

This is one of three birthday weeks we have in our family (the other two are in April and November). Kelly and Hailey have birthdays just three days apart, so we will be celebrating this week. Unfortunately, nearly everyone in our family is sick! Kora just got over a virus, but now Aubrey, Brynna, and Lauryn have it. I have a sinus infection trying to move into my lungs (not a good thing for an asthmatic), and Kelly has something as well, not sure what at this point. So I'm sure he would like to be feeling better on his birthday. I just hope Hailey doesn't get this, as she would probably be sick on her birthday on Friday.

Hopefully one of us will be feeling up to grilling the burgers Kelly requested tonight - at least it is something easy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How to Make a Man Happy at the Dinner Table

1. Grill chicken breasts marinated in Rudy's BBQ sauce for dinner one night, making sure to grill 1-2 extra breasts.

2. Freeze these extras before anyone mistakes them for leftovers and eats them!

3. A week or two later, thaw breasts and make homemade pizza dough. Spread a light layer of olive oil on dough and bake at 450 for 5-7 minutes.

4. While dough bakes, slice chicken into bite size pieces. Cook a few pieces of bacon. Slice a small onion.

5. When dough comes out of the oven, squirt a generous amount of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce and spread evenly over dough. Top with chicken, crumbled bacon, and sliced onions.

6. Sprinkle with approximately 1 cup each mozzarella and cheddar. Bake for another 5-7 minutes at 450 until crust is crisp and cheese is melted and starting to brown.

7. Call your husband to the table and be prepared to have him fall to his knees and kiss your feet in gratitude.

I'm still waiting for that last part, by the way.

Friday, September 12, 2008

On Cameras and Babies

A couple of people from church have commented on how Ashlynn doesn't look the same in person as she does in pictures on the blog. The reason is that she will NOT smile if the camera is around. She can be in the happiest mood, laughing her head off. But if I pull out the camera to document this, she can do nothing but look intently at the big black thing in front of Mama's face.

The other day I determined to get a shot of Ashlynn's beautiful smile - she smiles with her whole face. She was in such a good mood until...

Come on, Ashlynn! Smile for me.
Hailey says, "I'll hold her up so she can smile. She likes it when I hold her."
Lauryn says, "I'll ride with her on the car. She likes to ride with me."

OK, Ashlynn. If you aren't going to smile for me, could you please get up on all fours like you've been doing and show the blogging world how you are trying to crawl at only 4 months old?

Kora says, "Can I try, Mama.?"

"Sure." I give her the camera.

And this is what happened.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Snips

Not to be left out, Brynna and Hailey decided to cut their hair off for Locks of Love as well. Since they are still learning to wash their own hair, I figured this would be a big help to them.

I didn't anticipate how cute they would look.
Hailey's hair is just adorable, and Brynna's has the most beautiful soft curls.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

P.A.P.A. - Yet Another Reason Not to Send your Kids to Government Schools

Texas has a new mandatory class that all high schoolers in public school must take, called P.A.P.A. - Parenting and Paternity Awareness.
“They talk about buying ‘x’ number of diapers -- over how many months and years and the cost,” explains Beverly Linkneyer, administrator of the Northside ISD health curriculum. *
The Texas Attorney General - who asked for the class to be taught (since when does the attorney general set curriculum policy?)- says that:
Key themes in the curriculum focus on the importance of father involvement, the value of paternity establishment, the legal realities of child support, the financial and emotional challenges of single parenting, the benefits of both parents being involved in a child's life, healthy relationship skills, and relationship violence prevention.**
Did you catch that?

The value of paternity establishment.

The legal realities of child support.

Now the government is wanting to teach your children how to be parents. Not only that, they are preparing your child for a life of single parenthood. No morality, just this will cost too much money - look at all the diapers you'll have to buy, the child support you'll have to pay, and how it will ruin your life. And since God and Christianity are banned from curriculum, does any Christian parent think that this class will be teaching their son or daughter how to raise their children up "in the fear and admonition of the Lord?" Do you really want the government teaching your children how to parent?

Setting the morality issue aside for a moment, in an age when everybody talks about how the education system is failing, and how we have to stress things like math and science, why are we spending millions of dollars and hours of school time teaching these things? Is this the proper arena for this? I think not. This is the job for parents, families, churches. Can schools who are failing academically afford to take the time to teach these things?

Finally, I did want to mention that the reason touted for this new curriculum is to address the extremely high numbers of teen pregnancy. While I share the concern for the problem, I completely disagree with their solution. Sex Ed has been taught in schools for at least 2 decades and the teen pregnancy numbers have just increased. Besides, what teenaged couple - or adult couple for that matter - will stop in the heat of the moment and say, "Wait, we can't do this. We can't afford the diapers."

*Click here for the local story. **Click here for the Texas Attorney General site describing the class.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Then and Now

Today I took these pictures of a 4 month old who really just wanted to be fed and put to bed, so was not cooperating very much.

Eleven years ago, I took these pictures of a different four month old who was being a tad bit more cooperative.
This was Kora's first Easter, by the way.
That dress has gotten a lot of use!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Great Quote

"Only a mediocre man is always at his best."

John Schuerholz

Does this include woman too?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Worth Its Weight in Gold

My grandmother came to my house when Ashlynn was just a few days old. While she was here, we got to talking about cooking. She mentioned that she had a "big" cast iron skillet that she couldn't lift anymore. Besides that, it is just my grandmother now, so she only needs the small 8 inch skillet. Would I be interested in the "big" one?


She sent it home with my parents who brought it up to me the next time they came to visit. And I have been in love with this pan ever since. It's not quite a big as I thought it was from her description - one of those "eye of the beholder" things, I guess - but I love cooking in it.

I was explaining to the girls that this pan was probably 20-30 years old. They were stunned. When I called my grandmother to tell her how much I loved the pan, she informed me that it was older than that! My grandmother got married in 1943, and she said she had it most of her married life. This pan is so seasoned that glue wouldn't stick to it!
My "new" pan!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My (Exhausting) Weekend Project

When we bought this house I painted our master bedroom. Kelly loved it. It was a sponge painting treatment with two very different shades of green from the same family. With our brown carpet he said it reminded him of being in a forest.

After a while though, this forest feeling started grating on me. It felt dark, close, and busy. I hate clutter and my bedroom always felt cluttered and busy because of the paint combined with our floral comforter. Well I've been looking for two years for a new paint/bedding combo that would work, and this weekend I finally implemented it, much to my loving husband's chagrin.

Here's a few before shots.

Here's a close up of the paint treatment.
So I bought what I thought was a green color with a lot of blue in it. After priming the walls, I put one coat of this color. Oops! Too blue.
So I went back and got the next shade in the green palette for a second coat. Aah, much better! New bedding, new curtains, and next thing ya know, a new master bedroom.

Kelly still misses the forest and the flowers, but I feel like I can breathe when I go in our room now! Thank you, sweetie, for moving all that big heavy furniture so I could get rid of one of your favorite features of our house!