Monday, June 29, 2009

Lauryn Helps Me Make Cookies

And then gets to lick the beater from the mixer. The older girls said she was acting like an Indian warrior - using face paint. You be the judge!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Big Announcement

We are very excited to announce that Kelly is starting his own IT solutions business! Next week, South Texas Technology Solutions officially hits the ground running.

Kelly not only has a BS in computer science, but also has over 15 years experience building, servicing, maintaining, upgrading, and troubleshooting computers. In a few weeks, his certifications will be finalized as well. STTS will offer on-site or in-office service to both residential and small business computers and networks in San Antonio and surrounding areas. He will also sell computer components as well as full systems, create and install custom entertainment systems, and offer web services, such as building and maintaining websites. He can also create custom software, provide software testing services, and create databases.

This has been a dream of Kelly's for several years, however the timing was not right. But over the past several months, he's really felt called to start this. At first he will be working for his current employer as well as for the business. Our prayer and goal is that in the not too distant future, the business will be his livelihood. He really loves helping people with computers, and looks forward to be able to do so full-time.

As you can probably imagine, we have spent much time on research, details, and setting things up. We don't have all the final details in place, but will have most of them by July 1st, the official kick-off date.

We would ask two things of you:
1. Please pray for us. Not only for clients to come to him, but for patience and endurance for us both as we undertake what will probably be the hardest thing we've ever done. That Kelly can be a blessing to those he serves. That I will be the "helpmeet" he truly needs. And also that he will have more business than he can handle quickly so that he can go full time.

2. If you live in or around San Antonio, and know us and feel comfortable doing so, please recommend Kelly to anyone or any business you know who needs computer work. As in any service industry, word of mouth is the best marketing you can have. Next week, I'll put the business information on the right sidebar of my blog.

We've already received a wonderful amount of support and encouragement from those who've known about our project. It means a lot to us. Please keep praying!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big weekend

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. We had a big weekend, which included my husband having a terrible head cold, which I seemed to have been fighting earlier in the week. Now that I am feeling mostly normal again, I can post.

This past Sunday our five younger girls were baptized at our church, Presbyterian style. This family picture was taken after services. No, I didn't buy the dresses for this occasion, we had them from family pictures taken a few years ago when we only had 5 kids (remember that, honey?).
When I pulled these pictures off my camera, I was struck at how TALL Kora is. No way my 12 year old is almost as tall as me. Granted, she's wearing heels, albeit low ones. But so was I! How did this happen?

Next thing you know, she'll be wearing the same size shoe as I do. Oh wait, she DOES! Next thing you know she'll be calling herself a teenager. Oh no, that's in 6 months! Again, how does this happen?

In other news, we have a big announcement to make soon, so stay tuned. (And no, it does NOT have anything to do with a new baby, pregnancy, or any of the children for that matter.) I'll let you in on it in a few days!

Friday, June 19, 2009


This little girl is 14 months old today. She can run, she can climb stairs, she can shove food in her mouth quite expertly. She can play peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake, she can point to her nose, mouth, tummy, and sometimes her eyes. She can blow kisses and wave bye-bye. If you lift her up so that she can reach them, she can turn doorknobs to open the door.
She's been saying "Da-da" and "Daddy" for months now. She can also say "uh-huh" and recently started saying something that sounds a lot like "thank you," though it comes out more like "Dah doo." But you know what she doesn't do and never has?

She has never said "Ma-ma."



If she weren't so dang cute I'd be mortally offended. After all, she's the first one who hasn't said it well before her first birthday. If she were my first child, I'd be crushed, probably in therapy. But I know that eventually she'll be whining "ma, ma, ma, ma, ma..." constantly and I'll wonder why I ever wanted her to learn to say that word.
For now, I'll try to figure out a way to hold this over her head when she's older. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One more thing

One thing I failed to mention that I was doing this summer is revising the girls' chore lists. Any long break is a great time to re-evaluate what kids are capable of accomplishing around the house. This also gives you plenty of time to teach the child to do the chore properly, then observe the child doing it properly for days or weeks with fewer interruptions. By the time school's back in, the child should be able to complete the task by herself.

With six girls, is there any chance I could work myself out of a job???

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Break

Though I love homeschooling - most of the time - I also love the change of pace of summer break. The first few years I homeschooled, I did more of a year round schedule. We'd take off about 6 weeks from late May through the 4th of July. Then we'd start back the week after the 4th.

This has several advantages. It's too hot here in South Texas to do anything outside besides swim unless you go out early in the day. This also gave me greater flexibility to take off weeks during the school year. Six weeks was enough time to order my stuff and get prepared for the next year.

The last 2-3 years, I have scheduled more of a traditional summer break. Last year, we took almost no weeks off during the school year so that we could finish the year by mid April before I was due to have Ashlynn. I loved the longer break. So I decided to do the same thing this year -though we ended mid May not mid April - for several reasons.

There are many projects around the house that don't get done except during school breaks, so this gives me plenty of time to tackle them. Also, with more kids now school age, it takes me longer to prepare than it used to. Also, as the kids get older, it takes me longer to get some things ready as the classes are more complex. FYI, my school aged kids are entering 8th, 6th, 3rd, and 1st. Plus with more kids, and as busy as our school year is, it just seems to take longer to decompress between years for me. :-) Also, as the girls have gotten older, they get involved in outside activities - music lessons, co-ops, etc. - that operate on a traditional school schedule. In many ways, it's easier to schedule around these things anyway.

So these days, the kids get up (they still get up at the same time as they did during school days, only on Saturday are the alarms not on) eat breakfast, do chores and go outside. I make them stay outside as long as they can stand it. Then they come in and the older ones practice piano. One morning a week, I make all four of the older girls do one math lesson. This keeps them from forgetting everything over the summer. I usually have one or two cleaning projects, like helping me move all the furniture in one room and vacuuming.

The rest is free time for them. They play or do crafts. Brynna and Hailey have been into "scrapbooking" like mad the last 2 or 3 weeks. The other day they all painted. They read a lot. I have "assigned" reading for them every afternoon. They have to read on that for 30-45 minutes and then can read anything they want.

I am spending the time preparing for next year - typing in lesson plans, creating lapbooks, making lists of needs for science experiments - as well as doing other little projects. Right now I'm on the hunt for the perfect bread recipe for the girls and I. I'm nursing my garden along. Last summer I redecorated like mad - some sort of weird postpartum chemical thing, I think. This year, I do want to get a couple of rooms painted and a couple of smaller projects done, but I am trying to keep from going overboard like I did last year. :-)

So what are you up to this summer?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I can't believe I forgot my camera!

We had our church's 5th anniversary picnic/swim party today and...


The house we were at is about 45 minutes from my house, so there was no going back to get it. But we had a great time, even though all the sunscreen in the world couldn't have kept the kids from getting sunburned. And believe me, I put about half the world's supply on them every hour. Those redheads, especially... Let's just say their skin now matches. :-)

Miss you guys who couldn't make it (and you know who you are!).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Ashlynn has learned a couple of new tricks lately. Toddlers are so cute! First off is peek-a-boo. Sometimes she gets carried away and covers up her cheeks, mouth, or ears instead of her eyes, but this time she got her eyes. Well, mostly.

Where's Ashlynn?
And she loves pat-a-cake. I tried and tried to get a picture of her clapping at the beginning, but she usually only does a clap or two and immediately goes into "rolling the dough" which is her favorite part.

Roll the dough,
roll the dough,
pitch it in the pan!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

5 Years

Today is the 5th anniversary of our church that we helped plant here in San Antonio. Six years ago, a group of seven men started meeting about once every week or two to set up the constitution for the church as well as other framework needed. Although several of the men had years of pastoring experience, none of them had participated in a church plant before. It was exciting and scary at the same time.

The men had a vision for a family-integrated church. This is not a new idea, of course but a rather old one. The whole family worships together without nurseries, children's church, or youth groups. The parents, namely the fathers, are the primary teachers of their own children. In other words, it's how churches operated until very recent history. After a year of these start-up meetings by the men, the church began worshipping together the first Sunday of June, 2004.

We all laugh a little at the first weeks we met as a congregation. Our first few Sundays we had 10-12 families, with children under the age of 13 far outnumbering the teens and adults. And most of the kids 4 and under were not used to sitting through a church service. So it was, shall we say, just a little noisy.

Five years later, it is amazing to see where God has brought us. Not only have our children gone beyond learning to sit through a long church service to actually learning to worship, but I have seen such growth in our families. Not just in the number that worship with us, though that has certainly increased as well, but in the closeness we have together and the spiritual maturity I have seen many of the members show under the most trying circumstances. Our church has had some wonderful highs and some devastating lows, attacks of every kind.

But through it all, God has been faithful. Through all the long months of meeting to set the church up, to the years before we were able to take our pastor on full time, to all the trials, God had a plan. And His will is good and perfect, though we are not.

Thank you, Lord for the church family you have put us in. Thank you for your faithfulness over the past 5 years. Keep us always in your will, disciplining us when we need it. Guide and keep us. Help us to do the good work which you created for us to do - to each other and to the lost. Help us to always proclaim the truth of your gospel and minister to all with love.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Weird According to a 4 Year Old

This picture was taken in September 1996. We'd been married just over 3 years and I was about 6 months pregnant with Kora. Kelly had just been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, and we were about a month away from moving to our first duty station. We were both 22, about to turn 23. Just babies ourselves!
I keep this picture on the table beside "my" chair in our bedroom. The other day, Lauryn (4.5 yo) was in our room "helping" me make my bed. She went over to the table and started studying this picture. Here's the conversation that followed.

Lauryn: Mama, you look really weird in this picture.

Me: What about Daddy? Does he look "weird" too?

L: Yes, he looks a little weird. But you look REALLY weird.

Me: Why do I look so weird?

L (placing her hand across her forehead like she was seeing if she was running a temperature): 'Cause you have dark stuff right here!

Me, laughing my head off: Those are bangs, Lauryn! My hair right there in front was cut short over my forehead. And that short hair is called bangs!

L: Oh, well the bangs made you look really weird.

She went around telling everyone in the house for the rest of the day about my weird bangs. Guess it's a good thing I let my bangs grow out several years ago!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm Really Brave to Try This

So I've toyed with the idea of a small garden, either in a raised bed or container garden, for a couple of years now. Kelly agreed this spring to build me a bed, so I asked for some advice from others around here who keep gardens and dove in. You see I have two problems when it comes to this sort of thing.

1. I have, if not a black thumb, a very grey thumb. I seem to do ok with shrubs and bushes and certain flowering things, like Mexican heather and lantana, which are indestructible anyway. But annuals, perennials, and many other green things usually don't stay green very long under my inexpert care.

2. Most gardening books and websites don't apply to the climate down here. Plants that say "full sun" can't always take the full sun of a San Antonio summer, which is approximately 7 months long. Ask me how I know.

So part of my procrastination has been fear of failure. But I finally felt adventurous enough this year - and have girls old enough to be of real help with it - that I dove in. Kelly built a raised bed for me, I filled it with a rich garden soil/compost mix. We got started little late so I started mostly with plants, which is the more expensive option I realize. But this fall and next spring I can start with more seeds and save a lot of money.
Right now I have a squash and a zucchini plant, two bell pepper plants (one green and one red, I think) a jalapeno plant, a tomato plant, and a grape vine. Even though some people told me it was too late for seeds, some said it was still ok. I decided it wouldn't hurt to try, and it would be a good educational experience for the girls. So we also bought a seed starter kit, which acts like a little greenhouse. We planted green beans, onions, and a pumpkin seed. Sure enough they are all sprouting. Hopefully they will stay healthy and thriving long enough for transplanting to the bed. Then the real test begins. ;-)
This fall I can't wait to plant lettuce and next spring: strawberries!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Done. Mostly.

Well, I finally did it. After weeks of planning and researching, I put in my orders today for most of our school needs for the next year.

I have been buying as much used from this website as I could in the last several weeks. If you are not familiar with - and you are a homeschooler - what in the world are you waiting for? I saved quite a bit by buying several things used from other homeschoolers there. It's much better than eBay, and you can buy teacher tooks with no hassle. (For you non-homeschoolers, eBay banned the sale of answer/teacher books several months ago because public and private schooled students might buy them and copy the answers. Of course, you aren't supposed to buy anything on eBay if you are under 18, so does this mean their parents were buying it for their kids? But I digress.)

Another of my perennial favorites is This business is owned by a homeschool family and literally carries nearly everything under the rainbow! I buy much of my new stuff there.

I also put in a decent order to The Bookshelf, the bookstore affiliated with Tapestry of Grace. Even if you don't use Tapestry, they have some great books, as well as other items, like Easy Grammar and Spelling Power. In fact, they are running a sale on these two items that is cheaper than I have ever seen them sell for new, so check them out.

I still have a few things to get from Amazon and, but I am mostly done. By the way, I do not get any kind of kickback from recommending these places to you. I wish I did, since I just signed away my firstborn to buy all those books. Wait, if I signed her away, why did I buy stuff for her???