Thursday, July 30, 2009


Shortly after we arrived at my in-laws' house Friday afternoon, my parents called. They were at my sister's house and wanted to know if it was ok for them to come over. My sister lives in Ft. Worth, and my parents had come up to celebrate my niece's 1st birthday. But once they heard Vickie's news they wanted to come by since they were only about an hour away.

So for a while I had my husband, my kids, my middle sister, her husband, my niece, Kelly's parents, Kelly's brother and his wife, and their kids under one roof. The only ones from my immediate family missing were my youngest sister, her husband, and their boys.
This from left to right is my sister Jaime, my dad., my SIL Lena is hiding behind my dad, Kelly's brother Tony, my MIL Vickie, my FIL David, Kelly, and my mom.
My MIL Vickie on the left and my mom on the right. They were watching the two toddlers playing.
Here I am with Ashlynn on the left and Callan, my niece, on the right. They were HEAVY!
Ashlynn and Callan enjoyed playing together. OK, well, Ashlynn enjoyed it. I'm not sure Callan knew what to think about this person her size who kept running around her trying to get her to walk and giving her toys. Once, Ashlynn actually reached out a hand trying to get Callan to stand up!
Ashlynn loved my in-law's dog. She spent the whole weekend chasing him around and petting him, and then running away when he licked her. She was also fascinated by his dog food - yuck!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Glasses

A couple of weeks ago, I took the girls in for their yearly eye exam. Brynna started wearing glasses last year. And I wasn't really surprised when her eyesight had worsened in just one year. Unfortunately, she seems to be taking after me in that regard. Not only was her perscription about half as strong as it now needed to be, she had grown so much that her one year old glasses were too small for her face!

So we ordered new glasses. Blue ones - it's what she wanted. This morning we went to pick them up. She was so excited, like most kids would be at getting to go pick up a new toy or something. But they are really cute.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How Quickly Things Get Worse

In my last post, I wrote that my mother-in-law's cancer had returned to her liver. Thursday morning we received some even worse news, which explains my lack of posting since then.

Not only is her cancer back, but it has infused her liver. In other words, there is no place in her liver where there is NOT any cancer. Which means it is inoperable. Radiation does not work on liver cancer. As a matter of fact, chemo rarely works on liver cancer. What this leaves us with is, basically, not much.

When Vickie was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 3 years ago, she asked about clinical trials. They told her that only two kinds of people were sent to clinical trials for cancer drugs - those who can't afford treatment and those they can do nothing else for. As they left the oncologist's office that day, Vickie joked to my FIL, "If an oncologist tells you he's looking for a clinical trial to put you in, you'd better be sizing up the coffin." Thursday, the doctor told her that they were looking into a clinical trial for her.

Right after lunch on Thursday, we told the girls the latest news. Of course, they already knew that her cancer was back, but they didn't understand the gravity of the recurrence. I think they just assumed she'd get treatment like the last time, and be OK. Well, we laid it all out for them. That has been the hardest thing we've ever done as parents to date. They adore Kelly's mom, and sobbed like I have never seen them cry before.

Thursday afternoon we met Kelly's brother's family for dinner to discuss things and just be together as a family. The hostess asked us as she was seating us, "Are you celebrating anything this evening?" We all just looked at each other. Kelly's brother answered, "Not really."

Friday morning we got up and drove to Dallas to spend the weekend with my in-laws. Surprisingly enough, it was an enjoyable weekend. Though there were plenty of tears, especially Friday evening, we laughed together, cooked together, laughed at the kids and the dog. Kelly's brother, Tony, has started a new photography business. He brought all his fancy-shmancy equipment with him, and we spent a good deal of Saturday taking pictures: Granny with all the grandkids, with her sons, with my FIL, with the dog, family pictures, etc.

I think one of the things that helped is that all the grandkids knew what was going on. We didn't hide anything, so that let us be able to talk about everything in front of anyone in the room. There was no "elephant in the living room" and thus no tension because of it. The kids asked questions when they came up, we discussed the treatment possibilities, we spoke about her not making it.

Hopefully we'll find out soon whether Vickie fully qualifies for the clinical trial. We hope that she does because this medicine combination is given in pill form and there are no really awful side-effects, like hair loss and nausea. This would mean that she wouldn't have to decide between quality of life and length of life.

My in-laws are being such amazing examples to everyone throughout this of how God works these things in the lives of believers. They are relying on Him and resting in His sovereignty. This doesn't mean there are no tears or heartache. But they are true examples of a verse they have taken as there own in the last several months.

Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him

Job 13:15a

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How Quickly Things Change

Yesterday, we received some very unexpected news - and very unpleasant news. My mother-in-law, who was treated for a very aggressive form of breast cancer two and a half years ago, went in for a routine blood work check up with the oncologist. Her liver numbers were way off. A CT scan confirmed that her cancer is back. A biopsy today will confirm whether this is the same type of cancer as last time; but because of the aggressive nature of the tumors on her liver, we are all sure it is the same.

Needless to say, this is hard news for all of us. She was so very sick with the chemo the last time, I hate to think of her going through that again. But she always had such a great attitude last time, and declares that if she did it before, she can do it again. I am thankful for her strong faith and her example to all of us.

Here's her take on it in her own words:
Emotions of all kinds have ran through my head since this morning. Fear---of the known and the unknown. But also strength that I've done this once and I can do this again. Regardless of what we face, God is always there to carry us in His hands. One of my favorite quotes from my last treatment was from Sir Winston Churchill:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts.

I pray that God will give me the courage to continue.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To school or not to school...

I've mentioned before that I have always preferred to school year round - until last year. Before last year, I had always taken about 6-7 weeks off from the end of May until after the 4th of July, and then started the new school year. This allowed us to take more weeks off during the year, and kept kids from getting bored while giving me ample time to prepare the school stuff.

Well last year, I had a baby in mid April. We had schooled straight through the year with few breaks so we could be done by then. I loved the almost 4 month break! Of course it gave me ample time to recover from the birth and adjust to a new baby. And it was just so laid back and relaxing. I also got tons done around the house, including painting 4 of the bedrooms.

So this year I decided to do a long summer break as well, though we didn't finish until the end of May. I am now being reminded of one reason I liked to school year round. I'm afraid the kids - at least in the 4-8 age range - are bored! They would never admit to it of course, but I am sure having more than the normal amount of fussing, arguing, picking on each other, etc from all the kids. It's leading to some really bad attitudes - and the kids' attitudes aren't that great either! ;-) I have one child in particular who seems to be making it her mission to get into as much mischief as possible lately. Sigh.

I'm seriously tempted to start school the first of August (two weeks earlier than planned)- even though I myself am still liking the time off. However, I have some medical issues that I am dealing with, and I'd rather be able to attend to those before we start back. Unfortunately, I am still waiting to hear from two different doctors' offices and can't get answers, so who knows when I can get it dealt with?

So I'm in a quandary - to school or not to school? So when are your kids starting back to school, whether you homeschool or not?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A New, Old-fashioned Favorite

I have a cookware curse. No, really, I do. It seems that no matter how much I spend on cookware, it just doesn't seem to last as long as I think it should. Maybe it's because of constant use? Anyway, when my skillet, my big super-family sized skillet, needed to be replaced - AGAIN - I decided to bite the bullet and buy another cast iron skillet.
I received a 10 inch skillet from my grandmother a couple years back, and have loved it. Since she's had hers for over 50 years, I have hopes that maybe I can hold on to mine for a while. So I decided to order this skillet from Amazon. Boy, is it BIG.
This is my new skillet next to an older 10 inch skillet, just to get an idea of the size of this thing. And it is heavy, too. But you know what? It cooks wonderfully! And, I can brown 5 pounds of ground beef at the same time in it! And relatively quickly, too, because of the great heat distribution. And it came pre-seasoned. Now I am thinking I need a 12 inch one to round out my collection. :-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brings back memories

Lauryn and Ashlynn are at an age/size where they are wearing clothing that was made for Kora and Aubrey, in matching sets. Some I made, some were bought as a matching set, some were made by my mother-in-law, such as this set:
I can hardly realize that Kora and Aubrey aren't this size anymore. But the present owners of the wardrobes sure are cute, aren't they?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Marie Madeline: Gracie Ruffle Skirt

I've actually done some sewing lately! There was once a time when I sewed 15-20 hours a week; when I sewed virtually all the girls' clothes, especially in the spring/summer. But then I had a third baby. And then a fourth. And I started homeschooling...

Anyway, so I usually sew in fits and spurts these days. But I saw these skirts earlier this spring and fell in love. They are so cute! And since each ruffle uses just a little fabric, and you can mix and match, it was a great way to use up some of my fabric stash, which is quite impressive, though I don't think I've bought any for 4-5 years.

Here's Kora's. Some of this fabric actually came from Hawaii!
This one is Hailey's.
They love how "twirly" they are.
Of course, now the other three want one too. :-) If you go to the Marie Madeline site, you can buy the pattern there (as far as I am aware, that is the only place you can buy them). They also sell some cute, cute fabric, though I didn't buy any. If you don't sew, you can also buy them pre-made. But this is really a very basic pattern, with nothing but straight lines, gathering, and a casing for the elastic waist. If you're looking for a fairly easy pattern to make your daughter a skirt, this is it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Canning Jars - gotta love 'em

Is anyone else besides me in love with their canning jars, even if you don't can vegetables or make jelly? I love mine. I use them for all sorts of things, like storing excess pizza sauce. Or salvaging the contents of a can that was opened by mistake (like when my child opens cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom).
I especially like that you can freeze with them. I don't trust my regular "glad-ware" containers in the freezer but the jars work just fine! For instance, I have a couple of recipes that call for V8 juice. I don't use it often, but it is so much more economical to buy the big jug of it - the 64 oz. jug is just a little more than 12-oz. can. So I bought the bigger container, and poured the remainder into clean jars and popped them into the freezer. I poured the amount that I normally use in my recipes into each jar, so that next time I make one, I'll just let one thaw in the fridge the day before.

Just remember to always leave some head space at the top of the jar for expansion!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Hypothetically speaking, why would a child of, say, about 4 get sick to her stomach, make it to the bathroom, but then decide to use the sink instead of the toilet? And then NOT TELL HER PARENTS ABOUT IT??? Then, let's say, this hypothetical father walks into the bathroom later in the evening to give the 4- and 1-year-olds baths on a Saturday evening to find such a lovely sight.

And of course, in any hypothetical family of, say, 6 girls, once one of 'em starts, at least a couple of others must follow. Which would cause these hypothetical parents much loss of sleep and much middle-of-the-night laundry.

Which, hypothetically, might be a possible reason I am blogging instead of sitting in church right now. Uhg.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hailey's Hobby

Hailey (aged 6.5) has decided to take up photography. Either that or she just likes to play with our camera. She did ask permission, so I let her click away the other day. When I uploaded pictures the other day, I found some interesting subjects. Like our front door, bookshelves, random objects lying around the house, the garden, etc. There were about 100 (give or take about 90) of Brynna. I deleted most of her pictures, but kept a few. I love digital cameras - never in a million years would I have let her take over 60 pictures with film!

Hailey's Gallery

Brynna - being a ham runs in (her father's) family

Didn't know doing dishes was so fascinating.
Don't I look excited? I was grading a math assignment. Notice all the bookshelves behind me? Yep, you might be a homeschooler if...
Way cool Daddy.
There were also about 20 pictures of Ashlynn. No joke.
This one just made me laugh. It's a picture of a doll shoe. No, I have no idea why.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

South Texas Technology Solutions

I have added the contact information to the sidebar on the right for our computer business, South Texas Technology Solutions. As of today we are open for business! Visit us at!