Sunday, January 31, 2010


Congratulations to my sister Jaime and her husband E.J.! My niece Callan will be receiving a baby brother or sister sometime in October. Brother? What's that?

On my side of the family we have my six girls, of course, my youngest sister has three boys, and then the middle one, Jaime, has one little girl who will be 2 in July. So we are definitely heavily girl leaning, especially if you consider my generation - my parents had three girls. (We are even more heavily skewed on Kelly's side: out of 8 grandchildren there is ONE boy!)

We are especially excited for them because they did not go through the infertility issues this time around. They dealt with infertility for over two years last time, and it was very hard for my sister. Praising God for this blessing, and praying for an easy first trimester!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ankle update

I went to see the foot/ankle orthopedist who has been treating my partially torn tendon in my left ankle yesterday afternoon and he was very pleased. I have progressed so far that I can actually hold my arch up barefoot. That doesn't sound like much, but just a few months ago, my arch was on the floor if I didn't have a shoe on. It's my muscles that are holding the foot up, not the tendon, but it is definitely a good sign.

In fact, he called me "an interesting case." He said he's almost never seen this - progress like this, I mean. He wants me to do some foot muscle strengthening exercises to see if we can continue to build up the muscle to help compensate for the tendon who's literally falling down on the job. So for the foreseeable future, he will check me every 3 months and we'll just wait and see if I ever need surgery on it. I am praying not, because it is a major, major reconstruction with a long, arduous recovery. Not something I'm looking forward to.

So now I'm just praising God for the progress and the lack of much pain!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aubrey is a happy girl

A year ago, Aubrey got braces. Here's what the poor girl looked like then.
She got the braces off today! Yes, she's quite happy. Here's what she looks like today.
We have to go back in a week for her retainer and some spacers which will be glued in for a year and a half to two years while we wait for the rest of her adult teeth to come in. Then she gets to undergo another round of braces. Yes, this is only the end of phase 1. Her teeth were so messed up that it was affecting her jaw growth, so they needed to go ahead and do something NOW to stop them from affecting her growth, and to allow the rest of her teeth to come in better, which will hopefully mean a short phase 2.

Kora is the only one not 100% happy though. She's happy for her sister, but she knows that this means it's her turn now. She goes in for the initial visit on February 22, and we'll schedule B-day (brace day) for her then. She's really thrilled, lemme tell ya.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is the end in sight?

Ashlynn, now 21 months old, has started telling us when she has dirtied her diaper, at least part of the time. A couple of days ago, I came out of my room, and she ran up to me, saying, "Mama, oo-ee. Mama, oo-ee." This is, of course, short for shoo-ey, the smell.

None of my kids have potty trained early, and I don't really expect Ashlynn to either. I think you have to have an extremely motivated mother to train early, and that I am not. Shoot, when we are travelling, there are times I wished they all still wore diapers. Any chance I could get some of those astronaut diapers for the 11 and 13 year old before our next trip to Grandma's house?

Anyway, it does make me realize that our diaper days are nearly done. In the last 13 years, since we first became parents, we have had about 6-8 months of absolutely no diapers or pull-ups. We've had short times when we'd had no one in diapers during the day, but even then we still had someone in a diaper or pull-up at night. At one time, we had two in diapers 24/7 and another in pull-ups at night! But after Lauryn potty-trained, we had a few months before Ashlynn was born when she needed nothing.

I don't think diapers will be something I miss about having very small children. I KNOW a diaper bag will not be missed. And I definitely won't miss the potty training once that is behind me (no pun intended ;-) ). I think I will miss the puffy bottoms and the funny walk the diapers make toddlers have.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vanity Checked

Yesterday, I found something that I had hoped I would never find, or at least not for another 10 years or so. My. First. Grey. Hair. I'm NOT gonna cry. No, I'm not.

Is it normal to cry about this? I've been holding back, but if everyone else does, I'll join in. ;-) My husband has been searching my hair, hoping to find one for years, as he's been going grey for at least 10 years. And I have several friends who had grey before they were 30. But I really didn't think it would happen to me before 40.


In all honesty, the past 11 months have been enough to turn every hair on my head grey, so I guess I should be thankful it is only one. But I know they tend to multiply. I guess I'm gonna have to start paying attention to the sales on hair color at CVS from now on. I haven't even been clipping those coupons before, but that too is at an end. Quick, someone tell me something to cheer me up!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: If Mama Ain't Planning

If Mama Ain’t Planning, 2010: Daily Devotional Planner

Format: e-book

Price: $9.99

Available at: If Mama Ain’t Planning!

Affiliate Program also available!

The first of the year is often a time for reflection and changes made to our lives. Just a brief glance through the sales ads will tell you that most people resolve to do two things this time of the year: get in shape and get organized. Many Christians also decide to spend more time reading the Scriptures as well. If Mama Ain't Planning won't help you get in shape, but it could definitely help you with the other two!

This is truly a neat little ebook. It starts off with an overview of the Scriptures which will be the focus of each month of the following year. Then there is a printable month calendar, suitable for putting on the refrigerator, for example. The monthly calendar also has reminders of the focal Scriptures for the month as well as what she is encouraging the prayer focus to be. For example, in January, the focus is on righteousness, so the verses and prayer focus is on that subject, praying for God to make us more like Him.

Following the monthly calendar are weekly calendars, again with the verses to read that week, as well as three other sections: "Must Do," "Might do," and "Menu." There is ample room to write out the menu for the week here, as well as the priorities for the week, all in one spot.

At the beginning of each month, she has written a devotional on the theme of the month, for instance as I mentioned, January's is "If Mama Ain't Righteous." In an easy style of one friend to another, she gets you thinking about how you as a wife and mother affect the rest of your family. Remember the saying "If Mama Ain't Happy, then nobody's happy!" Well, Anitra Elmore has taken the saying and applied it. If Mama's not displaying a good attitude, not doing what she should, how can we expect our children to? This, in essence is the theme of January. The other months follow with themes such as wisdom, service, relationships, etc. throughout the year.

I think this is a neat little book, easy to use (you do have to have Adobe downloaded onto your computer to read and print it). The pages are even pretty to look at. The only negatives are very small ones. the very nature of the ebook makes it so that you can't type onto them. If you are a print it out and use it type of person this will be of no problem whatsoever. If you are a strictly digital person, keeping everything on the computer, it might not be as useful to you, though you could still refer to the Scriptures and use the themes. But really, this is a compilation of pages meant to be printed. This does make it easier for the rest of the family to see, however.

The only other downside, also a minor one, is that one or two of the "Spiritual Habits" that are encouraged each month may not sit well with all Christians, depending on their beliefs. For instance, while the activity that is encouraged to become a habit in January is a regular, daily reading of the Bible, in February, the habit is regular fasting as the Lord leads. Some of my friends and family would be uncomfortable with the idea of fasting. However, if this isn't something you would disagree with, it is easily skipped. So this is really a very minor issue.

If you are at all interested, Mrs. Elmore has a neat blog, called, of course, If Mama Ain't... I hope you enjoy her book as much as I have!

This is a review for MamaBuzz. This product was provided for free for review purposes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Conversations with a 5 year old

A couple of days ago, Lauryn was explaining something very obvious to her older sisters. And they, thinking they were being smart, asked her sarcastically:

"So, Lauryn, how did you think of that?"

To which Lauryn very smugly replied, "My brain helped me."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Images from the Sleepover

Last Friday night, we hosted six extra girls, aged 11-14 for a sleepover in celebration of her 13th birthday. That's a whole lot of estrogen. But they had fun. A couple of them even slept a little bit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking Back

So school starts back up at the Smith Academy tomorrow after a three week break. But I think I need a week off from my break. I almost always over fill time off from school with projects around the house. Besides celebrating Christmas with our family, here's some of what I've been up to the past three weeks:

  • Of course, putting up all the Christmas decorations and getting my house back.
  • Cleaning out the cabinet in our water closet, where most of our medications, first aid stuff, and other necessities are stored. Had to throw out LOTS of expired stuff.
  • Cleaned out and organized three baskets in master closet that hold all the toiletries I have gotten for free/almost free/more than free from CVS and/or Walgreens. No joke I have about 10 bottles of shampoo and conditioner, at least that many bottles of body wash, and about 8-10 sets of razors (some male, some female), 6 bottles of hair mousse, and a whole lot of other stuff.
  • Cleaned out all three girls' closets, reorganizing some of the toys. We also did some toy shuffling in order to encourage sisters to play together more.
  • Cleaned out our nightstands.
  • Had the girls clean out the game cabinet and art/craft cabinet. I refuse to touch them.
  • Cleaned out and organized our deep freezer - this has needed it badly for quite a while!
  • Cleaned out and scrubbed the fridge.
  • Cleaned out the "catch-all" drawer in the kitchen.
  • Cleaned out and organized the garage - again, something that has been looooooong over due. This also necessitated a trip to our hazardous trash drop off with about 3 boxes full of out of date pesticides or paint cans that were rusted out as well as a trip to Goodwill.
  • Moving all our 2009 financial stuff into long term storage and shredding the financial stuff from 8 years ago. At least since I've been doing a better job keeping up with this task - and not keeping so much non-essential stuff - the job isn't as big as it used to be.
  • Printed out and organized our history/geography/literature curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, for the next semester. I hadn't bought it yet when I did this back in the summer, so I had to do it now or be faced with lots of work every week this semester.
  • Went clearance shopping - already have a few things for next Christmas! And some purty new clothes.
  • Got the sewing machines and supplies ready for my three oldest to start their sewing classes tomorrow. A friend from church is teaching two levels of sewing classes in her home this semester. Brynna (8yo) will be taking the hand sewing class while Kora and Aubrey get to use the machines.
  • I also had to go buy something to use in my Christmas present. But what that was will be in another post.
  • Kept my niece and nephew for two days while my BIL had surgery. On New Year's Eve, no less. While others got champagne, he had to stick with percoset.
  • We also hosted the dessert portion of a progressive dinner for the adults in our church on New Year's Day. That was so much fun. While we love our kids and enjoy having them with us at church events, it was nice to get to fellowship with everyone not having to keep half an ear out for the kiddos.
  • We also hosted a sleepover for about 6 of Kora's (and Aubrey's) closest friends in honor of Kora turning 13. Though why they call it a "sleep"over, I have no idea, as almost no sleeping went on at all.
  • Helped Kelly recover from an excruciating root canal. Or just bugged him, not sure.
  • And of course, there was the normal first-of-the-month grocery shopping and the normal cooking and cleaning, laundry, etc.
Phew! Sometimes it is good to look back at a list like that. It's easy as a mom to feel like you never accomplish anything to completion. After all, no matter how great a meal you make, those pesky people you live with will still expect to eat again tomorrow. But it is nice to feel that sense of accomplishment, especially when something that has been bugging you for a long time - like my deep freezer and the garage - is taken care of. It helps me be able to concentrate on school with the kids without the nagging feeling of all the other stuff I need to do as well.

But it has left me tired. Like I said, I need a break from my break! Maybe teaching phonics will even sound good tomorrow.

Or not.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I know I've been rather quiet this Christmas season. I try to keep my blog upbeat and positive, so when things get hard, I usually revert to the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" mantra.

Nothing really catastrophic has happened. Not only has it been a busy Christmas season - as normal - but several things have combined to make it a difficult one. Obviously it was the first Christmas without Kelly's mom. We also have three of the girls' birthdays in November and December, again the first without her. It hurts that she never got to see any of them make it to be teenagers.

We also had our shares of illnesses, misadventures, and an unexpected root canal during this time. Kelly's been really suffering with this tooth, and even after the root canal, it is still hurting him. I tried really hard not to let my underlying feeling of gloom affect the kids and their Christmas time. We kept all of our traditions - Advent readings and calendar, cookie baking, gift exchanges - and we had a great time with both sides of the extended family. The girls seem to all appreciate and enjoy their gifts, so I hope they don't remember this year in a negative way.

We didn't start back to school this week. I like to take 3 weeks off at Christmas, with the first week in January being one of them. I need a week to organize, straighten, rearrange, and prepare for the next semester. I think the activity is helping. It definitely makes me happy to see things cleaned out and organized! The two older girls and I cleaned out most of the garage this afternoon, something that needed doing badly! But more on that later.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, and are ready for the new year!