Saturday, December 29, 2007

Congratulations to the Skinner Family!This is my handsome brother, Jason, and his new baby boy, Lucas. Jason and his wife, Tara, have three beautiful daughters and now a sweet son. Congratulations Jason and Tara!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Belly Shot

For those of you far away......A belly shot at 37 weeks!

Any day now............

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Race

The Race for the Finish

I hope that you all had a wonderful celebration of our Lord's birth. We had a great time of celebration, reflection, and fun! Hopefully, the kids will stay busy for at least two minutes with the new things they received this year!

Now that Christmas is over, I have this overwhelming urge to REorganize EVERYHTING again! I think this even goes beyond my nesting phase last week. We are prepared and ready for the home birth and definitely ready to meet this precious baby. But, as I look around the house, I see many things that need to be accomplished. As many of you know, organizing in itself is an ongoing event, especially in a large family, or in a family where Mom hates clutter. So, thankfully I have the desire and energy to get these things done. So yesterday, I began with a complete overhaul on my bathroom, with the help of my wonderful husband. Now it is fit for a laboring mama, complete with candles and new towels!

Next, it was time for another round of haircuts! I wanted to get this done before the baby, otherwise it won't get done after baby, at least for a while. Just Ethan's hair to go. After haircuts and dinner, while the rest of family watched a movie, Celeste and I cleaned every crack and crevice of Seth's room and closet! It was a disaster in there, and being that my mom will be staying in his room, it was definitely a priority, one that cannot be entrusted to a six year old! No, this was a job for MOM! And finally, after we finished in there, I actually had enough energy to tackle the playroom too! I am so thankful for this energy, because prior to my nesting phase, I had ZERO energy and didn't think I'd get anything done before the baby. It amazing how God gives us this burst of energy and excitement near the end of pregnancy so that we can prepare for the baby. I just have to be careful and not over do it so that I'll have what I need to get through labor, right? ;-)

Today will be another day of the same. First on my list is making another menu and grocery list. Many of know already that I have menus premade with coordinating shopping lists, but we seem to go through the five menus quickly so I want at least one more. This will give me six, two week menus, giving us a total of three months worth of meals. At least I can do this task sitting down! Ahhhhh! Next on the list is the pantry! It's been a year or so since I last conquered it, so it's time to go through again and get rid of the old and make room for the new. I got two new small appliances for Christmas and have no where to store them, so this is a MUST DO project today!

My final "to do" will be getting a post out to family about what's happening with each family member these days. I've wanted to do this for quite some time, and even began the post on Christmas, but it will be fairly lengthy, so I'll eventually get to it. After all, this blog was mainly started for family and distant friends to be able to keep up with the happenings of our family! Stay tuned........

Okay.......time to get to work! Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Complete Vintage Cradle

We're down to the final two and a half weeks until my due date. I still can't believe I'm this close to delivery day. This pregnancy has zipped by so quickly, I almost feel like I need a bit more time. I said almost! We've been so preoccupied with house stuff and the possibility of moving, that it was hard to get into baby-readiness mode. Now that we know we'll be staying right here for at least another month or so, I've switched modes and have begun preparing for the arrival of our sweet baby.

Preparing this time around is quite different from our previous births. Rather than packing a bag and thinking through what I'll need to take to the hospital, I'm setting things up for our first home birth. Yesterday, we did some rearranging in our bedroom to accommodate the cradle and a table for birth supplies. I also washed all the baby linens and the car seat cover. I still need to pull out the neutral clothes and get those washed, but other than that, we're ready.....I think!

For those of you who may be interested in keeping up with the progress of my labor, I am going to try to live blog the event. I thought it was very cool to read the labor/births of Stephanie and Kim C while they were happening, so I'll do my best to post as much as possible, or at least have others post for me! This will be really great for family and friends who are far away. I'll zip out an email when I go into labor with the blog link. We'll see what happens.....

If you think of us, please keep us in prayer as we approach the big day. We thank God in advance for this gift and pray that He will allow us to have a safe and wonderful delivery at home!

Photo Credit

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Weary Mommy

Wings as Eagles

God is so good to always be molding and shaping us into His image. He allows us to go through many trials, whether big or small, to teach us, to grow us, and to remind us that we can do nothing apart from Him.

Well, my trials over the past month or so have been small compared to many I know, but nonetheless, have taught me that our reliance upon the Lord isn't simply day by day, or even hour by hour, but rather, minute by minute!

This pregnancy has been my most difficult, hormonally. I've never experienced such drastic hormonal shifts, and ups and downs, as I have this time. I'm also the most tired I have ever been in my life.

I'm irritable, snappy, and grumpy most of the time!

As it is, life with six kids (two of whom are fairly needy) and being nine months pregnant with number seven certainly comes with a few challenges. But, throw in there some unpredictable hormones and voila!'ve got ME!

While all of these very things bring me great joy, hard days are just to be expected.  But.....for all of this....I rejoice!  I thank God for allowing me to be in a place where I am calling out to Him, and being reminded that I cannot get through the day, or even the next minute without Him! 

I am also being reminded of what it means to love unconditionally through the love of my husband. Greg has shown such mercy, love, and patience with me during my not-so-pleasant mood swings. He amazes me by always displaying a heart of Christ. I have a lot to learn and he has always been a great teacher to me.

This post happens to be my 100th post, which took more than a year to get to. Traditionally, I guess you're supposed to list 100 things about yourself, but rather than do that, I thought I'd post a few things about me that show a little transparency, a little vulnerability, a little humility, and a lot of praise for my precious Lord, apart from Whom I can do nothing.

God is good ALL THE TIME...even at our weariest moments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Table With Food

Giving Thanks........

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to ALL generations.
Psalm 100: 4-5


Photo Credit

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Poor Ethan

What a pretty little........girl?

No, this is not Ethan's secret twin sister! Ashamedly, this was Cheyenne and Celeste's doing in protest of Ethan's long hair. And sadly, it worked. He did end up finally getting a haircut, but, it's already time for another. I guess I'd better hurry up and cut it again before they get another bright idea.

Needless to say.......DAD WAS NOT HAPPY!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reformation Day

Reformation Day Faire

Do you all think that Covenant of Grace can pull this off next year? How fun!!! Be sure and check out all of the photos. Aside from the gorgeous costumes, my favorite pic has to be the one of the stocks, which were reserved for those who tried to sell "indulgences". Too cute!

Monday, October 29, 2007

We've Been Tagged

Orange Juice the sick bug, that is! Just when we thought we had escaped it, IT got us......well some of us! Ethan, Chloe and Sophia are all croupy with slight fevers. Last night, we had to take Ethan to an Urgent Care clinic because he was having some breathing difficulty. After two breathing treatments and an oral steroid, he was back to his mischievous self. He slept well until about 3am and then began wheezing again, but not as severe. He's doing well this morning......we'll just keep an eye on him. Sophia seems to be getting over it already and Chloe seems to be in the thick of it. We're hoping and praying that everyone will be well by Wednesday in time for our Reformation celebration at church.  

And to just second what Tami said about Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care , they were wonderful! We had been there before about a year ago, and had a good experience, so we were definitely willing to go back rather than deal with an ER. Anyway, they were a bit busy but because Ethan was having breathing issues, they immediately took us back to at least get his O2 sat checked, which was what we were concerned about. Since it was 97, they sent us back out to the waiting room. While we waited, his breathing got worse. By the time it was our turn, his O2 saturation had dropped so they began a breathing treatment immediately. We got to the clinic about 8pm and didn't leave until 11:30......the clinic closed at 9pm. Although I'm sure they're used to staying after hours, it was their cheerful spirits (that late at night after a long day) and their care for Ethan that really made us feel good about being there. Another neat service is that you can register on-line before you go (which is what we did) to avoid a lot of paper work once you get there. All we had to do was sign our name and give them our insurance card. Much quicker and much easier when you have a sick child. So, if you live in San Antonio and want to avoid the ER, I highly recommend this clinic!

Hoping YOU all are well and having a great day!

Photo Credit

Friday, October 26, 2007

This and That

We've had a very busy morning.......actually, it began last night with the deep cleaning and weeding out of Seth's room/closet. It's amazing how fast that boy's room can clutter up. This morning, the girls and I began another session of REorganizing and swapping out seasonal clothes. I wish this was a semi-annual event for us, but it seems as if we have to do this at least quarterly! I hate clutter so whenever the house starts to feel crowded or unorganized, it's time to declutter. We filled up a huge garbage bag of "goodwill" stuff, which may not seem like a big deal, but considering we filled about EIGHT bags just two months ago, filling another bag was a surprise. Now all of the rooms are in order and the closets and drawers are thinned out and very accessible once again! We also went through our baby bins and put away things Ethan has grown out of and reorganized those bins! Ahhh, it feels so good to have all of that done! Now for the downstairs.....

Okay, I have to admit I'm getting a little nervous about our house selling.....uh......not selling. All along, we have felt strongly that whether it sells or not, God's in control, He has a plan, and we want what He wants. Well, we still feel this's just gotten a little more tempting to REALLY want to move into the new house. A couple of days ago, our loan guy called and said we may be eligible for Texas Vet. Well, we didn't think we would be eligible because we thought you had to enter the military or exit the military as a Texas resident. To our surprise and joy, that's not the case. SO, what this means is that we were able to get an insanely low interest rate (and we had a low one to begin with) which would reduce our payment even more! It would be a bummer to miss out on living in this very spacious home located in a beautiful area for about the same as what we're paying here. I said, as great as it sounds, God has already gone before us and knows what's best for our family! We trust HIM, not us! If ya think of us and our house situation, would you please pray that God would bring a buyer (we have about a month to get a contract going), or that we would accept graciously and contently not moving into the house we're building! Thanks!

Fall is in the air!!! With the cooler temps sticking around, the sounds of Psalty's Christmas Calamity playing in the background, and the smell of Chili simmering away in the crock pot, it's definitely feeling like fall!

The reality of a firefighter is that it doesn't matter if it's a weekend or Columbus Day or Christmas, if you're scheduled to work, YOU WORK. Well, our reality this year is that Greg has to work on Christmas day. He is trying to see if any of the single guys are willing to trade him Christmas for New Year's Eve, but so far, no luck! I really can't complain though because Greg has been blessed year after year by having Christmas off. The worst we've had it was when he had to work four Thanksgivings in a row. Well, FOR the last four Thanksgivings, the other shift has had to work. It will happen again this year! So, like I said, I can't complain too much that Greg has to work this year for Christmas. We'll just celebrate on Christmas Eve and plan fun activities for the kids on Christmas. Another blessing is that we can go to Greg for Christmas! It's so neat that we can go to the station any time we want to visit we'll be doing tonight for dinner! And, to remind me to be even more thankful....Greg is just at work, down the road......not in Iraq or some other dangerous place. Perspective is a wonderful thing! ;-)

Cheyenne will be starting Driver's Ed training! Enough said!

Wow, I can't believe I'm nearly 30 weeks along in pregnancy. The time has really flown by! I have begun my two week appts with my midwife and we're trying to mentally prepare for the home birth. The only thing that could make this easier is by knowing where I'll be giving birth! This house or the new house? Hmmm......

And finally, I should be out of this boot as of Monday! I'll cry if the doc says I have to leave it on! Okay, so I won't really cry, but you know what I mean! I'll let ya know....

I guess that's it for updates. Better get back to work!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Cool Weather

Rainy Days and Mondays... 0596

Just had to share my enthusiasm regarding the much cooler weather today.

A front is coming through the region and bringing along with it wind, rain and COOL temps! YIPPEE!!! It actually feels like fall today instead of spring or summer.

I'm looking forward to schooling today because there's just something so comforting about looking out the window at the wind and rain knowing we're safely nestled in the warmth our home. We don't have to send our little ones out there to stand on the corner to wait for the bus or walk to school in the wind and rain.

Yes, I know....I survived doing this very thing growing up, but on days like this, I'm just thankful they're here with me!

Have a wonderful FALL day, my friends!

Photo Credit

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Beauty

Today, our sweet Sophia is turning FIVE!

She's our little girl who is already thinking about when she'll turn 8, then 12, then "be big" like Cheyenne! She's also our first child (at such a young age) who is already talking about "when she gets married........" and to WHOM she will marry! This is new for us as none of the others have worried/dreamed about this so early. We simply remind her that she needs to enjoy being a kid and that God already knows who she will marry, so she doesn't have to worry about that now!

Sophia is a ball of energy and always has a smile on her face! And while she LOVES to be rambunctious with Seth, her favorite thing to do is play dress up......she loves to pretend to be a princess! She also loves to color! When she gets up in the morning, it's the first thing she'll ask to do, and any time there's a free moment throughout the day, she'll ask to color!

In school,  math is her favorite subject!

She's our little Beauty and we're so thankful for this little girl who brings so much joy to our lives!

Happy Birthday Sophia!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Excuse This House

Read this sweet little poem on a friend's blog and had to share it!

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact that children shelter there,
Ours boasts of it quite openly, the signs are everywhere!
For smears are on the windows, little smudges on the door;
I should apologize I guess For the toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children and we played and laughed and read,
And if the door bell does not shine, their eyes will shine instead!
For when at times I am freed to choose the one job or the other,
I want to be a homemaker, but first I'll be a Mother"!


ht: Adrienne

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Garbage Finds

1 can of Great Northern beans
1 can of Olives
1 can of Coconut Milk
1 can of White Shoepeg corn

This is what I found in the garbage today shortly after dinner. Did I mention they were FULL, UNopened cans?

How we love our sweet Ethan.......such a "helper"!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Home Birth News

Go Janet....Go Janet....

I don't know how she did it, but my midwife, Janet, was able to get my insurance company to verify that they would completely cover MY HOME BIRTH! Woohoo!

Thank you Father for answering our prayers and allowing us to do this without the worry of incurring debt! We thank you for Janet and all that she does! May you bless us with a safe and wonderful home!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Cheyenne

On this day, fifteen years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful 6 lb 2 oz baby girl. She came into this world at 3:16am in Huntingdon, England. We knew from that moment on that she would bless our lives more than we could imagine.

Now, fifteen years later, we're left wondering how, we as parents, could be so blessed! For those of you who know her, I'm sure you would agree that she is pretty much a parent's dream (by God's grace)! She is a young lady full of grace, full of love, full of kindness, and filled to the brim with love for her family and most importantly, for her Lord!

We continue to pray that she will only grow closer to God with each coming day and grow in her desire to serve Him for the rest of her days!

We love you, Cheyenne, and thank the Lord for allowing us the privilege of being your parents for fifteen years!  Happy Birthday, baby!

I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139: 14

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sixteen Years and Counting

Happy Anniversary, My Love

Thank you for sixteen wonderful years.......with many more to come!

Here is the poem that Greg presented to me and the kids this morning......memorized and everything. Greg has always been known to write endearing, yet humorous poems over the years. Thought I'd share!

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with an amazing, God-fearing man!

Come here everybody, let me tell you a story,
Of a wonderful girl and a goofy boy, Oh Glory!

The girl, who's such a cutie,
Was, is, and always will be of unsurpassed beauty.

Her beauty, wit and charm,
Turned my heart into a three-alarm....
Fire, that is (that's fireman lingo).

They were wed shortly thereafter,
Amongst great cheers and joy and laughter.

Off to England, we were sent away,
To live and grow in God's way.

And then onto San Angelo,
Which was NO rendition of Michelangelo.

And then finally back home, we thought we would stay,
But was that God's plan? Oh no, no way!

He sent us to the Alamo city,
Away from family, once again, oh what a pity!

Here we've been for eight wonderful years,
Many joyful memories and some tears.

What is, two,.....and now SEVEN?
Wonderful blessings from Heaven.

Though there are no flowers, gifts, or cards,
There is one thing you can see, it's not hard,

Something that will ALWAYS be true,
My never-ending love for you!

(And then he gave me a great big kiss!) :-)

And by the way.....we ARE going on a date tonight!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Chloe

Today is our baby girl's third birthday! She has been such a joy in our lives and we couldn't imagine life without her!

Chloe is our quiet, shy little girl. She loves babies, horses, playing dress-up and pretty dresses. The other day we tried to put pants on her and she was highly offended. She LOVES her dresses! We can't wait for her to open up her new, VERY girlie dress today!

We love you, sweet girl, and pray that this day brings you much joy! While we're in no rush for you to grow up, we look forward to what God has in store for your life. Happy Birthday Mimi!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Family Movie Night

One of the kids' favorite family activities is movie night! We let them stay up late and eat lots of junk food, while enjoying a movie! What's not to like, right?

Last Friday night was no exception! We spread out the trusty old blanket and donned it with popcorn, chips and guacamole, cake, pink lemonade and S'mores! They had a great time!

Ethan especially enjoyed diving into his S'mores! Ohhh Yeah!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Brother

My Brother's Commercial Debut....

The handsome guy in this commercial is my brother, Jeremy. He and his family live in Montana. He is not a professional actor (although he could be), but I'm sure he had fun doing this!

You gotta have that coat.......

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Broken Foot Update

break foot

We Survived the Day..........

......with a little help from our friends! Today was the first day Greg had to return to work since I broke my foot last week. I think I was more worried about the girls having to bear the brunt of the responsibility, while I just sit here! As good as sittin' around sounds, I can't help but feel guilty that they're having to do so much! I was able, however, to get some schooling done with the kids. They know all too well that schooling can be done from the couch, as they've learned many times from my pregnant sick days! So, at least I feel like I accomplished something today!

After nap time, we had a visit from a long time friend of mine, Robin. She and her granddaughter brought me flowers and cookies to brighten up our day! It was so good to have the company! Just as they were leaving, my sweet friend Adeana and her girls brought us a lovely meal that could feed an army......and I mean a bigger army than what we have here! The meal was not only wonderful, but very much appreciated, especially by my girls after a long, tiresome day!

And speaking of meals, I can't thank my friends enough for the meals we have coming.......our sweet church family and our HOPE group have set up the Care Calendar for dinners to come for the next couple of weeks! WOW!!! What a blessing! Thank you sweet friends!

Well, the foundation of our new home was poured this morning. And since we could not be there, our sales rep took the time to drive out to our lot and snapped a ton of pictures for us. So, now that the foundation has been poured, our estimated completion date is December 10th. There are still no bites on our current home, but we trust in God's perfect timing and His perfect plan, even if that means we don't move into the new house at all! We'll just continue praying!

Have a wonderful week!

Photo Credit

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hopeful News and Update

I am so excited that I have to ask for prayer first, and then I'll give an update about my foot!

My midwife called me today with some promising news. She said there's been some BIG breakthroughs with our particular insurance company and that they may cover a home birth after all. Initially, they were going to cover between 40-50%, stating that my midwife would be paid as an out-of-network provider. That just wasn't enough coverage for us at this time. But, Janet has since found out that they may be required to cover fully, or at least more than before! I won't know anything for a couple of weeks, but I'm very excited about the possibility and wanted to ask for prayer!

Ever since we made the decision to revert back to a hospital birth, we have continued praying that God would, somehow, allow us to home birth after all! We'll see what happens! I'm so thankful to Janet for continuing to pursue our insurance company! Go Janet!

Okay, now the foot! I'm fine.....pain is minimal.....still can't believe I was that clumsy! At my ortho appt today, I was relieved to find out that, due to the nature of the break and location, I could be put into a boot instead of a cast! YIPPEE! I was fretting a cast all day yesterday, knowing I would not be able to get to all those pesky itches! With the boot, although it's heavy and actually hurts more, I can remove it for showers and SCRATCHING!  I still have to remain on crutches for a couple of weeks, and trust me, pregnant women and crutches do NOT mix, but I'll go back to the ortho doc in two weeks to see what's next.

Once again, thank you for your prayers, your love, and your kindness in helping to take care of our family! We are blessed beyond measure and are continually amazed by the actions of God's people at work!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Infant Drowning Prevention

Pool Photography

Greg sent this to me this morning from work!

It's a must see! It's unbelievable!

It's hard to believe that infants can be trained in this way!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Daughter in Training

One of the many ways our family has been able save a little money has been by avoiding the salon or barber when possible. I have been cutting hair since I was a teenager and this has come in handy for our growing family. I am not a professional and have had no formal training, I just seemed to have had a knack for cutting hair.  And I had many opportunities when I was young.

My brothers were my first victims customers, and then my sister offered her head as a sacrifice practice model. And that led to some of their friends asking for hair cuts.

So when I married Greg, well, naturally I would convince him to let me cut his hair as well. What a nice man!!!

SO, I figure, in the 16 years we've been married, at approximately one cut a month times 16 years, say at $10 a cut, I've saved us at LEAST $1920.00. Of course, that doesn't even include Seth's hair or the girls......just Greg!

Recently, Cheyenne has shown an interest in learning how to cut hair. And since it is our goal to train our girls in all aspects in the art of homemaking, now is the perfect time to begin. The last few "training sessions" consisted of her just observing while I talked about and demonstrated different techniques. Today was the big cutting day......and what a good daddy to allow his head to be used for training purposes!

Cheyenne did a great job and I can't wait for her to be able to cut hair on her own to take some of the load off of me!

So here you have it....our freshly cut men!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The American Church

The New Gospel: Appealing but Not Revealing

I always enjoy coming across great articles that contain a meaty bite! It's in regards to the state of the American church and how we've become more like "cotton candy" rather than "holding up the standard of holiness"!

It's a bit lengthy, but well worth the read!!!

Read it here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cheyenne Update

Praise God

We are pleased and thankful to report that Cheyenne's surgery went VERY smoothly!

We arrived at the hospital about 7am, where we were met by our sweet pastor who was already there (and if you saw traffic that morning, you'd be impressed too!). We got all checked in and Pastor Dirk prayed with us before he had to make his trek across town to his other job. We SO much appreciated him being there and offering much comfort to Cheyenne as she waited for surgery. After some painful anesthesia prep, she was wheeled back to the OR. The surgery only took about an hour and we were reunited with our baby in no time. She had some post-op recovery time and we were home by noon!

We just want to say thank you to our friend Cindee who was so sweet to offer to watch all the little ones so both Greg and I could be with Cheyenne. We also want to thank Cathi, John, Shelley, Stephanie K., and Shannon for providing meals for our family, and our church family for their prayers. I must mention how surprised I was to learn, from my sweet pastor's wife, that all these arrangements had been made in advance. We are overwhelmed and we are blessed!

Thank you, Father, for granting us your perfect peace and keeping your loving hand of protection upon your child. We give you all the glory, honor, and praise for keeping Cheyenne safe and pray that your healing hands will continue to grace her over the coming weeks!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pray for my Baby

Surgery IV biggest baby that is!

Tomorrow morning, Cheyenne will be having surgery on her left wrist to remove a cyst. It's a fairly minor outpatient surgery, but still surgery. This will be her first surgery so she's feeling a bit nervous.

This morning we went to the hospital to take care of all pre-op and lab stuff, so we're ready to go! Please pray for a safe procedure and a smooth recovery. Thank you!

Photo Credit

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Naughty Boy


Notice the sly little smirk that says, "I know you're gonna spank me for this, but oh well!"

Let me tell you.....this little boy keeps us on our toes! Seth was a BREEZE compared to sweet little Ethan. I spend a good majority of my day keeping him off of chairs, the kitchen table, the computer desk, the windowsill ledge, the piano, and the school table.

Despite the number of "no no's" and spankings he receives in the short span of a day, he just keeps on keepin' on! We're exhausted by him, BUT, we will prevail.....Lord help us!  ;-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fun with Daddy

I just can't compete with this.....

It's a good thing I don't have to....

Thank you, my love, for being such a wonderful (and fun) Daddy!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun With the Brace Family

On Friday, we headed to Austin and spent the day with the Brace family. Over the past couple of months we've been getting to know each other via email, so it was great to finally meet them!

They live on a gorgeous piece of property, living the farm life. They have goats and chickens and all that nature offers. We all had a BLAST! The best part was the wonderful time of fellowship we had with this amazing family! We had fourteen children between the two families and ALL of the kids got along so well and had such a great time together. We can't thank them enough for having us in their home and showering us with sweet hospitality! What a blessing!

They have a very unique, but very cool home. They built this home to fit their family's needs and did a beautiful job. Our kids couldn't stop talking about their COOL house, especially the kids dormatory! I wish I had a picture of that! Here is a picture of the family room. Check out this view!

All those small, round windows have each of their children's names on them.

They definitely had a kitchen to die for! I LOVED the kitchen!

Their fouteen year old son, Robert, has his own cheesecake business. OH MY GOODNESS, were those cheesecakes fabulous!

It was cute seeing some of the kids sitting on all the barstools...

The kids were fascinated with the chickens....

Sophia didn't hesitate to pick one right up!

Amazingly, Chloe got up close and personal too!

Thankfully, the rain held off for most of the day, so the kids spent much of their time playing, swimming, and even milking the goats!

And's Sophia making herself VERY comfortable in someone else's home!

Thank you, Brace family, for a wonderful day and we look forward to having you in our home in just a few days!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What A Day

Live Love Laugh sign

Talk about an interesting day today!

To begin with.......the storm! As all of you San Antonians know, it pretty much DIDN'T stop raining all night. I was able to get a decent amount of sleep, but I woke up many times due to the hard wind and rain.

So, I get up about 5am and start thinking about how I've got to go out into this stuff to pick Greg up from work. Fun! I went downstairs, got the coffee going, and plopped down into the rocking chair. It was dark, other than the soft light on above the stove.

As I was sitting in the chair, something on the ceiling caught my eye. I couldn't tell if the ceiling was just sloped in that area or if it was wet. I flipped the light on to investigate.

To my horror, the ceiling was in fact WET! I darted upstairs to check out the top floor, which would be in the general area of my closet or Seth's room. Hmmm......nothing was wet up there. How in the WORLD does the middle floor get wet all by itself.

Well, I knew it wasn't the shower or toilet because we hadn't used those since the day before and this line of wetness was fresh....and growing quickly.

By this time, the girls had awakened and were helping me try to figure all of this out. We guessed that the roof was leaking and the water was dripping down in between two walls somehow. Remember.....our house was just put on the market. Yippee!

Well, now it was time to go and get Greg! The roads we terrible early this morning......most of them being flooded. I made it safely to the base and broke the news about the leak to Greg. To make a potentially long story short, Greg went up into the attic and found where the water was coming from. It was running down a PVC pipe that extends from the roof all the way down....somewhere! The seal on top of the roof, around this pipe had broken from all of the rain. Fortunately, it will be an easy fix. As an immediate fix, Greg wrapped a towel tightly around the pipe and the ceiling has already dried out! YEA!

Once we got that solved, it was time to get to work. Greg started on basic repairs in the house, then finished up with some painting. While Greg was sanding down some spackling on the wall, he was also running the vacuum hose to keep the area clean. The kids were very interested in what Daddy was doing. Chloe, on the other hand, was more interested in our new vacuum cleaner. She REALLY wanted to know what it looked like underneath. As she was indulging her curiosity, the vacuum grabbed hold of her hair and sucked it right in......all the way to her head! Greg quickly turned the vacuum off and poor Chloe was just a screamin'! Greg literally had to take the vacuum apart, while she was stuck to it, to get her hair out. We're so thankful she was okay and that her scalp wasn't ripped off of her head! Somehow, I don't think she, OR the other little ones, will ever care about that vacuum again!

So, by now it's going on 1:00pm and Greg and I still haven't eaten. I started on some sandwiches while he was finishing up on touch ups. Well, you know how when you're painting and touching up and repairing, your house actually looks worse before it looks better? And wouldn't that be the PERFECT time to get a call for a showing? Yep! Talk about a mad dash to get the house cleaned up! Did I mention that half the kids were still in their pajamas? But we did it!  We got this place whipped into shape, grabbed the sandwiches, and ran out the door.

Thankfully, since we've been home, there have been no major catastrophes! Maybe now we'll have a nice quiet evening! Oh wait, we have six kids. Okay, we'll settle for an uneventful evening.

I'm so thankful that I can look back on this day and just laugh about it! We are blessed and God is good!

Photo Credit

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Family Update

We first want to give thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with a healthy pregnancy. We had a bit of a scare, but all is well now and we're so thankful for our sweet baby and can't wait to meet him or her soon. We also want to thank all of you for your prayers, calls and emails......what a blessing to be surrounded by so much love! And finally, our midwife! We are thankful for her caution and concern, and her professional advice to see the doctor. We love Janet and look forward to her being an important part of the birth!

These past few days have been very busy around here. We have been working hard to get our home ready for the market. We've been cleaning, clearing, dumping, painting, fixing, and lots of yard work. It's felt so good to get so much done. We still have some things left to do, but the house looks great and all we have to do is try to maintain everything! Easier said than done, but we'll do our best.

Our realtor came yesterday to evaluate our home and tell us what he thinks we can list for. We were a little disappointed at what he suggested because we thought our home was worth more, but we trust him and will list at the higher end and go from there!

Despite all of the hustle and bustle around here, we do plan on starting school very soon. I still don't have everything I need, but we certainly have enough to get started! With the move and the baby coming soon, I don't want to get behind in our schooling! Plus, I think the kids are ready to get back to a normal routine.   I know I am!

I guess that's all for now. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Too Much At Once

Pregnancy, Weaning, Home birth, Potty Training, Selling a House, Building a House and Homeschooling!

Sheesh! Do ya ever feel there's just too many things happening at once? Well, that's how I've been feeling in the last couple of weeks, actually months.  But things are better now! I'll try to give a brief summary.....

Pregnancy, Weaning and Home birth: Well, pregnancy.....I think that's self explanatory! EVERYTHING seems overwhelming when you're pregnant, have many kids already, AND still nursing the baby! I'm in the process of weaning Ethan, but it hasn't been as easy as all of the other kids. Slowly but surely, we're working on it!

Many of you know that we are planning our first home birth! We are VERY excited! In the beginning there was much trepidation about the financial aspect of the home birth! For us, having a hospital birth will cost us very little out-of-pocket expense thanks to insurance.  But having the home birth will yield quite a bit out of our pockets since there are no home birthing midwives on our provider list. We had to truly seek the Lord in this to make sure that we were being good stewards of this money. In the end, we concluded that it would be money well spent.

Potty Training: I had been feeling so overwhelmed in the last few months that I didn't even want to THINK about potty training Chloe! I was perfectly happy with having two kids in diapers for the time being!

Alas, I'm feeling much less overwhelmed and have begun potty training! She's doing great with the peepee part, but not so great with the poopy part! We're truckin' along though and will prevail!

Selling and Building a House: It's funny because we have always been very decisive people throughout our married life. But it seems as we've gotten older, we've had the tendency to become INdecisive! What's up with that?

We found this great house, and a great lot, in a great subdivision, and decided it was time to prepare for the future. This is a bigger home and the kids would have more outdoor space in which to roam.  In addition, it's the kind of place and home we would gladly stay in for a long, long time!

The clincher was that the sales office was offering a HUGE incentive that would bring the cost of the house down.  That, combined with what we would make on our house, made this very affordable!  No brainer, right?

In spite of all of this, we were wavering on our decision to sell our home and build this new one.  It's a big decision.  One that can't be taken lightly.

We have finally made one...and we're moving forward with building.  Time to put our house on the market.  Lord, help me!

And finally...Homeschooling: We usually start up at the beginning of August, but remember that overwhelmed funk I've been in?  Yeah, I don't think we'll be starting on time!

Thankfully, I  had planned out Cheyenne's freshman year during the last school year, but I still have some things to order.  I still have to plan out the rest of the kids' year and order material I need as well.  So, we'll be delayed a bit.

God has revived me, has allowed me to feel better, and has pulled me nearer to Him. When this happens, everything looks better, feels better, and I get much more accomplished.

Please keep our family in prayer as we enter several new phases of our lives!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Yosemite National Park

"Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created."
Psalm 148:5

Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

El Capitan

We hiked to Lower Yosemite Falls

We had such a wonderful time visiting with my grandparents, uncles and aunts up at the Skinner Ranch! It was a tremendous blessing to see my grandma, who has been recovering from a stroke. She was weak and frail, but God has been gracious during her recovery. We are so thankful!

We also had the privilege of visiting Yosemite Nation Park where I grew up during sixteen years of my life. It is the most beautiful place on earth and my hearts weeps tears of joy and awe each time I am there. I wish I could have taken more pictures of the wondrous scenery, but it happened to be quite cold while we were there so we didn't do all that we wanted.

I was especially disappointed to have not taken a picture of Half Dome. It's my favorite mountain in Yosemite!  I actually hiked/climbed this mountain when I was fifteen years old. A memory I will never forget!

I love my sweet grandma!

The girls LOVED hanging out with Sugar Babe on the ranch. She was feeling a bit under the weather so they were unable to ride her this time.

Ethan had a great time exploring the ranch and getting really dirty, just as a boy should!

My Uncle Andy is an artist in every sense of the word. He's a gifted musician, a talented artist (drawing), and a very skilled photographer. He truly amazes me! You can see some of his work in the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park! Whenever the family gathers, he pulls out his guitar and we all have a major sing fest! I love it!!! This particular day, he was singing favorite hymns to my grandma.

We picked up this very cute little souvenir for a real bargain while in the park.

After a long day, we had two very tired little girls on our hands.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with this unforgettable vacation filled with love, beauty, music and laughter!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Girls, My Heros

They never cease to amaze me....
Yes, this is another I-can't-live-without-my-older-girls story! The other day I had my first OB appt with my midwife. My appt was at 4:00pm and Greg was working so I had the girls babysit the little ones! Since it was my first appt, I knew it would be a long one but I didn't think it would be three hours long.

Before I left for my appt, I had pre-baked some potatoes in preparation for dinner, but had told Cheyenne that I would finish dinner once I got home. Well, as my appt went on I got hungrier and hungrier and was PRAYING that the girls had at least begun dinner.

I called Cheyenne at 6pm to let her know I was on my way home. I asked her if they happened to have started dinner and her response was, "Dinner's ready and we're keeping it warm in the oven!"

I was so happy I could cry (remember, I'm pregnant). Then I asked her if she would mind feeding Ethan (the baby) because I'm sure he was starving by then.  She responded with, "We already fed him!"

What topped things off was when I got home.  The house was spotless, all the kids were fed, and they had my place at the table neatly set and ready for me to sit down! I'm about to cry again just thinking about it! Talk about a blessing!

Although my girls do sweet things like this on a regular basis, I'm still always so amazed by their sweet spirits and servant's hearts!

To show them my love and appreciation, I took them out and treated them to Starbucks last night! We had a great time!

On another I'm writing this post, I hear Celeste upstairs teaching the four little ones about what to do in case of a fire! So funny....she's quizzing them! Very cute!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Visit with the Hess'

After a wonderful visit with Greg's grandparents, we began working our way back down south. We made the short drive from Sacramento to Modesto.....about an hour and a half. In Modesto, we spent time with the Hess family, long time friends of Greg's. In fact, they are really like family! Ron, Patsy, Adam, and Samantha were like a second family to Greg growing up and now they're my family too! We love them so much! They are a really TALL family so it's easy to think that Greg belongs to them! Adam, Greg's best friend in high school, stands at seven feet, two inches. At least, that's how tall he was in high school.....he may have passed that up. Anyway, we had a superb visit with them.

We also spent time with Greg's mom, Judy! I am so upset that we don't have any pictures of Greg with his mom. We ended up running out of memory on our camera, so pics from this segment of our trip are sparse. Greg's mom was able to download all of our pics onto a disk so that we could empty our camera, but that was the last time Greg saw her! Bummer!

At the Hess', we celebrated Ethan's birthday again. It was a wonderful party and we were so grateful for their thoughtfulness! The kids also spent time playing pool and swimming in their pool. They had a blast!

It was wonderful getting to be with Greg's mom. We hung out all over Modesto, revisiting old hangouts. We walked around the mall, went to the park, ate lunch and ended our day at Funworks, a place with tubes and tunnels, go-carts, a golf course, and bumper boats! The kids didn't want to leave Modesto......they just had too much fun!

Well, here are the few pics we have from that visit. The first one is of Sam and me! Didn't I tell you she was TALL!!! ;-)

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