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!
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