Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Fritters

-Gearing up for Emma's first sleepover. A friend from church is coming. We've planned fun in the sprinkler, a dance performance, make-overs, popcorn and chocolate chip cookies.

-I'm missing the girls who are in MS with Nan and Pops. Emma, however, is relishing the time with mom and wishes they were going to be in MS for another week.

-We still have a loaner computer as the part for our broken down one is on back order. Other than a few things (my budget software, grocery list, etc.), I'm perfectly happy as long as we have a good internet connection.

-Emma and I slept in this morning. She crawls in bed with me when Todd leaves, and I must say it has been heavenly. Can't remember the last time I slept until 8. Emma looks at the clock and says, "Mom, why am I in bed at 8:02?" We were all out late last night so sleeping in was a good thing for both of us. Poor Todd must need a nap!

-Emma and I have turned our brains to mush today watching TV. We watched back-to-back episodes of Meerkat Manor, and she's now watching a show about leopards. We're gonna school through July so I figure this is our very short summer break, at least until August.

-Last summer we visited the San Antonio Zoo with my sisters, and we had to cut the trip a little short because Aubrie had had all the zoo she could handle, and Jessie got a fever while we were there. I'm very excited about taking Emma on Monday so she can zoo all she wants. Last year she cracked us up with map in hand planning what we would do next. I can't wait for this year's excursion.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Special Times

This has been a truly full weekend in the Williams family. We celebrated Jessie's and Aubrie's birthdays this past Saturday. If folks got graded on their family planning skills, we'd probably get a D. Jessie and Aubrie are 2 years, one week and a day apart. Makes for interesting planning since you can pile on a bunch of end-of-year stuff on top of that. They had a blast at their joint party, and we actually had very pleasant weather considering that it is May in Texas.

Yesterday we celebrated two special events. Todd and I were married twelve years ago in Clinton, MS, and time has zoomed past ever since! We have had a wild ride and lived in ten homes in nine different cities during those years; we've been seminary drop-outs (twice) and almost missionaries!! :-) We have considered ourselves on mission whether here or in Africa, and God took us seriously when we told Him we'd go wherever He asked! We are truly enjoying our new adventures in Bastrop, TX, and can see so many wonderful reasons that God landed us here. We are so grateful.

Our other special event was Emma's baptism. About two years ago she told us that she had prayed to receive Christ. She was in our backyard swinging and praying and came inside to announce her news. We've tried to always have an ongoing discussion about what it means to be His and what happens when we are. So, we decided to continue the discussion and look for fruit in her life. We looked for the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5 and for a few other things: conviction when she messed up and a desire to tell others the great news of salvation. She continued to ask about baptism, and we continued to look for fruit. We began seeing quite a bit and had actually planned to have her baptised at Morrison Heights before we left, but things got pretty crazy when Todd had to move to TX before us, and we just never got things worked out. I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed. Well, of course, God has a great plan. Shocker. It would never have occurred to me for Todd to baptize her. But I can't think of anything more beautiful or special in her life than for her dad to get to welcome her publicly into God's family.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fritters

--Baking a cake and talking on the phone at the same time - not a good idea. Thankfully, I had extra batter that saved the day. I wouldn't say the cake was burnt, just a little extra crispy.

--Looked up online how to get rid of scorpions. Cleaning out leaves/debris from around your foundation is apparently a good idea since they like cool dark places. Also found out that cracks and crevices in your foundation and doorways are favorite entry spots. That'll have to be Todd's job, I reckon. Also found out you can spray pesticide around your house and up to a foot above your foundation. Apparently, cracks/crevices in the attack are a no-no, but looking at the attic in our rental house, this is probably not going to be a feasible part of our "kick the scorpions the heck outa here" plan.

--Pondering whether or not it was a good idea to tell my dear offspring that their grandparents are coming to see us today. I think surprise is going to be the order of the day from now on. They are wound up tighter than a who'da'thoughtit, and the grandparents from MS aren't coming until late tonight. UGH.

--Wondering why on the day you have a TON to get done your children can't seem to be in the same room together.

--While I was on the front porch swing on the phone letting the cake burn, uh, I mean get well-done, Aubrie swiped the scraper from the batter bowl, ran upstairs with it, and had a chocolate mask facial.

--I love that a family of mud swallows has their nest on our front porch (Can I blame them for the cake?), and I am fully enamoured with them. They are so big now that I'm not sure how they all fit in their fairly tiny nest. Also, I'm trying to prepare Emma for the inevitable - the birds will leave the nest. She's adopted them, named them, and I'm sure there will be mourning when they leave. If we're lucky, they'll set up housekeeping on our porch, too!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two Posts in One Day...But For Good Reason

I know this is rare, but I'm just now learning how to upload pics to my loaner computer, and I didn't want to do this post without a picture. Just wouldn't be the same. Trust me.

First, and most importantly, I want to celebrate the birth of Jessie Claire. She was born May 17th of 2004, and is shockingly five years old. Have no idea where that time went.

Now if you know Emma and Aubrie, we could switch their baby pictures around, and no one, and I mean no one would be the wiser. Even Aubrie has convinced herself that pictures of Emma are her. Anyway, Jessie Claire has been her own individual since day one. While Emma's and Aubrie's hair was/is curly, Jessie's is stick straight. She was a hefty 9 lbs. at birth (w/nothing but Stadol, I might add) and is now a petite flower of a little girl.

She is a thinker, organizer and has one of the most tender hearts I have seen. She is so needed in our rough and tumble family, and makes me want to be more tender, too. She is our resident gymnast and is still torn between that and dance, and since we only have time, energy and wherewithal for one activity per kiddo, she must pick. It will be interesting to see which way things go. She also will be officially added to our little home school this fall although we've been easing her into things throughout the year.

I cannot fail to add that while she is, for the most part, a delicate flower of a child, she is also a Williams and has no problem in standing up for herself when she's just plain had enough. She actually used to get pretty physical ...okay, she was a biter. The upside was that she would only bite Emma (that sounds bad, doesn't it?). From my selfish perspective it at least saved me some embarrassment! The only exceptions to that were Reece Gibson and a kid at the YMCA. You didn't mess with Jessie's toys. Gladly, we've left that behind, but the tenacious attitude lingers. I hope we're the kind of parents that can help shape that attitude into perseverance and never-let-go faith.

Happy Belated Birthday, Jessie Claire!!

One last thing, if this post, you remember my encounter with the scorpion and my hope that he would NOT invite his friends to our house. Well, no such luck. Just discovered another live one in the girls' room as I'm putting them down for nap. 15 minutes ago. Ughhh! Going to have to find out how to get rid of these things. These pictures are of the first DEAD scorpion we found (also in the bathroom). I am so glad to say that the other two aren't quite as hefty as this one, but that only slightly eases my freaked-out-ed-ness.

A Little Homeschooling Stuff

I just sent this email to a friend of mine who is thinking about homeschooling her daughter when she starts kindergarten next year. I realized that I was talking her poor ear off, and so we decided I should email her some things so she could do some digging on her own. I thought that someone else might want to find out about our homeschool life so I'm posting my email to her on the ol' blog. Most of the websites I gave her are also on the right-hand side of the blog, but I went into a little more detail so she could pick and choose what she wanted to read. Hope this helps anyone who's considering this option.

Okay, here are my favorites:

This website will give you a VERY in-depth overview of some of the main reasons we chose to homeschool. Todd was introduced to classical education when he studied at Focus on the Family. Two things to read further on this are: _The Lost Tools of Learning_ and _Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning_. I can help you find is a book and the other is an article...we have both of them packed up "somewhere."

This is a website based on the book of the same name. This is kinda over-the-top, but follows the classical model (which I love) and has GREAT curriculum suggestions at the end of each grade-level chapter.

Charlotte Mason was an educator in England, and there is a book called _The Charlotte Mason Companion_ which condenses her 6-volume work into more understandable language. Also has some great child-rearing stuff in there. Her method is literature/experience driven and fits nicely with classical ed so I combine the two which I think lots of homeschool families do. Best of both worlds! This website actually provides a year-by-year curriculum guide which I consult. (I can show you how I combine all this later if you want.)

Now, when you've digested all that and are ready for curriculum websites let me know. If you want to go ahead and dig, I'll tell you that I use the following:

Saxon Math (going to use Singapore math with Jessie- tell you more later)
Handwriting without Tears
Winter Promise for readers
Ambleside online for read aloud material (it's free!)
Noeo Science (I've also purchased some stuff from Sonlight - they have an amazing catalog)
History Through the Ages for timeline figures
Mystery of History for their storybook (goes with the timeline - way cool)
I do a combination of things for phonics: Alpha Phonics, Explode the Code, McGuffy Primers, and one more book I just bought. I mainly use Alpha and McGuffy and fill in with the others if I feel E is getting bored. They're pretty old school so they aren't very colorful, but I LOVE how systematic and logical they are. If you watch Little House on the Prairie, you might notice that they are using McGuffy primers in the school, and they are really that old (which I also LOVE)! I know, I am so corny!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Computer on Loan

Well, our dead computer still isn't revived yet, but the place where we're having it fixed gave us one until it is! I was super excited since life without a fast computer is just no fun.

We've had a lot going on and even more coming up. Here's a brief summary just to catch you up:

* Emma was bitten in four different places by a spider on Monday. By Tuesday her forehead looked like a golf ball had landed on it, and one of the bites on her arm had a ring around it making it look scarily like a brown recluse bite.

*Tuesday Emma's bites are worse so we go to the doctor and are so THANKFUL to learn that they are not brown recluse bites but still kind of nasty. We are given a topical steroid, and things are finally looking much better.

*Tuesday evening Emma falls down while getting ready for bed cutting her lip - lots of blood so I was glad Todd was handy to help the clean-up on this one! Today (Friday) her lip and cheek are still swollen so we tried to get her in to get an x-ray, but no luck. I'll save the health care situation in Bastrop for another day, but will say that we'll probably be driving to Austin for most of our needs.

*Oh, on Monday Aubrie had been complaining of a tummy ache, and after we finished our trip to Costco and WalMart, she proved that she was in pain. Just as we're backing out of our parking spot, she gets sick. I don't want to be gross, but we had to have the van shampooed the next morning. Thankfully, we were five minutes from Todd's shop and were able to get some clean-up help from Daddy.

*My girls are growing up. Aubrie has said good-bye to pull-ups, and she and Jessie are both dry through the night. I think I may have bought my last diaper/pull-up, and Todd says that's enough money for a boat payment! :-) More on growing up - Emma fixed dinner tonight. We had VERY delicious turkey melts with dip and chips. I feel like I'm entering a whole new era of Mommyhood.

*I had the BEST mother's day weekend I think I've ever had last weekend. Todd and our friend Ruel kept all five of our girls so Julie and I could go to Chili's and have dinner including a Chocolate Molten yummy! Thank you, guys! That morning my friend Ashley and I walked for March of Babies in Austin and had lunch at Shady Grove which is really fun burger joint just down the street from the walk. My sweet family fixed a fun breakfast Sunday morning, and each of the girls had something special wrapped up for me. Later that evening we had a girls' night at the movies. Such a fun time!

* Highlights of what's ahead - Jessie turns 5 on Sunday, Judy and Jerry are going to visit next weekend for Jessie and Aubrie's joint b-day party, Todd is baptizing Emma the next day at church (our anniversary also), Monday Aubrie turns 3, and Tuesday Jessie graduates from preschool, cap, gown and all.

Oh, I forgot one more thing - I had a visitor in our bathroom this week...a live scorpion. I hope he doesn't invite any of his friends over! Those things give me the willies.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Comupter Dead

Our computer's mother board died last week. So sad. Not that I post just a ton, but it is really crimping other parts of my technical life. Thankfully, it looks like the issue we have has been covered by an extended warranty because the problem is so wide-spread. It may be a while before I'm back in action...