Saturday, December 8, 2018

Elizabeth Turns 17

That's crazy. Seventeen years old. 

She was born a tiny little thing with a head covered in black hair. She slept through the night about 2 1/2 weeks old ~ very independent from the very beginning. When Mimi tried to snuggle and rock her, she would swing her arm and face out to look at the world. She figured out how to get around as quickly as she could, which was army crawling. Since that worked so well, she didn't bother to learn how to crawl. She went straight to walking from there, although a little late by "average" standards. I think she was 16 months before she walked. 

She would get into ANYTHING she could reach. Flour strewn around the kitchen. Art drawers emptied onto my bedroom floor. Cotton balls made into "snow." Every. Day. I figured if I told her no and punished her, she would quit. But she didn't. So I finally figured out how to tape the art drawers shut and moved the flour up to the upper cabinets and put the cotton balls into the taped art drawers. One time during "nap time" (she quit naps at 18 months or so), she had everything out: drawers pulled out and emptied, closets emptied as far as she could reach, books pulled off the shelf. And she had found Vaseline and had it over E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Including herself. It was in her eyes, and I think she had finally starting crying which is what brought me in to check on her. I think that's when I quit "nap time." That little bit of "quiet time" that I had to myself just wasn't worth the mess to be cleaned up at the end. 

Anyway, all of that to say that she's still a go-getter! Still loves to explore new places, will go at a new interest with everything she's got. Thankfully she cleans up after herself now. She's an awesome older sister. She had so many ideas for the kids, and they would play right along. She drives them around now (Yes!), gets them in on ordering a pizza from Pizza Hut for themselves.... It sure is fun to watch these kids grow up together.

She made her birthday cake, per usual. 

She drew little pictures of her favorite things on this edible paper and attached it to her cake. 

Yarn and knitting needles, camera, the floor plans of The Mill, which she loves to visit in New Braunfels. 

A stand mixer, hot coffee drink.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thanksgiving at Our Home

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Jonathan is all about Christmas music and Christmas lights and decorations. He would have none of it before November 22nd. Tonight he's got Classic Holiday Radio playing on my computer and is showing Harrison how to make paper snowflakes. Anyway, the Christmas music is making it hard for me to think, but I don't want to turn off the music so as to encourage a holiday spirit in our home and children.


Mimi & Papa and John & Kristy came to our home for Thanksgiving, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

I really thought Harrison had his hair combed that morning.

Oh. Sister wrestled him around. I'll blame messy hair on that.

We decided last minute to have some of the kids share a little something with the family. Mimi remembers memorizing Shakespeare and shares some "Life is but a shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more." And Papa gives us a good chunk of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." 

And so Harrison gave us the Old Testament Books of the Bible which has been his memorization lately.

And Phoebe gave us some of Hamlet's Soliloquy "To Be or Not To Be."

And Jonathan has been practicing Minuet 3 from Bach, so he could share it with everyone. 

Liz pointed out that she'd been knitting all day, and so that was her talent contribution.

Then Mimi wanted us all to go around and talk about what we were grateful for. There were some really neat moments shared by everyone, but especially Papa and Uncle John (two that I would not necessarily expect touching moments from). It's a good tradition that I want to continue. I need to work on being more open with my gratitude. I tend to stick to surface; the larger the crowd, the more surface. I appreciate it when others open the way for peeling away veneer. 

John's wife Kristy. 
She's a lot of fun to hang out with. Very easy to talk to. Fun to shop with. We went to Cibolo Friday evening, and we ate Harmon's BBQ, had chocolate cake and conversation at Emily's Coffee Shoppe, and did some shopping at The Mill Boutique. 

We had a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal, but I got no pictures of it. Picture a Norman Rockwell painting of a holiday family meal. Then move all the food to the countertop and fit 10 people on 9 chairs around an 8-person table. It's beautiful!

Here are a few extra pictures from the camera roll:
Liz ready for a homeschool dance with her friend Adelyn and her family. She looks like a Disney princess!

Harrison bundled up in the garage for the few days of cold weather we had the past weeks. The garage is an extra room for us ~ our schoolroom, storage, hang-out place for kids, art room.... 
Lively times. 

Harrison again snuggled up on a cold day. 

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Candy Holiday

.... In which we don't get all that much candy.

A sunrise at our home last week. 

Harrison will ask every once in a while, "Can we go outside and see the sunrise?"

These brothers are so silly. 

Jonathan is such a good brother to H. He gets annoyed with him sometimes, especially while he's playing video games, but he spends a lot of time with Harrison and teaches him things and lets H follow him around. 

Harrison the diver and neighbor "Rey."

Phoebe the cowgirl.

Only Phoebe and Harrison went trick-or-treating this year.  The older two had youth group. So we didn't have all that much candy this year. And when the whole family feels like the candy sacks belong to everyone, the candy is gone pretty fast. And that makes mom happy!

This house always does something worth doing for Halloween. 
He was an Army man. So cool.

We have one more week of school to complete our first trimester. Thanksgiving comes after that. Timely. I love finishing that first trimester before the holidays. 

It's cold outside, the roads and stores are busy, Christmas music is playing in certain shopping centers. So it's Christmas, right? I'm going to enjoy the festive feels, even if it does start too early.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Celebrating the Life of Grandma Phoebe

The view from the front porch near Vandalia, MO.

Grandma Phoebe (Phillip's mother's mom) has been in the nursing home for the past three years. She passed away a little over a week ago at the age of 95. She was a special lady. Very sweet and kind. Always good. My roommate Jess used to register her for evening classes at our Bible college, and she would swoon over how sweet and cute Phoebe Law was. This was before Phillip and I dated, so I shared in the sweetness completely free of familial bias. 

We left at 4 am to drive to Mimi and Papa's in Missouri. I believe we've found the perfect time to get through I-35 without traffic or construction. Four am on a Sunday morning. We were through Dallas by 8:30. That's amazing. 

Galen's birthday!

We got to see both John and Galen, Phillip's siblings. John is in Missouri, Galen's in Florida and we're in Texas. It takes some doing to get all the siblings together. Well, they weren't together really. We saw John and Kristy at the beginning of the week and we saw Galen at the end of the week. But at least we saw them both, if not at the same time. 

Our Phoebe reading in the rocking chair.

Grandma Phoebe was a writer of poetry. I used two of her poems in Laying Down the Rails for Children; she was published in the newspaper and other places as well, I believe. Here's one of her fun poems.

What the Folk Don't Know

I used to think that school was dull, 
And so unnecessary.
Now the folk wonder why I love
Each subject that I carry.

They wonder why I dress so neat,
Why I want such pretty curls.
Why I do not care for boy friends
Like most of the other girls.

I used to never care a bit
If I disobeyed the rule.
But now I behave the nicest
Of most any girl in school.

I gaze into the teacher's face,
And cling to his every word.
But somehow when we take a test,
I forget the things I've heard.

But if you'll promise not to tell
Another single creature,
I'll tell you what the folk don't know;
I'm in love with the teacher. 
                                     by Phoebe Ferguson

 The boys and nerf guns at Mimi's house. Nerf bullets everywhere!

Harrison loves going down the stairs head first. 

Grandma Phoebe became Phoebe Ferguson at age 15 (almost 16). Phoebe and Roger Ferguson had 6 children. The three sons are all preachers. The three daughters are faithful Christian wives and mothers. Roger died at age 59, and Phoebe married Harry Law some years later. They were married almost 30 years. Harry passed away only a couple weeks before Phoebe did. 

At the college library with Patty Agee, a good friend and mentor to me when I was in college.

Since we were in Missouri and Elizabeth is a Junior in high school, we thought we'd get in a college visit for her at our alma mater. Grandma Phoebe's three sons all graduated from Central. Several of her grandchildren (including Phillip) also attended/graduated. Phillip's mom, Elayne, attended and taught there. Paul was on the board. It's kind of a family place. So, I don't know for sure if Liz will attend, but she was certainly happy with the visit. 

And we got to see a missionary friend who just happened to be there! 

Jen Ren has been on the field for 20 or so years. It was encouraging to talk with her.

Sitting around after the funeral.

Many cousins, aunts and uncles were in town for Grandma's funeral. Phillip and Uncle Earl did the service. Phillip preached a good Gospel sermon. Earl shared memories of his mother. Jonathan was a pallbearer for the first time. Wayne from church played the guitar and sang. He also did the music for our Vandalia wedding reception. It's amazing to me that someone who lived in Vandalia 18 years ago is still around to continue their gifting in connection with our family. But Grandma Phoebe grew up in Vandalia, and Mimi and Papa grew up in Vandalia, and so did Phillip. Some people still do that ~ live in the same place they grew up. Amazing.

Chatting. And checking the market.

Grandma Phoebe was usually there for a meal or a birthday celebration just about anytime we would visit Mimi and Papa when we lived closer. One time early in our marriage (or maybe when we were dating) we were all sitting around talking when suddenly Grandma blurted out, "Why! Lanaya has good teeth!" That just cracked us all up. I was glad I could bring 'good teeth' to the family. :-) 


Mateo is a little boy adopted into Uncle Earl's family. Mateo loves his Grandpa.

As dressed up as they've ever been. 

Proud of my kids. Our Phoebe Ruth is named after Grandma Phoebe, but she really is a mixture more of my mom and Paul's side of the family. But we were proud to name her after her Grandmother.

Mimi shares a story about Grandma Phoebe's birth: 

 Phoebe’s Grandma Wagner did not think she would live because her kidneys were not functioning; therefore, she would not let anyone hold the new baby. However, Phoebe’s eleven year old sister Vivian wanted to hold her. Phoebe’s mother, Katie, said, “What’s the harm? Let her hold the baby even if she is going to die!” Vivian carried her to the other room, sat in the rocking chair and sang and rocked her for quite some time. When she brought the baby back she told them that she “knew that her baby sister was going to live because she had been praying to God about it.” Not long after that, word was brought to her mother that Phoebe’s kidney’s were “working.” 


We had been watching tractors and combines run afar off while we were visiting last week. I was looking out the window one evening and said, "Well, I was hoping to watch them harvest that field across the road, but I guess we'll be leaving before they get to it." And what do you know, but Mimi pointed out a combine just coming down a swath of the field. So we got to watch some harvesting that evening.

The two Phoebes 10 years ago. 

Grandma Phoebe was good. Like Phillip said in his sermon, all that goodness doesn't count for anything at the end of life on earth. What counts is what we do with Jesus. Grandma submitted her life to Jesus; she trusted him to save her from her sins. Her goodness inspires us; it made life nice for us. But her faith in Christ gives us hope. A hope for a much better life after this one. Hope for more than I even know to name.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Skating and Shakespeare

Phoebe has wanted to attend a Shakespeare play for years, but we could never make it happen. We finally found a play going on in town that seemed appropriate for kids and was real Shakespeare ~ not "The Complete Works of Shakespeare in One Hour" that I'd been finding. The Classic Theatre of San Antonio was featuring A Midsummer Night's Dream. Phillip was a theatre guy in high school, so Phoebe and I invited him to go along. :-) 

They had a little pre-show entertainment with the actors sort of mime-dancing in masks and cloaks, reminiscent of the Water Ballet in Revenge of the Sith. They would come up behind you and stare over your shoulder..... Or at your face. That part was a little unnerving, but watching them was oddly enjoyable. I got a couple of pictures before I read in the program that cameras were not allowed. Ooops. 

We all enjoyed it immensely! The Classic Theatre was a cute little theatre connected to a larger one. The tickets were reasonably priced. The acting was lively and well-done. We were close to the action. We will definitely be looking at more of what they have to offer. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream would not be my first Shakespeare choice, but I so enjoyed it! They included the "play inside the play" with Bottom and his crew. Phillip thought that part wasn't relevant to the main story and should have been left out. It did prolong the play, but I was glad they included it. I only found out recently that the "play within the play" was even a part of Midsummer Night by reading Bruce Coville's children's version to Harrison. By the way, Bruce Coville's versions are so excellent for introducing kids to Shakespeare.

Little, impish Puck was played by a lady who teaches high school. He was Phoebe's and my favorite. Phillip loved Helena (the love-jilted friend of Hermia); she included much body language and gestures with her speaking which made it easier to understand the meaning of her words. Shakespeare is fun- I'm enjoying him more and more each year- but he's still hard to understand. 

It was a long night - 2.5 hours of play with intermission and pre-show. The heel broke on my shoe on the way into the theatre and I had to limp along. But I definitely want to do more of this. 

Oh, and I never realized that this line is original to Shakespeare: 
"Though she be but little, she is fierce." 
Who knew!?

And then yesterday afternoon, we went skating. Phoebe has also been begging to do this for a while. Harrison still sticks to the wall and my hand, but he's much better than before. Phoebe hurt her bum, so didn't enjoy it as much as she could have. Liz gave a good go, but was mostly the Watcher of the Purse and Holder of the Bench. And I, who haven't been roller skating in years, got a pretty good workout on the floor. Fun stuff. I love skating too. Shakespeare and skating. You can't get much better than that. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

School Started.....

..... Therefore, no blogging. 

We're finishing up our 6th week (yay! I feel so ahead of the game this year!). I got to attend a local day conference (Schole Sisters Retreat) for homeschooling moms last Saturday. It was a big encouragement. 

I have days where I feel on top of it ~ like the kids are learning so much, and we're getting to everything we need to get to. And I have many days where I feel like this is all going to crash. The retreat and discussion and podcasts and books are all helpful in teaching me that we'll never "arrive." Educating, learning ~ these need to continually happen and in fresh ways. If I ever "arrived" it would be stale, not life-giving. 

But I do feel like this is starting out as a good year. Elizabeth is a junior. One more year at home with us! Jonathan will start high school next year. 

And the app is out! We released several weeks ago. We've gotten lots of feedback from users; I've given lots of feedback. :-) I'm loving it. The kids can check off their own work as they do it. It all turns green when the week's work is done. Progress bars show the week's progress as you go. Lots of opportunities to show progress! It makes one feel good. 

On to some random pictures that I'm going to post for posterity and family photo album purposes:

All of them together. 
Hiding because it's early morning and they don't feel ready for pictures. But they were all together on the couch and so I had to take a pic regardless. 

Elizabeth (I did her hair!) dressed up 50's style for a homeschool dance she went to with Adelynn and family. 

Alec is a kid that grew up next to my parents in Washington. He's in San Antonio at Lackland Air Force Base. His parents came down to visit him, so we all got together for lunch and some swimming at their hotel pool. He meets up with us at church and lunch and such. It's been fun to get to know them.

This sweet little girl loves to water my plants, clean the van (with wet wipes or whatever she can find), straighten up the art area in the garage..... 


Alec is taking a picture of the kids at Whataburger.

Visiting the "nice" mall. 
It has a Lego store and Disney store and Apple store. So I guess it is pretty nice.

Harrison is such a goof! 
Liz wouldn't let me post her goofy mall pics. Just picture her walking around knitting. The girl does have a knack for knitting. She's been doing paid projects for a knitting store in Maine. She's super good at it. 

The kids did this on their own! Photo booth pictures. So sweet!