Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Elizabeth found a new park, so we spent our 80° Sunday afternoon at the new park.

And we were accosted by large, beautiful swans! 
I believe that's the first time we've seen live swans. Harrison kept calling them geese. He was trying to play with his tank at the edge of the pond and the swans kept coming right up in our face begging for food. They would definitely peck you if you acted like you had any food on you. 

Harrison is playing in the dirt with his tank. He was burying it and then having his Stikbot character dig it out. He had a whole story going on in his head. But these little kids kept coming up wanting to play with him, and they would help him dig out his tank. He finally gave up, took his tank and left for more remote areas. 

This was super fun! A big long swing-glider thingy. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Poem by John Donne

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done;
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done;
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now and heretofore;
And having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cake and Lizards

The Beaumont crew came over and Elizabeth made a delectable cake for our dessert. 

A real paper picture that a lady at church handed to us. 
It was taken at the church Christmas party, and it's one of my favorite pictures of Phillip and I.

So the reason the Beaumont crew came to San Antonio was simply for the purpose of Emma going with Liz to the homeschool co-op Winter Formal. What great friends to drive all that way so these two crazies could do teen-girl/friendship stuff together. It was really a lot of fun to have them here.

 The family is finally about ready to get back into their home (the one that was flooded from Hurricane Harvey). Still have work to do, but they will finish it while living there. We were able to hear more of their story as we ate supper together. What I love is that they are praising God through it all: it's hard to go through, but they're thankful for it anyway. 

The weather's been colder, so I've been staying inside a lot. I don't get to see the neighbors as often when I do that. But Ms. Monica is in a nursing home now. She always made sure we saw each other, no matter how hot or cold it was! :-) 

Harrison has been watching Brave Wilderness YouTube videos ~ the guy talks about animals and likes to get himself stung by crazy insects to see if he can take it. Anyway, Harrison loves this guy, and he's been saying he can't wait till summer so he can catch a lizard. He's already been catching ants with his neighbor buddies. Well, wonder of wonders, a lizard showed up in our laundry room yesterday. The boys were contriving all kinds of traps to catch him. Finally, after several hours, they found him in their room on their window, basking in the sun. They were easily able to catch him there, and Harrison had his lizard to show off and play with. One of those amazing vignettes where a little thing that you wish so hard for actually happens. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Very Merry Christmas

This was a more relaxed Christmas season for us, I feel like. We took the week before Christmas off of school, as well as this week of Christmas. That really helped. There's always a lot going on leading up to Christmas; it's hard to do school and parties and activities and baking.... All the Christmas doings are more enjoyable with a little extra padding of time. 

Liz Photo Creds
Elizabeth got her driver's license!! 
The first place she drove to was an old abandoned house about 5 minutes away. She had to take someone with her if she was going to explore, so she took Jonathan. I've been there with her before ~ it's a neat looking little place. I'd love to know its history. There are two buildings on the property; the one pictured is made of stone.

Phoebe and Charlize on Christmas Day. They are growing up!
Elizabeth made the sweater for Phoebe.

Liz Photo Creds
Elizabeth also likes to wear the sweater she made for Phoebe.

Since we are off school and have some time on our hands, Phoebe got out all the cards she's been saving from over the years and read them. I do the same thing periodically. I had a big box of letters that I kept for a long time. I went through it finally and whittled it down to a small shoebox of letters. 

New pajamas!

Ah! This was a lot of fun. 
A homeschool friend put together a time of caroling at a nursing home. I've been wanting to do this, but I'm not usually one to lead the way on this type of venture. I also have memories of doing it as a kid, and I'd always thought it was kind of useless. "We aren't professionals. There's nothing special about how we're singing these songs that would be especially enjoyable. We're awkward when we try to talk to the folks listening. Why are we doing this?" Maybe our kids are thinking these same things. 

But I had a totally different perspective this time around. I saw the little, bright-eyed lady in her wheelchair singing along with us. She shook my hand and told me I sang beautifully and that she used to sing in her church choir. Each seemingly non-attentive person we went around to in the sitting area lit up when we hugged them or patted them on the shoulder and had a little something to say to them. 

We walked down the halls singing to those who were in their rooms. One lady called us in and we sang Silent Night. She cried. Who knows what thoughts were going through her head. 

One old timer, when I shook his hand, said, "Well, hell! *chuckle, chuckle* I mean, hello!" He was quite jolly and funny. All the folks wanted to give Harrison a pat or hold his hand. They love little kids.

Thank you, Cil, for putting this together! 
People just want a touch of humanity sometimes. It doesn't have to be professional.

My sister sent this picture of Jordan eating his new candy cane. Wow! This is just a classic Christmas picture, in my opinion. I love it!

Mimi and Papa were here for the weekend. We watched "A Christmas Carol" with George C Scott. Very classic and nostalgic. Harrison discovered that he loved that cozy spot between the couch and the Christmas trees. 

I wanted pie for Christmas dessert. But I couldn't decide what kind. We had seven mini pie plates and a new pie crust recipe in Cooks Illustrated......

Went to church at Cornerstone Sunday morning. It was their Christmas Eve service even though it was morning time. I really enjoyed their music ~ a choir and a brass section.

And the lighting of the candles! 
There were about 4,000 people there. It's really neat to see that many points of light in the auditorium. 

The preacher talked about something I had been thinking on this year: Lights on the tree came about to show that Jesus is the Light of the world. He said Martin Luther started the tradition. Now it has become a common cultural practice ~ to light your house and tree around Christmas time. Even if they don't know it, people the world over are testifying to that Light. We want light. It's delightful and beautiful. We drive around to catch the best displays of light. What a great parable that can point to Jesus.

And Mimi took Phoebe to get her ears pierced at Claire's just like Elizabeth a few years ago. Very exciting times in life. :-)

Christmas morning! 
Harrison was bucking around and dancing. He was so expressive about his excitement. You just can't beat a little kid at Christmas time.

Dinner is served.

Too much food, as always. But we will have leftovers, and that is a good thing.

Seven mini pies. 
The chocolate mint pie got the most votes. Phillip liked the pumpkin best. Mimi liked the cran-raspberry. I liked the tart lemon best. It was a fun endeavor. However, I told them to document this well, because I will probably not do it again. :-) I enjoyed it though.

Sharing Christmas memories around the table. 

Playing Clue which Mimi and Papa got for the kids. Nobody won. We all guessed wrong. We'll have to try it again today.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snow in San Antonio after 30 Years

Cracks me up, because I just blogged that it's been pretty warm so far this winter. And the very same week we get snow. Unexpected. Exciting. Absolutely thrilled the children.

This was the next morning. 
The snow was gone by lunchtime, but the kids spent hours in it the night it snowed and the next morning.

All the neighbor kids came out to see it and spend hours in it 
~ trying to make snowmen and snow angels; throwing lots of snowballs, I'm sure.

Poor Harrison came in that night crying because of cold toes. We were woefully underprepared for snow. My mom had given us a whole bunch of one-size-fits-all gloves. Although they are cloth and get wet, the kids would periodically come in and get a new pair of warm gloves. But I didn't think to check Harrison's socks and shoes situation (after initially calling him back in to change from flip-flops to socks and closed-toed shoes). We had a big 'ole wet, muddy mess when it was all over. But we had fun! 

Elizabeth turned 16!!!! No way. Just.... no way. 
I remember that little Liz toddler who would throw a fit when we tried to leave the library (really, that's the only time I remember her throwing fits) and who was constantly on the move with her army crawl (didn't walk till she was about year and a half) and who loved getting into my art supplies, my bathroom cabinet, the baking supplies, the book shelf. She's still busy as ever. Very productive and independent......she made that gorgeous birthday cake.....we kind of like you, Liz. :-)

Phillip has this thing about NOT decorating for Christmas until it is December. And so we wait until December to decorate. A friend who moved away last year gave their tree to us. Since we also had our little one, we thought we'd put the two of them up with just lights and have a little cozy scene for our Christmas decor. 

And we put the Christmas decorations and some garland on our computer desks. Phillip's got quite the eye for these things. I like it. That book on my desk there is one that I won in a give-away, but I want to recommend it for anyone looking for an Advent reading for themselves or the kids. "All Creation Waits" by Gayle Boss. Each chapter tells of the hibernation or winter habits of a different animal; how they wait for spring. There are 25 chapters. The pictures are pencil drawings and beautiful. The whole book has a classic feel to it. The language is beautiful ~ lyrical. I'm not reading it every day. We got it late and I hadn't planned to do a daily advent reading. But I do pick it up to read it when everyone is hanging out, but not doing much. It takes about 5 minutes to read a chapter, so it's not a big time commitment. 

Phillip and I went to the New Braunfel's church Christmas Party with a "Down on the Farm" theme. Any excuse to wear your cowboy hat and boots!

So three days after snow, we're back in our shirt-sleeves. We tried this neat little Pinteresty project; made a bird seed "gingerbread" house. The birds won't eat it! I'm so disappointed. I thought it was real pretty. They do eat the bird seed we throw on the ground. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Warm Winter So Far

Although, I guess it's technically still autumn, isn't it. We've had a couple of days of jacket weather, but it's mostly been the air conditioner that runs around here.

Boerne had a Christmas evening deal going on. It was super crowded, so we just walked around a bit and then went to Dairy Queen for a snack. Liz drove home so she could get some night driving hours in (you have to have 20 hours of day driving and 10 hours of night driving before you can get your license). 

"Snow" in Boerne. 
I think Elizabeth is the only one who remembers anything about real snow. 

Santa Clause waving from an upstairs window.

There were a lot of solo and duet instrumentalists outside the shops along Main St. 

Look how bright and sunny it's been around here! 
This Lantana bush was full of butterflies. 

And a bit of nature around our house. 
I sit on the floor of the garage to do school with the kids individually. The garage door is up so that we can enjoy the outside. We throw out little handfuls of birdseed and listen to the sparrows and grackles peck, peck, pecking while we school. 

I just put a teensy picture here because it's a little gross. But it's also fascinating. We saw what looked like a palmetto bug taking a bite out of this long white grasshopper-looking thing. Later on when I came outside, the white bug had resumed the shape of a palmetto bug and was eating its brown shell. So it had been in the process of molting when we first saw it. So weird. It had really looked like a grasshopper, minus the jumping legs. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving at Home

It was just Phillip and I and the kids at home this year for Thanksgiving. Consequently, I didn't go crazy with food prep. And I paid more attention to food prep than to taking pictures, so there's slim pick-in's in that regard. 

I wanted to make a recipe from the Cook's Illustrated magazine that I receive, and brussel sprouts won out. I've learned to like this tiny cabbage-like veggie. I was just telling my mom on the phone yesterday that I used to surrepticiously rid my plate of the brussel sprout when I was a kid. There weren't many foods I didn't like, but brussel sprouts and grapefruit juice were two of those that I distinctly remember sneaking to the garbage. But this year, this dish was just for me. No one else wanted to be near them.

Burnt dessert. 
It's a cherry bar dessert. And it actually didn't taste burnt at all. Just a little toasted. I'd definitely make this again, minus the "toasted" part.

We each had our own little Cornish hen this year! I used to enjoy making these for Phillip and I when we were first married. But then we decided it was a little more work than it was worth and a little messy too. But I wanted the kids to have memories of having their own Cornish hen, so I decided to do it this year. Hard to think about, but Elizabeth may be leaving home in a couple years, so if I want to make memories with all my children under one roof, I have this time now to do that.

Phoebe helped me prep the hens. She enjoyed reminding everyone as they were served that she'd "had her hands all over those things!" I'm sure her siblings loved the thought.

Harrison hasn't watched Shane since he was a baby, so we had a Shane viewing in the afternoon. Good movie. Highly recommended.

We talked Phillip into a game of Monopoly (there are few games we can talk him into). Jonathan and I were out first. Phoebe and Phillip battled it out, and Phoebe was at last the victor. 

Elizabeth worked on two cookie orders she has to fill this weekend. The avocado sugar cookies are for Avocado Cafe where she works. They're pretty cute!