Saturday, June 24, 2017

Coca-Cola and other Cool Summer Happenings

Liz practices her photography skills on her sister; 
and she's doing quite well, in my opinion. 

We plan for her to take a photography class at a nearby co-op this coming school year.

Elizabeth and a couple of her friends took pictures at an abandoned building and then waded in the Guadalupe River.

The summer mornings have been somewhat relaxed around here. We sleep in a little later than school days. There are certain things the kids have to get done before they can do computer time, but I let them do it at their own pace. 

Harrison is also learning how to tie his shoes this summer. I balk at those kinds of things. Maybe it's a fourth child thing ~ do I really need to teach shoe-tying again? Do I really need to potty train again? Does he need to know his address and phone number? 

Jonathan met a friend at camp last year and we figured out the friend only lives 25 minutes away. Phillip filled in to preach at their church a couple of weeks ago. It was good.

Phoebe is taking horse riding lessons this summer. She's really liking it so far, and I'm pleased with the teacher. She seems very knowledgeable, and the atmosphere of the place is relaxed. 

We went to Boerne City Lake to play in the water and try out the raft.

We got a little sunburnt and very tired out. I took notes for next year so that we can go better prepared. For instance, we need better sunscreen, a roll of toilet paper, more snacks.

Scobee Planetarium is having summer matinees this year and I want to take advantage! 

The first one we attended was The Maya Sky. Harrison was pretty freaked out by the intensity of an Imax-type experience and some of the visuals (lightening and such), and he cried quite a bit. He's seven and you had to be at least 6 for this show, so I thought he'd be fine. Oh well, live and learn.

Phoebe, my selfie queen.

The boys waiting for the show to begin. 
I want to attend at least a couple more planetarium shows this summer and then go back in the winter to spend time at the observatory.

Cream colored sunflowers in a vase Adeba gave me when she moved away.

My first pair of boots memorialized with petunias.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Seven Year Old Harrison

Harrison wanted a Banana-themed birthday party. He doesn't really eat bananas. I'm not sure what thrills him about bananas. But he does have a banana costume from Halloween, and Liz made him a chocolate cake with banana decorations.

He invited a neighbor to go to Urban Air (a trampoline park) that afternoon. 

Two wild and sweaty guys.

Elizabeth made the banana decorations out of meringue. 

Harrison is a deep thinker. He's been going outside on his own lately and holding his own with the boys his age in the neighborhood. It used to be that he stuck pretty close to Jonathan. I love to see him and Jon together, but he does need to "find himself," if you will.

He's our schmoopy, our snuggle-bug, our sensitive one. We love you, Harrison!

Friday, June 2, 2017


Our last day of school was last Friday. We've had one official week of summer break..... and it's possibly busier than our school week! 

'A change is as good as a break' though, and it has been a restful week in its own way. 

I used to sort of school year round (we took more breaks throughout the year, so we still did the same amount of school). As the kids got older, and as we've lived in a kid infested friendly neighborhood the last 5 years, and as Dad was a proponent of the long summer break, we have been having a typical summer break lately. 

Elizabeth and friends photographing at an abandoned house.

Phoebe led a Memorial Day Parade around our neighborhood.

School is busy enough, now that all four kids are full-time into it, that many things get put off until a break arrives: 

  • Spring Cleaning (which I must have ~ this gives my brain an excuse to leave several of those deep cleaning things that would niggle at me to no end if I didn't tell myself that I have time set aside to get to it ~ I just have to wait till Spring Cleaning!)

  • Field Trips (we just have very little time during the school year to get to many field trips. I think we had more time for this when the kids were younger. But when I hear of some free museum day or that the Planetarium will be open special days during the summer or I want to try a new park someone mentioned on Facebook, I jot it down and we have a go-to list of things to do during the summer.)

  • Jobs (these have already started for the olders. Jonathan started mowing lawns in the neighborhood, and Elizabeth started a job at Avocado Cafe. All of the kids help with Spring Cleaning and get paid for it. Liz is learning to drive, opened a new checking account, etc, etc.)

  • Swimming (the pool opens. Liz has her raft that we want to take out at least a couple times. I'd like Harrison to have swim lessons.)

  • Appointments (doctor and dentist appointments get put off till break if possible: Christmas, Spring or Summer.)

  • More Podcasts, More Books (With the spring cleaning and driving, I have time to listen to more podcasts, so I'm trying out new ones. And I also have a *little* more time for reading books. I'm trying to follow along with the current Close Reads book discussion.)

  • Next Year's School Prep (This actually starts around February/March. I enjoy planning curriculum, so this is fun for me. Right now I'm waiting for all the books I've ordered to come in, and then I can begin planning out the specifics for the first trimester.)

  • Camps (church camp for each kid and a week of VBS.)

  • Travels (we initially had put off our trip to Louisiana until school was done, but it turned out that a surprise funeral took us over there early. And we were only able to schedule time to fly to Washington 3 weeks into school next year. So travel plans aren't working out, but that's okay.)

It's good. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Grandpa Black's Funeral

My mom's dad passed away last week. My mom and the kids and I were planning to head over to see him this very Memorial Day weekend. But he had been having chest pains, he found out his heart had blockages, the doctor agreed to surgery. He made it through the surgery and seemed on the recovery but had a heart attack a few days after the operation. He was almost 90.

So we made plans to be there for the funeral instead of going this weekend. My brother preached the sermon. A young man played two songs on the accordion for the music. My mom saw many people who passed through for the visitation. The kids and I left the morning of the funeral and arrived about an hour before the service, so we missed seeing many, but I was glad for who we did get to visit with. 

My childhood bestie Teressa and her sister Nettie.

Teressa's family had gotten close to Mr. Black. Demi is the little girl being held by Zachary (T's son). Demi is Nettie's daughter (T's sis). Grandpa would talk about her and what a toot she was. I wrote about Grandpa and my mom's reunion a few years ago. Teressa's mom was very helpful in connecting my mom and her dad back together.

Zachary ~ always there to teach my boys how to be country boys.

Teressa's beautiful girl, Jayda. 
She's a little bit older than Elizabeth; they hang and do teen stuff.

My brother has grown a full-out beard. He's got quite the persona going on. A little bit Amish, a little bit 1920's. Or is it the 19-teens? I'm actually not up on my historic styles. But he looks like a guy from a bygone era. 

Dad and Mike.

We hung out at Teressa's after the funeral service. My mom and Mrs. Kristine hanging out at the sink, as always. 

We talked and ate and played cards till late at night. I had been up since 4 that morning and was so tired! But we had a lot of fun. 

The next day was dropping Aupa off at the Lafayette airport so he could get back to Seattle for work. He had driven Mom down and flew back so she could keep the car.

We stopped by this little park by the airport. We always see it and never stop. There was a lake and a river and several fisher-people.

Mom and me.

Elizabeth googled a yarn store in Lafayette. It was in a neat little shopping area. We browsed the yarn, a tea shop, and a chocolate shop. Nana bought everyone their choice of chocolates. The kids climbed these thick crepe myrtles. The crepe myrtles around us are all young and skinny ~ you can't climb them. Mike showed us around a coin shop to end our Lafayette stint.

On the way back, we stopped in Rayne to see my childhood home. They've fixed it up nicely! I don't know if it still is, but it was divided into two homes when we rented it. There was no heating or air conditioning while we are there, but I'm sure they've fixed that. 

I had to get a picture of "the rich man's" house. When we were in public school, my mom would send us over periodically for lunch money: "Go ask the rich man if you can borrow lunch money. Tell him we'll pay him back Friday." :-) We payed him back. Funny memories.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring (Summer?) Has Arrived!

It seriously can't decide if it's spring or summer around here! We'll have a really hot and humid day and then a strong wind will come up and bring in jacket weather for a day or two. I personally love the cool weather, especially when I know non-stop hot will soon be here to stay. 

We've got three weeks left of school, and I'm eager for the freedom of summer to get here. Or rather, the change of occupation to get here. There are a number of places to visit and town things to explore along with Spring Cleaning and camps.... So there will be plenty to keep us busy this summer. But it will be a different change of pace. 

The kids got a kite for Easter. We took it down the road to a huge empty lot behind the Catholic Church. It's a great place to catch some wind.

Purple Martin box. 
I'm enjoying these pretty little swallows on evening walks. Birds are so active in the evenings. 

We took a quick visit to an old quarry to look at the layers that were left behind for our special nature study on soil. 

A little visit to see Dad at the coffee shop. 

Phoebe and Harrison went with me to return something at Target, and I let them share a drink from Starbucks.

Elizabeth and I did a Mystery 5K for part of her PE credit. We are neither of us especially good 5Ker's, but we made it out alright. 

Our local pool opened for the first time yesterday! The water was so cold! But it was gorgeous.

Liz celebrated Cream & Sugar Bakery's One Year Birthday. Good job, Liz!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Phoebe Turns 11

Happy Birthday, sweet Phoebes! 

Elizabeth made the cake according to Phoebe's specifications. 
It's a pineapple. I don't know why. It's lemon-flavored.

We had a cozy birthday dinner with gifts and cake on her birthday, and then she and Charlize went to Urban Air over the weekend for her celebration activity.