Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miss Baby is one year old!

This is the day that Miss Baby was born, a year ago!

You guessed it :)

Today was filled with fun preparations for a family birthday this evening. Cupcakes were made, then later they were frosted, and finally decorated.

Presents were wrapped.

Schoolwork was done in short bursts here, there, and yonder as the children had to constantly come to see what I was up to.

Piano practice was squeezed in before and after Miss Baby took her nap.

We zipped off to piano lessons after I frosted the cupcakes and decorated them after we returned.

Miss Baby feasted on KFC mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese tonight. She wasn't as interested in her cupcake and ice cream as we thought she might be, but she did taste it. I think she might've gotten too full at dinner! No worries, we still have cupcakes left over!

After opening some presents, she played a little while and then headed off to bed. It was a good day. Our wee one is a year old already. The time just flies by. It doesn't seem possible that she's one, yet she's getting so big and learning to do so many new things. She has 6 teeth now! She's crawling, pulling up and cruising and will no doubt be off and walking/running before we know it.

She loves the attention she gets from her brothers and sisters.

She's our sweet, wonderful Miss Baby and we love her very much!

Happy Birthday sweet one!

This is the day that...

Hint #2 as preparations continue around here....

and #3...

This is the day....

Can you guess what's going on around here today?

Here's a hint....

Stay tuned throughout the day for updates!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today was the day slated for the house to officially I had to drive out and see what was going on, of course. :)

Here's what we found...preparations for plumbing to go in soon!

Lovely piles of dirt... soon, a house will be there - I can't wait!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

House - footprint!

It's so nice to see something coming along on the lot - we now can see how the house will sit on the lot. Soon, very soon, they'll dig the trenches for the pipes, the foundation will be poured and then things will start moving along at a pretty rapid pace! I have a feeling I'll miss getting pictures of every step, but maybe I'll happen to go by at just the right times and catch everything....maybe!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Doors, doors, doors - concealing the school stuff and keeping wee ones out at the same time!

As I mentioned before, we will have a room dedicated to schooling (ie, a place for all the STUFF). We will no doubt still school all over the house as we tend to do now, but at least a lot of the stuff will be contained and have a place to go when the schoolwork is complete for the day.

On that note, I'm considering some options for that room....and yes, it'll have a door!

The room will be one of the bedrooms and will be off of the open area at the top of the stairs. No doubt I will be spending some of my time in the open area/playroom/gameroom/whatever we decide to call it when we settle in, with Miss Baby while the other children work on things that don't require my immediate supervision. One other thing I'm excited about is the ability to close the door so the older girls will have a quieter environment to work in when they're completing their work after the younger ones, ie, the boys, are done for the day and hoopin' and hollerin' (playing for those of y'all who don't know what's involved in "hoopin' and hollerin') all over the place.

Now, a few thoughts about this door - it'll come as a regular six panel door, like so:

I'm seriously considering changing this door for a few reasons.

1. Even my children aren't perfect (ha ha) and I suspect a bit too much chatting going on behind closed doors if I'm in the play area outside and that door is shut - which leads to schoolwork taking FOR-EV-ER to be completed.

2. I'd like to be able to peek in on them w/o distracting them from what they're currently working on.

3. I'd like to be able to peek out if I'm in the room helping someone w/something and I leave Mr. A and/or Miss Baby to play for a few moments (and yes, there will be a BIG, STRONG gate at the top of the steps and this won't be happening much, if at all, until Miss Baby is much bigger!

So....I've come up with two options so far.

1. A door like this with glass panels I can see through. I'd probably add a roll down shade on the inside in case we ever needed to actually use it as a bedroom with company or some such...or even curtains or something.


2. A door like this - I just learned it's called a "dutch door" and I remember these from days of watching Mr. Ed (they call it a "stable door" also) and maybe even Donna Reed had one of these on her house for the back door....hmm. They come with glass panes on top or solid, not sure which I'd ultimately choose, but the ability to keep the top open or closed is very exciting - the bottom would act as a built in baby gate - whoo hoo. I like it. They're also touted for increasing ventilation, say on your laundry room....oh CKB....can I have one there too???

Thoughts? Other suggestions? I have a few months to think about it, so bring 'em on!


I've been meaning to take new portraits of the children for...months..and still haven't gotten it done.

My goal for this week is to finally get it taken care of - for myself and my dear, sweet husband who needs pics for his desk at work so the people there will believe he has 5 beautiful children :) Also, for the grandparents so the children don't stay eternally young in their wallets - you know what I'm talking about. The pic on my mantle of Mr. A is from when he was 9 mos........oops. Now, Miss Baby is 11 mos. I think I need to update them, don't you?

Ok, now I have to follow through, right?

Off to get a handle on clothing for each one.....that's the fun, I mean, hard part!

And, a pic of all 5 of them together......oh boy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The big reveal! The long awaited surprise! A new year....a new........


The big announcement I promised is that we have signed a contract to build a house!

We have our lot picked out - we have chosen tile, flooring, etc. and we had our pre-construction meeting with the builder last Friday!


After almost 4 years of renting, finally we have made a decision, chosen an area and will be buying a house. We are sooooo excited. We are very thankful that things are working out as they are. We will have more room, more bathrooms (yay!) and a dedicated room for schooling again - hooray!

Here's our dirt...isn't it lovely??????

We think so! Stay tuned for updates during the building process - we're told the house should be ready the end of April or so. We hope so since our lease is up the end of May on our current residence! The timing is just right, the house feels right for us - we praise and thank God for his provision for our family and we can't wait to invite friends and family over after we move in!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

It pays to search for coupon codes!

It wasn't that long ago that I didn't know about coupon codes for online ordering.

After I discovered them, it made it VERY hard for me to justify ordering anything online WITHOUT finding one. I have to have some sort of discount or I just feel like I'm being taken advantage of!

If you haven't discovered the world of online ordering and coupon codes - it's time you did!

I placed an order today for some clothing - I wasn't happy with the total of over $100 so I started a search - I googled "company/catalog name coupon code" and came up with a bunch of links, then I started looking at them. I came across one for 15% off my order, then found one for 20% off. Yay!
Then, I looked at the checkout page and saw a little note next to the code box that said "enter another code if you have one" and thought hmm...maybe I can do better and began a search for a code to get rid of that nasty shipping charge of $16.99! And guess what, I found one! Well, sort of. I searched and searched and didn't find any that weren't already expired. Then, I searched my emails - yes, awhile back I'd signed up for email promotions from this particular catalog/online catalog and especially around and preceding the Christmas shopping rush, I'd received a ton of emails with codes for this percentage off or that percentage and free shipping, etc. I noticed that the free shipping codes didn't seem to have a rhyme or reason, ie, the most recent three were "52", "91", and "68" - on a whim, I decided to try "53" and guess what? It worked! So, my total is now well below the "over $100" I started off at (no worries CKB!) and I'm much happier about my purchase! Whew! It takes a little time - I usually don't spend too long doing this - time is money, you know - but it's worth taking 5-10 mn. to see if you can find a discount code before just plunging ahead and checking out with no discounts at all!!

:) Happy shopping!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another long weekend

CKB had to work again today - Saturday. It was another long day. Makes you thankful for what you have had and helps you look forward to hopefully having it again soon. He thought he would be in from about 9-2, but it ended up being about 5 or so before he was done for the day.

We headed out for dinner and to spend a little time together before the day was completely over and took the children to "Planet Smoothie" - interesting place - the children all chose their own flavor combinations and seemed to really enjoy them. And yes, that was their dinner - a "crazy dinner" as they would call it. Miss Baby had other fare for her dinner - she's not quite ready for a "crazy dinner" at this point. :)

No pictures today....I was too busy just trying to keep up with Miss Baby and keeping her from tumbling down too often. She is sooo busy pulling up on everything and showing me what still needs to be baby proofed for her!

Hope you had a good weekend!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Little Miss - pulling up and moving on out!

Well, aside from a CKB-less weekend, we managed to have a little fun. I took some time to take some photos of the children as they were hanging out on Saturday at the house.

Little Miss Baby is on the move - she is pulling up like crazy - and yes, suffering from a few falls and bumps along the way, but she recovers very quickly when it happens.

The rest of the gang were enthralled with watching Miss A play a new game - unfortunately this one can't be played by all at the same time...hence the photo you see your children do this? Can they really see enough on those little screens...anyway....

Miss Baby wanted to know what all the fuss was about....

Weekend? What weekend?

This past weekend, if there was one, that is, I'm still not sure....the calendar says it was...hmm....anyway, this past weekend was short/not really a weekend/ and just about anything else you care to say when it feels like you didn't have one.

CKB had to work.

All day.

The children weren't up when he left.

They were in bed when he got home.

Errands still needed to be run.

I was tired.

Still am.

Sunday was our Madisonville weekend.

Did I mention that I'm tired?

A church family friend died Friday and the visitation was in Navasota Sunday afternoon.

Yes, that's another hour away.

We happily went, of course, but that did make for an even longer drive home Sunday afternoon.

It was AFTER bedtime for the children when we finally got home.

Miss Baby was NOT happy.

Yes, I'm still tired.

Weekend? Where did you go? Why weren't you there for us? We needed you and alas, it's Monday again somehow.

What did you do w/your weekend - something fun? exciting? Our weekend was ok, we just missed having CKB with us Saturday and are a tad tired from all the driving Sunday. How about yours?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Getting my groove back...

Ok, first of all, did I ever have a "groove" to speak of? I don't know. Should I tell Miss Baby that 11 months ago she "threw off my groove"? (anyone w/me on this reference....anyone....I think I heard a pin drop....ok, moving on)....of course not, our lives changed yet again when little Miss joined our family, and for the better! Just now I am getting back into the swing of things with feeling like I can take a little time now and then to do something "crafty". Yes, as you age, it takes you longer to get "back into the swing of things", I've found...if you ever do, that is!

As a child, I always had about 100 irons in the fire craft-wise. Ask my Mom, she'll tell you.

Ok, you're back? What'd she say? Yep. That's what I thought. I didn't always finish all those projects either....what? Mom told you that, too? Thanks Mom!

Well, things haven't changed saw this the other day, right?


Well, now, my sweet friend Courtney has got me all pumped up about sewing again...I know, the crayon incident of missed that? Read all about But, I must get the sewing machine going again...I must! And, Courtney will forever know how much I care, because I have to unearth a mountain of stuff to attain sewing machine access before Wednesday morning when she comes over to sew...yes, Wednesday morning....maybe I should be cleaning....

So, I am riding to the aid of my friend to help her with her first, I think, clothes sewing project - yippee! And, thankfully she didn't choose something with pleats or tucks or some such horror for her first project - yay! She chose pants. Pants, I can do. But these aren't any ordinary pants, mind you...she had to have a challenge :) They are pants with a big ol' out of this world, fun-loving ruffle at the bottom! And no, they aren't for her. They're for her beautiful little girls...and mine might get some if their Mama takes the time to make them some...we'll see. They should look something like this, but in a fun print!

So, stay tuned...super fun pants are coming soon!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The city mouse and the country mouse - which one are you?

New Year's Day we were on vacation and the day took us to the aquarium in downtown Dallas, of all places. We had visited the area before and been to the aquarium at Fair Park and not been very impressed and thought surely a city the size of Dallas would have something better to offer.

Well, they do - the Dallas World Aquarium - a hefty price tag, but enjoyable and a wide variety to see there - it's not your ordinary aquarium, I mean, come on, what other aquarium has a jaguar?

Anyway, back to the title up there - we parked in one of the downtown lots near the aquarium and proceeded to start reading all the different signs about how and where and who to pay for parking. Yikes. They could make it a little more complicated...I wish I had pictures of the signs. Don't do this, make sure you do this, etc. etc. etc. The signs were contradictory and a tad confusing. We don't frequent the downtown areas of large cities often...can you tell?

Well, as we headed to the sign to squeeze dollar bills into the tiny slot next to the number for our parking spot, we were intercepted by a friendly guy wearing an orange vest and some sort of badge on a lanyard around his neck, quoting the price for the day and so forth. We paid him for the parking and then, shortly after...we knew we'd been had. ARGH. CKB was not happy. I was not happy either, but what do you do - chase the guy down and tackle him, risking your life possibly for 5 bucks? Well, maybe, but just in case it got ugly, the children didn't need to see that, so...No. Instead, we paid for parking at the sign and got our ticket for the dashboard and went on to the aquarium. Did I say, argh? ARGH!!!!

During this time, we watched the guy saunter off to another lot at a pretty rapid pace....ARGH.

After the aquarium visit, we were navigating our way out of the downtown area and on to other sites when we noticed there were lots of folks walking along w/folding chairs....people were selling cotton candy...we were about to be in the middle of a parade or something - yikes - as we were almost to the interstate, the police were barricading the very road we had just come down - help! We made it out alive....the cat didn't get us too badly...and we're back in the country now...

So how about it, are you a country mouse or a city mouse?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WIP, UFO, whatever you call them, it's all about the yarn!

Remember this? Well, so do I....and I'm ashamed to say I haven't touched it since....I still want an afghan/lapghan made from the yarn, but at the moment I'd be thrilled if I could find someone who would make it for me instead of me plugging on for eternity and never finishing it!

Know anyone who's a fabulous crocheter and might help me out? I have tried searching ebay and craigslist in hopes of finding someone who lives in the "area" that I might contract to complete this project, but so far, no success.

So, for now, the yarn mountain lies in wait, in a big green...or is it blue...tote in my bedroom....taking up space, but not in a nice, warm, snuggly way like I'd hoped it would be by now.

Do you have any unfinished projects from last year (or, ahem, the year before) lying around...waiting?

Monday, January 4, 2010

What do you do with old Christmas cards?

Now that Christmas is over, I'm faced with the annual dilemna of what to do with the Christmas cards....keep them? toss them? figure out something to do with them that's "crafty"?

I'd like a crafty idea....anyone have one to share? The picture cards are great to keep around for awhile and I can't imagine anything crafty with the moment....but the ones w/Christmas scenes and images of winter wonderlands and such - I'm thinking something can be done here.....anyone?

And for those of you who sent us a card and didn't get one from us - please don't be offended in the slightest - I just couldn't get it together this year! I was even holding out hope that I'd get a New Year's card out, but, well, that hasn't happened yet either...forgive me?

New Year's Day - catching up and moving on - Christmas 2009 recap and SNOW!

Sometimes you just have to say enough is enough and move on, right?

Well, that sounds good to me...the things I would've blogged about if I'd taken the time (why do we always say "If I had time....I'd...." - truth be told, often we just choose to use our time for other things - let's just be honest here!) include more updates on Miss Baby as she has been growing and changing so quickly, school week updates...yes, I let that slip by the wayside round about the time we were hit w/the plague back in October and I just never got back "with it" in that respect....goings on with all of us...we're busy, 'nuf said....and probably more things that I can't recall right now.

So, a few highlights and then we will press on!

(in no particular order)

Thanksgiving Medieval Feast - I had planned to do a big post on this and share tons of pictures...guess what? I don't feel like doing all the pictures right I'll share a few of the highlights and then we'll move on -

Ok, you caught me - I started this post and saved it to work on later and then went ahead and made that big ol' Medieval Feast post with TONS of pictures - sigh - anyway - if you missed it, here 'tis:

Medieval Feast

Christmas....too busy before hand and not enough time after to enjoy my parents' being here. Sigh. Why do I always think we'll just be sitting around, talking and "visiting" the whole time - then chaos sets in instead (oh yes, well, part of the reason involved a certain someone who did not start her Christmas shopping early like she said she was going to....I mean, who does that anyway? Not me, I tell ya, nope, not me.) Ahem...

Anyway, after much mad rushing around and gratefulness to my parents for watching over the children while I did said rushing around, I got it all worked out. Next year I'm starting in, I mean it...

Christmas Eve and Day were very nice - we enjoyed watching the children open their presents and were very happy to see into their hearts as they each one exclaimed individually (and not in the presence of each other) how they couldn't wait to see how much the person they'd bought for would like what they'd chosen for them (each of the children drew names this year and had one of the other children's names and then w/assistance from CKB and I went shopping for that person). It was very special once again to see the thoughtfulness that went into the decisions they made for one another and such a blessing to see how well they know each other.

This was Miss Baby's first Christmas - can you see how excited she is?

She liked the stocking itself better than what was inside, I think!

And here she is getting into someone else's stuff.....isn't that always the way!

Here are a few more highlights from the day.....

Excited girls....

and boys....

and grandparents....on a side note...guess who was SECOND into the den to see the presents and tree...hint hint, it was NOT one of the children...and he likes blue....hmmm.....

Anyone need anything fixed? (or broken...ahem...)

Mr. A was more excited about his fruit and electric toothbrush that were in his stocking, than the little toys and candy! He proceeded to eat part of the apple and then wanted to go brush his teeth!

That boy loves his Daddy! Sigh....

who's that? uh...let's move on...

Miss A is excited to have some paper dolls to go along w/her Felicity books...

Miss E - a new watch - hooray! Now, didn't she already have a watch? Oh yes, it went through the wash a time or did that happen, I wonder, no good Mama would let that happen, would they? I mean, I check every...single...pocket...every...time...don't you? Sigh....

Mr. E really enjoyed this! (so did everyone else!)

Ah, the expressions on Christmas morning...priceless!

Ok, moving on.....

Snow!!!! We've had 3 snows before the end of the year - amazing and our "snowiest" year in this area, yet! We're hoping for more! The best part is that it snowed on Christmas Eve and we had our 2nd white Christmas - an answer to prayer in our house this year - Praise God! The children played in the snow in Christmas Eve and again Christmas Day (after opening presents, of course, we must have our priorities right, now mustn't we?) - it was a lot of fun followed by hot cocoa and a nice warm fire!

Of course, there were snowball fights...

And lots of running around...

And snowmen....yes, with crayon noses and eyes and mouths...they use something different every year!

Wow, that snowman is good - he even caught a football!

and another....

Grandpa even got in on the fun....

Someone missed the memo on which gloves to get...hmm, those look a TAD big, don't they?

We like snow!!

Has it snowed in your neck of the woods yet?

Thanksgiving past - TOG Year 2 Unit 1 Celebration - Medieval Feast

With all the hub-bub surrounding Christmas and preparing for my parents to visit, I never got a chance to share about our Thanksgiving trip.

We headed up to TN as my sister and her family headed down to TN :) My brother lives next door and...well..they walked over.

Anyway - we decided to forgo traditional fare this year and instead celebrate Medieval-like with a Medieval Feast. Our 3 eldest children as well as my sister's 2 eldest are all studying the same time period in history this year and we had just completed Unit 1 of the year - The Medieval Period - so it seemed like a good, fun way to do things - together.

The preparation ended up being a bit more than I'd bargained for (ie, took me a lot longer than I'd thought it would!) - a lot due to the fact that we had to transport a great deal of stuff up to TN - but we managed.

All of the "students" participated in many ways - we had jesters, ladies, a young maid, a page or two and a squire who would be knighted at the end of the feast!

Here are a few pictures....

My sister, R, began as Surveyor of Ceremonies (I picked this task up about halfway through - she was better at it, and should've just done it the whole time, but I'd agreed to split the job in half and, so, I did)

She was announcing the King and Queen - here they are.....trumpets blow......
Dad (King Grandpa) really got into his role and spent some time working on his costume - too cute! Love you Dad! (you too, Mom - great job finding the crowns!)

We had many ceremonies and presentations along the way.....

Our niece, Lady CF

Her sister, Maiden CA

Our eldest, Jester E making money appear out of "thin air"!!!

Our second in line, Jester A juggling scarves

Our third, Squire E

Our eldest again, back from jestering, she is now Lady E

And, our second back from jestering, now Lady A

Methinks the Queen has had too much "wassail" (apple cider, really) - here, the Queen is enjoying the antics of the Squire as he approaches the King for had to be there.

A few ceremonies....presentation of the upper crust to the King

Maid C is ready for the presentation:

and here she goes...

The laverer for the King and Queen to clean their hands....

Time for the knighting!

King Grandpa really got into his role and at the request of the squire, the King brought his military sword down from the attic to use in the knighting ceremony....

At the end, King Grandpa presented all of the children with banners heralding the Order of the Renaissance (the next period of history we're working on) - it was a lot of fun to see how much my parents got into their roles of King and Queen!

I don't know that we'll attempt something like this away from home again, but it sure made for some good memories!

Here are a few shots from the end of the feast - all the students are in this picture (and one extra, not an official student, but he will be soon!)

and a few candids of most of the group during the feast....CKB took Miss Baby inside because it was getting colder and colder outside and she'd about feasted enough :) Oh, and that empty chair there at the front...that's mine...I'm never in any of the pictures, imagine! :)

We'll leave you now with a shot of the littlest lady who came on over to the feast from next door, my brother's oldest, niece N