Wednesday, June 29, 2011

dreaming of baby things.

yearning for this Petunia Pickle Bottom sling

Petunia Pickle Bottom...

perfect for a baby named Hazel, huh?

i found some fabric today for a whopping $24 a yard but that was so beautiful i couldn't walk away from. i'm trying to decide how to use it. so many possibilities!

also discovered this great site and am making some pillows similiar to these.

Monday, June 27, 2011

nearly 21 weeks -

yay for being over half way done!
we have a a fun week in store for us. we're heading to Pedernales State Park on Thursday to camp with our friends the Simpsons.

did i mention that i painted our bedroom the other day? it was supposed to be gray, but turned out with more lavender in it. it's called "sparrow". i will keep it as it looks good and Brian likes it, too. thankfully he has no qualms sharing a feminine room with me. i just don't know how to decorate masculine, i guess.

my garden is still giving gifts, even in this draught. we're only allowed to water with a sprinkler two days a week. i go out and hand-water as often as i can. i am still getting tomatoes nearly every day, and still have tons of lettuce and chard. my peppers have slowed down a bit, but i'm hoping they'll pick back up if i can remember to water them a little more. i have herbs galore and have been using my basil in many dishes. yum.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

yesterday Margaret and i went up north to Canyon Vista Middle School for her swim meet while Brian took the boys out to Lake Austin to fish and swim.

some pics of the meet. all the red capped kiddos are our team, the Patterson Piranhas which are mostly Maplewood kids.

awhile back Brian's dad won a gift certificate for the Driskill Hotel restaurant in a golf tournament. it wasn't just any gift certificate either. it was a five course "farm to table" dinner for 4 worth $260! we invited our friends Chris and Jess to join us. what fun it was to dine in style! you know you're at a fancy restaurant when the waiter asks what kind of water you'll be having. LOL. when my dad asks that at his house he means hot or cold. at the Driskill they mean tap, distilled, or Pellegrino. Brian bought a $50 bottle of wine which was the most expensive bottle we've ever bought. i would have loved to enjoy more of it, but i settled for a few sips which were lovely. that's one of the things i miss the most about being pregnant, that evening glass of wine.

i didn't get any very good pics, but here is one of Brian and i out in front of the hotel.

Chris and Jess came back to the house and hung out with us for awhile. we all declared the evening a success and want to do it again soon. not the five course meal thing, but the double date.

this morning it was good to be in the Lord's house. we came home and had an early lunch and then all napped. while in bed, i read some in several books. one on curriculum planning, another on suggested literature for every grade level, and another on encouraging your child's unique gifts and creativeness. feeling alot more confident about school this year.

i whipped out 13 prefold diapers over the past 2 days. i used only materials we had around the house, old receiving blankets, old flannel sheets, other cotton sheets, and terry cloth. they are so soft and cute, in all different patterns. i did a lot of reading over the past few days and feel thoroughly educated on the subject of cloth diapering. i'll attempt some fitted diapers next. who knew diapers could be so much fun?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

and her name shall be called....

Hazel. that is unless she kisses her elbow and turns into a boy before the next ultrasound in 6 weeks. still cooking up a middle name, but you can be assured it will be just as old fashioned as the first. it's nice to have a label for her and not just be calling her It.

yesterday we met some friends at the Mueller pool. both are a part of Classical Conversations, and the one really wants me to put Margaret in CC. this isn't something we intend to do as i hope to have her back i public school next year, or at the latest for 9th grade. i really feel strong about supporting the public school as much as possible and there being a Christian presence there. it's just weird how our path has turned over the past couple of months leading us to homeschool this year. the verse The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps, has proved so true in the area of education. so i guess i can say what i think we'll be doing next year, or what i hope we'll be doing, but really i have no idea where the Lord may lead.

i started working on cloth diapers yesterday for Hazel. this is so exciting and making her seem more and more imminent. i really do love her!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 24

yesterday was monumental for several reasons. first, because i woke up in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of rain! we haven't had the wet stuff around here in ever so long! thank you, Lord, for being merciful and sending rain on the just and the unjust!

second of all, i went shopping for baby diapers, something that also has not happened in a very long time. i plan to use cloth, and would love to try my hand at making my own. i'm just trying to figure out what all is needed to undertake such a task. i used the old fashion prefold cloth ones with the kids a few times, but never stuck with it. if i can find a good pattern, i don't think it would be too difficult to make some Bum Genius-like diapers. the biggest challenge is where to find the right materials for them.

we got in the majority of our school books yesterday. Margaret is ready to start schooling right away. we might start early since it will probably take us most of the year, but i still have a lot of planning to do before i am ready to dive in.

i took the kids to the downtown Y yesterday for a swim in their indoor pools. that's the first time we've been there this summer, so all the kids had to do the swim test again. even John passed, which was another thing to celebrate yesterday. he's finally able to swim across the deep pool!

i've been reading this book my mom loaned me called Effortless Change by Andrew Wommack (i think that's his name). i don't know anything about this guy, but the book has really motivated me to spend my time in meditation on Scripture. i've been using my morning walk time to memorizee Philippians. i feel  so washed in the Word and more prepared for the day after that hour or so i spend turning over the Words of the Lord.

i can't believe that June is swiftly coming to a close! my how time flies!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 22

Margaret had her first swim meet on Saturday. she swam in only three races, but they were stretched over a 5 hour time frame, so we had a long wait. this is her first year to do this, so she's just learning the ropes. she's always been a good swimmer, but being a racer is something different. some of those kids have been on the same swim team for 7 years! but i think she's enjoying it and is certainly getting lots of good exercise and instruction.

we went out to Burnet for a Father's Day celebration on Saturday. most of my mom's family was there and all the cousins. i provided the cake, a large german chocolate. this was my first attempt at german chocolate frosting. i don't think i'll be making it too often - not a big fan and so messy.

my mom asked if the kids could stay the night out there, so Brian and i came back alone, taking out of the way backroads and enjoying each other's company. we got home and stretched out side by side on the couch to watch the Longhorns in the college world series, and both of us promptly fell asleep. we didn't take advantage much of having the kids away by going out or anything, but we did get to bed early.

we both got up and exercised Sunday morning before church. after church we went to lunch at Trudy's. i came home and made a father's day cake for daddy which Brian and i took down to him later that day. Leah dropped in while we were there and the four of us had a nice visit over cake and ice cream. i hadn't seen her in a long time since her work schedule keeps her so busy.

Mama brought the kids back Sunday evening. we didn't have any trouble getting them to bed that night. fierce sword battles and running up and down hills with cousins had done its work and they were exhausted.

sorry for the dull account of our every day doings. i feel the need to document the mundane as one of these days i might want too look back and remember just how it was.

monday we were back to the routine. i've been really good about getting out to walk every day. it has now become such a habit that i hate to miss it. it's my time to work on Scripture memory and pray and just get in the right frame of mind for the day ahead. Margaret went to work at the Koplin's and my mom, who was watching Leah's kids again, brought them over for the cousins to play some more. i went out and ran some errands, hunting for certain books at half price books for us to use in schooling the kids next year. i'm feeling good about all that i've accumulated or ordered over the week for school. the whole thing is coming together nicely. i want to have a detailed plan for the school year so that i don't get two months into it and start to panic.

well, it's almost 6:30 which means it's time for me to get out and exercise.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mama has been here for the past 24 hours. yesterday she was watching Leah's kids for her while Leah worked, so she and I took all 7 out to Emma Long Park aka City Park on Lake Austin to swim. Brian and i went to his boss' retirement party at Nuevo Leon last night. there were a lot of people that i knew already, and Brian introduced me to other people he's talked about for years. it was really neat to hear all the great things that people said about Bob, Brian's boss. he has had a big impact on so, so many people and has done so much good for this community. it made me really happy that Brian has been able to work under him for the last 14 years.

Margaret has been doing swim team every night with the Patterson Piranhas. it's such great exercise for her! their first meet is Saturday against two other Austin teams.

other than a terribly stuffy, bloody nose, pregnancy has been treating me well lately. i'm getting out every day and walking at least 4 and a half miles. most week days i get in a couple more miles in the evening while waiting for Margaret to finish swimming. i've also been swimming some and doing weights. i'm glad to have my energy back after a rough first trimester. i'm sure i'll lose some stamina toward the end of the pregnancy, but i'm enjoying being able to keep up with the kids right now. i think i feel better about myself this time around than before. i'm able to embrace the pregnant shape as beautiful and not despair about weight gain. i've gained 11 pounds so far!

after a lot of prayer and coming to a lot of dead ends and closed doors, i think we've decided to do something crazy and take the kids out of school for a year. if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that nothing short of an act of God could lead us to do such a thing, but that just seems to be what has happened. we feel we have no other options for Margaret. because of the budget crunch, AISD is limiting transfers because they don't want to hire new teachers just to cover transfer students. that leaves us with only the undesirable schools, the ones that no one else wants to go to (which is why they have available space). it'is too late to try to get into a charter school as those are by application and lottery and the deadlines are past. so for this year we have nothing else for Margaret but to homeschool her. once we started talking about that, i realized the logistic trouble in trying to homeschool her and also put in all the time i need to at Maplewood with the boys there. add to that caring for a newborn. it seems like the answer God is giving us for this year is to take a break, pull the kids out and homeschool for one year. this will be a transition year for us anyways with the baby coming and the option of selling our house once we finish our loan obligation next May. next fall <hopefully> we can make a fresh start in an area where we feel good about the schools, or at least get a priority transfer for Margaret and Samuel to a middle school that is good and feeds into a good high school.

this is all so crazy, and i was really resistant to it when i first started seeing it as our one halfway decent option, but i have to say that the idea has grown on me a little. we've had the kids in school for 5 of the past 7 years - 3 years in private school and two in public school. i think a year of reassement might do us all some good. i know it will be hard, but, gosh, we just don't know what else to d!. at first i was so mad at AISD for not being more flexible with us, but the more i prayed about it, the more peace i felt about the how things were panning out. i know it's all in His hands. goodness knows i wouldn't have worked it out this way, but i'm going to move forward with joy and embrace what He has for us.

i've been getting some deep cleaning done today while Mama has the kids and is out running errands. i cleaned out the dreaded craft closet, and the cabinet under the sink, but am stalling on the linen closet. it's a twisted lumpy mess!

i found a moses basket for the baby at my favorite thrift store yesterday! its one of the larger ones, the size of a bassinet and looks real similar to this one -

MWHXX Moses Basket with Pique Liner in White Maize Basket Color ...
it was marked $7, but i got it for half that because of the color tag sale for the week! i am so excited to now have something for baby to sleep in that will fit in our room!

i suppose that's all the news for today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

we had a great weekend up in Kilgore with Brian's parents. Brian got off work early so we were able to get there before 9. i enjoyed some personal reading and then reading aloud to the kids. and visiting with Brian. i'm really thankful that the kids travel so well.
we all went out to Tyler State Park on Saturday and swam in the lake, canoed, and had a picnic. it was really just a perfect day!

we went to church with Brian's parents on Sunday and then out to lunch before heading back home. thankfully car travel has been much easier the last few times i've ridden for very long. once we got home and got the kids to bed, Brian and i sat up and watched Dallas beat Miami in the Finals, which meant my husband went to bed a happy man.

monday morning both Brian and i got out before 6:30, he to go play basketball at the Y, and me to get in my morning miles. it was a rush after that to get the kids ready and breakfasted before dropping the boys off at the Langley's and Margaret off a the Koplin's for her weekly job, then on to my appointment with Dr. Love. it's a good thing that all three of these places are within about three miles of our house and each other or i'd never made it on time. Brian met me there, the first OB visit he's been so far in this pregnancy. Dr. Love was beginning to doubt Brian's existence. LOL. everything looked goodon the ultrasound. SHE is beautiful! it's amazing that this precious creature is growing inside of me!

we've been tossing around names for awhile now. first i came up with all kinds of boy names, but then became disillusioned with them. i couldn't think of any names for girls, though i scoured the family genealogy records over and over. there is a name that is growing on us that was not initially picked because it was a family name, but just because we liked it. once i told my mother in law, she said it had been her aunt's name. once we decide for sure if this is her name, i'll let you know what it is.

monday afternoon we went over to Terra Toys, just the best toy store ever, and everyone found some little treasure to purchase. we made a stop at Half Price Books on the way back home for the kids to buy some Calvin and Hobbes books. this is their latest craze and they have built up quite a collection of the books.

with all the swimming we've been doing this summer already, i realized that my swim suit that i bought a few weeks ago won't hold up as my only one, so i went shopping for another yesterday afternoon. i really didn't want to buy a maternity one as it seemed like too much money for something i'd only be able to wear for one season, but i gave in and bought one anyways. i actually really like it and think it's kind of flattering. it can be worn strapless or tied behind the neck. now i feel ready for the rest of the summer.

last night Margaret had swim team practice. i took her and walked around Mueller for the hour or so that they were practicing. practice lasted until 9, and i was so worn out by the time we got home!

after my morning miles the kids and i changed all the sheets, something i usually dread, but was much easier this time with the help of the kids. changing sheets always makes me tired, and especially so when i'm pregnant.

we were supposed to meet Karen, Keegan, and Jewels at Shipe Park for a swim this afternoon, but Keegan was sick so they had to cancel. we went anyways and had a great time. it's been a long time since we've gone to that park. i took the kids there all the time when they were younger. this afternoon i swam laps, and boy am i out of swimming shape! i'll have to do that more often.

we're going to try to have the kids do some school work throughout the summer. i introduced the idea today by giving them each a "summer notebook" for composition writing. they have to write a report about each trip we take or fun activity we do. they all cooperated without too much argument and wrote and drew pictures of our trip to Tyler State Park last saturday. hopefully we'll have some full notebooks by the end of the summer.

now i've got to go beautify myself before the man gets home.

we got a letter from the AISD superintendent today. she wrote to inform us that she could find no reason to give Margaret a priority transfer, and she continues to be on a waiting list - number 17 now. she gave a list of schools that have space, but none of them are places i could safely send my kids.

we're praying fervently for direction for the coming year. it seems as if it will be a big year of changes for our whole family.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

it's been a fun week thus far. Margaret started swim team monday night. we know most everyone as it is almost exclusively Maplewood kids. yesterday i got out first thing around 6:30 and walked 4 and a half miles then went grocery shopping. i felt awfully productive having exercised and finished grocery shopping by 8:45 am. but by the afternoon i was beat, more on that later.

the kids and i had our morning Bible time and other reading  - we're making our way through Anne of Green Gables. we cleaned house and then took a picnic lunch to Big Stacy pool where we swam for about an hour. we came home and made smoothies and popped popcorn and watched Ratatouille once more before we had to return it to the library. i curled up on the couch to watch with the kids, something i rarely as i'm always sure there is something more i need to get done, and i promptly fell asleep. summer afternoon naps are one of life's great pleasures.

oh, and that movie, Ratatouille, well, it makes me really want old wine, crusty bread, and good cheese.

i took Margaret to swim team again last night and stayed and read a book while she swam.

this morning i got out and walked again first thing, well, after breakfast and coffee. the kids and i had devotions, cleaned house and did laundry. we all went and delivered Meals on Wheels together. old people just love seeing kids, and were so happy that i'd brought mine today. we came home and had lunch, then went swimming at the Y. it was way too crowded with the summer camp kids, almost unsafe, so we didn't stay very long.

i wrote all the above yesterday afternoon, but never got around to finishing as we had a BBQ to attend at Brian's office.

now it's Thursday afternoon. i'm developing a great little routine of getting out and walking first thing every morning. it really seems to help me start the day off with a clear head. i took the kids to the main library downtown this morning and then out to lunch. everyone seems a little tired, so now we're home and all having some quiet time in a cool house while it's so hot out.

the process of finding a middle school for Margaret has only grown more frustrating. to begin with, the middle school we're assigned to is terrible and has been on probation for the last few years and is at risk of closure because it is so bad. even though the elementary school in our area is supposedly excellent, we chose to transfer to another one that seemed to be a better fit for us and our family. now that Margaret has graduated from Maplewood, we should be able to automatically track to the middle school that Maplewood feeds into, but we were not informed that we had to request a transfer to do so and now that school is full. she applied for these three special middle schools as i have mentioned before, but did not get accepted into any. from there we decided to apply for another middle school that was not one that was listed as full or even near full. she was denied a place there. we appealed that decision and it was denied again. we have the option of appealing again, which we have done and are just waiting to hear a final judgement. i went to the AISD transfer office this morning to get another transfer form and to ask what other options there are for middle school. the lady basically couldn't give me any. any decent school is frozen to transfers. the only ones that aren't are the failing schools. there must be something they can offer us! we really don't know what to do. it is most likely too late to apply to get into a charter school, even if we knew of a good one. from what i hear those are so hit or miss. you never know which is the one for the kids that were kicked out of the mainstream schools.

we are open to homeschooling Margaret if we have no other option, but i feel woefully unqualified for that. i want to be open to whatever. it is just so frustrating to not have more options.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tuesday night was the 6th grade commencement at Maplewood. the band played several peices and there was a potluck dinner, as well as the awards ceremony. the band was surprisingly good. i'd never had the chance to hear them and was impressed that they they could actually play!

Wednesday was the last day of school. it was bittersweet. i love summer. i love all the fun things our family does and how we "go all out" to make summer memorable for the kids. but then i hate that the school year is ending and another chapter of the kids' lives closing. i attempted to take a picture of the kids in front of the Maplewood School sign as we were leaving that last afternoon, but my phone was on the fritz and wouldn't cooperate. i might have to swing by one day during the summer and get a shot of Margaret out front as she won't ever walk those halls again as a student.

a good friend, Mike, came and stayed a couple of nights with us as he had business in town. it was good to have compay. the boys especially liked playing with Mike who got out there and roughed them up on the tramnpoline.

Mike left Thursday and Brian's mom came in Thursday evening. Friday morning we drove down to New Braunfels to go to Schlitterbahn. Karen and Keegan met us there. it was really nice to have four adults to spread amongst the kids. Karen and i spent most of the day together with Samuel and Margaret. John hung out with Brian's mom, as he was too scared to go on any of the rides with the rest of us. Brian took Keegan and William around. we did so much walking as we tried to hit most of the rides in the park. thankfully it wasn't too crowded so the lines weren't bad. wonder what the baby thought of all those wild tube rides i went on.

Brian's mom stayed Friday night and left Saturday morning. i spent the day scrambling to get ready for a going away party we were hosting for the Raders. one of Samuel's classmates came over to play. Wesley lives at Mueller and spends most of his time in the care of a nanny. even on that day, a Saturday, he and his brother and sister were being cared for by the nanny. he has this huge house and lots of fancy toys and gadgets, but wanted to come to our house instead of Samuel going to his. i kind of feel sad for him.

the party was a success. we had about 5 families and tons of kids. there was lots of good food and good beer, as the Raders are beer snobs.

Sunday we were back at Redeemer. it was so good to be back in church after two weeks out. we had nursery duty during the second service so we ended up being at church from 8:45 until about 1! after lunch Brian and i took a long nap. it was so nice! i went and did my daily 4 and a half miles at the trail once the sun had gone down a little. all in all, it was a wonderful day.

this morning Margaret started his Big Job. she's working at a mom's helper for my friend, Robyn, who has three little boys. Robyn lives just down the street so this is a great set up. this will also be wonderful preparation for when the baby comes as Robyn's youngest is still a wee one.

Margaret starts swim team tonight. most of the team is made up of Maplewood kids, so i think she'll enjoy getting to see her school mates every day for the next month and a half.

my tummy has suddenly popped out. i can still wear my 00 Gap jeans, but only because they're extra streatchy and because i wear them superlow. i refuse to wear maternity pants of shorts. all the ones i've encountered are atrocious! i'll probably end up wearing yoga pants a lot as i grow. i went to the thrift store and bought me a pair of 7 For All Mankinds a couple of sizes larger than i normally wear and made me another pair of cut offs from them so i have 2 pair that should last me all summer. a friend from church gave me a bag of maternity things, but they are mostly heavy winter things, so i'll probably end up passing them on to someone else.

i am so excited about my ultrasound a week from today! it is really hard for me to believe that i am nearly half way done!

we're heading to Kilgore this coming weekend to visit Brian's family. we have seen them a lot this spring, but haven't been up to their house since Thanksgiving, so we wanted to make a quick jaunt up there. i always like that drive. it gives us lots of time to talk in the car and also for me to read.

speaking of reading, i've been reading like crazy. i read through 2 Paul Richard Evans books. both were sappy and syrupy as all his books are, but they kept me entertained while i was walking - yes, i'm still walking and reading without incident. i read House Rules by Jodi Piccoult, but i think i already blogged about that. i read an Anna Quindlen book that i hated, and now i'm reading the Mom Factor by Cloud and Townsend, which i think will be really helpful.

we're still not sure what to do about Margaret and school next year. it is frustrating not knowing.

that's all i have time for right now. dinner is waiting to be fixed.