Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm hobbling around this morning with an achy back. The last week and a half I've been packing and moving boxes. I don't realize how hard it is on my back until I try to get out of bed the next morning. So we're finally making progress on this move. It's hard to believe that we're finally doing it, finally selling our house. We've talked a out it for so long, but never could bring ourselves to cut ties to the city. We still havent found THE HOUSE, but we have zeroed in on an area and will most likely buy there.
In other news, Brian's fortieth birthday is Thursday. I am so grateful to Hod for blessing him with these forty years, and especially thankful that I've had the privilege of knowing him for half those years. He is a solid, faithful leader of his family. He is gentle and patient, and always sees the best in people. He never shirks his duty. He's generous to a fault (if that's possible), and always takes time for people. He's respected in is field and at church where he serves as a deacon. I feel so honored to be associated with him. I know him better than anyone else and know his faults and struggles, his areas of weakness, but still admire him more than anyone else I know.

I painted two rooms this week, the utility room and the main living/dining room. Still not finished with either, t nearly. Amazingly Hazel didn't get in any of the wet paint.

I've been having a hard time with my colitis lately. I had a bout with it for several months starting right after I had Hazel, then as suddenly as it started, it stopped. It flared up again in October and had been progressively getting worse. The constant bleeding and alternating constipation and diarrhea is really getting old and leaves me feeling both irritable and weary. Its especially been hard for me to push through my marathon training. I have a GI appointment in February right after I run the marathon. I would've liked to get in earlier, but that's the soonest he had an opening.

Last Saturday Brian took William and John to Corpus for an overnight cub scout outing. It was only maybe the third night Brian and I have spent apart in the nearly 16 years we've been married. We survived alright. Margaret had a soccer game. Mama and Brian's parents came to watch, then mama stayed the rest of the weekend with Samuel, Margaret, Hazel, and I. We went to lunch with Thomas and the kids. Meredith also came along. I hadn't spent any time with her since before Christmas. She's still doing her thing: having an affair, but she put on a good face and they all acted like family. Thomas' birthday was on the 23rd. Apparently he was pretty low that day. The whole thing just makes
me sick inside.

In one week four appliances were out: the dryer, the fridge, the oven, and my new blender. We replaced the washer-dryer set with a set from Craigslist for $200. The dryer is like as plain Jane as they come, a very basic Hot Point, but dries like a Cadillac. The washer is a new (less than a year old and still under warranty) Maytag and works great, too. We had the fridge repair man come on Friday and it's so nice to have cold foods after three days of soggy or warm foods. The oven part is on order and hopefully will be here this week. This is the third attempt to
Get the right part, so I've been without an oven for nearly a month. I'm really
missing baking things! Thankfully it didn't go out until after Christmas. Still waiting on my replacement blender to arrive in the mail. I'll be happy to have all my little servants up and running again! Was starting to feel like a opener woman for awhile there.

Margaret and Samuel are doing well at
O. Henry. They ride the bus across town and back most days. They look so grown up going off together. I'm so proud of them and how they've jumped into this new adventure with both feet.

Schooling William and John is going well most days. Today I'm just letting them play outside because mama needs a break. They're making good progress in their math and decent progress in their grammar. I plan to have them each repeat a grade anyways, so whatever they're learning this year is kind of bonus. They're youngish for third and fifth graders, both of their birthdays being at the end of the school year, and they're rather immature for their age (in a good way), so being held back once they integrate back into the classroom will be a positive thing. I hope.

Well, I guess that's all the news. Off to conquer the laundry!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finally getting time for an update!

Margaret and Samuel survived and thrived their first two weeks of school. Margaret made the A team of the O. Henry soccer team and they won their first game. She's really enjoying the twice-a-week practices and the higher level of talent than what she has been familiar with at the YMCA. She is one of the smallest girls on the team, so she has to play twice as hard to stay in the game. And she does.

The kids have attempted to take the bus every morning, and that's provided all sorts of drama. They've been passed up by the bus, not picked up, got on the wrong bus, and have had one bus driver bring them to our doorstep because he didn't know where their bus stop was. We're hoping it will get better as time goes by. It sure is a help when I can send them off on the bus instead of driving them across town.

School has been going moderately well with the younger boys. John's apparent dyslexia concerns me more and more. I just don't know what to do to help him. I really want to keep him at home until middle school, of possible, but I may not be equipped to handle his needs. William is doing well. His behavior is much better with Samuel away at school during the day. He doesn't feel the need to compete for attention as much.

The ladies' Bible study started back up at Redeemer this past Thursday. We're studying Revelation and it's refreshing to hear it taught from a Preterist or partial Preterist view, though Dr. Campbell does present all views for the sake of comparison. Getting to fellowship with the other women has also been like a cup of cold water to my thirsty soul! I just soak it all up!

I've been trying to keep my running up since the Austin marathon is 4 weeks away. I did a 15 miler last Sunday afternoon and several short runs during the week. I really should try to run something in the neighborhood of 18 miles today or tomorrow. After that, I can probably cut back.

I cut most of my hairs off right after Christmas. Of course now I regret iota and notice that everyone else hashing, beautiful locks. I'm trying to make the best of it, and am still learning how to style it.

We went real estate hunting last Saturday, and I think, at long last we've found a suburban neighborhood that were happy with. We almost put an offer on a house in Steiner Ranch, but they wouldn't take a contingency offer. We're going to try to get our house on the market in the next could of months.

William and Samuel have been playing basketball at the Y since early December and that's provided a fun Friday night activity. John plays on Saturday mornings at the downtown Y. He and his cousin Tommy are on the same team. Crazy enough, John is the superstar player. He's never even been interested in sports before and now here he is making all the baskets for his team! I've enjoyed getting to spend some time with Thomas, both at the practices and the games. I don't know how things are going with him and Meredith. I just don't ask. I saw her once in December, but that was the first time since the summer, and have t seen her since.

I'm trying to find time to read, but that's been challenging. I've been poking my nose into several books lately: The Explicit Gospel, Sacred Marriage, The Prince and the Pauper, and a biography of Abner Cook, a local self taught architect of the nineteenth century.

I guess that's all the snippets of news I have now. Now it's off to the races!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday, January 5

Yesterday was not the best one of my mommy career. Probably not the worst either, but still a disappointment. I get on to my kids about losing control and giving in to their passions, and yet the example I provide is not of someone full of patience, gentleness, and self control. Lord, help me!
We've all been going stir crazy since the weather has been cold and wet for several days. I'm not going to complain since we desperately need the rain. I just need to be a little more creative in my ideas for things to do with the kidlets, I guess. We resort to killing each other when we've been locked up together for too long.
William and Samuel had their basketball game last night. BriAn is their coach, and since they were short some players, John got recruited to play on the team. It was cute seeing all three boys playing together. Samuel is extremely athletic and strong, and a really, really good basketball player. William is small and not as skilled, but plays with such intensity! He tries so hard! He may never be as good as Samuel, but with practice I think he could be a good ball player in middle school. John has surprised is and suddenly turned into an athlete. He's the best player on his team, always then leading scorer in his games. I guess that's what happens when you're used to playing against against your dad and older brothers, and then go and play against 7 and 8 year olds.

I sometimes wonder if we as a family put too much emphasis on sports and exercise. I never played sports as a kid though I was always very athletic. There were not as many options back when I was homeschooled in the dark ages. And sports were considered , at best, a waste of time, and at the worst, worldly and sensual. My family culture now is one of being active, playing games, developing skills. We are off balance in that we haven't emphasized the arts to the same degree. All of kids seem to have inherited some of my artistic ability (that I inherited from my grandmother), but we've done little to hone and develop those talents other than just provide materials for them to use. Margaret has far surpassed me, by the way. She is an incredible artist! And unlike me at that age, she is. It embarrassed to be called an artist. For some reason I hated when people called me an artist when I was a kid. Not sure what I envisioned when I thought of an artist, but i was sure it wasn't the coolest thing in the world. Funny how kids are.
Anyways, I sometimes wonder if we'll look back and wish we'd put some emphasis on music lessons or acting in place of some of these sports. Brian plays guitar, and we both play piano a bit, enough to teach the kids the basics, but there are just so many hours in the day, and they usually get filled up with other activities.
Maybe Hazel will be the one to get the well-rounded education. She'll probably be the one to take ballet and piano lessons, instead of soccer and boxing like her big sis.

I have a long run to do this morning. I haven't been as consistent with running the last week and feel kind of blah.

We're back to house hunting. We Are going to try to keep this house and rent it out and buy another. As much as we've talked smack about the suburbs, I think that's where we'll end up. We just need a bigger place and good schools, and that's where you find both of those things. It is just really hard to try to raise a family in town. Not sure how soon all of his will happen, but we need to be settled in a house before the fall so that Margaret can start high school. Samuel and William will both be middle schoolers next year, so we've been researching all the schools in the area, looking at houses in zones that have good middle and high schools. We're trying to be very discriminatory this time so that we don't get in a situation like we're in now where we can't avail ourselves of the schools in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 9

Two days of school down and we're surviving! They had a great first day. Yesterday was a bit crazy, but I think. we're starting to get the hang of everything. Margaret tried out for and made the soccer team. Her first game is Saturday. They've both made some friends and realized they already know some students from previous schools they've attended or from church. I found myself praying for them off and on both Monday and Tuesday. I know the Lord heard my prayers because their days have been better than expected.

Tuesday is always a hectic day for us. William and John have cub scouts, Margaret has soccer practice, then John had basketball practice, then Samuel has boy scouts. Then homework and showers. Then bed.

We've been getting rain now for an couple of days, glorious rain! It puts a damper on my marathon training, but I'd rather that than us continue in the parched state we've been in so long.

Well, time to get the kiddos off to school.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's another cold morning. Contrary to popular belief, we actually do have cold weather is Texas. It just doesn't stay around for very long. This latest round has hung around longer than I like. A week and a half of not getting to wear shorts when we go out to play is rough. :)
They say we may have snow tomorrow.
The kids and I did a little post-Christmas shopping yesterday. I bought a couple of dish towels, a candle, and a sports bra - woohoo! I have way too many of those. Always looking for the perfect sports bra.
Brian and I had a little planning session at cherrywood coffeehouse last night while Margaret held down the fort. We split some tacos and had some local beers. Cherrywood is always a relaxing place to be. It was especially cozy on a cold night like last night.
We tried to hammer out a plan for the next few months. Brian is an engineer and likes to plan things out. I'm more fly-the-seat-of-my-pants, and generally make things up as I go, so we really are good for each other. Well, he's good for me. Not sure how good I am for him, ha!
Margaret and Samuel start school Monday. If I think too long about Samuel there at O. Henry without us, trying to find his classes and remember to write down assignments and all, I start to have a little panic attack for him. He is not good in new situations, and he breaks down when things get stressful. I worry about him crying in the hallways. But then, he just surprised us and went on a four day boy scout camp out without any family members. And survived, even enjoyed it! They do have on file that he has been diagnosed with ADD and Aspergers and receives the 504 designation because of it, but the other
middle schoolers arent gonna give him a pass because he's 504. Sigh. But it's time. It's time for him and for Margaret to step out and grow up. They've already grown a lot in the last year and a half that we've been homeschooling. I really believe this chance for them to attend O. Henry is an answer to prayer. What a blessing for them to be able to go to the best public middle school in town, even be bussed there! And we didn't have to do anything to make it happen. It was just dropped in our laps!
Michael and Jana gave me the book The Explicit Gospel as a Christmas gift. I've slacked off on reading much since Hazel been walking. I'm really looking forward to exercising my mind a little more now that Christmas has passed. I also ordered a biography of Abner Cook, the self-taught architect and builder who designed several buildings in Austin, including the Governor's Mansion, The Pease Mansion - "Woodlawn", and the Neal-Cochran House. He seems like a really interesting guy. I started The Prince and the Pauper last weekend. I love, love Mark Twain! Also on my night stand: Night by Elie Wiesel, Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, and The Fires of Jubilee by Stephen B. Oates. Oh, and C. S. Lewis by A. N. Wilson. I've had that by my bed for half the year, I think.
Best get out and get my run in. The Austin Marathon is a month and a half away. I should make some attempt to train for it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I've been doing this for the past several
years. It's that time again!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? Registered two kids for middle school. Choice sheets and electives were things I was unfamiliar with up to this point. Looking forward to whats ahead on this new adventure for Margaret and Samuel.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't recall whether I made any, or if I did, whether I kept them. I think that means I need to write them down as well as make goals and resolutions that are measurable. This year I aim to read through the Bible using R.M. Mc'Cheyne's reading plan, which will have me reading the NT, Psalms, and Proverbs twice and the rest of the Bible once. I have other thoughts, ideas on goals, but have nailed them down yet. Like I'd like to make more time to be artsy, and I'd like to run the Marathon for Adoption, and I'd like to read plenty of books, and maybe get back to trying toward some Spanish.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My sister in law, Jana.

4. Did anyone close to you die? yes, my grandfather's wife, Karen, in April. Also, a couple of people in our church.

5. What countries did you visit? none. I only left Texas once this year when we went to Oklahoma for a summer vacation with Brian's family.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? A larger house. Good schools for my children. Better control over my passions.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Um, maybe October 11th, because that was Brian and my 15th anniversary.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Finishing out a year of homeschooling in which I birthed and cared for a baby and juggled four grades and did it pretty well. Sadly things went down hill about two months into this school year, which incidentally, was around the time hazel started walking.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not being able to finish out the year homeschooling all the kids. That makes
me sad since we started with so much promise.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just a couple of colitis flare ups.

11. What was the best thing you bought? iPhone and iPad? A new car? Food?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Hmmm. Not sure.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Not gonna lie, my sister-in-law's.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, mortgage, church, kids' sports, gas, Margaret's teeth.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My in laws moving to New Braunfels!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Willie Nelson's "Breathe."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? I'd say sadder, but not without hope. Last year (2011) was the best year of my life. It was hard to top it. Being pregnant and all those good hormones. Then 2012 came around and the hormone shift and a mobile baby, difficulties with homeschooling, stress....it was a more trying year than the one before.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Create, read, pray, talk with friends.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Exercise (yes, less!) , dilly dally on the Internet, argue with Brian about stupid stuff, speak impatiently, unkindly to my children.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We stretched it out over several weekends. We were at home Christmas morning, then went to Daddy's house where he hosted the Evans family Christmas dinner. We came home and watched White Christmas that night.

21. How did you spend New Years?
We were at Brian's parent's house in New Braunfels with Brian's sister and her husband and baby. We watched football and talked. On New Year's Day we went to lunch in Gruene, then hugged the family bye, and came home to unpack all our Christmas treasures.

22. What was your favorite tv program? I think the only one I watched was American Idol.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no.

24. What was the best book you read? I can't remember.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? not real sure. Avett Bros., maybe.

26. What did you want and got? a new grill! a new car.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? I didn't see any. We're just not much into movies, tv.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 37. Went shopping with my mom, then out to dinner with my extended family.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If I had walked by the spirit more and less by the flesh.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? I don't know. Casual for sure. I don't know if there's a name for it, but I spent most my time in jeans ( or cut off jeans) and t shirts or feminine blouses, and boots or Van's. Earthy chic, maybe? Sadly I had no occasions for dressing up this year.

31. What kept you sane? The Word!

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? none

33. What political issue stirred you the most? none

34. Who did you miss? My friend, Andrea.

35. Who was the best new person you met? I met several new people at church, and I grew close to some old acquaintances whom I'd known for a long time.

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2012:

Pray about everything! Had so many prayers (big and little) answered this year.
I will not die if I go to bed when the house is still a mess.
I don't have to do it all. I don't have to be it all.
Rest is a good thing.
God is creating a beautiful tapestry of my life. The yellows, and reds, blues, greens, grays, and black all woven together make a work of art of His design. I can rest in the knowledge that He knows what He's doing.