Thursday, March 30, 2017

The God of the Bible takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on himself. 
- Timothy Keller
The last 24 hours have been filled with unimaginable sorrow fo many people close to me. I'm still processing it all. Yesterday morning my inlaws' nieghbor Waylong Malone lost his battel with cancer. We've kept up with Waylon's fight the last four or so years, ever since Ben and Linda moved to New Braunfels. We saw them just weeks ago over spring break when we were visiting my inlaws. His father wrote this yesterday - 
I'm broken. 
It was NOT supposed to end this way. We were supposed to see Waylon get healed. We were supposed to see tons of pictures of he and Morgan growing up together. Pics of them at school, at the park, just having fun being siblings. We were supposed to see pics of Waylon playing soccer, going to karate, Little League, and Cub Scouts. Then later going to middle school, high school, graduation, and prom. Even later college, finding the love of his life, and then marriage. It was NOT supposed to end this way. Not at all. 
God rest your beautiful, "tough as nails," heart and soul. Now and always will be My Littlest Hero.
I can't imagine the sorrow of losing a child. 
Later on yesterday I got news that a church bus from my inlaws' church, First Baptist New Braunfels was hit head-on on the way home from a retreat in Leakey. Thirteen of the fourteen church members on board were killed. We feel a special connection with this church as we've been there about a dozen times. There are so many sweet elderly people in this church, and Brian and I have grown to really respect and admire the pastor, Brad, a man about our age. My father in law is retiring tomorrow, and he and my mother in law might have been on the retreat had he retired in December as had been his plan initially. They lost six close friends in this accident. I'm heart broken for them! They had been planning to leave out of Galveston on a cruise this Sunday, but have canceled their trip. 
Also last night the world lost a great man of faith. Dale along with his wife, Janis, were long time missionaries and faithful servants of the Lord. Though I've not spent a whole lot of time with them in the 21 years I've known them, I've been impacted by their lives. Their son was influential in leading Brian to Christ, and was best man in our wedding. His younger brother was an usher in our wedding. Here's what Janis said about her husband - 
Well, it looks like everyone but me has expressed how they feel. I can't believe this has happened. I had 
thought he would live to 94 and I to 84 and that we still had many years together. 

The time he has been sick took much of him away from me, with him rarely being able to be himself with me. 
I've grieved the loss of my life partner for months now and know that I will continue to grieve for a long time. I 
know he's with the Lord, but I had wanted to have him with me a few more years. I've told him many times 
that he is my treasure. Our life together has been sweeter as the years went by and now I'm grateful for 
happy, very intimate memories of the only person with whom I have had oneness of purpose, heart, soul, 
mind, body, memories, years, experiences, family. Now it feels like a treasured vase has been broken 
Thank you for your prayers and expressions of love.
I'm crying right now imagining what it will be like to someday live without my Brian, if the Lord takes him before me. 
But there's hope beyond the grave, of that I'm sure. 
 He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. 
In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I've got the girls in the bath tub playing My Little Mermaid, and the dog outside. I should be getting ready to head over to Bible study, but I'm looking for distractions instead. Of course.
Yesterday was a full, productive day, as Mondays are wont to be. They're my Recovery Day. I try to do the bulk of the laundry that day, and this week is bedding week. As hard as it is to wash all the sheets, I love climbing in bed between fresh, clean white sheets and knowing that all the family (or at least all those that I was able to get to) are doing the same. I've switched to all white sheets for everyone but the little girls  - they're still using black and white ticking. I like having most of our things white. It may seem hard to keep clean, but actually I think it's much easier.
The girls and I walked to the park and spent an hour or so there. They played on the seesaw and picked wild onion flowers while I studied A&P. I did a whole house cleaning, made a decent dinner - black bean and sausage soup, jalapeno cornbread, spring mix salad, and fudgy brownies, did school with Hazel, went on a five mile run, and managed to cut both John and Brian's hair. It was a good day.
Margaret and Sam didn't work last night, so we were all home together for dinner. I cherish those times. Brian and I recommitted to having nightly Bible time at the beginning of the year, and we've been more consistent than we've been a a long time. We read through the book of genesis together and are now reading Matthew. We sing a hymn after reading, and have some prayer time. With all our busy schedules, it's comforting to come together each evening and worship together. It's not always peaceful and without grumbling, and the little girls usually want to get up and perform interpretive dance while we're reading or singing, but it could be worse.
Looks like a storm is rolling in, so I best get the girlies out of the tub.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I've fallen off on my blogging this week. I have been intending to blog every day, but computer troubles and busy schedules have kept me from it. 

Margaret and Sam worked quite a bit this week. Most parents I know choose to not let their kids work during the week, but we've chosen to let them decide what they can handle. I'd rather them carry a heavier load now and learn from it, than have it easy now and not be prepared for real life when they must carry a heavy load and there's no safety net. 

Brian, Margaret, Samuel, and I walked over to William's track meet at Canyon Ridge Thursday night. The four of us cheered him on in the 100m. He seemed pleased with his third place ribbon. As I was leaving I ran into an old Redeemer friend and his son. They attend our rival school. It was nice to see an old familiar face. It's funny, we haven't been to Redeemer since August, and yet almost no one has asked where we've been. I guess we haven't been missed. You'd think after being members for 16 years our absence would be noticed. 

We took William and John out of school early on Friday and raced down to Canyon HS in New Braunfels trying to make it to see Margaret run the 3200 at the Canyon Relays. She'd accidentally grabbed Sam's track jersey and hers was hanging in his closet. I ran up waving her jersey just as the start gun went off. She seemed to race just fine in his jersey. She ran a 12:30, earning her 3rd place in the JV race. Vandegrift has such a deep team that our JV track girls are all cross country state qualifiers. It's disappointing that Margaret most likely won't get to run in the varsity races, but it is what it is. We have two of the fastest freshman in the state, and since track only allow two and sometimes three runners per school per race, she's just gotta take what she can get. The heat and humidity was brutal and that black track didn't help anything. She was happy with how she did, but disappointed that Coach Sully didn't have her signed up for any other races. Brian's parents were there, and we hung around watching and waiting for Sam to run the 800m. It was an exciting race, mostly because we got a chance to see one of the fastest, if not the fastest high school runners in the country race three times. Sam raced against Sam Worley in the 800m and the 1600m. Worley won both, as well as being on the winning 4x400 relay team at the end of the meet. He was something to see! He'll be running for UT next year, so this isn't the last we'll see of him. He qualified to run in the Olympic Trails last year as a junior in high school, so I wouldn't doubt that we'll see him in the Olympics in 2020. 

Our Sam had a phenomenal race as well. He PR'd in the 800m with a times of 2 minutes, and ran a 4:30 in the 1600. He was a hair away from getting third place in the 800m, and got an easy 2nd in the 1600m. He was very happy, and so were we. 

We spent the night at the inlaws house in New Braunfels with the younger four, but Margaret and Sam had to ride the bust back home because both were scheduled to work the nest morning. It was a nice little getaway, even if just one night away. My father in law retires at the end of this week, and he and my mother in law were in a jolly, relaxed mood. 

Brian and I were supposed to get up and go for a nine mile run to the lake and back, but we got to bed so late that we put it off until this evening. We slept in instead and then made a mad dash to get to the early service at church. Margaret and Sam missed the memo that we were going to the earl service and went out on their long run early and then went to the second service. At least they made it to church. 

I don't have much of substance to write about. Right now my life consists of trying to keep my kids alive, maintaining sanity by running, falling in love with my husband and making him fall in love with me, desperate prayers, lots of audio books, and stressing about the gray hairs. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It really is Saturday today! I've been thinking it was Saturday for the past four days. Spring Break, and having Brian and the kids with me all week has messed me up. In a good way.

Brian's sister and her husband and their daughter came yesterday. We sat and visited, went hiking on the trails behind our house, and made homemade pizza. Last night after Margaret got off work, the four of us adults went over to the Oasis Brewery on Lake Travis and had some beers out on the deck until Sam texted to say he was done with work. Jana, Michael, and Abigail left this morning to head back down to the Houston area. It was a short, but sweet visit, and we've already discussed plans for them to come back in the summer.

Brian and I went for a five mile run together. I extended it by walking another two miles. I've been getting little more than five hours of sleep every night since the time change and I feel lie I'm having to drag my body around. Our pastor preached recently on the importance of observing a sabbath rest. Tomorrow is a busy day for us, so I'm thinking today is going to be my sabbath.

I've been following the She Reads Truth daily readings and devotional for Lent. They're going through Isaiah. Sometimes it's kinds hard to focus on Isaiah at 5:30 am., before the coffee really kicks in. I try to pay close attention, but my eyes get real heavy at times. Some of Isaiah is just hard to grasp. That said, I've been so blessed by the different studies I've done with She Reads Truth the last few months. I'm late discovering this tool, but sure am grateful for it!

Today is my grandmother's 87th birthday. I'm so glad we've had her with us this long!

Monday, March 20, 2017

I feel like I've been run over and left for dead. So glad that spring break is over! It wasn't that we did all that much, I just have trouble when I get out of my routine and things are too loose. It wears me down.

We've been staying up way too late since the time change. Early risers just don't fare well during daylight savings time. I would gladly go back to regular time! I got in a rare nap on Saturday afternoon. Then Brian took me out that evening. Every place we tried to go was so packed. We drove around forever attempting to get into places all over town, finally ending up at the Domain. We settled for splitting a lasagna at the bar at Maggiano's.

I got up and ran the nine mile run to Lake Austin and back. It's such a hard run, but I love it. Hills don't scare me; long, monotonous straightaways do though. Hill Country had a special service to discuss moving forward with building plans. They've purchased the last remaining piece of available land here in Steiner for the site of a church. It will be the only church building in the neighborhood. Two men talked about their prior experiences with building campaigns and sacrificial giving to the Church to see God's kingdom grow. I felt a real conviction that I should not be asking how much I should give,  but how much I should keep. I want to love open-handed. It's all His anyways.

After church we caravanned with Margaret to go pick up the Winn cousins at church and drive out to Burnet for a birthday party for my grandmother and her brother. Their birthdays are in February and March, and we've a;ways celebrated them together with a big family party. It was a whirlwind get together, not much more than a Hi & Bye. Still great to see everyone, especially the old folks.  Sam had to work last night, and the cousins needed to get back to town because they all started back to school the next day. It's strange to think that the next time we all get together will be for Margaret's graduation party.

My house is such a wreck today. I don't even know where to start to get it back to decency.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Brian and I just got back from a seven mile run. I'm on a quest to become a runner again. He and I stayed up until midnight painting the study and putting it back in order. This morning we were out of coffee, so I went grocery shopping at 6:30. This may be a long day.

While out running, he and I spent a long time talking about school and the impact it could potentially have on our family. Brian is so supportive of me and thinks that nursing is the better or the two options I've considered. I am so thankful to have a husband that believes in me even when I doubt my own abilities. He's a good man.

I've got some sewing projects I've been putting off for some time: lining the drapes in the office, and sewing some pillows for the Adirondack chairs in the front yard. Today will be the day I check those off my list. I miss sewing. When I have a reliable machine, sewing is one of the most pleasurable activities I can do. It's up there with mowing the yard.

We bought Olive a sandbox for her birthday last month, and it has been used so much more than we imagined it would be, not just by Hazel and Olive, but also by William and John. It's both sweet and comical to see these two teenagers out there setting up toy soldiers in the sand while their sisters make sand castles next to them. We've spent more time with the younger four this week than with the older two. It's wonderful when we're all together, but in some ways I think that William an John feel anxious and more competitive when Margaret and Sam are around. They're caught between boyhood and manhood. I think there's a big part of them that still wants to be boys, but when they're with the older two, they're afraid they'll be ridiculed and teased for their boyish ways. I will be sad when my children one by one fly the coop, but I also look forward to the changing family dynamics, and how we'll get to know those left behind in a more intimate way. There's always something to look forward to. There's no denying I'm the eternal optimist! ha!

I'm getting a mole looked at today at Westlake Dermatology. I noticed that it has changed shape a bit and seems more raised. It's on my chest near below my collar bone, and not in a place that's regularly exposed to sunlight. I've always thought of it as my special mole because the first time Brian saw it was when I was in my wedding dress, and it's actually kind of pretty, like a beauty mark, if I can say so without sounding vain. Brian said he'll be disappointed if I have to have it removed. Of course the alternative is worse.

I'm reading this book right now, and it makes me with Brian and I had had nine children. I love reading about large families, at least large families that are fun. I so admire women that can love each of their little ones uniquely as they need.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We're back from a couple of days with Brian's family in New Braunfels. Margaret and Samuel stayed behind since both had to work. They enjoyed keeping house and playing grown-ups for a few days. I take it for granted that they're such responsible young people that can get themselves to work on time, will take care of the house and all that entails, and be safe. They even made a long list of cleaning chores from themselves and had the whole place in tip top shape when we got home. Proud mama.

Our time in New Braunfels was fun, but we didn't get to do many of the things we'd hoped to do. Enchanted Rock was full, so we couldn't get in, as was our Plan B, Pedernales State Park. We did get to walk around Fredericksburg and have lunch there, but the town was packed like I'd never seen it before! We did some pretty drives in the hill country, including the Willow City Loop, which was every bit as beautiful as the Texas Parks and Wildlife articles make it out to be. We lounged around visiting and drinking cup after cup of coffee. Brian and I got out and ran this morning. I'm trying to cut back on my exercise. I tend to get obsessive with walking or running, so I consider it a little victory if I skip a day. Yesterday I hardly did anything, other than a little walking around Fred'burg. Yay!

Brian's sister and her family are coming to stay with us later on this week. They've never stayed with us, so it will be a nice treat to have them. Ever since they got married nearly 12 years ago, they've lived out of state, either in Nashville or Starkville, MS. Last year they moved to Baytown, near Houston, and we're so enjoying having them a regular part of our lives. They have a little girl that is between Hazel and Olive's age, the only first cousin my kids have on the Wells side.

Well, I'm off to get started painting the study.

Monday, March 13, 2017

This is spring break for the kids. Margaret worked Friday night, but the rest of us were home. Some watched a movie, some went walking, and some went to sleep. I got up early Saturday morning and made oraange cinnamon rolls for the family before we went our separate ways, Samuel to Vandegrift to leave for an overnight track meet trip, Margaret to babysit, and the rest of us out to the rodeo. 
After the rodeo and petting zoo, we stopped in for brunch at Donn's BBQ, one of our old favorite places. The serve one of the best Mexican breakfasts you'll find in Austin, and then some of the best BBQ after that (their potato salad will make anyone a potato salad lover). Long ago, when it was just Brian and I, and then Margaret and Samuel, we lived down the road from Donn's, out in the country. We'd stop in on a regular basis. It was good to see that it hadn't changed. 
We spent the rest of Saturday rearranging furniture. Brian has been wanting the big desk in our room for a long time, and we finally did it. It's so heavy and difficult to move that you don't just move it. We had to discuss it for half an hour, argue about it, and shout each other down, before William, John, Brian, and I finally took it apart and carefully moved it from the office into our bedroom. I love this desk! It was my great grandfather's, and I feel honored that we ended up with it. It has so many cubbies and drawers and slots. I already feel so much more organized. 
We ordered a sleeper sofa to put in the office. This room has been under utilized in our house. The big desk took up so much room in there that there wasn't much room for anything else. We want to make it a combination study and guest room. I plan to repaint it. When we remodeled nearly two years ago I chose to have this room painted Sherwin Williams' unusual gray. It looked nice the way we had it arranged with the big oak desk and the tall book shelves, but now that we've rearranged, I want to try to make the style and color more cohesive with the rest of the house. I intend to paint the walls Eider White like the majority of the rest of the house, and the bookshelves and small wooden desk black. 

Yesterday I got up and went for a run to Lake Austin and back, something like 8 and a half miles. It was cold and drizzly, but I'm glad I pushed through. Margaret and Brian were running the other direction; to Lake Travis, but I wanted some time to myself. 
We went to church at Hill Country Bible SR. They meet at our elementary. I'm not sure if I've mentioned the church move, but we've been attending there since August. It has been such a blessing to us. It's a satellite campus, so we get the sermons on telecast, but I don't mind that. The different style of worship has been the biggest adjustment, but I think the kids are getting used to it. Both Brian and I have got involved in studies and small groups, but the kids haven't yet joined the youth group or participated outside of Sunday morning. But they never participated in youthgroup at Redeemer either. I love going to church with people we also see at the grocery store, the park, football games, and other school functions, and even when I'm out running. There's a real sense of accountability. 
I've changed my major already. I have decided to go into nursing. Long ago, when I was a kid and later as a teen, I wanted to go into the medical field. But the "Christian" cult I grew up in forbid women from getting a real education and working outside the home. I looked into colleges, thought about leaving and going to school without the blessing of m parents, but eventually abandoned the idea. The cult taught that parents are always right and that if you went against their wishes, even as an adult, you'd received condemnation from God. So I didn't go to college, and I let the dream die. 
I haven't considered the medical field again until recently. A little spark of a thought began in my head that maybe I should become a nurse. I casually mentioned this to Brian, and he was very excited about it, as he could see nursing as a better fit for me than being a teacher. I'm even more anxious to meet with an advisor now. I wonder if this is God awakening a long dead dream of mine??
Well, I'm about to head out on a five mile run. Trying to become a runner again. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

I'm tired and grumpy this morning. I took some Nyquil so I would sleep and not scratch my itchy skin all night, and I'm still groggy. Even so, I woke up at 5, or a little before, and began my day as usual. I did my best to focus on my Bible study lesson, then got out and walked five miles. I'm thinking an extra pot of coffee will be happening shortly.

Brian and I sat in traffic for nearly an hour yesterday trying to make it to Margaret's track meet. We missed her running the 3200, but sat around waiting for her other event, the 1600. We didn't even attempt to make it over to Vista Ridge to see William run. The traffic had been so bad, and Margaret's meet was a small one and moving fast, or faster than a typical track meet, so we were afraid we'd miss her second event. Our neighbor, Wendy, sat with us and we visited while we waited. Her son is also a runner and has carpooled with us the last two years. A big storm blew in, and just as one of the girls' relay teams was about to start, the announcer said the meet had been canceled and for everyone to clear the field and stands because of lightning. We'd have to wait until next week to see Margaret run. Later we found out that William didn't get to run either as his meet was canceled before he had his chance.

Today is the last school day before spring break. I suppose I'm looking forward to it, but really I'm just tired, and vacations and breaks for school are normally more exhausting than our regular schedule.

Brian has to go to San Diego to present a paper on sidewalk masterplanning at an engineering conference later this year. I'm proud of him and happy that he'll get away for a while. He never has any time away, unless you could when he's commuting to and from work. We had initially thought that he'd take me along and we'd make a getaway out of it, but decided not to.

My house is moderately messy right now, and I've allowed the girls to watch Disney Jr. way longer than I should've. I'm off to repent of laziness and take this day by the horns.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I'm making pancakes right now, so every few minutes I have to hop up and go flip them, therefore this my be a disjointed blog post. I'm fixing breakfast-for-dinner as a treat for those who aren't going to be at track meets. Tonight it's Margaret and William running. Is going to an out of town meet this weekend at Love Joy high school (yes, that's really the name!), so won't be running tonight. I'm looking forward to another "date" with Brian cheering on our favorite people. 
This morning I got out for my five mile walk. I didn't run as my back has been hurting the last couple of mornings. The morning walks are like gold to me! I feel so much more on top of the day when I get out and clear my head first thing. 
I took the girls in and dropped them at Brian's office so I could run over to ACC and finish a couple of loose ends with my registration. I had intended to meet with an academic advisor, but the walk-up wait time too long, so I made an appointment for after spring break. I'm anxious to get this ball rolling.
I've two issues that are getting my mommy ire up. 
First is the homeschooling neighbor who seems to think my boys will molest her daughter, so said daughter always checks to make sure Hazel's brothers aren't home before she comes to play. The three year old boy of same family came over last week and pushed over and broke to pieces the chimenea I had given Brian as an anniversary gift several years ago. The six year old boy of the same family finds great pleasure in kicking Frances in the head even when told not to. Just now, as Hazel was heading over to play with them she was told she couldn't as their cousins were over. It's not like time with the cousins is something special as all three of their sets of cousins like here in Steiner and they all homeschool and do co-op together! Furthermore these same kids invade our house for hours when my nieces and nephews are over. 
The other thing that has my mommy heart upset is that Sam has had his heart broken for the first time by a girl. His girlfriend informed him this week that she only likes him as a friend. He sat crying on the couch last night and I didn't know how to comfort him. I knew it probably wouldn't last, but it's still hard. He's such a sensitive guy. And of course as his mom I'm thinking "who wouldn't like this guy???"
I took the girls down the Zilker yesterday. We rode the Zephyr, played at the park, and walked the three mile loop. And as happens every spring, I got poison ivy. I'm so careful not to touch it, but it's all over the place down there, on both sides of the trail. I'm convinced I react just from being near it. It's on my hands, legs, and one arm. I'm oping to keep things under control and keep it from spreading to my face, but I'm not sure I have much control over it. from what I've heard, it gets in my blood stream and causes the whole boys to react, so there's no telling where I'll break out. 
My front flower bed is looking so sweet! I had it so pretty in the fall, and even part of the winter as the weather had been so mild. Then a hard freeze happened when we were in Burnet the weekend before Christmas. I lost everything. We hosted Christmas Eve here, and I wanted something out there besides all the awful brown stalks, so I uprooted the huge agave from the back yard and plopped it in the bed to the right of the front door. It sufficed. Since then I've gone with the theme of cactus and succulents, and got a big batch of "hen and chicks" succulent and put several on either side of the front door beds. I have red yucca, some native grasses that haven't come back yet, some bluebonnet clusters, asparagus fern, and some other things. My hyacinths and tulips are just now going away. 
Oh my, but I love gardening and yard work!
I'm off to find my CRMS eagles shirt and my VHS viper shirt. I'll be switching back and forth between them as Brian and I race back and forth between two district high schools to watch Margaret and William race. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The girls and I just got home from HEB. We've had a busy day. I got out and ran with Brian this morning. We parted ways and I walked another loop, totaling five miles. I crave that time alone in the morning.
The girls and I rushed over to Bible study. I keep meaning for us to walk over there, but we're always, always running late. The Bible study lecture was good, but I look forward to when we break off into our small groups most! After the study was over, my small group walked over and had lunch at Lakeside Pizza and Grill, one of the places in the neighborhood that's right down from the church office. I haven't had many opportunities to visit with these ladies outside of Bible study, and I enjoyed learning more about each of them. We made it to the grocery store after that. I knew the girls were tired after being out all morning and half the afternoon, but they didn't complain. If there's one thing I've learned after years of raising kids, it's that if you start early taking your kids shopping and running errands with you, they'll grow accustomed to it and wont throw a fit about it. I always did my grocery shopping with my older four because I didn't want to have to do it in the evenings and take away from time with Brian. It's worked so far. 
A cold front blew in this morning and it's cold gain after being hot yesterday. 
We have half a week left before the kids get out for spring break. It seems like we get so man holidays in Leander ISD, but I won't complain. 
Brian got me an Instant Pot for Christmas and I use it almost every day. Right at this moment I have a turkey going in it. 
I had to get a new social security card to register for classes. I lost mine at some point in the last nineteen ears. It came in today, so now nothing is holding up me registering. Yay!
Margaret and Samuel just drove up, and John just walked home, so I'm off to see how their school days went.

Monday, March 6, 2017

I should be house cleaning, but I'm eating salad, dying my hair, and blogging instead.

Mondays are my recovery days. I get all the laundry caught up on and the house set back in order after everyone being home for the weekend. We didn't do a whole lot over the weekend. Margaret and Sam both worked Friday night, and William was out playing ball with his friends, something he does most Friday evenings. As I said previously, I had a meeting at ACC, then stopped in at the thrift store. I bought the other half a set of 1930s and 1940s swing records that I bought last Saturday. I was thrilled to see there had been no others in the store who loved swing in the last week. Now we have about twenty records to practice dancing to! I also found a pair of black hi-waisted Madewell jeans, a Free People shirt, some peacock print athletic leggings, a couple of sweaters, and a decent pair of Brooks Adrenalin running shoes. It will be a sad day if Texas Thrift ever closes. It holds a special place in my heart.
I recovered my Xanga blog archives and have been cleaning them up and printing them to save in a notebook. Its not an easy task. I think I blogged every singe day of 2010, and to go back and clean up all the markings and delete the codes for pictures is exhausting. Oh, but the memories! I have cried through page after page. I chronicled 2006 through the beginning of 2011 very well. I switched over to blogger sometime around early 2011 and for some reason stopped blogging as much. What a shame!
I went for a seven mile run Sunday morning. I'm trying to get back into running. When I'm not running I detest it When I am running regularly I find it a balm to my restless soul. We went to worship with Hill Country Bible. There was a guest preacher from the Dallas area, and he taught on Romans 6 and how we've been set free from sin and no longer have to live as sin's slave.
I didn't rest much yesterday. I was busy working on my blog posts as mentioned above, and cleaning house. Margaret had a friend over to work on a physics project with her. Sam had to work again Sunday evening. I went for another run in the evening. I just felt a need to get out the restlessness and clear my head. It's better than drugs, I suppose.
I have been reading Little House on the Prairie to the girls, and we're almost through it. Not sure what to read to them next. Maybe the Anne series, or the Secret Garden, or Little Women...What ever I choose to read to them they'll love. Just as the older kids were, they crave that special time where they have all Mama's attention.
Margaret suited up and ran the track workouts with the team this morning. According to her she did so well that some of the girls are upset that she's back on the team. Coach Sully seemed nervous as well. He wanted her to run, but now he'll be forced to decide between her, the faster upper classman who just joined the team, and some of the lower classmen that have been practicing with the team since the beginning of the season.
Great news! Brian says he's going to get me a laptop for school! I haven't had one in ever so long, and haven't really needed one. But I'll need one now. All the kids have school issued tablets, which is so nice, but Margaret will be turning hers back in when she graduates. She hoped to buy herself one before she starts college. She's done research on good, reasonably priced tablets, so I'll probably get whatever she gets.
I don't think I've told you about Frances, have I? She is the four legged creature we bought the kids for Christmas. Frances and I aren't such good friends, but maybe that will change eventually. She's part Chihuahua and part Yorkshire Terrier. She was tiny when we brought her home, less than a pound. She's black with brown accents. Do you call it accents when talking of dogs? she has white on the tips of her back feet, and it makes her look as if she walked through paint. The hair around her face is lighter brown, and makes her look like she used Sun In on it. She is the puppiest puppy there ever was! She has more energy than I've ever seen in a dog. And she chews on everything. Everything! We're trying to crate train her and she's done reasonably well with that. The kids like her ok, although Hazel, after seeing an old picture of Lucy-cat, said, "We should sell Frances and get a cat." I half way agree. I'm still hoping our love for Frances will grow.
I got out and ran three miles this morning. I usually get out and walk five miles every morning, but I'm trying to manage my time better to spend more time with the kids, so I'm swapping some of my walking with running. I got home in time to make pancakes for the William and John before they left for school. It's been so long since I made breakfasts for my kids. It makes me sad to think they no longer expect it. This is something I want to change. I want them to remember homemade breakfasts when they think back on their childhood, just I remember Mama's biscuits and gravy.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Today has been cold and rainy. What a strange winter this has been! For the most part, it's been much warmer than normal, hot and muggy like summer. But then along comes a cold front and we're back to winter for a day or two.

Mama came late last night and borrowed our couch to crash. She had brought donuts, and the kids, especially the little girls were thrilled to see her when they came down this morning. She didn't stay long this morning, but we did get a little time to talk over coffee and donuts.
I went running with Brian today, five miles. I'm going to start doing that again. I've become such a lazy runner! I'm not fit to be called a runner anymore. But I do walk, walk like crazy. So there's that.

I had an Area of Study meeting to attend at ACC this afternoon. It was informative and it helped me warm the cold feet I had last night. I'm excited about starting summer school! Margaret might start also, so we could be in the same class. How fun would that be!

Margaret decided to join track, even though it's already three weeks into the season. She went to Coach Sully yesterday and asked if she could, and he was thrilled to have her back. I'm so happy for her! I know she'll love being with her friends and competing one last season. She's such a jewel of a girl! I'm so glad she won't be leaving home right away. I think Samuel (as well as the rest of us) would be half dead with sorrow if she did. She got Samuel a job at the restaurant she works at, Napa Flats. He's a bus boy, and she's a server. Once she turns 18 next month she'll be able to wait tables. I'm so proud of her and what a hard worker she's been from such a young age! She has never shied away from hard work. She began babysitting when she was eleven, and has done that and nannying off and on since. She's worked at two different restaurants, and has also done art commissions. I'm so impressed with her maturity, even if she's my daughter.

Samuel has grown up quite a bit this year. He's blossomed socially and has scads of friends. He's no longer the shy, awkward child he was when he was in elementary and middle school. He even has a girlfriend. At least I think that's what they call each other. She's a doll, too, with long blonde hair. He's had a thing for silky blonde hair since first grade when he'd talk about the girl that sat near him with the "golden hair".  And of course she's a runner, too. We've taken to calling him Sam when we talk to him, when we remember it. That's what all his friends call him. Speaking of his friends, he had about eight or ten of them show up at our house on his birthday when we were having a family birthday for him and Olive. They snuck in the back door, aided and abetted by Margaret, and popped out singing Happy Birthday at just the right time. I think it meant a lot to him. He's enjoying his job and the opportunity to meet new people. He's always been a hard worker, and has already received good reviews from his employer. Sam's running career is coming along. He has high hopes of getting a running scholarship. He is one of the top 800m runners in the district as well as one of the top milers. He had been trainer with a personal running coach for a few months, but we had to drop that as it was getting too expensive. The same coach, an elite level runner that competes all over the world, also coaches several of Sam's Vandegrift buddies, and comes to the track meets to cheer them on. At the last meet he offered to continue to give Sam instruction free of charge, a $125/value. How nice!

As I mentioned in my last post, William is also running track. He runs the sprint distances, and does well. He wants to do well, but he's definitely not as committed to it as his older brother is. It's strange to think of William at the high school next year, even though he'd already be there if we hadn't held him back three and half years ago. I suppose all parents get a little shock to their systems when their child heads off to high school. I hope he does well. He seems to have a lot of friends. He's not the same kid who wouldn't speak at all when he was in elementary. He seems comfortable talking to young and old now. This year of middle school has gone well for him, but the previous two were rough. He's a sweet boy, and I think I often misjudge him. He came home last week upset because some "rich boys" on the 4x100 relay team he's on were bullying him. It's not like him to complain about that kind of thing because, for one, he's a little older than most boys in his grade, and two, because he usually takes it on his chin and deals. But for some reason this really bothered him. If I think too long about the hurts and fears my kids face each day I get a little weepy. I hope and pray it turns them to Jesus.

John is John. He goes to school every day on time and comes home at the same time every day. He gets his snack and then spends the rest of the afternoon and evening until dinner reading in his bed. He never deviates from this. He's pleasant and talkative, but a loner. He's a handsome boy, thin and tall for his age, probably 5 ft. 5 inches, with dark hair that he likes to wear a little long. He has dark blue eyes and the longest, darkest lashes you've ever seen. And yet he's an outcast. He has no friends in school, at least none that I'm aware of, and his only real friend outside of school is his cousin, Tommy. He's intelligent, and though he tested into the gifted program at the middle school, he's always barely passing his classes. I think he'll be a successful architect or some kinds of designer when he grows up. He has such an interest in it. It's just hard to see him friendless. It doesn't seem to bother him, just me.

I won't go on to talk about Hazel and Olive at this time. They're dear little angels and I want them to stay that way forever.

One more week of school left until spring break. We're doing a staycation. It'll be nice to have my babes home with me. Brian intends to take all or some of the week off, and we have several fun things planned.

I'm trying to read 52 books this year. I'm on book 11, which puts me a week ahead of schedule. I'm rereading the L.M. Montgomery Emily series. Well, I'm actually not reading it, but listening to it. I've discovered audio books and oh the joy! I can now combine two of my loves: walking and reading into one! I've made my way through some good ones and not so good ones. Sometimes the reader really ruins it for me. But oh, how happy I am to have discovered that I cam listen. I have to move, and it's hard for me to sit and read for long periods of time. But if I can walk and enjoy God's beautiful creation while making my way through books, well, that's pretty much the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures for me. Yesterday Brian worked from home, and in the afternoon I got out to walk five miles. I decided to take the trails instead of the sidewalk. How pleasant it was to walk along those well worn paths with the wildflowers just starting to make their presence known on either side, while listening to someone read to me from a beautifully written book!

Sam is at work tonight, and William is upstairs socializing with the friends that live in his phone, but the rest our watching a John Wayne movie with Brian in the den. It's nice to have almost all my people home tonight.

I'm off to climb under the covers and catch up on my Bible study lesson.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I'm escaping to my blog because I've had more whining than I can handle.😳

Hazel is supposed to be working on math and writing, but she and Olive are throwing pencils and crayons at each other. Hazel has done well in the sporadic lessons we've done together. She's reading and writing, even if much of her spelling is difficult to decifer. She enjoys math best, and has progressed quickly through new concepts. I had hoped to make it through all the curriculum (we're using Horizons)  before summer, but that just won't be possible. Even with us working through the summer she won't complete all four phonics books and the two math workbooks before she starts real kindergarten. The days are flying by, and not a day goes by that I don't think about how sad it will be when she and Olive don't have all day to play together. They are such good friends to each other!

Track season has begun. Sam - we call him that now since that's what all his friends know him by - is running middle and long distance events for Vandegrift, and William is sprinting at Canyon Ridge. Sam has his third track meet tomorrow night and William his first. Somehow Brian and I will have to work magic and be in Steiner and Hutto at the same time. I like track season. It's a lot of driving and alot of sitting in the cold between events, but it means hours of conversation and making out under the bleachers with my love.

Brian and I ran two marathons in the last two months. I trained minimally for the first, Houston, and not at all for the second - Austin. I've been walking like a crazed woman though, shooting for 16 - 17 miles a day out here in the hills, and that really paid off. I didn't run terribly fast overall, but the hills of Austin felt like nothing. I'm going to try to continue shooting for 30K steps a day on my fitbit. I get out every morning and walk 5 miles, and then walk another 5 in the afternoon. Sometimes more if Brian and I get out to walk. I usually get another five to seven just from my daily activities. It doesn't do the same thing for my heart as running, but I'm lifting weights in addition, so hopefully that helps.

I'm embarking on a new adventure: I'm going to college. I took my TSI assessment last Saturday, and attend an Area of Study session this Saturday. I intend to be a teacher. I initially thought I wanted to go into elementary education, but I am now thinking I'd prefer to be a history teacher. I'm hoping to begin classes in the summer. I need to get a headstart on Margaret who is also planning to start on her education degree in the fall. Brian teases that she and I will be sorority sisters and eventual dorm mates at UT or Texas State. We'll both be starting out at ACC. I am going to try to finish as quickly as possible. Olive starts school in two and a half years. Once she's in, I'll be able to tackle school head on. I'm excited!