Friday, December 28, 2007

What I did this summer

I do not remember ever having to write a "What I Did This Summer" essay, but on movies, it's always the topic teachers choose for the first day of school. That's what I feel like when I get to this time of year. Most people have already sent cards. If they were going to write a letter, they did that in November. But Late Lori always does this between Christmas and New Year's. I am always left wondering how it is that most people send us single page one side only letters that tell us all about their year, yet I sit down to write and struggle to keep it to front and back of one page. My dad tells me I write too much in my letters. My mom tells me to send her one so she can read it, too (though mine is often a variety of her letter). My great aunt tells me she likes to hear all about our activity. So tonight I sat here and typed out a rough draft. This will now be read by Phil, be edited, be shortened (I hope), and be put into small enough print to fit on the paper, but large enough print that we don't have to include magnifying glasses with it. And I'll add in pictures.

So, if you are one of those, "I can tell the story in ONE page" letter senders, tell me how you do it. Of course, if you are one of those, you have long since given up on reading my blog as it contains entirely too much detail. I would never have made it on "Name that tune", "I can name that tune in 5 notes, but first, let me tell you how that piece of music came to be and why it is written in that key, and one of my daughters can play that on the piano without any lessons, and the other one can burp the entire song."

It's okay to wake up now. I'm through!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Needing Christmas

Last night we went to church at my inlaws church, as we do every Christmas Eve. The sermon was about how we need Christmas. The pastor spoke of how in our world of things going wrong, it reminds us that the perfect Christmas isn't in everything looking like a magazine photo, but in the fact that Jesus came to us because we aren't perfect. What a great gift, the GREATEST gift, we have in Jesus, our Savior!

We went to Horseshoe Bay/Marble Falls area on Sunday night. Phil was feeling bad, but no fever when we left home. When we got there, his temp was 101 & went up to 102.6 or so. Then, the next morning, he had no fever, but stayed in bed most of the time we were there. He & I came home tonight. His temp spiked back up to 102.7 tonight. He's taking some meds to keep the fever down, or at least from going up. Tomorrow at 9 a.m. I have an appointment with the rheumatologist (who will no doubt fuss at me for not having my blood drawn since my last visit!), then I will likely take Phil to the doctor. I can't see him being able to drive there. He had asked for these days off this week (Wed-Fri) but it was too late when he asked & he didn't get them. Let's pray that they know he is REALLY sick & not just trying to get out of work! Please do pray that he gets well. His cough is awful. He's sleeping on the couch tonight so I hopefully will sleep better tonight.

The girls stayed with Grandma and Pop Bill. They had a great Christmas. Neither of them got any "big ticket" item as they have some Christmases. Bethany wants a Nintendo DS game, but came up with the idea to ask for money & gift cards so she can get one! So, she is combining money & gift cards and will go shopping tomorrow. Natalie also got money & gift cards & didn't have a big item in mind, so she is quite excited! I suspect she'll have new clothes when she gets home! Though, she is thinking she might also like a DS now.

& then Natalie made pillows for them all. We just cut the edges & tied knots on most of them. But, we did make one special one for Phil's dad. It all started when I tried to find something special for him. It's easy to find We "made" fleece blankets for the Grandparentssomething for our moms. And my dad loves anything golf related. But Bill is the hardest one to shop for. Since he is on blood thinners & has lost weight from the cancer & chemo, he is always cold, so a blanket seemed the perfect gift. We WANTED to order a fleece blanket. We waited too long to take pictures, though. By the time we took them, it was a day late for ordering, even with expedited shipping charges. So, I pulled out some iron on transfer stuff to see if I could print pictures & iron them onto fleece. It worked! We went to JoAnn's, with multiple coupons in hand, and began shopping for fleece. Pop Bill had to have white on one side, so that was easy. We just needed some for the back, plus some for Natalie to make pillows. WELL, as we looked I saw that no only was fleece 50% off, but so were the blanket kits! We must have looked quite funny with a basket overflowing with blanket kits & bolts of fleece fabric! I told the girls, and they in turn told the grandparents, that these were very "knotty" gifts!

Off to bed for me so I can rise & shine at normal people time. Hope you had a VERY Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Homeschool Family

I have no idea whose family this really is, but this video is hilarious! Homeschool Family

The video appeared on Tim Hawkins site, of whom I've never heard, but he sounds very funny! His bio says he has 4 kids, so this isn't his family (at least not ALL from his family!). I found it quite amusing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Good news on the health front!

From my dad spending 3 weeks in the hospital in January, to my Father-in-law being diagnosed with cancer, and other things in between, this hasn't been the best health year for our family in general. However, I finally have some GOOD health news! About 8 years ago I had allergy testing done and was "highly allergic" to many things. I began allergy shots and was faithful for some time, then during periods when we were without insurance coverage for shots, I would dwindle off of them. When I talked to the allergist about getting back on shots, she asked when I last had testing & decided it was time to check them again. Yesterday I had the pin prick test and am only allergic to a handful of things! Mountain cedar and cats are still up there, which means life in South Texas from late November to South Texas is my worst season, and I'll never have a pet cat. Okay, so that was never a question, but it's easier to tell the kids than, "Daddy really doesn't like cats at all!" Though, I'm pretty sure they've figured it out since he's told them that! I am NOT allergic to dogs now! I always pretended I wasn't since I love dogs, but now it has been proven. Several of the grasses, weeds, and trees are no longer my enemies! Praise God for this new and improved health!

A midnight run to Wal-Mart

Here's the short version. When I have caffeine in my body I'll share the details. Yesterday evening, after a dr.'s appt. I went to 2 stores to pick up the rest of the Christmas stuff, minus stocking stuffers, as I knew I'd be going out even later to shop with a friend. I missed my friend Stephanie's cookie swap, which sounded like such fun (despite the fact that I couldn't eat any of the cookies! LOL!). But, this was my last chance to be alone and shop. So, my friend Kathy & I left her house sometime after 9:45 (we opted for a 10 p.m. shopping spree rather than midnight). We periodically checked the clock. When I got home it was 4 a.m. Yep. And we learned that our over 40 bodies don't do well going around the ENTIRE floor area of Wal-Mart after midnight. But, we are THROUGH with shopping! Almost. hee-hee!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Spirit of Christmas?

Today we had lunch with a homeschool family that we don't see as often as our co-op families. They have 4 kids in the family & one of the girls is between Natalie & Bethany in age. She came home with us for the girls to play. Well, on the way home they were scheming. I mean, um, using their creative thinking skills in higher level thinking capacities. They first wanted a lemonade stand. Do we have fresh lemons? No. Do we have lemon juice? Yes, but we don't have cups. On to plan B. Hot cocoa! We can sell the packets & have hot water for them. Um, excuse me, but we DON'T HAVE CUPS!!!! So they settled on plan C: Dress up in Christmas costumes and sell stuff. Yes, seriously. We got home and soon an angel (complete with halo made of a pipe cleaner & a pen, which I'm sure is completely Scriptural!), Mary with Baby Jesus (the friend, because she "has the same color hair as Mary," no doubt from all the photos they took back then), and a lamb, who probably had the most authentic costume of the three! LOL!

They proceeded to find junk, er, treasures to sell. McDonald's toys, swimsuits that somehow missed the giveaway box, and other delights. They made a poster with "Christmas Carols 25 cents" and "Stuff 50 Cents." They set up shop and waited to make a sale. Did I mention we live on a culdesac? And that we have very little foot traffic on our street at 4:30 in the afternoon? We learned that we have a new couple who bought a house 2 doors down, that the man who runs everyday with his headset on can't hear you no matter how loudly you scream, and that the next door neighbor's daughter who was Bethany's age when we moved in, and is now around 20, has a soft spot for either Arielle (the Disney Little Mermaid) or for 3 little girls acting silly!

These 3 girls, all dressed in their prim outfits, were acting like hooligans jumping up & down shouting, "Come buy our stuff! Great sales!" And, yes, they actually sold songs! One man paid them $2.00 for a Christmas carol! Okay, so it wasn't a carol, but was Jingle Bells. I paid them each 25 cents. I heard a very nasally version of Jingle Bells from Natalie, an operatic version of Joy to the World from Bethany, and our friend sang one verse out of Christmas Shoes that she knows by heart! They ended up earning $4.50, which divided nicely into 3 equal amounts. Thus, we had math class, too.

I will add a picture of the 3 wise girls. I've blurred the friend's face since I've not asked permission to post that. Note the fake look of despair they chose to use in this posed shot. They had not earned any money yet! Look for these 3 to be in Fortune 500 in about 20 years!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's the most dorkiest time of the year.....

Yes, I know that is not grammatically correct, but if you want to sing it to "The Most wonderful time of the year," you have to say it that way. On Splitcoaststampers I am a part of a group called the "Traveling Dork Sisters." We are all willing to admit our dorkiness & laugh at ourselves. These ladies, though some of us have not met in person, have become very dear friends. Some have even had Pampered Chef shows for me! I just did something so dorky that I had to tell you all about it (assuming I have millions of readers---LOL!).

I had asked for prayers for FIL (that means Father In Law, not to be confused with Phil, who is dh---dear husband) from some friends online. One wrote out her prayer, "Lord, would you do a miracle for this family?" However, being the dorky girl I am, I read it as, "LORI, would you do a miracle for this family?" I wondered what in the world I was supposed to do & what family I was supposed to help! It took me a minute before I realized she had written LORD! Then I laughed so hard I cried!

A dorky girl I am for sure!


When I was in college, I changed my major, like most college students. I only changed mine once, though. I knew I wanted to teach. I started out as a German major. I loved my German teacher in high school. She was of good German stock & was even named Heidi! About a year into college, I realized I really didn't want to teach high school students, and they don't offer German classes in elementary school, so I changed to an Elementary Ed major. At that time at Southwest Texas State (when it was SWT), they offered a variety of minors to El. Ed. majors. I chose a double minor of Reading & then a Math/Science combo, which really hit all the main areas for elementary school. My greatest desire was to teach kids how to read, and my reason for that was twofold. First, my brother Steve, who died in 1978 in a car accident (he was 17), had learning disabilities. They didn't have the same names for them back in the days when he was in elementary school, but I remember he did a lot of letter reversals in spelling, and I'm sure reading was a challenge for him. It made me sad as I got older & thought of how hard his short life must have been in school & trying to do okay in classes without the ability. So, I was determined to help kids learn to read. Then, it was in my freshman year of college that I understood for the first time what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I'd been in church all my life, but I didn't quite "get" that part til I was in college. My second reason to teach people to read was to enable them to read the Bible. Obviously, teaching in a public school setting I could not teach the Bible to them, but I could give them the knowledge they needed so one day they could do this. Those were my lofty goals 20 years ago when I graduated from college.

Now, I am teaching my own children. Bethany has never learned like any student I've ever had. She has caused me to toss out the window anything I learned about teaching in college. She processes things for the longest time, and gives no indication of understanding. Then one day, BOOM, she is doing whatever the lesson was, flawlessly. With reading, I thought we had a genius on our hands when, at 2 years old, she was reading letters and numbers off of license plates. She knew the entire alphabet. She could count, but she did often leave out a number, I think 4, which was just so cute! We hadn't done much, but had watched many episodes of Sesame Street and had toys that said the letters and numbers when she pressed the buttons. When she was about 4, I decided to start teaching her to really read. We started with the ABeka homeschool K-4 books. A lady once told me, "Everyone starts with ABeka!" Homeschoolers might get a grin out of that! Actually, we'd gone through a preschool book that just reinforced the letters & introduced the sounds of the letters, but nothing serious. At 4, we were serious. LOL! We got through the vowels & the vowel sounds. She could say, "a, e, i, o, u" (short sounds) quick as a whip. Then we started adding consonants to the front. Blank stare. Shut down. autism 101. I thought NOTHING was sinking in. Then, one day she could say, "Ba, be, bi, bo, bu." Then we tried adding sounds to the end of the words. HA! We eventually gave up on convention & tried several things til she was reading simple words & beginning to put sounds together.

Today, Bethany picked up a book to read in the car and at church (yes, I know, she should be listening not reading, but you do what you have to do). By the time we got home, she had read 5 or 6 chapters. They aren't long chapters, but the fact that she will pick up a book & read on her own is just so wonderful!

Then there is Natalie. Nat's a struggling reader, but she has made HUGE strides. The difference is that she TRIES to read. Even more, she enjoys books. I've been reading chapter books to her since she was in pre-K. We are working through the Millie Keith series of Life of Faith books. She can read some easy chapter books on her own, but she loves a good snuggle and to listen to more involved stories.

Friday I met my mom & she watched the girls as I went to a Scholastic Warehouse sale. The girls were just giddy with excitement when I got back. They know I bought them BOOKS. They know there are no toys or clothes in the box in the trunk (that they so cleverly have tried to peek into!). AND, they both wrote a wish list for Christmas that night & included books on it.

This mom is just tickled pink that my girls are excited about books! They may not be up to speed in math, or know all the presidents yet, but I have now imparted the greatest tool for a good learner: the ability to learn on their own. Praise God that my kids can READ and LOVE BOOKS!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Just a quick post to show you how cute these skirts turned out, and even more, how cute these girls were dancing. they have worked very hard learning these dance moves & did a great job! I'll just post pics of Natalie, since I don't have the other moms okays to post their kids pics. I'll try to crop a picture later so you can see all the girls' skirts. I know you are all waiting with bated breath! Doesn't Natalie look like she's growing up? My baby is so big now!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A few pom-poms short of a poodle!

That is my new saying for someone who isn't quite "all there". That person is "a few pom-poms short of a poodle!" Why? Because I was a few pom-poms short of a poodle today. Not in THAT sense. Well, okay, maybe in that sense, too. I had ONE poodle left to make & I was 4 pom-poms short. As it turns the older skirt we have WAS indeed missing some pompoms, too. I hear that happens as you get older. So, I bought a package & glued them on.

Over the past few days I have attempted, in vain, to find, then try to dye white to be,
TEAL FELT! I think I mentioned before that you can't just go out & buy teal felt. Apparently, you also cannot dye store bought felt teal. You CAN however, dye your hand a lovely shade of teal. And your fingernails. Who needs nail polish? My skin went from slightly dead to a sickly teal color yesterday. It came in handy when my friend Kathy & I were traipsing about Michael's in search of poodle poms and leashes (and we MIGHT have looked at the scrapbooking/stamping supplies), at 9:30 at night. Yes, I was able to see what colors looked nice with teal. The only problem was that no fabric was actually teal, because it would only absorb so much color. Even a 2nd box of teal dye made no difference. That was money down the drain (literally!).

Today I had to go back to the stores (yes, plural, you CAN'T find what you want at just one store, you know). At our last stop, a JoAnn store that we had been to Tuesday AND Friday, lo & behold there were several new bolts of felt. We were looking for a cute girly shade of purple for the last dancer whose preference in color I don't know, so we were guessing. They had NO pretty shades of purple, either. All 3 stores we looked in ha
d DARK purple, not light girly purple. They DID however have something called, "Crystal Blue" which looks like the Caribbean Sea. It was as close to teal as I believe I ever have seen in felt. So, with a 50% off coupon, I scooped it up for Natalie. The other dancer will wear green. She doesn't know that yet, but she will.

I am not up to my elbows in poodles & skirts. I thought you might like to see a plethora of poodles & the 4 skirts I whipped together yesterday. I added they eyes tonight (paint). When those are dry I can put the poodles on the skirts & then add leashes. Oh, yeah, I have to make 2 more skirts. sigh. They will be very cute on Monday night, I hope!

Edited to add: Apparently when it says you can edit this post, it means you can attempt to edit & come up with wonky looking fonts & coloring on the page. sorry!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not so blue

I just took the felt out of the washer & it is a very very light turquoise color. I'm going to dry it & cut out the skirt for Natalie's friend (her 2nd choice was light blue, so this will be a blend of turquoise & light blue, right????), then buy more dye & do Natalie's. Oh, dear!

We go together like......

It's been many years since I first watched the movie "Grease," but the songs from that movie are forever etched into my brain. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad, but it's a fact of life. Natalie's dance class at our co-op is going to be dancing to the song from Grease called, "We Go Together." It's the one with all the ramalamalama's & kadinkybom's or something! For some STRANGE reason, I told another mom that I thought she & I could whip out poodle skirts for everyone. And, really, they are easy to make. So, I am up to my elbows in felt in a rainbow of colors. It was easy to find the colors for most the girls: pink, red, royal blue. But MY child and one of her best friends wanted TURQUOISE or TEAL felt. I've been to 4 fabric stores and have called any that I could think of. You can't buy those colors in felt in the stores! I did look online and could have bought some "peacock" if I hadn't had a pea brain & waited til the last minute to try to whip these together! So, being the brilliant woman that I am (ahem), I decided I could MAKE teal felt if I bought some Rit dye. I now have 3 yards of white felt in the washer with dye soaking into it. I hope this works!

In the meantime, my fingers look like they are frostbitten. I should go see if Natalie has any blue nail polish & just cover the nails with that. But the semi-dead look of the fingers is a bit unnerving.

Hopefully I will have poodle skirt pictures to show off soon!

Surgery scheduled

New update: Surgery is rescheduled for Jan. 8th.

Today Bill had doctor appointments in Temple, Texas. Phil went with his parents to these appointments. He saw the doctor for the stint he had put in his neck a few weeks ago. He has gone from almost total blockage to almost total capacity blood flow! That is great news! Then they saw the urology surgeon who was very happy to see how well Bill has responded to the treatments. They have scheduled surgery for December 17th! The doctor said he will need to remove part of the bladder, but does not want to remove all of it. He will also remove some lymph nodes that were housing cancer cells. They didn't find out any more about his sodium level or some other issues he's been having. However, Phil said that his dad seemed more alert today, so hopefully his sodium is on the rise. They had to go to a few different locations to set up the surgery and get things done that needed to be done. I'm sure they were glad to be back home tonight! Phil will be back here tomorrow. Thanks for continuing to pray for Bill and Ruth.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another pressure blog

I am posting a blog entry at nearly 3 a.m. Phil is out of town & the girls are in my bed. My goal is for us to all sleep late in the morning.

Mainly I am posting this to be sure my friend who checks my blog daily is doing her work she needs to get done & not seeing if I've blogged. LOL!

Wednesday brings an appointment of Bill to see if he can undergo surgery to remove either the tumor, part of the bladder or the entire bladder (in order from least invasive to most). His sodium had come up another point as of Monday, so they are going to leave him alone & see how that goes. I don't know what that means in terms of surgery or chemo, though. In order to have this surgery, he needs to be off of blood thinners for 1 month. So, Ruth (my mother in law) is hoping that if all is good for the surgery that they can do it in January.

Now, I am going to bed! And so is my friend. Right after she finishes her work. (hee-hee)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Wedding

I realize I have not posted about the wedding. We arrived at the church at 3:30 for 4:00 pictures. I think it was after 4:00 when we started taking pictures. The groom was not there yet. That was a bit unnerving & everyone was saying, "Don't tell Becky!" She was so nervous. She was absolutely gorgeous, but very much concerned about time. She kept telling the photographer, "Skip that picture, we'll do it later with him here." Finally, after all the necessary, "With the Bride" shots were taken, then they whisked her back to the bride's room and everyone relaxed! LOL! Chris was there by then & all the pictures were taken with him. Then, the whole wedding party left the sanctuary. My heart kind of flip-flopped (maybe that was my stomach; what was in that omelette I ate? ha, ha!) as the flower girls left the room. Everyone was taking care of themselves, and I was afraid Bethany would not go up with the girls. I asked one of the bridesmaids whom Bethany knew to please take her with her upstairs. Then we sat & waited. And waited. And waited. I went for water & came back. By then they were starting to seat people. I saw my ex-sister-in-law's brother & his family. We were both teenagers when Becky & Nils were born. In fact, he & a friend of mine & I were at Astroworld (a theme park) while Nils was born! Then we sat & waited some more. And some more. Finally, the groom walked in. He stood there alone while all the flower girls came in, each with a bridesmaid. First came Natalie and her partner. Next it was time for Bethany to come with Katie. I wasn't sure she would do it. I'm sure I held my breath. When they came through the door & she walked all the way down the aisle with Katie, I started crying. I think I was relieved! 3 years ago at Katie's wedding to Nils, Bethany had chickened out & stayed in the back with Grandma (Phil's mom). The song that was sung while the bridesmaids & flowergirls walked in was a song called, "How Beautiful." It was a BEAUTIFUL version because it was sung by my lovely sister-in-law, Robin! How cool to sing at your own step-daughter's wedding! When Greg & Becky came in I was still crying, but they looked like they were about to burst out laughing.

The service was very nice & God-honoring. They asked all the parents to come up to the front, and all the wedding party gathered around Chris & Becky while they had a time of prayer led by my brother (Greg) and closed by Chris' mom, Tammy. Then they lit the unity candle & the pastor finished the service.

The remaining shots were taken (um, pictures, not gunshots, it wasn't THAT kind of wedding!), and we proceeded to the Majestic Metro Theater, which is now used for events like this. After we parked, I looked & realized my purse was missing. It was back in the church. I thought Phil was getting it when he picked up the camera & other things in there, but he didn't see it. SO, my dad & Phil drove BACK to the church after trying to reach Nils to see if they would bring it, but couldn't reach him. They got there & no purse was to be found. So, they called Nils again & got an answer this time. They had my purse! The purse itself was a non-issue, but I really kind of need my driver's license & checkbook!

The reception was interesting. The dance floor was a stage in the front, but just raised about a foot, with a second area, about a foot higher behind that. The bride & groom danced, the wedding party danced, kids danced, old people danced. FINALLY the father-daughter dance came (we were staying to see Greg dance with Becky. Greg doesn't dance.). Greg had learned how to do a waltz just for this event. The music was not in 3/4 time; NOT waltzing music! He did a great job despite that. Jan, Becky's mom, came up at one point & said, "I never unbustled her train!" She said she went to bustle it up for the dance & they realized it had never been unbustled. She felt so badly, but Becky was in heaven & really didn't care if she even had a bustle or a train!

They left the next day for a week in St. Lucia. They should be home tonight, I guess, or tomorrow. Life will be interesting for these 2 very strong-willed people who love the Lord with all their hearts, minds & souls, but who like to be right. Always. Much prayer will surely get them through these first years of marriage!

Another update on Phil's Dad

This week Phil's dad went to the VA Hospital in Austin for bloodwork so they could approve all his prescriptions. They found out that he had low sodium. I had never heard of anyone having low sodium, but the doctors were very concerned. The next day he went to his local doctor who did bloodwork to check the sodium level. I guess since they deal with 2 different systems they have to have separate labs done. His level went from 125 to 135 from Wed. to Thursday. That, or the lab results were off one day. He goes back for bloodwork on Monday. If the sodium has improved, then they will let him just continue as is. If not, they will discuss options for raising this.

Thursday night I talked to one of my customers who is a nurse & a wealth of knowledge. When I told her that he had low sodium, she said, "The chemo will cause that." Then when I told her he had been acting confused, she said that is what low sodium can do. She said they have to raise it VERY slowly or it can cause irreparable brain damage. Then, today, Phil's mom told us that her sister in law was in the hospital this week because of low sodium, too! Phil & I both said we has no idea sodium could affect you that much. Guess there was a reason Pop Bill (what the girls call Phil's dad) always liked to add salt to food!

Hopefully this will self-correct. If not, we'll find out what the next step is. Thanks for continuing to pray.