Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sibling Fun

We have been told that we probably have 1 more month of enjoyable weather. We are enjoying it before the heat and humidity arrive. For the past several nights the children have enjoyed playing in the backyard after dinner. I love to see them all playing together. I've even volunteered to do some of the older girls' kitchen chores so that they can go out and play. It thrills my heart to see the older ones enjoying the younger ones. It is one of the things I enjoy most about our large family.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Little League

Shortly after our arrival in Sugar Land, Brian signed Luke and Will up to play Little League. Luke is playing his first year of machine pitch and Will is playing t-ball for the first time. Both boys have enjoyed their practices and receiving "real" uniforms.

Last Saturday was Opening Day. Each boy marched with his team in a parade to the field where the opening ceremonies were held.

This week the season began. Monday night Will's team (the Tampa Rays) played the New York Yankees. In Will's division they rotate positions every inning. He played pitcher, second base and right field. At pitcher he stopped all the balls that came to him and made nice throws to first. At this age the hard part is catching, so their weren't many outs made. No score was kept but the kids didn't seem to mind. (Although Luke couldn't believe they didn't keep score or make the kids who got out go back to the dugout!) It was a very low-key introduction to the joy of playing the game.

Tuesday night Luke's team (the Cleavland Indians) also opened against the New York Yankees. Their team didn't fare so well, but Luke didn't seem to mind and said he had a good time. He played pitcher, second base and right field. He was 1-2 at the plate. Hopefully the next game will have a better outcome.

Emily's birthday

Emily celebrated her 11th birthday on Feb. 14th. She is our special Valentine! Brian and I are beginning to see the development of a beautiful young lady. It is like watching a rosebud that is just beginning to open. I look forward to seeing her in "full bloom" someday. The sweet scent of a daughter who loves the Lord, respects her parents, is kind to her siblings, and thoughtful of her friends is truly heavenly. Happy birthday Emily!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Good-bye friends

The older girls made some precious friends during our time in California. These were delightful young ladies with whom our girls enjoyed spending time at church. We are grateful for the way they reached out to our girls and made them feel welcome. Ashley, Emily and Hayley are looking forward to keeping in touch through letters and e-mail. Although the girls were excited to return to Kingsport, they were all sad to leave behind their new friends.


The moving company arrived at our house on Tuesday, January 19th. They sent 4 people to pack that day. I was thrilled as we had never had more than 3 before. I had high hopes that the whole process would be finished some time on Thursday. These guys didn't break any speed records. The next day only 3 people were sent and the final two days (loading) we only had 2 guys. They worked through lunch each day but must have taken a "smoke break" every hour. It was around 2:00 on Friday before we were finally able to leave our house.

We drove to Birmingham, AL Friday night. We drove another 5 hours on Sat. to Monroe, LA. We had dinner with Paul and Micah McCoy. Paul used to live in Kingsport and was a member of Westminster PCA. On Sunday we worshipped with them at Auburn Ave. Presbyterian Church. After lunch with the McCoys, we began our 6.5 hour drive to Sugar Land. That was a long drive for me. The kids did ok, but I was VERY ready to be done driving. We arrived in Sugar Land about 10:30. We checked into our hotel and went straight to bed.

Monday we had to be at our house by 7am. Brian had set up an appt. for our gas service to be turned on. They don't even do you the courtesy of saying, "We'll be there between 7-12 or 12-5." They just say, "We start at 7 and work until we are done. Have someone over the age of 18 present beginning at 7:00." Of course it was after 4 before the guy showed up! The movers were on time. They had parked the truck in front of our house on Sunday night. They were back around 8:30 Monday to begin unloading.

The same 2 guys that loaded in Kpt unloaded us in Sugar Land. Our beds had been among the last things to be loaded (We never stayed in a hotel in Kpt.), so I naturally thought they would be unloaded and set up the first day. Wrong! We didn't have beds to sleep in until Wednesday night. I was VERY thankful to be done with staying at the hotel.

Wednesday was also Brian's 40th birthday. Due to our move, I had done very little to make it "special." We had planned to make this our last night of eating out and use it to celebrate his birthday. Around 5:00 Hayley threw-up. (I knew she hadn't been feeling well but had attributed it to a lack of sleep/poor diet during the move.) Nothing like breaking in your brand-new house the first night there!!! I called Brian and told him we couldn't go out. He ended up picking up TX BBQ for dinner.

Before the movers left on Wed., the girls and I had managed to unpack all the boxes (except Brian's office.) This was my goal as I wanted them to take all the empty boxes back to Kpt. with them. It was a tiring process and one which I am glad to have behind me. Moving twice in 3 months has been difficult. If someone told us tomorrow that the project was cancelled and we could go home, my heart would be overjoyed, but I think my body would collapse. :-)

We spent subsequent days organizing and getting things in their proper place. A large portion of that was done when our rental furniture was delivered. We had a wall of built-in cabinets and bookcases in Kpt that held most of my homeschool supplies and our family library. We rented 7 6'x3' bookcases to hold our books here, and I think we could have used one more!

I love the aesthetics of our house as it is new and has lots of nice upgrades. There are several things we have discovered though that we are less than thrilled with. When we looked at the house there was a large empty field behind our fence. Now there is a massive construction project under way. At least my boys are occupied for much of the day watching all the equipment from our upstairs windows. :-) We looked at this house twice during our house hunting trip. Brian was also here several times while working here in December. All was quiet at our next door neighbors' house. We have since learned they have two HUGE German Shepherds who bark at everything that moves. They literally barked non-stop the day we had phone, cable, Internet and rental furniture guys here. Thankfully they stay inside when the owners are home. Finally there is the taco truck that makes its rounds twice a day selling its wares to guys working on houses on our street. Maybe an ice cream truck will show up this summer! We are however very grateful to the Lord for his provision for our family.

The backyard is one of my favorite parts of the house. It isn't as big as what we have in Kingsport, but is several times larger than what we had in California. It doesn't have any landscaping for the boys to destroy and it is fully fenced which means Kathryn and Andrew can play outside when the other children are out.

Kathryn's 3rd Birthday

Kathryn turned three on December 28th. We were in Greenville, NC visiting Brian's parents, so we celebrated with them. Kathryn loves Blue's Clues and was thrilled to have it as the theme of her party. She received a dress for her new Bitty Baby, a felt book made by her sisters and several items from her grandparents, one of her favorites being a striped pair of Hello Kitty socks.

An "Almost" Slumber Party

When our children turn nine, they have a birthday party with their friends. Hayley will turn nine in April. We knew if we waited until then to have her party we would not have been in Texas very long and were afraid she might not have any friends to invite! We asked Hayley if she would like to have an early celebration with her Kingsport friends. She thought an early party was a great idea. Being in the midst of our move I wasn't up for making a meal, planning crafts and games, etc. We decided to have an "almost" slumber party.

Hayley's friends arrived around 5:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. I then took Hayley and her 6 friends to Pizza Hut for dinner. I enjoyed listening to the girls talk with each other. They had a great time trying to think of all the jokes they knew. After dinner we returned to our house for cake and ice cream. The girls then changed into their pajamas and watched Hayley open her gifts. The final activity of the evening was snuggling in sleeping bags and watching Kit, one of the American Girl movies. The girls were all picked up by 9:30. The girls were able to enjoy the "activities" of a slumber party, but everyone went home to sleep in their own beds.

Christmas Festivities

We thoroughly enjoyed being "home" for Christmas. We were able to participate in many of our favorite activities and even host one. Each of the girls had a special time with friends while we were home. Ashley attended a movie and went out to lunch thanks to the organization of a dear friend. I let Emily invite friends over to our house. We decided to have a gingerbread house decorating party. In addition to the gingerbread houses we also make some other holiday crafts. I think the girls had a great time.

A few days later we attended one of our favorite Christmas activities...cookie decorating at the Saulsburys. There were icing and sprinkles everywhere! The older kids took up the challenge to see how many decorations one cookie could hold. The younger children wanted to lick the knives used for applying the icing. Even though the time was messy and a little chaotic, it was a lot of fun. Wonderful memories made with wonderful friends!

Before leaving California, the children had begun practicing for the Christmas program at the church we were attending. They were disappointed that we would not be there for the performance, so they made up their own program. They presented it to Brian and I a few days before Christmas.

The girls also played several pieces on the piano. Andrew decided he wanted to participate too!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back On-line

Greetings from Sugar Land, TX! Our family moved to TX at the end of January. We have been here for a little over a month. The boxes are unpacked and life is beginning to return to normal. Hopefully we will have another 5 weeks of "normal" before baby #8 arrives. I have lots of posts to catch up on but am currently unable to upload any pictures. I'll do my best to get the blog up-to-date in the next few weeks.