Our beach trip

I asked you to check this post again later for more photos because we couldn’t upload from the camera til we got home.  Now there are so many great photos, I can’t bring myself to bury them in an old post.  They’re in a new one! 

Today was our first-ever family trip to the gulf coast.  We did go the beach once in Oregon 7 years ago, but it was spring and COLD. I don’t think anybody actually touched the water, and we only stayed for an hour or two.  It was beautiful and frigid.

Today was different: not as beautiful, but the weather was perfect.  Lest you think I’m complaining about the beauty levels, let me just say that oceans are like pizza and a few other good things in life: even when they’re bad, they good.  And this was not a bad beach!

We aspired in a laid-back sort of way to leave the house at 6:30 this morning, but we didn’t actually pull out until a little after 8.  That’s ok.  We only had a 3 1/2 hour drive, so before lunch time we were pulling into Mustang Island State Park.

We packed a lot of food, but I think everybody forgot to eat.  We’re bringing home nearly as much as we took.  There was just too much to do!

The beach was nearly empty and we were able to drive right down to the water’s edge – as close as we dared.  There were just a few other vehicles, spaced at intervals of several hundred feet.  As soon as the engine was shut off, the kids were out the door and gone.

The water was perfect, and so was the weather.  We swam and waded, sat on the beach watching the wildlife, splashed in self-made pools.

We realized we forgot to apply sunblock.

The wildlife was amazing!  Each time a wave hit, the shore was absolutely covered with what looked like tiny polished agates of varying colors.  They were pink, orange, purple, blue, yellow, green.  But as we watched, they all disappeared beneath the surface of the sand.  They were tiny clams!

We saw chipmunks.

We caught shrimp and hermit crabs.  We spotted and avoided moonjellies in the water, and rescued them on the shore.

We realized that we had still forgotten to apply sunblock to the redhead.

We watched as graceful terns and huge, majestic brown pelicans dove for fish all around us.  We were surrounded and stalked by gulls and more terns.  We stalked a great blue heron, who casually lifted off when Megan was just 7 feet away.  We saw what we think were varieties of sandpipers and/or snipes – can’t wait to get home and check the field guide!

Near the end of the day, Megan found a small but complete sand dollar.

And then it was time to go home.

…and I liked it!

Posted by: Deanna

This past Wednesday, I was sitting in Costco with Mom, Dad,  and The Boy eating a pizza. A big pizza. Fully 15 inches in diameter.

I was starving and I had used my considerable powers of eloquence to convince Mom to let Dad and I split the cost of a pizza. Mom had been all for waiting ’til we got home and having grilled cheese (sigh) , but Dad was starving too so he told me to go order the pizza while he and Mom checked out.

So far so good.

Apparently though, 6 pm is a pizza rush hour. I knew there was no way that whoever yelled it out was going to say Deanna right, so I gave my name as Diane. (I really hate doing that. Why can’t people just write it the way it sounds and say it right?) Then the cashier said, “20 minutes.”

For a second I considered canceling the order, but decided not to. I had ordered pizza, and by George I was going to have it!

Dad was in favor of canceling the order when he heard it, but between us, Mom and I managed to convince him otherwise. It didn’t end up taking a full 20 min and in due time we were sitting round the table.  But then The Boy needed to go potty.  So  Dad volunteered to take him in The Man Bathroom.

Which left Mom and I sitting together with over half of a 15 inch pizza. At first we didn’t think much about the looks. then one lady rather pointedly adjusted her glasses at us.  I looked at Mom.  And grinned.

Mom was a little sheepish over it, but I was having a ball! It was fun to try and guess exactly what kind of look we were getting. For example, a trio of rather glamorous women were clearly thinking “You Pigs.” One teenage boy I saw had nothing but admiration in his eyes. The man sitting facing me 3 tables away was the funniest though. His eyes were the size of plates, and I saw mingled envy and disgust writ large therein.

I kept wishing I had the guts to say things like, “What?! We’re hungry OK?!!?” and I kept heaving huge sighs and reaching for another piece whenever I got a particularly shocked look. It didn’t work after Dad came back though.

I guess I’m a bigger ham than I thought, because I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed. I liked it.

If vacations were perfect, what would we talk about in years to come?

If vacations were perfect, what would we talk about in years to come?

I said that a lot during our time away from home.

Let me just preface this by saying it was wonderful to be with family.   I saw cousins I haven’t seen since we were children, and our lumberjack uncle who lived in Alaska for much of his life.  Quick story about them:

My mom’s brother used to be a lumberjack in Alaska, and we rarely saw him.  One Christmas Uncle Steve came down to Grandma and Grandpa’s house during a family gathering.    He had a big bushy beard, and his thick wavy hair was shoulder-length.  I don’t remember what he wore, but I’m sure it was rustic.  He was a mountain man.

When he arrived, he stood in the doorway with his eyes twinkling, and addressed all of us children in his gravelly voice.  “Do you know who I am?”

Becky and Beth, my 4yo twin cousins, piped up in unison: “Jesus!”

We spent time with mom’s sister Aunt Lynn and got to know uncle Roger better too, and of course spent time with my sweet grandparents who arranged it all.  And I’m almost ashamed to say that we saw far more of the family members who live nearby than we typically see.  Apparently we all had to drive a thousand miles to spend time together.

All told, there were about 45 family members, including 11 of my siblings.  A few were not able to attend.  Our Tennessee sister and her family couldn’t come because she was great with child.  As of yesterday evening, she’s holding that child!

We had a small talent show which included mandolins, guitars, a violin, singing, poetry, and a fun little trick by yours truly.  Uncle Steve provided some background music with his banjo and gave a talk about Tlingit Indians since he has spent quite a lot of time among them while in Alaska.  He has even studied the language and – I think – taken part in the tribal government.  Our family shares Tlingit blood, so this was very interesting to all of us.

But I have to suspect that the most memorable bits will be the ones that went wrong:

But the pool!  Ah, the pool.  That made up for everything.  There were 4 pools, but the biggest and best was very close to our rooms, and became the central meeting place.  The kids nearly lived there, and the grownups lounged about in a superviserly way.   There were very few guests outside the family, and the few strangers were nearly all children.

All in all, it was a delightful week.  We went to the Titanic museum one day,

and rented a pavilion for a picnic at the lake another day.

I was able to meet Carey and Terri, 2 local blog-friends at a Starbucks.   Carey, I’ve already lost it.  What’s your blog?

Based on descriptions, we all seem to live on the same piece of land, though I’m not sure how that is possible.  Terri and Carey both had photos of their gardens, and I couldn’t tell the two apart.   It seems they live just minutes apart!

We drove across the Table Rock Dam several times getting to and from other places, and it was hard not to slow down to 5mph to admire the view.  Other than that, we kicked back and enjoyed each others’ company, doing our best not to look touristy.  I doubt that we succeeded, but that’s OK.

Hiegh Ho To Branson we go

Posted by: Lydia Mae

Day 1: We left on Thursday (July 2) at 5:00 am (really we did, as crazy as it seems, we actually left on time) we drove for 5 1/2 – 6 hours till we came to Glen Rose. We had lunch with some Facebook/blog reader/old church friends who own a blackberry farm. They were very generous with there blackberries (they gave us approx. 7 pounds). After lunch we drove some a few more hours and then had dinner and spent the night with Kelly and Andrea (Ah the Life) we had a great time.

Day 2: We ate a really good breakfast with Kelly, Andrea and their mom and we left and went to lunch with some other blog readers who lived about  an hour away. We played spoons, a fun and extremely semi violent card game  ate lunch, played with legos, and realized we were late for our own  “party”  Smockity Frocks, Karen and Paulette were there it was fun. After that we went to a 4th of July party with some friends from a sister church where I reintroduced myself to a some girls I met a few years ago. There was a little square dancing and I got to dance a some, a nice little seven or eight year old boy asked one of my friends named Amanda if she wanted to dance and she said that she didn’t want to, but maybe one of us might want to because no one had asked us yet. Looking a little sheepish he asked Megan if she wanted to, she said she would rather not.  So he asked Deanna she said that she didn’t really feel like dancing, after being rejected three times he hesitated not sure if it would be any good to ask me, when he did acted as if he expected me to say no. I immediately said ‘yes’ and we had a lot of fun. After the dancing there were fireworks and sparklers and soon after that we left. We stayed with Amanda and her family that night

Day 3: We ate breakfast with Amanda and her family that morning (It was one of the best breakfasts that I have had in a long time) and then Amanda went out to milk the cow. She let Megan, Natalie, Becca and me help, I think it was fun(I know that might sound kinda weird, actually wanting to milk a cow but I have always wanted to live on a farm and I love animals 🙂 ). Any ways soon after that we left and have been on the road since that. When we were passing through Oklahoma it was kinda creepy, there was wind, lots of wind and heavy rainfall and lots of clouds that looked suspiciously like tornado clouds or, maybe we are just really paranoid.

Well that’s all that has happened so far.

Our goodies are here! Marie Madeline Studio!

You should have heard the squeals when the mail carrier arrived with our package this morning!  We had so much fun choosing what to order that it took us over a week to put together our order.  Would you believe that everything was sewn, packaged, shipped and received in less time than it took us to decide?

This is our 2nd round of goodies from the sweet ladies at Marie Madeline Studio, and it was just as exciting as the first.  The girls are having a photo shoot this very moment.  That’s why the gallery of photos will be at the bottom of this post.  There are going to be far too many photos to give an individual treatment.  I could see it in their eyes.

As soon as we opened the packages, the seamstresses among us were struck at the stunning quality of every seam and hem on every item.  I don’t know how they do it but their work is utterly flawless.  ‘Nuff said.

Last time we ordered the mid-calf Gracie ruffle skirts.  Those skirts are all still going strong, so this time the younger ones chose the brand new Tessa bloomers – perfect for girly girls who love to climb trees and jump on the trampoline.  Kaitlyn and Lydia chose Bianca handbags, and Megan and Deanna chose some of the beautiful high quality fabric to craft their own creations.  Megan is already planning her first-ever quilt, while Deanna wants to make herself a skirt this time.

Can you tell they’re having fun in the photos below?

Spring poetry

Posted by: Deanna

The assignment this week on Homeschool Kids Write is acrostic poetry about spring.

Acrostic poetry is where you take a word and use each letter as the starting letter of the lines, so you can read it going down, It doesn’t have to rhyme, so it’s pretty easy. I really enjoyed this because poetry is one of my hobbies, so I am going to post several poems.


Feel the growing

Love the sunshine

Overarching branches

Weaving waving grasses

Ethreal petals of softest silk

Running foxes

Singing, swirling, bubbling, brooks.



The sunshine warming

Rivers wakened

Ever growing

Eagles soaring

Summer coming


Those are the ones I did about the light and fluffy parts of spring, but I also wrote one about lightning because huge storms with lots of thunder and lightning is one of my favorite parts of spring.


Long and jagged

Insistent, Ragged

Greased for speed

Hell’s own fire

Teeth of dragons

Never the same

Ire of heaven

Numbing killer

Golden death on bladed wings.


What do you think? I like the way the one about lightning turned out best, which one do you like?

This post is part of this week’s Homeschool Kids Write project. Go see more!

Sunday Stills: Water

Recently one of you lovely commenters gave me a link to a site called Sunday Stills, (thank you, Jocelyn) and I have decided to participate.

This week’s assignment is water, which could have been hard since we live in a drought and all except it decided to rain last night. (lots of thunder and lightning) So this morning Kaitlyn, and I went questing for raindrops.

The top one is my favorite hands down. It’s the onion greens in the little patch of onions we planted in our yard (onions are pretty much the only thing the deer don’t eat.) and Kaitlyn suggested that I take pictures of these, she said it would be “so, me.” I have no idea what she is talking about by the way, I use  no more onions then absolutely necessary when I cook, and it’s not my fault that everyone else in this house is an onion wimp. 😉

You all know how good rain water tastes right? Well, when I was down on my knees taking close ups of the raindrops I noticed that one hollow stalk that had been cut for soup, was full of water. I like rainwater. So I drank it. YUCK! I like to eat raw onions and it was gross! It was like drinking weak onion kool-aid!


This one is just a little puddle that I found. After I got this one we tried taking a picture where Kaitlyn was stepping in it, but it was too shallow for anything other than what I have here. I also found a deeper puddle that was in a little natural bowl in a rock, but I let Kaitlyn take the pictures that time. After she was done though, I was still thirsty, so I knelt down and scooped some of that water up and drank it. It was still in my mouth though when Kaitlyn said in a very thoughtful voice “I wonder if a deer peed in that?” I spit it out. Fast. Then I smacked her. (what a terrible sister she is. I would never, ever do something like that. Right Kait? )


This one, I just threw in for good measure. It looks kind of symbolic though, a cactus, with raindrops, and a little sprouty thing on it. Caption, anyone? C’mon, I know you guys have awesome imaginations. Give me a caption.


Why you shouldn’t put too much mustard on your sandwich.

Warning, this post is entirely the product of my imagination, so if you are allergic to silliness I seriously recommend that you scroll down and read something else.

One day I was making myself a sandwich. Not any ordinary sandwich mind you, but a delicious, mouth watering, BLT with lovely thick strips of crispy bacon, and colby-jack cheese.  But right as I laid the top piece of bread on and prepared to take a bite I heard a voice.

“Don’t you dare,” it said.

I looked around, and didn’t see anyone talking to me. My mom and dad were working online and my siblings were eating boring old peanut butter and jelly, so I assumed that I wasn’t actually being addressed. I lifted the sandwich and prepared to bite again.

“I’m warning you,” the voice came again.

I jumped and looked at my sandwich. I thought in alarm “Surely not…the voice can’t be coming from the sandwich itself?” Feeling rather silly I made sure no one was looking and whispered to the sandwich, “Hello?”

“What?” There was no doubt. My sandwich was indeed talking to me.

I glanced around guiltily and seeing nobody watching I whispered again to the sandwich.

“What are you warning me against?”

“Eating me, of course. I would think that at least was obvious.”

“Why shouldn’t I eat you?”

“Because I told you not to, moron.”

Excuse me? I just put you together I’ll have you know, and I intend to eat you as soon as we finish this conversation.”

(I must admit, I felt rather stupid, having an argument with a sandwich, crispy bacon notwithstanding.)

The sandwich continued rather smugly, I must say.

“Well you go ahead and do that, smart alec but I wonder, how you will like biting something as it talks to you, or perhaps even…screams for help?”

“Are you threatening me?”


“Well, what if I just throw you away?”

“And waste all this crispy bacon, and colby jack cheese, slathered in mustard and mayo? I don’t think so.”

“Well, what do you expect me to do with you, if not eat you or throw you away?”

“Well, I’ve always wanted to see Hawaii…”

“This is stupid. Always? You didn’t even exist ten minutes ago!”

“Yeah, so? Who says I can’t have my own ambitions just because I’m a young sandwich?”

I groaned, “This is ridiculous.”


“Hawaii?!? Next you’ll probably want me to send you to the president.”

“Why not? I think I would be fun to see him jump when his sandwich talks to him. I mean, you jumped. Why wouldn’t he?”

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

Just then Dad walked over and said “ooh Deanna, thanks for making this sandwich for me.” Before I could warn him, he picked it up and took a bite. He chewed, and then handed the sandwich back to me. “Thanks Nonna, I was just kidding. By the way you put a LOT of mustard on there.” I smiled at the irony,

“Yes, it was a bit…saucy, wasn’t it?”

This post is part of this week’s Homeschool Kids Write project. Go see more!

Pics from our trip.

We just went on a weekend visit up to Oklahoma to see my mom’s family, and while we were there we went to the park.


Even though she is scared of heights, I was able to get my best friend/aunt Briana  a whole 6 feet off the ground on the jungle gym. (and just so you know I am posing in this picture.  I do NOT take myself that seriously in real life.)


We all enjoyed sitting around visiting in the crisp February air, and I had to smack a certain red haired someone with a stick for ambushing me with oak apples.


Uncle William and I also enjoyed our wild ride on the teeter-totter.


Kaitlyn and Aunt Alaura spent most of the time on the jungle gym. (show offs)


Perry Boy had a lot of fun climbing high, and also played a little bit of baseball with Dad.


and even though it was really scary, Uncle William survived his daredevil, freefall down the slide.


I love this picture, when Mom had to take the little kids on a potty run. Aunt Briana took Bethie for her, and I snapped a few pics of her rapturous adoration. Everyone loves Bethie.

Playing an old trick on new kids

The cover story: we’re picking up Dad after work and going out to dinner.  The real story?  Only those who have figured it out on their own know.  They are all 9yo and up.  The big girls put us up to it this time.


Why are we taking suitcases?

It’s part of the recent dejunking we’ve all been working on.  We have too many suitcases, so we’ll be dropping these two extra suitcases at the Goodwill while we’re out.

Why are we taking the dogs to Aunt Stephanie’s house?

Because a prospective owner is coming to look at the puppies while we’re gone.

But why did we take all the dogs?  Why not just the puppies?

Because we might be out very late at dinner, and it would be mean to leave poor Precious locked up in  her kennel for so long.  She’ll have much more fun playing with the puppies at Aunt Steph’s house.  And the pups might want their mom there.  We can’t leave Lady all alone!

Why did we take all the rest of the dog food?

Just in case we’re out too late.  Then we might just let the dogs spend the night at Aunt Steph’s house.

Why are we taking clothes for Dad?

He wants to change out of his work clothes before dinner.

Why did we take a whole bag of disposable diapers?

We need to return them to WalMart since we use cloth diapers now.  We’ll add that to our list of errands.


Why are we bringing the playpen from Vision Forum?

It’s an extra that we brought to VF, but nobody uses it here.  We’re going to drop it at the Goodwill when we stop there for the suitcases.

Where are we going for dinner?

We haven’t decided yet.  I know it’s a long way.  We’ll probably try someplace new. What sounds good to you?

Can we order dessert?

No, let’s go somewhere else for dessert.  It’s a long way too, but it will be worth it.

Are we there yet?

Did we stop yet?

to be continued…