Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Back to School" Blessing and Ice Cream Social

not Jumba but a friends baby

We did get to sneak in a special activity with our homeschool group this week. Some members from our Bread of Life group gathered for the evening Mass in the chapel at our church. Not much room at all, especially with all of our big families. Baby talk was heard the entire Mass. What joy it was to be a part of that! We so enjoyed being with friends. The Mass included a special Blessing from Father for the homeschooled children, their studies, their teachers (mom and dad), and even for their grandparents. After all that we had an ice cream social.

What a fun time to celebrate our homeschool year! We only wish more of our friends could have been present.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We home school. DEAL WITH IT!!

It is our decision not yours.

So our oldest is a Senior this school year 2008-2009. She has never been in traditional school and has been home schooled from the start. We know it is the right choice and have been happy with it from the beginning. We have had great years, we have had average years and we have had bad years. (Just like ‘real’ school!) We have been organized some years and other years we have been unorganized. We need to be super organized this year with one preparing transcripts for college.

We are beginning on September 2ND and can’t wait to get started. We have set up the year with exciting subjects and extra stuff in place that will include a PE classes with other home schooled students. We are ready to go except for some detailed planing mom still needs to map out on the computer. We have a senior that is filling out college applications and we are enjoying this process. We don’t want her to leave. Yet, we are extremely confidant that we have done a good job. Pooker will do well in college and more importantly in life.

Our plan for our oldest was that she would spend her senior year of high school taking classes at the community college. She was so busy this summer that we never got over to the college to take the placement test. UGH! We were upset with her but it will not keep her from college. It doesn’t mean she has failed in any way. We did sit her down on Friday and discuss how we would handle this last year of high school. At first her father and I expressed our frustration with her for not having gotten her act together and being in classes. After much discussion we came up with a good plan and are ready to put it in place next week when we start schooling.

There are a few people in our lives that are very unhappy with our decision to home school our children. For some reason they feel that it is the worst possible thing we could do. We have had two in depth conversations with these individuals about our decision over the past 13 years. (That is right; just 2 conversations in 13 years.) Both of those conversations ended badly. It was apparent the reason for the conversations was not to understand our decisions, or our approach; but to try to convince us to stop and put the kiddos in traditional schools. J and I know our stuff, so we didn’t back down. When we had solid answers to the “questions and concerns” emotions started to fly. We were accused of all kinds of neglect and stupidity. We let it go. It was our decision and no one else’s and that is that! We try to remember that these individuals were concerned because they love our kids and that is a very good thing.

We have been doing this for a long time. We have researched many aspects of it. I only needed to student teach to earn my degree in elementary and early education 18 years ago. I decided then that I would rather teach my own child than to finish my degree, put my child in day care and then teach other people’s children. I love my children and I love to teach – a perfect match. Unfortunately teaching my own children for 13 years doesn’t count as student teaching. So “no degree” but I still know what I am doing.

I admit that there is an issue. I have several that are dyslexic. The severity is different for each of those children. Traditional school would have been extremely difficult for them. So our reading levels are not where I want them to be. I have openly admitted this to any and everyone. It isn’t a secret. I love my children no matter how hard it might be for them to learn. We have found many ways to work around this. I have become an expert on it. I have learned, tried and taught every known aid in reading. I have also spent some extensive time searching out the best approach for my kiddos.

I have looked into the public school and different private schools and what they would do. If I had found something better than me for my children we would have pursued it. If anything, I have found that the “professionals” in the trenches of the schools are telling me that addressing this in our home school environment is the best approach. I have picked up many tools and utilize them. So to sum it up the kiddos are progressing. Some are not as strong at basic reading as they are in history or science. Our home schooling has allowed us to address the interest of each child. It has allowed us to look around the reading issues and still learn. Wow, my kiddos are so smart. They are so good. I would not trade them for all the money in the world.

Why am I spending so much blog space on this? As much as I respect and love these individuals I need to point out that they really do not know my children. They live very far from us and see the kiddos one or two times a year for a few hours over the course of a few days. So their direct contact with the children is probably no more than 48 hours a year if we were to cut and splice the time together. During these times we are celebrating sacraments, holidays or sight seeing. Nothing is ever said about their schooling. Except that we have noticed that these people will hand the kiddos something and then say “read this”. (OK a pop quiz with someone that is looking for you to fail and everyone is watching!) Yep that is the only basis of their “concern” with our home schooling. Insane, I know but they really just don’t know any better.

All that background to fast forward to Sunday morning. One of these individuals called our oldest and asked how her college classes were going. Pooker thought instantly that her father and I set her up. For some reason she lost all trust in us and thought we would call an outsider to our home to "get on" her for not being registered for classes. Pooker started crying. She was upset at herself, she was still raw from our conversation on Friday, she was upset knowing her best friend was starting class on Monday without her, but most of all she felt betrayed by her parents. She reacted the same way any one would, by crying. The individual on the phone proceeded to point out to her that she would not succeed in life if she didn’t get her act together. She was chastised for putting these things off. My daughter did not tell us exactly what was said. She also has too much respect for this individual to bad mouth her.

As much as I knew that this person was trying to share words of wisdom with my child I was a tad hacked off that Pooker was so upset. She kept telling me that she had just over reacted. Once she found out that we had not set her up she was fine. It still didn’t make since to me. Why would this person be so upset about those classes? Pooker is just a Senior, those were to be a bonus. How did she even know our plans for dual enroll classes at the community college?

As it turns out the individuals did not know our plans. This miss guided and uninformed individual thought that our daughter was to be starting college this year. Instead of finding that out she proceeded to make phone calls to various members of our family. This individual was eventually told that the child was only a senior. Instead of calling Pooker, her father or mother she called others to try to get them to get us to put our children in school. Instead of admitting that she was wrong and the child was only a senior in high school she began to focus on the “reading issues” and the parental neglect we have supposedly had toward our children and their education. What a joke!

At first I was very angry, but this morning I wake up very sad. These individuals really think they are close to the children. They really think that their actions are justified because they love the children so much. They really think they know the children better than the father and the mother. It is sad that they don’t really know the children at all. They talk and talk but know very few of the facts. They have chosen to look for the negatives and have failed to see the children for who they are. They see slow readers and I see artists, creative thinkers, lovers of history, inquisitive minds, and a joy of life all mixed with a devout love of the FATHER.

If it wasn’t so sad, I would be laughing. The individuals, who don’t even know what grades the children are in, feel that they know how to better educate our children than we do. We see the positives. We know what we need to work on. We know the Texas law on home schooling. We know what we are doing. So put your fears to rest, it is under control. We are willing to discuss it if only the individuals would be willing to listen.

To all my fellow home schooling friends that have to deal with well meaning and unknowing friends and family, I pray for you. Please pray for us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Princess and her Birthday

Princess turned six on Tuesday. As with all royalty she began her day wondering what surprises and special treats her family had in store for her. She woke to streamers and balloons all over the down stairs. Those quickly became part of the mess so we cleaned up.

As she walked down the stairs and into her father's morning greeting, she asked, "You don't have to do chores on your birthday, right?" Dad asked what she meant and she replied with very specific duties and the person she decided could do them for her. She is royalty after all. The siblings giggled when they heard her plan. They felt it would not be different for her at all, considering she always backs out of chores.

She got to pick the meal. Hawaiian rolls, Caesar salad, green beans, and chicken strips were all on her menu. Yummy. Pooker got off work early just to join us for dinner. It was a real treat. Princess wore a crown and disappeared as we cleaned up the table. She magically reappeared when it was time to sing.

Happy 6Th birthday my big girl. You are beautiful inside and out! Mom and dad love you bunches and bunches and so do all your servants . .er . I mean siblings.
Check out all the bling on the birthday outfit sent by Nanney and Gramps! She loves it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More prayers for Baby Khloe'

Months ago I asked you all to pray for a friend of ours, Sweet Baby Khloe'

Please Pray for Baby Khloe' 2-11-08
Khloe's mom's 1:30p.m. update 2-11-08
Baby Khloe' is out of Surgery, Praise God! 2-11-08

Thanksgiving and Another Request for Baby Khloe' 3-15-08
Khloe' Update 2-22-08
Khloe' had her six month birthday recently. She is so adorable. Her mom says that she doesn't sleep much which has them very nervous. I got to hold Khloe' the other night during our Bread Of Life planning 2008-2009 school year planning meeting. She giggled and talked and was just adorable. We saw her at Mass the next morning and my heart surgery girl Moogie walked right up to the baby and started sharing stories.

Kiley, the mom, emailed the group on Monday morning asking for prayers for Khloe'. 8-18-08
I know Khloe' is perpetually on the prayer list, but I ask for special prayers for her today. She started a fever yesterday, so I brought her to the MD today. Usually I would never go for just a fever, but with her we are super proactive. They had to cath her to get urine and pick her finger to get blood (seemingly simple things compared to 9 hour open heart surgery), but it was soooo hard to watch. Especially with the boys watching too. It looks like it is just viral, no UTI, no elevated WBCs, so we will just watch her and make sure no other symptoms develop. It is so hard to know what to do and so hard not to worry it is something serious or with her heart. Please pray for my own faith and trust in God that he will help me to care for her. Thank you all so much!

Much love,


This another friend posted this message. 8-21-08
Please Pray right now for little Khloe.

She has been running a fever all week, crying constantly and arching
her back... inconsolable.

Kiley took her in again this morning and her Pedi. couldn't diagnose
her and was concerned when her blood count numbers were at alarming
rates. They picking up Ghaleb and are all going down to Texas
Children's for further testing.

Let's pray that whatever is wrong is quickly pinpointed and not

This is a fragile young woman. As strong and as cute as she might be her heart isn't as strong as other six month old babies and her body has trouble keeping her healthy. That makes a small infection or illness life threatening. I do not know how Khloe' is now (several hours from the original email). Please pray in earnest asking God to heal this little one and to help her family stay strong.

******Good news . . .Khloe' is on her way home. Khloe is on her way home now- with Roseola.
Praise God! ******

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Some of you might have gotten a referral email from our family for Vonage. I thought it would let me add a personal note, but it did not. I just wanted to tell you that we switched about three months back and love it.

We were spending about $65 each month for our phone line. We thought about getting rid of the home line to save money. I don't think that would work for us. We need a home line. When Jason and I are both out and away from the home the kiddos need to be able to make calls. We figured that even if the line is necessary, we hardly ever used it. We needed to lower that bill as much as possible. We were happy to discover and make the switch to Vonage. The switch was a little tricky but once it was completed we became very happy. You even get to keep your current phone number so little changes except the bill.

Our one fear was 9-1-1. Jason had heard that it could be an issue. The phone goes through the Internet and not the phone lines. This does not allow 9-1-1 to trace your location. Well vonage does have a service for that. It is part of your phone number and you just have to register. There is a special link once your number is switched over. If you follow the link you can get it all set. We had no problems setting it up and then using it when Jumba was choking.

We are not trying to push it for any reason other than it saves us $$ SOOOOO MUCH MONEY $$ that we wanted to share. If you switch, good luck. If you want a referral for the summer plan let us know. We can both get 2 months free if you sign up in the next 2 weeks.

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So without pushing if you sign up go through someone you know that way both parties benefit. No matter what sign up. You will save tons of money and be happy that you did. Let me know if you want a personal referral letter from us. You can also just go to and use our home phone number as the referral number. Thanks for considering it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jumba's Birthday

Currently we have no babies in our home. Jumba is now officially 1 year old. He is all boy and is often giving us trouble. For those that don't know the story he was a huge surprise. Dad and I were not planning on having any more but we could not be happier. Now we look back at the last year and can not imagine how boring it would have been without him.

He has been walking for months now but is just becoming steady. Now we are worried he will learn to run! This boy is keeping us young or making us age quickly we have not decided yet.

We are often asked, "How do you do it?, How can you afford them?" Well money if often tighter than it would be if we had only 2 kiddos BUT which two children should we keep? That is an impossible question, no one could ever answer. We are truly blessed with 9 gorgeous children and one in heaven. What a blessing.

We couldn't find Jumba and we looked and looked. He was hiding the pantry eating cereal. Smart little bugger.

We just never know where we will find him.

Our cute monkey.

So our baby turned one on Monday and became our toddler. He is walking, talking, climbing and eating everything in site (hence the previous post). Dad has been calling him Jumba for months now. The blog was started when he was a few weeks old and we hadn't come up with a his "other" name yet. We went with Cowboy. I think dad came up with the new name when Jumba was sitting in his seat. The little guy was too big from his Bumbo. This is just a guess, but it is the nick name that has stuck. We had to change his name here because it just didn't make since anymore to call him Cowboy when we call him Jumba. Sorry for the any confusion.

Jumba enjoying his green monster birthday cake.

I don't see Jumba anymore just a see of green.

He really enjoyed the gift and card from his God Father Chuck, thank you!

Looking back at these pictures it looks like he never wears clothes. He has them for sure, tons of them. He is just all boy and every shirt is dirty within an hour tops. He really is a sweet kiddo and I hope that shows in these pictures. Happy Birthday our little Jumba, our sweet little monster. We love you.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jumba (aka Cowboy) and 9-1-1

Around 2:30 this afternoon we had the scare of a life time. Well maybe not for a life time but for today at least. I know every child will stop my heart at different times but this one was really a surprise. We were sitting in our clean home after having done our morning chores and were watching a movie. Jumba, formerly known as Cowboy, was crawling around and climbing up on everything. This is not a big deal as he walks, climbs, babbles and pretty much gets into everything. I worry about his safely when things are allover but today the house was picked up.

He crawled out of my sight but was still in the open. he was just behind the couch in the very active hallway. One of the kiddos walked by him and said something is wrong with the baby. I jumped up to pick him up. He looked panicked and had bubbles coming out of his mouth. I picked him up and put him over my arm in a football hold and ran to J who was in the bedroom. He seamed like he was choking. We could tell he was still getting air in and out but he wasn't breathing normally. He was trying to spit.

Our oldest the Lifeguard came to the our aid as we all tried the techniques that we have been taught or have tried over the years to help him. The airway became blocked and the poor baby was frozen with fear and shock. Pooker yelled for 9-1-1. I love our family because no matter what we work well together. I grabbed the phone leaving Jumba in the very capable arms of his daddy and his sister. They were both calm and cool as they helped. I stepped out the front door and dialed. My first attempt was 3-1-1. I hung up before it connected. It hit me then how it is really easy to panic to the point of danger. I needed to calm down and get help here soon.

Sugar followed me and asked what was happening. I answered her as calmly as I could as I dialed 9-1-1, "Jumba is choking and we can't seam to help him, get the little ones out of the way, try upstairs I am calling for help." She walked in and did exactly what I said. I was very proud of her as she calmly told the little ones to head upstairs and pray for the baby, mom was calling for an ambulance. Bear heard that and began to secure the pets. Dogs outside, cats in the bedroom with doors closed. It was like we had prepared for this our whole lives.

It takes forever to get someone then they just told me to hold. I was so worried that he would be gone before we could even get help. Bear came to the front porch as I began to finally speak with the paramedic. They ask several questions before they can help. Address, name, patients name and age, then specific questions . . .my mind was racing and I could tell as I glanced back in that the situation was not changed. Dad and Pooker were still holding the baby, he was still awake and everyone looked terrified. Bear stood in the doorway he knew that if the kiddos got loud I need to shut the door but that I also needed to know what to tell the man on the other end of the phone line.

This 3 minute phone call felt like it was lasting years. And then Pooker confidently yelled to me that he was OK. I walked in to see Jumba laughing and dad hugging him. We think he swallowed a penny. I think that it was turning. Air in and then not. He must have gotten it past the spot and all the way down. It was amazing to me how he went from ill, pail, bubbles int he mouth to complete joy, great color and giggles. We ended our 9-1-1 call and went back to our day. Well I did after getting sick. That had scared the day lights out of me. Once again we will be checking what comes out and thanking God for our healthy happy child. I am also very thankful for each of my kiddos. They all did what was needed as it was needed. Very cool babies.

Thank you God for our little Jumba. He is a wonderful young man that will be a baby just until Monday when he turns one. Thank you for a wonderful family that takes charge and handles even emergency situations with grace and style. Thank you for such a wonderful outcome!