Monday, February 28, 2011

February Newsletter

From Laura, 12 … Lately I have been working on quite a few stitching projects. The skirt and vest set that Mama and I were working on for me is finished. Besides that I am working on knitting a blanket, crocheting a purse and a set of teacups, and sometime soon I am hoping to start sewing a doll like the one Becca did. I’ve already thought up some ideas for clothes that I can make for it. One idea is a skirt or dress that would use the same material as for my skirt and vest. Then we would match.

From Becca, 14 … A few weeks ago it was very cold here and we got to see a lot of fascinating ice. There were sheets of ice on some leaves, so we peeled the leaves out from under them to get beautiful ice leaves. We put them in the freezer so that we can get them out on a very special occasion to use for a decoration. The big ditch down the street had ice on it. We brought a big piece home for the others to see. There were small icicles on the roof too.

From Seth, 17 … This month I’ve been rather busy. We’ve been working hard to increase my driving skills; we have a DPS driving test scheduled for next month. We’ve also worked this month on making preparations and jumping through the necessary hoops to attend college. Lord willing, I will begin studying for a surveying technology degree this August. Since the university is local, I will be able to continue living with my family. Also, this weekend, I have been given the opportunity to do some street evangelism with some other men from church at the Mardi Gras orgies in Galveston. The experience has been both a blessing and a revulsion. I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by so much blatant carnality, but God did allow us to have some very good conversations with people on the street.

From Anna, 20 … This week I had the new experience of judging at a homeschool speech and debate tournament. I judged two segments—one was a one-on-one debate regarding popular sovereignty, individual rights, and what makes a legitimate government, and the other was a set of seven dramatic presentations performed by pairs of students. I was impressed with the overall excellence displayed by the students. The debate was really hard to judge because the judge is supposed to decide the winner of the debate based on who had the best argument, not who had the best position. I loved watching the dramatic presentations. There was a lot of variety, and they were all done well. It was hard to choose the best ones! I think maybe I think too hard for something like this. It would be easier if I could just critique each one individually and not have to rank them against each other.

From John, 26 … I have never really experienced any slowness in my work around the holidays in past years, but this year I found myself with not quite enough to do. It was a convenient time to be slow because I had a trip to Orlando and I replaced some siding on my parents’ house. Fortunately, work has now picked up dramatically and I am scheduling several weeks in advance. My occupation certainly keeps life interesting.

About Ray, Katie, and Peter … (by Becca) The Wades were in Washington for eleven days visiting family. The trip went well, but we missed them. Ray is busy, Katie is pregnant, and Peter is charming. Peter can’t talk, but he points at things and grunts. Usually that means he wants it. Today he saw a bird in the sky and was pointing at that.

From Judith … Even though it isn’t finished yet, I simply must write about my beautiful and delightful new kitchen island. Gerald is doing a wonderful job and it’s coming out just as we designed it to. It has quickly become a place where family members and friends frequently gather while either helping with food preparation or visiting with others. Along the two outer sides there are six stools and an overhang supported by three legs giving the island a table look. On the two kitchen sides there are built-in spaces for the trash can and for a column of small shelves. Also there are the beginnings of six drawers. All of the island base will be a dark red. Topping off this cabinetry is a 3 ½- by 7-foot, light-brown speckled, engineered-stone countertop. (It has no cut-outs since our stove and sinks are against the walls.) In 33 years of marriage (today!), this is the nicest counter we’ve ever worked at because of both the ample size (four can work at once!) and the stone surface. I’m one happy customer!!

From Gerald … John, with some help from Seth, has recently finished replacing the siding on the front of our house. The old siding was fiberboard that was badly rotted. It has now been replaced with Hardi-Plank siding. We still need to do a little bit of finish work at the soffits, and do the painting, but the appearance is much improved already. As part of this project, we also added rigid foam insulation behind the siding and replaced the upstairs windows on that wall. These changes should increase our comfort and reduce our utility bills in hot and cold weather. We have received approval from our subdivision to replace all of our brick with Hardi-Plank, so we will begin to move along on that project. The next step is to finalize the design for what we want to do with the mostly blank, two-story brick wall that faces the side street. We hope to be able to add more interest to the appearance of the house, making it look a bit less like a penal institution. At the same time we will remedy the problems we have with water leakage and the deteriorating brick and mortar, and will also replace the rest of the windows. Bit-by-bit, as we have time, we are making progress with this house.

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kitchen Island Developments

We've made some good progress on our kitchen island, which we're very excited about!

The first piece of beadboard!

Putting on the face frame.

Making legs.

Installing the legs.

Before countertop...

... and after countertop!

Counter closeup.

Mama said that in her 33 years of marriage, this is the nicest countertop that she's ever had!  We're loving it!

Monday, February 21, 2011


We had some very cold weather a few weeks ago and got to see a lot of fascinating natural ice.

We peeled the leaves off of these pieces of ice and put them in the freezer to use for a decoration on a very special occasion.

 Papa got to stay home from work because of the weather!  The trouble is, he can work from home.
Eating icycles.  They didn't taste very good, which isn't surprising seeing as how they came from water that dripped off of the roof.

The big ditch down the street was partially frozen over so we brought this piece home.  I was glad for waterproof gloves.
 This dog lives by the big ditch and he always follows us home.  We named him Zeke. 
Mama let us have hot chocolate when we got inside!  Wow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Expressions of Peter

Peter cooking peacefully.

"What's going on over there?"

"What is she doing?"

"Okay, I think that was a little scary."

"But I guess it'll be okay."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Siding!

John recently headed up the project of replacing the siding on the front wall of our house.

Taking off the old siding and removing the old windows.

Putting up rigid foam insulation.

There wasn't time that day to get the new windows in, so John had to nail insulation over the window openings as a temporary solution...

...leaving our room looking like this.


New windows!



Almost done!

Ta da!

There is still some final trim work to do, and then everything needs to be painted, but we're happy with the progress so far!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eliza Lucas Pinckney's Resolutions

 These are a set of Resolutions written by Eliza Lucas Pinckney, as taken from her letters and quoted in this audio book.  She was an extraordinary lady and I really enjoyed the audio book. 

"I am resolved, by the grace of God assisting me, to keep these resolutions which I have frequently made and do now again renew.

"I am resolved to believe in God, that he is and is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him, to believe firmly and constantly in all his attributes. I am resolved to fear him and love him with all the powers and faculties of my soul, and to keep a steady eye to his commands, and to govern myself in every circumstance of life by the rules of the gospel of Christ, whose disciple I profess myself and as such will live and die.

"I am resolved by the divine will not to be anxious or doubtful, nor to be fearful of any accident or misfortune that may happen to me or mine, not to regard the frowns of the world, but to keep a steady upright conduct before my God and before man, doing my duty, and contented to leave the event to God’s providence.

"I am resolved by the same grace, to govern my passions, to endeavor constantly to subdue every vice and improve in every virtue and in order to this I will not give way to any of the least notions of pride, haughtiness, ambition, ostentation, or contempt of others. I will not give way to envy, ill-will, evil speaking, in-gratitude, or uncharitableness in word, in thought, or in deed, or to passion or peevishness, nor to sloth, or idleness, but will endeavor after all the contrary virtues, humility and charity, and to always be usefully or innocently employed.

"I am resolved not to be luxurious or extravagant in the management of my table and family on the one hand, nor niggardly and covetous or too anxiously concerned about it on the other, but to endeavor after a due medium and manage with hospitality and generosity as much as is in our power; to have always plenty with frugality and good economy, to be decent but frugal in my own expenses, to be charitably disposed to all mankind.

"I am resolved, by the divine assistance, to fill the several stations wherein providence has placed me, to the best advantage, to make a good wife to my dear husband in all its several branches and to make all my actions correspond with that sincere love and duty I bear him, to pray for him, to contribute in all my power to the good of his soul, and to the peace and satisfaction of his mind, to be careful of his health and of his interests, of his children and his reputation, to do him all the good in my power, and next to pleasing God, to make it my study to please him.

"I am resolved to be a good mother to my children, to pray for them, to set them good examples, to give them good advice, to be careful both of their souls and bodies, to watch over their tender minds, to carefully root out the first appearing and buddings of vice, and to instill piety, virtue, and true religion into them, to spare no pains or trouble to do them good, to correct their errors, whatever uneasiness it may give myself, and never omit to encourage every virtue I may see dawning in them.

"I am resolved to make a good sister, both to my own and my husband’s brothers and sisters, to treat them with affection, kindness, and good manners, and to do them all the good I can.

"I am resolved to make a good mistress to my servants, to treat them with humanity and good nature, to give them sufficient and comfortable clothing and provisions, and all things necessary for them, to be careful and tender of them in their sickness, to reprove them for their faults, to encourage them when they do well, and pass over small faults, not to be tyrannical, peevish, or impatient towards them, but to make their lives as comfortable as I can.

"I am resolved to be a sincere and faithful friend wherever I profess it, and as much as in me lies as an agreeable and innocent companion and a universal lover of all mankind.

"All these resolutions by God’s assistance I will keep to my life’s end, so help me, oh my God, Amen

"Memorandum: Read over this daily to assist my memory as to every particular contained in this paper, before I leave my chamber, recollect in general the business to be done that day."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Laura!

We celebrated my 12th birthday on January 31.  My real birthday was on February 2.

Frosting the cake (Roman numerals).

Ice cream cake!

Assembling the stuffed shells.
(The shells were gigantic, so it wasn't very hard to get the filling in them!)

The finished product!

 Lighting my birthday candles for the first time!

This is the number game.  See how my arm is moving so fast to snatch the pencil that it's blurry!