Monday, May 28, 2012

How Google saved my iPhone...

As an update to my previous post about how my iPhone back-up was corrupt and I thought I had lost everything on my old phone... After repeated attempts at restoring my data, things looked pretty bleak. Thankfully, I had copied all my photos over two weeks ago, so the only thing "lost" was a few photos of the garden and the puppies.

After deciding to be brave about the disappointment of losing all my contacts and calendar events (what would being upset about it actually accomplish anyhow?!?!), Elliott began setting up my newly replaced iPhone. A funny thing happened as soon as he linked my Google account... My contacts all appeared... And after a little more digging, my calendar was restored.

Elliott thought it was ironic how Google saved the day when my Apple device failed me. I guess it is rather comical. I am just glad to have not lost everything. And I am thankful for a persistent husband who enjoys technological mysteries. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

iPhone woes...

My beloved iPhone has been acting up lately. When my "hunting sound" text alert sounds, it sometimes shorts out mid-trumpeting. Occasionally, my phone chooses not to ring when it is set to ring. Little annoyances which prompted a trip to the Apple store this evening on a date with my husband.

While we waited for our appointment at the "Genius Bar" we visited over our lattes from Starbucks. I looked at cool phone covers (mine had become pretty grungy). We watched the TV above the Genius Bar show us all sorts of cool stuff we never knew we needed to know how to do on our various Apple products.

The folks at the Apple Store were super cool. They totally took my word for it that my phone has been acting crazy and just gave me a new one. I wasn't expecting that! I was completely prepared to have to be phone-less for a week or something nutty like that. The genius guy helping us asked when I had backed up last. I said it was within the last two weeks and I hadn't really done much since then.

So, they swapped out phones, completely wiping all data and everything from my old phone and set my new one to auto-update as soon as I plugged it into my laptop. After the completion of our date and giving kids baths, Elliott plugged everything in and I waited. And waited. And waited while it looked like my new iPhone was being restored from my last back-up.

But then I got an error message. Something was wrong with the backup. Or the version on my new phone was different from my old phone. Or something like that. Whatever it was it meant that my new iPhone is absolutely dumb, absent of all helpful info like phone numbers, emails, photos.


Deep breath.

Cross my fingers and try again.

In the garden...

We have already harvested over ten yellow squash. JalapeƱos and sweet peppers are growing. Tiny strawberries come in onesie, twosies (today there were five). Heirloom tomatoes are growing bigger and bigger. Carrot tops are getting leafy and bright green. Lemons and limes are filling the branches of the trees. Two peaches are plumping up under the cover of their droopy leaves. And we have one pumpkin growing, from seed no less. We have a lot of flowers for cucumber and cantaloupe but so far no fruit.

No matter the harvest, our little green garden is a daily reminder of our Creator God who made all these things on the third day of creation. Awesome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have I mentioned...

... my Mother's Day present yet? Life has been blazing past in a relative blur the last few weeks that I might have neglected to mention it. Well, here it is... I got two puppies. Both a little under 3mo at the time, a little red poodle which I named Cinnamon, and a little black mini-schnauzer I named Mocha. Yes, I named my dogs after my two favorite coffee additives. :)

One is a girl (Mocha) and the other is a boy (Cinnamon), so in case you might be wondering, we are hoping that in the future they will have a litter. Do you know what you get when you mix a schnauzer and a poodle? Well, since you asked, you get a Schnoodle. Cool, huh?

At full grown, neither should exceed 10 lbs, though they currently don't weigh that combined. They will be perfect "RV dogs" and so far, we have seen success in training them not to be "yippie dogs" (Gotta love water guns...). I am learning a lot about dogs, especially since I have never really liked dogs, or paid them much attention to them. But I love these two little snuggly buddies, even when they wake me up at 4am to go potty.

Here is a photo of how they hang out with me when all the kids go to sleep. :) Who wouldn't love these two little friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Encouraging our kids...

We have had some great teaching on parenting the last few Sunday evenings at church. This week, these were the verses that inspired me.

On laundry day...

Mondays and Thursdays at my house are known as "Laundry Day". There are 8 of us living here, we have figured that between shirts, pants, socks and undergarments, we each wear about 5 pieces of clothing a day. And with my husband, who likes his children "squeaky clean", that means daily towels and semi-weekly sheets. I also like having fresh hand towels and rags in the kitchen, so that adds about 10 pieces a day to the laundry pile.

When laundry day comes around, the children line up the variety of laundry baskets we have accumulated over the years, and we make a train of them in the hallway. After breakfast the children gather the laundry from the four corners of the house and begin to sort: Socks, underwear and towels in the first basket, Colors in the next basket, then red, pink, orange, purple all together, lastly dark blue, brown and black.

Once all the pieces have been appropriately sorted and turned right side out, the children take turns "moving the laundry". Some children know how to start the dryer, others the washer. On laundry day, whoever is closest to the laundry room when the alert sounds gets to do the moving from dryer to couch, washer to dryer and new load in, though I try to rotate who gets the task.

This all sounds lovely, right? So organized. Very efficient. Well, it is. Kind of. If I had to guess what two days a week were the biggest test for my patience with the children, I would probably tell you it was Monday and Thursday. If you asked me what my children most whine about, I would probably tell you laundry chores. We remind one another that we can serve the Lord with gladness even when we do our chores. We try to play happy music and smile. Sometimes we do better than other times.

Today we didn't struggle much with attitudes. That was nice. However, the reason for it was not so much spiritual, the washing machine decided to stop working. It would fill with water, then it wouldn't spin and it would give an error code that in the past I have been able to clear by emptying the water from the washer and starting over again. That didn't work. So I tried it again. It has always worked. It didn't work. So, then I tried just doing a spin cycle. Nope. I tried it empty of clothers. Nada. I tried it with a new load of laundry thinking maybe the crazy wet and heavy one was not a good one to try again. All I did was create another extremely wet but unwashed load of laundry. I unplugged it. Tried to spin it again. Nothing.

"This is a test. This is only a test," kept ringing in my ears. I started mentally making my plan. I would just have to make trips to my mom's to wash the clothes. For every one load I can fit into my washer, it takes 2 1/2 loads for hers. We had six loads today to wash. That makes 15 loads at her house. I tried to smile, I started prioritizing loads in my mind. After two hours of working on the problem, and not coming up with a solution, I moved on to other tasks.

Late this evening, for some unknown reason, I decided to just try the washer one more time. It suddenly worked! I was overjoyed! I felt an emergent need to wash the two already wet and starting to smell loads from earlier in the day. So I am up, folding what was cleaned before the washer breakdown, and waiting for the second load of grossly wet clothes to wash so I can move it to the dryer.  

I am thankful for many things today. I am glad that the Lord gave me patience to endure the trial of a seemingly broken washing machine without getting mad or upset. I am rejoicing that He chose to allow it to work this evening to save those two loads of laundry. I am glad for the nap I took (something I rarely do) so that I would be refreshed enough to do midnight laundry.

And now to pray for a joyful heart as we go into Tuesday still having Monday's chores to do...

Monday, May 14, 2012

And this week...

I am thinking on how to make obedience beautiful... so, I started with a pretty page for the verse we recount so often...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thinking on what is true...

Tough days always make me think... today was tough... wrong heart attitudes and sin were revealed in painful ways throughout the day. Yesterday, after hearing the sermon from the evening service, I decided I needed to memorize Ephesians 4:1-3. I even made up a pretty little page to post up in the kitchen as I work on it.

If you would like a copy for yourself, leave a comment with your email and I will send you the file. I pray it will be a blessing to you.

Please forgive my grammar...

The last two posts I wrote were completed on the Blogger app for my iPhone. I find it amusing that I can update my blog, with photos, without a computer. However, the app is not as friendly for proof-reading or correcting as is the computer. As I re-read my camping/art posts, I gasped! Missing words, lost punctuation, incomplete sentences!!! I had to correct them. Please forgive me if you were stuck reading the ones with poorly executed grammar... I think I have fixed them all now!

Yes, I do homeschool.
Please don't be worried for my children.
They have a very thorough grammar curriculum.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kid art...

And the kids paint too.

Noah tried for a good hour to catch a Texas Fence Lizard but had to settled for painting it. Hannah sketched and painted a Northern Mockingbird in flight. Grace painted a landscape. Faith painted a picture of her great-grandma's dog playing outside looking at the sky. Caleb painted a whole paper blue and Micah did awesome to not spill the water on the floor and went out to play with "King the boxer". More painting tomorrow..

A little art...

Before I turned 30, I had not painted anything since preschool. When I was in middle school and only had one Fine Arts elective I could choose, I was encouraged to take Drama. Shocking, I know. High School was the same, though Volleyball took two of my courses and Theater never fit my schedule, so I took Photography.

Somewhere along the way I assumed I must not be able to draw or do anything artistic. I remember regularly saying something like, "I don't even know how to drawn a stick man right..." At some point, I stopped trying. Or if I did make some feeble attempt at doodling, I gave up quickly because it wasn't "perfect".

Then I had kids. And they would ask me to sit and draw with them. And I read a book, Drawing With Children by Mona Brooks. As my kids started getting older and I started to fall in love with the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling, sketching and painting to capture the world around us is becoming more and more "what we do" as a family.

I don't always have time to do sketches myself, but the kids have assignments every day to sketch and quickly color and label a bird they have seen or other wildlife we have encountered on hikes or in our backyard. When we camp, however, we have much more time, so with few dishes and no laundry or vacuuming to distract me, I sketch and paint things we have seen on that trip.

I remember a friend once telling me, as we talked about knitting, how wonderful it is to know that when we are creating something we are displaying an attribute of God. I had never thought of it before, but as Naomi pointed out that in as much as we are made in God's image and He is the Creator, so shall we create! I never looked at kid art the same way, or mine. When I draw or paint now, especially nature, I am reminded of the masterful touch of God's creative hand in nature and how, no matter how hard I try, I can but barely capture the most simple of its display. But one thing I do is, as I try to copy the handiwork of God, I marvel and give glory to the Lord and His mighty hand in the amazing Creation we are blessed to live in.

Last weekend we went to Elliott's parent's cabin outside of Fredricksburg, 300 acres of God's wonderful Texas Hill Country beauty. On the ride to the cabin I saw a Loggerhead Shrike fly up from hunting lizards to land on a fence. Then, down at the creek at dusk, we heard a chorus of tiny frogs and video taped one croaking like crazy, no bigger than a dime. This weekend we are camping at Bastrop State Park and I spent about thirty minutes after breakfast following this little flock of about six Carolina Chickadees flitting between some trees by our RV. Finally two rested in a little opening in the tree so I could notice the field markings and identify them accurately. Anyhow, that is what I have been painting. I am part-way done with a picture of a Tufted Titmouse I saw on a feeder at the park host's site.