Thursday, 20 December 2007

John 3:16

John 3:16

God . . . the greatest Lover
So loved . . . the greatest degree
The World . . . the greatest number
That He gave . . . the greatest act
His only Son . . . the greatest gift
So that everyone . . . the greatest invitation
Who believes . . . the greatest simplicity
In Him . . . the greatest person
Will not perish . . . the greatest escape
But . . . the greatest difference
Have . . . the greatest certainty
Eternal life . . . the greatest destiny

- J. Edwin Hortell

Thanks to the Prebishes for including this in their Christmas letter.

Trusting in The Gift,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Christmas shopping

Don't hate me, but my Christmas shopping is nearly done. I'm still waiting for one item to show up and we haven't finished getting gifts for the kids' extracurricular activity teachers. I thought we were finished, but I forgot a few. Other than that, Tartan has a few things he's in charge of procuring and maybe I'll get a few small things to round out the stockings. I'm feeling rather relieved, especially since I started a little later than I usually do.

We have lights up around the eaves outside the house (for the first time in I'm not sure how many years)! I also got a pair of pre-lighted mini trees to stand to either side of the front door. I think they look cute.

We don't have any Christmas pictures or even the beginning of a Christmas letter, though- but that's nothing new.

Time to get started with school, of which this is our last week until after the new year. Hopefully with so many things done, we'll take the opportunity to savor the season and give thought to the Saviour.

Merry Christmas, y'all!
>Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

"I'm Buggy Boo"

That's Kayleigh's standard answer if you ask her who she is. It's her usual answer to any question about her, actually. "How are you?" "How old are you?" Answer: "I'm Buggy Boo." Yesterday I do think I heard her say "Fine" when someone asked how she was.

If I say, "Are you Kayleigh?"
She nods.
If I say, "Are you Kayleigh Bug?"
She nods.
If I say, "Are you Bug?"
She nods.
If I say, "Are you Kayleigh Grace?"
She says, "No, I'm Buggy Boo."

Tartan enjoys calling her Kayleigh Grace because she giggles at him for being so silly and she tells him who she really is.

Remembering (at least briefly) to rejoice in all things,
Naomi for the Colliers

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The 1st Sunday of Advent

Today is when the Advent season officially begins. The children can start putting the felt nativity characters on the advent calendar. Actually they should have started yesterday, but I'm not sure they remembered. Last night my sister, Bianca, and her husband came over and watched the children for us so Tartan and I could go to his organization's Christmas party. ExxonMobil is obviously a huge company, so separate entities within it organize their own festivities. On Tuesday, his group is having a family lunch.

Our dishwasher died again: the evening before Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it was only our own immediate family having Thanksgiving dinner- but we still generated a fair amount of dirty dishes. It seems a fuse went out and it should be running again on Tuesday. The kids have been getting a lot of practice in washing dishes by hand. :)

We wish you all a peaceful, joyful, and blessed Christmas season!

Remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season,
Naomi for the Colliers

Friday, 16 November 2007


As of Wednesday, the dishwasher is running again! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Catching Up

A lot has been going on....

Oct 31: Abigail turned 6! I took the kids and the triplets from next door around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. The first time our kids have gone trick-or-treating in four years. It's only about a mile around the block, but add all those walks up long driveways and back while pushing Bug in her stroller and I felt like it was quite a workout! Alex was volunteering with the boy scouts at a fall carnival at the church where the troop meets.

Nov 1: Abigail's tooth came out- her first! Unfortunately, the tooth fairy seems to have either forgotten about it or still thinks we're in Scotland. I'm sure she'll get around to it- soon.

Nov 2: The kids and I all went to the doctor to get our flu shots. Poor Abigail got all worked up and was crying before her shot. She stopped just after getting it. I'm supposed to take her and Aidan back for a booster next month; hopefully it won't be so traumatic. Aidan was funny; after he got his he gave a small, nervous giggle. I guess it was from relief it was over with.

Nov 3: Abigail had her Spongebob Squarepants themed birthday party. Several girls from her ballet class came over to help her celebrate. The next day we saw many of them again at another birthday party!

Nov 9-11: The Cub Scout fall family campout at Lake Limestone. We cheated and took our camper and it was great! The weather was lovely- we could see the rainstorms on the other side of the lake. It looked very pretty from our vantage point. We took our canoe and Tartan took Aidan out on it, but the wind made it hard going so that was the only trip out. Kyrie caught a perch (which we released). It made up for the one that got away at a family campout a couple of years ago.

Nov 13: Alex found out that he won 3rd place for his short story in the South Montgomery Library Teen Writing Contest. We're very proud of him. He might have done even better if we'd discovered sooner about the contest. He had about a week and a half to come up with an idea, write and edit it. The contest had apparently been announced at the beginning of October. We're also very proud of Kyrie whose steamboat watercolor won at the library level of the Little Toot watercolor contest.

Trusting in the Lord and thankful for all our blessings,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Griffin Lodge

The South Branch Regional Library recently decided to have a Teen Writing competition, so naturally I decided I'd enter to see if I could string together a reasonable story. I learned that deadlines are a writer's best friend - if you have five days to write a story you don't waste them. I wrote a story titled Griffin Lodge, and I think it was a pretty good story - very P.G. Wodehouse meets ambiguous fantasy. And thus it came to pass, Griffin Lodge won third place. And there was much rejoicing. Happy happy happy. Now to spend my Barnes and Noble gift certificate - and probably most of my allowance to boot!

- Alex the deliriously happy.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


Well, I've already written about the snake, but I thought it was time to include pictures of the animals we choose to have around. First there's Lucky the toad. He's fairly low maintenance and very interesting to watch when he detects an insect nearby. It's also entertaining to watch him when he's caught something larger than his mouth. He's been fed cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, a moth, and maybe a katydid.

Fluffy is our outdoor cat. She's inside in the picture because we have an unwanted animal in the house- a mouse. Unfortunately, she has not discovered its whereabouts and is only interested in exploring the house or lying on our bed. She's a kitten so she has a lot of energy and will leap backwards in the air to try and grab her fur toy. She eats cat food. :)

The other animal we had in the house the other night was a tree frog. It hitched a ride in on the ladder and I startled Tartan when I shouted at him to stop; I noticed it just before he reached the rung the frog was sitting on. I had no choice but to scoop it up in my hands and then have Tartan open the door for me to let it loose. Ick; I thoroughly washed my hands and then used hand sanitiser as well.

On a completely different note: Abigail has her first loose tooth! She's a little bit anxious about it, but we all try to reassure her that it 'll be ok. It's really very loose, so it might be out in time for her Halloween birthday. She didn't like the jokes about resembling a jack-o-lantern though.

No dishwasher.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Death of a Snake

Several weeks ago we discovered that a snake found the underside of our paddleboat a nice place to hang out, but Tartan had not been able to get enough of a visual of it before it would slither into the water. A couple of nights ago when the temperature was rather cool, he went out to empty water from the boat and discovered it curled up under there and it appeared to be a young cottonmouth. Poisonous- not something we want anywhere near the children, or the cat. Wednesday night I bungled the search and destroy mission we went on, so Thursday before it got dark (and just before we were going to have a bunch of cub scouts over for a meeting), Tartan went out on his own.

I glanced out the window a few times as I was serving dinner and I suddenly noted a lot of movement and splashing going on so I hurried out to see if he needed assistance. I was told to bring the camera. I took several pictures, a few of which turned out. I thought about posting a pic, but thought some people might feel squeamish. :) The snake was then killed and disposed of. I hope it was a poisonous snake, but when in doubt, we just had to play it safe.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The weather is getting nicer

I like October in Texas. The weather eventually starts to cool off and it's a comfortable temperature outside. The cold front that came through yesterday was a very wet one though. About the time to leave for ballet lessons, it was raining pretty hard- but I expected it to pass through fairly quickly. Instead it came down even harder; the umbrella hardly seemed to be doing much when we got out of the truck. It would start to taper off and then the next storm cell would pass over. The raingutters that Tartan installed over the back deck and next to our bedroom certainly got a flood! They need a little more work, but they kept most of the rain going down the spout rather than splashing onto the deck or outside the windows. Today was a beautiful day; the rain all gone, but the temperatures still cooler.

Saturday was the Cub Scout Raingutter Regatta, though fortunately without any rain. Aidan, Kyrie and Abigail decorated pinewood boats and Tartan attached the sails they had to blow on to race them in the raingutters. None of them placed, but they all were really close in their races and they were good sports. After hot dogs, crisps, and pink lemonade we went home and had a visit from one of my sisters and her husband. All in all it was a splendid day.

In case you're wondering (and you might)- no, we still do not have a working dishwasher. I still have no idea when it'll be fixed. Well- rejoice in the Lord always!- even without dishwasher. :)

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

I wish my dishwasher was working

Our dishwasher gave up the ghost on 21 September. Of course, the part that needs to be replaced takes about 2 weeks to come in- so I should hearing something by the end of this week, but more likely early next week. I've had the kids do some of the wash up, but mostly it's me and mostly it piles up through the day until I can get to it in the evening. I guess there are worse things, but it's certainly not helping any.

I do praise God that though it looked like I might be coming down with the stomach bug Tartan had last week- it was just an annoyance yesterday (our really busy out-and-about day) and we were able to get everything done. Except dinner- I was too wiped out by then, so Tartan brought home fast food. Today I appear to be fine.

Time for lunch!

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Pardon my contest entry...

I entered to win the writing instruction program MY Access! Home and the SAT Prep Pack on the HSB Company Porch!

It's October!

How did that happen? At the end of the month, Abigail will be six! She is planning on having a Spongebob themed party. I'm going to have to start thinking about when that's going to happen.

It has somehow come to pass that nearly all our extracurricular activities are on Monday and Tuesdays. On Monday, Kyrie has band and will be having ballet as well, Abigail has ballet, and Alex has boy scouts in the evening. It's not very difficult; there's a place for the rest of us to work on school work during band and Kyrie and Abigail will be doing ballet at roughly the same time. Tartan takes Alex to scouts and even if occasionally I'll have to do that, it's very close to the house.

Tuesday is the interesting day. After lunch, we pack up and head to the YMCA for PE class. The first half hour is fellowship time and they can run\walk laps to earn little, plastic foot-shaped charms and get ready for the presidential fitness exam in the spring. After the hour of PE (not including the fellowship time), we head toward home, dropping Kyrie off on the way for her 2nd hour of ballet. At home, the boys have enough time to freshen up and change clothes before I drop them off for piano lessons a little early so I have time to get back and pick up Kyrie. Yesterday I dropped the boys off a little earlier than I expected and I got back to the ballet school earlier, but that was good because Abigail and Kayleigh got 15 minutes to stretch their legs in the waiting area after being in the car since 2:40. The final bit of the day was to pick up the boys at 5.

We were well organized yesterday so it went pretty smoothly. Even Alex, who is the one who gets stressed with all this going hither and thither, didn't feel like it was a constant rush and he didn't have enough time. I think I'm going to make a list to post by the door of everything we need to remember to have with us in the hopes that that will help things to continue to go smoothly on Tuesdays. Yes, you can pray for us. :)

Trusting in the Lord (and constantly reminding myself of this),
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 24 September 2007


I've forgotten to mention we have critters. Alex has a toad named Lucky. He needed to keep an observation log of a reptile or amphibian for a merit badge he started at camp, and fortunately there are A LOT of frogs and toads around here. Little factoid for you: a toad is a frog, but a frog is not necessarily a toad. He's named Lucky because I mentioned he was the lucky one of all the choices Alex had outside and he decided he liked that for a name. Alex decided, not Lucky. Since Alex figured out how to feed him, he's seemed pretty content in his tank.

We also have a cat. I obviously had not mentioned this to anyone in my family because they were all asking "whose cat is that?" Fluffy is a black and white kitten who lives in the garage at night, or when we're away from home, and out in the garden during the day. She was found as a very young kitten by our neighbor, but they couldn't keep her because of allergies. We decided to take her so they wouldn't have to take her to animal control.

At some point, Kyrie would like to have fish. I'm sure at some point we'll figure out how that works. Maybe I'll remember to include that in the blog when it happens.

Sorry I don't have any pictures.

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Birthday month

I'm a year older now and on Saturday, Aidan turns 8. One of my sisters has a birthday this month and so does my nephew. September is the big birthday month.

For my day, Tartan took me out to dinner at an Indian (India) restaurant. We also picked up a temporary cell phone to see whether it was signal or phone that was so rotten. It turns out that it was the phone. So as soon as I get the opportunity my birthday gift will be a new mobile phone.

Last weekend we took the camper out again for the boy scout family campout. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures. It was a nice little break, though I wish I had socialised a little more, but that's never been my strong suit. Abigail, on the other hand, knows everyone in the troop now, I think.

This coming weekend, my extended family is congregating at our house. Most have only seen pictures of the outside, so we get to show off. The weather's supposed to be good and we're all looking forward to it. I hope we have it fairly clean before Saturday.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Friday, 14 September 2007

San Antonio

I haven't downloaded the photos yet, but we had a great time in San Antonio. We had a pretty full day on Friday, despite being up really late Thursday night trying to deal with disgusting insects in our camper. We visited the Missions Visitor Center and Mission San Jose- one of several (re-built) Spanish missions in San Antonio. The chapel there is still used as a Catholic church today. We plan on making more trips to San Antonio to visit the other missions and have the kids complete their Junior Ranger booklets. After that we went to the Botanical Gardens where they had a new exhibit based on Bug's favorite: Dora the Explorer and her cousin Diego. The butterfly bushes indeed had butterflies all around them and I am wondering if I'll ever find the time and a place in our garden for a couple. We went back to the camper where I at least took a siesta. We bought dinner at the KOA campground we were staying at so we could hurry into the rec room we had reserved to finally watch part 2 of the two-part Doctor Who that we saw part 1 of just before we moved back to the States. To end the day, we went and splashed around in the campground swimming pool for a little while before heading off to bed.

Saturday we spent the whole day at Fiesta Texas Six Flags- an amusement park. Tartan and Kyrie rode a couple of the rollercoasters and the rest of us opted for the more mild rides. I did go on the Wile E. Coyote\Roadrunner coaster with Kyrie, but that's about as exciting as I can take. That and the log ride. The river raft ride was interesting. Aidan and I got fairly wet, but Kyrie and Abigail got utterly soaked. Alex was barely touched- much to his satisfaction. They went with Tartan: he and Aidan got pretty wet, the girls were soaked, and Alex escaped again. I don't know how he managed. Even Kayleigh was able to enjoy a couple of rides. On the Scooby Doo Haunted House ride you get a laser gun to shoot at targets during the ride. I think she really enjoyed pressing the trigger to hear the funny sound it made. We enjoyed a couple of the musical performances that they have several times during the day. The girls went up to say a few words in the mike at the country music show, but you couldn't really hear them. I suspect they've had some kids scream into the mike so they turn it way down. The one-hit wonders show and the other "oldies" medley show were fun and all three girls went to dance with the performers and Abi got microphone-time again which really pleased her. Kayleigh was really tired by then and just stood there, but she gave the gal a big hug at the end so that was cute. I had forgotten to charge the camera battery so I think it had died before then. We do have pictures with some of the characters at the park, like Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, and Wonder Woman. Hopefully I'll eventually post a few. We bought a few souvenirs just as the park closed at 8pm and then started the drive back home. Our church had their first Sunday at Kaufman elementary school and we wanted to be there for it. It went very well and without a hitch. We look forward to seeing God make use of all that room we have now.

This weekend we're going on the boy scout family campout with Alex's new troop. The weather's supposed to be good. We didn't feel any of the effects of the sudden hurricane (Humberto) that developed in the gulf. It was a compact storm, so it didn't reach as far inland as we are, but people in Beaumont and Port Arthur are without power.

Time to get the kids up for our school day followed by hurried shopping and packing for the weekend!

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

A week off from school

First, Kyrie had her stitches taken out on Saturday and she's fine. She's supposed to keep it covered with a band-aid (plaster) for two weeks. Hopefully it won't leave much of a mark.

Tartan is taking vacation time this week. We celebrated Labor Day by doing as little labor as possible. :) Tuesday I took Alex to see the doctor for constant low-grade headaches. We think it's probably allergy-related: things in the air here that weren't in Scotland. He, Kyrie and Aidan also started their physical education class at the YMCA in the afternoon. Today we went and sold some of our books, and came back with a few- but far fewer than we traded in. We also stopped at a piano shop (Forsheys) to find an upright piano for the boys. We didn't make a decision right away, but I think we'll be buying from there. We've also had someone come to put in a wall of bookshelves up to the ceiling to partially close in the upstairs family room. There were shelves that went part way up and then there was an opening to the living room downstairs. It let a lot of noise through and we thought it was also potentially dangerous. We can always use more bookshelves, too.

Tomorrow we head out to San Antonio to see some of the Spanish missions and spend Saturday at Fiesta Texas. Fortunately, I checked their opening times and discovered they're only open on the weekends right now. We originally had planned on going Wed to Fri.

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 27 August 2007

Kyrie gets stitches

I'm sitting at the computer waiting for Tartan and Kyrie to get home from the minor emergency center. She feel off her bike this evening and cut herself just under and to the side of her chin. So as not to be graphic at all, I'll say it looked just bad enough for stitches. I called Tartan home from the boy scout meeting he and Alex were checking out and which was fortunately very close to home. He got back and agreed it ought to be looked at and we got the names of the closest minor emergency centers from our pediatrician. The closest one had just closed, so they had to venture further out, but I think it was probably still a shorter wait over-all than going to the hospital emergency room. That being said, they left here at about 8pm and it's now 10pm. I've never had stitches or even seen anyone have them, so I'm not exactly sure what is involved in getting that done. I have to say I'm glad Tartan was able to take her.

Ah, just got a call from Tartan. Once they get their paperwork, they'll be headed home. He said everything went fine and that "Kyrie is a real trooper".

Thankful that she wasn't seriously hurt,
Naomi for the Colliers

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Kyrie is 10 today!

She had her party last Saturday, but today is the actual day. Can't believe she's in double digits already! We have a picture of her in our room from when she was Kayleigh's age and Bug keeps pointing to it and insisting it's her. It just makes no sense that it could be Kyrie. :)

Saturday was our 17th wedding anniversary. My sister watched the kids so Tartan and I could go see The Bourne Ultimatum and then have dinner together. We went to a place called Tommy Bahamas. It was a very nice evening.

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Into the 2nd week

We're into a second week of school and it's going ok. Kyrie started beginner band on Monday, and once we figured out which building it was in at the church where it meets, it went well. Kyrie seems enthused. Now I have to remember to add "practice" to her weekly schedule.

Alex did his first microscope experiment yesterday. He looked at a piece of thread- and thought it was really cool. I thought so, too. Hopefully his other experiments will go as smoothly. His Welsh is coming along, though I wish we knew someone who speaks it so he could try out his pronunciations. I still haven't found the Latin teacher's guide, so that's on hold for the moment.

Trying to get everything done in a day that I want to get done is proving to be difficult even here at the start. All I can do is 1. Pray! 2. Keep making adjustments to the schedule as needed 3. Realise it maybe doesn't ALL have to be done.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Thursday, 16 August 2007

And one of Kayleigh

Since the last picture didn't have Bug in it, I thought I'd post this one, too. As you can see, she found a cosy spot for a bit of reading. She just shoved out all those pesky books that were in the way so she could lie there. :)

Hey, I've added a picture!

I have finally gotten around to putting a picture in our blog. No guarantees I'll get around to doing it again! This is a photo of the kids in the upstairs family room on the first day of school. They don't look too disappointed that summer vacation is mostly over. I say mostly because we're taking a week off in September and going to San Antonio for a couple of days.

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

School is in session

It's the middle of August- and this is my first entry of the month! Last week I realised that I wanted to start school *this* week so I better get organized. So, after a lot of time and effort, I'm just barely organized enough now to be back at the books with the kids. Some more fine-tuning will be needed, but we got going yesterday. While the kids are not bouncing-off-the-walls excited about it- at least they're not dragging their feet and moaning and groaning.

Please pray for my patience. A change of surroundings has not changed their abilities to annoy and exasperate me nor my tendencies to over-react and pre-judge. All in all it's going well, though!

We still have a few boxes around and there are still some toys in the formal living area. Wonder when those things will get taken care of?

Time to get ready for a swim at the Y and then the library!

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 30 July 2007

So many little time

The boxes in our house have a song.

"We are the boxes that never end, yes we go on and on, my friend!"

Ok, maybe not really, but it seems like it. We have emptied so many boxes, but there's still a sizable number not unpacked. And yet, we're still in acquisition mode. Tartan got a small trailer to haul things like flat-packed moving boxes or bicycles or whatever will fit in a 4' x 6' space. We also decided to go ahead and purchase a hybrid travel trailer from another homeschool family. It's a cross between a hard-sided camper and a popup. We hope to do a lot of family camping and just "get away from it all" upon occasion.

Writer's block- time to go do the grocery shopping.

Trusting in Jesus (because I certainly can't do this all on my own),
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

We have furniture! (and a lot of boxes)

Our furniture has been delivered so we have places to sit and sleep. We also have an incredible number of boxes to unpack. The kitchen boxes are done and almost everything has found a spot to live in, though there are still a few items sitting on the counters that really need to be put someplace else. Next I think I'll tackle the bed linens and towels and maybe the school books after that. This is going to take a while.

My hob has a gas leak, so I can't use the cooktop until the plumber gets here. Oh, and I still need to finish planning out the school year. And, of course, there's laundry and housekeeping (such as it is) and grocery shopping to do. Have I mentioned I miss Tesco?

On the blessings side, we're all healthy and well. Kyrie has another birthday party to attend this weekend and I just signed her up for the Instruments of Praise homeschool beginners band for the fall. She's going to learn percussion. I've found a Christian dance school that has ballet classes, so Abigail can continue with that. Aidan has a Cub scout pack and we're waiting for the fall to decide on a Scout troop for Alex. Tartan and I are just waiting to see what and how we're going to be involved with outside activities.

Thanks for all the prayers and we're praying that you're well and rejoicing in the Lord.

Trusting in Jesus,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

So much to do

If I don't write now- who knows when I will? I've been meaning to for at least a week now, but somehow the time disappears. We had a three hour shopping experience at Sam's Club (like a Costco for those of you not familiar with the name) on Monday so it's easy to see where the time went that day, but otherwise it's a mystery. :)

The really great news is that our sea shipment gets delivered TOMORROW! Yea! We're all looking forward to having our house feel even more like home with familiar things around us.

For my female friends back in Banchory, you might find it interesting to know that I'm going to be attending a Women of Faith conference in Houston in September. It won't be quite the same, but I'm sure it'll be a blessing nevertheless. It's a Friday evening and all day Saturday event.

I've ordered and received our school curriculum for next year. That was the fun and easy part. Now I have to review it all and plan out the year. That's the time-consuming part. I'm not really sure how it's all going to come together- but I have to remember not to lean on my own strength. I'll do what I can and leave the rest to God. I got very upset with myself because I accidently ordered a microscope that I got last year. Whether I sell it or have to return it, it'll be a financial and a time loss. On the other hand, in the grand scheme of things it's not worth getting sour about.

Have a blessed day, y'all. (The Texan in me is re-appearing.)

Trusting in the Lord (have to keep reminding myself),
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 9 July 2007

Camp Pioneer

Someone's back from camp! Yes, for the last week yours truly has been at Camp Pioneer, throwing tomahawks and other outlandish activities. I signed up for the three-hour Mountain Man session for the week. There, I learned blacksmithing, candle and rope making, leatherworking, bullet making, fired muskets, threw tomahawks (very accurately - when I hit the target at all), and had a really great time. I also did Reptile and Amphibian study - though we didn't see any live animals there. The teacher wasn't allowed to handle anymore live reptiles after he underestimated the length of a rattlesnake. He says he did send the boy a get well card. I had a blast getting to know the boys of Troop 886. One little prank the whole troop joined in was signging the "Announcments song" whenever the staff would say the word Announcements. One staff member walked up to the rest of the staff the first time we sang it, and smugly told the staff to instead say Words of Wisdom. I still remember the look on his face when we started singing "Words of Wisdom, Words of Wisdom, Words of Wisdom". He actually screamed at us. I had a blast, and I brought back a lot of "trophies", including a mug that I gave to Dad as a birthday gift.
On Monday, just after I left, a great game that I ordered on eBay arrived. Upon my triumphant return to the house, I loaded up Neverwinter Nights and started the tutorial. It is a fantastic game set in the plague-ridden city of Neverwinter. A cure must be sought by a brave hero. That is where you come in. So far, I love it. However, my Elven Ranger isn't getting as much game time as I would like - Kyrie and Aidan love the game as well and both have characters.

Curse that Intellect Devourer...

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Frustrating customer service, summer camp, & a birthday

We had cable tv and internet installed on Wednesday and then Sunday it shut down completely. It took them until Thursday the 5th to get someone out to discover that the cable line outside had come loose or been disconnected. It was aggravating not being able to check e-mail or look up anything online and that it took so long to figure out such a stupid problem.

But we're up and running again and now I need to catch up on what's been happening. Sunday morning in the wee hours Alex went off to summer camp for the week. He got back home late this afternoon and it appears he had a good time. I'll let him blog about it himself. While he was gone Tartan had his 40th birthday on the 4th. We spent the evening with friends at an annual get together, we sang "happy birthday", and watched the fireworks.

Thursday and Friday we went furniture shopping. We found a beautiful dollhouse bed set for Abi and Kayleigh. It's a twin on top and we'll put a full size in the space at the bottom. We also found a living room set and a china hutch (our first!).

Hopefully next week we'll get a date for delivery of our sea shipment.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

New House, New Country

As we settle in to our new house, many tiny little things remind me that we don't live in the UK anymore. Little things, like going to Borders instead of WHSmith and Wal-Mart instead of ASDA. Seeing a Fed-Ex van. American flags on the flagpoles instead of British flags. I have been mostly in a state of apathy about our move, but sometimes I miss good old Scotland. Our new house is great, very spacious, but I miss all my Scottish Friends.

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers.

As promised

It's Wednesday and we have internet access! The cable modem was installed earlier today. I've set up the wireless router so Alex can surf while I do this. I'm proud of myself because I bought a new wireless-G router at Best Buy while I was there getting something else and I got it up and running all on my own. I'm not usually the hardware person around here so that's an accomplishment.

Now I'm sitting in the glide rocker in the master bedroom to test that I still have signal. I do, but I'm not very far away from it so that's not surprising. The house is pretty open so I'm guessing that we'll have good access upstairs, too. I'm going to give that a try.

Yes, in the upstairs TV room\homeschool area I have good signal. The kids won't have computers in their rooms, so I don't need to check on that. Ok, I'm sure you're bored with all this now so I'll stop, but not with the blog entry.

Yesterday Kayleigh had her 2nd birthday. An aunt and uncle were in attendance for our family party and it was fun. She enjoyed her presents and the cake and ice cream. Shortly after we moved to Scotland, Aidan had his 4th birthday and I remember making a small cake for him in our temporary housing in Aberdeen.

Bug is sitting on the bar stool next to me listening to the Learning Piano she got from the aforementioned aunt and uncle play "If You're Happy and You Know It" and she's clapping her hands along with it. Alex thinks he's going to go mad. I think he'll survive.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 25 June 2007

Yes, the house is ours!

Sorry for the extended time since the last posting! We've been a little busy. We took possession of the house on Sunday and we've been buying various things to make it livable until our furniture catches up with us. I've also had to be sure all our utilities would stay on and just transfer to our name- or actually my name since I wanted to allow Tartan to focus on things at work. Today, our air shipment and our items from storage all got delivered so I'll be unpacking things tomorrow.

The oddest thing happened this evening. We're in the Residence Inn until the end of the week because it's less expensive to pay for a month than a little over 3 weeks, so we came back this evening to have internet access and to eat (free) dinner. Who do we run into at dinner, but the owner of our house in Scotland! Tartan hadn't ever actually met him in person so it was a first meeting for them. He doesn't actually usually stay at this Residence Inn, but the other one in The Woodlands. Very funny.

I need to pack up some more so we can head back home. We have internet access at the house as of Wednesday, so I'll try to blog then!

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Corpus Christi

We got to visit my dad (Grandpa) and Nelda (Grandma) this past week for a couple of days. It's a five hour drive but not a very difficult one. The kids traveled well though Abigail got a little impatient for the last couple of hours- "are we almost there?" "how much longer??". Tartan stayed in Houston and worked long hours.

We visited the Texas State Aquarium and spent an enjoyable several hours there. Alex enjoyed teaching Kayleigh new words and flipping over the hermit crabs so they had to pop out of their shells and right them again. Kyrie liked the dolphin show and has decided she wants to become a dolphin trainer. Aidan liked the dolphins and touching the rays and sharks in the touch pool. Abigail liked everything: the otters, the jellyfish, the hermit crabs, the seahorses, and the dolphins to name a few.

A week from today we can open the front door to our house and it'll really be our house. We are looking forward to that.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Monday, 11 June 2007

The Computer strikes back

Finally, we have two laptops in the apartment! Mom went computer shopping at Best Buy and now we have a shiny new silver and black laptop computer. Now, Mom has no excuse for withholding computer access! The only downside with the new laptop is a tiny Shift key - really bad for a typist that loves capital letters. Now that Mom lets me use the old laptop, I've been taking advantage of the Internet access, looking up Wikipedia and Doctor Who.
Speaking of Doctor Who, we really miss that show. Though our loss has been softened with Internet access to the Doctor Who website and the Series two boxed set, we really miss being able to finish the third season, eagerly awaiting episodes such as The Family of Blood and Blink. To alleviate this loss, we have been watching Series two of Doctor Who every night.
This nightly viewing is all the excitement we get, other than reading and watching endless cartoons. I am desperately waiting for the day we leave the hotel and move into our new house. Of course, soon after I'm going to be at summer camp for a week...

Don't Blink...

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers.

Tired of hotel living

13 more days before we can take possession of the house. That seems like a loooong time from now. Even with the kids spending the morning at VBS last week, they still spent a large amount of time watching cartoons. I can almost see their brains turning to mush. Kayleigh is trying to say "Spongebob Squarepants".

If everyone stays healthy (yes, we've continued to have stomach bug issues), I'm hoping to go to Corpus Christi for a few days to visit my Dad later this week. Tartan is going to get me a Tomtom Navigator for lower stress driving. I am seriously compass-challenged and I'm always afraid I'm going to miss an exit or turn.

Trusting in the Lord (and praying no one else gets sick),
Naomi for the Colliers

Friday, 8 June 2007

What do I miss?

I never thought I'd miss roundabouts. There's a 4-way stop close to the hotel and the other day my mind drifted and I suddenly realised I didn't know where I was in the sequence. I had to guess and fortunately no one honked at me.

I miss Tesco delivery. I knew I would. I've gone grocery shopping a couple of times with the kids and though aisles are wide and the kids are pretty well behaved- we take up so much room and inevitably get in people's way.

I miss being known at the library. In comparison, the library here is huge, and Alex and Kyrie in particular will enjoy the larger selection, but it feels impersonal. There's so many people who go through it everyday that we just blend in with everyone else.

Trusting in the Lord,

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Church on Sunday

We attended Creekside Bible church on Sunday. They meet in the community center near where our house is (though it won't really be our house until 24 June). In the fall they'll meet in a nearby elementary (primary) school- something we're very familiar with. Interestingly, a few months ago after we knew we were going to move, Kyrie said she would miss going to a school for church. She said she liked it better than a dedicated church building. Strange, but true.

It's a small church, which makes it easier to meet the people in it, get to know them and have fellowship. It's smaller than BCFC, or so it seemed to me. Since they only have a facility on Sundays they're doing vacation Bible school (holiday Bible club) each Sunday over the next several weeks. They started just this past Sunday so the three middle kids are not having to join in late.

It felt a little strange walking into a different place for worship on Sunday. There were a few faces that were familiar from when we went to Faith Bible church 4 years ago. No one I knew well, but I suppose that will change. They also had a picnic in a nearby park after the service to celebrate several families formally joining the church, so we had a chance to start getting to know people.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Friday, 1 June 2007

Yes, we made it

It's the 1st of June and it's going to be a while before life feels settled.

First of all, thanks to all of you who prayed for us and our trip. It went very well and all our luggage arrived with us intact! Air France sent a special shuttle bus for us and another passenger so we would be able to catch the flight from Paris to Houston. Never had an airline do something like that before, so I was impressed.

On Thursday, we got new SIM cards and a cell phone plan and bought two cars. I am now driving a Toyota Sequoia and Tartan is driving a Hyundai Sonata. On the downside, as we were sitting waiting for a table for dinner, Kayleigh got sick (we quickly departed). I also had to get up a couple of times last night with her. I thought she was fine this morning, but we had an incident in the hotel lobby. She's been fine since, so in about an hour we're going to go see our house. We're praying that this stays isolated, but in the confines of a hotel suite, that's not likely.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Only a few days left

It's Saturday. I've figured out where most things will be packed and Kyrie's Girl Scout vest (waistcoat) has all her patches on it ready for bridging tomorrow. It was sunny to start with today and my dear husband just had to be out and take us with him on a long drive. I have to admit I was reluctant and I knew the kids would be, too, but overall it was a nice drive. Unfortunately, we left just before lunchtime and didn't find a place to stop until around 3pm. Aidan bluntly stated that his dad was trying to starve his children. Lunch\dinner (linner? dunch?) was at Lisi's Country Restaurant near Aviemore. It was a lovely, cozy place and the food was excellent- even taking into account how hungry we were. We had rain and a little bit of hail on the way home.

Tomorrow is our last Sunday at our church here in Banchory. Next Sunday we'll be walking into a different building with different people, but still the same family of God. We're kind of wondering where we'll end up. We may try the church plant started by our previous congregation in The Woodlands.

I hope I'm not too weepy tomorrow.

I'm not sure when we'll have a chance to blog again as the two remaining desktop computers will be boxed up for the air shipment on Monday. Unless I get a chance tomorrow, I'll likely be writing from Houston. It seems a bit strange and still a little unreal.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

We're still leaving on the 30th!

Whew! Tartan has decided it's better to continue with our original plan than change everything to get there a day earlier. (Thank goodness!)



The packing is moving along very quickly. Tartan likens it to being just ahead of an avalanche- we get an area ready for packing and *whoosh* it's all packed up! The house has more of an "echo" feel each day. I stopped working on this post and it's now Wednesday. All the sea ship items have been packed up and taken away. They'll come back on Monday to pack up the items for the air ship. Tartan is in the process of making all the changes necessary to have us fly out on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. I don't take to such big, sudden changes very well, but I'm trying to be sanguine.

To change the subject...

We had a great weekend. Tartan got home just in time for our silent auction or "fire sale". It was fun and we got rid of just about all our UK-only items. On Sunday, friends hosted the annual AWANA end-of-year party and the weather was actually very nice. The kids ran around playing with their friends and Tartan and I sat about and chatted. And we all ate really well.

In other news, we are buying a house! It's a 4200 sq ft house on an acre of land surrounded on 2 sides by a lake with fountains in it. The few pictures that are online and Tartan's descriptions tell me that it's a gorgeous house. The only downsides are it only has 4 bedrooms and there's currently no "Bug fence". We'll be able to move kids around (or send them out to the yard to camp out) whenever we have visitors and we'll have to build some kind of enclosure in back to keep Kayleigh away from the water. We're already thinking about a wooden swingset\fort and an enclosed trampoline. The master "retreat" has a sitting area with a gaslog fireplace and a door out to the back patio.

That's all for now. It's been hectic and obviously a big disruption in our lives, but with the help of so many friends it's gone well so far!

Trusting in the Lord,

Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

I'm going to go through some painful Internet withdrawal this week. Yes, the movers are all over the house, packing up, and later today the computers shall fall victim to the packing. As almost all my schoolwork is packed up, I am spending most of my time at the Banchory Library.
We shall miss Scotland a lot. It has wonderful, sweeping scenic vistas. It has all the friends we've made in the three years we've been here. It has Doctor Who and the Banchory Library, though I think only I shall sorely miss the last one.
Dad says he's found just the house, in the Estates of Legends Ranch, with spacious backyard and lake. I think it's a wonderful house, but I'm going to miss being able to walk to places. You have to drive everywhere in Houston. However, I may instead work on long-distance biking to the Library and friend's houses.
Our last days here are being very chaotic, and I am feeling nervous about the move itself. I get a strange hollow feeling in my stomach whenever I think of going to the Aberdeen airport and getting on the plane, seeing Scotland for the last time...

Not all those who wander are lost...

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Thursday's nearly here!

That's the day the removals crew shows up and starts packing us up. I think we're ready for it- at least I hope so. I'm very thankful for all our friends who are taking it in turn to watch the kids, especially the youngest two.

Before I forget, AWANA finished for the year last Sunday and so: a big congratulations to Abigail for completing all 4 red jewels and at least one green jewel in her Skipper handbook and to Aidan for completing all 4 red jewels in his last Sparks book. It's hard to believe that Aidan will be in Truth and Training next year. Last and certainly not least, congratulations to Kyrie for completing her 2nd T&T handbook!

Tartan has had probably his worst travel day ever (sounds like a bad Richard Scarry title). He's stuck in Amsterdam, but will hopefully be in Houston sometime tomorrow. He heads home Friday, arriving Saturday. It's our prayer that that part of his travels, as well as tomorrow, will be smooth and without incident. He should still have some time to look at a few houses- and maybe even find "the one".

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Another "last"

Alex, Kyrie and Aidan had their last piano lesson in Scotland today. Adele has been teaching Alex and Kyrie since very shortly after we arrived here and got Alex to the point of passing his ABRSM Grade 2 with merit in March. Aidan just started this year, but he's really enjoyed learning the keys and playing songs. Today he got to learn "Boogie Woogie Beat" or as Aidan read it, "Boogie Woogie Beast". It'll be a little different when they start lessons in the States. They're more geared toward having recitals than passing exams.


Monday, 7 May 2007

Our last campout - Daviot

Hello again! Alex here, and I'm here to report on our last Cub Scout campout. Amazingly, it was a dry campout, a rarity in these parts. One of the best campouts at the Daviot Stone Circle I can remember, on this campout we got to do archery and BB shooting. Legolas I am not, but I was reasonably proficient at archery. The campfire was wonderful, but the morning was windy and cold. I survived, and I'm sure the entire family will remember our last campout. Meanwhile, at the house, everyone is Doctor Who-mad. Especially Bug. Mom is concerned with her Dalek obsession. The move is May 30th, mark your calendars.

Don't Panic...

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Aidan's 1st blog

Sat. The first thing I had to do was tying knots- square knots. And then I went to the Admiral's Benbow (the leaky bucket) where I had a lot of fun. Then I went to Skull and Crossbones and went water-cannon shooting: got wet! And then I went to outrace the Black Pearl which was a raingutter regatta. And then I went musket shooting. I got to shoot bb's. I hit the target once. Nighttime. Had s'mores. Then to the campfire where Dad and I sang the song of the "Scottish" Moose- Fred. Then went to bed. Sun. Had breakfast of egg, pop tart and a tropical Capri Sun. Then we started off for the airport. When we got on the plane, I played a lot of Harry Potter on my gameboy. We drove a lot of miles from Edinburgh to home. When I got home I was happy to see my family. The end.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Adventure weekend

Today is one of those days when it's easy to thank God for it. The sun is shining and the sky blue. It'll be a warm, brilliant day.

Tartan and Aidan couldn't have asked for better for a Cub Scout Adventure Weekend. They are at a camp near London having father-son time with a pirate theme. The weather down there is supposed to be great, too, and a bit warmer. Maybe I'll be able to get Aidan to blog about it.

The rest of the kids and I are getting ready to go to the Banchory scouts annual jumble sale. What in the States we call a rummage sale.

Time lapse.

We managed not to buy too much at the sale. A few items of clothes, books, 3 stuffed toys, and a couple of baskets. The toys were an otter, a sea turtle, and a white Scotty now named "Bobby" after Greyfriars Bobby.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The move

After next Monday, we'll be in May. Before May is out, we'll be in Houston. It's mind-boggling! The moving company has scheduled 8 (yes, eight) days for packing. We're going to find out how much our friends here like us, because we'll need them to watch children for most of each of those days!

I am looking forward to the move, but not to the process. I'm also not sure how I'm going to feel on our last Sunday in church. I may be quite sanguine or I might embarrass myself and cry a lot. We're hoping that when the church here has built a facility we'll be able to come back for the dedication so it's our plan to see everyone here again.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Alex's First

Well, if Mom gets to blog on this, so do I. Hello! I'm Alex, oldest child of the Collier clan. This blog should be a most enjoyable outlet for my urges to write. I'll be making regular contributions to the blog, even though Mom rules the blog.

Everybody in the family is doing a complex juggling act, involving schoolwork, household chores, extra-curricular activities and the upcoming move. So far, it seems to be working. I am looking forward to the move back, excited about seeing old friends. Alas, I will miss my friends here very much. I will have to adapt to Texas weather again - Scotland is much colder and rainier.

At moment, I'm juggling three imaginary worlds in my head, trying to finish my schoolwork before we move and trying to stay sane. The last is probably the most difficult.

Stay tuned for Doctor Who...

Trusting in the Lord,
Alex for the Colliers

A tentative beginning

I'm starting this blog for our family for a few reasons. One, as a way for family and friends to see how we're doing and what we're up to but are too busy to send an e-mail about. Two, as an "historical record" that we can look back on and remember. Three, it gives me a writing outlet which I have neglected for a long time.

The only problem is whether I'll keep this u ot.

I made this a Collier blogspot so that any of us can contribute to it, but to begin with I suspect I'll be the main poster for quite a while.

Currently we are trying to juggle our usual activities, including school, with preparing for our return to the States. After living nearly 4 years here, we'll have a bit of adjusting to do. Abigail's little Scottish lilt will fade and we'll drop certain terms like "rubbish bin". Others may take longer- I'm not sure I'll be able to call trousers "pants" again.

I hope to blog about our move and all the transitions.

Trusting in the Lord,
Naomi for the Colliers