The Scoop on Granny


Dreaming of the mountains...

Who is Granny?

I'm the incredibly blessed mother of 9, "Granny" to 16, and wife of "The Papa," the knight-in-shining-armor whose loving support has made it possible for me to stay home and give my life to mothering, homemaking, and 26 years of homeschooling. Life at Granny's House is full of laughter, friendship, books, music, lively debate, writing, and good things to eat. My days are made even more meaningful by coming alongside other moms, giving them the support and encouragement that I lacked as a young mother and helping them to network with each other in ways that strengthen homes and families. A few times a year I board a plane to visit my "away" kids, to attend the birth of a grandchild, or to enjoy some lazy days with my best friend, but I always love coming back to...Granny's House.

My Complete Profile

On Granny's Calendar
  • August 15 - SAC Day begins
  • August 16 - Sam is 7!
  • August 20 - Kristen's birthday
  • August 30 - THE WELTYS ARRIVE!
  • Sept 3 - Chris' birthday
  • Sept 5 - Henry is 9!
  • Sept 7 - Isaac is 10!
  • Sept 17 - The Papa's birthday
  • Sept 23-30 - Granny and Papa go to Hawaii
  • Sept 26 - PawPop is 88!
  • Sept 29 - Tim is 15!
  • Oct 2 - Cheyenne's birthday
  • Oct 4 - Liam is 5!
  • Oct 7 - John Caleb is 17!
  • Oct 18 - Tony's birthday

  • Email Granny!

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    Granny Cares
  • Care Calendar
  • Agape Pregnancy Help Center San Antonio
  • World Vision

  • Granny Cooks (and Eats)!

  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks
  • Once a Month Mom
  • $5 Dinners
  • Full Bellies, Happy Kids
  • A Year of Crockpotting

  • Granny's House (and yours!)

  • Simple Mom
  • The Nesting Place
  • Between Naps on the Porch
  • The Inspired Room

  • Granny gets around...
  • A Holy Experience
  • MommyLife
  • Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
  • Preschoolers and Peace
  • Breathing Grace
  • theMangoTimes

  • Granny stays informed...
  • Real Clear Politics
  • Fox News
  • Drudge Report

  • Granny Thinks...
  • Al Mohler
  • Between Two Worlds
  • Blog and Mablog
  • First Importance
  • Equipping the Saints
  • Desiring God

  • Granny says you may go to...
  • PowerLine Blog
  • Michelle Malkin
  • SteynOnline
  • WSJ Opinion Journal Best of the Web
  • GetHuman
  • Home School Legal Defense Association

  • Granny goes to the movies...
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  • Granny is watching!
  • Blue Pencil Editing
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  • Conjugate Visits

  • Granny smiles at...
  • Purgatorio
  • ScrappleFace
  • LarkNews
  • Sacred Sandwich

  • Saturday, January 28, 2006
    The elves have been gone for a month. Still I'm finding little socks, pieces of toys, pictures drawn in crayon and left behind, even a secret stash of Froot Loops. Oh, how I miss the owners. The House will never be the same....

    has spoken at 12:10 AM
    1 Backtalks to Granny

    Friday, January 20, 2006's been three weeks since the big changes at Granny's House. Six of our family moved away, eight remain. It would be an exaggeration to say that it feels like a ghost town, but let's just say that Saturday mornings are eerily quiet and that we keep making WAY too much for dinner!

    Everyday happenings are now taking their places in the memory books. Dave made many wonderful changes in our house...Kristen ran the house in many respects...Molly learned to read here...Warren went from baby to young man...Henry learned to walk on our floors...Carrie was born in the bedroom upstairs. Those things will forever live in these walls despite the inevitable march of time.

    As our years together drew to a close last month, I marveled at what a blessing it was to have lived in the same house for so long and then to part not just as family, but as friends. Living in crowded conditions and combining families with different needs and expectations can be risky undertakings. But nothing truly worthwhile and satisfying is without some risk, and there are ways to navigate the inherent mine fields so that injuries are few and heal quickly. The strong relationships among the fourteen of us at the end of our adventure give evidence that love and determination and respect can overcome the dangers and leave us with treasure for a lifetime.

    Many times during our 2 1/2 years together we heard ourselves telling others that we were learning many lessons, and a few days ago I started thinking about those lessons and realizing that I should write about them while they were fresh. Some of you may someday be privileged to share your home with another family for some period of time, and perhaps going into it armed with our observations and suggestions would make it a little easier. So, in no particular order, here are some of the things we learned and the ways we made it work....

    If you double the number of inhabitants in a house, you (at least) double the work and the challenges. But you also have double the talents, skill sets, and personal strengths. Someone will be a morning person who doesn't mind getting the coffee going to help everyone else get up. Someone loves to bake. Someone is a great organizer of time or spaces. Find those strengths early and capitalize on them (without making anyone feel taken advantage of, naturally!) And of course, if you have a carpenter in your midst, you might end up with a gorgeous 14 x 9 foot built-in bookcase that stays when he goes :-)

    We all have them. We all have a few that are going to irritate or hurt someone else. And with double the people, we double the opportunities for our weaknesses to alienate a family member, cause extra work for the group, or just grate on collective nerves. If we go into the enterprise with the understanding that we also need to serve a double measure of grace, there'll be more than enough to go around.

    We all have these too. Not all our differences are weaknesses, but even good differences can cause conflict when they're not recognized, respected, and used in productive ways. We all have different levels of comfort with clutter, cleanliness, organization, noise, bickering, music styles, etc., and finding acceptable levels of all these things is part of the successful melding of a household.

    While there were obviously challenges and struggles and trials during the past two years, we have all come away richer because of what we learned from each other. John learned new things about home repairs, woodworking, and tools from Dave. Kristen became a much better cook as a result of my being incapacitated a good part of the time and yet still being available to give advice (too many cooks spoil the soup, but sometimes two is okay). Kristen and CJ ran a produce co-op for fifteen families for a year, and as a result they, along with the rest of the kids, learned a tremendous amount about fruits and vegetables and about running a small business (like how to deal with dissatisfied customers!). Nathan worked with Dave on several kinds of jobs and learned new skills. Kristen taught Molly to read; I taught Kristen a few things about teaching kids to read. I, the "expert" in childbirth, learned a lot from Kristen and her midwife as we all prepared for a home birth. We all sharpened each other with theological discussions. And these are only a few of the ways we learned from each other. None of these skills are ones that were only valuable while we lived together...we carry the benefits always!

    Yes, there were difficulties. We said things that hurt each other. We failed to live up to agreed-upon responsibilities. We had expectations that sometimes clashed. Money ran short. Tempers grew short. Things got broken. But because we were committed to being honest about disappointments, misunderstandings, harsh words, etc., we were able to preserve harmony over time. We weren't always ready to talk it out the minute there was a problem, but we didn't let things fester. Whether through a private conversation, a family meeting, an email to the whole crew, or a late night IM to the upstairs bedroom, we manage to straighten things out and realign expectations before there was long -term damage.

    This is so important! Every family settles into routines...and every family has certain ways they deal with finances and other resources. Put two families in one house and these can easily become sources of conflict. Some like getting up early; some like to sleep late. One family likes to eat out often; the other can't afford it and feels awkward about it. One family is used to doing things spontaneously; the other would rather plan ahead for a picnic or a party. One family has planned a quiet evening at home; the other has invited friends and hasn't made that clear. These are all areas where communicating expectations and committing to respect them can avoid frustration and resentment.

    It's almost inevitable when there is a houseful of children of all ages and two moms and two dads, one set of whom is also a Granny and Papa, that the roles and the lines of authority become blurred. It's important to both acknowledge this fact and guard against its negative effects. Children still need to know who their own parents are and should still have a special relationship with their grandparents. Since our youngest children are so close in age to our oldest grandchildren, this was a challenge. And since because of health issues I spent much of our together time in my room, separated from squabbles and chores, Kristen had to assume part of what would ordinarily have been my role. Even CJ was another mom, further blurring the sibling and niece/nephew relationships. But all of us gave a lot of attention to keeping things as clear as possible to the children and making adjustments when we could see that there was confusion. It's not a one-time-family-meeting kind of thing: it has to be addressed and tweaked often. Our grandchildren were never in doubt about who they were ultimately accountable to, and their routine care was never left to me. When Kristen needed a break or a sitter, she checked way in advance and never just assumed that because we all lived here together we'd be available to stay with the kids any time. And when she did leave them, she laid out pajamas, planned a meal, whatever was relevant for the time she'd be gone. None of us EVER felt burdened by this aspect of our living together.

    Togetherness is one of the benefits of combining households. We'll forever treasure the times we shared. But it was important to do a few things that included only our nuclear families--devotions, a movie, breakfast out, a drive to see friends. We were careful to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings about these times, all of us understanding that it was helpful to pull away periodically and give the children a clear sense of their own family.

    Just today, Kristen was sharing with me how she's using some of the systems we put together while she was here to make her current home run more smoothly. After all, she has a pretty large family for a 20-something (she'll remind me that I can only say that for a few more months!) and she has many years of homemaking ahead. Her cooking skills and her ability to feed a crowd were honed while here and will serve her and her family forever. All of us learned lessons in selflessness that hopefully have become part of our character and not just a way to handle the challenge of dividing up a house 14 ways!

    I think the most important lesson for me, even though it wasn't a brand new one, is how completely and perfectly God provides for His own. At the absolute perfect time, He brought our needs and the Slaughters' needs together into a package with all the provisions for those needs. And because His gifts are perfect, our time together ended perfectly. Oh, there were ocean of tears. But they were tears of sadness for the distance that would soon be between us, and tears of celebration for God's answers for the Slaughters' future. He has provided, He is providing, He will provide.

    Jehovah Jireh.

    (Kristen, feel free to jump on and add your thoughts here...)

    has spoken at 7:37 PM
    3 Backtalks to Granny

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006
    CAAAAAARRIE ! Where are you Caaaaaaaarrie! Granny's toothbrush is right on the edge of the counter, right where you can reach it! You can come and get it, any time now......

    has spoken at 11:36 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Monday, January 09, 2006
    FromGranny'sHouse to the new wasn't an easy trip but our kids are in their hew home and getting settled in.

    Now if Granny could just get settled. I've been doing straightening and reorganizing chores this morning, adding to the little stack of things that will soon find their way into a box to be mailed to Virginia. But I keep getting stopped in my tracks every time I walk past the collection of little books, socks, toy pieces, photos...the tears flow much too easily for me to get any real traction on all that needs to be done.

    Today is our first day back on our school schedule after a much longer than intended Christmas (and Thanksgiving?) break. (Note to self: multiplication tables and subordinate clauses don't do well over a six-week hiatus.) Yes, the house is a lot quieter than last semester and that might mean the school day is a lot shorter, but it's also lost some of its cheer and spontaneity. Kristen might refer to Henry's morning challenges as something other than cheerful and spontaneous, but I miss them nonetheless.

    Tim (9) has had a hard time with the readjustment from the world of Star Trek and Narnia to math and grammar. After an hour and a half on half a math lesson this morning, he turned around and said, "Mom, when I sit still I get a stomach ache and a headache, and when I get up and walk around my legs hurt." In a rare fit of indulgence (or was it escapism?) I said, "I'm sorry, I guess that is real dilemma. Want to go to bed?" The response was a slow nod. I told him that was fine--no computer, no TV, no games, no books. He could go to bed but if he is that sick he needs to just lie there and get well and gather strength for double math and grammar tomorrow. Up he went....for about thirty minutes. Next thing I knew he was on the living room couch with his math, covered almost completely with a quilt. Now maybe it's just me, but that doesn't seem like nearly enough recovery time for ailments this serious, but we'll see...last I heard he was mumbling from under a quilt, "Mom, I can't remember what 7 x 8 is." I bet he can't. Stomachacheheadachelegpain tends to do that to you, huh?

    UPDATE: Never think that when you've been a mom for more than thirty years you'll have this stuff down. It's 4:00, and Tim's temperature is 104.2. That's hard to fake :-(

    has spoken at 12:23 PM
    4 Backtalks to Granny

    Sunday, January 01, 2006
    The crew at Granny's House is starting the new year with a major "fruitbasket turnover." Dave, Kristen, Molly, Warren, Henry, and Carrie have moved out (moved up?) over the holidays, and we've now begun a reshuffling of bedrooms, bunk beds, mattresses, dressers, etc. We're all in mourning over the departure of this chunk of the family, so we're soothing ourselves by making redecorating and organizational plans, not to mention revamping the chore lists and meal prep responsibilities. Sometimes we're doing it playfully, sometimes through tears, but always with an eye toward strengthening our now smaller family unit and each of the relationships within it. It will seem a little strange that no one living here will be calling me Granny...I'm now just Mom again to all the residents. Still, coming to Granny's House will be a part of the growing up experience of six little Russells, and of course all the Slaughter and Welty children when they trek here from Virginia. We hope it will be often. Granny misses them.

    has spoken at 1:45 PM
    2 Backtalks to Granny

    Granny's Mission Statement
    "...Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done....that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children."
    ~Psalm 78:4-6

    My Focal Passage for 2011...
    Philippians 2:5-11

    5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

    6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

    8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

    9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

    10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

    11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    ~Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)


    "The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it."

    ~Samuel Johnson

    [Oxymoronica, n., A compilation of self-contradictory terms, phrases, or quotations; examples of oxymoronica appear illogical or nonsensical at first, but upon reflection, make a good deal of sense and are often profoundly true.]

    Books on the iPhone, the Kindle, or on the nightstand...

  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Alexander Mccall Smith
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Arthur G. Bennett, editor

  • Books finished in 2011...

  • Oxymoronica, Mardy Grothe
  • Some Sing, Some Cry, Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza
  • English Society in the Eighteenth Century, Roy Porter
  • One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp
  • His Word in My Heart, Janet Pope
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
  • Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, John Piper
  • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness, Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas
  • The Confessions of Saint Augustine, St. Augustine
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats, John Keats
  • Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell
  • Words That Work, Frank Luntz
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Poke the Box, Seth Godin
  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes
  • A Patriot's History of the United States, Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen
  • Song of Saigon: One Woman's Journey to Freedom, Anh Vu Sawyer
  • The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide for Fitting Creativity into Your Life, Shona Cole
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, Elizabeth Kantor
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David McCullough

  • Oh, the thinks you
    can think...
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • Anatomical Charts
  • America's Library
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Virtual Mansion Tour
  • Hurricane Demo

  • Oh, the places we'll go...
  • The Alamo
  • Majestic Theater
  • The MAiZE
  • Magik Theatre
  • Sheldon Vexler Children's Theatre

  • Granny always says...
    Saying goodbye...
    Sunday snippets...
    Sunday snippets...
    Coming soon to a country near you...
    Making (a) room...
    Just in case this might make an impact on your spe...
    Midweek snippets...
    What's up?
    She said YES!

    Granny used to say...
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    Grace Notes

    "Were the whole realm of nature mine
    That were a present far too small...
    Love so amazing, so divine
    Demands my soul, my life,
    my all!"