Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Answer to Prayer

This young man is an answer to prayer, he is polite, funny, gentle, helpful, lives close by, responsible, respectful, and a friend to my children.

I am so glad that we met him when we did. I was beginning to be very discouraged with where we were living and not being able to make the lifestyle changes that we want to make and because of him I am able to be more content. Thanks Ben!

This is what Erik, Ian and I did while Syndi was teaching my older children and Ruby and Libby were napping. Talk about a fantastic day!! I have been praying for help to either play with the little ones while I teach or to teach the older ones while I play.

Syndi is a Christian and a former preschool teacher, a black belt in karate (it might be tae kwon do), a home schooler, and a great friend. Here is proof that God answers prayers.

I absolutely love 7 year olds with no front teeth. While we were in Yakima he lost 2 teeth (one of them was punched out by a nameless friend). Erik refused to put both teeth under his pillow the same night because he wanted to make sure that he got money for both teeth.

Another episode in my life. Ian was in such a hurry to get outside to play that he forgot the screen door was closed and ran right through it! He completely knocked the door off of it's tracks. Erik's hermit crab went missing (how does a hermit crab escape out of an aquarium?) We were afraid to tell him because of his frog fatalities so I said nothing. He just assumed that the crab was hiding under the coconut shell for a week. Taylor then discovered the hermit crab in the hallway. Now tell me, what was he eating? where was he pooping? and How come he is still alive? It might explain why he keeps falling off the coconut shell. Anyway Erik has found another frog to live in our bathroom and accidentally dropped a cup full of potato bugs (rolley pollies) when he was trying to feed the frog. I think it is gross to go into a bathroom with potato bugs crawling around.

Then, I asked Erik to toast my bagel when he was making lunch and this is how he managed to do it, you know the saying, "a watched pot never boils" Well, "A watched toaster never toasts" He kept popping the bagel up over and over and over and over to see if it toasted then he assumed that since it had been in there so long it must be toasted.

AAAAHHH, the Joys of Mothering. I love my job.

Happy Birthday Momm

Happy Birthday Momm! I am so glad that I get to celebrate with you and your special group of friends. I always cherish the time we get to spend together as women.

Has it really been 10 days since my last post? Where does the time go? We have had birthday parties, 900 miles of travel in 5 days, a home school conference, sunny warm days to play at the beach and go for walks, play days with friends, lost teeth and, Oh yeah, school.

Kelly (bottom left) always puts on a marvelous party in honor of my momm's birthday. This was the 4th year we have been doing it! Kelly really knows how to put on a party. The colors this year were blue and red. We each got a blue box tied with red ribbon, there was a cake that matched and red napkins, blue appletinis, beautiful red flowers and delicious food.

I always feel so pampered and important, and it isn't even my birthday! This year I tried a new dessert, Tirimisu Toffee Torte, it was very good but I think it needed a bit more chocolate. I mean can you really have too much chocolate?

We had so much fun catching up and hearing about the blessings and trials of this past year. Lisa graciously let me feel the baby kicking and moving in her beautiful pregnant belly. Oh how does the time go so quickly?? Carri shared the joys and challenges of adding 2 adopted children to her family and Lisa described the blessing of an extreme home makeover her friends did for her!!! It was very cool.
Thank you Kelly for doing such a great job honoring my mother, and thanks momm for being who you are!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Love My Son

This is my child who constantly tests me. Today alone we had so many trials that by the time dinner rolled around I just said, if you don't like it, don't say anything, leave the table get your PJ's on and go to bed.
His eyes are so full of joy and thought and he asks the best questions. I continually pray for creativity in my parenting so that we can get our point across. This boy works well with rewards and consequences. He really wants to read but thinks that he does not have to look at the words to learn. He took my sewing machine apart to use some of the pieces and I have not had a working sewing machine since.
He goes to the war section at the library and checks out Marine Sniper, and Special Forces. I wonder what he will be when he grows up?
I am convinced that God gave me this child to keep me humble and to refine me. I think the things that are the most difficult for me are the things that I need to work on. I pray for his future wife and for his purity and faithfulness. I pray that he will love God and serve Him above all. I pray that Sean and I are training him in the way he should go so he will not depart from it. I pray that I can offer more grace and discover the best way to teach and train him. I pray that he will know how very much he is loved.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just another day

My sweet little Libby can sleep through almost anything, as long as she is in the middle of it. This picture was taken as we were practicing our math facts playing bean bag hurl (it is not a toss if Erik is involved) inches away from her. If I lay her down in the other room she instantly wakes up. She sleeps amazing at night but has a few issues during the day. I thought of Renee as I took this picture because I used the natural light available.

The bean bags kept the little ones occupied for a very long time while we accomplished a lot of 'ketchup' school. I call it a catch-up day but the children prefer the term ketchup.

I, on the other hand was extremely clumsy today, here is my whole pan of unbaked blueberry hill muffins upside down on my kitchen floor, I dropped a pair of kitchen shears point down on my big toe, and I burned my arm on the oven. My thumb is still numb but the swelling is on on my bee sting hand. What in the world is going on with me??

My friend Cara and I went to get pedicures tonight at a local place that is having a half price special. When we walked in Cara was talking with some women who were waiting and she told them how excited she was and that between the two of us we had 12 children. We then learned that they were not taking any more people for the night because they were too busy. We were so bummed since it is no easy feat (ha ha) to get out of the house. These 2 wonderful strangers then blessed us immensely by giving us their appointment slots. I was so thrilled and really enjoyed the pedicure except when he touched my bruised big toe!

I continually struggle with what to do with the younger children while I am doing assignments with the older ones, today while playing bean bags Erik chucked the bean bag so hard that it split open. I gave him a needle and thread and he was busy for a long time repairing the broken bean bag. Ian and Ruby took all the thread and lined them up an sorted by color. Yet another amazing activity.
We played a Monopoly length game of The Titanic with Ben and Syndi. It was really fun and educational but not fast enough for Erik and Ian's attention span. We decided to continue a different day.

Ruby can always be counted on to put the cats out whenever they manage to get in the house. It just makes me laugh that the cat is almost as big as she is and doesn't seem to mind being thrown out by a 2 year old.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Sinking of the Titanic

We have been studying and reading about the Titanic and what better way to really learn something but to do it? Today marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, since we couldn't have a party we did a re-creation of the Titanic's last day. The children all had their boarding passes to get onto the 'ship'. Yesterday we drew names of actual people who were on board the Titanic and then looked up on the Internet which of them lived, and who died. Ruby says," I died on the Titanic" Erik was VERY upset that he died and desperately wanted to draw a new person. Ian was not so concerned but happy that his sister made it out O.K. We had 3 Third Class Passengers and 3 Second Class Passengers. We did not have any 1st Class (Their menu was too involved).
We began by doing some experiments with ice and discussed the tip of the iceberg. We discovered what salt water does to the iceberg and we tried to make ships that float and hold cargo (much harder than it sounds).

My favorite part of home schooling is that all ages can get involved and learn at their level (Now only if I could accomplish that with math). Syndi is so great she even had a separate container that Ruby could use so that she did not interfere with the older children's projects.

Ben and Syndi had the 'ship' decorated and every last detail thought out. We had authentic boarding passes, menus, books, food, and even a replica of the Titanic. Ben was quick to point out that although the real Titanic had 4 smoke stacks only 3 of them worked. The 4th was for show, besides, his ship did not have room for the 4th stack.

The 9 year old stage of making funny faces whenever you get your picture taken is a tough one for a person who loves photos. But, Hey I love the boy and love the enthusiasm he puts into his projects mostly the ones we do with Ben. Aaron is willing to try and is not afraid to make mistakes, a quality I really admire.

The 3rd class passengers were quite pleased with their dinner which consisted of:
Beef Vegetable Soup
Roasted Pork
Boiled Potatoes
Cabin Biscuits
Fresh Bread

The Second Class Passengers thoroughly enjoyed their dinner of:
Smoked Oysters
Roasted Squab on Watercress (we used Cornish game hen instead of baby pigeon)
Creamed Carrots
Chateau Potatoes
Pear Punch
French Vanilla Ice Cream

One of the benefits of being crew I got to eat all of it! It was delicious. Syndi found a book about the last dinner on the Titanic and copied many of the recipes out of it and they are worth trying and making again. I have not had a meal that rivals that one in a very long time.

We even had a barrier between the two classes so that they knew they could not have something that was not in their class.

We watched the movie The Titanic in 2 parts, before dinner and after. Thanks to Clear Play we did not have to watch the parts that we would not want to subject our children to. What a great invention.
I was surprised at how sensitive Erik was to the suffering and unfairness on the Titanic. Neither him nor Ian could watch the whole movie, it was too stressful.

We still have several activities that we did not get to today, but will have to continue our unit study.
I came home, made dinner, cleaned up, fed the baby, and put the children to bed. At 9:15pm I went running down the hall yelling, "There is a problem on board and the Captain has requested we all meet up on the deck!"
Erik was sound asleep and when I stood him up and let go he fell to the ground! Oops.
Ruby was asleep as well with her head in her bed and the lower half of her body on the floor.
We all grabbed coats and headed to the van where we went and picked up Ben and Syndi. Ben was even wearing his life belt.

Ian did not quite get what we were doing but went along with it. Erik was completely stressed and thinks I'm nuts. That's fine with me, Sean thinks I'm nuts too!
We went out to the beach and recited lines from the movie. The most classic was when Syndi said, "There might me icebergs ahead!" Ben replied, "If there are, I'll be dead" For anyone that has seen The Princess Bride they will get it but it was really funny!!

We went out and stood on the dock at the beach and told who ever wanted to that they could jump in. Ben almost did and I scared his mom. Aaron, Taylor and Ben waded in up to their waist, the rest of us climbed in the van. We had some hot cocoa for the ride home and everyone was in bed by 10:00pm. Not bad for a wonderful day of fun and learning.
We are so blessed to have such amazing friends! I always have great intentions but pulling them off is difficult for me. Syndi motivates me to follow through and provides such great guidance. Everything is always more fun with a friend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pajama Ride!

Occasionally we do a Pajama Ride, we put the children to bed early then after a few minutes we run down the hall banging on pots and pans and yell, "Pajama Ride!" The children run to get their shoes on and hop in the van to go get ice cream.
We have a rule that if you ask for it, it will not happen. It has been awhile since we have had one, and since I had to go to Lynden tonight (the closest Dairy Queen) we decided to take advantage of the trip.
It sure takes a long time to get them in bed, but only a few seconds to get them out of bed.

Today was a difficult day with attitudes, school, arguing, crying and not a whole lot of joy. The last thing I wanted to do was something fun for the children let alone get them out of bed once they were already in. But we decided that God does not wait until we deserve it to bless us, so we can not wait for the children to earn it with good behavior.

We want to intentionally have fun and create good memories. Especially after a difficult day, I want my children to remember me for the fun we have, not the nagging or (gasp) yelling. I am working on being joyful in all I do and mothering to bring glory to God and bring the children to know Him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Break!

I do not usually do spring break with the children because we have many breaks throughout the year. But this week was different!
Monday:my friend Amy and her children were visiting their grandma (our next door neighbor) so we took advantage of the time with friends and went to cub scouts, Dairy Queen, and played at the pond. It is always fun to have company! Tuesday: we skipped our American Revolution Day with Ben and Syndi to go to the beach! See the cool pictures and fun time we had at Syndi's Blog.
Wednesday: We went to Cara and Klay's house for a play day with all her children! They got to see the baby chicks, ride bikes over the jumps, splash in puddles, play puzzles, and hang out! Aaron and Erik loved helping the big boys and Taylor enjoyed girl time! All went wonderful except for a black eye! On the way home the children and I enjoyed fast food and Sonic and Dairy Queen and then went straight to bed before 8:00pm!
Thursday: We met Geaba and Justin in Bellingham and went to teriyaki for lunch and Mike's RC World for a birthday party for Geaba. What a great grandma that for her birthday she wants to take her grandchildren to a remote control place to play with cars! We had a great time and all the children did very well taking turns and helping each other out. Aaron made it all the way around the track without crashing because 'Mike' said he would give whoever could do it a dollar! But then he said he had to see it and Aaron could not do it a second time. The photo above is after Erik gave Geaba her present. Only a grandma can be truly excited about a key chain, a golden egg with Taylor's name written on it and a plastic toy!
Thursday evening my friend Shella and her boys, Tyler, Ryan and Jake came for dinner and Geaba's birthday dessert! We had a fabulous time! I love that my friends with teenage boys can play with my boys and hold my baby and enjoy it! Unfortunately I have not been taking many pictures so I have to wait for her to email me some. Tyler got a really bad sunburn on his face (while snowboarding) and it was blistered and peeling and none of my children said anything about it. They enjoyed him so much.
Friday: Sean and I took the kids including our "adopted" daughter Megan (we call her Fudge) to Watermania! We met Shella and her boys there for a fun day of water slides, wave pool, hot tubs, diving boards, and rope swings! Unfortunately my hand continued to swell and get bigger and more itchy so I was not much help with the children. Sean and Megan and Tyler took turns with the non swimmers and all went smoothly. We continued our tradition of Tim Horton doughnuts and Starbucks for the ride home. Thankfully we had provisions for the hour long border crossing!

Cara and her mom, Joan
Saturday: Grandpa Ivan and Melody came up to visit! We were so excited to see them and spend time with them. Taylor and Melody helped frost Erik's Birthday Cake since it is really difficult to do that one handed. Grandpa enjoyed Tomahawk and knife throwing with the boys and reading to Ian and Ruby. He even got down on the floor and played puzzles with the children. I really miss seeing them! It was such a wonderful visit.

Ian gave Grandpa a legendary Grandpa Ivan Hug and really stuck close. Seeing them makes me miss my dad even more! We hated to see them go but were so glad that they got to celebrate Erik's birthday with us!
Ruby and Kaiden

Saturday evening we made Resurrection Cookies and read the story about Christs' Crucifixion and Resurrection. It was so cool to hear the children read the story out of the Bible and understand and discuss what was happening. When we sealed the 'tomb' Ian put a Playmobile guard to make sure no one stole anything.

Erik and his Frog cake. That boy has an obsession with frogs.
I know my photos are all out of order but I am not sure how to fix it. I did something wrong.

Sunday: We went to church and had wonderful fellowship! The worship was so inspiring and the message one of Hope! Taylor held Libby through the service and Libby slept so peacefully in her arms, it was very sweet. I love watching my children sing to Jesus and develop their faith in our Savior.
We rested for the afternoon and went to Cara and Klay's house for dinner-- non traditional Tacos! We had a Easter egg hunt for the little ones. I procrastinated and did not buy any candy so I filled the eggs with quarters and other change! I like that I spent less money did not have candy to contend with and the children added to their savings. Klay kept threatening to take the money and get a latte. Ruby loved Cara's eggs that had tootsie rolls in them.
Again, Cara's big boys took such good care of the little ones.
We had dessert with Cara's mom and dad and finished the evening with worship songs led by Cody (the oldest) We had an amazing sunset and the majestic mountains and air washed clean by all the rain!

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Look What the Girls Did!

I had a bee crawl up my pants on Thursday and I did not want to get stung! I dropped my pants right there in the yard and reached back to make sure she was gone and guess what? She wasn't! I got the little stinger right in the thumb. This photo shows what happened within the first few hours. I ended up taking my rings off and swelling all the way down my wrist.
You can't really see the amount of swelling but my hand looks like a prosthetic or a mannequin. It really hurts and I can't use it very well. I am typing one handed and it is taking a long time. I will update more later and hopefully it will be more functional by tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's Just Not Fair

Last weekend Sean asked me,"When did Libby start rolling over?"
I replied,"She hasn't" "Yes, she does" He said. I put her down on her belly and sure enough she rolled over to her back!
I just is not fair that as a stay at home, home schooling, nursing, mother I miss these milestones. I have missed Aaron's first lost tooth, Ruby's first steps, and now Libby rolling over for the first time.

I did the girls hair in rag rolls for church and Taylor's turned out beautifully and Ruby's looked cute for a minute. Taylor then proceeded to wet hers down and put it in a pony tail. While Ruby admired herself in the mirror and shook her hair back and forth and said, "Thank you mama for making my hair pretty."
My brother has great curly hair and his daughter Sarah has the cutest curls ever. My sister in laws both have beautiful curly hair It just isn't fair that some people have beautiful curly hair and don't appreciate it like I would if I had it.

Ruby came out with her shirt over her head and the pig tails sticking out of the shirt. It cracked me up.

I was sorting through Ruby's shoes to pass the too small ones down to Sarah and realized how many shoes this girl has. She loves shoes and regularly wears all of them, sometimes more than one pair at a time. Most of her shoes are hand me downs or consignment store finds, it just isn't fair that she can have so many cute shoes at a fraction of the cost of my shoes.

We do meal exchanges with 2 other families and my dear friend Jess made us Shepard's Pie but she knew that Erik does not like potatoes at all, so she made a special piece just for him with tater tots. To all of you out there, it just is not fair that you don't have a friend as great as mine!

Ruby is very persistent and LOVES to help anyone do anything. From Sean fixing the alternator to Ian taking out and sorting laundry to Mama cooking and Taylor pulling weeds or cleaning the bathroom and Erik unloading the dishwasher. It just isn't fair that all the children don't help with such a happy and willing spirit.

We got home from the consignment store and I was taking tags off of the clothes to wash them. Ruby said, "Who bought me that shirt?"
I said,"I did"
Ruby replied, "Mama, you are a good boughter!"
It just isn't fair that that girl is so darn cute!
I know I always tell my children that life isn't fair and the sooner you learn that the better off you will be.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Museum of Flight, Recovery, and Bunk Bed Questions Answered

You might be wondering where I went.Well last week we went to the Museum of Flight with Syndi and Ben. We took 2 of Rene's children with us. Then we worked on our American Revolution unit study with Syndi and Ben. Then we spent the day running errands and trying to catch up, which is not working very well. We did not leave enough time to go home before the boy's went to Men's night so Sean dropped me and the girls' off at our friends house to hang out while they went to the program. It sounded very cool. They got to eat as many hot dogs as they wanted, and see lots of guy stuff and hear a really cool speaker that was a WWII Veteran. I am pretty sure it is the same Vet that we saw a display of and read about earlier in the week at the Museum of Flight. I love it when learning comes together.
After getting home at 10:30pm on Friday night, I got everything together for Family photos on Saturday morning. Renee took the photos and did a great job! She even go Sean to smile. We ran more errands then Sean had to take the van apart and get a new alternator. I am so glad that he is a smart man that can figure these things out. I hate to spend money that we don't need to spend and would much rather find something at Goodwill than buy it new, so it would really bother me to have to depend on a mechanic all the time. He says that vehicles intimidate him but he still can diagnose the problem and find the alternator, remove it, buy the correct one and install it. I am impressed and grateful. He even let Ruby help him.
When I was single I had a car I called the Faith Mobile. It was a Datsun circa. 1972. When ever it quit running (which it did quite often) I would open the hood, pray, then remove a part (I don't know what parts I removed) Then it would start, so I threw the part away. That is my mechanical abilities.

So you can see just check my friend's blogs and see what we have been up to.
Sean added a ladder on the end of the bunk bed but Erik still likes to get in his bed Dukes of Hazzard style. In response to comments on the blog, our ceilings are normal height and there is still plenty of room for the boys. I, on the other hand would probably get a little claustrophobic but they like the submarine feel! You do what you can when you live in a small space. He also said that he would build them for someone if they wanted/needed it but the lumber and hardware are a bit spendy.
I have more photos to upload of our busy week but have not had time to do that yet. We have Scouts tomorrow and friends from out of town visiting and American Revolution catch up day, and....... another busy week.
Praise God for the beautiful sunshine and spring!