Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whee Look Who's Three

It's hard to believe it has been three years since Ruby joined our family. She adds such spunk and laughter to our family. The doctor's were not happy with us when we got pregnant with her but what a joy and blessing she is. I cannot imagine life without our Rubylicious. Cassidy is one of Ruby's friends. Her mom and dad took childbirth classes from me and we discovered that we are neighbors! What great neighbors we have one street over!! Cassie did not want to color in the road with the sidewalk chalk because she is not allowed to play in the road~

Unlike my children who play in the road all the time. Taylor was really into the 3D Chalk I bought for the party. Totally not something I would usually spend money on but I was curious.
The 3D made me dizzy, the children liked it but not enough to justify the cost ~ now you know.

I attempted a princess cake. I used a lot of pink frosting. Each of the 3 little princesses at the party got one of the castle cones, 2 ice cream cones filled with frosting and decorated with frosting and candy. I know their parents like me enough to forgive me for that one.

Ruby loved her gifts and freely gives out what she calls 'Grandpa Ivan' hugs, because that is the way her Grandpa Ivan gives hugs. You know he loves you and does not waste the hug, it requires effort to hug that way.
The day I went into labor with Ruby we were at the beach with Savannah and her family. In fact, today Savannah was telling me about going to the beach and when I asked which one, she said,"You know, the one where you had Ruby". Thank goodness Ruby was not born there but it is a beautiful beach. When we were there the children were playing and I was contracting regularly. Jess had to leave because she was showing her house (I am really glad they have not moved). She exclaimed, "YOU ARE IN LABOR!!!" I replied, "yes, I know" and she refused to leave me at the beach by myself in labor with my 6th child. I did not want to go home because of the effort it would require to round up the children and feed them lunch.
What a true friend, she put her showing on hold briefly and loaded my children into the van for me.
Everything went smoothly after that. I am so thankful for the relationship that has grown between our families and the accountability that I get from Jess. Ruby faithfully prays for Honor and Justice every night. We are blessed because of them.

I told people that I was doing a small get together for Ruby's birthday and we had a lot of people there. We had Ben and his mom and dad, Isobelle & Everett and their mom and dad, Cassidy and her mom and brother, Jake and Savannah and Honor and Justice and Jess, Geaba and my nephew Justin and niece Kimberly! I had a great time! and everyone helped out Syndi went and got the rock salt for the homemade ice cream (I know I have some somewhere...) Jess went home and got the half and half we needed for the ice cream. Geaba stopped and got hamburger buns, watermelon, potato salad, the cones for the cake and several other ingredients I forgot.
When Sean asked how many burgers to make I said I don't know, He said, "How many people are here?" I don't know. I just plan the party and have fun it's the details that he cares about and I am a big picture kinda person.

Ben's dad ended the night with motorcycle rides for the children. Ruby thought she wanted one, but after putting on the helmet she changed her mind. All the older children thought it was great and Taylor was told that she is not going to be on another motorcycle with a man unless it is her papa or her husband!
Syndi took some great pictures of the party too, so for her version check out her blog, there is a funny photo of Tami and I.

And of course, what evening could be complete without Tami coming back for her purse that she forgot at the party?
That was the cherry on top of the party!
Ruby had so much fun and we are so thankful for all of our friends and family to celebrate with us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

This Is My Friend

This is my friend. This is my friend who loves me even though I have issues. She came to my house and melted butter before we made cookies and she loves me even though I told her it was wrong to melt butter. She laughs and folds my towels the right way, even though it is different from everyone else in the world. I picked Tami and her children up today for a day of fun and errands. I am thankful for my BIG red van and that it will accommodate her family. Our first stop was a Montessori garage sale. Tami and I had a wonderful time looking and the girls were trying on a wide array of shoes that were for sale. Unfortunately someone thought that Isobelle's shoes were perfect and bought them before we realized they were gone. Tami was not happy. I on the other hand was laughing so hard I was crying, she was crying too, but not from laughing. They had no other shoes there in Isobelle's size so she ended up with these adorable white bunny slippers. A good trade, Yes?
Part of the reason I found this so funny was because the first thought I had when I went looking for Ruby's shoes was that someone bought them.
Isobelle was quite proud of her new shoes and I really enjoyed the humor of the whole situation. We enjoyed a concert at the library with a picnic lunch, then went to Value Village for some costume supplies. I scored with a great Narnia hardback book for 69 cents. Taylor really wanted to buy another hermit crab so I 'offered' to drop Tami and Taylor at Petsmart while I got gas. Tami asked if I wanted to go with Taylor and I definitely did not want to go. Her response was, "How bad can it be?"
After about 10 minutes I got this text from Tami: I can't believe you think this is painful, we have seen every crab and she is still not sure (smile)
Then 5 minutes later I got this text: Ruled out the dead one...... and now we have a winner!
I would much rather get gas and sit in a hot van with 7 other children than shop for hermit crabs.
We lovingly welcomed 'Big Ball' into our home this afternoon.

Yes we are gluttons for punishment and went to Costco and Target then back to Tami's house. I layed Libby down on the floor and Tami's dog decided to lay next to her and every time Libby lifted up her head Teagan (the dog) would turn his head and the wet jowel would swipe across Libby's head -- Gross! I knew Libby would be getting another bath when we got home.
By this time I realized I had no dinner plans and everyone was melting down completely. I ordered Thai food for Sean and I and fed the children broccoli, strawberry smoothies, and cold cereal and sent them to bed, WHEW!

I am thankful for my friend and for all that she does to serve others and the great job she does with her children even if it means she loses her children's shoes (or her purse, or keys,).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We are all learning. I am learning to be more patient, more organized, more disciplined. The children are learning to love learning, to discover, and serve. I try to offer my children 3 things every day. 1. Something to Love 2. Something to Do 3. Something to Think About. I felt very successful on Monday. I was planning on going strawberry picking but the weather dictated otherwise. Syndi called and invited Aaron and Taylor over to dissect a frog but I really wanted to see and Erik thought he might be interested.
Syndi is great at explaining things and letting the children cut and discover. I like things very precise and it is hard for me to hand over control.
We had a great time see Syndi's blog for what we learned and more great photos.
We did a TOPS electrical experiment and I am the only one who burnt myself. We read some great books, did math drills, and played games. It was a really fun day but unfortunately my house did not get the attention it so desperately needed. I know the children can't wait and the house can, but I like a clean house. I do like clean, educated, kind children better.

This photo is from last week when we had Ben over for dinner and science. We drew a diagram of the earth with the core, mantel, and crust. Then made some magma and discovered how it flowed freely when poured slowly but under pressure it cracked and broke apart. It was fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birch Bay Sandcastle Contest

On Saturday Sean took Taylor and Ruby to a Father-Daughter Tea hosted by our church. It was not actually a tea but banana splits! They enjoyed some time together and listening to speakers and Sean had an opportunity to tell the girls how much they meant to him. He said that he wished that Mikaela was there with them. Aaron, Ian, Libby and I went down to Birch Bay to see the creative creations that people made using only things found on the beach (sand, shells, seaweed, etc.,) I let Aaron take the pictures and we got photos of every sandcastle except the Mermaid.

There were a lot of creative ideas but I am thinking that we need to participate next year for sure.

I liked the camel the best and the boys of course, like the Indy 500 Race track. It was all they could do to not grab a car and race around it. Ian even called the Slug Bug sculpture!

It was great to be outside and enjoy each other. The boys ended up very wet and sandy but it was easily fixed by a warm bath when we got home.

The other day when Ian and I got some time alone together we played many games, read some books and jumped on the trampoline. While jumping Ian was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face. When I asked him what was so funny he could hardly answer because he was laughing so hard. He replied, " You jumping on the trampoline, because every time you stop jumping your legs keep wiggling!" Out of the mouths of babes. I guess it is time to start toning up again!

For more photos and some great ones of my boys go to: www.TheBellinghamHerald.com/photos and click on the Birch Bay Sandcastle Contest. The photographer took a lot of Aaron and Ian playing on the last castle standing while the tide continued to come in all around them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

13 pounds 1/2 ounce

This morning I weighed Libby and she finally passed the 13 pound mark! by 1/2 an ounce but we will take it! She got this adorable headband from a friend at church, Theresa. I think it is so cute! it has interchangeable flowers and bows, what a great idea. I gave her her first solid food today, at 5 1/2 months. She loved the avocados, but I think she enjoyed the praise she received from Ian and Ruby the most.

The other night I saw Sean and Libby on the floor talking to each other but when I got down to take some pictures Libby kept looking at me. Look at the size of Sean's hand. I know the same thing happened to me when I got stung but it still makes me laugh. It looks like a prosthetic.

Sean is getting up and doing Libby's 5 am feeding, using fortified breast milk. It is the first time that he has done any of the feeding for our children and it is really nice to get that little bit of last sleep uninterrupted! He is enjoying the time with Libby and only has to get up 30 minutes earlier than normal. To me, getting up early is a form of torture but he doesn't seem to mind.

I am struggling with discipline in my own life, with exercise, sleep, eating and cleaning. We are entertaining the thought of putting our house back on the market and it means that it has to be spotless all the time. I really am a clean person and I like to vacuum and I like to mop but the endless task of putting things away kills me. The children, especially Taylor, are good at it but it still requires me to "Inspect if I am going to Expect."
Taylor and Aaron are at Ben's studying the American Revolution. Ruby and Libby are napping and Erik is at Grandma's house. So I am off to play with Ian for a bit!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bye Honey?

These photos are from two different swarms. As we were getting ready to leave for the camping trip the bees swarmed again. Some families watch TV for fun, others ride bikes, we watch bees swarm. Sean and the children sat on the porch with the bees flying all around. I actually had all the children loaded in the van ready to go for over an hour while we finished catching the bees and re-hiving them. The first swarm landed in the tree of our backyard neighbor. We got a phone call from here while we were gone that the bees were swarming and could we please control our bees?!? Ummm, it's not like a dog you can tie up.
The second (or is 4th?) swarm that we caught landed in our next door neighbors tree in her front yard. Sean came home from work, he had a co worker with him that helped to catch the swarm this time. The co-worker was impressed by the swarm and had no bee keeping experience but was extremely calm. He had a layer of thick bees on his hand and asked, "Now what do I do? How do I get them off?!"

This was probably the biggest swarm yet. We moved a new hive to the side yard away from the other 3 hives. Then Sean got into the main hive that kept swarming and removed 13 swarm cells! No wonder they kept swarming. Usually when a new queen emerges the old queen takes off with part of the hive and a lot of honey and the new queen kills all the other swarm cells. It looks like we are going to buy 2 new queens and remove the queens that are not doing there job effectively.
Hopefully bee swarming is resolved and we did not lose all our honey for the second year in a row.
Unfortunately, I have no photos from the Scout camping trip but you can see some of there activities and pictures at Renee's blog and Syndi's blog.
They had a lot of fun hiking and playing. Aaron even had to get some first aid on a lump on his head after a very rough game of pine cone tag OUCH!
Ian, Ruby, Libby and I had a wonderful time at Grandma Chris' house. She fed us, we played on the slip and slide, ate some more and slept! We did end up with a fair number of bug bites but not as many as the boys and Taylor.
Erik got to go home with Grandma. When the children turn 7 they get a week at Grandma's house. Erik has been waiting his turn ever since Taylor got to go 4 years ago. He is looking forward to letters from home, swim lessons, finding the large lizard in Grandma's back yard, and visiting the enormous frog at Grandma's neighbors house.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to catch a swarm you ask?
1. Call your husband and have him come home from work
2. Give hubby the bee veil and opt for the bee suit for yourself
3. Climb the neighbor's fence (not as easy as when I was a kid)
4. Give your husband the pruners and long handled shears while holding the ladder steady and hoping not to get stung
5. Climb the ladder and hold the 40 pound box steady with one hand while hanging on to the ladder with the other hand and pray that you don't fall, hubby doesn't fall, and you don't drop the box of bees
6. Pass a fully loaded box of bees over the fence to your 11 year old daughter in a sundress and flip flops
7. climb back over the fence
8. Put a pretty sheet over a board so the bees have a runway to enter into the new hive

9. Thoroughly spray the bees with Honey Be Healthy
10. Put the branch that you hope the queen is on in the hive
11. Put the cover back on the new hive
12. Pray that the bees stay and you have a new hive

Taylor took this photo, sorry it is a bit blurry. I like that you can see how full the box is and that there are still bees on the outside as well.
As of this posting Thursday evening the bees are still in the hive and doing well. They have drawn out a lot of comb.

This morning I could not face trying to do 'regular' math so I invented Army Guy Math. We took our box of army guys and I drew numbers with the corresponding number of circles on a page then gave the children a number of army guys that could be evenly divided by that number. For example, I gave Aaron 36 army guys and he had the number 9 he had to show me that 36/9=4, 36/4=9, 9X4=36, Then he had to go further and show me 6X6=36, 36/6=6, you get the idea. It was really fun! Aaron ended up using the squares on the kitchen floor because they had more space.
Even Ruby and Ian got into it. Erik was a bit frustrated that the Army guys would not stand perfectly straight in a row on his page and that he did not have the exact same army guy for each circle but he did understand the concept and willingly participated.

In the afternoon my momm, Geaba, came up and did a science experiment with Justin, Erik and Ian. Taylor and Aaron were at Ben's house learning about the American Revolution. Ian was able to tell me all about how the lung oxygenates the blood and it goes back to the heart and the heart pumps it to the rest of the body. He winked at me and said, "We are just pretending that the red dye 40 is blood." What a smart kid! As though the balloons were really lungs and a heart!
They did a couple of other science experiments on lung capacity. I literally blew everyone out of the water.

Ruby wanted to make cupcakes with pink frosting. I mean really wanted to make cupcakes with pink frosting. I told her we could make them after her nap. RIGHT when she woke up she said, "Let's go make cupcakes with pink frosting!" She got her apron and chef's hat and went to work. Thanks to the pictures provided by Betty Crocker she was able to 'read' the directions and tell me we needed 3 eggs, water and oil! I think she has figured out that the cook gets to taste the goodies! I had to go to the store for a few items anyway, so I spent $2.69 on pink frosting! All in the name of love.
All this while I was trying to get ready for the boys to go camping with the scouts tomorrow! I made a double batch of the PB&J Breakfast Cookies from Fix, Freeze and Feast (I do alter them a little, but they are delicious, and healthy) What does it mean when you have to double a batch cooking recipe?
And this long winded post will end with another Libby update. I really appreciate all the prayers and encouragement. I do think that everyone over reacted and that she does have a high metabolism. Thanks to Naomi for the concrete evidence about Sophie. I am still a bit concerned about her elevated liver enzymes but with nothing presenting itself we will watch and see. I would love to have that type of metabolism! I am still religiously feeding her around the clock and giving her fortified breast milk at every feeding. I am pumping, but not every feeding like before.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Monday night my 2 cub scouts had crossover. Erik was a very proud Tiger Cub. He worked very hard and participated in every activity that he could. He received a perfect attendance award which he is proudly displaying to everyone. He is the first Wolf (in yellow) on the left side of the picture. I am thrilled with our scout troop and love the leadership that I have seen there. Scouts is the perfect structure for Erik and he thrives in the environment.
Aaron is now in Webelos (which stands for We Be Loyal Scouts). He has really enjoyed the activities and friends he has made in scouts. I am excited in this new chapter in which he has more responsibility and accountability for his achievements.
Unfortunately I was not able to be at the crossover. I work literally 16 days a year and this was one of those evenings. I have also bowed out of the Scout Camping Trip that is coming up this weekend. I am going to visit my wonderful mother in law and she is going to help me with the 3 little ones and Sean is going camping, hiking and scouting with the 3 older children.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I am not laughing

My sweet little Libby has been gaining! She averaged 1 oz per day last week. I was very excited, however the doctor said that she really wants Libby to keep gaining 1 oz a day and move up on the growth chart to the 25th percentile. I would be excited and satisfied if she stayed on her growth curve and that is my goal. This sweet little 5 month old is blowing bubbles and rolling all over the place. I was attempting to clean up and get some schoolwork done when I looked out the back door and saw this:

last week I thought our bees were swarming but they ended up coming back, so I realized that it was the nuptial flight.The nuptial flight is when the the queen mates then comes back to the hive to start laying. We recently split our hive into two so we were waiting for the queen to emerge and have two separate hives.
This was definitely a swarm and the bees clustered on a tree in our neighbor's yard. They were about 13 feet up. Sean came home from work and together we caught the swarm and introduced them to a new hive. While I was otherwise occupied Ruby discovered a brand new can of spray sunscreen. I do not have to worry about my kitchen floor or cabinets or refrigerator getting sunburned anytime soon.
We accomplished science today and now I am going to feed my children and send the older one's over to Syndi's for history. Once again, math and spelling got put on the back burner.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Bit of Wisdom

I really need to pick up my camera, I have had it with me lately but can't seem to find the energy to take it out of the bag.
We went to Ellianna's birthday party today. I cannot believe how fast time flies. I was the Doula for her birth last year and was just barely pregnant myself. Now Ellie is 1 and Libby is 5 months.
I also went and got my hair toned after last week's foil. It is much better but now instead of blond there is no blond-ARGH why is it so hard to communicate? That seems to be the common thread in my life right now. Communicate clearly, calmly, with grace and meaning. I know it is more difficult because I am sleep deprived. I was reading something last night (what exactly I cannot remember, I do not even remember the conversation I had with Sean last night) but what really stuck out was:
Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
I have been wanting to implement more of a schedule for the children and to release me of some of the responsibility of dictating what comes next. Of course, for this to work there has to be some flexibility. I tend to go with the flow and then get frustrated when the goals I had planned do not get accomplished.
I purchased a Managers Of Their Chores book by the Maxwell's and I need accountability to implement the plan.
Unlike many people we do not take time off in the summer because it is too hard to get back on track in the Fall. It has been the desire of my heart to have a planning day twice a month so I can get my thoughts organized and put into action. If anyone has any great ideas of how to accomplish this I would love some input.
I have some real specific goals
1. To teach my children to love the Lord
2. To teach my children to love and serve each other
3. To teach my children to love learning
4. To show my children the Joy of the Lord

We are going to be diligently working on specific character issues and have fun doing it!
Now this would be much easier with some sleep.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No Photos

Sorry for the lack of photos these days. If you can imagine I literally wanted to throw myself at my mother in law's feet and beg her not to go on Monday but I guess I have to share her with her daughters and other grandson. Not willingly mind you.
I survived Tuesday it was hot (just the way I like it) and we went to the beach with Ben and Syndi. I was able to do the supplemental feeder but it wasn't easy. I got a much needed walk. I really wish it was as hard for me to gain weight as it is for Libby.
We took Libby to the Dr. on Wednesday and the doc said Libby lost 2 ounces since last week. UGH. The doctor said we had 2 choices 1. to put Liberty on reflux medication or 2. to hospitalize Liberty and put in the NG tube. We chose #1 and reluctantly filled the prescription. After some cooling off and a bit of a clear head we decided to not give Liberty the reflux meds but to add one more feeding of fortified breast milk. We are lumping her evening feedings every 2 hours and going 4 hours at night. I will let you know how it progresses.

We went tonight to meet with the elders of our church and they anointed Liberty with oil and prayed for her for her health, wisdom for her parents, for healing, clarity for the doctors treating her, logical progression of treating her, and for peace at home with the other children. It was amazing and again, I must say that I have never been part of a body of believers that care for each other in the magnitude that we are being cared for and protected. I have been in wonderful small groups but I am talking the whole body of Christ is nurturing and protecting us. Did I mention that we have only been attending there since November?? Truly, God knew where we needed to be and provided for us beyond all we could ask or imagine.

Oh yeah, while the dietitian was at our house discussing a better plan for Liberty's care our bees swarmed. I thought, "Oh Great, now I am going to have to go catch a swarm on top of everything else I have to do today." I prayed that God would have them move to one of our empty hives and all would be well. Miraculously the bees came back to the original hive. When Sean and I discussed it we realized that it was the nuptial flight of our new queen and things are going well in the hive. But God did again answer my prayers and I did not have to climb a tree and catch a swarm. Praise God!