Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Of These Is Not Like The Other

My husband and I have always brushed our children's teeth. We feel that it is important to establish good oral hygiene early and we view it as insurance against problems later.
Sean has had this whole week off and therefore we have seen more of each other's brushing techniques and habits. We have a dilemma. One of us feels it is necessary to use an exorbitant amount of toothpaste on each child's toothbrush while the other is much more frugal and is of the mindset that a little bit goes a long way.
The poor children they put toothpaste on their toothbrushes and bring them to a parent. Said parent inevitably sends them back for more toothpaste or they get reprimanded for using too much, it is a no win situation.
What do you suggest? What is the proper amount of paste? When are they capable of brushing properly?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. I live 35 minutes away from any real stores. That, coupled with the fact that we are on a mission revamping our budget and therefore trying to save money on gas led to the Works for Me Wednesday.
Sweet Baby Paisley taking a snooze.
Jess suggested taking a couple sets of kids one Wednesday then having the next two Wednesdays to accomplish our 'to do' lists. I took the first Wednesday and had 13 children for 4 1/2 hours!
Five 2 and unders
We started the morning with a pancake breakfast complete with bacon and peaches. We decided it was mandatory for each person to bring their own highchairs.

I set up my gate in the kitchen and let the toddlers take turns in the sandbox. All my children love the sandbox and I love it even more when I figured out to put it inside the swimming pool to better contain the sand.
God provided a bit of sunshine and we went for a walk. We had a double stroller, a wagon with 3 two year olds, an Ergo, and at least 5 scooters. Then it was back home for yet another round of UNO.
Before lunch we had water play which ended up filling the pool and by the time the mom's came to pick up their children all the toddlers were only in diapers. We had several rounds of "Rosie", along with a toddler version of Soak Em' (somehow my snow angel's nose was broken off)
Aiden and Taylor
I wasn't sure how it was going to go or if I would even consider doing it again but we had a fabulous time! The time went very quickly and everyone was happy, well behaved, good manners and extremely helpful. Now, if I could harness that every day!
I am looking forward to my day tomorrow. I will start with a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte, time with a friend and the added bonus of getting to take Paisley with me! I can't wait.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The sanctity of life is very important to me. Too often I forget to pray for the warriors out there on the front lines making a difference, exposing the lies and falsehoods that our society has come to embrace as truth.  I have friends who are working tirelessly with the Whatcom County Pregnancy Center, other friends who support the clinic financially, and still others who fight for the clinic's rights in Olympia.
What can we do? We can begin by praying. Pray for our Country, Our Leaders, The Integrity of Our Men, Pray for The Truth to be proclaimed.
If you have any doubts about the power our enemy uses check out this episode:
Former abortion clinic owners, abortion providers, and planned parenthood managers speak out about the atrocities used in the abortion business.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Nativity Story Star Wars Style

Several years ago I purchased a Fisher Price Nativity Set. I love little people, yes I love how my children ALL play with them, but I enjoy them as well. I collect the different sets and love the creativity and imagination that my children use while playing with them.
I only pull this particular set out during Christmas time and my children are super excited to see it each year. In the past I have heard someone yelling "Jesus" and when I went to reprimand them, I discovered they were only playing with the 'Jesus Set'.
Yesterday, Ian and Ruby were happily playing with the Nativity Set when I overheard them say that Jesus was just like Yoda, He is the Master Jedi and uses the force. Then Ian informed Ruby that Joseph, even though he is Jesus' father, does not have the power that Jesus has. God, after all, is Jesus' real father. Therefore Joseph is just a Jedi in training.  Ruby went on as she does and said, "There is only one God. He is in 3 persons: The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit. Mary is Jesus' mom and she has to be a Jedi because she had to train Jesus and must have the force."
The game continued with Ian saying that Mary is a girl and can't have the force. I wish I had the force.
I am not into Star Wars AT ALL. In fact, they are only allowed to watch it when I am gone because I can't stand it.
I think The Nativity Story Star Wars Style was quite enlightening.  Maybe not the reverence we strive for, but funny.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Fun He's One

Look at this cutie pie! This is my one year old nephew Loden. His birthday was 3 weeks ago! I know I have been slacking on the blog a bit lately but I guess my excuse is that we are living life, not blogging it.

We had a super busy November with a birth, birthdays, birthday parties, and snow. Our family was really looking forward to our trip south to Celebrate Loden's First Year.

I am extremely jealous that my Sister In Law, Nicole gets her hands on Loden on a regular basis. Because they are in such close proximity, and Noah thinks of Loden as his brother, Noah was given the honors of making a toast to the Birthday boy. Noah is very articulate and extremely funny. Noah said that he thought Loden was very cute as a baby but as he is getting older his is becoming less cute ~ Thus the reaction from Karina above.
We don't see family near enough but it is always fabulous to see them. Ruby was especially taken with Aunt Shelby because she listened to Ruby's stream of consciousness speak.
Taylor, Aunt Karina, Grandma
I was hoping for a photo of all the girls together but was pleased with the one I was able to get. We were all disappointed that Aunt Nicole was not able to make the party due to illness, and would covet any prayers for miraculous healing.
Aaron is my most tenderhearted child. He loves to hold babies and is always good for getting a smile.  Loden was completely thrilled with Aaron and offered up not only smiles but contagious belly laughs as well. 
Sean, Ian, Aaron, Grandpa Ivan, Erik
I am not sure even a professional can get a good group shot with my boys. This was about the only picture where Ian's fingers are not in someone else's nose, mouth or ears!
All the cousin's on Sean's side are in this photo except for Mikaela
Again, I challenge a professional photographer to capture 5 boys and 3 girls for a frame worthy picture.
Happy First Birthday you cute little man! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Candle Making

Taylor recently joined Girls' Club. It is the answer to our prayers for friends for Taylor who share similar interests and values. We were especially excited when we learned  that they were using the Keepers at Home books for their projects and Bible Studies! We have used these in the past and Love them, it just isn't as much fun without someone to work on a project with.

I volunteered to teach the girls candle making. It has been several years (read: I had to dust off the wax and rid the box of spiders) since I have made candles. I decided to brush up on my skills and watched this wonderful video on different candle making techniques.
We have learned (the hard way) that in order to successfully teach a craft you should have at least attempted it once before. We made these candles at home with just the supplies I had on hand. The ones we made at Girls' Club were beautiful! We made light blue candles and red candles with pressed flowers.

My boys wanted to make candles as much as the girls did. I do see the allure of hot was and a delicious vanilla-cinnamon smell. This was one of those times where I really wanted to get the project done without all the 'little distractions' that slow things down. I had to stop and remind myself that it is an honor to have my children want to be with me, that we enjoy each other and most importantly we are learning together. Had I been in such a hurry I would have missed seeing the delight in their eyes, hearing their cheerful chatter, and spending time together. Remember to slow down and enjoy those who bring you the most joy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Liberty is a delight! We are so very blessed.

Liberty is extremely persistent and fairly easy to please. She loves to play with her baby and to read and be read to. She honestly does not know that she is not one of the big kids. Her favorite thing to say is ME! with her hand raised high in the air. What she is means is me too! Don't forget me! and I'll do it.  

Libby is my little helper. She is the first to unload the dishwasher, set the table,  and fold and put away laundry. In my perfectionist mind it is difficult to allow her to do those things to the best of her ability. I know she wants to do meaningful work and  teaching her to be delightful while she is working is a great reminder to me of how my attitude needs to be.
She is such a sweetie pie. All her siblings clamour over who gets to get her up from her naps. They are first in line to help her, give her whatever her little heart desires (even whipping cream from a can, directly into her mouth). She knows how to open the freezer and we are often irritated by the little wet spots of melting ice that we step in on an hourly basis.

I love how she loves each sibling in their own way. She knows that Taylor is second in command all day long and that Taylor will provide comfort, and security. Aaron is our comedian and loves to get a laugh out of Libby, she will be coy and make him work for it. She also knows that Aaron is comfortable in the kitchen and if she wants food, or drink she will ask him for it. Erik is always on the go. Liberty knows that I am constantly trying to keep track of him and she will randomly go and find him and tell Erik to go see mama! She knows that he loves kisses and hugs and gives him more kisses than anyone else. Ian is our gentle spirit and Liberty knows she can trust him. She loves for him to give her horsey rides, piggy backs, and will play chiropractor with him (he pretends to give her an adjustment). Ian is fun enough to be entertaining but gentle enough not to accidentally hurt her. Ruby loves her little sister and wants to teach her all things girl! Ruby has shown Libby where we keep the nail polish and that anytime is a good time to get your nails painted. Ruby also has a special blanket named "Two-y" and it makes everything better so Libby now has a "two-y" for her baby doll. Libby also knows that Mikaela is on the phone. She picks up the phone and talks to Lala. She even asks to call her. Mikaela will talk to Libby for as long as she wants.
Lord, I pray that you use Liberty's joy and delightful spirit for your glory. I ask you Father to equip her with your grace and your forgiveness. Help me to be a Godly example of a woman who delights in you and in her calling to be a wife and mother. Amen

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful Thanksgiving

 Look at this super cute banner that Taylor made! I was super excited that she wanted to make it. Often I come up with craft ideas that she is just not interested in. We found the pattern here and it took just a short time for spectacular results.
 We were so blessed to be invited to spend Thanksgiving with Syndiluhu and her family at her in laws house. You might remember Peggy's hospitality at the Historical Harvest Party, or Taylor's Victorian Tea Party , Peggy out did herself with the beautifully set table, coordinating dishes and service, and fellowship.
 I was busy and did not think to take photos of all the people but had to grab my camera and capture Sean playing 'Rosie" with the little girls. Ever since Liberty learned to play Ring Around the Rosie she can't get enough of it! The adults and the girls all stayed warm and cozy in the house, while the boys enjoyed the abundance of snowfall and the steep driveway to sled head first down the hill! I had to draw the line at crossing the road and seeing how close they could get to the mostly frozen pond. Eventually Taylor joined them for a few runs~in her velvet dress sans coat.
 We read about the history of "Come Ye Thankful People Come" and sang the Hymn together. I found a really wordy passage about how Thanksgiving became a National Holiday and had Aaron and Ben read it. We were all amazed at how far our Country has fallen since George Washington declared Thanksgiving as a time for Americans to to Thank God for His provisions, and remember how He has provided for us.
The women shared the cooking and the cleaning and fellowship together. Not one of us felt like we did enough for the amount of food we enjoyed!
Our menu included:
Homemade stuffing
My Grandmother's recipe for Cranberry Relish
Homemade crescent rolls
Gluten free rolls
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Beans
Brussel Sprouts (Aaron went back for thirds!)
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Pistachio Pie
Cranberry Lemon Bars
Whipping Cream
I am sure I forgot something but it makes me want it all again, Everything was amazing! What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
I think the memory that stands out the most on this Thanksgiving is the laughter, it is good for the soul.
I am blessed beyond measure!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two Broken Noses

 What are the chances of having two children with broken noses in as many weeks? 
I did  not take a picture of Libby's nose right after it happened, there was just too much blood! Her nose swelled, turned purple, then yellow now there is just a faint scratch.
How does a 21 month old break her nose? We walked with some friends to the library, then visited the skate park located right behind the library. I thought I had it all together, I had 3 2 year olds, a 4, 6, 8, 9, and 2 ten year olds by myself while my friend was in the library with the baby and Taylor. Everything was going great when was helping one of the little ones put shoes on, someone pushed Libby off of the 4 foot high ramp straight down to the concrete!
There was so much blood and we had to walk all the way back to my friends house. I was worried about a concussion so I took her to the doctor who confirmed the broken nose and no other injuries. Praise God!
The following week Ian was outside in all the snow and ice with all the children ice skating and he tripped and fell on the edge of the ice. Fortunately there was not much blood but he succeeded in doing a fabulous job breaking his nose. We are two for two, hopefully bad things don't come in threes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have a great post, Really I do.
It is saved because I cannot upload any photos.
It says server rejected.
What is up with that?
I'll try again in a bit.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Babies, Babies, Birthdays and More

I have not slept more than and hour and a half since Wednesday. I had the blessing of being able to help a friend get some coveted time alone with her husband. As a result I had 11 children at my house ALL day Thursday. We had a blast and will post about that soon.
When I went to drop the children at another friends house I got a call for a baby!
The Labor was beautiful and I will share about that soon but for now please lift baby Sophie up in prayer. She is not breathing unassisted and had to be transported to Children's. Mom is anxious to recover enough to go be with her baby and hold that precious little girl.
I came across this verse today:

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions;
stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.
2 Chronicles 20:17

I stopped on my way home and got what I needed to have a birthday party for my 13 year old Taylor. We had 13 girls here for games, jewelry making, dinner and ice cream sundaes!

Tomorrow We will be attending a reunion for some very dear friends and the sponsors of my Birth By Design Classes. After that we are headed to my nephew Loden's First Birthday Party then to Children's to visit baby Sophie and to Grandma's house for another Celebration of Taylor!

I am humbled by the blessings God has bestowed upon me. I am unworthy of all His provision and faithfulness. Praise God.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Third Annual Historical Harvest Party

 Sunday evening brought our much anticipated Historical Harvest Party. In years past we have included a  larger audience. This year however, was much more intimate. We had just 4 families and were treated to amazing hospitality by Ben's grandparents. They welcomed us with this amazing banner that included all the children's names.
 It was amazing how much better the presentations were this year. Is it because the children are older, or was the home setting more comfortable for them?
Jake did a super job informing all of us about George Washington.
 Ben and Aaron stuck with our Civil War history theme and were opposing Generals, with Ben on the Union side representing Ulysses S. Grant and Aaron with Virginian blood in his veins, General Robert E. Lee. I think Ben really liked it when Aaron had to surrender.
 All three boys were proud of their dress swords. Ben scrimped and saved and purchased his own sword, Aaron's was a treasure from my father, and Jake borrowed his dad's NRA sword.
 Savannah did a super job informing us about Katherina Von Bora, who was an amazing help meet for Martin Luther. Savannah's presentation showed how much she has matured over the last year. This year she was articulate and made eye contact and was engaging.
 When Taylor found this dress at Goodwill she knew exactly who she wanted to be for the Harvest Party ~ Martha Washington. I learned that Martha did not support George in is Candidacy for President of the newly formed United States, but she played the role of First Lady with dignity and honor. She served her country in the trenches (literally) and raised two of her grandchildren. Also, Aaron's character, Robert E. Lee married the granddaughter of Martha Washington.

Martha and George Washington
 Jake and Taylor discovered each other's characters shortly before the party and were surprised. I think most 10 year old boys would be horrified, but Jake humored us and even posed for a picture with his 'wife'.
 Everett did a Karate demonstration complete with the history and meaning of Karate! Have I ever told you how amazing  Everett's mom is? I told her I think I need to call her Saint Tami. She not only found the jacket I was looking for for Aaron's costume but made it as well! Yes, in all her free time homeschooling, being an amazing wife and mother (training a puppy) and serving wherever needs served she took a HUGE serving off my plate and made Aaron's costume! Thank you doesn't seem sufficient.
 We were also treated to glimpses in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Ruby, and Egyptian Princess by Isobel, and Daniel Boon by Erik. Probably my favorite was Ian's presentation of George Mueller. George was a 'naughty boy' when he was young and most people were unfamiliar with his life, so they were entertained by Ian's little voice telling about this swindler who later grew up to be The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans. If you have not read his story get this book.
 As parents of homeschoolers we don't have many opportunities to see our children perform. We were all proud of our children and their hard work getting ready. Thank you so much to Syndi for planning this annual event, and for Ray and Peggy for sharing your beautiful home with us!
 After the presentations we enjoyed way too many delicious desserts. My mom and Kimberly even brought a special gluten, dairy and egg free dessert for Taylor and Erik. Their gift and their presence were a blessing.
Of course, no event could be complete without the clashing of swords, at least not for these boys.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Boys

Sean and the boys are all incredibly enthusiastic about everything associated with Scouts. They took the opportunity a few weeks ago to to camping and fishing with a local scout troop.
Word has it that these boys were quite the anglers. Lots of fishermen were at the lake and catching very few fish ~ Not these boys, they caught their limit in less than an hour!
I still don't see the draw of standing out in the cold getting wet and slimy and sleeping in an open Adirondacks in the cold. If they truly love it and it offers them man time I am all over it. Plus it means the girls and I can paint our nails, eat pizza and ice cream and watch movies.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Loving Learning

We are Loving our curriculum this year. I have been wanting to try My Father's World for quite some time but have always been put off by the financial investment. I know homeschooling is an investment and I expect that but I really do not like to spend money on something that doesn't work for us. Think of my 17 3rd grade spelling programs that I own.
Through the generosity of a wonderful friend we were able to borrow most of the books needed to do My Father's World. One of our favorite books is from Answers in Genesis called "Properties of Ecosystems". We have done some fabulous experiments and this week we learned how the Xylem in trees help transport the water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the tree. We removed the Xylem from one piece of celery and left in in the other. We added food coloring to see how the water travels and within hours we could see the celery without Xylem was still green and went limp from lack of water. While the intact celery was still crisp and the leaves had turned red, we also discovered that when we cut the celery the Xylem in the celery was red. There is nothing like real life learning to bring the lessons home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

House Ball

My children love to play house so when Aaron suggested they play house ball, I assumed that it was just part of playing house.
It did not occur to me that house ball involved our house. They use a little soccer ball from the dollar store and tennis rackets. Some of the children are in the back yard while others are in the front and they play tennis over the house.
Just one more advantage of a small house.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Better

Not a flattering photo of me but it is a pretty accurate depiction of how I felt out there shooting guns! I almost think I was more giddy than the boys. However I saw Sean's fabulous smile on his face the whole time we were out there. I love that smile, I wish we saw it all the time. He frequently says he is smiling ~ inside. Sorry but that doesn't count.
Aaron loved how the M4 obliterated the pumpkins.

I wouldn't want to run into Syndi if she were brandishing an assault rifle in a dark alley. That girl can shoot with amazing accuracy. Thank you so much for infecting me with the bug.

There is something pretty cool about a mom using her son's .22.

I could try to blame my poor vision, or the fact that it was my first experience shooting an M4, but in reality I can't tell you how much of the pumpkins I actually hit. I was having far too much fun with the power and speed of gun to really pay too much attention to the minor detail of where the bullets were going.

Tim is an excellent marksman and offered great pointers. He even patiently taught me how to properly hold the pistol. I really appreciate his respect for guns and safety including instruction about the proper use of firearms.

Erik could use a magazine of bullets in seconds. His aim left a little to be desired but we cut him some slack as I think the rifle was nearly as long as he is tall.

He was much more accurate when resting the gun on the table. This boy can be the most trying and most rewarding child at the same time. This time he was pure joy!
This is a tradition I highly recommend, especially when rotten pumpkins are involved.