Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Good

I know these photos are not in the right order, but frankly I don't really have the energy to care right now. After Aaron's birthday party we went home and enjoyed a delicious dinner of Corned Beef and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with raw carrots and a salad (his birthday request).

Since we had just had cake and ice cream and I knew it was a negative tide and I really did not want to do another dessert, we headed out to the beach!

We went to a different area because you could see more. The children were all having fun and exploring, all except the birthday boy, he Really wanted to go to 'our' beach.
Since it was his birthday, we obliged.

First things first, Ian and Ruby removed their shoes and we enjoyed another unseasonably warm evening at the beach.

Taylor loved this heart in the shell. We saw lots of Echinoderms and Nudibranchs! We found some bivalves, worms, and goeducks (actually only part of a goeduck that Aaron caught)

Aaron said, "I always love going to the beach, especially with Ben. It is fun to go at night but it was really hard to be there and know that I would not get to play with my Legos when I got home. I can't wait to play with my new Legos."
The next morning when I woke up Aaron and Ian were under the dining room table assembling the new Legos. You just can't beat quality brother time.

A Decade

My oldest son turned 10! He is a decade old, he entered double digits, 10 years old. I honestly cannot believe that much time has passed. He is my first boy after 2 girls. He is what I dreamed of, and prayed for. I told Sean that I wanted a boy born in March of 2000 and I got exactly what I wanted. He has always been a voracious eater, he was the latest of any of our children to walk (16 months old).

Aaron loves to help! He decorated a lot of the cake by himself after telling me preciously what he wanted. He is the strong silent type. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can be easily offended. He gives ample grace to those that do not really deserve it.

He is a willing learner and loves spelling and reading but cannot stand English (who knew). He always surprises me by what he already knows when I am teaching him something new.

Aaron reminds me of a great big golden retriever puppy, he is so friendly and wants to be liked but has no idea of the space that he uses. He is several inches taller than all of his friends, including those that are a few years older than him. He out weighs them by at least 20 pounds but would never use his size (if he is even aware that he could) to harm anyone.

My prayer for him as he grows to become a young man is that he will come to know Jesus as his personal Savior and will show responsibility and be a diligent worker. I hope that he will be a strong and courageous leader especially in his family and have a heart to serve.

This is probably one of my favorite photos of the day, I love Jake's excitement (far left),You can see Ben and Savannah as well in their enthusiasm. Aaron opened a Lego Indiana Jones Set. He got everything on his list!
How to Build Tree Houses, Huts, and Forts book
Lego Indian Jones - 3 different sets
Hockey Mask, and stick
and $10 bills galore
He is so responsible that he wants to put $40 in the bank and only have $20 to spend! Every mothers dream.

Aaron, may you always have such enthusiasm, and find joy in the simple pleasures of life.

Aaron said to me, "Moms are so cool, they always make things perfect!"

Back Row: Sarah, Kimberly, Geaba, Liberty, Taylor, Savannah, Ben, Evan
Front Row: Isobele, Ruby, Erik, Ian, Aaron, Jake, Everett, Mikaela

I loved that he used his Lego guys to decorate the cake, He took his diver apart and used him in 2 places.
Ben said, "Aaron how come you have a Nazi on your cake?"
Aaron replied,"It's a German."
Good thing we are not racist, but I guess we will have to cover WWII sometime soon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have not fallen off the face of the earth just dealing with a killer migraine. Liberty fell asleep in her highchair at lunch today and I have slept most of the weekend and am heading to bed right now to sleep more. I will post when I get back on my feet. Blessings~

Monday, March 22, 2010


Six, that is how old my youngest son is. Six, that is how many hands helped to decorate the cake. Taylor and Aaron both wanted a chance to try! I was thrilled with the hope that perhaps one of them will feel the overwhelming desire to take over cake decorating.

Six, that is how many siblings Ian has.

Six, is so old. He had a specific guest list, Ben, Jake, Justin, Everett, and Sawyer. I had a lot of games planned and this one on the trampoline was not one of them. Sawyer and Ian put all of Sawyer's cars on the trampoline and jumped. Not sure what the point was, I bet they know.

Six hundred rounds of Red Light Green Light

Six thousand rounds of timed obstacle course, they had to go through a tunnel, around a curve, through tires, and weave through cones.

This was the highlight of all the children, they all wanted to be the fastest. Not one person could beat Erik's time, he had the height advantage of not having to crawl through the tunnel.

Two relay teams to roll the tires down around a cone and back. One injury of a child going over the tire and the tire rolling over him.

One black car and one red car competing for the fastest pit crew. They had to race to the pit, get all 4 tires changed, make a lap and change the tires again.

Six, so old and still my little boy. I always get a quite sentimental on Ian's birthday. For me it is a time to reflect on the additional six years that God has given me. His birth was wonderful! We had him at home in a tub. It was also the longest by far and I was exhausted. After he was born I had major complications and was not expected to survive. I praise God for the privilege of raising my children and for the journey I have travelled. I am thankful for the ever present reminder of His faithfulness and the joy in watching Ian become who he is.


In all of my study and reading lately I keep coming up feeling completely inadequate. Try as I might if I get up early one, or two, or three children get up seconds after me. If I close my door, turn on a small light and try to quietly read, I am asleep in seconds.
I know to start my day with quiet time with my Savior would bless me and my family immensely!
Here is a quote from a book that I was reading last night, the title of the book is, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by: Chancey and McDonald

Spending time with God and in His Word is crucial,
but don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting a regular time
of peaceful bliss in prayer and quiet solitude.
...to beat ourselves up over our failure to create a worship time that resembles someone else's isn't necessary and can sometimes be detrimental.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2
I feel like I finally received some confirmation that though my quiet time is anything but quiet I am sharing what I am learning and modeling the importance of discipline in God's word to my children. I may not have 20 minutes of interrupted prayer but I have more than 20 minutes of prayer as I teach my children to pray about the things that are on our hearts.
A mighty example of this can be read about over at Hilary's blog. Ever since her children were taken away 6 months ago Erik has been praying for them to come back. Faithfully praying. Several times I almost told him that the children were not coming back, but I decided that if God put it on his heart who am I to dictate what he asks God for?
I guess what I am trying to say is that while I would love to have uninterrupted time in the Word every morning, my interruptions are a gift and a blessing from God. He know the desires of my heart.
I am not sure if playing hymns full blast in my 12 passenger van so I cannot hear the arguing behind me is the best idea. Again, God knows the desires of my heart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day

Around here, we are very Irish! My Father's Name was Patrick, my aunt was Shannon and my Uncle Michael, Mike for short.
Growing up we always had a great St Patty's Day dinner complete with green milk! I have tried green milk on my family, they don't appreciate it.
I do like to celebrate and create fun memories. Each child created a mini book about St. Patrick's Day. Some of them did hidden puzzles, or word searches. Others made rainbows with pots of gold and leprechaun marionettes. We found all our last minute fun projects at Enchanted Learning.
Traditionally we have Corned Beef (An American Irish Tradition), Cabbage, Rutabaga, and Mashed Potatoes. When I went shopping for St. Patrick's Dinner the store was out of red potatoes, rutabaga, and cabbage! I guess my idea was not so original after all. I substituted baking potatoes for the red potatoes and we went without rutabaga and cabbage. We had salad instead. I also purchased some beer to make the traditional beer bread. In the beer aisle of the store he said, "MOM, ARE YOU BUYING BEER THAT HAS ALCOHOL IN IT?"
I replied, "yes honey, it is for the beer bread."
I answered,"The alcohol cooks out when you bake it, so you will not get drunk."
Erik said, "OH GOOD! Then I will eat some."
Glad that is cleared up for all the Fred Meyer customers.
Sean invited a co-worker to join our festivities. He commented that it was difficult to tell the difference between the green mashed potatoes and the pistachio pie! I think Sean was a little embarrassed to serve green potatoes but it was all in fun! Ian and Ruby are convinced that the potatoes tasted 'mintish' like our green eggs from the Dr. Seuss Celebration.
We ended the evening with a competitive game of Blokus Trigone.

Monday, March 15, 2010

3 Under 1 1/2

Here is my little 3 1/2 year old helper. She absolutely LOVES to wash dishes and it keeps her very busy for a very long time. Currently she only likes dresses that touch the floor so she can curtsy. I found this cute little 'pioneer' number at Goodwill and it offers me some reprieve between washings of her pink pioneer dress. My good friend Jess was very sick yesterday. She could not even pull her head out from under the blankets when I went to her house to rescue her children, I mean her.

It was a fabulous day! We walked to the library, then the coffee hut, we visited with the chiropractor, the barista, the police officer then headed to the park and played for a long time!
I ended up taking the children back to my house for some fun with whipping cream, dinner, baths, PJ's and took them home and put the babies to bed! I had a lot of fun, because I did not try to get a million other things done. I spent the day with 10 children 3 of whom were under a year and a half!
When Sean got home it was very busy and he commented that the boys were like piranhas looking for food. I assured him that I had been feeding them all day but they were starving! Honor succeeded in getting his clean little self all dirty again so I had to take him home in Liberty's pajama's.

I only had a little to clean up, and always feel much better after a good vacuum. It is a bit slow going when the 1 year old helps. She can only vacuum 2 square inches at a time, but she is very through!
Sean jokingly said, "Awww, come on what's the matter with Jess? Can't she handle this while she is sick?"
To which I replied, "Not everyone can be superwoman!"
I tell you this because I was anything but superwoman today. It took me 2 1/2 hours to help one of my children with ONE math problem and we had several other 'issues'. Mostly with the seeming inability to stay on task. I guess it took superpowers for me to keep my voice calm and quiet through the whole ordeal. I am a work in progress I am sure my frustration showed in my body language but at least I kept a lid on my mouth.
Ian told me that I was a really good teacher! What a guy.
Verses that I am meditating on today:
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

Pi Day

My wonderful friend Syndi always lets me know about important dates and events! Take Yesterday for instance, the date was: March 14 or 3.14 The number Pi. See my Chicken Pot Pie with the Pi symbol on it??
My children are familiar with the number Pi because we read these great books that introduce math in a fun and informative way! The books are part of the Sir Cumference and Knights of the Round Table series.
I casually mentioned to Sean that it was Pi day and I was going to make an apple pie for dessert (I had an apple pie in the freezer). He said that he really wanted Key Lime Pie. I have never made Key Lime Pie before and did not even know he liked it, so after an Internet search I found a recipe that I only had to go buy 4 ingredients and proceeded to make a delicious Key Lime Pie.

After desert was over, Sean said that is not what he remembered Key Lime Pie to look like. I discovered later that what he really wanted was Pistachio Pie (which is made with jello pudding and dream whip ~super easy!). O Well, It was delicious and satisfied my husband that I was willing to make a special pie for him.

Sean did a mini lesson showing the children how to measure pie and then challenged them that if they told him the diameter of something he could tell them the circumference without using a calculator or paper.
He had them measuring like crazy and figuring out if he was right and the children were thrilled when he missed a number by something crazy like 1/2 cm. He was pretty impressive.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pinewood Derby

I tried to get some action photos at the Pinewood Derby but I only brought one lens and the lighting was not conducive to quality photos.
The boys were proud of their cars and Sean is really good at letting them make the decisions. I however, would have prodded them along to use more graphite, balance the wheels, at varnish to make them shiny, in short I would have dictated the decisions in hopes of a faster car.

That being said, it is better that I was not involved. Here is Ian's car minus the lead weights and the wheels that he borrowed from one of Erik's old cars.

Erik's car went faster when placed on the track backward. The same thing happened last year. None of the boys placed or won awards, but they were great sports and cheered their friends on! Ian had the hardest time with not winning, but I was very proud of my other two boys who said, "Ian, it isn't about winning but having a good attitude and lots of fun!"
So very true but from the competitive mama, it is a lot of fun to win too!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Have Mercy!

God has shown me mercy in so many ways. I sin and fall short of His Glory on an hourly basis. I know that must make Him so sad and frustrated.
I decided that I needed to show God's mercy on my children today. Just as I do not deserve His grace they did not deserve mine.
I made a point of telling them that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and while they were still sinning today I was showing them mercy and grace by providing them with a special treat.
I really wanted to discipline and pile on more work. Instead we ate ice cream and went for a walk with Ben and Syndi. Really a much better way to spend the afternoon.


The Pinewood Derby is only 2 days away! It is a much anticipated event for our boys! Aaron and Erik are the only 'official' racers. However several of our other children make cars for the Outlaw Race! Don't you just love Ian's safety glasses and Amish hat?
I am so thankful that I do not have to help with this event. I am such a perfectionist I want to 'help' too much. Now, I am relegated to the official photographer.

Last night after putting most of the children to bed I found this war scene on my couch. The army guys were being taken out by cannon balls shot from Aaron's catapult that he made at Scouts.

This catapult has brought hours and hours of fun!

The only issue with the catapult is the marbles and steelies hitting the wall and picture behind the sofa. Aaron tried to get around this by placing pillows on the back of the sofa, it helped, a little.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This week we were learning about Echinoderms in our Marine Biology Class. Echinoderms are 'spiny skin' creatures. The classic Echinoderm joke:
How did the Sea Cucumber and Sun Star pay for their lunch?
They used a Sand Dollar.

Taylor was really excited about this sea cucumber because it had a limpet attached to it and a small barnacle attached to the limpet! Also you can see the radial pattern of 5. The sea cucumber has 5 rows of tube feet that it uses to crawl along the sea floor. The cucumber has an interesting line of defense, if it is threatened it spits out its guts. The sticky internal organs glue a predators gills or throat shut! Then the cucumber regenerates its internal organs. The 5 pattern corresponds to the five arms of a sea star and the five rows of tube feet on a sea urchin and the 5 petal pattern on the sand dollar.

This sun sea star has 15 legs! Again, using the pattern of 5. You can see the sea star's mouth at the center of the central disk. The sea star's stomach will leave the mouth and engulf it's prey. Once it has done that, it immediately begins digesting the animal, then, as the food gets mushier, the sea star pulls the stomach back in through the hole to be fully digested.

At our local marine life center, they have a tank that you can 'go inside'. Actually it is better than that because you don't even have to get wet! We got to see an anemone attached on the bubble and a limpet. Liberty loved all the sea life!

We tried really hard to find the eyes on the ends of the rays of the sea stars, next time we will have to bring our magnifying glass.
We did see the Aristotle's lantern on the sea urchin. The Aristotle's lantern is the 5 special teeth
an urchin uses to scrape algae off rocks and bore holes in rocks for them to have a place to hide.

The Marine Life Center has great volunteers and are willing to spend a lot of time answering questions an showing us what we are looking for and teaching us more! We were not disappointed!

One of the highlights today were the shrimp! The children were shown how to catch them and were all successful at it!

I decided that as a treat we would enjoy some local shrimp at The Shrimp Shack. Not the type of place I would normally take all of my children for lunch, because of the cost. Fortunately, I had packed lunch so they should not have been starving and we all shared a platter of beer battered deep fried shrimp and chips!
They all wanted more than their allotted 2! It was fun memories made.

We came home and are attempting to make our own echinoderms using a saturated salt water solution and cotton thread. Taylor's solution is the purple one, and she wanted to make sure that her solution was really saturated! Good thing I buy salt in bulk, I think they each used about 3 Cups of salt. Hopefully they are not too saturated and it will work, I will keep you posted.