Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keeping Christ the Center of Christmas

 We were so blessed to be invited to Celebrate Christ with fellow believers. I love, love, love, keeping Christ at the center of everything we do. That is so much easier to do when you are with other families who have the same goal in mind.
Cael playing his violin for all of us, with his beautiful mama Shelly,
 and baby sister, Gracie holding his music for him. 
 We already had plans to play with friends on Tuesday during the day so it was a huge relief to me to know that I didn't have to try and make a good impression and get everyone dressed in their best. We were fine to come just as we are. I did make sure the boys had jeans with no rips but other than that we were good to go!
Ethan, Ian, and Cael
 I also really enjoy eating and good food so it is just so much more relaxing and enjoyable when you are with a group of people who don't even look twice when you go back for thirds. I mean really, who don't want to try everything? Nate made some amazing dip with sun dried tomatoes, feta, and other amazing ingredients then he took that and added bacon or sausage (doesn't really matter I love pork) and put in in a perfectly flaky roll. I shamelessly ate the remains of one that got stuck in the pan.
We all brought a soup to share so we had some great choices, Taco Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Chili with Roast, and Ravioli Soup.
Don't let Ava and Ruby fool you, their was no chance they were going to fall asleep. 
 We sang Christmas Carols and Ava and her little brother Justus, did interpretative dance. One of the best things about homeschoolers is that there is very little the older children do that the youngers don't just learn by osmosis. At this rate I might not have to teach Liberty anything she will just absorb it all. Justus had quite the dance moves for a 2 year old.
Justus, Taylor, Ellie, Aiden, and Ruby (in front) listening to directions for the gift exchange. 
 It always cracks me up, in a not so funny kind of way, when someone recommends something for my family and says, "It's great! Totally cheap, only $8 a person!" I'm sorry but anything that costs my family $64 is not cheap. I was delighted when Amy suggested a consumable gift exchange of less than $2 a person. I'm pretty sure the mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups exceeded the $2 rule, but I'm not complaining. I'm just trying how to get some of those without him noticing!
For less than $12 all the children got to participate in the gift exchange and go home with something that we will eat on Friday at Watermania. I don't have to store it, or manage it, or repair it, we get it eat it and it's gone! Fabulous idea.
Taylor, Ellie, Aiden, Aaron, Luke, and Libby.
Can you guess what they are singing?
In between Carols the children had the opportunity to present something that they had been working on, we were blessed with the violin, the piano, and vocal talents by our children. Complete with prayer and discussion of why we are doing what we are doing it was a fabulous memory made with fabulous people! Thank you to Mike and Amy for hosting and including our family ~ We were blessed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Intentional Parenting

It has been awhile since our last Pajama Ride. Pajama Ride is when we put the children to bed, then wait a bit and bang on some pots and pans and yell "Pajama Ride! Pajama Ride!"
The children then race to get coats and shoes on and get in the car to get treats. 
 The last thing I wanted to do last night was get the kids out of bed once they were settled down. It has been a particularly rough week with attitudes and work ethic. We decided that this was one of the best ways we can teach our children about grace, giving them something they don't deserve, didn't earn, and will  bless them.
 Liberty was eagerly anticipating the ice cream but severely disappointed that her shoes wouldn't fit over her footed PJ's. No need to worry we have many hands willing to carry her to the van.
 As with everything, if we don't intentionally make something happen, it just won't. I have been cracking down on the children who don't do a portion of their school work because they don't like it, don't want to do it, or, are too lazy to make the effort. I intentionally decided that we were going to take  a Christmas Break this year (something we have not done before). I needed time to regroup and they needed something to look forward to and work toward.
Two weeks ago I gave them all the work I expected to be completed by Wednesday of this week. Whoever  is done will get to go to Watermania, if they aren't done they will stay home and finish. This is a problem because I REALLY want to be done and they require A LOT of me to finish their work. It is also going to be very difficult to leave a few kids at home because I don't want them to miss out, but it looks like a few of them are going to miss out. I just hope I'm wrong on that one.
 Buckled in the van and ready to go! For $11.52 we were able to get everyone treats, Kid Cones for the little girls, Small cones for the bigger kids, a mini Georgia Mud Fudge blizzard for me, and a hot fudge sundae for Sean. I think I would have rather had a salted carmel hot chocolate from Starbucks but we didn't need to make things more difficult.
We explained to the children that we were showing them Grace, just like Jesus shows us grace. We teach our children and pray that they will take to heart all that they have learned. We are currently going through the book of Proverbs using Kevin Swanson's study to teach our children about wisdom.
Be intentional in the things you teach and activities you participate in with your children.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday Taylor!

One of our Birthday Traditions is that the Birthday girl, or boy, gets to choose all the meals for the day.
Taylor had high standards for breakfast and dinner, but lunch was a breeze. 
For breakfast she chose Swedish pancakes, in our home they are known as roll-up pancakes. It took me over an hour of actual cooking time and 2 dozen eggs, 10 cups of milk and 8 cups of flour! 
I know she is really happy to not be eating gluten free right now. 
Taylor reading her new book from Grandma Chris to Liberty
 Lunch was super easy and I applauded her choice for dinner ~ Sean's homemade calzones. This was the first party that I didn't make the meal.  I loved being able to visit and take care of other small details. I think it was a bit stressful for Sean, calzones for 15 people.
other than the food, we don't have regular traditions or parties for our children. Some years we go all out, like here, other times we go more simple. We almost always combine the boys party.
Sean and Mark finally getting to enjoy some delicious Calzones. 
Our good friends, Mark and Christine and their children recently moved back to the area. We couldn't be more thrilled! Taylor didn't want a big friend party she only wanted to have the Landis' come over, eat calzones, and play in the woods then play 'ghost in the graveyard' which is hide and go seek in the dark outside. I'm still trying to come up with a better name for it than that, any suggestions?!
All the party guests! My mom and niece, Kimberly, the Landis' and my children.  
I cherish the fact that at 14 Taylor was equally thrilled with the books and clothes that she received and promised to share the Playmobile that Ruby, Liberty, and Ian gave her. A toy that entertains both the 2 year old and the 14 year old and everyone in-between is priceless!
This is one example of why I don't have any family photos!
I can hardly believe this was almost a month ago, Aaron is now officially taller than I am, and Taylor has been taller for almost a year.
Taylor is growing into a lovely young lady. She is learning to run a house quite efficiently. She is still the leader in the home and all the other children will happily oblige and play whatever she has in store for them. The other children wait for their turn to have a game with Taylor. She is very cleaver when it comes to using that time as a reward.
Taylor is my #1 kitchen and bathroom cleaner. I am thrilled with the work ethic I have seen develop this past year. I give her her work list for the week and she will work diligently to complete everything on her list. She will even be responsible enough to pass up something fun because she needs to do her work. I am looking for a way to clone that gene!
It is amazing to watch how God is molding her and shaping her into a young woman that is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside. I am excited to watch her mature over the next year and see her become more responsible. She is a joy and I am so blessed to participate in the molding and shaping and teaching and training of her life.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Liberty is always the comedian
I have 7 children, I should be able to manage who is where pretty easily. Today was a challenge and certainly not for the faint of heart.
1st step: Load Ruby, Aaron, Erik & Ian in the car, leave Taylor and Liberty at home
2nd step: Pick up Hezekiah for Scouts
3rd step: Drop them all off with Tami so I could go test drive a car
4th step: Pick up Aaron, Erik, Ian, Hezekiah, and Everett, leave Ruby to play with Isobel
5th step: Dana drop her daughter Bree, at Scouts for me to watch.
6th step: Take Bree, Aaron, Erik, Ian, Everett, and  Hezekiah to Cash & Carry with me
7th step: Meet Chuck so he can take Ian and Hezzy to his house
8th step: Drop Everett at his house, pick up Ruby, Meet Dana so she can get Bree back
9th step: Collect Aaron, Erik, Ruby and reunite with Liberty and Taylor
10th step: Ask Sean to pick up Ian on his way home.

We made it safely through our day and thankfully are all home together. I'm grateful that I knew who I was supposed to have at all times and did not forget anyone anywhere.

There You Go

Sean took these lovely pictures of me last night and said he didn't think they would ever appear on the blog. Here they are. I Typically don't like my picture taken and immediately delete the bad ones.  
I was preparing for our Cub Scout meeting and burned two of my fingers on the hot glue gun. Instantly I put my fingers in my mouth to cool the burn and glue got stuck on my lip. As I am typing this I feel like an idiot, but also it is pretty funny. Now I have a beautiful blister on my upper lip and it hurts bad!

Sean was feeding the bull yesterday and cutting up the apples for him,  he loves apples! We realized that when he came in bleeding all over the place we were inadequately stocked for first aid supplies. The funny thing is that last week Aaron was working on some requirements for Boy Scouts and I have a First Aid supply list on my fridge that I need to purchase. When Aaron made the list I thought, "We have never had those things in our house, why do I need to buy them?" It would have been really helpful to have some 3X3's! Sean has to go in today to see if he needs stitches, The cut is pretty bad, and won't quit bleeding.

I ran 2.6 miles on the treadmill this morning and need to get my children's assignment sheets ready for them, then we are off to scouts and purchasing the last few supplies for a batch cook tomorrow.
Happy Monday! I hope you feel as ambitious as I do, only slow down and be careful!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Abigail Lael's Birth

Abigail is My Father's Joy
Lael is Of God
Exactly 24 hours after my last birth I received a call from Tami that her water broke. I immediately praised God that I got a full 12 hours sleep the night before and that it was clear that Tami was in labor. 
One of my concerns for Tami's labor was that we would not know when it was time to go.

Abigail Lael
 Tami had to previous C Sections and really wanted to try for a vaginal birth. Unfortunately, the closest hospital willing to take the 1% risk of uterine rupture was UW Hospital in Seattle. Tami is one of my 'Core' friends and she is not usually the one who has really strong opinions. She is very tender and the kind of woman who you want to take under your wing and protect. However, concerning her TOLAC (Trial of Labor After a Cesarean) she had very strong feelings and was completely committed to every aspect and sacrifice it would involve.
I attended one of her prenatal visits and was blown away by the knowledge and care that she received. Her doctor spent a full hour answering MY questions!
I called Rene, our friend and birth photographer, to come and pick me up so that we could carpool together to Seattle. I had to laugh that we first made a stop to drop stuff off at Goodwill, get gas, and do a drive thru dinner for me.
When we got to the hospital it was about 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Tami was already admitted and had a room, I really wanted an excuse to take a bath in the tub! It was deep, had jets, and was really warm! Her labor started slow but continued all night long. Fortunately at first they were committed to performing minimal exams to check progress. The nice thing about a teaching hospital is they are willing to let you try for a VBAC after 2. The bad thing is that it is a teaching hospital so you have someone learning on you.
The nurse we got for day shift was amazing and completely on Tami's side. She helped fight for what Tami wanted and for what was best. After about 12 hours of hard labor Tami was still at a 1cm dilation. Needless to say that was very discouraging. The doctors wanted to hurry things along due to the fact that her water had been broken for so long. There is a risk of infection but that risk is reduced if you have a high leak, like Tami had, and minimize the number of exams.
I pleaded for a Foley Bulb Induction, which manually dilates the cervix. The resident wanted to go that route as well, unfortunately we were not the ones getting to make the final decision. The attending wanted to do an IUPC (Intra Uterine Pressure Catheter). I argued against that for reasons of increased risk of infection. In the end we were told that they were going to do the IUPC because they wanted to. Sometimes I want to stomp my foot and throw a fit because the Doctors tell you that it is your birth and you get to make the decisions but Ultimately your hands are tied with different rules.
Through all this Tami was amazing and kept her eyes focused on the goal of a vaginal birth and a healthy baby. I helped keep the doctors at bay. Sometimes they told us they were going to come back to check on us at a certain time, I would then make sure to get Tami in the tub or for a walk in the halls just before they were going to be there. This bought us a lot of time.
Tami's husband Ian was phenomenal during her birth. His genuine love and concern for her was touching to witness. He had the most encouraging and positive words for her even when he was feeling anxious.
Ian knew that all Tami worked so hard to get was just out of reach and he supported her through it all and help boost her to where she needed to be.
Because she wasn't progressing much the decided to give her Pitocin to increase the strength of her contractions. Not long after that while in the bath Tami decided that she wanted the Epidural Right Now! This was probably up there with one of the most stressful moments of my life. Tami was angry that it hurt, mad that the anesthesiologist  was taking so long, and she wanted me to fix it. I am not one to be offended or take things personally in the delivery room but I was genuinely worried that this was going to make her hate me forever! I did my best to encourage her and help her. I was on my knees in the bathroom with the full weight of her resting on my arms. My arms were shaking and my knees felt like I was on rocks but I could only think of all that Tami was facing and that my discomfort was nothing compared to hers.
I talked her through the contractions and by the time we got her cleaned up they were ready for her epidural.

Abigail, right where she belongs, in her Mama's arms.
VBAC, I wanted her to get the birth she wanted, I wanted her to know how proud I was of her and I wanted her to feel proud of all that she had accomplished. I cried out to God, "God you promise to give us the desires of our heart if they are honoring to You! How can this desire not be honoring to You? Please let her do this. Please God."
The next exam seemed to take forever and we were all waiting to hear the magic number of 1 again. Miraculously, she was at 7cm! Praise God for His faithfulness! 
We were still thinking that the baby was going to have a birthday of 11/11/11. That came and went and I knew the baby would be born on 11/12/11.  She progressed the last 3 cm in about 3 hours. The doctor wanted her to start pushing because her membranes had been ruptured for so long. I was able to convince them to hold off until they turned the epidural off so that she could feel how to push. Again, I don't think Tami liked hearing me tell them to turn it off, but she trusted me. She only pushed for a little over an hour.  When we started to see the top of the baby's head and Tami reached down to feel it we all started sobbing! The joy and pure bliss on her face made every second of the last 30 hours worth it. I felt awe at Tami's strength and pride in her resolve. 
Because the baby had passed Meconium and Tami had a fever during labor they clamped the cord  (I got to cut it!) and took the baby to the respiratory therapists to make sure she was fine. 
Tami got her baby back we were all thrilled to see it was a girl! She nursed like it was something she had been doing forever and we all laid down on whatever flat surface we could find for a much deserved nap. About an hour later we woke up and I had the privilege of giving Abigail her first bath. We did weights and measures. She was 6 lbs 14oz and 21"! For more of her story check out Tami's blog, or to see some amazing birth photography click on Rene's link above. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Mama and Liberty making Pistachio Pie
I wasn't sure until a few days before if we were even going to have guests for Thanksgiving. It was such a pleasant surprise when everyone we invited said Yes! I was thrilled to have my Mother In Law, Grandma Chris, come up a few days before to help with preparations.
Grandma Chris and Liberty Making Pumpkin Pie
Liberty conveniently found herself a stool and some counter space to help in the kitchen. She has quite a little sweet tooth and has discovered that by helping she can also taste.
Taylor making Pumpkin Pie and Crescent Rolls
To my amazement Taylor wanted to help and did a fabulous job. Maybe it is just me, and my micromanagement of the kitchen but I practically have to beg her to try cooking. This time she willingly helped and made crescent rolls equal to my Mother In Law's!
Clockwise from front:Ian, Papa, Ruby, Delores, Gene, Ryan,Loden, Karina,Chris,Taylor, Aaron
I feel so blessed when I see the faces around my table and the bounty of food we prepared. The best part is being able to eat on the leftovers all weekend! Ruby usually eats like a bird and talks like a parrot! This meal was quite different, she kept wanting to eat more but was extremely worried that she would not have enough room for the Pistachio Pie! She sighed great big and had such a dilemma over whether to take another helping of Brussel sprouts and cranberry relish and risk being too full for pie!
Clockwise from front Right: Ryan, Loden, Karina, Chris,Taylor, Aaron, Mama, Ian, Papa,Liberty, Erik, Ruby, Gene
Aaron was thrilled with the abundance and with all the delicious food. He exclaimed, "This is my best meal ever!" When I asked, "Why?" He replied, "Because we have family and friends to share it with!"
I love that boy. Sometimes he melts my heart.
I love surrounding myself with people and feed on the energy and enthusiasm. After Chris and I were almost done with preparations Sean walked in and said, "Everyone is going to be here soon. This is going to be a lot of work."
It made me stop and realize that what energizes me, and makes me happy is a lot of work for him. I am so Thankful that he was willing to host and took the effort to create some wonderful memories for the family.
Delores, a friend from our Church in Blaine, brought the most delicious coconut chocolate torte! She also made Brussel Sprouts that even I liked! They were actually good.  No really, they were good!
Gene and the boys playing Guess Who
I appreciated the help cleaning up. The saying of many hands make light work is true! We all did a little and then were able to fellowship, play music, paint toenails, talk, laugh, play games, drink coffee, and eat dessert!
We really missed having Mikaela with us, but it was wonderful to hear her voice and comforting to know she was served a turkey dinner at work! Wish I could have sent her some fresh from the oven sweet potato casserole.
Liberty finally found Aunt Karina willing to paint her nails. 
The best part of Thanksgiving is hearing from my children that they are most thankful for their family. God has blessed us richly in that department and it is easy to selfishly want to do what I want, when I want. When I stop to reflect on all that I have learned being a mom to many I am humbled to realize that He is molding me and shaping me into His Image. To be more like my Savior I have to lay down my selfishness and put others before myself. When I do that I am much more content and more satisfied. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Welcome Jade Rachel

Me & Jade 
I love being a Doula! It is incredibly rewarding. It is also extremely stressful at times. On Sunday November 6th I received a call from one of my clients, thinking she might be in labor. After hanging up with her I got a call from another client thinking she might be in labor too!
I think it is important to be available for my clients and I promise to be on call for 2 weeks prior to their due date up to 2 weeks after their due date, if needed.  I don't have a back up because I believe that they hire me, not just my services. I got down on my knees and prayed. One of my best friends, Tami, was one of the calls. I also did not want to abandon my client who was depending on me. Fortunately, neither of them progressed and I got a good night sleep.
Jade Rachel

Sean and I were looking at a house on Tuesday afternoon when I got another call from Gina. I hurried home, gave instructions for finishing dinner, grabbed my bag and headed to their house.
I could tell labor was progressing, but she was still in early stages. Dave offered to make us a delicious spaghetti dinner and Gina made some of her family's famous garlic bread. Definitely better than the Tuna casserole my family was having!
We had a long night of laboring at home with massage, baths, sifting, chugging, position change, relaxation, and walking. I finally started to see a pattern and when her contractions were 3-4 minutes apart for 2 hours and were much more intense we decided to head to the hospital. It was a very cold morning so Dave went and started both of our vehicles to warm them up! What a gentleman!
We were shocked when we arrived at the hospital and she was only 1cm! We decided to stay in triage and have her get some IV fluids because she had been vomiting so much. We all were able to sleep for a few minutes. I fell asleep sitting on a stool, with my head rested on her bed. I only woke up because I was snoring and drooling! That was a first for me, falling asleep.
I guess that was just what she needed was to completely relax for a bit, because when she woke up they did an exam and she was at 4cm!
The doctor agreed that she was in labor and admitted her to the hospital.
Gina had the kind of labor and birth I have always dreamed of. She was allowed to labor without intervention. She had an amazing doctor and the best nurse I have ever worked with. They really honored Gina's birth plan, did minimal exams, completely supported my role and even offered to help me!
The Happy Family!
Gina only pushed for an hour and a half, and the doctor let the Dave deliver the baby. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! They delayed cord clamping for a full 8 minutes, then Daddy got to cut the cord. Baby Jade wiggled her way to the breast and began nursing like a pro! 
This was the most natural, unobstructed hospital birth I have ever witnessed. It gave me renewed hope and faith in the medical profession.  I was home reading to my children within 24 hours!
Truly it is a honor to witness the miracle of birth. 
Congratulations Dave and Gina! Thank you for sharing your miracle with me. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gift Of Time

My blog has been particularly quiet lately. I have been busy. Busy with births, with spending time with family and cherished friends, and celebrating life.
A small sample of goodies on the Honey Table
My dear friend Kelly, invited me to her Gift of Time Celebration this year. It is a Gift to her friends to have time to complete projects, start Christmas cards, and catch up with friends. Kelly does everything with elegance and grace. She wrote a personal, meaningful card to each guest. Words of encouragement are like food for my soul.
When I have the opportunity to spend time with Kelly we talk as fast as we can, so we can fit it all in in the limited time that we have.  Kelly passes out Goal sheets when we arrive and we receive beautiful gifts for each goal we complete. When I first began attending the Gift Of Time I had very lofty goals, like completing a scrapbook album, or making Christmas gifts. You must realize that I am very goal oriented and I like to check off lists.  I have since lowered my goals; eating dessert, having a cup of coffee, and I usually throw in a 'real' goal or two like planning the next scout meeting, and making some new chore cards. Kelly's generosity blessed both me and my family. We ate gingerbread pancakes from a mix she made for us, berry oat muffins again from  a mix she made.
I came home renewed and refreshed with some wonderful baked goodies, candles, a new coffee cup and some other wonderful treats. Kelly always provides a 'Honey Box" for the women to fill with desserts  to bring home to our Honey.
I am so thankful that God has provided me with friends who support and encourage me as a Godly woman, wife, and mother. These are the women who will hold me accountable and build me up.
Thank you Kelly for providing that time and friendship for me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Failed Science & Meal Plans

I love science! There are so many things to learn. I have a slight obsession with science books. 
The thing is I detest doing things over. We get one shot to get it right around here. I think that is why I don't knit or crochet because often, one must remove stitches then put them back in ~ really not my kinda thing. 
We are studying about ancient Egypt and how they preserved mummies. So, we tried one of the experiments where you take three pieces of toast and burn one, put antiseptic cream on another, then leave one alone and see what happens. Then unfortunate thing is we left it for 3 weeks and only the antiseptic one showed a slight bit of mold. 
How scary is that!? Our regular bread did not mold. Why won't it mold when you 'need' it to, but when you really just need to make some sandwiches the whole loaf has specks of mold throughout? 

Learning about the Pyramids we discovered that there are pyramid shaped crystals throughout nature and that they are the most stable structure around. We had a 'fail-proof' way to make crystals. We managed to fail to make them. This is not the first time we have tried to make crystals and it's not the first time we failed.  Not sure we will try again,  unless it shows up somewhere in our studies again, OR if someone really does know how to make them.  

On another note, I am completely sold on planning meals and shopping accordingly. It just seems so daunting to take the time to plan and equally daunting to not have a plan. 
I had not been grocery shopping for over 3 weeks because I had no plan, and did not want to go and buy food and still have nothing to prepare. So Here is what I currently have planned: 

Layered Tuna Casserole
Ravioli Soup
Sloppy Joe's
Coq Au Vin
Bacon and Cheese Chicken
Spaghetti and Garlic Bread
Mozzarella Meatballs
Orange Chicken and Rice
Home made Pizza
Beef Barley Soup
Pad Thai

I feel pretty good that I have some yummy recipe choices and everything to make the main meal, with the exception of the fresh veggies I  need for  meals that are not this week. 
Hope the ideas help and you are inspired to make your life easier by planning a bit ahead. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chili Cook-Off

Our Friends, Brad and Dana held their 1st Annual Chili Cook -Off and Pumpkin Carving Contest. 

 The little girls liked the whole idea of carving pumpkins but they did not like getting their hands slimy. Taylor was especially excited because this was the first year that she carved her pumpkin all by herself! I desperately tried to get Sean to bring his jigsaw to carve the pumpkins I even offered to clean it later but he did not think it was a good idea.
 Really, photos of people eating are just not all that great to look at so I chose to use the 'other' pictures instead. We had Dixie cups filled with each type of chili and a voting sheet to choose which chili was the crowd pleaser.
I made Chocolate Chipotle Chili
1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans kidney beans 
1 can black beans
2 cans dice tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup roasted chipotle salsa
1 cup chocolate chips
Brown ground beef, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Add seasoning and cooked bacon. Cook on low heat in the crock pot to enhance flavors. 1/2 hour before serving turn off heat and add 1 cup chocolate chips. Stir in chocolate chips and garnish with sour cream, or chives if desired. 

 I won the "That's Not Chili" award, even though it was the favorite among the women and children.
The best Chili award went to Dana for her White Chicken Chili.
I don't really like chili all that much but I am never one to turn down a competition.
Funny thing is the girls did not want to stick their hands in the pumpkins but they did not seem to mind dipping their hands in the bird bath then the sandbox getting the sand to stick. 
Libby told everyone that her mama bought her some new jeggings. Gotta love that girl and her sense of style. 

 Ruby had to micro manage the carving of her pumpkin.  We grew all of our pumpkins in our garden this year, I know very impressive. I'm thinking maybe a Charlie Brown Pumpkin Patch next fall!

We were hoping some of our friends with older children were going to be there but I think Taylor and Aaron loved being included with the adults and helping judge the chili, plus they made the coolest pumpkin, with the exception of Erik who had a significant amount of help carving 'his' pumpkin. I forgot to take pictures of the completed pumpkins ~ I will have to try to remember to do that before they rot.  
I love the smells of fall and the beautiful colors of all the leaves when the sun reflects off the trees. We had a beautiful drive home and enjoyed a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats before reading and sending the children off to bed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4 Days With My Daughter

 My first born turned 21 last month. She has been living on her own for 2 years already. I can assure you that 18 or 19 years is not nearly enough time to have your children under your roof.

 I was so fortunate to be able to take a direct flight to San Diego for a long weekend together to celebrate her and to see where she lives. She moved to San Diego a year ago and has only been home a couple of times. It was my first time to San Diego. Mikaela doesn't have a car right now so we rented a car. I am always one to save a few dollars so I rented a cheap economy 2 door.
 When I got to the rental agency to pick up my car they offered me a 2012 Convertible Mustang for $5 more per day. I decided I could have one less coffee each day and it would be worth it. It really was worth it! I used the entire tank of gas! It really is too bad you can't seat 8 in one of these!

 She showed me all her favorite beaches, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and another one I can't remember the name of! It was pure bliss to eat out for every meal and have coffee and chocolate! I brought my running shoes with every intention of keeping up on my running but Alas, they never even left my suitcase.
 I debated about buying her a drink, after all I did not want to condone a certain lifestyle. But I figured it is a rite of passage and would be fun to have a froofy drink at an upscale restaurant on the beach. I almost choked at the cost of drink and was way beyond my frugality for her to only drink 1/3 of it!
I managed to enjoy my raspberry iced tea and then we finished our afternoon by laying in the sun on the beach in October!
Our time went way to quickly! I was surprised that I got all teary eyed leaving her.
I am further committed to diligently praying for my children every single day and trusting God to cover all my inadequacies as their mother.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Joys Of Homeschooling

Liberty and Erik in Ruby's bed reading some biographies 
Recently, I had someone asking me questions about homeschooling. She was thinking about homeschooling her children. She asked, "Wouldn't it be much easier to send them to public school?"
Of Course it would be easier! We are not called to do what is easy.  
I would be home with Liberty, who takes a 2 1/2 hour nap every day. 
I would miss seeing what they are learning, 
I would have 5 children in 4 different schools (that does not sound easier),
 I would still have to help with homework and make sure the work got done,
I would not get to take a field trip whenever we wanted,
I would not get to snuggle in front of the fire with my 5 year old and watch as she is learning how to read,
I would not get to listen to the creative play and sibling relationships that are so endearing. 

Guess, I just needed to convince myself that it IS worth it. I know it is, and I know I am not called to do what is easy, rather what is Right. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cuneiform Cookies

Our Study this year runs from Creation to the Greeks. We were learning about the first alphabet after Noah's Flood, which used shapes and pictures to record information.

Syndi watched the kids for me earlier in the week and made the cookie dough with the little girls. The cookie dough sat in the fridge for a couple of days and I could not stop eating it!
We had to make the cookies or soon we would not have any dough left!

After practicing writing their names and memory verse for the week using Cuneiform we 'engraved' our cookies with our initials. Sadly, there was only enough dough for each child to have 2 cookies with 1 leftover for Papa.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies
1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine first 4 ingredients.. Add flour and salt mix well. Chill for 2 hours (or 2 days and eat some of the dough).
Roll and cut out cookies. Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bit Of A Letdown

Liberty Enjoying Some Delicious Ice Cream
 My half marathon is over and due to injuries I am not able to run right now. I feel like I worked so hard and achieved a goal and now, it's over. I am planning on doing another one in November and January but for now I just need to get better.
School started off with enthusiasm and now I am dealing with attitudes and poor work ethic. Frustrating and disappointing to say the least.
Organizing the day to day logistics, relationships, and requirements is not nearly as fun as going to the beach, delivering babies, eating ice cream and training for a half marathon. I am feeling a bit let down.