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!