Thursday, December 18, 2008

A bump in the road

Hi all! I know it has been awhile since I blogged and I figured it was time to update everyone.
Things were going along perfectly in the pregnancy until about 2 weeks ago now, when I started bleeding unexpectedly and for no reason that I could figure. Ed put me on bed rest and I had lots of help from family. I stayed in bed all week and everything seemed fine, then I spent 2 days on my feet. Sat. I went Christmas shopping, and Sun. was the usual busy day at church plus our Christmas fellowship. By Sun night I was doing bad again so I spent most of the day Mon on the couch. I felt really bad all day Monday and by that evening it was starting to scare us, so Mom took me to the ER. Ed was out of town with Daddy and wouldn't be back until later so he just said he would meet us there. Well, since we normally do homebirth, I was really nervous about what Dr I would see, and would they think I was crazy etc. Thank the Lord, He just worked everything out. I was admitted right away, so no long wait. Then I was blessed with all female nurses and a female Dr. Everyone was as nice as they could be, so sweet, and no one reacted negatively to the crazy woman who has her babies at home. =) They ran all the usual tests and I had an ultra sound too. Contrary to my expectations, everything was fine. The baby was fine ( I got to hear the heartbeat, which I normally can't until 20 wks with my fetascope), the placenta was fine, there were no signs of any hemorrhage sites or any sign of infection at all. In fact the Dr said there wasn't even any sign of anemia, which was awesome to me as I tend to have a problem with that anyway and this is number 7. (I have found some really great vitamins which I think must be the reason for that.) Anyway, all that to say, everything was fine. They recommend that I go back in a week for another ultrasound but I see no need for that. I'm not really comfortable with them unless there is some serious reason. Now that I know everything is fine I'm just going to relax, continue to take it easy, and trust the Lord. I am actually feeling much better today, I'm back to barely even spotting now, so I think everything will be fine. Please do remember me and baby and all of us in your prayers if you think of it. I'm really anxious for the rest of the pregnancy to go well. I'm so thankful for my sisters and the rest of my family and most especially my hubby who all had to do so much more while I was in bed all that time. Not fun. It certainly makes me thankful for my health, and I realize how much I take it for granted.
So anyway, it is definitely a praise report that we have here and we are all looking forward to our various Christmas celebrations.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with each of your families and friends. Maybe I will get to see some of you soon. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding adventures

Well, after all was said and done, the kids and I went with Ed to the wedding. I almost didn't go at one point, for a number of reasons, but in the end, Ed wanted us all to go and I was glad.
I'm so thankful that Priscilla and Janell went along on the trip, it was such fun and they were such a huge help when Ed needed me to be his assistant for one thing or another.
We were able to stay with some brethren that had a little guest house so we had our own space for the time we were there. Yay! I was really nervous about that as we haven't really stayed with anyone other than family (and sometimes even with family I'm not as relaxed as at home where I'm not worried about them breaking something or making too much noise =) Anyway, it was such a blessing and it was the nicest little house. With the wedding not being until the evening we didn't have to jump right up but sort of had a relaxed morning. Then we did have to run out to Kohl's to find something for the girls to wear for the wedding.....detouring here to explain. I had packed their tops and had planned to have enough time to sew some little skirts. I took my machine and everything, but wouldn't you know it, half my sewing stuff ended up in Pete and Holly's car and I couldn't get it until it was too late. So I took the girls and Levi into Kohl's while Ed ran to a camera shop for some last minute stuff. Aagh! Levi was ready for a nap by this time and was absolutely wired. If I put him down he kept running into the racks of clothes and hiding, if I held his hand he used my arm as a swing and would practically lay on the ground, then when I finally put him on my hip, he wiggled and squirmed and grabbed clothes off the racks and kept giggling hysterically. I was ready to tan his little hide many times over, but I knew in public I couldn't really do much more than "you are so getting it later" with my sternest look. That would only make him pause for about 5 seconds and then go right back to what he was doing. When he gets tired he does anything to stay awake. So anyway, I finally found the girls something, but only after Ed rejoined us with the rest of the crew.
Then we had to run back the guest house, grab all our stuff so we could get ready at the church, and run to the church. Ed had to be there for 2:00ish to start taking pictures of the guys getting ready etc. and I was supposed to help Holly with her hair. Needless to say, the rest of the after noon was a blur of running around and getting stuff done. I didn't get the kids ready until the very last because they still hadn't eaten lunch and I didn't want them messing up their clothes. So I end up starting to dress them as guests are starting to arrive. (Of course.) Aaron and the girls get themselves dressed and I do their hair and then Priscilla says ( she and Janell have been helping me) "Jessica, this suit doesn't fit Levi." I'm thinking, well a little big is OK ,but then he comes out and he looked like on of those pictures of the little kids dressing up in their Daddy's clothes. The pants wouldn't even stay up and were puddled around his feet, the coat was 3 times too long in the sleeves. It would have been funny if it had happened to anyone else at any other time. But this was me, here, and I had no changes or back-up plan. All he had else was the jeans he had played in all morning. I almost panicked. Then I thought of Isaac's outfit, it was a vest and pants outfit with a tie but the waist was elastic. So they swapped. I put Levi's suit on Isaac with his own shirt (it was even a touch large on him but we just rolled the waistband and the coat covered it all....don't even ask me how that happened) and it was fine except for him having to wear tennis shoes with it. I somehow came off with only one of his dress shoes. At least they were brown ones. =( Then I put Isaac's vest and pants on Levi. It was still big but at least I could roll up the waist and then I put the vest and tie on. His own little shirt did at least fit him right. When all was said and done I don't think you could even tell on either of them. Then I hurried to throw on my own clothes and dab on a bit of makeup. I didn't really have time to do much as guests were arriving and they kept coming in the bathroom and saying " oh wow, looks like a tornado went through here" and such like. Might I add the entire wedding party had used that bathroom and so stuff was everywhere, not just mine, but because I was the one with six kids in there it looked like mine. Lovely. So after they are ready I'm scrambling to clean everything up and hide it so it looks decent-er.
Anyway, all that aside, the wedding was beautiful and Ed got some amazing photos. They are such a cute couple and I know Ed really enjoyed getting to do this.
The next day he had a post-wedding couple shoot with them, while I stayed and did laundry and cleaned the guest house. We finally headed for home about 3:00 Sat afternoon. With Ed going to work and us getting ready for church the next day, I was beat. We got home about 9:00pm and almost right away I get a call from John...he had just proposed to Angie that evening and wanted us to come see the ring. So we crawled back in the car and went over to Mom's for about 45 minutes to give hugs and admire the ring. Wow! it was a rock.
We got in bed sometime around midnight. Yesterday was a blur, as Sundays usually are, and then today I just tried to get the house clean again. So here I am sitting at the keyboard and really needing to be in bed. But I knew if I didn't get this posted now it wouldn't happen and then it would be old news.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll try to post more later this week. Check out Ed's website to see some of the new pics. They are really amazing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

a new week

Hi all! just wanted to wish everyone a happy week. We've had some beautiful fall weather this last weekend and the leaves at Mom's house were gorgeous all over the ground. With her family coming for a quick visit we took advantage of the opportunity to take lots of family pictures amongst all the fall beauty. I'm posting a couple of them here, and saving the others for my Christmas card which I hope to get out this year.
We will be gone later this week for Ed's wedding shoot in AL, so I have plenty to do in preparation for being gone for 3 days. (Note to self: stop counting how many days we have until the end of the year and just enjoy them.)
Changing the subject here, but kids are so amazing...Aaron was wanting french fries for lunch but we didn't have any ready made, so he begged me to let him cut up regular potatoes by himself. I was pretty skeptical, but I told him he could try one and then show me...well, he just brought me a potato perfectly cut up into french fry strips. He is so pleased that I'm letting him do the rest.=) We have taught him and Lela some stuff in the kitchen, but I still tend to underestimate their capabilities.
Guess we are having french fries after all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My munchkins




These were taken last night after baths. I knew I needed a recent photo, but I did want everyone's faces to be clean so what better time... =)
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Laundry

It seems every time I tell someone what I've been doing, it's always "I'm trying to catch up on laundry". I think I'm just going to make a sign that says "Never ending laundry going on here...any more questions?"
I would love to reach the point where I could just do a couple to three loads a day and stay caught up (it's always possible in theory) but somehow it never works for me. Maybe I should stop being so picky about "how" it gets done and just settle for "getting done".
First of all, I detest folding wrinkled laundry, so if there is a chance that I won't get to it right away I let it stay in the dryer until I can make sure it gets folded immediately. Then, I hate having baskets of clean folded laundry sitting around I like them all put away and hung up right away. But because it would take a herculean effort to get ALL my laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away IMMEDIATELY.... I just always stay behind.... Until the kids are saying "Mommy I don't have any clean pajamas" and then I rush in and start wildly doing laundry until the wee hours of the morning so that it all gets done "right".
Or like today, I just do it and put it in the baskets and if I get time to fold it I do or I let the kids fold it and turn a blind eye to the less-than-perfect results. I am in the process of teaching each of the older 3 how to run the washer and do the laundry...all of them know how to sort and fold...except Levi and he is learning. But they are just children, and since my tendency is to redo my OWN work if it's not just right, I try to be careful not to critique their's very much. They really do a great job for as young as they are, and I know that with continued training they will one day do it as perfectly as I could ever wish. I try to let them do the play clothes and pajamas and I do the dress clothes since it's more important that they look good ( i.e. not get shrunk or come out with stains). I realize most of what I just said all sounds like it contradicts itself, but I feel like that most of the time...that my goals and reality don't live in the same house very often. So the question in my mind is ... do I change my expectations or my reality? and if so how? I do realize that I am just talking about laundry here, but it is sort of symbolic of other areas in my life also, so, I've made it a matter of prayer. I don't want to waste my time on the unimportant, but on the other hand "whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" . So there you have it...feel free to leave your opinions, I would love to hear them.

forgotten photos


This is a picture we took sometime earlier this summer and I had forgotten about it. I was just looking through some this evening and ran across it and thought it was so cute. We had gone down to Wiggins for a Sunday I think and we stopped and took some pics in Aunt Sha's yard. I've always loved their swing and thought it would make some good photos.
It did. =)
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just a quick update

I really have to get past the thinking that I need to wait until I have the perfect moment to record my happenings in the most perfect way. I think that is why I don't write sometimes because I want to write it down just right and then I never get it written at all because time hasn't waited and I have moved on or forgotten what I was going to write about. Trying to work on that.
Moving on...
We have lots of blessing to tell about (btw, if this typing looks weird once I get it up there it's Kyla's fault because she keeps coming up and hitting keys on the keyboard when she thinks I'm not looking=)lol. Lela just turned 7 on Friday and we celebrated with a fun party on Thurs because Ed had to go to work the next morning. I feel like we have stayed busy with our "social life" lately. smiles. We are really enjoying spending time with Mom and Daddy and girls now that they are home and close by. We have sewing projects and quilting parties and other such stuff planned as soon as we can squeeze it all in.
I am trying to get back on track with the schooling...(do I keep saying that?) it is a struggle to keep a schedule amidst all the goings on. I am thankful that our workload is flexible but then again you can only "flex" so much. So keep us in prayer in that regard if you think of us.
Also......(drum roll please) we just found out that Kyla is going to be a big sister long about June of next year. We are very excited and although she doesn't say so, I think she is too. We thought about trying to keep it a secret at least for a little bit but we wanted to tell the kids and of course once they are told you just as soon tell the nation...so no secrets here.
Ok, well, I have one more bit of news and then I have to scoot because I have children swinging from the ceiling. ( ok maybe not but they are at least jumping off the couches).
Ed just got his first wedding job to photograph so he is super excited about that. It will be Nov 21 and we will all get to go as they are sort family. It's Holly's brother and wife-to-be.
Running now....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just me

















I haven't put a picture of myself on here in awhile and thought
maybe I should. So here I am.
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Catching up and stuff

Wow, the past two moths have been busy, productive and very surprising. Like my whirlwind trip to Wyoming for Phoebe's wedding at the same time that my folks come home from Africa. I'm still spinning a bit from everything that happened...
Up until the last minute, I was scurrying around trying to get everything perfect for the family coming home and excitedly making plans for what we would do first. Then, next thing I know, I'm being sent out west to my cousin's wedding, while my husband and 5 oldest children stay home. I won't go into a whole lot of details as to the how or why (it gets complicated) but suffice it to say The Lord was in it. I believe we (I traveled with Pete and Holly too) were a blessing, and I know I received a blessing. It really made me appreciate all my family in a whole new way too. I have never been away from them more than overnight before (and that was only while I was giving them another brother or sister), so I was missing my babies and my honey badly. I was so happy to come home and they were all happy to have me home.
Then too there was the whole thing of me not being here to welcome my Dad and Mom and sisters, and I really was sad about that. In a way, it was one of the longest weeks of my life I think. Isn't it funny how we can have a million different feelings about something all at the same time?
Anyway, I am home now and reveling in the company of ALL my family. Family is such a precious word isn't it? The Lord is so good to give us so many blessings!
In the week and a half since I have been home I have finished putting the house to rights and it now feels settled and I'm ready to tackle the schooling again. We took a couple weeks break during the move and subsequent happenings. Good thing I got an early start this year.
Oh yeah, I just realized I skipped that part. For those who don't know, we have moved and I do plan to post pictures very soon of everyone and everything. And I really really want to keep up on this thing more often too. We'll see how that goes.
Anyway, to all of you who haven't given up on my blog and do happen to still read it.....Happy Fall! I hope to have lots more posts coming soon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Everyday drama

Well, we finally recieved our first official curriculum order. We are all so excited. This is only part of it of course, the rest is coming soon
We already started some lessons the beginning of the week. I wanted to get an early start because I know we will be losing time later on in the year. So far the kids are loving it. I still trying to work out just how I'm going to juggle everything...I guess only experience will help there. We are following a classical approach and, although it will be more challenging to follow, it is a method we really believe in.
This summer has gone by so quickly..I still feel as though I should be planning what I want to accomplish with my time. I realize it's not completely over yet (given the heat index anyway=), but the majority of it is. I'm not sure I could tell you what we have done besides just living. That sure takes up alot of time.
I'm attempting to potty train Levi...haha. Attempting being the key word. He's not too sold on the idea yet. Ky is getting around and into everything. When she is on the floor (she doesn't crawl, just scoots) I spend most of the time prying stuff out of her mouth. Then if I could get Isaac to quit teaching Levi to jump off of everything in sight....he says he's flying. (sigh)
Alyssa and Lela have spent alot of time "sewing". I got them little sewing kits and they have gone crazy cutting scraps into doll clothes. They actually did complete a little sewing project each on their own. Lela made a tiny little appliqued quilt block and Lyssa made a tiny potholder complete with loop. I was so proud of them! It was totally on their own, I just showed them how to thread the needle or untangle a thread.
Aaron turned 8 in July ( doesn't seem possible!) and we took him the the USS Alabama for his birthday. It was a fun field trip for everyone ...except for when I wasn't scared spitless someone would get too close to the edge. What's with the 'cute' little ropes around the edge? where's the wall?
All that aside, the kids had a blast, especially getting to tour the submarine. I have to say I was pretty impressed too.
Oh, and then Aaron got his first BB gun (thanks, Uncle John) and shot his first bird the other day. He is allowed to target practice with inanimate objects as long as none of the others are outside. It never occured to me that he would actually shoot a bird, but he came in all excited. "Mom I shot my very first bird! I can't believe it, I didn't think I would! Papa said Mawmaw would scare away the dogs with it and it would just bounce off them. I can't believe it!"
I was torn between not bursting his bubble ( he was so proud), and not wanting my birds killed in my own backyard, thank you very much! Then he started to head out the door again. "I'm going to go get another one!" At which point I told him I would make him clean and eat anything he killed. He looked shocked, so I explained you only shoot stuff for food. Then he said,"Well, I'll go find a squirrel. Papa says those are good to eat." (Oh, yay.) I told him he had to clean anything he shot but that didn't discourage him in the least. So far, no squirrels have wound up dead.Thankfully.
I have to admit I have a hard time with the whole shooting thing. I know, on the one hand, he needs to know this stuff for survival and it's parts of a guy's nature to conquer,etc. But at the same time, I want him to respect life and not take it lightly. Ed has taught him all about gun safety and that sort of thing, so I know he is aware of what they can do. I guess the Lord just wants me to stay prayed up. =)
Anyway, as you can tell, we have plenty of everyday drama around here...
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Homemaking Art

A friend of mine just sent this article to me and it was such a blessing I felt I wanted to share it with you. I'm going to highlight the parts that really spoke to me.


Homemaking as an Art

By Mary Felker

Wouldn't it be wonderful to paint a masterpiece, compose a symphony, or pen a soul-felt hymn? Perhaps you have completed one of these yourself, or maybe you take time to enjoy these arts created by others. My first thought after drinking in the amazing feeling of one of these pieces is, "How'd they do that?"

Whenever we ask this question, the answers are based in the techniques and skills used to produce the tangible results we all enjoy. It is true that the creators of these beautiful forms of art have ability. However, unless the artist draws from a wealth of insight and experience, the piece won't speak to us.

So it is with the art of homemaking. We can work hard at running our home through making meals, cleaning, child training, or decorating and yet never really say anything. Now, don't run from what I'm saying with the thought that I am giving you one more task to add to your chore list. Take just a few more minutes to read on and perhaps catch a vision of homemaking at its best. Really, it's life as its best.

God Himself is THE Artist. How He created His masterpiece is truly a wonder. However, when we meditate on what He meant to communicate and the quality He used to create with, we can grow in our hearts the appreciation for this art of homemaking. When we as humans decide to create something, it is always in a limited form, without life or the capacity to create. We are finite in our understanding and confined to the materials we have at hand. Limitless God chose a living, growing, ever-expanding medium to express Himself through. He set the sun, moon, and stars in their courses and gave them specific laws to govern them. He created each system on earth to be interdependent with the next in order to support the life He placed here.

He took this one leap further. He created man in His image and gave him everything he needed to reach his full potential and whole expression of being in the image of God. You know all this. It's a review. Yet it is the common things in life that can be overlooked. Simple truth is the easiest to miss and yet it can also change your whole world view when you finally see it.

What if it were really true that He has given us everything for life and godliness? What if, when He created the world, He made its every part to facilitate its success? What if every single thing you need were flowing toward you all the time like waves on the ocean? What if you were to believe it's true?

Too often we can't see all He has for us because we focus on all we think we don't have. It is not possible to create a thriving, vibrant, life when you are not sure you have all you need to pull it off. Your life will open to the world of possibilities when you begin to recognize His bountiful care for not only you but for everyone. There is no place for worry when you remember that everything is going your way. Whatever challenges you face, I say, turn your back on them and your face toward all you have - resources, ideas, potential. Grab hold of all the "yeses" you see in your life and you will see all of the other possibilities for you.

Our homes are part of the ongoing work of God's creation. We are, in a real sense, the creators of our homes. We have every resource we need to make it a haven to our families and others. We may grow in skills, but more so, as we grow in faith toward our all-loving, all-supplying God, we will be free to develop our homemaking art.

We are too quick to fret. It takes time to build a masterpiece. You may not know the answers, have the tangible resources, or see the end to a situation at this time, but walking in faith means seeing with your soul the abundance that is all around. There is nothing lacking and no need to worry. This is what it means to pray without ceasing and be anxious for nothing.

When a new problem (I call them projects) comes up, rather than yell at one of the kids or wring your hands, get a God's eye view. The situation may not be pleasant, but the universe is still on course. Your angels are still on guard. The blessings you need are still there with ten thousand besides.

What happens when you take this view? You act differently. You use who you are in abilities, thinking processes, emotions, and skills in a way that creates more blessings for yourself and those around you. Holding fast to the truth that God IS and is all for you, will allow you to say something with your homemaking. The joy of the Lord comes from knowing, to the core of your being, that everything is all right in Him. And since we live and move and have our being in Him, we are all right. With this view, He can ignite our flame and we can let our home fires blaze.

Mary Felker is the moderator of a unique site dedicated to helping Christian women manage their homes. To participate in her free home management course that has helped many, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AuntieMs/ or email her directly at AuntieMs@yahoo.com.


THANKS Audrey!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A visit to Aunt "Genesis"

We were down in Wiggins yesterday finishing up with Meemaw's kitchen redo (which went very well, by the by) and I had the kiddoes outside playing in the yard. Or so I thought...I found out a little later that Aaron, Isaac, and Alyssa had decided to go down and visit Aunt "Genesis" (Aunt Anis) who was out burning trash in her yard. Well they get down there and then Alyssa asks if they can go inside "because this smoke is bothering my nose". Aaron left after a few minutes and Lela went down to call the other two back home, but all of this happened before I knew anything about it. I'm usually pretty laid back when we're down there because I feel safe with them running around, but it never occurred to me that they would come up with an idea like that...especially asking to go inside. Ed and I were putting up cabinet doors when they came in confessing each others sins, and we were doing our best not to crack up because it was kind of funny. They did all get in trouble when we got home that night, though. Kids! what they don't come up with.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yeah, I know...long time, no write

Hello to all of you out there....I find it's kind of hard to know where to start after not writing for so long, but I'll do my best to sort of fill in the blanks.
First of all, thank you to all of you who keep checking back and encouraging me to keep writing...I'm not really sure why you do but I'm really glad that you have. It makes me feel a little more connected to everyone.
We have had an eventful start to a typically busy summer, as I'm sure most or all of you have as well. We've already been to the beach, had VBS, had a(mini) family reunion, and summer is barely started. At least it seems that way to me. I keep wishing that I could make time stand still so that I can figure out what all I want to do this summer, but as usual...time waits for no one and I find myself being pulled along in the flood of happenings.
I have to say, it has been so great to get to see and catch up with all of you whom I've visited with in the past several weeks. Even though it's physically tiring, it was emotionally and spiritually refreshing for me.
I also want to say how excited we are about Mom and Daddy and the girls coming home in a few months!!!! Yay! It seems long from now but it will be here before we know it. We can hardly wait...I can't believe it is 4 years since they were home for an extended period of time. Time flies.
In the pint-size department ( I know that's what ya'll are really wanting to hear about), all the kids are continuing to astound, surprise, delight, exasperate, amuse, and thoroughly keep us busy. Kyla is pulling herself up on everything and scoots (instead of crawling) at an amazing speed where ever she wants to go and keeps us busy scooping stuff out of her mouth. She is just as cute as ever (in my humble and honest opinion, of course) and had the best time getting to meet some new cousins last week. =)
Levi is about to make me pull my hair out ( in the best possible way), by getting into more trouble than I could possibly relate in the amount of time I have. Ughh, I have to tell you this story though....
The other day, I was doing my best to recover from several days worth of accumulated cleaning and laundry and it was getting on towards 8:00pm and I was washing dishes when a friend unexpectedly appeared around the corner of the fridge. She had come to drop off her laptop for Ed to work on, and though I knew she was coming by, I hadn't heard the knock. Apparently, Aaron had opened the door without letting me know there was a knock ( a forbidden action) and invited her in. Aside from being totally embarrassed, I was fine with her coming on in,.... but you should have seen my house. There was stuff strewn from the front door to the kitchen and then some ...all the kids were bouncing off the walls... there were baskets ( and more baskets) of dirty laundry stacked by the washroom in plain sight, I looked like wreck, and I had Levi tied to my waist with a piece of rope. Yes, it was a last resort measure, but I was at the end of my rope... pun intended. So.... as you might imagine...I felt completely flustered and I'm sure they left thinking that we do indeed run a zoo. Just so you know, I don't normally keep Levi tied to my waist, but I had just spent all day (with nothing to show for my efforts...obviously) doing damage control and I was tired of running in circles. BTW, my friend thought it was hilarious that he was tied to my waist, and her husband asked for the number for DHS (in jest).
As a follow-up, sort of, to this story, we were at Hudson's the next day and as we went to check out, the lady gave a piece of bubble gum to each of the kids for " listening to your parents and not running around the store".( huh, whoda thunk it.) She laughingly told Ed, " My sister works for the DHS and she said that it's not bribery, it's positive reinforcement, and when they are tied to a tree, it's not abuse, it's 'Cowboys 'n Indians' ". We both laughed and laughed over that.
Moving on....
Isaac is as precocious as ever..when asked if he was the one who had scribbled on the bathtub he replied "No sir, I was drawing a swordfish". He didn't see me laughing in the background.
Alyssa, Lela, and Aaron have all had a ball meeting and getting to spend time with new cousins. (BTW, thanks a ton to Steve, Jen and all the other family members who spent time playing with the kids and taking them on walks. They still talk about it all the time.) I think they are still recovering from all the excitement, and trying not to be bored now that we are back to the same-old-grind.
Well, I guess that sort of catches ya'll up a bit on our doings, so I'm going to sign out for now.
Love to all.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Slide show of the Levi's 2nd birthday party

video

All worn out and the party's not even started


The Birthday boy after Breakfast at 9:30
A family tradition A"Happy plate"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Levi singing

videoLevi has started this thing recently where he loves to lead the singing. Driving down the road he is singing from his car seat, or he will stand on the stairs with a book and "microphone" ( he uses his imagination), or here he actually has an audience. There were 3 of us sitting around, apparently just for him, so he took advantage and gave us this lovely little special....

Lela's tower

Lela built this all by herself the other day...oops, ok, I think Ed helped with some finishing touches, but mostly by herself. We were pretty impressed!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sawhorses, bookworms, and blessings

Well, it has been a productive start to a new week. We had made a list last night of all the things we wanted to do today, and one was that Ed wanted to make a couple of sawhorses. Even though the weather turned chilly overnight, we were all outside (even Ky) with Ed when he started his project. The kids have never heard of sawhorses before so they are having a little difficulty with the concept of it's not being a real horse. It was funny, when Ed was measuring one of the studs he noticed that it was bowed and was trying to see if it could still be used....well, Aaron's suggestion was that "it could be one of the running legs of the horse". That really cracked me up. And then Lela continues to refer to it as the "horsie" and keeps wondering where the head is going to be. lol. We finally gave up trying to explain that it is not a real horse and it's only going to be used in the workshop.
Anyway, we didn't get them completely finished but we did make alot of progress and hopefully Ed will get them finished up when he gets off of work on Thurs.
On a different topic...Alyssa is our latest bookworm, and she seems to have learned to read almost overnight. I went from just doing flashcards with her to telling her we would start reading the next week. Well, I don't think I had to teach her anything. She basically picked up the book and started reading. I started her off with Dick and Jane, and at first I thought maybe she had heard it so many times she had it memorized, but it's not that. She is just a natural. She barely ever stumbles and only occasionally asks me what a sound is. And, don't tell, but she honestly reads better than Aaron and Lela. I'll be getting her a harder book to see if what she has is too easy but I'm pretty sure we underestimated her. And you never see her without that book in her hand anymore.
While I'm on the subject of Alyssa, I saved the best for last. Saturday morning Alyssa told us that she has been saved. It came about like this....
We had devotions and, as so often happens, the discussion turned specifically to salvation. I asked lots of questions in regards to salvation and Jesus Christ and why we need to be saved, etc. Even though I directed most of them at the girls, Aaron answered alot (as most of you know he has already been saved and baptised) but I still felt it was good discussion. I think it's important to refresh this in their little minds even if most of them are so young. Anyway, we finished up and each of the kids took turns praying, and when it came Alyssa's turn she prayed that Jesus " would save everyone and... take care of their sins". It caught my attention so after I dismissed everyone else I called her over to me. She was openly crying and said to me " Mama sometimes when I pray it makes me cry because God is so good to us". So I asked her " have you been saved?" She said " yes ma'am" So I asked her when and she said " one time Aaron and I were in the tree house and he told me that I didn't have to wait until Papa and Mama were around or we were already praying I could pray and ask Jesus to come in my heart. And I DID!" I hugged her and we cried together and I asked her if Jesus had saved her and she answered that "He DID!" So then I asked her when this had happened and she said " It was before you had Kyla". That confirmed something that Aaron had shared with me several weeks earlier. He told me pretty much the same thing, that Alyssa had been asking him questions ( same time frame, before Ky) and he had prayed with her. It is such a humbling experience to see the joy on their little faces and to realize that Christ can work in the hearts of the most young and tender and to know that it was nothing I did. The words of the hymn come to mind as so fitting, " I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene".

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pedicures (or whatever word includes my leg from the knee down)

The kids have gotten into this thing where they love to "do my feet". They fill a small tub (too small) with warm water and soap and have me put my feet in it (lots of spilling and wet towels here). I'm supposed to "soak" them for awhile. So they wait about 30 seconds and then start scrubbing my feet and legs with little brushes (i.e. fingernail brushes and the like). This is where everyone starts trying to find anything they can to stick in the overflowing tub and swish around and slosh over me. It's gets really fun.
They scrub and rub, and when all the skin is pretty much gone and my feet are nice and raw, I mean relaxed, then they dry me off and slather me with tons (and tons) of lotion. The more the merrier. And they do this for awhile, smearing it on and rubbing it around and then wiping it off and adding more....and then progressing to lotioning themselves... and the chair... and the couch... and the floor...and each other. Then, finally, after the biggest possible mess is made, and everyone is totally satisfied that I enjoyed it and I'm relaxed, we can dump out the water and mop it all up. (During this time of R&R, I have been feeding Ky, keeping Levi from drinking the water, trying to make sure Isaac doesn't lotion too much stuff, etc.)
Surprisingly, after all is said and done, I find it has been relaxing... and at least it kept everyone in the same place for a little while . =)

Friday, March 28, 2008

March madness

Well, I do realize that it has been quite a while since I left a post on here. Taking into consideration that we've crammed a couple different weeks of company, a trip to Pensacola, a garage sale, and roof job into that time I'd say we've been pretty busy. That's just the extra stuff...I've still tried to fit in school, cleaning, eating and some sleep. Oh yeah, and I've started working out at the gym a couple times a week too. This is my third week for that, and, thankfully, I'm over the "can't-move pain" and now it's just soreness.
It's actually been this week that the guys have worked on the roof. I think we all thought it would be faster and less messy than it ended up being. Nope. Not a chance. It has taken several days and the yard is a disaster, but.....Lord willing, everything should be finished up today. We are praying so.
School is good, I'm getting to implement more ideas that I've had to make things run more smoothly. The kids are really taking off with their reading. Alyssa is next in line to learn and I think I'll be starting with her probably next week. She has surprised me so much with her own initiative on this one.
Isaac is doing good with his school too. He really enjoys tracing letters and is getting good at it. He knows how to spell his name.
Levi is talking more every day. He repeats everything he hears, and it's getting to where you can actually understand him. Ky is being her fat little self. She has definitely got a unique little personality even at 6 months. She is very aware of everything that goes on around her and has started saying her name ( I know that just sounds like a mom talking, but I'm not the only one who has said it). She is such a doll and we all enjoy her so much. Levi is her best friend, too.
Well, I guess I've rambled enough for now...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pictures






Red-handed

This was so funny. We think of this as "caught red-handed by the red-handed bandit" as Ed put it.
Ed had built a fire in the fire pit and set up the telescope the other night because we wanted to try to watch the lunar eclipse. We did get to see most of it, but the funny thing was we didn't know this picture was taken until we uploaded them to the computer. Apparently Aaron had taken the camera (without permission) and been shooting alot of pictures and took this one of Alyssa trying to look through the telescope (also with out permission). I guess we must have all gone in the house for a minute. Josh, Rachel, and Anna Laurie were over that night so there was alot of in and out going on. Anyway, we didn't let Aaron know, but we thought this was a pretty good picture. He got some good ones of the eclipse too. I think it was an accident but I'm not sure.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

P.S.

By the way, just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you who comment on here. It really makes my day...I feel like I'm getting letters when I read them. So...Thank You, all of you.

every day things

Yes, most of our lives are made up of just every day things. I really am trying to notice and appreciate those little every day things more. Writing about them is one way I feel like I can do that.
The kids are constantly saying and doing things and I really can't remember all of them by the time I get on here. But I really want to try because I know it 's the little things that we are all going to enjoy remembering when they get older and things do slow down. (At least I'm assuming they will slow down, but not sure at this point.) I don't always appreciate things "in the moment"....like when I go looking for Levi and find him in the bathroom brushing his teeth in the toilet. Yes, I know...my reaction too. Times 10!!! Thankfully it was clean if that makes it any better. (Didn't... really... make me feel better.)
Like I said..hard to appreciate in the moment, but looking back I found it blog-worthy. If for no other reason than to embarrass him when he is older.=)
But other things, you kind of know when they happen that you want to write about them. Take Isaac (again)...he came in the other morning with a very concerned voice and informed us that "those men were STEALING our garbage". We tried not to laugh and explained that we wanted them to take it away and that it was their job. But he still insisted, " But those were WRONG men, they were STEALING our GARBAGE!"
Oh, and then there was a day this week... a couple of us caught a stomach bug for about a day, me being one of them. I had to pretty much stay in bed for most of the day, but when I did get up Aaron had made tea and set the table. Granted it was with chocolate and candy, but it was so sweet. They are all so responsible I sometimes tend to forget how little they still are.
There are so many little details about each one... how they interact with each other...sometimes arguing, sometimes playing with the baby, playing with each other, working and helping me. I wouldn't trade any of it, and I want to write about it so I can remember to let them know how much I do notice even if I don't tell them right then.
Someone once told me to remember, no matter what else I do or don't do, to enjoy my children now while they are still little...because they grow up so fast. I wish I could say that I always remember to do that...I don't. But I try. Ed is great about helping me to see and appreciate. Not that he does it consciously. I think because he is at work more, when he comes home he points out things that I might see but not really notice, and helps me appreciate or laugh about them.
And it's important, you know, to notice the seemingly ordinary blessings that the LORD sends us every day. They are the things that make life sweet. They are what make the tough times worthwhile. Knowing that He cares, that He sees the little things in our lives, and that He sends these things to lighten our loads and make our days brighter if we can just take the time to open our eyes, and then thank Him.

Peepaw's flowers


Part 1.1
Originally uploaded by cute mommy of 6
The story behind these flowers was so cute I thought I would share it.
I finally had a chance last Sat. to go see Peepaw after his surgery. Pete stayed with the kids while Holly and I went.
We went by Walmart first because I wanted sunflowers and I knew they carried them. I found the sunflowers first and then we decided the purple mums looked good with them so we got those too, but unfortunately they had no filler or greenery so we had to just go with that. Then we picked out a vase and a pair of shears, and, after checking out, I went to the restroom to arrange them. (My thinking was that it would save time instead of going back home.) Well that was easier said than done. It was pretty crowded and busy so I waited until I had room and moved up to the sink. I was thinking about the time so I tried to hurry and I wasn't being as picky as I would have at home. Then this black lady and her friend come in and as she is washing her hands I notice her going really slowly and watching me. I mean REALLY watching me. My first thought was "Oh, I bet she arranges flowers" and I was sort of embarrassed because I knew my arrangement was so far short of what a professional would do. (What with the lack of all the right stuff it was far short of what I would normally do too, but I was out of time.)
So I just kept on with my work and hoped she wouldn't look too (much more) closely. =)
Wrong!
She came over after I was done and looked at my flowers and her friend laughed " Oh, here we go". I smiled sheepishly and asked if she did flowers and she just nodded and kept on examining my work. She didn't say anything at all hardly but I knew she wanted to fix it. Sure enough, in a few minutes she takes the shears from Holly and with a "do you mind?" to me she proceeds to redo my work. She took them all out and filled the vase up with more water then she very meticulously puts them all back in at just the right angles. I'm trying to make small talk so I asked her if she owned a shop. She said no but she always wanted to. I could tell her friend felt sort of awkward and I was thinking about the time, but tried not to show that I was in a hurry and just waited until she had it to her satisfaction. Honestly, she barely said anything until she was almost done and then she asked if there was any baby's breath or greenery.I tried to explain that they didn't sell any by itself but I'm not sure she believed me. She reluctantly handed them back over with a smile and then told me that I could find filler at Winn Dixie as it really needed something else.
I thanked her very much and then as quickly as was polite ran to the truck. It was all actually pretty funny and I figured Peepaw would get a laugh out of the story. Besides, we thought it probably made her afternoon a little brighter.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Isaac ...

Isaac is always saying the cutest stuff. The kind of stuff you want to write down and remember. While we were driving down to Houma the other day, Isaac just pipes up out of the blue, "Papa, I'm glad you got married to mama." I melted. I have no idea what makes him think of things like that but he is always surprising us.
He is so funny too. On the one hand, he can be the loudest of all my children...making car noises or singing at the top of his lungs...but if either of the babies start crying he'll cover his ears and say " Your scaring my ears!".
He can be rough and tough and hardheaded, but will hug your neck off and is always thanking me for the smallest things. He is such a little charmer and just melts my heart. It's hard to realize he will be 4 years old before I know it. He still often seems like a baby in my mind, but then I hear him talking and see him doing stuff, and realize he is really getting so big and is mostly little boy.
Until he wants to snuggle... and he is my baby again.

news and more

Well, we had a good trip to Houma last week. It was actually a flying trip as Ed had to be back at work the next evening. But we all enjoyed it and Ky got to meet her other grandparents.
Even though it was a short trip it has still taken me awhile to recover. As in unpacking and catching up on laundry and housework...not to mention school. And Ed has been off all this time so I've wanted to spend as much time as I could with him. Speaking of which, we got to go on a date for the first time in a really long while. He took me to a Japanese restaurant, and it was a lot of fun.
This week I've been working on planning out the remaining months of school. I realize that it is still several months away but I feel like if I don't have all written out I won't get as much done or I may forget something I wanted to cover. I had hoped to have it all done before now, but somehow things never happen when I want them to...so you just gotta "go with the flow".
I think everyone (including me) is finally over all colds and ills. And I see evidence of spring being just around the corner. Although today and last night were REALLY cold again. Here in Mississippi you never know what the weather will be from one day to the next.
Actually, you never know what life will bring from one day to the next. As of this past week, Ed is going to be going back to school to get his associates degree as an RN. He has been considering it for awhile and finally felt peace about it. He will be going to Jones County Community College where he got his EMT training. Hopefully, by starting over the summer, he will be able to get his degree in 2 years. We are both excited about it but also know it will be hard work. Please pray that all the details work out if the Lord brings us to your mind.
So...that's us for now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Update on Kyla

Kyla is getting so big and doing so good. She such a fat little thing and I love it. She is now rolling over. She did it for the first time last week. It's fun to watch her. She will lay and play with her hands and talk to herself for the longest time. And she loves to talk to her brothers and sisters....especially Levi.
We spent Sun night at Pete and Holly's apartment ( not planned, sort of just happened) while Ed was at work, and I woke in the early morning hours to see Levi and Kyla both laying on their tummies, heads close together, and giggling at each other. Apparently Levi woke up and saw her laying there and thought it would be fun to chat. So he woke her up. It was cute, but at that hour of the morning I really wasn't in the mood to appreciate it too much so I put him up with me on the couch and she went back to sleep.=)

Where does time go?

Well it's been several days since I did any posts on here, but I'm not really sure what I've done in the meantime.
It has been busy with trying to keep school going with the kids as well as dealing with several rounds of colds and pink eye. And, of course, whatever one gets they all get. Anyway, I'm hoping we are all on the mend now.
The weather the last couple days has been so gorgeous...it's letting us know that spring isn't too far off. I'm making plans for a garden this year...more specifically a kids garden. I think it will be alot of fun as well as a learning experience for them. I have so many ideas, I'm not sure which ones will happen yet. I think I definitely want to try a sunflower house and a green bean teepee. I know I would have loved something like that when I was a kid. (Who am I kidding, I would like something like that now.=) Of course, I want tomatoes and carrots and peppers and zucchini too. Anyway, it's been fun to plan.
Tomorrow Ed will get home after being at work for 4 DAYS! Yes, that really read 4. I can't wait...it's been a long shift. But the upside is he will be off for 8 days, so I'm hoping it will have been worth while in the long run.=) We are planning a quick trip to Houma tomorrow. The kids are beside themselves. They have been begging to go for a while now, but it's just been to get some time when Ed was off work and all the timing worked out. Anyway, I think it will be fun.
Well, if I'm to get the rest of the packing done and leave the house clean I have to get off of here.
I'll write more later.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Veggie Tales

It occurred to me Sunday afternoon, after I had watched Alyssa play with her food (literally), that we had all the makings of a great movie.
Scene One: Green Pea in left hand talking to Green Pea in right hand while balancing on a bent knee mere inches from her nose.
(Dilemma here though...what genre would it fall under? Action/adventure or maybe Drama...oh I know....Family/Comedy. )
Scene one continues on for some little time until I tell her to to quit playing and eat.
And that was the end of it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

grocery shopping

OK, I'm sure I've said it before but it bears repeating...I really, REALLY dislike grocery shopping.
I had to go again today..it was that time again. The cupboards were bare and it really had been two weeks. I go first to the salvage store...which is actually the good part. I like seeing the deals I can get and feeling like I'm saving alot of money too. But then I still have to go to Walmart and brave the crowds and put 3-4 items in the cart and see $20 pop up on my calculator. Of course, I have way more than that to get so I just get it all done as fast as I can while grumbling to myself over eggs being $2 a dozen, and although milk has gone " down" to under $4 I know it's only for today, and the price of meat and vegetables makes up for that anyway.....etc.
You get the picture.
By the time I get home I'm tired, and grouchy about having spent all that money, and Ed has to leave for work and the kids are ready for supper, and I still have to put everything away, and even though I have plenty of food I have no idea what to cook. So we settle for PB&J s (supplemented with dried fruit and carrot sticks so I feel better about it),...then I get everyone through the bath and put on a video for them and crash for a bit.
Anyway, I'll probably rant about it all for a day and then I'm over it until next time to go.
OK, I feel better now. Don't you?=)

Monday, January 21, 2008

video

The House covered with snow


The House covered with snow
Originally uploaded by edblakeman
I was awakened on Sat morning by the telephone ringing...it was my brother asking if he could wake the kids...it was snowing. Being groggy with sleep (and knowing that snow in Mississippi usually is a few flurries that never stick) I said no it wasn't worth it. But Ed immediately rolled over and checked the window and said "Oh yeah I'm getting up". I reluctantly nudged aside the curtain and then sat up in a hurry....it was REALLY SNOWING! I have never seen that much snow in Mississippi in my life. The rooftops were covered, the cars were covered, the yard had a couple of inches and the snowflakes were falling thick and fast.
We woke the kids and they pulled on shoes, and sweaters over their p.j.s, and ran outside. We were afraid it would quit any minute, but the snowflakes were really coming down hard. It didn't take long and everyone was back inside for warmer clothes. I layered them up as best I could with what I could find (this is Mississippi after all) and then they all went back out. Warm and mismatched.
They were so excited, they were squealing and shouting as they scooped snow off the cars and began to throw it at each other. It didn't take them long to realize that snow is cold and wet and slippery and after several slips on the sidewalk they ,one by one, retired to the porch to watch. I was surprised to see that the snow continued to come down pretty thickly for awhile and then again at different times all day. The kids kept exclaiming how they were so glad they FINALLY got to see snow, and how it was "the first time in their whole life to make a snowball". =) It was fun to see them so excited.
Being so cold I didn't stay outside for very long and neither did the kids...except for Aaron. He was outside as much as he could stand it all day. He was trying to make a snowman.
Later that evening, we were talking about how much fun it had been getting to see and play in the snow when I suddenly remembered a conversation I had had with Aaron back before Christmas.
He came to me one day and said "You know what, Mama, I'm praying that God will give us snow this Christmas cause I want to make a snowman. I've never made a snowman before." I sat there for a few minutes trying to think of the best way to answer him. His faith is so real and so simple ( and so convicting to me) and I don't want to discourage that in anyway, but I did want to try to explain that we don't always get the answers to our prayers that we expect. So I launched into this whole "sermon" on how God doesn't always answer our prayers they way we want Him to, etc. And then went on to explain that it didn't snow in Mississippi because the conditions here were just too warm....blah blah blah.
Anyway, needless to say, when that conversation flashed into my mind, I was blown away that my 7 year old had the faith to pray and have his prayers answered and ashamed that I had tried to talk him out of it.
I called him over to me and asked him about it and he confirmed that he had prayed for it and God had answered his prayers. Then I apologized for sort of laughing it off. He just hugged me and in childlike simplicity said "that's OK Mama, I'm so glad we got have some snow and play in it and I made half a snow man...just the bottom part."
Can I learn to have faith like that?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thoughts

Usually, I blog about the kids and everyday stuff...but I've been thinking about this lately and wanted to just share some thoughts on marriage.
First being...I have an amazing husband. He is so sweet and steady, even when I'm all up and down and emotional. It sounds cliche' to say " God really knew what He was doing when He put us together" but He did. I think we underestimate the extent of His caring for us sometimes. The fact that He cares about every tiny and not-so-tiny detail of our lives.
I don't know about any of you but it seems to me I go through phases (if that's even the right word) in my life, spiritually as well as emotionally. Sometimes I feel so "on-track"(OK, I know, it's been awhile..but still) and focused and then other times it seems all I can do just to keep things going much less get anything accomplished. I've really thought about this, and I wonder if maybe the key is my focus. You know, God gives us priorities for a reason. When those priorities get out of whack nothing else goes right.
My biggest priority should be my husband (Ed). The Bible shows me this so clearly, and I know it, but sometimes I lose sight of that in practice and I haven't even realized until I look back later and see what has been happening. (And no it's not because Ed says anything to me, it's because I see myself where I've messed up.) It's so easy for us as women, with our responsibilities as mothers and daughters and sisters and friends, to get caught up it "the tyranny of the urgent" and allow ourselves to put our husbands in second or third place. But that is something we have to really make a conscious effort to not do.
I have this really great book called "Created to Be His Help Meet" and I've read it probably 2 or 3 times.. but I could read it several more and still not be "there". It's one of the best books on the subject that I know of and would recommend it to anyone. It's actually a really fun read but also VERY convicting. I've been refreshing myself with it lately and I guess that is one of the reasons all of this has been on my mind. Boy do I have some work to do.
Anyway, just wanted to share some of these thoughts with all of you.
P.S. My schedule is not really "sticking" yet. I guess that's why I started analyzing all this.=)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Year...new beginnings

One of my goals for this year is to get and keep more of a schedule than we have now. This past year has been spent just trying to keep my balance on what seemed like a roller coaster ride, and I'm hoping 2008 will be a little calmer. (I'm not holding my breath though.) In any case, things seem to have temporarily allowed me to catch my breath and get my house clean, for which I am truly thankful.
So far, my house is maintaining a semblance of sanity and my laundry (otherwise known as Mt. Saint Neverdone) is, for once, staying caught up. We have had 3 good days of school so far and I'm feeling optimistic.
I'm sure these sound like silly things to most of you, but for me to have all of this accomplished at the same time is nigh to a miracle and I'm thanking the Lord for it.
Some of the more fun things that I've been doing lately are reading up on pottery making ( I'm getting myself prepped) and learning to play the guitar. Ed surprised me with a post-Christmas gift of a beautiful guitar and I found a great book at the library to help me get started. It has been so much fun! I've been praying for one for awhile now. It will be great in helping the kids learn music too. They all can carry a tune really well and I'm hoping for violin lessons for some of them one of these days, but for now, this is a dream come true.
To all of you friends and family out there, I'm still hoping to get out a family picture soon. It will just be a New Year's picture now. =)
The kids really enjoyed our holiday celebrations this year and we had the chance to start some new traditions of our own. They are all growing and changing so fast, it amazes me. Kyla is changing the most right now, I guess. She is wiggling and squirming and blowing spit bubbles and "talking" so much. She seems to know everything that is going on around her and is such a contented baby for the most part. Unless, of course, she is hungry or needs changing.
Levi is, to say the least, a little busy-body. His curiosity gets him into almost more trouble than his big brown eyes can get him out of. Too smart (and cute) for his own good.
The other all never cease to surprise us with new accomplishments and make us laugh with their pranks (even if we have to hide our smiles while we spank). We are so blessed!
Praying this new year is bringing you lots of blessings and things to look forward to.