Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward...and back

I know I have said this before, but I just love New Year's. Not because we do anything in particular to celebrate, but because it is a new beginning. It's kind of like Mondays only way bigger. To me it sort of symbolizes a chance to try again and get more things right this year than grow more and learn more and maybe even have some new adventures.
I have several goals for myself this year:
- I want to get on track with homeschooling (as I had expected we lost alot of time with the baby and off and on throughout the pregnancy).
- I want to start working out again as soon as it is safe.
- I want to get a grip on my house again. ( I'm kind of feeling like everything is out of control..clutter, etc.)
- I want to have specific times once a week for scrapbooking and blogging.
- I especially want to be more consistent in a daily quiet time, which I know will help me in accomplishing my other goals.
- And I have several specific prayer requests that I would like to see answered. ( I will share them as they happen, ok. )
Then in looking back over the past year I realize how many blessings we have had.
The most recent, of course, being our little Asher. He is such a joy and we all love him to no end.
The salvation of 2 more of my children right before Asher was born and Alyssa's baptism back in Jan. ( I actually had to check back through my archives to see if that was this year or not. lol. Sure glad I have this blog. )
Ed's photography business seems to be picking up a bit. He hopes to see that take off more in this new year as well.
I have so enjoyed having my family here in the States again and living close by.
We have had a jam packed year of stuff that I would be hard put to record all of it. There's been lots of fun and good times but there's been tough times and tears too.
Last Christmas I miscarried our twin boys and more recently we lost my Grandfather on my Mom's side. We typically think of these things as only bad but in alot of ways they can be blessings because of what they teach us. It's taught me to value the people in my life more and not to take things for granted as much. It's teaching me to trust the Lord more.
There have been the frustrations any normal Mom faces of trying to be all that you need to be and not always succeeding...and there have been the joys of my children's hugs and "I love you's". The challenges of how to deal with one more mess when the day has already been a disaster, and the sweetness of getting a brownie and hot chocolate as your breakfast in bed. The feeling of, "will I ever get this Math concept through their heads?" and the delight when they excitedly tell you the newest thing they learned in History. The despair of ever getting your son to think before he says whatever is on his mind and the emotion when he shares his burden for lost souls.
It's everything in our lives...the good and the bad..that works together to make us into a people that can bring glory to the God who made us and saved us.
Looking forward to what this new year brings!

Friday, December 25, 2009

My top 10 favorite things about Christmas!

10. Getting the Pottery barn Christmas magazines. =)
9. Decorating the house.
8. Listening to "Alvin and the Chipmunks" or "Bing Crosby".
7. Helping the kids draw names with each other.
6. Shopping for presents.
5. Baking and decorating our gingerbread houses and cookies.
4. A beautifully wrapped present.
3. Going Christmas caroling with our church.
2. Stuffing the stockings.
1. Spending time with all my family!

I know I have probably surprised many of you by not mentioning the "Christmas story", or various other typical Christian aspects of Christmas as being favorite things. But isn't Christ our reason for rejoicing at any time of year? His coming to earth is the reason we have eternal life and I have always thought that we should celebrate Christ's birth all year long. So please forgive me if I don't automatically think of Christmas as Jesus birthday. For me, it's a special time for giving gifts and spending time with family and rejoicing in our blessings. Everything we have or enjoy is because of Christ.
Now, having said that, Luke Ch 2 definitely has special meaning to me and I have recently found myself identifying (in a small way) with what Mary must have been going through when she traveled pregnant on a donkey to a strange city to have her firstborn baby in a cold drafty barn delivered by a man who was probably still somewhat of a stranger to her, even though they were married. I was asked to be Mary in our Christmas play this year and since I was pregnant up until 2 weeks before the play, it has really been on my mind alot. I don't pretend at all that my situation is the same as hers, but it has made me wonder....what was she thinking? what was Joseph thinking? She was a real person, and Jesus was a real baby. I can only imagine that she was as overwhelmed as I always am every time I look into the face of my baby, or nurse him, or feel his tiny wight in my arms and know that I'm responsible for raising him. Except that must have been magnified many times over for her, by knowing that she was holding the Saviour of the world. Is it possible to comprehend something like that? Of was that just something she came to understand the full meaning of as she raised Him and watched Him grow and then watched Him crucified?
I don't know, but I do know matter the season, no matter the time of year...I want my life to celebrate my living Saviour in every way, no matter what we are doing.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pics to come soon!

Well my sweet hubby got me the most awesome camera for now I can take pics myself again. Fair warning...they may not be his quality, although at some point I hope to be a second shooter for his business, but I have to learn first. I'm so excited about it! I'll be posting more pics on my blog now hopefully!
We had a great time with the Christmas play tonight and I thought my little angels and shepherds looked completely adorable. They sang really well too. Of course Isaac would not be still and kept using his shepherds staff as a gun. lol. That ought to make some great film footage.
Good thing I was playing Mary or I might have been a little more stressed about it, as it was I didn't find out until afterward and by that point I could laugh.
Well, Asher is hungry and it's late so I've gotta scoot. Looking forward to a great week...hope you are too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

! week old

Asher is 1 wk old today and he just found his thumb. Soooo sweet! I love it. Ed says it's cause we homeschool that he's so smart. Lol.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My baby and me (oh and Asher too ;-)

Hello to all! I'm sure you have heard the good news by now and seen pics of my new dolly. I just have to say I have the most amazing husband ever! How many guys do you know can deliver their own babies and handle it like it's no big deal....even when you know otherwise. That's my man!
In spite of (or perhaps because of) the couple weeks of start and stop pre-labor, when it actually came time everything went really well. I went to bed Sat night hoping so much that I would be in labor in the morning but not really believing it would happen. (Mon. was my due date and Ed had to go back in to work that morning, so I was feeling antsy about it all.) Lo and behold I woke up feeling contractions around 7:30ish. I waited just a bit to see if they would continue and then let Ed know I would probably just be staying home. In spite of ctx. (contractions) being good and strong when I had one, I was still able to get around and do stuff in between times and felt very So we got up and started getting the kids ready for church and Ed called Pete and Holly to see if they could come and take them in the van. After we got them off, it was a nice quiet morning ...we ate and then went for a walk around the block, and then started doing a bit of cleaning when we got back. Labor continued nicely with me having to stop and breathe through ctx. but still able to keep working in between. It was so nice to have the house quiet and to ourselves for those few hours. I was able to just relax and let things happen. After church we called Mom and let her know what was going on and she and Priscilla got here about 2:00pm. Labor was just starting to get harder at this point so it was good timing. (I think Ed checked me and I was at 8). Ctx. were coming closer together now and Mom rubbed my feet and Ed would keep counter pressure on my back. (Can I just say he somehow knew what I needed when with out me having to say a word.) Time seemed to sort of slow down for me at this point as I knew I was close to pushing but wanted to take it slowly and not risk tearing or anything, especially as this wasn't a water birth. It was sort of crazy but all at once I wanted to be all the way up on the bed instead of on the edge so everyone had to do a quick scramble to get into position again. (Did I mention Holly came over too at some point in here? It was the most people I have had at a birth but it was so nice to have all the extra hands and I had talked about the possibility with each one beforehand too.) I was so glad to have the extra support at my back and within a few minutes I was pushing....harder than I have ever pushed in my life. His head was huge! (we measured later and it was almost 15" around) then a quick rest before the shoulders and rest of him came out. Usually we wait for the next contraction but Ed was calmly encouraging me to go ahead and try to push the rest of him out so I did, and with him came about 20 gal of water (as Mom put it =). It totally soaked Ed and the bed and everything else . lol . When I opened my eyes I realized why Ed was wanting me to get him out...he had the cord wrapped twice around his neck and was looking a little blue. But Ed got him untangled right away and he started crying and he pinked up before too long. Even with all that is was/is such a calm baby. He hardly cries at all. Anyway, everything was fine and we are just thanking the Lord for another wonderful blessing. He weighed 10 lbs and 8 oz and measured 21" length. Needless to say, I feel soooo much lighter. lol.
The kids all got to come home and meet their Asher after church that night (in fact the whole family got to come meet him), and already love him to death. Ky would make him her personal doll if we let her and everyone wants to hold him all the time. I have let them a couple times but don't want to wear him a family this big it can happen fast.=) Besides I really am hoping to keep him well if at all possible.
So I am just thanking the Lord for all His blessings...a wonderful husband( you are my hero), my 7 precious babies (I 'm so proud to be your Mommy), that this labor and delivery was safe and healthy for both of us, I'm recovering great from all that, and for all the rest of my family and friends who are there anytime I need them. I'm so thankful for all of you!

Asher Edward Blakeman

Jessica will probably have a post for today but I wanted to post a few pictures for those of you that are not on facebook and have not seen pictures of the new Blakeman. Asher was born at 4:21 on Nov 29. He weighed 10lb 8oz. He is doing great and mom is as well. Getting that much needed rest and sleeping on her belly for the first time in a few months. Any way here are the pics.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birth announcements

Announcing the birth of Lela Anne Blakeman and Isaac Daniel Blakeman into the Family of God today sometime around 2:30 pm. It was amidst many tears of joy and all their siblings were present! Yes, I am rejoicing!
Ok, so I'm not trying to fake anybody I thought it highly appropriate since we are awaiting the birth of one baby and get blessed with 2 of our children being born again.
It started as the most mundane day ever. Breakfast, chores, then I herd everyone to my room for some quick scripture reading while I trim nails for everyone. (Yeah, I know you totally wanted to know that. We have our mani/pedi's en masse around here. =) I had the oldest take turns reading and then we moved on to folding clothes when Isaac started asking me questions about dying...what happens, etc. (He's been doing that alot lately.) So it led to talking about salvation and what salvation means and how you get saved and why. We have never wanted to push any of our children into a false profession or anything. As much as we desire their salvation, we wanted it to come from their own recognition of their need. So I guess you could say I was expecting the conversation to be over when he asked if we could pray before we do any more laundry. It took me by surprise and I asked him " Do you mean you want to pray to be saved?" and he said "Yes, ma'am". So of course I said yes, and then Lela immediately spoke up and said "I want to be saved too", and that just completely did me in. I have really been burdened about her for some time. I knew she understood and she is always talking about salvation like she had already been saved and loves to read her Bible but she had never come and spoken to us about it if she had. So I have been praying specifically for her recently and for wisdom to know if or when to approach her about it. So, needless to say, I was just overwhelmed to have 2 such blessings heaped on me at one time. By this time, we were all crying, so we joined hands and Lela prayed first and then I prayed and then Isaac prayed. Even Aaron and Alyssa were crying their eyes out. Levi and Ky were the only 2 that weren't and they couldn't quite figure out what was going on. lol. Apparently Aaron and Alyssa have really been pushing Lela about salvation themselves recently and she would keep putting them off saying she wanted to wait until "Papa was home" or something like that. Well, she told me later that, today she didn't want to wait anymore, she figured she could call Papa later but she want to be saved NOW.
I let them call Ed right away and tell him the good news and he, of course, was as overjoyed as the rest of us and wanted to hear all the details. He told Lela that "his eyes were leaking too". =)
Did I mention that I have sooooo much to be thankful for! How can we find enough words to express what all God has done for us! My 4 oldest children are now all saved. How great is our GOD!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Time

Here it is Thanksgiving time, one of my favorite times of the year, and all I've been thinking about it how miserable I am feeling right now. I am truly ashamed of myself...
Since I try to keep my blog honest (as well as providing news) I guess I'm going to have to share.
I'm to that point in my pregnancy where I wake up every morning hoping that the baby will surely make an appearance today and it keeps putting me in a bad mood when every day I'm still huge, and achy, and clumsy, and miserable. I'm so distracted I can hardly focus on getting school done, and my feet swell when I'm on them for any length of time cleaning. I've done everything I can think of to get ready for baby (many times over) and now it's just a waiting game. The most frustrating part is that I feel like my life is on hold while I helplessly wait for whatever is coming....long labor, short labor, hard, easy, soon or a week from now?
Now that is probably all just hormones talking but it is very real for me. I guess the best medicine when you are feeling like nothing can go right and you are counting all the "wrongs" in your life, is to read about someone who has had it worse and been through more. Then suddenly things don't look quite as bad as they did.
That is what has happened to me.
I've been reading this other blog this evening (that I will be adding to my blogroll) about a mom w/4 kids, and she was telling how her last son was diagnosed with heart failure early in the pregnancy. Anyway, I'll let you follow up on that story later if you want. The link is here and I've really enjoyed it. I agree with her perspective on soooo many things, but what moved me most was her son's story. It made me stop and realize how much I take for granted that I should be consciously and consistently thanking the Lord for. We all have rough times in our lives, but instead of dwelling on the bad and letting the devil drag us down into defeat, we should be counting our blessings.
So I want to end this with listing some of mine:
-I'm thankful for my Lord Jesus Christ, without Whom I would have nothing
-I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, words can't describe what he is to me
-I'm thankful for my 6 sweet, healthy, active, beautiful children...who keep my life full and interesting and love me unconditionally
-I'm thankful for the little one who will be making an appearance soon...I can't wait to meet you
-I'm thankful this has been a healthy pregnancy
- I'm thankful for loving, supportive family and friends who are always ready to help and encourage
- I'm thankful for the wonderful church the Lord has put us in and the blessing it always is
--I'm thankful for my home and health and food and clothing...

and all the other material and spiritual blessing that my Heavenly Father showers me with each and every day. I have a framed print on my wall that reminds me "In Everything Give Thanks". Now I need to remember to do just that.

Check out this link

I have been busy this evening doing some blog surfing and my husband put me on to this website, and in consequence I found this particular post. Because this speaks to a topic that is very near to my heart (and, might I add, one I needed some reminders on just now!) I wanted to post it here for you to enjoy as well. Hope it is as much of an encouragement and blessing to you as it was to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A peek through my window

Thought some of you might like to see this shot Ed just took of our living room. I thought it came out pretty good as long as you ignore me in the corner. =)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Ok, so I keep starting posts and then not getting to finish them and they end up in drafts and my blog is still not updated....
This is just some thoughts running through my head lately....reflections on my own life as well as stuff shared from others, conversations, etc. ( Are you scared yet? Run while you still can. =)
But it's just about trusting the Lord and the ways He teaches us these lessons. I hope I can express what I'm thinking here without coming across the wrong way. I know, for many people, the way we live is hard to understand. We have a large family, don't really practice birth control, we homeschool, have our babies at home unassisted, and try to live as naturally and self-sufficiently as we can. In a large part, I guess you could say that it's because we are trusting the Lord, but, for me, in some of these cases it's something that I just feel comfortable with doing things this way. Particularly unassisted homebirth. I don't guess I've discussed this on here much, if at all, but I guess now is as good a time as any to share my thoughts and perspective on this issue. With my due date getting closer and closer (and my belly getting bigger and bigger=) this is on my mind alot.....but, let me go back to the beginning.
I first got interested in homebirth before I ever met my husband. We were attending a missions workshop in a little town in TX and while there, one of the ladies we knew had her baby. Ok so not AT the workshop literally, but they had a trailer and she had it at home and her husband delivered. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever heard of and hoped that one day maybe my husband could do the same thing. (No offense to anyone, but I'm not a huge fan of Dr.'s or hospitals. =p) Anyway, fast forward a couple years, I'm just married and pregnant with Aaron. We knew right away we wanted a home birth and started doing tons of research. I read every book the library had on birth, pregnancy, etc....medical or otherwise. And I researched online too. We wanted to know what we were talking about. AND I got hooked. I absolutely love reading about and studying birth. To me it is one of the most miraculous/exciting/emotional/lifechanging experiences there is. The more I read the more excited I became and the more convinced that I wanted to have this baby at home with just Ed to deliver. Well, the Lord had other plans, Ed had gone on a quick mission trip and was going to be home before my due date, but I ended up going into labor before he got home. Thank the Lord, Mom was there and (as we had already agreed on if this did happen) took me to the hospital. It was a quick, fast, natural labor and delivery, but I did have to fight for it(or rather Mom did for me). Long story short, I know the Lord worked things out like that for His own reasons and I have no regrets, but it definitely reinforced the idea that homebirth was best. I believe that birth is a natural process that our bodies were uniquely designed for and (in most cases) it's not a medical emergency. Just as you wouldn't go to the Dr every time you ate to make sure your food was digesting properly or just in case you choke, neither is it necessary for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Well, 15 months later we had our first homebirth. A waterbirth. And I could go on for each one... We've had a total of 5 unassisted homebirths and 1 unassisted (late) miscarriage.
Every pregnancy and birth has been unique, but they have all been relatively healthy and each one a learning experience. I don't ever want to get to the point where I think I have learned it all and don't need to study anymore. I try to research more every pregnancy and see what I've missed with other ones, more health, nutrition, exercise tips. Whatever. I want to keep learning.
Now, I said all that to say, having our babies at home is not a responsiblity we take lightly, nor do we object to medical care if it's needed. (My husband is an EMT after all=) But we feel this is the direction the Lord has led us in, and let me add, it's not for everyone. The Lord leads each of us differently, and we all have different circumstances so please don't get the idea that I'm preaching everyone should do things the way we do. Not at all. My whole point here is about trust. Do we trust the Lord with our lives and all of the little details? This is something I have to keep asking myself. Why do I/we do this....or anything...the way we do? Is it because it makes us feel better, to prove a point, or because we believe it's God's will for our lives. Hopefully it's the latter. But it's a good thing to keep asking. And I think that God brings things to our attention to remind us to refocus on Him.
I love to talk about birth and enjoy sharing my own experiences, but I know that not everyone shares my passion so I hope this wasn't too boring. I purposely kept the details out as I know they might not be universally enjoyed.
Anyway, as always I like feedback, so give me your thoughts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In memory of my Grandfather Gerrell Dale Behringer

Lovin' me some cool weather!

Happy fall everyone! I know it has been awhile since I updated and I was ready for some new scenery anyway. Hope you like the new look as much as I do. I'm really going to try harder to post more pics. You know the wife of the photographer...... it's crazy that I don't have more pics on here.
To catch you up... school is going great! I'm very happy with our progress. The kids are enjoying it and we are always finding ways to streamline our way of doing it. Aaron, Lela, and Alyssa are confirmed bookworms and I have to say I'm so proud of them! They go through several books a week. I occasionally will get frustrated when I find them reading during chore time but it's always tempered with memories of myself doing the same thing as a kid and I can't help but smile (behind their backs, of course)! Isaac is on the verge of reading... I had to find a book no one had been through because he had already memorized everything else, and naturally assumed he could already read. =) Levi and Ky both beg for " 'cool work" too so I try to keep color pages handy for them.
I'm eagerly looking forward to getting to shop the fall DFD sale on Tues! I can't wait to see what I'll find this time. With this cool front that has come through, my girls are especially needing some long sleeves now.
Besides school and sale prep, I have been having fun getting baby stuff ready. Ed and I are both thinking this will be a boy ( no reason really...just because) so I initially only washed up the baby boy stuff. The kids have enjoyed it as much as I have, cooing and oohing over the tiny little clothes. Which led to Alyssa asking how big she was when she was born. It made me realize that I hadn't gotten out the albums in awhile so I drug them out and we had alot of fun looking at how tiny they were. Which also led to a couple other reminders....1) it made me wash the girls clothes too because the newborn pics of Alyssa were in boy onesies and blankets (apparently we thought she would be a boy too), and 2) it showed me again just how quickly time goes by. It still seems as though Aaron and Lela and Alyssa should be the babies, and now they are 9 and almost 8 and 7. The other thing I noticed is, that I don't have near enough pages scrapbooked of the youngest ones. We have tons of pics but I haven't had the time to scrapbook a fraction of them.
So I've been busy making mental notes of all the things I want to remind myself about! Guess I should get some of those down on paper where I can be reminded, huh?
Anyway, I could go on but it's getting late and I'm hoping my banana bread will be out of the oven soon.
Until next time.....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Money talks

I have been spending the last week doing my consignment prep and wardrobe inventory to see who needs what, so I guess this subject is kind of on the brain right now.
I would love to hear from all of you who care to participate in regards to how much you spend per child per year on clothing. I'm talking all seasons, shoes, undies, pjs, coats,.....everything.
I'm going to be brave and tell you all how much we end up spending here. Let me first say that without the Lord's help we definitely could not make it. We do get given a good amount of clothing, some of which we can use some we can't, but I have also begun to consign clothing. A couple years ago I stumbled across a consignment sale that is held here locally twice a year called Duds for Doodlebugs (once in the spring and once in the fall). It it owned by a stay-at-home Mom who also homeschools, and it's run by volunteers. Us basically. Anyone who volunteers gets a larger % of the sales, plus first pick of the merchandise. At first, I just shopped there and was so happy with all the nice quality and good prices, but then I realized that if I consigned I could make some money as well. Even if it just went back into the clothing that I needed to buy, it would still be helping us to save money in the long run. So that got me started.
Up to this point I had been saving my kids clothes for a couple seasons to a couple years ahead from things that were given to us, or things the older ones had outgrown, etc. But with 6 kids it was getting really hard to store that much stuff, much less keep it organized and accessible. So I started going through all my boxes and tubs and consigning stuff from that primarily. It has really paid off.
For this sale coming up, I went through the "last" of the stuff I had stored (not counting a starter set of boy/girl baby clothes for the new baby). It is so nice to have the extra storage room as well as the extra money to shop for the kids. I know that by the spring sale I will have more clothes to put in again.
I primarily shop the consignment sale for the kids because, not only do you get good prices, you also get name brand clothing. If I happen to run across a really good sale elsewhere (for birthdays) I will buy something new. And, of course, all undies/socks are new. So, all that being said, I estimated our expense for all 6 of our kids to be in the ball park of $600. That breaks down to about $100 per kid per year. Now, let me say, that with what I make at the sales, we only end up with maybe a little over a $100 worth of out-of-pocket expenses.
Again, I know that without the Lord's help, none of this would be possible. But, I am very excited about the fact that I can dress my kids well in name brand clothing (which to me translates "quality" not "prestige") for cheaper than if I bought everything new from Walmart. I will add that it IS alot of work, but the benefits are worth it to me. And isn't that part of our Mommy job anyway?
As a side note, I will occasionally do some sewing too, and I did factor that cost in, but, for the most part, I have found that the time involved is not always cost effective. I have been doing some sewing lately, but it's projects that have been on the back burner for a long time and it's high time I got them finished. Stuff like a couple pillowcase dresses for Kyla (which are very popular right now), some skirts for the girls (which is one of the harder things to find that actually fit them). They are tall and have tiny little waists so finding something that I don't have to alter after I get it is hard to do. Anyway, all that to say, I rarely have time to sew anymore, and I feel I get better results for my time and money if I just shop consignment. But I do enjoy it and if I feel the result is worth the effort then I will make time.
Sooooo, now that I've told you all my secrets, I would love to hear some of yours.

P.S. I wanted to clarify what I said about name brands. I'm not too proud to wear something from Walmart at all (and we do), but I have found that the quality of name brand clothes is better. And considering the hard wear they are going to get, I like to buy stuff that is going to look good the entire time my kids wear it, not just the first 2 times.

Moldy Worms

Did you know that box turtles really cannot eat a quarter of a watermelon at one time? Huh? who'da guessed. We know because one of the kids tried to feed that much to Cleo. It just sat there and collected flies.
Oh, yes, the adventures we have had with our kids and the box turtle...not always humorous at the time...but, hey, I guess they make for good blog material.
In case I haven't mentioned it before, the kids found a box turtle in our yard several months back. (Actually, it was 2 turtles, and the other one's name was Tony, but he got away somehow. The kids were sad.) So, we, thinking what a good science experiment it would be (Ha! little did we know, WE would be the ones doing the learning) let the kids keep her. We made a terrarium out of a large plastic storage container filled with dirt, some monkey grass, and a little water "pond". Then we researched what kinds of things box turtles eat. Apparently they like bugs, worms, fruit, some greens, mushrooms, etc. All stuff we could find in the yard or from leftovers we ourselves eat. Of course they only eat small portions at a time, but we forgot to specify (or the kids forgot to hear) that part. Hence, we have had to do some major cleaning of poor Cleo's box more times than I care to count. Whole containers of strawberry tops, half a bag of soggy spinach, 8 melon rinds...these are just some of the injustices she has suffered. She seems to maintain a good attitude though and always comes crawling out when we go visit her.
The other thing with these turtles is they need to be misted when you feed them. So we got a special nozzle for our hose that lets you adjust the pressure. It's actually pretty cute to see her enjoying the mist. Did you know turtles wipe their eyes with their feet? Yep, they do. The kids love to see her.
Us, being responsible parents, and wanting to teach our children the same, appointed Aaron or Lela the care of the Cleo. At first, it was so much fun...everyone competing. Who can catch the most doodle bugs or worms, who can find the most mushrooms (yes, we told them not to touch them but instead to use a stick and to wash their hands after), and best of all who gets to drown her with a deluge of water. Oops! I mean who gets to mist her. The thing is, Cleo only got the initial force of the blast. The other children lingering nearby, the porch, front yard and anything else in the vicinity got the rest of it. Yeah, they must have forgotten to hear the part about adjusting the pressure too. Or the part about NOT hosing everyone else down.
We had gotten some turtle food to supplement what the kids found but I think the box got hosed a couple times so we lost about half of that. Then a few weeks ago Ed ordered some worms off the internet. I didn't know you could order worms in a can, but apparently you can.
After the first feeding or two of worms one of the kids confused "the top of the fridge" with "inside the freezer". Imagine my delight when I open the freezer to find a frozen can of worms. Yummy! Dinner anyone. I wasn't sure if it would ruin them or not but we saved them anyway and let them thaw. Guess what? It ruined them.
Lela was going to give some more to Cleo, but when she opened the can she told me "It stinks!". No kidding, worms stink? sure enough...they had molded.
I'm not sure how much longer we plan to keep her, but any talk of letting her go is met with laments and moans of disappointment. =)
I think I would rather let her go before we kill her with our tender loving care.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toy Patrol

We are so overwhelmed with toys here that I had to come up with a good solution. I had been rotating out about half of them 2 or 3 times a year but that still left so many out all the time that they didn't really enjoy but just had to pick up all the time. Not to mention Ed and I both got tired of tripping over toys every time we turned around.
It came to me the other day when I was cleaning out the shed what my solution could be. We went to home depot and got two large garage storage shelves and I set them up in the shed. Then I took ALL the kids toys out there with only the exception of a special doll or stuffed animal each. By grouping them into boxes or baskets everything fit. Now what we do is every week the kids each get to take their toy baskets and pick a few each from the general stash.
We just got in from "toy shopping" a few minutes ago and you would think Christmas had come again. It is certainly keeping down the clutter inside and I think they will enjoy what they play with more.
Works for me!

Monday, September 14, 2009


It just occurred to me this afternoon that, for the first time in 9 years, I don't have a single baby in diapers. That's pretty amazing considering it has always been an accomplishment to just have one instead of 2 or 3 in diapers. Of course it's not for long...and I can't wait for this new little one to get here. I'm trying to just focus on school and the everyday things I have to do until it's time to start washing up the baby clothes. Can't wait!!! This pregnancy has seemed like it has taken forever but I know it's just a normal one. Thank the Lord, it has been healthy.
For those who don't know, my due date is Nov. 3o. I can't help hoping it could come earlier ...provided everything is ready and healthy of course. The older kids are all excited. And I know Kyla is going to love it. She already coos at any and all "babies" she sees, even ones older than herself. hahaha. I'll just have to watch her to make sure she doesn't try to be the Mommy.
It's hard to believe it has been 2 years since she was born. It has gone by so fast. We just had her birthday party on Sat. combined with Anna Laurie's (my niece) who just turned 5. They had a lot of fun. I'll have to post pics tomorrow as Ed has all the pictures and he has been at work the last two days.
We will be celebrating our 10th honeymoon in a couple weeks. It has been a great 10 years and I feel so blessed to be married to this man.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hey, Go'geous!

Kyla has become the biggest ham...she keeps us in stitches (or rolling our eyes) all the time.
Last night she snuggled up beside Ed on the couch and said"hey, go'geous man". She says "Go'geous" with such a southern accent too. It's funny to me because neither of us really have one at all. Between her and Levi though, they can turn your average one-syllable word into about 4 or 5 syllables.
I'm so glad she isn't going to stay the baby... she is already so spoiled from all the attention...hopefully having a younger one will help her realize that it's not all about her. You can only say "stop laughing at her" so many times. If it's not the kids it's other adults too. =}
I don't mean to imply that I don't enjoy her antics...I DO! Maybe too much. She really is a cutie, I just don't want her to be ruined. Guess it's another good reminder to pray without ceasing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Be careful what you say

Last night, I was doing some last minute cleaning before bed and tried to include a quick fix project that I have been needing to do. Our toilet paper holder gets alot of abuse and it has been missing the holder itself plus one screw for awhile now. I finally got the holder replacement and found a screw I thought would work, so I was trying to fix it really quick last night. First I tried to just put the screw in but it pulled right out of the wall, then I tried to loosen the bottom screw but it refused to budge( in spite of being used as a swing or handlebar several times a day). After working with it for a while I finally called to Ed in the other room that " I need help I can't get this stupid screw loose!". To my dismay, I immediately hear below me "Soopid, soopid" and I look down to see Kyla wielding a pencil in place of a screwdriver in perfect immitation of what I had just done....
  Of course I had to tell her "You don't say that", but it was a very humbling reminder that our children hear every thing. Even the stuff we don't want them too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chores and Change

   I'm not sure if I have figured out the "right" way to do chores or not, but I did just put together a chart ( I use the term loosely) that I 'm hoping will prove workable for us. It just dawned on me today while I was mopping that I really have alot of preconceived ideas about things that aren't really the right way to look at them. I guess I keep wishing I could figure out the magic formula for  making things fall into place. Like if I figure out the perfect schedule or way of doing things, then it will make everything easier. I have come to realize though that there is no such thing as the "perfect" way of doing things. You have to find out what works for you right now, and then when that doesn't work anymore,  find  a new way. 
 As people, we are constantly changing... our children are constantly changing... and it is foolish to think that we can find only one way of doing things and never change it.  And I'm not talking about our convictions or Biblical principles, but just practical ways of doing things. 
 It has been hard to finally admit this to myself, because I keep wishing there was a magic formula. But the only formula is to keep looking to the Lord for wisdom every day. And that is where I fall short. To continue to admit every day, "Lord I need your help, I can't do this alone." When I do stop fretting and take it to the Him, my day is so much better... but I can't go on yesterday's strength anymore than I can go on yesterday's food. It's a daily thing. 
  So... for those who are curious... this is what I worked out for us this week. And next week we will just change who does what.
Aaron (9)---make breakfast and unload dishwasher (it's usually oatmeal or something else simple)
Lela(7)---load dishwasher and feed pets
Alyssa(6)---one complete load of laundry and sweep D.R. floor (usually a load of towels or underthings)
Isaac(5)---Clean off table and take out trash
Levi(3)--- pick up/sort dirty clothes
Kyla(22 mths.)---pick up shoes

   They are still learning, and, of course, I have to remind them, especially the little ones, but all things considered they do pretty good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


    Levi has been quite the character lately...I'm not sure what stage he is going through but it's a combination of bossy/hyper/whiny. Which, all combined, can be a handful, but it's not without it's humor.
  He just got passed down a little red trike from Anna Laurie a couple days ago and I have let him keep it in the house (so far anyway). He has LIVED on that thing. Literally. He rides it everywhere, and even if he has to sit on something else he will pull it up and at least prop his feet on it. I found him lounging half on and half off my rocking chair the other day with his fingers in his mouth (it was close to nap time), but his feet were propped on the trike.  =) I had to take it away from him today and put it in  my room (the special place where all repo'd toys go) because he wouldn't quit screaming every time someone else touched it. So this evening he kept bringing me other toys ..."here Mama you can put this in your room... can I get my bithycle now?" I think he was trying to trade. 
  I love to hear him talk though... he has the funniest way of saying things. Like when he heard my new alarm clock ticking loudly on my night stand, he put his ear right up to it and then whispered loudly to me, "I sink it hears me."
 Or, when he thinks Kyla is doing something she shouldn't..."KY KY that is a NO NO. Stop dat wight NOW!"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A crummy night's sleep

  We have just recently gotten the boys a set of (much needed) bunkbeds and dresser. They are absolutely loving it. It's everyone's favorite toy now. But my story goes back about a week before we got the bunkbeds....
      I got up one morning, a little later than I had planned, and was getting the older 3 started on school when I suddenly realized that I hadn't seen Isaac yet that morning. So I head into the bedroom to wake him up, but I can't find him anywhere. I'm looking everywhere...on the floor, under the bed....still nothing. (Let me pause to explain that the boys were still sleeping on a sofa bed at this point.)I'm starting to get worried when it occurs to me to check up under the head of the bed. (Inside the couch, if you will.) Sure enough, there he was curled up with his pillow and blanket. He has this thing about sleeping on the floor. I have no idea why, but he loves it. He was fine so I just let him sleep until he woke up. Well, I was telling Ed about it on the phone that night (he was at work) and he thought it was so funny. He wanted me to ask Isaac if it was fun sleeping under the couch, so I relayed the message and Isaac replied, " Um, no ma'am it was kwummy". It tickled us so much to realize he meant that literally. Crumby. Little boy's room...under the couch. Yep, definitely crumby. 

We're still family...

This past week/weekend we have gotten to spend time with Aunt Sarah's family who came down for a visit. It has been so much fun reconnecting again. Talking  90 to nothin and everyone trying to make themselves heard over the 10 different conversations that are going on. =) The thing that I love is that no matter how much times passes between family reunions, once you are together, it's as though you are picking up where you left off. I felt the same thing when I went to Wyoming for Phoebe's wedding. It's always so refreshing to catch up with what's going on, and fun to play the "do you remember?" game.  I feel so blessed to be a part of such a large, yet close-knit family. Especially knowing we have the added bond of being family in the Lord too. So many people don't have that, and the older I get the more I realize what a blessing and privilege we have.
 I know all of you have been wondering when I was going to write again....well, I have plenty of excuses...I just can't think of them all right now.
  One thing is, John and Angie have moved up their wedding date to May 1st. While we are excited for them, it has definitely upped the busyness factor. We ( as in my little family) have 4 people currently in the wedding. Ed is a groomsman, Lela and Lyssa are flower girls, and as of last week, I am a bridesmaid. Lots of sewing to do! Not to mention I still haven't gotten the girl's easter outfits completed. 
 Oh and besides the family reunion last week, was a local biannual kids consignment sale that I have started helping with. It's alot of work but it really pays off because it helps me keep my kids in clothes. Nice clothes too. I have only known about it since last year and this was my second time to consign (my first time to volunteer).  This time I was able to sell as much as I spent on new spring clothes. Yay! I'm so thankful, it was a real answer to prayer.  I'm really excited to have found out about this because it has really helped me be able to shop wisely for the kids. I can find nice name brand clothing at garage sale prices. And the sales are held at the beginning of spring and the beginning of fall.
 Anyway,.... that's just a little bit of what is going on here.
I know it's not as much of an update as you would like but I'm out of time and I really need to start school.
More later.....=)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quips and quotes

 Lyssa asked at lunch today....."Mama, does 'cowcium' come from cows?" =)
 Well, she was on the right track anyway. I told her it came from milk and milk came from cows, but it's pronounced CALcium.
 Meanwhile Isaac asked Levi to scratch his back... (let me detour to say, Aaron started this trend awhile back with constantly asking everyone to scratch his back and then he returns the favor; he especially loves it at night. Anyway, Isaac picked up on it)... so Levi, after a second of rubbing with his hand, grabs a fork.
 Yeah, you can guess the rest...Isaac was sitting there with a grimace on his face and we were laughing so hard we could barely tell Levi to stop. 
  If I could get down even half the stuff that the kids come up with it would be hysterical. It's always something.
  Oh, another one of their latest pranks is they figured out that butter knives make a really cool sound when you use them in a pretend sword fight. I had to nix that one fast....I could never find a knife when I wanted to butter anything but I mysteriously found them in the laundry, under the couch, in the girl's room, and in the boys belt loops... basically anywhere they weren't supposed to be. Not to mention, (for me anyway) it didn't seem safe, I think mostly just because the word knife is part of the name. Ed thought it was funny, and wasn't overly alarmed.  Guess it must be a guy thing. "Let them be boys."
 And the girls?
 Well, they are busy being girls...attitudes and all. I think I have had to deal with attitudes more than any other one thing lately. They can be best friends one second and best enemies the next. And of course the tone of voice, the body would think they were grown or something. I shouldn't be dealing with this yet! They are too little! Right?
 I used to think that once you were grown you knew everything....I laugh to remember that now. I think once you're grown you realize how much you don't know. Raising children being the most thing that you don't know how to do. =)
 Every day is an adventure, and if I can just remember to see it as one and to laugh more.... Hmmm, maybe I would make some progress.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Late night posts

These late night posts seem to be the only kind I can do these days..if at all. I'm sure you have noticed. =)
  I just got done browsing a new blog that Ed put me on was pretty neat. It's a husband/ wife photography team w/ 4 adorable kiddos. They run a home business, they also homeschool, homebirth, and are libertarian party. Plus, from what I can gather they are Christians.  Anyway, I've added them to my sites I like to visit. It never ceases to amaze me how many other people there are out there "like us". Know what I mean? Sometimes you get to thinking you are the only one....but it's not true. I just thank the Lord for His grace... and that He is so much bigger than we are. 

 In other news....the past couple weeks have been pretty crazy. We've spent time doing some work on Mom and Dad's house (did I already mention that?) and this week I made a birthday cake for Angie (John's fiance'). Her birthday was Thursday and we wanted to have a surprise party. I offered to do the cake as I enjoy doing it for birthdays. I'm nowhere near professional, don't get me wrong, but I like it and I figure it's good practice. I actually made fondant this time and worked with that, which is a first for me. It was really fun. Ed helped me with it alot too. he has such good ideas, and, of course, he usually is good about knowing structurally how something will work out, or ,what to do if....
 I'll post some pics of it for you who are interested.
  I also wanted to say that I'm working on a video of the house as I know several of you have asked to see pics of how I have decorated things, and....
   one other project, I'm going to be trying to put together a slide show of us over this past year. 
 So that will be coming soon. Hopefully!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Romance 101(G rated)

With Valentine's Day almost here you can find lots of books on romance right now. When I was at Books a Million getting us a coffee the other night I picked up this book called "1001 ways to be Romantic" by Gregory Gordec . I started reading it this morning and it is such a fun read. I do want to make a disclaimer right off...he is not a Christian writer and I don't agree with everything in his book...that being said, he has some really fun and cute ideas.
 We actually put one of his ideas into practice last Thurs. afternoon. Here's the deal, you each take $10 and go on a "Mall Wide Trinket Hunt" for the other person, then you meet up again and swap. I added a picnic lunch in the back of the truck and we had one of the most fun (and inexpensive) dates ever. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Good guys 'n bad guys"

As we were sitting at the dinner table today, everyone is competing to see who can talk the most and eat the least (or so it seems at times, anyway=). We cover a wide range of topics from cartoons to Bible stories, everyone is loving the bacon chicken and can't wait for the "apple saucer" (as Levi calls it), and this whole time Isaac keeps rubbing his cold feet on me. I keep shifting away and he keeps shifting towards me again and finally I tell him to "quit putting your cold feet on me"...then he asks " Is cold the bad guys and warm (or "woym" as he says it)the good guys?". It took a minute with all the noise to realize what he was saying, but when I did, I assured him that warm was definitely the good guys. Smile. He is just too funny sometimes.
  I scrubbed my floors today...literally. Isaac (yes, he's 4) spilled almost an entire gallon of milk all over the floor the other day and I haven't been able to get the smell out. We mopped right away but I think it got trapped somewhere that we missed and I haven't had time to move furniture very much. So today I moved everything and scrubbed with Murphy's Oil Soap and lemon oil and I think it took care of the smell.  It was a perfect day for cleaning...I had all the doors open and everything.
  Now I'm trying to make headway in the laundry. It's the craziest thing...I know dirty laundry is dirty ok, but HOW can I have a fresh swept floor, and after I finish sorting laundry I have another dust pan full of dirt? Does anyone else have this problem?
 Besides that...I'm currently debating the wisdom of trying to scrapbook a bit this evening. Hmmm.
 It's very tempting but I'm not sure but what all my work today would be undone if I did it while the kids are awake. Unless...I put on a movie. But then, Friday night is movie night so I'm not sure that I should. Decisions, decisions.
 Guess ya'll will just have to find out later what I decide.;) C'ya.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dry skin anyone?

This weather has been really hard on my skin. It tends to be a little dry anyway, but lately it has been painfully so. So I switched to a more natural soap ...which I tend to like to do anyway but it's pricier... but even that didn't really help, and lotion just feels ok for the minute but not long term.
 Well, when I was getting my bath the other day I  had an inspiration. I have this little glass spray bottle that I keep a solution of lavender diluted in olive oil in all the time. It's great for treating cuts, scrapes,  etc, and lately I've been using it for little cheeks and noses after wiping them so much.  It suddenly occurred to me to try it on my washrag, so after bathing I sprayed some on the rag and then "bathed" again, I even used it on my face. Let me tell you, it did the trick. My skin felt so soft and moistured but not at all greasy. And it lasted all day long, too. I will definitely be doing this again. 
 Just thought I would share that in case anyone else has the same problem. If you don't have lavender, I feel sure just plain olive oil applied to a rag while you're in the tub will do the same thing. 

Week in review

It's really late Sat. night and I should be doing a number of other things like laying out sunday clothes, cleaning the kitchen, getting my bath, etc.....But I know I haven't blogged in a few days and wanted to just give an update while I had a minute (or not).
 Today was another gorgeous day, just like last Sat. and we ended up doing alot of yard work. Ed went to work early this morning only this time he will be gone 4 days instead of 2. He is having to do basic refresher courses and had to swap days with someone so he could get in on the classes. Anyway, I hadn't planned on working outside it just sort of happened. The kids were out there playing and I went out to put Ky in the wagon (she loves to be out there too) and then ended up staying. We started doing clean-up in the, random flip flops, plastic cups, pieces of trash that blew into the yard, and an endless amount of sticks. It was so inspiring that I moved into the front yard and borrowed a rake. We have pine trees so we have a steady supply of stuff to rake. Then I even ended up cleaning off the porch and the carport.  We were all pretty tired but it was a good tired and everything (outside anyway) looks beautiful.
  You know how it is when you move into a new move in and then after being there a bit you find what works and what doesn't so you tweak it and perfect it. I've been doing some perfecting this week. I got the boys curtains finally up and they look adorable in my opinion. As I get each room just where I want it I'm taking video and when it's done I'll post it on here. I think it will give a better idea than pictures.   Oh, and.....
    I've gotten back into scrapbooking again. It is something I LOVE. I'm able to incorporate everything I enjoy into the process and when I'm done I have something that will last longer than 10 min.,.. and I'm recording history and capturing all those adorable pictures in a way we all will enjoy looking at. Anyway, as you can see I have lots of reasons, and if those aren't enough I'll find more. Ed is  sort of the one that got me back started again. He knows how much I enjoy it and he really encourages me in it. I have a whole little nook carved out in the main area so even when I'm doing it I'm not "out of the loop". I'm still able to see what is going on with the kids or visit with family who happens to pop in. It will probably end up being something I only do when Ed is home though because it can become all-consuming. =) I've actually completed 2 pages this week.
  Besides that, it's been business as usual...does anyone know what usual actually stands for. Around here, I think it means taking care of the necessities of life but that can be so many things for us. 
   I got my menu/grocery shopping done again yesterday. so. good.
I think I'm running out of steam here so I'm going to say Goodnight to all and have a blessed Sunday!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pictures of the Zoo

"Confessions of a super-mom"or "A trip to the zoo"

Sat. we took the kids to the zoo, and we really had a great time. The last time we went Isaac was in the stroller instead of Kyla....
 It was sort of a spur of the moment thing, when we woke up it was such a gorgeous day that we both thought a field trip would be fun, and we both thought of the zoo. We live within walking distance (yes, with 6 kids, so you know how close that is),and I guess the only reason we don't go more often is that they do charge an entrance fee. It's not much, but it used to be free so I guess it's the mental thing of having to pay now. Anyway, we got ready....translate that, I waded through the chaos everywhere to find clean cute clothes suitable for public display for every member of the family including myself; fixed hair, found boy's hats, checked faces, wiped noses(10 times at least), packed diaper bag, meanwhile telling the boys to "FIND YOUR SHOES". We finally realized that they were probably left in the truck, Oops! (at any given time we probably have 4 or 5 pairs of socks and 1 or 2 mismatched shoes in the floor of our truck). Yep, they were, so the boys were excused for not having them on and I FINALLY got everyone lined up at the door. Our routine is to line everyone up age order at the door before we leave. Gives me one last chance to check them over and make sure Isaac is wearing socks with his shoes and has underwear on. I know, I should have that under control better...working on it.
 Since we do live so close, we decided to walk...we all needed the exercise. Overall the kids did pretty good...they have some new exhibits, and we were just in time to make one where the lady brought out a parrot, a tortoise and a giant iguana. You could pet them, or in the parrot's case listen to him talk. It was pretty cool. Then we made the rounds of all the animals. Levi's favorite was the tiger, Lela's was the tapir, Aaron's was the giant land turtle (or is it tortoise),Kyla liked everything, Alyssa liked the peacocks, and Isaac's favorite was the alligator. It's not a huge zoo but still big enough to be fun. Ed got tons of pictures and by the time we got home and ate we were all beat. We all napped for almost 3 hours after that even though it was late afternoon. Oh well, at least I had the energy to see about baths and such after that.
Oh, just FYI, Super Mom is the name of my vitamins (that I forget to take half the time)as you can see, it doesn't really apply in my case.=)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthdays and such

Thanks so much to those of you who have commented or left feedback recently. It's fun to see what people think of the new layout. I'm also trying to include blogs I'm following or sites I like to visit on this new layout too. (BTW. Thanks, Mel, for the vote of confidence. I need it. =)It's a work in progress so it may take awhile to get everyone on there. Some days I just don't even get to the computer at all, like this past weekend.....
  Starting with Friday, we had my Mom's birthday party, then Sat. we traveled to Houma, LA for Ed's Mom's birthday and then back that evening. He teaches 3-7 grd. boys on Sunday mornings so we needed to be back for that, otherwise we would have stayed the night as it's a 3 1/2 hr drive one way. Sunday was busy all day, too. We had the ordination of our 3 new deacons and a fellowship after that. Anyway, just so I won't get too boring with the tiny details, I'll just say I was pretty worn out last night and I think we were in bed by 10:30 pm. Trust me, that is early for us! 
 Today was just playing catch-up on house cleaning with some school thrown in ( yep, I know, I need to work on those priorities) for good measure. =)
 Oh yeah, we did enjoy our visits...the birthdays were both fun. I always think of plenty of birthday ideas throughout the year but for some reason when the time comes to actually find a present I always run into a mental block. I should probably keep some kind of idea journal for gifts or something like that, but then I would have to remember to write in that too. ;) Anyway, for my mom I found one of those pretty fabric covered storage boxes and just put some little "happys" in there, like note cards, and a CD, and a decorative hook for her laundry room and then a calendar with recent pics of the kids. She loved it. Then for Ed's Mom, I did several little things too. I also did her a calendar, and then I made a memory ribbon board that I thought came out really cute. ( I LOVE those things, I think I could make one for every room in the house if I had room for it.) Oh, and I found this cute little set of  drawstring travel bags at Kirkland's, you use them for packing shoes and laundry and they had little applique's on them. She liked her stuff too, (which made me happy).
 I guess that sort of catches us up.....
   We were discussing goals for the week in discipleship yesterday and when I was asked what mine was, I told them I just hoped to have some real evidence of having accomplished something this week. You know, "fruits of your labor" kind of thing.  We'll see.
  More on that topic later.

Alyssa's baptism

A little over a year ago Alyssa came and told us she had been saved (Aaron is actually the one who led her to the Lord), but she never made a public profession of faith. We didn't want to pressure her as she was so young and we wanted it to be her own decision. Well, just recently she came to us again saying she wanted to be baptized, so last Sunday she went forward with Ed to make her profession public and then we had her baptism service the following Wednesday night. It was so sweet and so special. Mom and the girls got to be there also to see her. It really is amazing to see the Lord at work in little tiny hearts, and it's also a huge reminder that we can't do it alone. It has to be Him or we are wasting our time. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

So far, my week has been different. I started walking again this morning. I met Janell and Julia at the track and I believe we walked a mile. It was freezing and I had to get up before 7:30 am. Since no one else was up when I got back home, I just went back to bed. Going to bed at 2:00 am is a hard habit to break and it makes getting up early way too hard. I'm not a morning person, I work better at night just in general, but late night hours do have a way of tying you to the bed in the morning. At least for me they do.
  So anyway, we went over to Pete and Holly's for supper, and she fixed this really yummy glazed chicken over fresh spinach and sweet potatoes on the side. It tasted delicious. She is always coming up with the most creative meals,... I tend to get stuck in a rut. 
 On that note, I've been trying to incorporate some new recipes into my menu and the newest one I tried was a huge success. It was chicken tortilla soup. Even the kids kept saying how yummy it was. I have to say I was very pleased and it is going to be a permanent part of our menu from now on. It's economical too,... that's always another factor for me in trying new recipes. I'll include it at the bottom of the post if anyone wants to try it out.
  Ed was working Dominoes tonight so Mom brought us home, and the kids went straight to bed. I did some cleaning and straightening and then grabbed my laptop and went to bed myself. See... Ok, so I'm sitting up still working on stuff but, hey, at least I'm in bed,right?
 Wow, it has really turned off cold. Supposed to get down to 32 tonight. I gotta go for now and go make sure the kids all have enough covers. Ed can't sleep with the heater very high even in winter so we just pile on the covers. Me, the heat doesn't bother me at all;).
   So here is the recipe:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper,chopped 
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
4 boneless chicken breast
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup water
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2(8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  OK ,This is what I did and it worked really well. Saute' the onion, garlic, and green pepper in oil,(btw, with peppers being so expensive right now I just picked up a bag of frozen chopped ones); then add all of the other ingredients including the whole chicken breasts. I actually substituted one can of Rotel for the jalapeno pepper and 1 one of the diced tomatoes. Chicken broth is also pricey, but I found 2 boxes (with no MSG) at our salvage store for a fraction of the cost. Then I used 1 lb of frozen corn and one can of black beans. Bring it all to a boil and simmer until the chicken is done 20 min or so. Pull out the chicken and shred it with 2 forks and return to pot. Simmer for another 20-30 min (until the flavors start to blend well) then add 1 small can of nacho cheese sauce and some chopped fresh cilantro. Stir and taste and adjust seasonings as desired. (The cilantro really tops it off.) Simmer another few minutes and then serve with tortilla chips or strips. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New year, new beginnings

So this is the first year, in the 9 years we have been married, that I am neither pregnant or nursing.
 I guess I better back up and fill you all in.
 When I last posted I mentioned that I was having problems with the pregnancy, well, we found out later on (when all the kids got sick too) that I had contracted a virus called Fifth Disease. Normally, it's a pretty mild virus with maybe fever and tiredness, but the most prominent symptom is really red cheeks on children followed by a non itchy rash. It can be so mild that you will have caught it and not even know it most of the time. We actually had a little down time with ours and stayed home all through the holidays as it's contagious, but for the kids it really wasn't a big deal. The danger is if you are elderly or pregnant. Apparently it can cause severe anemia and heart failure in unborn babies. That's what it did in our case. We lost our little boy 2 days before Christmas. 
   Through it all I have had several things to be thankful for,... one is that I actually know the cause of my miscarriage ( not knowing why would have been really difficult to deal with for me), the other thing is God's grace. Not that we weren't sad or that it didn't hurt, but that He let us know that He is still in control and that He does care what happens to us even if we don't understand why.  Family and friends helped us so much and prayed for us through all that time and I'm so grateful for that. More than I could ever say. I had to be off my feet for probably about a month or more. During that time I had so many people bring meals and come and cook and clean, mostly family, but some friends too. 
  I still can't say that I know what the Lord wanted to teach me. I know that He allows everything for a reason and wants us to learn through every experience, but I'm not sure what mine was. Maybe I won't know until years down the road .... regardless, I know I can trust Him.
And it's not that I haven't asked "why" either.... I think anyone who goes through a similar situation does.... but, it's more that I trust His love. If He loved us enough to give us His Son, how could I ever think that He would allow something that was not for the best .
   So, that  being's a new year. I want to learn more this year....I want to teach my children more this year.  I also want to enjoy more this year .... I hope to take more time to just rejoice in the Lord and all He has given me and gives me daily.  So far this year I have been busy, busy...setting new goals, figuring school schedules and curriculum orders. Cleaning and organizing the house and just trying to feel more in control of my life again. Maybe that's a problem, though. Maybe I should be focusing more on giving control to the Lord. I don't mean quitting on my responsibilities, but more of striving for a different attitude. Not getting so frustrated when my "schedule" doesn't go according to plan. Or feeling so defeated if something beyond my control messes with some of my goals. 
 I hope I'm not rambling here. It's been awhile since I blogged and I think this blog is as much for my own good as it is to let all of you know what is going on in our lives.
  As far as the kids go... they are all doing great!
  We had a really fun Christmas with them. In spite of everything else, that part of Christmas went really smoothly and we had a great day.
   Aaron is still challenging my mental capacities with his constant barrage of comments, questions and observations on all aspects of life... and contributes to the clutter and chaos with endless inventions.
  Lela is enjoying some new success with designing paper doll clothes.We got her a Klutz book for Christmas that teaches fashion design/sewing preparation. She loves it and does a really good job.
 Lyssa is learning and growing in many areas, she's making progress in being responsible, and keeps up with the older 2 in school almost effortlessly. They are all in the same "grade" in school, though with us doing a classical style they each grasp it at a different level and it doesn't hold anyone back. She is also enjoying a book of spiral draw. 
 Both girls look forward to starting a quilting class with Grandma really soon.
 Isaac is still loving school and is showing progress in number and letter recognition. His memorization ability is amazing and he is memorizing grammar rules right along with the older ones. =) We are having to work on attitudes and being considerate more these days.
 Levi is still a little lover boy (when he's not fighting with Isaac) and is always ready to hand out hugs and kisses. He is talking really well and we've started him with memorization projects too. (I'm sure he could have done it before now but we couldn't understand him =) 
 He and Isaac are partners in crime these days, and only the screams when one feels betrayed gives them away. They sometimes even include Kyla in their endeavors.  
  Just the other night, Ed and I were in here enjoying a break and a cup of coffee while the little ones were playing in the other room. We heard it get continually louder and more excited but decided to "play dumb" unless it appeared that someone's life was in danger. Well, in just little bit Isaac comes in crying that he's hurt, so while Ed checks for broken bones, I asked him if had been jumping on the bed. He said," No ma'am, we weren't jumping on the bed." "Well, were you jumping off the bed?" "No ma'am." " Well, what happened that you got hurt?" "I was jumping off the dwessah (dresser) and Levi moved the pillow." It was so unexpected we both started laughing. Thankfully the dresser isn't much taller than the bed. Just goes to show that you can never predict what your kids will do.
 Kyla is changing the most, of all the kids. She is walking now, and staggers with remarkably good balance from room to room jabbering and getting into whatever she can, just happy to be able to walk like the big kids. All our kids have been really smart since they were tiny, but she has a way of communicating that is beyond what any of the others have done. She talks alot and some of it you can understand, but by inflection and tone of voice you just know that if  you could understand all of it she would be speaking in complete sentences. And she is only 16 mths. old. Most of the time she is happy and content, but she definitely has a mind of her own and she picks her battles. She will obey perfectly and without hesitation 9 times out of 10, but the 10th time she will suddenly decide that she wants to do something else. Then we have to have a training session.
   Anyway, I guess that sort of catches us up for now. Hope to be on here a little more faithfully, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
 Happy New Year everyone!