Sunday, November 28, 2010

Charlie's Prayer

It was time to eat. I was sitting at the table with the kids, nursing a headache, ready to eat pizza for the 3rd night in a row. But, we're thankful for food, right?
And, Daddy was on the road for work.
Charlie: Mom, can I pray?
Me: Sure, go ahead.
Charlie: Dear God, mommy's headache and feel better. Amen.
Me: Char, can you thank God for the food and to keep Daddy safe?
Charlie: OK. Thank you for the food and Daddy's face.
Jacob could be heard stifling a laugh.
Me: Thanks, Char. I'm thankful for Daddy's face, too.
Safe...face...they're so close!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Saturday after Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is so much fun, and I'm so glad that we don't ignore it like the retailers do. It's such a meaningful holiday. So now, we can begin to prepare for Christmas!
We have a tradition that we started just last I guess it's a newish tradition, but one nonetheless. On the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, the kids get into their jammies, we order pizza and watch The Polar Express.

I just love watching the kids' faces during the movie. They are so captivated by the action and animation. Especially when the train goes down that really steep hill...they all squeal and wish they were riding the train!
And there's something about this tradition, and maybe the time of year, that makes me realize that we won't have these evenings forever. Jacob's 10, and though he will be around for a while yet, eventually we'll not all be sitting around, eating pizza and watching The Polar Express on this night. I'm treasuring these traditions with our kids while they last, and hoping that even when they're teens...they'll still want to hang out with us...maybe with their friends, too!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Thanksgiving Day!
I was finally able to love on my new great-nephew.
That sounds really old, doesn't it?
He is such a sweet, little pumpkin, and it was nice to have a little baby around again!

Gifts for our little nephew. I love this book and read sections of it often. I have the book for girls sitting on my shelf, too!
The kids had so much fun with their friends.

And the ladies chatted around the table after dinner.

Can you tell this is father and son?

Cheers for dessert! Grandma made chocolate dipped marshmallows on pretzel rods using
those HUGE marshmallows that I never knew what to do with!

Some of the diners lost the battle...night, night!

And some of the big kids had as much fun as the littles!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful - Day 8

Tomorrow is it! The big Thanksgiving celebration. And, friends, we all have so much to be thankful for. I've enjoyed posting a few of my thankful thoughts this past week, leading up to Thanksgiving...a holiday that becomes more and more precious to me each year.

I'm learning to be thankful, and find the joy, in the little things each day...each moment. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, so I'm trying hard not to worry, because today can have enough challenges of its own. I'm learning not to be concerned about everyone else's opinion. I'm not here to please the world, but to please my God in heaven. And if I'm striving for that, then the rest will fall into place. And if along that journey, I please the world...fantastic. To God be the glory!
More thankful thoughts in no particular order
*little hands to help prepare for our Thanksgiving celebration
*creative boys that help their not-so-creative mom

*my husband...willing to run to the grocery store for those last minute items
*and his willingness to take Laura for a haircut...usually a loud, whiney, hissy-fit experience (for Laura, not Jamie!)
*that he stops frequently to fill the tires in my van that don't seem to hold air in cold weather
*brothers that enjoy one another's company
*recipes that turn it boiled should still taste good, right?

*having all 5 of my children's photos hanging in our hallway...5 kiddos...sweet!
*a God to whom I can pour out my heart when it's aching for our travel approval to go to China, and then be at peace
*a gift from my youngest of almost dead flowers off the plant that has been in our mulch pile for over one week

*the big smile my youngest has as he hands me those half-dead flowers...along with a runny nose from playing in the brisk November air...too cute
*my oldest's ability to help me with our mountain of laundry
*listening to a Christian radio station while working around the house
*watching jobs get crossed off of my to-do list

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful - Day 7

We're excited that Thanksgiving is only two days away, as well as...
*baking cookies with my oldest boys...homeschool at its finest!
*watching their looks of unbelief as I had the nerve to lick the spatula after baking cookies!
*preparing Indian headbands with feathers for the kids to wear at dinner Thursday.
*standing back and looking at my freshly scrubbed carpet.
*seeing Amarin's proud smile after making his bank deposit all by himself.
*helping at Charlie's Thanksgiving party at his school.
*that Charlie's principal prayed before they ate, efforting to imitate the First Thanksgiving
*seeing Charlie interact with his classmates, as well as being the social butterfly with the other classes in the hallway. How does he know so many kids?
*cuddling with Laura as I read the Guideposts magazine to her by the fire.
*friends willing to take the older boys so I could help in Char's classroom.
*the homemade gifts Charlie handed out to everyone in the matter that half of what he gave us came from his brothers' closet!
*my husband's heart, wanting to help those in need.
*heart-warming stories I've read today about homecomings of many children who are no longer orphans.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful - Day 6

Today's thankful post is for Laura, and about Laura.

Today was such an awesome day for Laura. The staff at her school organized a "Four Seasons" fashion show in which she was able to participate. Her class was modeling the summer fashions, and her teachers wondered if Laura could model her ballerina bathing suit that she had worn earlier in the summer for "beach day." Well, I teased them, that was showing a lot of leg...but sure! She's so dog-gone cute in it!

We're thankful for Laura's progress...walking well without her braces, starting to potty train, trying to use a fork (well, for her teachers, anyway!), and that sweet and sometimes feisty personality that comes out more and more.

We are thankful for teachers like these, in the background, that care so much for and are such a big part of Laura's life now. Honestly, we couldn't have asked for more exuberant, energetic, and enthusiastic teachers. And I didn't just mean to use a lot of "e" words...just came out that way! God has surely blessed us with a host of staff members that truly care for these special kids. And see how Laura's teacher is right down at Laura's level? Well, I think Laura was protesting her entry a bit because she was slapping her leg like crazy, which is what she does if she's mad or dislikes something. But Ms. Mary got right down there with her and worked it out...and the show went on without a hitch!
We are thankful for this special young man who escorted Laura in the fashion show. He was so sweet and gentle with her, and even helped her turn in a circle to model her bathing suit. I'm guessing he felt like a very important helper...and he was!

Laura's helper gently brought her back into a sitting position when she tried to scurry away from the crowd. He took his job very seriously. And I think he's on to your schemes, Laura!

We are thankful for Grandma and Papa who came to watch your debut before heading off on their vacation...a warm vacation, I might add! And we're thankful that Daddy surprised us, too, because we didn't think he was coming today!

Thankful for Papa's cuddles.
Sorry, Laura, but you do have to go back to school...not Papa's house!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful - Day 5

When I asked who wanted to do the Thankful blog today, Amarin called out "Me, me!"
So, here are his thankful thoughts...
*Friends at church
*Fun times with my brothers
*Lots of food
*When friends come over to play
*Playing piano for my grandma
*Cooking fried rice at home
*Art class

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful - Day 4

Since it's my blog...I get another turn posting my thankful thoughts for the morning! :)
*My husband who gets up at 6AM on a Sat. just to make coffee for his early rising wife!
*My hot mug of coffee.
*The peacefulness of a Saturday morning while everyone else is still sleeping...nevermind...they all just came downstairs.
*Morning hugs and smiles from all my boys after having a sleepover together in one bedroom.
*Time to shop yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner that we're hosting this year.
*Sitting as a family, reading our Thanksgiving devotional last night.
*Friends that in are in China now getting ready to meet their new daughter...though wishing we were there, too.
*A strong furnace on this chilly morning!
*My coffee...have I mentioned this yet?
*Our pastor at church. We've learned so much, and will miss him and his family. Tomorrow is his last Sunday with us.
*No formal homeschool lessons this week...just real life.
*Laura and her daddy having cuddle time in the morning in front of the fireplace.
Watch throughout the day for those "thankful" moments, no matter how small!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful - Day 3, by Charlie

Hi. This is Charlie. I'm thankful for...

*baby deer
*Brenden and Justin (my friends)
*my school
*my monkey (stuffed animal)
*Jacob, Amarin, and Laura
*going to China to get Jenna
*pizza and movie nights
*reading books

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful - Day 2, by Jacob

Hi, this is Jacob and I'm thankful for...
*playing the tuba and sousaphone
*German butter brezels (big, soft pretzels)
*my rabbits, Cedar and Willow
*God's Word
*skiing in the Alps
*the ancient bristlecone pines, redwoods, and giant sequoias
*nature, especially trees, wildlife, and hunting
*fishing with Papa, U. Bill, Dad, and my brothers
*soccer with my homeschool league, and Dad
*chainsaws for cutting trees
*history lessons
*my family and friends

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful - Day 1

Thanksgiving is upon us, and it's so important that we take time to really be thankful for so many things with which we've been blessed. So, for the next week or so, I, or a family member, will be posting some thankful thoughts.
*My husband and boys who took over cooking dinner, cleaning up, and bathing the little ones last night so I could go to bed at 6:30 to try to sleep off a migraine.
*Waking up in the middle of the night to hear the rain hitting the roof and windows. Is there anything more cozy than being bundled in my warm bed, listening to the elements outside?
*Friends that stop by for a cup of tea.
*My children's friends who are respectful, obedient, and creative in their play.
*Dark mornings so I can watch the stars move their positions over the past few months while I have some quiet time with God.
*Beautiful sunrises...reds, oranges, yellows, purples.
*Encouraging emails from prayer partners.
*Listening to my boys play the piano and tuba (well, learning!).
*Staying home to school my oldest boys, and care for my little boy, home from school with a bad cough.
*Watching Laura smile as her school bus arrives to take her to school.
*Hearing Charlie love on his little friend, bundling her in blankets and stuffed animals, asking, "Are you comfy, sweetheart?"
What you are thankful for this season?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can I brag..a little?

Or maybe I should ask if I could toot my's for the kids!?
(pun intended...see below)

Jacob started band class this year at a Christian school. They graciously offer free band class for homeschoolers, grades 5-8. After 4 years of piano, Jacob wanted to learn another instrument, and we decided this would be a great opportunity.

So, for the first 2 months, they learned the recorder. The band teacher wanted to see how serious they were about band, if they would be disciplined enough to practice, etc. He also interviewed each student to see how well they could match pitch with their voices, hear differences in tones, etc., in order to give them some good instrument choices.

I don't know about you, but when I was in band, we just chose an instrument that we thought looked fun and went for it! Of course, I think we ended up with 40 flautists...

Well, like any "good" parent, I knew what instrument would be great for Jacob. He loves Christian rap and rock tempos, so why not play the drums? Besides, buying drum sticks is a whole lot more ecomonical than those big instruments! But Jamie and I decided to see what Jacob would come up with...
And he had a seriously different idea, and where he came up with it, I have no idea.

But his band teacher heartily agreed with him, and actually is letting us borrow the instrument for free. His teacher said he hasn't had a student play this instrument in several years, and thinks Jacob will do very well.

So, without further ado...

here is Jacob, my tuba player!
(could it be any further away from the drums?)

Jacob is sooo excited to play the tuba.

I am sooo excited that I don't have to haul that thing back and forth to band class each day...that thing is HEAVY!

So, this instrument stays at home for practicing, and in band class, Jacob will be playing the know...the honkin' huge marching band kind of tuba? That weighs more than Jacob does?


Jacob and I are both thankful that the band teacher has a special stand on which the sousaphone will rest so all he has to do is hold on and make some noise!
So, I am very pleased with Jacob for making up his own mind and choosing something that he's excited about.
Now, one more proud mom moment. And here's a hint: what does just about every mom use to bribe, I mean, encourage, her children?

Yes, the beloved M&Ms! And who might we be bribing...encouraging? None other than our sweet little Laura.

Why??? How about a guessing game?

Leave a note and tell me what you think!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

He's 9!

Amarin turned the "Big 9" today.
Seems like his birthday has been going on for a couple of weeks now...a family party for both him and Char two weeks ago, then we celebrated over the weekend since Jamie wasn't going to be available today, and then we celebrated today, too!
Today, I took all 4 kids bowling, and then out for Mexican food.
We had a lot of fun, and Amarin was all grins as they put the HUGE hat on his head and sang Happy Birthday to him. Would have been really nice to have my camera there, too.
I forgot.
This was our little celebration last weekend. He was very happy just with a Star Wars birthday card. Star Wars rules in this household...well, with the guys, anyway. Me? I fall asleep.

Jacob made cut out guys (paper dolls, but don't tell them I called them that)
and backgrounds from the Bible.

A new music bag for his piano lessons.

And new golf clubs! This fall, the boys chose to play golf with their Dad instead of soccer.
Amarin loves to draw and to work in sticker books.

Oooh...we could do this, too, Jacob. boys.

Enough foolin' around...time to get down to business!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Drum Roll, Please

Thank you to everyone who entered our Kindle drawing. This was fun!

And we have a winner!

Amarin drew the name.
We figured that was the most fair since he's not able to read many names yet.

So, without further delay...

the winner is...

Becky Reilly!

Congratulations, and happy reading!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What is Large?

So, what is the definition of a large family? I don't know...I used to think 4 kids was a large family. Now, it doesn't seem that big. 5 seems like a big family, but once Jenna's home, maybe that won't seem so large after all. Sometimes when we're around families with just a couple kids, I feel like we're crazy (literally) big...with kids running in every direction. I mean, Jamie and I are seriously outnumbered, and the older we get, the quicker they get!

But we've never been called "big." Until yesterday. And it wasn't even spoken out loud. was in the form of writing. You see, when Jamie and I bought our first house, we bought a new kitchen table and chairs...4 chairs...which seemed ample enough. Ahem. Eleven years and almost 5 kids later, we do not have enough chairs. Luckily, at least we bought a table that expanded!

So, my friendly UPS man delivered the solution yesterday...2 kitchen table benches. We now will have plenty of room to seat our 7 person family. And as Jacob calculated, there is still room for the brother and sister he wants to adopt from Africa. Love that kid's heart! Just wish my pocket book was as deep as his heart!

So, here it is. "great for large families."
I guess this means we are officially LARGE!

Our Only Hope

I know my sweet friend, Cheryl, will not mind that I'm "copying" her blog post today. What an awesome video that speaks so clearly of the need in America today. Certainly, we have seen another turnover in our government in the past 24 hours, and I pray that these men and women who will hold office will do all in their power to uphold the Constitution and Godly values.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 More Days

We are very thankful to those who have responded to our KINDLE raffle. The drawing is in 2 more days, so if you haven't had a chance to enter, click HERE for the details. Basically, for every $5.00 donated (use our Chipin), you earn one entry in the drawing. You can also earn an entry by blogging about the raffle, or putting it on FB. Let me know if you do so I can put your name in the drawing! Be sure to check back on Nov. 4th to see if you won!