Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Fruits

This week the temperature is hovering around 90 degrees, the humidity is high, and the garden is beginning to explode with fresh veggies. We have had zucchini, a few tomatoes and potatoes, some cucumbers and bits of other things. This morning I was able to make my second gallon of pickles and we have a large bowl of fresh green beans for supper tonight (thanks to Mom, super-duper bean picker). This means canning season is around the corner and I cannot wait to can tomatoes and make fresh salsa, mmm.

This also means school is around the corner. The second box of curriculum arrived on Monday. Carlie started Bible to give herself a little jump start and something to do while in the arm cast. I think I really learn much more from teaching the kids than they do! Ellie is back to reading regularly and Maggie is reading as well. I am so glad that Mags picked up the reading on her own, as that will make Kindergarten a breeze this year. The couple of months off from school have been good for Ellie and she now seems much more eager to read than she did during the school year.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The End of the World As I Know It

Micah figured out how to get onto the kitchen chairs today. It is all downhill from here. Nothing is safe and secure from him anymore. I seem to remember this stage with the other kids as being one that included lots of falls and bumps and an exhausting amount of me taking kids off the table.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sticks and Stones May Break Carlie's Bones

Actually, Carlie's broken wrist is the result of running and falling in a grassy area at a park. No sticks and stones, but definitely broken bones. She isn't in much pain. The cast will be on for 4 weeks and then will be x-rayed again. Carlie isn't going to be able to go to Valleyfair on Monday or do any more swimming this season, but she is okay with that. I am so thankful that our vacation is over with and she has logged many hours in the pool as well as at the lake. Oh...the cast should be off in time for school to start!! Also on the bright side...Carlie's actual doctor was the doctor at Urgent Care this morning. God is so good to us and I love how He provides for my family beyond my expectations.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surprise Visit

Last night we had an unexpected visit from a worker in the area who had just finished blacktopping a neighbor's driveway. He had some of the batch left from the job and wanted to know if we wanted our driveway done. What is so funny about that is that I had just been thinking during the day that I cannot wait until we can afford to blacktop the driveway. (We have a large slab of cement where the vehicles park in front of the garage but the rest of the driveway is crushed rock.)

So for less money than this computer I am blogging from, we have a nice blacktopped space for the kids to play, roller blade, bike, and scoot. (We have no sidewalk and our road tends to have people driving WAY too fast.) There is still a small part that they will come back and finish, and maybe in the future we will blacktop the turnaround as well, but I am thrilled with this surprise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Homeschool Planning

I took the opportunity while Carlie, Caleb, Ellie, and Maggie were at VBS today to order my home school curriculum for the upcoming school year. Usually I am more on the ball, but I just have felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to teach this year. I spent a lot of time researching and praying about what to do.

I came to the decision that my kids are way ahead in some things compared to conventional schoolers or at least at grade level. So something must be going right around here. Carlie and Caleb love to read...this is a great accomplishment in and of itself. And a couple of my kids are already begging to start school back up!

So my focus this year is not only on getting the basics in, but having fun and letting them explore subjects that they are each personally interested in as well. I purchased Carlie extra geography stuff and she has already started health. Caleb loves to learn interesting facts about things I could care less about. Maggie and Ellie are each going to have an art book this year and I am going to try to stick with that, no matter how much I hate doing arts and crafty-type stuff!

I am gearing up. Now I just need to get myself excited. I have to admit that I do love teaching them and I find it a privilege to get to be the one responsible for their education. I have just really enjoyed having the summer off and hanging out with them. But it is already the end of July, unbelievable.

Now I just need to focus on what to do to keep Glory and Micah occupied during the school year! Thank the Lord for Dora DVDs during math time!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vacation Post-Script

Just wanted to say a big "thanks" to Mike and Penny for all of your generosity toward our family. We love you guys and we have a lot of fun with you. You are much more than family to us. (Sappy but true.)

Home Sweet Home

We made it home from Park Rapids. We did not lose any kids or our sanity. It actually was a lot of fun. The packing and planning part was a HUGE undertaking, but the trip was relaxing. The setting of the resort is perfect for our family. We were able to see the kids everywhere they went. Aaron's brother's cabin was right across the driveway and all the kiddos ran back and forth between cabins, playground, and water area the entire time.

I had the ingenious idea to bring Micah's regular high chair. That was probably the best thought I have had in years. He was happy to sit in there and eat, all strapped in. I also thought to bring scooters and skateboards, which the kids used the entire time.

Carlie and Caleb are old enough now to be out in pedal boats and on the dock with cousin Cody (with life jackets!). They had fun tooling around, fishing, searching for crayfish, looking for bats in the dark, playing hide-and-seek, and swimming. The younger kids had cousins Kelsey, almost 6, and Logan, 3, to play with. They loved being in the water, at the park, playing in the cabins, and going for boat rides. Aaron and his brother had a good time fishing and hanging out. Penny and I NEVER run out of things to talk about and it is always fun to cook with someone else. Oh, Aaron and Mike caught a huge snapping turtle. Catch and release. :)

We had great weather for the trip. It rained on the way there and the way home. Perfect! The only downside was that we had to head for the basement when we got home, as we had two tornadoes in our immediate area. We lost power for a while, but that was about it!

So this week is crazy busy with VBS for the older four and me planning for school for the fall and getting ready for a college friend/roommate reunion at our house this Saturday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We're On Our Way

Mini-vacation, here we come! We are leaving this morning to go to Park Rapids for 4 days and 3 nights. This will be our second time meeting Aaron's brother and family at this little resort. It isn't anything special or fancy. The decorating is nothing great. (remember those calendars in the 80's that were made out of cloth and hung from some string? the kind with Precious Moments or animals?? that sort of decorating!)

It is also a lot of work. We are taking my parents' small trailer behind the Suburban. Not even would be so much easier to go to Hawaii or something. This is like doing the work of camping, only sleeping and cooking indoors. We are taking Micah's full-sized high chair and strapping him in out by the picnic area.

But it will be so much fun. Memories will be made. The kids love the beach area and looking for rocks, shells, and baby fish. They will have a great time fishing and going out in the paddle boat. We will probably venture up to Itasca again so the kids can stick their little toes in the place where the great Mississippi begins. We will have bonfires and roast marshmallows. We will play cards and outdoor games. But mostly we will just be together. We love hanging out with Mike and Penny and their kids. In fact, one of the last things Glory said before going to sleep last night was, "Can't I just go see Logan now?" (cousin 2 days older than her)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Practice Your Fire Drills

The past few days have found us rushing around, packing to go on a short vacation to Park Rapids. Monday morning, as I was sliding a pan of bars into the oven, I heard a clunk. It sounded like something dropped onto the bottom of the oven, but I couldn't find anything. So I dismissed it and walked away to help Ellie out with a sliver. Carlie shouted that the stove was on fire! When I checked, I found the oven full of flames. Chaos ensued. I had to put the fire out with the extinguisher. I had told the kids to get out of the house, which resulted in a lot of yelling, crying, and screaming -mostly from the kids. :) The story is long but the end result is that we are all fine.

The Negatives-

*Fire...enough said
*The Clean-up...who knew that using an extinguisher for 10 seconds would make a mess over the entire main level? Literally, the stuff even got inside of the kitchen cabinets.
*Scared Children...a couple of years ago our neighbors had a house fire which took their entire home and garage.
*Ruined Pan...a new Pampered Chef stone pan (which is a replacement for one that broke) is destroyed.
*Fire Plan...didn't work as smoothly as we have practiced and talked about. Glory didn't exit the house with the kids, but instead took the opportunity to play in the bathroom sink.

The Positives-

*Emergency Workers...responded very well and were very nice. This included 2 police cars and a large, red fire engine. Doesn't hurt that one firefighter could have had his own calendar :)
*Emergency Practice...we have not really had many emergencies, and I think this was a real eye opener for all of us.
*Some Kids...did an awesome job in the situation. Ellie was so proud of herself for listening and not going down to her room to rescue her "snugglers" (blankies), and her "animals" (stuffed).
*Faith Booster...the kids gave all credit for our safety to God.

The Funnies-

*Caleb...coming back in to rescue Glory, but saw all of the smoke and began to scream.
*Micah....jumping into his little swimming pool, fully clothed, while I was sorting things out with the emergency workers.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The First Cut is the Deepest

Yesterday Micah had his first haircut. We opted to have Auntie Nora cut his hair. (She is currently in cosmetology school). To say he did not want his hair cut is an understatement! He squirmed, screamed, cried, snotted, and hollered all the way through. He was so exhausted at the end that he rested on Aaron's shoulder while Nora did the finishing touches.

The end result was a baby who is looking and acting more like a toddler every day. Micah's enormous cowlick is still there, but now is in the form of a super-cute faux hawk! His sweet little baby wisps are somewhere in a baggie, waiting to be put into his baby box along with many other infant firsts.




Sunday, July 13, 2008


Almost every conversation with friends and family begins with some sort a laundry list of the things that are keeping them or us busy. I think busy-ness has become such a part of our culture that we rarely really find time to be quiet before God and let him speak into our lives. I know that this is true for me in my personal walk with Christ. I can find time for a lot of the things that I want to do or need to do, but I have been asking myself, "where is God on my list of priorities?"

The typical Christian answer is God first, spouse second, children third, and everything else somewhere after that. I know that I don't always put God first. I don't always put Aaron second. More often than not, the kids come first. (squeaky wheel gets the grease syndrome) My priorities are in a jumble.

Today, for some reason, I was reading My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. One thing stood out to me. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind today.

Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God and no one else is taken into account whatsoever.

This passage is not telling me to just close myself into my room with my Bible. He has me in this season of motherhood and things that go along with mothering. He knows that the baby can't wait for a diaper change. The cooking has to be done. Carlie needs to be picked up from youth group. The list goes on. He isn't asking me to shirk my responsibilities as a wife and a mom.

But He is jealous for my love and affection. I am on His mind. He should be on mine. My first thought should be of Him. Every moment should be about Christ. Then every other thing will fall onto the list of priorities where it belongs.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Simple Things

I have never been the kind of mom who likes running her kids from place to place and activity to activity. I don't think there is anything wrong with doing that. I am a homebody by nature. Call me a compulsive nester. I suppose that being pregnant, puking, and nursing babies for almost 11 years kept me at home and started the routine. Also, the very idea of hauling 6 kids to soccer practice, baseball, or piano lessons is overwhelming.
In the midst of a crazy and busy world, we are always the most content with the simple things.
*Micah with a hose. Couldn't be any happier than he was last night. BTW-he already knows how to annoy his sisters by spraying them! Isn't he a little young to be an annoying brother?
*Kids in the pool. This is our fifth summer on the same pool. Worth every penny and the kids never tire of it. I tire of putting sunscreen on everyone!
*Reading books. Carlie and Caleb have become avid readers. Carlie is averaging a book per day lately. She is currently reading the Narnia series. Caleb has spent the last two days in his room because a new (free) Lego magazine came in the mail.
*Family devotions. This summer I found a great book that retells Bible stories in a fresh way and provides thought-provoking questions. I often read it at meal times.
*Stickers and crayons. 1 tub of foam shapes from the dollar spot at Target in combination with crayons and paper make for endless fun.
This list changes with the seasons, but for me, this is what summer is all about. I don't think the kids are even missing being in community ed activities this year! And with gas prices for filling a Suburban...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Good Times Keep Rollin'

I didn't get as many photos taken today as I would have liked, but I know you people from TN like the pictures.
Today was spent hanging out with family and celebrating a belated bday for Dad, 58 years old. All, with the exception of Anna and Kelly, gathered together. We spent time in the pool, playing outside, going to the lake on Jason's boat, eating, and visiting.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gone Campin'

Okay. So it was only in the backyard. I am almost certain that camping in the backyard is as much work as actually going somewhere. Thursday night found us having our annual campout in the yard. The weather was perfect and it was the beginning of a long weekend. The kids had a blast roasting hot dogs, making s'mores, and running around outside way past their normal bedtime. (I should be clear and honest...I do not camp out. I enjoy a night to myself in our king-sized bed. Micah was in his crib and Glory ended up in the house as well. It was a stretch for me to hang out by the fire.)

The kids enjoyed snuggling in the tent together and listening to Aaron read stories. No ghost stories here, but rather a children's Bible from Focus on the Family that we are loving. When they woke up in the morning, Aaron made toast with jam over the fire and popped popcorn. We all had a ball and spent the Fourth of July celebrating Aaron's 34th birthday, playing outside, swimming in the pool. We wrapped up a very busy day by watching the fireworks on TV in high-def. (I probably won't be brave enough to go to a fireworks display for a couple of more years. Six kids in the dark, crowds of people, bugs...doesn't sound appealing.) Glory is still recovering from big fun...she just got out of bed and it is 10:45 a.m.

Hope you are having a safe and fun holiday weekend! I am so thankful that we live in a free country. God is so good to us!

Proof that Micah is a little stinker!

Just wanted to try out video on here. This is Micah figuring out to take cushions off the furniture and climb up.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Something New

A new computer. Yay! We have officially joined the rest of the world and purchased a laptop computer. With summer quickly flying by and fall approaching, we realized that we would be in need of another computer. Ideally, with homeschooling, we would have 3 computers, but 2 for this year will be wonderful. I was not sold on the idea of having a laptop, but I have to admit that it is nice to sit out here at the kitchen island and keep an eye on things. What mom doesn't love technology that helps her to multi-task?