Friday, May 18, 2012

Park Day!

We put the school books away; when it's warm and sunny it's time to play!!

 It was hot, and when the sprinklers came on, the kids didn't mind getting cooled off.

Fair-skinned Michael had to stay in his carseat the whole time...Maybe next year, Buddy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hello, Grandma?

Eliana wanted to call Grandma, but couldn't find the phone.  I guess this gun-shaped sprinker head will have to do. 

We Blinked

A while back, our family got to go see comedian Ken Davis.  I'm a bit on the serious side, so comedians aren't usually high on my list of people to go see.  But Ken Davis is a neat Christian man who can make me laugh.  Really hard. Anyhow, during his show, he was looking back on his life (he's now in his 60's) and told about how when parents blink, their children grow up.  He was urging us all to do the important things in life, because our children grow up so fast.
He called Tommy out of the crowd (and yes, Tommy is just one of those kids that get called on frequently) and had some fun with him for a minute, then he looked and Kenny and I, sitting next to Tommy.  He said to us, 'don't blink'. 
Tonight Danny and I put together a short slide-show for his graduation next Thursday.  I left him alone for a while to work on it so I could finish dinner.  When I came back, he put the headphones on me so I could hear the song he chose to go with the photos of his life.  He looked at me and said, 'Mom, we blinked.'
 With little brother Joey.  Some of the best guys I know.  Aren't they cute?
This one's for you, Cheryl. Remember the aquarium?  Your little guy is now a husband!
 Danny, reading to baby sister Hannah.  They both still love learning through books.
 Sammy and Danny.  They've sure come a long way in their friendship with eachother.
 Danny, in front of the most wonderful vine that has grown almost as fast as he has.
 In his suit and tie waiting with friends to speak and the last Speech and Debate tourney.
Just a really great guy.  I'm so proud of you, my first-born son! Go get 'em!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Laundry Day

I love Mondays.  I hated them when I was younger, because they meant a whole new week of work.  Now I love them because they mean a whole new week of work.  I guard my Mondays around here.  I don't like starting the week out of the home- it sets the tone for the next few days. So there is very little coming and going, if any.  And no friends over.  We work on Mondays!  And we do laundry on Mondays.  The girls do their laundry on Tuesdays, and the boys on Wednesdays, but everything else in the house gets washed, dried, and put away on Wonderful Monday.  And as you can guess, that is no small task around here!

Into the washer!
Out of the dryer!
Folded and ready to put away!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Piano Man

Last weekend Joey and Tommy had their end of the year piano recital.  They each performed a written piece as well as an original composition.  Here is Joey playing the song he composed.  I had ten years of piano lessons growing up, and I never played like Joey.  He makes people cry, and we are so spoiled to have him in our home!  A little bit of Heaven while we wait.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and to my Mother-in-Law!
This blog is your Mother's Day present.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Mom- I am so proud of you.  You have worked so hard this year to get healthy, and you have inspired others to do the same.  Thank you for loving me and my big family.  You are a wonderful Grandma.  Can't wait to see you this month.
Mary- This year has brought a lot of unexpected trips to the doctor for you, as well as physical pain and discomfort.  You have weathered it so well, with your head up and all.  Thank you for your love for our family.
I wish I had pictures of you both to put up here.  Have a wonderful day!

The Capture of the Cork Bottle

There are days when I wish- I just wish - that my children were quiet and boring.  I'm not kidding! Because when you have ten children, and say, oh, about nine of them are talkative, or dramatic, or -gasp- can I say it - opinionated, it makes for a very unquiet household. Sigh. 
But there are days when I can laugh it off.  Like today, when Sarah decided to make a movie, complete with props, costume, and quiet little sister sitting next to her. Sarah's film was called 'The Capture of the Cork Bottle'.  But really it was just a cute little girl rambling about nothing in particular, just because the camera was rolling.
I hope she remembers us all when she's rich and famous.

Why I Hate Potty Training

Because I'm impatient.
Because it's messy.
Because I have to stop everything else and, well, potty train.
I have older girls who want to get paid to help out.  Which I do.
I came into my bathroom the other day (or I tried to) and couldn't get the door open.  Why, you ask?  Because my tiny bathroom was filled with girls.  And the door would barely open.  Because they were watching a movie.  On my laptop.  Uh-Huh.
These pictures aren't very good, because it's hard to take good pictures when you can't open the door, but you can tell at least they were having a better time potty training their sister than I would have.

Delicious Baby

Being 41, I don't take for granted the miracle of birth.  I don't think I ever have, really, but knowing that I may or may not have another child makes this last one so much more special! And dont you think I have the right to melt at him?  After all, he is the only child to have his Mama's eyes! And that bald head-who can resist it? He is most certainly Mr. Popular around here...

How I Teach My Children to Read

When you have a lot of kids, and you homeschool too, you get a lot of questions from other about how you do what you do.  One of the things people ask about is how in the world do I teach all these young ones to read?  The answer: I don't.  Not really.  Unless one of them has a learning issue that needs correction, I just let nature take it's course. And we do a lot of read-alouds.
I've watched all my babies move on steadily from one stage to the next.  And for most children, rolling turns to crawling and walking and running just like letter recognition turns to attempts at reading which then turns to independence!  
It's true, I do have a couple of phonics DVD's and some Reader Rabbit software that we bring out every so often for the interested soul, but mostly my kiddos have just taken off when they are ready.  God made us to learn! 
My oldest was reading before his 4th birthday.  Other have waited a lot longer.  But when they are ready, watch out!
Sarah has been watching me work with Emma, who does need more help.  She got to the point where she couldn't stand it any longer!  So in went the Leap Frog and Reader Rabbit's and here she is...Our newest independent reader!

Spring Has Sprung

Around here, spring comes late.  It's brown and boring for quite a while, and then sometime in late April one of the kids will rush in announcing the first crocus or tulip.  Our 11 year old Tommy has been having such fun taking pictures of the new life around our place.  I love to watch them find new interests as they learn.

Can't you just smell these sweet blossoms?
 Across the fence ('cuz the neighbor's yards are much prettier than ours!)
                                        Who knew dandelions could look this good???

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So True!

I grew up singing those wonderful old hymns.  They are full of meat, not lean and wanting.  They are rich and all about the Creator, the Cross, the Majesty of God, the Wonder of Salvation. Since my youth, I have been in more worship services where we sing choruses, and less where we sing hymns.  When my husband shared this with me a while back, I laughed so hard.  See if it makes you laugh too!

A Funny Little Story About Hymns and Praise Songs
By Author Unknown

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”
“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”
“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.
The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”
As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”
“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”
“They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.
The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,
Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.
Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.
So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn,
then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012


A very confident young girl approached my husband the other night and talked him into buying four pairs of handmade flip-flops for our girls.  He had so much fun handing them out when they arrived, and even more fun doing the photo-op!
Aren't they sweet?

Pretty Pink Stair-Steps
Hannah, Emma, Sarah, Eliana


Change isn't always easy.  It seems just as we settle into our new normal and get our bearings, something shifts.  This year I have my first child graduating, although he is no longer a child.  That alone is a big change for us all.  He and his 2 younger brothers are trying to put feet to their faith, and as an OLD parent, it isn't always easy to watch. And as our children grow into young men and women, my husband and I have to re-adjust our schooling plans for them and our parenting roles, and our taxi-service hours.  That doesn't happen overnight! Add to that a pretty new baby and a husband who wants to go into film-making, and, well, there are just some days when I think all I do is switch gears.   
I have to say, of myself I would not have the grace and wisdom that I find each day for my ever-changing days.  Somehow, there is a peace in my soul, and a joy in my heart, even as I battle stress, uncertainty, and sorrow.  Even when I don't remember things and my wheels seem to spin ALL DAY, I know Who is sustaining me and living through me. The King of Kings lives through me!
I am finding that the times of transition in our lives aren't so bad. There is hope when we fail and courage when we fear and His steady hand reminding us that we are not alone as we leave one season behind and walk into something unknown.
I recently bought one of those butterfly kits (our 3rd one in many years).  You get these tiny, pale worms in the mail and have to stash them in your kitchen for a week or so and watch them grow very quickly into the most horrid looking black wormy things.  Even my bug-lovers think they're gross!  Anyhow, once they are big and gross, you move them into the butterfly house (think 'small-mesh-net-pop-up-tent').  And then you wait.  You check on them every day, because you don't want to miss it.  Then one morning when you are getting out of the shower, your very loud and very excited 4 year old bounds up the stairs to announce, "One's OUT!! One's OUT!!".  And you know exactly what she's yelling about.  And so does everyone else because we've done this before.
I love these kits.  Tommy was thinking they were ridiculous because you just let the butterflies go once they're in the net a day or so.  But not me.  I never tire of the miracle of new life.  And it is change and transition that brings new life.  The grain of wheat has to fall to the ground to produce.  The caterpillar has to turn to mush then reform to have new life.  And my family has to grow up and face new battles and walk when we want to sit.  Because we were made to FLY, not just hang there as ugly caterpillars.
Hannah and Sarah Setting One Free

He is the Lord, and He does not change.   He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  In my seasons of change, I find great comfort in that. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Train Will Not Be Late

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My 16 year-old son Joey created this, and it makes me cry.  Jesus will not be late.  He will return precisely when the time is right.  And through all of the fulness and work we have on this earth, my heart and mind are still on what comes next.  When I was a little girl, I thought Heaven would be me, sitting on a cloud, listening to an angel play the harp.  For eternity!  I really wasn't looking forward to it.  But now I am older and have read the scriptures for a glimpse of the Glory and Awe of my Heavenly home and Who is waiting for me.
Job says in the Old Testament, 'For I know that my Redeemer lives, and I will stand with Him on that day.'  So in our weariness, our struggle, our longing for things to be made right, we rest in the Hope that the Train will not be late.  
He is coming.