Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Other People

Tonight as Kenny was reading The Swiss Family Robinson to us, the phone rang.  I noticed the number was not familiar, but it looked as though it may be from Joey's camp in Kansas City.  I answered, and the young woman on the other end asked if I was Joey's mom.  Then she told me he had tripped (running in a game, I found out later), and fallen face-first into a music stand.  He was fine, she said, but cut on the cheek and near the eye.  The counselor wanted to take him in for stitches, just to keep a bad scar from happening.  They needed our permission to take him in.
The last time I got off the phone that fast was years ago when the vet called at 6:00 in the morning to let us know Danny's Guinea pig had not made it through the night.  I hung up with the vet then, and cried.
And tonight, when I said thank you to the young woman, I hung up quickly and cried again.  Right in the middle of the Swiss Family Robinson.  Why, you ask?  Because other people were taking my son to the emergency room.  In another state. He was going to be seen by a strange doctor in a strange hospital. Without me, his Mom.
It hit me how much I miss him, how the speed of his flapping wings has picked up, how from here on out, I am going to have to keep giving him over to other people.
I know he's fine with it, but to this Mother Hen, it stinks.
I think I'll go buy a plane ticket to Kansas City.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Defining the Season

I like definitions.  And labels.  And boxes.  
I like understanding where I am and who's doing what.
But right now I find it hard to define what season of life I am in.  It seems for so long I was in the season of only having littles, teaching them to be still for naps, be kind to eachother, and walk in a line like ducks at the grocery store.  I am still doing that, and yet...
My oldest turns 18 this week, and he has 9 younger brothers and sisters.  That means I have been having babies for a long time.  I am in my 40's, so I am no longer new at this. I am itching to help some younger mothers along the way, tell them what I know, and encourage them to keep the faith.  Yet I am also a mother to littles, and those littles need naps and a home-based life and a steady routine and a rested Mama.  And that reality keeps me from being physically as involved in my older boys stuff.  
We went to a potluck for speech and debate last weekend, and I was the only one with a nursing baby.  Most of the parents' youngest children were older than my youngest four children.  
It's crazy, really.  As I'm adding to our numbers, the older ones are starting to fall out the other side!  Danny heads off to debate camp this week, and then onto a full-time job through the elections.  Joey is in Kansas City having the time of his life.  The next 3 are pushing their way up and ready to move forward and grow into adulthood.  
Kenny and I have been wanting a larger house for a while now.  He is patiently trying to pay down the mortgage, and I am patiently trying to re-shift and re-organize so we can stay here until he is ready to make that move.  But lately we've joked that if we just wait a while longer, our family will start shrinking and we won't need to move! 
And what am I learning through the whirlwind of changes?  That I will never pass this way again, and so I had better make it count.  As Debbie Pearl writes, "Life is NOW.'  
It's a rich and full season, even if I can't put it in a box.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Yesterday Kenny and I got up at 4:00 in the morning to send our 16 year-old off to Kansas City for a prayer and worship camp.  For 3 weeks.  He was nervous about the flight and all, but once he got on the plane and felt it 'move back and forth', he got really jazzed for his adventure.

We're so proud of him.  He told us at the beginning of the summer that he wanted to do this.  But it was going to cost over $1,200.  So, as we looked at our wonderful new carpet and hoped for a newer car for Kenny, we had to say 'not this year'. 
Joey started to pray about it, and not too long after, a couple we know approached him and asked if he had any interest in going.  He smiled, and said yes.  They then offered to have him work for them and earn $300, up to his departure date.  Then the worship and prayer ministry here in town gave him a scholarship of $500.  The momentum was building! 
He sent out emails and flyers all around, looking for work.  And it came in, and he raised all of the money.  In fact, last week as he was mowing, he was thinking of how he would need some spending money while there.  But he had no more jobs.  So he prayed.  When he got home, there was a phone call from a woman he had mowed the front yard for (for $15).  She said she now wanted him to do front and back, for $50.  And then my Mom decided to send him $20 to take with him.

Needless to say, it's been such a good growing experience for our young man.  He has matured in many ways, and watched his God provide. And now, he is in the hands of others.  We are praying for him to have wisdom, discernment, and JOY as he learns.  And we are touched by his example of trusting in the Lord.
And yes, we already miss him very very much.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hitting the Books

Ooh...Can't you just smell that wonderful NEW BOOK smell??!!

I really really hate to start back to a full load this early. After all, it's 90 degrees outside and barely mid-summer. But, when you have had a baby in your 40's (think 'way more tired than when you were in your 30's'), and you wrap up your last school year in early May, well, let's just say the grumpy family members and disorganized days were calling for that school schedule.  So yesterday, we hit the books.  And I'm a happy Mama once again.

I always do goodie bags to make it fun.  And yes, that one with the purple 'D' is for that son who just graduated.  I know, I'm a softie.

I thought this was a cool shot- down inside the goodie bag!

Sarah was all-smiles.  What child wouldn't be, with a pile of new school supplies and loads of CANDY?

The older kiddos have a tradition- they set up their candy to be forts, tanks, and the like.  Here are Sammy's cannons.

Sarah and Ellie, most certainly enjoying the day.
I'll bet not everyone gets to take home 2 cute girls when they buy a Rubbermaid tote.

Oh boy...lots of goodies here!  I usually teach history in chronological order, but after about 10 or 12 years of that, I just needed something different.  So, this year it's geography.  I found some great guides, and will be doing it unit-study-style, complete with really cool art lessons, cooking, literature, and missionary stories.  
Pretty Hannah is loving it!

Big brother Tommy helps Newbie Nat with his chalk earth drawing.  Some of the kids thought their earths ended up looking like polka-dotted eggs, but I think they were all great. 

Emma Joy, waiting for her turn with Mom.
Ah yes, even in July, it's good to be back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our July Girls

 Sarah has a map to her birthday party...She wanted to invite the whole town.
With the 2 youngest girls' birthdays 11 days apart, I decided to celebrate them together this time.  We spent the early part of the day at Focus on the Family's play area, and then had a nice dinner and presents at home.  Sarah requested Chinese Chicken Salad and Macaroni and Cheese.

Lots of Dollar Store color for these girls!
(So sorry for the bad photos...It's a long story.)

 Before all the fun, we had one of those days.  A number of things went off track, and the cake got dropped on the floor by a well-meaning sister.  Frosting was everywhere and there were some girls in tears.  But we quickly went to plan B, smoothed out what frosting was left, threw on some flower sprinkles and let Nat and Sarah arrange Teddy Grahams on top.  It turned out looking more like a teddy bear pow-wow, but you know, it's really hard to ruin chocolate.

Joey and Nat messing around before dinner.

 Ready for Presents!
They got 'just what they wanted' and were just so happy to have some new things to play with.  I remember years ago when we had the 3 boys, just aching for a daughter to throw a party for, and now we have 4 of them! 

Each girl got a princess costume, complete with beautiful dresses, crowns, and 'swords' (that's what you call a wand when you have 6 brothers).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guess What I'm Doing This Week...

*Running this home well is no small task. *

After 6 months of new baby, debate tournaments, new carpet, mime practices, piano recitals, home schooling, graduation prep, and relatives, I am finally taking some time to get some things back in order.  Ahhhh...I'ts been too long without a schedule.  We've made it through, but not in the best way. My Mother-in-Law would say I've been like a
So, I am taking the next few weeks to write down everything that is not working, and write down everything that needs to be working.  Such Fun!!
I have one of my most favorite books - Large Family Logistics- which really isn't just for large families.  It's so full of practical wisdom I can't stand it.  I feel like a kid in a candy store.  And today while Danny and I were out getting his drug test for his new job, I ran in to Target and found the cutest binder for all of my new LISTS! (It's the flowery book behind the laundry lady above). 
I have been coming up with more practical meal lists (revised for busier times); better chore lists (revised for a new work force- sans older guys); more efficient errand schedules; fun things to learn this fall; clothing needs; ongoing grocery lists; and I'm sure more to come as I keep reading and pondering.
It feels so good to be thinking straight and looking ahead in an orderly sort of way. 

*It's almost as much fun as being on vacation.*

Monday, July 9, 2012

Copy Cats

 I love watching my littles copy the bigs.  You can just see the wheels turning, as they sit and silently stare and take it in.  And then, the light goes on and there's a change in their expression.  They smile and hop up to the bigs and say something like, "I want to do that too!".  And they do it, and when they're done, they seem to have grown taller a few inches. 
 We were made to imitate.  The apostle Paul said to follow him, as he followed Christ.  And it's so good to have somebody worth following.  In fact, it's absolutely neccessary in my opinion.  I am reading a book right now called, 'Come of Age', by Angus Buchan (the man that Faith Like Potatoes was filmed about).  This book is so sweet to me, because I can confidently follow some of the paths of Angus and his wife.  The Lord shines through them.
 After watching older sisters, Sarah just had to make her own yard sale signs for the neighbor's fundraiser.  I don't think she looks very proud of her work, do you?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Garden of the One True God

One of my family's favorite places to visit when they come out is the Garden of the Gods.  The rock formations are so beautiful and just so different.  There are wonderful trails to walk, and it's all nestled near the base of the Rocky Mountains.  By the way, if you have been following any of the news on the Colorado wildfires, the biggest one has been quite near this place.  Our family got the chance to visit just 2 days before the fires went wild.  And although there are different explanations as to how the rock formations got here, my children will happily walk through the place reminding us all that the Garden of the Gods is really the Garden of the One True God.  And how blessed we were to spend this day together, admiring His handiwork.

Super-Perfect Weather!

Nat, Emily, Emma, and Thomas, waiting for us all to get ready to start.

Can't you just feel the warm sun and fresh air?

My Mom has lost 75 pounds and she practically left us all in the dust!


The little girls stopped to make peach pies in the shade.  I think their dresses were light blue before the trip.  Not so blue anymore...

My Little Fishies

When my sisters were here, we had some extra time on our hands while the guys were out with the older kiddos.  Uncle Loren took 2 of his nephews hiking in the mountains, and Uncle Jim and my husband rented a ski boat for the day, complete with a long list of interesting happenings...It seems there is quite a lot to learn in renting your first ski boat and transporting it to a lake you've never been to.  And let's just say us women were quite glad we only went to the pool!
SO...Grandma, us 3 sisters and some of the littles headed off to the Rec. Center for an afternoon in the leisure pool.  And we made some sweet memories.
 This little man is growing up WAY too fast. 
 Rub-a-dub-dub...Three beauties in the tub.

Sweet Ellie floated around to her heart's content.
Em 'n' Em (Emily and Emma)

We're Back!

It's been a while.  The last 6 weeks have been full to overflowing in every way.  I feel like my summer is complete and I am ready to start back to a school schedule!
My Mom flew in and stayed for 5 weeks, we graduated Danny, endured and thoroughly enjoyed a 6 day Speech and Debate National Tournament, attended our state's Homeschool Conference, and hosted a small family reunion with my sisters and their families.  And what do I see as I look back on all the activity?  God has been so gracious to strengthen relationships and personal walks with Him through it all.  There are fingerprints of His goodness amid our tiredness.  June was a sweet, sweet month for us all. 
And with that, I'll leave you with a few shots of my way-too-serious older boys.  Uh-Huh.

I love these guys!