Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We Have One Out of His Teens!!

Daniel Stephen, our very first child, turned 20 last weekend.  He's just a great guy.  His name means "God is my judge".  When he was younger we used to tease that he got it mixed up and thought it meant "I am the judge of my siblings!"
 We celebrated with a meager 30 people.  It seems that our tradition of having just one family over for dinner is now long-gone.

Young men's minds amaze me.

Funny faces with cute little sisters!

We had literally piles of food -and per Danny style, it was the same fare as every year...Burgers and ice cream pies. One friend bought six bottles of Vernor's  ginger ale for the birthday boy.  Danny loves the stuff, and so did my Grandpa Robert, who Danny reminds me a lot of.
The jar full of birdseed was a gift from me. When Danny was ten, I made a bunch of I Spy jars for the guests.  I filled the jars with a mix of birdseed and small trinkets.  Then tied on a tag with lists of the trinkets to find in the jar.  There were extra guests that year, and Danny gave his jar to one the guests.  I promised I would give him a new one.  And it took me another ten years, but I made good on my promise!  This new jar not only had trinkets, but gift cards as well!

Chocolate-Oreo-M&M Pies. Not a crumb was left for the next day.

Emma and her buddy, celebrating Danny!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Potty-Training Tales

How can you tell we are potty-training? 
Just look at these pics...
A stack of books on the bathroom counter to keep him busy...

Crackers and cheese, and plenty of water...

Strewn clothes in the bathroom...Apparently someone was in a hurry...

This morning Michael walked into my room, with nothing on except a shirt.  He was holding his underwear, and it was obvious he had messed them before taking them off.  
Mom: Uh, Mikey, did you go p**p?
Mikey: Yup. (with a cute little smug smile)
Mom: Um...Okay, well, where is the p**p?
Mikey: (still smiling) Oh... I will go look for it.
(seconds later, from the hall) I hear "Oh! Here it is!"
Mom pulls out hair and grabs the paper towels.

Nate Goes to the E.R.

When your big family van starts smoking and the mechanic tells you it will be $850 to fix it, you go to plan B and figure out how to get 4 of your men to their places of work, each in a different city, with only two cars.  Then, when your husband's Subaru freaks out and the mechanic tells you it will be $1,500-$2,000 to fix that, you sigh a little and suck it up and realize you will be spending the rest of your summer as a taxi driver.  Juggling children of all ages. In 90 degree weather.  With no air conditioning in the car.  
1 car x 4 workers x 4 different cities = Taxi Mom.
And when you have two weeks to get everything ready for your son to go to music school in Kansas City- your very first child to leave home- and everyone is weepy and his housing situation has changed at the last minute and you still need to get your school books and plans together for your remaining children and your littlest boy is only sort-of getting this whole potty-training thing and your third son wants to change his plans for his early college just when you had decided on them then you may find yourself thinking that this. is. a. lot.  But you can handle it, because it's your life.
Then, on park day, when one of your boys has your only car in Denver, and two boys are in Castle Rock, and one boy is at a friend's an hour away (just about near Kansas!) and another boy is down the road at a friend's, and your husband is working on getting a ride to a church men's meeting, you might be a little surprised to get a call from the friend down the road telling you that your 8 year-old just broke his arm.
And when you hear his crying in the background of the phone, your start to cry yourself. And when you climb into your friend's car and sit next to your little boy, you kiss his fuzzy head and look reassuringly into his eyes and you think, "You know, all that other stuff will take care of itself.  This is what I'm doing.  I get to comfort this little guy all evening."  And the rest of the night you get to be his best Mom.  
I think that's the best thing in the world.

Nate didn't even fall off the trampoline.  He fell on it.  Problem is, his arm was under him.  And he had been bounced very high before he fell.
He was so tough in the ER.  I was really proud of him.

Waiting for the green light to go home.  He was pretty loopy here.  His eyeballs were just not doing normal things.  And in between saying loudly, "This is weeeeeeird!" he would look for me and ask for me.  And I was right there, rubbing his fuzzy head.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Summer-ful of Hummus

Hummus is kind of a big deal these days, in case you hadn't noticed.  It's pretty much everywhere, and most definitely in the Sargent home. We find it to be a healthy alternative to Ranch dressing for dipping all kinds of veggies and corn chips.  Lately, I had been picking up the large-ish sized tubs at Costco.  But I started to notice that, while quite delicious and convenient, they are a bit pricey and disappear so very fast with my older boys (ahem, Joey) so I ventured out last week and made my own.  YUM.  And CHEAP. And maybe even HEALTHIER...Nothing added to keep it fresh in the store.
I know, kind of a gross photo, right?  I probably could have wiped the bowl out before taking the picture.  But most likely there were children vying for my attention at this very moment. Or some sort of something like that.
I bought dried garbanzo beans in bulk for 99c a pound, probably about 3 pounds.  I soaked and then cooked them in my crock pot overnight and kept the liquid in them to add to the hummus. When the beans were cooled the next day, I processed them in batches, adding to each batch minced garlic, sea salt, coarse-ground pepper, cumin, lemon juice, and onion powder.  I made up this recipe, so everything is to-taste.  I know tahini is a usual ingredient, but I forgot all about that until it was too late, so I just didn't use it.

The hummus turned out really tasty. And all this for a little over $3.00! I try to keep food bins filled with some kind of cut-up veggies in the fridge for quick snacking.  The yellow container here went in our fridge to replace my Costco brand hummus.  And the six containers with blue lids are now in my freezer for later!  As someone said when they saw these stacks, "Wow! We have a summer-ful of hummus!"  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

There's a Magician in the House

Ever heard of the Jack of All Trades, Master of None?  Well we have a son who is the Jack of All Trades, Master of Many.  He loves all things, and does them well.  Sometimes he even thinks he knows better than I do when it comes to cooking. *clear throat*

Here he is, performing magic tricks at the dining room table.  I'm not a huge fan of magicians, but even Tommy entertains me.  And isn't his audience just about adorable....

Absolutely Mesmerized! 

Sweet July Girls

Our two youngest girls share a birthday month.  Eliana Hope and Sarah Elizabeth turned 5 and 7 and made this Mama very happy at getting to raise them, but kinda sad at their leaving baby and toddler-hood.  It is a strange place to be, watching our older kiddos start to leave the nest, and not be adding to the baby population anymore...A new season for me, that's for sure!

Hannah and Emma had fun decorating the table for the girls party.  We invited friends from church over, and between our two families, there were just twenty-one people.  That's kind of our life. Two or three families and the house is full!

Being July, we went for a bright, summer theme.  You know, bouncy balls, pinwheels, bubbles, and glow-sticks for dark.  You been reading the weather reports lately?  Yeah, the flash floods are HERE. But as my kiddos always say, 'It's okay.  We're good at Plan B'. And we were.

Just about adorable.  Sarah was old enough this year to get her own Bible for her gift.  It really is a good one, and she's mighty proud.
Next up...Danny turns 20!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hippie Independence Day!

I love the Fourth of July.  I love reading about our nation's beginnings and our Founding Fathers.  I love the flag and the fireworks.  And this year, I loved the band that performed at our church party.  The hosts of the party have never really left the '70's, and so came this year's worship band, "Apollo 13".  Lots of fun.  I wonder if George Washington would approve...

Sammy is on drums, Kenny on keyboard, and Joey in electric guitar. I think they ran out of '70's costumes, because, um, I don't remember rainbow wigs being the style back then.

Our Host and friend, Mr. Lusk

Our Realtor and friend, Mr. Hirsch

Joey always wanted a clown wig...

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Birthday Princess

Eliana Hope had her 5th birthday last week.  When we were expecting her back in 2009, it was kind of a tough season for us. Lots of hard changes at church, at Kenny's work, and at home. I just remember feeling alone and overwhelmed for a while.  As we anticipated the birth of our 8th child, we looked at names.  And we chose Eliana because it was so feminine, and because of what it means.  "God hears us and answers". Through our easy seasons and our tough ones, He is attentive to his people. Just like a father with his children. And isn't that just so comforting? 

For Ellie's birthday, we had homemade pizza and garden salad and lots of PINK cupcakes.  And she got the "prettiest" cupcake of all.  And that was the best part, so we hear.

It's time??!!


The Party Train!  Complete with adorable birthday girl, fun older sister, and potty-training little brother, still in his undies. If he only knew...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How a Super Hero Sleeps

Twenty One Years

June 20th was our twenty-first wedding anniversary.  
Twenty-one years of growing up together.  
Twenty-one years of 'How can I help you?' and 'I'm frustrated' and 'I'm sorry' and 'I'm glad I married you'.
Twenty one years of morning sickness and late-night babies. Potty training and weed-pulling. School planning and book-reading. Meals around the table and quiet dinners out. 
Twenty-one years of walking forward, new ideas, fresh seasons.
Twenty-one years of asking questions, praying for direction, discerning what looked like the good path.
Twenty-one years of fatigue and struggle, rest and triumph.
Twenty-one years of building friendships with some really great people.
Twenty-one years of a house full of noise and full of life.

On our anniversary I was praying for a good idea.  I was worn-out completely and could only think of dinner.  And my husband was the same.  Late in the morning, some friends from church called and offered free tickets to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  They were also going to celebrate 21 years, but as my friend Janell said on the phone, 'We do not necessarily want to spend the evening with you two!'.  Agreed!

Kenny and I tried a new Italian restaurant, which was very yummy.  The Gardens were wonderful, and were like therapy to this Mama's soul.  And we wrapped up the evening at a quaint little ice cream shop.  With our friends.  They decided to share some of their anniversary with us after all!

Ahhhh...and Sigh.....Who but the Lord could make such beauty?

Isn't life sometimes like this cactus?  All dry and prickly, but then comes something beautiful?

As the sun started to set, these beautiful glass sculptures started to light up all around.  It was so lovely.