Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I mean, as if it's not ALREADY Christmas season with eight kids and school activities and parties (did I sign up for two dozen sugar cookies or three?) times 6 and Christmas gifts to buy and wrap and forheavenssake you can't just let the house GO. Can you?
But here I am.
And even though I was tempted to bail the whole "Part 9" thing and join up on Boo Mama's Christmas Tour of Homes, I took one look around my sweet, blessed home and decided this is NOT the year for that.
And besides, she already has 524 links. Who wants to see one more Christmassey house when you've seen 524? As dear and wonderful as our house is, it's not really blog material, if you know what I mean. What with all of the kids and homemade decorations and all.
So here we go. . . .
The wedding plans began in a flurry. The morning after the Coach's surprise (to me) proposal, my mom and I headed out to the door to find "the" dress. You know the one? THE dress? Well, we didn't find it that day, but we DID find it the second day. Only to be told by the VERY proper, yet kind, dress shop lady that there was NO WAY they could have it in and altered in 7 short weeks. NO WAY. But she must have had pity when she saw my face because she promised to try - with the dress I tried on as a back up. It happened to be my size.
One of the tricky parts of planning a wedding is the DETAILS. Those pesky little things. Truthfully the Coach and I didn't know each other very well, so I continually fell back on one thing. Nothing mattered. Except marrying him.
This worked well for me. Only because I believed it with all my heart.
Wedding in a PRETTY, old, traditional church? I could live without it once the Coach said he thought we should get married in our own church where we met and had gone for years with room for everyone.
Reception downtown in the Petroleum Club on the top of the tallest building in our city? I could live without that, too, when the Coach's mom mentioned that she wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the reception without losing people in the transfer - especially people who maybe wouldn't want to go downtown, park, find their way, etc.
When it came to the wedding party (you have to keep in mind all of these major things had to be decided RIGHT AWAY ALREADY because we had so little time), we debated. He had 9 siblings. And five of them were married. I had two brothers. Both married. I didn't have any sisters, he had 7 brothers. It was complicated. And we only had eight weeks. So we decided to make it VERY simple. His youngest brother (still living at home) would be his best man. My best friend would be my maid of honor. His baby sister (then 10) would be a Jr. Bridesmaid. And that was it.
Dad (his) would marry us. The boys (my brothers and his) would be ushers. And because there were already quite a few nieces and nephews, we'd forgo the flower girl/ring bearer thing for the sake of time.
And thank heavens, it was CHRISTMASTIME! That made picking music and decorations so very much easier.
CHRISTMAS was already my favorite time of year. Favorite. So we picked Christmas carols and classical Christmas music and poinsettias and twinkling lights and big red and green bows and a black velvet Bridesmaid dress (and Jr.) and red roses.
The day came when we went to register at Dillards. Little did I know how much of the Coach's personality was showing. I didn't realize it at the time, of course. I had the foresight to go ahead of time and pick some options, so he would have less to wade through. It was a good thing. He lasted about 10 minutes. But he did tell me what he liked and we managed to get it all down. We were amazingly similar in our tastes - not having know each other long. Traditional. Simple. Practical.
One big mistake I made (he's forgiven me. . . I think) was adding Spode Christmas China to our registry, later, without asking him first. My mother had it, we used it growing up for the month of December. And I loved it. And we were getting married at Christmas! So I added it, really thinking it wasn't a big deal.
Except. Everyone saw it on our registry and thought OH how fun! And until our new set of dishes a year ago (thanks Mom!) we had more Christmas Spode than any other dish in our house! And I still love it. The Coach? Well, he didn't fully appreciate it until. . . well. . . I'm still working on it!
The showers began in full force with dates filling up faster than I could count. I took a trip with my family to Michigan just a few days after our engagement began and when I returned, we only had about 7 possible weeks left. I used the time away to order invitations and reserve the church, etc.
We filled the time quickly. We had kitchen showers, personal showers, brunches, Christmas ornament showers, nine in all! And lots of pretty, wonderful things to begin our lives with.
But a place to live? Not so simple.
We wanted to be close to the Coach's school, after all. He was coaching basketball TOO at that point (he coached football and basketball until our 5th was born), so being closer to school would mean a lot more time together.
We looked at apartments, rent houses, garage apartments, everything we could think of or heard about.
Finally we had a break through. A little rent house still being remodeled a few miles from school. It might be ready when we got back from our honeymoon. It wouldn't have a yard or any other "extras" at that point (it had been moved to the lot). It would have new paint and carpet, though. And it was the perfect location. We paid our first month's rent and hoped it would work out.
Although I know most would think it strange that the Coach and I were getting married (and quickly!) without knowing each other very well, it was truly wonderful. We didn't have a lot of time, honestly. He was working - teaching and coaching - more than full time. We both had very full lives. But the wonderful part about it was, that as our wedding drew nearer, every little thing we learned about one another was so precious. It was safe. We belonged to one another. And sharing our hopes and dreams and truly our hearts with each other was amazing.
And I knew all that I needed to know. I knew what mattered. He had let me see his heart - to follow hard after God. Determined to do the right thing. Realizing God's hand in bringing us together. Purposing to follow Him together.
And HOW I loved looking at him! (just being honest here)
With time to spare (ha!) we had everything set. The invitations sent, the ceremony planned, the dresses bought, the tuxes rented, the florist hired, the musicians asked, the reception planned, the honeymoon reservations made, the house rented. All set to go. Even my dress made in it in five weeks!
I couldn't believe it as I watched my "somedays" becoming "today"s before my eyes. And to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had brought us to this point and would carry us as we began life together.
And then, four days before the wedding, we found out the house wouldn't be ready to occupy until we got back from our honeymoon. No cleaning ahead of time, no moving stuff in so it would be ready for us. . .when we returned. . .on Christmas Eve.
Right about that time (four days and counting), the Coach called to tell me he had pneumonia. . .
Happy Anniversary, Coach!
(I love you so much more today than I did 14 years ago - and what an amazing adventure it's been!)
Friday, December 12, 2008
Well . . .we won't actually celebrate ON Wednesday. I mean, that's a week day. And a school day. And there's NO way we could get away ON that day. Even for a minute.
BUT. . .
We will celebrate.
In our own way. We aren't exactly the "trip to Cancun" type. Not even "resort in the mountains" type.
We're more like the "take-out and a movie without the kids" type.
After all, one of these days we'll be able to go and do whatever. When our house isn't full of little people.
But for now, a quiet moment, a movie we haven't had the time to see, a roaring fire - it all sounds divine. (and I'm open for movie suggestions, by the way)
And I'm already looking forward to it.
In the meantime, it seemed appropriate to wrap up the last couple of parts to "How the Coach Won My Heart."
Which is kind of a sad prospect.
However, the truth is, he continues to win my heart each and every day.
*Putting all of the little ones to bed for me? I melt.
*Bringing the kids home from school? I'm putty in his hands.
*Writing me a sweet e-mail to tell me I'm beautiful? I'll follow him to the ends of the earth.
So you see, the story isn't OVER for us. Each day it continues as we learn to live and love and grow together. Raising the eight children that God has blessed us with for His glory. Growing in our understanding, our patience, our determination to seek the Lord in all things.
And along the way, having a whole lot of fun.
So join me here in the next few days for the temporary "end" to our story.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." I Cor. 2:9
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I mean, theoretically speaking, I should be able to make a few recent address changes, sync my PDA with my computer, run a mail merge and have Christmas card envelopes printed in nothing flat.
But for some reason, I've already spent about 3 hours on it.
And that was before I realized that the list on my computer that I was making changes to was pre-2007 Christmas cards. What? And that none of my changes saved. Hmmmm?
I could have hand addressed them all by now. Good grief.
And the tree is up, although not decorated.
It does have lights.
(it's been six days since we started)
Then I tried to take some video of Little Man's incoherent babbling. But alas, when I turned the camera on he was silent. And he's never silent.
But life is good.
Even if it's not simple.
And it's a good thing that tomorrow is Thursday because OH BOY do I have a lot to be thankful for!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Actually, we have TWO winners!
My sweet friend over at Magnificent Manager let me pick TWO!
Don't you LOVE IT?
And since some of you are my in-real-life friends, I used http://www.random.org/ to pick the winners so everything would be fair. (although I can hear myself saying - about 200 times a day - "Guys, LIFE IS NOT FAIR. But this drawing is!)
Drumroll please. . .
JO! From over at Jo's Kitchen Table. You go girl!
micaela6955 with the msn e-mail. Woo hoo!
Congratulations to you both!
Just send me an e-mail at email@example.com sometime today and I will send you your certificate for $20 of free product!
How fun is that?
For those of you who didn't win, be sure and check out MM's great sale going on RIGHT NOW for holiday shopping.
(And I completely apologize for not getting this done last night. Let's just say the wet carpets, Jr. High basketball game, kids everywhere and lingering effects of the stomach virus did me in - I went to bed early!)
Monday, December 1, 2008
If I'll ever get all of the sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, sleeping bags and jammies washed. . .
If all of the kids will be back at school any time soon. . .
If I can possibly have things ready for the carpet cleaners today. . .
If I will actually get sick, too. . .
If I have any sympathy left for sick kids. . .
If our house will ever smell nice, again. . .
(it was doubtful BEFORE the stomach virus)
What in the world I should make for dinner. . .
If there is enough Lysol and bleach in the world. . .
If my hands will ever feel soft, again. . .
If I have enough big plastic bowls. . .
If I will actually get a shower today. . .
How long Little Man will have the runs. . .
Why I ever thought "normal" was hard. . .
~But one thing I DON'T wonder about:
God is the blessed controller of all things.
And I trust Him.
(In spite of the smell.)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Have you ever wished you could get more organized? Get the kids to do their chores without griping? Plan meals for a whole week?
Well, today is YOUR day!
My sweet friend over at Magnificent Manager is having SALE!
Did you hear me?
And right before Christmas, too.
Can you believe it?
You could get your sister-in-law a chore chart, your mother-in-law a photo frame, your cousin a meal planner, just THINK of the possibilities.
But it gets better, my friends!
Because I have connections!
My sweet friend is so kind as to let me do a
Here's the prize - are you ready?
A $20 Credit towards your purchase!
How cool is that?
That makes it basically FREE to BUY SOMETHING.
So here's what you do:
Go to her site: http://www.magnificentmanager.com/ and look things over.
Decide what your favorite thing is.
Then come back here and leave me a comment telling me all about it and what you would use it for or who you would give it to.
Because I am SO not picking out gifts for MY family this year - you're going to do it for me!
On December 1st, I'll use our friendly random number generator to pick one of you for $20 of free product.
If there is something you want to order, go ahead and do it SOON - because quantities on her sale products are limited - if you win, she'll give you the credit after the drawing.
Please pass a link to this post on to your friends so they can join in.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Lately we've been going to Sam's a lot. Cheaper milk. Which is huge when you use five or six gallons per week.
The kids love Sam's. Big boxes of Nilla Wafers and Cheez-its. Not to mention corn dogs and chicken nuggets. It doesn't get any better! And every now and then we actually BUY them.
So there we are strolling through, trying not to forget anything on my somewhat vague list that I scribbled on the back of a post-it containing phone messages. I'm some kind of organized these days, let me tell you.
As we usually do, I asked Daughter (#7) if she wanted to call Grandmother and see if they needed anything. I'm there anyway. When there are only two of you (she and my dad) it's not really worth the extra trip. Unless they are having US over for dinner, of course.
While fighting off Little Dude (they were both sitting in the front of the cart), who loves phones, she managed to ask Grandmother what she needed and relayed to me, "Strawberries, blueberries and butter," in between yelling, "NO, NO!" to her brother.
We picked up an extra of each and after checking out, headed by my parents house to drop them off.
As we turned on to their street (Daughter talking non-stop all the way, of course), I heard her say, "Mom, Grandmother makes good choices."
Hmmmm. "Good choices about what, Punkin?" I replied - my mind elsewhere, but intrigued.
"Strawberries, blueberries and butter. You can put butter on a tortilla or bread or make cookies with it. And strawberries and blueberries are good."
"You're right." I said. "She does make good choices."
And one of these days, when Daughter is a little bit older, she'll realize that she was right about her Grandmother.
I pray I'll be the same kind of mother to my children and as wonderful a grandmother as she is. We are blessed.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
A cute basket, some Christmas tea towels, a recipe and ingredients. Now she can make some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, too!
~ I'm glad the Coach's football practice on Thanksgiving Day is in the morning.
~ I'm glad the Week 3 Playoff Game in on Saturday afternoon instead of night - Brrrrr.
~ I'm glad that I have a warm house, plenty of hot chocolate and cider, clean clothes, a somewhat clean house, hot showers, fun kids and the most amazing husband ever in the history of the world. In spite of the stomach virus.
Sorry. Got carried away.
Happy Sunday! Enjoy time with family this week. And eat an extra piece of pie for me, OK?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Tired, yet energized to face the new day
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
it's been a little busy here at the Troops.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers, sweet notes, calls and just for loving on us.
For those of you who don't know, my Granddad died on Saturday. We will miss him very much. So grateful he's with his Saviour.
I've been working on a post to tell you about him - he was such an amazing man. But there's so much going on and my brain is somewhat foggy. It will come.
In the meantime, Have a blessed Tuesday!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
2. Cousins to play with. I'm watching Daughter #7 and her buddy and it's quite entertaining!
3. Son (#1)'s football season is over - they finished 7-1! Yeah!
4. The Coach's Varsity team made it to the playoffs!
5. Fall Festival tonight at school. The kids are SO excited.
6. Not having to cook dinner tonight - yeah!
7. A day OUT OF SCHOOL tomorrow.
8. The Coach will be home, too!
9. More time with my Grandfather this week. Thank you for your prayers!
And last but not least, that God's will is not frustrated by the will of man. He is still on His throne. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord. I'm resting in that.
Happy Thursday, All!
Be sure and leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are thankful for today!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Seven random things.
1. Growing up I only wanted to be one thing - a mother. Thought it would be great to have fourteen boys. God had other plans, though, and my four boys keep me VERY busy! Along with the four girls, of course. I also thought I'd marry at 18. But it was three years after that when the Coach came along!
2. I attended a small private Christian school through fourth grade - when my parents took my brother (a Junior) and I out and started homeschooling. I wasn't thrilled about it. But I loved having more time to read. And travel. And I'm sure my mom wouldn't be one of my dearest friends if we hadn't had that time together.
3. I love to clean, cook and entertain. It's gotten harder with a house full of mess-makers, but I love it still. Just don't expect things to be perfect! Martha Stewart is impressive, but she doesn't have eight children and a budget, does she?
4. Never in my wildest imaginations did I dream that I would marry a teacher. A MATH teacher! Especially after being homeschooled, myself. And I don't have a college degree. He loves me, still! And can you imagine having your very OWN math tutor in-house for homework help? DIVINE!
5. I have two older brothers, both have six kids. The Coach has two sisters and seven brothers. All of them have kids for a total of 57 something cousins for our kids. FIRST cousins. We live around the corner from the Coach's parents AND his sister and her family. We live 2 1/2 miles from my parents, grandfather, grandma and the Coach's grandma.
6. We homeschooled our oldest for two years before he and daughter (#2) started attending our school. I was expecting Daughter #6 at the time. I thought putting them in school, even the very BEST school, where the Coach teaches and their Papa was headmaster, was second-best to being home. Little did I know what a blessing it would be!
7. I lived in the same house from birth until marriage. So did the Coach. Both of our parents have moved, since, though. And the Coach and I? This is our third house. We love it here - with almost all of our family VERY close by.
Well, that wasn't hard. Or particularly random. But I'd LOVE to hear YOUR randomness. So I'm tagging Lori, at Crazy Daisy, CJ, at loud but happy, Jo at Jo's Kitchen Table, and The Anderson Zoo.
In the meantime, the laundry calls! And the dishes and the dust, and the cereal that Little Man dumped on the floor while I wrote this. Off I go!
Happy Monday, All!
Pray for our nation~
Friday, October 31, 2008
There is so much "ugly" going on in our nation and in the world right now. It's hard for me to not get discouraged thinking about what the future holds.
Those of us who believe in God and in a limited government and free enterprise are a minority.
On the horizon we see greater taxation, more powerful government and limited freedom - the very things our forefathers fought to free us from.
And as if that's not enough, it's Halloween today. We don't "do" Halloween at the troops. But you can't go in Wal-mart or anywhere else without being exposed to it.
For me, it's enough that everything about it is dark and frightening - so opposite of the Light of the World, who is Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
May the Lord grant you His wisdom, His angels to watch over you and may he give you the grace to be His light in a dark and dying world.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It all starts with diapers of various smells and consistencies when they are babies. Through the years it progresses to the "boy" smells that seem to permeate walls, carpets and entire rooms! This year we've added an entirely new smell to the mix - football gear. Fortunately, it has a new home in the garage.
I'm known to deal with this some what patiently - to a point. Then I lose it completely, strip all of the beds and run them through a hot wash, Febreeze the mattresses and carpets and FORCE my three young men to pull everything out from under the beds and dressers because that smell HAS to be coming from somewhere! Usually it's not anything particular, but the room looks great afterwards.
The girls have their own unique smells, as well. Fingernail polish, paints and markers, lotions and lip glosses, gum and mints. Although annoying, not nearly as repulsive.
For about three days, I've noticed a peculiar odor in the room that my three young daughters share. Truthfully, I haven't done a lot of searching for the source. There's been some kind of Bitty Baby/Polly Pocket convention going on in there and I was scared to look. I did take out the trash, but the smell was still there.
Today, my nephew came for lunch and playing after BSF with Grandmother. He and two of the girls (one home from school because of a fever yesterday) were playing in the girls' room. SO, I thought, perfect time for some sorting, putting away and general junk organizing.
Looking for shapes that fit in Bitty Baby's high chair (we only have two out of five, for some strange reason), I made a swipe under the dresser. To my amazement, out came a baby jar filled with blue liquid, sand and some kind of fish (I don't want to know). And the smell? The exact odor I'd been searching for for three days.
Ah Ha! (It was Daughter #7's from Sunday school)
Another mystery solved. I'm so glad I found it BEFORE I took all of the sheets off - those bunk beds are a pain to re-make!
Friday, October 24, 2008
The eggs go in, one at a time and then the sour cream and vanilla. It's already looking yummy, don't you think?
So next, we have to make this a CHOCOLATE cheesecake (did I hear an "Amen"?). We'll start by melting our semi-sweet chips in the microwave. You want to be careful to not melt it very long at a time. The first one I made (don't ask!), the chocolate was a bit bitter - I think I over cooked it. So this time I was more patient. After 25 seconds, they look like this:
I thought about taking a picture of them IN the actual microwave, but I would be humiliated beyond belief. I mean it's GROSS, People. I'm embarrassed by that. So instead, while we're waiting for those to melt, would you like to see my spice cabinet, instead? Rather respectable, don't you think?
Note: I'm just so THRILLED that the former owners of this house didn't just confine the green to the Formica counter tops. They painted the insides of the cabinets, too! Thank you, Former Owners! I'll think of you when I someday get motivated to paint them WHITE and have to take every thing out and practice strange arm tangling positions to paint them. In about 10 years. Or when all my children are grown. Or never.
But back to our chocolate. Just keep melting for 15-20 seconds, stirring between times. Here's our chocolate, all melted and creamy and good. My mouth is watering just looking at it!
We're going to add this to our cream cheese mixture. Then we'll have a chocolate cream cheese mixture. Mmmmmmmm.
This goes into our springform pan on top of our Oreo crumb crust. Spread it around a bit and it will look like this:
And although I should have mentioned it earlier, if you're anything like me, you better have some of this on hand to keep you occupied so that you don't eat all of the chocolate chips, Oreos or batter in the process.
I feel better, already!
Now the beautiful deliciousness has to bake. Unfortunately for quite some time. About an hour.
At least my oven is clean! Whew. You can see I wrapped some foil around the bottom of the pan. The first one I made dripped a bit on the oven. Hence the clean oven. Don't tell me you thought it was ALWAYS clean? HA!
Now it has to cool for quite some time. Over night is good. I made it in the morning to serve that night and it was fine. It just needs a bit of something, though.
So let's melt some more of those semi-sweet chips in the microwave. And I'm sure you know this little trick, but if you want an easy way to decorate, just use a Ziploc bag (you can do this with buttercream frosting, too). Put your topping in the bag, get as much of the air out as you can, seal, and cut the very bottom corner off, making a 1/4 inch opening.
Then you just use it like a pastry bag to decorate. You can just throw it away when you're done!
Doesn't it look pretty?
Light Chocolate Cheesecake
1 C Oreo cookie crumbs (I used reduced fat)
2-3 T melted butter
Fold crumbs and butter together until mixed thoroughly. Grease interior of nine-inch springform pan. Pat bottom of pan with crumb mixture. Set aside.
3 - 8 oz packages low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 C Spenda
1 C light sour cream
1 t vanilla extract
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Beat cream cheese in mixer and gradually add Splenda. Add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix. In microwave, melt chocolate, stirring frequently. Fold melted chocolate into cream cheese batter, scraping down sides of bowl. Pour batter into pan and bake 55-60 minutes at 350. Cool completely, then remove from pan to a serving dish. Refrigerate overnight or several hours.
Melted chocolate drizzled over top