Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Friend!

~Just taking a break from the FLU to give a shout out to my BFF!~

I truly believe God only gives you a few kindred spirits in life. LL is one of them.

From the moment we stood on her driveway and discovered we were both Alias fans, to sharing recipes, to blogging together, to lunches at Panera. To long distance phone calls and smoke signal telegrams, she's been there for me. We've shared hospital visits, new babies and lots of chocolate. We've rescued each other from many overwhelming moments. And "Oh My Heavens" that husband of hers makes me laugh!

Even though I miss the BSF days and seeing her every Sunday at church, God has blessed us with the kind of friendship that lasts - even over the miles.

Happy Birthday, Sydney Stewart, from your friend, Martha Bristow. I'm so grateful for you!

(And I've even changed this picture to my preenclamptic swollen and bloated self -YOU look great, though! - because you like it better. After all, it's YOUR BIRTHDAY!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

He was right, as usual. . .

We survived the day today. Barely.

Coach had a meeting so he called to check in about 4. Said I should go to the urgent care.

I fought it, but truth is, he's the boss around here. I promised I'd go.

You wouldn't believe my amazing kids. Handled dinner, dishes, and cleaning up the house. All on their own. Even folded the laundry.

I should be sick more often. Kidding.

Actually, turns out I have the flu.

So in spite of the pain of paying for the Tami-Flu, I'm grateful for it. And for a husband who makes me go to the doctor.

And I'm praying that I haven't given it to all eight kids and the Coach in the meantime.

Thank you for your prayers.

And good night.

Need. To. Sleep.

I went to bed at 8 o'clock last night.
8 o'clock.
And after doing my morning routine today (laundry, dishes, baby fed and changed, etc.), it was 11. As in lunch time.
Not feeling so good. Can't seem to stay awake, or move quickly. And there is this horrible pain in my neck, shoulders, head. . .
Promised the Coach I'd rest today. Hard to do when it takes four hours to clean up breakfast.
The girls are doing great, though. Daughter (#6) fixed Baby Boy his 11 o'clock bottle for me. And fed it to him.
And they (almost 5 and 3 1/2) are making their own lunch. If you can call three yogurts lunch. Oh and a leftover pancake. Works for me.
I'm going back to the couch.
At some point here, the three glasses of water, extra vitamins, Advil, Mucinex, Sudafed and half plate of brownies will have to kick in.
I jest. There were only four or five brownies left.
Antioxidants, I tell you.
Until then, I'm down for the count.
If you need anything, I'll be on the couch watching old Disney movies with my girls.
Hopefully they can get something together for dinner for the other five, since the Coach has a meeting tonight.
No, by then I'll be back to normal, I'm sure.
It may take another pan of brownies, but I'll make it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the. . .

So, we are in the car coming home from school on Wednesday.

And Son (#1) - he sits in the front with me - said, "I'm running for Stuco."
"Great," I said. "What office?"
"President," he said.
"Great," I said. "How long do you have to campaign?"
"We vote tomorrow," he said.

Nothing like telling me at the last minute!

He then proceeded to explain (if less than 10 words can explain anything) that he won't win, so-and-so has all of the votes, but that's OK. He just ran for fun and it would be OK if he just got VP or some other office.

I'm so proud.

Fast forward to yesterday, on my way to school, Granddad called from Mexico.

(No, my parents don't live in Mexico, they just go there often.
Like this week.
When it's freezing cold here.
So that my mom can call and say, "I really wish I'd brought more clothes for hot weather.")

And Granddad proceeded to tell me that he was so proud of Son (#1).

"Yeah, me too," I said. "That science project was a challenge. And a B+ with a Second Place ribbon was awesome."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," he said, "I thought you already knew he was elected 7th grade class president today."

Turns out my father-in-law (who teaches Son's government class) called my dad to give him the news.

The story goes that the two other candidates got up for their speeches and promised longer recess, shorter school days, longer lunch period, etc. And my son got up there and said he couldn't promise any of that, because the class president doesn't have the authority to change any of those things. But that he was grateful to be part of this 6th grade class and he would be honored to represent it next year as a 7th grader. Then he sat down.

And he won.

I'm so proud.

Proud of him for his leadership in his class, for his honestly, integrity, for his humility.

He's quite a kid.

And maybe next time I won't have to hear about it from Mexico!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shallow Waters

It's Thursday!

I'm saying that for my own benefit. Never sure quite what day it is until FRIDAY. And I wouldn't know that today is Thursday if I hadn't been reading some other Thankful Thursday posts. If you are looking for deep thoughts about what I am grateful for - you need to look elsewhere. None of that here today, Folks. However there is. . .

1. WARMTH. I am extremely tired of winter. But I'm so thankful that our house is warm inside on cold days like today. Some of my children would try to tell you that it's not warm in here, but that's because they run around in shorts and bare feet.

2. Reliable transportation. Although I really enjoyed NOT having a car on Monday (while the Coach's was in the shop), because he brought the kids home, I really am glad I can go out, start the car, and drive where I need to without worry. We even have a couple of extra seats if you want to come with us! Warning - it's a bit noisy in our car. I mean van. Or bus.

2. That Baby Boy's first top tooth is ALMOST through. Whew. His new "skill" is crawling behind me all day and whining. It's so sweet. Ha.

3. That Son (#1) got a B+ on his very first Science Fair project. I didn't really care what he got - it's over - but I'll take the B any day.

4. This really should have been at the top - A NEW NIECE! The Coach's baby sister (she's not really a baby, mind you, but you know what I mean) had a tiny baby girl yesterday morning. 5 pounds, 8 ounces (exactly the same size as our son #1). Their second child. We are so happy for them and she's a doll.



7. OH. I almost forgot. Up there with #2 has to be that we had the money to get the Coach's car fixed. Thank you, Lord! (although I'm still open to being "carless" if it means I can stay home all of the time)

8. That Granddad bought 10 chocolate bars from the kids - that's 10 less for me to eat!

Well, Baby Boy found me. Not sure I can concentrate well (was I?) with him sitting here fussing. Too bad I don't know how to record it for you - I'd love to share.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you're thankful for today! And don't worry, it can be something deep. I can handle it. I've got chocolate on hand.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Got Milk?

So I was reading over at Crazy Daisy today, and she told the funniest story about being frugal.

And it reminded me. . .

Several years ago, at the breakfast table, one of the kids thought the top of the milk jug looked just right for poking frosted mini-wheats in. So they did. LOTS OF THEM.

When I realized what had happened, I was ready to pour it down the drain. Have you SEEN soggy mini-wheats? And I will admit, frugal is NOT part of my natural make up. Although I've learned a few things over the years!

Well, the Coach was horrified that I would pour out that much milk. What a waste! So we found a strainer, and strained the cereal out and put the milk back in the jug.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

The best part of all, is that when we were telling my mother-in-law (who raised ten children - and did an amazing job, by the way) the story, she told us that she used to save the left over milk from the cereal BOWLS after the kids were done and use it in her cooking.

Double Ugh.

But to be honest, I need more of that frugal attitude most of the time.

Maybe not with milk, though.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm a great mom. . .NOT!

Baby boy fell out of his highchair this morning. Yes, he's fine. Apparently landed on all fours, like a cat. No big bumps or bruises. Have a told you how he's an ESCAPE ARTIST with that high chair? No amount of buckling or belting keeps him in. The only solution I have, at this point, is to sit on his right and hold his right foot with my left hand. Which would really be no big deal if I didn't have SEVEN OTHER CHILDREN to supervise at meal times. Truthfully, the Coach takes over at dinner - which is a nice break.

I had just stepped out of the dining room for a second to say good-bye to the girls who were headed to BSF with Grandmother. Right about the time I waved, I heard him crying and immediately knew what had happened. Apparently, not even fruit loops (yes, I know, GOOD MOM) are enough to keep him occupied. He is DETERMINED to not be restrained.

And life goes on. . .

My two oldest are selling chocolate bars to raise money for their 6th grade Washington DC trips (son's is this year, daughter's in next). I'd be happy to hand deliver any that you would be willing to purchase. Yes, even if you live in Georgia! Because I CAN'T STOP eating them. It would be easier on my hips to just give them the money and leave the candy at school.

We got a new picture of "Champ" (the dog - remember?) yesterday. Here he is. And no, I don't know which one he is. We made the huge effort of picking him out week before last and all the while I was thinking, "As IF we will be able to tell the difference!". Hee hee.

They really are pretty cute!

And because I love all of my readers SO much - and you put up with all of my various ramblings - here is the recipe for what we had for dinner last night.

When the Coach says, "Good lasagna, Sweetie." I know I've done well. He's a man of few words. And this is SO easy to make! (Truthfully, everything I make is easy.)

Easy Lasagna
9 Oven Ready Lasagna noodles
1 Large Jar of Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb of Browned Ground Beef
1 Large Tub of Lowfat Cottage Cheese
1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Egg
1 T Parsley
Several Cups of Grated Mozarella Cheese

First mix the sauce and ground beef. In a separate bowl, mix the cottage cheese, egg, parmesan and parsley. In a deep 9x13 pan, layer sauce, noodles, cottage cheese mixture and mozarella. Make three layers, top with sauce and more mozarella. Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hr. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes at 450. Let stand 10-15 minutes.

Happy Tuesday, All!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Joy

Tell me I'm not the only mother who struggles with feeling like a failure. . .

It's a 24/7 job with the huge responsibility of raising children who love God and others. And, of course, we want to do this important training in a clean (somewhat), organized home. Never mind that as soon as we get one thing clean or organized, another is in need of the same. We desire, as moms, to spend time with the Lord, exercise, plan and cook healthy meals, be frugal, patient, sweet and yet firm. It's a tall order! Even though I know the Lord is growing me into the Mom he desires for me to be - and I trust Him for that - I'm not there, yet!

So today I set out get things in order and vacuum - starting with the bedrooms. Does anyone know where ALL OF THAT STUFF under the beds COMES FROM? About half way through the process, I came accross this note on my nightstand on top of my Bible.

It says, "Dear Nice Mom, We're a happy family with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. I love Dad, too. . ."

Yeah, I have a long way to go as a mother. But praise the Lord for His grace that allows me the priviledge of having these eight precious children. "Thank you, Jesus, for my happy kids. No, they're not perfect, but they are amazing, wonderful little individuals. And I trust YOU for the rest."

And thank you Son (#3) for giving me some Monday Joy.

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord." Ps 27:14

Sunday, February 17, 2008

At which time we all gave thanks. . .

Our eldest son just finished his first science fair project.

This is just the beginning for us.
Eight kids x (times) a project in 6th, 8th and 10th grades = 24 projects in the next 16 years.

Excuse me while I crawl under the kitchen table and cry.

And don't think it's a coincidence that it was a project on the growth of bacteria. After all, 10 of us live here and that's a lot of bacteria to deal with.

We had a touching group hug, held hands and sang the Doxology ending with a loud Amen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl

My oldest daughter turned 11 this week. We had a fun party with grandparents. She asked for tacos for dinner and chocolate cake and rainbow sherbet (she eats them seperately, though!) for dessert.
There really aren't words to describe what a blessing my sweet girl is. She is such a help to me.
How many young ladies would put up with a baby in their room - for the last eight years! And that's five different babies, by the way. Newborns up to 2 1/2 year old toddlers who try to talk to her all night!
She is the very favorite person for our three little girls. She plays dolls, reads books, dresses paper dolls, shares her American Girl dolls with them. The adore her.
She can certainly hold her own with the boys. Just ask them! They rarely pick a fight with her, because she can win! She's also an amazing little basketball player. Can't wait to see that development in the next few years!
Baby Boy prefers me to just about anyone there is. Except his oldest sister! The day after Christmas break ended, when she came home from school, he wouldn't let ANYONE ELSE hold him for the whole evening. He missed her!
About two weeks ago, after school, I asked her to get something ready for dinner for me. She did. And then she did the next thing and the next. And before I knew it, she had prepared the WHOLE ENTIRE MEAL by herself while I was helping with homework and memory work and signing notes. Amazing. And it wasn't mac and cheese. It was cracker crusted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and spice muffins. Not just any meal!
I really enjoy spending time with her. We shop together, plan meals together, go grocery shopping together. She's a tremendous help, but we also have so much fun! Last weekend she even helped me clean out my closet - by telling me what things were "just too old, Mom." I'm so glad to have someone to tell me that!
All in all, the thing I love most about her is her heart. She loves the Lord. She purposes to do what is right. She spends time reading her Bible. She prays for her family.
God has truly blessed me.

Happy Birthday, Daughter! I love you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Loveday Giveaway - Time's Up!

Happy Valentine's!

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

First things first - and then we'll get to the top love song of the day.
The winner of the Created to be His Helpmeet book is: CARLA!
as chosen by the random number generator ( E-mail me at to claim your prize! Congratulations!

And now, Folks. You've been waiting all week to see my #1 love song. And here it is:
(and I apologize ahead of time for the immodest outfit on Martina. I can't fix everything!)
#1 I love you - by Martina McBride

You were prepared for corny, right? I'm such a sucker for a good love song.

If you've been following this week, we've had some discussion on the Lord of Love, as well. And since I'm all about keepin' it real, I'm going to remind all of us that no one person can fulfill every hole in our hearts.

I have an amazing husband who loves God, loves me, loves our children, and lays down his life everyday for us. He works hard, has no "life of his own", helps with dinner and baths and bedtime. He plays basketball with the kids, reads stories, helps with homework. And he's handsome, too. In fact after 13 years my heart still skips a beat when he walks in the room.

But the truth is, there would still be a hole in my heart without my Savior, Jesus Christ.

"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Col. 1:26-28

THANKS FOR JOINING IN in our special Valentine's Loveday Giveaway! It's been fun! Crazy Daisy and I have had a great time sharing our songs and prizes with you. Be sure to check over there this morning to see her winners and her #1 song.

So love on your Valentine. And give praise to our Creator for His awesome love that gives us eternal life and hope in this life. Because of Him, we can truly LOVE!

Love Song Countdown - Day Two

Before we get to the musical part of this post, some business:

1. You know here at Mrs. Troop, I'm all about keepin' it real. This blog is about real life with eight very real (and noisy) kids. SO in the interest of being honest with you, this Love Song Countdown has really messed up the delicate balance of organized chaos that is our household. For one, I haven't figured out how to get back the time I've spent searching for and listening to music videos on YouTube. Nor have I figured out why some people (who shall remain unnamed, but live in this house and number 9) think that other things should be more of a priority. Like food. And birthdays. And homemade snacks for school. And Valentine's for 100 close class mates. And science projects, and homework. And non-disgusting bathrooms. Where are the clean-up fairies when you need them?

2. It's come to my attention that some people (who shall also remain unnamed - you know who you are) have been lurking here at the Loveday Giveaway and are NOT leaving comments! Come on, People! I can see that you may not appreciate my most awesome of prizes. Sure, your marriage may be perfect. You may have the Biblical wifelyhood thing all figured out. I get it. Or (if you are one of the two men who read Mrs. Troop - Hi DAD!) you may think winning and giving this book to your already perfect wife will get you decked. Or, you don't know ANYONE who is even CLOSE to getting married in the next few years who could benefit from this book's great wisdom. If that's the case, COMMENT ANYWAY. Just let me know to excuse you from the contest and I'll be happy to oblige. I live for your comments. And for some other things too, but that's another post for another day.

3. Hasn't it been fun to walk down memory lane with all of these songs? I've SO enjoyed hearing what music you love. The truth is, I have no original thought at this point, so any song I've posted has been suggested by someone else. Except maybe my #1 that you'll see tomorrow. And once you see it you'll know why. It's that corny.

4. It may have been suggested by various commenters over at Crazy Daisy that I was sarcastic in my adoration of James Taylor. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can make fun of me (I'm used to that - I have eight children, remember?) but JT is awesome. Nothing is more mellow or relaxing than this song - it's not part of my countdown, but it should be.

How can anyone not love that?
I think I'll go tell the Coach that I love him.
Never mind, he's asleep.
I'll tell him tomorrow.
Of course, by then, I'll have attempted to tackle the mountain of laundry that's been sitting here since Monday while I've listened to love songs for hours a day and the mood will be gone.
O well.

Here we go with the countdown (I know - you're relieved):

#3 - Some sweetness. I sing this to my girls at least once a week while twirling around their room. Timeless.

#2 - This almost made my #1. Maybe it should have. You'll think it should have when you see #1. This song has more wonderful memories than any other love song I can think of. And no, I'm not sharing what they are!

I love you, Coach!

Now, don't forget to head over to Crazy Daisy and check out her countdown for today. I'm sure it's better. I stole most of my songs from her, anyway. HA! And come see me bright and early on Valentine's to see if you've won! I'll have that #1 song up for you, too. It will be worth the wait. Promise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Love Song Countdown

Be sure and leave me a comment to enter the Loveday Giveaway between now and Wednesday at midnight. And be sure to comment over at Crazy Daisy for her great giveaway, too!

And in the meantime, enjoy some fun music!

#6 Don't you just LOVE a good musical?

#5 And a great classic!

#4 Who doesn't love Robin Hood? (Thanks for the reminder, Carla!)

Check back tomorrow for two more songs in the countdown to Valentine's. And another chance to win the Loveday Giveaway!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Free Stuff and FUN!

"So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered." Titus 2;4,5

In honor of Valentine's Day, my good friend, Crazy Daisy, and I are doing a LOVE DAY GIVEAWAY!

To enter the giveaway, visit each day between now and Valentine's and leave a comment telling us YOUR favorite love song. Please only one comment per person, per day. There will be two separate giveaways, so enter here and at Crazy Daisy each day! The contest will end at midnight on Wednesday. On Thursday, February 14th, at 8:00 a.m., we'll randomly select a winner. Be sure to include your e-mail so we can let you know you've won!

For the next three days during the giveaway, we'll be posting a LOVE SONG COUNTDOWN TO VALENTINE'S.

Tell your friends! Link to our blogs! Enjoy some happy music! Win free stuff! Get in the mood for Valentine's!

I'll be giving away a brand new copy of "Created to be His Helpmeet" by Debi Pearl. It is the very best book on being a wife that you will ever read. It's a book you will read over and over again. We all need encouragement to honor God in being our husband's helpmeet. If you've already read it, win it for a friend! Or a wedding gift!

Crazy Daisy has a great giveaway, too! You'll love it! So be sure to head over there and leave her a comment.

Be sure and tell your sweetie, or your mom, or your kids, or your best friend that you love them today! "But the greatest of these is love. . ." I Corinthians 13:13

Look at these beautiful tulips! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today is my Father's 65th birthday. For those of you who don't know him, here's a glimpse of what a wonderful, amazing daddy he's been to me.

For those of you who DO know him, take a moment to wish him a Happy Birthday.

I love you, Daddy~

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Yes, I'm hopelessly in love . . .

And every now and then a good love song fits the moment just right. Thanks to Crazy Daisy for sharing this with me. I've been listening ever since.

And Coach, just so you know, I love you with all my heart. I'm so glad you're mine.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


It's a niece. Beautiful baby girl. Thank you, Jesus!

President Harry did wonderfully, as well. I'm so proud.

This is Son (#3) with his teacher. It was a fun day!

We're worn out.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Babies, Presidents, and Cousins, Oh My!

There is excitement in the air, Folks.

And not just because IT'S FRIDAY - YEAH!

My sister-in-law is having her baby today. It's their fourth. We are all eagerly waiting to hear if we have a new niece or nephew! He or she is the 51st grandchild in the Coach's family. Wow.

To add to the anticipation of the day, we have the Presidential Tea for Son (#3) and his 3rd grade class. He is portraying Harry S. Truman (I even made his hair white!) and giving a short speech.

And if you ask my little girls, the biggest news of the day is that while I'm at school they get to go to their COUSIN'S HOUSE. You may not realize, but that's the MOST EXCITING THING THAT CAN POSSIBLY HAPPEN around here. (I believe the actual response was jumping up and down and screaming.)

Along with all of that, Grandmother and Granddad are on their way home from being gone all week. And we've missed them.

Enjoy your Friday.

Pray for the new little life that's entering the world and our family today. For a smooth delivery and a healthy baby.

And if you think of it, there is a little guy with white hair that would appreciate your prayers, as well. After all, he ordered the atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan. It's a lot to deal with.