Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If I only had a camera. . .

I could while away the hours,
taking pictures of my flowers,
if I only had a camera.

Oh my blog would be witty,
and my posts would be pretty,
if I only had a camera.

Things I could have showed you today if I could have recorded them in digital print:

Daughter (#7) with black marker (washable, thank the Lord) all over her hands, feet, arms and legs. Hmmmm.

Baby Boy covered in dirt after crawling up and down the sidewalk. Up and down. Up and down. The child LOVES the out doors. Except he hasn't started walking yet. Hmmmm.

The MESS that is my "counter" - in the kitchen where I keep mail, school papers, lists and such. Daughter (#5) couldn't find her reader from school this morning and when I realized it might be there I thought, "Well, then, we'll just have to pay for it." Fortunately we found it in her room. Whew.

The BEAUTY that is our yard. Back and front - all gorgeous. Newly leafed out trees. Bright green fescue shade grass. Pansies that got their second wind. New ferns hanging from the porch (thanks, Daddy!), cool breezes, bright sunshine. And a dog laying on the deck in the sun.

The Coach called this morning. He's the one with the new camera, you know. From Mt. Vernon. He was standing behind George Washington's house looking at the Potomac river. Said it was beautiful. Wow.

And for those of you who are thinking (I know you are) that "If I only had a brain. . ." would be a much more appropriate song for me right now? You're right.

Happy Tuesday!
(is it really ONLY Tuesday?)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

So far. . .so tired. . .

Honestly, this is hard! I'm not used to being the single mom of 7 kids. I am so completely dependent on the Coach. He keeps me sane. Not only that, I miss taking care of him. (sniff)

Since keeping a good perspective is helpful in these situations, I thought I'd make a list of all of the positives about the Coach and Son (#1) being gone for 9 days.

1. Less food to cook.
I think we are down 30% with their absence. That means 12 pieces of french toast to make instead of 18. With packing lunches it's even better. Four of the eight sandwiches I make every morning are for the two of them!

2. Less laundry.
I'm noticing a big difference. I'm sure it's just because their clothing items take up more space in the washer, but the laundry load seems lighter. Didn't even have a full load to start this morning before church - I can't remember the last time that happened!

3. The Coach's car is sitting in the garage. Imagine the savings in gas money!

4. Talking to the Coach 2 or 3 times each day on the phone. We never do that when he's in town!

5. We rented "little kids" movies on Friday night and Son (#1) wasn't here to roll his eyes.

6. Two less showers each day means more hot water for us girls!

7. I've only been running the dishwasher twice each day. Instead of three times. See - the savings is huge!

8. The Coach's alarm NOT going off at 5 in the morning. Let me tell you a little secret. Yeah, the Coach gets up early. Really early. Every day. But the truth is, the alarm doesn't wake him up. It wakes me up. And I wake him up. I'll admit not always sweetly.

9. OK. I'm out of ideas. Truth is I WAY miss those guys. I've had to do all of the dog wrangling, spider killing, paper fetching, light bulb changing, trash toting, nightmare calming, and attitude adjusting all by myself and I'm pooped.

Only 6 more days to go. . .

Only 6 more days to go. . .

I've found myself praying for my friend Crazy Daisy, whose husband is gone each and every week.

And for all of the wives of military who are deployed all around the world, for months at a time.

And widows who have lost their husbands and won't have them coming home ever again.

See? Perspective is a good thing.

"My grace is sufficient for thee. . ." (2 Cor. 12:19)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabulous Friday Favorites

Mornin' All!

Got the men off "dark and early" (as Son #1 told me) this morning. They were sleepy but excited and ready to go.

I was much more emotional yesterday before they left. I guess at this point, it's a done deal. I'll just have to stay busy and sane until they return.

Today I'm going to share something different than my other favorites.

The Coach purchased this online a few months ago.

It's the Jesus Storybook Bible published by Zonderkidz.

He's just finishing up reading it to the girls at bedtime. It's wonderful!

They LOVE the pictures.

The stories are very well written.

They even make practical application of the stories.

The Coach and I decided it's just about right for US! We have so enjoyed reading it.

So for those of you with young children - ENJOY! For those of you without kids, buy it anyway - you'll learn something, too.

"Jesus said, 'Coming home to God is as wonderful as finding a treasure! You might have to dig before you find it. You might have to look before you see it. You might even have to give up everything you have to get it. But being where God is - being in His kingdom - that's more important than anything else in all the world. It's worth anything you have to give up!' Jesus told them. 'Because God is the real treasure.'" from the Jesus Bible Storybook page 255.

Can't wait to see what Favorites you have to share today!

Feel Free to use the FFF graphic above.

Remember to link to your Friday Favorites post and not just you blog site.

And please share something you've used yourself.

And leave comments.

Lots of comments!

Happy Friday All!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Lost and Found

I hate losing things.


The inconvenience of being without what I lost. The frustration of not being able to find it.

SO today's Thankful Thursday is about things we've recently (or not so recently) lost and then FOUND! YEAH!

1. The DVD remote from our living room TV.
HELLO! IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO BE WITHOUT THIS FOR TWO WEEKS. Couldn't change the channel, watch a DVD (without just having it scroll through all of the previews) or change the volume. I offered my usual reward (Sonic Drink) and still no one found it. Turns out it was under the boy's bunk beds. Hmmmm. I'm thinking maybe some other things may be there, too.

2. Pacifiers.
We lose these (technically we have five, but who would know?) several times each day. I thought having so many would make it easier to find one when we need it. Not so much.

3. The Coach's wedding ring.
This wasn't recent, but it still amazes me. He lost it doing yard work at his parent's house two years ago. In March. Just made me sick. We looked and looked. He really had no hope of finding it. Even so, I took the kids up there several times to line up and scour the grass in the back yard. Well, the following Summer, after all of that raking and mowing, his mother found it. In the yard. Amazing.

4. Me.
So the greatest blessing of my entire life has been being found by my Saviour. He found me. And isn't it amazing that He searches for us? Read the story of the lost lamb in Matthew 18:11-14!

5. Me, again.
Except this time by my Coach. Not just the first time he found me, but he keeps on finding me. God has blessed me with a man that pulls me from the edge of despair, discouragement and being overwhelmed rather frequently. He has a way of finding me where I am and helping me get back to "sane". I'm so grateful.

Leave me a comment and tell me YOUR best lost and found. It could be an item, or maybe your story of being found by the Lord. I can't wait to hear it!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Apology

I'm afraid the "Chronicle of our Chaos" has been taken over by the Chaos itself.

So sorry.

Yesterday, after the girls came back from BSF with my mom, Daughter (#7) was playing with her Bitty Baby (in the kitchen while I did dishes) and singing at the top of her lungs, "Jesus, this is my baby, YES LORD. Jesus, this is my baby, YES MY LORD."

This was right after she asked me, "Is this my doll, Mommy? I can't tell." We have four Bitty Babies and she's never quite sure which is hers.

Glad we straightened that one out. And told Jesus about it.

I'll be back to my usual mediocre writing as soon as I dig out from under the piles. And the paint. And the curtain making. And the packing for the Coach and Son #1 for 10 days in Washington D.C. And the usual laundry and dishes. And figure out what I can make with three chicken breasts and a half package of noodles that will feed 10 people for dinner. And make these.

We DID purchase a new camera. But it will be leaving with the men on Friday.

Until then, I leave you with this:

That's what I get for even HAVING stickers in this house!

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Ps. 16:11

Monday, April 21, 2008

Keepers at Home

We had a great weekend!

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us, for our kids, for safety and for our Sweet Sitters! Everyone did really well. It was just long enough to be away - I was missing our troops. As nice as it is to get away now and then, it's even better to come home!

The wedding was beautiful and sweet and lovely and simple. At one point during the ceremony, the bride's father quoted the verses from Titus about what young women should be.

". . . to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Several years ago, my mother cleaned out my grandfather's extensive library. Before she donated quite a few boxes of books, she let the Coach and I go through them and keep what we wanted.

Many of the volumes had belonged to my grandmother. Poetry and humor, mostly. There are several books by Ogden Nash. Here's a sample:

"There was a young lady named Jeanie
Who wore an outrageous bikini,
Two wisps light as air,
One here and one there,
With nothing but Jeanie betweenie."
by Ogden Nash

A book we've recently picked up is a collection of Reader's Digest Wit and Humor from 1958. I love it because it has my grandmother's name (written in her own hand) in the front leaf.

And OH it's funny!

So during the wedding, when I heard the pastor quote those verses about young wives, I couldn't help but remember this passage that I had read earlier in the R.D. book.

"From the San Angelo, Texas, Standard-Times: 'LOST, ONE WIFE, somewhere between wedding day and 15th anniversary, in vicinity of kitchen sink, PTA meetings, WSCS, Cub Scout den meetings, Dollar Day, pre-school clinic, Community League, church socials, Brownie troop meetings, Little League Baseball transportation, music school, grocery store, cooking school, bridge club and spring house cleaning. Has kind disposition, bites only when tired. Lonesome husband will be glad to get her back.'"

I would imagine that my list and yours would be different 50 years later, but HOW TRUE! A good reminder that I should be a keeper AT HOME. Lest I have a lonesome husband, too!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fabulous Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

What a week!

Just a short post today. There are things to do! The Coach and I are heading out this afternoon for a weekend away together. Alone. Seriously.

And OH the house is a mess. And I promised Rice Krispy treats to the kids. And there's laundry. And food to get ready for them to eat this weekend. And exchanges at Old Navy (bigger jammies for Baby Boy - can you believe it?). And maybe after that I'll sew up that valance for the girl's room.


Just making sure you're still with me! HA!


SO onto Fab Faves!

I've used self-tanners for years. Many different kinds. Some I loved, some I hated.

This year when I began my quest, I came across this. Instead of spending extra time once a week or so and slathering yourself and having to let it dry and then having it come off on your clothes, you just put this on like lotion. Every day.

I love it!

I was already using lotion, anyway, so no extra time required. And it's a nice, subtle, natural color. No orange streaks.

So go forth and tan. No skin cancer required.

Join us by linking to your post telling your favorite product we need to know about! Make sure it's something you use and like.

Be sure and link to your actual post and not just your site. (and PLEASE use the FFF graphic - MAS designs and I would be so proud!)

Leave comments everywhere!

Thanks for playing!

And have a wonderful weekend!

OH! And because I love your kids, too, here's the recipe for the famous Rice Krispies. Not your standard marshmallow variety, People!

Rice Krispy Treats

Grease a 9x13 pan.

Melt while stirring constantly:
1 C white sugar
1 C Karo syrup
1 C crunchy peanut butter

Remove from heat and pour over:
6 C Rice Krispies

Mix well. (Careful - it's hot! And sticky!)

Plop into pan, and pat down with buttered fingers until even.


Melt in a double boiler:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz. butterscotch chips

Pour over rice krispies.

Cool at room temperature, then score and cut into squares.

You can thank me later!

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Ps. 86:5

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, All! I've missed ya! But OH the fun we've been having!

In no particular order:

1. The wonderful, refreshing, encouraging visit that Crazy Daisy and I have had this week. Turns out we were able to converse just fine face to face. No phones or computers involved. It was nice. Although harder yesterday with a HUNDRED KIDS running around. But hey, that's the way it is at the Troops.

2. That Baby Boy and Daughter (#6) seem to be healthy and over their various maladies. Even sleeping better at night. Whew.

3. For Grandmother, who is sweet enough to take my kids to the Old Navy 20% off sale FOR ME. There aren't enough nice words for my Mom. What would I do without her?

4. For the trees that are leafing out all over my yard! It's SO GREEN and so pretty after the winter drudgery. Yeah Spring!

5. That we've almost completed another week of school with all of the necessary homework, projects, assignments, costumes and FUN. Only a few more to go!

6. That progress is continuing (slowly) on the girl's room and bathroom. At least we are working on it!

7. For Champ (the puppy) - who is settling down a bit - I guess he can stay. :-)

8. For the new baby we visited in the hospital last night and the news this morning of another niece or nephew on the way! Babies are such a blessing!

9. That the laundry is all folded. I know. Really!

10. For Sweet Sitters who are helping us out this weekend and giving the Coach and I some much needed time away together. Thank you!

Be sure and leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are thankful for today!

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement: That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Phil. 1:9-11

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday To Do's

Mornin', Folks!

My list is long today. Errands to run, laundry to fold, phone calls to make, house to clean. But I find myself here. Reading about the arrival of a new baby (her TWELFTH, if you can imagine). Somehow it's more fun to read about someones labor and delivery than it is to work on what is before me today. Why is that?


I did want to give you an update on the bracket contest we had going through the NCAA March Madness. Turns out, maybe the Coach does know a bit about basketball. Hmmmm. Although Daughter (#2) tied with him for first place. A Sonic drink is in order!


Friday night we celebrated Son's (#4) birthday. Grandparents joined us for spaghetti, chocolate cake and LEGOS. My kids, they love Legos. Somehow they never tire of them.


We finished up our taxes this weekend. It brought me to the harsh realization (once again) that I am incredibly unorganized. Not that I always have been. But somehow we haven't gotten back to whatever normal we had before Baby Boy came on the scene. Pretty sure I haven't put a picture in an album, filed a document or cleaned out a single cabinet or drawer since his arrival. And we're all still here and smiling. Most of the time.

However, I haven't finished sorting those boys clothes, yet.


Speaking of Baby Boy, after almost two weeks of extreme fussiness, the Coach convinced me (it's easy to convince someone who is sleep deprived) to take him into the Urgent Care last night before bedtime. We weren't surprised to discover that he has an ear infection! You'd think after having the same exact symptoms twice before we would have figured this out by now.


We had the JOY of having the Coach's younger siblings and their families for Sunday Lunch yesterday. So much fun! It's amazing to have so much family attending church together, living so close by and all with young kids who LOVE THEIR COUSINS. Thanks to early service, we all still had time for a nap. Doesn't get any better than that!


AND A VISIT FROM CRAZY DAISY! My BFF is coming to town this week. Oh what fun! We've decided that if we have trouble actually, you know, TALKING, face to face, we can bring our cell phones and sit at different tables. Somehow, I'm not anticipating any difficulty TALKING TILL WE'RE BLUE! YEAH!

To finish off our week, the Coach and I are going away for the weekend. Alone. Without kids. By ourselves. Oh Sweet Loveliness!

So much to look forward to. In one little week.

But for now, I'm going to resist the urge to read more blogs and check e-mail and instead go run those errands and get going on that list. It never ends.

Happy Monday!

And remember that:

"You are loved with an Everlasting Love. . . and underneath are the Everlasting Arms"
(Elisabeth Elliot)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fabulous Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, All!

What are you going to tell us about today? Something that helps you clean your house? An easy food item that your kids love? Something that keeps you organized? I can't wait to hear about it!

My item for the day is. . .

Clorox disinfecting wipes. I love these! I keep one in each bathroom and one under the kitchen sink. They are great for wiping up the bathroom before company comes (always call me first - or it could be scary!), cleaning off the trash can after 30 people have had barbecue sandwiches on paper plates at your house. Wiping up the floor where someone has dropped their jelly toast upside down, etc.

There is no end to their usefulness!

And if you really get the cleaning bug, pick up some of this:

(O.K. Seriously, could this picture be any smaller? I'm going to have to include a magnifying glass.)

Encase your eye sight is less than 20/20 - it's SprayWay glass cleaner.

We not only have a COMPLETELY GLASS SUNROOM on the back of our house (yes, with eight children who never have clean hands), we also have three sets of sliding glass doors and big picture windows out into our back yard.

I know, what were we thinking?

The windows get really dirty really quickly. I can stand it to a point, but OH MY GOODNESS CLEAN THAT WINDOW BEFORE IT MAKES ME SICK every now and then.

This cleaner is foam - it doesn't drip onto the window sill (if, say, for instance, a child sprays an extraordinary amount of it on the window - which never happens - I'm just saying). And it works remarkably well.

So get to it!

And let me know what wonderful products you love and enjoy!

Be sure and link to your specific post and not just your blog. Feel free to use the graphic on your blog - I'd love it and MAS designs needs the promo.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Birthday Edition

Today is Son's (#4) birthday. He's eight.

Did you GET that, Laura? EIGHT! Where does the time go?

Where, oh where, do I begin to tell you about this kid?

When we had our fourth (he was our third boy), our oldest was four.

Let me give you a minute.

But OH what a sweet baby he was! He was easy going, happy, and fun. With a smile that came all the way from his toes.

Just within the first year of his life, however, he had 2 ER visits. With another when he was around three.

I won't go into those details. But let me say, he's one TOUGH kid. Really, tough isn't a tough enough word for this kid. He's steel.

He's also energetic, loud, and stubborn.


I wasn't sure if he'd make it to the age of five. But right around that age, all of our kids have kind of "gotten it". They realize (out of desperation, I think) that they can get with the program, or be miserable forever. So far they've all caught on.

He was no different. However he never lost a bit of his spunk, toughness, and downright ADORABLENESS. I'm telling you, he's something.

I am frustrated with him no less than fifteen times a day. But I laugh at him more than 30 times a day. He's a great kid.

He works hard, obeys, helps around the house. Loves school, reads constantly (when he's not yelling or shooting something) and is happy all of the time.

I'm so grateful to the Lord for my fourth born child and third son. I'm stronger and more mature in my mothering because of him.

And also a bit more tired.

I love you, SON! Happy 8th Birthday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A New Look

Make yourself at home.
Pull up a chair.
Grab a Diet Dr. Pepper.
Don't you LOVE it here?
I can say that because I had nothing to do with it!
But I sure will enjoy it.

Thanks a bunch, MAS designs! You've made me smile.

See you soon, everyone~
P.S. How I wish giving my SELF a new look could be this easy!

Because I have nothing else to do. . .

I've missed you, People!

Two of the kids got Webkinz for their birthdays. Now every time I want to sit down at the computer to, say. . .BLOG. . . someone is feeding their pet. Or "I HAVE to put them to bed, Mom."

And several times I've been asked to earn Webkinz money so they can buy a new outfit, or write down ingredients from the cooking show on the little TV in their pet's room so they can make a recipe.


But in the meantime, since my computer has been taken over, I've been working on sorting through clothes for Summer.

I was going to post a picture this morning, but it's too depressing. I can't bear to let you see how bad it is.

I mean, I'm all for keepin' it real here at Mrs. Troop. But it's a little TOO real at the moment.

The girl's stuff is always my first goal, because it's more overwhelming. Now my playroom is full of BOYS clothes.

Do you ever just enjoy WANTING to quit? That's where I am. I know I have to finish. I can't stop. Can't leave it all out. The boys need shorts, after all.

But OH I want to quit.

I keep having visions of torching the whole pile and starting all over, again.

Oh, I jest! I LOVE the hand-me-downs. LOVE them. What a blessing! I can't imagine outfitting eight kids without help!

On another note, the top designer over at MAS designs is working on a new blog design for me. Yeah! Can't wait to show you!

If I can ever get on the computer, again.

Because there are clothes to buy for the little pink poodle and food to make for the little gray horse and games to play to get money over at Webkinz.

And that's WAY more important than checking my e-mail, blogging or keeping up with my online banking.

Way more important.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fabulous Friday Favorites!

Welcome to the first (and possibly last - we'll see how it goes) edition of Fabulous Friday Favorites here at Mrs. Troop.

When I find something I really enjoy, that makes life simpler, easier, cleaner, more peaceful, I'm happy to share it with everyone I know. Sometimes, though, you find out that they knew about it all along and you think WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME how great this is?

So here's a place to share. Not so much tips, like over at WFMW at Rocks in My Dryer. This is about products, items, things you like and use on a regular basis.

I started my list here, but I realized there are more things that I want to tell you about!

Every day I start my day with these:

These are GOOD vitamins. They also have a lot of other great supplements at Beeyoutiful. And you don't have to take out a second mortgage or sign up 20 friends to be able to afford them!

Now if I could just remember to take that second one each day!

The other favorite I'll share with you today is this:

This is so yummy (the Peach Tea is my favorite). You add them to a water bottle. They are sugar and caffeine free! If you are a hater-of-all-chemical-sweeteners, these aren't for you. But they don't have Splenda (which makes me sick), they have Aspartame.

I can't wait to see what you post!

*Make sure to link to your blog post and not just your blog site. Also, this is not for advertisements of any kind. These should all be things you've USED and LIKED. Thanks!

Use Mr. Linky below to join the list and be sure and leave a comment when you visit!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

1. Wonderful RAIN that's watering our new grass in the backyard.

2. A Clean Kitchen Floor (thanks, Mom!)

3. Pretty Yellow Girls' Room

4. Diet Dr. Pepper (I know, it's bad for me)

5. A Husband who will walk with me in the mornings, even though he's really a runner~ Thanks, Coach!

. . .the rest of my list is courtesy of my two "at home" girls, ages 5 and 3 1/2. . .

6. Scrapbook kit for birthday

7. Webkinz for birthday

8. Big Bouncy Ball (for birthday)

9. Polly Pockets (yes, from her birthday)

10. Mommy and Daddy

11. Sweet Baby Boy

12. Brothers

13. Cousins

14. For good night's sleep

15. Big sisters

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." Num. 6:24-26

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bedtime at the Troops

Honestly, by dinnertime I'm worn out.
But even so, there's still plenty to do. Trying to get eight kids settled in bed is a challenge.

Back when we had four little ones (four and under) it seemed so simple. They all went to bed at 7:30/8 and we were done. True, we had the occasional bad dream or illness, but for the most part, once they were in bed they stayed.

Good times, I tell you.

Now, with the three older boys in one room, and the three little girls in another, it's crazy. Never mind the sleepwalking, the sleep talking, the insomnia (although it's better now because of this). The nightmares, the older kids (who don't go to bed at 7:30, thank you very much) and the child who can't seem to sleep in her own bed. Ever.

Last night we were half way through the whole process, when Daughter (#5), who doesn't often get out of bed once she's been tucked in, showed up in the kitchen.

"I have a song," she announced. And before we had a chance to say anything, she began,

"I wrapped myself in paper,
Dipped myself in glue,
Slapped some stamps on the seat of my pants,
and mailed myself to you."

At that point, we just dissolved into laughter.

And then we realized we were a long way from having everyone "settled".