Saturday, May 31, 2008

Memorial Day Fun

Last Sunday night, we celebrated Memorial Day with the Coach's family at our house.
We opted to not plan dinner for the crowd and instead, everyone brought a dessert.
Fortunately, all of his family are very THIN.

Daughter (#2) made these.
The kids loved them.

Unfortunately there was some left.
And I couldn't let it go to waste.
(I took the Coach's name, but I definitely don't have the family genes.)

But the food wasn't as much fun as the fellowship.

I can't remember the last time the Coach played basketball with his brothers & nephews.

Oh wait. . . now I remember.

But THIS TIME he didn't get hurt.

See you on July 4th, Guys!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Faves. . . except NOT.

I know, I know. It's Friday.
And here I am.
With no Fabulous Faves post.

Truth is, we've been a bit busy here at the Troops.

Project #1 is done.

Only because the Coach hired a friend to do it FOR us.
Now you know our secret.

Here is our house the way it's been since we moved here 2 1/2 years ago.

And here it is after the addition of some black (shutters) and red (door) paint. I'm so pleased.

Something about the all white look just wasn't me.

(Because I LOVE color. Lots of color. Red, in particular.)

But this. . . I can live with this.

So I guess I do have a Fabulous Friday Favorite today.

It would be paint.

(And a painter to go along with it.)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thankful Thursday - End of School Edition

The Summer confusion has started around here.
It doesn't seem to matter what day of the week it is.
It's a sure way to miss an appointment now and then, though.
But OH I have a lot to be thankful for right now!

1. Summer! We're just starting to realize it, but how WONDERFUL to be out of school!

2. An incredibly blessed year of school. Every one of the five school kids had a great year and did well. I'm so grateful to the Lord for His provision of schooling for our kids.

3. The end of school events are officially over. Woo hoo!

Son (#4) and his Christian Citizenship Award with our Headmaster

4. Son #1 did so well on his 6th grade graduation speech. What a kid!

5. For five sweet teachers, plus all of the special teachers (art, computer, PE, math, library, etc.) who loved on, taught, and showed such kindness to my kids all year.

Son (#1) with his 6th Grade Teacher

Son (#4) with his 1st Grade Teacher.

Daughter (#5) with her Kindergarten Teacher

6. That the Coach is on his Summer schedule (sort of) and is home more. Yeah!

The Coach with Son (#1) at his 6th Grade Graduation

7. For all of the ongoing projects we are in the midst of here with our house. I've taken lots of "before" pictures - can't wait to show you!

8. For a great time with the Coach's family on Sunday night celebrating Memorial Day (pictures to follow). What a blessing to have so much family! And OH BOY do all of those kids have fun playing together!

9. For a hair cut yesterday. So nice.

10. For Grandmother, who helps with so much - especially taking my vacuum in yesterday to get it fixed. You can't imagine a house with 10 people, construction projects, and no vacuum!

11. For a house full of cousins/babysitters right around the corner. We wouldn't have made it through that last week of school without them.

12. That the "Fifth Disease" is starting to wind down with my little ones. What fun that has been. Whew.

13. For the beautiful days we've spent outside and our beautiful yard that the Coach and the boys have worked so hard on. (I think that was two things)

And now, I'm off to feed breakfast to those who are awake (3 of 8). At 7:45! I'm telling you, Summer is great!

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Generous Gifts

If you take a look around at the Troops, you can see numerous examples of God's generous and abundant kindness to our family.
Take, for instance, this bare spot in the back yard.

We didn't have a plan for it.

But God did.
A friend from church and school offered us their play set.
Their kids are older, now, and they weren't going to move it to their new house.

Then, after the Coach had contemplated how to dismantle it and move it and reassemble it, we had an offer from another kind soul to move it for us!

Within a couple of days, this was the scene in our backyard. Our kids were watching with great anticipation, as you can imagine.

The Coach did some leveling, put the swings back on, fixed some handles, rails and added some bolts and we were in business.

Sometimes, God's graciousness to our family leaves me speechless.

Ballet Recital

We've had so much fun in the last week or so.
Unfortunately I haven't had time to share all of it!
So I'm going to go back and try to catch up.

Starting with my little girls' ballet recital last Sunday.
Here they are doing their second number - the tap dance.
"Baby, Take a Bow."
(The little girl on the right is WAY doing her own thing.)

They were precious.
Daughter #6 is on the left, Daughter #5 on the right (next to the tubby one).

Daughters (#5 and #6) took ballet and tap with their cousin this year. They had a great time. However, we're all grateful that it's over. Did I say that?

Check out the little chickadee on the right - funny how no one else is kicking. HA!

These pictures are all from their second dance - the tap.
They also did a ballet number with darling tutus.
To a Cinderella song.
It was really sweet.

Here are Daughter #5, Cousin B. and Daughter #6 afterwards.

Here they are with Grandmother and Granddad. Who win the prize for coming to the LONG dance recital. Not all the dances were "cute", if you know what I mean.

After a year of dance classes for two of my eight children, I came to the conclusion (not soon enough, obviously) that this doesn't fit into our already busy lives.

But it was a great thing to do ONCE.

They loved it. And it's over. Best part of all - the costumes are ours. Can you imagine how much fun that will be?

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Eight + Five Cousins = Summer!

As of 1:30 PM today, school is officially OUT for the SUMMER!
(More about that, later)
We haven't, yet, experienced a full day of freedom, but here's the scene right now:

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday at the Troops

Happy Monday, All!

Just some general randomness this morning.

The cold/sinus infection? Tons better.

The ballet recital?

It went beautifully.

Thanks to a WHOLE LOT of help from a sweet sister-in-law.

Couldn't have done it without her!

And if you happen to be one of my children's precious teachers?

You might want to stop in the office after school today.

Just a hint.

Because the cookies,

I'm trying SO hard not to burn them!

And do you KNOW WHAT?

Only two more days!

I have to survive Son's (#1) speech tomorrow night at 6th grade graduation

- he's going to do great.

I'm the one that might not make it.

Then there's awards assembly and the end of the year DUMP of school stuff back INTO my house where I was perfectly happy to NOT have it for the last nine months.

Then SWEET LOVELINESS we can SLEEP IN on Thursday.

I have a feeling the blogging may have to come to a complete halt until we adjust to the craziness of having eight kids home all day

- we call it SUMMER,

but it's really just a lot of CHAOS.

Can't wait.

In the meantime, come by and have a cookie.

The recipe, you ask?

Sure, I'll share it.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from my grandmother)

Cream together:
4 sticks of butter

(use real butter, OK?)
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 1/2 Cups light brown sugar
Beat in:
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
Mix separately:
6 Cups all purpose unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

Stir dry ingredients into wet.

Cut 4 (8 oz.) large Hershey Milk Chocolate bars into small chunks.
Fold into dough.

With medium cookie scoop, place on ungreased baking sheets

and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

This makes about 5 1/2 doz. fairly large cookies.

Often I freeze the uncooked dough balls on wax paper and then place in a ziploc bag for later. Then you can just take a few out, let them thaw on the baking sheet, flatten and bake. Yum!

That's all I have today.

Maybe once the craziness of school is through

I can come up with a post or two that have depth.

Until then, eat cookies.

And have a great Monday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Day

I'm feeling a little under the weather.

The Coach sent me to the urgent care last night and I came home with several medications.

There's the Z-pac, the cough medicine, the Mucinex and the Zyrtec (which you all know is my drug of choice).

Thinking I'll feel better any minute now.

But until then, I thought I'd let you know that you should NOT, under any circumstance DROP IN at my house today.

Because my sweet people that I love have a way of doing that.

On days like today.

When I am still in my PJ's at 12:45 pm.

And so are my girls.

And the breakfast dishes are still piled on the counter. And the lunch dishes. The laundry is all piled in the living room waiting to be folded. And waiting.

And never mind the rest of the house.

Just never mind.

Now, normally I LOVE drop in visits. I live for them.

There was a time when I actually didn't mind because my house was always clean. Not so much, anymore.

But after years of therapy, I've over that.

Usually I love for you to come, anyway. Never mind the mess. Because people are more important than my house being clean (go ahead, repeat that to yourself over and over, again).

But today. Don't even bother to call.

And even you come knock on my door, or come into my backyard and knock on my completely GLASS sun room door where you can see into my house and mess and me in my PJ's. . . I won't answer.

In fact, I may run into the back of the house and hope that I remembered to lock the door first.

Because it's that kind of day.

And encase you are ever in this situation, here are some ideas of "What to Play when Mom's Sick and Doesn't Care." I borrowed this from my girls. Because they are creative. And will have NONE OF THAT watching movies all day. Even though I try to make them.

1. Get out all of the sleeping bags and pillows and lay them all over the playroom floor and turn ON a movie, but don't watch it. Just play camp out. Be sure and bring all of the dolls and toys FROM the bedroom to have more company.
2. Go out into the garage (with the door closed) and ride scooters and tricycles around and around in circles. Because the Coach's car is gone and the garage - it's actually somewhat picked up. And yelling echoes beautifully out there.
3. Play "shower". Fully clothed. Still in their PJ's, of course. The boy's bathroom has a nice big shower with sliding glass doors. And never mind that my girls WILL NOT actually TAKE a shower. Pretending to take one while fully clothed with the water off is FUN.
4. Color new Hello Kitty coloring book with new colored pencils (Wasn't such a bad idea to pick those up on Wednesday while I was at Hobby Lobby, after all). Empty pencil shaving in trash repeatedly. Be sure to dump some of that on the floor so Baby Boy can play in it.

And if you are looking for some younger activities, here are some ideas for a one year old.

1. Play in the sippy cup drawer. I know. It's sad. We have a WHOLE DRAWER of sippies. Not all nice fancy ones - some just cups with lids. But it's his favorite spot.
2. Crawl up to aforementioned tricycle in the garage and beg for a ride. They'll give you one. If you don't mind being squished a little.
3. Play in the trash. Anyone say pencil shavings?
4. While the girls are taking turns with the pretend showers, pull the toilet paper off the roll. Endless hours of entertainment.
5. That Spanish moss in the bottom of the silk ficus tree? Great fun!
6. Almost empty water bottles with the lids on tight are the best toy ever. Forget those expensive educational toys that someone with one child gave you. Go with the water bottle.

So now you know what's going on here at the Troops today. And don't ask what I've been doing. Let's just say there have been a few messes to clean up. Just a few. And I'm good about going around saying "Careful!" so they don't hurt themselves.

~Leave me a comment and tell me what's going on at YOUR house~

And to be honest - the kids, they've been great. Completely entertaining themselves while I go around cleaning up the messes. They're great that way.

Fabulous Friday Favorites

Morning, All!

It IS still morning, right? I'm a little out of it - haven't been feeling great. Started antibiotics last night, so I'm going to feel GREAT by later today, I'm just sure of it.

However, life still continues on, whether I'm a bit slow or not!

Today for FFF, I'm going to share something kind of embarrassing. Well, it's not embarrassing, I guess for ME, but the fact that we NEED something like this at our house is gross.

However, I'm all for keepin' it real, as you well know, so here it is.

Yeah, I know. Urine Gone. Told you it was embarrassing. And I won't mention names. But we have one child who walks (and not to the bathroom, if you know what I mean) in his (or her, I'm just sayin') sleep. Frequently. Not every night, but almost. I'm just glad when I FIND where he's been.

And then there is the child who wears pull ups, but they don't always do the trick. I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it's nice to have some help with these household clean up issues.

I really like this product. They should spend more on the spray bottle - it's horrible. But the stuff works. You blot up any moisture, then saturate the area with this and let it air dry. Works on mattresses, carpet, sofas, you name it. I know, now when you come to my house you're going to wonder. . .

So I hope you DON'T need this, but if you do, I'm glad it's available. I bought mine at Wal-mart, but the WWW says it's cheaper at Walgreen's.

What do YOU use and like that you want to tell us about? Leave your link below. Be sure and link to your specific post and not just your blog. And make sure to leave comments wherever you go. Comments make me especially happy when I'm sick.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Bloom

One week ago, our rose bush looked like this:

Have you ever seen so may buds?

So much potential?

Today, it looks like this:

But at our house, we mostly grow other varieties of flowers.

Like this:

Daughter (#5) in her Kindergarten program Tuesday morning.
She's in the center of the front row.

I am not a photographer. I do not claim to be a photographer. I have a cheap, point and shoot camera. Please do not judge me. I still think the roses are pretty.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day (a little late. . .)

Wonderful post to share with you from over at One Thing.

I often wonder if any mother DOES feel like they are doing a good job? I can't imagine it. There are always things to do better. Areas where I fall so short. Ways I need to GROW.

Occasionally we have a "breakthrough" and I think that maybe something somewhere is sinking in with my kids. But I can't really take credit for that.

And every now and then we have a complete disastrous collapse of where I am trying to head with them. And I certainly don't want to take credit for that, either.

Even when we didn't have a house overflowing with kids, I knew I wasn't the mother I wanted to be. I knew there were things the Lord was teaching me, changing in me.

It seems that the more children we've had, the farther I am from being the "perfect mom".
There's something about trusting the Lord, there.

I used to picture God's grace like putty filling in the cracks of my mothering.

Now I realize that I all contribute are the cracks. ALL of it is God's grace. Every bit of good that comes from my mothering. Every bit of glory that we give to the Lord through our home and family. That's God's grace.

And I'm certain, as well, that we mothers are NOT some kind of super human amazing beings that we are made out to be for at least one day of the year.

Fallen. Sinner. Ruled by Flesh. Inconsistent. Selfish. I know that's what I really am, even if others don't see it.

My children certainly do.

And yet,

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most glady therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (II Cor. 12:9-10)

So today I'm going to be real. I'm going to admit my WEAKNESS. And forget trying to do it all. Forget trying to do it all right. Forget trying to be the perfect mother. For today.

For today I'm going to glory in my weakness. So that I can be strong in the Lord.

It's the only hope I have of being the mother He wants me to be.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our (old) House

We moved out of our old house in November of 2005. What a blessing that little house was! That we even had it was God's miraculous provision. We were so grateful for it. We had such fun fixing it up little by little in the nine plus years we were there.

The Kitchen after remodeling

Easter 2003 by Azaleas in the back yard

Play set that Granddad Designed. Before it was finished.

Kids (not all mine!) eating on the deck

Our cattle tank pool

As you can see, a great house with lots of memories. One of the best being that we were next door to my Granddad and the kids were able to see him often and know him well.

We brought six babies home to that house (Son #1 was a baby when we moved in). All 1,650 square feet of it. Good thing they were all little, then! We had three bedrooms and a small "sun porch" upstairs. Three boys in one room, three girls in another, and the baby (Daughter #7, at the time) in our sun porch/nursery. All sharing one bathroom.

Such fun.

Thanks for letting me reminisce.