Monday, June 30, 2008

Emergency Telegram from the Rockies


cursing high altitude STOP baby boy still sick STOP mountains may be pretty STOP but it's not worth it STOP acute mountain sickness STOP seriously STOP not sleeping STOP fussy STOP on oxygen STOP what a pain STOP ready to come home STOP so tired STOP grateful for parents here with us STOP big help STOP pray for baby boy STOP pray for sleep STOP send nurse STOP send chocolate STOP send caffeine STOP send plane ticket STOP

Friday, June 27, 2008

Keeping the Tradition

Our first trip to Colorado with the Coach's family was 9 Summers ago.  We were the happy and not-yet-as-tired parents of three little children.  Ages 3, 2 and 10 months.  Driving a mini-van with room to spare.  Hard to imagine, huh?

Son (#3) got sick while we were there.  

It's in those moments when we are tremendously grateful that the Coach's older brother is a doctor.  Comes in handy.

I won't give you the details, but as we've added babies, we've continued the habit of the littlest getting sick while we are in Colorado. Maybe it's the change in routine.  Maybe the altitude.  The cooler weather.  Or all of the above.

Lest you ask yourself, "And WHY do they keep going back?", remember this?

We did almost back out last year, but instead, we convinced my parents to join us (as they had twice before).  With their help, the ratio of adult to child is only 1:2 instead of our usual 1:4.

Summer of '07, Baby Boy was a tiny three month old (having been born early) and he developed a congested nose.  That was it.

Little did I know I should have been more grateful.

Apparently, Baby boy's fussing the last two days had purpose.  When he woke from his afternoon nap yesterday with 103 fever, we knew it must be his ears.

Thank heavens for the urgent care here in this sleepy ski resort town.  We were the only ones there.  (Coach's brother won't arrive until Saturday.)

We haven't gotten any sleep YET this trip, but I have hope that by tonight his fever will break and he'll perk up to his usual tolerant and amazingly happy self.

And there's always next year. . .

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Greetings from Colorado


To his credit, Baby Boy tolerated the first NINE hours in the car really well.
It was the last THREE that about did him in.
We arrived safe and sound around dinner time, last night.



Today we've been out for a walk.  
(with an extra cousin or two)
We've gone to the park where the older kids played Ultimate Frisbee.
And of course, Granddad has been to the store.

The weather is beautiful!
Cool, clear, with a spectacular view of the mountains on every side.

Baby Boy still isn't sure why we are here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anticipation

Around here, when it's time to get ready for our annual trek to Colorado, we have a saying:

"Anticipation is half the fun!"

It might be more than half.

Because picking out "junk food" and packing our favorite clothes. . . Buying our one new DVD for the car and choosing which games to take. . . Cleaning out the van, washing the windows, filling it up with gas (which we never do anymore!). . . Charging the camera batteries and phones, picking a book to read on the way.

It's all great fun.

The truth is, once we get there, it's pretty much the same as home.

By the time everyone has breakfast and gets ready for the day, we might fit in a short hike before lunch. Then we take naps and about then we have to start dinner. After dinner everyone needs a bath from playing in the dirt all day, and then we might have time for a game before bed. And of course we go to the store a lot.

See? Just like home.

Except cooler.

And with prettier scenery.

And more cousins.

Truly, the anticipation is getting to us! Good thing we leave tomorrow!

Happy Tuesday!
(Cousins Colorado Trip '07)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life is certainly never DULL. . .

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.' You don't even know what tomorrow will bring - what your life will be! For you are bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'" James 4:13-15

The Mrs. Troop version for today would read:
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow I will get up early, run errands, pack 10 people for one week, find new shoes for Baby Boy, fix a double batch of Cowboy Cookies to take on the trip, buy two gifts, catch up on phone calls, pay bills and keep the house perfectly clean while not ignoring my sweet kids.'"


A bit of smoke, Lord? Really? A wisp of air?


Some days it feels more like a bonfire.


Because some days just don't turn out the way you plan. Some days there are disappointments and hurts. Some days there is illness and heartache. Most days things are just HARD. Even though you don't expect them to be. And some days you just don't get anything done. At all.


But God is still on His throne.



He's still in control. He doesn't make mistakes (Thank You, Jesus!).


He still loves me.


And that's enough for this bit of smoke.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Simple Pleasures

The Coach and I were just finishing up our Sunday lunch of . . .well, sandwiches, and he said, "Well, it's 12:00, time for naps."
All of a sudden it hit me.
After 18 years of attending a church were we were lucky to get HOME by 1:00 (on a good day), the wonder of early service hasn't worn off.
We've been to church, worked in the nursery, gone to Sunday school, fellowshipped with friends, come home, had lunch, put the baby to bed and now are settling down for some Sunday REST and it's noon.
Noon.
I'm telling you, some things don't ever get old!

And encase you're wondering, YES we get up early to get eight kids ready by 8:15. And YES sometimes we don't make it.

But it's SO worth it!

Happy Napping~

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pooped at the Troops



Thankful Thursday - In a Hurry

O.K.
I have to leave to pick up seven of my kids (and three others) at VBS in 15 minutes.
Not really time for a post.

But it's Thursday!

And I'm so very grateful.

1. For the house coming together so nicely. I finally feel like it's "pretty" and besides the kitchen, we've banished the uglies!

2. For family. We've enjoyed them so much, already, this Summer!

3. For friends. Who come for lunch and let the kids play and take my big kids to movies. Wow.

4. For a far-away friend, and baby girl, who came to spend two nights. What fun! I miss them, already.

5. For the Coach's new grill (Father's Day). I'm trying to figure out why it's a gift for him, since Son #1 does ALL of our grilling. But still. The old one - it was pitiful.

6. For a new electric dog fence. And with just 8 days of training Champ for a hour or so each day he'll surely stay in the yard (do you SENSE the sarcasm? because I am SO going to SELL that puppy!). Truthfully, my vote was for an ACTUAL fence. That requires no training at all. But that's coming from the mom who doesn't seem to have enough time to train her own CHILDREN. Much less a DOG.

7. That Baby Boy is walking. We are having SO MUCH FUN watching him!

8. For our "new" master bedroom. I know I already mentioned the house, but our room is SO pretty! I can't wait to show you. It's almost finished. And I truly feel like a princess when I go in there. Which is fun!

9. For diapers. I know. Crazy. But I'm so glad that I don't have to wash, fold and change cloth diapers like our parents did. Yuck.

And speaking of, Baby Boy just woke up with a peculiar odor. So that will take the remaining five minutes that I have before I have to go to church!


Happy Thursday!
Be sure and leave a comment telling me what YOU are thankful for today!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Makeover #1. Or #50. Who's counting?

Greetings from the Troops!
I know, you thought I was gone forever.
So did I, for a moment.

Boy, has it been busy.

We've been changing some things here.
And it's time to reveal "Room #1" in the Makeover series.

I've loved this house from the first time we came to walk through it (thinking it was NO WAY a possibility - ever).
It just WORKS for us. I can't describe it better than that.
But from day one it's had a bad case of the uglies.

For starters, houses built in 1974 have serious self-image issues. Whew. Don't get me started.

And if that's not bad enough, the remodel was in the 80's.

I remember the 80's.
They weren't pretty.

But one by one, the rooms of our house have been transformed.
I started the first Spring with painting the DARK wood paneling in our living room a nice light CREAM color. Wow.

Then we painted Daughter's (#2) room a beautiful light blue.
New bedding (from Grandmother's downsizing).
Perfect.


Then last year we changed some rooms around to have a bigger dining room. Took the carpet out, added wood floors, peeled wallpaper, added a chair rail and some RED paint and WOW - it's lovely. And we've used and enjoyed it tremendously.

Next we tackled THIS room. Our little girls' room.
And yes, this picture is of their room while MESSY.

Three small ladies share this room - Daughters #5, #6 and #7. What a crew.

Anyway, it started like this:


It had a LOVELY wallpaper border. Some kind of metallicy flowers. Then enter the two comforters that I had a friend make to match the curtains and crib bedding that I made back before we had our first baby (yes, that was 13 years ago). Then the miscellaneous quilt that someone gave to us.

Kind of a hodge podge look.

In my mind, I pictured yellow and pink.

I'll be honest, I have no idea why.

So my sweet s-i-l found these duvets at Target. On clearance.
And the decorating began.
First with yellow paint. Which you can read about here.

Then some rearranging, the new bedding and a new curtain.



Be impressed.


Be very impressed.


Isn't it cute?

And overall, I'm VERY happy with it. It's bright, cheery and very GIRLY.

Which it should be, considering.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fabulous Friday Favorites

I think I have a birthday hangover.
Not that I really know anything about hang overs - I've never actually had one.
But I'm tired.
And bleary eyed.
And the head, it's aching.

Apparently I'm too old to celebrate anything without wearing out.

BUT today is Friday!
And in spite of my impending garage sale, I didn't want to miss another FFF post.
Because it's fun.
And I'm putting off that sorting and pricing as long as possible this morning.

Today's product my not be helpful for everyone.
I apologize in advance.

Three years ago (before we lived in this house), we remodeled our kitchen. One of my bright ideas (I'm just FULL of them, apparently) was to buy a front loading stacking washer and dryer so we could add a pantry where the dryer used to sit.
It was wonderful!
Fast forward to the present, and we LOVE our front loading machines. They wash unbelievable amounts of laundry. Daily. Sometimes all day long.

But one of the draw backs to front loading washers is that they have very tight seals. And with the door closed they do not have any venting capacity.
Which means after a period of time they can develop odors. From mildew. Which I realize is disgusting.
Enter this:

This product keeps the foul smell of a front loader at bay. I just run it through the machine in the evening now and then (on the rare occasion that I don't have LAUNDRY to run through).

It's made a big difference!

For those of you without front loaders (and even those of you with!), check out Magnificent Manager. My Sweet Friend brought me one of the meal planners and a photo frame for my birthday. They are wonderful! And stylish! And useful!

Happy Friday!

Don't forget to add your link - to your post about your Friday Favorite. And leave comments everywhere you go. Because my blog set a new record yesterday (thanks, Crazy Daisy!). And today might be a titch depressing if there are no comments at all!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Morning, All!

If you've been following along over at Jo's Book Club, they've just finished reading "Humility, True Greatness", by C.J. Mahaney.

I'm following along, but I haven't finished the book, yet.

One thing I read this week was from Chapter 5, which gives suggestions on how to begin each day focused on developing humility.

"Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow."

He speaks of Matthew Henry, who was described as someone "taking thankful notice of all God was doing for him, doing so in an attractively joyful was that was infectious."

Wow.

"Continue throughout the day expressing gratefulness for the innumerable manifestations of God's grace. It's as if God is placing sticky-notes in our lives as daily reminders of His presence and provision. They've everywhere."

I highly recommend this book. Even if you read it late, like I'm doing. And miss the book club. Because it's worth your time. Seriously.

1. For friends who call first thing in the morning and make me smile. And laugh. And glad to be alive.

2. That the bulk of the remodeling projects here at the Troops is finished.

3. For after dinner volleyball games with cousins at Papa's house. Which is just around the corner.

4. For carpet cleaning which is scheduled for Monday. You should see our carpets. Or maybe not.

5. That the Wal-mart Super Center is one mile from my house. We actually didn't go yesterday. But I'm sure we will today.

6. For parents with a pool - and an offer of dinner out last night. They're brave. Eight kids at a restaurant is not for the faint of heart.

7. For a new swim suit. I'm not sure I'm happy about it, but I am grateful for it. Since it's not possible to take eight kids to swim without getting in the water. Not that I'm happy about it.

8. For landsend.com. Who offers countless decent and modest swimsuit options. Not that I'm happy about it.

9. For a clean garage. Even if it was like pulling teeth to get the kids to help get it done. It develops character, right?

10. For a garage sale coming up on Saturday. If you live close by, you're welcome. In fact, if you're my friend you can have anything I'm selling for free. Seriously. I just want it gone.

11. I hate garage sales.

(oops, that wasn't a thankful item)

12. For computers and pbskids, even if the kids are all grounded from them for the rest of the week because of their attitudes while cleaning out the garage yesterday.

13. That all of my kids love to read. The oldest five on their own. The youngest three LOVE being read to!

14. For Daughter's (#6) enrollment in Kindergarten (sniff).


15. For Summer. I know I've said that. But OH the joy of sleeping until 7:00 every day. It's lovely beyond words.

16. For today. This day. Thursday. I'm grateful to have another day to serve the Lord and love on my kids and train them up and serve my Coach and love on him, too. Blessings.

Happy Thursday!


Don't forget to leave me a comment and tell me what YOU are thankful for today!

(Daughter (#6) at 3 months on our way to Colorado)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Things are just perfect here - NOT!

Excellent Sunday School lesson yesterday on sharing one's testimony.

Something we are all called to do, of course.

But what struck me was that no less than THREE people mentioned how intimidating our little community and even our church has been to them.

Because this small suburban city (which is, coincidentally FULL of actual Suburbans!), well, it's PRETTY.

And the people are pretty.

And everyone sure looks NICE and PUT TOGETHER.

Even at church.

ESPECIALLY at church.

And I suppose that this makes us all feel (I'll admit to having these sames feelings at moments) that everyone we see lives in a NEW, LARGE AND PERFECTLY DECORATED HOUSE and well, they know something about fashion.

Which I sure don't.


Funny thing, comparison.

The Bible has something to say about it:
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Cor. 10:12

You know what that says? We're STUPID.
(We don't allow that word at our house, but it fits this perfectly.)

Anyone who looks horizontally for a standard with which to measure themselves is STUPID.

Because here's another little gem of truth:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9)

We can't see people the way God does - inside their heart. And no matter how nice you LOOK or how organized or clean or caught-up-on-your-to-do-list you are, we all have the same problem.

We ALL need Jesus.

Even the pretty people.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23)

And from experience (every now and then someone actually thinks I have my act together - HA!) I can tell you that even those who you look at and think, "Wow, they really have it all together and LOOK at those cute shoes", would tell you differently if they were honest and you had an ear to listen.

We all have difficulty in our lives. There's a lot of pain out there.

It keeps us focused heavenward.

Because truthfully, if life were perfect would we feel our NEED for God?

Or would we LONG for Heaven?

Hmmmm.

I hope you see that we DON'T have our act together here at the Troops.

But God has us.

And He gives us His amazing grace and strength each and every day to continue on and seek Him and give Him the glory for whatever good works we are able to do in His name.

That's what it's all about.

Not the shoes.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Baby Steps

THANK YOU for all of your encouraging comments about our house projects!

All very kind.

And although I was being somewhat sarcastic here, I realize that my mess pales in comparison to the projects that some of you have done and are doing.

I'll be quick to admit it: I'm a big time whiner!

Enough said.

While we've had this all going on at the Troops, Baby Boy has decided (at 14+ months) that's it's time to work on the walking thing.

I can't imagine that he won't progress quickly with such a large cheering section!

Enjoy~

Have a blessed Sunday~

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Remodeling Tips from the Troops

Good Morning from the land of dust and paint.

In an effort to not let our current experiences go to waste, I thought I'd share a few tips.
Because remodeling is not for the faint at heart.
Or for the family of ten.
But don't tell US that!

We love this house. Of course we realize that it will burn up like everything else, eventually, but it's such a great house for our family.

But WHAT crazy person (just curious) decided that it was a good idea to put carpet in kitchens (we fixed that before we moved in)? And dining rooms (that was last Summer's project)? And BATHROOMS (our current mess)? What WERE they thinking? Obviously not about four girls sharing the bathroom.

And wallpaper. Good ole' wallpaper. I can't help but think it was a costly venture to wallpaper THIS ENTIRE HOUSE. But WHY, I ask? WHY?

So to save you learning things the hard way:

1. Think through what life will be like with seven (bathroom using) kids and one bathroom for three days. Then cancel your remodeling plans.

2. Picking out tile and paint is a simple process if you remember one rule. Make sure it is the color and texture of DIRT.

3. Children will gravitate to the most crowded and messiest room. Our sun room is full of all the things we moved out of other rooms. They've played in there for two days.

4. Have sweet friends with a pool. Sometimes at 4:30 when everyone is losing it you just need to WALK AWAY. And it's too hot to go anywhere else. Thanks, Girls!

5. Have a friend at the paint store. Because I don't have any idea what I need! Tell your husband, "Thanks!" for me, Sheryl!

6. Realize that there will not only be concrete dust on TOP of every surface of your house. It will be INSIDE every cabinet, as well.

7. Don't plan on accomplishing anything else. In hindsight, the curtain project should have waited for another week.

8. Realize ahead of time that there will be a lot of errands to run. Group them together, don't take all of the kids and leave the gas guzzling VAN at home. Do as I say, Friends, not as I do!

9. Understand that dust and paint fumes aren't good for allergy sufferers. I'm just sayin'. And there is no medicine in the world strong enough, at this point.

10. Plan to get very little sleep. After all, the only time you will actually accomplish something is when all of the kids are in bed. Which is not NEARLY enough time, let me tell you.

11. If your back goes out (I'm speaking for the Coach, here), just keep working like it didn't. If the pain is more than you can bear, ignore it. It's the wise thing to do.

12. Things will start looking up when you have finished the "tearing out" phase and have entered the "putting back together" phase.

That's all I have at the moment. It's hard to think straight when I have to keep getting up to blow my nose.

Oh. Sorry.

That was WAY too much info!

And one more tip:

Plan to spend more money than you budget. Because shower curtain rods break and wouldn't this bathroom look bigger with a larger mirror? And the valance I'm making really needs a double three inch hem - which I don't have enough fabric for (Thanks, Mom!). And the GAS. Good grief, the GAS!

Happy Wednesday!