Friday, January 30, 2009

Homecoming - Round #5

In January of 2003, we had our first experience with one of our kids being in Homecoming at our wonderful school. Each winter, they pick a Kindergarten boy and girl as the elementary attendants for basketball's homecoming. Son (#1) was homeschooled in Kindergarten, so when Daughter (#2) was in Kindergarten, she was our first to be asked. I called a sweet friend who had older girls, borrowed a dress from them, curled her hair, and off we went.

It was fun!

Two years later, Son (#3) was asked.
Two years after that, Son (#4).
Then Daughter (#5).
And this year, our sixth little one, Daughter (#6) was asked.

However, we have a Jr. High student this year, Son (#1), and he was nominated by his class and teachers to be the 7th grade attendant.

So for the first time, we had TWO in Homecoming!

And again - FUN!

We have been so blessed with family and friends who help out a LOT! My sweet sister-in-law loaned us the dress for Daughter (#6) and the coat, shirt and pants for Son (#1).

It was a great evening. My sweet little girl surprised us all. She's been more of a momma's girl than any of our kids. Often timid - most often stubborn! I never would have imagined in a million years that she would do what she did tonight. Amazing. Without a flinch. We've seen SUCH growth in her this year. After the first ROUGH weeks of Kindergarten, she's really matured. I'm so proud of her.

Here is the evening in pictures!

First the hair:

I thought I'd try to replicate this hair do.

It was ambitious of me - not being a hair dresser and all.

And yet - it turned out lovely!

Here she is, ready to go!

Waiting. . . waiting. With her fellow Kindergartner and her handsome big brother.

It was DARK in the gym - the pictures aren't great. But they both did wonderfully! And more pictures after.

The homecoming court (or most of it).

Daughter and her friend.

Son and his fellow 7th grade attendant.

With their cousin who was the 8th grade girl.

Brother and sister.

And before bedtime - my sweet girl and I. So much fun!

Snow Days

Although you wouldn't know it by the warm temps and dripping, almost melted ice on our walkway, we had TWO days out of school this week due to an ice storm! And what FUN we had! The kids played outside constantly. The Coach bought a big cast iron fire pit (yeah gift cards!) for the patio and they built big fires to warm up by (and cook hot dogs on). Even Little Man braved the sub-freezing temps to play in the white stuff (I'm not sure that it was snow?).

Meanwhile, the Coach and I peeled the kitchen wallpaper (pictures to come). The Coach did most of the work, of course. I was busy tying and untying shoes, putting on hats, gloves and scarves and washing all of the laundry. In between fixing hot chocolate and snacks!

On Wednesday I was walking on the treadmill, watching all of the kids in the backyard play in the ice and slide down the hill and throw slush balls at each other - our kids plus three cousins - thinking what truly wonderful days these are. These busy, hectic, precious days. I'm in no hurry for them to pass!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tagged for a Picture Post

My sweet friend over here, tagged me for this picture post. Here is how it works:

1. Go to your pictures (on your computer, of course - for those of us who are sleepy and might try the actual picture ALBUM on the bookshelf - ha!)

2. Go to the sixth folder

3. Find the sixth picture

4. Blog about it

5. Tag six people to do the same

6. Smile!

Here's mine:

This is little man when he was learning to walk - back in June of 2008. He was 15 months or so, and I LOVE the JOY on his face!

When he was born it was such a scary time. Followed by more scary times with his tininess, eating issues, jaundice, and my health problems.

But looking at this picture makes me want to PRAISE the Lord for the wonderful, normal and healthy babyhood that he's had. A miracle.

And the cheering going on in the background (that's Daughter - #5)! One of my favorite things about babies is watching the older kids with them.

I miss that.

They still adore Little Man. Adore.

But he's not nearly as tolerant of their adoration, any more. Makes me sad. He much prefers being on his own these days.

And now he's RUNNING around the house all of the time. No more walking for him!

I'm not big on the "tagging" thing - as you all know! So if you read this and want to play along, leave me a comment and I'll come see YOUR picture post!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Status Update

Facebook is way fun.

It's almost like when you drive around at night in the Winter time and you an see in the windows of the houses. I love that.

Little glimpses into the lives of friends and family.

But I'm afraid it's been easier to keep up with Facebook, lately, than to actually WRITE something CREATIVE on the ole blog. Which I miss. Really, I do.

So for today, I'm pretending that this IS Facebook. Here would be some status updates:

Mrs. Troop. . .

. . . is grateful for clean bathrooms

. . . is happy that the laundry is done and folded and almost put away. Almost.

. . . is relieved that the Jr. High basketball games for tonight are canceled due to the falling sleet.

. . . is hoping I can still have my Premier Jewelry party tomorrow night, but it's not looking likely.

. . . only had 5 people coming to the party, so it will be easy to let them know if I cancel it!

. . . is going to really enjoy a surprise "free" evening at home with the kids in the warm house with the fireplace and hot cocoa.

. . . can't seem to finish one thing before I get sidetracked. Where did I put the shower curtain when I got it out of the dryer?

. . . hopes my sweet mom and dad can get out of here and on their way to Mexico soon. . . they are sitting in the airport. Waiting.

. . . wouldn't mind a snow day (or "ice" day, I guess) tomorrow. As long as we can keep our electricity.

. . . can't believe how sweet the Coach has been, helping me clean out files and organize all of our paper in the this house. Yeah!

. . . is excited to get the wallpaper in the kitchen and play room stripped this week - the painter is coming to texture on Monday! Woo hoo! (I'm telling you, I have one amazing husband)

. . . figures that if I can't have my jewelry party tomorrow night, we could start peeling wall paper, instead. Not a bad prospect!

. . . knows the kids will really enjoy eating the jewelry party food if there is no party.

. . . better get off the computer!

What would YOUR status update be today?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday Morning Snapshot

Good morning from the Troops!

Daughter (#7). Sleepily waiting for Grandmother to come take her to BSF.

Little Man's animals. Every day he gets them all out of the basket. And puts them back. At some point, anyway.

The vacuum. Waiting to be used in the sunroom. Which is frighteningly dirty.

And little man himself. Looking like he always does. Stick up hair. In his socks. Carrying some cereal. All he's missing is his sippy.

It's pretty quiet here at the troops.

What is going on at your house this morning?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

They aren't like me.

I wasn't a very brave kid.

OK.  So I was a big weenie.

And if we are going to be honest here, as I always try to be at Mrs. Troop. . . 

I'm still not so tough.

I know, I know.  Eight babies.  Nine pregnancies.  And maybe I did have five of them without any drugs.  But I hated it.  Whined, complained (and sometimes screamed) through all of it. The epidural?  It's a gift from God.  I believe that. 

Before the kids came along, I traveled all over the world.  To Greece, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Taiwan, Singapore.  Shared my testimony with crowds (one time in front of 17,000!).  Played the piano in recitals and for judges.  Danced ballet and tap.  

All of which would terrify the living daylights out of me today.  And I guess it did back then, too.

So sometimes I watch my kids in amazement.  

They do the most impressive things!

From winning class president, to climbing rock walls and repelling (I did that.  Once.  Cried the whole way down).  To babysitting six younger siblings.  Organizing drawers and closets.  Cooking entire meals.  Having surgery, playing team sports (something I was terrified of), acting in programs and giving speeches.  And that's the short list.

I'm so proud of them.  All of them.  

And today, when I got SIX report cards from school, I cried with gratefulness.  All excellent grades.  Between six kids, only 4 B's.  That's a LOT of A's!  They are doing so well.

Truthfully, I don't think I would have made it at their school.  With the difficult academics, the high expectations, the leadership that's required, the projects, reports.  Not to mention the peer pressure, time away from mom and "cool" kids.  

I wasn't a cool kid.

Let's just say, if the Coach had known ME in high school, we wouldn't have hit it off.  

But my kids?  They must have more of his math-degree, super-smart, good-looking, cool-guy genes than they do of my scaredy-cat, geeky genes.

(they seem to have his THIN genes, too, thank heavens!)

And I'm glad.

Because they are six very awesome, wonderful, SMART and talented kids.

I'm honored to be their mom.  Thankful for all of their hard word and perseverance.

And grateful for their amazing teachers who do an incredible job!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

For me?

My sweet friend over at Zimm's Zoo sent this my way. So very kind. The way I understand it, this award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.

And all I have to say to that is. . . wow.

Because you certainly know by now that the ramblings here at Mrs. Troop are, should we say, random? And more often, ummmm, shallow?

But I'm truly honored.

And if, in some way, the chronicle of the chaos that goes on here at the Troops is of the slightest bit of encouragement to you as you plod through life, seeking to enjoy God's good gifts and give Him the glory, well, then I've done my job.

Know that I'm grateful for each of you who stop by (lately to find me without a new post!) and read and comment and give me so much joy!

Now, the second part of this award requires passing it on. Which I'm happy to do! I'm going to pick five. Because Daughter (#2) is home with a fever and Little Man is climbing on my lap and the insulation people are coming any minute. So. . .

Crazy Daisy - you know I love ya. You are my blogging sister and dear friend. Your posts are always creative and thoughtful. And pretty.

Jo's Kitchen Table - how fun it's been to re-connect with you. Your blog makes me laugh, think, and reach for my Bible more often. And laugh.

One Thing - I don't know you personally and yet I read faithfully. There is nothing like life with 12 kids (so I hear) and Jen's perspective is fun and refreshing. And she's survived! Gotta love that.

a long way from the Theta house - also don't know Melissa "for real" but love this blog. If you haven't discovered her, yet, go there NOW!

Oh Boy. It's harder than I thought to "just" pick five. Hmmmm. If there were more time, I'd read lots and lots of blogs every day. That rarely happens. Usually I just stick to a few favorites. One of which is:

Johnson's Journal - So glad to be keeping up with your life - thank you for being such a sweet example to me!

So that's it for now. . . life calls.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 9, 2009


My sweet friend over at the Johnsons' Journal tagged me, recently. Or not so recently . . . it's taken me awhile to get to this!

So six things that make me happy:

1. Time with the Coach. We had a glorious weekend to celebrate our 14th anniversary the weekend before Christmas. Thanks to my parents and sweet friends who kept kids over TWO nights! We ate at the Cheesecake Factory, watched "Ironman", shopped, slept in, ate at Ted's, went to see "Quantum of Solstice", slept in and enjoyed wonderful, restful QUIET at our own house. Truly glorious.

2. Having my kids out of school. We love breaks from school. I completely appreciate the importance of them getting an education, which is why they all attend our beloved school. But because of that, when they are home we PLAY! We sleep in, do puzzles, cook, watch movies, play outside (on nice days like today) and have a great time. They are all smart and funny and I so enjoy each of their personalities.

3. Home. I truly could stay home all of the time. Especially when it's clean. But even when it's not, it's my favorite place to be. It's not fancy, it's not perfectly decorated, but it's warm and cozy and comfortable and we love it. Such a blessing.

4. Extended family. Over the holidays we spent time with my 2 brothers and their families, both sets of parents and 6 of the Coach's 9 siblings. We enjoy being with all of them. The kids didn't fight with each other even one time. We had Christmas together, played games, ate and enjoyed our way through countless hours with family. All fun.

5. Our church. I've only been to church twice in the last 8 weeks. Twice. And not because I don't love it. But I stay home if someone needs to and we spent a couple of extra Sundays home together when Granddad died. After being gone that long, I really start to miss the worship, the teaching of the WORD and the fellowship. We are so blessed.

6. Reading. Five (going on six) of our kids love to read. And the Coach certainly does. We went to Barnes and Noble twice over the break (yeah gift cards)! Grandmother (my mom) has been known to quote rather often that it is a small percentage of the world's population that can read. I'm so grateful to be part of those who can. To be able to cuddle up with a good book on a cold day and have all of my children gathered around doing the same. Lovely.

What makes you happy? Leave me a comment, or if you are Crazy Daisy (you're always so creative!), Jo's Kitchen Table (everything you say encourages me, Girl!), The Anderson Zoo (be sure and include a picture of your cute kiddos!), Work in Progress (you haven't posted in awhile - here's your excuse), or Zimms Zoo (if the baby comes, you're off the hook!), TAG - YOU'RE IT!

Love you all ~

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Leisure Time - NOT!

Strangely enough, I did a lot of reading over the Christmas break. Seems odd, even as I type it.

That with ALL eight kids (and the Coach) home for over two weeks, I read MORE than I usually do when I only have two little ones here?

The reason I read more is that we slept in almost every day. Odd, again, I know. But normally, the Coach and I get up before dawn. Yawwwwn.

However, this Christmas Break (one of the first years in the history of the Troops) we didn't have a little baby. In fact, Little Man will sleep in quite respectfully if the older kids don't get up and get ready for school.

So the Coach and I? We slept in, too.

It was lovely.

I somehow feel like I'm making a short story long. (I hear you! That's what I DO, isn't it?)

Anyway, my treadmill time (because of the sleeping in) was AFTER sunrise instead of before. Our treadmill is in our sunroom - where it's pretty dark before daylight - and honestly before dawn I can't think straight enough for reading, anyway. But at 8, 9 o'clock? I'm ready for it. And it was nice and bright out there. So my later walks caused me to put down the MP3 player and set my current book on the book holder.

Here's what I read:

(finished) Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
GREAT book that I stole (borrowed) from my 13 year old son. Really enjoyed it! Doing Hard Things is a good practice for non-teens, too. I was really challenged by that.

More than a Hobby by David Green (founder of Hobby Lobby)
I had the privilege of being in the Green's home last Fall and all of us were given a copy of this book. It was fun to read about the beginnings of Hobby Lobby and the principles that it is founded on. My family is part of a "secular" business that is run on Biblical principles, as well, and I certainly saw similarities.

Get out of that Pit by Beth Moore
The Coach gave me this for Christmas (knowing I'd enjoyed the Beth Moore studies that I've done in the past) and although I don't feel as if I'm currently in a pit, I've certainly been there. Many times. After our fourth child in four years. After my miscarriage. After Little Man's birth - there have certainly been some pits. This book was encouraging and hopeful.

Under the Overpass by Mike Yankowski
This book was probably the most interesting that I read. My dad gave this to us for Christmas this year, after hearing this guy speak at a City Rescue Mission dinner. Wow. The author and a friend chose to live on the streets for four months. Homeless. His experiences are amazing. It really made me think about what it means to live out our faith as Christians.

Worldliness by various authors, edited by CJ Mahaney
I came across this book after reading Humility, also by CJ Mahaney (which is an excellent book, I might add!). This book was so helpful to me in understanding how to be in the world, yet not of it. Some of the chapters that really impacted me were on modesty, media and how we SHOULD love the world.

Hungry Girl by Lisa Lillien
This was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law and fellow dieter. It's FUN to read, has simple, healthy recipes and also tips on making wise choices while dining in and out. It also helped me find her e-mail tips, which you can subscribe to at Enjoy!

and I just started Multiple Blessings by Jon & Kate Gosselin
Who ISN'T intrigued by this amazing family? I have eight kids. But I had them in 11 years, not THREE! Wow. I'm already loving how down to earth they are and their trust in God. Anyone who has lived through this has my utmost respect.

So that is some of what I did over Christmas Break. (Besides the stomach virus. Which this post is NOT about. Not. Not about.) What about you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Change of Plans

James 4:13-15 says, "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain; Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."

We had such a fun day, yesterday.

My dad gave us tickets to the OSU basketball game in the afternoon. We drove up with good friends - enjoyed the game (even wore orange - horror of horrors!), came back to town and had a really nice, lovely, kid-less dinner together, before the Coach and I headed home to bathe and tuck in our eight munchkins.

At about 1:30 AM this morning, I realized it was a poor choice, though, to have a Diet Coke with my dinner. After tossing and turning for quite some time, I finally got up and got to work. Writing thank yous, jotting things down on my to do list, adding things to the calendar. I accomplished a lot in the early morning quiet.

And although I knew I'd be tired today, it felt good to get things in order for our first week back at school. It's always a shock to finish up Christmas break. When you've been sleeping in, staying up, playing games, eating junk - then all in one day, it's back to "real" life with early mornings, packing lunches, homework, basketball games and early bedtimes. And I probably should even get on the scale at some point.


But at least I'd gotten organized.

Right about the time I fell into deep sleep, there was a little person at my side. "My tummy hurts." We keep a folded sleeping bag in the corner for just such occasions, so I rolled it out, got her tucked in, and asked if she needed a bowl. Yes. She thought she might.

Turns out she did.

About 5 times. (I realize you don't want to hear about it. But it's my blog, after all.)

It was a long night.

This morning, I woke late to help the Coach fix two other heads of girl hair so he could take some of the kids to church. Only to discover that another boy was sick, as well. And another.

It's been a long day.

My point (and I do have one) is this. Planning is good. Being prepared is good. But you still aren't in control. I thought I was ready for the week. But the week is turning out much different than I planned.

I wouldn't chose it.

But I know God is good. All of the time. And I trust Him.


Sometimes trusting Him means giving up your own plans. Or submitting to your husband's decisions. Or both. Even if it's hard.

Those of you who have been around awhile will remember this. Such a happy day here at our house. I will never forget it. (sniff)

And before I cry (not like I haven't, already), I'm going to tell you that Champ has gone to a new home. No, I didn't send him there with a gun because he wouldn't quit barking. That wouldn't have been right. Not that the thought hasn't crossed my mind. Or the neighbor's.

A couple of weeks ago, while the Coach and I were enjoying a glorious anniversary weekend ALONE (thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks, Sweet Sitters!), we had a heart to heart about our canine family member.

He's a handful.

And unlike a child, which you are stuck with, I mean, have the privilege of rearing for life, a dog can go to a better place.

A farm. With lots of other big dogs and 1,000 acres to roam.

And the investment we've made? Well, the Coach is humble enough to count it as a lesson learned. Which I've sworn him (and this post is proof) to remember if we ever start thinking a dog is a good idea for our family.

Because it's not.

Not for a family of 10 who have six of their troops in school all day most of the year. Not for a family where the leader of the Troops (i.e. the Coach) is gone even more than the six who are in school all day. And not for a very LARGE dog who thinks he is the King of the Troop's yard. And toys. And trampoline. And basketball goal pad. And basketballs. And soccer balls. And pants legs. And jacket tails. And flower pots. (you get the idea)

Let me just say: It's been fun. Well, at first it was fun. He was so cute.

Then there was installing the underground fence.

Then the obedience school. Which he failed. Miserably. (it's a bad sign when the instructor says she's never seen a dog as stubborn as yours)

Then there was the nasty neighbor letter.

Then the bark collar.

And the training system I bought from an infomercial (please, don't judge me, I was desperate).

And now we are just wishing more happiness for Champ. Somewhere else.

So with a fond farewell and hopes for a happier life with a more experienced owner and other dogs to play with and be put in his place by. . .

We sent him off.

Our beautiful German Shepherd.

I know there will be times we will miss him eagerly waiting for us at the back door. Barking for attention and table scraps and leaning into our ear scratching.

But it's all for the best.

And we'll still have the pictures to prove he was part our family. Even if just for a little while.

This wasn't our plan when we bought him. He was going to be our family pet. Our loyal companion. Or at least the Coach's. I already have plenty of loyal companions.

But I admire the Coach for knowing when it's time to move on.


And for today, tonight and most likely tomorrow, I have a feeling the Lord's will is going to include caring for some pitifully sick kids.

I'm tired.

And things haven't turned out like we planned. Or wanted them to.

But as the Coach would say, "I'm all over it".