Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Almost Over. . .

Well, school gets out tomorrow. At least the Elementary does. For the first time, we have a secondary student - he gets out Thursday. He's grown up a lot this year (here with his cousin and #6 at homecoming in January).

Tonight is 6th Grade graduation for Daughter (#2). Can't believe THAT! Where does the time go? Here she is with her cousin at Mt. Vernon.

Fortunately, I have my handy dandy steam cleaner, because I fell asleep while the kids were watching Zula Patrol (don't you LOVE Qubo?) and woke up to pink yogurt all over the playroom carpet. Seriously! Where did he FIND this?

Of course I can't stay frustrated with him for long when I see him praying like this (in the Kindergarten program last week).

I should explain why I fell asleep at 10 in the morning, I suppose. Went to the doctor yesterday - I've been feeling so badly since I got home from DC. Sinus infection. Of course! Steroid shot. No sleep last night. Coming down off of it, now, and SUPER tired. Apparently there is a pattern here. I haven't seemed to be as productive this time, though.

Went to Chick-fil-A for our weekly lunch date with Grandmother and Granddad. The last time there will just be five of us at lunch for awhile. Actually, there were six - Nana came with Grandmother.

This year has gone so quickly. I'm so proud of all of my students. They have all had a good year - good grades - learned so much. More importantly, made wise choices. God has blessed us so abundantly. I really enjoy 1st grade, especially. Reading really takes root in that year and our #5 has started devouring books. I love Kindergarten, too, although the year started out difficult for #6. She's matured so much, though. And reading? LOVE to hear her reading. (Here they are with their dolls - #6 on the left and #5 on the right.)

Of course the big kids are fun, too. Can't believe #1 is heading into 8th grade. Wow. And our #2 will be in Jr. High next year with him. I'm proud of them, too. Such good kids. The boys (4th and 2nd) did so well this year, too. Great teachers, great classes. And they've grown up so much. Here is #4 with his award winning art work. And #3 at his Land Run - staking out his claim.

So Summer is upon us. With all of it's basketball camps and football camps and VBS and weekly trips to the library (we never have enough books for all of these kids!). Vacation in Colorado with the Coach's family and hopefully lots of time swimming and just hanging out with cousins in the back yard.

I'm glad next Fall doesn't mean starting another child in school. We've had three Kindergartners in three consecutive years and it's nice to think about a year off. #7 and Little Man will still be home with me next year and I'm glad. (Here's #7 with her #6 in her Kindergarten class last week.) Life's never boring with those two around.

And now to clean the carpet and take a rest with my girl. We're exhausted. Whether from the sinus infection or the whirlwind that is the end of school or BOTH.

We've had so many urgent prayers needs in our circle, lately, and I've been reminded to be constant in prayer. Faithfully crying out to the Heavenly Father for His divine working in the lives of so many who are hurting or needing His touch.

I'm glad God is good. All the time. And that we can trust Him. We know that this side of heaven there will be pain and suffering and outright battles! But we also know that He has overcome this world. And ultimately, our victory is sure. In Him.

Praying that you will have a blessed week, Friends! Maybe Summertime will afford me some more blogging time. Ha! I'm really wanting to dig into those money saving tips that I know you could share with me.

Then again, I imagine the eight kids, the house, going to the pool and the various FUN things to do will keep us pretty busy! What are YOUR plans for the Summer?

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When I grow up. . .

Thinking tonight about my mother. She really is amazing.

If a day goes by that she hasn't come over, we wonder what happened!

When she walks up the driveway, or comes in the door - all of the kids are so excited!

The minute she gets here, she looks for some way to help. She'll fold a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, listen to a little one read, fix a sippy for Little Man. I don't have to ask.

Last week she came over with a sweet helper and cleaned my house.

Isn't that incredible?

I sometimes worry that with eight kids, I won't be able to do all that she does for her three grown children.

And I suppose I won't.

But I certainly pray that I will LOVE my kids the way she loves hers.

That I will rejoice with them over every birth, every birthday, every happy occasion.

That I will cry with them in every tragedy and loss. Just like she does.

I never had to worry about telling her about "another" baby and getting any kind of response other than JOY. She believes every child is a blessing and she lives that.

She didn't criticize me for putting my kids in school, even after home schooling me and knowing I had planned on keeping mine home, as well. She understood that I was overwhelmed and was happy for me that they could go to the best school in the world with their daddy and papa.

She brings me pretty things for my house, useful things for life (like a headset for my phone, today).

She takes the kids shopping when they need shoes or a dress when I don't have the time.

She lets us "drop in" whenever we want. Even if she's not there. Ha! Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, you know?

She's taught me to be grateful.

To honor and love and praise my husband.

She owns almost every book I could ever need to read. And if I ask her to, she'll buy a book I want and let me read it and then keep it in HER "library" instead of mine.

She tells me I'm beautiful. Girls need that, you know?

She's young at heart, fit, active, a marathon runner and in great shape. That means she can play with the kids, get down on the floor with them, take them on hikes in Colorado and chase them around the yard.

She's tremendously organized. Perfect filing system, lists of everything. When you need something, she can find it. She's helped me countless times with MY files and records - and always knows the best way to keep things in order.

When I whine and complain, she reminds me how very blessed I am.

She adores her son-in-law, my Coach. Adores. Seriously.

She listens to the Bible on CD while she works around the house. She studies God's Word, listens to sermons and reads constantly. She loves to learn.

If you need to know how to write something, the proper grammar or sentence structure - she's the one to ask. She corrects my kids when they say something the wrong way - even if I don't notice because I'm wiping a nose or changing a diaper.

She writes the children letters when they are born and on every birthday. Keeps track of special events in their lives and teaching them about the Lord and His providence.

She attends countless programs, concerts, recitals, award assemblies and even field trips. Even with 20 grandkids in three different schools and three different churches, she rarely misses anything.

She encourages my kids to memorize God's Word by giving them rewards for each chapter they learn. Then she listens to them quote it until they know it word for word.

When she makes a mistake or forgets something or says something that comes out wrong, she is quick to ask forgiveness and make things right. Wow.

She's not perfect. She'd be the first to tell you that. But if I could chose any mom in the whole world I would choose her. She loves us all so much and truly gives of her life to invest in my life and my children for eternity.

I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my mother friends!

I received so many sweet cards from the kids today. And the Coach. Along with new perennials for one of our flower beds - yeah!

Thought I'd share the sentiments from a few.

From Son (#4) who is nine. A beautiful mobile titled "Happy Mom Day" with an attached zebra, lion and elephant (I hope that doesn't mean something).

From Daughter (#6) who is six. "Happy Muser Day" (she's just learning to read).

From Son (#3) who is ten. "Moms are = cool, awesome, great, sweet, perfect - THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING."

Along with countless pictures, hearts, flowers, etc.

This is one blessed momma.

Hope your day was sweet and special, too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Random things that occupy my mind. . .

Our backyard is beautiful. Just needs to be said. Because it didn't start out a beautiful yard.

Having cousins around the corner who spend most afternoons playing with my kids IN aforementioned backyard is true bliss.

Just pulled tooth from Daughter (#6) who is 6.

The blooming rose bush in the backyard is breathtakingly beautiful right now.

The house is mess.

But the laundry is done.

I miss the baby birds that grew up in the wreath on our front door.

The last one flew away last weekend.

I'm tired of washing all of the dishes by hand, but the kids actually think it's fun.

We hit Happy Hour at Sonic after Track and Field day and with a gift card that Son (#4) won, plus half off drinks, it only cost me $1.50 for 8 drinks. Amazing, huh?

I have a cold.

It's hot and sticky in our house right now. In spite of having all of the lights off and windows open and fans on.

But I'm not turning on the A/C.


Right now, anyway.

If you take a Claritin and two Benadryl, you won't be able to see straight. I'm just sayin'. And your eyes will still itch, anyway.

In spite of the allergies, I love Spring!

Everyone who participated in Track and Field won ribbons for 3rd, 2nd and 1st places.

I wasn't there.

Daughter (#5) was home sick (with the same cold I have) and missed track and field.

If you haven't read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers, promise you will. Soon.

I have some seriously funny stories from the DC trip. But I fear no one else will find them funny.

Our TV went out.

(that wasn't funny)

The van is filthy dirty inside and out.

My cold is keeping me from being motivated enough to go clean the van.

I've discovered that I love LOVE "Aldi" grocery store. It's amazing!

All of my kids keep coming inside to tell me "things" and they all stink.

It wasn't bath night, but it is now.

Little Man has started giving kisses. But they are more like raspberries. And I love them.

The Coach will be home soon.

And thanks to my sweet bloggy readers, I won't talk his ear off the moment he walks in the door!

Thanks for listening.

Mat 6:31
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mat 6:34
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

Because I can't wait any longer!

When we moved here, 3 1/2 years ago (WOW! How the time flies!), we did some room rearranging. Turns out there IS a more convenient way to do things when you have eight kids.
The room that they had used for the formal dining room was LARGE and carpeted. And NOT next to the kitchen. Enough said. Never mind that "formal" isn't really something we know how to do, here at the troops.
We made that our playroom.

Then we used the breakfast room in the kitchen for a LONG time. But when Daughter (#7) needed to leave the highchair and join us at the table, there wasn't room in the kitchen to put the second leaf in the table so that it would be big enough for nine.


We rearranged, again, making our former computer room/office NEXT TO the kitchen, our dining room. We pulled up the carpet, put in wood floors, peeled wallpaper and textured and painted. The Coach and my dad even added pretty chair rail and crown molding. Perfect.

Lately, we began talking about shopping for a hutch for the dining room. To hold extra dishes and serving pieces and give me some breathing room in the kitchen.

But there were (at least) two problems.

First, I wanted something LARGE enough to store a lot of stuff, but the bigger hutches would go along the wall and be directly behind the kids, which seemed dangerous.

Although corner hutches seemed like the best plan (so that kids wouldn't bump them getting in and out of their chairs at the table), I couldn't find anything very big. Seemed silly to go to the expense and trouble for such a small amount of space.

One night we were sitting around the table after dinner with my parents here, and my dad said he had an idea.

Well, I'll just SHOW you!

We started with a wall (trim and chair rail removed):

Then a big HOLE:

Which became a big framed hole (our garage is on the other side):

It stayed this way for a while and the kids thought it was a perfect elevator. Hmmm. Not sure to where.

Or a stage.

We enjoyed a lot of after-dinner performances on it.

And then, thanks for my Dad's wonder working design magic, a really great cabinet builder and a weekend spent installing it (while I was in DC with Daughter #2):

A BUILT IN hutch.

It only sticks out a few inches but has LOTS of room for pretty things and dishes.
It's six feet long!

Yes, hardware has been ordered. But I couldn't wait two more weeks to show you!

Isn't it fun?

Come join us for dinner, sometime, and you can see it in person!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Large Family Funnies. . .

I know it's Thursday. And I have a LOT to be thankful for. But I'm short on time today and this is SO funny - I had to share.

Posted with love for all of my mother-of-many friends. . .

From my sister-in-law (the Coach's sister and mother of 12):

"You Know You Are in a Large Family When..."
Someone asks where are the boys and you answer, which ones?
You say eight different names before you get the right one.
When you have six people in one bedroom.
Everywhere you go people ask, "Are these all yours?"
You take up two pews in church.
You have to double any recipe.
You remember when something happened by what baby was born that year.
You have three bathrooms and they are always full.
Everything you buy at the store is in bulk.
You go through a McDonald's drive-thru and order burgers, and they ask you to repeat your order four times.
You do eight large loads of laundry every day and you are still not done.
You use up two boxes of cereal for breakfast.
And I would add, today, (because my dishwasher is broken) - "You run the dishwasher after every meal". When you have one that works. Ha! Thank heavens for paper plates!
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'm BAAAACK. . .

Happy Tuesday Morning, Bloggy Friends!

Boy, I've missed you all.

Lots going on here at the troops, but before my day gets carried away, wanted to check in with you, here and give you a little taste of how much FUN Daughter and I had in DC.

Fabulous time.

Exhausting time, but amazing.

And the Coach? He did just fine. Says he missed me, but handled things beautifully on his own. And the kids? I was so impressed. Turns out they CAN help a lot more around the house! Ha!

I just have a minute, but here's a bit of what we saw:

This is the Independence visitor's center in Philadelphia - they had an amazing hall with bronzes of the signers of the Declaration. Here we are with George.

This is Valley Forge - where Washington and his troops waited out the winter. These are all of the family we had on the trip. The Coach's mom and dad (he teaches 6th grade government) and two cousins.

Here is the 6th grade class in front of the White House in DC.

Here is Daughter's teacher, my friend SS (she and her daughter roomed with us) and I in front of a statue at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We thought it looked like "Dum Dum" ("Night at the Museum").

Here we are on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking accross at the Washington Monument.

Good times.

I promise I'll get more details posted soon.

It's been hectice here. Not only recovering from being gone 9 days (Daughter had her first plane trip coming home!), but my NEW HUTCH is in, full and hardware ordered. We are full swing into the last couple of weeks of school, our baby birds on the front porch have recently left the nest, my dishwasher has gone out, the rose bush is blooming and so much more!

We're having fun, for sure!

I can't wait to show you more of our trip. Hopefully soon! And I'm working on a post about some ways to save money - we've been working hard on that here at the troops. Can't wait to share with you! And hopefully hear ideas from you all, too!

In the meantime, Happy Tuesday! Glad to be back!