Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

We hope you all had a wonderful, safe and blessed Christmas, remembering the real reason that we celebrate.
We awoke to more, wet, heavy snow on Christmas morning, but all was warm inside. We spent the morning at home as a family, opening gifts and giving the kids some time to play with their new treasures.
Seely's siblings gave him several boxes of his beloved Mike N Ikes in addition to some Chuck Norris' Texas Rangers on DVD.
Monkey received Batman's cave and a Batman computer, amoung other things.
The three oldest kids all got Ipod touches from Mom and Dad. It was rather quiet the next hour as they all "hooked up" to their machines and played happily!
Mango got an MP3 player and a bunch of other stuff, but the thing that really made her eyes light up were the pair of glasses that she'd been wanting ever since trying some on at her last eye exam. She really doesn't need glasses, just thinks they are a fun fashion statement, so these glasses have no correction in them.

Later that afternoon we made our way through the slushy snow back to my parent's house for more food, gifts and time with family. It was a wonderful Christmas for us this year. Thank you God for sending your precious Son to a fallen world just to be able to save it.

Christmas Eve 2009

The day of Christmas Eve was spent dealing with and digging out from several inches of snow. Later that afternoon, we headed to my parents for good food, conversation, and gift-opening.
Seely and Random both received cash locked inside of a puzzle box that they had to figure out before they could get their hands on the money.

Mango got her long-awaited Wowee Lion Cub that she has named Baby...when she wasn't wearing the box.

It was a great evening!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Cashier

Dear Grocery Store Cashier,

Please know that you do not have to feel sorry for my five year old son when he tells you that he (gasp!) earned the money for the candy bar he is currently (and quite happily) purchasing from you. You asked him where he got the dollar, and he told you. He earned it himself by folding laundry. No, I do not make him do this chore; he does it by choice. Yes, he folds the whole load, and yes, I have to refold much of what he's folded, but he didn't realize that until you said it in front of him. Thank you for pointing that out to a little boy who has taken much pride in his work.

While you were busy giving me the evil eye for "making" this young child earn his candy money, you completely missed the look of absolute pride on his little face as he bought this favorite treat with his very own money. Instead of commending him for his work, you gave him the impression that there was something wrong with working for his money. And he stood there, still smiling at you; still just happy to be buying his candy bar.

What you don't realize is that at five years old, he already knows that you have to work for what you want, and that you can't spend what you don't have. He also knows that it feels really good to help out the family. I think those are some pretty important lessons. And as he will someday be the one paying your social security, I bet you think they're important lessons for him to learn too.

And just so you know...he enjoyed every bite of that candy bar. I bet it tasted extra sweet to him knowing he'd earned it himself. And when he was done, he asked me if he could fold another basket of laundry....already planning ahead for our next trip to the grocery store. I hope you can find it in your heart to greet him with a smile and a word or two of praise the next time he ends up in your check-out line.

Monkey's Mommy

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for 12/14/09

If you wish to see daybooks from around the world, please click HERE
For today, December 14th, 2009
Outside my window...the deck is covered in a fresh layer of snow with several varying sized footprints across it from taking the new puppy out. It is cold here today...about 6 F currently, and windy.
I am thinking... about my great-niece Malia who is battling cancer at 8 years old, and who is perhaps one of the bravest people I know
I am thankful new puppy Cooper, for 14 years with Random (who recently had a birthday), and a husband who didn't mind turning 40 (he also recently had a birthday!)
From the learning rooms...Our last week of school before Christmas. Monkey is reading a story about a big pig and working with the numbers 15 and 16. The girls are studying clouds in science and the beginning of World War I in history. Random is also reading about World War I. Seely is at his last day of college classes for the semester.
From the kitchen...pork ribs in the be covered in Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce later today and served over rice. Simple, but one of my favorites.
I am wearing...a striped sweater, old jeans, and striped socks
I am creating...a week of good memories and laughs
I am going... to go pick up Seely in about an hour. While out, we'll gas up the SUV and buy a couple of toys for our older dog Chloe who is jealous of the puppy's toys and keeps stealing them. Tonight is our last night of BSF before Christmas break.
I am reading...Hostage by Don Brown. It is second in his Navy Justice series and I got the whole series FREE on Kindle. (Sorry, I just checked - it's no longer free!)
I am hearing...Random singing along quietly to his MP3 player, pages turning, pencils scratching, and someone sniffling their nose.
Around the house...Two dogs are sleeping, lunch dishes need to be cleaned up, and a rather bedraggled Christmas tree is heavy laden with ornaments.
One of my favorite usual, curling up with my Kindle and a passionfruit-greentea smoothie from Caribou.
A few plans for the rest of the week...a solid week of school, continuing to housebreak the new puppy
Here is a picture thought I am sharing: Dream big!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mini Cooper

Last Saturday, we came home with a mini Cooper....not a car, but an 8 week old miniature Australian Shepherd who we've named Cooper Christmas. He is all that a puppy should be - cute, clumsy, playful, a little rocket of energy, a professional "outputter", and a whole lot of work! After a very rough first night, he is settling in well and enjoying all of the attention that living in a larger family can bring.
This afternoon, he took on the Christmas tree skirt and lost.Shortly after that, we noticed our cat Squeakers lounging in the branches of our Christmas tree.
There is very rarely a dull moment at our house. And we like it that way!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Decorating the Tree!

Normally, we decorate the tree on the day after Thanksgiving, but DH had to work that day this year, so it fell to today.
Our tree is far more heavy laden than it was just a few years ago. My mom buys each of the kids an ornament every Christmas to commemorate a special event of that year. With 5 kids in the family and with Seely now experiencing his 17th Christmas, that adds up to alot of ornaments and alot of memories. They enjoy pulling their ornaments out of their box and remembering when they got each one.
It is also a tradition to chose a unique tree topper each year. Past years have included items from trips we have taken, a momento of a special family event, etc. It always makes for an interesting family discussion as we talk about our past year and decide what is "worthy" of topping the tree. This year the decision of what tops our tree is not so much a momento of the past, but rather one of hope for the future....
It is our family's hope and prayer that when we look back on this picture in the future that it will be a reminder of God's faithfulness in adversity and of a victory over cancer.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of good food and family. We spent the day at my parents' home where the football games were on, there was a round of Playstation golf, and the younger cousins played for hours.

Today, we are meeting friends for lunch, and are for the most part avoiding the Black Friday rush at the stores (though we have managed to get some GREAT deals through on-line shopping!).

Seely is working hard to wrap up his first semester at college. He'll be done in 2 1/2 weeks and between now and then needs to polish and turn in his 8-10 page research paper, complete an oral presentation on it, put together a portfolio of all of the completed work for that class, and give a 10-20 minute presentation in his health class.

Random is looking forward to his upcoming 14th birthday (which is the day after his dad turns 40, but who's telling?!?!).

Lily has been enjoying the program for 5th and 6th graders at our church on Sunday mornings. She's also going to be in the Christmas dance again this year.

Mango is doing GREAT with her braces. She really enjoyed our trip up to Lake Superior a couple of weeks ago, and loved being down at the shores of the lake tossing in rocks and watching waves as big as she was roll in.

Monkey is very into reading. He gets so excited with each new book and feels so pleased when he is able to read it. He gave us a good scare about 2 1/2 weeks ago when he had a bad asthma attack in the middle of the night, but after several nebs, some steroids, a trip to the ER, and a few days worth of time, he was back to his usual self.

That's about it for our family! We do ask that you continue to pray for our great-niece Malia. She will be having surgery December 1st to have her tumor and kidney removed. This will be followed by some very intense chemotherapy and radiation. They are hoping she will be able to go home for Christmas.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beautiful Bracelets!

The prayer reminder bracelets are in!!! If you are interested in getting one, let me know. They are $2 each, ($3 if we need to mail them too you - but contact me for a final price). There are both children's and adult sizes available.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Please Pray

Please pray for my niece's 8 year old daughter who is being admitted to the hospital with a large mass on her kidney that appears to have spread to her lungs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mango's Journey to Braces - Part???

Yesterday morning, we brought Mango to the orthodontist to have her braces put on. She chose gold brackets, and purple and yellow bands...and surprisingly, they are not as noticable or flashy as it sounds. Her mouth has been a little bit sore, but she is still smiling quite a bit, and was very surprised to get up this morning and realize that her teeth were already noticably straightening.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for 10/05/09

To see more daybooks, check out the Simple Woman's Daybook site.

For today....October 5th, 2009

Outside my window...The sky is gray and overcast. Most of the leaves on our trees are still green, but a few have already fallen to the ground. The fish pond is now empty.

I am thinking...about where the time has gone. Fall weather seemed to be non-existent this year!

I am thankful for...So many things. Kids who are healthy, cars that run, that my husband has a job, good friends, and a God who loves me.

From the learning rooms... We are in our ninth week of school. American history includes the period of rebuilding after the Civil War and reading about some great inventors. Monkey continues to love school and is excitedly waiting for me to get ready to start each morning.

From the kitchen...Most likely meatloaf tonight. The weather is cool and it's time to start using the oven more. Meatloaf is not something I thought my kids would ever like, but they all do!

I am wearing... blue jeans, my purple Vikings jersey and gold colored socks for the BIG game tonight against the Packers (even though I won't be home to see most of it).

I am creating...children who have a good sense of humor

I am going....out to lunch with my parents and kids. BSF tonight.

I am reading...the last in a series of books by Robyn Carr

I am hoping...for a few more days of fall like weather before the winter gloom closes in

I am hearing...the dog snoring, pages turning, children moving in their chairs as they do their school work

Around the house...the usual laundry to be folded (made only worse by the fact that the glass light cover fell in Seely's room yesterday, necessitating a complete change of bedding and a washing of any clothing within glass-flying distance), lots of school items, and kids' drawings laying around.

One of my favorite things...seeing Monkey thrilled to be getting a spelling test (huh????)

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week...hopefully a good week of school, our usual activities, Co-op on Friday. Maybe a trip out to meet the horse that my niece won in an essay contest!

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Morning...

It was a special morning because one of the two red roses at the front of the sanctuary was for Monkey. Last week, on his way home from AWANA, he asked Jesus into his heart. Our church honors each person who makes that decision with a red rose. After this picture was taken, the prayer team which was already up front, took a moment to pray for our young son - that he will continue to grow in his faith and will serve God for the rest of his life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Our Week

Our new fall schedule is now upon us. We're starting our seventh week of school and all of our activities have now started up. I love fall and have to admit that I am looking forward to "sweatshirt" weather. The only problem is that fall never last very long around here and the icky, white stuff will be flying before we know it! Here's a brief look at our fall so far:
Sunday mornings we attend church together. Last week all of the kids moved up to their new classes. This morning was particularly exciting because about half way through our Sunday School class the fire alarm went off and everyone had to evacuate the building. I do have to say that the church's evacuation plan worked very well, and everyone (even the kids) got out in a quick and orderly fashion. Our pastor stood on a bench outside and delivered his sermon while the fire department checked the building. After about half an hour, we were allowed back inside. I was on nursery "duty" during the second service and got to hang out with some of my favorite little people. Later this evening, we will be back at church for the girls' dance practice and to pick up the boys from a youth event.
On Mondays, Seely has two college classes that take up most of his day. Last Monday evening was the first BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) of the year for Lily, Mango, and I. This year we are studying the book of John.
Tuesday evenings we take Lily to therapy. Many children who suffered through traumatic and neglectful beginnings need help dealing with those issues and the underlying anxiety they leave in their wake. It is becoming more clear to us and her therapist that Lily will likely continue to face some processing and developmental issues into her teen years, and possibly even adulthood. Early neglect and trauma are very damaging to the brain in ways no one expects or understands until you live with someone who has been through it.
Wednesday's, we have a standing lunch "date" with friends we've known for about 11 years. In the evenings, the boys head off to church. Seely leads a group of AWANA Cubbies (3&4 year olds). Random has his 8th grade boys small group. They both attend a youth "hang out" time after those activities are over. Monkey is in his first year of AWANA Sparks. Last Wednesday evening, on his way home from church, he asked Jesus to be his Saviour in the drive-thru of a local coffee shop!
On Thursday evenings, Seely has his youth group small group, and for the next 6 weeks, I am taking a class at church that concentrates on teaching Christians how to effectively help others through difficult times and crisis' in their lives. We're studying human personality, crisis and grief, trauma, and a variety of other topics all from a Christian perspective. It is different than what I thought it would be, but I am still enjoying it.
Fridays are co-op day. Rather than doing our regular school work at home (like we do Monday - Thursday), we join up with several other families at our church for classes. The younger half are doing some lapbooking and learning about great Christian heroes throughout history. I have the older half and we are traipsing our way through the Friendly Chemistry course. After class, we serve the church (who lets us use the building for free) by restocking the little holders on the backs of the chairs in the sanctuary - making sure they have envelopes, attendence and prayer request forms, and that the pencils are there and sharp. When all is in order, anyone available has lunch together. It is a great way to end the school week.
Our Saturdays are like most people's, I suppose - catch up on sleep and housework, run errands, visits to see DH's mom who is in an assisted living facility, youth activities, an occassional dance practice, etc. etc. etc.
It all makes for a busy week, but we do enjoy what we get to do!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today....August 24th, 2009
Outside my window... the sun is shining in a beautiful blue sky, but I can already tell the days are getting shorter.

I am thinking...about what I want to do this evening - how much housework vs. how much reading

I am thankful...for the good day of school we had and for a daughter who can laugh at herself

From the learning rooms...We are starting our third week of school, and they are learning about the beginning of the Civil War.

From the kitchen...we had stroganoff tonight with rotini noodles...and the swirly noodles (instead of the normal egg noodles) caused quite the discussion at the dinner table!

I am wearing...a t-shirt, denim shorts, and no socks

I am creating...I actually have something to fill in this blank this time!!! I am cross-stitching a killer whale scene...but who knows how long it will actually take me.

I am going...No where tonight, but tomorrow will be checking on the house of a friend of ours who is out of town. We had lunch with my parents, sister, and niece earlier today.

I am reading... I John Chapter 5....and just finished a book on my Kindle, so need to see what else I have waiting on there for me :-) (I love that machine!)

I am hoping...for an uneventful evening

I am hearing... the dishwasher running with our supper dishes inside, Dr. Quinn playing on the TV, and two boys quietly talking as they build card houses

Around the house...the usual full laundry basket with clothes waiting to be folded, chairs askew at the table from a family dinner, a few school books still laying around

One of my favorite things...a quiet evening at home

A few plans for the rest of the week...lunch out with friends, school, Seely has college orientation on Friday

I've just changed computers, so don't have any photos on this one yet....maybe next time!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monkey's First Day of School

Today, Monkey began his official schooling as a kindergartner! He was quite diligent about completing his work for the day.
He began with math, which he declared "easy" as it simply involved sorting by shape and color.

Math was followed by some phonics games where he had to match his upper and lower case letters, and practice writing the letter Aa. We are trying out a new phonics program this year. I loved the one I've used in the past, but after having taught through it three times I was very ready for something different.

He worked hard right up until the end, but once the books were away, he started telling me that it was hot in here, and he laid down on a pillow on the floor and stayed there. Those of you who know him in real life know that laying around is NOT something this child does when he is healthy. So the poor little guy has spent the afternoon sitting in the bowl chair and generally looking and feeling miserable. His older brothers have decided that he must be sick of school already.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Very Special Day

Today was our church picnic and baptismal service. About three weeks ago, both Seely and Random came to us individually and each of them told us they would like to be baptized. This past week, they met with their youth pastors to share their testimony and to talk more in-depthly about what it meant to be baptized. They each decided they were ready to take this step of publicly stating their faith and their desire to truly follow Christ. It was a bit of an emotional day to see them both publicly claiming the faith that we have taught them as their own.

Ten people were baptized today, including two of our sons, and three family friends.
Seely's youth pastor took several moments to speak quiet words of blessing and to pray for him. And then down he went.
Followed by a hug to a man who has meant alot to him.Then it was Random's turn.
His youth pastor also took a few moments for a prayer and some quiet words of blessing.
And then down he went. And back up with a smile.

Just a few minutes later, Seely was accepted into the membership at our church.

History Camp 2009

This last week Mango and Lily attended History Camp at our church. This is definately NOT the way any of us were taught history! All week they studied the life of Abraham Lincoln. They built log cabins out of large pretzel sticks, and gargled as they "sunk" down to help them remember that Abe was born in the town of Sinking Springs. One day, they split "logs" (watermelon) as that apparently was one of Abe's early jobs. On Thursday, they even had a visit from the man himself, who told stories about his life.
And on Friday, at the end of class, they all sat in Ford's theater watching a play as Lincoln was assassinated.

And those students who "misbehaved" in class were given the old-school consequence. (Only Random would actually think this was cool and ask to bring the hat home!) Actually, both Random and Seely served as teacher's assistants to the class, as they are both History Camp veterans and absolutely LOVED it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vacation 2009 - Part 9 Yellowstone National Park

The next morning, we got up early, loaded our stuff (which is no small feat with seven people) and drove to Yellowstone Park. Right before we got to the gates, we saw a moose and her calf just off to the side of the road.
One thing we really noticed on this trip is just how many kinds of beautiful there are. The mountains and lakes are beautiful.The hot springs are beautiful...
Even though they don't smell beautiful.Old Faithful is beautiful.
Even the bison who strolled right past us was beautiful in his own way.The river and canyon are beautiful.It's just beautiful matter what you happen to be looking at.