Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gift Giving for Kids

Last year on Christmas Eve Shelby announced that she wanted me to help her make matching outfits for everyone for Christmas. I was flattered by her confidence that I could pull that off in one day.  This year by the time October rolled around everyone was thinking of all the people they wanted to give gifts to.  I did some quick calculating and realized that even if they only gave to their siblings and a few other people that would total at least 50 gifts. As much as I want them to be generous I purely don't have that many brain cells. I knew I needed to come up with a plan and thankfully God gave wisdom for one that is working very well for us. We put all the names of people they wanted to give gifts to in a bowl and they each got to choose two.  Then we came up with simple ideas (OK, some of them came up with simple ideas and others had to be reigned in a bit) mostly using things we had around the house.  Each girl has a day of the week that's
"their" day to do something special so we've been using those times to work on gifts. It's really been a lot of fun! There's been much cutting, gluing, sewing and embroidery going on in the evenings. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to craft with the girls in a one on one setting.
Since Elise doesn't read my blog I think I can safely post a picture of what 6 year old daughter has been working on for her. Isn't she the cutest little ballerina?

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Favorites

A few of my new favorite things..

1. How did I ever live without a crock pot? My mom got me one for my birthday and I have used it so many times in the past month. The best site I've found is

2. Jeff's mom gave me a book that I have really enjoyed.  It's a whole book of tips by moms with lots of children. Reading their description of what it's like to get a big family ready on a Sunday morning made me laugh because I could so relate. I gleaned a lot of helpful ideas from seasoned moms. The only section I might skip is the quick dinner ideas. The first one was hot dogs and ice cream. Well yes, that is a quick dinner but perhaps lacking in a small thing called nutrition ;)

3. And a gift from Jeff that was different and fun. I've been hearing about Jamberry nails and thought I would give them a try. They're called nail wraps and once they're heated you stick them onto your nails like you would a sticker. The biggest pluses for me were that they don't have to dry and they lasted for two weeks. 
4. One day Jeff came home and said he felt like spoiling me so he treated me to a pair of new high heels. They are totally impractical but I feel so stylish when I put them on. Well, at least for the whole hour I can wear them before my toes start to feel like they're going to fall off.
5. I forgot what winter was like.  Mornings are busy with school and chores and then there's lunch and quiet times. But after that comes the wild hours between 5:00 and 7:00 where the volume level in this house goes through the roof. Listening to this dramatized audio Bible while coloring has brought the energy and noise down a notch.
(choose Kidz under Bible options)

6. A beautiful new niece is definitely on the current list of favorites.  Her arrival made for a very happy end to our Thanksgiving day.  Although Ginetta was a little put out that she wasn't born sooner because she was counting on her coming to Thanksgiving dinner. Evan and Jessica are so calm you would never guess they're first time parents.
(photo courtesy of Jessica's brother)

7. Happily, these two can now be in the same vicinity. Elise is still not trustworthy with Koen but she has stopped whacking his soft spot, poking his eyes and pulling his arm to see how far it would stretch.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Little Miss

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next baby since it could be any day now.  Every time the phone rings we think it must be Evan calling to tell us Jessica is in labor. Due date isn't for a few more days but we can always hope for a little early, right?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Just a Little Bit Crazy

We are slowly learning to navigate this new world of seven children seven and under. For the first few weeks after Koen was born the days felt really crazy. Now there are just moments in the day that feel crazy. I was standing in the kitchen the other day and realized that I was praying over and over "God please help me, please give me strength".  :) Fortunately I have learned over the years that these first few weeks are just an adjustment as we all get used to a new normal. Our moms have really been sanity savers, stepping in to help in many ways. And for all the wildness of this ride I really, really love having a new baby. He is so sweet! I also love watching the older kids enjoy him.

I took pictures off my camera from this past month....
Enjoying the last days of summer

Celene had the camera and I think it's kind of funny (ha,ha) that I look asleep in both the pictures.

  The young prince in his fortress. Please step away from the fortress, do not touch the fortress.
When I see how fast my babies grow it makes me want to take a million pictures and capture every little detail of daily life.  Like wild messes of curls and dress up clothes they make out of plastic bags.

Here the girls are  taking advantage of our slower paced mornings.

 Our family picture was pretty much a fail through no fault of the photographer (thanks, Dad!). But these two did capture some funny Shelby faces
Cutie Haddon face.

We are looking forward to the arrival of Jessica and Evan's baby next month! 
                  Shelby is decorator extraordinaire and enjoyed helping me set up for their baby shower.

Yes, my son, you should be frightened of her.

Celene is the classic big sister, the littlest ones quickly learn that she is happy to give them what they want. 

Ginetta turned four recently and we had a lot of fun taking her on her birthday date. There were moments Jeff and I couldn't even look at each other because we knew we would start laughing. She talked almost without stopping the entire time and when she did pause for breath she was sure to make us aware of the fact that she had been quiet. 

She wanted to pick out some dress up clothes for her and the other girls as her gift.

So that's the month in review.

Friday, September 26, 2014


We did manage to get a family photo before church on Sunday. I have that "mother of a newborn" look (exhausted) and I'm not sure what Ginetta's doing.  
Love these sweet moments.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Story

The house is very quiet today. All the big kids are off to the fair and the two littles are napping.  Jeff's mom, my mom and Jeff have all worked hard this week to give me as much rest as possible. I have been very grateful and really cherished the moments of getting to know Koen.

I always like birth stories but if you don't just skip this post :)

Last Wednesday night just about the time the kids went to bed I started racing through the house trying to get everything tidied up because I was pretty sure that real deal labor was starting.  Jeff and mom went to bed around 10:00 figuring they would get some sleep. All through the night I slept some, read some and prayed a lot. Contractions were only coming every 20 minutes until 4:30 and then active labor started.

7:00 the kids went off to Grandma's house

8:00 Jeff calls the midwife and tells her she doesn't need to come but just a heads up that I was in labor

8:45 I tell Jeff that at 9:30 he should call the midwife and tell her to come

8:46 I tell him he had better call her RIGHT NOW!

9:12 The midwife is still an hour away and Jeff is on the phone with her getting her advice on how to deliver a baby

Some things will forever be etched in your mind. The look on Jeff's face when he realized that he was going to have to deliver the baby will always be one of those things for me.  He and mom did great though, they stayed very calm which of course was helpful to me!

Things were well under way when we heard footsteps flying down our stairs and the nurse assistant came racing into the room to finish the delivery.  The funny part was that Jeff had never met her and in the craziness of the moment he forgot there is always an assistant at the birth. So when he looked up and saw her he didn't have a clue who she was but figured since she had scrubs on she must know more than him.

I'm so thankful that everything went smoothly!  I see it as God's grace that I came across some things that made this pregnancy, labor and delivery go so much better than the last two.  But that's a post for another time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Arrival!

With great delight we welcome Koen Isaac into our family!
He arrived Thursday morning with the distinction not only of being the only boy but also the only baby to arrive before the midwife. Jeff and mom stepped in and did a great job! 
Our hearts are full of thankfulness for this newest blessing that God has given us. We're just all getting used to saying him instead of her :)

Just in case you're wondering Koen is a car name. It's actually the shortened version of a Swedish hyper car manufacturer called  Koenigsegg.