Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cabin Weekend

It's been a pretty intense couple of weeks for our family but one bright spot was a weekend away with my family.  I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to go when I thought about all the work that it would take to pack us up and get us there. But my mom made it as easy as she could by providing all the meals and we took a very minimal amount of clothing and gear along. In the end I was glad we went!

Dad came up with a slip and slide idea that was thoroughly enjoyed by both big and little people. Although I think the little people were significantly less sore the next day.

                                   Yummy food! It always taste better when you don't have to cook it or come up                                           with a menu.

 Games after the kids were in bed. We played a game called telestrations which is kind of a combination of whisper down the lane and pictionary. We now know who not to ask if you have need of an artist and that would be me. My word was lobster but ended up as dive team by the time it made it's way around the table. Obviously my lobster drawing left something to be desired.
                A special weekend meant special treats like gigantic pickles.
                                                                      Cousin time

                             Our updated pregnancy progression picture.  I've never been this big before so we can't                               decide if :
                             A. It's a boy
                             B. It just happens after 5 babies
                             C. It's the way God is answering our prayers that this baby lay somewhere other than on                                   top of my kidneys which was the problem with Elise

Monday, August 11, 2014

Super Easy Toddler Food

Soon after Elise started eating solid foods she broke out in a very itchy rash on her back.  I figured it was a food allergy and through process of elimination realized the offending food was wheat. I'm always trying to find quick foods to give her as a snack that are wheat free and not processed.  I found two winning recipes recently. At least winning from her perspective, the other girls weren't so sure.

Banana Pancakes~
2 bananas
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Blend together in a blender and cook on a griddle.  Elise eats almost a whole batch of these at one sitting so I really should make a double or triple batch

Peanut Butter Drops~
1 cup unsweetened peanut butter
1 egg
2 T honey
Mix. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 325* for 10 minutes.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hair Dos

You know there's a lot of girls in your family when you have to buy bobby pins by the pound. 
As a teenager I was never the type to spend hours on my hair. In fact most days I think my mom would have just been glad if I had brushed it (maybe it wasn't quite that bad but I'm not 100% sure).  I've come to enjoy doing the girls hair mostly because Jeff has made sure I have the right tools to do it easily. He has researched shampoo to make post shower combing as tear free as possible and he just had these bobby pins and new combs delivered to my door step.  
My favorite hair site is for Sunday mornings when I'm feeling inspired.  Sock curlers have also been a big hit around here recently too.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Some seasons of life seem to flow along relatively smoothly. No one child needs more care than another, the days have an easily followed pattern, not too many bumps in the road.  Others feel  more intense and I'd say that's what we've been experiencing the past month or so.

~ The foster care roller coaster has had more extreme ups and downs

~ Sorrow for friends facing great loss

~ Two children that need almost constant attention.  Elise has been an early bloomer in every area except speech and Ginetta a late bloomer in every are except talking (we think she was born talking but we can't quite remember :)  It's like having two toddlers who require consistent teaching all day long. Throw in an older child who inevitably is having an off day and I feel pretty exhausted by supper time.  Not so much mental energy but the physical energy needed to keep up the training when I would much rather be lazy. So glad that HIS strength is made perfect in my weakness.

In the midst of the hard here are some things that have blessed me:

Celene: She has organized many prayer meetings among her sisters to pray for her grieving little friend

Shelby: A few days ago I was trying to finish up a sewing project and  Shelby offered to do pedicures on her sisters so they would be kept busy while I wrapped up my project.

6 year old: We were taking a walk and Jeff stopped to help one of the kids and she said to the other girls "Daddy's the perfect man, don't you think?"

4 year old: Really likes to comb my hair and give me hairstyles right now which is definitely nice at the end of a long day.

Ginetta:  Shelby got to go with Jeff on errand one evening and Ginetta told me " I really wanted to be the one to go with Daddy but I'm still rejoicing with Shelby".

Elise: I've had a few snuggles lately that lasted more than .5 seconds!

In some ways we have started to see fruit in the older girls and that's so encouraging as we work with the little ones in what feels like a futile effort at times.  Before kids I always imagined us all in the kitchen together working on meals. Then there were 6 little people and having everyone cooking makes my blood pressure soar to unhealthy levels. But last night the three older girls and I were in the kitchen and I realized we had reached the day when we could be in the kitchen and enjoy working together. Each had a different part of the salad that they were making and they were doing it with no help from me. It seemed a bit surreal.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


My sister gave me a pedicure gift certificate for my birthday and I'm glad I waited until now to use it as my feet seem really, really far away.  I feel like the eight weeks between now and meeting this little person are going to fly by. 
We decided not to find out what we're having and honestly we don't know what we would choose if it were an option. On one hand we're kind of used to girls and have all the gear on the other it might be nice to at least have one boy. The common assumption is that we must be hoping for a boy but we would be totally happy with another girl.

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm sure I've probably mentioned it before but one of the unexpected joys of mothering is watching each personality develop.  It's so fun to see the ways that God designed them! Recently two of the girls in particular have started to emerge in new ways.
Elise has never had much interest in being a baby which is a good thing since her stint of infancy was to be relatively short.  She is showing herself to be highly energetic and also a bit opinionated.   I told Jeff if he ever wanted to watch a tornado in action all he needs to do is observe her for about 10 minutes.  Her opinions have taken me off guard a few times since she's so little. We have 4 identical bibs though each is a different color and she only wants to wear the pink one. We have now established that it is still possible to eat if Mommy puts the turquoise one on instead ;)  One thing that will keep her in one spot for awhile is coloring.  Markers are her first choice and so she usually looks like a bit of a scrub muffin since it doesn't stay just on the coloring book. Of course the mullet doesn't help her looks much either (at least in this picture it's a Mohawk courtesy of Celene). 

Shelby is becoming quite the little writer! We're doing the library summer reading program and she had to do some activities as well as reading. She chose to write poetry which is clearly one of those God given interests because neither Jeff nor I would list creative writing as one of our strengths.  She writes quickly which means that all the rules of grammar that we've been working on are quite forgotten. I figure since she has just turned 6 she has lots of time to remember that we don't put capitals in the middle of a sentence. But a love of writing is something I can't give her no matter how hard I try.

A note of warning to let the male members of the family know she was saving the ice cream for her birthday cake.

Celene and Shelby just came back from a trip to S.C. with my parents and before she left Shelby left each of  us a note.  On the front mine said "thanks for being my mom".  I had to smile at the reverse side of the note.  Interpretation:  Don't worry I am coming back.  Just in case I thought the lure of the beach might capture her I suppose  :) Or perhaps she has a vague sense that mom's have to work hard at trusting God and not worrying about their children.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

It seems hard to believe it's been a week since we headed home from vacation! Our tenth wedding anniversary is this fall and we always talked about going somewhere warm and sunny to celebrate ten years.  But the baby is due just weeks before our anniversary and quite honestly going somewhere exotic sounded like too much work. 
We decided to just kind of wing a driving trip and stop at some places we've always talked about visiting.  There wasn't much pre-planning except for meals for the kids and childcare which took a fair amount of organizing.  We have some very understanding family members willing to take on our crew for which we were very grateful.

Our first stop was Williamsburg which was absolutely wonderful! Being a history lover I appreciated that aspect for sure. But we also enjoyed being outside together in gorgeous weather with very few crowds.

The 6 month baby bump at the Governor's mansion. 

We were fascinated to find out that they make all the materials in Williamsburg for any new structures. We watched the nails, bricks, shingles, etc. being made for a new building.

           It wouldn't be a trip to Williamsburg without a picture in the stocks.  The kids were fascinated when we showed them the pictures and told them this is what they used to do to grown up naughty people.
Jeff in the gun shop.

From Williamsburg we headed to Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum. I had to take a picture of the Shelbyville sign.  
In KY we had our only bad hotel experience, there was only enough hot water for one shower. I could just imagine how long it would have taken us if we had all the kids along.  Let's see, 6 heads of hair X 1 hour to wait for more hot water.

Central Illinois was our next stop to visit friends.  Even though I lived in IL I forget how totally flat it is!  There were fun times catching up with our friends, getting to know their kiddos better and seeing their beautiful new house.

Lastly we drove up to the Chicago area for the homeschool convention.  Sounds romantic for a tenth anniversary trip doesn't it?  It might not fall under romantic but we do come away so rejuvenated in our vision for parenting.  It's so much more than schooling ideas!  I appreciate the fact that Jeff  places value in us being refreshed as a couple.  It's always kind of funny to be in an environment where our family size is considered normal :) You only have a big family if you have 12 or 14 kids.

 We did really relax and do things we never do at home (like go to a movie theater!)  But it was good to come home too. Although, I have been extra tired this past week.  I forgot how much energy this life requires. It's a good life, the one I always wanted.