I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Fire Department was called to our house.

It's last night and we are lounging in bed. Steve was watching a show on his laptop, me reading blogs on mine. It's about 9:45 when I hear a weird loud noise outside and our puggle begins to bark like crazy. Steve jumped up to go check on her and see what was wrong. As he got down the stairs there was a knock at the door. He opened to find a Firefighter at the door asking if that was our tent trailer on the other side of our shop. That's me taking the picture from upstairs looking at the truck parked in our cul-de-sac. Notice the really great spotlight they have illuminating the neighborhood. I wonder how many candles that thing is.

It seems that the neighbor over our back fence had been hearing a beeping noise and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. The fire deparment came out in full gear in the big truck to check things out. They traced the beeping noise over the fence to our trailer. When Steve opened it up he found that the smoke alarm battery was in need of being replaced.

Yes, our tax dollars were spent on firefighters coming out to our house to notify us that we need a new battery in our smoke alarm. Now that's service with a smile.

The guys who responded got a kick out of it and said they were glad it ended with something like that. He said they have searched for hours looking for something beeping in ditches before so they were pleased with the outcome ending so quickly.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Glad I'm not that chicken.

We have been buying free range eggs for awhile now. I have high cholesterol and free range eggs with a rooster are healthier. We have a serious egg habit around here and my mother-in-law has a serious chicken habit. This week when we got back from the coast we went over to pick up our eggs.

With a smile she told us that we need to be careful getting our eggs home that night. As you can see there is one mutant egg in the mix. The box would not close on that side.

All I can say is that I am glad I am not that chicken.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unmatched talent.

I have learned not to question my husband. Ok, well that might be a little bit of a stretch. It's more like I question and quickly resign myself to his ideas.

So when he said let's go buy that dining table that is for sale at the coast I knew I should get ready to go along for the ride. It is used and was a great deal because of it's location. They had been trying to sell if for a long time but because it in the middle of nowhere up the coast, they couldn't sell it. We drove up. Steve dropped me and 3 kids at the outlet mall and he went to get it. He figured that we could fit it in the van with all of us and no things, take it back to the beach house and we could come back for it later in the truck. (We stay at a home used for missionaries home on leave and do a work exchange for time spent there.)

But then those wheels started turning in my very talented husband's head. He started looking at things and discovered that the table and base were in several pieces. So folks, we brought home seven people, 3 clothing bags, a cooler, 1 bag of groceries, a dog and her crate, games and other vacation miscellaneous as well as a dining table. Who knew?

Good thing we have the extended minivan. It comes in handy. He really is talented and can see the possible in the impossible. The table was a great find and is much bigger than what we had. That's a good thing as it looks like our kids don't intend to stop growing. Good job hun! (Brains and good looks, too!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Glad to be home but can't wait to go back.

The picture below pretty much sums up how we all felt on our long weekend. We got home yesterday. You know that you relaxed for the right amount of time when you are glad to be home but can't wait to go back again. Doesn't she just look free?

It was rocking the boat, crashing waves, crazy windy, stormy at times.

But then the sun would break out and we would get ourselves down to the beach to soak it up while it lasted. This pic below is one of my faves. Not for it's composition or the stellar photography but for what it makes me remember. There were times on the beach when it would be completely quiet except for the crashing waves and everyone would be in their own world, doing their own thing. I could soak that up for hours.

These two goofballs enjoyed a lot of time together while the kids played in the sand. Seriously, our time was most definitely refreshing.

I think we were all overdue for some time away. We completely vegged out with no plans. We even had time for races. They were hilarious. There are photos of me racing the kids also but trust me, it's not pretty. I like this one much better.

There were tide pools everywhere and these two spent most of their time searching them when they weren't busy building dams and diverting streams with their dad and siblings.

I'm probably biased, but I think I have some of the best looking, good natured kids around.

We hope to go back soon. 7 months was far too long for this family. You can look forward to a few more beach posts this week. I took a lot of pictures.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm still here.

We are on vacation but will be home tomorrow with some fantastic pictures of the family. Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Favorite Bible characters from a 4 year old

At dinner last night we asked our resident four year old who his favorite Bible characters are and why. Here is what followed in his own words with my commentary after.

1) "Noah. I like the animals and he wears my favorite color, orange."

Solid reasons if you ask me. Who doesn't love a nice animal story where people get to wear orange? We do have a Noah's Ark set, in his defense, and in it Noah is wearing an orange tunic of sorts. Noah is most definitely his favorite as he prays for him and talks about not being able to wait to go to heaven and meet him.

2) "Jophes. Because he was the dad to Baby Jesus and there was no room in the indoors but then they found room at a indoor for Baby Jesus. That's why I like him."

He is speaking of the well known Joseph here. I love that he doesn't quite have his name down and very hesitantly called the inn the indoors because he couldn't remember exactly. Really, at four years old, when you hear someone say no room at the inn, you would assume that was just short for the indoors.

3) "Jesus. (Now with arms raised.) Because he has the POWER to stop the waves and the wind for the staples."
Now this one killed us because we weren't quite sure what he meant by the staples. Do staples have an aversion to wind and powerful waves? However when I asked about the staples he replied, "Yes, the staples and they went like this."
Suddenly we realized that it was of the DISCIPLES he was speaking. He thought that they must have been so surprised when the wind and waves stopped. Oh my, did we have to exercise some restraint. I don't want him to be embarrassed when he tells us stories so we try not to right out laugh but this one was too good.
I think fours years old is my favorite age. My most memorable and hilarious memories from each of my kids is when they were four. Plus they all accepted Christ at that age. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Playing in the "hood"

You can tell that all of the kids in the neighborhood are itching for some summer fun. It's been warmer this week and two nights ago they started a game of capture the flag. They didn't really know how to play so Steve helped get them started. This is not your average game of capture the flag however. This is Capture the Flag-2009 style. Walkie-talkies are involved.
The occasional squirt gun might appear.

The sword is just for looks. This kid feels so big when there is a game he can join in on. It was boys against girls and he loves getting to hang out with the big guys.

They played again last night and I'm pretty sure it's on their minds for today. It's hilarious to listen to them make their plans. I love it when they ask when they can do their afternoon chores so they can be ready for when the other kids get to come outside.

Money Meme

They say that what's in your wallet reveals your priorities. Let's test that theory. List 12 cards you find in your wallet, then tag 12 people.

1. My debit card.
2. My other debit card.
3. Library card.
4. Another library card.
5. Store membership card.
6. Medical insurance card.
7. Paper store membership card.
8. Safeway giftcard.
9. Fred Meyer giftcard.
10. Car insurance card.
11. Goodwill club card.
12. Safeway club card.

I tag anyone who wants to do this. It's fun! I cleaned out my wallet in the process. Thanks, Ginger!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Word to the Wise

I placed eggs in a pan on a burner, filled it halfway with water and then turned said burner on to high. But forgetting to set the timer and letting it boil for more than 30 minutes can never turn out well.

I was working away in another room when I heard, between loud unidentified pops, my oldest say, "Mom, I think you better come here and quick!"
Thank goodness no one was hurt in the boiling of these eggs. It was a good reminder to stay focused on one thing at a time and to tell the kids about kitchen safety. And that was our Home Economics lesson for the day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The day of love.

Last night Steve and I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day. We knew it would be busy tonight so we thought we would avoid crowds, head to our favorite sandwhich shop and go to the auction. We love the auction and we haven't gone in a long time.

It was so much fun as we had time just the two of us and found some great deals.

Today we will spend time as a family celebrating. We have a special meal planned with some nice touches such as verses about God's love on each persons plate. That was Steve's idea and I love it. It just feels nice having spent time with him last night and now the kids tonight.

Do you have any plans?

I have been playing around online this morning as most of my family is sleeping in. I came across something called Swagbucks on a favorite saving money website I read. It's a search engine and shopping site where you earn something called swagbucks. You can then redeem your bucks for gift cards and other merchandise. If you are interested, click on Swagbucks. Of course, I get extra swagbucks if you join and use my swagbucks code which is 343726. There is my shameless plug.

Enjoy your Valentine's day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beautiful fabric giveaway

A heart for home is having a fabric giveaway. There are some gorgeous ones to choose from. Head on over and take a look!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sports or no sports

That is the question for us right now. We actually have already made the decisions for spring sports this year for the kids but it hasn't been easy. Our two oldest children thrive when involved in a sport. They do pretty well the rest of the time but they are so happy and relaxed when involved in a team sport. Track is coming up and they were planning on being apart again this year but we broke it to them a couple nights ago that they would be sitting out this year. It was a hard decision and we knew they would be disappointed. Bub finished football in the fall with a knee issue. The doctor said it is most likely a condition called Osgood-Schlatters. Basically his bones are growing faster then the tendons are and so there is pain in the knee. As he gets older, he will grow out of it. As Lil has been getting full swing in the basketball season she looks to be developing the same condition. We would rather them take a year off rather than aggrivate the condition and have to sit out next year also.

I know that sports are not for every household. For ours, it is fabulous for our kids. Teamwork is reinforced, physical activity is regular without my planning and it is a great family activity. For the most part, we try to only have one sport going at a time. The whole family then goes together to watch whichever child is in the sport. We all take turns supporting and cheering each other on and it builds our family relationship.

It's not always easy. Making sure jerseys are washed as well as getting to practice and games can present challenges. Then you have the fact that coaches are people too and aren't always the best example. We have had some issues there but it has provided great training for our kids. There may be a day where they will have a job without a fair boss and they may need to serve under that leadership anyway. Learning how to do that with your parents help is a positive thing I believe.

So this spring the two younger girls will play soccer and we will find some physical activities for the twins. Things like biking and swimming that will strengthen the muscles and tendons that support the knee instead of pounding them.

Again, I know that sports aren't for every family. For ours, for now, it works. But as with everything in parenting, it's all subject to change as the needs of our kids change.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Having her things about her.

We have had a problem around here for quite some time. This girl below likes to sleep with things around here. There is really no discrimination either where items are concerned. Dolls, toys, books, the occasional spatula or whisk. Seriously, it only gets worse from there. We have the nightly bed clearing when she heads to dreamland. Recently, we told her no more. She may have a few dolls or stuffed animals but that's it. The girl really likes having her things about her, however. This is what I found when I went to check on her the next night.

Technically, those toys are not on her bed. Darn those technicalities.

Naughty girl! You've got to love her ingenuity. She didn't really care for the news that the smuggled toys would have to be put away despite her ability to think outside the box.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The young teaching the young.

We love Math*U*See around here. It's not very exciting but it's solid and does the job well. The older three use it and this year our first grader is using something else. However, we have been using the manipulatives that came with MUS.

Em is practicing place values here. It helps to use manipulatives like this to put into practice the problems on the page. I sat down with her on the ground and showed her how to do it. We did a couple problems together and then I let her go.

Her bigger sister couldn't wait until Em was done with her assigned problems so they could do it together. She made up problems for her little sister and they worked them out. (Ignore the two brothers and dog wrestling in the background. It was almost lunch.)

Little sister loves doing it with bigger sister. I also believe that it reinforces what Els has learned to "teach" a younger one what she knows. See, math can be fun.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It takes less time than you think.

So often, I think that organizing projects will take more time than I have. In reality, most of the time they don't take as long as I expect. Changing sheets really only takes several minutes. That was downright shocking to me when I found that out. There is no excuse for not washing them more often. We do have 6 beds regularly used so 24 minutes every week or two isn't time I can't find. It's a bummer too what with all my excuse making about not having time to wash them. It's a shame I put these projects off because the results are worth the time that I put into it.

This cabinet has been driving me crazy for obvious reasons. Mostly it has been laziness when unloading the dishwasher. It was a sad, sad thing this cabinet. I decided to tackle it yesterday once and for all to keep me sane. I unloaded and re-loaded it finding lids and mates for containers.

This was the finished result. For goodness sake, it took me less than 10 minutes. 10 minutes people!!! I now know that I do not need any more storage containers as I once thought and in fact I even unloaded a few lidless ones making a little more room. I have decided that I should pick one small project like this each week. Nothing too time consuming. Just a cabinet here and a drawer there. I waste so much time managing things, I think this investment of time will pay off.

I then ended the afternoon taking care of these two scallawags. They woke up from their naps with fevers and had a rough transition time to awakedom. Off to my bed I say! Thirty minutes there watching PBS did the trick and they are feeling much better today. Doesn't Lij look pitiful?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A field trip to remember

I had not been to the science center since I was in middle school. Since then they had built a new one and it's quite impressive. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the enormous building from the outside when we got there.

It's on the river and has large windows all over making the view spectacular when it's sunny.

The whole experience was a blast. No pun intended really. The kids had so much fun and I think their parents had just as much fun. Here the kids are laying in a shuttle. We came here twice they loved laying in it so much.
Els was trying to hang on for dear life here I think.

Here they were getting a peak at what a local volcano looked like before and after it erupted almost 30 years ago. Eek! I remember that and saying almost 30 years ago dates me a bit. Els is reenacting the eruption in the background.

It's hard to tell in this picture but as part of the teacher open house day we got to go down to the river and go inside a real life submarine for a tour. It was tight quarters!!! Our favorite part of the tour was getting to look at the night skyline of the city through the periscope on board.

Boat races with rubber bands and propellers was a highlight of the day.

This was just bizarre. Here we were learning about light. Steve was on one side and Els and Lij were on the other. When they turned on the light it looked like they were sitting together on the same side. I am so glad it showed up in the picture.

All in all we spent over 4 hours there watching an Omnimax show, playing with all of the exhibits, seeing many creations that DaVinci invented, going on the sub tour, perusing the store and just plain learning while having fun. There is that famous crockpot keeping things warm in the van just as we got to our destination. (For clarification purposes we did all of the cooking at home and the adapter is just powerful enough to run the warm setting. Also, I just used half of the quart of salsa in the fajitas.)

We were having so much fun that we didn't want to leave the building so we bought a tub of popcorn to share to ward off hunger. We then had dinner just as we left for the two hour trip home. Everyone was ready to have something warm to eat when we got ready to leave at 8:00pm. We all ate, the younger ones fell asleep while the rest of us listened to Jonathan Park Adventures on the way home. Perfection.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Phi Beta Kappa of Crockpotting.

I mentioned yesterday in my post that we are going on a field trip today to the science center. We have been watching our spending what with all of the exciting economy happenings in the news. Well today I just may get to upgrade my membership in the crockpot club if all goes well.

There, on the counter, is a seasoned porketta roast, 2 peppers, 1 onion and a jar of homemade salsa. These ingredients will make some of the best fajitas you have ever had.
A while back hubby bought this car adapter thing that I though was a little frivolous and I couldn't see the need for. It plugs into your car lighter and then has several outlets on it for plugging things in on a trip. Oh, how I have had to eat crow on those days that I was running errands and forgot to charge my cell phone. This piece of electronic genius has saved me a time or two.

Today, my hope is that it and my crockpot will prove my frugal homemaking prowess. All of the above ingredients are simmering in the crockpot as we speak. Come field trip time I will shred the now cooked pork roast with salsa, peppers and onions and we will then plug it into the van. I'll throw in the little cooler a package of whole wheat tortillas, a pint of sour cream and some shredded cheese. At six o'clock or so we will come out of the science center and have a little gourmet picnic. Ok, maybe not exactly gourmet but really good none the less. For $13.14 we will have a warm home/van cooked meal. It comes to $1.87 per person. A little more than we usually spend but better than the $3 or so per person that we would normally spend on fast food that we know isn't so great for us.
Mark it on your calendar honey. I was wrong about the little plugging in adapter thingy. It is totally worth it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Should I be worried?

It seems that someone around here is experiencing some pent up agression. Not quite sure how this happened, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. I'm also grateful that no one person was on the receiving end of this fork.

Moving on.

I have been experiencing what I have recently identified as burnout. Steve has been very helpful with great emotional support during it all. Every so often I end up feeling like I am on a hamster wheel with no way off. Thank goodness that burnout seems to be dissipating.

I am looking forward to this week. We have a really fun field trip scheduled to the science center tomorrow. They have a once a year open house that is free for teachers and their families. They include homeschooling families in that. How nice is that?

Enjoy your Monday.