Happy Birthday Isaac!!!

Celebrating nine years with our special boy today.

20140526-234747.jpg
Delicious waffles made by his daddy and several sibs, along with Isaac’s own signature fried eggs.

20140526-235019.jpg
Enjoying the river!

20140526-235650.jpg
Rocky road cheesecake for the birthday boy!!

We love you, Isaac!!

James 1:17a (NKJV)
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…”

A Few of My Favorite Things: Sick Day Drinks Edition

I took this photo, of my favorite sick day drinks, this morning while the rest of the family went to church. I was fully booked, so kept going on Friday and yesterday, realizing last night that being on-the-go and over-tired was probably not the best thing for my immune system.
So, I stayed home today and by the time the family arrived home at 2:30 was feeling some better, but a few Amazon Prime cooking shows with the younger crew pushed me over the wellness hump and I feel like I’m on the road to recovery. So why, oh why, am I still awake at 11:40? Argh!
So, with a stay-home day scheduled tomorrow, I should be good to go to speech and debate Tuesday and another speech tournament on Wednesday!
Yea for good health and a good immune system, which I so take for granted!

20140126-233429.jpg

Echinacea wellness tea, well water and weak-ish black coffee made with tlc by Kyle.

3 John 1:2 (ESV)
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

Five Minute Friday

I haven’t written anything in weeks, but by chance, or providence, I checked Lisa-Jo’s blog before I went to bed, after chatting with my husband who has been in her part of the country, McLean/Vienna area, for work this week. Flying out of Dulles to Missouri tomorrow. I can’t wait.
And it’s made me:

Reflect

Start

I have been a quasi-single parent for 66 hours and have about 18 hours to go, not that anyone’s counting or anything.;)

The first day or so went well; speech and debate, nearly 60 degree weather. Super! I can decide everything: evening activity, bedtime, my evening plans.

Then came another beautiful day and with it, the threat of bad weather coming, so we rush to get everyone out of the house to stock up on groceries before church yesterday. Not so cool.

Mom gets a slight bit grumpy and by the time we got the probably 100+ pounds of food in the house and younger ones ready for bed and their room was a wreck. She may have said that they couldn’t put their new Norfolk pine in their window seat because they were goofing AND, it was too late to talk to Dad on the phone and have prayer time.

Then she was completely convicted by a five-year-old who was heartbroken and asked if he could pray and read Bible. I asked his favorite verse. “The Lord is my Shepherd one,” he whispers in the late night dark.

So, I texted my sweet, forgiving husband and ask if he’ll call. The youngest three were so blessed, as was I. The older ones were too, I’m sure, they just didn’t make their relief so obvious.

Evening saved. Mom forgiven. All was well.

I told my husband this evening, after the sleet and snow started coming and the temperature dropped to the low 20s, that being in charge was not all it was cracked up to be. He graciously (and wisely) and warmly, in the 60 degrees in Virginia, replied that he was glad I understood that.
(So, we’ve had a few discussions lately about decision-making, planning, etc.)

I’m grateful for the chance to reflect on our family, leadership and blessings. I am more than exhausted from being on diabetes duty at night, which is another huge, huge, huge gift my husband gives to me.

I am praying for all of the moms who are alone all or much of the time for different circumstances. Blessings to you.

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Five Minute Friday: Write

Five Minute Friday

Write

Many moons ago, I minored in journalism, with a communications major, after deciding rashly that elementary education wasn’t for me. How funny that I now have my own little homeschool!

All those moons ago, I interned for a local magazine, then did grunt work (developed photos, gathered court documents, and wrote rarely) for a small business newspaper.
After that trying year, went back to the first magazine, as it was a much better atmosphere to try my hand at freelancing, as they specialized in what I have discovered is “my” kind of writing: profiles, which were basically mini-biographies. I even had a cover story way back then. Whoo hoo!
I felt unorganized with my time and writing an article or two a month, wasn’t making much income.
I guess I was afraid to say I was a writer and put myself out “there” to do the hard work of marketing myself and look for other publications.
Long on scared and short on perseverance and diligence.
So, I went to work for a not-for-profit, which I enjoyed and then came home to raise my babies.
The writing stopped, other than a Christmas newsletter here-and-there.
I wondered why I felt to blah about so many things. Homeschool burnout and hormones did a number on me and I needed an outlet.
The blog engineer, aka sweet Kyle, enjoyed the lengthy tome-like e-mails he received at work and bought a domain name for me. I still drug my feet.
After writing fairly regularly for a few months, I stopped this summer because it just didn’t feel right to write. I grew weary of writing about myself.
So, just this week, we have been tossing around ideas of people in my circles that I could interview and write about. I’m looking forward to it. Writing is such a good outlet and I would like to make it a ministry as well.
END
Disclosure: I re-set the timer for another five and finally stopped when the duck quacked for the second time.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (ESV)
“4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”

Five Minute Friday: True

I’ve been pretty sporadic about writing anything lately and really appreciate the Five Minute Friday prompts and thought tonight’s was appropriate.
Thanks for reading!

Five Minute Friday

True

I need to spend my time thinking about what is true.

~I am loved. I am loved by God, His Son and my family.
~I am enough. God gave me to my husband and children and they to me.
~I am capable. God hasn’t called me to be perfect, but to persevere and be diligent in what I have been given to do. Diabetes, Celiac, large-family mothering, homeschooling.
~God is faithful. In all things. He will be with me through the every days, good and bad.

My default is low self-esteem, the Eeyore-type personality. I am quick to give up or not even start, and them beat myself up for failing. Again.

I must remember what is true.

I heard an “Ask Pastor John” podcast with John Piper this evening and he said (not quoting directly here), that we must start off the day asking for the Lord’s help and strength.

Yes. Yes.

20130926-231537.jpg
Me, my six and my mom picking pears at her friend’s house Sunday evening.
(Photo by the Blog Engineer.)

Philippians 4:8 (NIV, 1984)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Kindergarten A to Z: Weeks A and B

This year is a first. The first school year without a preschooler. Paul is official now: a kindergartener. We did Sonlight kindergarten for Adam many years ago and unfortunately or fortunately, depending on whether the glass is looking half empty or half full in the mommy guilt department, Luke, Rachel, John and Isaac pretty much unschooled their way through kindergarten. That included lots of reading aloud by me, some messy spur-of-the-moment crafts, playing, playing and more playing. Those were the good times. The down-side was too much chaos brought on by not enough structure.

I wanted to have a fun, good year with Paul and finish my kindergarten teaching years well. I was very pleased to find an alphabet-themed year on Elizabeth Foss’ blog. I won’t be using the bulk of her ideas, as her plans include studying the Catholic saints and fairy stories. I have theological differences with the saints study, as I am not Catholic, and not using the fairy stories is purely personal preference, as I just don’t enjoy them.
However, she completely had me with the apple pie with letter “a” cut-outs for the crusts.

I used a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby and bought the Wilton alphabet and number bucket last month. It was hard to keep it in the closet!
I gave Paul the “A” last week and the “B” and “P” for Paul this week. He enjoyed them so much that I gave him the whole bucket and he has been carrying it around the house.
He wasn’t particularly interested in making a pie, so we tweaked the star cookie recipe (the first time using it) from Elana’s Pantry and used the “A”s and had applesauce on the side. :)
This week I chose brownies, and we again used (and tweaked) one of Elana’s recipes.

20130912-213144.jpg
“A” cookies and applesauce at the dinner table.

20130912-213215.jpg
“B” is for brownie on the banister. (Stair view).

20130912-213231.jpg
Facing into the kitchen. (Enjoy the clutter). ;)

I’ll write more about what we’re doing for kindergarten next week, plus the other five grades in the next few weeks.

1 Corinthians 10:31(ESV)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Furniture Feature Friday: A Tool Box Makeover With My Boys

Furniture Feature Fridays

Last month, we volunteered with my mother at her town’s food pantry. It also has a thrift store, so we stopped in when we were finished. It was my first visit and for the most part, I didn’t see anything I needed. Then…I saw it. A dusty, dirty old tool box. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but thought I really needed it.

It sat under my desk for about three weeks. While we were on our latest adventure to Virginia, I read several issues of Country Living magazine. I saw a picture of a tool box that was filled with children’s books and instantly knew that was what I would do with my box. Voila!

Tuesday afternoon, my youngest was looking at it and I told him I was planning to paint it. Ever the type-A, seize-the-moment kind of guy, he replied “Now?” So, we got started!

I forgot to take a before picture, but after vacuuming and scrubbing, we were ready to paint:

20130801-213345.jpg
My two youngest boys and a neighbor’s grandson helping.

20130801-212848.jpg
My oldest (celebrating his birthday) and youngest sons polishing the handle after sanding.

20130801-212916.jpg
Paul, the youngest, finishing the job.

20130801-212738.jpg
The inspiration for the project.

20130801-212945.jpg
Paul again, posing with our field guides, science and nature books.

20130801-213010.jpg
Completely Full.

I used the same Olympic, low VOC, latex paint in apple red that I have alternated on my stairs.

Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)
“Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

17 For 17

Happy Birthday, Dear Adam!

In honor of the beginning of your 18th year, I will share a top 17 highlight list/observations of your first 17 years.

17 You clocked in on Tuesday, July 30, 1996, at 10 pounds, 14 ounces. Wowza!
16 From moment one, you have been very sure of what you wanted, when you wanted it and how you wanted it. No self-confidence, wishy-washy issues for you, my boy! ;)
15 When you are in, you are all in. When you are out, well…
14 When you are in, you do it all to the glory of God. We are so thankful.
13 You lead your siblings well. :)
12 You are not afraid to work hard.
11 You have read (and studied) the Bible through multiple times.
10 You did well in speech with apologetics and Mars Hill and are looking forward to a new school year.
9 You are comfortable speaking in front of a group. (You are your daddy’s son!)
8 You are open to whatever The Lord has for your future.
7 You eat whatever is served to you and have never been picky. (Well, except for the anti-stir-fry phase in your younger years on Oak Ave.) Thank you!!
6 You are an accomplished amateur chef and will not starve or live on junk food during your bachelor years.
5 You have blessed us and others over the past year with your growing photography skills.
4 You bless your older friends with patient help with technical issues.
3 You are quite the talented runner and skater.
2 Your construction and dry-walling talents are first-rate.
1 You are a blessing to your parents and siblings.

Love, love, love you, Big A!

1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)
David’s Song of Thanks
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!”

20130729-224835.jpg
Going to great lengths to do what you enjoy!

20130729-224736.jpg
Following Paul around the park in Glen Allen, VA.

20130729-224809.jpg
What a guy!

Birthdays, Boys and Blessings: Hello New Week

I’m writing, for the first time, a “Hello new week” post and linking in the comments at Lisa Leonard’s blog.

20130729-215256.jpg
The new five-year-old telling me a story at the park in Virginia earlier this month.

20130729-215455.jpg
The will-be-17 tomorrow-year-old posing for me at the pool at the Homewood Suites in Virginia.

20130729-215548.jpg
Lifeguarding for my boys, minus the two oldest, plus two neighbor’s grandsons.

20130729-220458.jpg
Painting an antique thrift-store tool box this afternoon with my two youngest and a neighbor’s grandson.

Hello today’s birthday date with my five-year-old youngest.

Hello celebrating my oldest turning 17 (!!!!!) tomorrow. How in the world?

Hello meeting new neighbors yesterday (they came to introduce themselves–we are a lame greeting committee) :(

Hello continuing the major de-cluttering. We are very grateful for a gracious trash service and will be giving them a gift Wednesday morning as a thank you!

Hello lifeguarding.

Hello cooler temps, which make being outside wonderful, but the un-heated pool not-so-much. (Yea! Short lifeguarding break!) :)

Hello getting the children registered for our second year of speech and debate.

Hello going to the big city county fair on Friday for the first time in years to see the children’s first year blue ribbon 4H exhibits that moved on from our club’s small county fair. (That was a confusing mouthful!)

Hello volunteering with Rachel to sort new school supplies for the Salvation Army with new friends on Saturday.

Hello planning on enjoying the last month of summer before we start school after Labor Day.

And, Hello doing this again next week!

Psalm 135:5 (NKJV)
For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.