Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Little House on Floyd Drive

Sometimes I wish we had a bigger house.  I think about the fact that I have 5 children, a husband, and a mother who live in the same small home...and I think about all of the grandchildren I could potentially have and start to wonder where on earth they will sleep when they come to visit!

In it's traditional fashion, it was a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom brick ranch, appx.  950 square feet.  Give or take a foot.

When we first moved into our home, we were struck by it's sturdiness, the amount of land, the price, the full basement, etc...and we only had 2 kids!

As our family grew, we knew something must be done!  Thankfully I was blessed with an industrious husband who was able to transform our completely unfinished basement into a working part of the home- with 2 bedrooms, a family room, office, and full bathroom.  We can't put carpet down though because we live in a flood plain, and that might be an expensive mess.

I have grown quite fond of my little house over the years.  So many memories. Sure, it's difficult to fit a Christmas tree into my living room- but we manage.  I suppose we could move, and maybe we will some day, but for now, I am thankful for my little house.  We may get slightly cramped in the winter, but I think it just makes the kids a little bit tougher.  And it makes me a little bit crazier, but that's a different story.  You try having 3 little boys running through your house playing hide and seek or cars, a pre-teen daughter, and a teenage son all living under the same roof!

Our living room- the tree is decorated with things the kids have made over the years, and some of Josh's grammie and papaps handmade decorations.

Christmas morning- so many gifts!  The kids were so excited- and patient.  They all got up early, but waited very patiently for nearly 2 hours before unwrapping gifts.  Even Jeremiah was able to withstand the temptation.  

We had a great Christmas.  I have a great family.  I am truly blessed.

Friday, November 2, 2012

life lessons

I start a lot of posts and don't complete them.
I have set a goal- and I'm going to complete this post.

Life is quickly passing by- as always.  It's already November.  It sure is beautiful outside for November.  It may not be the warmest day of the year, but the sun is shining and it's in the mid 50's.  Blue skies with a few puffy white clouds.  Lovely.

After I pick the kids up from school they will rush to change their clothes, run to the neighbors house and hope the neighbors can come out to play in our back yard.  Where they will busy themselves by raking leaves, making forts, playing house, or zoo...or some other childhood game.  Of course, Elijah will still be at school practicing for his upcoming play. (he is a teenager, you know!)  While he still occasionally plays outside with his siblings, he is a little too old for their kind of play. :)  My kids are growing up fast- inevitable for sure, but it seems like I closed my eyes for a moment and POOF-  One day I'll close my eyes and fall asleep in a home where only Josh and I reside ( & possibly my mom:) I'll awaken to an empty house...nobody crawling under my covers to warm their tiny bodies...nobody asking me to make breakfast, or if they can watch a cartoon.  And it won't be because they're at a sleepover.  Or at camp.  Or off to college.  They'll be gone, living their own lives, pursuing their own dreams.  I only hope I am equipping them to do those things.

Equipping.  Now that's a word not to be used lightly.  How do we equip our children to live decent lives?  I don't fully know the answer to that.  Today Abigail participated in the 4th grade spelling bee.  She is so smart.  She has common sense (usually, unless it comes to obeying the first time)  she has a sense of humor, she sometimes beats me at scrabble (I am NOT kidding- either this girl is smart, or I am just a lousy scrabble player...she is only 9!)  Most of her spare time is spent reading, writing poems or short stories, helping take care of Jeremiah, practicing piano, or practicing her part for the church play.  She likes a challenge, and loves to learn.

So it came down to the wire at the spelling bee...4 kids left.  Abigail got the word accountant.  She knows how to spell this word.  She had never spelled it wrong during our practice for the spelling bee.  I was watching and I thought "well, she's got this one!"  She approached the microphone.  In a confident voice she said "ACCOUNTANT.  ACO...( a look of shock and horror spread across her face- she knew she forgot a 'c', but she knew she couldn't retract her letters.  In a spelling bee, once you say a letter you have to use it) She completed the rest...UNTANT.  ACCOUNTANT.  She knew.  She looked at me to see if I was pleased, or displeased.  I smiled at her.  She came down from the stand, sat next to me and turned her head away from anyone who might see her. Then she started to cry.  My heart hurt for her.  I knew how badly she wanted to win. She wanted to go on to the next round- and possibly Washington DC!  Big dreams, and now they had evaporated.  I tried to tell her I was proud of her, and she did a great job, but she wanted nothing to do with that.  She felt like she had failed herself, her class, everyone.  I didn't know how to help her.

We sat and watched the rest of the spelling bee (Jeremiah was very well behaved during all of this, and tried his best to comfort his sissy)  Abigail's friend Kyrsten ended up winning the round.  I know Abigail was happy for Kyrsten, but sad for herself.  It's so hard to balance such emotions.  She ran off to the bathroom because it was nearly time to go back to class and she didn't want anyone to know she had been crying.

Neither me nor her teacher could find her.  I checked the bathroom and found her crying in the stall.  I told her it was okay- I wasn't upset- she should be proud of herself for making it this far,  she had done a good job, etc... But nothing helped.  She said she didn't want people telling her she had done a good job because she hadn't.  She had failed.  I eventually walked her back to her class, her teacher came out to meet us.  She is so compassionate and loving towards the kids.  And it was what she said (so SIMPLE) that made things just a little bit better- a little bit more bearable for Abigail.  She told Abigail that sometimes we have plans, but those plans don't always work out.  And Gods plans are much bigger than our own.  He uses EVERY SINGLE THING in our lives to teach us, mold us, and make us who HE wants us to be.  Now, I know these things, and I say these types of things to other people- and eventually I probably would have said the exact same thing to Abigail.  However, sometimes when I say these types of things to the kids, the words fall on deaf ears.  (You're my mom- you have to say that!)   Hearing it from her teacher really seemed to help.  Her spirits lifted- and she no longer felt so terrible about losing.  

I am so blessed to have other people surrounding my children, lifting them up with encouraging words.  Equipping them for the future.  Josh and I have a lot of equipping to do- and it's nice to know we have a community of loving, Christ followers around us to help us in this journey.

Monday, October 22, 2012

That's Some Pig!

"Some Pig"  "Terrific"

Charlotte painstakingly made an effort to change how people saw Wilbur.

I have been reading Charlotte's Webb to Isaac and Christian for the past few days.  I've read it many times to our children, but this time, it struck me on a different level.  Could a children's book really have that deep an impact on me?  Yes.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with this classic book.  A pig is born, it is a runt.  Fern (daughter of farmer) can't believe daddy is going to kill the pig for being a runt, asks to take care of it.  Father obliges.  After a month, the pig must be sold, they agree that the pig will be sold to a relative down the street where Fern can visit.  Wilbur (pig) doesn't like the barn at first, but eventually settles in.  The other animals tell him he will be killed, he obviously doesn't want this..(yes, the animals can talk)  He makes a friend, a spider named Charlotte who has a large vocabulary.  He confides in Charlotte that he doesn't want to die.  She promises Wilbur he WILL NOT DIE!  Nobody knows how she will accomplish this promise.

One morning a farm hand walks into the barn with slops for the pig.  He notices something odd in the web of the spider...he realizes words are written in that web.  And they say

Some Pig

He is shocked.  Ultimately Wilbur goes from being just a regular spring pig, to a pig who is beyond "pigness"  He is somehow special, set apart from other pigs.  He is referred to as a "unique, unusual, miraculous, solid, quite a pig, extra good..."   In the end, his life is spared, and all of this because one tiny spider decided to bless a pig.  Obviously this is fantasy, but it resonated in my heart. 

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

There are so many more little time.  (dinner time is nigh)  

Why do I fall so short?  Why can I not GET THIS IN MY HEAD.

Why do I judge (mainly my poor kids & husband...) Why do I fly off the handle and knit pick them?  Why can't pleasant words fall from my mouth?  Why is is just SO HARD?  

My words can bring death- perhaps not physical, not like the pig- but in so many other ways that I can't even (or don't want to) wrap my mind around. 

But- My words can bring life.  Isn't that nice?  A nice thought, I suppose- but I fear that my words very often do not bring about life.  

I am not a failure, I am a sinner.  And I do have grace, yes- but this grace is not my free ticket to sinful patterns.  I Want to be a person whose words will bring sweetness to the soul, and health to the bones.  Perhaps I am that person sometimes, but I want to be that person more often.  

Charlotte convicted me, and I don't even care for spiders.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Party's and a A new van!

It's been a busy week.  I think I start all of my posts out that way- if not, I should.  I'm sure a vast majority of my posts have the word "busy" in them...such is life...

This week my kitchen and laundry room flooded...laundry and dishes piled up...roto rooter was late- very very late, we bought a van, I was the craft lady for a bunch of kindergartners, and Abigail had a friend stay the night.  Plus all of the other 'normal' daily things...I won't go into the details.  It's just life.  It's busy, it's stressful, sometimes not so fun, other times wonderful- it's my life, and I am blessed.  I enjoy being SO BUSY.  I don't know what I'll do when it slows down...will it?

So my kitchen sink started having issues on Monday night.  I didn't know there was a serious problem.  It was getting backed up, so I did what any normal person would do and got out the plunger.  I plunged and plunged.  Eventually, the clog drained & all seemed fine.  Not so.  Tuesday morning (on the way to Bible study) I got a text from Josh that said "Your mom said there is a problem with the drain, you better get home to check it out"  So, I called him to find out the issue.  He said my mom was basically incoherent and couldn't describe to him what was going on. *surprise surprise*  and he really couldn't tell if the issues was serious or not by talking to her.  So I called her.  She said everything 'appeared' normal.  Okay, good.  I'll go to Bible study and try to fix it when I get home...

Well-  I went to bible study, then went to the car dealership, then the store, and then got the kids from school.

I was trying to peacefully drive home. but...

By this time Jeremiah was screaming that his tummy hurt. The kids were nearly clawing each others eyes out for 'who knows what'   I knew Elijah had to be picked up from school at 5:30, with a screaming, sick 2 year old & a husband who had to work late- I knew this was a bad combo.  I had no dinner plans, and all of my meat was frozen. So I called my dad & Julie and asked them to pick Elijah up for me.  Thank goodness they were able, because when I got home I walked into a MESS.  I didn't take a picture, I couldn't.  I just threw everything down and started mopping.  Screaming baby included. (no I didn't mop Jeremiah- I just threw him down.)

After hours of mopping, dinner making, baby changing, bath giving, teeth brushing, story reading...Josh came home.  He realized the problem was greater than his ability to fix.  (although he is very good at solving all of our home problems)  He called various plumbing places, but roto rooter was the only one who could be here "first thing in the morning"

good-problem solved

Because I had to go to the store and buy crafts for Christians KG Fall party Wednesday, and I didn't have time to wait around all day for the plumber.

Got the kids up Wed. morning and took them to school.  Back home by 8:20.  Waiting.
it goes on...

They finally arrived, I don't even know what time it was, but I was not happy.  No shopping for me.  Had to go to school to get the kids, then get Abigail to practice for church program., get our van...oh man, there just aren't enough hours in the day.  If you say you are going to be somewhere at 9am, do me a favor, and be there!  
"By My Country, I Will Never Use Roto Rooter Again!" 
(i was not endorsed or paid by anyone to say that)


The party was great.  I have a knack for painting with people between the ages of 2-6. (odd, I know)  Jeremiah 'helped' me at the party.  We had a great time.  The original idea was to trace each child's arm and hand with brown construction paper to make the trunk, cut it out, then glue it to light blue paper.  Then make leaves using sponges & paint to decorate.  I'm not afraid of 5 year olds and paint.  They had fun, and I really enjoyed being in the class room.  I will never regret the decision to send the kids to Kingsway- they have THE BEST teachers, and they LOVE parental involvement, even if you have to bring a tag a long younger sibling with you.  I'm sure most schools are like this, but I am so pleased with our choice.  

Since it's Fall break, Abigail wanted to have a friend spend the night.  It's hard for us to get together with friends sometimes because we are not close to school.  I thought the kids would have fun making sugar cookies.  They had fun rolling, cutting, and decorating...but did they want to help clean up?  say what?

Oh yes, and here is my new van.  I LOVE it.  It is an 8 passenger.  We only need 7 (usually) but I can't decide whether to keep the 8th seat in permanently or not.  We didn't need a new van, because ours is still running-( with it's own issues, but thanks to my very competent husband, he is always able to fix it- he really is something...) but we wanted to be proactive.  Josh is using the old van for work, and we're going to save our car (Toyota corolla) for Elijah.  He is only13, but....time goes by quickly...and we want to be prepared.  The inside of this van is very luxurious (in my opinion) NO leather seats, but I figured the kids would pop holes in them anyway, so why bother?

Abigail, Aubrey, Isaac, Christian, and Jeremiah "gardening"

The fall party...yes, my pics are out of order- sorry.

Friday, October 5, 2012

hair cut

Life is going by so fast- I can't believe it's already October!  So much to say...I just don't have a whole lot of time to blog about my fascinating life anymore.  (like I ever really had time)  Truth is, I'm rarely on the  computer since I got my fancy phone and ipad.  (thanks Josh- I really do love them...)  I just haven't quite figured out the art of blogging from either.  I'm sure there are ipad blogging geniuses out there- but I'm not one of them.  Anyhow...

My pictures are out of order- but oh well.   Jeremiah decided to cut his hair.  It's not so bad.  I was giving the other boys hair cuts- he kept climbing up in the chair begging me to cut his hair.  I just wasn't ready to cut off those lovely blonde locks.  I gently said  "no Jeremiah, mommy will cut your hair soon, just not today" That was not the answer he wanted.  I finished cutting Christians hair, unplugged the clippers and proceeded to give him a bath.  Next thing I knew I heard Abigail yell "MOM!!!"  Jeremiah had plugged the clippers in and decided to give himself a haircut.  I was able to fix it- thankfully the guard was still on and he didn't end up with a bald spot!

He still looks cute though- just look at him.  He is nearly a twin of Elijah at this age.  I need to get a picture out so I can compare them.  So cute!

I have been able to enjoy a lot of time with the kids.  Even though they are in school all day, I spend a lot of time at the school- participating in things, going on field trips, etc... I really enjoy it.  Sending the kids to Kingsway was one of the best decisions we've ever made.  They have the best teachers, and I know they are being academically and spiritually challenged.  Recently I went on a field trip with Isaac to Eagle Creek.  They have built a new nature/learning center.  I highly recommend it- very nice.  Isn't Isaac a handsome young man?

We went to my dads after church last week to celebrate my birthday.  For some reason, my dad thinks allowing a 13 year old to pull around his 4 siblings  on a tractor is perfectly legitimate...Perhaps- but it scared me to death.  They are all alive though. :)

And here is Mr. Curly Locks on my birthday- just days before he took the clippers to his hair.  I suppose he did need it cut, but I want him to be my baby forever.  I guess that is not possible.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Back to school

I am petrified.  No, that is probably a bad word to use in this context.   I have a memory of something being petrified...we were walking along a beach (me, my dad, and perhaps my brother) I don't recall which beach or what state- but we came upon a large tree that had washed up to the shore.  It was beautiful and grotesque- out of place, but not...I loved it.  My dad explained to me that it had been petrified.  I was young, probably 8 or 9.  I thought- was it scared?  Scared was the only word I could tie to "petrified"  trees can't be scared...I was a little confused. 

I am a dork.  I love to listen to WFYI's "A Way With Words"  it comes on Saturday afternoons right after "Car Talk"  Now I've revealed how much of a dork I really am.  In the above mentioned radio show, people call in about grammar questions, dialect questions, word meaning questions, etc...and the hosts graciously do their best to answer these questions.  Where am I going with this?  Oh yes- petrified.  What it really means.
transitive verb
: to convert (organic matter) into stone or a substance of stony hardness by the infiltration of water and the deposition of dissolved mineral matter
: to make rigid or inert like stone:
a : to make lifeless or inactive : deaden <slogans are apt to petrify a man's thinking — Saturday Review>
b : to confound with fear, amazement, or awe <a novel about an airline pilot that will petrify you
Thus, in reality I've probably never been petrified.  But, it's a fun word, right? 
I've decided I'm going to go back to school to pursue the Nursing degree that I began what seems like eons ago.  (really just over 13 years, but that's a long time)  And I'm a little overwhelmed.  Not petrified.  I am certainly not deadened by the thought- in fact, very much alive.  I have been thinking about this for YEARS, but the time has never seemed right.  Why now? I don't just seems right.  I know- I have 5 kids.  I have a husband who puts in long hours.  I drive my kids to/from school which eats up almost 2 hours of my day. I like to keep a clean, orderly home, I like to make meals from scratch, I keep on top of my laundry, my kids are involved in activities, I spend time playing games with my kids, doing homework, etc... We are involved in church, I have a 2 year old...(and he is a handful!)  

I quit school when I was pregnant with Elijah.  Josh and I got married young.  I was only 19. We were both full time college students working full time- life was good. I was making good grades, as was he.  We were both working 2nd shift and ate lots of Hot Pockets,.  Then I got pregnant- we both felt incredibly blessed and happy.  But I was so sick.  Working was difficult- school was even more difficult.  So in the middle of the spring semester I had to call it quits.  I just couldn't do it.  I always held the thought that I would go back.  But I had my baby, life took over... and you know...I had a lot more babies.  

I've wanted to be a nurse for a long time.  I ALWAYS wanted to be a mommy.  I knew from the beginning  of my pregnancy that I wanted to stay home with my baby as much as possible.  Josh was 100% okay with this, and did all he could to enable me to do that.  He has always appreciated the long hours I put into our family.  He still does. 

But I've come to a point in life where I feel like I have a "little" extra time.  Come on...I only have 1 kid at home with me :)  I've got all the time in the world!  I have people who will support me in this- so now is the time.  Right now, I'm only going to go part time.  There will come a time I will have to be full time, but by that time, Jeremiah will be in school full time.  I will start school in January, and your prayers will be much appreciated.  2 of my classes are online (hopefully I can do a lot on line.)  My dad and Julie (stepmom, for those of you who don't know) have graciously decided to watch Jeremiah 2 days per week for a few hours so I can do this!  It just so happens that one of the classes I need this semester starts at 8am- which is 10 minutes after I have to drop the kids off at school.  But no worries, because class meets less than 2 minutes from the kids school and about 5 minutes from my dad & Julies house, so it seems to be working out perfectly! 

I am very thankful to my husband who has encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and my family who are willing to make a few sacrifices to help me along this journey.  I think it will take me about 4 years to get a 2 year degree- but I have to move like a snail, because I DO have 5 kids!  Perhaps I will eventually get my bachelor's- I don't know what I will do.  But for now, I'm going- and I won't be petrified. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A poem by Abigail for Elijah


A wonderful big brother,
Who gives everyone his care
A fabulous big brother
Who always shares
He is growing up
Already is thirteen
But no matter what happens
He'll mean a lot to me
He shows his patience and his kindness
By playing games with me
He is a wonderful big brother
As you can plainly see

Sunday, September 16, 2012

For Elijah

Elijah turned 13 on Saturday.  I can't believe I am the mother of a teenager!  For his birthday, Josh had a nice idea to have some special people in his life write something for him about how we see his character traits developing, and how these traits will be helpful as he moves into adulthood.  I wrote something, as well as Josh, my dad, Julie (Nana) aunt Lisa, and Abigail.  I plan to share these things on my blog- today I will share what I wrote.  It's a little lengthy, but hey, I'm his mommy and he's my first born son!  I plan to share these things over the course of a few posts.  

My sweet Elijah- 13 years old.  I just can’t believe it;  where did the time go?  I remember when I found out I was going to have my first baby.  I was overjoyed!  I was so excited to become a mommy, although I had no idea what exactly that would involve.

You were a little late in arriving.  Due on Labor Day, you decided not to join us until September 15th.   Words can not describe the love I felt for you when I first held you in my arms.  You were such a precious baby, and I loved you so much. 

We brought you home from the hospital and sat you down in the middle of your bedroom.   We weren’t sure what to do next!  So, I picked you up and sat in the rocking chair with you, sang you little songs, read you books, and fed you.  That’s pretty much what we did for the first 6 months of your life. 

Dad worked from 3-11 when you were little, so we spent a lot of evenings alone together.  I’d put on one of my favorite CD’s and hold you.  We’d dance around the house together and I’d sing.  You loved it- you used to giggle so much. 

It was quite obvious that you were an intelligent young man.  Even as a small baby we could see it.  You had a very large vocabulary before you were even one.  By the time you were 2, you were able to write your own name!  I thought it was perfectly normal, until the neighbor came out and saw you scratching out the letters E L I in sidewalk chalk.  She exclaimed, but he’s only 2!

When you were in the pre -school years (before Abigail was born) we played a lot of games together.  But your favorite game was the guessing game.  I would draw a picture and you would guess what it was, then I would write the word out for you.  I learned this game from grandpa.  This is probably why you are such a good speller now- language just came so easily to you.

You have developed into such a wonderful young man.  I could make a list of all of the wonderful things you’ve done, and the ways in which I’ve been blessed by you, but I can’t because I think the list would be too long and nobody else would have a chance to talk.  So I’ll just highlight a few points.

I remember when Abigail was born.  You were so excited to have a baby sister.  You loved her so much, and were so gentle with her.  You always shared all of your toys with her and tried to include her in your play- even though she was so much younger than you.  You loved to build things with blocks.  You tried really hard to let Abigail be a part of it¸ but she had a bad habit of knocking your towers down.  You tried not to get angry and you’d  instruct her in the correct way of building things.  This is a character trait in you that I continue to see.  You enjoy teaching people new things, and you get excited about learning and helping others learn. 

Another thing that sticks out in my mind is when Isaac joined our family.  Again, you were very happy to have another sibling, this time a baby brother.  I remember a time you read him a story.  He loved animals, so you chose a book with a lot of animals in it.  You were describing the animals to him, and telling him all about your favorite animal, the Elephant.   I remember this because I was in the middle of cooking dinner and Isaac was being a little fussy.  He needed someone to entertain him while I finished making dinner.  You didn’t complain a bit that I asked you to help me- you were happy to help.  You are a helpful young man, and always willing to help me do things, especially when you see I have a real need.  This is something I really appreciate about you.  I know you will continue to be helpful.

Something that continuously sticks out in my mind is your compassion for people.  You once wrote an essay in 2nd grade about how you thought abortion should be illegal, and when you grew up you were going to be like Abraham Lincoln, but instead of abolishing slavery, you were going to abolish abortion.  Although you didn’t know the specifics of the subject matter, you were smart enough to know that abortion hurt babies, and you didn’t like that.

I also see your compassion in the ways you treat your siblings, (especially Christian and Jeremiah) when they get hurt or they are sad.  You’re not afraid to give them a hug when they need one.  That is a really good quality.  Everyone needs compassion.

You’re also a very passionate person, meaning, you are very outspoken about certain issues- especially when you feel like a person has been wronged.  I see this as a quality that is good, but needs a little fine tuning.  It’s good to stand up for your rights and the rights of others. 

You’re a great public speaker.  Anyone who has ever heard one of your speeches, or seen you give a demonstration can attest to that.  You are clear, concise, and not afraid to be in front of a crowd.  You demonstrate a lot of confidence in this area.  This is a great quality to have, and one that you will use throughout your life

You are a teenager now, and before  I know it, you will be an adult making all sorts of adult decisions.  You are going to do well in life because of the character traits that you are developing.  Most importantly, you understand that the only way to live a good life is to have a solid rock to stand on, and that rock is Jesus Christ.  You understand the value of the Bible.  You are kind, compassionate, intelligent, considerate, helpful, creative, and so much more.  I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you- I know it will be good.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

just some stuff

The pictures you see will be out of order.  I'm not in the mood for trying to move them around, so oh well...I'm sure my huge fan base (ha ha)  won't care if they are out of order anyway :)  Busy busy around here, as usual.  I had a wonderful post brewing in my mind about some deep stuff, but I have a headache and my tailbone hurts like crazy, so I'll save it for another day.  For those of you who may not know this I fell about 2 weeks ago on my tailbone.  I think I may have done something terrible to it, but I didn't go to the doctor because there is nothing they can do anyway.  So- it was finally starting to feel a little better when last night I was trying to relax outside.  A swarm of mosquito's came to attack me and suck my blood, or possible give me West Nile.  So I sprung from my seat to run in the house.  At that point I managed to trip over BOTH the scooter AND the skateboard, thus falling on my already fragile tailbone.  OUCH.  And I mean OUCH!!

Life has been crazy busy, as usual.  The kids are all enjoying school.  Christian is beginning to like it a lot.  (major answer to prayer!)  I do a lot of driving, but it's worth it.  Since Elijah is in the play, he often has to practice after school until 5pm.  There is no way I am picking Abigail, Isaac, and Christian up at 3:15, driving  home, (it's almost a 30 min drive one way) then turning around to pick Elijah up.  So, we have been spending a lot of time at the Washington Township (Avon) Park.  I don't know what we're going to do if it ever rains, or when the weather gets cold... guess that's when I'll start calling my dad more :)  He brings Elijah home for me sometimes, which is very nice.

We had a nice Labor Day weekend.  I think there should be a 3 day weekend at least twice a month.  I don't think Josh gets enough time off work.  Americans are worked to death!  Other countries get much more vacation time, and they have found in numerous studies that people who get more time off work are much more productive!  

Josh decided to build a birdhouse with the kids (mostly Elijah because table saws and 2 year olds don't mesh)  The kids want to build a bunch of them and try to sell them...any takers?  $15.00 each.  So far they've only completed one birdhouse.  They want to take it around in the wagon door to door and try to sell it to our neighbors.  We'll see how that goes.

Here it is before paint.  It can house just about any bird that enjoys living in a birdhouse. It even has a nifty place on the side that you can open to clean the birdhouse out.  

Working on the birdhouse.  Good thing they have their safety goggles on!  That's one thing Josh learned from Norm Abrams.

We planned to have a cookout.  Josh made grilled pork tenderloin and it was delicious!  We couldn't eat outside, but they still cooked it outside.

Since there was no thunder or lightning, I allowed the kids to play in the rain.  They had fun!  They love any opportunity to take their shirts off.  (not Abigail of course!)

Random picture of the park we go to about 3 days per week while we wait for Elijah.  The kids might be getting a little tired of it, but I tell them if we don't go to the park we'll be sitting in the hot car at the school waiting.  They prefer the park.

Josh helping Abigail touch up the birdhouse.

Jeremiah reading a book all by himself.  "I read it myself mommy!"  He has it memorized, so it's almost like he's reading.  He is precious.

Christian with yet another Lego set.  This boy LOVES Legos!  (just like all of his brothers)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 31, 2012

a new day

A new day.

I'm glad I get a new day, every day.

A new day to make things better, to make things right.  Do I do that?  Not always.   But I'm thankful I at least I have the opportunity.

The Lord has blessed me beyond measure.  I don't thank Him enough.  He is the God who provides all I need and much, much more.  I take things for granted.

Last weekend we went to Eagle Creek.  I'm just getting around to posting a few pictures because quite frankly, I've been in a little pit. My knee hurts, I did something terrible to my tailbone...just been feeling kind of gloomy.  And to top it off, I had a minor accident today (nobody was hurt)  But I'm sure my insurance rates are going to go up because of it.  That might hurt.

I have a great family.  I really do.  Having 5 kids can be, well, stressful at times.  I think I handle it fairly well, but I want to handle it better than just 'fairly well' I want to be an exceptional parent.  I really do have exceptional kids, so they deserve nothing but my best.  My best is not your best though, and sometimes that is where my problem lies.  I compare.  Mothers are so guilty of this.  So I will try to not compare- I will just do my best to be the best wife and mother I can be.  Anyway... here are some fabulous pictures.

Josh and some boys hitting the trails.  This one was a little dangerous. The fence broke off at times and opened to a large ravine just waiting for a 2 year old to plummet off of.

Eagle Creek.  Hopefully the water levels will get back to normal soon.

Christian found a walking stick.  I think he was beating things with it.

Isaac in a tree

This is just a random picture of me and Josh.  Twins.  He's my best friend.

Abigail in the tree...she is a serious tree climber.  She probably would have gone to the top had we allowed her.

Jeremiah with his walking stick.  As you can see, he is trying to break it.

Elijah was at his friends birthday party this day, so he was not with us.  It was odd to not have him along.  He is almost 13- his birthday is in just a few short weeks.  I know he's not "old" but I am becoming more aware that sooner than I think, he will be grown up and living apart from us.  It's a concept I can't really comprehend right now- but I'm beginning to see glimpses, and it scares me;  but also makes me feel excited about what the future holds for my kids.  What are these people going to become?  What great things will they accomplish in life.  I am already proud of them, and I'm sure the best is yet to come.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

oh man-

I started a blog post and I don't have any pictures to post, and I just realized it's 2:09 and I have to leave in 30 minutes to get some of the kids from school, take them to the park, have a snack, then go back & get the remaining kid from school... busy.

I know- I could be less busy.  I could make my life easier.  I could send my kids to public school (which is fine) where they would ride the bus and I wouldn't have to live the life of a taxi cab driver, but I love their school, so I will sacrifice.

A lot is going on lately.  My kids just got over being SUPER SICK with this ridiculous germ that kept circulating.  They are all fine now, and praise GOD I didn't get sick- Josh was out of town last week when they were all sick :(  Taxing on mommy, but just another lesson in life.  What was the lesson?  Oh- yes- life isn't EASY.

Christian is adjusting to kindergarten.  It's been a little tough on him (long day for a little guy!) but he is making friends and beginning to enjoy it.  Big Bunny (his best friend stuffed animal) goes to school with him every day.  I'm thankful he has a teacher who allows this. I've also been eating lunch with him a lot, which helps.

Isaac & Abigail are doing great- they are so happy to be back in school.  hmmm...what does this say about me?  I'm kidding, I know it's nothing personal, they just love school.  That is a very good thing!

Elijah auditioned for the school musical.  They are doing "The Little Mermaid, Jr."  He got the part of Flotsam.  He didn't want to audition because the musical sounded "girly" but I encouraged him for a few reasons.  Many of his friends were auditioning, he has a fantastic memory, a good stage presence, and I thought the responsibility would build some extra character.  Many kids tried out, and out of 150, he is one of the 20ish to have a speaking and singing role.  I'm proud of him.

If I didn't mention it in another post?? Josh got a new job!  He is very excited about it.  He is back in sales, but he doesn't have to do much traveling outside of IN.  No, he's not selling vacuum cleaners door to door, so don't worry.  He won't be knocking anytime soon.  He works for a distributorship selling electircal, pneumatic, and hydraulic products to major manufacturers like GM, etc... He's just not the type to sit behind a desk. I'm proud of him.

Okay- better go pack that snack now and get a certain baby up from his nap.  I can't believe he took one!  Lately he has been protesting.  Have a blessed rest of the week!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


It's been so ridiculously dry around here.  I like walking through lush, green grass...feeling the dew on my bare feet- watching the lightning bugs light up the dusky sky.  Not so this summer.  I saw one lightning bug, and I think it was lost.  I haven't felt dew in the morning- not once.  My grass is brittle, with a needle like quality. The earth itself feels like a brick. When I go for jogs, I regularly see birds dead on the side of the road. "Have they been hit by a car?"  I wonder.  No.  I think they have died of heat stroke and dehydration.

But then God always makes me aware of what is lovely.  These precious little Zinnias have had the tenacity to withstand the drought.  When the corn didn't make it...when the beans didn't make it...when the herbs didn't make it..when the squash withered  away....when the cherry tomatoes more closely resembled crab apples, these little girls survived.  I have been cutting them and getting an occasional bouquet to dress up my breakfast bar.  It's the little things in life that bring us joy.

On another note, "summer" is officially over in the Masquelier household, and it is now "Fall"  we all know school starts in the Fall, so it must be Fall :)  Here is a picture of Isaac on his first day of 2nd grade.  He really didn't want me to take it because he was embarrassed.  Note that I don't have a picture of Elijah or Abigail on their first day because they wouldn't let me take one.  Silly.                                  


Christian was a little nervous, as he has never been away from home for an extended amount of time- but he did great.  He enjoys school, but he also likes being home.  He has a very small class, only 12, so that is good.  His teacher has plenty of time to do fun stuff with the kids.

Well- all was going well, and then something terrible struck the household.  First Jeremiah started feeling bad, so I took him to the Dr.  She said his throat looked bad, but so did his ears.  She gave me an antibiotic for an ear infection (he is notorious for ear infections)
He is never really this cuddly anymore- and NEVER falls asleep during the day.  I knew he was sick!  

Then Christian got sick.  He ended up with a fever of 105.  Took him to the Dr, and it was strep.  He started taking antibiotics, but didn't seem to improve.  He ultimately wound up in the hospital....poor guy.  He needed IV fluids, a mega dose of antibiotics, and a steroid to reduce swelling.  He got dehydrated from having such a high fever for a long time. All of the other kids wound up getting strep, but they are all doing better now.  Thank God!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I found a journal...

I found a journal.  It was buried deep in the corner of the storage room.  It wasn't really a journal- and it didn't say "PRIVATE" on it, nor did it say "DIARY", nor did it have a lock.  Just a simple notebook, green in color- new-ish.  So I opened it to see if there was any spare paper.  Because that is what I was really looking for.  When you have 5 kids, paper, pens, pencils, scissors, etc...can disappear quickly.  And I needed a piece of paper to write down a few notes.

Inside I found some wonderful reminders, all handwritten by my daughter.  She must have written these things down between the ages of 7-9 because of the progression in her handwriting.  She's always reading- and always writing.  I don't know what the future holds for her, but she is such a bright girl.  She writes lots of poems, which are beautiful, but that is not what struck me most.  What struck me was all of the bible verses she had written in this journal.  I didn't make her write these, they weren't from her church 'quiet time' papers, and they weren't her school verses either.  Just verses that she found important enough to write down and consider.  I'll share a few.

"I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone Oh LORD make me dwell in safety."

(We used to say this verse a lot when she had trouble sleeping)

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  (col 3:13)

(we all have trouble with that one, don't we?)

" Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe"   (Philippians 2:14-15)

(we are Christs representatives, are we doing a good job at that?)

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment, the second is like it;  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang the Law and the Prophets."  (mat.22:37-40)

(how are we doing on that one?)

"Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
(gal 6:9)

There are many more.  I am so thankful that Abigail is thinking about these things- no she is not perfect.  But she knows what is right and what is wrong.  She does not always choose right, none of us do.  But if we can meditate on what is good, what is pure, what is right- then just maybe we'll be better people for it.  I love my Abigail, and I am so blessed to call her my daughter.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A very busy week!

Wow- last week was busy.  Monday morning we got up very early to head to Holiday World.  We had a lot of fun!  The kids were super excited about going.

Josh took Christian and Jeremiah to ride some of the smaller rides in the morning, while I took the older 3 to ride some roller coasters.  Then we met in the water park, (FUN! it was over 100 degrees Monday) 

Tuesday we recovered.  Tuesday was also Abigail's 9th birthday! 

Having your birthday near the 4th allows for lots of celebration.  Friday she had a friend sleep over, and I took them to the movies and Steak n Shake.  Tuesday we had ice cream and she opened some of her gifts.  Wednesday we had a small family party (for Christian and Abigail) Christians birthday is on July 5th! 

I made a fresh strawberry cake with Abigail's help.  I found a great recipe that didn't call for strawberry jello.  I have made strawberry cake in the past, but the strawberries tend to sink to the bottom.  This one was perfect!  The cake is for Abigail and Christian.  Don't mind the feminine color and decoration.  It's difficult to make strawberry frosting that isn't pink,  and decorating with pureed strawberries is no easy task.  This was the best I could do!

Happy 5th birthday Christian!  He had to 'celebrate' his 5th birthday with a 12 hour van ride to New York.  That is okay though, because he opened his gifts on the 4th- and when we got to grandma and grandpa Pattingtons they had a birthday party set up for Christian and Abigail!

At around hour 7 in the vehicle, I decided to sit in the middle of the two younger boys in the very back seat to read to them.  I was tired of the fighting.  They did pretty well...but there is only so much a person can take when squished in the back seat like a sardine.  After reading we started playing with the phone.  I drew a little picture of myself in the back seat.  I think I was beginning to go a little insane.  I'm better now.

We arrived! Elijah and Isaac with Great grandpa & grandma Pattington.  It's always nice to visit with them.

Jeremiah and Christian with Andrea, Josh's cousin. 

Time for Uno.  Better keep Jeremiah away!

Josh's grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, so their church had a party for them.

Hillsboro Baptist Church. Josh's grandpa has been the pastor here for 30+ years.  A little country church. 

We went to visit Uncle Earl and Aunt Linda.  They have a small farm.  The boys are about to chase some chickens.

Poor chickens...

Jeremiah liked the dog the best.

We fed some horses.  They had mesh masks over their eyes to keep the flies out.  Good idea.

Afterwards, we went boating and on a picnic.  I didn't dare take any pictures on the boat in fear that one of the children would fly off while I was snapping my picture.  They had lots of fun!  Earl parked the boat in the middle of the lake and the kids jumped off the boat- a lot!  I don't think they would have gotten tired of  doing that!

There are a few ice cream places within walking distance of Josh's grandparents.  The kids really like the idea of having an ice cream shop they can walk to! 

Now it's time for the long drive home.  Jeremiah and big doggy were all tired out!