Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Crazy Gang

The Cousins Unite
"We're going to our cousin's house?"
"For how long?"

"Two and a half days."

"We're gonna spend the night??"


"Yes! Whoohoo! Yea! Awesome, yayaaya. When?"

Brian and Amy had a beautiful renewal of their vows ceremony which you can see pictures of here, and then went on a second honeymoon. Jason and I got the privilege of taking the kids from the ceremony back to their place for the weekend. It was non-stop fun, and we loved every minute of it.

At times I had a glimpse of life with Jon&Kate plus 8. It was more than Adiah's beautiful Almond eyes smiling at me, it was the pressure of finding shoes for 14 little feet every time we went anywhere, pouring 7 cups for meal time, preparing food for 7 different tummies, and getting 14 little eyes to sleep at night. But, since my crew was mostly independent and self supporting, I could see how in a few years Jon and Kate are going to come up out of the exhaustion and really enjoy their large family.

First thing Saturday Jason left with Amy's Dad for the day to go install surround sound stereo equipment, which left me all alone with the Crazy Gang. OOh, that works good. Ok, I'm changing the name of my post title, and that's going to be my new name for all seven together, The Crazy Gang! Anyway, the crazy gang and I set off to Hobby Lobby, (yes I'm insane) and bought supplies to repurpose Amy's old kitchen table and 5 chairs into a craft table for their game room. No, keeping up with 7 kids isn't enough for me to do, I have to add more to my plate! The girls had a blast working on it all weekend and Aunt Gina had to keep reminding herself that it was a craft table and didn't have to be perfect. Niece Emily (a perfectionist to some degree herself) was perfect at reminding me over and over of this fact which helped alot.

Everyone had fun all over Brian's property. Jason and Emily enjoyed chasing each other through courses on the dirt bikes, Emily took everyone for a ton of rides and games of Taxi, which involves driving the ATV Golf Cart over hills and up the drive way. They also took turns swinging on the natural vine rope swing on the side of the house, that is until Uncle Jason took a turn and BROKE it!

Swimming is always a favorite past time and the kids made no shortage of the opportunity. Once Jason returned on Saturday evening, and all day after church on Sunday the kids took turns jumping in the pool and helping me paint the table.

Saturday evening Jason made a spaghetti dinner for everyone and we ate outside. The kids loved it and Ridgedon said, "Uncle Jason makes the best spaghetti ever." Don't worry Amy, it was your jar off the shelf, and your ambiance that created the mood, so the glory is all yours! Adiah sat in my lap and ate hers, and mine, and by the end we were both covered in noodles and sauce. It was fun, like finger painting!

Jason and I had to work on Sunday morning leading Children's Worship and we did an awesome job of getting everyone ready and making it to Sunday school on time. All of our friends who had prayed so diligently for Adiah over the last couple of years were absolutely delighted to meet her and lay hands on her. She was in beautiful form smiling and cutting up for everyone. Thankfully Mimi showed up just before church started and she held Adiah in the back of the auditorium while Jason and I led worship. After a quick lunch at our favorite, Golden China, where many other patrons stopped by to tell us how impressed they were that we had so many kids and they were all so well behaved (Go Us!) we headed back south. Mimi got her suit on too and everyone had fun swimming.

The weekend actually went by too quickly and I wasn't ready to turn them over to Amy's parents!! We were having so much fun, but it was time to share, and I had to be a big girl and make the right choice! :)

They really are the best of friends and have so much fun together. They still have their tiffs, well the girls do, but they handle them like siblings do, and get over them so quickly. Their hearts are so beautifully tuned toward each other and you can see it all over them when they're together. God has really blessed this generation of children with a strong support system that I know they'll cherish throughout their lives.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Generation of Scouting Begins

Our Cub Scout

The pride was all over Jason's face last night as Nathan put on his first uniform in Boy Scouts. I didn't have a clue, and I was frustrated after several hours of sewing on patches, but Jason grabbed that belt and cinched it up just so, and rolled that kerchief perfectly, and Nathan just stood there in awe of the "cool uniform" Dad was transfixing onto him before his eyes.

He ate everything up at the meeting. He loved every activity, every silly song, and especially receiving the belt loops and pins he earned at Day Camp this last summer.

He earned a ton, but they only had one on hand to give him because his den leader didn't enter his achievements into the system for them to purchase all of his things in time. Jason is his den leader. No one took the time to explain any of this to Jason and he kind of fell into the position (by destiny probably) and so he's trying to play catch up and learn things quickly. Until last night, Nathan was his only den member. On the way home from the Pack meeting Jason said, "Man, that really helps me respect my dad a whole lot more. Now that I understand all the prep and planning that goes into it all, it's overwhelming."
Speaking of Scout Steve, aka Grandpa, he was the amazing rescuing trooper this past summer. Jason couldn't get off work to take Nathan to Day Camp, and mommy had other things going, so Grandpa drove from Farmers Branch to Keller, every morning for five days, picked Nathan up, and took him out in the heat and sun from 8 until 4! Nathan went on and on about how much fun he had, and how he loved spending time with Grandpa! Here are some pics that never got posted from that adventure

Nathan commented that since Grandpa helped him earn his tons of belt loops at camp this summer Grandpa might want to come to the next meeting and help him put them on his belt. Nathan thinks that's the coolest part! So how about it Grandpa, up for another drive to Keller?

I'm excited the boys are going to have a place to bond and grow together and do "man stuff" and Brooklyn and I are going to take advantage of pack and den meeting times to go get our nails done and shop!

Friday, August 29, 2008


This is going to be a very strange entry because I can't reveal details yet, but I just have to get it written down so I can digest it here, and this is my only form of journaling lately so here it goes.
I have a relationship in my life that is very important to me but I can't ever seem to make any deep head way in it. I've known for awhile that the change that needs to happen first and importantly is in my heart so I have been praying diligently for God to open everything I have up for this person.
And God, in His infinite compassion and love, allowed me in on a secret only He had access to, while I was with this person several weeks ago. I told Jason on our way home what God had told me and Jason kind of brushed it off, hearing from God can be a tricky thing sometimes anyway, right?
Well, last night we got a call from this person who wouldn't you know it, had something to share with us.
I know in my soul that God revealed that to me personally so that I would know He is listening to my heart and is making a path to true intimacy with this person, and that He knew I needed a little assurance that it was going to happen at some point. . .
I love being intimately in a walk with the God of all knowledge, all power, all access, and all love. My God is not silent, He speaks Life, love, grace, mercy, compassion, correction, and consequence into my life moment by moment to encourage, steer, and love on me. Nothing I pray over is to insignificant for Him to respond to.
I'm excited about the future. I can't wait to see all the cool oportunities that God arranges for this person and I to appreciate each other, and learn to really value each other and enjoy our relationship for a lot of great years to come. And I know that God in His perfect timing will keep me patient while the old foundation our relationship is built on is shored up with new piers and a stronger one layed down that will be true and lasting.
Thanks God, you did it again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes!

First Day of School!
The kids had a fabulous first day of school. Even the unusually long line at the stop sign couldn't damper the mood. We have a new crossing guard, who God bless him, hasn't figured things out just yet. The kids made good use of the time by making silly faces at each other. Once in the building, the air conditioner was out, and it was BLAZING hot! Still couldn't cool the excitment of the kids! Corban and I got back in the car and prayed specifically for the school AC to work and for it not to disrupt everyone's first day fun, and it came on an hour later. By the time we dropped Corban off at 11:30 the building was cool, but all the poor teacher's hair do's were still flat against their heads! Nathan jumped right into his class, and at the end of the day said having his own desk, vs a table in Kindergarten, was the highlight of first grade. Jason forgot his laptop which gave him the perfect excuse to run home just in time to take Corban to school with me for his first day of Kindergarten! He held my hand tightly the first 5-10 steps up the sidewalk, but then let go and took off running towards the gym. He was excited!

One of the things I loved about last year was that Brooklyn's lunch period was the same time as Nathan's drop off. So I would drop Nathan in the gym and run into the lunchroom next door and joke around with Brooklyn and her friends for a minute, and leave. It was wonderful just to see her for a second in the middle of the day, and her friends enjoyed it too. I was a litte sad not to have that again this year, but Corban looked into the lunchroom on our way to his class, and sure enough he spotted Brooklyn at the closest table to the door! Her lunchtime is even more convienant this year, instead of being at the tailend of her lunch, hers starts at Corban's drop off time so I'll be able to go sit down with her and eat together more! It's awesome! The time between midday drop off, and end of day pick up flew by, and all too quickly it was time to go get them. We're fortunate to have carpool with four other families, but on the first day we all like to take and pick up on our own. The kids were thrilled with our treat, a trip to Sonic, and couldn't stop chattering about their awesome day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have the best kids on the planet!

My kids all left to spend the night with friends last night and it got me to really noticing all the little things I take for granted with them around. Usually the noise level in our home is so distracting it's hard to take in anything else. I loved having a night off and a day like today to make headway on work and house, but I missed their sweet goodnight hugs, and I missed Corban coming in and snuggling with me this morning, and I even now miss their arguing and whining coming down the hall to get me to take their side in whatever's going on between them, which never happens, and yet, they always try. . . So, I thought I would take this quiet moment to show you the life of luxury I live in . . . my kids are always hanging up new posters, and leaving trinkets for me to find, and it makes my life absolutely glorious.
Let's start with one of my favorites from Brooklyn. . .

This one was taped above our bed one day and for those of you playing along at home the poster is divided in half by the blue and purple line across the middle and Brooklyn has provided the key with mom and dad respectively on their sides of the line. So the top portion is me. Everyone deserves to know others think they're buetifule and genorouse, isn't that precious? And Daddy, what Dad doesn't want their children to think they're cool, and in case you didn't know, yes, daddy's bald.
And Nathan's wake up message for us

This one is taped on the outside of our shower door facing in so that we read it while we're in the shower. We Rock, and Jesus listened to headphones on the cross. Don't you just love the sound waves reverberating out from the 80's style muffs? Man! Jesus knows how to rock out!
And Corban's messages with Brooklyn as his scribe
Jason had taken the kids to the specialty pet shop on this day and so Corban drew the $6,000 monkeys swinging through all of his words.

This is a handmade maraca from Nathan so I could play myself some music while I work and a clay M for me to keep from Brooklyn ( she put it in the freezer before giving it to me so that it would stay hard)!

I think all their hard work has inspired me. I'm going to design some killer cups today, and I think I'll go hang a few posters in their room before daddy picks them up on his way home from work!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Miscellaneous Summer Thoughts

The kids are really growing up and changing, and there's a marked difference in our home lately. Although they're still normal, fighting, annoying, picking, poking, etc at each other incessantly, they have turned an imaginary corner of maturity. When it's time to put away the dishes, I suddenly have 6 hands willing to put away the pots and pans, sort the silverware, or stack the bowls on the shelf. When the laundry is laid out from the dryer, three little kids grab their piles and head off to their rooms to put them away. The groceries get put away family style, the washing machine get fought over from little fingers "wanting" to load it, pour the soap, and push the buttons. Brooklyn cooks most lunches, (fabulous I tell you, just fabulous,) the dishes usually make their way to the sink from the table without my help, and I've witnessed the boys actually wiping their pee drops off the seat without Brooklyn and I having to yell at them first! It's miraculous. I think I began to notice the change about four weeks ago when the kids got it in their heads that they wanted new backpacks for school. They were perusing the flood of catalogs we get and oohing and awing over them. I told them they would have to earn the money to buy them, at which time Brooklyn created a chart with different activities that would earn a quarter, 50 cents, or even a dollar for the terrible things like cleaning the garage with daddy, or picking up someone else's mess. Immediately, when I asked one of them to do this, or do that, instead of an onslaught of whining like I was used to hearing, I heard strange noises like, "Sure!" and "Yes, ma'am" coming out of their mouths. Or even more shocking, when I would say, "I need someone to pick up the living room," I actually heard, "I'll do it!" freely flowing from their mouths. And what's even more amazing, it hasn't stopped! It's been over a month now, and they still have a great attitude about helping out, doing for themselves, and taking on special projects. One day, I was sick of the dvd's spilling out from the tv cabinet, and the video game controllers spewing from the basket each night. So, I asked for two volunteers to pull everything out, make sure the correct dvd was in the right case, and to wind the controllers and reorganize them. Nathan and Brooklyn took on the job, which took them close to an hour to complete. Jason and I giggled at each other the entire time. Brooklyn: "This is so much easier to find movies to watch when they're organized, it's so good we're doing this." (As if she invented the idea) and Nathan: "I didn't know we had this many cool things, I'm so excited!" and on and on they talked back and forth. "Mom, the cabinet needs to stay like this from now on so we can find what we're looking for!" ("Really? What a novel idea" I'm thinking, or really I'm thinking, "Oh! Well, it's certainly me who messes it up, thanks for the instruction!) But guess what, it's been two weeks and that cabinet is still clean! Today Brooklyn bombarded me with request for this type of hook to organize this, or a shelf here for this, and they hauled in shelving units from the garage to organize their clothes for the week so they don't have to waste time picking them out every morning when school starts. To them, they've invented the idea of organization, and I'm going to let them think it, because then they own it and they keep it up!
It's really Brooklyn who's instigating all of the helpfulness and really maturing, the boys just enjoy following along, but I'll take whatever I can get! She's growing emotionally too. On several occasions lately she'll be in the middle of whining about something, and she'll stop, sit for a minute or two, and then say, "Mom, I'm sorry for ___________." PRAISE THE LORD! I still struggle with apologizing for my behavior in the heat of the emotion, and here she is practicing it at such a young age. It still catches me by surprise every time, and I feel convicted by her. Tonight the conversation went a little differently. On our way home from dinner she asked what we had going on tomorrow and I replied it was Sunday, to which she quickly blurted out, "I hate church." We immediately matched each other in the looks of shock on our faces, and she quickly got the saddest look on her face and said, "Oh, no, that's not what I meant. I mean, it's so hard going to two services, and class time, and I need to take a shower which means I'll have to get up really early, and I'm always tired." It was sweet to see how sad she was that her words were such that they could have been misinterpreted, she loves the Lord and our church family so much.
Speaking of getting up early in the morning. . . with gas prices as high as they are, we've cut some major corners. Giving up the Expedition has been the hardest on the kids who now fight over who has to sit in the middle. Inevitably we travel early in the morning or late at night when they're wanting to sleep, and having a door to lean on is a hot commodity. Corban lost on this morning, but took advantage of his sleeping brother anyway! Jason likes to be at work around 7, which means we all have to leave at 6:30 so we can drop him off, drop the kids off at Nana's and then I go on to my office. Thankfully, Jason's been a little lenient with us this summer and we've usually gotten to sleep in and leave at 7!

Here's the kids at Let's Jump one afternoon last week. It's a great indoor activity when it's blazing hot outside. Emmy and Evan joined us this go around, which means I now have to borrow their mommy's truck just to haul everyone. There have only been two occasions since giving up my SUV that I've run into an issue, and both times it's been over hauling Emmy and thankfully Erica has come to my rescue!

O.K. I think that catches me up with our summer. I've been entirely too busy and slowed down by a migraine to keep up the blogging, but I believe I'm back in the swing. Only thing left to do is complete my tagging assignment my sis-n-law Amy sent over a few weeks back and I'm good to go!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Swimming at "Leah's" House

Jason has a new coworker at work and we've had the honor of getting to know her and her husband recently because Jason has volunteered us to dogsit their dog two or three times over the last month when they've gone out of town. Leah is a precious Puggle that Ella adores having over because she has the energy to keep up with her! Dave and Jenn are recent Citi transplants here from Colorado, so we have enjoyed watching them learn to adjust to the Texas summer. As a thank you they invited us over to swim, cook out and watch a movie in their media room today.The kids loved the pool, we even threw Ella in for her first swim, which I can't say she really enjoyed. The dogs played non stop, covering themselves in mud and slober, while the kids swam and swam and swam. After dinner, we settled in to watch The Mummy. We made it half way through when Jason and I were slowly covered up by shaking children, at which point we decided to switch it off and turn on cartoons. Need to rent it I guess to see how it turned out . . . although since The Mummy 3 just came out, I guess they lived to explore another day. . .

Friday, August 1, 2008

Let's All Go to the Circus!

The kids had a wonderful time with Nana and Grandpa at the Ringling Bros Circus today. Corban went on and on about the human cannonballs and Brooklyn and Nathan loved it all. Nana having summers off (she's a teacher) is such a blessing for me and for the kids. Beacuse she and Steve are so willing to take them during the day a couple of times a week, I get to go into the office and get real work done, without worrying about the kids, and it's guilt free because I know they're having an amazing time at the grandparent's casa.
Speaking of Ruth, she celebrated her 60th birthday last Monday! She looks great for 60 doesn't she? Jason's siblings and dad threw a surprise birthday dinner for her at Cristina's last weekend, and she was so shocked! A lot of her friends from church showed up with hilarious cards and best wishes. The kids enjoyed picking out her cakes, and hand dipping stawberries to go on them. It was a truly family affair!