Monday, February 28, 2011

What to do???

With dinner done, everyone clean, dried, dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, stories read, and in bed, the kitchen clean, clean laundry put away, with more washing now, and Chris working...the thought comes, what to do now?

I thought about going to bed, but with the sheets I like in the washer, I am kind of waiting on them to finish.

Then I thought about getting a snack...but decided, since I am working at losing weight, eating out of boredom is not the best idea!

I thought about working on Ashley's scrapbook, for which I have about 100 pictures that are waiting to be put in it...but the idea of having to drag out all of the paper, etc, is not appealing to me now.

I decided to have some quiet time with God. It is very rare that the house is so still, and so quiet. While I do miss my wonderful husband, it really has been a nice evening!

Wow! I just realized that I have now made 48 blog posts this month! This is the most I have made in a single month!

Now that Chris is just getting home, it is time for me to get his dinner dished up! (So thankful for the crock pot that has kept his dinner nice and hot for him right now!)

All in all, it was a very nice, peaceful evening!

All About Me

It is hard to believe another month is coming to an end!

This has been an up and down kind of month...I had 1 really bad week, where I actually gained 3 lbs (I think it was a lot of water weight though)...but because of being really sick, it ended up being good as far as weight loss!

This month, my goal was to lose 12 lbs...I lost 15.5 lbs! (That is more than my baby weighs!)

For a weight loss since Nov. 20th of 55.9 lbs! (That is more than Callie and Justice together!)

And a total weight loss from my heaviest point of 77.9 lbs! (That is more than Anna weighs!)

All that weight definitely looks better on my children than it does on me, lol!

Other highlights this month:
* I got to go through my closet, get rid of clothes that are now too big, and pull out clothes from a box (that I packed leaving the Lake Stevens house!) of things that now fit!

* My wedding rings had gotten to the point of falling off when shaking my I had them resized. They now fit very nicely, and are 3/4 of a size smaller!

* One day, while doing my body test, Ashley said, "Wow, Mommy, you are getting really skinny!" Chris told me he can tell a difference, too! (Both of those really did made my day!)

* I no longer need the waist belt extender on my Ergo (baby carrying pack)!

My goal for March is to lose another 15 lbs!

Twins' embroidery projects

My twins really love doing anything creative. Right now, they are hard at work on embroidering the top of a lap quilt. Here is their progress so far! Aren't they so talented for 10 years old?! They hope to enter these quilts in the Evergreen State Fair in Aug.

Here is Anna's:

And Here's Bailey's:

Day 25: What you would find in my bag...

Oh, this is scary! You never know what you might find in my bag! Here is what is currently in my bag - which is actually a diaper bag!

2 pairs of pants and panties for Callie (just in case!)
6 diapers for Justice
8 diapers for Serenity
Change of clothes for J
Change of clothes for Seren
3 random bracelets (not even sure whose they are!)
26 cents
cell phone charger (not sure why this is in here!)
2 pictures from our last trip to the chiropractor that a couple of somebodies wanted to keep
1 small rock
1 candy cane
2 pieces of hard candy (one of them still in its wrapper!)
1 AFO chip from Callie's old pair of AFOs
3 empty plastic baggies
and 14 hair ties!

Maybe I should have gone through this earlier, lol!

Stylish Blogger Award

My friend Rachel has awarded me with the stylish blogger award! I used to see Rachel on a semi-regular basis, but am now glad I get to keep up with her and her precious family on her blog! Thank you, Rachel, for the award!

Here is Rachel's blog - not sure how this will work as her blog is private...

The rules to follow for those receiving the Stylish Blogger Award are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

7 things about myself...This is especially hard because I just did the 30 days of blog posts where I listed 30 things about myself, lol!

1. I am a sinner, who has been giving the gift of forgiveness from Almighty God of the Universe, Who Was and Is and Is to Come!
2. I have the best job in the world - I get to stay home, witness my children's milestones, dry their tears, celebrate their accomplishments and learn right along side my children! We get to learn how to be a team together!
3. I often get to the point between babies that I wonder if God will choose to bless us with another baby again...and even get sad that maybe it won't happen again! I also understand now just how short my child bearing years are, and want to give them ALL to God to use for His glory!
4. I was not raised in a christian home.
5. The 2 Bible characters I relate most to is 1.) tax collector in Luke 18:13 who beat on his breast in the temple saying, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" and 2.) Simon Peter, who was always speaking and acting before thinking through things...
6. While my mother may have made some exceedingly poor choices in her life, there is much that I learned from her and greatly admire about her!
7. I have truly amazing in laws, who genuinely love us and are the best grandparents to our children!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

4 months already?!

It is hard to believe that my Little Miss Serenity is already 4 months old! Wow! It almost doesn't even seem possible that 1/3 of the year has already passed! She is such a joy and a blessing!

She is currently 14 lbs, which means she has doubled her birthweight!

She loves to talk to us now. I am always amazed at how quickly babies learn things...such as conversation. She has learned that we take turns talking back and forth, and loves to communicate with us in conversation fashion!

She *can* roll from tummy to back, and has many times, but doesn't do it consistently, and I think it is still an accident when she does, lol!

She smiles and laughs a lot!

She is beginning to use her hands! She can bat at toys hanging above her and she can hold something (if we help her get it in her hands) and bring it to her mouth!

She has become much more interested in her surroundings! She will turn away from nursing to see the commotion going on behind her now. She enjoys being able to see, and will try to move herself so she can see better. She likes to be in her exersaucer.

Sleeping is going much better this month, too! She is now going 6-8 hours consistently each night, getting up to nurse, and going back down for another 4-6 hours! She is also taking 3 very predictable naps each day, which makes it much easier to get things done!

They change so fast in these early months...I cherish each moment I have with her. She is a welcome addition to our family!

Family Night!

We have really gotten out of the habit of doing these, but they really are so much fun and teach such great lessons, that we are back at it again!

My girls had a blast learning about contentment.
In the first game we played, there was a giant bowl of M&M's sitting on the coffee table. They got to go from the kitchen, through the living room, through the entryway and hallway and back to the kitchen, where they had a small individual bowl waiting. But they could only pick up one M&M at a time.

And there was a timer set to an unknown time. When the timer went off, if they were not right next to their bowl, they lost everything. They had to decided, are they content with what they have, or do they want to chance losing everything to get 1 more. Bailey and Callie were the only ones who were next to their bowls when the timer went off. Anna had just said, "One more and then I will be satisfied," and ran off as the timer went off! It made for a great object lesson in how much is enough!

Then we talked about the apostle Paul, who wrote a great deal about being content where you are...often while he was in jail. We went downstairs, in the dark, and talked about the conditions he faced and read some of his words about being satisfied whether he has much or little. We talked about all that we have, and how we might feel if it were all taken away all while enjoying some M&Ms. We ended our evening making and eating snow ice cream.

Day 24: Favorite Scripture Verse

I have here are some of them!

"For I know the plans I have for you," Declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11

Children are an heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward. Like mighty arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of your youth. ps. 127:3-4

These commandments that I have given you today, are to be on your hearts. You shall teach them diligently to your children when you sit at home, and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 6:5-6

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverend in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to be self controlled and pure, to be a keeper of their home, to be kind and to be subject to their own husbands so that the word of God would not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

The above verses, Psalm 32 and the entire book of Philippians are among my favorite passages!

What are your favorite verses?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 23: Something I crave a lot

SWEETS! Basically any kind of candy, chocolate, cookies, cakes, is a really bad thing!

Though I have noticed lately that the less I have it, the less I crave it - so maybe there is hope for me!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 22: What makes me different from others...

There are so many things that are unique about me...

Such as reading the Bible and doing what it says to the best of my ability and knowledge! I know that many others do this as well, but it isn't something that everyone does!

I have 7 children, whom I consider a joy and a blessing, and a privilege to stay home with and to homeschool!

I have an amazing husband, who supports me, and works hard to provide for our family!

I am a kinesthetic learner, who is better at math and science than reading and writing (spell check is one of my most used tools!)

It wasn't until I got out of school and started to homeschool my children that I found that I love learning, especially history and geography!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 21: A picture of something that makes you happy

My family makes me happy! Here are some pics that make me smile, that have not made it to the blog! I am so blessed by my family!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We now have a pillar of salt in the front yard!

After reading Genesis 19 today, my girls went out in the snow and made a pillar of 'salt' (actually snow). (This contains the passage where Lot's wife looks back at Sodom, and is turned into a pillar of salt.)

Day 20: Write a letter to someone

Dear Mom,

I hope and pray that you really are in a better place. I think of you often. I think of times we shared together, both the good and the bad. I miss you very much. I so wish you could have met the amazing children God has blessed me with! I think you would really have loved them! I wish I could ask you questions about when I was little as I see things my children do at times.

The twins are absolutely amazing! What an experience it is to watch them learn, grow and develop each and every day. They are so alike in so many ways, such as being able to make up a song on the spot, while singing together, and yet so different, too! Anna loves horses and gardening. Bailey loves anything that makes her feel more grown up, including sewing (oh, how I wish you were here to teach her - and me - how to sew!), embroidery, and taking care of the younger ones.

Ashley has an amazing imagination! She loves to play pretend with little things - the smaller the better! She can play pretend, (all by herself, if no one will join her!) for hours at a time! Ashley was asking me just yesterday about you, and if you would have liked to play pretend with her. I told her that you certainly would have!

Brianna loves to help! She is my shadow most of the time! She loves music and dancing. She also really enjoys playing board games!

Callie is a very special little girl. She was born at 31 weeks, and has cp because of mistakes the doctors made. She works so hard to do things that the rest of us take for granted! We do lots of therapy things with her each and every day. Callie loves to help out in the kitchen, and doing her school work (which is her therapy).

Justice is all boy! He is full of energy, and life, and loves playing with his big sisters! He also loves doing things that he understands, such as getting cups out of the cupboards and filling them with water! He knows that the cups are for water, so they must be filled! He loves eating, basically anything with meat in it or desserts! He enjoys people to chase him and tickle him. He took a long while to learn to walk (18 months!), but now he is unstoppable and running all over!

Serenity is such a sweet baby. I was thinking of you the other night as I held her, just how much you loved to hold little babies. She is quickly outgrowing the little baby stage, though. She loves to smile at people and coo and laugh We are working right now to keep her from sucking her thumb. We are giving her a binky instead. She is becoming happier by the day as she learns how to interact more!

Everyone enjoys going on field trips! We went to the zoo last week, and had a blast! I took pictures of everyone on the lion statues...which are really showing their age with cracks and even some missing pieces. I hope they restore them, again. All of my older 5 girls love to help in the kitchen, they love arts and crafts, the older 4 are in choir, the older 3 are in piano, Anna and Callie ride horses...they are each so different and unique...each so special in their own ways, and I am so blessed that God has given each of them to me!

I wonder though what you would think about my life and the choices I have made. Would you believe that I threw away 'so much potential' or would you be proud of me 'just' being a stay at home mom? There really isn't anything in the world that I would rather do than stay home with my children, homeschooling them, drying their tears, celebrating their accopmlishments and witnessing their milestones!

Marion and I got together a few years ago for your birthday to play cribbage in your memory. She thought that you would be very proud of me and my life...she said that my life is really what you had always wanted...though I only had 4 children at the time, lol! It still meant a lot to me that she said that.

Well, it is time to get everyone going with their studies for the day. I hope to see you again one day.

All my love!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The view out my window...

Having a newborn means spending a lot of time on the couch, nursing the, I got to watch the snow falling, and everyone playing in the snow - for about 10 minutes! At which time, Callie, Ashley, Brianna and Anna decided they were all too cold, and came inside! They did help make 1 snowman, and part of the next...Bailey stuck with it - and made our entire family in snowmen!

After I finished nursing the baby (and taking my body test/stating my day!), I went out to take pictures for her...only to find that they just blend in too much to get good pictures...and with the hours of work she put in, I wanted some good pics for her scrapbook!

After brainstorming with her ways to make this yard art stand out, we decided to pick out some clothes for each of the snowmen to wear! Here's the finished product! (Which everyone had to come to see, even though their coats, hats and gloves were 'too wet to put on' (according to them!). You can almost *see* Brianna SHIVERING in the picture...

Now I hear the tea pot whistling signaling that it is time for some hot cocoa to warm up my cold artists! I love my family! This is an awesome snow day!

Day 19: Write About a Sweet Memory From Your Past

This was really hard to choose just here are a few of the twins when they were little!

1. I remember laying on my tummy on the floor with the twins. I positioned all of us so that we could look at each other. They were about 3 1/2 months old at the time. they were looking up at me and smiling, and we were "talking" together. When all of a sudden, they both (at the same time!) looked up at each other, and light seemed to go on over each of their heads. It was the very first time they seemed to 'recognize' each other. From that point on, they were much happier if they were able to see each other!

2. We had just moved out of Chris' bosses house, where we were renting a bedroom, and into an apartment. (We rented a bedroom for 2 years so that I could stay home with the twins - it was one of the best decisions we ever made! I feel so blessed that I have been the one to dry my children tears, see their firsts and milestone, and celebrate their accomplishments with them as we live and learn together!) The twins had their own room for the first time...they were together in 1 room, but they were no longer in my room! They had a hard time getting to sleep for awhile. Chris was working nights and my little sister, Kaitie was spending the night that night. The twins got really quiet, so I snuck down to see if they had actually fallen asleep. I opened the door and there were their empty beds! I looked under the beds, in the closet, behind the door, next to the dresser, then checked in my room, their play room, and started to panic. The front door was right where I had been sitting with Kaitie, and the dead bolt, which they couldn't reach, was still locked. I began to search again. I told Kaitie, I couldn't find them, and she started helping me look. I even started looking down at each of our 3rd story windows, hoping and praying I wouldn't find they had climbed out any of them! Then I saw the mini blinds in their room move just slightly...I walked over, and pulled up the blinds to find my twins, sitting at either end of their window sill, with their feet touching in the middle, looking out the window!

3. When the twins had just turned 2 years old, we were reading a book, called, "God Made You Special," it is a veggie tales book...we got to the page where it says, "...And you're special, too, its the news of the day, there's no one exactly like me or like you." When Bailey said, "Hey, Anna's just like me!" I had to then explain that while they look alike, they are in fact different, and that being twins was part of what makes them special and unique!

4. When we were expecting Ashley Elizabeth, the twins would pray every night for her. one of the would Thank God for Ashley and pray for her safety, while the other did the same for Elizabeth. We explained multiple times that we were having Ashley Elizabeth, just one person. So they started praying for "Ashley Elizabeth, Just One Person" night after night. Ashley was born, and they called her, "Ashley Elizabeth, Just One Person" every time they referred to her or talked to her. We thought it was funny, but then when Ashley was about 6 weeks old, Anna asked me, "When will the other baby come out?" The idea that there would only be 1 baby was beyond their comprehension! Even though they repeated "Ashley Elizabeth, Just one person," it was just a title to them! It was no different than "Treasurer" or "President"...and as a side note, they couldn't say "Elizabeth," they actually said, "Elitlebef" which morphed into A Little Bit (or Little Bit), which is what Ashley's nickname was (and still is at times)!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Justice is 20 months old

I gave the boy a hair cut...and trimmed the older 4 girls' hair, but they don't look so different! Here is a pic of the boy's new look! What do you think? I would prefer it to be a little longer, but it is the longest attachment that I have for the trimmers...I think it still looks cute though!

He is such a joy and a blessing to our family! More and more personality is coming out each day! I can hardly believe he is already 20 months old! He loves to play with his trucks and balls, he loves climbing, throwing and running...and lately he also loves being helping by throwing things away! Each time anyone throws something away, there are standing instructions for to check and make sure everything you see on top actually looks like garbage, lol!

Next to his blanket, his favorite thing would be dogs...any dog! He loves animals, especially ones that will let him touch...which is why he prefers dogs - most cats are smart enough to leave when they see him coming, lol!) He had so much fun at the zoo looking at all the animals!

While J loves being active, he also loves reading books. It is one of the only times he will sit quietly on my lap anymore. What a blessing it is to sit with this little ball of energy! I love watching him work to figure out how things work!

He is still taking 2 naps each day, which helps us get school done without his brand of 'help!' He loves his blanket, and will now go upstairs, pull it through the crib slats and carry it around the house (until someone catches him, and takes the blanket back to his bed, as it is not allowed downstairs, lol!) He has also managed to climb out of his crib twice in the last month, but is not doing it consistently yet, so we are leaving him in the crib! Most of our children have made it to the 2 year mark in the crib, and that is what I am hoping for him, too!

J absolutely loves his baby sister! He loves to lay on the floor with her, hold her and try to help her by giving her the binky (which so far, she HATES!). He also gets upset if she is crying, and will come grab my hand and bring me to her if he doesn't think I am getting there fast enough.

Little man isn't much of a talker yet, but we have definitely heard words from him, he just doesn't use them consistently...he prefers to yell at us when he wants or needs something! He does consistently yell, "Mommy!" We have heard him say, Anna, Bay, Cal, baby, dog, Ash, Bree, Dad, Grandma, more, plea (for please), hi, yay, no, ow, off, on and several other things...His receptive language is very good, so I am not at all concerned about his vocab yet! He nods yes and shakes his head no. Now that I write it all out though, he probably is doing ok! Just not where Callie was at his age - but she was a very early talker!

Not feeling well and the blessing of homeschooling!

I have been pretty sick for the last couple of days. I am feeling a bit better today, but still not good...

It is such a blessing that we homeschool! I do not have the energy to direct the girls' studies today...but on their own, they got out some educational games to play and are now watching an aig (answers in genesis) video. After that, the twins will make lunch, and then I will instruct them to do their piano practice. Then they will end their self directed school day with the twins reading aloud to the middle girls.

I feel so blessed that I do not have to still get everyone up, dressed, shoes on, hair done, etc, and take the older ones to school all day, leaving me home alone with the 3 babies...instead, the older ones are able to bring me diapers, take Callie potty, make breakfast and lunch for the little ones and get some educational activities done in between helping out - all while I am nursing the baby and resting on the couch!

Thank you so much girls for taking charge and pitching in even more than normal! You are awesome!

Day 18: Plans, Dreams, and Goals

This is a fun one!

My personal goal right now is to get in shape. I want to be healthier to help me keep up with my family! You can look at the ticker at the right to see where I am with my goals. I have a long way to go right now, but I am taking it in 25 lb increments (or to my next milestone...right now, I am counting down to my prepregnancy weight with Ashley and Brianna, which happens to be the same weight!) so that I have a more 'attainable' goal to be looking at! To meet this goal, I have workout and nutrition goals in place!

I have goals for where I want to be (approximately) for our homeschooling, as far as where I want to be in our curriculum, etc.

I have goals for where I would really like to see Callie get to in her physical development. Right now, she is getting really close to making her next goal of walking 15 feet unassisted without falling down!

I have a goal to exclusively nurse Serenity until she is about 8 months old, then evaluate if she is ready to start some solid foods. I am almost 1/2 way to that point!

Plans...well, I leave that up to my husband! I plan to move out of state at some point, but do not know when that might be or where it might be to!

I have a dream of when my husband no longer needs to work, (and can retire) of being able to take our motor home and travel around the country for several weeks at a time! The education opportunities to be able to drive around, map out our route, and see different historical and educational things is invaluable!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 17: Someone I would like to switch places with for a day...

I really love my life, so this was a hard one!

I guess I would switch with someone I could learn something from their life/schedule! Like Michelle Duggar, lol! I would like to see just HOW they manage to keep things clean and get their meal plans and shopping done, etc.

Who would you like to switch places with? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time for a change...

I decided to make some changes to the blog. It has been more than a year and a half since I started this blog, and I have decided to change the layout, colors and perhaps the biggest change, I put some ads on it...

What do you think of the new layout (and the ads)?

Day 16: A Picture of myself

Here is a picture of me at the zoo yesterday with my children! I friendly passerbyer offered to take a picture of all of us together!

Friday, February 18, 2011

We went to the zoo, zoo, zoo!

We had a great time at the zoo today! I love to see my children's excitement and love for learning about the amazing things God has created!

Serenity loved being outside in the sunshine! She enjoyed smiling at anyone who looked at her! She had a great first trip to the zoo!

Justice loves animals! He loves dogs and cats and anything that moves! So he had a great time at the least for the animals he could actually see/find in their cages! (He saw the jaguar, elephants, fish, turtle, meerkats, and penguins.) That is the one problem about the natural habitats that our zoo uses, but it is totally worth it to be able to use the trip to the zoo as a 'this is what it looks like where this animal would live in the wild' type lessons! Overall, I think Justice's favorite part of going to the zoo, were the mud puddles! This little guy spent about 3 1/2 hours walking today, looking for animals and puddles!

Callie made me realize during this trip that seeing an animal in a picture book, is just not the same as the real thing! Comments like, "Wow, look at how big the elephant is!" "That giraffe is really, really tall!" "That zebra looks just like a horse!" "That lion doesn't look scary." made me realize that while she knows what all these animals look like, and what they are, she doesn't have any idea about size or anything else! Seeing a picture of a lion roaring for example, made her unaware that they could just be laying around on their rocks! Callie walked, and walked and walked! In total, she walked over 4 hours today! One of her highlights was the habitat playground...the burrow/tunnel area is handicap accessible enough for her to take her walker in! What a blessing for her to be able to run and play with the older ones at this special playground!

Brianna was having an off day...but she managed to enjoy herself anyway! She loved climbing on all the statues! She also enjoyed imitating the animals that we saw! She loves the playground, especially the giant spider web ropes!

Ashley had a great time doing anything today! She loves running around outside...seeing the animals, and of course, making new friends! (Ashley makes new friends everywhere she goes - and they are ALL best friends of hers! Today's new best friends' names are Lilly and Olivia!) Ashley was also a big help in directing (and re-directing) Justice today!

Bailey had fun taking the reigns and getting us from place to place today. She also had fun helping the younger ones, and trying to get Callie and Justice to see different animals! Bailey was concerned for Watoto, our African elephant, who she noticed was missing a tusk...but we couldn't get the attention of the animal keepers to ask them what happened.

Anna enjoyed being the navigator, too! She loved holding the map and leading the way! She also enjoyed watching different animals, such as the meerkats and the giant python. Anna's favorite animal at the zoo today was the jaguar, who was moving all over his exhibit!

It has been 3 years since we last went to the zoo...and it is now very different! The twins now read the signs, and say, "That isn't true!" each time they talk about evolution, or ask questions about what they are reading. The other observation I had is that the twins remember most of the things I used to tell them about different animals as we walked around!

Another difference now is that I have 7 children, instead of 4...which I all anyone saw the last time I was at the zoo (Callie stayed hidden so no one would try to touch my very little and fragile preemie baby)...we are now like a traveling exhibit for the zoo! People will turn away from the animals to look at us and ask us questions...anything from "how do you manage," to "wow, you're brave being out," to "Why does she have that walker?" to "Is it a daycare?" to my personal favorite today, "Ok, I lost count, how many is that?"

We had so much fun being back at the zoo, that to commemorate the day, I even bought us some new animal cookie cutters! I look forward to breaking them in tomorrow! But that is an entirely different blog post!