Friday, November 28, 2008


We are back home, looking forward to sleeping in our own beds. However, we had a wonderful week. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get pictures of my dad's surprise 60th birthday and roast posted. But tonight I am too tired. My sister, mom, and I did manage to get up at - gulp - 3 a.m. and were out the door at 3:30. We got back to the house just after 7:30 after hitting Kohl's, JC Penny, Target, Sears, Staples, Shoe Carnival, Game Stop, Kirkland's, and of course McDonalds for some shopping nourishment. My sister hit a few more places after she dropped me off at home so I could feed a baby and help get our suburban loaded up.

My verdict is: if you go with others it is fun, and if you have things you definitely need to get, it is worth it, especially in a smaller town where the crowd isn't too bad. I had a few things on my Christmas list still to buy, and I was able to cross several of them off for much less $ than I had originally planned for them.

However, it means that I dozed on and off all the way home today and can't wait until Ashlynn goes to bed tonight so I can crawl in too. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment.

Lessons learned this week:

1. Chocolate meringue pie is a must for any major holiday. (Actually, I've known this for years.)

2. Everyone needs a father who has a friend with a wood-working workshop that would rival the one on New Yankee Workshop. We have some cabinets that needed new doors, and Kelly was able to go with my dad to make new ones. All we need to do is paint and attach!

3. Sometimes, a week away from home is just needed.

4. If you speak at a roast, you better be prepared with something funny or embarrassing to share about the roastee, or the MC - even if he is a pastor - will give you a hard time.

5. Never think your vehicle will somehow be less packed to the gills on the return trip, even if you are leaving behind a huge box of gifts.

6. If you need a self-esteem boost, go to the Curves in my mom's hometown. I went with her to workout three days while we were there, and the ladies there just couldn't believe that I had 6 children, that I was old enough to have six children, that I was not still in my twenties, they thought that homeschooling my kids was wonderful, etc.

7. A six year old can do a whole lotta damage at grandma's house in the course of a week. Just a few of the highlights: picture frames (knocked over, thankfully not broken), curtain rod (broken), glass lamp shade (broken), large, decorative plate from Greece (broken by a nephew who was being chased by said 6 yo), and countless bumps and bruises, usually resulting from her habit of walking in one direction while looking in another one.

8. If you are getting up at the crack of dawn, um, rather, the middle of the night to go black Friday shopping, make sure there is a Dr. Pepper in the fridge the night before, and don't just assume.

9. If you are getting up to go black Friday shopping, have a game plan. Know what you are looking at where, when everything opens, and take someone along who will stand in the checkout line while you look. Also wear comfy shoes and a sweatshirt (which I forgot to pack, and it gets cold where we were!). [By the way, I learned this because my sister is a pro at it. She knew exactly what to do and when!]

10. Make sure you actually leave for home with the baby in tow, because all the grandparents, aunts and uncles as well as cousins who have no sister will threaten to sneak off with her, especially when she spends a week smiling and flirting with everyone in the house.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


My mom, sister, and I have made our lists and checked them twice. We are planning on getting up and getting out to hit the stores at 4 am. I've never done this before, so we'll see how it goes. Somehow we always seem to be either in the middle of nowhere on Thanksgiving or I have a newborn, or am pregnant and too tired to get up and go. But this year, I am braving the cold and the crowds to get a few deals. The baby is big enough to leave for a few hours, and my sister is very motivated so she'll drag us up and out.

Am I the only nut-so getting up in the middle of the night tomorrow? I also plan on checking a few on-line places for a few things. Anyone else planning on hitting the computers tomorrow? Has anyone heard when the big on-line shopping day is? Isn't that normally on a Monday?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still here

So here we are in west Texas, in the land where the electric lines and oil pumps are taller than any tree, and the land is flatter than flat. But the nights are cold and the mornings nippy. What trees there are have golden leaves. And the sunsets can't be beat. Okay, can only be beat in Hawaii.

My mom and I are preparing for Thanksgiving in a couple of days. We also celebrated my dad's 60th birthday Saturday night with a surprise party and roast. That was tons of fun. If you've never been to a live roast, it is a blast. When I am able I will post pictures.

Just wanted to let you know we are alive just enjoying our getaway!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Have you ever packed up for six kids - make that six girls - including one baby, plus two adults for a six hour road trip for a week long stay? This includes snacks, blankets, air mattresses, sleeping bags, a keyboard (so my girls can practice their piano for an upcoming recital - yep, we are either dedicated or obsessed, take your pick), jackets ('cause it's actually cold where we are going), stuffed animals, movies (mobile DVD players are the best invention since...since...the washing machine!). This isn't counting all the medicine, toiletries, clothes, jammies, ponytail holders, diapers, wipes, juice, etc.

Well, neither had I until this week. And it isn't a job for the faint hearted. But we are looking forward to our first getaway in nearly a year. We are going to see my parents. My sisters and their families will be coming in as well. My dad recently had a big birthday, so it seemed like a good excuse to get together. And my hubby racked up so much overtime on his recent trip that we are going to stay through Thanksgiving! I will also get to meet my four month old neice, Callan. Should be a full house!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aubrey!

Aubrey is 10 years old today!

Aubrey was born ten years ago early in the morning at Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City. The first thing I noticed about the new baby was that "it has red hair!" Then I asked whether it was a boy or girl, as the way she was lying, the umbilical cord was keeping me from seeing for myself.

She is my husband's "Mini Me." She looks like my MIL and acts just Kelly! She has a great sense of humor and a very sharp wit. She loves horses and likes grammar and Greek in school. She just started taking piano lessons this year, and is doing very well.

Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More surprises...

This time, it's the baby who surprised us.

Tomorrow "Mommy's Little Sidekick" will be seven months old. (Someone tell me how can that be?!?)
So to celebrate, she cut her first tooth yesterday.
Yeah, she's happy now.

Monday, November 17, 2008


For the past two weeks, my husband, Kelly, has been away on a business trip. He was slated to come home on Thursday the 20th. So after 14 days of single parenting, I sat down at my computer yesterday afternoon to print off some stuff for school this week. Kora and Aubrey were at a birthday party, Ashlynn and Hailey were upstairs asleep, and Brynna and Lauryn were next door playing with friends.

I heard the door open, and I leaned over to see which one of the girls was coming in from next door. But it wasn't a girl. It was MY HUSBAND!

When he got to work Saturday morning they told everyone that the mission was over and to go home the next day. But did he let his family know? NO! He decided to surprise us. And it worked!

A friend brought Kora and Aubrey home from the birthday party, and I was able to take pictures of their faces when they walked in and saw their father. I'm sure my face was even more comical.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Motherhood is a noun. I like to think of it as the ultimate noun: it's so all-consuming that it is a person, place, thing, and idea all at the same time.

Every day thousands of women go to doctors, fertility clinics, and adoption agencies in order to become mothers. Every year, countless books are written about how to mother (a verb in this case). And yet it can also be very frustrating and seemingly stingy in its rewards. It's very obvious if you are a failure, and yet the rewards of a good job are few and far between, at least at first.

When I first became a mother I had all these ideals about what motherhood would be for me. I envisioned trips to the park and zoo, chocolate chip cookies and milk, bedtime stories and fuzzy pajamas. I didn't think of hours of crying babies, sick and whiny children, rotten attitudes and ungratefulness (oh, and sometimes the kids are like this too!).

One of the hardest things for me to get used to as a mother was the constant interruptions. It seems that a mom can never get a project or job of any length (this includes using the restroom!) completed without at least one interruption. I've had to stop dinner preparations to nurse a baby, stop and kiss endless numbers of boo-boos, and put on my mom's referee uniform more times than I care to think about.

This used to really frustrate me, and it still does at times. But with nearly a dozen years of motherhood under my belt and half-a-dozen kids, I had an epiphany: motherhood is all about the interruptions. Mothering isn't what you are doing when you are interrupted, mothering is dealing with the interruptions. Most of the lessons a child learns comes from what we think of as interruptions.

Child falls and hurts self - he learns that we are to care for those who are hurting and can't care for themselves

Siblings argue - they learn how to resolve disagreements

Child gets frustrated with school work - he learns that he really doesn't know everything

Baby cries in the middle of the night - he learns to rely on the unconditional love that forces a bleary-eyed mother out of bed.

I like schedules, routines, plans. I still don't always like interruptions. But I am hopefully learning patience. Because, when you think about it, in many ways life is all about the interruptions. The unexpected illnesses, the job losses, family squabbles and many others make up the topography of our lives, the ups and downs, the mountain peaks and valleys.

So while I used to think of motherhood strictly as preparing my children to be adults, I now also think of it as preparing me for life and, ultimately, for eternity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have lots to blog about. Really I do. And yes, I realize this post, like the last several have been very short. While I have lots of ideas for posts swarming around in my head, I have little time to type them up. And when I do have time, I do not have the energy. Fortunately, I can always resort to posting cute pictures of my kids.

I knew they were good for something.

So stay tuned. Soon I plan to blog about everything from motherhood, to raising girls, to organizing your time. I just have to get my energy back from doing all these things myself! In the meantime, I'll leave you with another gem from my three year old (almost 4!).

She is not only our "class" clown, but is also an inventor of words. She has a word of her own invention that means "both hungry and thirsty."

Get this:


Today, she wasn't hungry or thirsty, so she told us she was "un-ate-acated."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I am NOT a stay at home mom.

Great post!

I am not a stay at home Mom. My husband has told me so. I was slightly taken aback. And all this time that is what I thought I was.

This morning, God nodded in agreement with my husband. He whispered in my ear as I read from His Word, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent (us)” ~Jn 9:4

Epiphany moment: I am not a stay at home Mom. I am worker of Him. God’s employee.
Read the whole blog post here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whole Hearted Mother Conference

Every year, I am privileged to attend a conference that encourages me in my calling as a mom while providing a fun getaway with some of my friends. It is called the Whole Hearted Mother Conference, and registration time is upon us! If you are interested in finding a conference where you can hear Sally Clarkson speak, check out the dates and locations below! Every year I come away blessed. I'd love to see everyone at the Texas conference!


January 23-24, Charlotte, NC (Church at Charlotte)
Conference Early Registration Deadline:
Friday, DECEMBER 26 (Save $10)

Hotel: The Marriott Charlotte SouthPark
Room Rate: $109/night (guaranteed through December 26)
Reservations: 704-364-8220


February 6-7, Irvine, CA (Crowne Plaza Irvine Hotel)
SPECIAL Early Registration Deadline: Friday, NOVEMBER 14 (Save $20!)
Early Deadline: January 9 (Save $10)

Hotel: The Crowne Plaza Irvine
Room Rate: $85/night (guaranteed through January 23)
Reservations: 949-863-1999


February 20-21, Irving-DFW, TX (Dallas Marriott Las Colinas)
SPECIAL Early Registration Deadline: Friday, NOVEMBER 28 (Save $20!)
Early Deadline: January 23 (Save $10)

Hotel: Dallas Marriott Las Colinas
Room Rate: $83/night (guaranteed through February 6)
Reservations: 972-831-0000

Click here for info on the Texas conference.

Click here to register for the Texas conference.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Where's the baby?

Now that she's crawling, Ashlynn is getting into some interesting places.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I think I am finally used to looking at my girls and seeing shorter hair. It took quite a while. I was so used to looking for the waist length hair, that I did a double take when I would see the shoulder length (or shorter) hair. Of course, it is nice to only need to clean the vacuum cleaner brush out every other week.

What surprised me is how sad I was when they cut it. I had practically begged Kora to cut hers before, and they all complained when I would take them once a year to get a couple of inches cut off to trim it up. But once they each had 11-12 inches cut off (that's nearly 4 feet of HAIR!) I felt bereft somehow.

You see, I was known as the lady with all the girls who had such beautiful hair. Every time we went out in public clerks, cashiers, other customers commented on their hair. How beautiful it was, how long, and of course the red heads always get special attention.

Now I am just the lady with all the girls. Just the one with all six girls and no boys. Yep, we just fade into the background now. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Recipes

Here's a couple of yummy recipes I have recently added to my menu rotation. Oh, and I know I've told a couple of people that I would post my new two month menu plan. And I will. Eventually. Now that I've been through it once I have a bit of fine tuning to do, and then I'll get it up.

Anyway, here is a yummy recipe for inexpensive chicken legs or thighs. I have to uncover mine longer than this recipe says or I need to turn up the temperature or they don't brown like they are supposed to, so feel free to play around with it.

Also here is a great comfort food dish. Inexpensive, easy, and yummy.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is it YAY! or Oh No! ???

Guess who started crawling today!?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Well, I just got back from our local elementary school (the only times I've ever been in are on election days) and voted. I tell you, 9:30 am is the best time to vote in my precinct - I was behind 2 people. All the before work crowd had gone, and the lunch crowd had yet to appear.

Did anyone else catch the Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash last night? I am not a follower of SNL - I can't remember if I've ever watched an entire episode. But I was flipping channels last night and caught a good bit of it. I loved the fun it poked at the pro-Obama media bias. I don't know who the actress is who plays Sarah Palin, but she has her down pat. And I didn't watch the presidential debates this year, so can I assume from the parody that McCain's head kept popping into the shots, even when he wasn't speaking?

Oh, and I'm sure everyone saw the Cabbage Patch kids on eBay, right? They were one-of-a-kind reproductions of McCain, Palin, Obama, and Biden, auctioned off for some charity. Did everyone see the final bids for these dolls?

Joseph Biden - $3,550, 01
John McCain - $6,000.00
Barak Obama - $8,400.00


Sarah Palin - $19,000.00

And yes, the Palin doll is wearing red lipstick.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Phonics Lesson with Hailey (Aged 6)

Me: Today we are learning that "ay" says a. Remember when two vowels are together, the first one talks and the second one is silent. Hailey, look at the page, the words are not on the ceiling. What does "ay" say?

Hailey: I don't remember.

Me: Remember, the first one says its name and the second one is silent. So what does this say?

H: Oh yeah, a. [pronounced as a long a]

Me: Very good. Now let's read some words that have "ay" in them. What's this word? [I point to the word "pay."]

H: Puh. Puh. Piiiiiiiiiie. Pie.

Me: No, remember this is an "a." The "a" says its name. What is its name?

H: Oh yeah. A. Puh, puh, paaaaaaaay. Pay.

Me: Very good. (She reads a few more words.) Very good. Now let's read some sentences that have these words in them. (I point to the first sentence: Fay, Kay, and Clay will stay at a home on the bay for two days.)

H: Faaaay. Fay. What's a fay?

Me: It's not a thing; it's a girl's name.

H: Oh. Fay, Kaaaaaay. Kay. What's a Kay?

Me: It's a girl's name, too.

H: Oh, Fay, Kay and Claaaaay. Clay. What's a clay?

Me (trying not to let my frustration come out in my voice): It's a boy's name.

H: Oh. Clay will staaaaay. Stay ate.

Me: No. Look at the word. Does it have an "e" at the end?

Hailey just stares at my nose.

Me: Hailey, look at the word. Does it have an "e" at the end? (She shakes her head no.) Then what does the "a" say?

Hailey: I don't remember.

Me: (Sigh.) Remember an "a" says /a/ (like in apple) if there is no "e" at the end to make it say its name?

H: Oh yeah. At a home ["Very good," I interject.] on the bay. What's a bay?

Me: Its kind of like a lake.

H: Oh.

Me, after waiting for several seconds: Hailey, look at the book, the words aren't on the ceiling.

H: At her birthday party, do you think Piper...

Me: Hailey, let's talk about that later. Let's just finish reading right now.

H: Okay. Bay fuh, fuh ... [I tell her that "or" say or] for two daaaaaaaays.

That was one sentence. One down , five more to go that morning. By this time I am really wishing I was a coffee drinker. Or that I had a Dr Pepper. Or chocolate. Or all of the above.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reformation Day

Last night our church celebrated Reformation Day at a member's house. Each year we have a theme country - one of the countries instrumental in the reformation. About every other year we do Germany, which is, of course, the heart of the reformation. We start off by eating supper together.
A table full of German food! And a kitchen full of German desserts (somehow I didn't get a picture of that!)

We also visited, er, uh, fellowshipped. Is that a word?

You know her, right?
This is Kora and Addie. Addie is an adorable toddler in our church. Kora wants to grow up to be her mother. Seriously though, Addie has been adopted be several of the teenagers and almost teenagers at church. I'm surprised she ever learned to walk, as they are always carrying her around. Kora loves that little girl, and the feeling is mutual.
Finally everyone started gathering in the living room and quieted down. It was time for some hymns.
Here's hubby, our song leader.
Brynna has fallen in love with two of the older couples in our church. Here she is with one of them. She sits with them at meals, talks with them before and after services (she waits for them near the front door if we are at church first), and here she sits with them while singing.
After the hymn-sing (which included "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther, of course) the younger kids went to another room to color pictures of Martin Luther.
Our pastor gave a brief history of Luther's life and some of his contributions to the church. He also talked about why it is still important today.
We look forward to Reformation Day every year!