Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Memories Monday


This was Madison's first Christmas. He was 10 months old and already walking everywhere. This was our first Christmas with a little boy, buying presents was a little different from years past. Madison received a Tonka truck, which the boys still play with. We were a family of 6 that Christmas, 11 years later we are now a family of 11! Wow, how things have changed from that first Christmas with "1" little boy to 2008 and "6" boys!

That year was the first year we had Christmas in our new addition. The girls each received a doll, and Madison is sitting with his Tonka truck. I love to look back at Christmas pictures and remember all the different things we have done over the years at Christmas. It's also fun to see how much the kids have grown and we ALL have changed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Who needs toys?

Who needs toys when you have empty boxes???

That's what I was thinking this morning watching my boys play with empty boxes. If, I had known that this would be the height of there fun the day after Christmas, we would have just given them the empty boxes. As a family we chose to scale back on Christmas, putting money towards a trip in February/March. If, I had only known the boxes would be so much fun, we'd have more money towards our trip...silly BOYS!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry CHRISTmas !!!

From our family to yours........

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The countdown is ON!

The countdown for Christmas started days ago for my kids. Each year this is how they like to help with the countdown.

A few minutes ago I was doing some baking...YUM! This recipe is new if it's good I'll post it later :)

I noticed the clock on my stove and this is what time it was.
I began to get really excited and thought I to have been counting down the days, but not just for Christmas. I've been counting down the days until our store closes and our family can be together for 2 DAYS!!! This is a big deal because even when we are closed we have to go in and feed, water, and walk the dogs...not just one walk but 4. We are even open on Sunday for 30 minutes to do a pick up. So our family truly works 7 days a week, and this week has been busy. Today 5 of the kids went to the store to prepare the boarders. Some people don't understand why we close Christmas Eve & Christmas day, we do this so we can have time together to celebrate Christ birth. We still have to go in and walk dogs at 8AM, 12noon, 4PM, and we may not be open but still working. We are so very thankful for our business and the customers. YET, I can't help but be excited that NOW in less than an hour they will be home!!!!!

The best gift ever!

Jonathan LOVES his Doodle Pro, and sits on the couch drawing a large part of the day. Most often it is just lines.....chicken scratch. BUT this is the picture he came to show's a person!

This may not seem like a big deal but it's GREAT! Jonathan can't write his name (even when shortened to Jon) and has a hard time coloring within the lines. So you would think I was happy when I first saw this, sadly I questioned if he drew it :( I ask the other kids who were sitting with him and Elizabeth said "yes Mom I saw he draw it". At this point I was sad I questioned him. I made up for it by doing a happy dance with him and being silly like he likes!

Can you see why this is the BEST gift ever? At 10 years old Jonathan can now draw a person, maybe he'll be able to do his name next.

I love Jonathan so much and this may seem like a small thing to most people, for him it was like moving a mountain. Even though I wish he did things faster, it's all in Gods timing. As I sit and wait for things to click with him I see how hard he works to move those mountains, and that's where the MANY blessing come from. Jonathan may never know what a wonderful GIFT he is to our family, or how proud his Momma really was when he first learned to draw a person.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Look who's Santa?

LOOK who is SANTA !

Wesley must have been tired of playing with the Potato Head with the Santa pieces. He decided to make William into Santa. William thought it was funny and has been playing Santa all morning.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's been a cookie morning

We have 2 parties to attend today, and we are taking cookies to both. So this morning we set off to baking.

Yum! Look at all that chocolate and peanut butter chips!

We were ask to bring 2 dozen to each party. 2 dozen would barely feed our family, so we are taking a few more. This recipe makes a lot so we'll have some left over.

As I was pulling out a batch from the oven James was telling Stephen "this is going to be a GREAT DAY we get to eat LOTS of sugar"....sigh* Really they don't need ANY sugar! It's been raining here for days and I guess you know what that that are cooped up and already have way to much energy!!!! Jonathan is the exception he always remains the same, calm and peaceful...his brothers need to take a few pointers from him! At this point the other 5 boys need to go outside and run it out...I need them to go outside and run it out!!! The parties today will be a great break for the US, oops...I mean the boys :)

Pictures still to come.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We are still here somewhere, in the Christmas swing!

Here is a little taste of what we have been doing this past week, keeping it real. We have lots of family traditions at Christmas time, and yet each year is never like the last. I have lots of pictures/stories to come.

We like so many others are very much in the Christmas swing. I myself have found that I'm just in survival mode...not good when Mom is in survival mode at Christmas. In years past I would have a Christmas here or there that I didn't go all out on decorations (normally baby years or very pregnant times) in those times we seemed to be in survival mode. With Arthur and the children picking up my slack making Christmas still wonderful.

This year has been very different, I'm missing something or should I say someone?! The lady that each year very pregnant or new baby ALWAYS has her Christmas shopping finished by now. This year is the first time in 17 years that Christmas buying hasn't hardly even begun. I sat and pondered what this lady's mind set is, and again where is she?! This week I saw a glimpse of that lady, realizing she has been here all along. I again sat this time with her, seeking answers to my questions of where she had been and why she has fallen so behind. These are some of the reasons she gave......

You see for the past 17 years we have tried to instill in our children the true meaning of Christmas...the wonderful celebration of Christ birth. Along with that we have given presents just as the Wise men did, putting an emphasis on the fact that presents and Santa aren't what Christmas is all about. We have some years been given MUCH like the year Arthur had cancer and a special anonymous family GAVE us a unbelievable we will never forget and that our children still speak of. On others years we have given (not always gifts but our time), to bless others. So your question for me is where have I been and why am I not finished purchasing gifts?? I'm not sure why after 17 years you don't know, but it's because of all the things you have tried to teach your children for the past 17 years....what is Christmas about? I sat and drank in her words, and thought about what my children had ask for this Christmas. Nothing! This year it seems as though the true Christ centered meaning of Christmas is Arthur's and our children's where has mine been? It has been on getting gifts for our extended family (we exchange names) and making sure our children have a few things to open Christmas morning. I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, when I looked up to tell the lady about my revelation she was gone. I looked around wondering where she went, thankful to her setting me straight....for deep inside she is ME!

I have now slowed my pace and am seeking to focus on the TRUE MEANING, practicing what I preach. I love Christmas and am so thankful for Christ birth, without His birth there would be NO resurrection/Easter, and NO salvation for you and me ! Like the Wise men's three gifts, these 3 are the BEST gifts of all....


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have you grown???

This morning James and I had this conversation....
(we are still in our pajamas at this point)

James: Moma do you have on capris?

Me: Yes, James.

James: Have you grown?!

Me: What do you mean James?

James: Well look how short your pants are.

Me: James these pajamas were made to be capri.

James: Oh' I thought you were just calling them capris, because you have grown?! You know like that pair of pajamas I have that we call high waters!

You just got to love kids thoughts :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

A night of ART and Hors d' oeuvres

Tuesday evening we attended an art show. It wasn't just any art show, Elizabeth had two pieces in this show. This is Elizabeth's second year with Agape Art Academy. The show was hosted by Raymond James & Associates, in downtown Chattanooga. This company host local artist each year called "Art In The Workplace", the pictures are on display for 6 months. Agape Art Academy is the only group of students ever featured in this show. It was an unbelievable event, one that we weren't prepared for. This event is by invitation only, they had a huge buffet of Hors d' oeuvers, Christmas music preformed live, and spirits...we passed on the spirits we don't drink. I know Elizabeth felt a tremendous honor to have her art displayed in this way.

Elizabeth is standing next to her angelfish, in the center. This was one of the first pieces she ever did...last year.

Elizabeth named this picture "Angel of Grace".

This is what Elizabeth's teacher placed on the card under the Angelfish. I don't think I mentioned that these pictures are for sale. They host this reception/showing in December in hopes people will purchase one for a Christmas gift.

This is Elizabeth with her art teacher Karen Barton. Ms. Barton is a wonderful teacher and so full of wisdom...not just with art but also in her love for the Lord. Elizabeth hopes to continue to be trained by Ms. Barton for a few more years.

This brings us to Elizabeth's other piece, her zebra. The name of this picture is "Here's Looking at You". When Elizabeth drew the zebra she continued to find fault in it...none that I could see.

It has amazed me how Elizabeth can visualize something and put it to paper.

Here Elizabeth is showing her zebra to Aunt Karen and Uncle Bill, Grandma Charlotte is walking up from behind. Elizabeth had invited Karen and Bill but knew that her show was on a Tuesday and she didn't think they could make it. They live in Murfreesboro 2 1/2 hours away. So when Arthur looked in the doorway and said "there's Bill" I said "Bill who"? Elizabeth was standing next to me and was in shock. All she could say was "mom I think I'm going to cry". Elizabeth was thrilled they came.

Nonnie (great-grandmother) was so excited to see Elizabeth's art work hanging in a show.

Here is my mom Elizabeth's Grammy...walker and all she wouldn't have missed it.
My brother David and his girlfriend Denise also attended, not sure how they escaped the picture taking. I know Elizabeth was happy to have so much support from her family. We were sad all her siblings couldn't attend. We had to leave the house by 4:30 PM to get there, which meant the store was still open. Amanda and Madison watched the store, and Rebekah stayed with the little boys. If, Elizabeth has an opportunity again for a show like this, the store will be closing early so we all can attend.

Elizabeth was ask many different questions from various people about her art, this was a great experience for her.
The show closed at 7:00 PM, and we were the last ones to leave. You know how I say we are always late, not this time. We took Grandma Charlotte, Nonnie, and Grammy with us, so we set out early to make sure we were on time. Elizabeth was the first artist their. I'm thinking since she likes to be on time she'll be inviting people to ride with us more often in hopes we'll be early. So, we opened the show and closed it :) On the way home we stopped for some dinner, it was a wonderful evening!
Thank you Amanda, Rebekah, and Madison for all your hard work at the store and home that night. Next time we'll all go!

Jonathan's ENT appointment

Jonathan's ENT appointment on Wednesday ...well we canceled it 15 minutes before we were to be there. It's a 45 minute drive there and at 2:45 I decided I better call and cancel. NOT because we were sick or something took precedence. UGH...I'm embarrassed to say it was because "I" couldn't find his hearing aids....seriously! I feel I'm normally very organized, but on Wednesday I was truly being tested...I lost :( Jonathan hasn't worn his hearing aids in several weeks due to the fact the volume wasn't loud enough, and they really weren't helping. That was part of the reason for the appointment to adjust the volume and get fitted for new ear molds. We REALLY needed to make this appointment, yet it didn't happen. I had taken Jonathan aids with us to Florida and he had worn them since we came back but they weren't in one of the 2 places I keep them. Here's the irony of the story I found them 4 minutes before his 3:00pm appointment. I was happy I found them but VERY upset with myself that I hadn't put them back where I keep them. They were in the living room in their case on the book shelves.... NOT were I keep them.

This is why I "try" to be organized. I wasn't always so organized, even though I've always been a perfectionist...along with being my biggest critic. From the time we had Elizabeth we always had her on a schedule and my house seemed to be in order. As we added each child I would see the need to add a little more organization with toys, shoes, and clothes. Over the years this has trickled down into all areas of our life with our home, schooling, and store. When things are out of place I don't function well...not to say everything is perfect. It's just to say everything has a place and when things get messed up we can regroup and as a team have it ship shape quickly. This is why I was so upset with myself on Wednesday...I had only myself to be upset with. I felt like one of my children who instead of putting something back where it goes just left it where it was. For me the consequence was missing a very important appointment for Jonathan.

A valuable lesson was learned, with Mom (me) being the example. This showed my children that I too make mistakes, and that often times our mistakes/laziness affects more than just the person who was lax. Lesson learned, sorry Jonathan!

Seeking to be like Christ, and the Proverbs 31 woman....

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December HIT !

The month of December has taken off in full force. Monday Elizabeth and Madison went to the dentist. Tuesday (yesterday) I went to the dentist...not fun. BUT that was followed by one of the BEST evenings I've had in a LONG time!.....wonder what it was, I'll post pictures and a story later today! Today is a day for the boys to get haircuts...not looking forward to that. They are all really good for their haircuts, I just don't really feel like doing it....sigh* YET, I do feel like saving $12 dollars for each haircut, with a total savings of $60....that's if I don't cut Arthur's, not sure if he wants a haircut today. If I cut Arthur's too, then we would be saving $72! Anyway this afternoon Jonathan has an ENT appointment for another hearing test and to have the volume on his aids adjusted...hope they can this time. Tomorrow I'm getting a haircut...I know yes I go get mine done. Arthur keeps saying he can do it. I guess he could, like me he is a groomer and handles scissors WELL...I just haven't let him try. One day maybe?! I justify it with the fact that I only get my haircut twice a year and the boys need it every works for me :)!

Tomorrow night will not hold fun for anyone, one of my best friends Amy's dad passed away yesterday. We'll be attending his funeral, he was a very kind man. Last year he came to Madison's football games...just to support Madison. Mr. Harry loved football. My heart is broken and I'm so sad for all his family. The best thing is Mr. Harry is now free from pain and sickness...and sitting with the LORD! Please, pray for my friend Amy and her family. If, you would like here is Mr. Harry's blog . You can go over and let them know you are praying for them.

It's so hard to focus on Christmas this year. It's not about the hustle and bustle....BUT about the KING! HE was and is the ultimate gift, you can't top that !!!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday...GUESS WHO???

Monday, December 1, 2008

Memories Monday

When I was taking pictures of the snow earlier, the trampoline reminded me of a post for Memories Monday. It's not what I had planned but the other can wait. So, here is our NEW trampoline with a "little" snow on it.

This is a picture of our OLD worn out trampoline. These are memories of not so long ago....July 2008. This trampoline had seen better days and had been jumped on so much that when the girls would jump high it would touch the ground. It was time for a new one.

Here Arthur is teaching James how to put on the springs. I believe Arthur was as excited about the new trampoline as the kids. He still likes to get out there with them and do front and back flips...he loves to play with the kids!

James was trying his hand at pulling a spring on. He did pretty good until they got closer which made it tighter.

I believe Rebekah put on the most springs.

This was towards the last of the springs and it was very tight, Arthur had to give Rebekah some assistance.

(side note: Since these pictures were taken Arthur has really changed a lot, well his appearance has. He has lost 27 pounds since July, looking at these pictures I can really see the change. He wanted to get off his blood pressure medication and to do that he needed to lose weight. Now he is off the medicine and his blood pressure is doing well...Praise the Lord!)

Here James and Arthur are finishing the final touches on the safety net. Our first trampoline didn't have a safety net...I highly recommend them! Jonathan's orthopedic doctor Dr. Brown would say "I highly recommend NO ONE own a trampoline, take it to the curb"!

Well, we still own one BUT, because of Jonathan having AAI we don't allow him to get on...I know sad :(

Here are a few of the kids enjoying the NEW trampoline. Often times they all get playing a little to rough. See Stephen hanging out the side of the net on the left, that's why the net is great!
Before anyone says anything I know should there be so many on it at once???? NO! but for some games it's so much more fun :) For the high jumping and flips we only allow one at a time.

It's snowing!!!!!!

IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!! (can you see it?)

OK, for most of you this isn't a big deal, but for our kids it's a BIG deal! We love snow and rarely see any. Well we see it a few times a year, it just never is the case today. It's cold enough BUT the ground is still to warm. I was in the laundry room and the boys came running to tell me of their find as they looked out the window..YAY! Even if there isn't any to play in we sure do love to see it fall.

Lord willing we are planning a family trip in the next few months that will involve SNOW!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Faces of THANKFUL....

Here are just a "FEW" of the many Faces that come to mind when thinking of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL!"BABIES", in an orphanage ran by Christians in Nicaragua open because of PRAYER,FAITH, and America donations.

The babies get their tummies filled 3 times a day with nutritious meals, clean clothes, and LOTS of people to come love on them. Each baby has the face of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "School children", in Nicaragua who are happy to have a uniform so they can attend school. Each child has the face of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "Victor and his family", our interpreter from Nicaragua whom we've had the pleasure of building a relationship with over the past 3 years. Victor this year was able to place his daughter Valarie in a Christian school that teaches English and Spanish. Each one in this family has the face of THANKFUL!

This a face of THANKFUL! " Our Wesley", a little boy who wouldn't have ever had the joy to slumber on his Daddy's shoulder, if his Daddy hadn't been cured of cancer. Not to mention Wesley wouldn't even exist. This little boy has the face of THANKFUL!

This is the face of THANKFUL! "Jonathan", a boy who has a limited vocabulary, earring loss, sleeps at night with a CPAP to make sure he breaths, and a feeding pump running 10 hours so that he will grow and develop in a proper way. This Boy has the face of THANKFUL!

This is the face of THANKFUL! "Kennedy", this little girl is a trooper. She has gone through leukemia (free for 1 year) and has conquered spine surgery this past summer. This little PRINCESS has the face of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "My Mom Marty & (step) Dad Buddy", my mom just went through hip replacement in October, and is still using a walker until she can have the other hip done at the first of the year. My dad has had several back surgeries and can hardly walk, there's no other surgeries to help him...yet they both keep going. Mom and Dad have the faces of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "Tara , Mike, & girls", they feel blessed to have been a part of these sweet girls lives. Even though the adoption couldn't happen due to government (Nicaragua) reasons, they forever value the time spent with these two little girls and will love them always. They will remain in Tara and Mike's prayers in hope one day these sweet girls will choose to ask the Lord into their hearts and they will be reunited in Heaven for all eternity. Tara and Mike truly are the faces of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! Yet, I focus on one "Nonnie", my grandmother I don't believe she could have ever imagined that she would have so many grandchildren. My mom is an only child and my mom had 4 children, Nonnie's grandchildren. From there came 14 great-grandchildren (9 of them being mine) and 2 great-great grandchildren. The picture above is just part of the crew. This grandmother is the face of THANKFUL!

This is the face of THANKFUL! "Richard", he is a man who has been living in a different state for several years and is now home and able to spend his time/Holidays with family and friends (he is holding Wesley and Wesley LOVES Richard!) This man is the face of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "Lonnie & Peggy", their only child Bart and his wife Kathrine are missionaries in Uruguay and expecting their first child in February...Lonnie and Peggy's first grandchild by blood, see we claimed them years ago as our children's grandparents! (they live next door and Peggy was my preschool teacher when I was 4, small world) Peggy and Lonnie have the faces of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "Mark, Rosalie, and children", (Megan is 15 and the family photographer, she's behind the camera) they had a good crop this year, and combining was done before bad weather set in(this is another family that works together as a team). The neatest thing is this family is soon going to grow by 2! In the next few weeks they are going to be welcoming baby blessing #11 to their home, and in February they are going to be adding a daughter in law(Rebecca girl in brown). This LARGE family ALL have the faces of THANKFUL!

These are the faces of THANKFUL! "OUR family", this is our Christmas picture from last year, and much has happened in a year. We have had many darts and snares come our way this year, but we know who is in control...not us but HIM! We all work together daily in our home and store, we are truly blessed beyond belief. So, OUR FAMILY all have the faces of THANKFUL!

This isn't a face, but a HOME of THANKFUL people! "Noah, Sarah, and 15 children", they are Mennonite and hold a very special place in our hearts. On Thursday they won't be cutting into a turkey or ham and gathering around a table to offer up praise and thanksgiving. For you see they say each and everyday should be thanksgiving, thanking the Lord for all He's provided. Each person that lives in this home is THANKFUL!

These faces and things don't even come close to tipping the iceberg of all the people I could post about. There is a common thread with each of these people, in good times or in trials they all love the LORD and whatever comes their way.....They are THANKFUL!!!!

I hope each one of you has a blessed and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!