Sunday, 31 May 2009

R & R

After days and days of packing we've made it to the beach! Most of our kids have never seen an ocean and their delight while running down to the waves was infectious. They all plunged imediatley into the waves and were shocked at the salty taste.

With 6 boys and 4 girls, we're loaded up with sand toys, lotion and books and are ready to have a relaxing two weeks.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Falling In Love with Each Other

Our new family is adjusting to each other in mostly positive ways. There has been a little rivalry for who's the baby. ( There are four here who were at one time the reigning youngest of their sibling group.) Our 6 year old has decided it was as good a time as ever to be dethroned and has graciously given up mom's lap to the 5 year old. Amazing if you knew him! I see bonds forming and our new 11 year old daughter wrote a note to each of the other kids telling them that she's happy to be their new sister. And there has been sides taken and jealousy and noise and chaos and joy. With so many, I have to be deliberate about taking time to listen to each one. Some demand my time and others would stay in the background without my drawing them out.
One of the quiet ones, our 9 year old, has been called "Mr. Aloof" by his worker. He works hard to stay just out of everyone's heart reach. I absolutely adore him. And his little walls are starting to crumble. He called me yesterday to come outside because "He had something for
me and I didn't have to keep it if I didn't want to."
This is what he had in the driveway for me.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Watch Me Float

With our 3 additional kids, we have a "Swimmie" swarm. Swimmies are the little arm flotations that you buy at Wal-mart for a dollar. Although a dollar sounds cheap, I can tell you with great certainty that Wal-mart is still making a substantial overhead on them. Their life expectancy is about 10 swimming hours. On a boy who bites and chews things, the number drops to about half hour. And the stores completely run out of them by the end of June, so I have to buy at least 50 of them to last the season. This year I could end up short.
Still, you have to have them. And with my kids swimming so early this year, I'm not about to jump in and save a "drownder" while the water is this cold.
I'm hoping to teach at least one or two of the boys to swim by the end of the summer, thus reducing the swimmie consumption for next year.
And it takes a manly boy to wear pink swimmies.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Who me Scared?

I've spoken to some moms who are a bit nervous about their teens starting to drive. I may have been nervous at one time, but over the years I've seen the tremendous value of a driving teen and I encourage my kids to get their license when they're ready. I've had very few teen driving problems, although at one time we counted and 5 of our kids had a fender bender while Grace was strapped in her little car seat with them. One of the accidents was before she had more than a 50 word vocabulary and she repeated, "Car...go go boom" for days afterwards.

With 10 kids in the house and only one kid driving, I've been pushing Grace and AnnaClaire to get their permit. And they tried. Repeatedly. Apparently the West Virginia learners test is difficult.

But yesterday they did it. Both girls passed the test!! There was a little screaming going on at the D.M.V.

So I now start the part where I teach them to drive. I tell myself that it doesn't matter if I die, I know I'll go to heaven. Actually, our first drive wasn't that bad at all. I've had way worse. And soon, I'll have two more drivers to run people where they need to go. Yea!!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Saturday Soccer

Today was Jeremiah's last soccer game in the Upward League. His first game was awkward - having never played before, he stood on the field biting his shirt. Over the last few months, his very kind and patient coach has made him into a real player.
I love when he stops in the middle of the game and waves to me. And what could be more perfect for a 5 year old with 64 times more energy than his mother, than spending the day running up and down the field? I sit in a chair and do nothing (I do sometimes watch the game) and he plays. I'll miss soccer.

Friday, 8 May 2009

About Lawn Care

James and I went to a Focus on the Family marriage seminar many years ago. The speaker,
Dennis Rainey, made the comment that "You can't raise kids and a lawn at the same time." At the time we had two elementary age daughters and they were easy. They were so easy that not only could we raise them and a lawn, but we had a great vegetable garden and I canned all of our own tomato sauce. Dennis Rainey obviously didn't know about our superior parenting abilities.

Here we are these many years later with 10 kids in the house to include 5 boys under the age of 11. Things have changed. James works hard to mow the lawn between work and church and taking kids to their various activities. And when he finally finds the time to mow, he's zig-zagging between footballs and buckets and swords left hidden in the grass. He does take some small pleasure in running over plastic toys to see how they shred under the blades.

Our superior parenting skills have been so dilluted that I feel good when we arrive at church and everyone is wearing shoes. Forget canning when you can buy a jug of Ragu at Wal-Mart for less than $2.

Dennis Rainey was right....that's my excuse.

God's 3 Ring Circus

I have been having a text discussion with my daughter in Chad, Africa, about being called to extreme living.
She certainly qualifies, as the heat this time of year never goes under 100 degrees, even at night. They have not had electricity for many months and now the same rebel forces that caused them to evacuate the country last year, are on the move again.
Our family life is extreme in size. Yesterday we added the two young brothers of our new eleven year old to the bunch. That gives us....(counting) 10 kids at home.
My daughter and I were remarking how interesting it is that this extreme living certainly does not come through our own abilities. Kirsten is a home-body (hard to be in Africa) and I told James when he asked me to marry him that I would, but that I wasn't interested in having any kids.
Wouldn't life be boring without God?!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

New Face at our House

We got a new kid a few days ago. She's cute and 11 and came with a social worker "rap sheet". Of course they only need her to stay for a short time. (Social workers don't actually lie to foster parents, they just have very few homes for way too many kids and telling you what you want to hear is the easiest way to fix the problem.)
So far, all has been great. We're all still in the courting stage. She has joined the tide in the house and has calles us Mom and Poppa already. Her age puts her right right between the teens and the tots and she seems to like the middle ground. We've seen none of the "problematic behaviors" yet and has instead been the smoothest entry ever.
Tonight she had some opinions and questions about her future and so I asked her if I could pray with her before she went to sleep. I told her that there was only One who knew her future and He had more pull than the entire foster care system. She was good with that and I tucked her in at our mission field down the hall.