Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pull Out the Meat Loaf - Now!!

  Our stove is a commercial brand used in restaurants and it's perfect- mostly.  One of things commercial stoves don't come with, are timers for the oven. Unlike the chef in a restaurant, I don't have time to sit and watch the food cook, and realized we had to purchase a timer or we would be eating charcoal for dinner. Our first timer was fairly adequate but was left under the heating lamp one day and it melted into a Salvador Dali  looking thing.  Our next few timers worked, but couldn't be heard more than 2 feet away from the stove.  After a long search on the internet reading reviews and promises, I ordered this timer.  It promised to be loud enough to do the job and it is.  Better yet, it doesn't stop alarming until you physically turn it off.  I thought the name was perfect and it fits right in around here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Why Is It Always About Food?

 When we break for lunch from schooling it's each man for himself.   Which means that if you want a grilled cheese sandwich you better learn how to make it.  Isaiah has stepped up and has become the grill master,  and on our big Vulcan stove that's stepping high.  He'll make you a tuna melt, ham and cheese combo or a standard hand shaved sharp cheddar and serve it with a smile.  
  Some girl is going to thank me one day for teaching my boys home ec. during lunch and I get to "order up"!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Balance

  James' Uncle Kevin sent a giant cooler a few days ago in the mail.  Inside was an incredible dinner - enough for all of us and more.  There was filet mignon (heavenly!) hamburgers (kid heaven), stuffed baked potatoes and for desert....carmel apple tartlets - voted the best part of all.  

   I liked Uncle Kevin a lot before but anyone who feeds me has won my heart forever.  He said that when something bad happens to him he likes to make something good happen, which is why we were the lucky recipients of this awesome gift.  
I hope we never have to get one again.  

Monday, 28 March 2011

Take a Walk

  Tonight after dinner we took a family walk at Ezra's insistence.  He loves to orchestrate events - I see a career as ringmaster of the Ringling Brother's Circus for him, complete with megaphone.  We walk around the block like a parade gone mad.  The boys toss a football over our heads while the dogs pull and poop into the neighbors' yards.  Everyone has to kiss the cow when we pass and the noise rolls out from our group and through the windows on every street.  Sisters carry sisters and we end our stroll with a stop at Grandmom's house.  Ezra knows what he's talking about.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

"Yes you can go play"

  After a busy weekend of weddings and dress shirts, ties and sitting still the boys were happy to get home from church, put on play shoes and head outside.
  And where better to unwind then in your tree house?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kelly and Eugene

 During the reception I asked my daughter Kelly if today was what she had thought her wedding would be like.  She said it wasn't because she thought she would never get married.  I looked at her new husband Eugene and saw in him an answer to many prayers we have lifted for Kelly over the years.  Life hasn't been easy for Kelly and there were times I couldn't see the way ahead for her.  But God is faithful and rescues us from difficulties and from ourselves sometimes.  Eugene is funny, hard working and he loves our little girl!
  Today Kelly and Eugene started a new family and we pray for God's continued blessings on them.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Night Before Jitters

  My daughter Kelly is getting married tomorrow and tonight we decorated the fire hall where the reception will be.  We started late,  after 9:30,  to give the Bingo players time to collect their prizes and go home.   Kelly's husband to be, Eugene, pulled the fire engines out of the way and we got down to business, setting up tables and chairs, placing tablecloths, candles and rose petals on them and imaging where the dancing would be. We were done quickly as Kelly had her sister squad in attendance.  By 11:00 we were all a little tired/silly and the bride was down right giddy.  I'm sure she won't sleep a wink tonight.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Science Stuff

Jessie, Logan, Grace,AnnaClaire

Kullen, Stone
Eleanor, Emma, Bryce, Isaiah
Science Project:

200g of sand, poured into an empty can, must move a can of 600g of sand a distance of 5cm by using 2 simple machines that they have designed and built.
 Success - Genius kids!!
Jill, Holly

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Doctor Emma

  Last year Emma, our 12 year old,  decided she wanted to be a veterinarian.  She lives and breathes animals.  Her room is full of books about animals, she teaches animal classes to the kids in the neighborhood complete with slide shows and handouts.  She grooms our new dog Maddie every day and when our Miniature Pincher escapes, Emma is the one to call to run down the street and capture him before a car tire turns him into a pancake.
  Today she was practicing giving the dog a check up.  All she needed was our Fisher Price stethoscope and a dog that would sit still.  Apparently Maddie got a clean bill of health.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

You Did What?

  Today was one of those days.  Of the three boys who walked in the door after school, two had committed an onerous offense.  Notes from teachers, things found in pockets....lovely.  
  When you adopt older kids, you sometimes adopt a set of values  that are packed into little minds just as real as the clothes they bring with them.  To some it feels normal to be angry and to steal and hurting others is better than being hurt by them.  And "just showing them love" sometimes means that you are viewed as weak and therefore untrustworthy.
  Tomorrow will be better.  Every day, a prayer for healing and strength and someone has to get Samuel down off the rim again.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Vroom Vroom

Between my house and my daughter's house next door, there are a total of 14 kids.  Most of them spend all their free time riding bikes, skateboards and skates up and down the street.  This can be fairly neighborhood invasive.
Across the street is Adam.  He's a biker with a Harley.  Lately his bike shop has been in his driveway where he has outfitted all the kids bikes with cards on the spokes to make that noise.  You know, the click, click, click sound.
Do you love your neighbors as much as I do?

A Girl and Her Dog

  The kids (and maybe me just a tiny bit) have been missing Jack.  We received news over the last month that he was adjusting well to life in the city and Kara said that he and Scarlett had become great friends.  Jack has learned to sit still so that Scarlett can wrap him in blankets and dress him in clothes.  
  Everyone was excited to see Jack today when Kara came for a visit.  He was happy to see us as well, but when he left for home, we had no doubt that he was loved.  
  And Baltimore gets to enjoy his endless barking.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Yard Work Shouldn't Be This Fun

 Today was our 3rd "work in the yard
Saturday" and the kids continued to haul the brush that had fallen during the winter.  
Throwing the branches on the fire was fun in itself, but the real treat was roasting hot dogs over the flames for lunch. 

Elijah likes his burned crispy and Samuel likes his any way at all.
 Jeremiah had a couple of flame dogs.
 Emma and Isaiah
 worked hard and ate hard.

And Ezra eventually smeared his ketchup not only on his face but all over his shirt as well.                 

Friday, 18 March 2011

Green Green Go Away

  This strange green little man is Jeremiah.  He came home from school looking like this and somehow it was perfect.  There is no person in the world who needs me as much as he does.  Jeremiah lives to sit next to me at dinner - wants to have my complete attention at every minute.  I am the center of all his hunger and all his anger and kids like Jeremiah can be VERY hungry and VERY angry.  It can be hard at times and it almost seems like he has a strange green man inside him.  We are praying for a miracle in his pink little heart.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Sinfully Yummy

  These delicious chocolate covered strawberries arrived in the mail yesterday for my birthday.  Although they came a little late because of the distance they traveled, they were in perfect condition and I savored each bite.  I did share most of them because I wanted everyone to taste how blessed I was.  Thank you Auntie Weez and Tony!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

He Likes It

  Isaiah tried the team sport thing but it wasn't him.  He wouldn't get aggressive on the basketball court - he's just too sweet.  He wanted to learn to play an instrument so he could be in a band with his sister and niece.  He asked for a violin for his birthday and he took exactly two lessons when he announced that it wasn't right for him either.  He lasted a bit longer at fencing lessons and then decided to abandon that as well.  
  Then he found Karate and he soared!  In just a few months he  earned his orange belt and he is happy, happy, happy.  Loves it so much he learned to do a split, which trying for the first time at his age, was risky.
  And sweetest of all is that our neighbors drive him to the lessons with their boys and I don't have to even take a turn.  
  I think we found his niche.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


  Every now and then Anita, Adela and I sneak away from our lives and go out together.  Friends since the days when our only wrinkles were in our husbands shirts, we have seen a lot of life go by together.  Raising our kids together we launched them  into adulthood, and then adopted and started again.  Our lives have been intertwined through kids and carpools and heartaches and joys and I wouldn't have wanted to travel this journey without them!

Monday, 14 March 2011

And Again

  Our oldest daughter Margie will be turning 37 this year and Samuel, the youngest will be 7.  Sometimes it feels like I've been doing this mom thing FOREVER.  I have to remind myself that although I've supplied the carrots for 419 snowman noses, to each kid it's the original Frosty.  I have to be excited over every tooth lost and applaud every part in every play. I can't stop singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day" as I wake each one up, because it has to still be fun to annoy sleeping children.  When we leave the Walmart parking lot I will continue to yell, "hop on" and ride the cart down the lot to my car with my children hanging precariously on the sides so that the youngest will be able to reminisce with the oldest about how weird mom is.  
  But it's hard sometimes-like today when I'm tired.  And sometimes I daydream about cooking for two and not having to convince anyone that it's really their bedtime.
  And then Samuel runs by, laughing and he has a long, long childhood ahead of him and I can't wait to do it all over again for him.  I'm a sucker for a kid.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

There You Go

Two Lego Sets, a D.S., an MP3 player, a bucket full of cars and Ezra spends the afternoon riding his pine branch pony.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Americanization of Corinne

  Corinne, our Chinese exchange student is having a full out American experience this year.  She played basketball at the local high school; learned how to ski, roller skate and dance.  Her favorite foods are now macaroni and cheese and Lucky Charms.  When you ask her "what's up, she now says, "nothing much", instead of - looking up and saying, "I don't know."  Corinne has also reduced her home work and study time to a good respectable American short amount of time, although she still won top in her school's math field day.(You can't take the smart out of Chinese students no matter what bad American habits you try and teach them.)  She's taken her A.C.T.s and can text on her phone as fast as you and I.
  But every now and then we find her on the computer skyping with one of her friends from China, speaking Chinese at a million miles and hour.  She'll be going back a very different person!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Leotards and Lamb Stew

   This is Isaiah (13) and Elijah's (11) first year homeschooling and they're adjusting well.  They seem to be enjoying this new way to learn and Isaiah likes that nobody picks on him at home like they did at school. (That makes me sad, sad, sad.)
  The boys are open to new experiences.  This morning we joined about a hundred preschool kids to watch a ballet performance of "The Secret Garden " and they loved it.  When we got home they set up a Viking Restaurant and served us lunch complete with hand written menus and a magic show for entertainment.  
  Ballet to Barbarians.....I'm raising some well rounded boys.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

I'm Really Sure

 I'm not sure about everything in life, but there's a few things I'm convinced of.

I believe that the world is round, which is why the kid's balls all roll across the street to lay in the neighbor's yard.

I'm sure that birds of a feather flock together because when one of my kids finds something evil to get into, they are sure to have one or more of their siblings  join them.

And it's proven that your sin will always find you out, as I have a  few select children who are always ready to tattletale on the others about the above mentioned evil.

It's also true that "a watched pot never boils", because who the heck has time for that?  I've never had to say to my family, "Sorry guys, we were going to have a nice spaghetti dinner but I couldn't help staring into the water -  So - eat you garlic bread - that's all you're getting."  

Some things are just common sense.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Getting Older Today

Jocelyn and Grandma Kate
Turning 56 today was pretty uneventful.  No wild parties. 

Did celebrate by:
*Taking a walk with two of my favorite friends and two of my favorite dogs
*Reading "A Door In the Wall" to my kids
*Going to lunch with my Mom and Dad (I'm so lucky)
*Eating the yummy chocolate, creamy cake that my friend Denise delivered to my door and not even thinking about whether it's healthy or not
*Thinking about all the friends who sent me a happy birthday greeting on facebook and remembering the different times of my life that made us friends.
*Listening to the Goben family sing happy birthday on my answering machine

And Jocelyn, my granddaughter, brought over a purple birthday card with a picture of her and me together and it said, "I love you Grandma Kate".  I especially like that she showed my very thin arms and legs.  Obviously all the healthy eating has paid off.

Pretty good day, hunh?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Still Working

   Our three "littles" are in public school and when the big yellow cheese wagon rolls up here at 8am and takes them off, a quietness descends on  our day.  The homeschoolers have plenty of time to do their school work, read their favorite book, do their chores, go shopping with me and take walks or play basketball before the bus brings the "littles" back eight and a half hours later.
  I don't know what they do with these little guys at school for all that time, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that they finally return and still have homework to do.  This is a very patient six year old who really just wants to run around and play but has to sit and write out his spelling words one more time.

Monday, 7 March 2011

What Goes with Purple Boots?

  One thing I've learned from Annelise is that no job is too meager that it can't be done with style.  She doesn't save the "look" for special occasions - no! - she looks this good just to let Pete come over and use my yard for his potty.  
  Annelise does everything with a flair and is definitely a bright spot in the neighborhood.  Now where's her pooper scooper?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

He's Up

  Samuel, being six, is the shortest person in this VERY large family - if you don't count the dogs.  And being a boy, that fact screams challenge to him.  Samuel doesn't ever pout or worry or get mad, he just gets to work.  So for the past few weeks over and over, he charges through the foyer and jumps up to touch the hanging lamp.  He told me tonight that he almost touched it and that he thinks he's the only person in the family who can reach it.  
  I love this boy and his high flying confidence.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Birthday Yard Stuff

 My husband had a birthday today and he celebrated with the "at home kids".  They were excited for him to get his gifts because it meant the start of Saturday gardening.  He  was given seeds, bulbs, rakes and plants and everyone was dreaming of their own garden plot. Grace has her sights set on cucumbers, Jeremiah wants to grow his own watermelon and I can almost smell the garden tomatoes.  Today, however, was cleaning out the many flower beds and we  worked all afternoon.  For a job well done we headed out to Dairy Queen and celebrated with ice cream.  Happy Birthday farmer James - I love you.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Bulletins from Botany

I am keeping watch.  
While wondering through the yard, these brave yellow flowers caught my attention.  Alone in their declaration of winter's demise, they waved hello and I nodded my approval back.
Wonder how God chose who would be the the herald?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

All Dolled Up and Real Food

Our exchange student, Corinne, had a basketball banquet tonight to celebrate the end of the season and the family was invited to attend.  I insisted that the kids dress up nicely for the event and you can see that not all the boys were excited about that idea. (Emma wasn't thrilled to wear a dress either!) When they got over the annoyance of button shirts and realized that there would be food at the banquet, their mood improved and they posed for a nice picture before we left.

  There were a few awkward moments at the dinner.  My poor children who have been subjected to healthy food all week got a little  embarrassingly excited about the food on the table. One would peruse the table and run back announcing, "There's macaroni and cheese!"  Then they would all run up and stare.   Every disgusting fat laden food looked like it had dropped straight from heaven to them.  What the heck....I let them go at it. 
  Corinne was proud that everyone had such a great time at her basketball awards and I didn't have to cook.   Great night!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Just a Few More Weeks

  I have the unquenchable urge to celebrate when I flip the calendar to March.  Obviously February was given the fewest days of all the months, as it is least tolerable of the twelve.  Even Valentines Day does little to redeem such a disappointing month.  I am as sick of winter by the end of February as I am of the last piano student in the recital when my child played a half hour before.  
  But now it's March and there is hope contained on the page of 31 days spread before me.  The lion can roar a few more times but I know the lamb will have the last laugh.
  And this little bud on our dogwood tree is just as giddy as I am!