Friday, 21 December 2012

You Gotta Have a Tree

   Most years we cut our Christmas tree down the first weekend in December, but the stars and schedules didn't align as well this season.  So, better late than never, we finally made it out to the tree farm and chose the "best tree ever".  It was Samuel's turn to cut it down and he worked at it for awhile before bigger/stronger/older Isaiah finished it off for him. (Wasn't David just helping Isaiah not that long ago?)
  Everyone was full of Christmas cheer and humored me by singing Christmas carols in the hay wagon, even while people were listening. 
  So the tree is in place and it's officially Christmas at our house!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Away in a Manger

Our granddaughter Maddy has been staying with us for awhile and things have been a lot more interesting.  I made the decision to leave the very fragile nutcracker decorations packed away this year, for my own sanity, but the play nativity would be perfect. Although Maddy is only 1, it was time for her to hear the Christmas story.  She loved to sit and listen about how God stepped into our world, and that's how our faith like a child begins.  
And when you're one, it's okay to carry baby Jesus around in your mouth.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Something Fishy

  Our science class wrapped up our ocean studies with a lovely fish dissection.  I asked the parents a month ago if anyone could go fishing and get us some fish.  One family walked in with three huge beautiful wide mouth bass.  They were almost too pretty to use.
  But we did.  Fitted with gloves and scalpels we found organs and systems and generally the kids loved poking around and it was great.  And stinky. 
  There were a few kids who were repulsed and at the same time fascinated by the whole thing.  They only closed their eyes at the real bad parts.  And some couldn't get enough.
  It all went well until a few days later when I went in the garage and realized that our cans would probably smell for the next 30 years.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Summer Harvest

  Our orchard, which until this year has totally ignored us, suddenly matured and actually produced something.  Not just something, but lots of somethings.  The bees nicely gave up a ton of honey with not a single sting involved.  Our grapes taste like pure Welches Grape Juice and the apples are literally falling off the trees.  And those that didn't fall were encouraged to jump by Emma who scaled the top branches and shook till it was raining apples. Even our pear trees blessed us with fruit this year.  With homeschool back in full swing, recess is spent picking and peeling and climbing.  Apple Butter anyone?

Friday, 4 May 2012

An Inheritance

 Lauren, my 3 year old granddaughter, ran into the house last week.... "Guess what Grandma Kate?  I believe in Jesus!"  I hugged her right off her feet and said "Me too!" 
  How thankful I am that my own grandmother, Aida, made sure that my dad knew Jesus.  My parents were faithful to show me who Jesus is and I had the sweet privilege of sharing Him with my own children, including Lauren's mom Lane.
  My prayer is that one day Lauren's granddaughter will run into her house and love Jesus too.

Deuteronomy 4:9  “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

About That....

Last week we took AnnaClaire on a college visit, which is another whole post.  While we were gone one of my daughters graciously volunteered to school the kids.  Apparently she was helping them with some animals found in the area they were studying.  

I've always said that cultivating a willing spirit to serve is as important as academics - like spelling for example.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Aviyahna Cadence is Here

  This afternoon my son Andre and his girlfriend Nikki had a beautiful daughter.  Aviyahna had a little difficulty breathing at first, but she's a fighter and is doing well now.

  We can't wait till she can come home and we can love and kiss her.  (Although Andre says that nobody gets to hold her except him.)  We love you Aviyahna!  Keep up the crying - it's good for your lungs!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Farewell You Annoying Thing You

Today is Emma's and Samuel's birthday and this should be all about them and how much I love them, blah, blah, blah.

But more importantly, this is car seat liberation day.  I've had a car seat in my car for the better part of 33 years and today Samuel turns 8 and I'm done with them.  


This of course does not include my grandchildren who I will happily buckle up for the next 33 years.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Take 2

Just as Ezra got the cast off his arm, we made yet another trip to the E.R.  This time Emma turned her ankle while playing basketball.  The x-ray said sprained and I'm wondering why she came home with a cast up to her knee.
Ezra waltzed through his 6 week ordeal with ne'r a complaint. We are on day 4 with Emma and she's not being really pleasant at all.  Actually she's testy.
Anyone have a cast saw I can borrow?

Curtain Call for the Tooth Fairy

As the last, really last, I swear last, 8 kids are getting older I can almost see a glimmer of light at the end of the on duty mom tunnel.  Margie, the oldest is turning ......... exactly 30 years older than the youngest, Samuel who will be 8 this week.  
And I'll be ready to be done when I'm done.  I secretly wear a necklace with a little empty nest dangling from it and I've saved a stack of magazines with the promise of recipes for two.  Two!

So why was I so sentimental when Samuel lost both front teeth this week?  Maybe because he's the last and I'm a sucker for the look.

Monday, 2 April 2012

I'm in Charge Here

Ezra wants to be the boss of the world.  Ask him.  He is in every conversation because he knows that what he has to say is of extreme importance.  There is nothing that happens that he doesn't have the inside track on.  Ezra is the consummate tattle tale  and is unashamed of it.

This could be considered annoying, particularly by his brothers and sisters, but I think Ezra's tendencies could become his strengths.  (And with so many children to keep track of, having a little snitch isn't all bad.)

This is Ezra in his favorite outfit.  Is there a SWAT force that rides on scooters?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Stepping Carefully Out of the Nest

AnnaClaire has been attending our local community college for the last few semesters.  She's done well, but recently she's felt that God was calling her to attend a Bible college.  Her heart has been challenged to go into missionary work since we studied Sonlight's countries around the world in her 10th grade.  In homeschool  the study of geography can lead your children to follow God's heart for their life!!
She has applied to a Bible College in our state and got her acceptance letter this week!  She is super excited which is no small thing for her.  AnnaClaire was in her early teens when she came to us and she was READY for security in her life.  She held on tight to us and blossomed in the close relationships.  She said many many times that she would never leave our house and we just smiled and hugged her. Now she's ready to go and live 4 hours from us.  Which proves that Beatles's song..."All you need is love", and well - some Jesus and time and perseverance and that's all she needs .

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Dead Sea Scrolls Were Easier to Find

 Little boys and their Bibles are soon parted....especially when they go to one church for Awanas and another for Sunday School.  

Ezra has been looking for his for about two weeks and he's getting desperate.  My rule is if you don't care enough to know where your Bible is, you can't take your D.S. on any car rides.  

So the stakes are high, but unfortunately as his sign indicates, the reward is not.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lovely School

  My new favorite read is Anna Botsford Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study.  Written in 1911 for the teacher, it is simple in its approach of teaching children to leave the class room and experience the joy of observing nature.  It is incredibly complex in its details of the common plants and animals found everywhere around us.
 After a morning of our regular school work, inspired by Mrs. Comstock, we threw down the books and left to gather wild flowers down by the river to plant in shady little spots in our yard.  Armed with plant identification books and trowels we spent a wonderful afternoon.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Long and Short of It

  I've given up my fashion snobbery when it comes to the boys clothes, actually purchasing and tolerating them wearing shirts with super-heroes, shoes with lights and jogging pants.  Shudder.
  And my preference for boys hair leans to the high and tight side, which made it difficult to allow Elijah to grow his Justin Bieber locks.  But I did.
  Yesterday he came to me and asked if I would cut his hair short.  I was JUMPING FOR JOY inside but kept a slightly disinterested look on my face and said, "Sure I guess."  I was afraid he might change his mind if he knew it was the highlight of my day.  (Surely something couldn't be good if your mom likes it that much.)
He can't flip his hair now and he's had to put up with me  repeatedly telling him how handsome he looks.  

It takes so little to make me happy.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The First 20 Years and Counting

  Today was Jake's 28th birthday and the first he's spent with us in a few years.  
  Jake came to our family as an 8 year old and was the first boy to invade our all girl/sister family.  I was out of my element.  After living with us for a few weeks I complained to James that he had gone through 3 outfits in one day because he kept getting dirty.  A boy - dirty?  I was so ridiculous.
  Life has continued to be interesting with Jake.  Interesting being a code word for hard, sweet, annoying, heart breaking and wonderful.  He isn't equipped to live as an adult on his own and we are finding our way to giving him the dignity to live a productive life within the family.  He has proven to be a loyal son, protective big brother and caring uncle.  
  We have your back Jacob - happy birthday!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Look Grandma Kate

  When I take my granddaughter Layla to the park she always goes for the swings.  She's 6 now and doesn't call out "push me", as she has mastered the leg pumping thrill of going high up, all on her own.  She's fearless and I have to pretend I'm scared for her.  Really...I'm proud of her.  Going too fast, too high and loving it.  My daughter's daughter - keeping the reckless gene alive!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Family Friends....Cousins

  I always wanted to have a cousin that I was close to.  Someone to be with at all the family get- togethers who didn't want to sit and listen to the adults talk or watch them eat and eat and eat.  Someone like me.  I had a cousin, Karen, who was killed in a car accident when I was a young and I miss her to this day.
  My grand kids are blessed to have oodles of cousins which is inevitable when you have a total of 17 aunts/uncles.  They have sleepovers, share strollers and are growing up with friends for life.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

There They Go

  My kids play outside at night.  I should be ashamed but I'm beyond that now.  I used to be the mom whose kids would never even ask to go outside at night. Are you serious?  What about baths and picking up bedrooms and sitting down quietly for the evening to maybe read a book?
  That was then.  But this family has taken me down.  Making them sit quietly is an 11 on a scale of 10 being impossible.  They hover at the door in the evening and slip out between the cracks or something.  Next thing I know they're outside at the basketball hoop or running through the backyard playing secret assassin which I hope sounds worse than it is.
  And all that night time fun is like one of those silent dog whistles that calls the other kids in the neighborhood to slip away from the nice plans their mom's had for them.
  I know I should make them come in earlier and have them take their baths.
  But it's so nice and quiet in here.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The First Break

  Ezra broke his arm last week.  And the more important question than "How did it happen?" should be - "How did a family with so many boys go this long before there was a broken bone?"
  Being the good mom that I am, I took a two day "wait and see" before taking him to the E.R. for an x-ray.  (No amount of frozen bags of corn would reduce the swelling.)
  Ezra was pretty excited about the whole affair and was riding high on his wave of fame.  Then he found out that he wouldn't get the cast off till after basketball season was over.  Not so happy then.  
Oh and how did it happen?  
Wrestling in the basement with his sister and apparently she won.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Textbooks are for Tables

  The kids have been getting up early and getting most of their school work done while I'm walking in the morning.

 And that's fine with me.  More than fine.
It gives us time to do the good stuff - like looking for caves and exploring old church ruins. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

You Can't Put the Kids in the Fridge- because the shelves are too close together

  Today we put the Christmas break behind us and started back to school.  One of us was in a great mood - ready to actually learn/teach stuff.  
  The kids....not so.
  I understand.  Math is just dumb.  Taking a two week break does not make the 7 times table any more appealing.  And nobody loves underlining all the adjectives in the great, big, lovely, zippity dippity sentence.  
But come on.  Did they have to be so rotten and grumpy?
  Homeschooling could be so much more enjoyable if it weren't for the kids.