Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet, golf-loving son Paul!

You are such an important part of our family!  I love your easy-going soul and your hysterical sense of humor!  Have a wonderful birthday!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mrs. Peters' Birthday Cake!

Our electronics-free-zone is actually going quite well.  Patrick says he's still "screaming in his mind," but it is SO GREAT to see all the kids engaging in activities like reading for hours on end,

playing Colorku (the whole family loves this mind-bender), playing outside and playing the trumpet. 

The word trumpet reminds me the house is a whole lot louder these days--not just from the trumpet, but all the extra activity and my kids have been totally into The Cup Song (and in case you don't know what that is, then I am sorry to inform you that you are living under a rock.)  Let's just say it is LOUD and annoying--youtube it.  Overall, the noise is worth the positive payoff.

Last night we finally made Mrs. Peter's Birthday Cake--from one of our favorite storybooks. 

The cake is SUPER yummy, especially with homemade whipped cream. 

The recipe comes from the author, Maryann Hoberman.  "It's thick to beat and quick to bake--It's fine to eat and fun to make--It's Mrs. Peters' birthday cake!" 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gifts Of Love Make Our Life Easier and Brighter

A friend of ours, who works in the sporting-goods-world, surprised us with a bunch of basketballs!

And another friend brought over some crab.

AND my sister and niece sent hand-me-downs to our kids!

I feel so blessed by these gifts of love--they make our lives easier and brighter!  Our kids felt like it was Christmas!

I am inspired to pay-it-forward.  I have some items to take to the farm workers and will load them up tomorrow.  I also have some clothes my kids have outgrown that will finally go out in the mail to a sweet friend with five young children.  I often forget how meaningful gifts are--until we receive the love from others.  Feeling grateful!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sweetpea's Birthday!

Our daughter-in-love really knows how to throw a party!  We had so much fun!  And Sweetpea was amazing--as cute and adorable as ever!  She wasn't too sure about the cake, but she was quite the party princess!  There was some serious rain at the beginning of the party, but it soon cleared up and a great time was had by all!  And let me just say--bouncy houses rock!



Saturday, June 28, 2014

No Electonics? Hit The Panic Button!

Today was a momentous day.  One my children will remember in this summer of 2014.

For one, we went to our granddaughter's 2nd birthday party (pictures soon).

For two, I shut down my kids' electronics.  For at least two weeks.  And maybe the whole summer.

They are not happy about this decision.

But, it was getting out of hand.  WAAYYY beyond that!  During the school year they can't play on school days.  But summer gives more free rein.  And Oh, how easy it is to silently succumb to electronics.  Some of my kids more than others.  Did you know it is very easy to quietly hide away and play video games for a very long time?  Even HOURS?  And when the brakes are put on that, it is very easy to just wake up super, duper early (5am) and sneak in some I-touch time? 

My teens are not the ones who struggle the most.  It is my younger kids.  Which is really quite worrisome.  And even worse--they can't imagine their lives without electronics (one child in particular). 

After an argument between two kids over Guitar Hero I was just done.  D-O-N-E. 

No video games, computer, TV, movies, i-touch, i-pod, i-am-so-done. 

And I am posting it here so I will not chicken out the next time I feel tempted to give in (most often when I want to get some work done). 

Let the experiment begin! 

This will either be the best, or worst, summer of our lives!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Love Rocks--Updated

The other night I went out on a long walk.  It wasn't a leisurely stroll, it was a mad-rant stomp.

I had been making dinner only to find out that most of my kids had already filled up on snacks or their own dinner selection.  This was after a string of previous days where I had heard one too many complaints about food. 

So I did what any wonderful mother would do.  I told my kids I was on a cooking strike! And I would not cook again until they could stop complaining about food and eating all the snacks like locusts--forever!

And then I put on my shoes and went for a long walk.  I walked a different way than normal and I came upon this on someone's driveway. 

"LOVE ROCKS!  Simply sharing love and joy one rock at a time.  Please take one, or leave to share with others." 

Which made me smile.  And I picked the light rock on the left with the red heart.  It has little, craggly, brown marks, which reminded me that life isn't perfect, but even on hard days there is always LOVE. 

Update:  A reader let me know the story behind the love rocks.  Thank you Erika for your comment.  It means so much to me to know more about the meaning of the rocks and when I look at my rock on my desk I will think of the girls, and remember to live a love-drenched life. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Please Share Your Secrets!

Many people are shocked when they hear we have ten kids.  They imagine the laundry, the cooking, and the noise.  Honestly, those are not the big challenges.  For me, it's the educational aspects (but it's summer so I won't go there) and getting all the kids to all the appointments (and it's summer so I WILL go there because summer means LOTS of appointments). 

I'm not complaining about the appointments--we are so lucky to live in a country where medical care is amazing and we are doubly-lucky to have health insurance.  We knew that several of our adopted children had special needs that would require more medical care. 

I'm just kind of rethinking if there is a way to make appointments less time consuming?  More streamlined?   

One of my time downfalls when it comes to appointments is that I am willing to drive to a specialist who is considered the best in the area.  I've been asking myself if this is really necessary?  As an example, I often drive past numerous other eye doctors to drive the 30 minutes to an eye doctor who is highly recommended.  It makes sense to go to the best available with my kids who have serious eye issues, but for everyone?  I'm not so sure.  In many ways I am craving a life where we can just ride our bikes to the eye doctor/dentist/pediatrician etc.  Ya know? 

I'm wondering how other parents work out appointments?  Do you do a ton in a day and get them over with?  Spread them out?  Avoid holidays?  Only use providers who have short wait times?  Divide and Conquer (husband does medical, wife does dental)?  I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is Set of Braces #8.

I'm thinking I really should have become an orthodontist! 

This week has also brought kid-needing-glasses #5. 

He looks so grown up, huh?  And cute! 

And my tip-of-the-day regarding glasses is go to Costco!  They are MUCH cheaper and are known to have the best quality control!  AND they now take insurance--hurray!