Thursday, March 26, 2015

San Francisco!

We had such a great time in San Francisco!  Thank you for your prayers for safe travel!  I am also happy to report that Paul got the job he was interviewing for, and Kim is feeling a bit better!  Please continue to pray for her to be completely healed. 
Our favorite part of the trip was time with family!  The cousins played and played!  We enjoyed going to my nephew's lacrosse games and getting a sewing lesson from my sister.  Other fun times included the Jelly Belly factory, Muirwoods, and the Golden Gate Bridge.   
Notice you do not see my boys.  They were in "tourist lockdown" and MIA.
This means they refused to get out of the car for a picture.
Another day was spent taking the train downtown.  We went to Fisherman's Warf and on a long city hike to find a store Lan Lan wanted to experience.  Lots of piggyback rides (and a stop at Starbuck's) kept the troops going.  And yes, there were some complaints! 

 We ate at a great Vietnamese restaurant.  Vu was in heaven!  And we made a world record of eating at In 'N Out THREE times!
And then we drove the 650 miles home!  Ugh!  But worth it!  A memorable trip and one that included many moments of pure joy! Praising God!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Prayers Please

We are starting Spring Break early!  Today I leave for San Francisco with the four youngest kids.  We are going to my sister's.  Soooo excited!!!  But it is a LONG drive, so prayers appreciated!
The older crew is staying home.  Hubby's going to keep making money by going to work, Lizzy's going to finish her clinical rotation and work, and Paul is going to a work interview.
Who could say no to this face? And he has such an awesome personality!

Kim is hopefully going to work too.  She was recently hired at a vet clinic, but she has really been struggling with headaches lately.  We've been on a round of doctors and they have ruled out all the "bad stuff,"  which is relieving, but also leaving Kim without answers.  Which is hard.  But I was reminded last night that God knows the answers.  We are trusting, but also praying for some headache relieve.  Will you all join me in praying together?  Thank you! 
And as a thank you for your prayers, I will give you some eye candy from when our granddaughter was here.  She LOVES Kim!  She wasn't so sure about trying a sugar cookie.  But watch her reaction below! 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Math--Common Core and Homeschooling

The new Common Core is a hot topic around our state.  Patrick has his own opinions. 
Patrick--all dressed up for his band concert. 
One song was played together with multiple bands-- 446 musicians!
Patrick made us all laugh with his personal explanation of how math has changed: 
"Common Core math is now just another language arts class--with a few numbers thrown in!" 
And for kids who struggle in reading, this is really sad.
Lan Lan is being homeschooled this year, in part because of her challenges with reading.  We discovered a totally awesome math program called Teaching Textbooks.  It is a self-paced computer program that explains the lessons clearly without a lot of reading.  This is a great program for filling in the holes that often exist for kids adopted at older ages, and also for kids still learning English.  Lan Lan, who has previously struggled in math, LOVES the program so much she has already completed one-and-a-half years!  (And no, I don't receive anything for promoting it.  But if you try it and you love it, you can send me money.  Or chocolate.)
Homeschool has been a great fit for Lan Lan, and there have been many positives in helping her catch-up and have extra parenting time.  Homeschooling is a lot of work, but worth it! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Proof I Am A Genius! And Probably A Descendant Of Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin would be so proud.  About a month after Christmas I found candy canes on sale for 90% off.  Yes, pennies a box.  And my kids were super excited! They even ground up candy canes and put them in their hot chocolate!
Until they hit about box ten, and then they seemed to lose their lust for peppermint.
So on a recent weekend basketball tournament I brought along the last box of candy canes.  Which was met with cheers of glee!!!  Best mom of the year award!
Ha.  You know that is not true. 
It was met with looks of horror and disgust, sighs, and long pauses, followed by, "Really Mom?" 
I am sorry to report that I did not have many takers for the last few candy canes.
But I am HAPPY to report that me, being a genius, found a very important purpose for one amazing candy cane.
In true CrazyForKids style we planned a trunk-lunch.  This is where you park the car, open the back, pull out the cooler, make sandwiches to order, pass them out to the super-excited-to-be-missing-out-on-McDonalds-children (NOT!), then pat yourself on the back for saving 35 bucks. 
But on that particular day I had a dilemma.  I had no knife to spread the mayo.  This was a problem.
But never fear!  My genius came to the rescue!
I used a candy cane for a knife. 
Applause please!   
And there were many other people driving around the parking lot on that super crowded day, noticing that we were eating a trunk-lunch, and surely noticing that genius-lady using a candy cane for a knife! 
Then again, maybe they just wanted our parking spot. 
One lady even drove by about 3 times and finally shouted, just as I finished making sandwich #20, "Are you done eating yet!!!!?  I need a parking spot!!!"
I did not give her my parking spot.  But I did ask her if she would like a candy cane. 
And I then proceeded to gather up the kids, waved goodbye to Hubby and Paul (who decided to fit in a round of golf), and because we had several hours in between basketball games, I took the younger kids to the saltwater taffy store, arcade, and shopping.
Perhaps I am not a descendant of Benjamin Franklin after all.  But I am definitely a genius!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Birthday To Our Pi Boy!

Another birthday brings the teenager count in the house up to five.  Yes, five.  Prayers for sanity accepted!
Having five teens makes some things extra funny, such as a quote from the movie Big Hero 6:
"Your hormone and neurotransmitter levels indicate that you are experiencing mood swings, common in adolescence. Diagnosis: puberty."
Patrick was born on Pi Day, a fact that escaped me during the throes of giving birth to my ten-pound linebacker (now turned tall-and-thin basketball player).  But hey, I was thinking about the circumference of his head, not the circumference of a circle!  And before you feel too sorry for me, I will give you all a big sigh of relief and let you know he was delivered via C-section. 
Like all our boys, Patrick is named after a famous baseball player--his middle name is Gehrig.  If I had been smart enough to know he was born on Pi Day, I would have named him Patrick Ichiro. 
But regardless, he is here, he is not named after Pi Day (and does not even like pie), but he is awesome, he has an hysterically wry sense of humor, is a walking dictionary, caring, loving, and passionate about life.  He wants to become a lawyer when he grows up, and based on his current negotiating skills, he will be very successful! 
Birthday dinner with Mom and Dad at Applebee's
Love you so much Patrick!  Welcome to the Teenager Club! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Another baby growing up!
Sing Taylor Swift's song 22  and party up for Lizzy's birthday!
She will soon graduate from nursing school and truly be all grown up.  She wants to work in pediatrics and has a gift working with children. 
Lizzy has a sweet heart and adventurous spirit.  She's hardworking, energetic, and compassionate.  She's always loved being part of a large family, and since she's surrounded by lots of siblings, that's a good thing!
Happy Birthday Lizzy!  I love you to the moon and back and all the way to Hogwarts! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Do You Feed All Those Kids? Pizza!

It's often impossible to come up with a dinner that delights all.
Pizza night is an exception--everyone loves it because everyone creates their own!
It's messy.  But fun!  And there are lots of satisfied customers!
See that smile?  That is not fake!  That is the smile of a real mother who is real happy that everyone loves tonight's really good dinner! 
Pizza Dough Recipe:
1 1/3 C warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 C. flour
4 teaspoons yeast
Mix all ingredients together in a bread maker on dough setting or mix by hand.  Make sure water is warm, but not hot.  Let rise once.  Roll out on floured surface to make 2 pizza crusts or several small pizzas.  (Double, triple, or quintuple recipe as needed.)  Put on greased pizza pans or cookie sheets.  Cover rolled out crust with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and toppings of choice.  Cook at 400-425 degrees for 10-18 minutes, checking for golden top and crust.  The more toppings you put on the longer it will take. 
Pizza Sauce Recipe:
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 teas. dried basil
1 teas. dried oregano
1 teas. sugar
1/2 teas. garlic powder
Combine and spread on rolled out pizza dough.  Double or triple as needed.