Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We were supposed to go to my MIL for Thanksgiving.  Packed up all the bags, made the hotel reservation (with pool--the kids were so excited!), made arrangements for dog babysitter, had the van repaired (and found out we need a $1400 repair--OUCH!--but ya know, things have been put into perspective for us and we knew that if that was the worst thing that happened that day, it was still a great day!)

Woke up bright and early Thursday but couldn't go due to a casualty--Hubby was sick!

We were all very disappointed but still pulled together a Thanksgiving meal.  Lizzy made pumpkin pies, apple pie AND cheesecake! 

I was worried Hubby might have Swine Flu but knew just what to do:

The rest of us enjoyed eating:

Playing Wii:

And Mommy was very glad to get a picture of her perfectly proper, well behaved children:
(Click to enlarge--if you dare!)

I was worried I would miss the Black Friday sales.  With Hubby sick I didn't feel right leaving him home watching all the littles. 

What kind of wife would do that???

But, being the wonderful wife I am I headed out at 6 am just so I could get him some Tylenol:

And some Diet Coke.  And a few other things as long as I was there--like socks of course!  To keep Hubby's feet warm while he is sick!  I was only thinking of him when I left him home sick with the wild ones.

Later in the day we went out for more "Tylenol" and hit the fabric store to buy one thing but when we saw flannel on sale for 1.50 a yard couldn't pass it up!   Lizzy and I decided to make some quilts for Vu's orphanage. 

I am so thankful for so many people in my life.  I am thankful for my three cornerstones--family, faith, and friends!

I am enjoying some down time with NO HOMEWORK--not for the kids, not for me--(singing PRAISES at this point in the term it seems impossible!), staying up late, sleeping in, watching movies, sewing, reading ahhhh! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sock Survival--Taming the Sock Monster

This may seem like strange timing for a post about socks--but it's not! 

Black Friday is the day I buy our entire family socks FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!  I budget $150.  Everyone gets socks in their stocking!

Yup, I'm one of those crazy folks up at 5 am to get the half price sock sale at Freddy's!  If you live in the PNW you know what I'm talking about!  If you don't, there are probably still good sales on socks in your area.

Regardless, here is my best advice on taming the sock monster:  think universal, unisex and unified. 

This translates into easy.  Which translates into boring.  Which translates into I don't care if socks are boring if they are easy.

For all FOUR of my younger kids:

I buy one brand of socks (Hanes), all the same style (crew length--good for summer or winter), all the same color (white), in just two different sizes (Med. and Lg).

They share socks.  Two wear size medium.  Two wear size large.  But they can also wear the other size in an emergency.

All these socks are kept in a basket in the hall closet so they are right by the front door when the kids need socks--no running upstairs to dig in each child's dresser for socks!

  • Folding socks is a breeze--even a 3 yo can match a basket of socks when they all have either a green M or a blue L.
  • If we lose one sock we don't lose the whole pair
  • Everyone always has socks
  • Inexpensive
  • White matches everything.  Almost everything.  Never allow white socks with black dress pants.  Unless you are trying to raise a bunch of nerds.  Which I'm not.  I do buy black dress socks for this occasion and keep those socks in my own dresser so I can find them when needed.  Why do I now keep them in MY dresser?  Because I have had nerds with white socks and black pants on too many occasions when they couldn't find their black dress socks.
The universal sock idea doesn't work quite so well with my picky teens.  One wants black, one wants footies, one wants Nike, one wants . . .

So . . . I buy each older child three big packs of socks in the brand and style of their choice--all the same color--so again, we can easily match, not lose pairs, and know which socks belong to who. 

My teens do not like to share socks.

After watching American Pie, I understand why. 

Three cheers for sock survival!!!  Hip, Hip Foot, Foot, HORRAY!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Know What's Weird?

When I meet a stranger and they tell me they read my blog.  Not like I'm meeting people on street corners who paparazzi me--it's usually a friend of a friend kind of thing.

But it's weird.  It's like, they know almost everything about me . . . but I don't know anything about them, ya know?  It's a feeling of an unlevel playing field.  Kind of like having someone walk up and laugh about the time I was dancing with the lampshade on my head at the party--but I can't even remember them being at the party! 

In the end tho, they are the ones ubber confused because I use blog names to protect the not-so-innocent.

I assure them there is no need to worry because I get my kids names so mixed up they will answer to almost anything--especially "Dinner!" 

Nothing like having eight kids, most with two middle names, some with previous before-adoption names, all with nicknames--and blog names on top.

Is it any wonder I can't keep track of who is who?

I'm glad I have strangers to help me sort out their real names sometimes.

(I'd post a picture of one of these strangers but I've now met all of them so they are no longer strangers.)

The Fun-O-Meter Never Stops

Busy with term papers but making sure I take some special time for myself:

Being over 40 is so much fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Then again, reading can be dangerous!

Perhaps teaching a child to read is not such a good idea at all.

Perhaps I should have gone with the "wait until eight" method of teaching reading.

Hubby brought me a big Nestle's Crunch for a treat.

Unfortuantely, Patrick saw it.  He looked at it for a minute with a wistful look.  Then his face lit up and he got very excited as he exclaimed, "Look mom!  It says, 'Great to share' and you really need to because it's now 'even more scrumptious!"

So of course I shared it and of course it really did taste even more scrumptious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing Results in Reading!

Kim has worked at improving her reading since kindergarten and with a reading tutor every summer.  Some summers, she's also had a math tutor.  Add to that the fact she went to speech therapy for six years and you can understand how much time this kid has spent in the car and in professionals' offices!  (We won't even get into her eight surgeries and all those appointments!!!)

Through it all, she has kept smiling and has a determination that encourages me in everything I do!  Her determination has paid off and she now reads at grade level.

Paul, on the other hand, was reading before he even started kindergarten and was the top reader in the entire first grade.

Imagine my shock when his reading level began to fall two years ago.  We have always been a family of readers and I have often required ALL the kids to spend the same amount of time with silent reading that Kim had with her tutor time homework--I'm an equal opportunity mom!

When Paul was recommended for a fluency program at school, I knew we really needed to step up our efforts.

Well, we sort of stumbled on something that has had amazing results!  For both kids!

Reading aloud!

Of course, I always have my kids read aloud to me when they are young but by the time third grade rolls around they are silent readers.  In an effort to help Paul read more fluently, I took the book I had been reading to him at bedtime (A Single Shard) and started alternating pages between us--one page for him to read aloud to me, then vice-versa, back and forth for 30 minutes every night. 

The results have been unbelievable!  We just finished Hoot and are now reading The Watson's Go to Birmingham 1963.  Alternating the reading back and forth makes the book go faster and keeps his interest.  There is also a reward for him at the end of his page of reading--he gets to take a break and listen, which also helps fluency.

Here's Paul reading the latest:

When Kim saw Paul reading to me, she also wanted to share a book.  In her case, she likes to read the whole book to me.  Right now, we are reading, The Outsider's.  I am also hearing improvements in her reading and she LOVES sharing books with me.

I often have her read to me while I am cooking or doing laundry:

Not only has this improved their reading skills, it has also led to special bonding time.   I could probably make a lot of money starting and promoting a read aloud program for older kids/young teens but I'm too lazy.  It really does work tho!  Try it, you'll like it!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What If You Only Had Six Months . . .

To be matched with a forever family?  What if at the end of those six months you were not matched and would never have a family? 

Only three months remain, yet many children still wait.

If you are considering adoption your child might be waiting in China! 

Click on Holt's Journey of Hope main page for more information.  You can request the password to access videos and more pictures of each child and there is no fee to review their file. 

There is also a general photolisting and moving video of all the kids singing.

Adopting an older child was one of the most challenging adventures of my life--but the joys have been 1000 times greater.  One zillion times! 

Please pray that each of these kids will find the love of a forever family--and that families will welcome them with open arms so they can experience joy--to the zillionth power!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

Thank you to my wonderful husband for 22 years of service to our country!

Here he is, out in the field, tired of MREs and BBQing on the back of a truck.

Receiving an award after he retired.

He was very loved by his troops and the feeling was definitely mutual:


Thank you to my nephews who proudly wear the uniform.  Thank you to so many of our friends who put their lives at risk.  Thank you to my best blog commenter Stacey who combines motherhood with military service. 

Thank you to all those soldiers who I will never meet and never know.

We truly are the land of the free because of the brave.

I chose this video because the clips portray military life so well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Facing The Fears Of Adoption

"Nearly 40 percent of American adults, or 81.5 million people, have considered adopting a child, according to the National Adoption Attitudes Survey. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family."    The Dave Thomas Foundation 

Why don't more families adopt?  The number one reason is fear--fear of the cost, fear of a "broken" child, fear of the unknown. 

Read His Hands His Feet for excellent thoughts regarding the risks of adoption. 

Every child deserves a family.

Two years ago we were in Vietnam picking up Vu:

Now he is home forever!

Thank you God for Your precious gift!  He is truly a joy to behold!

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."
                                                                                                            Isaiah 43:5

Monday, November 2, 2009


Our Halloween spooks:

The Rabid Beaver Fan:

The Princess:

Shirley Temple:

The Black Knight:

A Green Power Ranger: