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! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love This!

Having a whole lot of fun here this week!


In case you didn't notice, our granddaughter loves balls and sports!  Big surprise, huh?  She also loves M&Ms and her Papa bribes her with them.  It is so much fun having Will and Family here!  And yes, all those pictures were really necessary--more coming for sure! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Great Books For Adults

I know, it seems like all I want to talk about these days is books.

Did I ever mention I love to read?

My granddaughter loves books too--and I love sending them to her!
Reading books has become nearly non-existent in my current season of life.  What is awesome is that I can still listen to books a lot.  I spend a fair amount of time driving for my job, so I just keep a recorded book in the jockey-box and I'm good to go! 

I have "read" several books recently that I LOVED!  Several were extra good because they were read by a great narrator. 

The Husband's Secret
Water for Elephants
The Orphan Train--By Christina Kline
The Lovely Bones
Half-Broke Horses
The Language of Flowers
Killing Kennedy
The Whole-Brained Child

I am now diving into Goodreads "50 Books to Read Before You Die" List.   I am currently struggling through Pride and Prejudice.  Not loving it--just seems like a gossiping, emotional, soap-opera right now.  Maybe I'm just not smart enough.  Please tell me it gets better!   

What have you read lately that you loved?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Were You Feeling Bad I Didn't Send You A Christmas Card?

I am in the midst of cleaning.  A closet.  THE closet.

Our home office has a large closet that has become a dumping ground for paperwork.  And books, art supplies, backpacks, cables, school supplies, and all those do-hickies that we don't know what to do with.

Ya know?

Not only that, there are baskets of things that came from our OLD house!!! 

Apparently, it's true confession time. 

It was so overwhelming I finally decided to take it on like an elephant---one bite at a time.

I made this rule that EVERYTIME I went into the office I had to do something with 5 things in the closet.  This might mean throwing it away, putting it in the Goodwill box, filing it, or finding its appropriate home.  It could be 5 bigger things or 5 pieces of paper. 

Often, I would get started and deal with way more than 5 things.  Other times I would walk in to get something and then be reminded of my "rule."  Ugh!  (You would think I would have just quit going in there, but I am a slow learner.)

Well, guess what I came upon today?

Well first, let me ask you, did you get a Christmas card two years ago?

Because I know I mailed them.  ALL of them.  I specifically remember putting them ALL in envelopes and sealing them up.

BUT, somehow, they ALL ended up in my office closet. 

A giant stack!

So, please put me back on your friend list, and just know that your friend is truly losing it!

And if you didn't receive a Christmas card, please enjoy the gift with this post.  SHAZAM!  Christmas cards delivered!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Grandbaby!

This should have probably been titled "Our Trip to See Our Son and His Family."   


We have a grandbaby and we love it!!!!

Of course, we do love to see our son and daughter-in-love too!

Hubby and I decided to take a quick trip in April.  We had so much fun!  We were on an airplane with no kids which meant we had a chance to talk.  And read!  Of course, we didn't appreciate the snow storm which delayed us! 

But we loved every second of adult time with our son, DIL, and the world's most beautiful grandchild! 

One funny.  Little Sweetpea wasn't so sure about her Papa when we first arrived.  After a couple hours Papa decided to make some cookies with his granddaughter.  When she heard the M&Ms being poured into the bowl, she came running!  After that, she decided her Papa was an okay guy!

I brought along a wooden Noah's ark that was Will's when he was young.  He received it as a baptism gift.  She loved it!

We were sad to leave, but so thankful for the time we had together! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5-Star Pulled Pork

I don't have a picture because this got gobbled up!  There aren't a lot of crock-pot recipes that have become family favorites, but this did tonight!  Sooooo easy!

Easy Pulled Pork

Take a 4-5 pound pork roast (butt or shoulder--I had to ask the meat-cutter man to help me because I had no idea what I needed!  I think this can also be called a picnic roast?  I'm not sure!)
Put roast in crock pot
Cover with 12 oz of Rootbeer
Cook on low for 8 hours
Pour off Rootbeer
Take 2 forks and pull apart the meat--so tender it will fall apart
Add favorite bottled BBQ sauce (we love Bulls-Eye brand)

Put on hamburger buns and serve!  Yum!  My kids loved this!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Is A Great Time For . . .

Dentist appointments!!!

And our children's dentist is very, very smart!  She has this little token machine that the kids can get a prize from.  Now you might think that getting a little 5-cent prize from a machine wouldn't be enough to make a family drive way PAST their family dentist TO the children's dentist--but it is!!!

And tomorrow I will make my kids summer extra special by driving them to the CHILDREN'S dentist--so they can get their little prize and be happy.  (And truth be told, I am also happy because the office has FOUR dental hygienists so they can clean the teeth of FOUR kids all at once!!!)

I am reminded of our last appointment. 

Patrick got a stick-on mustache.

I looked in the rearview mirror and Patrick shouts,

"Look mom, a unibrow!!!" 
What a crack up!