Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Babies




From our home to yours......have a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Family Readings

Family Readings


Something I really cherish about our family is the time we spend reading aloud together. We try to choose books that will appeal to all ages, but this is not always easy, as two year olds just aren't interested sometimes. But we certainly try! We've read anything from "adventure" such as God's Smuggler, to "family growth" books such as Family Driven Faith, to even simple things like Character Building stories.

Currently, we are reading our yearly Advent book, Tabitha's Travels. This is the third book of a series. The first two are Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage. This happens to be our sixth year of reading these Advent books and we just love them. Sometimes we'll pile on the couch for our reading and other times we'll sit around the table sipping hot cocoa. But tonight was a beauty! Our neighbor had given us a bag of Hubba Bubba suckers, so we decided to save them especially for reading time. We sat around the table and let the kids go to town on their suckers. It was the most peacefully quiet reading yet!!!

Once we have finished our Advent book, we'll begin our new book, 10 P's in a Pod. I'm really excited about this one because I've heard and read many great reviews.......we can't wait!

If your family already reads together often, then you know how special it is (most of the time...lol)! If not, I would encourage you to pick a great book and start reading to the family! You'll love it and your children will too!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

There are some things that are worth the time and effort to save money, and there are other things that are worth the money to save time. Make sense?

Well, making our own laundry detergent has proven to be one of our best money savers over the last two to three years. And we only have to invest about 15-20 minutes of our time every three to four months.

Not bad, eh?

Not only is this a great way to save money, but this detergent is also safe for HE washers, because of the low suds ingredients.

I'll give the recipe in a small batch so that you can try it without wasting too much if you don't like it!

But you'll like! You WILL!!

Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

1 Fels Naptha Laundry Bar (or Zote)  I buy this at Walmart in the laundry aisle.

1/2 cup Borax

1/2 cup Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda...it must say Super Washing Soda.....it's usually located right next to the Borax but not all stores carry this....you may have to shop around. If you live in Texas, HEB carries it.)

If you just bought one bar and one box each of these, it will cost you only about $5 and depending on family size will last three to six months. Although, you'll need about three bars of Fels Naptha or Zote to go through your entire boxes of powders.

Directions

Grate bar. If you have a food processor with a cheese grater attachment, use it! Before we had this, we had to grate the bar by hand on a box grater.

In a processor or blender, combine 1 cup of grated bar, 1/2 cup Borax, and 1/2 cup of Washing Soda. Process or blend until you get a fine powder consistency. It's best to do this in small batches to get a fine powder. Repeat this until you run out of your grated bar. If you've bought several bars....well, keep on goin'! Store in an air tight container.

Use

For small to medium loads, use 1 tablespoon. Seriously! This is why it lasts so long!

For large or heavily soiled loads, use 2 tablespoons. It's that simple! Then, fabric soften as desired!

A side note: I've heard people say that they didn't like the ZOTE because it has a waxy texture, whereas the Fels Naptha has a flaky texture.  I personally don't have a problem with Zote. My clothes get clean and they smell good.  However, since my Walmart now sells Fels Naptha, I buy that.

My little girls love that ZOTE is pink! ;-)  Try both and see what you like best. Let me know what you think!

*Update:  We still make our detergent most of the time, but occasionally, we buy the big bucket from Sams, which is also economical. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Quote

Joys of the Incarnation

"Most sensible people say that adults cannot be expected to appreciate Christmas as much as children appreciate it. But I am not sure that even sensible people are always right; and this has been my principle reason for deciding to be silly -- a decision that is now irrevocable. It may be because I am silly, but I rather think that, relatively to the rest of the year, I enjoy Christmas more than I did when I was a child. My faith demands that such be the case. The more mature I become the more I need to embrace the joys of the incarnation. The more mature I become, the more I need to be but a child".

~ G.K. Chesterton

ht: Kristen S.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


We've been very busy this morning finishing up the last of the cooking. My sweet girls did some of the baking last night......Chey baked her Deep Dish Apple Pie and Celeste made the cornbread for the dressing. Now, the rolls are rising and I'll get started on the dressing. We're not cooking the whole feast this year since we're celebrating with our good friends again, so our cooking load is light.....well.....if you consider making 80 homemade rolls a light load! ;-)

We're looking forward to giving our Lord many thanks and praise, and the sweet fellowship we'll enjoy with our friends. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Haven't Felt Like It

Just Haven't Felt Like..........

.......blogging lately. You know when you don't feel good, you don't feel like doing a whole lot. I haven't forgotten about my blog......in fact, I'm always thinking of things to post, but as you can see I'm a slacker.

I hesitate to say that I think I may be starting to feel better. I still feel icky most of the time, but it seems like I'm having more good moments. If my last seven pregnancies are any indication of when I will feel better, well, we're looking at another five to nine weeks. Let's just hope this one is different!

Don't give up on me......I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting

Murphy's Law-Voting Lines

What happens when you take a dad, a pregnant sick mom with vomit bag in tow, seven children (five of them seven and under), lots of snacks and drinks to keep them quiet, strollers, diaper bags, and a boat load of patience all in preparation to stand in line for one to two hours?

NO LINE AT ALL!

Yep, that's right. If you ever want to ensure not having to wait in line, go overboard in your preparations and expect the worst! Obviously, we were overjoyed to find that there was no line at all. Perhaps it was the time we arrived or the number of early voters, but no matter the reason, it was a relief for this sick Mama!

Since the people working the tables were not busy, all eyes were on us as we entered the building with our progeny in tow. We got the kids all settled into a corner with snacks and Greg and I approached the tables. Forget about, "May I see your ID?" or "Can I have your name?" Nope! We were greeted with wide eyes, shifting quickly from us to the kids and back to us, and the ever famous question........drumroll please........"Are they ALL yours?" Yes!

So, we voted. The kids did a fabulous job of behaving for the whole five minutes they had to wait and we were out of there. Not so fast. On our way out, we were snagged by a reporter who was admittedly enamored with our family and just HAD to ask us some questions. We obliged! With a few giggles coming from behind us, we politely answered his simple questions. Wow, who'd have thought our voting day would have been so easy and somewhat exciting! ;-)

So now it's waiting............in a few short hours we will know who will be in office next year. May we all be in fervent prayer and may we all rest in God's Sovereignty and trust His outcome!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

UPDATE: Greg just found the article from the reporter. It's called "Nine voters" Start a Rush (that's us)! Click here to read it! Too funny!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pregnancy Update

Pregnancy Update

Well, I've hit the nine week mark now and if morning sickness is ANY indication of a healthy pregnancy, than I can assure you......this baby is HEALTHY!!!! This pregnancy has already been more difficult and challenging than the last one, but God has been faithful to get me through each day......even when each day feels twice as long!

My mind is all over the map. One moment I'm thanking God for this new blessing in our family and the next I'm wondering why we keep doing this! ;-) I can think of so many things I'd rather be going through than enduring nausea daily. I'd rather go through natural labor ten times IN A ROW that feel nauseated. I'd rather have a broken leg.......I'd rather have my wisdoms surgically removed again.......I'd rather go to the dentist......I think you get the point. Nausea is the worst part of pregnancy. It's not that I don't want to be pregnant........on the contrary......I love being pregnant.....just not the first four to five months. But as I'm reminded daily, when this is all over, I'll have received a blessing that makes hugging my garbage can all worth it!

Okay, enough complaining......now the good stuff! It's amazing to see God at work in our lives! Just when I think God has forsaken me and I'm doomed to a life of throwing up, He reminds me that He's right here beside me and that He cares for me. Whether it's a moment of feeling good, a meal brought by a friend, prayers, or a phone call from a fellow sicky, He reminds me of His love and His faithfulness.

So, I'll leave you with a sweet quote I stumbled upon:

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of Mother's Love.-- Maureen Hawkins

Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

"It was 491 years ago today that Martin Luther nailed his world-changing 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church. These theses included rebukes to ungodly fear and superstition. Five hundred years ago, sometime near October 31, a baby named John Calvin was conceived who would dedicate his life to eradicating an ungodly fear of superstitious beliefs and proclaiming the gospel of grace. His emphasis on reformation, revival, and the sufficiency of Scripture had such far-reaching implications for nations like the United States that he has been described by Christian and secular scholars alike as the true founding father of America. The Reformers did something that was very scary to the world of their day. They stood against all forms of dark superstitions which grip the minds and souls of men. It was their emphasis on the fear of the Lord and the wisdom of Holy Scripture that was used of God to liberate untold numbers of men and women."

So, in honor of celebrating the German Reformation, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther:

"Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sophia's Birthday

Sophia's Birthday


It's hard to believe that our little Sophia is now six years old. We had a fun family celebration, giving thanks for this sweet girl. Sophia is full of life and can brighten a room with her smile and big green eyes. She's a fast talker and pretty quick witted. She makes us laugh often with the things she comes up with, especially her conversations with her big brother Seth. She's also our child that loves math and will ask to do extra pages......even on the weekends. She also loves anything princess (surprise), just like all the other little girls she knows. Sophia loves to color and put together puzzles......I'll often find her in the school room by herself just quietly working on something! She's our Beauty!

Here are a few pics from her birthday! Sophia chose this Hat cake out of my favorite cake book. No close-ups this time, as I struggled to even get the cake done while feeling so sick. It was cute, but not close-up worthy! ;-)
Now the real fun begins......PRESENTS!

We thought this Toss Across game would be fun for the kids.....we were right......we could hardly get them to stop playing.......

Of course, there's always the necessities..........

A cute shirt from Gramie...........

Sophia asked for her own Bible.......the younger kids have been sharing the older girls' old Bibles, but she wanted one to call her own. We got her this Children's Bible (ESV), but it is a real Bible which was important to us..........she loves it!!!

We ended our evening with a family game of Toss Across. The kids loved it when Daddy and I went head to head. (I beat him, by the way!) ;-) This morning, the kids were already asking if they could pull the game out and play some more........I think it's a hit!
So, that was the last birthday of the year! We're so thankful for Sophia and the joy she brings to our family! Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Monday, October 20, 2008

For Moms

What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. —Martin Luther
You gotta love Martin Luther! This was especially encouraging to me today as I struggled to accomplish many things while feeling so sick! I hope it's an encouragement to you as well, sick or not! ;-)

Happy Birthday Sophia

Happy Birthday Sophia!

Thank you, Father, for six wonderful years with our little beauty!

Hopefully, I'll be able to post celebration pics a little later........so come on back!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Slow Fade

Slow Fade

Our sermon today was from Genesis 19: 30-38. Although Scripture refers to Lot as a righteous man, we're reminded of how easy it can be to slip into a life of sin and not realize how it took root! As our pastor exhorted, we must guard ourselves against sin. It can creep in slowly and gain a foothold in our lives if we're not careful. While driving home, and discussing the sermon, we were reminded of these lyrics.......thought they were quite fitting!

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Hope you're having a restful Lord's Day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walk For Life

Walk For Life

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16


The Agape Pregnancy Help Center will be hosting our annual Walk For Life Fundraiser this Saturday in San Antonio. Please join us in our efforts to save the lives of precious babies by raising the necessary funds to keep our centers open. There are several ways in which to offer support. You can walk, run or crawl along with us, you can sponsor me as I walk for life, or you can simply donate to the Agape Pregnancy Center online. If you'd like to walk or donate, visit www.agapeprolife.org to get a sponsor form or to donate. If you'd so graciously like to sponsor me, email me at gsabo1@sbcglobal.net with your donation amount, your name, address and phone number.

Whether we want to think about it or not, the fact is, millions of babies are being killed each year due to abortion and we can't sit idly by and ignore it. Here are some of the ugly statistics:

UNITED STATES

Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)Number of abortions per day: Approximately 3,700

Who's having abortions (age)? 52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.

Who's having abortions (race)? While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.

Who's having abortions (marital status)? 64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.

Who's having abortions (religion)? Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

Who's having abortions (income)? Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions; Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%; Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%; Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.

Why women have abortions: 1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

At what gestational ages are abortions performed: 52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Likelihood of abortion: An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.

Abortion coverage: 48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage.

About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.
Statistical resource: http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

Other resources: http://www.all.org/imnew.php , http://www.lovelife139.blogspot.com/ , http://www.nrlc.org/ .

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Change of Heart

Our Journey to Many Children


I am no stranger to large families. My mother is the sixth of fourteen children, my dad is the oldest of five, and I am the second of four. Even the generations before, there were many children in our family line. I grew up surrounded by lots of family and LOVED the chaos of family gatherings and reunions. My husband, however, is an only child, and so is his mother. You'd think that I was already signed up to have many children and that my husband would lean towards one or two. Well, that wasn't the case....


When Greg and I were engaged, I don't think we necessarily talked about a specific number of children, but I knew my husband was in the "I want 20 camp"......I just laughed, as in "yeah right"! Three months after we were married, we found out that we were expecting our first child. We were thrilled. Until.....I began death-like morning sickness! I was so sick for seven months. Continuous vomitting, dehydration, etc. After this, I KNEW I would not be in a hurry to do it again. Our daughter was born and we were very happy first-time parents. Yet, the memories of how sick I was haunted me. About two years later, I began feeling suspiciously sick and took a test. It was positive. Although I welcomed the "idea" of another baby, I was terrified of going through such agony again. And how would I do it now with a toddler? And to make matters worse, we were moving back to the states from England in just a few months. How am I going to handle a major move, plane rides, and a toddler?


The morning sickness intensified and I just took it one day at a time. Our little two year old spent most of her days watching children's videos and I cringed each time she said she was hungry. It was difficult to get up and prepare food. Greg was working 24 hour shifts, so when he was at work, he was gone ALL DAY!


It came time to move. I left England a month before Greg so that I could spend more time with my family before heading to our next base. I was four months pregnant, still sick, and was now going to travel back to the states with our daughter, by myself. UGH! Sixteen hours and three plane changes later, I made it home. Barely! That night, my dad offered to go get me something to eat and food actually sounded good. The next morning, I woke up and felt great! God was good and faithful and allowed morning sickness to last only four months instead of seven! Our second daughter was born and we were the honored parents of two little girls. I was content.


I think I immediately felt like two was enough for us, although I knew my husband wanted more. He never pressured or asked, but I knew his heart welcomed more children. As time went on and the girls got bigger, I began to enjoy the independence and the freedoms of having children out of baby stage. I also began planning my future which included finishing school and possibly a career in the future. I had all kinds of ambitions, goals and aspirations. And now that the girls were getting older, I could finally work toward these goals. By this time, we were moving again. Greg was getting out of the Air Force and we were moving back home. As soon as we were settled, I enrolled in school. Oddly enough, it was during this period of life that I began to question all of my reasons for only wanting two children. This was strange to me! I loved school, I loved the girls being older and I was set on being able to afford to send these girls to college. How would we afford more children? And, do I want to go through morning sickness again?

Nonetheless, my heart was being pulled in another direction. I questioned why I only wanted to have two children when I have a wonderful husband who wants more? Was God not faithful in getting me through morning sickness? Will He not provide for more children? Is pursuing a career what I really want to do? And is it God's plan for all of our children to even attend college? All these questions ate at my core until finally it was clear! God had turned my heart to welcome more children. Greg was elated!


We were living in CA at the time and getting ready to move back to Texas. We agreed that as soon as we got back to Texas we would try for another baby. The first thing we did when we arrived was shop for a hospital. Once we picked our place of birth (which didn't end up being the one we chose), and upon a friend's recommendation of a fertility book, we began charting and trying. ;-) To our amazement, two months later we were pregnant with our third child.

Yep, sick again. I survived and we welcomed our third child, a son, SIX years later! Seven months later, to our SHOCK, we were pregnant again! Fortunately, my good friend was pregnant too, so it made it a little less scary. Sick again, still nursing baby #3, survived again and welcomed our fourth child, another girl.


Okay, at this point, I'm not sure what our "plan" is now. We still hadn't come to the point of welcoming "any and all" children, but we weren't saying we were done either. So what we did was continue to chart. I would chart until I felt "ready" to be pregnant again. By now, I knew that God would get me through morning sickness, we knew He would continue to provide, and we were thankful for our four children.

Our fourth child was about 13 months old when we "put the charts away". Soon after, we were pregnant again. Yep, sick again and now living in a tiny rental home. Five kids, three very small bedrooms, no problem. Our fifth, another girl, was born and we were thrilled!


God continued to do a work in both of us concerning our view of children and what scripture says about children. Over and over, scripture calls children a blessing, a heritage! Although I think most people would have agreed that our quiver was certainly full and probably overflowing, we weren't content with that. Don't get me wrong, we were content with our five children, just not content with deciding five was "it".

During this time, I was at a HOPE meeting (our home school group), when a dear friend , the wonderful woman who leads our studies, shared with us her journey to having nine children. As a matter of fact, it looked (the age gap) and sounded a lot like ours. She shared of how Hannah, the mother of Samuel, prayed fervently for a child. She went on to say that she realized there were ONLY examples of women in the Bible praying FOR children! There is not one example that God gives us of a woman (or man) praying NOT to have children. Yet, we see in the Bible that there were many varied sizes of families! And being that we know modern birth control did not exist (although we know the story of Onan "spilling his seed", and God was not pleased), we can assume that God was in control of family sizes! This, in conjunction with God's Word referring to children as blessings, arrows and a heritage, was HUGE for me. God used my sweet friend's own story to continue writing ours! Thankfully, my husband shared the same conviction and we went on to have two more children. No charting, no worrying, just freedom. You see, for us it really is freedom. Since we welcome any child God is willing to entrust us with, there are no worries about getting pregnant. We just enjoy our love for one another and welcome "the fruits of our passion", as my husband so sweetly puts it! ;-)


We don't know what the future holds, but we do know we built our six bedroom home with the hopes of filling every bedroom with children. Yeah, I know, crazy huh? Definitely God! I thank Him almost daily for changing my heart, for my husband's loving patience, for friends who share a similar conviction, and for seven beautiful blessings.

If you know me, you know that I am NO supermom. I struggle daily just like every other mom does. I have days when I want to string these little blessings up by their toes or run away to a tropical island. But this I know......God is faithful, God has provided for our every need and then some, God has helped me not to fear morning sickness....too much, and God has freed me from the worldview ideals I held all those years ago. We couldn't be happier. There's nothing I'd rather be doing than raising and growing our heritage.


So, to end this story, I would like to happily announce the blessing of our eighth child......to arrive in June!

 Also, congratulations to Tiffany, Shannon, Janelle, Blair, and Stephanie G. who are also expecting in June! And to Stephanie C. who is due in May! Soli Deo Gloria!

UPDATE:  On April 20, 2015, we welcomed our 11th child....another precious girl.  We now have 8 girls and 3 boys.  I am 42 years old, so we'll see what God has in store for the future.  :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Chey's Party

Cheyenne's Birthday Celebration


We had a great time celebrating Cheyenne's sixteenth birthday. She invited her closest friends and even a couple of MY (younger) friends whom she loves and has known for years.

We began the celebration with lots of pizza, Dr. Pepper, and cake!
Cheyenne asked for a butterfly cake.....I tried hard not to make it too little girl-ish......what do you think? Thankfully, she very graciously said she loved it! So sweet!


After stuffing ourselves with way too much pizza and cake, Cheyenne opened gifts. Thank you to her sweet friends who blessed her with beautiful gifts.

She loved this new red purse!

A new sweater from Celeste and much needed jeans from mom and dad!

If you know Greg, you know that he takes his presentations very seriously. He began with sharing memories from Cheyenne's early childhood........followed with praise and thanks to our Heavenly Father for the young lady Cheyenne has become.

He's our big, sweet sap! We LOVE him!

Daddy presented Cheyenne with a new Bible with her name imprinted on the cover.

I wish I had taken many more pictures.......I should be fired from future picture taking. The fun didn't end here.....once we put the little ones to bed we filled the table with LOTS of snacks and drinks. Just when we thought we were too full for more, we managed to find room for Touchdown Taco dip, 1-2-3 dip, popcorn, chips, Spur's Fancy, candy, more Dr. Pepper, Starbucks Frappuccinos and ice cream. We snacked on goodies while we played a very competitive game of Worst Case Scenario and then settled in for a movie. I only made it about 20 mins into the movie before Mom had to throw in the towel and call it a night!

Cheyenne, I hope your day was special and memorable. We love you and thank God for sixteen wonderful years!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Seventeenth Anniversary

Seventeen Years......


His hands are like rods of gold
Set with beryl.
His body is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
His legs are pillars of marble
Set on bases of fine gold.
His countenance is like Lebanon,
Excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet,
Yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem!
Song of Solomon 5: 14-16

Happy Anniversary, My love!

Love, Candace



My perfectly hottie Love,

For all the time we have been together, it seems so short. For as long as we have loved, it still feels fresh and new. The older I get each year, the younger I feel with you. The more childern we have, the more I want with you. You are the flame that lights my fire, the energizing jolt that gets me going. Not a day goes by that my love for you grows stronger still. God has given me the ultimate blessing. The blessing of growing in his love with you by my side. The blessing of raising the childern God has blessed us with together. The blessing of all the joys and pains we have experienced together. The blessing of having you as my wife for 17 years, and for the rest of my life.

Happy Anniversary my Love!

Love, Greg

(Oh man, I love this guy! After all these years, I'm still his "hottie"!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Chloe

The Birthday Girl




Today is Chloe's 4th birthday! We had a fun family celebration! When we asked Chloe what her favorite meal was, she said "Ramen!" Well, Ramen just won't do for a birthday meal, so we made her second favorite......Fettuccine Alfredo!


After dinner, she had loads of fun opening up gifts!


A pretty dress from Gramie!


A dress fit for a princess!


Happy Birthday to you..........make a wish!


Chloe asked for a cake with lots of different colors, so I made her this Rainbow cake! She loved it......


Celeste played Happy Birthday for Chloe on the harp, which was pretty impressive considering she just began taking lessons!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG GIRL!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birth Control

Where Do You Stand?

As a mom of many, I always appreciate posts like this one by Jess:

Some Subtle Effects of the Birth Control Culture

Lately, I've been noticing some trends that I think are directly attributable to the rise-- indeed the expectancy-- of birth control use in our culture. I'd like to talk through them one by one so it's clear what I'm getting at. I believe that there are consequences that are a direct result of our culture's embracing of the birth control mindset as normative, and here are a few.

#1: Young couples are thought irresponsible when they get pregnant right away......because, the implication is, any "wise" couple would wait and follow the oft-given advice (even by pastors) that you should "take a few years to get to know each other" first.
This basic assumption overlooks the fact that even with birth control usage, regular intercourse often leads to a pregnancy. Indeed, that is the general plan of God's design for marital intimacy.It also overlooks the fact that children are a part of God's design for sanctification of parents, and that the continuation of a self-focused lifestyle has not served America's "Christian" marriages well.

#2- "Was it planned?" is no longer deemed a rude and quite personal question, but in fact, is seen as a natural question......because, the way our culture sees it, it is up to us to "plan" when life will begin
according to our own time tables and goals. The abortion-on-demand mindset tells us that we can control when life ends, so why not believe that we have full control of when it begins as well?

#3- Children are often seen, and even referred to, as an "accident".
Perhaps you've been fortunate enough to not ever have actually heard someone call their child by such an insulting description (an "oops baby", or "our little accident")... but it's all too common. Linked to the idea above, this whole notion is a natural attitude when we believe that we are the ones in control of life.

#4- Large families are often seen as incredible (and thus, put on an undeserved pedestal) or insane (and thus, sneered at behind their backs)......because once you can control how many "little buggars" you get, someone who has more than the two (or maybe three, if your first two are of the same gender) MUST be either Mother Teresa, or one step away from the loony bin.

#5- Anyone who has clearly NOT bought into the birth control culture at any point is seen as fair game for jokes, criticism, or invasive questions, because (it is assumed) they "chose" something different......because now, the "norm" is obvious: it is assumed that you WILL limit your own family size, shape, and timing according to your own will. The family that has two children 14 months apart gets jokes ("Haven't you figured out how that happens?" hardee-har-har) and eyerolls at their (implied) stupidity. The couple that has struggled with infertility now feels obligated to share that very personal information, because others imply or outright state that they are intentionally avoiding children, calling them selfish or scared. (Talk about adding insult to injury!) And of course, there's the classic
large family comments.

#6- By extension, because they "chose" their family size, the larger-than-average family is often expected to never lack, to never struggle with discipline, to never be tired, etc.... even by Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Don't believe me? Think again.If a two-year-old in a family of seven children has tantrums or is wearing mismatched clothes, it's because "the mom is spread too thin". But if that same child is the only child of two doting parents, it's because "bless his heart; he's a normal two-year-old" and because independent little two-year-olds love to pick out their own clothes.If a mother of three children is exhausted as she's pregnant with her fourth, it's likely to be met with an "I told you so" attitude from those who have already inappropriately shared their thoughts about family size. And she rarely gets sympathy. More likely, she'll get a "you made your bed, now lie in it" perspective from most of the people around her. But a first time mother struggling with morning sickness gets sympathetic comments and offers for how others can help.And lest you think I'm just whining as a mom of four, I'm really not... I'm just stating things the way I've plainly seen them. And these are things I hear from many of you, my friends and readers.

#7- A young professional women is "throwing her career away" if she opts to stay home with her new baby.... ...because she could have controlled that for another 10 years, and really DONE something with her life, don't ya know?

#8- Couples are often shocked and dismayed when they struggle with infertility... ...because the whole issue is so framed by an "in control" attitude. It seems so easy to NOT have children, and thus, it should be easy TO have them, right? Sadly, many modern couples either aren't even marrying until less fertile ages, and then may find themselves desperate to have children... or they have followed the common advice to take some time for themselves, only to find that once they finally get off the pill, they struggle to get pregnant at all.Even the couple who would love to have children and hasn't put it off or waited gets rude comments from family and friends because our culture has such an "if you want it, you can get it" attitude about everything, including children. And underlying all of it is the cultural idea of "rights"... that we have the right to have children or not have them, whenever we so desire.

#9- OTHER EFFECTS I won't even go into the rise in casual sex (a.k.a. fornication), affairs (a.k.a. adultery), and abortion (a.k.a. murder) due to the ease of birth control procurement and use.SO WHAT'S THE SOLUTION???The answer isn't that we bang down the doors of the courts and seek to legislate birth control usage. That ship has sailed.In my view, the answer IS that Christian couples should seek God's face and become that peculiar people-- a people that stands out as set apart and different from the world around us-- in this area of how we view children. A people who see children as blessings. A people who
discipline our children in the Lord, so that we aren't so bowled over by our disobedient, bratty children that we can't STAND the thought of more. A people who aren't afraid to live as strangers in this world that kills and throws away imperfect children, medicates children instead of offering loving discipline, and that acts and thinks as though we are the ones in control of life. Heaven help us!

If you're a part of a big family, I'm sure you can relate to this. If not, what are your thoughts or perspective? Have you been guilty of some of these thoughts? Please chime in.........

HT: Granny

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Food Slicer

My New Baby

As our family has grown, we're always on the lookout to find things that will help our large family run a bit more smoothly or save us a little time. For obvious reasons we buy in bulk, which saves us money, but not so much on time as we have to process some of our meat, cheese and bread so that it is ready to be used.

Indeed, this new kitchen tool has proven to give us back a little of that time.
A couple of months ago, Greg bought me this food slicer. It's something I've wanted for a while, but patiently waited for the budget to allow! I can't tell you what an asset this has been in getting some of our food processed. We buy our cheese in 5 lb. bricks and we bake most of our breads. We also buy some of our lunch meat in whole pieces to serve multiple functions. Before the slicer, we spent a lot of time trying to cut and slice and trust me, it wasn't a pretty sight! Let's just say I'm not exactly the best free hand slicer in the world, and leave it at that! :-)

But now........we can turn this..........
Into this........in a matter of seconds..........
I give you.........our new and improved (looking) bread.......
Now bag those babies up............

Ahhhhh, life is good.........and a bit easier! Thank you, honey, for our new baby! :-)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Happy Eight Months Genevieve!


We LOVE her gummy smile.........

And her big blue eyes...........

She loves to dig in the toy box....

Already a little mischievous.........

Genevieve is so sweet, we could just eat her up! She's crawling, clapping, walking along furniture, says Mama, and makes a knocking sound with her tongue.

Happy eight months, baby girl!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pro-Life Thoughts

I have been mulling over this concept of Palin's pro-life stance and how it has raised her to "hero status" in the eyes of evangelicals. Obviously, I share this pro-life stance.  However, I've had trouble putting my thoughts into words concerning this sudden glorification of she and her daughter.

I just read an article that puts this issue into perspective; here is a small portion of the article. Dr. Voddie Baucham writes:

"I think the approach conservatives are taking with the Palin issue is problematic. Christians are calling both Sarah and Bristol Palin heroes for choosing not to kill their children in the womb simply because the rest of the culture seems to have little problem with it. This is the wrong argument. This is like saying a police officer is a hero for not shooting an unarmed man. That’s his job! It is not heroic to stay pregnant; it should be expected. This is a sort of lowered expectation argument. Sure she got pregnant out-of-wedlock, but that is common; that makes them ‘real’ Americans (this is an actual argument I have heard no less than half-a-dozen times from “Christian” conservatives). But look at what happened next; they didn’t kill the baby... that makes them super human moral giants. What grit!

This line of argumentation makes the abortion debate sound pragmatic. The Palins did not make a tough choice. They made the only logical choice given their profession of faith. In fact, there was no real choice to make. We mustn’t lower the bar just to make ourselves look good. In fact, the conservative Christian response to the Palin pregnancy actually makes abortion sound like a reasonable option that the Palin family heroically chose to forego."


I know that her pro-life stance can certainly make an impact on those who struggle with pro-choice vs. pro-life, and I'm thankful for this. But I'm talking about conservatives who are basing their whole support system on a concept that should be a no-brainer issue among us!  What do you think?

To read the complete article click here! (Framing the Abortion Debate)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Results

The Results

I can definitely say that I'm POSITIVE I'm not pregnant! Let's just say that I didn't need the test after all, if ya know what I mean! ;-)

Thank you so much for joining in on the poll.......it was so much fun and we were blessed by the excitement from others of a possible pregnancy! You all are the best!

Have a GREAT Labor Day!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Soph and Genevieve

Not to be outdone........

......by a pregnancy poll, Sophia and Genevieve have some announcements!


Friday, I lost my first tooth!

And I began crawling!

Way to go, girls!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Am I? Am I Not?

Am I? Am I not? (Updated)

Pregnant that is. First, let me say that I do not know the answer to this question.....yet! I thought it would be fun to do a little poll and find out what YOU think!

Maybe???
1. I am on day 42 of my cycle (my norm is 30-35 days)
2. The baby is nearly 8 mos. so a few of my friends keep asking "Are you pregnant yet?"
3. I'm a bit hungrier.....especially in the morning
4. I'm a teensie weensie bit moody-er.... (who me?)
5. I've dropped another couple of pounds (possibly burning more calories from nursing and developing baby)
6. My kids, especially the older girls desperately WANT me to be pregnant
7. The little ones keep talking as if we're already expecting

Maybe Not???
1. This would only be my second full cycle so I could just be "normalizing"
2. My longest cycle has been 44 days
3. The baby has been nursing more like a newborn in the last couple of weeks which could have thrown off my cycle
4. I'm hungrier because the baby is nursing more frequently
5. I'm moody because of hormones in general......you name it
6. Again, because of increased nursing, it would make sense to drop a pound or two
7. As much as my children are ready for another baby, they can't WILL a pregnancy

So, based on these facts, what do you think? Leave a comment and give me your best guess.

Just so you know, I don't plan on testing until at least day 45 so I'll leave this poll open for several days. I probably won't post results until next Friday, so check back!
UPDATE: At the insistence of my sweet husband, I'll be posting results Monday (I'll test that morning-day 45)! I guess a week IS a long time to wait. And so far, no cycle, but also no additional symptoms either! ;-)

If you're a blogger, you already know what to do, but if you don't know how to post a comment, here's how. Click on the word "comments" directly under this post. Write your comment and then click the "name/URL" bubble. Type in your name and hit "Publish Your Comment". Done!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Family Integrated Church

RUN over to my friend Amy's blog and read about her journey to the Family Integrated Church!

If you want to know more about this wonderful church of which she speaks, click on the Covenant of Grace link to your left!

Monday, August 18, 2008

First Day of School

After a two week delay from when we had originally planned to begin school, it finally happened! We got it together and began our new schooling year today!

Though I was looking forward to the routine and structure of our school days, I have to admit, I just wasn't quite ready this year. It's been a busy summer and the urge to sleep in this morning was tempting. But alas! I got up and got busy......at 5:30am.  This happens to be my normal wake time, but for some reason, just knowing we were starting school today made me feel unusually tired. Or maybe it was staying up until 11:00 pm watching the Olympics that made me feel so tired!  Hmm...

Just for fun, I thought I'd document our day. I can remember a time when we were on top of things and probably TOO scheduled for most people, but it worked for a time!

Now, with seven kids, five of them seven and under, I have yet to find a schedule that works for us. So, we just do the best we can and try to be sensible in our planning and have fun!

Here's what our day looked like:

We always begin our day with Bible reading and prayer, even the little ones.


After Bible, we spread out and put everyone to work. The school-aged kids pretty much always begin with math. The younger ones think they're schooling by doing something like this.


Celeste began with Grammar and Composition while Cheyenne used the computer for her math lesson.


This is Seth digging in to his second grade arithmetic book.


Sophia got quite a bit ahead last year, so is well under way in her first grade math book.

We do not do a formal pre-k program, but we do get our little ones started in basic letter recognition, sounds, and writing practice when we feel they're ready. Chloe is up for the challenge, although she's learned a lot already by way of watching the older children. She did GREAT tracing the letter A.....and, she's our first lefty!

While the other kids are still working, we try hard to keep the little ones busy with Legos, Tinker Toys, or Blocks.


Cheyenne is busy completing her math. She's pretty good at it, just like her Daddy!

Bam Bam and Pebbles! Poor Genevieve!

We're to the point where we have to take shifts with the little ones. Here, Celeste is taking her shift while I work with Seth. What a help this is!!!
Seth is doing his copywork from his second year of First Language Lessons.



Break and snack time.

Thankfully, Genevieve is content to sit and play!

The little ones are busy coloring while I work with the older girls.

Chloe's a big girl and she's learning to read!



Seth's (second year) lesson from First Language Lessons. He LOVES this book!



Sophia BEGINS First Language Lessons! I LOVE this book!

Ahh.....a quiet moment for the older girls. The little ones are down for rest time! The girls are doing Vocabulary at the moment.


We had a great first day!

Tomorrow, we'll dive into our other subjects such as History, Science and Writing. While these pictures may reflect that of a nice, peaceful, stress-free day, we certainly had our share of whining, poopy diapers, chaos and discipline. But over all, it was a productive day and I can actually say that we're looking forward to tomorrow!

I am truly blessed to be able to teach my children at home! Happy schooling everyone!
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