Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More about Logan...

For any of you who may be interested, click here for daily updates about Logan's missions trip. You will get to see some of the crazy pastors from our church, and learn a little about what is going on in the community where they are serving. Be sure to watch the video for the post titled 'We're on the News!'....watch carefully and you will see Logan in one of the clips. I also just got to see a photo of him doing crafts during VBS with a sweet little boy. He looks as if he is finding joy in serving.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My latest Goodwill finds

The hideous orange dog she just had to have....Some books for Corbin...
A grocery cart....we have one we bought for Emma but for $4.24 I couldn't pass this Little Tikes one up.
A desk for my corner.....hoping to reduce some clutter in the kitchen.

More about Autumn, and Logan's trip

Autumn has gotten her 2nd tooth, and is now working on a 3rd (popping through now) this week. Guess where it is? On the bottom right.....not the top, which is where all of our others' (third tooth) came in. It's strange...guess she's not gonna be one to follow the crowd. Her birth was completely different, her personality was completely different, her development has been completely different....not sure why it still surprises me when she is not doing 'the norm'. =)

Logan is on his 2nd day of his mission trip. We don't have any contact with him but I've been praying for him. We are allowed to send an email, but with the understanding that we won't get a response. They will print it out and give it to him. I think I will send him one today, just to let him know we miss him and are praying for him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Logan's missions trip is tomorrow....

We drop Logan off at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow for his local missions trip....6 days he will be gone. He will be helping with VBS, among other things, while there. Prayers for our boy are much appreciated. We will give an update once he returns. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Confessions #8

1. I went with my family to an Ikea store today...it blew my mind. I could totally spend a ton of $$$ in there....not that I have a ton to spend. Just sayin'.

2. I took pictures while there...that bloggin' thing ya know, it's with me all the time.

3. My husband and I decided we will need to get someone to keep the kids so we can go back to spend a day there deciding what to get....it's that amazing!

4. The kids' play area and the restaurant were closed today....a boil water order or something. We were taunted throughout the store by signs showing delicious food and low prices. We totally would have eaten some $1.99 pasta! Next time.....

5. After 'the store' we went to Pollo Tropical....only Karl had been before. It was quite delicious and we will be frequenting the one right down the street from us. I love me some Mojo Roast Pork in guava bbq sauce, with rice and beans. And yucca fries? Mmmmm....

6. I am totally in love with the video feature on my new phone and will be using it a lot.....probably annoyingly so. Emma is becoming quite skilled at performing for me. =)

7. I am so tired tonight...should probably go to bed...but I won't. I never do what's best for me, even when I know what it is. (well, maybe not never, but often)

A Thank You From Logan...

We have been meaning to get this letter out to all of you who helped with Logan's SLU trip. He had a great time, learning a lot and meeting some goals...one of which was to ride the coasters at the amusement parks, which he had kind of avoided before. I'm posting it here for those of you who read our blog and I may send it to some of you via email. We are so grateful for your support and prayers!

Dear friends and family,

Thank you for helping with my expenses for the Student Leadership University. I had a lot of fun there, and I learned a lot, too! I’m going to tell you about the silly and serious parts of my trip.

The trip begins in the bus. Almost to our hotel, we were now well acquainted with each other. We started dancing to the music on the radio and the van we were in shook a little. Then we organized a game.

We started shaking the van until it really started tipping. Then we saw the girl’s van in front of us shake. As you can see, even the bus ride was entertaining! Once we got to the hotel, my Pastor, Ryan, told us where to go to get to our rooms, and told us when to be at the conference room. My roommates were named Jim, Trey, and Erik. We went to our rooms and unpacked, and then Jim and I explored the hotel complex.

We went back to our room to get our books and then it was time for the first conference.

I knew one of the speakers, Brent, from a leadership thing I had at church a few months ago. A new speaker was named Dr. Jay Strack.

The first session was about excellence, the Latin word meaning “to rise above”, and mediocrity, which means“to go halfway, and then stop”. Another point was “I’ll miss 100% of the shots that I never take”.

That night, once the session was over and we finished a very, very fancy dinner, Pastor Andy and Bene took us to Target to get snacks and such.

Once that was finished, we returned to our rooms (it was 12:00 am), and slept.

I woke up to a clock alarm and quickly shut it off. Then another alarm went off. Trey, Erik, and Jim woke up to that alarm. Trey tried to figure out which one was going off, and Erik discreetly left to the bathroom.

He returned to Trey getting ready to throw the clock alarm. Erik pressed a button on his phone and the alarm stopped. We all laughed.

We ate breakfast and got on a bus so we could go to Sea World! We learned about relationships that day. I rode on the Manta and Kraken roller coasters, and I was very glad I did. My life did not flash before my eyes. We were going so fast, my life flashed after them!

Once we returned to the hotel, a speaker named Chuck Allen told us a generalization of people’s personalities. D was for dominance. I was for influence. S was for Steadiness. C was for correct. It’s called a DISC personality. Here is a DISC example.

A D walks in a room to move chairs. If you ask him why he’d answer with “because I can.” A few I’s walk in and one says “Let’s everybody move chairs!!!” The rest reply with “Yeah!!!” Two S’s walk in and one says to the other, “I tried to tell them…”

One C walks in and starts directing them all to reason how best they could move chairs.

I thought it was funny. You may not understand, because I’m not explaining it right, maybe.

The next day we had an entire day to ride the coasters in Islands of Adventure. The first thing we did was to dare someone named Caleb to ask for a picture with Mickey Mouse. He did it!

After that we rode the Harry Potter ride. It was fun. After more rides we rode the Hulk. My life did not flash before my eyes. My life did not flash after them. My life flashed before someone else’s eyes!

That night we went to the shop in the hotel complex to get food, and then we sat in the pavilion. Any time someone went by, we would yell “heeeyyy!!” Soon several more people gathered with us and we had lots of fun.

And that was my trip to SLU!

Best regards,

Logan Woerner

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mobile Blogging

I don't know if I've mentioned here that I lost my iPhone recently. Yeah....not cool. We think I dropped it at the theater on Tuesday and someone found it. We were able to turn everything off, changed all our passwords (probably needed to be done anyway), and Karl went out the same afternoon to get me a new phone. So now I have the 4G. There are some cool features but I'm still getting familiar with them all. I tried to blog from my phone before...never could...don't know if it was the phone or just my lack of tech-savvy. But guess what I'm going right now? Yep, I'm blogging from my phone! While I could be using my computer....I mean I am literally sitting right next to it....I had to try this out. I'm just using a FREE, lite version of....well, whatever it's called....but I may pay the $2.99 if I find I like this. There are many times I would like to post something and have to wait until I'm home. Now, I won't have to. Really cool.

And thanks darlin' for the replacement phone....I'll try to make sure I don't lose this one! :{

Thursday, July 14, 2011

An impromtu family night out....

Tonight (well technically last night) we headed out to meet some friends at a local park to play sand volleyball. Even though I was not planning to play myself (could be a bit difficult with Autumn in tow in the baby wrap!), I was excited about watching everyone play. ...it's been many years since we used to go play/watch at the beach. However, upon arriving at the park our friends let us know that all 4 of the courts were taken....but we could go to a different location and play. Before we could actually get everyone back in the car and headed over to the new location though, they received a call from another family that was joining us....it was raining 'cats and dogs' at the dog park (heh heh). So, on to plan C, which was for our hosts just to say, "Come on over to our house, we'll do game night instead." Very gracious of them.....

We weren't too sure how it would be. I mean, we were just starting our night out when the babies would normally be going to bed for the night. Plus, a trip to the park meant we brought completely different things with us for the little ones than we would have had we been planning to go to someone's house for a couple of hours. We decided to give it a try anyway, and I'm so glad we did! Autumn, once fed at our friends' home, played sweetly on her blanket on the floor for a while. Emma was given some toddler-friendly Legos to play with and a mesh trash can....she was kept busy with just that....well, and the 10 other kids' antics during the evening! She even sat on Hailey's lap and played one of the games with the big kids. Corbin and the youngest son of our hosts are the same age. When they tired of playing the 'big kid' games they went and started a game of Monopoly....8-year-old-style. When Autumn got bored playing on the floor I held her a while. Emma helped our hostess get snacks and water ready, colored a bit (and not even on the floor like I was worried she would!), and generally just wandered around inspecting everyone, making friends. She's a bit of a social butterfly. =) Autumn was perfectly content to hang out with me while I talked with the grownups. It was really nice to spend some time with friends, meet some new folks, and watch the kids in action with their friends.....

I'm glad we gave it a try, and I think we've proven to ourselves now that we can be at least a little bit spontaneous.....what's the worst that could happen? Maybe the real question is, what's the best? I think we found that out tonight.

Many thanks to Michelle and Tim for welcoming us into your home.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Autumn's 9-month checkup

Yesterday was Autumn's 9-month birthday, so today she had her 9-month checkup. Thankfully, she only had to have one shot and was happy for most of the visit, really only crying when they stuck her with the needle. Her weight is 18 lbs. 13 oz and she is 29" tall. The doctor says "She's gonna be a tall girl." Her 2nd tooth finally popped through the gum yesterday and I was told by the doctor today that "the top ones will come through soon." By the end of the visit she was pretty tired so I put her right to bed when we got home. She is sleeping somewhat fitfully, but otherwise is doing well. Next checkup......after her 1st birthday. I can't believe it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our breakfast treat

Since my waffle iron broke, Saturday mornings have become a special-request breakfast day, a kind of what-can-we-think-up-next sort of thing. We've done Everything Bagels...our own version of the ones they serve at the cafe of the church we attended when we lived in Central Florida.....which includes scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, green onions, and cream cheese all thrown between everything bagels.......delicious! We've had pancakes, plain and with fruit or chocolate chips mixed in (or both). We've had omelets. I promised the kids donuts for breakfast today. Yes, they were thrilled! Little did they know I had 'healthy' donuts in mind. ;)

I followed a recipe from here, where I have found several yummy things lately. I even substituted almond milk and vegan butter for regular, so they would be diet-friendly for Corbin and Emma. We will have to tweak the oil temperature next time we make them, as they turned out a little too dark. I'm not sure if the oil was too hot, or something that just occurred to me, could that be from the above-mentioned substitutions? Anyway, they turned out quite good....the kids loved them....but I want to improve their color and crispiness (maybe a little softer). I served them with powdered sugar and chocolate icing on the side.....letting the kids choose their topping......and milk and coffee for drinks.

Here are some photos of my efforts.

I think the donut holes were actually my favorites!

Saturday Confessions #7

  1. I have been baking bread today, competing with my husband who is also baking bread, though a different kind. Is it wrong for me to want mine to be better than his?
  2. I love that my older children are learning how to care for and enjoy their younger siblings. It will be such great preparation for the future. It makes me want to keep having babies so each child will have that experience under their belt.....well, that's not really (the only) my reason but it sounds good, right?
  3. I need to get my hair cut, it has absolutely no style, but I'm not sure what to do......I may start with highlights and go from there.
  4. I've been wishing for some land, a farm house, and a bunch of kids to fill it all. One out of three ain't bad, I guess. ;)
  5. My baby will be 9 months old tomorrow and that overwhelms me. The time has flown by and she will be crawling, walking, talking......Sadness.
  6. I'm getting really tired of all the media hype about a certain 'case' in our state.
  7. Well, it is my 7th confession, so you had to know I would end here.
Have you linked up with Melissa yet?

Mango Envy

Our neighbor has mango trees, with big, beautiful mangoes hanging from the branches. When the branches are filled with mangoes, they hang over our fence.......just dripping with mangoes.
We have longingly gazed at those trees each year, wishing we had a mango tree. We have watched our neighbor prune, water, and pamper her trees. We have discussed mangoes together.....most recently learning that mangoes do well in Florida because they "thrive on austerity". We got that tidbit from a radio show that Karl was listening to on his way to Miami and kindly shared with us. He also learned, and shared, that there are over 500 different types of mangoes. Occasionally, our sweet neighbor has given a mango or two to our kids to bring inside and several times has rang our doorbell with gift in hand. She did that again just this week, and I think we ate it all in one sitting. They are just so delicious! Yesterday afternoon our doorbell rang. It was our neighbor again, this time with a basket of mangoes.

When Logan brought them in, we discovered two lovely avocados nestled in, as well. We were so thrilled to receive such a gift (we love mangoes here!) and tried to convey to her our thanks.......really, we are so grateful to be the recipients of such bounty. We have bought them from the store, when on sale, but they are nowhere near as good as her homegrown ones! We love them so much, that we have recently acquired a Pampered Chef Mango Slicer (thanks Erin!).
Funny, but Karl confided in me recently that when I bought it he thought it would be an item we never used. Now it's one for 'the list', you know, of those other things he thought were useless and now loves! (= Our well-used Bumbo is one of them....

Here is the delicious lunch I made with the homegrown fruit she brought to us yesterday. That is a homemade, sun dried tomato tortilla that Karl made with the pasta attachment for our KitchenAid. Doesn't it look tasty?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Family Fun

Karl had today off, so he was able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with us. Once Autumn went down for her nap, he and I even went for a short walk in the neighborhood. Later, he took Hailey to her lesson so he could watch her and try to get some good pictures. Those are coming soon. Now we are preparing for Family Fun Night. I'm really not sure yet what we're doing except that it will definitely be an inside activity. It just started raining pretty hard! Karl is making dinner...homemade fettuccine with some sort of chicken/lime/something sauce. I'm sure it will be quite tasty! :) I will prepare the salad and we'll serve it alongside the rye bread Karl made on Wednesday. (Yes, he's become quite the bread maker!) Maybe it's a good game night. We'll have to wait and see.

Karl will be off on Fridays for the next 7 weeks, due to 'summer hours' at work. It was the same when we were in NY and has just started here this year. I'm hoping to fit in some fun field trips on a few of those days off.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pondering this and that...

I still have not found out the best way to 'fix' my labels up top...sorry. It is annoying, I know. One day there will be something there....just too much gong on right now. Plus, honestly, I just haven't thought more about it.

I'm reading another book by Jodi Picoult, Harvesting the Heart. It's pretty interesting, but I'm not that far along with it yet. Next is Mercy, by the same author.

I began anew my vegetarian diet, for weight loss this time. So far I've lost 2.4 pounds.....just started yesterday. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and minimizing everything else really makes a difference. I hope to see a change in the fit of my clothes soon! Then on to getting in some exercise on a regular basis....again.

I broke out the juicer yesterday. I've been talking about making juice for Emma and the baby, instead of buying it. Bottled juice is so high in sugar, preservatives, etc. Making it when we need it, from fresh ingredients......just what I want to do. I made some for myself yesterday, then Emma, Corbin, Hailey and I had carrot-apple juice this morning. Everyone liked it....Karl even tried it and thought it was kind of good. I made him a small glass of his very own pineapple juice from part of a fresh pineapple we had in the fridge. Planning to continue trying different juices. They are very good for you, and tasty I think. Hailey is excited about it too. Hopefully it won't be too expensive, but I guess the better health benefits are worth it.

Hailey and I are way overdue for another pedicure.....just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 4th of July....

Our July 4th celebration was fairly quiet, but good. We stayed home, smoked ribs, ate a late lunch together. Karl and I hung out outside with Emma for a while.....she was funny. When she heard any fireworks, she would say, "We gotta wun....we gotta hide!" She's really not a fan of loud noises, though she didn't cry or anything. Those were just the little ones....the loud ones that went off after she was in bed? Not a peep out of her.

Karl took the oldest three out to see the real fireworks put on by a nearby city......launched off a barge. They were right up front, dangling their legs off the pier. Karl says the best part for him was getting in and out of there without having to wait in traffic. I don't know how he did it, but they were home by 10 p.m., after a 9:00 p.m show. He's awesome. ;)

I stayed home with the babies and enjoyed a quiet evening to myself. I caught up on some reading, watched a Lifetime movie I had already seen, had some snacks that I did not have to share! Life is good.

How was your 4th?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Confessions #6

1. I have been thinking all week that I had missed Melissa's Saturday Confessions link-up.....since I did mine early last week. Then I would remember....and promptly forget again. I'm glad the day is here for the next one and I can get back 'on schedule'.

2. I was up until 5 a.m. this morning (don't ask, you don't want to know). I got almost 2 hours of sleep before the babies woke me up. I had to take a nap at 4 p.m. after falling asleep in my chair while holding the baby. I actually went up to my room and crawled under the covers. It was awesome! I feel better now, but still plan to go to bed early to catch-up.

3. My daughter is becoming quite the little cookie-maker. Now on to meals, and soon I won't have to cook! Actually, I love to cook, but it will be nice to have someone to share duties with.

4. My children argue. Often. Surprised?

5. Emma has suffered from eczema since she was about 6 months old. We have taken her off of dairy and peanut butter. That seems to help a lot. But, she still gets things sometimes that she's not supposed to have......and it shows up quickly with those scaly, cracking, bleeding spots on the insides of her elbows and knees again.

6. Corbin had eczema as a baby as well...we took him off dairy and it went away. He seemed fine when we re-introduced milk and cheese later......but we had him tested when he was about 4 and discovered he has lots of other allergies.........to things like trees, dust mites, etc. But, I noticed this week that he has discoloration on the insides of his elbows, but no cracked or bleeding areas. When I asked him if his elbows had been itching, this was his response: "Well, I have been itching them."( hee hee) I think we're going to switch him back to 'no dairy' and be more strict with him and Emma to see if things improve. Tips from some of my readers would be great. I know some of you have dealt with this issue.

7. I came across this site a couple of days ago....and I am intrigued. I want to buy an RV and hit the road. Would we survive?

Link up with us.....click below.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Logan's missions trip...

Logan leaves for his missions trip on the 18th. The month of June flew by and I can't believe his second week away is rapidly approaching! He's excited about going away to spend time with his friends and serving the community. I am praying for a life-changing experience for him. He should get a good picture of exactly how fortunate he is compared to lots of others. I need to begin working through the checklist for his 'camp' supplies to be sure we have all the necessities ready to go. Special prayer for our family would be awesome during the week of July 18-23. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes

Yesterday, after work, Karl was playing with Emma. She asked him to have a tea party with her. They tried sitting at her little table with her little chairs....sorry, but Karl is not quite small enough to fit in toddler-sized chairs! So, he proceeded to sit on the bottom step of our stairs that lead to the second story, since it was right next to the table. Well, Emma then proceeded to get her tea cup, walk over to the other side of the stairs, and sit down to 'tea'. It was too funny...we had to tell her to come back to the table and explain why Daddy was on the step. :)

Moments later, never having had a 'tea party' before (and not realizing this was poor tea party etiquette), Karl was playing with the Velcro on the wooden apple Emma had given him as a snack. Emma looks up quickly and says, "No Daddy, don't play with your food!" I wonder if maybe she's heard that before?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our house-cleaning adventures...

Our weekend was great! Well, after a rough start it was....I traveled up the turnpike, as we usually do, but was unaware that it had been closed for a 14 mile stretch due to a fire. So, about half-way to our exit we came to a standstill. We got to sit in traffic for about an hour, traveling about 2 miles in that time. It was quite stressful, mostly because other drivers get impatient, go around on the right....then cut back in up ahead when they find out they can't actually get around....thus causing me to have to wait that much longer. Overall, it wasn't too bad. I had a migraine by the time we arrived at Karl's parents' home, but Excedrin Migraine took care of that pretty quickly. The kids did well.....though we did have to make a stop at the first rest area we came to after exiting, for a potty break. :) Once we got to my in-laws' house, we were able to have dinner, get the kids settled in, then Karl and I headed to our house to clean up. We met with the realtor at 10 am on Saturday, had the house listed immediately, and got our first 'lookers' that afternoon. We did some touch-up painting, sweeping and mopping, some minor repairs, and a few light bulb replacements. We also ordered a new dishwasher, since the old one is really old and does not work. It will be installed on Wednesday. Saturday evening we had a nice dinner out, then went to a movie. It was great to be able to do that, knowing the kids were well-cared-for and having a great time with their grandparents. Sunday morning we had a late breakfast at our favorite pancake house, picked up a few groceries, and then heard from the realtor that we had another potential buyer stopping in at 2 pm. We were still working at the house but stepped outside when they arrived, to allow them to look at their leisure and in private. We traveled back home Sunday evening (the kids and I...Karl had to work there on Monday and pick up some things from the house). Karl got another call Monday from the realtor......yep, 2 more showings that day. And an offer.

We were discussing this morning how we wanted to handle the offer....when Karl spoke with the realtor and learned that we had a second offer. Let the bidding wars begin! Actually, we have already accepted an offer (we ended up with asking price when the first family found out there was another offer on the table) and signed paperwork, so as long as nothing happens we will close in about a month. I am amazed at how quickly it all happened. We priced the house aggressively....and it paid off! We will only have to make one, maybe two, of our mortgage payments before the new family takes over. That is a huge blessing! I am so thankful for God's provision. I am a little sad to be selling.....we have 8 years of memories in that house......but I do realize it is best.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A weekend to ourselves...

We're packing today. The kids will be staying with their grandparents while Karl and I head to our house in Palm Bay. The renters moved out while we were on vacation so we're gonna go clean up, do repairs, etc. We are meeting a realtor on Saturday morning so he/she can look at the house, we can set a price, and hopefully get it sold quickly. Please pray for my in-laws. They are very capable and I'm sure they will have a great time with the kids, but 5 children is a lot and extra prayer is always helpful! :) Thank you Ron and Pearl for being willing to have them in your home so we can go do this. It will be a working weekend, but it will also be some very welcome time away.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Saturday Confessions......5

1. I'm doing Saturday Confessions early because I won't have Internet access on Saturday.

2. I'm stressing over my husband's job....is that weird?

3. I do not enjoy getting up before 7 a.m., yet it is the only time I get completely to myself so I do kind of like it.

4. Today I read Proverbs 23......it was enlightening.

5. I am reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult....it's really good.......I'm almost done and really don't want to be. Do you ever feel that way about a book?

6. My baby is in 9 month sizes now....I really don't know where the time went....how can she be approaching 1 year already?

7. I almost always end my 'confessions' on #7......why is that, ya think?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Showing compassion....

As you may have noticed, I have an 'ad' for Compassion International on my sidebar. In February, we began sponsoring a child through them. He is 7 and lives in Nicaragua. For $38 I help provide for him....schooling, meals, etc. I have already received 2 letters from him, which I love! I have been able to write to him as well, and a great thing about their site is that sponsors have the option to send a letter via email. The translators still print it out and then hand write the translation, but it is so easy to just write it up online and press send. I have done that twice, and I also make my payments online......you can set it up to be an automated debit if you like. Please check out the web site. It really is a worthy cause, truly helping so many children. You will be able to choose which child you would like to sponsor.....there are pictures with their names and information about them to help you decide. It has been a very rewarding experience for me already, being able to show the love of Christ and meeting some of his practical needs as well. Take a look.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More pictures are up....

Most of our vacation pictures are over here. Take a look, if you want.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Confessions...4

1. I'm very proud of Logan for how he conducted himself while at leadership camp. He did not miss a single bus, meeting, or meal the entire time! And according to him, he and his group (4 boys including him) were early at most of the sessions, meals, and to leave for the parks. Yay!

2. Along with that 'pride' is the humble realization that I only have a few short years left with him at home....and that we are very blessed to have a 13-year-old son who is talking to us, and even enjoys it!

3. I realized again today how very blessed I am to have 5 children when I heard another mother talking about how she and her husband hadn't wanted to stop at 2 but that it hadn't been in God's plan for them. Thank you, Jesus.

4. I was so pleased to receive a special gift this week, and it wasn't even my birthday or anything. Thank you Aunt Sandra for the bread booklet! I'm hoping to use it this week.

5. I still have not kicked my Coca-Cola habit that I allowed to flourish while we were on vacation....it's getting the best of me. :{

6. I'm going to really miss having the boys from Logan's Life Group come by each week.....we had our end-0f-year party at the park today. Complete with a water balloon toss, tug-of-war, and some good food....everyone had fun. It was nice to spend some real time with some of the parents too. I can't wait until it starts up again in the fall!

7. I'm feeling tired but extra-blessed today.

Link up with Melissa today....it's good for the soul, ya know. ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Logan is coming home!

Logan is coming home tonight, after 4 days away! I can't wait to hear how it all went and I plan to have him write an update himself so you can all hear (read), too. It has been odd not having him here. We've missed his presence....even though he may be in his room sometimes and we don't see him...it's strange. I know his siblings missed him a great deal, and of course, I did. His dad even commented the first night about how weird it was not to be able to talk to him. Update coming soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another shopping trip....

I went to Walmart and Publix this morning. I really do not like to make any trips to the Walmart here, but I needed a highchair, some clothes for Hailey, a protractor, and potting soil....all of which are not to be found at Publix. (Well, maybe the protractor but it would have cost more.) So, we endured it. I always leave there feeling very stressed out and vowing never to return!

Our visit to Publix was much more pleasant. I came away with a lot f goodies but I wasn't able to save as much money as last time. I had 2 coupons........ a $5 off of a $30 order as well as $6 off of Enfamil. The rest of my savings was due to BOGO. I also had to buy some items that usually are not on sale, such as produce and some special birthday cake things that I wouldn't normally have on my list......Corbin's birthday is Friday. My total savings was $58.22. :{ Better than nothing I guess, but I really wanted to save more. One good thing is that I have plenty of pasta, sauce, bagels, chicken, ground beef, potatoes, rice, beans, and flour to create many meals. I should only need to go back to get fresh fruits and/or veggies for a while. I do plan to take advantage of the sales again next week, at least somewhat.......still have to see what is left in our budget. I also plan to be armed with lots of coupons that I'll find here and here. This week I didn't have time to do that due to just returning from vacation, plus our printer is low on ink and is not printing very well right now. I can't wait to get the sale paper tomorrow though, and start planning! My eventual goal is to save more than I spend....you know, spend $5.00 and save $82.00.....we'll see how long it takes to get there (if ever). :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday Confessions Number 3

Well, I am late again....BUT, Melissa over at a familiar path was too and she says it's okay. ;) Oh, and you should link up some 'confessions' with her. It's kind of fun. :)

1. I ate A LOT of Oreos while on vacation.

2. I drank A LOT of Coca-Cola while on vacation....and now I'm having withdrawal. :(

3. Those two above are the reason I gained 4 pounds in one week....

4. They are also the reason I am beginning my diet anew......just as soon as I finish this Icee I had to run out and buy to curb my withdrawal symptoms as mentioned above!

5. Corbin's birthday (Friday) does not count and I will not be dieting that day.

6. I read two books during vacation week.....staying up way too late when I knew I had to get up at 6:30 with the little girls (Yes, they decided to continue getting up early, even on vacation!)......Gods in Alabama, a novel by Joshilyn Jackson and Expecting Adam, a true story written by Martha Beck. I don't know how long it's been since I read two books in one week....probably a year ago when we were at the cabin.

7. I already miss our morning ritual of getting breakfast and coffee together, a bottle for the baby and milk for Emma, bringing it all up to the balcony on the third story (where our room was), and gnoshing while enjoying the view and sounds of the river.....and the sounds of our beautiful girls' voices so early in the morning. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rambling on and on about nothing.....

Do you ever just want to write, but you're not sure what the topic should be? That's me tonight. I posted on my other blog about our day....not too interesting really, but a little. That was specific....documenting our vacation. Often, I will sit down at the keyboard with an idea, a specific thing I want to say. Other times, I will sit down not really knowing what it is I will say, just with a general idea of a few things. Still others, I won't even be in front of the computer. I blog in my head sometimes. Do you do that? I kind of think all writers do.....and yes, I consider myself a writer. Is that weird? I am not a creative writer.....I'm much better with factual, real things. My two oldest kids are creative....they make up stories, pages and pages of words. That's not me. I write about the mundane, and try to add a little humor to it.....probably not the kind that most people get, but sometimes I will get a chuckle out of my husband. That's all I'm really going for.....I don't dream too big. :) I've thought about having my blog made into a book, (each year) then giving it as a gift to someone....like my mom. But then I think "Why would she want to read all that?" Then I think about doing it for myself, but I can log on anytime to read.....just thoughts I have.

This week I have taken A LOT of pictures, but I haven't posted any yet.....mostly because I haven't felt like I have had the time. Then again....I've had so much time, but I've been reading.....sometimes I like to do that more than writing. I'm guessing all those photos will just have to wait until we get home and settled back in.....but I have been blogging in my head about them. We have some awesome shots, huge things happened. It's been great! I can't wait for you all to see. These things sometimes keep me awake at night.....odd, right? I love it, though. I always enjoyed writing as a teenager......poems, mostly. But I did pretty well in high school, then college, in my writing courses. I really enjoyed my history writing assignments in college! Amazing that I despised history throughout most of my elementary and high school years, except for a year or two when I had a really interesting history teacher. I love it now.

I find myself wondering what my 'readers' would like to read about. I do have some readers, and I'm so glad. But, really, how full of myself can I get?! Like anyone really spends much time thinking about my blog and how they can't wait to get here and read what I have written.....if you do, I'm so grateful. And....er....I wonder if you need some help?! Just kidding.......;) That's how I think, though. I vacillate between being confident and doubting myself....in ALL areas of my life. I land on the 'doubting myself' side the majority of the time. I'm working on it.

Anyone else out there in bloggy-land feel like me?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

About those labels up top.....

I just wanted to let you all know, those labels up top, they're 'under construction'. I'm experimenting, trying to figure out how to create pages for my blog, in hopes that I can combine my (several) blogs into one, with categories. So, if you click on one of the labels and find there is nothing there, that is why. I haven't figured much out yet. If they disappear, don't worry. They may appear again soon....but maybe not.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A little surprise early in the morning...

Autumn wowed us with a 'surprise' this morning. She has her first tooth! I've been checking every so often and nothing, but today, Wammo!, there it is. She will be 8 months old on Friday. I think she is the oldest of all my babies for getting their first tooth. It's possible her preemie, oldest brother took longer, but I'm not sure. I'll have to check his baby book when we get home. Anyway, we're very excited for her. She's on her way, now.......

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Confession # 2

1. Every time we go to the cabin in Georgia on vacation, I want to move there. I'm sure my husband is tired of hearing me lament our 'city' life.

2. I am spending this week drinking Coca-Cola, guilt-free. There is plenty of time for diets and guilt when we return home.

3. I spent the hour between 5;30 and 6:30 this morning on the couch in the living room, dozing, while waiting to see if my baby was actually awake or just 'talking'. When she dozed back off I was able to spend one more sleep-full hour in the bed downstairs. :)

4. My children had a very tired, cranky mommy to deal with yesterday, thus making the first day of vacation a not-very-fun one. :(

5. Today has been way better.....we all got some much-needed sleep last night.

6. Holding my baby girl makes me wish I could have another (or more). What's 1 (or 5) more when you already have that many? ;)

7. Having a teenager in the house is interesting....weird that we're that old already.....and sometimes difficult....but it's not so bad. He's fun to be around and I like watching him learn how to be an adult.

8. Seeing my children playing happily, together, in the river causes me to wish we lived here. Wait.....did I already say that?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Relaxation has begun!

We left Florida around 7:30 last night and with stops and all we made it to the cabin by 8 a.m. That included a 5:30 a.m. shopping spree at the local Walmart and breakfast at the local IHOP. I do not like to travel all night....for lots of reasons. But, I will say it was nice NOT to be getting in and out of the car, taking extra-long stops at rest areas etc., because we had to ALL get out of the car. We stopped for gas twice and combined potty breaks with those......I think that was it. I can feel myself relaxing already. The bubbling water over rocks, being surrounded by the green trees, feeling the cool breeze, being able to see the beautiful blue sky (okay, we can see it in FL too, but this is just different!), looking forward to grilling, tubing, relaxing.....aaaahhhhh. It makes me think of moving here every time......a girl can always hope, right?

By the way, we have the two girls napping in the same room here. Out of necessity, really. When my family gets here they would have to be in the same room, so we decided not to bother trying to put them anywhere else just for one night. At home, they already sleep in the same room over night....have been for months now....but I've kept them separate during naps, even when they got on the same afternoon schedule, because i was afraid of possibly losing Emmas' nap altogether. She only takes one nap a day now...and it is needed by ALL! No need to have worried.....they did perfectly. And now, once we go home, I can start putting them in their bedroom together for naps as well. That means no more playpens being moved from hallway to bedroom (Hailey's) to hallway again each day......AND Hailey will have her room back during the day for drawing, reading, etc. She will be very happy about that!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Going on vacation....

We leave tomorrow for Georgia. I don't know if I'll get to blog again before we leave so I wanted to let you all know. If the Internet is working well there then I'm sure I'll be posting either on this blog or here, so check both. We cannot wait to start our week of relaxation. See ya!

A shopping trip

I took the little girls with me to Publix after dropping the bigger kids off at summer SAINTS this morning. We leave in a couple of days for our week in Georgia, but I wanted to take advantage of the sales anyway. Plus, our pantry and freezer will be stocked and I won't have to rush right out to the store upon arriving home. Most of the items I bought today were Buy One Get One. I had two coupons for grocery items and some coupons for diapers as well, but the diapers I payed for separately as we're trying really hard to track our food purchases right now and I don't want to have that confusing me. We may add diapers and formula back to our food budget eventually. We need to get our costs down with the actual food first.

I was very happy with how much I got for the money and with how much I was able to save just with buying on sale. I usually take advantage of the sales, but this time I paid very close attention and did not get much that was NOT on sale, maybe a few items like brown rice and cream cheese that we use all the time. I also tried not to buy too many sale items that were prepackaged convenience items......frozen pizza, boxed cereal, etc. While cheap and easy, they are not necessarily healthy and we are trying to go a little healthier route these days. I did get some hot dogs and some BBQ pork.......we will use those as Family Fun Night meals. Everything else I should be able to use easily in simple casseroles, soups, quiche, or alone with a side dish. I still need to buy fresh fruits and veggies when we get home, but I feel sure that what I got will feed us for two weeks once I do that, maybe longer.

I took a picture of my receipt. You can see what I spent and how much I saved......not bad for my first real try in quite some time. The photo is a little blurry but that's the best my phone could do.
I will update each time I go shopping. I'm looking forward to finding out just what I can get, and save, when I begin using more coupons along with the sales.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A link for you

Read here for more info. about our morning......if you want.

My first Saturday Confession....

1. I've been wanting to link up with Melissa at her site for Saturday confessions, but haven't felt like anything I had to 'confess' would be interesting.

2. I am still in my pajamas....and often am at 10:30 a.m.

3. I am doing a Saturday Confession on Tuesday......I'm rogue like that.

4. I love that my baby wants me to hold her a lot, even though that means she may not sleep in her crib next time. :{

5. I got a thrill out of seeing my kids' test scores this year, even though I know testing is not really necessary.

6. We have a family picture that we have been putting off, well, for about 7.5 months (which is as long as Autumn has been around!)

7. It has been so long since going through my oldest son's clothing that he still had size 8/10 shorts in his drawer....even though he is 13 and wears size 16 now!

8. I'm doing this 'confession' and I don't know how many I'm supposed to do.....for a rule-follower like me that is pretty risky.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Making Whole Wheat Bread...

Here is my first attempt at making whole wheat bread with my KitchenAid. It did not rise as I had thought or hoped it would, so the loaves are a little narrow.I did a taste test and it has a nice flavor.
Any tips on how to encourage better rising?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some sweetness for you...

It has been a sweet morning. The older kids are at SAINTS and I have been home with my little girls. They are always sweet, of course. But this morning Autumn couldn't (wouldn't?) sleep in her crib so I got her out and put her in my wrap. It works every time. She may not sleep as long as she would in her crib but usually goes for 45 minutes or so. She would have made it longer than the 30 minutes she got in this morning, but the click from my camera (capturing her sweetness) woke her up. She is happy though, so no harm done. She'll sleep well this afternoon, I expect. Here's the photo I got of her...
Isn't she pure sweetness?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some cooking

Recently, I came across this site, and I have been reading ever since. Her recipes look delightful, and yesterday I decided I HAD to try this one. They are a favorite of the kids but I don't usually buy them anymore....too expensive, unhealthy, and leave you feeling hungry an hour later.But when I saw the above recipe, well, I had to experiment. If I could make homemade pop tarts they would be healthier (not healthy, just better than store-bought!) AND a lot less expensive. Corbin and I gave it a whirl yesterday afternoon. Here are some photos of our time cooking together.

Rolling out the dough
Corbin crimping the edges of our first batch
Some of our second batch before crimping
A close-up of crimping
The finished product
Don't they look lovely?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My mama is amazing....

I have been watching The Biggest Loser for many seasons. I don't even know how long it's been on...but I've been into it since the very beginning. Each season I am amazed as I watch the contestants lose weight.....and I LOVE the finale, where I get to see them completely transformed, inside and out. But none of them amaze me the way my mama does.

My mama is amazing! She has been on a weight loss journey all her life. She's lost, then gained......lost, then gained. But about 2.5 years ago, something changed. She began again, and has lost about 100 pounds. She is now within 10 pounds of her goal weight! The difference in how she looks is amazing, no doubt. But the difference in her voice, her activities, her happiness is even more amazing. I am so excited when I call her each week to hear all of the things she has been doing. At one point she had stopped driving, was using a walker, could not do much for herself at all, and certainly not without help. Now, she is driving anywhere she likes, she is cooking, cleaning, sewing, doing yard work......these are all things that she used to do when I was a kid. They are true signs that she is healthy and well, inside and out. I am overjoyed to see it, to hear it, and to know that her diabetes is under control. I am amazed at her determination, her willpower, her strength......and I am so proud to call her Mama and friend. I thank God often that she is happy, and healthy, and here with us. I have always known that she could achieve this. The difference is that she has learned that she can achieve it, and that has been the key to her success, I believe. And she didn't even need The Biggest Loser to learn it! I love you, Mama.

Words are profound

Profound(#4 in particular), that's what I feel today about what I've just read.

.....so I have a link to share....I think I've recommended this sweet lady's blog before. She has such a way of writing....it pierces my soul. It's a God thing.....she is a gifted woman, with her writing but in many other ways as well. As I read, I begin to dream that my life might be like hers....reflecting Christ in the things that I do. She would, and does, say she is not perfect....and she is not. But she is an inspiration to me, just from reading about her life, her struggles, and I think some of you may feel the same if you spend some time reading. Check it out if you want.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some time with family...

We had a visit from Grandpa and Grandma this weekend. Everyone had a fun time.
The girls especially loved be read to by Grandpa.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pictures from our week....

Sacked outLoving some cuddle time
Riding in her car
"I made!" She was building with Hailey.
More horseback-riding

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A snapshot of our year together

'Our' boys, playing football before the study last night. We only have two more weeks left with them, then our season is over. I'm sad they won't be coming over anymore, but we'll see them at church. And, maybe some of them will be in Logan's Life Group next year.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Some activities of the day...

Having a snack in her new tiger chair (Auburn tiger...or at least we're calling him Aubie).I found this today at Winn Dixie for $9.99. I got one for Autumn too, even though it will still be several months before she can use it. I feel confident this will be Emma's 'sweet spot' once football season starts.
Wearing her "towboy hat".

She knows just how cute she is!
The KitchenAid Professional 610
I never knew how much I wanted it until I saw it work.
My little helper....."I watch."
Rising in "a warm spot with no draft."After the first rise......
then formed into cloverleafs and rising (again) in "a slightly warm oven"
The finished product......
and they were delicious!

SLU finance update

Wow! I wanted to update all of you on Logan's SLU camp financial status.We have received $475! That's over two-thirds of the total cost. We have been so blessed by all of you who have given towards his trip. Thank you so much! He is looking forward to it with great anticipation! He just told me this morning that he thinks "the leadership camp will be good for me."

We are beginning to think about what we will need to pack for the trip. Our family vacation is the week right before the camp, so we will need to have everything packed and ready to go for his trip before we leave for Georgia......he will head right back out a day or so after we return.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Emma's new 'crib'

Emma got the new crib and mattress. It will later transition to a toddler bed, then full size.Her bedding does not match the walls......such is the life of a renter. Oh well, we do what we must and live with the consequences. :)

Cradle to Crib

Autumn has outgrown her cradle.

This morning we switched her to the crib.
Her 'new' bedding was only $5 at Goodwill....I LOVE it!
We are also moving her and Emma into Corbin's room, which is bigger. He will now be in their old room. We're not finished making the transfer, hence the 'mess' in the background.

AND approved!