Saturday, December 14, 2013

Best Brothers

When Nathaniel was younger he helped me so much with the babies.
He is still very good with babies and little people, but he works outside a lot and also has a job off the farm so he's not nearly as available as he was when he was eight. :)
Christopher is kind of like another "oldest", serving in the same way Nathaniel did when he was younger.
He told me, "Mom, it's kinda like me and Abram are best brothers."
Yeah.  It is.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

This Little Girl

 This little girl is two years old today.

 She loves Batman.

 So I picked out this Batman doll pillow.

She loves it.
And we love her.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elijah's 7th

I could have called this Ketchup 3 but I think the humor has worn off that joke.
Continuing to "catch up" on my blog, 
here are some pictures from Elijah's 7th birthday.

I scored big on a after-Halloween sale for my super hero boy.
Captain America suit for six bucks?  Yes, please!


 I've taught them to blow the wrapper off their straw.
This ranks among other important life skills with which I've equipped them.

Elijah invited Christopher, Gideon and Josiah to come along on his birthday lunch date.
He chose Burger King With the Slides.
(We have two BKs nearby, one with slides and one without.)
On the way to town, Elijah declared, "This is the BEST--Josiah is my best cousin and Gideon is my best friend!"

It was a very patriarchal group...I was the only girl, again.
Strong Bible names, though!

Abram and Bipper.
They're good buds.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ketchup 2

 As I was saying, I have some catching up to do.
We had Andrew's birthday and the following weekend Dennis sister and her husband celebrated their 25th anniversary along with his ordination into ministry.
A series of circumstances led to us only bringing eight of the kids along for the 2 1/2 hour drive.

 This is Dennis' mom with some of her grandkids.

 Glasses need adjusting?  I think yes.

Diane and Terry renewed their vows that day, too.

No one got carsick and we only had one argument on the way home so it was a good trip.
It was good to be there to witness how the Lord is working in their lives.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Ketchup Post

That was a play on words, that title.
See, what I'm planning is a Catch Up post, but that looks like a boring title.
Nathaniel actually wikki'd the history of ketchup vs catsup the other night.  That was an interesting dissertation.  Fostering a life-long love of learning, we are.
From there, we wondered why the bottle says "tomato ketchup".  
Like, what other kind of ketchup would there be?  Green bean ketchup?  Rhubarb ketchup?  I don't know.   A topic worthy of further research for sure.

Anyway, in November we had two birthdays.  I didn't get the pictures promptly or properly loaded in time to blog about it in a timely fashion.
In an effort to further foster a middle child syndrome for my middle children,
I will now post about Andrew's and Elijah's birthdays a month later.
Their therapist can thank me later--for this and so much more.

Andrew turned 11 years old.
He wanted to have a soft-air gun war with two of his friends.
It was a cold, windy day but that doesn't stop guys in camo with guns--ever.
 The played in the woods and I sent Linnea out with my camera to take some pictures
because cold and windy does stop me.

 Andrew's best buddy Anthony.  I love this picture.

Oh.  And the pet goat.  Her name is Penny.

 Andrew's birthday is always near deer hunting.
He gets some good blaze orange stuff!

And for his future career in the NFL,
he needed some new receiving gloves.

The next day, on his "real" birthday,
he got some Vikings pants.  
They are his favorite team.  Not because of talent but because we live in MN.  
 He also scored some cool Duck Dynasty things--a hat, a season on dvd, and a pillow.
Andrew chose Anthony and Isaiah to come along for his birthday dinner at the Chinese buffet in town.
I felt a tad outnumbered as the only female at our table.

With all the pictures, I'm sure this post may be hard to load so I'll break it into more than one post.
Another ketchup post to come!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We Might Watch Too Much Gilligan

Ruby was chattering about something. 
I told her, "Ruby, you speak like Mrs. Howell." She said, "I know! 'Cause I say things like 'Isn't it mahhhvelous, dahhhling?' 
And Mommy, do you know what I wish? I wish that I could have ALLL the clothes that Mrs. Howell wore on Gilligan's Island. OOOOH! We could be like all the people on Gilligan's Island!! But 'cept there's only seven people on The Island, and we've got more than seven in our fam'ly. But Christopher could wear the Skipper's things and--"
I interrupted her. "Really? You think Skipper's clothes would fit Christopher?"
"Ohhhhh, right. Okay..Nathaniel could be the Skipper and Isaiah could be [I'm sure she's going to say Gilligan, right? but no] Mr. Howell--because he's got lots of money!"
Elijah thought about this for a minute, then decided, "I think Isaiah could be Ginger, because he's tall and skinny."

(That is what guys notice about Ginger, right?  That she's tall and skinny?  Yeah, I thought so.)

38 Christmas Food Ideas

Hey---these are some fun ideas.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Change of Plans

I think for the first time in my life I'm doing "nothing" on Thanksgiving. Illness has reared it's head in this house. 
Note to self: have a Plan B meal in mind for future holidays. 
We had pancakes for Thanksgiving dinner.

In an attempt to salvage some tiny bit of "special" from the devastating news that we weren't going to Grandma's for turkey, stuffing, and pie,
I pulled out a table cloth and found some candles from our emergency box.
I dug deep in the recesses of a closet for some placemats,
set the table with plates, cups, forks, knives, AND spoons
and lit the candles.

The magic lasted for a good twenty minutes until they realized this was a sub-par replacement for the meal at Grandma's house.
They were kind enough to not say it out loud, though.

Only four more hours til I can start putting little ones to bed.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'd Forgotten

We no longer use "regular" baby powder; I haven't for a few years.
Instead, I sprinkle some of this clay on a baby's bottom if there's a bit of redness. 
I didn't throw away the couple bottles  of powder we had because we sometimes use them for whitening calves for show at the fair.
Consequently, I'd forgotten how fun it is when a little person gets into a bottle of baby powder and sprinkles it EVERYWHERE in a room.
The last time a child did this, it was a joint effort between Nathaniel and Isaiah.  They closed the door of the bathroom and enjoyed squeezing the sides of the container and watching it *puff*  into the air.
This time it was the girls' bedroom.

When I started thinking, "Why does it smell like baby powder in this house???"
I walked down the hall and was met by this.....girl.
It's a difficult thing when a parent is torn between needing to admonish the behavior while stifling laughter (and taking naughty child's picture to document the event for posterity).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

She Talks Big

Ruby got mad at Ivy and locked her out of their room. 
Standing outside the door, Ivy hollers near the doorknob, 
"RUBY! I have a bobby pin and I'm NOT AFRAID TO USE IT!!!!!"

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Ruby:  "Mommy, do you know where Grandma is?  I called her home phone and her gone phone and she didn't answer either one!"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Twitchy Fingers

We're in that stage of toddler hair growth that just makes my scissor-happy fingers twitch.
I want to cut her bangs so bad  but I want them to grow out so I don't have to keep cutting bangs.
She pulls out anything we put in her hair.
Correction:  she leaves the pretties in her hair just long enough so that when she does pull them out, her hair stands up or sticks out all over the place and looks absolutely crazy.

And so for now we just say, "Elizabeth, fix your hair!" in a smiley voice and she swipes her hair out of her eyes.  The photographer for this picture did not do that prior to this shot.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Belated Birthday Post

(I just realized I forgot to publish this post!  It was intended for Linnea's 13th birthday which was back in September.  
Better late than never?  I hope so.)

I wonder if I blinked; perhaps it happened when I wasn't looking--
but I was watching.  
It happened right in front of me, right before my eyes.

This daughter of mine with whom I endured terrible morning sickness, 
my first experience with the mind-numbing fatigue,
the barely-keeping-my-lunch-down nausea,
and which cast a pallor about my skin,
has grown from the tiniest of persons at conception 
to a thirteen year old young woman.

I watched nearly every minute of it.
But did I really see it?

I remember the late nights and the early mornings.
I remember how I imagined her in dresses and tights with the frills on the rump.
I clearly recall dressing her for Christmas when she was a year old.
She didn't want to wear the red velvet dress;
she stood on the changing table before me and shook her head.
I remember saying, "You will wear this to church."
I then thought to myself, or maybe said it out loud,
"this is the kind of conversation I expected when you're 15 years old,
not 15 months old."

I had visions of a lass clad in lovely play dresses with plaited hair.
I had to wait until Ruby for that to come to fruition.

I have watched her go from fighting with her brothers to
.......still fighting with her brothers.
She has always desperately wanted to keep up with them--
and keep up she has!

I do try to see her...
I see her try new things.  She's more confident than I ever was or probably ever will be.
I see her stand for and speak her convictions.  This makes me so very proud.
I see her love her sisters and brothers.
One of her favorite things to do is spend time with Dad
and I think that's great.
I'm no fun, but he can be when he wants to be. ;-)

I'm much larger than her so there is no sharing clothes,
but she will occasionally borrow a scarf or pair of shoes.

She's my go-to girl when we get ready for church or any other outing,
when I ask, "Does this look ok?" she'll give me an honest, yet kind, answer.

One of my absolute favorite things that I see is when we are with another family who has little ones.  She very often will offer to hold or carry their baby or toddler to give that mama's arms a break.  I typically have a few extras that can help me, so I happily loan her out. :)
I want her to be confident in her ability to care for children.
I don't know what her family will look like in her future, if she will marry or have children,
but I know without a doubt that she will have opportunity to use her training and experience in our family to be a blessing to another.

Happy 13th, my first daughter.
We love you.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boys and Their Toys Tools

 It is a good thing to have willing boys when I need a shelf assembled.

Over the last few years, we have decided to give the boys power tools for Christmas or their birthdays.
The idea has been well received.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Using His Burly Farm Boy Muscles

I've seen sleds advertised for hunters to use for hauling their deer after a successful hunt.
Who needs one of those when we've got a muscle man like Christopher?

(it is easier, of course, to carry a "deer" if it's one that's made for target practice.  Christopher was putting this one back where it belonged before we left Grandma's house one day and I thought it looked so funny I had to take a picture!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

He's an Artist

 Elijah drew this picture for Dennis and me.
Daddy asked, "Am I kissing Mama in this picture?"
Elijah answered, "Nope.  You're whispering in her ear.
And that's me in the middle between you.  
I'm smiling."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the Middle

Yesterday I spent the day remembering.
I have spent a lot of time over this past year remembering.
Yesterday marked one year since the car accident that ended the earthly life of my close friend's daughter.
I called and texted with my friend and with her kids throughout the day, remembering her life and reminding them that they are loved and not forgotten.

As early evening came on, I got a text from another dear friend telling me that her water had broken and asking if I would I please pray for a smooth labor and delivery.
Through the night, I texted her encouragement to keep pressing on, knowing that it could be hours and hours of hard work.
Today when her baby boy was born at home I was so happy, rejoicing with her.

I was in the middle--in the middle of this thing we call life...this thing we call life that also encompasses death.
This life wherein I change diapers and check math papers and hit my knees trying to ease the weight of a mother's sorrow because her little girl no longer lives on this earth.
This life I live that has me unbuckling carseat straps at Target while my phone beeps to tell me I have a new message.  I pause with my purse handle freshly tossed onto my shoulder to read the text--a 9 lb 10 oz baby boy.  I laughed out loud in the drizzling rain, so proud of what this mama accomplished.

And there I was in the middle.
In the middle of hurting for one mama and sharing the joy of another.
We also have been finding out some difficult things for us here that I will share over time.  I sat in the library parking lot, oh-so aware that life is really hard sometimes.
Sometimes hard is good and sometimes hard is, well, hard. 

I'm blessed to have friends with whom to share life, the mundane everyday as well as the fun things and the serious and the really hard things.
This may sound odd to some, but I'm thankful to have had my heart shattered because it has allowed me to hurt with those who hurt, rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Sometimes life gets a little too real, know what I mean?
But I'm trying hard to feel, because I know that
"...we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4
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