Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tapestry of Grace

I got my new curriculum on Friday. It is very exciting. I took my first real look at it this morning after Mike left for work. I didn't get very far when I realized I would need close to 30 books per week from the library. Not such a big deal, we go to the library a lot. But just about all of those books need to be put on hold from other libraries. I was in a bit of a panic when I went to the library this morning.

I asked the librarian what their policy was on holds and when I explained to her my dilemma she told me about the down town library's home school program. I had heard briefly about it before but didn't think it was worth the trek. But what she told me today made em reconsider my opinion of it.

Not only do you get a special library card that allows you to keep the books longer but if I give them a list of the books that i need they will compile them for me and have them ready for me to pick up!!!!

Sign me up!


I Saw a Bear and I Almost Threw Up...

Mike and I were blessed this last week with the an awesome gift. We received an overnight stay here.

So after church on Sunday Mike and I loaded up the kids, our suits and a ton of junk food and headed out of town. Grand Bear is in Starved Rock, not too far from our home. I quickly decided as we drove into town that this has got to be our next camping destination. It is really a pretty area.

Our family suite had two queen beds and a pull out couch, a mini fridge, and microwave. We didn't want to spend a fortune on food so we loaded up our fridge with drinks and snacks. After we settled in a bit we headed to the indoor amusement park. This is where Mike and I discovered that we are no long kids. I know that at some point I was able to ride rides that twirled you in circles. But apparently, I can't any more, so the boys were on their own. Mike was a trooper and hung with them as long as he could with out hurling but I could not ride any the first day. Pathetic!

We quickly decided that our focus here was going to be the indoor water park. So we changed into our suits and headed under ground. We had too much fun at the pool!! It was great. Not too crowded and lots of fun things to do. Both our boys are great swimmers so they just had fun swimming and playing.

Sunday evening we had a smorgasbord of microwave nuggets, chips and cheese dip, cookies, pudding, crackers and cheese, and the all important twizzlers. And the highlight, I let them eat in their bed. Hilarious! I wish I had a picture but unfortunately I forgot the camera.

On Monday we spent most of the day at the water park again having fun, splashing and playing. We decided to give the amusement park one more try. Before lunch. So we got cleaned up, dressed, and walked over to the Enchanted Forest. I rode one ride and was out for the rest of the time. I know I am so lame. But Mike hung on and rode three or four rides with the boys. We convinced them to go and have lunch seeing that it was almost three o'clock. I made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the car and we found a gorgeous spot for a pick nick right next to a canyon with a waterfall. Before we left I remembered Mike brought the Mac so we got one picture of the kids and I by a bear.

We drove home to a very grateful Jasmine who our neighbor very kindly had let outside twice while we were gone. She missed us though and stayed attached to the boys all night.

We finished up the weekend with a little shark week television viewing until bed time.

I feel so blessed for this gift. It is definitely something we wouldn't have been able to do for our selves. It was a much needed break. We missed the girls coming with us but loved the one on one time we never get with the boys.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Blast from the Past

This is too cool. I have a friend in Arizona that I have been friends with since I was Faith's age, her name is Amy. Even through moving and going to different schools we always managed to keep in touch while we were young. Then she got married and I got married and we kind of lost touch.

Well, when I was in the hospital after having Faith Amy called my dad at home to try and get in touch with me again. He told her I had just had my first baby and she called me at the hospital. She had a nine month old girl at the time, and we agreed to get together.

Ever since that moment our families have been great friends. She has four kids just like me and we even both home school our kids! Unfortunately, we left AZ when Ashley and faith were still little so they didn't have much of a chance to grow a relationship.

Well, last year when the girls were in AZ they met up with Amy and her kids and they and really hit it off. Faith really wanted to see her oldest while she was in AZ this year and Amy and Brandi have arranged for the girls to be able to sleep over at Amy's one night this week!!!



I love to garden. I didn't say I was very good at it but I love to do it. But my favorite thing to grow isn't flowers or shrubs, I love to grow things that you can eat. There is something satisfying about growing a plant that is not just aesthetically pleasing but provides food. You can't get better than that.

There wasn't a lot of growing of anything when we lived in Arizona. We were really lucky to have a small patch of grass with a couple of dessert plants around it. But when we moved it North Carolina I discovered that i really like to play in the dirt.

My first couple of veg. gardens didn't turn out so great. But the third one was awesome. For me. Maybe not for an experienced farmer but for me I had a pretty nice yield. There, in NC, we had a couple of acres to work with so I had plenty of room to mess around with gardening. When we moved to Il our little suburban lot definitely was not big enough for a big old southern garden. But, I think I have made the best of it. WE have cukes, onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, two apple trees, one Cherry tree, dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, and LOTS of mint. Just about my entire back yard landscape is edible. And it is all so pretty right now!

Things are finally starting to come in but the cukes are the big producer this season. I don't know what happened to them but I can't keep up with them. There are only two plants but there are tons of cucumbers!! And they are big and out of hand! Mom Jones just sent me a recipe for grandma's awesome relish and I think while the girls are gone I am going to be making some. These are the ones I just picked today and I can't tell you how many we have eaten already!!


It's a Dry Heat

After a half hour delay for take off and a packed plane ride the girls made it to AZ.

Their Aunt and Uncle and three and a half boy cousins have them for a week, then they will be spending ten days with my mom and dad.

I talked to the girls when their Uncle Keith picked them up from the airport and they were pretty ramped up.

When I asked Kylee how the plane was she said, "Hot!" I thought she must have heard me wrong and thought I meant AZ! (It was 103 with 70% humidity yesterday, they don't tell you about the monsoon season there do they? ) So I asked her again and emphasised "on the plane" she said again, "Hot!" I asked her why she didn't just turn the little air thing on herself and she said she couldn't reach it....I don't know.

But it is a tad bit funny because I tried to convince her to wear her sandals on the plane which she refused. She hates sandals and wears tennis shoes everywhere she goes. Her reasoning was that her feet get cold. (the real reason: you just can't run in sandals) So after realizing it was a losing battle and not a hill I wanted to die on I conceded and let her wear her tennis shoes. Funny, I have to wonder if, just maybe, she hadn't had those socks and tennis shoes on if she wouldn't have been a bit cooler on the plane.

Yes, these are the things I think about. That is what makes me a mom.


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Girls Leave Today!!

Today the girls leave for their trip to AZ.

I am missing them already!!

They will be gone for two and a half weeks to visit family. I wish we all could have gone. But I know the girls will have such a great time.

I still remember the summers that I went to stay with my grandma and how much fun it was. We never really did anything exciting, just hanging out was great.

So instead of being focused on sadness that they are gone I am going to channel that into preparing for the coming fall school year. I am hoping to have everything ready to go by the time they get back. We shall see. I am sure I will have a lot to write about once I get my new curriculum and start planning for it.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Por Favor!

I received an email the other day from this home school group that we have been involved with. Included on the email was a notice that there will be Spanish classes offered for the fall. I thought the prices were reasonable and figured it might be a good idea to start Faith taking Spanish. But I just didn't think we could afford lessons for all of them. So I talked to Mike and he agreed that it would be a good idea for Faith to start them.

So before I signed her up I called her into talk to me.

I said, "I would like to sign you up for Spanish classes, is that something you would be interested in?"

She said, "No."

Okay. Now, she had some lessons when she was littler and I don't think she enjoyed going to them so much. But I assured her that this would be different.

"Are you sure you wouldn't be interested?"

She said, "No."

Okay. So I explained to her that she will have to have some language classes before college and I really think it would be a good idea if she started now.

She said,"No."

Okay. Well I certainly don't want to throw money away so I thanked her for her time and sent her back to her school work.

I then called in Kylee. I told Kylee that she had the opportunity to take Spanish lessons if she would like.

She said, "Yes."

"Okay. Great I will sign you up."

She ran in the next room to tell her sister and brothers.

Then came running back in and said, "Faith wants to take Spanish lessons also."

Seriously? That's too bad!!

Oh, did I also mention that Seth is now crying in the next room because he desperately wants to learn Spanish?

Just a day in the life of Me.



I found this recipe for tortillas a couple of months ago and decided to try it. They are really good. When I first tried them I just rolled them out by hand. Problem with that was that I could not come close to rolling them out as thin as they should be. They were good but thick. One of the comments suggested using a pasta maker to roll them out.

Hmmmm... a Pasta maker.

That just sounded like something I needed in my kitchen.

So I found an inexpensive crank style one and made the purchase. The day I bought it I had no plans to make tortillas but fettuccine sounded good. So I tried it out. YUM!! And so easy.

Then a couple days later came the real trial. I made the tortilla dough and guess what? Perfect!! The tortillas came out flat as can be. Although, still weird shaped. I think that is just a time issue. I personally don't care if they are oblong or round so I didn't try and trim them. But if you are really worried about the shape I am sure that would be easy to do.

Also, the quantity does not match what the recipe says. I don't know how big they were making them to get 60, but even with them as thin as can be there were only a little over 20 tortillas.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


So my friend Paula and I have been reading a ton of historical fiction novels lately. I am embarrassed to say how many I have read in the last couple of months. People might think that is all I do. The truth is that I am a really fast reader and skim a lot.

Anyways, I got kind of obsessed with one author who writes a lot on Henry the eighth's court and the times surrounding him. Such great, great books. The author is Phillipa Greggory but she comes with a small warning. She is a fabulous writer but can get a bit graphic at parts. Let's face it Henry was not so innocent and she doesn't hold back at times. So if you can get past that her Boleyn books, and books about the queens are awesome.

But, then the other day Paula asked me if I had ever read Memoirs of a Geisha. Okay, I skipped the book and saw the movie when it came out a few years ago and I have to say I remember not loving it. But I decided to stop my little Henry obsession for a couple of days and give it a read. I just finished it. It was EXCELLENT! I loved it.

I will have to see the movie again and see what it was I didn't like about it. The book is so worthy.

If you have never read it or you just saw the movie or it's been a while since you have read it pick it up, it is totally worth it.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Girls Night Out

Josh and Seth got to go to a birthday party Saturday night. Since it was at a Jackhammers game I thought it would be great for Mike to take the boys, while the girls and I went out for some fun.

We wanted to go and see Nancy Drew but of course the weekend we could finally go and see it, it was not playing anywhere. So we decided on dinner at Chili's then a trip to the bookstore for some browsing and coffee and dessert at Starbucks.

Dinner was fun. My girls are great to hang out with. Faith and I shared a Buffalo Chicken Salad and Kylee had a hamburger. We talked and laughed and had a great time.

Then we headed to Toys R Us because Kylee still had some unspent birthday money from Nana and Papa. She made her purchases and we headed across the street to Barnes and Noble. They both found a couple of books to take on their trip next week and we had some awesome coffee and delicious cookies for dessert.

We got home around nine and we were all ready for bed. We got cleaned up and crashed in my bed to read for a bit before the boys came home.

Thanks for the fun evening girls!!!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Group Gifts

Okay I have really been struggling with something for the last couple of days. Here it goes.

Seth and Kylee are about done with their baseball/softball for the year.

And they have had a really great time.

And both of them have had really great coaches.


Well a mom from Kylee's team came up to us a week or so ago and said she was collecting money for a group gift for the coach.

Okay, I am still good to this point.

Then she said she was thinking 20 dollars per parent would be good!

This is where she lost me. I was kind of in shock. Now maybe I am behind the times but 20 dollars per kid and their are 14 kids on the team. That just seems excessive. Am I wrong here? Don't get me wrong I appreciate the coaches and think they did a great job. Seth's team is also collecting. But they are asking for 3-5 dollars per parent. That is totally reasonable.

Am I wrong here?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Happy Birthday K-Hope

Today Kylee is nine! This picture is her when she was three. I picked it because I think it shows her personality so clearly.

Kylee has a very unique personality. I don't know if she has ever met anyone who she didn't call friend. She is really easy going and kind, and super funny. She loves to run and play and do sports. She loves monkeys and animals. Her smile lights up the room and her laugh is absolutely contagious. She is also one of the most sensitive kids I have ever met. She can cry at the drop of a hat. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had put her in school. I don't think that the teachers would have been able to deal with her emotions. It is not unusual for her to cry for no reason at least once a day. She is very huggy and loves to be held and cuddled. She would literally sit on your lap all day if you would let her.

But it wasn't always like that. Kylee and I had a rough start. Our pregnancy went great. The delivery a dream! Really. Hers was so easy. And she was a gorgeous 7 pound baby. She was round and cuddly and so cute. And she loved to sleep!!! I mean really loved to sleep. We brought this sweet baby home and she just slept and slept and slept. So much that she wasn't gaining weight fast enough. Man, did those doctors have me worried. I was stripping her down tickling her feet doing whatever I could to get her to wake up and eat. But as soon as she would begin to eat she would sleep again. So the first few months were a blur of trying to keep Kylee awake. Imagine trying to keep a baby awake.

Then she woke up. And boy did she wake up! As soon as she became mobile there was no stopping her. This is about the time we discovered what Kylee meant in Aborigine. Boomerang. And that really did describe year 1 and 2. She was all over the place. I couldn't imagine how I was going to manage this child. She was always happy but very, very, very, determined. With Faith if she had tried to get into, lets say the toilet, we disciplined her and she never touched it again. Kylee would just look up at us with those gorgeous blue eyes, laugh, and turn around and dump the cup of toilet water that she was holding in her hand, all over the floor.

But she grew out of that. She grew into the sweet kid that she is today. I praise God for her loving spirit and kindness towards others. As a matter of fact today Kylee spent some of her 9th birthday cutting her long, long hair and sending it into Locks of Love. She was very excited. Here is a picture of her after getting her hair cut.

Happy Birthday Kylee!!


Friday, July 6, 2007

Joshi Will's B-Day

Today Joshi is 5!! He is very excited about this birthday.

This is a picture of Joshi five years ago today. He was our surprise baby. Joshi went a long way in strengthening my faith. Also, in teaching me that I was definitely not in control. That is still a hard lesson for me.

Shortly after Mike and I and the family moved to North Carolina things were tight financially. Mike hadn't found a paying secular job as easily as we had hoped and the church he was working for was able to pay a housing allowance, but that was it. So, naturally as we had no steady income and no insurance, I got pregnant. Those nine months were a weird time for me. I learned a lot about myself. A lot of things that were buried pretty deep. I think they made me a better person.

On Sunday July 7 th, 2002 I was sitting at home waiting for our small group to come over when the contractions started. Now I knew a couple of things, first I knew that I was strep B positive (which meant I could go to the hospital and as long as I was far enough along they had to keep me), that I was 6 centimeters a few days before (which was far enough along to have them keep me), and that with my three previous babies nothing had ever happened unless my water was broken. So I waited a couple of hours (with contractions every 5 minutes lasting about a minute, and smiling through them while there were people meeting in a small group at my house) and as soon as they left I called the midwife. She told me that since it was Sunday and she wasn't on call, and because of my history, if I went to the hospital they would give me a sleeping pill and tell me to lay down and wait till tomorrow. She suggested instead of me doing that, that I should stay home, take a glass of wine (REALLY?), or some Benedryll, and stay at home to sleep. For me drinking even one glass of wine while I was pregnant was really out of the question for so many reasons, but I did take the Benedryll and then continued having contractions all night long every five minutes in a half sleep half awake state.

So, by morning I was ready. We drove to the hospital and they, of course, admitted me seeing that i was now 7 cm (seriously, all night and one centimeter, ridiculous) and put me on the antibiotics for the strep. After the two doses of antibiotic, and one dose of epidural they broke my water and Joshi came about an hour later. Our midwife was awesome and let Mike deliver Joshi. It was a very cool moment. And so funny because after he was born I had nurse after nurse come to my room to meet the daddy who was so awesome and gentle in delivering his baby. Our Midwife was actually bragging about him!!! He was great!

But my biggest surprise by far was our little peanut!! I felt huge during this last pregnancy. I had only gained 25 pounds but they were all stomach. Even Mike said I was huge!!! So we really thought that since each of our babies had gotten bigger that he was going to be our hugest. When little 6 pound 5 ounce Joshi was born we were shocked!!! He was so little and cute, with his little furrowed brow. Gorgeous baby.

One of the fun things about Joshi's birth was that is occurred the day before Kylee's birthday!! She was so happy to have a new baby for her 4th birthday!!

And Five years later I could not imagine life with out our little Joshi Will. Joshi is a great kid!!! He loves doing school with his brother and sisters, playing with friends, swimming, riding his bike, helping his mommy cook, hanging out with his daddy, the list goes on he is just a really fun kid!! I thank God for him every day. I feel so blessed that God knew that I needed this little guy in my life.

Happy Birthday Joshi!!


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fabulous Fourth

For the past couple of years we have gone to a golf club to see our fireworks. The first year it was good. The great things about it were: free parking, free to get in, lots of space so you aren't crammed together like a bunch of sardines, and a pretty decent fireworks show. The negative: bad parking situation, long walk lugging all your stuff and your kids, and last year the show was really inferior and it was really cold outside. (Yes, I know they can't help the temperature it just added to the discomfort factor.)

So, after having a less than great time last year Mike and I considered just skipping the whole fireworks thing this year. We decided on our walk yesterday morning that we would spend the day working on the yard, let the kids play with friends, then take them to a matinee movie. Maybe that would curb their desire to see fireworks. Besides, the night before our neighbor had a full fireworks show and they got to watch that. But when we presented our plan, they loved all of it except the missing fireworks.

We told them we would think about it. We revised the plan and included stopping for a picnic dinner at Walmart and parking in a parking lot somewhere near the fireworks and hanging out in the back of the van. They agreed to that.

So, we saw the movie got the picnic stuff and headed in the direction of the golf course. To our surprise, there was a new parking lot opened right next to the course and it was just about empty!! So we parked, jumped out, and plopped our stuff out on one of the little golf hills.

The weather was perfect about 75 degrees, the kids were in a great mood, and the fireworks were AWESOME!! Last year they had some kind of technical difficulty I think but this year they made up for it in a big way. It was definitely hands down the best fireworks show I have ever seen. Granted, I have never been to the big city and seen their fireworks I am sure they are spectacular, but for a free show in a suburb town it was great.

So, for an hour my family got to lay on a giant quilt together and OOOHHHH and AAAHHHH at giant lights in the sky. It was a great time.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

You Got To Check This Out!

This is hilarious. Scott Hodge the lead Pastor at Orchard has the promo video for the Barbecue and Baptism, that is coming up in August, on his blog. If you have a chance to check it out it is pretty funny.

One of the many things that they do really well at the Orchard is producing original videos.

They blow me away with their creativity.

I love that Mike and I can be a part of what is going on here at the Orchard!!


Walking is Great!

So, Mike and I decided that we should start trying to get out and exercise a little in the mornings...There is a fitness center in the clubhouse that we can use but we just can't seem to do it. But while it is nice out we are going to start with walks outside. Maybe these walks will turn into jogging and when it gets cooler we may go ahead and use the fitness center. Who knows!!!

We decided to start yesterday.

Now, I am not a morning person, I don't love to get up early and see the sun rise but when I wake up I am up and ready to go. Mike, like me, is not a morning person either, but he is definitely not up and ready to go right after he wakes up.

But somehow we got up and made it on our first two walks. We walked about a mile each time at a fairly fast pace. I am proud of us and hope we can keep it up!!

The best part about it is that I get to do it with my very best friend!! It is great that I get to spend this time with him and even though I don't love the sweating and achy muscles, yes, I know I am out of shape, I love getting to spend time with him first thing in the morning. He is so fun, we always have a great time whether we are hanging out with friends, going out on a date, or going for a walk!!!


The Return of Faith

I took a little blogging break for the weekend. Lots of stuff to talk about but I won't dump it all in one post. The most exciting thing is my girl came home!!!

Mike brought Faith home Friday evening around 6pm. Man did we all miss her. She had a great time. I am glad she went. She is going to be posting stories and pics, here in the next couple of days.

She really is a great kid. She always has been really mature but since she came home from camp she seems even MORE independent. That is a good thing. But she did assure me that she missed me a lot while she was gone. I don't know how true that is but it feels good to believe it so I am going to.

Now that Faith made it back alive Kylee hasn't stopped talking about going to camp next year. I hope that will be an option for her.

Wow, if both girls are gone and the boys are, oh I don't know let's say, visiting Nana and Papa in AZ, than Mike and I would be alone...Huh.....

Is it wrong to go on a cruise while your children are at camp?