Thursday, July 24, 2014

Testing My Limits

Sometimes I put so much on myself, plan so much, I wear myself out. I want to help anybody and everybody and it breaks my heart to say no.

Ivy wanted her birthday present to be some new clothes and her room painted. I took her out to get her favorite food which is hot wings. It was so sweet just spending time alone with her.

Today I painted the girls room with the help of Ryan. I had the girls pitch in for about an hour because they were begging but it was so much harder. It took about 6 hours to do the different colors. We're not done with it so I'll have to finish soon.

Ryan had some weird mysterious mosquito thing happen to him. He was bit hundreds of times and is on 4 medications. We are thinking it happened at the park. The doctor said it's so bizarre and he had to be monitored at the hospital. He is much better now. ;)

The other day my washing machine broke so I'm having to take clothes to laundry mat. After we did that tonight, we had to go get groceries. Then come home, put groceries away and clothes.

It's 4am and I'm finally ready to sleep after taking care of all that. I'm exhausted but so grateful for my beautiful family. Tough times build character. Teach patience.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Routines and Babysitting

I've had some extra kids at my house these last couple of weeks.  Sometimes I had 11, this week I only have eight (Ryan is at someone else's house for the week and I have two that aren't mine over).  It's really hard because we are in our homeschooling season and I have to work whether or not the kids that are with me understand we need to study.  Some days though I just had to quit because the house was way too loud.  I know at times I need to put my foot down and not always be the available babysitter because I'm home.  I need to just say no and that's that. 

Updated chore chart for 2014.  Much neater and changed a tad. :)
 I made an exception this week for two girls.  They are in their teens and actually are more helpful than a hindrance.  During homeschool hours they will help with the reading and flashcards with the younger ones.  The hardest thing for me is my routine.  I hate to go out of a routine because it takes me several days to adjust.  They were kindly (and amazingly) asking which chores they could help us with.  I have each zone assigned to members of the family and we get it done so efficiently, we rarely need the help.  I mean, if I call chore time, within 30 minutes the house can be almost perfectly clean. That's years and years of training and consistency.  Not luck.  Oh man, that bugs me when people think it's just luck I have kids that are good at it.  Believe me, we've sweated it out with them for lots of years to train and keep going even when we didn't feel like it.  There were days where we battled and battled for them to do their work but we never, ever gave up.  The only times was when I was having a baby in the hospital, sick, something crazy happened, OR we took a special family day outing.  Those are only rare exceptions.  Otherwise you can find us here doing our bible study, homeschool, then chores, day in and day out except for the weekends.  If I even give an inch when the kids whine about their work, they will take it a mile.  They have to know mama is serious and it has to be done.  Rain or shine.  Except there is no rain here.  Or snow.  Better yet, we homeschool so it doesn't matter.  I never have them do my work for me.  I have my own zones I take care of.  If possible, I do my chores at the same time they do so they can see me doing it when them.  Kids learn by example.  :)

We've been trying to do more family game nights rather than just separating at the end of the day to do our own thing.  Often I don't sit down for time alone till 11 at night but that's okay.  I love my days busy and full.  :D 

Friend Adriana doing flashcards with Ivy     

Update: Since Ivy finally got her new prescription glasses, her reading skills have soared!!  I mean, she's daily trekking through her books.  She may be behind but she's quickly closing in the gap.  Today she was reading a book and doing so bad I got worried.  I realized she forgot to put her glasses on. Once she did, she had no problem reading the book.  Ivy and I laughed and laughed together at the mistake.  She doesn't seem to understand these are all day glasses.  She keeps setting them down around the house and losing them.  Anyway, I can sigh with relief that we solved the problem.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Vacation Bible School 2014

Ivy doing a team dance to the song Jesus, What a Friend
 When I heard my church was going to be having another Vacation Bible School this summer, I couldn't wait!  I've always, always wanted to work with kids and especially it's been a huge desire to help with VBS.
Here is our VBS video! 

You can see Ryan and I at the end of the video dancing with the kids.  Ryan is just scooting along in his scooter keeping up with all the kids.  He had such a  good attitude being a leader with me.  I'm the second person in the video to get a pie in the face.  LOL.  There was actually someone getting something for those 5 days.  It was an offerings contest and the money was counted every night to see if the boys or girls one.  Well, the girls only won the first night with the most money given.  Well, I got pied on the Tuesday night!  It was so gross and fun at the same time.  
Me in the back and Ryan as a team leader in the black shirt
Working with kids is a big deal for me because it's been my desire for many years.  I know I have my own kids.  Ha ha.  What I mean is, working with kids to teach them like I was taught many years ago.  I have very, very good memories of learning while young in sunday school and children's church.  Kids have very soft hearts and this is the time to reach them. 

My cute Caleb (4)
Little Caleb was in mine and Ryan's class.  Boy, he's such a cutie.  

Ashley (6)
My little Caleb on the right and me in the background holding our team flag

Kyle reading a scripture to the VBS kids

I'm getting a pie in my face here.  :D

Kyle reading a scripture to the kids

It was an amazing time!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Curse of the Law

Sometimes I still can't believe all that God is doing in my mind and heart.  It's like I've woken up and saw that life is beautiful.  It always has been but I had been in a sad slumber.  At one time I felt like life was too burdensome and by the age of 34 I was done.  I was weary and didn't want to keep "fighting the good fight and keeping the faith."  It was just too hard. I never knew I wasn't meant to carry the burden of my own "humanness."  Hope that makes sense.

  • Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20

  • For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all  of God's laws. James 2:10

  • But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, "Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God's Book of the Law." Galatians 3:10

  • The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Romans 8:3

  • Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Galatians 3:13

Get it?  It's incredible! Because I only believed in saving grace but not sustaining grace, I believed my good works was what was keeping me saved and in right standing with God.  Well, of course I tried with all my might but to my HUGE disappoint, I failed often.  I thought maybe I was failing because I didn't go to enough church services or because I wasn't praying hard enough.  Now I understand why a perfectionist mindset was killing me.

Legalism = Perfectionism

I had a legalistic mindset.  No one could do it and no one before me could do it except Jesus Christ.  THAT'S why he came and  became the perfect sacrifice for us.  We are no longer held under this perfectionist mentality.  Thank God.  Before if someone asked me if I believed in sustaining grace.  No way.  Yes we are saved by grace but we are on our own after that.  Boy, I was wrong and definitely still put myself under the curse of the law.  This is what explains my spiritual exhaustion.  

  • Legalism- Thinking we are made righteous because we live righteously.
  • Grace- Living righteously because we've been made righteous.

  • Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

What?  God's throne of grace?  Where has this scripture been all my life?  I've aways looked at it as the throne of judgement or throne of condemnation.  Never, ever as the throne of grace.

When Jesus died on the cross He not only gave us the gift of saving grace but of sustaining grace. 

Insert taken from webpage: Laws on Top of Laws

"The problem with the Pharisee’s is that they had, over centuries and centuries of following God’s Law, added their own laws on top of God’s Law. Breaking God’s Law was so abhorrent to them that they added more laws to keep them from the things that would keep them from the things that would tempt them to break God’s laws. In many ways, it is not a bad idea. If I have an alcohol problem, I should not drink, but having alcohol in the house is a bad idea, and even going to a bar with friends should be out of the question. Constantly surrounding myself with temptation is a bad idea. If A leads to B which leads to C (and C = sin), then don’t do A or B. Take away the temptation that leads to the sin, right? So, by that logic, if working on the Sabbath is sin, maybe I should cease from doing any labor, any “work”, anything physical, right? 

Nope. Taking your traditions and beliefs and elevating them to be equivalent to God’s Law is wrong, but holding others accountable to your traditions is wrong too, according to Jesus. Even more than that, withholding good on the Sabbath is a sin, as Jesus has shown.
God is after my heart, and He is after your heart. He doesn’t admire your laws, standards, rules, righteousness or holiness. Your righteousness is like filthy rags to Him. No. He wants to save you from yourself. He want to see Christ in you, your only hope of glory. He wants us to behold the glory of the Lord, and therefore be transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. Jesus is your only hope, He is my only hope. Only Christ pleases God. Only Jesus lived a perfect life that I could never live and died the death I should have died because of my sin. Only He is worthy. Only His righteousness will cover me."
When we constantly focus on sin and don't do this don't do that, it actually can cause our minds to focus exactly on those things!  Rather, let's put our focus on Christ.  I'm amazed that now I completely put my trust in Christ, in His grace, those temptations aren't nearly like they used to be.  I was told, "well, that's because the devil is done with you and has no reason to fight you."  Nope, there really is such an amazing freedom and peace when we put our trust in Him rather than in ourselves.  When we understand we are no longer living under the law.  When I decided to stop living under the law, it took the power away that sin had over meYes, I'm human.  Yes, I'll make mistakes.  It was never about perfectionism.  It's about our heart.

  •  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. Hebrews 13:8,9
 God bless!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bowling Sunday With Friends

Lately its been so cool because we have been getting Groupons and having more family adventures at a better price. Last Sunday we took our family bowling for more than half the price it would have cost for our family. Man, the month of June has been so fun and it's also been a very long month because of everything we have been doing.

 In one month we have gone ice skating, the teams have gone to a team camp out of town, We went to the lake, Ryan had surgery on his foot (not fun), we went bowling, and we went on family camping with the church.  This week we are having Vacation Bible School and Ryan and I volunteered as one of the leaders. I have been having the worst headaches ever because of the wildness from it but I love it and I'm having a blast. Of course Ryan's surgery wasn't fun but its definitely shaken things up a little bit for us. I am proud of the good attitude Ryan is having still being he has to be in a cast during the fun month. 

When some people from church wanted to go bowling together, I was excited to take my family to bowl with them. Sometimes I'm still so amazed at the friends I have gained in the last 10 months. I feel so blessed and sometimes I still can't believe it. This year has definitely been a new year for us and much, much needed spiritually and emotionally. I feel God has definitely led us to where we are and I have seen the evidence of it in my personal walk with God, which has grown significantly, and joy that I have not seen in myself for many years. Seeing the change in children and in my family as a whole. The fruits is what I'm looking at.
Anyway, here are some fun pics!! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our First Camping Trip as a Family

We went camping this last weekend with some people from our church. It definitely felt safer for me and it was nice having an place to use the restrooms. It was a walk to it so I had brought our own potty to it that I had bought for last year's camping trip for the boys. I knew when my little kids had to go in the middle of the night we didn't want to be out walking in the cold.

 I knew it was going to be a challenge taking my 2 year old. Originally, I had set up a babysitter. She had even got the two days off but then I didn't know the camping trip actually went for another day. Sooooo, we took her and she definitely kept me on my toes. Juliet is my only baby that hates the stroller and hates the playpen. She knows she has 8 other people in our family to rescue her so she's a bit spoiled in that way. PLUS, I had friends camping with us. The teen girls are so sweet and they would always rescue her too. Finally, on the last day I said she could stay a little bit in her playpen watching the activities. Once she realized she wasn't be rescued, she chilled out and actually took a nap. :)

We had the worst wind while we were camping!! I had bought this awesome propane grill since there was a no fire ban. It was so hard to cook having this crazy wind trying to blow our flame out. We managed to still make coffee in the mornings with my french press. I brought pancakes, bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns for the morning. It was sooooo yummy and even better we were eating it in the woods.

 At night our church friends would get together and have a potluck. Ohhhhh, that was super cool because one of the guys had caught some trout that day and was making a bunch to share. I gravitated toward that table like a bug to a light. Haha. Was so good.

 It was so hard packing for a family of 9 to go camping. My boys for years have been the only one camping. I've always, always wanted to go as a family and we finally got a chance. But our girls had no idea what was needed for sleeping outdoors. I mean, we filled UP our 12 passenger van with kids and gear. I felt like we were moving. Haha.

 We had a 12 person tent with two rooms. It was so big we could easily fit a playpen for Juliet to sleep in and you didn't even noticed the loss of space. It was AWESOME. I had to buy sleeping bags,camp chairs, and a grill. So now that I have everything for camping I'm so wanting to go again next month because that was an investment. I seriously don't want to wait another year. It's summer time but it was soooo freezing at night there is no way in heck we are camping during cooler temperatures.

In fact, I had forgotten one sleeping bag. Mine. There was no way I was gonna take warmth away from any of my babies. The first night I just slept with no blanket and was freezing my butt off. I didn't sleep that well that night. LOL.

The second night Juliet got woken up after she had been sleeping for an hour. Well, it was like a power nap for her because she wouldn't fall back asleep till almost 2am. I was so exhausted from being at the lake that day it was torture trying to put her to sleep. I was too afraid to let her lay down with me because I was afraid she'd escape out of the tent after I fell sleep. So I crawled into her playpen like a stuffed pastry. I mean, I filled that thing. Didn't work. And she peed on me. Somehow when she was shifting around her diapered opened just enough to pee straight onto me. So in the dark and in the freezing cold I had to shift look around and find her more warm pj's. I was doubling up on her outfits at night too.

Ivy is Juliet's buddy so she got the idea to climb in with her instead. Oh my gosh. Juliet instantly calmed down and went to sleep. They just have this special bong. I passed out like a dying animal. Charles was chucking because through all of that I had been mumbling that I was never going camping again for the rest of my life. At least with a toddler. The next day I'm like, "I love camping!" Haha.

We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. In fact, we stayed till we had to be out and then just went back to the lake. We didn't get home till late Sunday night. Wow! I guess I love camping. Here is why I like camping so much. Yes, I had huge bursts of wind blowing dirt straight at us. I didn't sleep well. I learned to be smart like my friend and bring cushion to lay on rather than hard dirt. But I had nooooo obligations like I do at home. I didn't have to teach, do laundry, take care of the animals, clean. I felt great to know I could just sit around and talk or play with the kids. THAT IS AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ryan's Surgery Experience

Ryan broke his foot at church camp.  He doesn't regret going because it was an incredible experience.  How was he to know sliding down a mud slide could cause a break?  It's just one of those freak things.  His foot was so swollen so I knew that could be a bad sign.  Sure enough he broke 3 bones.  The break is pretty bad actually and so it still can't be put in a cast and has to be monitored weekly.

Getting ready for surgery

We originally thought only one bone needed a pin but when the doctor took an xray from a different view, two bones were completely away from each other and had to be pinned together to start healing.

Ryan still waiting but we were enjoying our "oceanside view."

We were told to be at the hospital a day after we got back from our family camping trip (different blog story) and so Ryan and I went alone.  I knew all the walking on crutches was really hard and he was starting to get a rash under his arms.  We had to walk really far to get to his surgery area.  The whole process from surgery prep to leaving was 5 hours. He has two metal pins sticking out of the bottom of his foot and they won't be removed for 4 weeks

Waking up after surgery
 Ryan had a really good attitude the whole time but when they took him away to the surgery room he started shaking.  The nurse told me it would take an hour for the surgery but maybe longer because this doctor was a perfectionist.  A perfectionist?  Awesome. That's a very good thing.  It's a good thing I'm not a surgeon and there is a reason why I'm not. Ha.  "Here's some duck tape.  It should hold good 'nuff!" Haha.  Anyway, Ryan said it was weird to be talking to the doctors, not even know he passed out, then wake up in recovery.  It felt like it was 2 seconds.

But ohhhhhhh, the pain hit later and we had to start his meds because it was BAD.  I keep track on my phone because it's just too much to remember with rotating medicines.  Even these medicines don't take away the pain but it makes it tolerable. 

But guess what?  Both my parents and my in-laws gifted Ryan a knee scooter so he can still be a kid and get around easy.  He has been kinda down just laying around.  Not he's been getting around easy when needed when the pain isn't too bad.  I'm soooo happy for him!  This scooter is the cadillac of scooters.  It's smooth and rides fast.  he loves it.

Ryan on his medical knee scooter

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Broken Foot and Camp Memories

Ryan entertaining sister while waiting for doctor
So I took Ryan to the doctor to see exactly why he needed to be on crutches and what the damage was.  He had xrays and sure enough he had broken 3 bones in his foot while at camp.  Poor guy!  He hardly complained and was in good spirits even though he was hobbling around.  Thankfully, I already had crutches so I didn't have to buy another pair. 
Ryan with a temporary splint

Ryan will be seeing a specialist on Thursday and will get it set in a cast. For now they can't do it just yet because the foot is gonna swell some more.  He's in pain though and has to lay around mostly.  The doctor gave him strict orders to sit down with his foot elevated most of the time.  Only minimal walking around.  When he does have to walk, he gets pretty tired on the crutches.  Poor guy!  We are supposed to be camping this weekend.  :P  I have no idea how hard that's gonna be for him with the terrain.

He still says he is so happy he got to experience camp.  He had an amazing time!  My friend took these pics at camp and I'd love to share.

Ryan holding the team flag
Chaz and Ryan
Chaz jumping into mud pit
This is where Ryan broke his foot.  After you jump into mudpit, you go to the left and slide down a muddy slide.  Somehow he twisted it on his way down.  After he got home and we discussed the results of test, I asked Ryan to find the blessing in the situation. He thought about it for a minute and then said, 

"I don't have to do chores!"

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Once Step Closer to Moving Forward- Leaving the Bullies in the Past

My boys recently went on a church teen cabin trip out of town.  I insisted they go so they can get last year's horrible camping trip out of their memory.  

The one they went to last time was unbelievable. Basically they came home with broken spirits.  They went from loving camping to hating it and not wanting to ever go again.  Bullies were running rampant and nothing was done about it.  I'll never forget their faces when they came back home. Literally, you could feel the sadness in my boys for an entire month after that trip.  It was like a heavy depression was in the house.  My boys shared with me they felt unprotected, hurt, taken advantage of.  Worst of all, they felt the leaders protected the bullies.  Right then and there I said never again.  As long as it is in my ability as a parent, I will never allow bullies to get away with hurting others around me.  I told my boys I would never make them go back any situation like that again.  And they haven't.  

Teen praying before they head to camp
This time, I had found a new Christian camping trip.  I had gotten to know the leaders and these teens for about 9 months.  I was pretty confident in watching them that all the kids had respect for one another and there really was NO bullying allowed.  I was so grateful the leaders made sure it was a peaceful environment for everyone.  When a summer camp for 5 days was announced I knew it was my opportunity to give my boys a newer, better memory.  Even still, I was a bit afraid something bad would happen with other kids hurting my boys again.  I'm not the over protective type and it took me a really long time to finally see what my kids were going through.  I felt ashamed I had allowed them to get hurt for so long.

You can barely see Chaz and Ryan but they're there.  LOL
Today my boys came back encouraged, excited, made new friends, and came back even more closer to the teens they went with!  Praise God!  They had a church service every day and talked about how close they feel to God and what they learned.  Ryan came back on crutches but smiling and happy.  Chaz is burnt like crazy even after the leaders kept lathering him with high SPF lotion.  He is smiling from ear to ear.  Just all good memories and they couldn't wait to tell me about it.  I think this trip was like putting and keeping the past IN the past and moving forward.  

Chaz after his fun in mud pit.  :)
We can never let bullies win.  No matter how popular they are or how popular their parents are. Bullying is bullying and it does break precious spirits.  Every kid and adult is equal in God's eyes and we need to prove it by how we treat others.  Especially as representatives for who we serve.  I know I can't prevent all bullying, that's impossible.  However, I can do whatever is in my ability to stop it when I see it.  Whether it's my kids or someone else's.  No, it's not JUST WHAT KIDS DO.  All kids learn it from others.  Either they are learning it from home or from their peers.  Just because adults bully doesn't make it okay.  

Teen leader show how to jump in the mud pit!  
I really feel like this trip for my boys was like saying we're leaving the past in the past and moving forward to what God is holding for us in the future!  :D  To the ones who brought my boys, thank you so much for being amazing teen leaders.  I can see the difference and impact you are making on the kids around you.