Friday, April 30, 2010

It's How You Finish

Picture is of my older 3 boys boys praying at the alter at church.  :D

I don't know why but I've sure been watching families and thinking a lot about my faith.  I grew up in church.  I love having a church family.  I've been to baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, funeral, seen divorces, etc.  I've seen a lot.  I've been in church since I was in my moms tummy.  Now that I'm 30, I see a lot of end results of families serving God. 

People make mistakes.  Spouses hurt their loved one.  Hurt words are said.  Betrayels regretfully happen.  Friends are torn apart.  Misunderstandings are yet to be forgiven or already have been.  I've seen many kids grow up from babies and now to moms or dads themselves. 

I've watched the difference between parents who throw their hands up in the air and walk away from their faith vs. parents that stay in the long haul no matter what trial they have endured.  One of the huge differences is in the kids.  It's hard to find kids make it for God when their parents have walked away and taken their kids with them.  I get sad to see pics of the kid's lifestyle, or their quotes of bitterness or hatred on Facebook.  They've forgotten what they've learned from their faith, the warnings, and reject God's truth.  Some are broken from decisions or some have even passed on.  A majority I have seen have not chosen to come back to their faith once turning 18 even though they now have the free choice to attend church where they please. 

On the other hand.... I see parents that have stuck it out.  Fought the fight.  They're still going.  They prayed thousands of prayers.  In their tears and on their knees for their kids.  Some kids have spit on them, cursed at them, have been unthankful.  BUT.... .life can be tough.  Can put scars on them.  Their parents have set a foundation of truth and they live it.  Something is so attractive about God when your heart is broken and life has dealt some heavy blows.  Maybe mom and dad weren't so crazy after all.  Maybe they meant well by having me attend Sunday School and services.  Maybe, just maybe, they wanted to give me a HUGE chance to learn everything I could about the God who created me and the One that loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me.  Maybe they didn't want to see me scarred by sins and wrong decisions.  Maybe, just maybe, they wanted to see me spare myself from the scars they experienced.  Scars that can be prevented. 

Some parents, even really good parents, make mistakes.  Some fall.  The quote I hate is "I thought he was a Christian!"  Does anyone really think, seriously, that Christians NEVER make mistakes?  I don't know about you but I go to church because I'm a leaky vessel.  I need God's grace.  I need the encouragement.  I hate the word hypocrite that is used to slam on someone that fell down in their faith.  Do you know what matters?  They got back up.  They didn't continue in their sin.  They brushed off the dirt.  Sure they have a scab, maybe even a scar.  They didn't quit.  They didn't throw their hands up and walk out of the race.  God doesn't forsake you because you fail.  He doesn't walk away from us.  WE walk away from Him. 

Christianity is like a race to the finish.  It doesn't matter how many stumbles you took.  Yes, when you fall you get hurt.  There are consequences.  You hurt ones you love.  You hurt yourself.  It hurts God.  Brush off the dirt from falling and keep going!  There is so much counting on it. Eternity.  Your kids.  Your family watching you.  People are watching you run that race whether or not they are in it.  Isn't it worth it to keep going for your own soul?  For your kids?  For your grandkids?  For your unsaved family?  For friends? 

Nothing....nothing....nothing.... is worth spending an eternity away from God.  The pleasures of this life are SO temporary. 

There have been times I've wanted to quit because of disappointments, betrayels of friends, harsh words, etc.  Then I look at my kids.  My kids are watching me.  I look at their tender hearts.  Ones that are so incredibly moldable at this point and I think, "I gotta keep going."  I may be a little bruised but I have to keep going.  There are so many joys in serving God. So many things I have been spared from.  I'm so grateful to my Savior.

It's definitely a race worth finishing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Funny Mattress Prank

Prank done at a mattress store.  It's in different language but you get the idea.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's The Fuss?

I don't know why but when I go in public sometimes, Charles gets so embarrassed.  If I'm bored I tend to do something to relieve the boredom.  This was another one of those times.  I would pull over somewhere and ask someone for directions with the flower in my hair, awkwardly holding up my bangs.  Charles would be like "Babyyyyyy!"  Heh, heh.  Michele would have appreciated it.  Michele has been with me while I've gotten on the speaker system at stores and announced silly stuff.  She likes to be goofy too. 

Does anyone want to go cruising with me?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day at Disney

We participated in the Earth Day recycling at our local Disney store by bringing in cans.  In return we got Disney hats. :)  Come see cute picture HERE!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Permission To Get Messy

We're known for making our own Mud Mania in our back yard but since it's still too cold for that, we opted for a chocolate one.  I made some of these yummy above and told everyone, get as messy as you can!  Baths will come later.  Sigh. It still wasn't nearly as messy as Mud Mania but it will have to do.

Ivy and Kerrie just would not go beyond this.  Girls don't do stuff like that!  Where were the boys in this?  They totally missed out.  They were probably off playing and had no idea that I said we can get messy.

Ashley is pretty proud of herself.  I mean, you have to know her.  She HATES messy hands.  Can't stand it!  Right after this she asked me to wash her hands ASAP.

Caleb had to play whether he was asked to or not.  :D  He was making that face because he was getting a small sample of chocolate. 

And the winner is..........

Alexandra!!!  Dang, you go girl! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Damage Control

I love that someday my kids are gonna look back and ask me questions about these pictures.  It's cute that Ivy stuck a binky in the toy's mouth.  That she doesn't realize how she put her little sister's headband on wrong. 

What a cutie!

Kids are cute.  Kids make me slow down but they also speed me up so I'm confused about that.

The last 4 days we've had extra kids over. Different kids at different times but our ship (house) is definitely sinking.  We need serious damage control.  I have trained my kids pretty well about how not to trash a place and to put things back but it's harder to control it when you have lots of little extras running around.  :)  So my kids are complaining about how much extra they are doing for their chores this week.  I told them that maybe next time they'll pay more attention while the mess is being made when their friends are here and might want to do something to prevent it. We'll see how that goes!  :)

After all the fun and with a new week that started, I sit back and wonder why I spend so much time cleaning.  So this week I'm focusing on just homeschooling rather than worry about how fast I get the house back in good order.  So if you show up and you are swimming through the mess, I apologize.  Or maybe not.  :) 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is It Just Me?

Or does it seem that babies grow up so fast? I had a rough pregnancy last time but I couldn't wait to meet my baby Caleb. They grow so fast. It's unbelievable.

Sometime I lay at night just thinking about how God trusted these little guys in my hands. Am I doing everything I know how to lead them back to Him?   Could I do more?  I know it's easy to get caught up in the day, the duties, diapers changes, problems, etc.  I think about what awesome responsibility I've been handed.

I know I have a HUGE room for improvement.  Of course.  I think about how scary it was for our parents.  I'm sure they had the same worries.  There were plenty of times I'm sure I kept my mom awake because she worried for me.  Worried about the friends I was choosing.  Worried about the choices I was making.  I know lots of prayers were said for me.

Sometimes I wonder why I put such an incredible responsibility on my shoulders but then I think about all the cuddles, the kisses, the discoveries, the playtimes.  Then I look at my house and I think "My goodness, my work is cut out for me today."  I sometimes weigh it out in my head.  My conclusion: No matter how much more work I create for myself by having 6 children, I know, and I remember, what it was like for me before kids.  There is just no comparison.  I'm so glad I chose to be a mom.  When I give time to find the positives instead of always seeing the work pile I have, it gives me the energy I need to roll up my sleeves and get back to work.  After all, washing dishes for two wasn't nearly so exciting as setting out a table for eight.

Is it just me that thinks about stuff like this?

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Love Church!

Before Sunday night service we always have platform practice for the people that sing on the stage and it's fun getting together, learning harmonies, talking, being silly, singing new songs, or practicing ones we're going to sing that night.  The guy below is our assistant pastor but he's also our song leader. 
This lady below, well... this lady is crazy.  She has four kids!  What's wrong with her?  Doesn't she know what causes that????  Heh, heh.  Just kidding Kristy.  She's our very talented and young pianist.  She puts my piano tinkering to shame.  She's a sweetheart though.  Don't let her fool you.  She may look tough but she's a gummy bear.  J/K.

This is the view from my seat.  We're not a mega church (about 300) but I love it because we're all family and it's I love remembering who the person is that sits next to me!  LOL.  It's grown so much though since we came a decade ago that it's starting to get super crowded.  (Except when the choir gets up and a quarter of the church is up there.  lol)  The usher even asked me if this lady could sit on my lap but I drew the line on that one.   Just kidding.  OH yeah, we have a TON of kids in the nursey.  It's pastor's fault.  He keeps telling us that children are a blessing from the Lord and being a mother is a high calling.  Darn it!  It makes having a family to hard when he talks like that.  J/K!  haha.  Seriously though.  People love kids and tonight it seems half the church was either in the nursery or in children's church.

Pastor Mammen (I know.  What an interesting last name for a pastor!  LOL. He's used to the jokes though, at least it's not spelled the same as Mammon in the bible),  giving anouncements.
Our Choir!  I love how Pastor Dodd puts in surprises sometimes.  Tonight was a rockin' cool night (no, we don't have chandeliers and we don't dance down the aisles).  I just mean I loved what he did tonight with the Choir.  There was this one song where instead of ending it, they repeated the chorus while they'll all lined up to go sit back down and they were still all singing while going to their seats.  Eventually, the whole church was singing along with them and I loved it!  One they were all seated, the song ended.  The song had a theme of telling all the world about Jesus. 

Pastor Dodd directing the choir

There's my mom on the right.  Yay mom! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Friend's Wedding

There are so many different kinds of friends these days. There are neighbor friends, Facebook friends, church friends, blog friends, friends of friends that you see at candle parties and then meet up again at a Mary Kay party, best friends you actually have over all the time, etc. You know what I mean?  These are my friends from another church and at one point I had lived next to Natalie when we were little. She found me on Facebook after all these years and so we picked back up our friendship again.  Well, she got married on Sunday and since I got an invitation, we all headed over to see her.  Well, she goes to a church I used to attend all growing up so then I got to visit and reminense with those friends.  It was great! I only see them at special events or (eeks) a funeral.  I love them like crazy and it's so good visiting when we all get back together at times like these. 

Whenever we get a picture together, for some reason I always have my huge heels on and she always has her shoes off. So I just resorted to calling her shorty and that's that.  :)  The top picture, I had bent way down to be next to her.  Natalie, short is cute so no worries!  LOL

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's a Couple More Kids??

I don't know about you but we love loud and crazy get togethers where there is just kids running all over and playing while my friends and I visit.  Well....friend.  Between my friend and I we have 9 kids.  Oh wait, this leads me into a funny story.

Yesterday I was with my friend Michele and we had the kids stay with the dads so we could run to the store.  While we were there I overheard a guy tell his buddy, "Man, you don't want this life.  It's tough".  I looked and his two kids were in the cart.  I was sad he said that in front of them.  (That's not the funny part).  Anyway, I said "Sure you do.  You should have a couple more eventually too.  In fact, between my friend and I we have 9 kids and we love it!"  The guy and his buddy looked at us funny and got quiet.  I said, "Oh, not together!  We are FRIENDS and when we get together, between her and I, we have 9 kids!"  We all laughted. Phew. I had to clarify that.

Anyway, usually we get together every week at her house or mine and the kids just go wild crazy having fun together.  That day I also asked two more kids to come over so they had fun with our kids too.  LOL.  I asked them to all get in the hallway for a picture and this is what I got.  You can barely see Ashley but 9 of them are there.  There would have been 10 in the picture but Ryan was spending the night at his friend's house and Caleb of course couldn't be in the picture so I guess that would have made 11.  So there was only 10 there that night till about 2:20am.  Yeah, I know.  Late partiers  It's clean parties though.  :)  Thought I should clarify.  Hey, maybe thats why Christians call it fellowshipping.  If we say party, people might think something.  Ohhh, I thought you were a Christian!  lol.  So, I guess you can say we were FELLOWSHIPPING.

In second pic I noticed kid was missing so I yelled out "Hey Alexandra!  We need you in the picture!"  So she pops her head in for the second pic.  Chaz loves doing this.  He obviously loves Spiderman.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Sunday!

I hope you guys had an awesome Easter! Jesus is the reason for the season. :)

The procrastinator that I am, there was no easter baskets for us to buy. It seems like before I turn around from the last holiday, they are already putting up stuff for the next one. I'll be like, "oh, that's nice. Easter is coming." Then people start calling me about plans. I'm like, "Isn't it way off? Isn't there still time?" Then a relative sends me a note saying "Can't wait to see you this weekend!" What? This weekened? You're kidding me! Somehow, it's the very last night before Easter and I say "Charles, we need to go to the store? Where can we go last minute?"

It's 10pm, the night before Easter, and we pull our van in at Walmart. Walmarts open late! I go in and all I see are, well, lots of parents like me. Procrastinators. All that's left are really crappy baskets. I mean, do they seriously think I'm gonna pay $20 for some really cruddy toys shoved in a basket? Those toys would break as soon as my kid touched it!

All my kids basically would like is some candy and I usually throw in a cool toy. Even the baskets by themselves, unfilled, were priced at $10. That's so crazy. Heck, I'll make my own basket. Well, I went past the moms that are furiously digging through overpriced and unfilled baskets. I walk into different areas looking for ideas. If I am going to do anything like this, I like to have a theme. So I chose a summer theme (like I did last year) and it was about swimming. I remember them asking me for some goggles and swimming stuff. So I found sand buckets for a buck a piece. Found them each a pair of goggles and throw rings for the pool, put some candy in. Whah lah! Easter baskets that are useable. My kids loved it and it wasn't money down the toilet. I was gonna by them that stuff anyway since we're already swimming.

Above, here they are checking out their stuff.  They loooved goggles and begged me to take them swimming that week so of course I did.  I hate wasting money on stuff people wouldn't actually use.
Aaaagh!  Einstein hair!  Hello!  Ashley with a dolly her papa got her for Easter.

Ahhhh.... keeping boys shirts tucked in is tough.  I love my kids matching.  I'm just getting away with it while I can.  Heh heh.  Caleb has a vest on too but you can't see it.  We're off to church to celebrate Jesus!  The real reason for Easter.

Ivy checking out some more goods her grandparents got her and some from my mom also.  After church we headed to my hubby's parents and family.  They had an Easter egg hunt there.  Pretty nifty!  Phew, a busy day too.

Hey, look!  Kyle shirt is untucked in this picture too!  So cute.  :)  This is my husband's family.  It's not often we can all get together so we grab a picture while we can. Don't worry, the blonde that has her hand on that guy with the baby is me. 

Friday, April 09, 2010

Let Me Count The Ways

Lately, the word BUSY seems to be in my mind.  I know moms are busy. OBVIOUSLY.  I've been thinking about it all the more since a friend asked me the other night, "What would you rather be doing?  Being out there working a job and bringing money in?  Or, staying at home doing nothing?"  When I posted that on my facebook page, I had girls lining up wanting to slap him.  Me too

At Wednesday night church service pastor mentioned the importance of having a prayer life and spending time in the bible.  I agree.  Not having a personal relationship with Christ, like reading the bible and praying, is much like trying to get somewhere fast while holding your breath.  It may be okay for awhile but, sis, you may need to bring in some oxygen before you pass out collapse.  Christianity is much like that.  It's really, really, really hard to keep going in your faith when you are not walking with Him daily.  I'm not the super spiritual time.  Nor do I hold my "sister" friend's hand and greet them with a kiss.  My friend Kristy would agree that I'm very down to earth. 

Pastor said that we can't hide behind "busyness".  I know I'm busy.  I have laundry to wash!  A gym to workout at!  Diapers to check!  A floor to mop!  Dishes to wash!  My son's basketball game to attend!  It is not a good idea to replace the most important thing in our lives...God....for earthly duties.  Of course we have our duties, but there is a time and a place for replenishing our leaky vessels.  So, this got me thinking.  How busy am I?  How can I put some order into my day?  My week?  I know I have a simple list but it was time to get more detailed. 

I grabbed a huge whiteboard from my husbands office and I seperated it into three parts.  Daily schedule, Weekly activities, Clean schedule.  I didn't have to think about it, I was already doing it.  It was just on the top of my head.  It goes something like this:

Wake up time
Deal check on frugal blog
Start chores
all boys homeschool
Deal check
All boys finish homeschool
Ashley naptime
Deal check for frugal blog
Start chores
Bedtime and Devotions
Blog on my family and Asperger blog.

I didn't put the times in there, just a general idea.  Now, that's simple, but take the things below, activities and cleaning schedule and fit in between.

Next was:

Monday: YMCA PM
Tuesday-YMCA PM/Library night
Wednesday-Church pm
Thursday- YMCA PM/ Chaz basketball practice
Friday- Boys class/biblestudy
Saturday- Outside chores, Chaz's games, family fun day, Church Concerts PM
Sunday- Service AM and PM

Just to clarify on the one below.  LOL.  I don't mean I don't clean anything else.  It just means that on TOP of all my other cleaning duties.  I focus on this one room on this day of the week.

Deep Clean Schedule:
Monday-Wash Charles' clothes, deep clean kitchen
Tuesday-Wash Virginia's clothes, Sanitize and deep clean bathrooms
Wednesday-Wash linens, go through all mail and declutter
Thursday- Wash boys clothes, deep clean master bedroom
Friday-Wash girls clothes, declutter all kid's rooms
Saturday- Wash van, outside chores
Sunday-no chores

I know I don't mention that my kids can be human tornados and can make it hard to keep things up at times.  Stinkers!  :)  Regular maintenance cleaning fits in between all that too.  I KNOW you moms understand!

So, I'm gonna take this whole list and tape it to my friend's forehead that told me I should be bringing in money rather than staying at home doing nothing.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fun With The Easy Bake Oven

Ivy is so proud of her Easy Bake Oven.  She loves it!  Daddy has his friend over to play games so naturally the rest of the family had to come too!  Ivy put on her apron and they made some cake together.  I don't worry about buying the special mixes.  I just use regular cake mixes and let them decorate their cake to their heart's content.  So cute! 

They made a terrible mess but they had fun and ate till they couldn't eat anymore.  The only thing is I think Easy Bake Oven parties are much more fun if each girl has their own because there is more activity going on for impatient little girls.  It takes 12 minutes to cook each one so if each girl has one, there is always something coming out.  Ivy got this for Christmas and it's one of my favorite things.  You know how kids easily forget what they got for Christmas sometimes?  She's still so excited about this.  I'm so glad she got one of these.  Super nifty.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Who's Knocking?

Yesterday at night time my son came running in the room with a sword and shield and said "Mom, someone's knocking on the door!"  I never open the door for strangers so I always tell them to be quiet for a sec while I check.  I was walking into the living room and noticed Ryan was following me quietly.  I asked Ryan what he was doing and he said, "I'm protecting you with my sword and shield!"  So I looked outside and saw that no one was there.  I told Ryan there was no one at the door.  He said,  "Oh, it must've been the Lord knockin'!"  He thought for a few seconds and then said, "I can't hit the Lord!!!"  So he put his sword down and went to go play while I was left laughing in the room.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Stinkiness Not Allowed

Well, today I attacked my fridge.  I took everything out, all the shelves, bleached all the inside, and put everything back.  You know what I realized after all that? I need to go to the grocery store.  Soooo, that's where I'll be tonight.  Just thought I'd let you know.  You can tell by the pic I'm a big diet dr pepper fan and my husband is a diet mountain fan!  Nooo, I don't drink it all day.  I save it for a treat every now and then.  :)  I don't EVEN want to here about how diet sodas are not good for you.  Regular soda is really bad! 

My next project was taking off all the couch cushions and washing them.  It's just so much easier that way. You know what stinks about it though?  (No pun intended)  It's so hard putting the covers back on!  I hate that part.  My great danes like to sleep on our couches.  I am not picky about our couches because I didn't want to be one of those moms that freak out about my couch.  We buy seriously durable couches and have the kind of fabric that can handle roughness.  I personally don't want my great dane on the couch but he's a sneaky one in the middle of the night.  So I have to give them a good washing sometimes.  When we eventually get another couch,  I'll never buy a non-child friendly one. 

Boys can do the most grossest things sometimes!  The kids go in and out of the house a lot so a fly or two will get in sometimes.  Ryan got the fly swatter and was laughing and smashing a fly.  Then he walked up to me and showed me how blood was coming out of the fly's eyes.  GROSSSSSS!

Today I have pork loin roasting in this with black beans and a jalepeno for flavor.  It's good with sour cream, cheese, onions in a burrito!  Ohhhh...yum.  Just need to make some spanish rice and it's a keeper. :D

***Amazingly Frugal Updated***