Friday, November 30, 2012

Doctors and More Doctors

Blogging today should be interesting since its from my phone. ;)  Yesterday I went into a place to get a head and thyroid scan. Three different doctors disagree about issues I've been having. For about a year now I've had pain on both sides of my head. If I touch it then my head will hurt all day. I couldn't even roll over on my pillow at night without having pain. One doctor said it had something to do with the arteries being inflamed.  Another said no way because that doesn't happen till people are in their 50's or older. Another issue is my thyroid.  One doctor says I have hyperthyroidism but another says its only subclinical. Meaning, doesn't need to be treated.  I am only having minor symptoms of it. The lady who scanned my neck said my thyroid is indeed swollen and an artery next to it inflamed. Is there any correlation between my head problem and neck problem?  I don't know.  I just hope I get answers soon. I have to make appointments with a Neurologist, Endocrinologist, and a Cardiologist. Yay for me. Pooey.  It has to be done and I'm just praying its all an easy fix.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So Much to Be Thankful For!

Wow, you never really realize how much you love your hobby till you don't have it for awhile.  The internet isn't at my fingertips anymore.  It's fine with me but I do love to write.  I've loved to write since I was a little girl.  Although I can't blog as easily anymore, I look forward to when I can.  :)

Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL and I was able to do it because of the medicines the doctors gave me.  Turns out, I have hyperthyroidism but they think it's only subclinical.  They don't know because the levels go up and down and I have to get more testing done.  For a year now my head would just hurt terribly and the doctors can't seem to agree why it is.  I have to see a Neurologist, Cardiologist, and a Endocrinologist.  Eek!  I'm getting an ultrasound done on my thyroid and also a CT scan of my brain.  Should be fun.  Anyway, I was feeling terrible till they gave me steroids to reduce the pain in my head.  I don't know, in case there was an inflammation. 

I woke up on Thursday morning, took my medicines, had my coffee, and got to work on making my favorite meal of the year.  Thanksgiving meal!!!!!  Oh, what a joy that day is to me. There is just SO much to be thankful for. The kids and I studied about pilgrims for several days and we put lots of study time into the character quality Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness.  The food was amazing and we invited some friends over.  My mom and I pretty much have it down pat as to splitting the menu down the middle.  She cooks some of the meal and I cook the other half.  Together we make some dreamy food.  :)

We had tables set up with white tablecloths and everyone had to write on it what they were thankful for.  Definitely a tradition we are gonna keep up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Friends Rather Than Circles

My dad and Juliet (6 months)
Getting ready for Thanksgiving is exciting!  Today the littles ones and I headed to the library to check out some books on Pilgrims.  I'm not sure how accurate the stories are but it's a start.  This week my husband asked if we would focus on the meaning behind Thanksgiving so they understand that it's more than the yummy food they see. 

My mom and Ashley
We are incredibly blessed to see family that lives in town all year around so we really try to focus on inviting people that maybe don't have family around.  Many people have family that lives out of state and can't see them for the holidays. Well, it's nice to gather some together and make it as family-like as possible.  :)  I hear, and I'm sure it's true, that around the holidays people can really struggle with depression.  I would be pretty sad if all my family was far as well.  I remember very well living in my own apartment when I was single and having no one to celebrate with. 

My husband and I making lunch for friends

Ryan, my 11 year old, got the main part in a Christmas play and we are practicing like mad to get the lines down.  Wow, he has a lot!  I'm nervous for him and I'm not even in the play.  Ryan wants me to practice with him constantly but I'm not able to.  I have an idea though to make a recording of everyone else's part but leave a blank for him to listen and then insert his lines when he's supposed to. That way he can practice and practice.  LOL.  Sometimes I can practice with him, at least once a day, but he wants to do way more.  I don't blame him, he has a lot to remember.
Charles with my dad and friends from church

I got kind of in a bad habit of always inviting the same people from church over.  It's okay to have close friends but not if it's closing out other people.  Charles and I committed to inviting people over after Sunday at least 2 out of the 4 Sundays a month.  One of the Sundays we have a ministry to new visitors at church.  We make meals and serve it once a month at church.  the kids are really into it and love helping make food.  It's such a blessing because it forces me to come out of my shell and meet new people.  It's opened doors to getting to know others and not be tempted to stick in my own click.  I've never liked clicks because I felt like circles tend to look like they are closing other people out. 
Adella (left) made some killer salsa!
My kids can fall in the same habit of inviting the same kids over.  I seriously need a bigger van because it's pretty often that we'll invite several extra kids to our house every Sunday.  Yesterday we had to bus home 10 kids total so we need to upgrade! LOL.  No matter how many new friends have over though we keep tabs on our kids' very best friends.  Yep, if they have a Facebook we even check those out.  :D
Ryan's best friend Georgie

The difference between making friends and making circles is friends open their arms up to more and don't get jealous when another friendship is made.  Circles only close other people out.  The kids are learning to reach out to others rather than always stay with what is familiar.  :D
New friend Abigail and Juliet

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ballet Recital 2012

Well, my girls are done with ballet for the season.  :D  They did well!  I was a little worried they would be nervous in a big theater with lots of people but they just smiled really big and did great!  They did more tap than ballet so I decided that they are done for now until we can find a place that is strictly ballet.

We had to drop the girls off backstage and then wait an hour before it even started. Since it was just Charles and I, we considered it to be a little date!  We checked out the lake....
The art museum...
Saw some interesting art...
One of my favorites below.  Death of a Popsicle.
After a bit we headed back into the theater to watch the girls...
(Below) Looking up at the balconies from my seat....
Ashley came out first and she was so brave!  A lot of the girls were following her because she remembered her moves well.  :)
Ashley far left
Then Ivy went next.  She was more nervous and a bit embarrassed but she was super proud of herself when it was all finished....
Ivy far right

After they finished they walked hand in hand....

We checked out the new beautiful bridge nearby...
Got a picture with daddy....
Then mommy.....
Then with brothers....
It was a good night!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Making Critical Changes in the Home

Recently I was talking to my pastor about the changes we've made in the family, the things God has done in us. It's amazing how just a few changes can make such a huge difference in such a short amount of time.  Sometimes we might think a small change won't matter.  Well, at least I've thought that!

Some people thought maybe we had gotten rid of some extras in our life for various reasons.  Here was our day before. 

"Okay kids, it's time to do our chores and homeschool."

"Ohhhhhhh, but I wanted to play a game first"

"No, we always do work first before play, you know that."


"Okay, well, it's time to get ready for church."

"Really?  Again?  Didn't we just go recently?"


The simple solution after much wrangling and arguing-  I pulled the plug.  Okay, if we can't control our lives by putting God first, work second, and entertainment dead last, then it's gone.  Literally, we pulled the plug on electronics.  No more expensive game systems and no more internet.  Let's see the difference.

"Okay kids, it's time to do our chores and homeschool."

"Already did it, mom."


"Yeah, and I'm already working on my chore cards."

"Wow, that's awesome.  Well, let's go ahead and start our daily bible study while it's still morning."

"Okay, I'll go get the bibles!"

I'm not kidding!  The days are completely opposite from what they were before.  Am I tempted to turn the internet back on?  No way, says the happy mama!  Yesterday I wanted to get the back yard cleaned up for our thanksgiving guest and the kids wanted to pitch in.  It's a bit different asking kids to get involved when they aren't sucked in to the I.V. lines of entertainment.

Kids' art wall

The kids have been excited to go to church and they have really been reaching out and making friends.  I know it's hard for families to invite over large families and it can even be intimidating.  We started inviting families over our house instead on Sundays to practice hospitality and making new friends!  The kids have especially been excited to meet new kids.  The only game system we have is an old, old Super Nintendo the kids play on here and there when they are done with their work.  It's not a very addicting system. Tee hee...  Charles and I sit and challenge each other on Tetris every now and then. 

I was scared to make such a big step but it's exciting!  It's such a blessing when I check in on Chaz late at night and he's studying his bible or excited to hear a kid practicing a character quality when no ones looking. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Fun Chore Idea for Kids

We've loved our chore system for so long so we actually just tweaked it to make it better.  I had created this system for myself and loved it so I went ahead and made some for the kids.  So far they are loving it.  I made these small folder type things that hold their chore cards that they already had.  When they are finished they take out out of the "To Do" and put it in the "Finished" one .
Here are some examples of some cards
Buddy matches:
Chaz 12
Kyle 9
Ryan 11
Caleb 3
Ivy 7
Of course mommy is Juliet's buddy. 
The little buddies report to their big buddy when they finish their chore and the older buddy reports to mommy when they are finished.  It's a good system and it's easy for me to see who hasn't finished a chore because it's not in the finished folder. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Abortion: The Blood is Not on My Hands

I'm so bummed, incredibly bummed that Obama was reelected.  I did not vote for a president that legalizes murdering babies.  I can rest at night knowing that I did not okay it by my vote or by not voting at all.  The judgement cup is about to overfill for America and the sin we put our stamp of approval on.  My kids were really, really involved watching the election this year and even participated in the Kids Vote program.  My boys took an elections class to learn all about how the process works.  I didn't have my camera but on election day all the kids wore red and white.  Little Juliet had a big red bow on her head.  Was so cute.  As a family we all went into the small room to vote and we filled it up.  We had gotten an early ballet but held onto it to turn in ourselves. 

After we voted we went to a restaurant to watch the results on screen.  It was exciting to watch the states fill up with red but it was also disheartening to hear that Obama had legalized a bunch of people just so they'd vote for him.  I'm talking a TON.  Oh well, this is the leader chosen by America but I feel safe in God that I did my part and voted the Bible.  Truthfully, I wasn't over fond of Romney because he wasn't a strong conservative but the alternative is a LOT scarier.  Lets say hello to the new heavy taxes coming this January.

Enough of my political talk for the day.  Got it out of my system.... for a little bit.  :) 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Kids Pitching in to Make Homemade Laundry Soap

It was time again to make some more laundry soap.  I had bought some laundry soap through couponing not too long ago but after I ran out, I realized making my own was just a way better deal. 

This time it was different though because I was actually patient enough to wait for soap to completely melt down in the water. I wish I had done this sooner instead of being impatient. The consistency was more like regular laundry soap. 
This time the kids really wanted to help.  I've learned not to discourage them from helping because I know that someday I would end up pulling teeth to get them to help.  I figure it's worth the extra work to let them pitch in.  Once we got our 5 gallon bucket they filled it with the Borax, Super Washing Soda, and this liquid that's shown above  (Fels Naptha Bar melted down), they stirred and we were set to go. 
I've had someone tell me they'd rather spend tons of money on Tide because it smells really good.  I tried to tell them that the smell actually leaves pretty fast.  When I walk through church I can't smell anyone's clothing.  In fact, when I say hello to them I never bend down to smell what detergent they are wearing.  LOL.  So to me, I'd rather be smelling the green bills in my pocket that I just saved from making my own laundry detergent.
If you've never made it, it's super easy!  I did a blog on it Here:
Make sure you melt down the Fels Naptha bar into some water on the stove.  COMPLETELY.  I was too impatient before but there should be no chunks at all. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Harvest Festival 2012

Instead of having our kids trick or treat, our church does a Harvest festival for the kids to keep them indoors.  While kids are playing the parents go out or participate in the outreach to witness to people.  The kids are not allowed to wear anything scary when they come to the church because they aren't there to celebrate Halloween.  Actually, the church uses the day as an opportunity to go out to a pretty crazy area where they can reach a lot of people.  The kids need a place to stay so they do some pretty fun stuff with them. 

I hadn't gone on a date with my husband for almost a year so we decided to take the opportunity! :D  It was such a sweet time and actually, we both missed our kids very, very quickly.  Funny how that works.  We visited Joe's  Crab Shack and being that I've dieted the last couple months, I didn't have a huge appetite.  We ended up just splitting a meal and still got full. 

My mom took care of the two littlest ones while the kids were at the church party.  Little Caleb of course wanted to look just like his big brothers.  My kids and I do a lot of Hide and Seek in our house and often dress in camouflage. 
As soon as we got home from the party the kids wanted to play Hide and Seek again.  The boys didn't want to waste their face paint on just going to bed.  It was midnight but we went for it anyway.  Tee hee.... Ivy had never hid under our bed before and she just got caught in this picture.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Let's Fire Obama!

Vote Jeff Flake for U.S. Senate!
Here is a funny story... the other day my mom and I were gonna take a class to help work at the polls for the election.  I've worked at them before but never got to take the class. I figured I might as well.  This guy misdirected us to the wrong building and my mom and I didn't realize the mistake till we were half way through the training.  The training was to be a poll observer instead.  We were not sure what to do but decided to stay so we could get licensed to be one.  After we finished the training we were told we had to take a test.  Uhhhh....oh.  It was a four page test and I started to remember my school days where I wished I had taken notes.  Well, I passed!  I'm now a licensed poll observer.  Ha ha.  It ended up being a fantastic day and we got to talk to so many like minded conservatives.  Not a democrat in the house.  A little bit like heaven to me.  :D

Getting my signs to put out
I got to meet with Jeff Flake running for U.S.  Senate.  He talked about some things he stood for but also went into detail when he was really questioned on it.  He didn't talk in circles like most politicians  (and evolutionists).  I really appreciated that.  After talking with him and hanging out with some others we had a pizza party!  I ended up finding out about possibly joining a conservative women's club.  Not sure at all where I'd find the time in my over busy day to go to their meetings but I would like to pop in every now and then.  :D  Was it a surprise to me that I was the youngest person there (by a long shot)?  Noooo....

Would I love to fire Obama?  That's a big F. A. T YES!!!!!  Please let it be so and VOTE!  You can't complain about who is in office if you don't vote.  People in some other countries wish to God they could vote for their leader.  We have it good here in America.  Well, be careful who you vote for.  If you are unsure about it then please go over the the local video store or to and rent Obama 2016.  You would be shocked what we're in for if Obama is reelected.  Let's fire him!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Nasty Rumors & Forgiveness

Sometimes it's so hard NOT to defend yourself when you find out that there are rumors flying everywhere about your family.  It makes my heart beat fast, my stomach drop.  Mostly, it breaks my heart.  Why is it that people will spend more time talking about you on the phone than actually just calling to ask?  It's this easy.  Ring, ring, "Hello?  Yes?  Is this Virginia?  Oh hi.  Well, I just have something I've been wondering.  I heard a rumor and it's been bugging me.  Yeah, I know it's not really none of my business but... is your large family on welfare?  No?  Okay, sorry.  I guess maybe I should have not been so busy worrying about other people.  What?  Did I tell other people about that rumor?  Wellllll, yeah.  Sorry about that.  Oh, just one other question, there is this rumor going around that you got your house through Habitat for Humanity?  No?  Well, then how did you get it?  Ohhhh... you bought it.  So you didn't get it for free?  Yeah, I kind of assumed that since you have a lot of kids you probably couldn't afford it.  Yeah, I accidentally... um... sort of spread that rumor too.  Alright, sorry for causing so much trouble."  Click.

Too late. 

Think of it this way. If you decided to walk up a very tall building with a pillowcase full of feathers, what would happen if when you get to the top you dumped them all out?  Those feathers (rumors) will go everywhere.  How do you then undo the damage?  It's about as easy as going around town and trying to find all those feathers.  Almost impossible.  If it's not a rumor that is uplifting or praising, then it probably should be kept under wraps.  When you assume and then spread these rumors, even though they aren't true, you've now caused them to wear a jacket of your lies wherever they go.  Then they are wondering why people are giving them dirty looks or whispering. 

There are two main things I teach my kids.  First of all, love God with all your heart, mind, and strength.  Second of all, treat others the way you want to be treated.  If it hurts someone to spread rumors about them, whether or not they are true, we don't do it.  IF someone tells you something in confidence and says, "Hey, this is between me and you only," unless that person is in danger, it's not a good idea to tell others. Would we want someone doing that to us?  No.  I know it's nice to feel important, but that's not the way to do it.

*A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. -Proverbs 11:13

I know that it can make ourselves feel better by making others look bad but it's definitely not treating others the way we want to be treated.  Unfortunately, kids can be put in the spotlight. My kids had to hear a lecture from a woman recently that it's just not good to be having so many kids.  Instead of getting angry and talking bad about that person, the next morning in bible study with the kids we discussed it, prayed for that person, then talked about what the bible says about it.  I can't put my head in the sand, my kids hear these cut downs and comments so I have to counteract them with the bible.  Let God be true and every man a liar. 

We will pray for our enemies and do good to those that do harm.  I have to be an example to my kids.  If I don't want them to be talebearers then I too can't be a talebearer.  It's not a Christ like quality so we need to stay far from it. 

*He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. -Proverbs 20:19

In recent events I've had some nasty rumors flying around about my family but I can't stop that.  I've decided that if God has forgiven me then I NEED to forgive them.  Although I've recently had to cut off some relationships that was bringing my family down, that doesn't mean I can carry a bad attitude around and not say hi to that person if I'm passing by.  I also learned that forgiveness doesn't mean you forgive ONLY if they say sorry. I have to forgive before they do and they may NEVER say sorry.  Being kind to someone doesn't mean I'm befriending them, hanging out with them, and being buddy, buddy.  It just means I am treating them the way I want to be treated. 

The funny thing is in our morning bible study with our kids we are studying the character quality Forgiveness for the whole month.  I know I need this study more than anyone in the family.  While I am teaching my kids and sharing scripture, it has been ministering to my own heart.  What a healing balm to the heart true forgiveness is.  How do we forgive and forget?  Well, it's impossible to forget but when you forgive someone, it means to never bring those sins they committed up in conversation again.  It's done.  Does that mean you have to hang out with them?  No.  But trust me, unforgiveness is not only bad for the heart, but God can't forgive us of our sins (and we've committed many) if we can't forgive others. 

*But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. -Matthew 6:15