Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gravesite Visit and Discussions

Yesterday morning I walked into the kitchen and saw that Ivy was having tea with a picture of her great-grandparents right in front of her.  I thought that was neat. I named Ivy after her grandmother who died at 22. 

I asked the kids if they'd all like to drop what they're doing and go see the gravesite where they were. They immediately got dressed so we could go right away.

We got so much exercise trying to find several of our relatives. Ivy died of cancer at 22 and her husband (my grandpa) died of a gunshot wound at 29. The kids have been told so much of them and that is why I think they feel they have a bond with them.

We stayed for a couple hours, saw daddy for a bit and then finally headed home.  The kids were exhausted from walking so much and so was I. :) It was a good experience though because we had so many interesting conversations there. I heard them talking about life after death.  There is a comfort in knowing where I am going when I die. Life is but a vapor.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homeschool Challenges and Clutterbugs

Tuesdays for us are always really challenging.  Saturday the kids aren't required to do homeschool. On Sunday we don't do homeschool or chores because it's the Lord's day.  Monday they go to their one day a week school.  Come Tuesday the kids have been out of their habits and we can go through some battles!  By Friday they are completely into the routine and everything is butter smooth.

Well, today was Tuesday (technically Wednesday but I'm writing late.)  It was a bit rough (understating it) and the kids lost their privilege to go swimming at the indoor pool.  I really wanted to go to but I had to make a point. Hopefully they got it. 

So off to dinner I went with my dad.  It was on a whim but that's how it is.  It's so hard with busy schedules. Things are not important, people are.  Have you ever had a chance to see an episode online where Clean House confronts the house owner?  These people are usually hoarders but when you get to the root of it, these clutterbugs had lost relationships or tradegy took someone they love. They began to accumulate things because they knew those things would never leave them.  Just because we've been hurt or lost a loved one we can't stop wanting happy, healthy relationships.  Nor should we interfere in people wanting them.  The worst thing a depressed person can do is go into a cave and began distrusting everyone around.  Caves make people weird.  Stay in the rock tumbler.  It smoothes out those rough edges.

My gosh.  My baby geese were so loud I had to get up to go give them more water before they woke up everyone.  They play with the water constantly so I always have to refill it.  They are happy till they run out and as soon as you refill it they stop making noise.  I guess they were practicing Luke 18. ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Little Patience for Little People

Do you remember how you felt as a child when an adult would talk down to you?  I do like it was yesterday. I don't know why but lately I have been seeing a lot of it.  As I child I remember wondering why an adult could snap at me so quickly. Why couldn't they just answer me politely like they would to other adults?  Why is it okay to freak out on a kid?  Kids have feelings too and their spirit can also be broken. On top of it, kids are being molded and shaped.  Their experiences when they are young shape who they become.  Put it this way.  If your pastor walks up to you and asks a question, would you snap at him?  Probably not, you respect him. 

We are all have to learn patience with our kids.  Its hard at times, especially when they just spilled your 44oz Diet Dr Pepper you just got for yourself after a long day.  Allll over the carpet and clean laundry you just washed.  (Um...this just happened to me today).  Everything in me wanted to snap at them.  I removed myself from the situation for about one minute, told the kid it was okay, its just an accident, and cleaned it up.  I've learned to internalize the negative feelings rather than freak out about childish mistake. 

Children may test us but they will not think or process things like an adult.  They have an innocence that I love.  I figure God gifted me these beautiful souls.  In return, I'll not only raise them up in Godly standards, in Gods love and grace, but hopefully in the comfort of them knowing mommy thinks they are worth practicing patience with.

P.S. Here are some pictures of a recent tea party us girls went to! ♡

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spontaneous Trip to G33ks Night Out

We found out that a friend was going to have an exhibit at this festival so we headed out and spent the evening at the geeks night out festival. My kids found out the others were going to be in costume. We don't really have the kind of costumes we needed but they were just happy to dress up.

My daughter saw a lady in costume who only had a bra like top on and she asked her why she wasn't wearing a shirt. The lady was shocked but laughed it off.  She said that was the best comment she had ever heard.

We found out last minute about this festival but decided that since it's only once a year it was worth packing up to go.  I ended up walking around with a pretty bad headache but I was happy that the kids are having fun. At the end of the night I collapsed in my bed!  Half of the kids were out cold within 15 minutes of being home. We really like to go to festivals but the only problem is every now and then people go a little overboard how they dress with not being modest for their costumes.  That said, it was only one girl and I've seen much worse just in the mall. ;P

Funny story.  Before going I had to take down our two bins of costumes from the closet.  Chaz tried on one that he thought fit still. It was so tight that it was riding up in the back.  I mean, it looked like it had been painted on. The kids and I were laughing so hard we couldn't even stand up. He had a hard time just gettting it off!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fighting Fair and Vehicular Enlargement

I know, such a nerdy title to todays blog.

Ooohhhh, my kids have been challenging me.  I can't forget that the spanking spoons have been hidden too.  I haven't found them in a couple weeks, those little boogers.  Not a problem.  I'll just head to the store and pick more.  One for the van, my purse, the kitchen, and the hallway for easy access.  I've had a lot of sibling bickering going on around here.  Yeah, yeah... some say it's a sibling thing.  HOWEVER, I want to teach them how to disagree where you come to a fair conclusion.  That's the real challenge.  That's why I'm not okay with the name calling or use of a fist.

Okay, so now that I have a bigger van for my always enlarging family.... oh wait...I didn't tell you!  We got a 12 passenger van!  Yeah!  Soooo, even if Charles is working late the kids and I can still go to church or wherever else.  Kids aren't squished like sardines and in fact, we have room for friends!  We always take kids home from church so we really needed the extra space. 

Oh, so I was happy to head to church with the kids tonight.  Funny enough, as I was loading back up to leave I saw an extra kid, one that's not mine sitting in the back bench.  LOL.  ♡ Its okay, I love that kid but it is a school night and so no extras were coming.  Soon I'll be getting a zoo membership so we're gonna get enough to take extra kids with us.  That's why we needed the 12 passenger van, weekdays we are a family of nine.  Weekends we're a family of 12.  :-D

Monday, February 18, 2013

IKEA fun and Espresso Kids

Since the kids had today off we headed to IKEA and had free breakfast. Sometimes I get a little shy when I'm asked so many questions when we're out.  I don't really mind, I just get a little embarrassed by the attention it brings. I got comments like "you should get a TV!" or "those aren't really all your kids.  You probably just have two."  One mom said she thought it was hard with three. Just as the elevator doors were closing between us I said "three kids IS hard.  You're fine after that!"  On a good note.... I ran into a blog reader.  Actually she found me and introduced herself. Her kids were adorable and her and her husband were fun to visit with.  ;)  I'm telling you, it's so great to fellowship with those of the same values! 

I think my son Kyle has espresso running through his veins.  He's not a naughty kid but he does have so much energy that I constantly have to reel him back in.  He is like that until he crashes at night and he is usually always the first to pass out.  From the day he was born it was like he had super charge batteries in him that kept him going and going. If I have ever lost weight, any weight, it probably was just having to keep up with him.  I try not to chew gum because he'll do something that is dangerous or crazy and I'll choke on it.  Who knew gum could be hazardous to my health?   Well, Kyle makes that possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning Through Play and Pairs

My son Ryan asked me today if I could teach him cursive.  I know a lot of schools are not going to be teaching it much longer.  I'm a lover of beautiful cursive writing so I was really happy to show him how.  By the end of the day he was writing in cursive really well!  Lately I've been pairing kids up together when they learn. Since Ivy has to learn to read I'm having her teach Ashley what she learned for that day.  That way not only is her little sister learning but its helping Ivy remember what she just learned.  Chaz is going to learn cursive with Ryan.  Heck, I have little Ashley doing flashcards with her baby sister.  Juliet squeals with delight and Ashley is getting her practice.  :)

The boys always forget what a noun, adjective, verb, adverb is so I finally figured out a fun way for them to practice.  I have a big book of Mad-Libs and they are laughing their heads off coming up with words.  It's so funny listening to them. Shhhh.... don't tell them they are learning. 

Pics: Ryan practicing cursive and Chaz coming up with words for game.  Our dog Bella falling asleep on Chaz's workbook.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sick Days and Funny Kid Questions

Sunday morning we had a sick house.  Juliet has a bad ear infection and kept us up most the night with little sleep.  I'm going on my third day of a headache. My friend at church is going on her fifth day. The weather really took a turn and I wonder if it has anything to do with it. 

I have these Bible movies and sometimes we like to watch and have discussions about them. We won't buy regular movies because they are full of garbage but we do own Christian ones about the history of the Bible or ones with a Gospel message.  Our favorites are Courageous, Fireproof, Time Changer, etc.  Since we had to stay home we watched Peter and Paul. Its really important not to get the Hollywoodized version but the ones that stay true to Scripture.  Well, in the story they started talking about how Jesus died. 

Ashley, my five year old, said, "What?!  Jesus died?!" 

I looked at Ashley and said, "Yeah! Where have you been all this time?" 

She relied, "Oh, that's right.  He died on a stick."

"Yeeeah... you are right, actually, a really big one."

While we were watching the men in the movie shovel hay I mentioned to the kids that this was before TV and video games.  Ivy's eyes got real big and she asked,

"Wait, did they play tag?"

"Um... I'm pretty sure they did.  Pretty easy game to figure out." I replied.

Oh, kids are so cute to have discussions with!  Even when they are sick and have their little pink noses.  I took the girls with me to have baby Juliet looked at by the doctor.  Charles told the girls we were having a girl day out. Not really!  I told him this is not a fun outing.  The girls were just happy we got to go with no boys.  Usually,  none of us like to be separated. It took a long time to convince Charles to let me go to the store by myself or even the doctors.  He likes to make everything a family outing.  Seriously, I put a stop to going around the corner just to get gas with everyone.  Haha.

Pictures: Us girls at the doctors office.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Revengeful Neighbors

Oh my goodness.  I'm so tired from a long day of homeschooling, cleaning, disciplining, training, couponing, putting kids to bed, and have long discussions with my daughter who loves history.  Ivy loves history like I do!  Finally!  A kid that likes something other than video games.  Must have my genes.  Or it could be because she's not a boy. 

Does anyone else have a living room that turns into a camp ground every day?  I will go to find a chair, I have like eight of them, and not be able to find one.  Finally, I look over and see how they are all holding up a tent of sorts.  I end up just pulling up a computer chair because I don't have the heart to wreck the tent.

It was a tough day today because my crazy neighbor keeps finding ways to get me in trouble.  She had the cops come to my door the other day.  Today I got a ticket!  Argh!  This woman is mad.  She's just looking out her window and finding dumb things to pick on.  I have a car I'm about to get rid of and apparently I can't have it parked out front even though its registered.  Well, a "nice neighbor" lady called on me so now I have to pay a $132 ticket.  I cried.  I was a bit down but when my husband got home he called a family meeting.  We all got in a circle and prayed.  I felt a lot better.  It is what it is.  A neighbor hates me and now I gotta pay.  I can't let bitterness edge in so I have been praying for her. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Homeschooling and Dying to Myself

There was a time in my life where homeschooling was an up and down thing for me.  I think anyone who homeschools their kids has to die to themselves.  When I had my first kid I thought it was so neat that someday each one would attend school so I could get things done. 

On Chaz's first day of school I actually went out with some friends and celebrated!  I now had one kid in school and only three at home.  Huge milestone.  By the time my second was in school I was pregnant with my fifth.  I was just appreciating even the smallest breaks.  I started to see my babies changing.  They were learning academically but they were picking up other things not so good.  So then I really started to have this battle inside of me.  I liked having my breaks from them.  I decided to give homeschooling a little trial before making any decisions.  I got the supplies I needed, gathered my Kindergarten and first grader, sat them down... and quit in five minutes.  I figured right then and there homeschooling was not for me.  I'm not exaggerating about those five minutes.  I was thanking my lucky stars for public school.

Eventually, as I began to die more and more to myself, I saw how school was fighting our beliefs and trying to influence the little moldable minds.  Not to mention, the bullying ay school was off the charts.  I would try to homeschool and then quit.  Try another year and quit again. It was so hard to homeschool that I seriously needed those breaks.  Thank God I eventually was able to keep them home with me and it is totally by God's grace. 

Naturally I am NOT an organized person.  If I organized anything it was out of sheer desperation and because of that only.  I want to make these dressers where instead of drawers that you pull in and out. Instead they are like smaller size laundry baskets.  Imagine like six of them and they roll in and out.  Then you just take that one basket to the dryer, fold into basket, roll basket right back into dresser.  Eliminate the need to transfer from basket to drawer.  Might sound dumb to some people but when you have to climb Mt. Everest of clothes, eliminating steps means you get more time for better things. Ha.

Now I am really into the groove of homeschooling.  Don't think I don't sometimes daydream about that yellow bus that could just come pick them up.  I could just sip my coffee, wave goodbye, and read the newspaper before I cleaned.  I've thought of it!  They used to come to my front door.  Well, my  days are soooooo much harder now and its a ton of work but now I couldn't imagine having them away.  I finally realized that while academics is important, their spiritual well being is a million times more important.   :)  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his own soul? 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Psycho Neighbors & Precious Foster Kids

I had the CrAziEsT thing happen to me this past week. You are never gonna believe it.  Well, I get this letter from a neighbor directly across the street from me.  She is cussing me out and just ripping me up and down.  My mouth was just hanging open reading it because we had a pretty good relationship. Apparently, a neighbor called CPS (Child Protective Services) on her concerning the foster kids that live there.  She just assumed it's me because of something that was mentioned in the report. I replied with shock that I didn't call on her but she just kept calling me a liar, cussing me out,  and threatening me. 

Okay, I've had her kids over since 2007. I LOVE her kids.  Her daughter can be a little on the bratty side but she's still a little cutie aside from being disrespectful at times.  Her son on the other hand is a total sweetie and VERY respectful.  I especially loved having him over and would pretty much let him come visit whenever he wanted.  He got along fantastic with my boys and would play for hours at my house.  A few months ago my neighbor got several foster kids to live in her house.  Two of them were these little sweet brothers.  I knew their story and knew that they had experience some serious trauma. However, they also were welcome in my home and I loved talking with them.  I could tell they gone through some seriously rough times but they were a joy to have around. 

Often I would hear my neighbor's kids calling the foster kids "retarded" and "stupid."  If they did it at my house I would put a stop to it immediately.  Seriously, these kids have gone through enough and just need a safe haven where they are accepted and cared for just as they are.  They don't need more insult to injury.  I told the kids, "As long as you are in my house you will not call these boys names.  You will treat them respectfully or you can leave."  The girl replied, "Well, they ARE stupid."  I leaned down to the boy, took his hand in mine, and told him he was not stupid and that Jesus loves him very, very much. I said, "He loves you just as you are and you are a gift from him.  Don't EVER let anyone tell you otherwise."  My heart broke for him. I started to pray for these two boys along with my family.  One day one of the boys asked for a slice of pizza I said "Sure!" as he was walking out the door. He was just about to take a bite of the pizza outside when the neighbor girl ripped it from his hands and shouted at him, "You can't have that!!!"  I asked her to give it back to him and by this time we were in ear shot of her mother sitting nearby.  The little girl ran away with the pizza.  She shouted at me that they were muslim and they don't eat pork. I told her that the boy is not muslim so give the pizza back.  Finally, after the girl kept smart mouthing me the mother lazily said, "Give the pizza back."  Good grief. 

Well, recently I was walking down the street to return a dog to a neighbor.  We started talking and she asked me who the kids were that were living there.  I told her they were foster kids.  She obviously didn't like our mutual neighbor and ranted about her for a bit.  She said that she recently saw the little foster boy trying to run away. He was crying and saying he didn't want to live there anymore. The little neighbor was running after him and screaming.  I told the neighbor how I had recently had the kids over for pizza and I had been able to get to know the foster boys a little bit. Well, she told me she was thinking about calling CPS on our neighbor for some various reasons.  I eventually said goodbye and felt yucky about being in the middle of some dispute they have had going.

I guess the neighbor made that call anonymously and BOY did I pay for it!!  She had lied to CPS saying that I had said the kids were starving and so I HAD to feed them pizza.  Such a set up!  Well, my neighbor of the foster kids knows I'm the only one that fed her kids pizza so it was pinned on me.  Since the call was made anonymously I can't have them clear my name to get angry neighbors off my back.

It's been horrible since then. I've tried several times to tell her I have not called CPS. The replies are off the charts mad.  I was told I'll be hunted and I'm gonna regret what I did.  Her kid wrote me a mean message.  A elderly lady (pretty sure it was her mom I had met before) was yelling out racist comments from across the street.  Charles tried to go across and tell her we didn't call CPS on them and make peace with her. She started screaming and freaking out acting like she was gonna get attacked. Then I got another nasty letter warning us to stay off her property. My gosh.  I have psycho neighbors.  With what I've been seeing, the anger issues and threatening, I do hope the boys are taken.  I'm sure they don't need anymore trauma or people with rage issues caring for them.  I cringe thinking if this is what I see in public, what goes on behind closed doors?

I KNOW there are GOOD foster parents out there. It's just like any situation, just because there are mean foster parents doesn't mean EVERYONE is a mean foster parent.  It's just situations like this that give it a bad name. CPS won't clear my name since that neighbor lady reported anonymously. I think the lady will just believe what she wants to believe and no one will change her mind.  I'm just the "white lady" (her words) living across from her who has too much time on her hands.  Sunday afternoon after getting her last bit of hate mail I just cried.  I told God my heart was hurting so, so bad.  I prayed that God would help me forgive her. I prayed for those two boys and I especially prayed that God would work in her son's heart that had recently come to church with us.  He has such a soft heart for God. It's scary opening your heart up to people sometimes. I'm not gonna close up my heart to people just because I have a psycho neighbor across from me. I'm not gonna close my heart up to family just because of  a few hateful ones that hate large families. I even have some reading my blog right now that will never call to say hi and only report and complain to other family members. No matter, I don't write for them.  I write for me. I write because I like to document changes, share pictures, share with some really GREAT blogging friends, and because I hope that sometimes what I write can be encouraging to others.  I'm pretty sure writing about my psycho neighbor won't encourage anyone but it just helps me to get it off my chest. Thank you.  :) I'm getting an order of protection this week. :D Yay for me.  I feel even better. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Field Trip of Consequences

We've been so busy around here! Unfortunately we recently got a ticket for bad tags on our van.  We finally got our van fixed after it was sitting for a bit. Well, we got the transmission fixed but got a ticket before we could pass emissions. The cop wasn't very nice and was trying his hardest to find anything else he could charge us with.  After he figured there wasn't anymore he could do he finally let us go.  Oh well, the law is the law. 

Yesterday we reported into court and we took the kids!  We figured it'd be a good lesson for them so they got to see the whole process. We went downtown to the courthouse and first had to go through the screeners and security. The guys loved all the kids and the kids thought it was funny to have to take their belts off and have a "beeper thingy" go over them. We had to take Juliet out of carrier and walk her through. They said that's the biggest group they ever let through and was being so sweet to the kids.

We had to squeeze in a bench in front of the judge and the kids were all super quiet. I told them its a courthouse and we have to be respectful.  I was so proud of them.I whispered to them that we had to pay the consequence for not getting our tags done on time. We were just hoping they'd give us mercy and greatly reduce the penalty. The judge loved the kids, kept smiling at them, and my kids silently waved back.  She reduced our penalty by $500 since we had taken care of our tags. Oh, we were ever so grateful! Phew! After we paid we just were so relieved it was done.  The kids considered it a field trip to see a judge and courthouse and we considered it a good lesson.  :)