Saturday, December 27, 2008


I have been a bit quiet on the blog, so busy with christmas. It has been the best! Lots of family time, lots of time eating (yummy), lots of presents, and time focused on our Savior.

I will hopefully update this in a little while with pics. I did get the present I was really hoping for...A Kitchen Aid Mixer, the artisian model. I know this may sound lame to some, but it is something I really wanted. I got my hubby a blue ray player that he has really wanted. It was a great Christmas. Probably one of the very best I can remember.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Here is a bumper sticker that my friend saw in a parking lot while she was shopping.

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it."

I love it. I need one for myself. I wonder where they got it. LOL.
Thanks for the laugh my friend.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Today I am going shopping all day with hubby. I hope I can get everything that is left on my list. It's possible. Happy shopping!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Making cookies

I am so excited. I have the morning home and I decided to keep Babygirl home from school as well. We are going to make my cookies for the cookie swap and work on the ever forming mountain of laundry. That will be my morning.

Then I need to get widget from school and run carpool for the half day. Which means I run to the school, 30 minutes away, instead of the bus stop, 6 minutes away. Only the elementary students have a half day, because they have their Christmas program tonight. Another mom will run the carpool for the bus today, with my oldest on it. After getting the kids and taking them to their respective places, I need to get my thoughts together how the cookie swap will go (I have never gone to one or hosted one), get 2 prizes, wrap gifts for the family party later saturday and clean the house. All before 5pm when we need to leave for widget's christmas show and band concert. (I am still amazed at myself that I let my son play the drums. What was I thinking? That is so out of character for me. A weak moment I guess).

Off to make those raspberry oatmeal cookies!!Yum!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A revelation and a blessing

I had a very wonderful thing happen to me yesterday. I was having one of those reflective afternoons. My thoughts were random at best, but did have a conclusion.
I was remembering this summer when God so richly blessed us, how I felt so on fire for God. He was definitely my focus. As the school year started and I started working more hours, my focus was not completely on the Lord. I noticed I didn't see the Lord blessing us in the same way. I am not saying A + B = C, but that when my world completely centers around God, I do feel more blessed. Maybe it is I see more, maybe I don't take blessings for granted, I don't know.

I do know I have had a lack of focus lately. I complain about having to work more than I want. Yet, I told hubby I do not want to put any christmas on the credit cards. I want to pay for christmas entirely with cash. Well I didn't have that much saved up. So is God answering my prayers to pay for Christmas in cash? Yet I am complaining about Him providing that possibility? Round and round I went.

The conclusion..... what matters is that I put my whole being in God's hand to do what He pleases and when. That's it. I will praise God for the extra work to pay for Christmas. I will praise God when the days are long and I have more than I think I can handle. And I will praise God when my paycheck comes.

Not long after my conclusion and resolve to just put God first. A refocus. A friend whom I have been getting to know better this past year, calls me up and asks if I will be home. Yes I will. So she drops by and gives me this enormous gift basket with all kinds of yummy stuff in it. There are 2 very large mugs, 4 plastic holiday cups for the kids, a box of hot chocolate (the good kind with marshmellows in them), a box of tea bags for hot tea, a container of gourmet chocolate chip cookie mix from the gospel shop, 4 pretzel rods with carmel and candy on top from Sweet Serenity(a local gourmet chocolate shop), as well as many truffels from Sweet Serenity, plus a variety of other candy for the kids like kit kats, candy canes, a candy cane tube filled with M & M's. It was amazing!!! It was so beautifully put together. I know it had to cost her a fortune too. She is raising her young kids so I know she is on a budget. The sacrifice she gave for me.

I was really blown away and I still am. I asked her why, and she so humbly said "Just for everything you do".WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!! I guess those things you wonder if it matters, really does matter. I showed hubby the basket and told him of my day. And he says " I wonder if God wants to reinforce your idea to refocus on Him. " I don't know if it is coincidence or a God moment, but yet again when my focus was on Him he blessed me. Praise God for who He is!

More to think about

Today has been yet another busy one. I went down to the beach to clean the condo. Whew! It seemed dirtier than normal which meant a lot more elbow grease on my end. After 3 hours of cleaning, I was done. However the towels still were not dry. So I brought those home to finish here and will take them back another day.

When I got home I needed to start on my own laundry, so I threw the towels in the dryer and started the wash. Then to pick up kids from school and the bus stop. Then home to start dinner and check e-mail and facebook. As I was reading another blog "girl talk", she posted the verse Ephesians 5:15-17
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."

That really got me thinking. I struggle, especially this last year or two with feeling like I let life happen, rather than being purposeful with my day. I need to keep what the will of the Lord is front and center and then my day would be purposeful. Granted I do get distracted and procrastinate those things I don't want to do. But focusing my eyes on the Lord and His will, will help me make the best use of my time, so that I may walk wisely. It says to "look carefully at how you walk", I need to evaluate
"Am I really doing what I should?"
"Is this the best use of my time?"
"Am I being wise?"
"Do I understand what the will of the Lord is for me?"
Especially in these busy times of exta work and Christmas, I really need to be purposeful, instead of blowing which ever direction the wind blows me.

Hmm. Something more for me to think and pray about. I think I am going to memorize those verses. Happy Hump Day (Wednesday is the hump of the week, after today it is all down hill till the weekend).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Wow. I can't believe it has been a week since I posted last. Life has been traveling at moc speed for me. So fast I had to tell my 2 older kids, we have to cut down on all the soccer. No more 4 times a week, for the month of December. It will be once a week per kid, and so that leaves it at twice a week for mom. We will re-evaluate after the holidays as to how much through January until their tournament. Whew! I never realized what I was getting myself into when we signed them up for indoor soccer. Not again!!!( Never say never, but that would really be the word I would rather be saying).

Work has also been consuming more time than I like. I have been working 3 days a week instead of my 2 days. We are busy and short staffed. We are in the midst of training a girl (she goes to my church) but it will be a while before she is able to be independent on the floor. Training someone is also tiring in itself. At least there is light at the end of the tunnel. It sure does feel like a really LOOOONNNGGGG tunnel.

Today I am supposed to be doing a laundry marathon. Instead I have paid the bills, balanced the check book, made a million calls (which I do not like doing), caught up on my e-mail, and even checked my facebook page, and now I am blogging. Anything but that mountain of laundry. Then tomorrow it is off to go clean the beach house. We had renters in it over the thanksgiving holiday and I still have yet to get there to clean it. TOO BUSY.

I also need to make my cookies for my cookie swap I am having at my house on saturday. We were supposed to have 10 people, but last minute people have e-mailed to cancel, stating their schedules are just too busy. So I have had to re-email everyone and adjust the number of dozens they need to bring. Ugh. At least it is a lower number to bring instead of more. I have 5 great friends coming and we will have a blast. Later that night, my husband's side of the family is celebrating their christmas and the birthday of my husbands 96 year old grandmother. Whew! Busy day. I may need a nap after the swap and before I go to the party.

In all of this rush, and hub bub of working, and celebrating the season, along with all the other daily things of life, I need to make sure I don't forget the awesome gift God has given us. The gift of His son. The birth of Jesus and all that He did for us. Dying on the cross so that we may have a personal relationship with God. If I stop and think about it, really think about it, it is more than my mind can wrap around. Why would an all powerful, almighty, all knowing, God want to be in a relationship with me. Me. Who am I? A mere magot. Yet, my loving God wants to fellowship with ME. Wow! It is so powerful when I really stop to ponder it. But yet is so easily taken for granted in the midst of busyness. Stop and think, and know that Our Almighty God wants to have a relationship with you and will meet you wherever you are. What a gift!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lots to do

Whew! This last week has been a whirl wind. Being short staffed at work is just no fun!!! But, I do have extra money now for Christmas that I was not planning on. So that is good. I will be spending all of it thursday when I go shopping all day with my mom.

So today is a day of staying home and getting caught up on everything, laundry, dishes, vaccuming, finding the floor in my bedroom to vaccum (LOL), e-mail, planning the cookie swap, christmas cards (nevermind that one... I will leave that one for another day), menu planning, grocery shopping, maybe bake a batch of cookies, indoor soccer games tonight, and clean my truck out cause I have car pool later today too. And I cannot forget to blog a little too. So much to do and just not enough time to do it.

That's when it is time to prioritize and do the most important things, not the things I want to do. I guess it is more important that my kids have school uniforms than it is to have a batch of cookies. It is just not as fun. LOL.

Here I go, time to reboot that laundry.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today is Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I had to go in to work this morning. I was able to spend the afternoon at home making all the fun things I am to bring for dinner. Hopefully, I will not get called in later. I saw a familiar name (one of our patients) listed in the ER, so I am hoping they can go home after they were seen and not in need of dialysis. I just keep praying.

One thing to be thankful for was, I was able to watch the Macy's day parade at work this morning, and I watched football this afternoon. Even though it was a lousy game. Maybe the next game will be better.

I have a lot more important things that I am thankful for, mostly my family. They are precious to me. My family will always be here. So even though I had to work this morning and maybe even again later, this holiday will come and go, but my family will always be with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Making memories

Today has been a blast. My kids are off school all week. That is definitely one perk to sending them all to private school. LOL. So many families take this entire week off for vacationing or visiting family, that they just decide to close the school for everyone. HOORAY!!!! That means no lunches to pack, no getting up at 5:45am, no homework, no running out to get them at the bus stop, no having to go to bed by a certain time. IT IS AWESOME. I do love it when my kids are all home.

Today we broke out the cookbooks and had each child decide on what christmas cookie they wanted to help make. We agreed to make 2 kids today and 2 kids tomorrow. We decided that the 2 cookie recipes we would make today would be the ones I had all the ingredients for. Made sense to me. I was not planning on going to the store today and I know I will be out tomorrow for Thanksgiving ingredients as well.

So Babygirl was first up, she was the one who suggested we make cookies today. She chose double chocolate cookies with chocolate chips. No that is definitely my daughter!!!!! Since it was her cookie recipe, she was able to get one extra cookie. Who ever picked the cookie, they get an extra cookie of that recipe. The kids love it and feel so special, that they get an extra cookie of their favorite kind.

Next was widget, he decided on snickerdoodles. He loves cinnamon!
Tomorrow we will be making oatmeal raisin for oldest son, and youngest son chose chocolate sugar cookies. YUMMY!!!

I just love making these memories with my kids, and they love helping to make them too. Its so fun to see the kids get all into it and take it seriously yet having a ball with it. Gotta love it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rooms with the cool factor

I forgot to mention the cool rooms we stayed in. We stayed in what was called a kid cabin suite. It had it's own little cabin with bunk beds and a tv with video games for the kids. It was quite the cool factor for them. It was great that the kids were able to have their own space too.

Great Wolf Lodge

If that wasn't one of the coolest places to go, then I don't know what is. It wasn't the best indoor water park we have been to (the best one is in Massanutten Virginia) but it is the coolest resort with so much to do.

We had an absolute blast this past weekend. If you have one of those resorts somewhere near you, save your money and go. It is pricey, but so worth it!! It was about a 4 hour drive for us, so it wasn't close. But definitely doable.

We checked in, dumped our bags, changed into our suits and headed straight for the indoor water park. The older 2 ran off and found their cousins and started attacking the waterslides. Youngest son wanted to do the same, but is too young for my comfort level to be running around unsupervised by an adult. So we had to rein him in a little, and babygirl took a long time to warm up to the idea of it all. She doesn't like splashing (LOL, now that is funny at a waterpark. Poor girl, you just have to deal with it.)

We spent about 4 to 5 hours there. I really wanted to do the Howlin Tornado, but was too chicken to do so. My 3 sisters and their families went as well. We all took turns watching each others kids so us adults could go down the slides with our spouses alone as "dates".LOL. Well, I send my baby sister off with her hubby to have a "date" down one of the slides. They end up running into their 2 older kids who were off with one of my other sisters. Too make a long story short, my baby sister and hubby take their 2 kids to go down one of the slides.
My hubby told them, "When you get to the fork in the stairs go LEFT."
So off they go and they get to the fork and go RIGHT (OOPS you are supposed to go left). They get to the top and realized they got in line and waited for the Howlin Tornado. One of her kids was too short to go, but the attendant said
"He is really too short to go on this, but I won't make you go back down. Just hold on to him really tight. Have fun."
And he pushes them down the slide into the pitch black abyss. They did survive, but with a kid who is now scarred for life. Poor little nephew did not like the ride and cried the entire time. So much for that date. LOL.

After all that time in the water park, we go to dinner at IHOP. There was a resturant in the resort, but it was way too expensive and the wait was too long. While we were at IHOP, it gave us some definite down time as just our family of 6. Whew! We needed it. Plus the resturant at resort was still hyped up with tons of activity. And to top it off, at IHOP, someone came over to us and gave us a coupon for 20% off our entire bill. WOOHOO!

After dinner we spent time at the clock tower where they do a bedtime story. That was good for the younger 2, but the older 2 wanted to go slay the dragon with the magiquest wands. So they ran off doing their quests and we watched they story. Then it was time for birthday presents (it was the family quarterly birthday party). And then off to bed. We were exhausted.

Then more excitement happens around 5am (so much for sleeping in). The fire alarm goes off, and we all need to evacuate the resort. It is 17 degrees outside. YIKES!!!!! We are all outside and the fire trucks and ambulances are there. We see the firemen come in fully decked out in their apparrel. The resort employees start handing out sheets and blankets to those who were not dressed appropriately. Fortunatley for us my sister grabbed her keys to her truck and we all piled in her heated truck. I remembered my purse and kids motrin (LOL- why I don't now), but not the keys to our truck. It was ironic, Babygirl was the most scared of all of us, but she remember in all of it to grab her blankie, pillow, her stuffed bear, an extra pair of warm pants, and her back pack of toys. She grabbed it all in the matter of seconds. Amazing!!! After about 30 minutes we were allowed back in. Apparently there was excessive smoke detected in the game room. Just more memories to add to our trip.

The next day was filled with Hubby and I riding the tornado. I DID IT!!! I was scared to death, only to find out it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be. We spend the entire day at the water park. Then we let the older 2 go run around for about an hour and a half finishing their quests with the magi quest wands. When they finished up we headed for home. What a great time. By the end, even babygirl was going down the baby slides. Now that is some huge steps for her.

The ride home was a pleasure. The kids were grateful and loving. They all were getting along, no fights, and just the best attitudes. What an awesome trip.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Away we go

After a rather stressful week, we are off to Great Wolf Lodge for the weekend. Check it out at . It is an indoor water park, that also has an arcade, bedtime story by the big tree, a magical treasure hunt in which you use a wand to discover your clue. We have never been there, but it looks pretty fun. Check out the howlin tornado. Yikes!

Can't wait to escape!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A horrible situation

It's been a tough afternoon. We heard news today that a teacher at the school my older two attend, was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a former student. UGH!!!

My kids go to a christian school partly to protect them from these sort of things. Nothing has been proven, she has not been convicted, but the accusation is out there. The school did not tell the students anything during the day. They wanted Mom and Dad to handle it however they chose to.

Fortunately, she was the middle school and high school music and chorus teacher. My kids are in band and have a different teacher for that. So my kids never had her. But still because of the nature of the subject, I wanted to be able to talk to my kids about it. I know when they go back to school tomorrow the school will be buzzing about it.

According to my oldest son who has had some contact with her, she was one of the most outspoken spiritually encouraging teachers. He was really shocked by the news. Now I did not go into details of course. But I wanted my kids to go in armed with the correct information (at least what is known to us). I told them they are accusations which means it has not been proven that she did these bad things. I told my kids I expected them to handle the information with dignity. I do not want them to defame her, blast her, or tear her reputation down anymore than it has. Especially if she was found to be innocent. But even if she was guilty, it really is none of my kids business, so they need to stay out of it. I told them I want to be proud of them and how they handle themselves when put in situations where it is talked about. To remember, we all are human and make mistakes, and God loves her even if she did do this. Hate the sin, not the sinner.

I guess I just want my kids to know the truest information so they don't believe the exaggerations that are bound to come out. I don't want them to get involved and steeped into the gossip of the situation. That certainly would not be pleasing to the Lord. I asked my kids to pray for her and her family. Even if she is guilty, her family didn't ask to go through this humilition.

So after our conversation and answering their questions to the best of my ability, we pray and I put them to bed.

So did I do it right? Honestly to have to walk through this with my kids, did I do it right? I just pray that I myself handled it in a way that was pleasing to the Lord.

Part of me wants to get angry "How dare she do this to our school, and her family!!" but she has not been proven guilty. What if the kid just made this up and then I accused her of disgracing our school, when in fact most people you talk to say she is one of the best teachers they ever had. So I too have to give it up to the Lord.

What a day! I am exhausted!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A fun day

WooHoo!! I am so excited. I got a little more Christmas shopping done today. I took babygirl to the dentist and did a little shopping with her afterwards.

I will tell you....

I am having so much fun this year shopping with babygirl. She loves to shop and is good at it, especially for a 4 yr old. I never really liked to shop, but it is fun with her.

The other great thing is...I was able to get my mom and mother in law's presents. Sometimes they can be very difficult to buy for. Now all I need to do is get them little gifts from the kids. But what a relief. Whew!!

I was also able to get hubby's gift. I hope he will like it. I definitely went out of the normal gifts zone on this one. So we will have to see. But it feels great to get some of those out of the way.

Next I will have to wrap them. I already have PLENTY of paper. Probably too much. But better too much than not enough.

I still have no idea what to get hubby's grandmother. UGH!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Help Needed

Any ideas of what to get a 96 year old grandmother for her birthday or christmas?

I am clueless, and need some HELP!

Widget's 11th birthday

We just celebrated widget's 11th birthday. I can't believe he is 11. My kids are growing older and older, and I can't seem to stop them. LOL.

Since I have been working a little more (ok, alot more) I was up the night before his birthday making cupcakes so he could take them to school to celebrate with his classmates. At 11:30pm I was frosting them and then shaking blue sprinkles on top. He was thrilled the next morning when he saw them (Woohoo! Chalk one up for mom).

The morning of his birthday he wanted to take the bus (I offered to take him, but he declined) so off on the bus he goes. He spends the day in school, while I was birthday shopping for him..presents and food for his birthday dinner. At the end of the school day, daddy showed up with widgets 2 best friends (who don't go to his school) and took them all to the movies. Widget was so excited to have his friends with him. After the movie they all came home and had the requested Taco dinner, ice cream cake, and presents. Around 8pm his friends were picked up.

He had a great birthday. I just wish I had seen him more. My baby is getting older. He really wanted to be with his friends. That was the exciting part for him. It was ok to be with the family, but I think he thought it was better to be with his friends. Now I am not saying that is bad. I know it is part of the age. It wasn't that he didn't want his family, just that his friends excited him more. But I am glad he had a great birthday. I want him to have fond memories of this time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Throwing caution to the wind

Today ended being even more crazy than I originally thought it would be. I didn't get out of work on time and needed Hubby to pick Babygirl up at school. Once I did get off, I needed to run to mom's house to pick up widget (no school today, which I didn't remember until AFTER I volunteered to work today) then run to get Babygirl from Hubby, then run 30 minutes down the road to pick up Oldest son from a friends house that he spent the night at, then run back to youngest son's school to pick him up. Then FINALLY home by 4:30. Whew!
So when I do get home, my thought was....

"Where has my baking day gone?" :(

Well, I get dinner going and MomMom stops by and everything stops to visit with her. Then it is back to making dinner. I had had enough. The chocolate chips, sugar and brown sugar are staring at me wondering when are you going to make us into something delicious. So I put my foot down and threw all caution to the wind and went for it.


Wow! Did that feel great! I love it. While the bread was baking, I proceeded on towards making dinner. But instead of having a lovely well rounded dinner, they got spaghetti instead. Hey, they were hungry, spaghetti is quick enough, and I NEEDED TO BAKE! So it was all solved. Now on to the cookies. Hmmmm. What cookie should I start with first. So many cookies and so little time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy days

My blogs have been slowing down here as of late. I have been working a little more. Work has picked up and as is the case often, we are short staffed. So I have been putting in a little more time. Hey it helps for Christmas coming up. Plus with the cost of groceries. Good grief. I could blog and vent on the cost of my grocery bill all night. Whew. I went to Sam's club and spent $375 and still didn't get any meat. I need another part time job just to feed the kids. Two of the boys have HUGE appetites, plus hubby and I, and the younger 2 probably equal one person. I feel like I just can't keep enough food in the house. Ok enough of that. Like I said, I could blog on that all night.
I had planned tomorrow to be a baking day, but that has changed. I am working a half day in the morning. I might be able to get out a batch of cookies between nap and carpool. Hmm. I am just so ready to get baking, but don't have the time at the moment. It is frustrating! I will get to it soon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting started

I just got back from shopping and I have started. Started what?
Not my Christmas shopping, although I have already started that. I started buying bulk sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, sweetened evaporated milk and lots of other fun ingredients to start my holiday baking.
Baking that not only includes christmas cookies, but also breads for thanksgiving (I don't do pies) cookies for thanksgiving plus other fun desserts. I am not much into cooking, but baking is so much fun for me, especially when I have the time to do it and not rushed.
I usually start my holiday baking with the first of November and then freeze it until it is time to put it all together. I would love to start my baking right now. I am so excited. But I have a little one in the house with pneumonia and well...I just don't think it is a good idea to be baking things with the intent of giving it away if there are live germs in the house. So I will wait until he is well and the house is free of all the germs (that is, all the germs I am aware of LOL).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote

Today is one of those important days in history where we all need to voice our opinion. Today is election day for who will be the new leaders for our country. Lift up these men in prayer. Pray for godly men in authority.
I voted, did you?
Have your say. Tell the country who you believe will be the best person for the job. Not the one you may like the best, but the one who has the values that would lead this country in the right direction. This is not a popularity contest. It is about the direction of our country.
Personally, I am not that excited about either candidate, but I know I cannot vote for someone that is willing to kill unborn babies. I cannot vote for someone who talks about "change". What is the candidate going to change? He never said. It's all hot air. Will the change even be good? or will it hurt the country even more? I cannot vote for someone who says

"If it comes to religion, I will stand with the muslims."
That was quoted in a book he wrote.

I could go on and on but I don't have the time. But go out and vote and voice your opinion. Just make sure it is an intellectual decision.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Oldest son blowing out the candles, and friend drinking cream soda.

Oldest son- Good form

The guys bowling.

The guys checking out their score.

Oldest son's birthday party was a success. All the boys were able to come and all spent the night. It was great fun watching them all interact with each other. We really wanted Oldest son's 13th birthday to be a milestone and something he remembered with fond memories. Even though we look at his birthday day and his party, it doesn't really seem like it was all that "special" or "out of the norm". But for him it was, it was a special time for him. He had such a great time, now widget wants to do the exact same thing for his birthday this year. I had to veto him, and tell him he could when he turned 13. Oh boy was he majorly bummed. He has to wait 2 more years. Here are some pics of the party.
I was completely surprised by one aspect of the party. I was expecting to be feeding hungry, growing teenage boys. So we got 5 pizzas; 4 thick with one being loaded with meat, pepperoni, cheese, and one thin pizza. Hoping that would be enough and if not we had plenty of junk food (chips,etc.) to supplement the meal. How many do you think 6 teenage boys plus our family of 5 ate? A shockingly 2 pizzas! We had 3 pizzas left over. I couldn't believe it. We are still eating left over pizza. The next morning they did make up for it and ate over 36 pancakes and numerous patties of sausage. I should have fed them the left over pizza. LOL.
All in all it was a great time. My oldest son has a great bunch of friends, who my hubby and I really like. That means alot.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Here is a funny.

Last night we took the family and Oldest son's friends bowling for oldest's son's birthday party. We had a great time. We came home and did a midnight scavenger hunt. During the hunt the boys found we forgot to turn our headlights off on the Expedition. So today off course the battery is dead.
My mother in law took us to youngest son's last soccer game (We can't all fit in hubby's acura). When we got home, hubby was going to use her vehicle to jump my truck.

Granma was explaining this to babygirl:

Baby girl says: "Granma why did you park your car like that in our garage?"

Granma "We are going to jump your truck to make it work again."

Baby girl "You are going to jump ON mommy's truck? And that will make it work?"

LOL. Out of the mouth of babes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Since the kids sports season is winding down, I thought I would post some pics of them doing their thing.

Youngest son playing soccer

Widget ready for action.

Oldest son (Mr. Intensity) motivating his team.

Goal Kick.

Baby girl did not do ballet this year, so no pics of her doing a sport. I'll have to get her doing her thing.....playing with baby dolls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday Day

My oldest son's birthday was a hit. Even though he did have school, he had a great day and thanked his dad and I several times on his way to bed.

As a tradition, since the kids have been old enough to enjoy movies, hubby takes the birthday kid to the movies. Some times they are picked up at lunch time and have a half day, and other times they get picked up right after school.

Well, the birthday boy did not want to miss his afternoon classes and then have make up work, so he chose to stay all day and get picked up after school. Hubby picked him up and had a chance to walk the mall and do some "men" shopping before the movie. It was a great chance for hubby and birthday boy to have heart to heart talks. Quality time is definitely oldest son's love language (The 5 love languages by Gary Chapman).

They then proceeded to the movies and saw Eagle Eye. Which they said was a very good movie. Afterwards, they headed to Verizon to check out cell phones. Oldest son was contemplating upgrading his cell phone as part of his birthday present, but they decided against it. He is like me...stays with what he knows, until it doesn't work anymore.

On the way home they stopped and got one of his favorites...crab cakes... and bought enough for the entire family. They were delicious, yummy! Then came the cake and presents. He was just a glowing when he went to bed.

This friday he is having his first sleepover party. He has gone to many, and has had many friends over to spend the night, but it has always been just one friend at a time. Should prove to be an interesting night. At least I have several nights before then to get some sleep. LOL.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthday time

Well tomorrow is my oldest's 13th birthday. I can't believe I will officially be a mother of a teenager. I say officially, cause it sure has felt like he has been a teenager. The puberty hit before the teenage year, we have the enormous growth spurt, the deepening of his voice, the hormones flying around- short tempered, frustrated easily, sensitive etc.
It is amazing though,that as of late those things have not been an issue. He has started knowing his body, when he gets frustrated to go cool off. He has also has blossomed with his service towards others. He has a real heart for serving others. He also cares for those around him.
He is playing coed soccer for his middle school team. One game he slammed into a girl, they were both going for the ball aggressively, and knocked her to the ground, accidentally. It wouldn't have mattered if it was Goliath or a tiny mite, it's all out on the soccer field. Anyways, after he knocked her to the ground, he turned to her and offered his hand to help her up. I was really proud of him and his gentlemen ways.
I just keep lifting him up to the Lord. That my son would allow God to make him the man that God intents for him to be. Wow what an adventure we are on in raising the kids that God has given us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

She did it, tears and all

She did it. We decided after much talking that we would go ahead and try her pictures again. Babygirl said she would do it with a smile. So we do all the preps this morning. We found a different outfit, still a holiday outfit, just a black velvet pant set with ruffles all over.

Well we get to school and wait in line, again. This time only 15 minutes. We walk in the door, and it is de- jah-vu (sp?) and her arms get tighter around me and the tears start flowing. We watch her brother get his picture done. Then it is her turn. I put her on the chair after much convincing and tears streaming down her face. The photographer is going to get their picture together but she is sitting their with tears. He asks "Is it ok to take a crying picture?"
My response "Absolutely. It will capture her where she really is today." So he starts flashing away and saying all kinds of silly things. And her fortitude with crying is starting to break and you see a slight smirk. She is laughing on the inside but trying with all her might not to show it. Finally she caves and starts laughing out loud.
I think we will end up with some really good pictures. I hope so anyways. What an ordeal!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Picture Day

In my earlier post, I was deciding what to dress my kids in for their school pics. Well I decided to go for the holiday look. But that may not be what I end up getting.

Why? Let me tell you why.

Since today was picture day, I told work I would be coming in late so I could be there to help out babygirl. She does not like her picture taken by strangers, especially men and I knew the photogragher was a man. So we get up early. We get the hair done, the dress and bloomers on (she insists on bloomers so noone can see her panties, even if they are covered up with stockings), the stockings and dress shoes on. We get to school early. The photographer is busy taking pictures and we wait our turn. If you get siblings pictured together you can do them in the morning, individuals are to be taken as a class. Since we were going to do siblings, we could get their individual done then too.

We waited our turn about 30 minutes and as soon as I go through the door, babygirl breaks out in tears and clinging to me like her life depends on it. I try to convince, bribe, you name it, to get her picture done. But nope, she wouldn't do it. Ugh!

The photographer is a great guy and says "Let's try it with her class. A lot of times they do much better without M-O-M." I tell him "I tried to do it this way because she doesn't do well with M-E-N". He says "Thats fine, but I really think when she sees her friends do it, she will do it too." So I take a deep breath and say "Ok." and take her to her class.

I had brought clothes to change her into so she would be comfortable the rest of the day. Now I would not be able to do that, and school would not be doing that. I warned her. She would now be in her dress all day. Her sweet teacher said she would help babygirl get her picture done. So I leave for work.

After work I go pick her up from school and see her class is outside on the playground. As I approach her I see she now has a hole in her stocking, her dress and dress shoes are dirty. "That's ok" I think to myself, she already had her picture taken and I can clean her dress and shoes. As soon as she sees me she says "No picture mom."
I really hope I didn't hear what I thought I just heard. I caustiously ask her "What do you mean no picture?"
She says "I didn't take my picture. I just cried." Now I want to cry.
Are you kidding me? All the preps to get ready, going in late to work, staying in her dress all day, getting it dirty and a hole in her stockings and what do we have for it....

but more laundry!!!!!

I am just a tad frustrated!!!! And I still have a picture to get of her. They said we could try again tomorrow. Like I want to do that all over again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

School pictures

Tomorrow is school pictures for the 2 younger ones. I always stress about what to put them in.

Do I go casual? Formal? Holiday style?

I really like the casual pictures because it shows how they really are day to day.

But the formal ones are nice too? They are so adorable all dolled up.

Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where is my.......

I think I have a case of losing my mind. Well, maybe not my mind, but everything else.

I keep losing, or shall I say...misplacing things. It is so frustrating. I have spent more time this past week looking for things.

It started off with me losing my keys. I am known to misplace my keys, but they usually end up in the same few places (key rack, by my laptop, or by the coffee maker). But they were not in any of those places. I had them sunday to drive home from church, so I knew they were in the house someplace...But where? The house was clean sunday for small group, so all the possible hiding spots were no longer hiding spots. Thankfully we have spare keys that I can use in the meantime.

Next, I realize I cannot find my lab jacket for work. What? Now where in the world is that? It is not in the laundry and it is not hanging up. Good grief. Plus I am still looking for my keys.

The next day is our anniversary and we are heading to Annapolis MD so I want to bring my light jacket in case it gets a little chilly by the water. So I go to the closet and it is not there. I go upstairs and downstairs looking for my jacket. You have got to be kidding me, it is nowhere to be seen. So I grab another windbreaker.

I am starting to feel like there is someone sneaking into my house and taking just my things. Or maybe we have an invisible friend who keeps taking my things. I know it sounds crazy, but where is my stuff?

AHA!! I find my lab jacket. It was folded up instead of hanging up. Whew! Ok maybe there are not little gobblins running around taking my things. But where are my keys?

The next day we have the funeral. Everyone is piled into my Expedition waiting for Mom to give the spare keys to Dad so we can leave. OH NO!! Where are the spare keys? I look in all my usual spots. Not there. I go upstairs and downstairs tearing the house keys. This is ridiculous! Thankfully hubby has one more spare key (he never told me about this set) in his work bag. Whew. Well now we are a few minutes late to the funeral. :(

The saga continues after we get home from the funeral. I look around where is my purse? The phone rings shortly after that with hubby's aunt on the line saying she has my purse, I left it in the kitchen at church. Whew! At least that wasn't lost for longer than a few minutes (that I realized anyways). And do you know what else? I found the spare keys in my purse!! WooHoo! One set found, one more to go.

Sunday rolls around and lo and behold guess what my husband finds? You got it. MY KEYS!! They somehow had fallen off the key rack and fell into a shoe, that got moved around behind some jackets that are on some low hooks. No wonder I couldn't find them. I did put them where they belonged.
Then when I went to work this morning I found my light jacket. I left it at work, because when I came in it was cold, but when I left it was hot, so I did not remember I had a jacket. So here I am thinking this misplacing thing has got to be over. Thank goodness!! Well that was until I came home from work today and couldn't find my beeper. AAAHHHH!!! I sometimes think, if my head wasn't attached I would forget that too!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Babygirl's response to a funeral

Yesterday we attended the funeral of one of our dear friends' father. This man was 91 years old and was ready to go home to be with the Lord. We took all our children, as we wanted to pay tribute to our friend as a family. It also gave the kids a chance to experience a funeral without having the grief of knowing the person who died.

It sparked all kinds of questions from them. The cutest one came from my little babygirl.
She asked "How did he die, mommy?"
I wasn't really sure what the specific cause of death was so I answered "He was old honey, and he was ready to go to heaven to be with Jesus."
This was not a sufficient answer for her. This is a girl who always asks me "Mommy, when you went to work, did you cut anyone open?" or "Do you have any blood on you?" or "Mommy, will you tell me everything you did today at work, even about the needles?" I believe she may be headed for the medical profession.
Anyways she wanted more specifics, "But HOW did he die? What happened?"
So I told her "I think his heart was tired and stopped working."
Her response was " Did his heart come unplugged?"
The results from living in the electronic age. LOL.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quote of the day

I heard a this quote the other day

"The thoughts that hold you the most, mold you the most."

Hmm. I had to ponder this. Is this true? I concluded, I think it is.

So then, if I believe it is true, "What am I thinking about the most?"

Are my thoughts on myself? my family? the financial crisis? my relationship with my Lord? I spent the day evaluating what I was thinking of. Intriguing I might say.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things."

What thoughts hold you the most?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Big One Five!

Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow hubby and I will be celebrating our 15 year anniversary! It's hard to believe it has been that long, yet it also feels like forever.

As I look back and reflect on the years it is amazing to see the road we have traveled. We certainly have had our ups and downs. Some of the lows were so low, it is only by the grace of God we are still together. Yet some of the highs are the best times of my life.

We have learned ALOT these past few years. We have grown and matured in our faith, in our marriage, even in our parenting. It came down to giving ourselves 100% to the Lord. Whatever, wherever, however, whenever you want me Lord, and I will go. It didn't just happen instantly though.

A couple of years ago we came to one of those really low points in our marriage. We even pondered if we should continue with our union. (We don't believe in divorce, but the thought was definitely in my mind). We sought counsel from an Elder at church. We began working on our relationship with the Lord first and than with one another. Things changed when we fully (not holding back anything) surrendered and made Christ, LORD of our lives and not just our Savior. Our marriage was no longer about getting through the day and all the logistics with the kids (you get this one, I'll get that one. This one has practice,that one has a dentist appt). It became about experiencing life together, and all the God has in store for us. I just wish we had not wasted so many years with an ok marriage (and ok spiritual walk) when it could be what it is today. AWESOME!!!! I am truely so in love with my hubby, that sometimes I feel like a giddy little school girl.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It's October so I thought I would change the look of my blog.

There are sooo many cool looks out there.

I think I am going to change my background every month!

Monday, October 6, 2008

ER visit

It's official. We now have officially had all 4 kids to the emergency room at some point in their young lives. I thought it might be a boy thing. You know how rough and tumbly and adventurous they are. I never thought baby girl would end up in an ER unless maybe she got really sick, but not for an injury.

Well, babygirl had a little incident on saturday that had us in the ER that evening. I will just say that she fell on an open drawer on a very sensitive spot. This caused her great pain when having to relieve herself. Pain that caused her to scream and refuse to relieve herself, which caused even more discomfort. Of course this was at 7pm on a sat. night. We call the MD on call, and indeed they want her seen.

We travel on down the road and go to the ER. She was crying on the way. She is very private, she didn't want anyone to see her (MD or not) she just wanted the pain to go away . I tried to reassure her, that it would be ok. I would be with her holding her hand the entire time. When the time came, she was a true champion. She may not have liked it or even understood why we had to go through all this, but she trusted me. She trusted in my love for her that I would do what was best for her. As her mom, I knew she needed the doctors care in order for her to get better. (She did need lidocaine and antibiotics).

I am not trying to be vulgar or graphic with telling you this. But it got me thinking. Isn't this how God deals with us? Sometimes God allows us to go through difficult things to protect us from even worse things. Like when I allow the nurse to give my kids an immunization. I am allowing the nurse to put my child through pain. I know in the long run, that it is by far better for them to experience the pain of one needle than to be spared the needle and get the disease later on in life. Or like with my daughter, if I did not have her examined, she would not have gotten the medications to allow her to go to the bathroom instead of holding it and medicine to prevent an infection. These 2 things could have become a nightmare of a problem if not addressed at the beginning of the trauma. Yes, it was uncomfortable and difficult for her, but needed in order to prevent things getting worse.

Sometimes we need to go through the discomfort and pain in order for us to grow (or get better) or even to be protected from something even worse. We may be scared and confused about why we are going through a difficult time. Maybe even wondering why God would allow us to be hurt. But we need to take God's hand in these times, trusting His love for us. That He wants and knows what is the best for us. He knows the outcome, who better to trust than the One who knows the answers. It doesn't mean we have to like or understand what we are going through.

We just need to trust Him no matter what.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I have started to deal with a little bit of selfishness with a couple of my kids (mostly the middle 2). I surely want to nip it in the bud.

Lately when I ask them to help with chores around the house, it is followed by some attitude. You would have thought I asked them to do some horrible job, like pump out the septic or something. Yes, they make that awful scrunched up face followed by their comments "I didn't make this mess, sister should have to clean it up." or " Why do I have to dust?" or worse yet "You've got to be kidding, I have 2 chores. I have to clean up the playroom AND bring up the trash cans from the road?" (Nope, now you will have 3 chores for that attitude.) It takes them longer to complain about it than to actually do the chore. If they would just do the chore, they would be done in no time and back to whatever it was that they didn't want to stop in the first place.

So I have decided that I am going to charge them, in chores, for what I do for them. If I take them to a practice or a game, it will cost one chore. If I make their lunch for school it will cost one chore etc.. Hopefully this will open their eyes to all I do for them. I don't ask for much, just some help with reasonable chores.
Am I being too strict? Unreasonable?
Any other ideas out there?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes.

My young son has fared well the last few nights and has not suffered with any more growing pains. He thought last night he might need some Motrin so he asked "Mom, I think I might need Motrin tonight for my legs." I needed to remind young son he could not have motrin, just in case he might need it. I had a similar conversation with widget some time ago. (They like the taste of it, so any little ache or pain, they would ask for Motrin.)

My conversation with widget went a little like this:
"Mom, my feet are hurting. Can I have some Motrin?"

I asked "Do they really hurt, or just a little?" He was not acting like he was in any kind of discomfort.

Widget says "They just hurt and Motrin will take the pain away."

"But, son, it is not good to take medicine all the time for just a little pain."

"Why not?"

The nurse in me comes out "Too much motrin can hurt your kidneys."

He was pondering this then asked "What happens to you, if you have too much motrin?"

A little puzzled I answered "It would hurt my kidneys, too"

His response "But you don't have 'kid knees' you have grown up knees."

LOL. Out of the mouth of babes!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Growing pains

My poor little 7 year old son, was up last night screaming in pain.

I was downstairs cheering on my Ravens team during monday night football, when widget comes down the stairs and says "Mom, brother is crying. He needs you." I guess I had the volume too loud or was soo into the game, I didn't hear him. OOPS. "Thanks son for getting me. You are a good brother for taking care of younger one."

So I go upstairs to his room and he indeed is not just crying but screaming "OWIE, OWIE, OWIE" while thrashing about in the bed. He is not even fully awake. I climb the ladder to his top bunk and try to wake him to find out what is wrong. I call hubby in for back up. I eventually get out of him that his knees are hurting. AHH! The "growing pains" are back. He has struggled periodically with these "growing pains" in his legs. We have talked to a couple different doctors about it, and they still conclude it is "growing pains".

He goes through periods of time, where the pain wakes him up out of a sound sleep. He just cries and cries and asks us to take away the pain. We have tried massaging his legs, warm compresses, ice packs, warm water spraying on his knees in the tub, walking, stretching, etc.(and of course this is always in the middle of the night, ugh.) The last resort we always turn to is Motrin, and it is really the only thing that helps. Within fifteen minutes, you can see the tension in his face start to fade. We really should just start with the Motrin, but I just hate to give it to him if we can find another way of relieving the pain. It has been over a year since he has done this. Well, he started it again last night, but it was worse than ever.

So we go through all our hoops and end up giving him the Motrin. We finally got him settled and back to sleep after it kicked in and relieved the pain in his knees. Two hours later, he does it again!! This has NEVER happened before. Once we get him back to sleep, he is down for the count. But not last night.

We had put him in our room once he fell asleep on the couch downstairs. We were not even going to attempt to put him back in his bed (he sleeps on the top bunk), it was hard enough getting him down out of bed. He is a big boy and he's "growing" LOL. Two hours later, he wakes up again screaming "OWIE, OWIE, OWIE". What do I do now? He says it is his feet? What? His feet? This is definitely a new one. He has already had our miracle silver bullet cure of Motrin and it is too early for him to have more. We try a few things as he continues to cry out in pain. Finally I tell hubby "See if you can find any Tylenol". We have had to alternate the 2 meds before with fevers, so lets give it a try and make it through the night.

Hubby is searching everywhere in all our little spots we keep medicine. Finally he finds an almost empty bottle that has one last dose in it. Hubby gives it to son. Twenty minutes later and after hubby praying over him for those twenty minutes, he is sound asleep....again. And this time for the night...Well, whatever is left of the night anyways.

Son wakes up this morning a little tired and asks "Mom, Why did I wake up in your bed this morning?" I asked him "Don't you remember your legs hurting last night?" He says "Oh, yeah. I guess I remember them bothering me a little." I am thinking "WHAT? A LITTLE! YOU HAD ME UP DURING THE NIGHT FOR A LITTLE? YOU WERE SCREAMING LIKE THAT FOR A LITTLE?" But instead I ask him "How are your legs feeling this morning?" He says with authority "OH, PERFECT!" What a relief!

I really am glad he does not remember all the pain he was in and that he was half asleep through it. It's bad enough Hubby and I remember it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rainy Day

Today was one of those rainy days that I dream of. A great day just to curl up and do nothing but read a book.

Well, maybe if I didn't have kids. Actually today we had 1 flag football practice for widget and one soccer game for younger brother. We made it through the football practice unscathed and made it 1 quarter through the soccer game when the sky fell out on us.

We were watching the game and periodically looking up at the sky, that seemed to get darker by minute. Whew! We had made it through 1st quarter and we were still dry. The 2nd quarter started and the drops began to fall, but just sprinkling. No problem we had an unbrella and these really cool chairs my mom had brought. They had a canopy over the chair which acted like an umbrella. So we were still staying dry under the canopy chairs and umbrella. Whew! Made it through the second quarter.
Then the third quarter started and the rain started picking up. It was no longer a sprinkle, it was pretty much a down pour. My mom, baby girl and I were hunkered down under the canopy chairs with blankets and sweaters over us trying to keep dry. Hubby was out cheering his son on, so he was soaked to the bone in no time. Oldest son was running things back to the car, so he was soaked too. Widget had brought his game boy, so he was hiding under the umbrella determined to protect it.

By the end of the third quarter it was raining so hard they called the game. It was a tough game too, noone had scored yet. Our soccer player was so excited to be playing in the rain, he didn't want to stop. But I was very thankful they called the game. I couldn't wait to be on the couch with a book, a cup of coffee, while I listened to the rain come down. Well that didn't happen either.

Instead when I came home, I saw the dishes needed to be done, the laundry needed to be rebooted (FLYLADY's term for switching the loads and getting it all started again), babygirl needed a nap, etc. So my dream of chillaxing during the rainy day didn't happen. But I did spend some time cleaning and had the most fun playing store, kitchen, and tea party with baby girl. Now that I wouldn't trade!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bedtime converstions

Last night as I was putting my middle 2 sons to bed. We got into a converstion about 2nd son's size. He asked "Mom, do I have a disease like cousin?" His cousin has a disease in which he cannot digest and absorb food properly. Therefore he has a feeding tube. Because of this disease he did not grow for about a year and is very tiny for his age.

My son was questioning why he (son) is so small. I began to tell him that his great uncle was the very same way, until his senior year in high school. Then he grew and is now 6'2". But I also cautioned him, hubby and I are not very tall either. We talked about not worrying about it because we can't change the way God made him. I wanted son to know that he is exactly the way God made him. To be proud of how God made him. There is not another one in this world that is exactly like him. To know God could have made him a giant, but chose to create him exactly the way he is. I asked "Do you get teased about your size?" he said "No, I was just wondering if I had a disease or something, because all my classmates are so much taller than me." I said "Oh. Son, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Be confident in who you are and how God made you. I know you may wish it was different, but embrace who you are." Son said "It doesn't really bother me, well sometimes it does, but I do like my nickname coach gave me." His coach calls him "widget" cause he is small, fiesty, and can wiggle around anyone.

Youngest son heard this conversation, because it was right before we were going to pray, and asked "Mom, what gift did God give to me? God gave brother the gift of being small, what did He give me?" That brought a tear to my eye. Youngest brother was seeing older brothers size as a gift and was able to verbalize that in front of his brother. That widget's size was a gift from God.
(youngest son is almost the size of widget and they are almsot 4 years apart).

I did proceed to tell youngest son that God gave him the gift of making everyone feel loved, accepted and special. He really has a heart for people, no matter the age, race, disability etc. It does not matter if he doesn't know you, he will just go up to you and start a conversation. Usually it starts with a compliment "I like your shirt" or "Your hair is beautiful". This is a God given gift. If you are ever down, visit with youngest son. He is sure to lift your spirits and by the end tell you "You are gorgeous." with all the hugs you can stand. I then will get his impression "Mom, that was a really nice person. I think they were glad I talked to them. Maybe they were lonely." Then he runs off to the next thing. What a gift!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Knowing Him

Have you ever noticed that when God is trying to tell you something, you find it everywhere you go?

God has really been reminding me, how I need to spend time in His Word. Everywhere I turn, it seems that theme is shining through. It may be a sermon I am listening to from church or a podcast, or from a song on the christian radio station. Most recently it has even been when I am preparing for our kids church. We are using a curriculum from North Point Church. The theme for the month is knowledge...Since God knows everything, it is important to know what God says (that was week one). The next week was ...Knowing what God says helps me make wise choices (week two) etc. So my question to the kids was.... How do you know what God says? By reading the Bible, God's Word.

My heart's desire is to know Him and to do that I need to spend consistent time in the His Word.

Monday, September 22, 2008

After school snacks dilemma

I am constantly bombarded with the "I'm starving, mom." Especially right after school. If it is not that, then it is "What can I eat? or There is nothing good to eat." I have 2 boys that I can never seem to fill up, and a third that is close behind. I already pack them 2 sandwiches in their lunch plus all the sides.

So my dilemma is .....
What snack do I give them after school, that will cure the starvation, but not fill them up, so they still eat dinner? Any ideas?

Today, we have oldest son's middle school soccer game, so I am already preparing for the loud cries of empty stomachs. I decided to make oatmeal bars and see if that might tide them over till dinner. Hopefully it will stick to their tummies a little better and not be so full of empty calories. I also will be taking some grapes along.

I would love to hear any suggestions for after school snacks especially ones that might be slightly filling.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marathon cleaning

Tomorrow night our small group starts back up and we always meet at our house. We are fortunate to have a house that we can have the adults downstairs and send the kids upstairs to the other side of the house. It works out very well as it gives both groups their own space without interfering with each other. Only occassionally do we hear the screams of excitement from the kids. We have one of the teens from church come over and oversee the kids while we meet. Our oldest son is a big helper, but we usually have 10 kids and that is just a little beyond his capability of entertaining all of them for an hour and a half.

So today is the marathon cleaning day to get the house ready for everyone to come. We absolutely love small group, and are grateful to be able to have a place that works well for everyone with kids (we didn't want "I didn't have a babysitter" to be a factor). However, my weakness is then completely exposed!! I struggle with keeping this house the way it should be for guests. I may have the living room clean, but don't go to my bedroom. I may have the upstairs rec. room clean, but do not go in the downstairs playroom. I may have the dog area clean, but don't go see the bunny. I just can never manage to get it the way I would like it and KEEP it that way. So we end up enlisting the kids and have these marathon cleaning days before we have anyone over. Because when we have small group, the entire house is open to all. Yikes! I no longer have all my hiding spots.

I just wish that if God called us to be small group leaders, He would have gifted me with the gift of hospitality and house cleaning. Ugh.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Funny Friday Fun

I found this and thought it was humorous try it out.

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of your first name plus “izzle”)
3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color and favorite animal)
Purple Panda
4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (your middle name and the name of one of your pets)
Ann Coco
5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name and the first 2 Letters of your first name)
6. YOUR SUPERHERO/CRIMINAL NAME: (Your 2nd favorite color and your favorite drink)
Green Milk
7. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (parents’ middle names)
Anne Clifton

You may find yourself having some fun new nicknames. LOL.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I wonder how many people are like me. When my husband is away, I tend to find a "project".
Well this time is like all the other times my hubby is away...I found a project. I know my hubby must leave thinking "I wonder what wifey is going to do this time I am away."

This project of mine just kind of evolved. I did not plan to make this a project, or be intentional about finding a project. But it happened...just like all the other times.

It all started when I wanted to dust my bedroom. So I began by dusting the surfaces that I could find, then proceeded to uncover the surfaces that needed to be found. And so it goes. One thing led to another, and the next thing I know I am moving my dresser to the other side of the room, so I could dust behind it. I completely took my bed apart, so I could vacuum underneath it. Then decided my bed would look better across the room, so I moved it. Then I looked at the room and realized it was not balanced right. I needed to move the hope chest and the secretary desk, the endtables, the standing mirror etc., so I did. I also have a corner curio. That is the only thing I did not move, and that is only because I cannot move that one on my own.

Whew! That was not what I had planned to do yesterday. LOL. But then again, that is how my projects always evolve.

I went to bed last night feeling like I was in someone else's room. It is so different. We have never moved our furniture around in our bedroom in the 9 1/2 years we have lived here.

My hubby is coming home in the middle of the night on Wednesday. Boy will he be in for a surprise! He won't even know where the bed is, unless he turns the light on. LOL!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What to do

I have a quiet house this morning.

And I don't know what to do.
First I will spend time reading God's word and spend some time praying. But then what?

Do I clean?
Do I do laundry?
Do I spend some me time (not sure what that would even be)?
Do I go shopping?
Do I make dinner?
Do I exercise?
Do I take a nap?
Do I mow the lawn?
Do I start tackling the ironing pile?
Do I call a friend?
Do I read a book?

It all needs to be done, but where do I start?
So much to do, and so little time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Family all around

Today was one of those typical sundays, well, minus hubby.

We are fortunate enough to have lots of nieces and nephews that go to church with us. Every sunday poses the same issues after church...

"Mom, can cousin come over?" or "Mom, can I go over to cousin's house?" If it is not a cousin, than it is one of the friends from church.

They always seem to ask when I am in conversation with someone else and cannot give my full attention to what they are asking. It never fails. I think they must plan it that way. So after excusing myself briefly to hear their plea, I usually end up saying."ok, whatever". Only to realize later what I agreed to. Ahh!

Fortunately today, we already had the arrangements made for who was going to who's house. Whew! I sent the 2 youngest with their cousin and brought cousin's brother here. It was kind of strange not have young kids here. I had 2 ten year olds and 1 twelve year old. We had an afternoon full of older boy fun, which included a flag football game for one of the boys.

What a blessing it is to have a large family all around you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Middle school soccer game today

Today is oldest son's first soccer game with the middle school team. I had asked him to not try out for middle school sports until this year. He was so kind to agree, and played rec. sports until now. His school is 30 minutes away, and the logistics of after school practices or games every day was a little more than I could handle (especially with 3 other kids sports schedules and me having to work). But being in 8th grade, I wanted him to have the opportunity to do so if he made the teams, which he did. We thankfully have another family who lives up here who also have a son on the team, so we are able to carpool. Praise God for car pools!

So today is the first game. WooHoo!! He was told yesterday, he would be in the starting line up for defense. He was hoping for offense. Oldest son said he just wasn't performing well with his shooting, so understood the coaches decision. He is open to learning defense, and will probably suit him just fine. He is thrilled to be a starter, no matter where it is. Well...... except for goalie. Can't wait for the game to day!! GO JAGS!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hubby is away

Hubby is out of town :(

I am always sad when my husband has to travel for business. This time he has traveled to California and will be gone for a week. I feel like half of me is missing when he is gone. My evenings are not the same. I guess for the next week I will have to curl up on the couch, rub my own feet, and spill out my day to myself. Now that will be a good conversation. LOL.

Hi me.
Hello me.
How was your day?
You know, you were there all along.
My feet hurt.
I know.
Can you get that spot?
No, I am tired.

Somehow, it is just not the same without my precious hubby. He is so good to me. I guess these trips make me realize just how blessed I am to have such a wonderful hubby. I love you, babe.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Football has arrived

Ahhh! Football season has arrived! I just love sunday afternoons that are lazy, sitting in front of the t.v., watching NFL football, eating cheese steaks, pizza and nachos! It is my absolute favorite time of year. Especially when it gets cold enough that we get a fire going in the wood stove. That smell of burning wood (especially apple or cherry wood) and hearing the crackling of the wood snapping in the back ground with the cheers of GO! GO! GO! TOUCHDOWN!!!!!! Followed by the victory dance that we join in with in the end zone. Well only if it is our team that is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We did it!

We did it! We made it through the first week of school. It was quite a busy week. I thought having all 4 kids in school, would give me a few mornings a week that would be quiet and peaceful. If this past week was any indication of the how the rest of the year is going to be. All I can say is ...."Lord, give me strength". It has been a very emotional week. I know things should change and as time goes should get easier. I pray.

Youngest son has just NOT enjoyed first grade. He came home saying "All we did was write, write, write, have a snack. Then write, write, write, then have lunch. Then write and write, and more writing. Then you picked me up." That was his first day's impression. The rest of the week followed with "Mom, I just sometimes start crying and I don't know why. I just want you" I think he is just so overwhelmed with having to go all day (versus his half day kindergarden last year) and having a lot less play time. He is all about play. He is also young for his age. This will be our first time having a child NOT want to go to school. Oh boy here we go.

Youngest daughter has cried several times, every day at school. According to her teacher it does not last long. It is just getting used to the new environment, the schedule, and making new friends. The hardest time for her is when there is free play. She just doesn't know what to play with and who to play with. That will all change the more she is there and the more friends she makes. The one encouraging thing is, she was upset last night when I told her she did not have school the next day. She really does love school. It is just the adjustment for her.

The older 2 boys are great with school. Oldest son has had a lot more homework. He told me he is committed to being proactive instead of procrastinating. He actually did all his homework friday night so it would be done for the weekend. Praise God!!! This was an area he struggled with last year. I was afraid he was learning he could cram it all in at the last minute and still get good grades. I am so thankful for this new attitude he has....I pray it lasts all year. He also made the middle school soccer team with one of his best friends. He is so thrilled to be playing for school instead of community ball.
Second son has had a great week too. It seems 5th grade will be pretty much the same as 4th grade, just different teachers and material. He came home and asked" Mom, can I still play in the band this year and play the drums again?" My response."Josh, you know our rules. You must play an instrument in the band." His response" YES!!(with an arm pump) your the best!" I wasn't exactly excited he chose the drums last year, but it is in the band. The research out there shows how important playing an instrument is to the learning process. So we gave in to the drums with the condition he learns to play the guitar. He agreed. We will hold off the guitar until 6th grade.
Well that was our first week of school. Ready or not, here we go.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Twas the Night Before School

Twas the night before school and all through the house not a creature was stirring..............

Well that last part was not quite right with this household. What a night we had. Three out of the 4 kids were just too excited and nervous to go to sleep. And the one who could sleep had forgotten to print out his 3 book reports that were due the first day of school.

Youngest daughter had so many questions. She would ask "Now, tell me again what kind of snacks I might have". And "what if I don't have to go to the bathroom at the bathroom break time. " Also "Is it ok for me to just say teacher if I forget my teachers name?" And so on for the next 2 1/2 exhausting hours. She finally drifted off to sleep at 10:30, much too late for my 4 year old.

We also had 2nd son who just could not get settled. He was just so ready to hop on the bus and see his old friends. Since school is 30 min. away for him, he gets lots of time to play his game boy with his friends. So he finally ends up in my bed and drifted off some time between 10 and 10:30.

Youngest son fell asleep quickly, only to wake up many times throughout the night. He finally settles completely by 3:30am.

Oldest son wakes up at 4am and says he just can't get back to sleep. Off to get some warm milk for him. He seems to settle down with that. Only to have youngest daughter wake up at 4:30am with all the same questions she had before going to sleep. AHHH!! Finally around 6am her questions are answered and she drifts off to sleep. Whew!

As I get ready to climb into bed, I realize it is time for me to go wake up the older 2 boys to get them off for their first day of school. And so my morning goes on with the little sleep, if any, that I had. Praise God it was not one of my work days where I would be responsible for patients lives!

I was a little anxious myself, especially with dropping youngest daughter off. She has been saying daily that she will cry when she goes to school. We talked about it and away to school she went. WITHOUT ANY TEARS!!!! So the morning goes on and I have a nice breakfast with some friends. It was a back to school celebration to reclaim our homes from the summer chaos.

I pick up youngest daughter and she did well. She did have 2 times when she had tears, but her teacher said it did not last long. Whew! Tomorrow will be a new test for her as she will need to stay all day. I will be glad when that day is over too. Now I wait until the time when I need to go get they 3 other boys from school and hear about their day. I think I will take a nap before then though. Good night!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Back to school night

It's back to school!! Well, for us it was just back to school night. Yesterday was a day filled with going to all 4 kids back to school nights. A chance to meet the new teachers, and new classmates. It was fairly simple for my younger 2. They will be going to the same school around the corner from our house. Youngest daughter was able to meet her new teacher, see her classroom, and see where her cubbie was. It soon became apparent to me that those were not the things that were most concerning to her with starting a new school. It wasn't until I saw relief wash over her that I knew what was most important to her. She had spotted that the classroom had several baby dolls and 2 telephones!!!! WHEW!!! I wouldn't say she is excited to start in her new school (she still tells me daily that she is going to cry at school) but I sense in her that she thinks it will be ok....someday.
My youngest son starts 1st grade and he is in the same school as last year. We went and saw his classroom and his cubbie, and eh... no biggie to him. No excitement no dread.
Next we traveled down the road to the older boys school. They go to school 30 minutes away. We decide we will tackle the new 5th graders schedule first. We go and find his locker and he sets it up just right. Then we go and meet his teachers, he switches classes, but stays in the same building. He was Mr. Cool. Oh yeah, I am back in my groove. Watch out SCS here I come!!
So onto the big 8th grader. We needed to get his schedule to make sure it was right. They had messed up earlier, no band....WHAT? NO BAND??? MOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!! . Whew! It was right. So off we go in the upper school building. Upstairs then downstairs, then upstairs, then downstairs, and so on. I think he needs to go up, then down every other class. Now that is one way to get into shape! We also found his locker and made sure it had the cool factor, boy style.... absolutely nothing on it, or in it! LOL!
All in all it was a great day/night and everyone feels more comfortable about where they are going to be spending the next 9 months. Mom included.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Broken dryer and spilled milk, PRAISE GOD!!

I have heard many times that we need to praise God not just in the good times, but also in the bad times. I have to admit, I generally understood the concept, but how could someone praise God for a broken dryer, or spilled milk? Those just seem to be annoyances rather than chances to praise God.

It's amazing when you keep God as your focus, how your perspective changes. God has been blessing us in amazing ways, and in so many ways. Some are huge blessings that you know could only be of God, to small blessings like a broken dryer and spilled milk. What????

A couple of days ago, my littlest daughter wanted to be a big helper (she loves helping mommy clean, and mommy loves the help cause, mommy doesn't like to clean) so she went to the dryer and cleaned out the lint tray. I went in later that morning to switch loads and did not realize she never put the lint tray back in. Needless to say a sock got sucked down the lint vent and jammed the dryer. NOOOO!!!! My husband was out of clothes, and I was planning on doing my laundry marathon that day. So I call the repairman. He will come the next day and I will have to go to Mom and Dad's to do a couple of loads. At least, we can all be appropritely dressed for the next day. In the midst of all that, hubby was talking to a friend and the friend found out our dryer was down. That friend (praise God for friends) came while I was at Mom and Dad's and fixed our dryer!!! WOOHOO no need for the serviceman! My husband and friend were able to go to the movies later that night and have some male bonding time. Much needed friend time that would not have happened had our dryer not broke. Praise God! Not only that, I had to clean up the laundry room to be ok for the repair to go into. So praise God I got a clean, orgainized laundry room that I was not planning on doing that day.

Oh and the spilled milk. My young son was preparing his own bowl of cereal, which he is capable of doing on his own. He had put the gallon of milk on the table in case he wanted a seconds. Hubby comes down and sees a huge puddle of milk on the table. AHHH! What happened? I was right in the kitchen and young son never mentioned a spill. He was as surprised as we were. So the investigation begins. Somehow when he put the milk on the table it sprun a leak. Praise God the leak sprung on the table and not in the refridge!! What a big mess that would have been to clean up. Whew!! So I just poured the rest into a pitcher, cleaned up the mess and sang praises to God for spilled milk on the table (and not in the refridge).

So praise God for broken dryers and spilled milk!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A day of rest

I love Sundays that I do not have to work. Lately, I have had to work too many of them. But today I was able to go to church, come home and take a nap. AHHHH!!! Time to restore my weary body. Matthew 11:28 says: Come to me all who are weary and burdoned and I will give you rest." Praise God that He knows we will become weary in this world. We need time to not only rest our bodies but also time to rest in Him. To "be still and know that I am God." I am one who needs frequent reminders of this. I tend to go, go, go and then wonder... why am I so worn out? Ususally it means I have not taken the time to adequately rest my body and rest in Him who restores, refreshes and refuels me.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Signed:Members of the Secret Service"

That was the sign we found on our door when we came home from Georgia and found someone (obviously the members of the secret service) or someones had come over and did a "while you were out" landscaping in the front of our house! Oh MY!!! It is absolutely gorgeous! These "members of the secret service" dug out, rototilled(?), weeded, hoed, and to top that off they put mulch down!! It has been years since we have had mulch down. Wow!! Another blessing that God did for us. He used those members of the secret service to bless us. Our first call was to our parents, and neither of them admitted to it, although they were honored that we thought it was them. So to anyone of you who may be Member of the Secret Service....THANK YOU!!!!! We were totally SHOCKED and AWED by what you did for us, whomever you may be. We were humbled by your acts of service.

Our family vacation- side events

We found other fun things for the kids to do before and after our time at the church parks, lots of swimming at the hotels, lots of make your own waffles at the free breakfasts.

We did one outing to a park that had ropes courses that had 3 levels. Beginner at 12 ft off the ground with minimal difficulty, intermediate at 24 ft off the ground with moderate difficulty (I did this one) like walking across a broken planked bridge or walking across a 2x4 piece of lumber with nothing to hold on to (you do have a harness on) and then the advanced at 40 ft in the air with challenging obstacles (crossing a 20ft span with giant rope loops about 2 feet apart that you have to swing in to get to the next one to get to the next platform). All the boys and daddy went through all the levels. My youngest son just amazed me at how he perservered. He struggled with several of the obstacles, but he didn't cry or get frustrated he just worked at it until he got across. He even did it without his pointer finger on his right hand ( he smashed that in a door the day before we left). I was so proud of him. My littlest daughter was too small to do that one so we took turns in doing the big ropes course and letting her do her tot size ropes course. Which she mastered cautiously the first time daddy took her. Then she cruised through it another 3 times. We then split and had girl time and boy time. The boys did more ropes course and the girls did some window shopping and took a scenic train ride. We met for dinner and watched a very unique lazer light show with fireworks. It was one of the most awesome shows I have seen. That was our big day out.

We also saw one movie as a family "Journey to the center of the earth" in 3D. That was a fun movie. My youngest daughter is still young and was ready to leave after 30 minutes. But she made it to the end with potty breaks and free refill of popcorn breaks.

During the trip, we were also able to visit with one of my best friends in high school and her family, and also visit with another guy (and his family)who went to my high school ( he went to the church we visited.....small world). It was great to swap names around with who kept in touch with who. It has been 19 years since I last saw him...yikes. But their family was absolute fantastic and had us over for brunch after church. It was a wonderful visit.

One of our breaks on the ride home, we stopped in a funland, for lack of a better description. The boys played lazer tag (little girl was too young), and the girls went for a go cart ride (and we crashed!! It wasn't supposed to be bumper cars! OOPS! At least I drove too fast and lost control on a go cart and not with the truck on the road! AAHHHH!!!!).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our family vacation- the main event

This year we had an unusual trip planned for our family vacation. It was not a beach trip. It was not a camping trip, nor a trip to the amusement park. This summer we left for a trip to Georgia to visit North Point Community Church. My husband was recently there at a conference they call "Drive". It was in regards to children's ministries. To make a long story shorter, our church is looking into using their curriculum for our children's ministry. My husband wanted me to have a first hand look at how it is delivered and received. Also to have our children experience it as well. That was our main purpose for this trip. We have been striving to put Christ first, to be Christ centered in our lives, in our marriage, in our parenting, in everything we do. So even in our planning of this trip we were making our main purpose Christ centered. Many people skip church during vacation (I know we have), but we were making that our purpose, our mission. We had many strange reactions when people asked "What's in Georgia?", and then we proceeded to tell them our purpose.

When we started out with our eyes on the Lord and our purpose for the Lord, our entire trip had a different feel. Our eyes were opened to all the blessings the Lord layed out before us. We were amazed at how many blessings there were! How God protected us, gave us a better hotel than planned with cheaper rates with free breakfasts. The traffic that is notorious, we breezed right through. Things that you knew could have only been God. Time and time again, our eyes saw God at work just to bless us. Now if that doesn't just make the trip the best in the world. WOW!

Our kids were better behaved stuck in the car for 12 hours, than they are when they have the whole house to escape from each other. Now that was a miracle in itself. We gained so much wisdom from this trip. My husband and I were listening to a sermon from Andy Stanley on the way home, and noticed our 12 year old had put his book down and was listening. Then a few minutes later our 10 year old says "Mom, can you turn it up, I can't hear it". I was blessed beyond words. Not many 10 year old boys are asking for you to turn up the volume to hear a sermon. To top it off, our 10 year old asked us questions about some parts he didn't understand. What a valuable, priceless teaching moment. Our God is so GOOD. I am just overwhelmed for what God did for us, how he showered us with His love and allowed us to see it. Praise God!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is it worth it?

Sometimes I just wonder..... Is it really worth it? I end up asking myself this same question everytime we get ready to go away. Is this vacation really worth all this hassle of getting ready?Packing for 4 kids, my husband, myself, the dog and the bunny. Now the pets do not go with us, but they still need to get packed up to go to their care takers. Plus getting the truck cleaned out, oil changed, tires rotated and balanced and filled with gas. Not to mention grocery shopping so you can have snacks on the road and maybe some drinks and fruit and some food for those who are STARVED first thing in the morning and can't wait to eat. Then there is the dollar store to get those travel games and fun prizes to be pulled out when the kids get bored. Then the video store to get movies so the older kids can watch while the younger ones nap. And we can't forget the post office to stop the mail so it isn't overflowing out your mailbox. Then we need to go to the bank and make sure all funds are transferred into the right account so we don't bounce anything while we are away spending away. Whew!
Ok now it is time to pack the truck just right so you know where everything is. Making sure to pack the snack and games accessible and the pillows in the seats to sleep on and the non essential stuff on the bottom. All this to find out we don't have enough room and need to pull out the cartop carrier and repack the truck again. Once the truck is repacked, it is time to load the kids up but after they use the potty. And we're off. OOps! No we aren't, we forgot to turn down the air conditioning and make sure all the doors are locked and the right lights are on and the oven is off. Ok now we are off and pulling out of the driveway. "Mommy, I need to go potty." It never fails, even after they have used the bathroom right before they loaded up in the truck. So I say to myself "Is it worth it?" My answer is always "You better believe it".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spending Time like Money

We have been known to not be very careful with our money in the past. If we wanted to run to the beach for the night and ride the rides and get a treat, let's go. If we wanted to go out to dinner because I just didn't feel like cooking, sure let's do it. Or if it was time to get a new book, off to the book store we would go. This summer my husband and I decided we are going to hunker down and be smart with our money. Do things that are more family oriented without spending money. We had already planned a getaway to the beach, and a family vacation to Georgia. We decided not to take those off the schedule, but to be more careful of what we did the other times.

This has led to many date nights with mom and a child or dad and a child. These times have been absolutely priceless. I have questioned my kids about all kinds of things and given them the comfort and freedom to express themselves. Even asking the tough questions "How is mom doing being your mom? What things bother you about how mommy parents you? What things am I doing well?" We do these dates throughout the year, but not as consistently as this summer.

On one of my dates with Josh he has noticed the difference of spending more alone time with his mom and dad. Even planning it on the calender "Mom, there is nothing going on next sunday afternoon, can we have a date then?" and then he puts it in ink on the calender. Well during one of these dates he was very observant and said to me "Mom, we are spending time like we used to spend money." How precious is that. I love the fact that my kids are noticing the difference and enjoying it. It reminds me how kids know more of what is going on than we give them credit for.

Monday, July 14, 2008


There are sometimes in life when I just need my girlfriends. I just went to the Women of Faith conference in D.C.. What an awesome time of bonding with my girlfriends. I look back at the weekend and just start to chuckle, remembering how a simple wave from another girlfriend in the other car had my car rolling in laughter the rest of the trip. It is just pure fun and enjoyment to laugh your hiney's off. To have those inside jokes where only you know what the others are saying. I need those times when I can laugh, and cry without any abandonment. Just to be me. It's the freedom in Christ that I am able to be who God created me to be. And to actually be that, not what I think I should be or what others think I should be. What an awesome gift God gave us when He gave us girlfriends. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my husband and kids, and all my family. But there are just sometimes when you need a girlfriend. To all my girlfriends out there; I love you and treasure what you mean to me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Has your spouse ever had an idea that they want to do and you are like "What?". You think they are off their rocker and totally lost their marbles. I am fortunate enough to experience those moments frequently. My husband is a big thinker, visionary guy. Which I absolutely love. It makes life very interesting.

Two weeks ago, my husband had another one of these "aha" moments when I was at work. He wanted to create a way of allowing the children to encourage one another when they have done something good, good attitude, selfless acts, gratefulness, etc. Wanting to build each other up as well as allowing us (mom and dad) to be able to show recognition to the children as well. His "aha" was to paint an entire wall with magnetic chalkboard paint. This way we can put our verse of the week on it, and the kids can write encouraging notes to each other, or anything that points us toward Christ. Of course this was his vision (I don't see inside his brain) and he decided to go to the hardware store pick up the paint and supplies with all 4 kids, come home paint the wall, and make a crazy video of it all before I come home from work. Talk about a crazy surprise!!!! Hi honey I'm home! What in the world is this???!!!!! Now luckily, I am not a freak out when it comes to this kind of stuff. It actuall is very cool to have a floor to ceiling entire wall chalkboard in your dining room. The kids have loved it. If I can figure out how to get the pics or video on here I will add it, so you all can see the craziness. Oh and the kids got to do graffiti all over the wall with markers and crayons, before he painted it. Life is never dull here.