Sunday, December 29, 2013

Special Memories

Trying for a family picture on a nicer day.

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Caleb showing off his custom made pillow from Uncle Preston!

Elyssia posing in front of the doll house that Daddy and her brothers built for the girls.

Caleb painting his box.

Kiersten and Elyssia painting their boxes.

Other fun activities this week included family devotions, singing Christmas hymns, reading books, enjoying delicious food, building Legos, Preston baking with Kiersten, learning how to knit, marshmallow gun fights that got quite crazy:), naps(a must have for this mama), learning how to play new board games, enjoying some old favorites and so much more. It was a wonderful week. All of the family headed out on Saturday.

The funeral on Saturday went pretty well. I went with my father in law and our two oldest children. There were quite a few people that we knew and many that we didn't. Scott was able to share how Russ got saved and we're praying that others will want to do the same. It's amazing how a person's testimony can have an impact long after they're gone. We pray the Lord would use it in a wonderful way.

Today was spent trying to get back into our normal routine, without all the extra adults. It's always a bit of a challenge for the kids to go from having so many to talk to and do stuff with, to just having mom and dad again. It wasn't too bad. There were a couple little people melt downs, but they're starting to settle down and it will soon be time for our devotions and bedtime. I'll admit that I'm looking forward to getting some sleep tonight. Hopefully everyone will sleep well and we can start back with school tomorrow. So many things to thank the Lord for as we say goodbye to 2013. We look forward to seeing what the Lord has for us in the New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Not sorrowing as those that have no hope...

This morning Scott got a phone call that our friend with Lou Gehrig's disease passed away last night. We'd spent the Saturday before last at the Manor with him, since he'd requested our family come for their Christmas party. He was definitely looking like it was hard to hold his head up and eating was even more of an effort for him than usual. He'd already lost the ability to lift up his arm to feed himself, but the swallowing was painfully slow. He smiled a couple times at the kids and if he'd been able to talk I'm sure he'd have loved to interact with them. We really don't realize how blessed we are to have the gift of speech and full use of our bodies until those abilities are lost. Many of us don't experience that, but I've had it in small doses during pregnancy, unexpected numbness, tendonitis, ears plugging, but it's nothing compared to the losses of our friend. The remarkable thing is that he told Scott he was actually thankful for getting the disease because he truly believed he wouldn't have gotten saved otherwise. In light of this last truth, I was praying that God wouldn't leave him to suffer too much longer. I was thinking this would be his last Christmas with us, but was a bit surprised that it happened before Christmas. The kids expressed thankfulness that Mr. "R" wouldn't have to suffer anymore, that he'd be able to walk and talk again. Caleb said, "and he gets to wear a white robe too!" So, amidst this Christmas season, we experience the loss of a friend, but don't sorrow as those that have no hope. We rejoice in the truth that he's with the Lord and look forward to seeing him again in Heaven. Please be in prayer for his funeral. We're quite sure that there will be a lot of people there and the majority of them are not saved. PLEASE pray that souls will be saved and lives will be changed because of "R's" testimony. He didn't live a life for the Lord, but the Lord can use his death to reach those that we'd never come in contact with otherwise. Please pray for his family as they have all the responsibilities of the funeral to go through during this Christmas season. The funeral will be after Christmas, but it's still going to take up much of their time and thoughts. Please pray for Scott and I that we will have wisdom in knowing how to help them and that God will give them the comfort that only He can give. That the Lord would give Scott wisdom and boldness at the funeral and that God's Word would not return void.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back into the deep freeze we go...

It was nice to have the temperature up for a couple days, but it looks like we're dropping back down. Today was -19 and I was told that it's supposed to be -24 or colder by the weekend. So, lots of warm quilts, snuggling the kids and staying inside:).

Today I had one of my last dr. Appts. for this baby. I'm thankful to have the unpleasant Strep B test done. I was so relieved to have it done that I forgot to ask the Dr. to see if he thought the baby was head down. I'll have one more appt. after at the beginning of the New Year and I'm pretty sure baby will be down by then. It's always nice to have a confirmation that the baby isn't breech though.

After the Dr. Appt. I had some groceries to pick up from Extra Foods. They recently started a rewards card program that sounded like it would be a really good thing. Unfortunately it has some big glitches and has been more of a frustration to the store and its' customers. I'm really hoping they get it figured out soon so that we can start saving money again instead of unexpectedly paying full price. I found out today that they were planning to do away with their family sale day, but thankfully there were a lot of people that vocalized their displeasure and it will be brought back next month. It makes a huge difference to our family food budget, so I'm thankful that others who found out about it spoke up. I'm really not one for confrontation and it was hard for me to ask to talk to a manager, but it was the only option I had left. I'd tried going through the website and also calling a rep for the card issues. I truly thought it was resolved, but found out today that more was needed. So, we have the groceries needed for our company, but I'll have to leave the next big shopping day up to Scott. Hopefully they have things worked out by then...

It might get a bit quiet on my blog for the next couple weeks. We'll be having family here and getting ready for the new baby. Busy, but fun times!

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends around the world that read the blog!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A touch of the flu?

I'm really hoping it's just me. Last night I wasn't feeling so good when I went to bed. I tossed and turned for a couple hours and finally got up to run a bath around 1 am. I thought it might be relaxing and help me to sleep. I've been having these late(or early) hour baths ever since my knee was hurt and they usually help. About 10 minutes later I was grabbing a bucket to empty my stomach contents. I was hoping that was it and got out to see about going to sleep. About an hour later I lost the last of my stomach's contents and was finally able to fall asleep. I'm a bit slower this morning, but not feeling like last night. It reminded me how thankful I am not to have been doing this from the beginning of the pregnancy. I'm also thankful that today marks the one month point to my due date. It could be sooner or later, but it's nice to have arrived at that point. The end is in sight and we're really looking forward to meeting this little one!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Addie's Vocabulary

Is finally growing! She will try to say whatever we do, but there are some pretty funny ones that she's picked up from her siblings. When something unexpected happens she says, "awww man!". She loves fruit-nanas, apps, owanges, etc... It's hard to keep any in the house once she finds out they're on the counter. She will point at pictures in a book and say, "appy!". Yes, anyone that is smiling must be happy:). She can say eyes, nose, ears, mouth, chin, knee, and my favorite, "eBow" She had her elbow and wrist confused for a little while, but it's super cute to listen to her figure out this talking thing. She can identify animals and sounds and loves to play with the ones we have. She asks daily for "snow" and loves to eat it. She has favorite songs during family devotions and loves to go "boom" like Goliath and fall down. She usually does it halfway through the song, but it really does speed things up:) She's indicating that she's ready to potty train because she will take off her own diaper and sit on the toilet or say stinky and pull at her diaper. She really doesn't have the timing of it down though, so we're not rushing her. We take her when she wants to go and we'll see how it goes once the baby is born. I didn't want to put all the effort into it only to have her go backwards once the baby was born and have to start all over. She loves books and can identify most things when asked. I understand the biblical advice of not comparing ourselves because she did take longer than a couple siblings, but we're enjoying her version of the English language as the Lord gives her the ability to use it:).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I'm quite sure that word describes perfectly what we're trying to do this week. Last week we were out almost every day of the week for different things we'd volunteered for, but it was really way too cold. This week has warmed up slightly, but we're staying warm at home. Cleaning up areas we've neglected, washing laundry, trying to get ahead with the schoolwork and trying not to let the kids extra energy drive us crazy:).

Sunday was really cold and we looked forward to getting inside the nice warm church. We noticed upon entering that it "wasn't" much warmer than outside... Thus began the investigation of the furnace. We found no obvious reason for it's lack of warmth and called the furnace guys. They were at another "winter emergency" and said they'd come around 12. We had a cozy service downstairs, hoping to keep a bit warmer and it worked as long as we kept our hats, coats, gloves and boots on:). Overall it ended up being quite a nice day. We had wonderful food and fellowship and everyone went home cheerful:). That evening we were scheduled for the Caleb Village Hymn Sing. I was thinking that I might be too tired, but the two younger girls and I took a wonderfully long nap in the afternoon and felt refreshed enough to go as a family one last time before the baby's birth. I'm very thankful that we did. The kids were exceptionally well behaved and everyone enjoyed visiting with them. I give all the credit to the Lord. We have lots of normal days with the kids not getting along, etc.., but this was not one of those days and we thank the Lord for it. We're thankful for the opportunity to have a ministry to the older generation and pray that they're blessed as much as we are by our monthly visits.

Other than that we've not had a lot of excitement. Scott found the chickens picking on one with a bit of blood and brought it inside. Thankfully it was not let down to wander or anything. The kids thought it was really neat and Scott kept it inside while deciding where to put it to keep it separate from the others. He found a solution and will be checking on it this morning to see how it fared all by itself. The animals are all doing quite well with the cold weather, which makes me think we're quite "soft" as the caretakers for keeping things so warm wherever we go:).

I can hardly believe that it's just 2 weeks til Christmas. We're really looking forward to spending time with the family!

Friday, December 6, 2013


It was -33 out today and I think they said it was close to -50 with the windchill. It was super cold last night when we took our van in to the dealership because the defrost quit working. We volunteered last month to help out at the Salvation Army Table and today was the big day. Elyssia and I had a 4 hour slot and Scott had a 3 hour slot. Thankfully Scott called in the middle to say that they found the problem with the van and I could pick it up when I was done. It all came down to our number one arch enemy on the farm. A MOUSE! It had built a nest in the air filter, which blocked it from defrosting. There are still things to be thankful for, in spite of paying the unexpected diagnosis cost. It could have been much worse and cost a lot more, if new parts were needed, which would require extra labor costs. So, Elyssia and I finished up, switched vehicles, went to the farm, picked up Scott and the other kids, headed back to town and dropped him off so that he could take the car over to Walmart. We then headed to get some hamburgers for supper, back to drop some off for Scott, then back to the gas station to fill up the van before heading home. I'm EXTREMELY thankful to be at home in our nice warm house now! It was quite cold at Walmart. Each time the doors opened it would let in the cold. We wore our coats the whole time and our gloves off and on throughout the 4 hours. Once again, I have something to be thankful for. The Salvation Army bell ringers in some places have to stand outside with the bells and pot. We at least got to be on the inside of the store and sit down:). I'm not sure how I would have stood for 4 hours in the freezing cold. Frostbite would have been bad:(. So, I'm off to put some little ones to bed and get under the quilts. Scott gets to come home in another hour and I'm sure he'll be more than happy to steal all the quilts:). Off to have a great rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Yes, you read that right. It got down to -24 today. I think it's going to get even colder tonight, but we'll be warm under our quilts:). Today we finished up our Christmas baking. There were snickerdoodles, shortbread, lemon crinkles, peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses, blueberry muffins and mint brownies. Don't worry about us eating it all though. We'll be making up plates soon and delivering them to neighbors, etc... I wasn't sure how much longer I'd have this much energy, so we also built a snow"man"? The snow was powdery and we weren't able to get 2 extra balls for stacking, so we named him our snow"humpty".

Scott was able to finish up the basement job in town, but had a Christmas gathering tonight. He came home to change, read Sugar Creek Gang and head back out. It was still quite early, so I got to be the "fun" parent tonight:). I let the kids watch a couple Chilly Willie episodes. Not sure what the kids see in them, but they sure think it's funny:). There are a couple little girls having trouble falling asleep, but it should be quiet pretty soon. All in all, a very good day!

Better late than never...

Here are a couple pics from Garrison and Addie's birthdays last month.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On the third day...

We received the gift of lots of snow! Scott and Caleb shoveled the driveway and it really wasn't all that bad. We really enjoy the first couple months of snow because it covers the ground like a wonderful quilt. I know that we'll tire of it eventually, but it's nice as long as it doesn't hamper travel for church and work. Scott was able to get out to work and had a fairly productive day. Hopefully just one more day of sanding before he can declare this job complete.

The kids and I had another fairly good day. There were crazy moments and not everyone got along, but overall I have much to be thankful for. We were able to finish the last load of laundry and head onto more enjoyable things:). Today we made rice krispie treats, samoa bars, grasshopper bark and russian tea cakes! The nice thing about baking is that when I do a lot of it I'm not really tempted to eat that much. I'm too busy making and cleaning up and too tired to think about it once I'm done for the day. The kids are getting to be more helpful each year and it was especially nice to let them unwrap all the caramels for the baking instead of sitting there doing it myself.

Garrison had a late spelling test. I was supposed to give it to him last Friday, but it got put off with all the busyness. He brought me the book and before I started we realized that he had looked at the wrong list last week. I told him to look over list 12 and we'd see how it went. I'm truly convinced that when it comes to reading-He has a photographic memory. He doesn't seem to have it with Math, but the other subjects come easily. He aced the spelling test after looking through it only one time! Amazing! That wouldn't have been me at his age. He also surprised us this morning in devotions. Scott was asking who Solomon's son was and whether the kids thought that he'd followed his father's instruction. Both the older two knew his name and history. He even brought out his picture Bible and was telling me about how he had lost a son too! I pray that we can guide this gift for the Lord's glory and not just Garrison's sake. It's a wonderful thing and we don't want to see him waste it.

Tonight I made pork fried rice for the first time. Only Caleb and Kiersten didn't think it was so good. The others all ate it and a couple took seconds. Caleb and Kiersten were more focused on the fact that it had peas in it and they truly consider that a crime! It's nice to have finally made it and to realize that it's not that much work after all. I think I'll try to do it with chicken next time. That's our favorite and I think we've only ordered Chinese about once each year that we've lived here. The nice thing about making it at home is that I don't have the same tired feeling that I get after eating the restaurant version. It may hit later on, but I think it's the MSG or something. Anyway, we ate early, the dishes are done and I'm off to enjoy the happy chaos that the kids like to manufacture each evening. Perhaps we'll even get to throw a couple of them in the tub tonight:))).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Making December Memories-Day 2

This morning the weather forecast was calling for bitter wind chill and blowing snow. It's our big grocery day, or so we thought... I got all the groceries and when I got to checkout they said that they hadn't received the sale coupons. I wasn't about to take it all back and put it away, so I just prayed that it wouldn't be too much over budget. It ended up being okay and it was a blessing to have the big grocery day complete. The weather was a bit icy, but it really never got as bad as they were predicting. We were home by lunch and had all the groceries put away fairly fast, since all the kids were helping. Laundry day is a bit delayed, but there are several loads complete, which is a blessing!

We tried to have a bit of a nap time, but only Kiersten fell asleep. I got up and felt in the mood to do some Christmas baking. We now have a double batch of Choc Crinkles, A double batch of sugar cookies, Pumpkin spice muffins and bread, and some Christmas roll wreaths that should be ready to go into the freezer tonight. They are a big part of our gift giving to those around us, so I'm thankful to be ahead of schedule for now. I think my mom used to start her baking in November, but we had a lot more neighbors and people at church to give plates to. There were lots of get togethers at our house and there never seemed to be a shortage of delicious desserts. I make some of the same recipes as my mom, but have also added quite a few new ones over the years. I really wasn't sure that I was feeling up to it this year, but the Lord gave me the desire and the energy, so I didn't want to waste it:).

Only one spelling test left to give Garrison tonight, then our school day comes to an end. It's such a blessing to have the flexibility that homeschooling gives on busy days like today. The kids experimented in cutting paper for snowflakes too, which was extracurricular art:))). I'll admit that we need a new selection of Christmas music put into the cd player. The kids have been playing the same one over and over and I'm thinking I'll make the switch after they go to bed tonight. I have some nice instrumental ones and then one of my brothers quartet that they put out at Christmas. I just need to locate them...

The kids had a lot of fun helping Scott to make a gift that we're mailing out pretty soon. They're learning more about carpentry with each passing year and it's neat to see their excitement(until it's time to sand-none of them seem to enjoy that). Several of the kids have a very hard time keeping things a surprise, so it's probably a good thing that the family is coming closer to Christmas Eve. Less chance of them spilling the beans before then.

An unexpected blessing is discovering that our 2nd son actually has a gift for remembering where things are. I have 4 who seem to lose everything or can't see things I send them for. This son, however, is quick to run out of the room and return with the item I'm needing! Hopefully more of them will improve in this area as they get older.

That about wraps things up for Day 2. I think the kids had a lot of fun helping with the cookies and I know they're looking forward to eating them later on. Hopefully I can keep Scott from eating them all straight from the freezer...

Making December Memories-Day 1

Sunday, Dec 1st was one to remember. It was the first day of switching to our winter schedule and the first potluck of the season. I made sure to have extra in case we had visitors. We had a relaxing drive to church and arrived to receive texts that at least two of the families were staying home because of fog and road conditions. It made for a very quiet Sunday, but we managed to make the best of it anyway. We really enjoyed the extra visiting time and the kids did really well at the Manor service afterwards. It really seems to cheer up the older people to see all the little ones and a couple people mentioned about how nice it was to hear the kids singing the hymns. Elyssia and Garrison are actually able to sing more on key and Elyssia can sometimes follow the alto part with me. Quite a difference from a year ago:). One of the nurses was very sweet and offered the kids a candy bar after we finished. I think that was the first time they'd ever had one all to themselves. They really didn't seem to have any trouble polishing them off though:))).

We arrived home around 3:30 and had a fairly relaxing evening. The kids didn't seem to need a nap, but we did some reading, Elyssia made some hot cocoa and the kids helped decorate the Christmas tree. I need to charge the batteries for the camera before posting pics, but I think it turned out quite nice. I was thinking that I might need to pick up a few more ornaments, but we did some homemade ones last week and I think it looks nice. We didn't put a lot of decorations on the back of the tree, but that's mostly because I didn't want the kids to have the temptation to go behind to look at them.

We had family devotions and read the next chapter of the Sugar Creek Gang. The kids are all enjoying this series and it's neat to see how the boys in the gang are looking for ways to witness to others and help out their families, even when they'd rather be playing something else. Lots of life lessons to pick up from them anyway.

I think we were in bed by 9 and it was a fairly good night, considering that I haven't gotten much sleep with the knee aching. I haven't been taking any Tylenol the past couple days and it's still a bit sore, but WAY better than it was. Praising the Lord for all the healing that He's done the past couple weeks.