Thursday, May 26, 2011

Graduation Preparations

Our oldest is graduating in 9 days!
I have been preparing and planning for months now.

Jordan went through our church directory 
and my address book to decide who to invite.
We stressed we wanted it to be the men he felt have had in 
impact on him during his years of schooling.
Piano teacher, guitar teachers, Sunday School teachers,
coworkers, relatives, etc.  We're so thankful
for all the many men that have had an impact on his life.

Then I asked Jordan to pick out colors to work with
for the decorating.
He picked red and yellow.

What FUN this has been for me! 
I absolutely love this part of parties.
My mind has been spinning with ideas.
We plan to have our ceremony and picnic outside.
I painted the lawn chairs.

I also wanted to make Jordan a scrapbook of his
school days.
Each day I've had goals to reach.  Last week was to
finish the album.  What perfect timing, the days
I had planned to work on it, were also days
that rained.  I wasn't tempted to run outside 
and work in the yard.

I had each of the boys, my fella and me write a short
note on the front cover.
This was so special.
My fella wrote:
Philippians 4:3
Dear Son,  You have been 
my  "true yokefellow" since you could
walk and talk, always available, always so willing.
You are now a man, and one of the most servant-hearted
individuals I know.  I love you Jordan and am so proud
of you!  Dad 
Psalm 84:11

Brendan wrote:
To my Best Pal,
It's kind of funny, I've been looking forward all my life to 
being done with school, and here we are, you done, 
 and me almost. It went fast!
Well, you have been my best friend and always will be!
We have had alot of great times, and 
I look forward to alot more.
Ephesians 6:6,7

What great memories that stirred up in each of us!

Now, I must get this house cleaned and the 
food preparations started.

We have 85-95 people confirmed to come.
Family from Maine and Connecticut coming.
Some surprise family flying in from CA.  Jordan doesn't know 
about this and will be so fun!
I'm so thankful for all the people showing their
love and support and sharing the day with us!

I'll post showing the decorations and things
I'm making after, I want my guests to be surprised  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twenty Pounds of Potatoes

The last big job was to get the potatoes in.
I still have smaller things like green beans, cucumbers
and squash.
I dreaded doing the potatoes, I
kept putting it off. 
This morning I woke up determined to get it done!

My fella had already rototilled  the spot.
I had to pull out the weeds that were left, 
hoe the rows and plant.

Addan came out and helped me.
I'm so thankful for times like this.
In a large family, it takes extra effort to spend time with 
each child.  This will be a time he remembers, especially
this winter when I remind him of how our work paid off in yummy
mashed potatoes and shepherd's pie!

I got the ground ready and hoed each row.
Addan came after me and planted all the seed potatoes.

He chattered away the whole time.
I'm usually so busy that I often don't really hear their chatter.
I know this is bad!!!  That's why these times are so nice
to have together.  I had nowhere to go and he had my
full attention.

"Mom, can I start burying them?

The job is done and it ended up being a fun time together!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our First Peep

I'm so excited, one hatched!
After many years of trying, this year we finally got one!

The first year, the power strip got turned off.
Last year, I knocked the incubator over and the eggs
all smashed!  
So this year was going to be my final attempt!

Yesterday was day 19.
Day 18 you stop turning the eggs.
They can hatch on days 19-21 so this one was on the 
early side.

Needless to say, there was TONS of excitement all day
today.  Jordan said he could hear the peeps
all night.
It was funny hearing the peeping coming from inside the eggs.

This evening, one egg started chirping loudly and 
moving pretty consistently.
Addan was so excited (the younger guys all
were but Addan just stood and watched the whole process)!
Here's the process.
This is egg #1.
It cracked early today.

This is egg #2.
It started to crack after supper this evening.

Then all the sudden it started moving around and peeping

Addan kept telling me what was going on step by step
of the process.

"Mom, look it just started to crack more!"

"Mom, come look!  I can't believe it, I see feathers!"
It's almost all out!

Yeah!  It's out!  
It's shell was stuck for a bit and it was dragging it all around
the incubator.  I was a bit nervous
about it bumping and moving the other eggs.
Finally it came detached and just rested some.
 Once it was
dry we moved it under a heat lamp.

I feel like a new Mom,
I keep running over to make sure it's breathing
and warm.  :)

What fun excitement tonight.
I'm sure there will be more to come as I can hear
peeps when I walk by the incubator.

Hopefully we'll wake up to egg #1 hatched.

Disappointments and Memories

What a memorable weekend!
Friday and Saturday I worked on the gardens.  
My goal was to get the main garden done and the tomatoes in.
I wanted to get the potatoes done too but didn't 
get to that so that's still on the to-do list.

Friday I got the main garden done. 
Man, my back was killing.

Saturday was a busy day.  It started by me
dropping off the 3 middle boys to a friend's house.
Last year we got 9 free passes to Knoebels 
(a family fun amusement park) and because
we have so much to do and the older guys have softball, we
knew we couldn't fit a trip in.  So I offered the passes to our
friends and they volunteered to take 3 of our boys.
They were SO excited!
After dropping them off and a yummy breakfast by me fella,
I started working in the yard.
My fella and the older guys got me a load of mulch.
So I mulched and planted tomatoes.
The closer garden is the tomatoes and the
one closer to the chickens is going to be the potatoes. 

Jordan and Brendan were working in the driveway.
Jordan's retaining wall caved in over the winter so he was
working on repairing that.
My fella suggested widening the side parking spot on the driveway.
So Brendan started that project.
He was using the pick ax to get the dirt loosened.
It was extremely hard as it was years and years of dirt that was 
plowed over and then driven on.
As he was digging and pulling the hard ground,
a rock shot out and hit him in the  shin.
It got him pretty good.
Brendan's very good with blood and injuries (good thing 
as he's had the most!).  
He taped it up but was limping around after.
I saw the cut and it was enough to make my stomach turn
(but that doesn't take much!).

The older guys and my fella left after lunch to do some windows
and help set up at church.
Our church was having a big day on Sunday and they 
signed up to help set up.
Then from there they were going to the softball game.
The plan was for me to meet them there.

Addan and I finished mulching the gardens, got cleaned up 
and headed out.
When I got to the softball game, Brendan was just sitting on the bench.
I ran over to him and he said his leg was really in alot
of pain and he wasn't playing.
My heart hurt for him.
I know how much they look forward to playing!
It was a good game too!
Jordan pitched the whole game!
That makes me so nervous!
Our team won that game!  How fun!

Yesterday, Sunday, was the big day at church.
A man was coming with 5 big inflatables! 
A big slide, jousting pit, bouncy tent, etc.  
Our boys had been looking forward to this for many days!
Of course, each church meeting for many weeks, we've all been hearing 
and planning for it!  This added to their anticipation.

Many, many bus children came to the event! What a blessing 
to have so many children hear the message of Jesus' love
for each of them!
The original plan was for the bus children to have a chance on
the inflatables and then once they were done,
the church families' children got a turn.

Addan has been sitting each night at home, looking at the little
flyer that was being given out.  It had pictures of each of the inflatables
and he chattered away to us telling us which one he was excited
to go on.  He was counting down the days.

Well, because there was so many extra bus children brought in, and it
started to sprinkle so the inflatables had to be
taken down early;  the church children never got their turn.
Later in the day, I asked Addan if he had a fun day.
He burst into tears saying he didn't get to go on the 
inflatable slide.  I was so sad for him, remembering him each 
night looking at the flyer with excitement.
It was a good lesson to teach him that life isn't always how
you hope.  Things always let you down.  Then try and focus on the
blessings you did receive!  I tried to point out the fun
he had with his friends,  the yummy cotton candy and the joy 
of seeing others have fun.  
Granted, I know it's a learning time for Addan but my heart
was very sad inside for my little guy!

After the church yard was picked up, we stayed and played volleyball with 
two other families! What fun times with friends!

We finally got home around 8pm, unloaded the van and grabbed some 
snacks and sat outside on the patio together.
What fun memories sitting and each of us 
sharing about the fun of the day.
As sky got dark, we headed inside and headed to bed.
What a fun weekend of lessons and memories together!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Family Password

While chatting with a friend at church this past Sunday, I mentioned
our family password.  She asked what that was.
I proceeded to explain to her what I heard
many years ago.  We implemented it years ago when our
oldest two were around 7 and 9 years old.

You have a password, a special word that your family will remember.
It can be any word but a child friendly word is best so he'll 
remember it.  Drill that word into your child's head.
I would randomly ask at any moment, "What's the password?"
While we're driving along, I'd ask for the password.
During supper, "What's the password?"
Any time, until it became a quick reply.
Then we started the "What ifs".  This helped reinforce the password.
The point of the family password is to keep the child safe.
Children are very trusting and very curious.  Sickos are aware of this.
So if a stranger were to ask or tell the child something, they can safely ask 
for the family password.  If the stranger doesn't know it, this will 
cause the child to be safe and take matters safely into their hands (hopefully).

While eating our lunch, we'd ask the boys about this what if.
What if you're outside in your yard and a car pulls up.  It's someone you
don't know.  They ask you to come over to the car and help unload some food 
they have for your family.  Our boys are very helpful so their natural response 
would be to help.  So we tried to teach them to run into the house and get us.
NEVER go over to a car of someone you don't know!!!

What if you're out and someone comes up to you.  They say that your
parent sent them to go get you.  The child would then ask for the family password.
If the stranger doesn't know it,  the child would know the parent didn't send the 
This would be good for children that walk home from school or a friend's home.
If a stranger pulled up and said the parent got hurt and sent them to pick them up,
they could ask for the password.  If the stranger didn't know it, teach the child to RUN
FAST from that car!!

There are SO many what ifs you can do with your children, all with the goal to keep
them safe.
Children will trust anyone unless trained not to.
We don't want our children fearful but cautious.
The time chatting about the what ifs also created a fun memory of chatting together.
Hopefully a child will NEVER have to use the password but it 
never hurts to be prepared.

Note: If you use the family password, be sure that YOU remember that.
If you do need to send someone to your child, be sure you tell that person the

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motherhood Blessings

I was going to write about this topic weeks ago
but had computer problems on the very day I was going to post it.
Then life has gotten wicked busy.
I've barely written on here and knew this post would take much
thought and prayer to complete.
This morning, I really felt it was the day to write it.
I was reminded last evening of the topic.

Yesterday was Mother's Day.
My husband and boys have always made the day very special for me.
I'm truly blessed to have them in my life!

Last evening in church, one special song was sung by a mother
and her three young daughters. The song was all about 
how quickly time goes and the memories made during the years
our children are home.
While it was being sung, I could  sniffling.  I looked over and it 
was my husband!  Then he reached forward and rubbed my oldest son on his back.
He also was crying!
I think it's hitting both of them that our oldest is graduating next month and change
happens rather quickly.

When our oldest boys were younger, we studied and searched for child 
training information.  We truly feel God's Word is thorough in every 
area of life, including rearing our children.
Both my fella and I grew up in "church"  homes and in church.
Many  peers I grew up with and my fella grew up with either 
went through a time of rebellion or have totally rebelled away from the Lord and His Word.
We did NOT want this for our boys.  
Too much is at stake (eternity)!!

As our boys got a little older and we began to gather our convictions
on rearing our boys we heard many comments.
"You're sheltering too much!"
"Boys will be boys!"
"Just wait until those teen years!"
"Rebellion is normal for teen years!"
We even heard that we "worshiped" our family.
Man, this was "encouraging"!
Yet the Lord is so good!
He always sent a family or book or some bit of encouragement along as we needed it.
We continued to pray and plead with the Lord to help us.
We KNOW we're so far from perfect and do not have all the answers.
 (I once read sheltering is keeping our children away from
negative influences while directing them toward positive ones.   Sheltering
is a good thing!
Some things just seemed so simple to us and so basic yet why did 
we feel like we were the "only ones" doing it? 
(We know we aren't but at times it felt like it!)

My fella has been the one to sacrifice much!
Because we have all boys, he's been the one to do most things with them.
I'm so thankful for a focused husband.
At times, I've wanted to give in but he sees the long run picture of things.

These are just some of the things we've decided along the way
that helped keep our boy's hearts.
*Our boys always sit with us during church meetings.

*We do not allow the boys to go to peer aged parties without one of us 
or without an older sibling.  (We're finally to the point that our oldest
can go and supervise and drive the younger boys to a friend's party).

*NO sleep-overs, either here at home or at a friend's.

*We chose not to allow the boys to participate in league sports
(this one is very touchy so I won't go there!)  :)

*My fella trained the boys to work and to work hard!

*Once the boys became teenagers and were able to start attending our 
church's youth group, my fella sat in there each week to keep an eye on things.
Some say it's because we don't trust anyone else so we have to be there.
That is not true!  I know there are other adults that would do just as well as us and 
maybe even better.
But we feel our job is to keep our children's hearts.
We know our boys have sinful hearts and therefore need to be watched.
Who knows a child better than a parent?  We can see just by looking on our boy's faces
if there is rebellion.  We can see if there is a struggle to do right. We know 
our boys.  We want to be there for them each step along the way.
This is just something we decided right from the start!
It was a huge sacrifice for my fella. 
The youth group met at the same time as the church choir.  My fella
enjoys singing.  So this meant he had to quit choir to attend the youth 
group.  But he felt it was the best for our family.
At first he just began attending the youth group.
He was later asked to lead the group.
This meant planning activities, going to camp, etc.
This also meant lots of more time to sacrifice!
It's been such a blessing to be involved in every activity with our boys.

*We have chosen to home school our children.

*Our television is used only for approved movies.  We do not have cable
and only get a couple of channels.  These are highly supervised for special 
sport games and the commercials are turned off.

*Our boys do not have phones, computers or other communication
devices until we feel there is a NEED to have one.  
*We try to praise character over achievement!  Our culture
praises achievement in many areas-sports, good grades, talents, etc.
While we stress it's important to do our best, it's better to have 
godly character than an A.  It's God who has blessed us with our abilities, NOTHING
of our own merit.
*Our boys don't date.  We feel dating is meant to be done with the goal of
marriage.  Until our boys are ready to provide and lead a girl emotionally,
physically, financially and spiritually  there is no need to date around.
They can be friends with girls but it is very watched and cautious.
(I chose the word date.  For me, "date" means to form any kind of attachment
with the opposite sex.  Emotional dating can be just as damaging to young people).

These are just a few things that have helped us during our boy's teen 
years.  Of course, if the ground work is not done in the younger
years, these can't be done successfully!  
If the child is not taught to obey completely when young, they
won't all the sudden obey the rules given as a teen.
If a young child is not taught to fear and respect authority, they won't
all the sudden obey and respect authority as a teen or even as an adult!

I am not saying these are the "tricks" to guarantee your children "turn out as you've trained
them."  These are just some things we've done with the goal of keeping
our boy's hearts.  I'm sure there are many more that we could of done better
 but these are the ones I could think of that we've tried to stay focused on
doing when the "pressure" was not to do them.   Each family has to come
up with their own standards for their home as they see best fits their lifestyles.
But remember, as a Christian, you will give account for your home!
This is NO easy task!  It takes focus, wisdom,  constant attention and prayer!!

Now as we plan our oldest son's graduation and party,
it's a time of rejoicing and gladness.
Jordan has been a total blessing and joy in our home.
He's become a friend to my husband and me.  I constantly ask him for advice and help
and am always pleased with the response.  
He's becoming more and more independent and becoming a help
to others around us.  What a joy to see others begin to be blessed by our son!

Of course, we are not done as we have 7 other boys that are still under our care.
Each day I pray our home will be pleasing to the Lord and our boys will
always live 100 percent for God and by His Word!  What a HUGE task we
have as parents! 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will 
not depart from it.    Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring Fun

I've been super busy these last few weeks. 
This poor blog has been terribly  neglected.

Today I took a break from some sewing and went outside 
in search of some violets.
I was going to try and make some sugar coated ones
to put on a dessert I'm making for the Ladies' Tea at church Saturday.

Today was a gorgeous day!
We've had so much rain that the sun seemed extra cheerful!

See what we found in the back field.  It was safely
snug in one of the pine trees.
Mom bird flew off the eggs for a bit for us to all take a peek.

We didn't find any violets in the back field.
BUT we did find some on the edges of the pond.  
Addan followed along with me, chattering away about his day.

After we found enough vioelets, I went inside and followed a recipe.
It was a flop.  Nothing really wasted but it was a fun time 
with the boys.

My fella tilled one of the vegetable gardens on Saturday.
Look how wonderful it looks!

The ground is so dark and ready to be planted!
Our frost date is June 1st so the warmer veges have to wait.
I have some spinach, lettuce and peas 
tucked neatly under that nice dirt though.

I just love the warmer days of spring and the treasures around us.