To my faithful followers (as few as you may be)

OK, LaDonna, this one’s for you (and Rose, who is apparently the only other person besides you to follow me!)

I have been swamped lately. That’s my continual excuse for not writing. Not writing here, that is. I did just write a “2500 word or less memoir” and submitted it in a contest. Don’t expect a follow up on that! ūüôā

Actually, with baby Israel projectiling half of everything he eats on to me, my mother-in-law’s recent visit, HAILEY’S ENGAGEMENT (!), and a plethora of random appointments, I really have been swamped.

Wait- did I mention HAILEY’S ENGAGEMENT? My girls have been begging for her room since she met her husband-to-be (Mike Lindell- sorry, it’s official so you, Mike, are officially blog material now!) last October! These lovebirds can’t wait to exchange their first kiss (ever!) at the altar, so no long engagement here! 11 weeks (9¬†now) and busily counting down! In all truthfulness, I believe the Lord brought these two together and they are a great match for each other.¬†But we all know what that means (all three of us married ladies that is, LaDonna and Rose!)…as iron sharpens iron! Growth hurts, even with the person you love the most in the world- let the good times begin!

Adrian leaves for ALERT in 3 weeks. If he wasn’t flying home for the wedding, we wouldn’t see him until mid-November. Fortunately, he will be able to fly home to be in the wedding so we’ll get a couple of days with him. His first class is SCUBA Career Diving. How do I feel about Adrian diving 150 feet into black water with God only knows what creatures, relying on oxygen in his tanks HE has calculated the appropriate of dive time¬†and depth¬†for? Let’s put it this way: When the kids went on their yearly trip with my parents, I told them (about 100 times) “DO NOT FALL AND DIE IN CRATER LAKE! I would much rather have had you fall and die in the Grand Canyon a few years ago, but don’t die in deep water!” That about says it all.

OK, so just some quick tidbits:

How is it possible that precious, tiny baby boy has MAN GAS?! I was sitting on the floor last night with Israel between my legs talking to Mike & Hailey. The next thing we hear is Israel erupting ferociously!¬†(How that does not hurt his body is beyond me.) My only comment was that I wish he wouldn’t do that with his booty less than a foot from me. Like anyone who didn’t know him would think those noises came from that precious little thing!

So this wedding thing is a lot of work. Hailey always wanted a small wedding, so we are trying hard to grant her that wish. Mike’s list of family and friends has about 70 people on it. SO HOW IS OUR GUEST COUNT AT 250??? I went with them to register at a few stores. It gave me an idea about how to extract information from supposed terrorists. Send them shopping with ga-ga eyed, indecisive, can’t let-go-of-your-hand-so-we’ll-have-to-pick-up-this-crystal-vase-together twenty-somethings. In no time we will have the names and addresses of every terrorist cell in the U.S. because the torture is cruel beyond measurement. Enough said on that.

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(Mike & Hailey)

I was looking at some old notes on my phone the other day and found a sweet story I think I’ll insert at this point. On April 9, 2014 (Presley would have been 7 1/2), Clara and Presley had got in trouble for¬†playing the “blame game” over who lost a DVD they wanted to watch (which happens way too often in this house- losing the DVD not the arguing- I hope). Presley came to me sobbing, telling me that she didn’t want to have sin in her heart. I was busy, so I told her to go pray, that talking to God in a quiet place was just like talking to me. “Do it in a quiet place, and He will hear you,” I said. Well, I quickly forgot because I became engrossed in whatever had me occupied before she came in. About a ten minutes¬†later, she came in and stood next to me. When I realized she had returned from¬†a specific mission, I stopped and asked her, “Well, what did He say?” She replied, “He told me to do what I know is right.” And that was it. So matter-of-fact that it took me by surprise. I wish I would get such clear answers in ten minutes!

So Little Adrian and J’onn are salty not sweet people. I mean that a literal sense (no, I have not licked either one lately- or ever- I hope), I just mean¬†they prefer to eat those flavors. Because I had brought the little kids some candy, I also brought J’onn a Push Pop- the only candy he’ll eat. For those of you who don’t know, a Push Pop looks like this:

¬†and the sucker inside pops up to be slathered on by drippy, sticky tongues. Well, Eva¬†(still two-years-old)¬†had finished her Goobers, and apparently that was not enough for her. She came into my school room and grabbed a glue stick, that looks very similar in shape and size to her brother’s Push Pop. As I turned and realized what was happening, she took the first lick. Needless to say we had a discussion about glue and why we shouldn’t eat it. Yum.

Speaking of snacks…

Madeline is hilarious. She’s been speaking in sentences lately. Kind-of. Today we were in the car and she spoke a new sentence. I’m guessing she¬†picked up on¬†something from her toddler Sunday School class because she¬†said (while signing the word for EAT): “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak.” I understood her instantly (which often doesn’t happen). Wait- how sad is it that I speak Ga-Gan? Anyway, it was obvious she said “It’s time to have a snack.” So we laughed as I told her, Goosey, it’s time to have a snack,” and she would relpy “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” It became even more funny when I SPOKE Ga-Gan to her: “Goosey!¬†Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” (Major laughter…followed by) “Mom! “Ga-Gan ga Gan ga nak!” Eventually we went through the DQ drive-thru and I let her finish my snack:

I would have shown you the video of her speaking Ga-gan to me, but I DIDN’T press the video button to record it UNTIL I was done, when I ended up recording my hand as I put my phone down. Oh well, you know the old saying- “Don’t drive and do videography at the same time.”

I wish that writing, surfing the web, and online shopping was conducive to weight loss. Unfortunately I think it has the opposite effect, especially since I like to snack while “working” on my computer. Why would they deceptively call it surfing then? Like Marcia’s delicious taco salad, or my mother-in-law’s strawberry salad- neither encourage weight in the right direction as salads should, but both are so yummy! My excuse for that right now is, “I just had my tenth kid!” I figure I can say that until he turns two. I’ll have to come up with something else at that point. And the only other thing I have to say about that is, “Nice timing for wedding photos, Hailey & Mike. Thanks!”

Ok, well I actually have “real” work to do here, so I need to go. I hope this was enough for now, my two adoring fans. ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Strangers

Well, looking back I can see that I have not written anything for about 3 months. My kids have been bugging me to write something new. While there has been plenty to write, writing time has been in short supply.

I’ll start by announcing that Israel Arrow Tristan was born at 5:52 pm on March 14, 2016! He was 7 pounds, 7 ounces (my smallest boy), 19 3/4″, with plenty of blonde hair. He’s very sweet and pretty easy overall. Here are some proud mommy pics:

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Newborn

Israel little bro tee

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Easter

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So now he is 3 1/2 weeks old- and time flies! There are already precious outfits he has grown out of. Adrian has been¬†talking about having another one. Hmmm…. The scale tells me to wait a bit, I’d feel better if I lost this baby weight first! But having him reminds me that life’s greatest blessings are in no way material, or financial. In fact, our “standard of living” takes a hit each time we have a baby! But they are worth every penny.

Q. “So, are you done?

A. The “agony” of pregnancy is worth every limp I take, every Zofran I pop so as not to throw up (Thank you, Lord, for providing medical assistance as our DNA deteriorates!), every sleepless night because my hips hurt so bad, each horrible Tums I choke down every time I lay down to ease the heartburn. Motherhood is a sacrifice from day one of pregnancy, one that the Lord has yet to tell me to proactively prohibit. So even though responses are not always positive (“What were you thinking?”), it’s nobody else’s business, and is determined by God, and my obedience to what God has instructed us to do;¬†not by what I, or Adrian, or anyone else thinks is best, no matter the¬†justifications. Am I done?¬†Well, He has yet to limit my ability to carry a baby. So am I done? The article I read yesterday about motherhood was entitled: “Is 50 the new 40?” I have 9+ years to go to reach 50. So then, am I done? The bottom line is this: I am done if the Lord returns soon (Maranatha!). If He tarries, well, I just don’t know, but I am available for whatever the Lord chooses.

My friend, Amber, shared a blog article that I appreciated. It’s not long, and it is worth your time. [A side note to the article: I agree with it 100%, my only caveat is that people should be walking with¬†the Lord, meaning also raising their kids unto the Lord as well. Many are not (even “Christians”), and therefore may not be ready to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). I highly recommend the book, The Faithful Parent,¬†by Peace & Scott to understand Ephesians 6:4 on a deeper level.]

God Created Birth Control

What else…

J’onn likes to wink. If I tell him “Thank you” for something, he’ll turn and give me a wink that says, “No problem, Mom, anything for you!” He winked at Clara the other day, and the wink was follow by: “That’s how I get all the girls.” Not quite sure how to address that one.

Eva is still so much fun. The opposite of being jealous of the baby, she thinks she’s his other mom. She really wants to breastfeed him, it has yet to work how she wants it to. The few times she has brought him to me, he’s been in the upright position (phew!). She gets bugged with me that I control bath time, but as a responsible parent I don’t see letting that one go. It is precious to see how much she loves “baby Israel.”

The other day I bought a new fruit basket- two tiered- for the kitchen table. And then I actually bought fruit to put in it. I mixed the fruit up and it looked great. Then it was Presley’s turn to clean the kitchen. After her true fashion, the next time I saw the fruit it was an lovely rows, organized by type, lined up like soldiers. I could not help but think of Hailey. But, Hailey would have probably put each kind in separate Ziplocks before putting them in the basket.

Clara just turned 13. I have nothing more to say about that because my fear overwhelms me.

Tristan’s birthday was March 23. He’d be 17 now. I am thankful he is with Jesus, but my heart still hurts, and I miss him terribly. I’m sure it will until Jesus wipes all my tears away some day. There is an obvious hole in my heart and in our family that I am thankful for. I am thankful that the hole reminds me of my boy. It reminds me that he is healed and with his risen Savior. It reminds me that this world is not my home, and my goal is to go to where T already is. So as much as this hole in my heart and in my family hurts, it is a blessing as well.

Speaking of Tristan…. Sometimes I am surprised he and Cory have never met. Cory got in trouble the other day and reported to our room wearing four pairs of shorts under his pajama pants. Tristan did that once, too. All I can do is laugh.

The older kids are well. They are so busy. Hailey works A LOT, and manages to keep a social life (yes, Mike is still in the picture!), so I rarely see her. Adrian went back to Texas in February/March to finish ERT at ALERT. He goes back in June for Diving and EMT-Basic. Right now he is working at McD’s and Spokane Gymnastics. Madeline is the same (no news is good news for her!).

Regarding my comment about Clara….

I’m not actually scared of her teenage years. Satan has filled our heads that teenagers are supposed to rebel and act out, etc…. Clara loves Jesus and is growing in Him. Rebellion is as of the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23), and my kids know this fact. Maturing and becoming more independent is one thing, rebellion for the sake of rebellion, or self-centeredness, or pride, is sin. Sin is something that needs rooted out of all our lives, not justified (“because they’re in those teen years”), or coddled. I know that if she is seeking God’s will for her life, Clara will be just fine.

I am racking my scattered brain to remember some of the funny things the kids have done lately. After each one occurred, I thought, “I need to put that on my blog.” And now I can’t remember. Maybe after a nap….

Big as a Rhino

When my older kids were younger and we were reading through Psalms in school, we always had a laugh. Presley (9 now, probably 3 or 4 back then), would thoroughly entertain us without her even knowing it. At the time, she’d just be playing while we were singing and reading, but I always knew she was paying attention. For example, Psalm 3:

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
    there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

5 I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

7 Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah

I would read verse 2, “… there is no salvation for him in God. Selah,” and we would hear Pressy’s little voice yell, “LAA!” Every time I said Selah, she would yell “Laa,” and we would all stifle laughs because it was so cute.

So I am not a cook. I don’t like to cook, in fact just writing this down stresses me out. I understand part of my job is to provide food- mashed together into meals- for my family. But I did not grow up with that influence, and have learned very little of the¬†art of cooking as an adult. That means I start to get anxious¬†daily- every time I realize I have to make dinner (especially on nights we have church things going on where my time is limited).

Apparently dinner is very important to Cory (5 1/2). For the last several weeks, every day, he tells me “Mom, it’s 4:40,” or, “Mom, it’s 4:29.” It’s always 4-something. He follows this declaration by informing me it’s almost dinner time. (Apparently he picked up somewhere that dinner time should be 5:00- although that’s a little early for us usually.) If I don’t respond as immediately or as enthusiastically as he would like, he asks¬†me, “So what are you going to make?” Ughh!

As innocent as his inquiry is, it stresses me out! His dad, however, knowing full well about my cooking aversion, is terribly proud of him, and since I pointed the routine out to him, has done nothing but encourage it. And it’s not like he’s hungry (snacks are readily available in this house)- he’s just into dinner. I need to stop writing about this, I’m getting stressed out!

Ok, so last night, Eva (2 1/3) and I Googled images of baby African animals. She loved to look at them and talk about them (her vocabulary and speaking skills are off the chart). But she fell in love with this picture:

mom n baby rhino

She would not stop saying this:

“Look, Mom, it’s me (and she’d point to the baby)! and it’s you (and she’d point to the mommy rhino)! That’s all fine and well except how perfectly it fits. Eva is a little tank- just like this baby rhino. She came out that way. I am almost 32 weeks pregnant with my 10th baby. I am also a tank- one comparable to an adult rhino. I don’t need the visual reminder from my two-year-old about my largeness!

The other picture she liked was of a mommy and baby cheetah:

baby cheetah

Once she could no longer laugh, she fake-laughed at this picture. Even now she just said “Oh, that’s me! That’s you! I’m on your head!” I definitely prefer this picture to the rhino one. It’s fairly¬†accurate as well, I’m pretty much a jungle gym for Eva.

The last thing I’m going to update is about this little baby, Israel. He was breech at my 20 week ultrasound, and he hasn’t moved since. I’ve never had a baby breech this long. So in a month they’ll do another ultrasound to see if he’s decided to move. If not, I’ll be in the hospital at 37 weeks to try and move him manually. (They do it in the hospital because occasionally it stresses the baby out and they need to do an emergency C-Section). So, that’s new for me. Anyway, we’ll see what happens I guess.

I hope you enjoyed the holidays. We did, but as always, I am glad they are over and things are back to “normal”- whatever that means in a household of this size.

Seahawks and Santas- Rated PG-13

Well, it’s been a while. Now that Thanksgiving is over and the even busier weekend following that is winding down, I thought I’d post before Christmas totally kicks in.

A while ago, J’onn and I were walking into Target. While in the parking lot he saw some “sea hawks.” I told him yes, we call them seagulls. “Oh. Well if they were at a bay, they’d be bagels!” And he cracked up. I had to agree and laugh as well. His brain is so funny sometimes.

The following is the PG-13 part:

Last night, Cory came into the school room where I was working at my desk. He, with a very puzzled look on his furrowed brow exclaimed, very intensely,”Mom, Santa’s not really real is he?” “Well,” I replied, “He was real. He was a real person who lived a long time ago. He did so many nice things for kids that ever since then, grown-ups have bought their kids presents and pretended they are from the real Santa.”

At that point, his face melted into relief and he said, “Right! So you just order them from Santa!”

“Ok, sure.”- apparently he was not as ready for that conversation as I thought. It is revealing about how impressed we are by our culture though. Santa has never delivered presents at my house (why would I give¬†him credit for giving my kids joy?), but they still know he should come.

Spokane recently experienced one of its worst storms ever. This wind storm downed trees and power poles causing over 180,000 people to lose power and it took many 10 days to regain it. We scraped by, never losing power, with shingles blown off our shop roof and an incredibly dirty house (the wind plastered dirt everywhere- the car wash lines were amazing). During this time, our restaurant was super busy, because no one had heat or food- or a way to heat up what food they did have.

OK, so, that’s what’s been going on in our house. I’d write about Hailey’s boyfriend, but I don’t think she’d like that. The whole experience of “courting” has really thrown her for a loop- it goes against her anti-change mantra. But I will say it has been fun to see her stretched and growing, as agonizing as it may be for her.

If I do not log back on, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. As I tell my kids, we give gifts to remember the Greatest Gift of all – God’s gift of Jesus to a sinful world that we can be reconciled to Him through His Son.

 

 

 

 

Storytelling

One of the definitions of storytelling is to pass down history orally, from one generation to the next. In this case, the following story has been passed to me by Becca, Madeline’s caregiver, because I wasn’t home to witness it myself.

One day, when I had happened to escape the house by myself for some forgotten reason, Clara and Presley decided to have some fun with J’onn and Cory. The girls told them that our front coat closet was really an elevator that, if you got in, closed the door so it was dark, and stood in the very back corner, you could travel to different rooms. There were a few caveats. The had to count to a different number (in the hundreds) for each room they wanted to go to, and each time someone opened the door, you had to start again. But the really fun part was that if they counted to 500, they could go to our¬†ice cave.

In the end, after a lot of frustration about doors being opened too soon, the girls finally fessed up that it was a joke. J’onn’s response: “I’m really disappointed. I was really looking forward to seeing¬†the ice cave.”

When asked this morning if he wanted to get into the elevator and visit the ice cave, Cory’s reply was: “No, you have to count to 100 five times.” Not, “There is no ice cave.” Not, “You were tricking us last time.” Nope. Just a mild complaint that you have to count too long to get there.

World Travel

Well, I have not traveled the world. Adrian has been to Europe. I have been to Israel. There are not too many places we would visit, even if we could afford the cost and time. But that did not stop us from picking foreign names for this baby.

Without realizing the foreignness of our decision, we picked Londyn for a girl and Israel for a boy. I had an ultrasound today (I’m 19 weeks), and we found out which name we were using.

It so happens that we are using Israel Arrow Tristan Howell (Arrow after Green Arrow). That evens things up- 5 girls and 5 boys. All the kids were super excited that it was a boy. In fact, we called Hailey at work and Adrian told her it was a girl. Her response? “Oh no! You’re kidding me? I’m SO bummed!” I guess it’s a good thing he was kidding. When I told her it really was Israel she got excited, and also said, “Well, I guess I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a girl.” LOL.

As soon as I got home, I deleted all the newborn girl things I had in my online cart at Gymboree.com and purchased the baby boy items I had waiting in there. The wait for the ultrasound seemed SO long. It was really exciting going into it not having a feeling either way of what it might be, it was a great surprise.

Here’s a pic, though not great because the placenta is laying right on top of him (which also explains why I don’t feel him move very often). He did continually “chew” throughout the ultrasound, which is just so cute.

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For Sale

For Sale: 1 Doberman puppy- 6 months old.

Cost:

1 BBQ mitt

1 Bike Seat

3 new 4×4 posts

1 leash

1 chair cushion

2 dog beds

1 popcorn bowl

1 kids lifejacket

1 wood ninja practice sword

2 shirts

1 kids shopping cart

3 towels

1 jump rope

2 bike handles

1 BBQ scraper

2 kids mermaid tails

7 plastic tools

1 Power Wheels

1 Filet Mignon – hot on the grill

1 doll

1 doberman tail (yes, really!)

and finally,

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1 large umbrella

And because my husband loves him so much, I’ll throw him in for free. But be warned, I don’t have the time to list how many things he has destroyed.