Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Strawberry

So we have some of our garden planted and I went out this morning to check on it and God has blessed us with our first harvest - of sorts!! One bright red, little strawberry. The big dilemna is: how do I split it seven ways?!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Photogenic has a new name

Our children have been trained since birth to run from the camera. Or if forced to sit there, make faces, roll around, causing general agida for the photographer at hand. This has been ingrained in them by a certain family member, who shall remain nameless because they have somewhat over come their penchant for picture taking (lol), who forced shots of the same pose over and over and over and over and over and over and over... Get the picture?!!!! When Kristinie the Great came along, the picture taking had slowed to a somewhat normal level. That said, if she sees the camera she ASSUMES that she is the intended model. So, I have many photos of her and not enough of our other children. But that will change now that I have a blog. Here are the various photos of Kristinie the Great with any necessary explanations beneath each photo:

Not sure why she couldn't sleep, but nothing Daddy can't fix.

Kristinie the Great playing with my reading glasses and her puppets!!

This is her beloved Pat-Pat from Germany in Epcot Center. He and mankie (her favorite blanket) go everywhere with her. Pat-Pat even gets dressed when necessary. He has a special place in all our hearts because he is a sweet memory of our time in Epcot Center last fall with my family!!!! He is well worn and has been washed many, many, many times!!

this and that but more that

In May we are planning a family vacation. Not just my husband, my children and me. My brothers and their wives, and my younger brothers' children, and my parents, are all spending a week together at North Topsail Island. Today was a fun day because we got to go look at the house. It will suit us perfectly. I am very excited!! Mom (Grandma to the munchkins who live here) took us to lunch at McDonald's and then we drove out to see it. It is in a very quiet section right across the street from the ocean. We opted for not-oceanfront due to the outrageous sticker price. It is a really nice home. So now it's on to preparing for this trip. I don't need to worry about Kristinie the Great's life vest because it is her favorite fashion accessory:
Yep, that's a smile. I know it doesn't look like it but when you're two, and someone is ALWAYS taking your picture, scrinching your nose up is easier than actually smiling!!

A few weeks ago, Maddie, Lindsay, and I took a trip to the eye doctor. Needless to say, Maddie and I needed glasses. It came as no small surprise that Lindsay needed them. We knew she was squinting but she had really not complained much about her eyes. So here are two of our beautiful girls in their brand new glasses. By the way, they, as well as "me"self, are wearing our shoes on our faces. Do you know what that means? Yessiree Bob, we bought skechers glasses!!

One very trivial tidbit of information about our Lindsay, who seems to be a bit librarianish in her glasses: Her eyelashes are so long she can not wear the glasses on her nose properly!!!

In like a lamb, out like a lion

It's been a busy few weeks here at the Blake homestead!!! We have been looking forward to spring arriving and to our dismay, winter has decided to stick around. March reversed itself this year: instead of in like a lion and out like a lamb, it is in like a lamb and out like a lion. Nonetheless, there is much to tell about.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend a few days with some of my friends in Cherry Grove, South Carolina. That was a terrific time and I am sorry to say that I have inherited my parents' silly sense of humor!! Well, I'm sorry for my friends, but not for me!!! They (my parents) have a great sense of humor and I am thankful I think I inherited it. It wasn't all just fun and games though. Our fearless leader planned lots of fun stuff for us to do and we also had Bible lessons twice a day, which were a real blessing. And the house God blessed us with was wonderful.  I am really glad I went. You are probably wondering where on earth I put/sent the children for four days. My parents watched them and they did a terrific job. Taylor even got a bit of a break from all of us!!! It was a great time for me to get away. I haven't been away from all the children like that since 2009 when Taylor and I went on a cruise for our tenth anniversary. And I haven't been away from everyone in a really long time!!! The girls and I arrived home on Saturday afternoon. Taylor and Robert had a camping trip (pictures to come later - I accidentally deleted them from my phone) and they came home early Sunday morning.

Prior to my trip, things have just been a bit busy with school, co-op, band, art, church, AND we were all afflicted with the dreaded stomach virus!! Well, thank the Lord everyone is better. We had a terrificly fun day yesterday. The children all worked together - GASP - and pooled their allowances to get a BIG ball. I know you're thinking it can't be anything spectacular but I can assure you - it is beyond spectacular!! Here, take a look.

This photo includes one of our neighbors. She is in the ball.

This is Robert actually IN the ball. It's like a big hamster toy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life as I know it

This morning I woke up with the regular concerns, worries, and drama. Tonight I go to bed with no worries, no concerns, and no drama. I did not realize how egocentric I had been until sometime around lunchtime, when I checked the web and saw the devastation unfolding halfway across the world. What was really difficult was how instantaneous the information arrived. Photos were posted within minutes and hours of the tragedy. Watching a wave envelope a tall building is not something my small mind can comprehend. But that building contained homes and lives of many people. I sit in my comfortable home, just arriving home after shopping leisurely at SAM's, Walmart, and AC Moore. My refrigerators are full, my children are (somewhat) healthy, we are secure.

But are we? We live in the infamous "Hurricane Alley" where in any given year several Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes can hit with careless abandon, destroying and throwing everything out of its way to reach its final destination of destruction.

The saddest part about Japan, which my husband pointed out, was that there were no churches in any of the photos. I can't even imagine a place where people have not been given the Water of Life to soothe their souls. At least in Hurricane Alley, I know there are churches that teach the Bible plain and simple and the Gospel is given freely. So, yes, I am secure. Secure in Christ. Secure in knowing that no matter what happens, He is taking care of me. And my husband. And my children. The future of my house is not secure, nor the future of my husband's job. But our security in Heaven is secure. And our children old enough to understand the precious Gospel are secure, as well our babies who do not understand. Therefore no matter what happens here, I am secure.

So, my life is grass. As can seen from Japan, one day they are there, the next, they are not.

Isaiah 40:7: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Princess and the Bee

Here is what Kristinie the Great and Beatrice do best - well besides playing with Barbies, Legos, and stuffed animals (baby dolls included here):
Testing to see if this works.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Having five children, one would think that I can preapre for any upcoming developmental milestone, glitch, change, etc. I thought so, too. Until I realized my first four children never went through teething issues, never had potty training issues, never had temper issues, never went through the terrible twos or thundrous threes. Well, surprise surprise, as Gomer Pyle would say!! Kristinie the Great has had all but the thundrous threes, and she hasn't reached them yet!! It's never a dull moment around here anymore. And tonight was no exception. I put Kristinie the Great to bed in the usual manner, our conversation going like this:

Mommy: Are you ready to go night night?'
KtheG: NO!
Mommy: It's night night time
KtheG: (realizing No won't work): ah Pat Pat?
Mommy: I have Pat Pat. (The stuffed dog from Germany in Epcot Center who is well loved!!!)
KtheG: Ah mankie? (That's blankie to you novices!)
Mommy: Yes, I have mankie!!!
KtheG: Ah Erry ah Enda? (That's Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Glenda, the married giraffes - named after dear friends of ours we go to church with.)
Mommy: Yeeeeeessssss, I have Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Glenda.
KtheG: Ah Mitey? (That's Mickey as in Mouse.)
Mommy: right here!!
KtheG: Ah Minnie (as in Mouse)
Mommy: Check. Now go to sleep.
Kthe G: Why? (YES!! She says WHY? WHY? I don't know, THIRD BASE!! [come to think of it, maybe I will teach her that routine!!]
Mommy: It's bed time. (Here comes the curve ball)
KtheG: Ah ooos? (Thats shoes)
Mommy: No, no shoes to bed. You'll get them stuck in your covers and get twisted up in them. (Why do I always insist on a treatise to explain my reasoning. A simple no should suffice. Those years of education are truly paying off now!!!)
Mommy: No shoes, good night, I love you. (I close the door and turn off the light.)

I assume everything is fine until it's time for Robert to go to bed and as I am walking him to his room, I notice Kristinie the Great's light is on. Hmmm, did I forget to turn it off? Because I have done that before. I open the door, and no Kristinie the Great in her bed!!! Where is she? And then I notice the closet light on. I call her and she comes out with, you guessed it, her shoes and says, "Ah ooos?!!" So I tell her no and she gets mad. And I put her back to bed but the determined little child decides it might not be a good idea to turn the bedroom light on so she just turns the closet light on and goes at it AGAIN!!! She thinks I can't hear though!! So I go back in, same scenario, put her to bed, hopefully for the last time, with no shoes on her feet!!

I thank the Lord for the crazy moments. God uses them to remind me that He has blessed me with a terrific family. I feel like Jonah sometimes when I get all down in the mouth that things aren't going perfect, but God has given me a second chance. I could be living a very different life but by His grace, He has given me a new life and I am so thankful for it!! As imperfect and impulsive as I am, He has blessed me beyond measure!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Halfway there!!

Co-Op was great today. We made frog and bird cards in cardmaking. The children enjoyed all of their classes. Now onto the second half of Fun Friday Frenzy!!!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Somewhere in the blogsphere

Well, I am disappointed to say that the last several posts I've tried to post from my phone have, for some reason, not made it to my blog. I am not sure what I am doing but it's rather inconvenient to have to sit down at my computer and type this. Plus, they could be on someone's blog who doesn't even speak English. I can't even imagine how they must be feeling having someone else's posts showing up on their blog!! I don't have a smartphone so that could be my problem. I'm not sure what my phone is, but it must be a dumbphone since I can't update my blog on the go. So I guess I will have to do things manually. Below are phots I've taken over the last few days.
Here are some of the children from our homeschool group. Maddie is in the back in the red shirt.
Here is Maddie with her brand new glasses. We all have the same brand and we are wearing our feet on our face!! They are skechers brand glasses.

This is at Champions Assisted Living near us. We went because our preacher preaches there once a week there and he wanted to celebrate his birthday with the residents. So he invited our church to come too. So we went and our friend Jerry, who leads the music, asked the children to help him lead the people in singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children". Robert also recited some Bible verses. We had a great time!!!  In order from left to right: Lindsay, Beatrice, Kristine, Maddie, and Robert.

Here is Michele checking to see which cake has whipped topping and which cake is buttercream for our preachers' birthday party after church Wednesday night. She's working really hard, too!!!

Stacie will use any excuse to eat the chocolate cake: "It was what was left on the knife!!" Yeah, right!!

Well, tomororw is Fun Friday Frenzy so we will be off to "the races". It's always a fun day and I am going to try making porkchops in the crockpot tomororw.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Funny is as funny does

Short post today. That is something to be glad of. With our warm and cold days lately, it's been difficult to know how to dress. We wake up with long sleeves and head to bed with short sleeves. Our Lindsay came to breakfast with a long sleeve shirt on. Instead of asking if she could "change" into a short sleeve, this is what she said: "Mommy, can I turn into a short sleeve?" I am thankful that the children keep me laughing all the day long.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Straddling the Line

With one foot in tropical weather and the other in temeprate, our weather has been crazy confusing. Saturday 40s, Sunday 70s. I'm not complaining mind you!! I will take a day or two of 70 something weather over five months of 40 and below any day. On Sunday after church, we went to Ruby Tuesday's to celebrate our 12th anniversary. It seems like yesterday that I met Taylor. Well, it can't be becasue God blessed us with five children. Five WONDERFUL children and 12 blessed years.

The story surrounding how we met would take many pages and many hilarious incidences but needless to say, God really worked things out. Taylor is a great leader and has a great vision for our family. He is a hard worker and takes seriously his role as a husband and dad. Our children love and respect him and they enjoy the time they spend with him. So do I!!

We had a great week last week. Our favorite day is what I affectionately call "Fun Friday Frenzy". For nine weeks, we don't do our "regular" school day. We start our day at 6:30. Well, I start at 6:00. Thankfully, I am not like Dorothy (my mom). She would get up about a half hour before us to "wake up" with a cup of coffee and a couple of cigarettes. Most days, it didnt' work. My brother and I were crazy hyper and we probably drove her cuckoo. Our younger brother was pretty laid back so she didn't have to deal with him being a nut!! Anyway, I wake everyone but Kristinie the Great up at 6:30. We eat breakfast, pack our lunch, gather our things, be sure not to forget Pat-Pat, Mankie (My and blankie squished together), trumpet, art bags, any necessary accoutrements to make our day go smoother. It is finally 8:30 and we leave and head to our Homeschool Co-Op about 20 minutes away. It is a great morning seeing some of our friends and spending time with about 40 other homeschool families and lots of screaming yelling happy children. I teach a cardmaking class and the children take a wide range of classes from Lego Creations, to Creative writing, to Art classes, to biology lab for high schoolers. It is a lot of fun.

This past Friday was a lot of fun because the Great Oz (my Dad) came to talk to one of the classes, called "What I want to be when I grow up" about being an electrician. Only he misunderstood me (He needs hearing aids!!) and thought he was supposed to tell his "life story". So he told them about being a banker, an insurance agent, and finally, an electrician. He said they were more impressed with the banker!!! One boy asked him if he was ever tempted to steal the money!! He really enjoyed himself and we got a free lunch at Taco Bell out of it.

Anyway back to Fun Friday Frenzy!! At 12:30 we finish co-op. We have one hour and fifteen minutes to go eat, then come back and Maddie has band class. She is playing the trumpet. She loves, loves, loves it. Much to my dismay. I never imagined one of our children playing THE TRUMPET of all things!!! She tried the flute and the band director recommended she switch instruments when it was evident she did not "get it". So at 1:45 band begins. It is over around 2:45. Usually at this point, we go shopping at Walmart. At 4:15 we head over to art class at another venue. This class is for Maddie and Robert. They love this class, too. The art teacher is really nice. I was bit concerned that the teacher would be some kind of eccentric, as most of my art teachers were. Well, my middle school art teacher wasn't eccentric. She was downright weird!!! But very nice. My elementary art teacher was eccentric. So the little girls get to play with their friends while Maddie and Robet are in art class. At 5:15 during the height of afternoon traffic, we finally head home. Being the chicken that I am, I wont' make a lefthand turn into oncoming traffic, so our trip is lengthened by my penchant for right turns. Eventually we are on our way. No WAIT!! The phone rings at precisely 5:30. I recognize the ringtone. It is Taylor. Where are we? Am I supposed to be somewhere? He forgets EVERY Friday that we are going to be late. He has been spoiled for 12 years with us being home every single day when he gets home!!!

Our weekend was a nice relaxing one. Maddie, Lindsay, and I all went to the eye doctor and we all need glasses. I tell people we are wearing our shoes on our face because we all picked skechers brand glasses.

Looking forward to a great week and seeing what the Lord has in store.