Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's been far too long.....

It's been rather busy the past three weeks but I really don't have any excuse for not posting except my laptop has become obsolete. As in, my nook is my new computer. It does everything but print!! I can type on it but I am not very good - yet. I'm learning. Once I get the hang of it, I will be able to type my blog on it. It does everything but clean the house and babysit the children. Oh wait!! It DOES babysit the children. I've found lots of "educational" games for them to play and it is great, as long as Beaker and Beatrice are getting along, to let them use it while I am trying to get a few things done and I don't want the TV on, which is all the time.
Here we are eating lunch with Grandma at the Italian restaurant near us. It's not a "real" Italian restaurant, for there is no "real" Italian restaurant within 600 miles of here. No offense, south, but you can't hold a candle to John's, Steve's, and Michaelangelo's! Robert on right and John on left.

Here is Lindsay - she's on the right just in case you're not sure - and Mr. Jerry with Lindsay's rabbit. We are at the nursing home. The little girls and Robert always bring some stuffed animal to show our friends. They get such a kick out of it. When I am in a good mood, I let Kristine and Beatrice bring all their doll stuff with them - diaper bag, stroller, carrier, and of course, the well loved doll! 

Here are John and Robert. Robert spent the night at John's house and they are both very tired. 

This is Dagmar the wonder dachschund.

And here is Teddy Bear. He is pretty old and very cute. 

Krsistinie the Great and Beatrice working on multiplication tables. Seriously!! We are cracking up at them. Kristinie the Great has no idea what she's reading and Lindsay is telling Beatrice what to say!! And Kristine repeats it. Notice they are NOT the easy ones, either!

Here we are on one of our favorite field trips: YUP! World Market!! We love world market. You can get marzipan here. That is only important if you grew up in a European home where marzipan was a staple. And you can get toffifay, my most favorite candy in the world. 

At the park with friends, though they are not in this photo.

Or this photo!

Ah, here is one of the friends - on the right! 

Getting ready for the AWANA Grand Prix. 

Robert working hard on a car he won't be able to race because he has a scouting camping trip. 

We had a Sunday School party at our Sunday School teacher's house. He, obviously, lives on a small lake. Robert is out there showing off his boating skills.

Lindsay fishing. No one caught anything.

Here is Kathy and Preacher Correll. He's our Sunday School teacher. We had a great time. The food was great. I had two helpings, I'm embarassed to admit. We have a terrific Sunday School class, too.

Here is Kristinie the Great wandering around. Beatrice got a hook in her thumb. No surprise here as we are truly the safety "party crashers". You can depend on one of us to have an accident at a party! Sort of like when I was a kid you could depend on me hitting my head on something. Sometimes it was even serious enough to go to the ER. And the Chinese doctor there knew me!! 

Here is Beaker fishing. In the background is Glenda and Jerry Smith, THE Mr. Jerry we go to the nursing home with. They really enjoyed fishing. What was funny was watching the adults, including myself, fish with Scooby Doo and Barbie fishing poles!! We did bring regular poles but never got around to getting them out. When you have as many children as we have, there's always a lot of paraphernalia to be shared! 

Maddie fishing!

Here is our Preacher rowing our children. He is very brave. Most people get tired of being around us or try to avoid spending time with us but he, and Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Glenda, and several other friends, never tire of being around us! Boy, are they an encouragement to us!! We really thank the Lord for them. 

Here is everyone hoping a fish will just jump out at them! Actually, I think they are watching Maddie and/or Robert row the boat.

Um, yes, that IS our girly girl Lindsay holding a worm.

Mr. Handsome rowing Beakster and I think that is Lindsay.

At home, practicing using the bow. We're not very good but hopefully we will take some time to practice. We need some kind of weapon to protect ourselves since guns will become illegal at some point. I will not elaborate here as I may get some bleeding heart liberals on here and I don't want to offend them too badly.

I thought we would get a photo of Kristinie the Great shooting the bow, but obviously you got yours truly. Don't I look like I should be living off the land?!! 

Robert showing us how it's done.

Spring banner design nixed. We are going with vines and lettering that says, "I am the vine; ye are the branches." 

This design is also nixed. This one is for Fourth of July. We are going to make red and blue VERTICAL stripes because, yes you probably guessed it, it looks like a tie!! And vertical are a lot easier to cut. Horizontal would be very difficult to stitch on without the thread showing on the other color when I make the hems. So we are going with blue and red VERTICAL stripes and white stars appliqued on top. I am hoping we can do 25 on each banner but I think I will give my sew out helper a heart attack. I'm a bit overzealous I suppose. 

Ahhhhhh, the joys of killer badminton. Yes, in our home it's a dangerous sport to play. But fun. Seven to eight racquets, six birdies, and lots of children equals craziness central! 

Here are the Cubbies getting ready to Start yer Engines at our AWANA Grand Prix!! What a great time we had, too!! Beaker, Rachel, and John waiting to be called to bring their car to Mr. Jason.

Here are the Sparkies waiting to race. Beatrice, Lindsay, and Megan.

And our Trek club: from the left, Maddie, Jared, Jacob, Evanne, and Toni.

And the winners are!!! Everyone in our family won a trophy so no tears. I can tell you, that was a HUGE relief!! And John won first place in Cubbies. Tom was a proud daddy. He couldn't be there so he had to live through Erin's photos she sent. Maddie's car went about 203mph!!!

Beatrice happy to have a trophy with her new webkinz, Pucky. Yes, Pucky. I have no idea.

Here is Beaker with her car.

We had a lot of other things going on. Of course, Robert and Taylor went camping with scouts. We are getting ready for Easter and Taylor's birthday which is April 7. That is always exciting because we have a big party at church for him and one of his friends, whose birthday is a day later, or earlier; I can't remember. We'll also celebrate it at my parents on Easter. Around here, we usually have at least three birthday parties for each person. Have a great week! :) Shhhhhhh... Don't tell but my absolute most favorite holiday is coming up. Seriously. Yes. April Fool's Day. And I have got some great pranks to play on Mr. Handsome. I am going to sew all of his underwear together. Don't worry, I won't use my sewing machine; I am just going to get a needle and thread and run it through the whole pile twice and tie it up. What do you think? And if I can get my groove on, I am going to paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish and put it in the shower. I really am torn with this one, being the cheapskate that I am but I guess I can use the veggie peeler and just peel off the nail polish, right?! Don't tell him!! It's been quite a number of years since I have played one but I love to play jokes on people. The last April Fool's joke I played was on my family. I made meatloaf cupcakes and tinted mashed potatoes to look like frosting. I didn't tell them what I was doing and served them for dessert. We even pranked the neighborhood kids, too!! Ha ha ha haaaa.... Remember Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good like a medicine...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wee wee wee alllllllll the way home.....

Yup, that's my title and I'm sticking to it! Thinking we were going to just jump right into Monday after our vacation, it came as no small surprise on Monday around 10:00am when I started feeling kind of bad. I told the children to start school and make lunch and I was going to lie down. Well, what I thought was going to be a short rest became a five hour nap!! I was sick. By Tuesday I was feeling slightly better and back in the land of the living to a certain degree. I still slept from after lunch until around 3:00. But by Wednesday, I was a lot better and I had noticed something: (this is ironic because at one of my friends' blogs she is ALSO discussing potty training!!): everytime I turned around Beaker had a new set of clothes on. I know that Beatrice and Kristinie the Great love to change their clothes on a whim but this was getting ridiculous. As I was musing to myself, quite loud but definitely not yelling, well, I was really complaining, Maddie happened to hear. She said, Oh, that's because Grandma Blake put her in pull-ups all week!" Well, that explains a lot! So we had a little course in re-potty training last week. I thank the Lord it was not a long process but it did take a little "prodding" to convince her that it would be in her best interests to use the toilet. After that, she was fine. We finally left the house on Thursday, though I thoroughly enjoy being home. It is a lot of fun to spend time with the children when I am well, but when I am sick they get kind of stir crazy, even when they go outside to play, so they were thrilled to go out. We went to my mom and dad's and had lunch with Mom.
We celebrated our pastor's birthday last Sunday and here are two of the cakes we picked out. It was a fun time and it was great to have a Birthday party for him. 

It is ironic in this photo that Kristinie the Great has a pull-up on but it was Wednesday night and right before she was to go to bed. She is teaching Pat-Pat how to play Angry Birds! She is also using my Nook Tablet which for some reason has become not-my-Nook-Tablet! Everyone ELSE wants to use it. I highly recommend it. It does everything but my wash, the kitchen, and vacuum. I put my grocery list on it last week and it was great not to have to carry a pen and paper. I even managed not to get confused and miss things! I also had my Food Lion list on my phone so I could cross reference. I know, I'm just a nerd! 

Here is Maddie in Dagmar the Wonder Dachschund's cage. She thought it would be funny to be in there. Dagmar is my mom's and dad's dog.

Friday Frenzy came quickly last week due to the fact that we only had two days of actual days! Here is one of my friends' children after his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We're at co-op. He is so cute. He is one of Beakers' buds.

And here is what happens when you leave the house at 8:30am and don't arrive home until approximately 5:00pm. We start with co-op then have lunch except today I made the VERY BIG mistake of going shopping at Sam's. I say VERY BIG mistake because it wore the children out. Then we went to band, then art, back to band, then back to art. Don't I sound like a boomerang! It was a great day but clearly tiring. We raced home, I fed the children, we brought them to church for play practice, and Mr. Handsome and I got a date! And free babysitting! HA!

Saturday, Robert got to race in the regional pinewood derby for Scouts. He did not place but he had a great time racing. His car ran approximately 213 mph, while the fastest cars were going 118 mph and upwards to 221 mph!! We came home, I finished food shopping, then we got to have a great dinner. After being sick last week, (I did forget to mention that everyone else but Maddie was sick too, because I was too focused on myself.) we have ramped up our healthy eating. That is not to say we don't eat junk food. I have been trying to be sure that our main meals, especially lunch and dinner, have a lot of good healthy food. Saturday night we had a roast beef and blue cheese salad with parmesan bread and grapes, served up buffet style. Everyone LOVED it! I couldn't believe it. The purple lettuce was kind of bitter but everyone ate it. And I have decided to try to find a new vegetable to give them each time we go shopping. Everyone is pretty much on board now with brussels sprouts and asparagus, so I bought some sugar snap peas and they liked them. I did have to explain to them that they didn't need to take the peas out of the shells, though. I am glad that they are patient with me! Short post this week but hopefully we will have more excitement this week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My children think I wear a cape....

And this is why:

Well, it's not the ONLY reason why but it's one of many! I could not find this photo two weeks ago to post on my blog and lo and behold it was still on my phone. One of our homeschool friends had car trouble so one of my sister-friends and I helped out. I pushed them from a VERY busy and VERY dangerous intersection with EXTREMELY rude people (And I seriously doubt they were ALL from the north!) to the Home Depot just up the street. By God's grace we got them there safely. Then my sister-friend drove them home from there. It was pretty exciting. I had another sister-firends' children in our van and everyone was soooo excited and yelling and couldn't believe that I was PUSHING another car up the road!! 

Here is one of my roses in full bloom!

Easter sign Number One! The other one says He is risen. I am going to attempt to put lilies of the valley on this one. Since I have more time on these I figured I would try to add a little verve to them! 

Here we are at my sister-in-law's getting John and Rachel. Ning, their dog, loves Beatrice. She did not want to leave her side. It was so cute!

Best cousins!! :) John and Robert love each other so much. It is soo cute.

We had french bread pizza and everyone got to help make them. And yes, I survived! Seven kids, six pieces of french bread, sauce, pepperoni, cheese! Wow!! They all had a great time and everyone ate their food. 

I promised Robert's basketball coach I would make cupcakes for his team. Beaker and Beatrice wanted to help. Thankfully, they are VERY helpful. Well, except when they miss the bowl with, of all things, the sugar! Messy. But we got it cleaned up fairly well. The boys loved the cupcakes too, which is always a plus.

I think our family has some sort of hereditary anomaly that involves underwear on the head! Beaker and Kristinie the Great are being super heroes and for some reason think they need underwear on their heads!! Ha ha ha!! They make me laugh. Please don't notice the VERY messy room in the background - we live in our house!

Here is Robert's hero! No, not Beatrice - the fella to the left. He is a Senior in high school at a high school on the south end of town and Robert and Mr. Handsome go watch him play football whenever they can. Now they are going to watch him play baseball. He promised Robert he would come to one of his games and he made it to his last game! He is such a great young man. He even has a full scholarship to play baseball at North Carolina State University!! 

Here is Beaker with Mr. Handosme's hat on - always willing to strike a pose!

Here is Maddie posing for her "team" photo. She does not like getting her photo taken AT ALL. 

And here she is with her trophy! 

We decided to celebrate our anniversary two days early because we were going away and we didn't want the children to miss the celebration. Didn't I do a great job wrapping?!! Wait till you see what we got Mr. Handsome. Everyone but Maddie helped me pick the stuff out! She was at band.

Here is Mr. Handsome with his present!

No explanation necessary but if you look at Mr. Handsome's neck, he is wearing one of his presents. We bought him a NC State lanyard. And toothbrush. AND key chain. AND.......

Everyone needs a trashcan with a big wolf and NC State logo on it, right?! And Beaker is holding his card.

Beaker does not like to take naps - or sleep for that matter. I don't know what's wrong with her. All of our other children followed my well planned, well tuned, and very precise schedule. She won't and doesn't follow it. In fact, I don't think  up until last week, I've slept five nights in a row since she was born!! And here, on Sunday afternoon, I just gave up and told her to go sit in the big chair, I walked into the kitchen, and walked back out and VOILA! She is asleep.

After Beaker woke up, we headed out to AWANA for our Birthday Bash/AWANA store/Pizza Party!! It was great. I was in charge of the pin the tail on the donkey with one of my sister-friends! We had a lot of fun. Here is Beaker trying to pin the tail.

And John....

Rachel getting a little help....

Lindsay and the egg race....

Maddie (who told me not to take a photo).....

Rachel at the egg race...

Beaker at the egg race.....

Robert getting ready to pin the tail on the donkey....

Beatrice..... (Notice the bow placed precisely on her head so she looks beautiful!)

Maddie and Rachel playing....

Last week, Mr. Handsome and I went to Myrtle Beach for the week. (which is why I got five nights of sleep!) Mr. Handsome headed toward Eagle Springs to meet his parents, who were watching the children for the week. And I finished getting ready, ran a few errands, then headed to Myrtle Beach. We had a terrific time! I didn't take any photos because we didn't do anything exciting. I did take a picture of this puffer fish at Bass Pro Shop. And below is a photo of a shark hanging in the store. I think it's fake - I hope it is anyway. That's it. God's blessed me with Mr. Handsome. If you had told me 20 years ago, I would be here, I would not have believed it and neither would anyone in my family or any of my friends. But by God's grace, I am here. And I couldn't be more content and happier. Mr. Handsome wasn't always Mr. Handsome. He was actually Mr. Annoying!! That was before he got saved. I know that sometimes we think that having the Lord in our life is not that big of a deal but it really is. It not only assures your passage to Heaven when you die, but He (the Lord) changes our lives for the better. It doesn't mean our life necessarily GETS better, but we are changed for the better. And that is precisely what happened to Mr. Handsome in March of 1998. He became a different person. He had been in love with me for quite some time but, for obvious reasons, I wasn't not interested in him. My friends, even my Dad!, were encouraging me to consider him, but I knew at the time, that it would never work out. And one thing I told the Lord was that after what I had gone through, I would not marry ANYONE ever, until they met every criteria on MY LIST. I tell young ladies they should always have a list of what they are looking for in a husband. Not things like "must have money" but things that would make the person compatible with them. I even taped my list into my Bible to remind me. Because, I can tell you, when you're in a church and you're faithful, and you're busy working, single men come out of the woodwork!! Thankfully, my list kept them at bay! I personally think they were pretty desperate, but anyway! I had something to look for in each of them. I didn't need to date them to find out they were not "the One" - I only needed to watch. But the funny thing is, my list fit Mr. Handsome and his list (Yes, he had a list, which really surprised me!) fit me! Well, actually that's not true - the one thing on my list that didn't fit Mr. Handsome was that he had not gotten saved and surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. I knew that but never told anyone. I did not want to embarass him. I knew he wasn't saved because he told me he wasn't. But he thought he was. It wasn't until a Monday night in our Bible Institute in March of 1998 that he realized he was not saved. The following night, he received Christ as his personal Saviour. And then on Wednesday he came in my office and told me. We worked together - well, I worked for him because our boss thought it would be a good idea!! HA ha! I thought he was quitting and I was so worried he was going to leave before he got saved, I didn't even notice when he told me he got saved. But it finally sunk in. So I watched and he was a different person! So different in fact, that in April of the same year, he asked  me if I would go to lunch with him so I acquiesced. (I was not happy about going somewhere with him and having people think we were an "item"). After lunch, he said he had to fly to Canada and then to Madison, Wisconsin and he wanted me to think about spending the rest of my life with him. He said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I don't even know what I muttered but was so surprised he actually confronted me. He said he wanted me to think about it and he wanted an answer when he got back because he had to move on with his life or prepare for a life with me. So he left and I didn't know what to do. I don't even think I told anyone what he said because I didn't want anyone to get their hopes up. One of our good friends noticed I was not myself and called me and told me I needed to make a decision (they had no idea that Mr. Handsome had even spoken to me!) so I said OK. And hung up. I really sought the Lord about this. I was pretty happy doing my own thing and serving the Lord faithfully. I did want to be married and have a family but figured that would happen when I grew up. At that point, the Lord reminded me I WAS grown up. I was 31 after all!!! So I stepped out in faith and decided that I would commit myself to Mr. Handsome. When he got back from his trip, I was pretty stressed out because I figured maybe he was just kidding and by that time it was the beginning of May. He asked me out on a date and I said yes, which I believe surprised him. I don't think he ever said anything about his question, though I know he didn't forget about it. After about two weeks, he was supposed to go to his cousin's college graduation but he got very sick. It also happened to be my birthday weekend. He ended up cancelling and I made him some soup and brought it to him on that Friday and the next day he was much better so he took me out for my birthday and we went down to Wrightsville Beach and he asked me about spending the rest of my life with him. I told him I thought that was what God wanted for me and then he "offiically" proposed! We were married on February 27, 1999. God has blessed us with 13 years together and five terrific children. I am amazed everyday how God has given me above and beyond anything I could ask or imagine. I hope never to take Mr. Handsome for granted! He is the best!