Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My baby is growing up!

And no....I don't mean the little baby, but the big guy! Christopher, my second born, turned 14 today! Wow-it seems like yesterday that he was the size of little Luke and I was holding HIM in the rocking chair. Time goes by too fast, doesn't it? Christopher is one special kid-he is very business-minded, having started up his own lawn mowing business already. I think he will surely be an entrepreneur when he grows up! He is full of ideas and loves learning new things. Okay....except maybe when it's algebra! His little brother, John, especially loves playing with him-they both have an equal love for Legos. Though we have had a few rough patches so far during the teen years, I am so proud of Christopher for being such an independent, loving person. He is truly a gift to our family and has taught me a lot. I trust that God has a wonderful plan for his future and I can't wait to see it unfold. We didn't do much celebrating today, as he had his official birthday celebration a couple of weeks ago when he had his party. We did make some cupcakes, though, to remember the special day. We have been having problems with our newly fixed oven , so we were under strict orders from Dad to keep the oven going as much as possible today to see if it stayed on. So we also decided to make some yummy cinnamon rolls to enjoy tomorrow.

That will make a yummy day-after-the-birthday treat. I don't necessarily bake as much as I have these past couple days, but the oven needed to be tested, right?! Happy Birthday my sweet Christopher-I love you so very much!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Time to bake!

Today was bread baking day at my house! Yum! Actually, this happens about twice a week here, to keep my crew supplied with plenty of bread for sandwiches. Several years ago, I invested in a grain mill and a large Bosch mixer, so now I am able to make about 95% of the bread we need. We average about 12 loaves a week-sounds like a lot, but it's not too bad, since I can make six loaves at a time. Besides sandwich bread, I also make most of our other dinner breads and rolls. Best of all, it's 100% whole wheat, so very good for you! I truly love baking most anything and trying out new recipes-it is one of my favorite things to do..I guess because I love the results-they taste so good! My kids don't seem to mind either.

Today was also Luke's first day trying solid food! I don't normally feed my babies solids this early-he's 4 1/2 months-but he keeps trying to shove everything in his mouth, so I thought we'd give it a try. I've never had a baby who truly loved rice cereal like he does! It's amazing! He actually swallowed it, too, instead of spitting it up like my others have done. I have a feeling that as he gets older, he's going to have a hearty appetite! What a messy but cute little guy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

You know you're a big family when....

Your kitchen table looks like this after grocery shopping!

Yes, we buy a LOT of groceries to feed our crew! Sometimes I am amazed at how much we go through! I do the majority of the shopping for the family at our Wal-mart. I used to go bi-weekly, but had to switch to weekly, as it was getting to be too big of a load. On Saturday morning, I get up early to beat the crowds and head out with one or more of my kids as my helper, to get what we need for the upcoming week. I use a preprinted list and just circle what I need each week, which has worked well. I also be sure to bring my grocery ads, as our Wal-Mart price matches the other competitors. This past week I got a great price on 3 pound bags of apples, so now I have 12 pounds of apples in my pantry! For most people, i'm sure that would last forever, but not for us. I also use coupons and save anywhere between $15-$50 and end up coming home with one or two free items also. I always get a chuckle when someone will say to me "Wow, you're doing a big grocery shopping trip, aren't you?" I have to smile and tell them that, no, this is my normal trip! Usually whatever child I bring with me is a good helper, pushing a cart, putting groceries up on the belt, and loading them in the cart, as there is a treat for them in the end! Sarah recieved such a nice compliment on being such a good helper to me on our last trip. She was all smiles! I was astonished when the cashier told me that most children do nothing to help their parents when they're at the checkout-and she was talking about teenagers! How sad. Since we've started doing these early morning Wal-Mart runs, grocery shopping has seemed much more enjoyable (as much as it can be!). And a well-stocked pantry and a happy mommy makes for happy kiddos!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A fun time for everyone!

We had such a fun time today. The kids and I went to a family fun place, called It'z, here in Houston. I had never heard of it before, but I'm so glad we went. They have a giant all-you-can-eat buffet with pizza, pastas, salad, etc. (great for my big crew!). They have tons of family friendly video games for all ages (no violent ones), and even many rides, such as bumper cars, a roller coaster, and bowling. My favorite part was the toddler area which was gated in so little ones can't wander off. Perfect. That's where I spent my time with the youngers while the older kids played. They earned lots of points from the games they played and were able to cash in for prizes in the little store. The only bummer was that I forgot my camera to catch pictures of all this fun! Oh well. The best part was that this would have cost us almost $175 for everyone to go, but we were able to have this whole afternoon of fun for only $20. I am sure we will not get this opportunity to go again, so I had to take advantage of it. Plus, when i arrived home, I found that the repairman had come (Larry was there) and fixed the oven, so now that is working. Don't ask me what it cost...I can cook and bake again-yay! Well, it's late....time to rest up and prepare for tomorrow.....grocery shopping day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A rainy day and a sick little girl...

We awoke last nite about 2 am to find little Hannah (3 yo) had thrown up all over her bed and herself. Poor thing. After cleaning it all up, we moved her to big sister's bed to go back to sleep, only to be awakened an hour later with another throwing up episode. At least she didn't throw up ON her sister. At that point, they both moved to the floor onto the makeshift bed we threw together. No episodes after that, thank goodness, and she's managed to keep food down all day. I guess it was some kind of 24 hour thing. It was a very rainy day here today also-felt very gloomy. I notice my mood is not as upbeat when the sun is hidden all day-and man, did my mood show through today. It also didn't help that my oven decided to break..right in the middle of my cooking our dinner. I am so glad that tomorrow is a new day-a new opportunity to look to Jesus, instead of around at my immediate circumstances. Oh, how I wish I could be so focused on Him all the time! I am thankful that no one else is showing signs of being sick at this point..and I am so thankful for a husband who helps clean up vomit in the middle of the nite..even when it makes him feel like he wants to vomit! Yes, I'm very blessed. :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look who's 4 months old!

I can hardly believe my little Luke is already 4 months old. That flew by! I'm sure the lack of sleep and my foggy memory don't help matters either! We've had some rough spots during these last few months, but he finally seems as if he's settling into life on the outside. He loves playing with toys now-he tries to grab anything in front of him. His favorite thing to do is the 'pull the pacifier out of my mouth' trick. That one always ends with him crying. He is probably one of the cuter and more loveable babies I've had in a while. He has a smile that will just melt you. It is the bright spot in my day. Matthew took this picture of him. I affectionately call it his baby mug shot.

And here he is all tuckered out-what a cutie!

We all adore him and I look forward to the many different stages to come. Babies are truly a blessing from God!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Look what the kids found!

Yep...an armadillo! And no, this isn't the zoo! My kids found him while exploring outside after our 4-H meeting at the county extension office. They have a lot of gardens on the property, so I think this guy was looking for some lunch! He looks a bit bothered by having his picture taken, doesn't he?

I learned later that little Hannah decided to try and pet him (not a good idea!). He chased her away and really gave her a scare. Thank goodness she didn't get bit. They all know that from now on, no petting armadillos!
They also found this little lizard there too. They tried picking him up and he left behind his tail for them! It's okay, it'll grow back.

I wonder what they'll discover next?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday parties!

We've had 2 birthdays this month (that's all, you're thinking?!) Michael is 11 and Christopher is 14. They had a fun combination birthday party (their choice) and invited several friends to join in on the fun. Best of all, Grandma Gretchen from Arizona made a SURPRISE visit out for a few days and was able to attend the party, too! They had a pinata stuffed with tons of candy- 9 1/2 pounds to be exact and a very fun treasure hunt where they had to figure out clues to find where the hidden treasure was. Here's a picture of them working hard on those clues....

The big highlight of the gifts was definitely the laser tag sets from Grandma-they love them and play them continuously. Lots of boy fun!

Grandma was able to stay a few more days after and we were able to make a fun trip to the park before she had to return back home..

Even little Luke got in on some of the fun! Isn't he just adorable?

Overall, a great visit-my kids are counting the days until the next one!