Friday, February 29, 2008

Here's what I did today!!

Our children's school is hosting their annual benefit auction this weekend. My friend and I volunteered to do all the flower arrangements for the tables. At the time we offered we weren't sure these pots would be quite so big and quite so many. BUT they turned out so beautiful. (30 of these little suckers) I wanted to show these pots for a great idea. The photos are from each class and then "decoupaged" onto the pot. The pots w/ flowers will be sold at the auction. It should be interesting to see what drama stirs between the parents as they are auctioned. The auctioneer is a fellow from my dad's current church. I love a good, fiesty auction!!!

Several of us women were up to our elbows in flowers around 11 AM this morning. One very large arrangement, 30 semi-large, 2 trips in a Eat More Chicken Cargo Van to the church, and 2 trips to the wholesale florist, we were good to go. We officially left our church reception hall around 5, whew, it's a good thing everything looked so pretty. That was stressful!! Thanks for all the help ladies whatever bathtub you are soaking in tonight, I am about to be in mine. Oh and L, I don't know how much more "filler" we can add into our lives!!

I think I like this for a while!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Random Thoughts

As I have gone about my day today, I have come to the realization that I blog all day long in my head. It seems as if some days my thoughts are as I am writing all of this down as if to remember it. So I wanted to jot down some random thoughts I have been having today before I forget them all.

1. As I sat for TWO and a half hours at the orthodontist today waiting on 3, I started talking with a man. As we went through our conversation, he said, "You have 3 in here?" "yes, I sure do", I said, then he said, "Well, you can just take mine along with you." (of course joking). So I just had to say, "well, I already have 11, so I think I am good on kids." The shock and horror that came to his face was unexplainable. It hit me, this is not normal to people when I tell them we have 11 children. I have become so immune to our day to day routine, the exact science we live by, and all the structure, that this just works for me, it's well, normal. We have been doing this 5 1/2 years now and it is just our life these days. I think he was still getting past paying for braces for the 3 sitting with me, much less the ones on my teeth, that he didn't even know what to say about 11. I realized, oh, I am not really a normal mom. God is so good to literally keep my body moving at times, it is through him I function, live, and breathe. He keeps MY normal, normal.

2. I am saddened by the death of a lady in our church, friends that are hurting, and even issues with our own teenage girls. Life is just hard, but I was inspired yesterday by Beth Moore's post on her blog titled Just Dreaming? She basically discussed the question are we sleepwalking through life or really living life to the fullest in our calling? It got me thinking, about a lot of things, so read it if you have time.

Okay, that's all for today

Monday, February 25, 2008

A good day with Little T

This is my most recent picture of Little T, notice the hot chocolate all over the mouth!

Today was a beautiful day. The temperature got up to 65 degrees, the sun was shining and it felt great. I cannot wait for spring to get here!! The kiddos got out of school early today and it was nice to have chores, homework, and laundry done a little earlier than usual. We had 5 new dressers delivered this afternoon, so that took up most of our extra time. We did however enjoy a little outside time and fresh oranges my parents brought back from Florida. It was nice to see B outside on the porch swing eating an orange. It made me LONG for spring and warm weather, however I noticed a cold front will be coming in by Wednesday, BOO.

That should help us along with those of us that have a cold, cough, and sore throat. This morning, J, awakened me with "little T has pink eye, so she's staying home". UGH. Monday mornings are my morning to exercise and run errands. Believe it or not, I am bummed I can't find more time to exercise these days and was looking forward to a nice work out today. Oh well, we headed to the pediatrician's office to do the drill. After an hour wait, we were seen. T had no other symptoms other than an obvious very red eye. As he looked in her ear, he said, "Yuck". Now for those of you that don't know my pediatrician, he was military trained and is very straight forward, but he rarely says, "yuck". As he began his work on her ear with all of his tools and head lamp on, I thought, what has she done now. When T came to me at an early age 5, she came with a cashew and snail shell in tow, one in each ear. We had to have them surgically removed within two weeks of her first month with us. That child!!! I love, love, love her big brown eyes and her sweet face. Her olive skin is just beautiful. BUT, she has kept us busy. All of this flashed through my mind as he pulled out KLEENEX from her ear and I am sorry to tell you this, but it was green and wet. I about lost my Chocolately Delight Special K from breakfast. I didn't even know what to say.

After a quick drop off to the pharmacy,$200 spent at Sam's ( I did get to exercise because I pushed T on a large flat cart for 45 minutes and loaded it down), we arrived back to the pharmacy for a pick up. "W", says the pharmacist, "her insurance won't pay for this type of ear drop", okay just charge me. "Well, it cost $106". "WHAT", this is the most expensive piece of Kleenex in the world! I had to pay for it for fear of the type of germ that grows in "wetness" as Dr. R put it. I was too scared to not buy the drops right then and there.

BUT, it was still a great day, because that meant she did not have true pink eye, but rather the infection was seeping into her eye. Now I know that still sounds awful, but for a family of 13, that is great news. I have already envisioned a quick disinfecting session when I got home because I just knew we would all get pink eye. The beautiful day that followed helped my attitude and understand God's beauty and mercy for me. She has no one else to care for her, I am her mother. Even though I get frustrated with cashews, snail shells, and Kleenex in her ears, where would she be if not here, who would buy her ear drops, if not us?

Thank you God for a good day and for giving me Little T.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I wanted to let all of you out there know you may have forgotten how bad your braces really hurt when you were younger. I had completely forgotten about this part of the deal. All I could remember is coming home the day I got them off and seeing a beautiful masterpiece created by what was once there. (well maybe not that dramatic, but at least my teeth looked a lot better that day)

When I was two years old, or so it has been told to me, I was in a "wagon" accident in our driveway. My parents had gone to a wedding and my brothers and I were home with a sitter. The sitter and I were in the wagon and my oldest brother, Rob, was pushing me behind the wagon along to the end of the driveway while on his bike. As we gained speed and got to the end of the driveway, the wagon stopped immediately in the gutter along the street, but forward I went and landed on a single front tooth. Of course it came out and in pictures of the "bicentennial" (you can do the math) my face is scarred from that accident. Dr. Parrino explained to my crying mother, there was nothing he could do, if he re-inserted the tooth it would turn black.

I remained "toothless" until age 8. When this tooth came in, let me tell you it had a mind of its own. I now call it my Nanny McPhee tooth (which is ironic because little J LOVES that movie and dresses up like her, that's another post) Well my Nanny McPhee tooth has been a great source of poor self esteem for me, after my first round of braces from age 10-13, I was great. As I have gotten older, wisdom teeth have come and gone, but definite movement in my mouth has taken place. To hear the orthodontist say, as you are getting older. . . . WHAT, I am getting older? . . . your teeth and jaw are narrowing, if you wait on braces, your lower teeth will surely continue to push out your front teeth. I immediately perk up because, that includes my Nanny McPhee tooth. Only I have noticed it and of course J knows because I show him constantly. He knows it is a great source of weakness and sadness for me.

Last week, I began to make comments to the kids like this "well, I may wait until summer to get them on", "oh, I may wait until that tax refund comes in", oh maybe I will wait until you all are a little older". Knowing all along my appointment had been scheduled for Monday the 18th for more than a month. I had a remaining balance to cover the cost, and my precious husband "took care of it" for Valentine's day explaining that he thought I was beautiful the way I was, but he knew it meant so much to me to finally "take care of this for myself". (the most thoughtful thing ever and very sweet) so. . . . .that's why I have braces now.

I REALLY tell you the story because, so many people have asked, but also just for entertainment. Also, please, please know as your children are getting braces or currently have them THEY ARE IN PAIN!!! They are not faking or just whining. It is FOR REAL. I have so much wax in my mouth to cover the sores in my mouth I look like a boxer that has been in a fight. I have been on constant Advil since Monday, and have not had anything solid to eat. What was I thinking? I have even thought "I wonder if I can get these off?" But I know in 12-14 months I will be sooooo thrilled I finally dealt with my teeth and I can be done. One of my friends I have known since high school said the other day, "what's the deal with all of our friends getting braces, can't we just have crooked teeth and grow old together?" Isn't that great. Well me and my Nanny McPhee tooth are getting older but will hopefully be a little straighter by the time this is all done.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mom got braces!!!

Here you see my news of the day!!! I am now a brace face!!! We have 3 others in braces and 1 to start treatment in April. 5 in braces, whew. Thanks Dr. P for taking care of our family!! ( I am in so much pain, I feel major empathy for my kids now, my pre teen years have quickly come back to me today)

Just wanted to say Thanks!!!

I just wanted everyone in "blogland" that I am so appreciative so many of you actually are visiting and reading my posts. My blog counter just hit 10,100 hits today and that's just since October. I really feel the support and prayers and so appreciate how many of you tell me you read my blog and are praying for us.

I honestly have no time to scrapbook, journal, or even put our photos into albums, but I feel like my posts help me at least document a glimpse of our lives. I in no way want it to be about us, but only about how God is using us to help these kids. That's why we do this. I also love to add in our funny stories from time to time to let everyone know we are a very real family with lots of fun times that I love to share.

Later today, I have a surprise photo to add ( you have to wait until the kids get home!!)

Thanks for reading and many more posts to follow!!! Please continue to lift us up in prayer everytime you read!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What I love

My friend at lots of scotts inspired me to list what I love:

-a wonderful husband that gives and serves to his entire family and to others

-a husband who was first and foremost my friend growing up, I love that, because we knew each other so long ago, we never thought we would be here now!!

-2 beautiful biological daughters that give me a run for my money (according to my parents, I was JUST like them)

-1 spunky little toddler that loves to act, entertain, trains, to laugh, drinks "warm" apple juice, and keeps us ALL busy.

-1 precious 14 year old son, who although I did not bring into this world is a joy to parent because he shows unbelievable respect to others. (he WILL be a catch of a husband, he has lived with 10 women!!)

-5, yes, 5 beautiful teenage daughters that I love dearly (even through the drama)
God has blessed me in getting to parent them through these tender years

-2 beautiful 8 year old daughters that are a joy to watch, who love to laugh, and have entertained us in our home through the years!!

-a wonderful loving extended family, I am blessed beyond measure

-friends that keep me laughing, sharing, and growing

-a loving church family and community that support us.

-a beautiful place to live in and raise our family in, lots of space to run around!!

-a wonderful Savior, Redeemer, restorer that gives me life everyday

For God so LOVED the world that he gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him, will have eternal life. John 3:16

Happy Valentine's Day-above all, let's show His love today!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

We're Home from "Breck"

I was so amazed at the literal "piles" of snow in every parking lot.
The view from our window the first day we arrived. The temperature was in the single digits and we received 10 inches of new snow that night.
Our adventure dog-sledding was a once in a lifetime thrill. The mountains behind us are actually the backside of Keystone, CO.
My view as passenger!!!
J as "driver". What a thrill!!
The view of the slopes as we drove away, to think we were just up there yesterday!!!
The view as we left Breckenridge just this morning. The first morning when we arrived it was all under a cloud cover. What a beautiful Sunday morning!!

What a glorious trip we had in Colorado. We arrived home tonight to 11 little ones, screaming, yeah, yeah, they're home. That felt so good. We missed the kids terribly and could not have stayed away another night. I am exhausted from our day, but I wanted to post a few of my favorite pictures tonight, while I still remembered a few details from our trip. I have more pictures of us skiing, but those won't load properly on this computer, so I will post them later.

We arrived in Colorado, to pretty yucky weather. Lots and lots of snow, wind, and freezing temperatures were a wake up call to us that we were not in Georgia anymore!!! We drove into Frisco ( just 10 or so miles from Breckenridge), and the wind nearly knocked us down. It was in the single digits and the wind chill had to have been below zero. We scurried into lunch and back on our treck south to the slopes of Breckenridge. We were exhausted by this point, so after a quick nap, quickly getting skis and boots rented, a quick dinner, we were back to bed for an early departure for the slopes.

The next morning, we learned that 10 or so inches of new snow had fallen in the past 24 hours. The winds were high, but we headed out anyway. J and I are the peaceful, easy skiers, lots of green slopes over and over and over. I am certain he would have loved to leave me and head for bluer and blacker slopes, but he stayed right behind me with every run!! After a fun day, we headed to town for dinner. We found yummy food at Eric's Down Under (thanks to the Wilson's and Kris for the pointers on where to eat). Breckenridge is your precious Main Street town with snow covered streets, snow on the sidewalks to your waist, lots of Christmas lights and hundreds of cottage shaped buildings. It could not have been a prettier sight.

The next day, we headed out for skiing again and dog-sledding. I have posted a few pictures from that above. J absolutely loved this over any snow skiing. I was just a passenger and the photographer. These dogs were gorgeous and did a great job. Basically, you just hold on and the dogs know what to do, they were that well trained. After a full day, we headed out for a nice night out on the town and ate at Modis. (thanks to kris who posted on my blog, her brother owns this restaurant, we met him and we loved it)

This morning we arose to a beautiful day in the mountains, and hated to leave it all behind. As we drove away, actually driving north into the mountains, we marveled at the beauty and even commented to one another, "who could not believe there is a God?" Thank you God for blessing me with such a wonderful chance to see your beauty and a precious time with my husband. I am truly blessed!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pondering this morning

I have been thinking this week about a verse I found in a book I have been reading.

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
but God's purpose prevails. Proverbs 19:21 The Message

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. NIV

Given the events this week of our dear friends losing their brand new home and so many precious belongings, I think of all the planning that went into their new home and all those hopes and dreams burned by fire. What is God's purpose here? We can play the Why game all day long with God and sometimes never see his overall greater good for us, but it causes one to just wonder?

A planner at heart, given the events this week, then stumbling across this verse. I know God is already using this to teach me a big lesson. As one who has pledged to God I want to serve him fully in this ministry, use me God as you would, I am shaken by this and God is searching my heart. He knows what's inside and to be honest, do I have other plans that God doesn't? Does He have a greater plan, than what's in my heart of hearts.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Yes, we must try to plan the events of our day, this is life and it is hard, there is much to be done in one day, BUT in the overall scheme of things, am I giving my days to HIM? Am I allowing His plan for each day, week, month, and year to prevail. It will whether we participate or not, God will get the glory, are we willingly participating in it? God doesn't need us to save the world, He can do that on His own, but HE wants us to be a part of it. Am I really letting Him use me in the way that I should? Oh how I want to be a part of it, Oh how I want to see God's Kingdom grow, and more and more Christians grow in Him, but how much do I REALLY participate in HIS plans and not my own? It's a lot to think about and maybe my theology is a little elementary, but I am just sharing my heart.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

God is Good/Read Below

This is what my friend had to say about her ordeal with the fire:

Hey everyone! As most of you know already, our new house that we were to be moved into by the 18th of this month burned to the ground on Sunday night around 1:00a.m. We were called by our neighbors in Highpointe and on the other end of the phone I listened while my sweet new friend next door yelled ,"your house is burning to the ground, Leslie. I can see the flames pouring out of the windows!" Needless to say, I was absolutely shocked and felt as if I was dreaming. Jack got dressed as quickly as he could and the minute the door closed behind him, I dropped to my knees. My first prayer was for my sweet husband to be strengthened as he began the drive to our house. I was literally sick thinking of him getting out of the car and watching all his hard work and energy that he poured into this house burn to the ground before him. My second prayer was one of thanksgiving! For God protected my family from this disaster. I was able to run upstairs and see each one of my children resting peacefully in their beds while my husband was standing, watching our house be violently torn apart. Both of us looking at two very different things, but thinking the exact same thing..... thank you God! So, by 1:40 our house was completely gone. Jack came home as directed by the Fire Marshall and we said nothing... I read scripture quietly and we closed our eyes. Yet, neither of us slept. The next morning we gathered on our bed and told Mackenzie and Jack what had happened. They were very sad and began asking question after question to which we just simply have no answers. We still don't know how or who or what? I sent them to school and by 11:00a.m, I just felt that this day needed to be a day that we were all together as a family. So, I called Jack and we went to get the kids from school and we all spent the day together. God's gift of family is so methin g so sacred. We each drew strength from the other and when one of us would remember something we had lost, the other would respond with something loving and so on.... it was a hard day, but a good day.
As I was looking at what little is left of our house last night, Jack mentioned to me that the foundation is still strong and good! He said fire can't touch that foundation. What a testimony to our lives as christians. Our foundation is christ and because of that we can never be destroyed. We will always have a strong foundation for rebuilding our lives. Fire can't touch that foundation!! So, we press on knowing that we are safe, healthy and very eager to learn whatever God will teach us from this. As Mackenzie says, "mom, we are homeless but lets not tell people that. Let's just say we are without a home right now!" How funny is that.
As for all of you, thank you for your sweet notes, your phone calls, meals, flowers, prayers, etc. You are so appreciated and loved and I just feel so supported. Thank you, Thank you!
Jack called earlier and we think we have a house to move into and it's right up the street! I am so excited for the kids to be able to still have their friends and just feel a little more settled for now. God is shining down on us and you are a very special part of that........

Time to Go!!!

Tomorrow J and I will be going on a long weekend getaway to Colorado. J gave me a wonderful gift for Christmas, a trip!!! He had selected a beautiful green ski coat for me and wrapped it with a certificate telling me all the details of our trip. Okay, first of all, J has never done anything like this, so secretly, and so well. I am thrilled of the surprise of it all. (too bad he was so sick Christmas morning, he really didn't remember my response) We hardly ever get away anymore, so this will be a much needed retreat from our regular life. PLUS, who wouldn't want to head to the snowy mountains for skiing, hot chocolate, and cuddling. We can't wait to be alone!!!

There is much to be done when we leave like this, schedules, menus, shopping for groceries. (yesterday's bill at Kroger was $422) But that was enough for 7 days, whew. I just finished typing out a 6 page itinerary for the sitter and her husband. They have done this many times and I am sure they laugh at my details. I can't help it, it's the way God designed me. He knew I would need the abilities to do this, He prepared me well inside and out!! All the laundry is washing away, bills are being mailed, and lists are getting accomplished that have sat for weeks. Why is it because we are leaving for 4 days, I feel the need to get EVERYTHING done?

Well, we shall see what gets accomplished by tomorrow evening once we roll out. Wish us luck and pray for safe travels!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Please pray

I wanted to ask any of you that read my blog to please pray for my sweet friends Jack and Leslie. Last night, their new home they had just built and were moving into in two weeks burned TO THE GROUND. The cause is undetermined at this time, but at this point, the cause doesn't matter. The fact is it is gone and they are heartbroken. Their sweet 11 year old girl had just packed her room and special things and had already moved it into her new room. Leslie had also already taken many picture albums and home videos and a few pieces of furniture. Of course, she said none of that matters, but it still hurts. Pray for their family as they decide how to move forward. We are praising God they had not moved in yet, the fire was so intense, the outcome could have been even more devastating. Life changes in an instant doesn't it?