Saturday, May 31, 2008

We made it through our first week!

Well, summer is officially here and we made it through our first week! (only 11 more to go until school starts back) But really, I have to admit sleeping in late, no schedules, no activities, lots of swimming, popsicles, movies, and just hanging out has been great so far. Our family sticks to such a tight schedule that a week to just go with the flow has been awesome. We are rarely spontaneous and it feels good to do that for a little while. We have even decided to drop things and head to the lake for a few days with some family friends. Life is Good!

Here are some highlights from our week:

1. Several of my girls have devised a business plan to form a Lemonade/Sweet Tea/Cookie stand to earn money as once we started attending the "pool" again and they realized mom and dad were not going to pass out money each time for Baby Bottle pops and Gum tape.

2. J is learning to swim independently already. ME has almost made it the length of the pool as the new lifeguards have a rule, "no one in the deep end until you swim the entire length without touching the bottom."

3. I managed to get a new summer hairdo and highlights. Whew, it feels good to be blonder.

4. Lots of movies.. . . I usually don't let everyone just sit and veg quite so much, but it has been nice to do it myself.

5. Since we have stayed up later, we sleep later. . . J even slept until 10 AM one morning. Praise the Lord. It is nice to have a quiet house in the morning, drink my coffee, blog a little, have a quiet time, and get our day going without the chaos of 11 kiddos begging for cereal at once.

6. A rainy day meant a day at a new facility that includes 15 inflatables. The kids even did the velcro wall. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera.

7. A grocery bill of almost $600 this week, as the kids are now home full time. Lots of snacks, dinners, lunches, and drinks. (plus, we were unusally OUT of everything as the end of school drained our pantry and fridge and mom didn't have much time to grocery shop)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun in the summer!

Little J while exploring with M tonight over at Mirror Lake. Too cute!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Time away with ME

ME and I took off last week for a quick getaway before all the "big Kids" got out of school. For those of you that do not know her, she is my strong-willed, loud, vibrant, vocal, dramatic, smart, and enthusiastic 5 year old biological daughter that keeps us going from sun up to sun down.

(I failed to take my camera with me this past weekend, so here she is last summer at the beach!)

She is a social child by nature and wants so much more of me. I just don't have enough of me to go around, so J and I decided some time away with just she and I might help the situation.

I had a free night voucher for a Marriott Resort, so we headed to my college town Birmingham to stay at Ross-Bridge resort for two nights. Upon our arrival to town we stopped at some dear friends house for a quick visit with them and their daughters. I hated we did not have more time to spend, but we had to get to our destination as we quickly learned that the pool indeed had a water slide. Once we checked in, ME declared, "let's just throw on our bathing suits and don't even unpack." She was the boss, so we did. She must have gone down that water slide 48 times that one day. It was a sight and she even talked me into doing it, only twice. After our session at the pool, we decided a night in the room with robes on and room service would fit our needs. We ordered yummy food and even an episode or two of Hannah Montana. (fun times) After a great night of sleep, (of course we had to sleep in the same bed, even though we had to QUEEN beds)we headed back out to the pool for a day of fun and swimming. We tried out the hot tubs, indoor and outdoor, the swimming pools, indoor and outdoor, and of course once again, the water slide. We were thrilled to find out the pool snack bar was open for the day and in crewed a $45 tab as we enjoyed burgers, sweet tea, and gelato for the day.

After a full day, we headed in for showers and then a dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. We of course split a piece of divine cheesecake and even a decaf coffee. We then enjoyed a fun time shopping for bathing suits and even enjoyed a trip into Claire's. When you have little girls, a shopping trip is not complete until you hit Claire's. Luckily on this day, the store had a 10 for $10 sale, she delightfully selected items she could bring home to her siblings. Precious. After an evening of shopping we headed back to the hotel to enjoy "Horton Hears a Who". Did you know you can save your movies that you order in a hotel? That is fabulous because she was of course too tired to continue the movie and conked out quickly. The next morning we ordered room service and dined on bacon and cheese grits. Sadly, we had to leave by noon, so we headed to the pool for TWO MORE hours. They went by so quickly and ME cried when we had to leave as she had finally made friends with several girls that morning.

I loved my special time with her. She can be so demanding of me, but I realize so often that all she needs is me, my time, and my attention.

( I forgot to thank my awesome husband that funded our shopping spree and trip, Thanks J, and thanks for helping me get away, making it happen, and keeping up with the gang, so we could go.)

Dear Lord, give me more hours in the day, so I can spend more time with all of my children, especially those that need me more than others. Thank you Lord for special time with my little live wire. I pray for more times in the future where we can spend those quality times together.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well, it's down to 3 1/2 days until school will be out for the summer. I find myself, not dreading the kids being home, but rather stumped as to what we are going to do? I can admit that for the first week or so, we will enjoy sleeping in and having no schedule. But unfortunately in a home of 13 people after about a week or so, my kids get antsy. They get bored quickly. I think it must be because they are being raised in such a fast paced society these days. I am thanking the Lord that our summer pool membership was re-instated after we thought it would not re-open. Whew!! We will have lots of time to swim and enjoy friends at the pool, but other than that, "I ain't got nothin'!" Not that I won't get inspired and think of lots of fun things to do to fill our days, but I am just not there yet.

We do have the kids registered for two weeks of summer camp, a trip to the beach, driver's ed, drama camp, ballet class, football camp, and of course the summer reading program, but I want my kids to just enjoy being home. Unfortunately I discovered early on into this ministry that my kids NEED, CRAVE, and MUST have a schedule, my theory is that it stems from days of chaos at an early age. We have less discipline problems when we stay busy as well. It's the days of just go find something to play with or play outside, that they get themselves into arguments and lots of trouble.

So. . . the clock is ticking and I need lots of inspiration, so ANY IDEAS?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

M's prom and we got to chaperone!!

Last week, M had her prom with her school. Since we go to a private, christian school, this was not a prom like most schools may have. The theme was a black and white ball in which a prime rib sit down meal was served and parents were invited to attend. We sat in the back of the room with friends and decided not to be noticed. It was very cute and I think she had a great time. I added a few pictures above. Only 19 more proms to go!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thoughts on being a Mom. . . to ELEVEN!!

I really do love being a mom, trust me there are days, I have to convince myself that God designed me for my special assignment as a mom to eleven, but I do love it. Mother's Day is a great way to celebrate my love for my own mother as well as to see my children experience honoring myself, my husband's mom, and her in the same way. Throughout this weekend I have been thinking about what I love most about being a mom. Here goes:

1. I love, love, love buying clothes, organizing, and dressing all of my precious angels. My love language is CLOTHES!!

2. I love cooking, planning, shopping, and organizing meals for our family of 13 mouths!!

3. I love when precious tiny lips kiss my cheek.

4. I treasure the moments that I rocked my darlings and treasure the minutes and seconds little J will still let me rock him at bedtime.

5. I love hearing all of my children call me Mom. It is very special for me to hear from those that I didn't bring home from the hospital. It is more than my name to them, and I love hearing them say it.

6. I love that my 14 year old son hand wrote me a card in which he gratefully thanked me for giving him a chance to be somebody in life, and honored me by presenting this to me in front of the family, then cried when I cried while reading it.

7. I love making lists. . . really, I do. I love that my lists each day contain all the "mothering" duties that I get to perform. Driving, cooking, appointments, laundering, dry cleaning, ironing, phone calls, birthday gifts, and more.

8. I love that at church I had a bouquet of carnations and only some had 1 or 2. (I am not competitive or anything, I was just proud to carry that many) The kids were given carnations in Sunday School to present to their mom, of course I had a lot.

9. I love that most of my kids recognize how hard my job is and cut me some slack, they don't expect me to be perfect. Thanks kids.

10. I love that I have 5 teenage girls, there are lots of laughs, lots of clothes, and lots of drama.

11. I love that I have 4 girls under 8 and that I get to do the teenager thing all over again. Hopefully, I will do a much better job the next group around.

12. I love that I have 2 precious boys that my husband is teaching to love and respect women as God's precious creations.

13. I love that I get to share my job in parenting with such a special, giving man.

Happy Mother's Day to all my special people that are Mothers too.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Birthday T!!!

It all started in the fall of 1996, when I became a teacher at a public, elementary school here in our town. That fall there was a precious, brown eyed, skinny, tiny, little girl in a Kindergarten class taught by a good friend. I knew this girl throughout the year and watched her grow. To my surprise, the next fall she was to be my student in the first grade that year. I loved this little girl. It was T!! Throughout that year, T encountered different moves with her mother and then was to be settled and raised by her maternal grandmother. T finally seemed to have a stable person in her life that often came to the school for conferences, visits, lunches, and just to pop in and check on her. Prior to her living with her grandmother, I told my husband how I loved her. She was just a great little girl. My husband said then, "tell your principal, we'll take her." This was long before we knew how children went through the DFCS system or we even thought of becoming foster parents, but we knew there was something about her that we were drawn to.

Fast forward 10 years. In the spring of 2006, our church hosted a beauty day for girl's at a local group home. There sat T, my precious girl from 10 years earlier was now living in the girl's home. The more I investigated, I learned she had recently expressed an interest in living in a home environment with foster parents. I knew then, God was drawing us all back together. That June, she moved in and has now lived with us for almost 2 years. Since that time, her biological sister has been adopted by some of our best friends. God is awesome, isn't He? I truly feel like she is my daughter and I am so proud of her.

Let me tell you about her. . . . she is beautiful not only on the outside, but the inside as well. Her countenance is usually happy, and if it is not, it is because an injustice has been done to someone else, not herself. She has strong interests in becoming an attorney. . and has the brains to do it. She thinks quick and fast and I think her beauty deceives most people, because we ourselves are blown away by her intelligence. She is wise beyond her years and very mature. She is also a great christian girl and has definite fruit in her life of a walk with Christ.

Today she turned 17, and was surprised by a gift she longed for. . . a cell phone. Her very own, black, Razor, texting, cell phone. She almost cried. What a precious moment for her to experience a true gift given in love by parents to a child that deserves so much more. . . a family. We are thrilled we can give that to her. Happy Birthday beautiful girl, we love you!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The days go by Slow, but the years go by Fast!




I could just cry!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Just a few more pictures!!

The Big Day (part 1)

Strike a pose, girls!!
Little T shaking it to "Teach me How to Shimmy". What a perfect song for her!
Kokomo-Little T relaxing on the beach~
S as a fairy dancer, it was beautiful!!
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow", another beautiful act!
S dancing to "I don't Dance", from High School Musical 2
ME dancing to a song from Annie get your Gun!
ME feels pretty from Westside Story!!
How cute they were and these costumes were gorgeous.
K with a sweet friend, in the dressing room getting ready for "Hard Knock Life".
This dance was precious, the girls were such cute orphans!!

Our morning recital was a big success and 2 hours long!! Way to go girls. This year's theme was "Hollywood to Broadway", and included popular songs from musicals and movies. Too cute. Above are photos from a few of our TWELVE acts from this morning's show. M's is tonight, so I hope to post them tomorrow. Enjoy the photos.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Preparation for the Big Day

Okay, this is one of those weekends, that it really gets hard. Dance Recital Weekend. So many of you ask, "how do y'all do it?" This is one of those times, I ask myself and don't have an answer. I guess with lots of prep work, organization, and planning skills. We have 5 girls out of 9 that take dance and that's a total of 15 costumes and 15 acts in the recital tomorrow. I have literally spent my morning writing names in EVERYTHING, typing lists for the girls that will be backstage, hot gluing flowers to hair pins, making a last minute list for items needed at Wal-Mart, and diligently highlighting their acts in the program. Whew!! It is a labor of love.

On a happier, less stressful note, my girls love to do this. They love the hair, make-up, stage performance, and the costumes. They do not object to the tights, too-small fitting shoes by this point, nor the lists from mom. Their smiles and stage presence are worth every effort. (Even the countless trips to town to dance class each week and the payment for the costumes.) I get it, I know what self-confidence this is building for them later in life. The joy they feel in "showing" their dances on stage is very evident and it is a priceless moment to see them there. I will definitely post lots of pictures after the weekend.

Pray for me and my stress level, their little nerves, and for S, she has two back to back numbers, with a costume change right there behind the curtain and that stresses her out more than getting on stage. It's gonna be great!!