Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our Florida Trip

We left Thursday for Florida. It was a nice quick trip down, with no problems. However, we were amazed at the amount of smoke around the Valdosta area. I don't know how people who live there can stand it.

We went to one of our favorite parks Thursday evening only to find they had taken down the kids favorite playground equipment. Oh well. We enjoyed Publix subs while the boys walked around and the girls played.

Friday we went to Sand Key, our favorite beach. It was beautiful. Not too hot with a cool breeze blowing. It was the first time Samuel had been to the beach and the first time Ellie remembered going to the beach.

Friday afternoon we went to our favorite restaurant Johnny's. The food was as good as we remembered!

Friday evening we were able to visit with my brother and his family. We had such a nice visit, and enjoyed getting to know their children.

Saturday we went to another one of our favorite parks, Phillipe Park, and hung out for a while.
Saturday evening we went to the home of some of our dearest friends and had a get together with some of the people from our church in Flordia. It was great. I only wish I had taken some more pictures while we were there. (Thanks Rita and Jim)

Sunday, we went to my brothers church and then swam in the pool of the friends house we were staying at. The kids had a blast in their pool!

We went back over my brother's house for a cookout Sunday evening, and more swimming.

We had such a nice, relaxing weekend. It was a fun trip and we are so glad we were able to go.

We did pass around a stomach bug- Sam first, Anna next (and the worst), Ellie on way home, Zack after, me the day after we got home, and Paul Jr. today. Paul Sr. is the only one who hasn't gotten it. We were so nice, we even brought it home to Nana!


The Camping Trip
(you can click on these pics to make them bigger) Paul being a kid

Anna intently carrying her egg in the spoon

Sam eating toast

Some of the church people

May 30th

Some thoughts to the baby I miscarried. 3 years ago today was his due date.

Today we should be having a three year olds birthday party. Today we should be wrapping toy trucks and baking a cake and getting ready for the party. Today we should be celebrating another child in our family. Today, none of that will happen.

Today was your due date- would it have been your birth date?

I'm not even sure you were a boy.

A child not held,
A baby not kissed,
A soul not born.

How can I have a child who I've not seen?
A baby I've never met?
A part of me I'll not know.

Will you know me when I get there?
Are you watching us right now?
Do you even understand your life?
Eleven short weeks was all you had.
Dreams, plans, all over in an instant.

I look back on your short life with delight.
I wanted you so.
I wanted to see you, hold you, smell your sweet smell.
I dreamed of the day you would be born.
I dreamed of the little boy you would become.
I was unprepared to let you go.
Your life was like a vapor.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Yet your memory lives on inside of me.
I will never let that go.

All that's left is a few blurry ultrasound pictures and sympathy cards.
Not much to commemorate a life.
Few know, fewer still remember.
But I remember. And I always will.
You are a part of me.
And I will hold you in my heart until the day I can hold you in my arms.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Father's Day Photo contest

Finding Joy In the Morning at is having a Father's Day Photo Contest. I have so many nice pictures of my children and their father that it was hard narrowing it down! But this picture has always been one of my favorites. Ellie is about 4 in this picture.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We're Back!

We survived camping! Actually, we did more than survive- we had a blast. It was one of the most fun, unique experiences that I have ever been a part of. We had 16 famlies participate- 11 of them camped in tents and the others stayed in cabins. The tenting families all stayed next to each other in one section of the campground. We had houses without walls- children came and went and ran through each of our campsites all day long. We talked, laughed, fellowshipped and worshipped together.

The children had the most fun. They hit the ground running on Friday and didn't stop until we left on Sunday. Right behind our campsites was a ravine, full of trees that they ran through. There was also a dirt/mud slide and of course, a lake to swim in and fires to play with. They literally fell into their sleeping bags at night, so exhausted from the days activities.

Samuel kept the whole campground up Friday night. He could not fall asleep. He knew he was not where he was supposed to be and he let everyone know it. Paul and I got very little sleep that night and were dragging the next day. Saturday night, he went right to sleep and slept until we woke him up at 8:30 the next morning. Poor little guy was so exhausted!

It was interesting to go to the different campsites and see how people camped. It was easy to differentiate between those who had done it alot and those who were new at it. We did ok. We have along way to go to actually know what we are doing and until we are totally prepared. But, we did alot better than the last time we camped.

Now we are getting ready to go to Florida to visit family and friends. My girls are so excited to meet their cousins and I am ready to get to know my newest neice and nephew (they are 3 and 4). We've not spent any time with them and they have never seen Samuel. We will also get to visit with some very dear friends of ours. It should be a fun trip.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Camping We Will Go...

Today we leave for our churchwide camping trip. Actually, everyone else in the family is there but Sam and I. We will go when he wakes up from his nap. I've been doing some last minute cleaning and cooking and trying to remember everything. About 75 people are coming from the church and we are praying God gives us a great, fun, worshipful time.

I am not a camper. We did not camp growing up, and I think I slept in a tent 2 or 3 times before last year. Paul's family grew up camping. We tried to take a camping trip about 13 years ago in Florida, but our tent was attacked by monster racoons (no joke!), so the campground put us up in a mobile home with a/c and cable tv- my kind of camping!

2 years ago, Paul wanted to go to CT for his family reunion, but we were financially strapped. There was no way we could go if we had to stay in hotels. We have too many children for one room, so to stay, we would have to get 2 rooms every night. We couldn't do it. So, he talked me into camping. It wasn't so bad. He did everything, from setting up the tent to cooking the meals. Last summer we camped a few nights on our way to Kansas. Again, he did everything, and it was actually fun.

This time around, I have taken care of all the food and the cooking of it. He has nothing to do with it, and I think I have surprised him. I'm actually looking forward to the campout, and to having fun times with our church family.

So, I'll be back on Sunday night with a full report. Hopefully, we will all survive~

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mothers Day, 2007

I had a fantastic mother's day this year. Actually, my husband has always outdone himself on mothers day (with the exception of one year, but we won't talk about that because I have forgiven him!!!). When I walked out of the house to go to church yesterday morning, I was greeted with the sight of 5 beautiful hanging baskets of flowers, one from each of my children. Our porch was made for hanging baskets, and they look wonderful. I was really surprised, and I am not easily surprised!

Then after church, they all made me a delicious meal and picked up the house while I lounged in bed and played on my computer. They outdid themselves! Now, I knew they were working on something secretive, but I had a hunch it was a scrapbook (because they wanted to know where the pictures were and all the scrapbook supplies), but I played along. They handed me a large scrapbook where they had each made a page and wrote me a little note. But the best part of this scrapbook was that you could record a 20 second message for each page. My family each recorded a message to me that I will be able to play over and over. Even Samuel, who is 2, recorded a message that is so cute.

Thank you family, for a great day yesterday. I love being a mother and taking care of everyone. My husband preached an outstanding message on Proverbs 31 yesterday in church. There were a few points that were so convicting to me that I intend to work on. It's so comforting to know that even though I'm approaching 41, God is not done with me yet. Even though I've made countless mistakes, I can get up this morning and try all over again and do it right. I love the verses in Lametations 3:23- "It is because of the Lord's merices we are not conusmed; they are NEW EVERY MORNING; Great is thy faithfulness". New every morning. It's not too late to do it right and do it better.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Memories of Mom

  • My mom loved to decorate, redecorate and re-redecorate our house. It was nothing for her to wallpaper an entire room, decide the next day she didn't like it, and rip it all down.

  • My mom loved to play board games, and still does. She has more games in her garage than our local Toys R Us. My children enjoy going to Grandma's house and playing one of her games. She buys them from garage sales and thrift stores, and alot of them are old.

  • I remember one time laying on the living room floor with my mom and my sister. It was near Christmas, and we had gold ball ornaments that were like mirrors. However, mom discovered that if you made faces into the ornaments, it was extremely funny. We made faces and laughed for a long time that afternoon.

  • Whenever we took a long trip (which was often), we'd start out by stopping at a deli and mom would make us all sandwiches in the front seat. It was so exciting!

  • Mom always made sure we had a pool to swim in. Summers were great at our house- long days spent outside by the pool and playing in the sun. I remember vividly she always had the oldies station on, and I know alot of the old songs to this day because of it.

  • I never remember my mom talking ugly to my dad or disrespecting him in any way. My parents NEVER yelled at each other, and if they disagreed, they did it in private. We never knew if or when they were upset with each other.

  • My mom is such a fun grandma. My children, from the oldest to the youngest, get so excited when Grandma is coming. She plays with them and makes up games for them. My older boys still talk about all the games she played with them in the pool years ago.

  • The older I get, the more I appreciate all my mother did for us. We had a great childhood with many fun memories.

Thank you mom, for all you did and for all you still do for me. You have given me a wonderful example of a loving mother and wife. I aspire to be what you are.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

May 12

Today was Anna's 11th birthday. Amazing. She is well on the way to womanhood. We had a nice family party and she received the mountain bike she has been hinting at for the last few days. Her request for a cake was "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake" and boy was it good. Here are 11 things about Anna:

  1. She is a tomboy, but likes to look nice.

  2. She does not like frilly dresses (like her mom!)

  3. Anna is usally happy and smiling from the moment she wakes up.

  4. When she was 8, she broke her arm in 4 places, had 5 surgeries and spent a week in the hospital.

  5. She was such a cute toddler with big, brown eyes, curly blonde hair, and chubby cheeks. The more excited she was, the faster she talked.

  6. In an argument, she is usually the one who gives in.

  7. Anna enjoys cooking, but not cleaning.

  8. She played softball this year for the second time, and improved so much. She was one of the better players on the team.

  9. She has a beautiful singing voice and enjoys singing in church with her brother Zack as her accompianist.

  10. She rode every roller coaster at six flags when we went yesterday.

  11. She and I have had many "grown up" talks in the past few months.

Anna and Dad. 1997

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Samuel and Papa.

Works for me Wednesday

My family has, in the last 2-3 years, developed an aversion to keeping socks. I can buy new packs of socks and in 2 weeks, they are no where to be found. With 7 of us in the house, it can get quite expensive, not to mention wasteful.

I think I have come up with a system for us. I say I think because we've only been using for about 1 1/2 weeks, but so far, no lost socks. It is alot more work on my part, at least intially, until I train my children to be more diligent with their socks.

It's very simple. I've probably stolen this idea from somewhere, or more likely, I've taken things I've heard here and there and meshed them into something that will work for us.

I started with new socks. (there wasn't many of the old ones around!). I bought two small baskets and put them in my room. The clean socks go in one basket, the dirty socks in the other. Yes, I keep all the socks in my room. Hopefully, this won't last long, but it was the only way I could keep control. When the children take their socks off at night, they bring them into my room, safety pin them together and put them in the dirty basket. Then, and only then, are they able to take a pair of clean socks for the next day. When the dirty basket gets somewhat full, I toss the whole thing in the washer. Because they are pinned, there is no matching and no single socks get lost. I simply toss all the clean socks back in the clean basket. When the children get another pair, they unpin them and put the pin on my dresser.

Like I said, its a fairly new system for us, and much more work for me. But, we haven't lost a sock yet!

Read more great ideas at

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Homeschool Conference

We attended our states homeschool conference this weekend. It was great. It's always nice to get away with Paul without the children, but to attend this conference also was a bonus. We heard Ken Ham, Kevin Swanson, Turansky and Miller, Rhea Perry and Mary Hood. I enjoyed them all, but especially the workshops by Turansky and Miller. They give very practical advice on raising children- I would encourage you to check out their books. I also enjoyed Mary Hood. I remember reading her book, "The Relaxed Homeschooler" many years ago when we first started homeschooling and it was nice to hear her in person. She is very balanced in the area of homeschooling and child rearing and in taking care of mom so mom can take care of everyone else.

Our state does a wonderful job in putting on this conference and we plan to go every year that we are able.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! We were so privileged to hear the Eden String Quartet at the conference. They are amazing. The quartet is made up of four sisters who have a great testimony. Franklin Springs made a DVD of their life called "A Bountiful Blessing"- a must see.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Who are those kids? 1988
Check out my husband's new blog:

Free Ipod Nano

Five minutes for mom is giving away a pink ipod nano! Go check out the contest at Make sure to leave a comment and link back to them.