Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Wrap-Up, Because It's The Thing To Do

It seems like everyone is doing a year-end wrap-up, so I feel like I should, too.  I was going to try to be all creative in some way, but this year has been exhausting!  And I was going to try to include some pictures, but my server (where the photos are stored) is not cooperating and my husband is exhausted, too, so I'm not going to bug him about it right now.  In the meantime, enjoy this very boring, wordy list created from the best of my recollection.  (Items within each month are listed in no particular sequence.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

First Real Coupon Victory

I just got back from Target where I saved more than I spent.  It was incredible.  Mostly, I stuck to only purchasing things we needed (now or later, i.e., Christmas wrap for next year).  I felt so good for the savings I created for our family with only a few extra minutes of strategizing before heading out the door to the store.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Whatevers

Okay, first of all, Merry Christmas.  On Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day, I thought about grabbing some computer time to post a message to my readers, but I didn't.  You were thought about though - does that help?  And before I forget and in advance: Happy New Year. 

Now that that is said and done, I can present you with some randomness from the past couple weeks that I've been saving my notes on, but haven't yet posted.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thank You, USPS

I know that the US Postal Service takes a lot of heat for stuff over the past decade or so and phrases have been created based on a handful of postal workers, i.e., "going postal," but I, personally, have never had an extremely difficult situation with regards to the post office.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let the Shopping Begin

Everyone knows that the economy hasn't been the best this year for most people.  We are among some of the fortunate who have not felt quite the crunch hundreds of thousands of others have felt the past couple years.  There's been belt tightening around here, but we have yet to lose a job or a house to the bank, so I consider ourselves abundantly blessed in that regard.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Following Up

I've talked about a few things in the past and then failed to follow-up on them (if anyone cares), so I thought this would be a good moment to do that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Marketing Fun

My sisters and I have had a long, unspoken tradition of finding mistakes in advertisements or product package text or on big signs and sending pictures or written descriptions of these errors to one another so we can laugh together at the situation.  If you are in marketing or advertising, I apologize if this offends you.  However, we don't intend any meanness, it's just something we find funny and it's a way to stay connected over the miles and no matter what is going on in our lives otherwise.

Monday, December 5, 2011

1st, 2nd, 3RD Snow of the Season

For those who don't know, yes, it does snow in New Mexico.  We live in what's called "high desert."  The climate is very dry and it does get pretty hot in the summertime, but in the winter, it gets really cold, too.  I'm typing this at 6:30am and it's 20-degrees Fahrenheit right now.  Tonight, the low is forecasted to be 6.  I don't know about you, but that's cold.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Own Room

J has spent most of her early years of life sleeping in our bedroom -- and sometimes, our bed -- for an assortment of reasons.  But I can reasonably say, I think we finally have our own room back now.

Dinner Conversation: Ranch & Bacon

Last night, C took S for the evening, while I had the four younger kids at home.  I made a simple dinner of taquitos and beans that they all seemed to enjoy.  I let them watch a Christmas movie before bed and they each devoured a movie-treat bowl of Tostito's brand tortilla chips in their Limited Holiday flavor edition of Cinnamon.*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Horses Eat

The boys and I were reading in Matthew this morning during school.  We were reading the section on Oaths in Chapter 5. 

Before we began reading, I asked, "Do you know what an oath is?"

Z confidently replied, "Yes, of course, it's food for horses."

(Oats.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three Marys

I have been working through the Truth in the Tinsel curriculum that I purchased as an e-book online (with a Black Friday discount, no less!) with J and O.  Technically, it's not supposed to start till December 1 and is supposed to be used as a countdown to Christmas or Advent season thing.  But that would mean I'd have to sit down with them like I do on the weekdays on weekends all month, so I decided to start early and even double up on a couple days here and there so we can be sure to get it all in (on weekdays only). 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Mastery: Smugmug

Recently, I started up a Smugmug account.  It's fairly user-friendly, but some things about it are like a foreign language to me!  New (to me) sites and programs are always an adjustment.  In time, perhaps I can send you to see my pictures there ... but for now ... I'll just have to keep posting a few here now and then, till I get a better hang of things over there.

My favorite animal.  The baby is Amani, a female born recently at the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque.  She's so cute.  Just like her mama.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Silliness, Again

On the way home from church this morning, I asked O what he learned about in Sunday School.

He replied, as expected, "God."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Trip to SLC, Part III

Here is the final post in the series.  This contains a sampling of photos from our return trip.  We took two days to drive home and stopped in Moab, UT, this time, which is a really touristy area especially for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Number 100


If you've been counting, you might realize that this is Mama Flock's 100th Post.  Woo-hoo!  Celebrate!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Thankgsiving 2011

Eight years ago, we celebrated the fact that our now-daughter, S, had finally rejoined her brothers in foster care under our roof.  She moved in with our family on November 13, 2003, and though we did not know it at the time, she was to become ours just three years later.  The wait was eternal for an impatient mama-to-be like me, but in retrospect, I'm so thankful for the time we spent fostering our children (and others) and the relationships we built with each of them.

These past eight years have gone by in a blink, really.  Some days seem a little longer than others for the trials they contain, sure; but overall, time has just flown by as our children grow. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Trip to SLC, Part II

Okay, so here is a sampling of the photos I took while we were in Salt Lake City.  I did not include pictures from the various restaurants where we ate, from the hotel where we stayed (it was just a Residence Inn), nor from every tourist attraction we stopped to see.  We did many things during our three days in the city -- some were more fun than others, some were more photogenic than others.  I'll try to fill in some gaps with text, but otherwise, just enjoy the photo tour...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Trip to SLC, Part I

Here is a small sampling of photos I took on our trip to Salt Lake City earlier this month.  I'll try to explain some stuff that was happening in and around these photo opportunities, too.  Not that you want more words from me ... but because it's more my style. Ha.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Coupons

Maybe this is a post better served under the Thoughtful Thursday category, but here it is Friday and I'm feeling impatient on this subject.

I know I'm slow to notice things going on in the world some times, but apparently there is this wild coupon craze these days?  I've been seeing more and more ladies with giant binders in lines at stores and they always have loads of coupons when they check out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: One-on-one Time

Following our road trip to Salt Lake City and back this past week and these past couple days of house-cleaning in preparation for Thanksgiving and guests, etc., we have had a lot of time together as a family.  This is a good thing overall, but I know it's important to have one-on-one time with the kids, too.  It's not always easy, but with some creativity, we've been able to find some really nice and unique ways to spend time with each of the kids.

It seems that some of our mom-child or dad-child times are kind of repetitive events based on interests (or tolerances) of the kids.  I thought I'd write about some of these for the record of this time in our lives and to share with you how it's not impossible to make time for individual children, even in a busy, large-ish family.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Again!

We survived our drive to Salt Lake City, Utah and back.  Yeehaw!  I'll blog more later and if we're lucky, I'll have a few good pictures to share, too.  Good to be back.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Silliness

I'm leaving town this week, so I'm not sure how posting to the blog will go.  But before I go ... I wanted to leave you with this silly bit.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Teenager Angst

Why do I cringe every time our teenage daughter starts talking about living on her own or being married or driving or decorating her place some day or becoming a mother herself?  I mean, she's a teenager.  She's naturally supposed to drive me crazy and make me want her to be on her own and out of our house, right?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Current News: In God We Trust & The $5 Sandwich

Okay, so since I am home and adultless for the majority of my day, I have made it somewhat of a priority to at least check the news now and then so I can feel less disconnected from the world outside.  And sometimes it allows me to have a grown-up conversation with someone -- when I am around a grown-up, that is.

Anyway, two news stories recently sparked my interest and I'm curious if any of you readers of mine have any thoughts on the subject.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hypnotized

So last night's Harvest Festival was so much fun.  I came home exhausted and achy from running my tail off all day, but it was worth it.  Today, I'm trying to squeeze in some photo-editing so I can get ready to upload portraits for guests of the festival to download.  It's a challenge, but it's a challenge I enjoy.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Mastery: Making the Best of It

I don't do a very good job hiding my negative feelings about Halloween each year.  It's by far my least favorite holiday for several reasons I won't go into right now.  But alas, my five children love Halloween, so I've been forced to find a balance and not be the family Scrooge every October 31.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Holy Matrimony

Today, O was getting frustrated with his sister and the idea of serving women in general.  J and O were going to go outside to play, but first I wanted the coloring mess J had created to be cleaned up.  J told O that if he helped her clean, they could get outside together faster.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Planning Ahead

I am a planner.

This is both a confession and a statement of fact. While the Lord continues to work in me about being more laid-back about last minute changes to "my plans" and releasing control on things -- turning it over to Him -- the concept of planning (ahead) actually came up this week with our daughter, J, who is like my polar opposite when it comes to the planning department of life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mastery: Feeling Kind of Helpless

This is sort of an opposite post today.  I've been dreading the theme for today because honestly, I feel sort of -- stupid, for lack of a better word -- lately.  I don't mean that in a self-pitying, self-loathing kind of way.  I just feel like I am in a bit of a rut for confidence in my role during this season of life.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good On Purpose

I was so proud of our sons yesterday morning.  I wasn't yet out of bed and the two oldest boys were up and delivering door hangers to advertise to the people in our neighborhood about our church's upcoming Harvest Festival.  They were "in the mission field" just a 9- and 11-year-old, on their own -- but together -- doing God's work.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Home School Resource: Free Movie Curriculum

Hello Homeschooling Friends,

I just learned about this website that offers free curriculum to accompany family-friendly movies.  I am in no way affiliated with this website, but happen to love (free) homeschooling resources.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Field Trips

Field trips were always some of the most fun times I remember about school growing up.  So I try to make sure we have plenty of those ourselves.  The nice thing about homeschooling is that we can do all day field trips or overnight field trips and I don't even have to get parental permission slips signed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Mastery: Lessons in Reading

It often feels like the job of teaching kids to read is a lot like teaching kids to ride a bike.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Flea Market Finds

While I love a good bargain and enjoy yard sales and consignment shops, I have never been an avid flea market shopper.  Growing up, our family used to visit the flea market now and then and I have mixed memories about whether or not I liked it.  In retrospect, I remember thinking it sounded fun beforehand, but we always visited them in the scorching heat, which wasn't very fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Wackiness

We've had some really weird moments this week within the family and so when I can, I write stuff down so I can share it with you all when I have a moment for typing.  I have a moment now ... so here we go.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Mastery: Balloon Photos

While I still don't think of myself as any kind of photographer really, but more of just a person who enjoys taking pictures for the keepsakes that they are; this year's Fiesta has given me more of an opportunity to perfect my balloon picture-taking skills.  I'll post here a series of my best shots from this past week for your enjoyment.  Some are favorites because of the situation or sentiment and others because I think they're pretty decent shots.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves for the most part and allow you to decide your favorites.  These are posted in no particular order and were all shot with a Nikon D90 by me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Playing Hooky

My thought today is that sometimes, it's good to play hooky.  Despite all the best intentions to follow my lesson plan for school or to get chores done, sometimes, it's important to take the opportunity to skip out on all that and spontaneously do a different plan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another Wacky Wednesday

Sometimes it is hard to believe that my life can contain so many challenges and yet be so purely entertaining in so many ways that it is!  I don't know if it's entertaining you all, but I'm having fun, so I'm writing about it.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tongue-tied

I'm listening to the older boys practicing their flashcards.  It's later in the day and nobody's brains are still fully functioning.  Suddenly, Z said, "2+0? 2+0? I feel like I should know that one! But I can't think very good! Oh! Zero!"  His brother quickly corrected him.  Two, of course, if you're having trouble thinking clearly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Mastery: Coin Purses

For the most part, we do inexpensive, stuff-from-around-the-house kinds of crafts for school for obvious reasons.  But sometimes, I like to get something special from local craft supply stores.  This was one of those times.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Week's Joy Moments

I think I've mentioned how despite a very difficult time in our lives -- just overly challenging in more ways than I can count -- the Lord has really been working in me to Seek Joy amidst every day.  Those words, "Seek Joy!" are the banner on my cell phone.  I have a piece of carved word art in my kitchen in bright red that reads: "JOY."  I try to visually remind myself in every way to seek joy no matter my immediate circumstances.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up


Yes, those are supposed to be sharks.  I've been working with J and O this week, learning about water and doing some water experiments (sink or float; condensation) and so I thought I'd finish up the week reading a book about a favorite animal of the kids': sharks.  Then ... shark craft.  They loved them so much, their sharks sat by them at the table while they did their math worksheets and J even explained each math problem to her shark.  I love it when they can teach others what they're learning (to reinforce the lesson) so this worked out well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: A Riot

While my husband and I were away on our WWK, we kept seeing all these fun wildflower patches along the road.  Randomly, C said, "I think large groups of wildflowers should be called 'a riot'."  He explained how wildflowers just kind of do what they want and grow where they want ... so they kind of riot against order and structure.

The idea stuck with me and I like it.  I love riots of wildflowers myself, because they are so unruly with all their colors and wildness.  Wildflowers don't really match my "in the box" comfort zone, but I can't help but love them.  Go figure.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekend Without Kids (aka: WWK)

As I mentioned in a prior post, last week I celebrated my 38th birthday.  My husband's gift to me was so awesome!  He planned a weekend without kids for us.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Talk

I totally allowed Monday to fly by (unfortunately it wasn't in the "time flies when you're having fun" kind of way ... but I'll get over it) and didn't do my Monday Mastery post.  Maybe next week.  So instead, after another very tedious Tuesday, I'm blogging about a fun little chat I had with J on the way back from the grocery store this evening.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Turning 38

My birthday is this week. I'm turning 38. So I decided to answer 38 questions about myself (for the record). These questions are all from this blog site. Don't mind the varied fonts and spacing ... I did this in Word and then pasted it ... so yeah. Deal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Walk Update

So I've walked twice a day every weekday except one since last Monday the 12th.  Some days have been lengthier and others are just a quick stroll around the block -- it depends on weather and energy and how late a start we're getting.  Overall, though, I'd say that I'm starting to actually look forward to our walks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Mastery: Taking Breaks

Parents all know that their job is 24/7.  But I have to think that for homeschooling families, that is even more so the case.  I'm not saying it because I'm trying to brag ... I'm just saying that much of the time, I'm pretty well tired.  Plus, it doesn't help the fact that I'm a bit of a control freak (my sisters would confirm this ... though, they may argue with the *bit* portion of the statement), so I find it really difficult to take a break -- to hand off the care of our children to someone else just for the sake of taking a deep breath now and then.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Message & Fun Video

I don't always post a recap about our pastor's message at church because I don't feel I can do them justice usually. Today though, I found the lead-in video that he used (he doesn't always use a lead-in video either, so it's a little treat when we get one) to be a really great illustration about holding onto our hurts, hang-ups and habits ... and our need to first decide to hand them over before we can begin recovery or further our Christian walk, etc.  Of course the pastor says things way more eloquently than I do, so instead of giving a long drawn out recap of why we don't give these HHHs up easily, I'll just post the video and call it good. 

Enjoy: What Gorilla?


Happy Sunday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Rainbow in the Sky

I'm beginning to think that yesterday was somehow a symbolic representation of my whole life -- or maybe just the motherhood portion.  But things were just so incredibly challenging all day -- by the end though, hope was restored for a better tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Word of Thanks

Today was an awful day! No, seriously! I had no patience, we skipped our walk and I think I've yelled at pretty much every kid at least once -- and one of them, way more than that. 

But there's something especially sweet -- even on the hardest of days -- when after finishing up the last "class" of the day (much later than we should have, but everything got pushed off because of ... well ... life), one child cleaned up her school supplies and then paused to look back in my direction to say, "Thank you, Mama, for teaching me today."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogging on a Tuesday

Not much to say, unfortunately, but found a couple spare moments and I thought, "Hey, I'm going to post to the blog for no particular reason."  It's not a theme day or even a day when I have something especially creative to share ... I'm just here.  Checking in with my readers and letting you know I'm surviving.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just a Side Note

I'm realizing that my sister's suggestion that I use some theme days to inspire my blogging to be more regular has helped ... although, in some ways it's been constricting me.  Also, on days I don't have a theme set up, I'm still struggling to come up with something.  Life is so full right now!  I don't want to create 5 or 7 theme days and box myself in too much ... but I don't want my readers to think I'm only going to blog on Mondays and Thursdays (theme days) either. 

This whole blog thing is a journey in progress and I hope you'll continue to extend me loads of grace till I get a better feel for what works for me.  Thank you so much for your time and your patience.  Your ideas and comments are always appreciated!

Monday Mastery: School Year Kick-off

I don't know how well this fits into my "mastery" category, but it's been a busy day, so it'll have to do.  We'd planned to start school the day after Labor Day as we do each year, but my readers know how I spent Labor Day this year (hint: not finalizing my lesson plan for the first week of school).  So instead, I used the past week to plan a lesson (or five) and we began today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: David, the Rock Star

I was driving with our son, H, the other day and a song came on the radio (I listen almost exclusively to K-LOVE in the car) and it was a fast-paced, slightly harder rock song (I can't remember what it was exactly, though for the story, it doesn't matter).  This is pretty unusual since K-LOVE tends to play softer, more easy-going songs for the most part.  We enjoy something a little bolder now and then.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Mastery: We Got Her

Our daughter is home again thanks to countless hours of research and time on the part of friends and family -- civilians.  God is pretty amazing in the way He uses regular "Joe's" to accomplish mighty works.  We are truly blessed.

Thank you for prayers, which sustained us all and kept our daughter safe.  Ultimately, I know it was everyone's prayers that brought our daughter home.  We'll all need continued prayers as we heal from this experience and grow stronger as a family as a result.  Thank you in advance for any you are willing to offer up on our behalf.  They will be heard.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Keeping the Faith

While I continue to experience a wide range of emotions during this time of self-discovery for our teen daughter, I have tried mostly to keep smiling and to stay strong (in the Lord) because I know that how I respond to challenging times is a witness (either really good or really bad) for other people who learn of this thing we're experiencing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Nothing Yet

These past couple of nights and days have been a whirlwind.  I can scarcely keep up with the incoming texts, calls and emails with prayers and encouragement for finding S.  We are so blessed by being surrounded by so many wonderful, caring people who love S and who love our family.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Missing Daughter

Our oldest daughter left the house last night and has not returned home.  From the looks of things, she has run away (not the first time and not uncommon for children with attachment issues as she has).  We believe she may have caught a ride with someone she arranged in advance, but have yet to discover any clues about who that might be.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Wackiness: Future of Flight

I'm not sure if this will be a regular series on Wednesdays -- mostly because wackiness ensues here pretty much every day of the week and it's far too much to track -- but this morning, our son, Z, was chatting it up at breakfast and I just chuckled at his commentary.  I wanted to share it here with you all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recipe: Mama's Taco Soup

Having descended from parents who both enjoy cooking, growing up with sisters who also enjoy cooking and baking and marrying a husband who loves cooking; somewhere in there, I got lost.  I am a rare kind of mama (or maybe not, but sometimes I feel so alone) who doesn't like to cook or bake and I avoid it as often as possible.

That being said, there are occasions where, like it or not, I am required to cook (or endure yet another fast food meal).  It usually happens when C is out of town on business or when he's not feeling well or like this evening, when he decided he was just too tired to cook after a challenging day at his job.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Mastery: Putting a New Soundtrack to an "Old" Movie

I was just telling my sister this story and she suggested I make a blog post about it, so I'm going to take her advice.  It concerns our daughter, J, who is still age six.  She continues to be really adamant about not wanting to learn to read (though I continually "catch" her sounding out words and teaching herself anyway -- she learns best when she's self-taught).  However, her semi-illiteracy has yet to really hold her back.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Blog Pictures

Thursdays are a great day to write about something I've been pondering or a question to submit for commentary from the masses (you few, but faithful readers).  Don't you think?  Well, even if you don't ... that's what the plan is for now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Mastery: Introduction & Tattle Tales

I don't know about you, but Garfield (the cartoon cat) and I have a lot in common when it comes to Mondays.  I don't think I've ever really been a fan of this day in the week and as I grow older, I'm finding more and more reasons to loathe the day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blogging and Me

I really do enjoy blogging.  I enjoy reading other people's blogs and I enjoy writing my own for the handful of guests who stop by to read my so-so attempts at regular blogging.  Perhaps when our school year starts I can find a rhythm with it ... but so far, I just snag a moment or two whenever they arrive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to Cool

The guy is here right now as I type, installing a replacement compressor in our air conditioning unit.  It's just in the nick of time, too.  We had our hottest two days yet, just yesterday and the day before.  If we weren't sleeping before, the last two nights have actually doubled our overall sleep debt.  Everyone in the house is edgy and rude.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

P.S.

Still no word on where our compressor is for the A/C.  Temperatures are still pretty unbearable, especially when it comes time to sleep.  I'm still praying it all gets fixed soon!

A 6-year-old's Logic

Our youngest son, O, ran away from home yesterday.  This is not a new thing for us considering how many kids of ours struggle with attachment issues stemming from early neglect prior to their adoptions.  (Today, by the way, we are celebrating -- use that term loosely; we ate pizza -- four years since adopting J and tomorrow, we'll celebrate five years since adopting S, H and Z.)  Anyway, being six, it must have felt like a big adventure for him to threaten to run away from home and then loop the block and come back home, sweaty and apologetic.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Moments

Amidst the hot of our house and the busy of our days, I've been making a point to catalog some particularly happy moments to share with you here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Hot

Our air conditioner is busted.  Right when we need it most.  None of us can escape the heat inside our own home ... especially upstairs where we sleep.  We sweat more than we sleep.  Blehhhhh.

Okay, Lord, I've learned my lesson about taking comforts for granted, would you please deliver our new compressor soon?  Oh, and also, it would be great if you could provide a loophole in the warranty so that it'll all be covered for free.  Anything is possible, right?  Amen.

Anyway, it's been days like this and I'm nearing the end of my rope.  I hope this explains why I'm far from my blogging and stuff, too, because the computer is in one of the hottest rooms in the house. 

Though hot, we're all still alive and well.  I'll write more another day....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smile Therapy

I still have many things to share about our trip, but first, I wanted to interrupt these messages with a serious chat about Smile Therapy.  We had to initiate such a thing in our home today.  I can hardly stop smiling when I think about the situation right now.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vocabulary Lessons

Believe it or not, this is another post about our Florida trip.  It's just one of those things we had fun following during our vacation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We're Back!

After 13 days of road-travel from Albuquerque to Orlando and back, I have so much to say.  So instead of one looooonnnng tale, I'll try to get a few shorter posts out of this journey of ours.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Rose-Sniffing

The more pessimistic view of a rose-sniffer is that he is usually very slow and no matter how much we demand that O hurry things along, he can only go the one speed.  O is a boy and at that, a very active boy.  He rarely stops to rest.  Much like his brother, Z, he's always on the move.  But the way that O moves is what I'm writing about here.  There is no rushing the boy, because he appreciates each step he takes and the changing scenery from each new position as he crosses a room.

From O, I have been reminded that even in simple movements, I can slow down and really appreciate my surroundings.  This is the last (for now) in my mostly unread series about the fruit of our children, but I don't care.  Perhaps one day, my children will read these posts for themselves and see something in themselves that I see and appreciate.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Thoughtfulness

An online dictionary defines the concept of being thoughtful like this:

–adjective
1. showing consideration for others; considerate.
2. characterized by or manifesting careful thought: a thoughtful essay.
3. occupied with or given to thought;  contemplative; meditative; reflective: in a thoughtful mood.

I love all of these definitions.  It is exactly how I would characterize the fruit of our child, J -- most of the time.  And that's what I want to write about today in this next installment in the series.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Energy

One of the first out of bed each morning is our middle child, Z.  He bounds out of bed, ready to tackle the day with full-force.  And I thought I was a morning person!  No one keeps up with Z's crazy energy -- morning or night.  So to continue the Fruit series, I want to talk about the fruit of energy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Creativity

Continuing on with this series, I guess I'll call it, our second child (oldest son), H, has taught me so much about the fruit of creativity.

Now, while most of our children have creative streaks, particularly one other child (our daughter, J), H just exhibits creativity almost out of necessity instead of enjoyment.  You see, H is red-green colorblind, so his whole world appears differently to him than it does to the majority of the population, with the exception of his brother, Z, who is also red-green colorblind.  This was no shock since they share the same birth mother and her grandfather was also colorblind, I was told.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Compassion

Most of you who read my blog have probably heard of a little something called, "Fruit of the Spirit," I presume.  If not, look it up in the Holy Bible in Galatians.  But basically, for those of you who don't know/remember/want to click the link, the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  That is, when the Spirit (of God) lives within us and we are obedient to that Spirit, these qualities begin to pour out from us -- some days more than others -- and people are attracted to those qualities in us and hopefully start thinking, "Hey, I'd love to have patience like that..." which leads them a little further down the path opening themselves up to hearing from the brave ones among us as we shout from the hilltops about Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and all that.

And yes, I realize that was a terribly long run-on sentence.  Deal with it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Commencement Commentary

We are fast-approaching the end of our school year.  However, the kids and I both know that we never really "end" the school year.  I continue forcing them to practice math facts, read daily and learn about stuff as opportunities present themselves all summer long.  I'm mean like that.  Believe me, we tried taking a whole summer off one year (the one when we moved from New England to New Mexico), and everyone forgot a bunch of stuff so that the first couple months were spent just reviewing.  No fun.  So it's worth it for us to keep up with the basics year-round.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Priceless

We had an unusual Saturday yesterday (not that any of our days are usual or that I even know what that would look like).  My husband bought a second-hand Atari console with like fifty games.  We have never purchased any video game console for our children beyond their school computer, but go figure, when we finally decide to go for it, we get one a century old.  Okay, slight exaggeration.  It's cool though and comes with all the good games of my youth: Pac-Man, Centipede, Frogger and the like.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mama's Day

I apologize for being MIA recently ... it has just been one of those* weeks for sure!  However, I couldn't possibly forget to make a Mother's Day post!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Chores, More Chores

Recently, my husband, a little more fed up than usual about coming home to an extremely cluttered home and kids who frequently objected to having to help around the house, decided we should review our family chore chart.  I'm embarrassed to admit that despite my admiration of spreadsheets and organizational charts, our family "chore chart" was obsolete.  There was nothing written down.  Kids had chores, but I'd given up fighting for them to get done in lieu of keeping some peace and getting school work accomplished.  I'd gotten lazy and it was reflected in both our children's attitudes and the state of chaos in the house.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Post-Holiday

So after Easter Sunday had ended and we were well into our regular week (Monday evening) and all that comes with it, C suddenly mentioned how he never got any Easter candy.  "The Bunny" no longer bothers to bring us baskets, since providing them for five probably is more than one rabbit can muster.  But Easter candy is C's favorite kind of the year.  He even enjoys the dreaded Peeps, but also loves Cadbury Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ Is Risen!

He is risen indeed!  Happy Easter Sunday.  Something about this particular Sunday and it's like a recharge for everyone in church service.  The worship is more alive and everyone seems so joyful.  It's wonderful. This year was no different.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kid Feedback: On Parenting

I asked some of our kids today as part of their school time discussion, What are a parent's responsibilities?  I got various responses and will put in parentheses any additional information pertinent to their answers that are not evident merely by their words.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Anniversary, etc.

I want to start with a non-anniversary story because it's chronological even if it only fits in the "etc." portion of my post-title.  I took our girls and some friends and extended family to see Rebecca St. James perform the other night.  There is a lot to the overall evening that I could write about, but I'll just say, overall, it was a nice time even though there were some weird things about the whole situation.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Road Trip Music

We have a couple road trips coming up over the next few months and I'm trying to load my iPod with some good music to play over Vannie White's speakers (especially in those middle of nowhere places along the way where the radio won't tune in).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dire Consequences: Foul Language

With five very unique children and all of their unique issues, we are often forced to think outside the box (hey, can anyone think outside the box and come up with a new phrase for that because it's tired now) when it comes to disciplining them when they act up.  There have been people who wince when we share stories and there are those who applaud our creativity.  So at the risk of severe judgement and readers peering down their noses at us, I'm going to occasionally share some of these ideas here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NetFlix for Families

Not long ago (maybe a year), our family decided to try out the new wave in movie rentals: NetFlix.  The cost and convenience is really worthwhile for movie people like we are.  In addition, we purchased a Roku box so we could instantly watch movies on our television (without the Roku, you can watch instantly on your computer, but we wanted to transfer those movies to a larger screen ... hence, the need for Roku).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Movie Review: Soul Surfer

I've shared a few book reviews with you so far and after taking our family to see Soul Surfer last night I thought I'd give it some publicity here on my blog.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our April Fools

Those who know me, know that typically I stink at April Fools jokes.  I cringe at the arrival of the date because I feel  giddy with excitement about trying to trick people, but am terrible at doing it right.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kid Feedback: Jesus

So on occasion, I like to find out what our kids feel about particular subjects.  Sometimes, the subjects are mundane and other times, I delve in and ask them about more spiritual matters.  It's a way to keep the conversation open and what usually ends up happening is that God uses them to teach me stuff about Him and about the world.

Over the past couple days, I asked our kids what their favorite and least favorite thing was about Jesus.  Our teenager declined to answer (probably because she knows by now I like to keep notes on what they tell me for future enjoyment and record).  Anyway, I'll share with you here what the other four kids said...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grateful

I have not forgotten to post!  Spring is our family's busiest time of year and therefore, I have had to make a difficult choice to limit my writing and computing time even further so that I am not taking on too much at once.  However, I found a few extra minutes this morning before church service, so I thought I might share with you ten things I'm thankful for (in no particular order) on this beautiful, sunny, spring morning.  (There, that doesn't count as one of the ten - thankful for the season and the weather - even though I truly am.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Boys

I've learned my lesson over the past several years that I need to make sure our kids have something green to wear on St. Patrick's Day.  You'd think they'd care less since they're not in away-from-home school and for most of the day, the only ones seeing what they're wearing are their siblings.  But in fact, this makes it even more crucial for them to be wearing green.  Siblings are happy to punish those not in green with a pinchy reminder.  Painful ones!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Procrastinating and Pondering

Is it sad that I have nothing to post?  I've even gone through some of my old posts from my private blog because I wanted to share something today.  But, I couldn't choose one.  I'm feeling uncreative and melancholy.  Out of sorts.

Maybe tomorrow.... I hope your day is better than this one is for me.  I mean, I know I'm blessed in the grand scheme and God is in control and all that.  No worries, really ... just looking forward to a better night's sleep and a surge of energy and desire to do what I love: to write.

Until then, sleep well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Teenage Quote of the Week

We have gone round and round with our teenage daughter and trying to help her make good, safe, Godly choices with regards to her computer use and her cell phone.  Most recently, she lost her cell phone (not the first time) for two weeks for texting people we do not know -- which is against our family rules.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grape Skittles and Shamrock Shakes

This morning began too early.  After my husband left for work, I wanted about two more hours of sleep before getting up, but I wasn't able to resettle myself and get even two more minutes.  Our boys were already up and making a ruckus.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bubbles

My sister reminds me often enough that occasionally, I need to do a short post to keep people's interest.  Not everything can be an overly chatty message-laced moral-of-the-story kind of post.  I get that.  I'm not good at that, but I get it.  So today, I'm choosing to use the few moments that I have on the computer to post a quick funny interaction between a couple of our kids in the car on our way to pick up one of the other family's children from school.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Signals

For about a week now, my Suburban's Check Engine Oil light has been staring me in the face.  Also about a week ago, one of my brake lights went out and the windshield wiper fluid started stinking of rotten eggs.  Then today, the Oil light started toggling off and on, sharing the spotlight with my Low Fuel light.  Everything seems to be running low or needing to be refreshed on my vehicle.  I started wondering how my life would work if I had my own warning signals.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Before the Dentist

Our youngest child, O, had a dental appointment this morning.  It was just a check-up and cleaning, but it was scheduled for 10:40am, which is just about the worst time because it's right in the middle of the scheduled portion of our day.  I don't remember why I agreed to that time, but six months ago, who knows?  Anyway, I nearly forgot about the appointment in spite of getting a reminder call yesterday.  Fortunately, H, randomly remembered (possibly in hopes of my setting school aside for the day for the appointment) and reminded me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The View at the Edge



If you have ever been at the literal edge of anywhere, you know the feeling of fear and exhilaration that come with standing there thinking about what would happen if you took one more step closer.  Whether you are at the edge of the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater in Arizona (photo above, 2009), an upper story of a multi-layer shopping mall or leaning over the railing on a little arching bridge, the view can be beautiful and terrifying all at once.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Currently

So I hit this blog with full force when I began it a few weeks back.  I was inspired and excited.  Believe it or not, I still am!  Unfortunately, my available time for computer use is so much less these days and so I'm finding it hard to grab a moment or two just to type anything.  Even those who email me have gotten far less attention and response and I feel guilty about it ... but I know that my time is being spent in good ways, so I don't feel too guilty.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Almost

Sorry about the break in posting, I have been out of town and away from the computer -- which is not an entirely bad thing.  But I have been thinking about this next post for a few days and finally found a moment to type it up.

The thing that's been on my mind just lately has been on the subject of almost.  Two of our sons have birthdays this month and I started telling people they were "almost" the next age about six months ago.  So then when the month arrived, I just started telling people they were that next age.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kid Prayers and Gratitude

While I have never been one particularly committed to keeping a daily journal, blogging has met me where I'm at and has provided a place for me to write about some things going on with me and with our family.  I love the idea of a prayer journal and have tried keeping one of those for a while, but find I do better combining the discussion of goings on and matters of prayer into blog posts (public and private).  The thing I committed to best with regard to a type of prayer journal, was a list of five things I was thankful for each night before bed for thirty days.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brrrrrrr!

A quick post that has very little with being a mom except the extra effort it takes this time of year to get kids ready to go anywhere, but because my sister recommended that I post some pictures and make a short post for once - just to see if I can. Ha. So I get a little chatty! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why We Do

Recently, I was hanging out in a Dollar store while I waited for two of our kids who were taking an art class.  I was purchasing a few items for our upcoming homeschool Valentine's party that I was putting together with some other homeschooling family friends we know.  A teenager we know from church was there and he saw me loading up the checkout belt with my items and wondered why I was buying those things.  I explained what they were for and he asked this question, which I've been asked many times over the past three years or so in some form or another, and that's...

"Why don't you have your kids in real school?"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

He Is

This morning on our drive to church service, I began singing a praise and worship song that seemed to be stuck in my head from the time I woke today.  Our oldest son, H, was riding with me (we'd split into two cars because after church, some of us had to be one place, while the others wanted to go their way) and he said, "Hey! I woke up to that song on my alarm clock."

The song was Matt Redman's You Never Let Go and as with most songs I hear, it's the chorus that fixes itself in my brain best.  I explained to H how that song has carried me through some of the darkest, most difficult moments I've faced in the past year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good Advice

A friend of mine (another mother) sent me this video today and maybe it's one you've seen already.  But it offered a lot of good advice to moms and was put together in a way that is both touching and relevant.  I wanted to share it here with you.  Turn up the volume and enjoy the video and the music.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mulberry Bird: An Adoption Story

Most other people are at least mildly suspicious about how our children came to be ours when they see us together.  Our family has a diversity of appearance that is unexpected by people who are meeting us for the first time.  Some curious people come right up and ask us if the kids are adopted and others stare from afar and wonder.  I'm not sure which is best.  To constantly discuss the adoption of our kids in front of them makes them feel self-conscious and to have people gawking isn't much better.

At any rate, we have grown used to questions and stares over the years and though I don't know what might be the best way to teach others to be kind and curious -- besides just loving us for how we are, even if you don't know the how and why -- it has given us many opportunities to help educate others about adoption.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changed Views

You may have noticed a change to the appearance of this blog since your last visit.  Of course, if it is your first visit, there is less of a shock.  The truth is, I'm just learning how to use this blogger and I'm surprised by the different things available to make it prettier.  So hope you don't mind as I experiment now and then with different color schemes and backgrounds.  It's a lot easier than redecorating my house or trying out new hair colors, that's for sure.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a personal story here from my day.  Let me start with last night, actually.  I was having dinner with four of the kids at a restaurant -- eating my salad -- when I started feeling some chest discomfort.  Heartburn.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blogos-Fear

My husband suggested that I should write a bit about my fears of putting myself out here ... online ... in public ... so that when any of my readers are checking things out they realize what it means for me to be blogging for real, for you and for me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Praying the Scriptures for Your Children

After kids began arriving in our care, first as foster children and then as permanent fixtures in our lives, I realized fairly quickly how little I really knew about parenting.  I am an oldest child; a firstborn of three girls.  Some might think that my practice as a big sister over the years would have taught me how to mother.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Welcome to the Journey

Hello.

I decided to create this blog with the intentions of providing encouragement to my fellow moms out there.  In return, I hope blogging will help me keep my own focus on my faith in Jesus Christ as I continue my walk as a mother, learning new skills every day and experiencing more joy than I ever believed I deserved.