Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Snowflakes made - check.

Presents wrapped and under the tree - check.

Other secret presents ready to be staged for the kids after they go to sleep tonight - check.

Christmas Eve clothing laid out - check.

Camera prepped - check.

Cards put into the mailbox for belated greetings to our closest family and friends - check.

Cinnamon rolls being prepared by C - check.  (Can you smell them from there?)

Avoiding signs of winter weather - check.  Ha!  Take that weather people who told us we'd be getting a big snowstorm today!

C learned his songs for Christmas Eve Service - check.


Okay, I think we're ready for you Baby Jesus.  Let's party!

I hope all is well for you, also.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Honoring the Children

I received an email from one of my uncles last night and though I don't know who wrote this (I'm sure it's gone viral so you may have already read this yourself), but I thought it was a touching tribute to the children who lost their lives at Sandy Brook Elementary in Newtown, CT, so I wanted to share it here in their honor...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Freebie

In doing some final shopping on Amazon this morning, I ran across this free download of "Must Have" Christmas music.  Just in case you didn't know this was out there ... enjoy some holiday cheer.  For free!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Accomplishments and Anticipation

I'm usually the lady still rushing around on Christmas Eve to finish up shopping for gifts.  But this year, I'm already 98% done and I still have a week!

I feel good.  I've been wrapping things as I get them, so that's pretty much done.  I just need to finish up a couple things for my nieces and I'm finished.  Seriously!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Catching Up

I haven't seen my computer much over the past week.  I think Christmastime keeps me pretty busy doing a lot of other stuff (so I have more I can write about here?), so please don't give up on me.  As things settle down, I'll get back to posting more regularly ... but for now, I'll post when I have a free moment.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nanny McGyver

Sometimes I find myself in a situation that requires my inner McGyver to come to the surface to save the day.  Today, was one of those days.   While I'm almost embarrassed to write about this story, I was so pleased with the results that it would be a shame not to document the success.

Plus, I already told the child's mother and she laughed about it, so I guess I'm clear to tell you about it here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Paleo Update 4

Today is day 29 in our 30 day challenge.  I feel so good about the changes I've made in my diet.  I feel healthier overall.  I feel more energized and more ready to take on everyday challenges.

Have I lost tons of weight?  Not really.  Not yet.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hello and Happy Birthday

I'm so thankful!  C is home again safely and so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  We are so happy!

And speaking of happy ... our family celebrates two birthdays today. 

Happy Birthday to my dad-in-law today AND Happy Birthday to my niece, K.  I hope you both had a wonderful day, today!  We love you both.

Actually, I heard how K's day went and it seemed to work out in the end, but can you believe she had six tests today in school?!  On her birthday!  Craziness.  She did get an A+ on one reading project she turned in today, so that definitely had her smiling.

Okay, this is a short post ... I'm tired this evening!  But happy it's Friday, too!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

While Daddy's Away, Part 3

So I just had to finish up this mini-series I've created here by thanking you all for prayers.  Today went more smoothly than yesterday and it helped a lot to know that C will be home TOMORROW!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Unusual (and Unintentional) Purchase

Okay, so yesterday, the kids and I did some shopping.  First, we went by Learning is Fun because, sadly, it was their last day in business in Albuquerque and therefore, were selling everything in the store for 70% off.

I found some really fun things for really good prices.  I now have a large model of a tooth (a la dental school) for when we learn about teeth during this human body study we're working on.  I also procured a roll of brown art paper, 48"x200'.  That should be fun!  Plus, lots of other fun things for our homeschool room and studies.

While Daddy's Away, Part 2

I realized that I didn't have the energy to post anything last night, so I'll post about yesterday some time later today because a "funny" thing happened that is just so odd, I don't know what to do but blog about it.

Anyway, this morning, started off kind of rough so it takes precedence since I really need your prayers to make it through these next couple days before C returns!  I feel very overwhelmed.

Parental Rights, Update

I blogged about what was going on in D.C. with regard to some legislature that, if passed, would greatly impact parental rights.

I am happy to (re-)post today this news directly from HSLDA:

Senate Rejects Ratification of UN Disabilities Treaty

Monday, December 3, 2012

While Daddy's Away...

It never fails, when C goes away on business, the whole house groans at his departure.

Even though he took vacation to work on several household projects and in between our fun weekend, he made sure the oil was changed in my truck and that the van got a repair that we couldn't really afford but was necessary to drive it (a steering rod broke and the shocks needed replacing), he changed the battery in my remote locker-unlocker that lives on my keychain that had died several months ago, he even reattached the dishwasher to the countertop because it had shaken itself loose creating drainage issues -- as soon as he left, more things started breaking.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekend Recap

I am just sitting down at my computer for the first time since Friday.  I am excited to tell you about our weekend.  What a fun way to begin our December!

Friday, November 30, 2012

What Did They Just Say?

Our kids are all totally smart, intelligent, brilliant and creative -- just like your kids.  But sometimes, they are a mystery to me.  Sometimes, they say stuff that is quite hilarious, but then I'm left asking myself, "Did they just forget or did they actually not know that?"

Playing Bible Trivia with the boys in school yesterday (we do like an occasional "game day" in school to break up the monotony), one question was: How many days did it take God to create the earth?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paleo Update 3

It's been about two-and-a-half weeks since we began Paleo and thankfully, after my little stall, I'm continuing to lose weight.  As of today, I've lost exactly ten pounds (to the tenth of a pound).  Woohoo!

I continue to feel great most of the time.  We even built graham cracker ginger bread houses yesterday and I didn't so much as lick my fingers after handling all that sugary candy.  Christian did equally well holding up against all that temptation.  I'm so proud of him for sticking this out so far with me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas on TV

I don't know about you, but I love Christmas movies.  We don't get too many gloomy winter days here in New Mexico, but it does get dark early and it's fun to cuddle up on the couch with a kid or five and settle in for a holiday classic.

I was thrilled to find out that ABC Family has posted their Christmas movies for the month in an easy to save or print PDF file so we can be sure to record and watch some of our favorites.

Check it out HERE.

Parental Rights

As homeschoolers, we have decided it is in our best interest to keep ourselves affiliated with some legal representation in case anything ever went awry.  We are members of HSLDA along with many other homeschooling families.

HSLDA not only stands in the wings in case we need legal representation, but they keep us informed about politics and laws that affect us as parents and homeschoolers.  Sometimes, what is going on out there is really astonishing and so I'm glad to have them paying attention when my attention is pulled so many other ways.  I can stay informed and involved by paying attention to the HSLDA updates.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Field Trip: Bosque del Apache

There are several things I've come to love about New Mexico since moving here.  One of my favorite places to visit is the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge down near Socorro.  It takes a couple hours to get there, but most of the time, the drive is completely worth it.

I say most of the time, because the last two times we tried to bring guests with us, our timing was way off and there were no birds there.  We still have yet to top our best visit to the refuge and that was our first late autumn here. 

We moved to NM in August (2008) and we went down there to check it out for the first time in early December, I believe it was.  I was just absolutely blown away by the sheer number of birds in one location.  "So this is where the birds come when they fly south for the winter!"  It was amazing.

House in a Snowglobe

I got this link from a couple different family members and it's a fun thing to do for the holidays...

Click HERE to check it out for yourself.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Paleo Update 2

H and I are still going strong with Paleo.  I feel so much better.  I sleep better.  My mood is better.  I haven't had a major carb craving yet, though I do get a little frowny when I think about ice cream and cheese.  I miss those.  But it's worth the trade to keep feeling stronger and mentally better.

Fun Parent Rap Video

Okay, so I saw this on one of the other blogs I follow, but I just have to put a link to it here so I can reflect back on it repeatedly.  Also, some of my readers might like this video -- whether you are parents or not.


Not every lyric or rhyme fits our family in its current season (like the stuff about toddlers -- though we do have a borrowed one in the house every day), but that time when ours were that age was not so long ago that I've forgotten.  And regardless of the age of our kids, some of this still totally applies.  Ha.

I enjoy this video!  I hope you do as well.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Little Things Missed

We stopped into Walgreen's while C was at his doctor's appointment that he nearly missed while we were out getting Windows 8 for super cheap at Best Buy since apparently this is a big shopping and sale day or something?  I don't know.  But anyway, we'd dropped him at his appointment at the last possible minute and then J and O wanted Starbucks hot cocoas and while they drank those, I wanted to run into Walgreen's.

As a bonus, they had Scotch tape on sale for buy one get TWO for free, which is perfect right before Christmas wrapping time.

As we wandered the aisles, O suddenly said, "Mama, it looks like brushes are on sale.  Do you think I could get a brush and a comb for my hair?"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

I already gave you a list of things I'm thankful for (yesterday), so today, I'm going to talk about the food!

C and his fabulous cooking talents did not go to waste this year.  He was especially challenged to create some Paleo-friendly foods so H and I could eat.  I will tell you that H splurged and had a couple bites of non-Paleo food for the holiday (but mostly did great!), but I was able to happily stuck to my diet and still felt celebratory all day long!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Six-List: Six Things I'm Thankful For

I could easily make a hundred-list or more, but for your sake, I'm keeping it to my favorite number: six.

I am thankful for so many things, six of which are...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Normal

I just got the call from the doctor's office and H has no fractures!  It's a Thanksgiving miracle.

On a side note...as a Christian, homeschooling, adoptive family of seven, we are often the oddballs in our neighborhood and everywhere we go, so it's kind of strange hearing that the radiologists report that "everything is normal."

Anyway, so his knee and foot are still swollen, so he's to keep that leg elevated -- above his heart -- today.  He should be able to gradually wean off the crutches in the next couple days and if he still can't put pressure on that leg in a week, he needs to be re-x-rayed because apparently some fractures don't show up for days after an accident.  (I'd never heard that.)  But if he's walking on it again, we're good!

I have something extra to be thankful for this year.


Movie Review: Wreck-it Ralph

Yesterday afternoon, C was obligated to go cook a meal for a church event that I was not involved in.  He took S, Z and O with him as "helpers," and so I just had H and J at home with me.  Nice!

While I could have easily just caught up on some emails and blogging and left them to lay around and watch television, I thought we could use our small number in the group to go do something fun that might not be as possible with all the kids.  We decided, among other things, to go see a movie that wasn't playing at the dollar theater.

H and J both chose Disney's Wreck-it Ralph, so I wasn't going to break up the happy agreement between siblings -- even though other movies might have sounded better to me.  I didn't even look to see what else was there because I didn't want to be tempted to sway them into disagreement.

I always try to avoid too many spoilers when I talk about a movie, but for those who like to know nothing, consider this YOUR WARNING.

Monday, November 19, 2012

More X-rays

Disclaimer for the faint of heart:  This post contains photos of x-rays and some commentary about them.

H and Z were outside riding their bikes, jumping them off curbs, doing their usual stuff, when all of a sudden... H landed his bike wrong and crashed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paleo Update 1

Hello Friends and Family!  How are you doing as the days go racing towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Wow!  This year has really flown by.  Am I the only one thinking that?

Anyway, it's been four days since H and I started doing life Paleo-style or however we're supposed to call it.  I really don't like calling it a diet.  While I don't know if I'll attempt to be this strict forever, I am hoping that this way of eating will help me make better choices as I continue on.  But these first 30 days, I'm trying to be really, really careful.

The most difficult things I've noticed so far, are eating out and my lack of knowledge still about Paleo.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A New Decoration

Life is always one big adventure after another -- especially when we live with three boys.

One of them (we'll keep him nameless), "slipped while walking so, so carefully, Mama," on the stairs and decorated our stairwell wall with a new memory.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crazy, Maybe? Time Will Tell.

Okay, so I've told you all about my trip(s) to the chiropractor and that is still going well.  I've still not had anything to drink besides water in weeks now.  These are all good things, but there's a lot about my health and body that needs fixing, so when Dr. Brad invited me to his upcoming seminar last night (free), I thought I might as well check it out.

C was planning to come with me, but had a ferocious headache, so I took H, instead.  I told him if he sat through the seminar with me and learned something he could tell me back, I'd let him get out of book basket the next day (today).  Book basket is an assigned daily reading time out of a set basket of books that mostly deal with the topic we're learning in school currently.  The kids think it's my way of torturing them.

Anyway, the seminar was packed.  H and I couldn't even sit together because there were so many people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nova is TEN!

Exactly one year after S moved into our home and care, on November 13, 2004, our family adopted Nova from foster care -- both because we wanted a pet to help teach the kids about responsibility and because we thought it was a great way to teach them about what might be in store for them down the road (adoption).  The three kids we had were young and not clear what adoption meant, so for us, welcoming Nova in as part of our family made things a little more clear for them.  She even got a name change, like our kids would (their last name, her first and last).

What we knew about Nova (Cila, as called by her foster mom -- and it was a random name, nothing sentimental, so she didn't mind if we changed it), was that she was living on the streets in South Carolina and captured by a dog catcher.  Before she could be euthanized, she was rescued by pet foster care in New England and sent on a train to live up there till she could be adopted.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Everyday Extremes

In the morning, our oldest sons asked if they could take a walk together before we started school.  Frankly, I was a tad bit suspicious of this question because one of them loathes extra exercise and both of them don't often get along all that well unless they're scheming.

Against my better judgment, I allowed them to take a "quick walk."

Veteran's Day 2012

Before we head out the door to hear our mayor speak at our local Veterans Memorial Park this morning, I wanted to post a thank you to all the men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms in this country.

Image courtesy of VintageHolidayCrafts.com

Happy Veterans Day (I realize it was officially yesterday, but it's widely observed today).  Let us pray for the soldiers who are still fighting for freedoms around the globe today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eye Rolling in Fun

Our son, Z, is entering a new phase of life.  We noticed the signs with H a couple years back and here we are again with Z.

In our experience, we've seen these changes taking place, result in surges of really aggressive behavior.  They come from seemingly nowhere and it can be really challenging to help them through such outbursts without affecting others too negatively.  They don't mean to do it and they always feel bad afterwards, but they haven't yet learned how to control these surges of aggressive feelings.

I find myself sending Z outside a lot when he gets like that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why the Long Lines?

So, I posted the details of my voting experience this election, but the question I have yet to answer is: Why the long lines?

I will share with you here what Election workers told me last night, while I stood in line for 5-1/2 hours -- getting me home around 11:00pm (and when I left there were probably 200 or more other voters still waiting in line).  I did try to confirm the explanations I was given and though more will probably unfold in the coming weeks, here is one article that gives a very high-level explanation for what was going on to back up what I will write about here.

Dinner on the Governor (or) I Voted!

We arrived at the polls about 10:00am yesterday morning (I was thinking it would be calmest after other adults went to work, but before they had lunch breaks or came home for the day).  I had a carload of kids with me and so when they told me the wait was two hours, I realized this wasn't going to be the year to show them democracy in action.  I needed to come back on my own a little later.  I did try the other polling sites and their waits were longer than the first place I went.

After a day of fun with the kids, C came home from work and was able to stay with them while I headed back to the polling location.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Great

I'm so in love with the World Edition of Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God.  Watch the video below and tell me it would not be awesome to witness this live.


Anyway, it's a cool way to introduce the kids to some foreign languages to go along with our geography lessons, too.  Find the lyrics in their native languages here.

There's a short article here that explains the languages represented in this edition.



Our Bodies and Other Lessons

Maybe it's ironic that I've chosen to work on writing a multi-disciplinary curriculum about the human body (and humans, in general) now, when our whole year has been overrun with body-related education thanks to a plethora of doctors visits.  But I'd like to think that one inspired the other (so I can see the doctors' visits as more of a blessing than just extra financial burden).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Evening Walk

Some of us took an evening walk in the Bosque while the autumn yellows of the Cottonwoods are still around for another day or two before they all turn brown and fall to the ground.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from our walk...



Chiropractic Follow-up

I've been seeing my chiropractor for just over a week now.  I thought I'd offer a little feedback on how things are going for those who are curious.

First of all, I'm referring everyone I know to this chiropractor ... that probably says a lot.  I'm suddenly a "believer" in chiropractic medicine. 

My horrible back pain is gone already.  Even though we interrupted my early treatment with a long drive to Colorado and not so comfortable hotel beds, the adjustments have already taken care of the pain and discomfort.

Both doctors who work there, have used the phrase, "Your power is on!" with me, at separate visits.  I don't know what they mean by that, but they're very excited.  They also have told me that the movement between joints is doing really well.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Winning for Real

I'm one of those average kind of people who don't usually win prizes when I enter contests.  I remember one time as a child, I won a cake walk at a carnival.  I have won free fries at McDonald's during their Monopoly games.  But other than these random times, I'm just not very prone to winning.

But recently, I was dumbfounded when I found winning a contest I didn't even know about in advance was so simple.  It was so simple, in fact, that I didn't actually believe I won the contest until today when I was finally notified to come claim my prize.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween or Harvest

Hello Fellow Bloggers and Friends!

You're welcome for a break from my usually lengthy posts over the past week. Ha!  Honestly, it wasn't intentional, we have just been busy and away and busy.

But here I am to wish you a happy Halloween or Harvest -- depending on your beliefs about this day.  I, personally, don't really like Halloween, but I love our church's annual Harvest Festival, so I kind of celebrate that.  My mom-in-law usually sends treats for our family each year at this time, too, so we also celebrate that.  (Thank you for the cookies!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One More Thing

This year has been such a challenge for our family on the health front.  I don't remember another year where we have faced so many illnesses and emergencies and of course, it's a year when we decided that we weren't going to the doctor enough to justify our high monthly rates to have lower deductibles.  So a lot of what we've been through this year - medically and dentally - has been out of pocket for us. 

Needless to say, we'll be switching back to a higher monthly rate and lower deductibles next year.  I'm hopeful that means that none of us will get very sick in 2013.

Anyway, with just over two months left in this year and our elections already made for next year, I was hoping and praying that we could all just hold tight till January.  But, no.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Anticipating Next Weekend

Our family enjoys traveling.  Because of the number of us, we usually go by car -- even long distances.  But this year, between health issues, job issues and just generally feeling overwhelmed by life on many days, we have not really traveled anywhere beyond day-trip local.

So when I heard that my nieces have a day off from school next Friday, I scrambled to make a three-day weekend out of it for our family and we are going to head up to Colorado Springs (never been) for the weekend.  It looks like there will be a lot of awesome autumn color, as well as a whole slew of fun activities available for our family.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Conversations with Our Favorite Kindergartener

I love my niece, N, mostly because she is so adorable.  And five.  Three and five are my favorite ages for kids.

Disclaimer:  I love my kids at all ages, but I like them better on particular days and at certain ages ... and so far, that's three and five.  I have a hunch I might like them a lot at 30, too.  But we'll see.

Anyway, so N and I were chatting it up this morning and I wanted to capture some of the best moments and record them here for me to reflect back on when she's nine or 14 or whatever.  It was a lot to remember, so hopefully I've captured the gist of these stories from earlier today and you'll excuse me if I'm a word or two off on anything.  I'm pretty sure I'm close though.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Courageous Women: My Sister, Jessica

How can one person be so lucky as to end up with two sisters so completely different in personality and yet, both such courageous people who inspire others daily?  Only by the grace of God.

I am one such person. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh, Z...

I've missed blogging while relatives were in town.  So today, I'm going a little crazy here.

I have two good Z stories to share with you today...

This morning, we went to Target.  We had several items in the cart at checkout, including some ponytail holders S had thrown in there for a couple bucks.

Birthday Weekend, Belated Photos

Okay, so I am running behind in just about everything -- especially where writing is concerned.  My therapist gave me a writing assignment two weeks ago and I have yet to even begin it.  Oh well.

But here I am, finally posting some random pictures from my birthday weekend, which was last month!

Scary Moment

C always calls me when he's on his way home from work. It's a 45-minute commute on the best days.  He's got a Blue Tooth hands-free device set up in his truck so he can chat about the day (or listen to me as I rattle off everything about mine).  It gives me a good sense about when he'll be home for the evening (so we can cram to finish up some of the housework) or if he has any suggestions or plans for dinner that I need to prepare for.

Today, he called me and as I sat there yammering on about random stuff, suddenly, he started hollering, "Whoaaaaaaaa!"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Courageous Women: Grandma M.

Today, it's my dad's birthday.  We had the good fortune to have him here in New Mexico, visiting for several days -- including this one.  It was so much fun to be able to celebrate him and what he means to our family.  He was surrounded by two of his daughters (the third was here on her visit that overlapped Mom and Dad's by a day -- but left Thursday), a son-in-law and all nine of his grandchildren.  That's a party for sure!

C did all the cooking and started Dad's day with Rice Pudding for breakfast.  He made pumpkin soup served in bread bowls for lunch.  And for dinner, my dad had joked that a rack of lamb would be nice, but anything barbecued "would be fine."  So C surprised him with both a rack of lamb and burgers, along with French green beans and sweet potato mash.  For dessert, C baked some delicious pumpkin pies -- Dad's favorite.  It's only been a couple hours since we ate and my mouth is already watering just writing about the food today.

Mom and Dad on 10/14 - Dad's birthday - at our house.  It's always fun to have them over.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10/11/12 + More Balloons

I love fun dates like 10/11/12.  I knew of someone who almost had their baby today and that would have been such a cool birth date ... but alas, this baby was in a hurry to be born and she came at 10:59pm on 10/10.  From the picture I saw, she looks cute.  I guess we'll forgive her.

Anyway, today, my sister, Jessica, went back home to Oregon and we went again to the Fiesta -- this time with my nieces and my parents.  But again, it was too windy for balloons to inflate!  Crazy weather.

So, since I didn't have any good balloon pictures from today, I decided to post some taken last Sunday evening when our family and Jessica went down to Fiesta Park. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Little Later

Like the crazy person I feel like most of the time, I willingly got up in the middle of the night for the second day in a row to go down to the Fiesta with my sister on Sunday morning to try again to watch the mass ascension.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Little Early

This year will be our fourth experience with the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.  Every year is so fun and exciting.  This year is extra fun because both my sister, Jessica, and my parents will be here for different portions of the big event.  It's my parents' first time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Couple of Funny Quotes

Yesterday was rich with humor from our youngest two.  If you haven't checked out my Step-by-step post, you can read a lot of good humor there.

However, I would be remiss if I didn't sneak in these quotes somewhere (sorry these are repeats for you, Jessica, since I texted them to you) for record keeping and entertainment.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Step-by-step

I was working with our seven-year-olds in school today and talking about step-by-step processes.  So for fun, I started asking them their idea of step-by-step processes of things they do (then I added in some things they probably had no clue about just to see what they'd come up with) and I made sure to record their answers precisely.

Here are the questions and their step-by-step instructions.  I'd like to recommend you don't actually follow their processes and use a more reputable source if you need instructions.  But it's still fun to read their responses and this survey gives you a little window into our kids' personalities...

A Gift of Love

Some husbands lavish their wives with jewelry, flowers and chocolate -- or so I've heard -- and while my own husband has given me set of sapphire jewelry once (my favorite & birth stone), gives me flowers on occasion and definitely knows my chocolate preference (dark), his gifts usually lean towards the more practical and unique.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Zoo Pictures

We went to the zoo today.  I took some pictures. 

Here are my favorites...

E was more fascinated with the animals than ever before.  She's growing up so fast!


Africa!

I'm trying something new here at Mama Flock.  I've joined an affiliate program and put a link to a site selling a notebooking set for a study on Africa over there on the right (you may need to scroll down a little bit).

We are currently studying Africa in geography and this is the perfect complement to our studies.  I was so excited to order it for our school.

If you or someone you know could benefit from this outstanding resource, direct them to my site so I can earn a percentage of the profit for referring you to this product.  It's easy to download after a very reasonable fee for what you get in the set and all payments are handled through PayPal.  Check it out!

P.S. You can check out a great write-up of this product here.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodnight, September

Wasn't it just January 1 like a week ago?

This year has gone by so fast and yet we have been challenged and pulled in so many directions, I can hardly believe it's October-eve already!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Courageous Women: My Sister, D

My sister, D, never reads my blog unless I take her by the hand to my computer and load up a specific entry for her to see/read because she just doesn't have much time for blogging.  Or reading.

D is a single mother to four(!) beautiful girls.  So they keep her pretty busy all the time, when she's not working, running errands or hanging out with a friend once and awhile.  I do understand why someone in her shoes doesn't get the chance to read my blog.

My point is, I don't even know if she'll ever see this post.  So I'm blogging about her and how she's inspired me with her courage for my benefit and so that maybe my readers can also be inspired by this lady I've known most of my life as my baby sister.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Free

Lately, the kids have all been "daddy's kids" more than usual.  I think, because of that, C must have said something to the kids because I've been hearing a lot of justifications to their positive comments about Daddy to me so I don't feel bad or something.

For example, this morning, Z was saying he was glad it was Friday because then he gets to go with Daddy and S to bring her to her teen group. 

I said, "I was thinking tonight you could stay with Kool and the Gang so you can do a fun thing I have planned for us, also because I think S needs some one-on-one time with Daddy tonight."

There was silence.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teen Books That Even She'll Love to Read

I've been bragging on our teen daughter, S, lately and how amazing she is to me.  Granted, she is still completely human and has struggled and rebelled like the rest of us have.  However, at her core is just a compassionate, mature, phenomenal person that I am honored to have in my life.  I am awed by her strength and grace just about every day in big and small ways.

How did she get to be so incredible, you ask?

Clear the Stage

Our daughter, S, told me about this song yesterday and I hadn't heard it before.  I love the lyrics, the sound of the song and even the simple idea behind the video.  Take a look...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Even If

It's a Monday and I am just really not usually a fan of Mondays.  But this is the day the Lord has made and I'm trying to keep things in perspective.  Each new day has the hope of "anything is possible."  Sometimes, it's easy to forget that.

On my way to dropping off my nieces at their schools this morning, this song came on the radio and it just really hit me in a precise moment when I needed to hear it, I suppose, and suddenly I was crying my eyes out at the lyrics.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Preview

I hope to share with you a few photos from the hundreds I took as I documented my birthday weekend as soon as I have some time to sort through them and pick some good samples.  But in the meantime, I'll just share with you one of my favorites from the weekend.






Slender Man

Okay, so apparently, it's all the rage around here with middle school boys to spook each other with stories about Slender Man.  Have any of you heard about this mythical character?  There's a bunch of stuff online (go ahead, I dare you to Google it -- but I don't advise you to download games and such unless you trust the source), but the whole idea of it falls in line with spooky tales I remember from my childhood (i.e. Bloody Mary and the Candyman).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Favorite Season of the Year


It's that time of year once again!  Here in New Mexico that means the smell of roasting chiles, picture-perfect scenes of hot air balloons aloft and plenty of bunnies sneaking into our backyard to harvest more apples than we'll manage to get once the bunnies, birds, bugs and bats have their way with them!

Happy Autumn, Friends.

"In Fact, I'm Dreaming Right Now..."

This week in school we were memorizing verse two of Psalm 139:

"You know when I sit and when I rise,
you perceive my thoughts from afar."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebration!

Not counting how many readers follow Mama Flock through their Google (or other?) readers and their email address because I don't know how to figure that out (or even if I can), I just noticed that I'm up to 20 members now!

No Argument







Monday, September 17, 2012

Crafty

A mood suddenly struck our two craftiest kids this past weekend and they were making one new creation after the next.  I couldn't keep up!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Circulatory System Videos

Alright, so this week, our family will be learning loads about the Circulatory System, also known as the Cardiovascular System (though I grew up with the term Circulatory, so I tend to stick with that one).  Here are some free video links to make this week easier for me, but also so you can learn along with us!

Sunday's Stoplight Sightings

So, I came up with this stoplight themed post idea last Sunday and then do you know what happened?  None of my stoplight sightings this week were noteworthy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Best Thing I've Heard All Week

"You're right, Mama, the human body is really interesting!  I like learning about it!"
- Z

Friday, September 14, 2012

Please Vote

I don't have a Facebook account, but if you do, you can help this family obtain enough votes to have Chase bank's $250,000 for cancer research put into Noah's name.  Noah lost his fight against cancer not too long ago and his family created Noah's Light Foundation in his honor.

Please go to this website to find out how to vote for Noah's foundation to receive Chase bank's donation...

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Patriot's Day

Hello Friends,

I wanted to post for you an amazing video about why we remember 9/11/01 and how awesome our God is that was shared with us in our church service on Sunday, but I have yet to locate it on YouTube or wherever our audio/video ministry team got it.  Also, requests for that information are so far left unanswered.  So maybe I'll find out later and you can check it out another day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nervous System Videos

This week in science, our kids will be studying the Nervous System.  I am including some links below to three great kid-friendly videos which teach the basics of this system.

Completely Random Costumes

While I was typing up my last blog post, I was interrupted by J and O who have been playing together up in the loft for an hour or so.  They came to show me the new costumes they created.

J was wearing a blindfold and holding one of those big plastic crayon banks (you know, they're like three feet long and from the Dollar Tree).  O had pillows strapped all over his body with belts and he wore a funny jacket and hat over those.

Sunday's Stoplight Sightings

I may be a homeschooler, but I do get out of the house quite a bit.  One thing that has always amused me while driving around town is just the random things I notice people doing at stoplights.  Even for me, I find stoplights are a great opportunity to check a text message (for shame), check my teeth in the mirror, turn to talk to a kid eye-to-eye or reach something that fell off a seat. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Quiz Grades and Our Flower Child

I have blogged a lot recently about our sons, but this evening, I just have a bunch of notes I've jotted down over the past week or two to remind me about little stories involving one of our daughters, J.

---

Before I get into those, though, I wanted to celebrate the happy news that S called me about from school today.  She got four quizzes back today and on one, she missed two, on another, she missed one and on two of them she got 100%!  We are just so pleased with her hard work and success in school this year.  I told you she was working her buns off!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

School DAZE

The first week back to school is always a tough one as we get back into our usual full-time school routine.  So time for blogging is minimal for sure.  But I wanted to get on here before today starts just to give a quick update how things are going so far.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Randomness

It's rare that all of us have a free day at the same time, so when we do, we try to plan something fun and family-ish to do with it.  Today was one of those days.  Only, we didn't really get anything planned in time.  So we just winged it (wung it?) and did total randomness.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 9

Okay, this weekend, I'm "borrowing" the idea for our journal prompt from Jodie at Fresh Art Photography who blogged about her personal Everest and tackling it this summer (water skiing) and she asked the question of her readers ... What's your personal Everest right now?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hi-Tech Love Notes

As full as our lives are in this "season," there are some days where it seems the only way my husband and I get to converse is via short text messages or emails.  Between trying to find a few quiet moments to have an actual, uninterrupted spoken conversation and being too exhausted to talk or listen when we finally get there, I'm glad technology has given us the ability to touch base with one another throughout the day without a lot of extra effort.

Throwing a Hammer

I've blogged previously about how I'm beginning to notice certain ways our sons are becoming more like their dad.  This morning was one of those moments where one son might as well have been his dad standing there talking to me.

The three boys were upstairs playing Legos when J finally roused herself from bed (before 9:00 so miracle of miracles!) and decided to join them.  If there is one thing I've learned, it's that if the boys are playing nicely together, introducing a female into the mix will always create chaos.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FREE Psalm 139 NIV Printables

Okay, so our family be starting back to school -- home school -- in four days.  The curriculum I've been working on all summer is nowhere near complete.  However, I have enough to get us started and plan to continue working on it a couple weeks ahead of when we'll need each week's plan in place.  Then, we'll test out the plan.  I'll tweak the plan as we go.

By the end of the year, I hope to be able to share with you a really incredible human study curriculum that can be combined as your primary science curriculum for a school year or as your core curriculum if you need a break from more history-based curriculum, as most homeschoolers generally seem to follow.

6:45 AM - 9:00 PM

That's how long S was at SOM yesterday. 

She was dropped off just before 7:00. She did prayer group, she did classes, she worked on school work with classmates, she attended the evening church service -- served in a ministry and took notes on the message, which she has to turn in -- then she came home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Quickie Post

My day has flown by and yet I don't have much to say about it. 

However, it is my parents' wedding anniversary today.  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hard Work & Challenges

I will tell you that SOM is absolutely kicking S's butt right now.  She has got so much homework from there added on top of what I assign her towards finishing up high school homeschooling requirements ... crazy.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sweet Moments

I think in most of my stories, Z comes off as a bit rough around the edges.  He is.  He's a boy, though, so I figure some of that comes with the territory.  However, I think I've also mentioned what a good teacher he can be and how sweet and gentle he is -- deep down.

Today, was a good reminder of this side of him.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chile Festival

This is New Mexico, so of course we have a chile festival.  Our state question is: red or green?  Do other states even have a state question?  Weird.  Anyway, there are actually a few chile festivals here, but the biggest is hours away and we have yet to get down there for it.  So we opted to attend the free chile festival locally in Albuquerque, which occurs annually to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 8

Some people think homeschoolers are anti-government.

This is not true -- at least for our family.  We may not always agree with the policies and opinions of the government, but in fact, our leaders are constantly in our prayers.  For the most part, I find that if we understand (and teach others) about government -- both here and abroad -- we are more apt to appreciate and respect the system and structure that governs many aspects of our lives.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Type 2

I was reading a post today in one of the blogs I follow and it mentioned the Enneagram.  I'd never heard about it before, but the post had me intrigued, so I did a little more digging to learn more.

Generally speaking, from what I understand (by skimming a few sites), it's a personality test used often in organizations to determine a person's fit within that organization.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not the Favorite

I've grown pretty used to being the second favorite parent in this house.  I mean, I think it's pretty common if moms work at home that kids are excited (and relieved) when dad finally arrives to give them a break from too much mom-time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In The Light

I am having a glum sort of day.  It happens now and then.  So to cheer myself up, I thought I'd reread some of my old posts from my private blog (that hasn't gotten much action since I got more involved with this public one).  I came across one of my favorites (posted July 2009) and I thought I would share it here with you...

Goal Update

It's been a couple weeks (or more?) since I did a goal update, so I thought I should take another look at how things are going on that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday's Musings

They say we learn something new every day.  If this is true, then I'm stockpiled for weeks with what I learned yesterday!  It was a crazy day and here's what I learned...

Homeschool ebook Sale: 53 for $25

Hey Homeschoolers!

Be sure to go TODAY to check out Mama Jenn's site for this incredible bargain...

The sale is today (8/21/12) through Saturday (8/25/12) only.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hectic

So, S got back from her School of Ministry Retreat on Friday.  She had a great time, in spite of all her pre-retreat jitters. I knew she would.

She is the baby of the class, but one of two 17-year-old girls.  There are a few more in the 18-20 age range (boys and girls) and most of the class is 20-30 years old.  But, there are also a couple guys in their late 50s, early 60s, too.  So very diverse, which I think will make for some great theological discussions based on the different viewpoints and experiences.  I know S will have a lot to offer those conversations just because we have been talking through (and reading) a lot of theological stuff together for years -- and she has had quite the life experience, too.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 7

This weekend's journal prompt was inspired by a blog post made by Bethany, which I read, about the funny things strangers have said to her about her adopted son.  I was able to relate to this post easily because over the years, strangers have said the funniest things to us, too.  I'm amazed at how bold some people can be when they don't know us.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nature Discovery: Toad on the Driveway

Our kids love discovering some "wild" animal in the yard or the neighborhood and then calling me out to take pictures of it.  You'd think I was offering some kind of prize for the first to tell me about a sighting with the way they hurry in to get me.  But no, they just know I like taking pictures (as evidence, not because I'm any kind of good photographer) and so that is prize enough, I guess.  Better than bringing me a bouquet of hand-picked wildflowers, in a way.

A Word About the Weather

I keep hearing about this drought of Biblical proportions around our country this year.  It's a scary thing!  Especially considering the outrageous numbers of wild fires recently.  My prayers go out for those who have lost homes or loved ones because of the fires.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer is...

... so long since our regular school schedule that the kids start doing educational stuff (of their own accord) for fun!


An e-VAN-tful Day

I mentioned how we were getting the van back yesterday from the shop -- which we did -- but it took much longer than anticipated.

C went to pick up the van from the Transmission place mid-morning after a week of being in the shop.  He says it shifts into overdrive now (again) and does so smoothly.  It was getting really frustrating that its top speed was about 45mph and that was really challenging the engine at that.

Freebie: Homeschool Planning Pack

I haven't gotten my act together enough yet to get some self-created printables out here in web-world.  So for now, I'll just share some links with my homeschooling readers (or those considering homeschooling) that I have discovered and find useful.

Here is a FREE homeschool planning pack brought to you by Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling.  If you are just getting ready to start homeschooling for the first time or the fifteenth time, this pack is a great way to organize your ideas and goals for the school year before diving in.

And actually, if you cruise around the whole website, she offers several free homeschooling printables and resources for your use.  Check it out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life Skills

I think most parents naturally teach their children a variety of life skills in the everyday occurrences of life.  However, lately, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of life skills and with one daughter a year away from adulthood (and possibly leaving home if her plans of joining the military come to pass), I was starting to wonder if we have taught her enough of the right kinds of life skills.

Little Tiny Cars

Well, I guess we are officially a homeschool family (as if there was any doubt).  The kids have fully adjusted to our 14-passenger van as a normal-sized vehicle.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One Boy's View

As I delegated jobs this afternoon, I had Z go up to pick up the loft playroom.  He went willingly and after about 20 minutes he came down exhausted.

"That is the last time I will ever pick up Barbie's!" he said.

Farewells

In life, goodbyes are plentiful.  They are something that cannot be avoided and yet, they can bring with them so much emotion, pain, sadness, growth and transition.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Encouragement for Homeschoolers

As a homeschooling family, it's easy to be hard on ourselves from time to time about the level of education our children are receiving.  I don't have a fancy teaching degree and though I put my heart and soul into learning in order to teach, I don't always know what I'm doing or how to teach every subject matter.  It's easy to feel frustrated, especially on those particularly tough days when no matter how much preparation I've done beforehand, the kids are just not ready in spirit to receive the lesson.

And I start to wonder ... is it me?  What am I doing wrong?  And doubt sets in about my abilities to teach them adequately.

Weekend Review

Goodness, so much happened over the weekend it feels like ... I need to sort through it all here...

Friday was a typical day filled with a lot of kid stuff.  I managed to get outside during the hot part of the day to pull a bunch of weeds and dead plants from our backyard.  I'm not sure why that seemed like the best part of the day to do that ... but there I was.  N came to help and did; Z came to help, but did not.  So it goes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 6

I'm a little late getting this weekend's journal prompt posted because I was not on the computer much at all yesterday -- instead, I was out and about enjoying the sunshine!

But here we go...

Friday, August 10, 2012

My 10 Things

I know I usually do lists of six and I could have done that here, too, but I decided to follow my sister's lead and challenge to list ten things I've done that most other people might not have (well, some of these my husband has done, too, but I still count them).  So here we go:  I...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer is...

...the whole family, sitting together outside in the evening when the temperatures are much cooler, drinking half-priced milkshakes.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Six-List: Six TV Shows I Love Right Now (For Me)

This is not a list of my all-time top six favorite television shows.  This is not a list of six TV shows I keep up on regularly.  These are just six shows that I really enjoy and thanks to the technology of DVR's, I watch them when I can get to them.  These are listed in no particular ranking or order.

Mama's Disclaimer: These shows are not necessarily family-friendly, so please refer to whatever ratings guide you prefer before checking out any of these programs with your minor children.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ladies' Night

So the sad thing is that one of my very favorite ladies is moving away (with her whole family) to Arizona in a week.  They'll be six hours away!  But on the bright side, we made it a priority to get together -- just the two of us -- before she moves.

In truth, she and I have never been out together without kids or husbands.  There was even one point in the evening where there was this silence for a few minutes and she said, "Gee, we give up being interrupted by kids every two minutes and now we don't know what to say!"

Free Spirit

I was mentioning in my post yesterday about J being a bit of a free spirit and today was the perfect example of this.

She woke (at 10:00 a.m.) and came downstairs and said, "Mama, today when I woke up, I felt like a bird."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Lesson from Legos

I've mentioned before how much H loves Legos.  He used to be our only kid with them.  But eventually, J started enjoying her time playing Legos with H.  Z, O and even S would sometimes join in on the fun.  When we moved into our house here, we bought each of the four younger kids a small boxed set to keep them busy on move-in day (while all their other stuff was still packed) and they set themselves up in an empty room and played for hours that day -- till the TV got hooked up and then they zoned into that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Goals Check-in

Okay, so I thought today would be a good day to step back and see how the goals set for me in therapy are going in the past week.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Our Bedroom

Okay, my sister challenged her readers to show pictures of their bedroom.  I would be sad to show you a picture of how it looks today.  However, here is a sad picture of it the day I cleaned it up and got new bedding for C's birthday. I took this with my cell phone to show a couple people the new bedding -- so it doesn't really show our room at all.  But you can see the unmatched valances! Bonus!

Educational Shower Curtains

Okay, so I know this sounds crazy, but I love educational shower curtains.  Our kids have had a vinyl world map shower curtain in their bathroom upstairs for a couple years (speaking of which, it's probably time to change that out), after they'd ripped up the cute goldfish one that was there before it. 

Appreciated

It's my favorite holiday of the year (besides Christmas Eve):  Teacher Appreciation Day at Staples!

Once a year, just before school starts back up (well, like a month before for us ... but less than two weeks for the public school kids), Staples hosts an appreciation celebration for teachers.  Yes, that includes homeschool teachers, too.

Weekend Journal: Prompt 5

This weekend's prompt is inspired by a human interest story I read about a mom who saved all the little trinkets that came through the laundry in kids' pockets and stuff and then eventually gave them all to her son as a wedding gift.  Check out the cute story for yourself here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Celebration!

I may not have any good pregnancy or birth stories, but besides kids' birthdays, we get to celebrate their adoptions each year.  Most years, we just go out to eat or make ice cream sundaes; but this year -- also because we owed them anyway -- we went to Cliff's Amusement Park for the day.

Thankfully, we had a half-off ticket deal -- Cliff's is no Disneyland and only worth about half of the ticket price.  It's more like a permanently affixed carnival.  However, it's closer than Disneyland and with our coupon, it was like a quarter of the cost (or less? I forget what Mickey sells tickets for these days).

Sixth Adoptaversary

"Wow," you might be saying, "two adoption anniversaries in a row?" 

Yes, it was an amazing thing to happen to us when they gave us the court date for J on August 2, 2007, when just the year before, we'd finalized adoption on S, H and Z on August 3, 2006.  Apparently, the courts in our state only do adoptions on Thursdays, so once we knew it was going to happen around the same time frame, we tried to get the same date, but it didn't work.  Still, it makes celebrating adoptaversaries in our family kind of easy because we can clump them together on the weekend closest.  Poor O, though; his adoption happened in December, but we celebrate him with the rest of the kids since December is already busy with Christmas and O's birthday.

Anyway, today is the sixth anniversary of gaining S, H and Z as official members of our family.  H and Z were placed in our care in June 2003, while S came to us in November 2003.  So at nearly four years, our wait for them was our longest of all our kids.  I guess if we divide that number by three, the average works out to be pretty on par with our waits for the other two ... and they are worth the wait, so it all worked out in the end.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

News for Brady Bunch Fans

The Brady Bunch was one of the shows I remember watching regularly in childhood and one that I've shared with our own children over the years.  It's quirky, fun and fairly wholesome.  If you've never seen an episode (hard to imagine), you can still catch the reruns on TV Land.

Well, I just read in the news that CBS is planning a Brady Bunch reboot!  I'm wondering if it'll still be a wholesome family show or what ... but I'm looking forward to finding out.

I was so excited, I just had to share!

Fifth Adoptaversary

It was this day in 2007 that we officially adopted J!  She was first placed in our care on January 5, 2005, so it was a long wait to make it official, but still faster than our first three kids.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Research Update

I've mentioned -- probably too often -- about how I'm working on designing a science curriculum for our kids this year involving the human body and stuff related to the human body.  Part of this curriculum will involve learning about various individuals related to medicine and science applicable to the human body.  So I have been doing a lot of research on these various people and then writing up short, hopefully kid-friendly biographies for each person.

Meanwhile, as I gather materials to put this whole program together, I'm trying to make it somewhat uniform so that eventually, after testing it out this year with our own kids, maybe I can post this online for other homeschool families who might want to do a similar study. 

I envision this whole thing as being really cool when it's done.  You'll have to trust me on that -- and it has many revisions to go through before I'll be willing to post it online for others.

Bread & Healing

I heard this quote on K-LOVE yesterday and I really like it:

"The Bible is bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Six-List: Six Beautiful Things About Me

No, I didn't write this myself.  This is a guest-post from our daughter, S.

---

My mom told me that she was writing a blog post about six weird things about herself.  I suggested she write about the beautiful things about her.  She told me then it's considered bragging and not as fun.  It's not bragging if I wrote six things about her that I consider beautiful things about her ... and I'm sure you'll agree, too!

Six-List: Six Weird Things About Me

I read somewhere that people like to read lists on blogs.  So I picked my favorite number (6, yes, I'm still a Christian) and decided that from time to time, I'll provide some Six-Lists for you.  Today, I'm listing six unique (aka weird) things about me for your reading enjoyment -- or for you to ignore completely -- whatever floats your boat.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday in Santa Fe

Okay, so yesterday while C was occupied at home smoking up some pork ribs (the best he's made yet, I will add), I decided to take a limited number of children up to Santa Fe to visit the New Mexico History Museum.

Some Goals

I recently sought out some talk therapy for myself at the recommendation of my doctor and several other people who can vouch for my particular flavor of crazy.  I haven't gone off the deep end or anything ... this is all just preventative, brain sorting kinds of stuff.  Getting myself out of these feelings of being overwhelmed, I guess.  Or whatever.

Today, my therapist and I discussed setting some goals for me.  Okay, first, I feel so stylish saying, "my therapist."  Secondly, who knew a person needed goals for their mental health as well as for the rest of their lives?!  I didn't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Lesson at a Time

Our son, H, is twelve.  We feel like lately he has been on the cliff's edge of a major leap forward in maturity.  It's very exciting to see because we have been steeped in little boy behaviors (and still are, with our younger two boys) for so long.  Sometimes it feels like we can't go another day!  But H's recent heart-changes have given us hope for some better times to come with our sons.

This morning, though, some of H's old ways (old meaning like 2-3 weeks ago) were coming through.  He was getting easily frustrated with his siblings and he was arguing with me about -- well, everything.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Desiah Concert

Our church hosted the group Desiah out of Southern California for a concert this evening that we attended.  I wanted to post a few pictures here and spread the word about this group in case you haven't heard about them or to let you know that if they are coming to a venue near you (they're on tour right now), you might want to check them out.

Desiah is a group of teenagers from a performing arts school in Hollywood set up to help teens pursue their dreams of acting and singing, etc. (performing arts), in a more positive environment.  The concert tonight was a benefit concert to raise money for Friends Feeding Friends.

Weekend Journal: Prompt 4

I've written recently a lot about what's swirling in my head and feeling overwhelmed by it.  On the side, I've had several people reminding me that I don't need to take all of that stuff on.  It's true, I don't. 

I do enjoy doing a lot of things because it makes life more interesting.  However, I agree, that in order to help keep things in perspective, it's important to say NO sometimes when opportunities come up.

So this concept of saying NO and not overloading my plate with too much excess stuff to take on is what inspired this week's Weekend Journal Prompt.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Courageous Women: Aunt K

I realized after making this post that it's my 300th post!  Yay!  So I came back and made this note at the top of the post just so you can all help me celebrate that, in addition to...

It's my Aunt K's birthday today and since I'm too cheap and disorganized to get a gift out to her -- or even a card (sad) -- I thought I'd at least pay tribute to this wonderful lady, aunt, sister, mom and grandmother here at my blog.  I'm not sure if she ever gets over here to read my blog, but maybe my mom will give her a head's up about this post.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Pants

If you know our son, Z, or if you're getting to know him through my stories here at Mama Flock, you know he loves all things stuffed animals.

I just saw this news story and the picture is just hilarious.  I soooo need to figure out a way to make Z some pants like this for his next birthday or Christmas or something.  He would just be in complete love -- being able to take all these friends with him every where he goes.

Summer is...

... trips to the Aquarium with the kids!







Yesterday, I took eight kids (H opted out, S is not pictured above) for a picnic lunch at the Botanic Gardens and then we headed over to the Aquarium (where it was cooler!) in Albuquerque.  I love living where we have access to this kind of cool stuff.  We had a fun time. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

On Chores...Part Three

Part Three: Allowance

There are several schools of thought about giving kids an allowance.  I don't know that we've picked one yet and really, really stuck with it, or if what we've tried is the right choice for us or anyone else.  But I'll share with you what we're doing recently and how it's going.

On Chores...Part Two

Part Two: Chore Charts

I think at some point, every parent attempts to create a chore chart for their child(ren).  It seems like such an organized way to go about assigning tasks and keeping track of what got done each day.  There are probably many websites (in fact, I know there are, because I've searched for them) with printable chore charts to use if that is your desire.  Some people find success with this method, but we have not.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Great Thou Art

I was raised attending Lutheran church services primarily (and Sunday School and youth group, etc.).  If you're not familiar with that part of the Christian church, it's a little like going to a Catholic church without all the focus on saints and Mary, mother of Jesus.  So ours was pretty formal and our church services were very old school -- hymnal usage, group readings, formulaic and predictable.  It gave me a fine foundation, but compared with the churches I've belonged to as an adult, Lutheran churches couldn't compete for my dedication and spiritual growth.

That being said, even though my adult life has led me to churches whose services are more contemporary and lively, there is still a part of me that will always feel comforted by classic hymns.  Fortunately, our contemporary church here in New Mexico does, occasionally, dabble in classic hymns at the end of a run of contemporary worship songs.  I like it.  It reaches the places inside me that remind me of childlike faith, the comfort of my mother's singing (all the time) while I was growing up and extends through the generations, bringing something old into the new and introducing our children to something of my past.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post-Post-Sale, For Real

I've been up for too many hours at this point, so I can't believe I'm sitting down to do another blog post.  But here I am.  I couldn't wait to tell you...

Our evening sale went well.  Some people came because of the neighborhood signs and others came because of our post on Craigslist.  We didn't have too many, but apparently evening shoppers -- perhaps the cooler temperatures make for better shopping -- buy more.  So it didn't take too many of them.

Weekend Journal: Prompt 3

Okay, so for those of you following along with this Weekend Journal project -- me, so far -- here's this weekend's prompt.

I've already shared with you my favorite breakfast of sardines and rice, in another post, and today, my sister sat watching me eating one of my favorite snacks -- in disgust -- and commented about how weird I am in what I eat.  So she inspired my prompt today!

Post-Sale ... or is it?!

The sale was scheduled for today from 8-1.  My alarm was set for 5:00, but of course, I woke at 4:00.  And I couldn't go back to sleep, knowing I only had an hour till the alarm was going to go off.  So I got up.  I showered.  I was downstairs and outside working in the front yard by 4:30.  What is this kind of crazy?

My kind.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yard Sale Eve

Today, H, L, K and I spent several hours cleaning our garage and rummaging through its contents finding more stuff to sell.  There is a lot out there that only C can decipher and decide upon, so he'll be doing that throughout the course of the sale, providing fresh inventory all morning long.  The garage wasn't even on my head-swirling list, but it is surprisingly relieving to have it all cleaned (especially knowing people will be getting an up close look at it tomorrow).

S watched the younger kids again and Z, he pretty much drove everybody crazy.  But I'm sure the house being turned on end and emptied of its contents little by little is very unnerving for him.  So we do what we can to get through it and Sunday, things will be back to normalsville.

On Chores...Part One

After posting about my overwhelming feelings about the list I keep running in my head, I received an encouraging email from my mother-in-law about several things, one of which was making sure the kids are doing chores and helping out so I don't go crazy!

Number one, it's too late.  I already am crazy.  Ha.  But seriously, sanity is waaaay overrated.  At least, it seems that way.  I wouldn't really know.

Number two, I felt inspired by her email to blog a little about our philosophy (for now) on the whole chore subject, what we've done in the past, what's worked, what hasn't and what we are doing now.

In the advice of my blogging sister, I think I'd better split this up into a few posts so that it doesn't get so long nobody wants to read it.  I know I'm long-winded, but it's just the way my brain and my typing fingers work.  All at once!  But I'm going to TRY chopping this into more manageable bits.  Bear with me...

I Pray

If you haven't been bombarded enough by all the news on television, text-messaging services, online news sources or tweets, there was a mass-shooting in Aurora, Colorado, last night.

Thankfully, they have the suspect in custody.  Unfortunately, several people were killed and many more were injured.

I pray for the families of the victims and for the recovery of those who were injured.  I pray that justice is served swiftly in the case of the suspect.  I pray that he repents of his sin and knows Jesus Christ before his own demise.  I pray for the hundreds of law enforcement officials involved in this case, that they may be wise and fair in their evidence gathering and processing.  I pray for the people of Aurora, that they may continue living lives without fear.

In reading a couple articles about the situation this morning, I saw the suspect's mother was quoted in reaction to the news of her son's arrest, as saying, "You have the right person...I need to call the police..."

I also pray that there never comes a day when I have to be that mom.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On a Roll

Apparently, I needed a good frustrating day to motivate me to get stuff done!  Because since my minor meltdown about all the projects I had looming, I've been really getting stuff done.

Today, with all the kids' help, I got the whole loft playroom cleaned up, sorted and agreed upon toys put aside for the yard sale Saturday.  The kids were actually more willing than I thought to give up their stuff. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hand Signals

After pulling into a parking lot earlier today and coming to a complete stop well behind someone who chose that moment to back out of a space in a haphazard way -- lurching back only to slam on his Camaro's brakes so he didn't back into my truck -- and then putting up a hand signal to tell me that I'm #1 (though, some might call it 'the bird'), I took some time to reflect on that moment later in the day.

Summer is...

...a midweek, spur-of-the-moment, the weather's perfect so let's have a backyard campfire after dinner with the kids (like the one we had last night after the sun went down)!  Nothing specific to celebrate except family togetherness.


Good News

Today, S and I cleaned out the fridge and freezer -- scrubbed every shelf and drawer, checked every expiration date and tossed things accordingly, and cleaned jars that had gotten a bit sticky or whatever.  It felt good to cross another thing off my list from yesterday -- the one that swirls in my head nonstop. 

Joy found today in our clean fridge and a job complete!  Next stop ... the grocery store.  You can see we're out of a lot of basics here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Priorities

I have a problem.  I love to say yes to every opportunity that comes before me because somewhere along the way, I started believing that the only opportunities I'll regret are the ones I didn't take.  Also, I fully believe that God will provide me with the necessary energy and resources to accomplish anything I do in an effort to honor Him. 

My problem comes when every once in a while, I realize I've said too many yes's and then I'm struggling to figure out which yes's are a bigger priority.  I also lose sight of which things are about honoring Him and which things are just about feeling in control of my environment.  There's a fine line sometimes.

On top of not being able to prioritize projects well, I'm a stickler for follow-through.  It drives me bonkers when people make promises to me and then don't follow-through, so I try to follow through most all of the time.  I'm harder on myself than I am on others.  There will always be unforeseeable exceptions to the rule and I do extend grace where I can when people don't follow through on something with me.  But I'm not really great at extending grace to myself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Funny Niece

My niece, N, is so funny.  Maybe it's the age (5) or her role in our family -- I don't know, but she says a million funny things a day and I can't keep track of them all.

But today, I am writing three of them down for you all...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Morning

Now that it's like 2:00 in the afternoon, I am finally getting a chance to post and I can think of nothing better than posting about one of my newest song-loves: Good Morning, by Mandisa.

I've always been more of a morning person (till the kids came ... but someday, I will be one again, rest assured).  Anyway, Mandisa is apparently not a morning person, so she wrote this song to help herself get going each day and to help her think positive in those early morning hours.  TobyMac joins her in this song, as well.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lavender Festival

After C fixed the pipe in our sprinkler system (successfully on the first try!), we headed over to the Lavender Festival, like I'd hoped.  It was a good time -- but H.O.T. -- and middle of the day, so my photo ops weren't so great.  But I'll share a few with you here anyway.  C ended up sunburned, but the rest of us seemed okay.  Good times.

C loves when I take pictures of him doing complicated jobs that require a lot of concentration.  He loves even more if while I'm taking pictures of him, I start talking and laughing about a new blog I found that has nothing to do with him.  Loves it.

Fancy sign.

And If You're Not Too Busy Journaling...

... go check out this other Mom blog that I found while trying to remember the name of a stinky flower.  I have been reading this for at least ten minutes and I'm dying here with laughter.  I love this lady and her attitude about motherhood.  So I'm giving her a free link on my blog here -- not that she needs it -- but in case you've never read her blog and you happen by my little blog, you should go there.  She's funnier than me. 

Weekend Journal: Prompt 2

So far, I think I may be the only one doing this weekend journaling project, but that's okay. It's good for me to keep creative thought flowing! But feel free to jump in any time.

Locally, this weekend, is the Annual Lavender Festival. I really want to go to it. The odd thing is that I am not a fan of the scent: lavender. But the festival sounds fun and family oriented and maybe even educational in some ways. Plus, what else do I have to do today (beside everything)? Maybe I'll even get some fun pictures from it.

Anyway, the thought of lavender made me think about flowers and scents and so that inspired my Weekend Journal prompt.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Storytelling

I think I may be influencing my kids in their storytelling.  I mean, the way I beat around the bush in an effort to build a fuller story.  Then I go on and on and it takes me forever to get to the point.

You know what I mean ... you read my blog.

It drives C nuts -- especially when I am telling a story about something bad that happened but has since worked out for good.  He wants me to start at the punchline and then back fill.

I like to build suspense, like he's reading a book or watching a movie in the way I tell it.  But of course, I know the ending before I start telling the story. And this isn't a book or a movie ... it's our real life.  He can't listen to the details if I've started the story with, "Something really bad happened today..." and then I start from the beginning of the day and I meticulously explain the four hours leading up to when one of the kids stepped on a piece of glass or whatever.

I'm learning to say, "Everything was alright in the end, but here's something scary that happened earlier in the day..." and then launch into my story.  He's naturally a problem-solver, so he wants to know if this is just something to hear about my day or if he needs to jump into action RIGHT NOW.

Anyway, C came home from work today and Z rushed to tell him the news of this morning.  Here's how the conversation went ...

Z said, "Guess what, Daddy!"

A Second Visit

Our Pomeranian friend was back in our house again!  I missed it again.

This morning, I'd left the back door open for Nova, while I used some spare moments this morning to do some research for the curriculum.  Then, about 20 minutes ago, I went upstairs to my bedroom for two minutes when there was a pounding on my bedroom door.

It was Z.  He was freaking out because, you guessed it, there was a Pomeranian in the house!  He'd come all the way through our gate, through our sliding door (left cracked open) and almost to the kitchen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Movie Review: Chimpanzee

I took the kids to see Disneynature's Chimpanzee today.  It was playing at the cheap theater, so it was a good opportunity.

I like Disney's nature movies so far (the recent ones, I mean).  We own Oceans, on DVD, and have watched it repeatedly.  I like that they don't cross the evolution vs. creation bridge.  They sort of leave that argument alone.  They don't support either one.  Let the families decide which to believe, I suppose, is what they're going for there.

Please note:  There may be minimal spoilers if you continue reading.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer is...

...an impromptu sprinkler session at the park!


2012 Getting to Know You ... er, Me

My niece, L, sent me this year's questionnaire and so I'm posting my responses here to share with whomever wants to read them -- instead of spamming you all... please let me know if you post your answers anywhere.

1.What color are your socks right now?
Black with little white and purple pinstripes in a diagonal, cross-hatchy kind of pattern (though I would have worn different socks today if I knew I was going to have to describe them).

Good Start

Here's how my day began...

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Pursuit of Caterpillars

So, my sister, Jessica, sent all her nephieces a butterfly kit last year like one she'd done and blogged about.  She thought it would be a fun and educational project for all of them to do together.  But life is ... life, and time got away from me last year and I never ordered the caterpillars.

Finding myself with a little more time this summer for some odd reason, I went to order the caterpillars with my coupon and they turned me down saying that it's too hot for them to deliver them to this region.  I even tried setting a date in the future in every single month (it snows here in the wintertime!) and it always gave the same response.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bugs

I took a trip to the Botanic Garden yesterday with only two(!) kids: S and Z.  I had been wanting to visit the butterfly enclosure while it's open (only in the summertime), so we went.  It poured rain for most of our time while we were in the garden, but I think the lighting made it perfect for taking pictures.  I got the chance (and time!) to practice with some of my manual settings again.  It's not perfect, but I liked my results.

So for once, I'll keep my text to a minimum here and just let the photos speak for themselves.  Just a disclaimer for those who don't appreciate insects (even the pretty ones), you may not want to look at these photos because that's all there is here today.  Enjoy.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Journal: Prompt 1

I decided that I'd start giving some weekend journal prompts (since I can't commit to every day, nor would most of you want me to).  I can't say I'll be able to do every weekend, nor can I say how long I can keep this up.  However, for now, if you want to play along, use these prompts in your own journaling to spark your creativity.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Courageous Women: Oma

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Happy Birthday!  I thought it was a good opportunity to not only wish her a happy day, but to write about her courage in another post in my Courageous Women series.

To my kids, she's Oma -- German for grandma -- because back when they were still foster children, they were still in touch with their biological grandmother and since we weren't sure what their future with us would look like, we wanted to create a different name for them to call her, so as not to confuse them.  Confused?  Hopefully not.  We tried out a couple names, but everyone settled on Oma (and for C's dad, Opa).  And, it stuck.

Table Manners

No matter how many meals we have eaten together as a family, my children's table manners never cease to amaze me.  Or lack of manners is more like it.

Truthfully, we have been caught being good a few times and people have come up to us in restaurants to say how well behaved our children are.  It does happen.  Those moments are sheer bliss, though completely shocking to me.  But I do appreciate the feedback.  It helps me relax a bit and realize that they are learning some decency.

Another Day at the Beach

We're getting more and more into our rainy season here in the high desert of New Mexico, so pretty much every day we're seeing afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  It actually feels a bit early this year, but be that as it may ... it's here.

In fact, here's a glimpse at the weather.com forecast for the next five days if you don't believe me:


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Fourth

We had fun plans set for this Fourth of July that were slightly reminiscent of our celebration last July.  It was such a good time last year that we wanted to repeat it all.  It went something like this...

  • Leisurely wake up and straighten up the house for the day (of course C would have been up and down all night slow-cooking something delicious because that's how he does holiday meals).
  • Everyone get into their holiday shirts and pose for the family picture before they get dirty.
  • Head to the pool we found out has free admission every July 4th.
  • After some time at the pool, come home, snack, relax, finish getting dinner stuff ready.
  • Bring food down to the soccer fields where we set up for a potluck dinner with friends from church (this was all pulled off on the fly last year with no advance preparation) and stick around to watch the city's firework display.
  • Go home late, leave the dishes for morning and crash into our pillows.

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Crafty 4th

I'm not sure if I'll get around to posting tomorrow or not, so I thought I'd make my Fourth of July post tonight, on the third, so I don't forget to wish you all a:

Happy Independence Day!!

We did it!  We got around to making shirts for the kids for tomorrow.  I won't show all of them to you because I didn't take pictures of all of them and I'm too lazy to go around to the various flat surfaces where they are drying now to photograph them.   I hope to get some other pictures of the shirts being worn tomorrow.  But here are some highlights for you:

And Again God Provides...

I find it amazing what God can do when I just move out of His way and stop worrying so much, you know?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Viral

I took both S and J to the doctor today.  They'd both had pretty bad congestion for a few days, fevers since yesterday and today, S was so dizzy, I had to get a wheelchair in the lobby just to walk her back to the waiting area -- and before that, we'd barely made it from the house to the car.