Saturday, June 30, 2012

Color Blind

Two of our sons, H and Z, are color blind.  I've mentioned it before, I believe, but I just wanted to clarify which of our children live with this condition.  They are half-brothers biologically from birth and we have learned that their maternal grandfather was also color blind, which means their mother was a carrier.  I'm not sure if that means S is a carrier as well since she is also their half-sibling biologically.  I'm no genetics expert.

Anyway, I've been researching stuff for the human body studies we'll be doing all next school year for Science (and extending into other subject areas, too) and trying to make a plan.  In my research this evening, I discovered a video about color blindness.

The Next Thing: Lists!

So now that we're done with the 30-day Journaling Challenge, I needed to shift my focus and fill all my spare time with something new before I get soooooo bored.

Okay, I'm sort of kidding.  I mean, you all know I don't really have actual spare time.  It was a stretch to do journal entries every day (even if it was fun).  I had to sort of ignore kids or chores sometimes just to get them done.  But not too much.  That wouldn't be cool.

Journaling: Day 30

I can't believe I made it!  Start to finish ... thirty whole days of journaling.  This has been an incredible and fun experience for me. 

So let's not waste more time getting #30 out here.  Here's Janel's final prompt this summer and here is my entry...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Journaling: Day 29

I can hardly believe there is only one more day of this 30-day Journal Challenge.  The time has literally flown by!  I think because I had so much fun doing this project, but also because in general, June was a busy month for our family.

Anyway, here's the prompt for today from Janel and here is my journal entry...


I'm sure that there will be many more stories passed around this weekend as the kids settle back into home life again (and get actual sleep, since they never do when they're away at camp), as well as reconnect with the other youth group members Sunday at church and are reminded of all the good times, but for now, the chatter has slowed. 

All three mentioned the Olympic games during Recreation Time, so I think that must have been among their favorite activities.  H had gone on the zip line at camp, while the girls did not.  The zip line traveled right over the roof of the girls' cabin, so they spent a lot of time watching friends soar above.  The food was equated to cafeteria food (sorry cafeteria workers of America, my kids have unreasonably high food standards thanks to their dad's cooking abilities).  They loved, loved, loved worship time.  H even donated half of his spending money that I sent him to camp with to the offering being collected for Houses of Hope.  I thought that was cool.  They all came home with talk and phone numbers of kids they met, many of whom traveled to camp from Texas.

Our Kids Are Home Safe

Back from camp, smelling like the outdoors and lots of activity, all three oldest kids walked in the door about 30 minutes ago.  They are wearing large grins on their faces and talkative about all that's gone on for the past week.  They are noticing little things that have happened while they were away, like J's missing front tooth.

Anyway, more on this later.  I need to get them some food and encourage them to shower.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Movie Review: Brave

So, most of the time we avoid the newer movies that come out because it's simply too pricy to get all of us there.  But I wanted to do something special with all the younger kids who didn't get to go to camp this week AND because we were down three kids, it automatically made it more affordable, which is why we went to see the movie, Brave

I did look for the best deal, which meant the 10:30am showing so we could get the Early Bird rate (cheaper than matinee prices even), and we didn't buy any concession stand goodies this time to keep the cost down even more.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts about the movie and it's family friendliness, themes, etc., in case you want to go see it and are wondering what a regular(ish)-mama kind of view on it is.  NOTE:  There are limited spoilers below, so if you don't like any, don't read my review.

Journaling: Day 28

I had so much fun with this journal entry today.  If you know me, you know I can usually come up with lots of ideas pretty well because I'm a "starter."  Finishing projects is more of a challenge for me.  So Janel's prompt today allowed me to focus on my strength of developing ideas or starts for things...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Little Catching Up

I thought I'd follow up with a few things that have gone on around here just lately for my own record keeping, but also for those of you (thanks, family!) who check my blog to stay current with what's going on in our lives...

Journaling: Day 27

I can hardly believe we're nearly done with this Journal Challenge.  I have had a blast using my mind this way all month.  I can't wait till next summer to go again and I think I talked J into doing it with me, too, because she's been so fascinated with all my journal pages!  She'd be great at it.

Okay, so today's prompt was about something that touched my heart today.  I'd been reading through this book I got recently at a consignment store called, Wisdom of Meerkats.  It's a quick read because it's mostly a collection of famous quotes (not spoken by actual meerkats) and lots of darling photos of my second-favorite animal.  But there are some really neat quotes in the book and I found myself laughing out loud when I read the one I used for my journal entry today (which is why I used it).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Journaling: Day 26

Today's prompt is about recording what happened today.  Unfortunately for me, my "day" started very early and therefore, I ran out of room before I could get to the end of the actual day.  So according to this journal entry, everything was done by 7:30pm (the truth is, anything can happen between 7:30 and 11:59pm in this house!).

Top Ten Questions from Walking By The Way

I recently began following the blog Walking By The Way when I noticed some really cute printables she makes that are part of the lifeblood of our homeschool.  Today, she is asking her readers ten questions.  I decided to post my answers here in my blog (and give her a link) because I thought maybe some of you wonder this stuff about our family, too.  If not, feel free to skip ahead and I'll write to you later.

So, let's get started, shall we? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Journaling: Day 25

Today's prompt led to a journal entry that came very naturally to me.  There are so many things I wish for our children.  But the hard part is selecting just one to highlight for my journal entry.  Here is what I decided on...

Journaling: Day 24

Okay, Readers, I apologize if you're closely following my journal progress and were left holding your breath (as if), but I fell behind yesterday.  Sundays are usually a pretty busy day and yesterday was no exception.  After church, I was getting S and H ready for camp (including last minute purchases), plus cleaning out the van so the youth group could borrow it, plus attending a Partylite party at my sister's house.

So here is yesterday's prompt and my journal entry for it -- a day late.  If we're lucky, I'll find time to do today's today, and I'll be all caught up again!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When I Grow Up...

... I hope to be more like my Mom.

She is sweet, kind, funny, energetic, talented and wonderful!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Too Much Food

Funny story.  So C got right to work last night preparing delicious breakfast foods to serve at the Men's Breakfast today at church.  Then he and H and Z were up at the crack of dawn to finish up, start the coffee and bring everything down to the church building before all the guys got there.  They are so ambitious!

Journaling: Day 23

Today's prompt was a free choice.  That's a lot of pressure!  I was really lacking in creativity, too.  But S came to my rescue, when I explained to her I couldn't think of what to do, so she said, "Why not do a page about New Mexico?"  Yes!  That's a great idea.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Journaling: Day 22

Today's journal prompt was all about what we're looking forward to (in big and small ways).  I love anticipation!  It's almost always better than the actual thing.

Here's my page...

Boy Jokes

Okay, I've been meaning to post about this since the episode aired, but I got busy and distracted and nearly forgot until it strangely came to mind today when S was teaching E about the planets from a picture hanging in our homeschool room.

Daddy's Back

We just picked up C from the airport.  Oh, what a relief it is to have him back home again!!

Busy cooking weekend ahead for him though ... Men's Breakfast at church in the morning and preparing food for my sister's Partylite party on Sunday afternoon.

Welcome home, C!  You have been missed ... and not just for the food.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A New Look

I was getting all jealous of the cool look of my sister's blog and so I made a comment there about wanting a banner like hers for my birthday.  And it was like a couple hours later (and nowhere near my birthday) and she had not only designed the cutest blog banner I could never have dreamed of for Mama Flock, but also, she got in and changed my whole layout to match the banner's style (with my blessing, of course -- she's no hacker).

Is she not the best, most gifted, graphic design artist sister a person could ask for?!

What do you think of the new look?  (But know that even if you don't like it, I'm not changing it for a long time because I heart it too much.  So there!)

Also, she's added a feature on the sidebar there where you can sign up to follow me via email.  I'm just learning about all this stuff myself, so I would have never thought of it on my own!  Feel free to sign up and see what comes  in your email inbox from my blog.  I didn't know my blog could write to people for me ... wow!  Technology astounds me.

Thank you so much, Jessica, for the fresh, new look at Mama Flock and the generous gift of your time and talents.  You are awesome.

Journaling: Day 21

When I read that Janel wanted us to write about our favorite story of the day, I was thinking it was going to take me all day to decide.  But no.  I had my story by 9:30 this morning and I knew it's very unlikely anything will top it.

First, here's my journal page (and then I'll explain)...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Journaling: Day 20

Two-thirds of the way through this journal challenge!  And Janel keeps coming up with fun ideas for journal entries.  Today, was no different.  In fact, you'll probably enjoy it more today because for once, it's not my work.  I had to give up the control to someone else to do the journal page for me.  Giving up control is not very easy, but I did it!

Happy Accident

On Wednesdays, the kids and I have been going to see summer movie club $1.00 movies pretty much every week (except last week when we had VBS).  Today, we were headed down to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  But by the time we arrived, they'd just sold out!

I had all nine kids, so it wasn't a good day to just turn around and go back home.  Disappointed.  So I decided we'd go to a park and then to Sonic for 1/2-price milkshakes (all day) to celebrate summer solstice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Journaling: Day 19

I made it, folks.  C is away at the OHUG conference in Las Vegas all week.  He said his presentation went very well!  This is all good news, but it's little comfort for us at home who miss him desperately.  But we're surviving. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Journaling: Day 18

Going along with a combination of today's journal prompt and the one from the other day requiring the use of my imagination, I came up with today's journal page.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Journaling: Day 17

Hello again.  Okay, so for today's journal page, I was supposed to dedicate the page to a special dad or man in my life.  Well, since I've recently posted so many wonderful things here about my husband, I thought I would use the opportunity to brag on my dad a bit.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my dad, to my father-in-law, to my brother-in-law (all three in California)!  Also, to all the other dads out there, as well as the single mothers who are doing the job of two parents!

I'll get to my journal entry for the day later (which is also Dad-related, surprise, surprise), but for now, I just had to share with you these adorable depictions of our kids' dad, C.  I got the free printable frame here.   I love how each child's personality comes through in their artwork.  Even if they wouldn't be great police sketch artists at this point, they have awesome hearts and so much love for their daddy, it's clear to see.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Questions Revisited

You may think I'm a lunatic, and our kids might just agree, but I like asking my kids questions about random things.  I like getting their perspectives and then I try to log those so I can look back later.  

Today, I stumbled on an old questionnaire I did with our oldest three in 2005 when S was ten, H was 5-1/2 and Z was 3-1/2.  I decided to reuse the same questions (I needed to alter the first two) and ask them again.  I also added J and O's responses.  It's fun to look at how their answers have changed (and some, not as much as you'd think!) over the years.  Maybe I'll think to ask the kids again in another seven years.

Journaling: Day 16

One skill I'm not particularly good at is imagining.  I'm not really good at fantasizing about things that aren't actually happening and I don't get the hypothetical.  These are important skills for writers and artists, alike, but no matter how hard I try, I am lacking in this area.

For that reason, this was the first journal prompt that I nearly gave up on.  However, I dug deep and reflected on things that are real and true in our life right now and tried to figure a way to tweak them to think about how life would be if just one thing was changed.

That's how I came up with today's journal page...

This Week, In Recap

This week was exhausting!  But eventful, too, so I thought I'd recap it here for the record...


Church service.  The worship music rocked!  Pastor Dan spoke about raising courageous children once again and the part that stuck out to me was how much appreciation he showed for his wife and her gifts as a mother to their children.  I made sure to tell her (she was back teaching in the kids' program) and she was thrilled!

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Amazing Mama

Here at Mama Flock, I love sharing stories about amazing mothers in the world.  I find it inspiring as a mother to read about others who have figured out some of the intricacies of momming.  It's a tough job and I can use all the indirect advice I can gather on the subject.

Anyway, I was reading this morning, an article published by ABC News, about a 104-year-old mother who now cares for her elderly daughter who lives with dementia.  What an amazing person!

Click here to go to the article -- though if you Google her name, there are many versions of the same article (and some video footage - she's so cute!) if ABC isn't you're news source of choice.

I hope you enjoy reading about her as well.  Be encouraged.

Journaling: Day 15

Here we are, Readers; half way through the challenge.  Only 15 more days of tolerating my horrible artistry and handwriting! Ha!  I know some people might think to continue on, journaling like this forever.  But for me, while this has been fun, I know some of the joy is knowing that it's a project with a timeline.  Knowing that in 15 days the pressure to keep up is off.

This whole year, our family has endured a little and a lot of sickness.  Even now as a stomach bug makes its way through our family members for the umpteenth time, I am reluctant to give in and say that we are defined by our sickness.  I jokingly call it the "Year of the V" or the "Year of the Doctor" (in my blog and in real life), but truthfully, there is a lot of other stuff that better defines us and our year.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Journaling: Day 14

Janel made today's prompt nice and easy, so I tried hard to put in some extra effort.  Here it is...

Kid Fun

Today's conversations with the kids have been full of humor for me.  I love days like that when I find a lot of joy and entertainment in just being with them.  I thought I'd share some of my favorite moments here...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Journaling: Day 13

Note to my kids: If/when you ever see the following journal page you don't like how I've depicted you, please don't think I don't love you or think you are beautiful.  I'm just a really, really horrible artist.  I'm following the assignment today, though, and I gave it my best shot.  Please take seriously the part about you inspiring me, but do not take seriously my artwork.  Thank you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Abundant Grace

Our daughter, S, is 17 today.

I have to let that stand alone because I seriously am in denial about having a 17-year-old daughter!  I mean, we didn't meet her till she was eight, so 17 kind of snuck up on us pretty quickly.

Journaling: Day 12

It's late and I almost didn't make it (but I'll do a separate post about the day we've had to explain why), but here it is...

Second Favorite

I was having a text-versation with my niece, L, yesterday, who was home drawing a picture for me.  She asked about my second favorite animal because she was struggling to draw my first favorite: giraffes.  So I told her that my second favorite animal was probably meerkats (I was really hooked on Meerkat Manor when Sean Astin narrated, but I didn't really love the narration style of his replacement).

But her question perplexed me for a moment.  We're used to thinking about our "favorite" something or other, but it's more challenging thinking about our second favorite.  What do we do when we can't have our first choice?  And it's almost impossible to think about our second favorite anything without considering our most favorite first.  Have you noticed?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Journaling: Day 11

Feeling a bit crabby today (Mondays!), but it was a nice break to focus on my journal page today.  It's probably my least creative thus far, but I feel like at least I did it. :)  Here's the link to Janel's post about what today's prompt is.

Here's my page...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Journaling: Day 10

I can't believe we're a third of the way through the 30-day journal challenge.  Still having fun, too!  I love lists and Janel does, too, so lucky me, she prompted us to make another list today.

Here is mine:

Saturday, June 9, 2012


For whatever reason, our four youngest kids woke up feeling ready to tackle the neighborhood and earn some money.  The two older boys teamed up with ideas for doing yard work and J and O had plans for earning money by doing dog-related jobs.

Knowing the kids the way I do, I was pretty sure that this was going to end in some kind of catastrophe.  However, I do like encouraging them to be ambitious, creative and industrious (as well as working together), so I didn't want to let on that I was feeling very nervous about the whole plan.

Journaling: Day 9

There are probably a lot of things I need to shout at myself, but today's journal prompt made me decide on one thing.  So here it is...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Journaling: Day 8, Part II

So, try as I might, I cannot draw my dream house.  Or maybe I just don't have the right space in my current house (which is very nice, by the way - I love our home now, if only there were fewer holes in the drywall or fingerprints on the windows, etc.) to focus and create the work of art that resides in my mind's eye.

Journaling: Day 8, Part I

Today's Journal Prompt is a real challenge for me!  So while I continue pondering what to do, I thought I'd share a link that might be fun for you.

This link honors the essence of the journal prompt, which was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Journaling: Day 7

Happiness is ... this fun journaling project!  I have never been very good at sticking with a journal for long, but now I've done a whole week straight and had so much fun.  Today's prompt from Janel is about what Happiness is to me.  I could make a whole spreadsheet on the topic, but instead, I just jotted down the first few things that came to mind and left it at that.

Courageous Women: Nan

Nan is not her real name, but it's the name she goes by with our five kids.  She's my husband's grandmother and one of our children's great-grandmothers.

Yesterday, she and Grandpa celebrated another anniversary in their long lives together.  (Happy Belated Anniversary!)  They continue to set an example together for younger married couples everywhere -- if they have endured all the things they've been through together, there's hope for all of us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Journaling: Day 6

Ever since doing a lesson with J and O on our five senses, I've really had fun making assignments for the kids based on our five senses.  Today, Janel's Prompt was right in line with this.  This was a fun journal page, with lots of little sketches.  I felt like I was playing Pictionary or Win, Lose, or Draw (which in spite of my "artistic" skills, paired up with either of my sisters and we almost always dominate the game).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lizard in the House

Just like the subject line says, we had a lizard in the house today.  You never know what kind of crazy creature is going to seek out the cool air-conditioned carpet here in the desert.  I'm rarely surprised.  Crickets are the norm, but this was our first lizard!

I snapped some pictures of him sunning himself by our back patio door before he casually went back outside (we had the door cracked open for Nova to let herself in and out while we ran errands).

It was O who spotted the long, thin fellow and let me know.  The kids are well-trained in notifying me about any strange occurrence when my camera might come in handy. 

I'm glad Nova didn't find it first!

Journaling: Day 5

Today's prompt from Janel caused big problems for me!  I think I'm too opinionated or I have too many beliefs.  So many, I needed Excel to do the journal page.  And this isn't even all of them.  But I was having trouble picking some over others to include ... so I made a giant list.  It was a very cathartic assignment for me.  Feel free to just skim it if you want.  I know it's a lot to read (on the bright side, the writing is maybe more legible than my own handwriting).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Journaling: Day 4

Okay, I'm super excited to share today's journal page!

I had planned to get to the park with the kids today and wanted to find my journal inspiration there, but by the time we were ready to go, it was really cloudy and lightning was starting to light up the sky.  So instead, I took the kids to DQ for ice cream and figured I'd do my journal somewhere else.

After dinner this evening, I started pondering the day and how much certain flowering trees and plants just captured my attention more than usual.  Even in the busy-ness of the day, I kept pausing a moment on particular colors and how they looked against the stormy sky.  And then I had an a-ha moment!

A Busy Weekend + Another Doctor's Visit

Hello all.  While I wait for the right moment to do Day 4's journal entry, I wanted to post a little about this crazy weekend we just had.

Friday (I count Friday as part of the weekend because my brain is already in that mode):

Beach (I posted about that already), then J's dress rehearsal for her dance recital -- 3 long hours! -- where I was a rebel and snuck some photos of the girls practicing on stage (without flash).  Other moms were totally doing it, too, so I caved to peer pressure.  Plus, you know, I had my camera right there... so...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Journaling: Day 3

Hello Friends!  I especially loved Janel's prompt for day 3 and even though mine isn't as beautiful as I imagined it could be, I still had so much fun doing it, I don't care.  I guess that means I'm meeting my journaling goals from day two!  Awesome.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Journaling: Day 2

Okay, so Janel got Prompt 2 online bright and early.  So, while I have a busy day ahead, I thought I should probably get my page done and posted.  In all its glory... (ha.)

I Survived a Day at the Beach (And So Did All Nine Children I Brought With Me)

Last summer, my sister and I spent time every week at a community pool.  We also did summer movie club ($1 movies) and park days and had a great time.  But this summer, she's back to work since she's no longer pregnant ... so it's up to me to arrange fun summer outings for our five kids, plus her four, so that they don't all rot their brains just watching television for hours (which as bad as it sounds, would be a lot easier for me sometimes).

So today, we drove up to Cochiti Lake Beach -- about an hour north of Albuquerque -- and spent time at the beach.  It was my first attempt at doing something like this on my own with all nine, where water and no lifeguards are involved (I remember when we just had our first three and I didn't even like to take them to the beach by myself ... but I got over it since I don't love sitting around the house all the time).  Before we left, though, I had a good talk with all the big kids and explained to them I needed their watchful eyes to help me keep track of the little kids.  They did a good job.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Journaling: Day 1

A brief reminder that I am not an artist, nor do I ever fathom being one.  However, I do like creative stimulation because it seems to help keep me thinking on my feet (lots of creativity required to raise our children), which is why I'm doing this 30 Days of Journaling with Janel.  So bear with me as I post my very childlike attempts at artistic journal pages.  I'm definitely in over my head, but I'm just going with it.  So here's my journal page from the first prompt.