Friday, October 31, 2008

"Witches Brew"

MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm... I only wish I could attach the smell for you too!

Stirring and stirring and stirring our brew...

Today I cleaned out my cupboards. I know we all do this, but I have found that I can actually use those expired ingredients for an afternoon of entertainment for the girls. Something about girls and mixing kitchen ingredients. Mixing anything, really. So here are the ingredients to their "Witches Brew". We especially titled this in light of today's holiday.
1. Spinach Salad Dressing
2. Teriyaki Sauce
3. Feta Cheese
4. Day old mini cinnamon buns
5. Old (I mean old- dated May 05) bacon bits
6. My leftover coffee from this morning
7. Cinnamon Bisquick biscuit mix that we never used
8. Lawry's Steak Sauce
9. A little leftover Catalina Dressing (blood)
10. A can of cream corn I mistakenly bought (thinking it to be reg. corn)
11. Nerds (poison drops)
12. Jelly Bellies (more poison drops)

Each girl took turns pouring in ingredients, while one of the others stirred, slowly. My kitchen stinks badly right now, and if you get too close to the mixing bowl, your eyes literally burn. Wow. They are still "pretending" and stirring. I think I may throw up soon if I don't get the smell out of the kitchen.

I'd like to tag Wendy Penberthy to do this. (HA!! I just cracked myself up.)

This Morning

Wow. This morning was crazy! Not abnormal in most ways, but lots of things converged at once. At one point, I had three phone calls coming in at once! So I got Reilly and Shea out the door with their costumes on, and was checking a couple of blogs when I found out that baby Reese passed away yesterday, on her first birthday. ( Sobering. I received a phone call from Norm (one of the three), and received more news about Nichole (friend with cancer- Camdyn was coloring on the floor, Macy was crying about nothing all morning, and Kinley was making a huge mess in the kitchen- scissors, crayons, pens, and paper all over the place.
Thankfully, (despite home chaos!) my mind has been fixed on spiritual things all day. I've been reminded that life is a vapor, and we need to live each day- each moment, for the glory of God. I am so clouded in my vision sometimes, that I get caught up in "stuff", not remembering that my life is not my own, and must be lived for the glory and honor of Christ! I could die tomorrow. Could I look back and know that I did my best to honor the Lord today? Resolved: to refocus my attention on bringing glory to God throughout the day, no matter how meager the task.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Wild Thing

Tonight the second grade of Castaic Elementary performed a little program for the parents called "The Monster Mash". Shea had a great time as a "Wild Thing" with the rest of her class, and performed a cool little "Monster Mash" dance at the end with the whole second grade. So cute! We are so proud of our sweet Shea!

Macy and Mommy waiting for the show to start

This was Macy's reaction to the picture below. It's a little hard to see, but when the class that performed "Thriller" came out with scary faces, Macy literally layed prostrate on the floor with her face straight down the entire song. It was hilarious. We consoled her at first, of course, but she handled it her own way.

This was the picture I got of Shea crowning the little boy from the "Where the Wild Things Are" story. Some photographer I am.

Here's our sweet Wild Thing! She was so excited for me to do her hair so wildly!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Wisdom from John

Well, since some of you moms appreciated Mr. Abbotts wisdom on mothering, here's another tidbit I read today. Okay, so it's more than a tidbit. Please don't give up reading this because it's long, I guarantee it will shock and move your heart (if you have small to medium sized little people running around you). Better yet, (with Kurt's encouragement) I am going to summarize this amazing point that struck me today. This quote begins on page 65.
Here is his premise: "Avoid introducing religious subjects upon inappropriate occasions. There are times when serious injury is done by urging the claims of religion." Basically, he is telling us that there are times when it is NOT appropriate to discuss religious things with our kids. For example, if our kid is really angry about something, it would be unseasonable (and unreasonable!) to "converse with him upon the wickedness of these feelings and God's displeasure." We would so frustrate our child that we would be turning them off to religion. However, if we waited until the angry feeling subsided, then attempted to reason with him in "the pensive hour of evening, when his mind is calm, and passion is not triumphing over reason, he will hear you, and may be melted to contrition."
Isn't this brilliant? How often do I feel like I need to address the issue in the moment! I have little patience and feel like they need to "hear it" immediately. Sometimes I fear that I will forget to address it later. But this is my responsibility, my duty- and I need to take it seriously, and make sure that I do remember to discuss it later with that kiddo. Proverbs 29:20 warns us to not be hasty with our words, and we know that we are to be patient at all times (I Thess. 5:14). And yes, that means even with our kids.
Resolved: not to deal with significant emotional sin issues in the moment, but wait until a seasonable time when with my motherly discernment I determine that my child's heart is prepared to receive truth, and in a better position to respond to it.
Isn't this the goal? Not just to fill their minds (with truth), but to shape their hearts? Shouldn't we give them the best opportunity for that by being wise with our timing and strategic with our words? I find that it is much easier to download information and truth on them, hoping that they will receive it, be able to sort it out, and be changed by it. This is definitely easier, but much less effective. I am resolved and determined today to be much more deliberate in my heart-shaping! Tomorrow I will share other "inappropriate" times to download truth on our kids.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wisdom from John. S.C. Abbott

Who in the world is that??? He happens to be an expert on mothering (seriously), and has written the most brilliant little book called, "The Mother at Home". I carry ten copies of it so I can pass it out to all young moms. I think it's time I share a bit on the blog. Here's the brilliant insight I read tonight.

"Do not be constantly finding fault. It is at times necessary to censure and to punish. But very much may be done by encouraging children when they do well. Be even more careful to express your approbation of good conduct, than your disapprobation of bad. Nothing can more discourage a child than a spirit of incessant fault-finding on the part of its parent. And hardly any thing can exert a more injurious influence upon the disposition both of the parent and the child. There are two great motives influencing human actions; hope and fear. Both of these are at times necessary. But who would not prefer to have her child influenced to good conduct by the desire of pleasing rather than by the fear of offending?"

I will stop here, though I could go on! This struck me tonight- parts of the day were frustrating to me, and I felt like I was censuring much of the day. After reading this, I repented, and redeemed a moment with Reilly to "express my approbation of (his) good conduct". Upon further reflection, I realize (with heaviness of heart!) that the course of the day so much depends on my attitude and not that of my kids... I can steer them with my encouragement to be sweet with each other, or I can react to their issues and cause a downward spiral of agitation and just plain old bad attitude. It's definitely easier to follow my flesh and "be mean", but I can't honor the Lord in that, and I definitely don't create a warm, happy environment for the kids when that is happening! So I renew my determination now to sweetly encourage my kids and build them up, remembering that my approbation and approval will go a long way to make our home peaceful, happy, fun, and most of all, God-honoring!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fairmont Fair

Norm and the Greene kids- Levi, Josie, Ansel and Noah (holding their bag of loot- Norm was so thankful! (haha)

Camdyn and Josie posing for the picture

The girls (and Levi) having fun
Cubby Bear with McKinley and Josie (He looks like he's in pain- or possessed, or losing his head, or very angry!)
Today our church held the "Fairmont Fair"- an Awana event with all sorts of fun games, carnival food, and bounce houses, etc. It is the cheapest fair (10 cent tickets!), and you win all kinds of prize tickets (Shea won 7 prize tickets on one game- a one ticket game!). Needless to say, we came home with lots of JUNK. 5 oinking pigs are running around in the kitchen right now... Anyway it was such a fun day and the kids are worn out. I'm worn out! We met up with Norm and the Greene kids and watched them for the day so Norm could go and visit Nichole in the hospital. Kurt and I had 9 kids, 9 and under! It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be, and we only lost one kid (for just a minute). Noah likes to hide. Anyway, we made it home and I need to get all of the kids through the bath and fed! So I will sign off.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT MAGGIE!!! We love you! Thank you for your care for our family! We appreciate you remembering all of the kids birthdays (no small feat!!) and even Kurt's and mine... We wish we were closer to you. Thank you for supporting our family with your love and care, and for always lending Kurt a listening ear and very valuable advice! Have a WONDERFUL Birthday!!

Friday, October 24, 2008


We had a minor event tonight in the Gebhards home... It was around bedtime and Shea went downstairs to get a drink of water. She came back up rather quickly, screaming her lungs out and really upset. I took a minute to get up to see what was happening, (knowing that it could have been a scraped toe or misplaced Polly Pocket), but since the screaming didn't let up, I figured I'd check it out. To my surprise, when I came out of the girls room, she was sitting on Daddy's lap at the top of the stairs, blood streaming down her face! She had literally jumped up to reach a cup out of the cupboard, not recognizing that the cupboard door corner was directly above her forehead (I'm not sure how she missed that). Anyway, she gashed open her head. As we all know, head wounds bleed pretty well, so it looked pretty icky at first! We decided to let nurse mommy take over. Instead of urgent care, I went to Ralph's, picked up some butterfly closures, and went to work. She seems to be fine, and I think they'll do the trick!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pray for Nichole

My friend Nichole is in surgery right now and the doctors are attempting to remove all of her cancer. Please pray for her! You can see updates about the surgery on her blog. She is listed on my "friends" list on the left column. She went into surgery at around 3 p.m. and at 7:00 the doctors said they needed 4 or 5 more hours to complete it. They are working hard to remove all that they can find. Pray that they would get it all! Pray also that her recovery would be quick, her body strong, and that she would be able to go home soon. (They're looking at between 2 and 4 weeks hospital stay.) Nichole has four little kiddos ages 6 and under that need their mommy! Pray for her hubby Norm and all of the kids- Ansel (6), Noah (5), Josie (4) and Levi (1 1/2). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today was such a fun day! A college friend was in town (from out of state) and so four of us made a plan to get together. I think we figured it had been 11 years since most of us had seen each other (except for me and Wendy). Time flies! Christy was my roomie my freshman year ( a GREAT room-mate!), Liz was across the hallway from us (but pretty much lived in our room), and of course Wendy was down the hall (on my volleyball team). We all hung out all the time- wing-things, games, girl nights, crazy times! I miss these girls! We had such a great time hanging out and chatting the afternoon away. I am so grateful that my friends are all still walking closely with the Lord and serving and discipling and building the church! What a blessing to spend the day with them.

Wendy, Christy, Me, and Liz (Elisabeth) Shea is the photographer, and that is Jaden hiding behind Liz...hmmm...

This is Jaden in my kitchen, making himself right at home. No joke, he was in my cupboards and in the fridge and freezer browsing ALL day. I have never had any kid help themselves like this kid! He seriously asked me for like 20 different things today, as he stood in front of the open fridge or freezer. I love the kid, so of course I let him have whatever he wanted (which is why he keeps at it, I'm sure!). It just makes me laugh SO HARD. He just walks into the kitchen, right over to the fridge/freezer, opens both doors, and stares until he finds something he likes. Then, from across the kitchen, comes, "Um, Julie, can I have an Otter Pop?" (Wendy's head drops as she grimaces and tries to stop him from finishing the question). The topper was this one. Standing in front of the open fridge, and he yells across the house, "Julie, could you make me some cookie dough?" Yah, for real! The funniest thing about it is that he does and says all of it without being a bit presumptuous, and is the sweetest kid ever! (And so cute!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Camdynism #12

On the way home from church we were talking with the kids about what they had learned about this morning. Cam was telling us all about Noah's Ark and how Noah took his sons on the boat with him. I was coaching her with the names.
Me: "Shem....."
Cam: "Shem..."
Me: "Ham..."
Cam: "Ham...... and Abed-Nego!!!"


Well, Reilly finally makes the "ism" list today. Kurt and Reilly were having a conversation about football (really? I guess that means the Mets are no longer in the running this season- boo-hoo!) So they were talking about overtime, and Kurt explained "sudden death" to Reilly.
"So you mean that they could go on and on playing forever?? Like for a million years??" He was quiet for a minute and something was brewing in that little brain.
"Nah, dad, the wrath of God would come before that!"

Shea Love

Our precious Shea has been working on her "document" for a couple of weeks now, and I have to share it! She is so cute, and I love her creations. I'm not sure about the "show" part of it, but we'll see how her career progresses as a children's exercise consultant/spiritual motivator/exercise producer (??). Love it!

These are some fun ways to move your body. Watch the show and you will find out some ways to get FIT. If your kids want to come up where we are, they can! Besides kids are soooo cute! If you know a move you can show-off and do it! You can also come any other time and watch any other show that I might do. I’m sure of it! The show that I am doing is called Exercising. I think you will love my show a lot! It is about stretching, movement and fun! You can make up a show and join in the fun and sign up and be on stage! You also have to make up the show, words and moves. Okay? It would be fun for you also to join us! I guaranty you will love being on stage! Wont you? If you like playing outside, I can show you a few things you can do. It would be my pleasure! I would also give you my autograph too! This verse is from Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the LORD rather than for men. That verse is about working hard like I worked hard on the show. That was just a verse right from a New American Standard Bible. I also made up a song for it! The name of it is Working Hard. I might have to think of a tune for it! But I think you’ll be okay with it. You know about the sign up thing? Well you can only sign up in October! You can only sign up if you are older than 7 except if you are in my family.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Shopping for junk- this is where we picked up our "mexican jumping beans". The kids think they're great!

The "main street" in Ensenada. Most people from the ship shopped here (or were in the bar from morning to night getting wasted).

"Fancy dinner night". No shorts allowed. Kurt didn't bring any pants, so we snuck in quickly and he sat in the middle of the table. We didn't get caught!

I surprised Kurt and took him on a Mexican cruise over last weekend. We had a lot of fun, though the weather was a little stormy and we were rocking pretty good. Our itenerary was even shifted because of the storm-we just went to Ensenada a day later than planned. We enjoyed the time to relax and just be together (and of course, eat lots of yummy food!). I'd have to say, Ensenada isn't anything lovely or attractive, just plenty of shops selling lots of touristy things. I'd recommend the longer Mexican Riviera cruise that hits Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. That's the cruise we went on for our one year anniversary and really enjoyed. Beautiful beaches, great shops, snorkling, etc. Anyway... I love Kurt! We had a great time, and enjoyed being pampered and taken care of so we could focus on each other and talk with no interruptions! Thanks again to grandma and grandpa for taking care of the kiddos for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Tonight Reilly was outside with some friends playing a little baseball. He was having a great time, until he made an outstanding catch as he was backing up to the wall, fell, and got his thumb stuck and stretched in some strange way under him. It immediately swelled and was quite painful. Thankfully, we have two physical therapists (Dr. and Dr. Cheung) staying with us and they were able to make an immediate diagnosis...not broken (we think), just sprained. I'm not sure that the picture captures the swelling as bad as it was, but I'll try. The first picture was taken right after it happened. The second one isn't quite as good, and was taken a few minutes ago (4 hours after the injury :). Reilly was such a man about it!


Please read my friend Nichole's blog! She is having a radical surgery to attempt to remove her cancer this Thursday. Go to her blog through my friend's link on the left side for all of the details. Please pray for her!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Beach Pictures

Cam and Macy loved the sand. If you could only see how much sand covered Macy from head to is so cute to watch her play! She had no clue when she flung the shovel in the air that she was dumping sand on herself. Poor girl had sand over every inch of her body, though she didn't care.

Reilly and Shea playing a card game...looks like war? I'm not sure what Shea's expression is all about. I think she was having fun.

The big kids on a mission to find sand crabs, after getting pummeled by a few waves. They are so brave, and do really well in the big ocean. The waves in Carpinteria are not too big, thankfully.

This was taken after a WILD game of hide and seek, all inside the fifth wheel. At one point, Reilly had given up his search to find Kinley and Shea, that's how well they were hidden! It was lots of fun, thanks to grandma (She helped them hide).

Grandpa (poor grandpa) relaxed and read (Ryle! It runs in the family) and played Sudoku. Grandpa's neck has been sore since he was body-surfing three weeks ago and nearly killed himself. (Seriously pummelled by a wave, landed on his head in the sand, could hardly walk, was seeing stars, spent the night in the ER trying to get some relief from the pain, and is still trying) We're glad he's still with us, and hope he is back to normal soon.

Beach Camping (sort of)

I've titled this with "sort of" tagged on because camping as I remember it was really different than it is now (for my family). When I was growing up, we camped in tents- (sometimes under the stars with no tents!), slept on the ground in sleeping bags, cooked with a gas stove, and ate lots of simple meals. It was so much fun, but I do appreciate the comfort of the nice "fifth wheel" my parents now sport. We had egg mcmuffins for breakfast yesterday (we made them ourselves), swedish pancakes this morning, and tri-tip for dinner last night, with salad, steamed broccoli, baked beans, etc. Not exactly roughing it, but dirty, nonetheless. And a movie at the end of the night isn't all that bad.
Well, the kids had a blast, once again! They love hanging out with grandma and grandpa- playing games, eating smores, riding bikes, fishing, and more. Shea is currently scrapbooking the trip- I should post pics of what she does- she's very creative!
We went to the beach every day in the 77 degree perfect weather, and the little girlies played in the sand, while the three big kids hardly stepped out of the ocean. Reilly and Shea love to boogie board, and Kinley was getting a little more brave with it as well. Another highlight was the sand crab collecting. Kinley would beg me to come down and dig with her, and we would dig and dig and dig- literally for a couple of hours, almost non-stop. Even the little girlies would participate (at times), until a bigger wave would come and sweep them off of their feet and temporarily scare them. Reilly and Shea got into it too- especially when we found a "hot spot". Anyway, a great week in Carpinteria once again, with the sweetest little crew you can imagine... thanks grandma and grandpa!

Happy little tree climbers! Macy kept finding her way over to this tree and climbing right up. She is a good climber, and could find her way back down pretty easily with no big spills...

Mostly. She did nose dive off of the back of a chair, and was eating lots of dirt. She's still so cute.

A lovely tri-tip dinner outside in the beautiful California sun...not too cold, not too hot...wait, is that a pillow under Macy's head? Yep, she crashed on her tray at dinner time (thankfully after she ate). It was so cute. Grandma had to bring her a pillow.

Macy "helping" grandma with the dishes. She's allowed to sit on the kitchen counter, and she enjoys the privilege.

The sweetest little munch bunch...not exactly all cooperating for the picture. It's hard with five, and I don't know how anyone with multiple boys does it. They don't care about pictures like little girls do!

A fine game of Blokus this morning with the girls. Camdyn won. Macy attempted to steal the pieces, and as you can see she thinks she can climb on the kitchen table as well as the counter. Hmmm.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Camdynism #11

Okay, so Cam just topped the Kinleyism, and I can't believe what she came up with. So I didn't buy the 4 girls "propoccinos" at Starbucks this morning, but instead made them little mochas here at home. Cam was upstairs when I finished them, so came down, saw Kinley and Shea's with theirs in hand, and with furled brow, said,
"Mommy, where is my chopporinio???"

Kinleyism #1

I was driving through the Starbucks drive thru this morning (after a fabulous morning garage-saling with the girlies) and Kinley asked me for a drink. "What was that you wanted, Kinley?" I asked.
"A propoccino!!" (giggle giggle- I think she realized she was saying it wrong)
For anyone interested in our garage sale ventures, this morning ended up being a Macy morning. A Gap jacket ($2) for winter, with no visible wear, 5 pairs of jeans (Gap, Greendog, Levi's, and Children's Place), with no wear, .75 cents each (that's right!), UGG boots for Macy, .75 cents, converse, .75 cents, two Roxy sweatshirts, $1 each, and the topper, here it is: 17 DVD movies for $17!! That's right, DVD's for $1 each!! We're talking Disney, Morgan Freeman, more Disney, Sesame Street, and more...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Journey

Well, when we began this little journey and Camdyn's eye first started crossing, I immediately thought deeply. My mind raced- 1)what could be the cause? (scary thoughts), and 2) if the cause is something serious, will my faith in God waver?
Immediately my mind went to the worst (brain tumor). Of course I didn't let my mind stay there long, knowing that we had so much to learn about the problem. However, immediately after that possibility entered my mind, so did doubts about God's goodness. How could He be perfectly good, and allow something tragic to happen to such a sweet little, helpless girl? I didn't want to leave this question hanging, even though her issue seems to be resolved. This is an important question for all of us to answer, and better to have the answer before we are faced with a severe trial, then be scrambling to keep our faith and to deal with the trial! And I have no doubts that we will all face severe trials at one point or another, and many have already. How can we keep our hope and trust in the Lord?

The first thing that I had to be reminded of is that I, nor my family, are the center of the universe- the center of God's purpose, the end all of what God is accomplishing. We are not the glory of God. HE is!! He is at the center of His plan, His glory radiates from Him, through Him, to Him, and for His purposes. Not mine. It's not all about ME. Profound, I know.

The second thing that I needed to remember is that I don't know the mind of God. I can't see His invisible hand at work- however He knows what He is doing. I am so glad for that. I can't know the reasons behind all that He does, all that He allows to happen- even as it relates to my precious family. God has a plan, and nothing escapes His notice, gets past Him, or slips by Him. He is sovereignly carrying out His plan with great interest in detail, because He knows exactly what He is trying to accomplish. I don't. You don't. We won't, until we reach heaven.

Third, I needed to be reminded of God's goodness. God causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil. He is not willing that any should perish (eternally). He bestows goodness on believers and unbelievers! He cares for me, my family- precious Camdyn- like a Father cares for his children. When we cry out to Him, He always answers. He promises to. It is easy to forget this, especially when we are hanging on to sin and feel we don't deserve His goodness. But, He is still good! When we look to Him, He will always forgive and extend grace and goodness.

Last, I am reminded of a simple little often quoted verse. "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord." (Romans 8:28) That means all things. For our good. Not only does He have His purposes in mind, but His purposes include our good, ALWAYS. We may not see it, especially during the trial, but often after the trial it becomes clear. If not, then we can be sure to see all of the facets of goodness when we reach His complete expression of goodness to us-heaven!! If our lives on earth were only filled with trials and difficulties and tragedies, (let's take Job, for example), our eternal reward of heaven- forever, without difficulty, without tears, without trials, without evil, living in the presence of Jesus, praising God with all of our friends, and fellow believers, how much goodness is that expressed to such poor, sinful creatures as we are??? Thanks for reading, I know it was long. I hope your heart is encouraged, as mine is!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Cam is doing pretty well with the glasses, but likes to take them off and put them back on quite a bit. I think they're bugging her a little. The prescription for the lenses was +4.75 in one eye, and +4.5 in the other. Anyone know what that means? As far as I read, I think that's strong! I believe a 5.0 would make her legally blind! Honestly, though, I am rejoicing and haven't had the faintest notion of sadness for her having to wear glasses. (She's liking them too, which helps!) And I think she's so cute with them! They are pink, in case it was hard to tell in the pics. That was very important for her. God is good!