Thursday, December 2, 2010

Catching up...

Well, once again time has slipped through my fingers. My hopes of being a diligent blogger have been dimmed by the sights and sounds of yet another Christmas- so quickly approaching! Here are a few pics from not too long ago...
The first three are from the "Seeds" family worship concert that we hosted sometime in the not too distant past (sort-of). Jason Houser brought a great evening of fun worship for all ages! You can see that my kids seemed to enjoy the concert.
The last two are from "Reformation day" at school. Shea chose to dress up as "Melchizedek" since they had been studying him at school. The funniest part was that when Shea conceived of this whole idea in her head and was discussing it with me, McKinley piped in. "You're really going to dress up as a boy?" Shea was undeterred. "Yes." McKinley was shocked. "I would NEVER do that." She meant it with all her heart. I thought it was great. This little interaction was just a little display of how extremely different God has made these two little girls! And just in case you were wondering- Macy dressed up as Laura Ingalls for reformation day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Deck Camp-out

Being that Friday is "Family Night", we attempt each week to come up with a little fun plan for the kids. Last night we set up the tent on the deck, brought up a mattress and cushions and LOTS of blankets. The weather was very cold- it got to 36 degrees! But the girlies snuggled up under the blankets and managed to stay somewhat comfortable through the night. This morning we woke up and roasted smokies over the fire, had hot cocoa and just a fun morning as a family. Reilly had Austin over for the night and they slept in the basement (close to the video games) and watched a little "Lord of the Rings". Austin joined us for breakfast and enjoyed a little "Gebhards family time". He is a sweet neighbor! I think the girls may spend the majority of this day in the tent- I hear their little voices out there now. I think we got six thumbs up for this family night!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grandfather Mountain

We finally took a trip to Grandfather Mountain...a beautiful mountain afternoon getaway. We went with our friends the Hoolehans and the Kricks and had a blast! It was a great fall day with all of the beautiful colors on display. We enjoyed the beauty of creation as well as some amazing fudge from the mountain's famous fudge shop...

Friday, October 15, 2010

I LOVE my kids

I don't have much to say. Nothing momentous happened today, but I just wanted to take a minute to express what's bubbling over in me. Kurt and I were out tonight, so didn't get to spend time with the kids, but when we got home the sentiment is always that we LOVE to be home with our kids. We say over and over to each other every day things like, "can you believe we have such wonderful kids?" and (loving on Dax), "can you believe God gave us another son?", or "I just LOVE them so much!". I know that might sound funny and even unbelievable (for some), but it's true. I took a nap today with the sweet little girls on the couch- Cam was laying right next to me (snoring unbelievably loudly), Macy on the couch we moved over next to us so I could hold her hand. It was a precious time! Sweet Shea was so eager to help this afternoon so she made a burrito casserole (with no supervision) for the kids for dinner (it was a little heavy on the sour cream-her fav). I am so thankful for her growing eagerness to help and serve the family. And Dax is the happiest baby on the planet. We can't help but snoodle them all when we get home (while they're sleeping)- and that always includes getting the baby up when Kurt and I head to bed just to get in a few more snuggles. We certainly have our moments, but we love that our home is filled with sweetness and joy and the fruit of the Spirit most days! Tonight I am so thankful for my sweet family. I love them and am so proud of them. That also includes my rockin' husband who pours himself out for these kids and loves them all so much, and loves me well. I am so glad to be partnered with him in this life and in parenting!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

North Carolina Zoo

We love the ZOO!!!
Me with the crew I brought to the zoo.
Macy and Mia...bosom buddies!
My sweet good friend Julie McG with her little girls Mia and Gracie.
Silly girls on the praying mantis...
McGraths and Gebhards kiddos (at least half of our twelve!!)
The NC Zoo bore little resemblance to the L.A. Zoo when it came to size of the exhibit. This was just one of the larger ones.
The stubborn way to fall asleep. "I will NOT lay down...I will NOT lay down...I will NOT lay down!"
("Ostrich eggs") Macy: "MOM!! I want to go climb into those EYEBALLS!!"
Sweet second grade pals Gracie and McKinley.
So on the way home from the zoo we were reviewing animal sounds (especially for Dax's benefit). "A lion says 'RRAAAAAHHHHHHHRRRRRR'" (complete with throat growling). Dax, on cue, growls just like a lion.
"A cow says 'MMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOO'" (I know that's not a zoo animal, but I was staying in Dax's range). Dax, again, moos like a cow.
"A bear says 'GGGRRRRRRR'" (or whatever). Dax mimics the sound.
"A leopard says 'mama'" (stick with me). Dax, confused but caught up, said "MAMA" for the first time!!!
YES!!! I did it! It was SO sweet to hear that little boy call me Mama!! Okay, so he wasn't really calling me mama, but I heard that sweet little voice say it! Music to my ears!
He's brilliant, but very stubborn. Once he realized that I tricked him, he refused all night long to tell me what a leopard says...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baldhead Island

The sweetest sissies ever...they had so much fun together. Okay, so here I am posting pics from over a month ago...yikes. I'm a little behind in life. Baldhead is likely the most unique family vacation we have ever taken. You travel there on a ferry, and the island is the most quaint, beautiful place with ONE market, a couple of shops, a couple of "clubs" (pools), a golf course, and NO CARS. Everyone drives around in golf carts. It's a pretty small island- you can drive from one end to the other in about ten minutes. It was a really cool experience.
Sweet Bubba crashed hard. We rocked and rolled all day until he would poop out.
Is this not quaint and beautiful? It was wonderful!
This is how we roll. Pretty sweet.
The girly girls. It was a windy day!
The kiddos had a blast everyday playing on the beach. We had many people counting kids, as you can see.
Hip hip HOORAY!
Standing in front of the market. You bring most all of your groceries with you since everything costs twice as much here. However, for a little excitement, we would pick up ice cream from the market for the kiddos.
Morning exercises in our place. Not sure who Reilly is talking to.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie (BFL style) for Lunch

Well, here's another recipe of randomness, and it's not for the faint of heart. I'm eating it at this very moment, and LOVING it. Call me weird. Brace yourself. It's a bit strange. These will all be approximate measurements.
1/2 cup baked apples (lots of cinnamon)
1/4 cup cottage cheese (a BFL favorite)
1/2 cup sweet mashed potatoes
3 Tablespoons of fat free cream cheese
1/2 scoop whey protein (vanilla)
2 Tablespoons of crushed graham crackers
Keep in mind, I do live in the south now. Sweet potatoes are a staple. And, I just had dental work done, so the consistency of baby food is important too. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lime-a-licious Pie

Okay, so I'm a total blog slacker and now I want to post a recipe of randomness. Kurt and I have been doing "Body for Life" (well, he has a lot more than I have...but we've lost a total of 33 pounds so far!) and I've been attempting to come up with a few recipes outside of the book that work for us. At this very moment, I am enjoying the best creation of late. Let's call it "Lime-a-licious Pie". Just for fun.
It's SUPER easy and tasty, and has almost NO calories. Really. Here's what I did.
1 Cup cottage cheese
1 box sugar free lime jello
lite cool-whip
graham cracker crumbs
In the blender, toss a cup of cottage cheese. Mix a box of lime sugar-free jello with a cup of boiling water, and don't add the second cup. Pour part of that into the blender until the cottage cheese is smooth. Mix in the rest. Let it set up in the fridge. Then, scoop out around a half cup of the yumminess, and add a couple of tablespoons of cool-whip. Top it with a tablespoon or two of the graham cracker crumbs, and voila!!!
Lime-a-licious PIE!!! Not only is it not bad for you, it's loaded with protein!! So if I go back for a second bowl of it right's NO BIG DEAL!

Monday, August 30, 2010

All Mornings are NOT Created Equal

...and Sunday mornings (before church) are by far the most inferior mornings. Satan's attack? God's testing? I'll let you know if I figure that out. Anyway, I know I'm not alone in my assessment. I've heard lots of other mothers testify to this paradigm. Literally, yesterday was a typical Sunday morning for us, and I'm really not exaggerating. I'll take you through my morning event by event. It started off with a bang, so brace yourselves...
"MOM!! Dax has poop on his hands!"
Hmmm...thoughts went racing through my head. "Honey, I gave him a couple of bites of chocolate muffin this morning. It's NOT poop!" (Wishful thinking...) I came into my bathroom where Dax was found and still wasn't sure what had transpired. As I got closer to him, the scent turned all of my fears and stomach churnings into reality. Sick. I literally almost threw up. After cleaning him up, the rest of the kids needed to be scolded for NOT flushing the toilet. Really scolded. And that wasn't the sweetest they had ever seen their momma. That's for sure.
I began working on our crock-pot lunch like a good wife and mother. The kids disappeared for a while. Dax was fussy. I thought he was recovering from his "event". I moved him to his play yard and gave him some books. He loves books.
Time for hair. "GIRLS! Come down so I can do your hair!" I worked for a while on each of the girls hair and was finishing up with McKinley. Blood curdling scream. Right in front of my face. I burned her forehead with the curling iron. UGH. Tension rises (in me). "Sorry girl. Are you okay?" She's slightly irritated with me because she's pretty afraid of the curling iron and is always telling me to be careful. Notsosweet mommy moment, not much real sympathy exuded from me. I head back to the kitchen.
Camdyn comes sauntering down the stairs with "the reporter" following close behind. "Mommy," says the reporter. "Camdyn has lots of hairspray in her hair!" I leave my chicken chopping to check out the damage. Wow. It must have been a half of a can of hairspray gummed up and nearly dried into her baby fine, previously neatly curled, otherwise CLEAN hair. UGH. Here comes the notsosweet scolding for this little incident, along with some notsosweet brushing out of the hairspray. "Why did you do this, Camdyn?" The answer wasn't terribly surprising. "Mommy, Ashlyn did this and curled her hair and put this in her hair." Of course. She did it because she admires her sweet 11 year old cousin who actually knows how to use hairspray. End of scolding. My tension level continued to rise. Dax was still fussy. I turned on a movie for him. He's never fussy.
"Kids, would you like some hot chocolate?" I love treating my kids to little things that bring a smile to their faces (and let's try to change the course of this morning). Nothing big, just little things they wouldn't normally expect. "YES! YES! YES!" Came the happy response. I threw a little milk into a pot, and heated it up in between working on lunch. One of the kids walked into the kitchen, and watched me with a sweet smile anticipating the treat. Her eyes turned to the pot of heating milk, and her expression changed. "Mom, is that ALL you're making? For ALL of us???!!" I hesitated, as I calculated my snarky response. "No, honey, that's just for the rest of the kids. None for you." She knew I was teasing, but then I had to give her a tidbit on thankfulness, including a short word on orphans and starvation. She was really moved. I was a little more agitated. You know, the "when are they going to get it?" agitation. When you say the same things over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, etc. and they still don't get it. This was notsosweet mommy moment #...5? 6? of the morning. Dax was still fussy. Reilly had tried to help him with sweet brother love, but it wasn't working. He wasn't interested in the video either, for some reason. I finally figured I needed to try to see why he was agitated. As I neared him, the thought crossed my mind that he hadn't worn those shoes in a while. I carefully removed them, as he screamed and jerked his feet. Poor kid. They left marks all over his feet, and really significant marks on his pinky toes. Sweet little pinky toes...thus ended his fussiness. I felt like a bad mommy. Anyway we made it to church, nearly on time. I gave out a couple of apologies for my sinful frustration on the way to church. The kids were sweet in response, as usual.
What a great morning at church! I had one thought that I'd like to share with all of those mommies who experience the Sunday morning madness. Although Sunday mornings are a (not so fun) revealing glimpse into my sinful heart, they are always followed up by a sweet reminder of God's grace and kindness to me as I drink in the mercy of God in the worship service and am so quickly brought back to Him! I guess my conclusion is that I would rather see my sin on Sunday morning when I can quickly recover and refresh and repent of my attitude, than on any other morning when I'm left to myself most of the rest of the day, and struggle through on my own. I know His mercies are new every morning, but some mornings it's a little difficult to discern them...

Lamentations 3:19-23
"Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mud is just plain fun.
Waterslide fun! One thing I really like about NC- people don't go crazy about rules. I think there is a healthy sense of personal responsibility that is lacking in other places. This slide had two rules. No standing, and no pushing (something like that). Otherwise, it was free for all! So much fun!
The three meter diving board. This is Reilly, doing a lovely swan dive. Just kidding. I requested feet first of the kids. All of the big kids did this and survived, with only minor injuries (Sugar Shea got a little slap pain and water in the eyes...).

I love this pic! This epitomizes the day of fun we had here.
Waterslide train!

California Cousins, part two

Creek fun!
Kool Park water fun. Clean up those boys!
Love this face on Ashlyn!
Fun with the littles!
What a great shot!
Boys banned from the computer today. :) Time to find another outlet. Lord of the Rings risk with grandpa, happening right now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

California Dreamin'

So the one thing that the kids were really disappointed with when they learned that we were moving to North Carolina a year ago was that they would not see their grandparents and cousins (Adam and Ashlyn) enough. Big bummer.
For the last three weeks, and I am not exaggerating, EVERY DAY Reilly has been planning and asking about getting Adam out here to visit. He wanted to save birthday money to fly Adam out, he wanted to use his money, he really would do just about anything to make it happen. Little did he know the plan that was already in place...and what fun for me to keep the secret...until yesterday.
First they were greeted with the unexpected guests as they came home from swimming.
Then the cousins were hiding in the bedroom closet...which I videotaped so don't have pics of that event. It was very loud, and very exciting. The boys hugged, then RAN downstairs to play. This is what they love to do together.
Last night we played some bingo with "coupon prizes". This morning they redeemed "Panera in Pajamas". Now they're outside in the creek playing and getting really muddy. Pics of that to come!
Thank you, Bryan and Julie for letting them come all the way across the country without you and for letting them miss "a little" school... and thanks grandma and grandpa for bringing them to us!!