Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our "Garden", aka Patch of Death.

You can see the things that are left are the tomatoes (on the far end) and a few shriveled green bean plants (near end). This is our second year at "gardening" and by far our most fruitful yet. We harvested probably 40 or more green beans and 1 tomato. I really need to work on the soil (in case you can't tell) and am considering having raised beds. The heat REALLY took a toll on the garden even though we watered. All the squash died after blooming...
This is our one tomato that made it and the bottom already had a bad spot on it. :/ Fortunately we have a few more that may make it... MAY being the key word.

2nd Tooth Gone!

Well it took our dentist's intervention, but Mr. M has now lost his second tooth!

The Before

The After

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spending Spree

Apparently today is the day for spending money. $725 for our van and $14 at Walgreens. I would have made it to another store to spend more money, but it took too long at Walgreens. lol!

So why did we drop 3/4 of a grand on our 8 year old van? Well, it's been shifting "hard". (this is my description of it) Apparently, the front and side mounts for the engine were broken. I wanted to know what would cause a breakage such as this (thinking they were made of steel). I was duly informed that they were made of rubber and sometimes it just wears out! (I really wanted to say some offhand, lewd comment like "You sure do sell expensive r^bbers!". But I couldn't do it.) Isn't it great when God keeps you from opening your mouth!?

I actually did "make" money at Walgreens, but I'm rather upset that they didn't take 12 of my coupons so I'm not going to detail my trip right now. Trying to work through the frustration. AAAHHHHHH!!! (didn't really help :-)) LOL!!!

I think today could easily be summed up by the open, almost consumed container of Cool Whip that I found in the fridge with the lid completely missing from the fridge and finger sweeps through the visible remains. When you see that on a Monday morning, you just know, it's going to one of THOSE days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Photo Book

Shutterfly.com just released a promo code for a free 8x8 photo book. Enjoy!
Promo code: 8PBA91
Offer e
nds September 1, 2010

Just for Laughs!

In honor of my date with Mr. Incredible tonight... I got the sitter, no new dress, I doubt we'll go dancing, but maybe we can still have fun?! ;-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Mr. M!

Five years ago today we were able to finalize Mr. M's adoption. What a long hard road we walked to get there... Who knew it was just preparation for the days ahead! LOL!

A friend posted this to my FB, it so rightly describes our dear Mr. M. ‎"Some men learn by reading, some men learn by observing and some men have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
Will Rogers

We love you Mr. M!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I finally heard from the Deaf Ed speech therapist today, not happy with the times she's available... So I sat down to try to figure out exactly how I am supposed to "work" eight therapeutic appointments in each week along with homeschooling and just having a life... it's not pretty.
Basically from 10-11:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays we have something for Elizabeth (whoever thought that a 30 min. appointment would take 1.5 hours?!), as well as 2:45-3:45pm on Wednesdays; 9:10am-12:15 pm and 2:30-3:30 pm on Tuesdays and 9:10am-3:30pm on Thursdays we are occupied with things for Michael and an AM Zumba class for me. (I would go in the evenings, but that cuts into family time)

It took a couple of hours to try to arrange the schoolwork and availability to accomplish what needs to be done. My eyes misted at least twice and I still feel rather overwhelmed about the whole thing. I was so hoping for an early afternoon something for Elizabeth on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My small victory of the day was making a delicious healthy balanced dinner for under $5. Maybe I can do some coupon shopping later to relieve some of the stress :) It would be harder to appreciate the good days if there weren't days like today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy 5000!

Today we have been married for 5ooo days! Mr. Incredible sent me flowers :) He has been using the same flower shop for YEARS. It's kind of funny when the florist knows you by name :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homeschooling 101

Just as good equipment is necessary to do a good job. Good resources help with homeschooling.

A good marriage, or at least working toward one, is helpful in a successful homeschool. You can be each others bestfriend or worst enemy.
Focus on the Family, Family Life and Gary Smalley are a place to start.

It's hard to unlock your child's heart with out the proper keys.
Focus on the Family, Family Life or Tim Kimmel are a great resources and can lead you to many others.

Have a plan in case of a problem- HSLDA- Homeschool Legal Defense Association - not everyone thinks homeschooling is cool.

Find other homeschoolers through area homeschool groups or online.

There are so many curricula compared to when my mom started with me. Here's some free resources.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You're Awesome!

I have been looking around me- my husband, children, friends, people I see occasionally but don't really know, strangers in cars that pass by, people in line with me at the store. What is going on in their head? Is there life as bad as their face looks? Are they having a hard time paying their bills? Do they REALLY know that Christ died for them and loves them SSSOOOO much?! How do I look to them? Am I shining God's love on my face or do I have a grimace? Are my interactions with them conveying self serving motives or a gentle spirit?

Everyone needs encouragement sometimes and to know that they are important.

Maybe it's just telling your spouse that you love them. Or giving your kids a "You did great at ---". (I'm not saying praise them for everything because then your praise can become meaningless.) Or telling someone thank you when you check out at a store. Or asking how they are and really listening. What about giving your friend a hug, just because! What about making a friend? It's amazing what just smiling at a person can do. The walls melt... and they may even smile back!

I am amazed at how many people say, "Hi, how are you?" when I'm alone and "Whoa, you got a handful!" when the kids are with me. But how many actually care how I am or the story of all of our kids?

I love to ask someone how they are and then listen. It's amazing how a near perfect stranger will open up and share details about their life that you otherwise never would have known, if you just stop and show that they matter. Do I need to know that a store manager is having car troubles? No. Was I expecting to hear about how a person is divorced and now living with their boyfriend? No. Does it take time to listen? Yes. But maybe, just maybe, I've shown these people a little bit of kindness and love just by listening.

I know that when I was able to sincerely thank Mr. J for a job he had done a lot of his frustration over Mr. M messing with his stuff evaporated. Maybe you have to be creative in your compliments- you ate your lunch so well, thank you for turning off the light, why don't you go in front of me (when in line at a store), thank you for choosing to not yell, I like the color of your eyes ... But each of us matter and it's important to let others know that they matter because maybe they haven't found the hope of heaven yet.

Galations 5: 22-23 and 25-26 (The Message)
But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely....
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

So in case you haven't heard it lately, you're awesome, you read this far!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Growing Pains

Sometimes parenting isn't fun. It is knock down, drag you to your knees as you seek answers from above warfare.
Then they give you a hug and say they are sorry... and you pray that maybe they've learned their lesson THIS time. So that you don't EVER EVER have go through this again. (or them either)
Anyone else been there?!

I would tell you what happened yesterday, but I don't honestly remember. I can remember that the wireless router died and there were two violent temper tantrums. (no, I didn't throw a fit when I lost internet) There was lots in between (and more was bad than good), but just as God helps you forget labor pains from childbirth, I guess I am forgetting the growing pains of childrearing. All I can say is if yesterday was the climax, today was the catharsis (the rain was God's added effect).

I'm praying that the contrition that was evident in the heart tonight is still present in the morning. That the gains that have been made with attitude control are not lost. Lest you think I am only speaking about a certain child, admit it, you thought it! I have had the wonderful, God-given opportunity to "work with" four out of the five in the last two days. (Gotta love Mr. Incredible's business trips!)

A little wisdom I found in Proverbs (the Message)
20:24 The very steps we take come from God;
otherwise how would we know where we're going?

20:27 God is in charge of human life,
watching and examining us inside and out.

20:28 Love and truth form a good leader;
sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.

15:32 An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny;
an obedient, God-willed life is spacious.

22:10 Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
you need a break from bickering and griping! (Hmm, I do need a break... :-))

15:1 A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

15:4 Kind words heal and help;
cutting words wound and maim.

22:6 Point your kids in the right direction—
when they're old they won't be lost. (I'm pointing God and trusting in YOU!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Savings Galore

At CVS- Zegrid $9.99 each, got back $9.99 ECB each, used 2 $4 manufacturer coupons. Blink $7.99, got back $7.99 ECB, used $4 manufacturer coupon. Dulcolax $9.99 each, got back $9.99 in EBC each, used 2 $5 manufacturer coupons. YOU do the math. ---- Not to shabby! Do I intend to use these products- nope, probably going to donate them to a local charity and then I can claim the tax deduction as well!

I was able to snag all of this at CVS and Walgreens for $1.18 out of pocket (oop).
At Walgreens used 11 in RR, rainchecks, $7.98 in coupons at Wags and got back $2.50 in RR and spent $1.18 oop, wouldn't have even had to do that if I had remembered to bring a coupon. Total savings $101.73.
At CVS nothing oop because I had a gift card, would have been $1.56 after coupons and ECB if I didn't have the gift card. Used $18.98 in coupons and $8.50 in ECB. Got back $8 in ECB. Total savings $30.90.
I got these at our local S1 for $0.53 oop and $9 worth of coupons!

My point is that there are deals out there and it doesn't take all that long to get them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So Much to Say... Too Tired to Say It

Our day is easily summed up by what Elizabeth uttered before she jumped into the pool, "Oh, no."

We are not looking forward to Mr. Incredible leaving on a trip.:-(

Have lots of savings pictures to post. Hopefully tomorrow... we only have a make up O.T. appointment and an ortho appointment for two kids- slow day. :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Waiting for the Other Shoe...

Mr. M wanted Mr. Incredible to stay home this morning and became very vocal about daddy going to work. (grimace)
Super P texted me to let me know he felt ill today and wouldn't be at work. (really?!)
Decided to make the most of it and go to Aqua Zumba and I swam 3 laps. (some tension released)
Need to make a finger food for a meeting tonight, usually my last name qualifies me for dessert. I CAN do dessert. I have NO idea what to make/take. Do cheese ball chips count?! (argh)
HAVE to go grocery shopping tonight AFTER the meeting due to another meeting tomorrow night and Mr. Incredible going out of town for 3 DAYS on Wednesday. (grrr)
AND to top it all off Super P wants Thursday off too! (AAAHHH!)
If we can just make it through today without another meltdown, I would be so thankful. If we can make it through this week without World War 3 erupting, I think I might cry.
Oh, in case you missed it, we are "back to school". This is one of those days that I'm not just leaning on God I'm saying, "Pick me up daddy and carry me through!"

On a funny note:
At dinner last night Mr. Incredible and I were asked by a certain someone, "Is it wegal [legal] to marry your sister?"...no... "Is it wegal to marry your momma?"...No... "Is it wegal to marry your brother?"...NO! (Maybe we shouldn't encourage talking during dinner, talk about pushing the envelope!)
Then today,
Mr. M: "You need to get married again."
Me: "Why? I am married to DADDY."
Mr. M: "You haven't been for very long."
Me: "Well, it's actually been quite a while."
Mr. M: "Well (he huffs), you need a baby! And God gives you the special treat of a baby after you get married!" (I'm dumbfounded at this point and refuse further comment, but I see how God is preparing even Mr. M's heart for what HE has next for us.)

11 Months

Elizabeth joined our family 11 months ago. Hard to believe.

We love you!

An Evening with Tim Kimmel

Trying to play catch up here... this actually was Thursday!

I forgot paper so I took notes using my phone :-)

We thought he was going to talk about parenting, but his principles apply to marriage as well!

*We (parents/spouse) need to embody God's grace.*
Grace does not mean we get away with murder. There are consequences to actions. But, dealing with our children/spouse in the same manner as Christ deals with us.

How do you do this? Glad you asked!
Picture a house- three stories with a foundation and an attic.

The foundation of your house needs to be God. If you set life/family on anything else, it will not be a stable foundation.

1st story- Meet their 3 driving inner needs
*Know they have a secure love
*Know they have a significant purpose (intrinsic value)
*Know they have a strong hope

2nd story- Have an atmosphere of grace in your home
*Freedom to be different (this includes weird)
*Freedom to be vulnerable
*Freedom to be candid (you can be candid and respectful)
*Freedom to make mistakes

3rd story- Build Character
Faith, Integrity, Poise, Discipline, Endurance, Courage

Attic- Aim them at True Greatness
The world measures success by wealth, beauty, power, fame. Grace measures success by having a humble, grateful, generous, servant's heart.
If you aim your child at true greatness you answer what their mission in life is, who their going to marry, and who their master will be.

Tim and Darcy (his wife) have a website if you want to see further information or resources.

I have read Grace Based Parenting and it has greatly helped in our parenting of our kids, but especially one in particular.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let me introduce....

Super P

Super P is our helper. Every good superhero (people keep thinking that I'm SuperMom) has a side kick and when Mr. Incredible is at work Super P (at least some of the time) steps into the role of hygiene co-coordinator, child relations assistant director, behavioral development assistant researcher and such.
If you see us about town, don't worry, Mr. Incredible knows ;-)
I had planned on having another female assist us after Fantastic F left, but God had other plans... HE's always up to something!

Food Hoarding, Other Little Bad Habits and a Victory

Mr. M sits engrossed (on the BACK of the couch, of course) with his brothers playing a video game, biting his nails.

Adopting is not always easy- for you or the child. There are days of joy and there are days of tantrums. Even when you get what you think you are wanting, there will be days that you don't know that you want you've got. (I do not think that this applies only to adopted children :))
When you adopt a child there are things beyond your control that can affect the child, you the parents and your family. Sometimes the effects are small and only slightly ripple out affecting mostly the child. Sometimes the effects are huge and cause rippling far out beyond your knowledge.
Food hoarding is something that adopted children can go through. We've experienced some food gorging by Mr. Z and Mr. J, but after an incident (or several) the consequences were enough to deter further gorging. (notice I used gorging not hoarding) Mr. M amazes me at his prowess of silently sneaking past me to get to food (candy, caprisuns and snack bars) and going and hiding to eat them. It broke my heart to hear him say, "I need that lock". Speaking of a pantry and kitchen cabinets that locked that were made for a boy who had an eating disorder on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He knows he's not supposed to take the food, but something in his brain makes him. No consequence has worked to date. It does not happen everyday though now. But we think we've conquered it, and then find a new stash of wrappers in a new hiding place.
Nail biting. Maybe it's genetic, but more than likely I am guessing it's his newest form of self stimulation. Anytime he's sitting or laying down, a foot or hand is in his mouth. GROSS!!!
Clothes on "wrong". People may comment that Mr. M's clothes are on backwards. At least they are on! Many days it takes several attempts just to get good morning clothes ON. The O.T. works with him on getting them turned the right way, sometimes I fight that battle but I usually let it slide. At least he's dressed is my thinking! I don't want the screaming and kicking that ensues- like Super P got a taste of today.
It takes time, patience and training and more time and patience and training and LOTS of prayer to work through these issues. But God does reward the diligent, and losing the battle for Mr. M is not an option.
Our victory? He cried today. Mr. M didn't get what he wanted and a tantrum ensued, but I saw a very small tear! (I'm not some sadistic nut. But this is only time #6 in his LIFE that I've seen a tear.) God is breaking down the walls. Through HIM all things are possible!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Day in the Life...

12 am Get in bed.
6:30 am Alarm goes off. (Didn't drag myself out of bed. Shame on me!)
7:30 am Kids start filtering in with requests... really should be out of bed.
8 am Finally will myself and my achy knee to get out of bed, running really late now!
9 am In the last hour got Elizabeth ready, a load of clothes started, myself ready, ate something, etc... and trash out
9:20 am show up at gym and suddenly remember Zumba was canceled for the day! We're here so I bike for 30 and try the elliptical (my backside has been feeling that 2.5 minutes since!).
11:15 Arrive home showered and ready for the day with five hungry kids-snacks of apples and pb (with the exception of Mr. T on the pb and peel for Elizabeth).
11:30 Super P shows up for work and Ms. M the O.T. comes.
12:30 Lunch
1:30 I can't remember what the kids did. Super P and I alternated on making cookies.
2:30 Ms. A the S.T comes
3:30 All go swimming.
4:30 Super P leaves and everyone is out of the pool and getting dressed.
5:15 "Fix" melted cheese sandwiches for dinner.
5:30 Mr. Incredible home and we leave for a class within minutes.
8 pm out of class, stop at two stores on way home, hurry to feed five hungry kids AGAIN and get them in bed!
9:40 Mr. Incredible and I finally get to eat and have time together!

Monday, August 9, 2010

We're Pregnant!

Ha! Gotcha! But in all seriousness, we actually kind of are. What? How? How can you "kind of" be? All questions you're thinking, right?! Well....
Mr. Incredible and I are "pregnant" with the idea of adopting again. We see God's leading in this direction, but have some issues to overcome. #1 Vehicle, #2 Money for adoption, #3 How/Where- forgein, domestic, foster..., #4 When. (and that's the short list! :-)) Because of our current circumstances we have a leaning towards not fostering, but Mr. M is such a blessing... We just don't want to cause undue turmoil in his already turbulent life. If you could please join us in praying for God's further leading and direction, we would greatly appreciate it.
We have an empty space at our table (even if we don't have one in our van). When we are out and even at home. I keep "feeling" like we are missing someone- not a comfortable feeling.
Before we ever brought Elizabeth home I wanted to start pursuing another child and had a specific continent in mind. However, we are unsure if this is truly the direction God would have for us or if it was more about being open minded.
I guess the gentlest way to say it is we would like to pursue a little chocolate for our vanilla and caramel family.
(Seeking God's further guidance on this is also why I haven't posted a lot lately-not for lack of things to say. I didn't want to spill the beans too soon!)

After original post update: Got a call back tonight after my post from a foster/adoption agency for a call that I placed last week. God works in mysterious ways! Praying for faith in God's ways...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To Homeschool or not!

With all that is in me I want to teach my children and for us to enjoy learning, BUT that has not happened! (at least not as much as my ideal- think of a Norman Rockwell picture with the mother sitting serenely with a couple children on her lap reading a book) So where am I left? To homeschool or not?! When I think of the days ahead and the battles that will be fought over math, English, etc., I cringe. But when I can think past the immediate discomfort to the solid footing and the logic and reasoning I am imparting, maybe we can battle through!? It would be so easy to hand off the chore of teaching to those who actually get paid to do it, but how much of God's money am I willing to impart to them in order for them to not care about my children as deeply as I do? What disrespect (respect is big at our house) am I willing to succumb my children to so that I can be more comfortable? What are we going to have to give up because of the rigid schedule of "going" to school? Is it worth it?!

So I press on in this journey of homeschooling. I am NOT using a curriculum with lessons plans this year, so I get to make my own! (YIKES!) We are going to be fitting in 2 sessions of occupational therapy at home, 2 sessions of speech therapy at home, 2 sessions of speech therapy at the deaf ed school, 1 session of language development at home and 1 counseling session each week along with 6th grade, 4th grade, 2 in K and 1 preschooler! Yahooooooo!!! Let the fun begin!

Do I really think I can do this? NOPE. Not even in a million years. But, WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

(I know homeschooling isn't for everyone, but it's a conscious choice that we have made as we feel it is the best for our family. Not an easy choice, but well worth the return.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Today I was thinking about John 14:18, a verse concerning orphans-ie. children that need to be adopted. Then God opened my closed minded thinking. What is an orphan? Can anyone be an orphan? Then I found John 14:18 in a different version! (1st half of verse is from the Amplified Bible)

"I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come to you."

How many times does the world weigh down and we're left feeling desolate, forlorn, helpless, abandoned? But God sees us in our time of distress and He has not left us! Whether we are an orphan physically or spiritually, from abandonment, death, as a child or as an adult (or maybe we are just comfortless, delsolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless). GOD SEES!
He will not leave us lying by the roadside. He will scoop up our broken and battered hearts/bodies and be there for us.

God has been opening my eyes to the amount of people who are struggling (and I struggle sometimes too!). May we turn our cares over to the one who can carry them better than us. May peace abound in peaceless times, because of our trusting in HIM. May strength for the week ahead seep into our bones as we know that HE is with us. He has not left us!