Thursday, August 27, 2015

School begins

How in the world did this come so fast? SCHOOL YEAR 2015-2016

Two Seniors- Chloe and Chance

Sophomore -- Paisley

Freshman-- Camden

And the last 2 of our 12 children are SIXTH GRADERS this year. Yes, indeed. Look how grown up they all look!! 

For the FIRST TIME in 25 YEARS there is no child of ours in elementary schools.

WOW.  The kiddos all leave at the same time and come home basically at the same time.

There's football and field hockey this year so 2 stay after for their sports.

The Middle School transition was not an easy one for Phoebe. She was taken to the school previously a couple of times to acclimate herself to the size of school, how she would get around, to ease her fears.

It didn't really work. Come orientation night last week, they sent parents to cafeteria and new 6th graders to auditorium and gave them their first glimpse of their schedules.  Not a wise decision-- at all.

No accommodations made for Phoebe meant she could not even SEE her tiny printed schedule, Kat was scheduled WITH her which I had made very clear was NOT to be.

The girls have struggled to get along.  No secret there.  They do not do well together.  Phoebe wants Kat to do things for her she should do herself.  Kat gets mad being dumped on and becomes snotty toward Phoebe. It's just not healthy for either girl.

So after orientation I went off to work night shift and emailed vision instructor about the schedule print size, the guidance counselor about the schedules, and the ESL teacher about the schedules. 

When I got home in the am, left messages for principal and director of student services about schedules.

Let's just say it wasn't going to be "let go."  So by the time I slept and got up I had a return call and schedule was changed to new team for Kat. 

Phoebe and Kat both were rescheduled a tour of the school for yesterday. 

 There were 3 girls being considered for "buddies" for Phoebe, mainly to get her to the correct classes that they are headed to anyway.

I think it will go well. Not 1 buddy with her all the time because Phoebe tends to be "needy" and sometimes overwhelming people with those needs. So more than 1 buddy will ease that issue and not have her relying too much on any one girl. We hope.

The vision teacher was to be at school for this morning to make sure Phoebe does ok.  Phoebe has known her for years and is very comfortable with her.

We met up with 2 of the "buddy"  girls yesterday at our personal tour of the school which made Phoebe even more comfortable.

  And Kat got to see where her new classes were going to be. And the ESL teacher had made Phoebe larger print schedules in an easier format for Phoebe to follow.

Before the tour yesterday I also met with Director of Student Services to update Paisley's accommodations.

Paisley has not done well health wise over the summer:(

And we have figured out a big reason why she declines every summer when most arthritic people do better from the warm temps and getting out more.......


Paisley refused to move. Even as we enjoyed better health from all our walking  and she saw this all summer. Even when her nurse mother told her she needed to be walking every single day..... she laid in bed and refused to walk anymore than she HAD to and deeply affected her mobility.

 It made me terribly sad, but as I told her doctor, she's nearly 18 and I can't force her.

So we determined it would be better for her to go to school via van.  The bus steps are just too high for her to do herself and we can't expect ( although they would do this if they can) her siblings to hoist her in and out of the bus. The bigger kids aren't always ON the bus to do that.

We also got in place wheelchair use allowed if she wears out today and for the first few weeks, till we see how she does.  I am really hoping to see her gain some strength as she HAS to walk each day in school because we do not want her wheelchair bound before she HAS to be. 

It's a shame the stubbornness can't be channeled in to something HEALTHY, huh?  But hoping to see her "forced movement" throughout the school day improve her mobility soon. In the meantime we make accommodations to try to make her school days be the best they can be for her as well.

So what am I doing with all this "time" I have today?  After the van got Paisley (I lifted her in) I took off for a 4 mile walk..... yep, I did. Enjoyed it too.

Can't wait for my treadmill to arrive next week--- yes, it's going to be a necessity since we get snowed in quite often and if you don't believe me look back at last winter's posts. Not going to be risking it out in THAT. 

I DID fall last weekend. The kids were sooo funny. It was just dad and I but when they saw my "boo boos" they asked if he pushed me?  Crazy kids.  Of course he didn't. 

 But I did tease him that he didn't catch me either...... not nice because he couldn't have. I slipped off the edge of the road and my foot twisted.

Couldn't recover and down I went. I was soooo worried when I first started walking that I would fall and get hurt.

I'm not the most coordinated person:)  But I scraped an elbow, the knee too. Bruised a hip.  Got up, shook off and continued for 3 more miles.... and I am fine. Was happy to know I can fall and it didn't stop me.

So one less worry off my mind, because I survived my first fall and am no worse off.  Still not risking walking in ice/ snow conditions. Just so you know MOM.......

Did you see who is BACK?? Mr. Chance! Arrived YESTERDAY, just in time for school, nothing like the last minute, huh? 

He greeted me with open arms to hug me. Gosh, he's just the sweetest kid.  Such a blessing. Glad he's not too old to hug his momma still. 

Hope you read that Donovan...... not buying that you are too old to hug me!!

I'm betting this year will fly by, Chance is already talking about graduation party, etc... oh goodness, I'm just not ready for that to happen YET.  Guess I don't get a choice, they are all growing up:)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Hubby is 50!!

Happy Birthday to him.  Just the greatest guy I know, a wonderful father, hubby and all around great guy.

He's the rock of this family, always caring and kind.  Has a TON of patience (I'm sooo jealous:)

He's been walking with me more recently, I really enjoy my time walking with him beside me.  And he's lost 10 lbs so far!

We had a cookout with just family-- yes, that's a party right there, I know. 

We did the cookout and had ice cream cake which has become a total favorite of all around here.

Dad got a new and bigger TV from all the kids, they chipped (with help from mom to arrange it) and he was very happy. I got him some other stuff from me.

We are so very blessed to have this guy in our lives, and we are ALL very thankful for him:)

Oh, and got the late "birthday pic" of Chloe and Chance together. So I added that to this birthday post.

Happy Birthday to hubby, 50 looks GREAT on you!!!

 Love you so much:)

We haven't started school yet, almost there-- lots to update on that so I'll save that for the next post......

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Family Gatherings

First it was a family reunion. Those are always fun, seeing  folks we don't usually see often. This was hubby's side of the family. Only sad thing was many less people this year:(

On a happier note, we got to see our Chance--he came with Uncle Mark and then was gone again. Staying to help/work with Uncle till right before school starts.  I think he may have grown taller? Chance, that is, not Uncle Mark:)

Doesn't hubby and his bro look a lot alike? They had the same haircuts this year too. 

Our other family gathering was our local fair. We thought the kids would be a little more excited about going. Hmmmm. They ended up getting food, each picked their favorites. Monkey bread, hot sausage, popcorn, cotton candy, just to name a few of the yummy things they decided on. 

Chloe pushed Paisley in her chair, she sure isn't slowwww  going for anyone to see anything. Girl has one speed and it's fast! We were too slow for her looking around and she had to circle back many times to find us again. 

Apparently the kiddos enjoyed my picture taking efforts of them and their fair foods, I mean do they not look thrilled, or WHAT? 

We have done most all of the dreaded school shopping.  I tormented myself this weekend and took Chloe, Kat, Phoebe and Camden to finish up the needed items.

 Chloe is the one I dread (Kat and Camden are close seconds) taking shopping. She's incredibly picky. Although I was able to pick out 3 pairs of pants for her without her along previously and got them right (size and preference) which was some kind of miracle. 

We got her shoes (3 stores to get the ones she wanted) and  tops ( 2 stores). Kat and Phoebe each got 2 tops, I had bought them all the other stuff (socks, pants shoes, under things, school supplies)  previously. They didn't need many tops because they do have a big tub of hand me downs that are perfect for them to get through the year. 

Paisley hasn't grown and won't so she got new shoes, a few tops and socks, she has tons of clothes since the two younger girls recently outgrew her size so she is overloaded on clothes. 

So in less than 2 weeks we will start another school year. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around having no one in elementary school this fall for the first time in 25 years. Yes, that long. 

Football practice has started and field hockey practices begin this week. 

Other news---Chloe passed her drivers test. Yeah her!! Now she's looking for a cheap car. Her driving could be a huge help with all the practices and her job.

Chase also passed his test the week after Chloe. Chance says he's not ready to test yet. They were all very cautious about driving/ testing which is just fine with us. 

No recklessness needed. 

Camden and Chloe were asked about working for someone, they worked together to dig a 65 foot ditch that was 18 inches deep. They did such a good job the person's neighbor hired them to pull weeds for her!

The kids  were very happy, they enjoy making money but also keeping busy.  Usually Chance is our guy hired out since he's a very hard worker and very strong. But hubby told the guy we had a 2nd crew because Chance wasn't home:) 

That's what we have been up to,  that and lots of walking too. Of course:) 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fessing up time

There's  been some really big changes around here and I think it's time to share it. (NO, not adopting again-- just to clear up that idea) 

This was something a long time coming. Had been "weighing" on my heart and body for many, many years.

 God had "nudged" me (that work in progress stuff, you know?) many times about it. But I just wasn't ready until the day after Easter. 

Yep, that day I was done. I gathered up every stash I had (and there was plenty) of junk food/ candy and out it went. I made a commitment to FINALLY do something I have never done---make getting healthy a priority in my life. 

To accept I am important enough to take time and effort for ME. At first it seemed so selfish. But I made myself do it. 

I realize the blog posts have been lean but some things had to "give" as I made time for exercising and taking time to learn what worked for me to live a healthy lifestyle. 

 And just so MOM knows, this was all done naturally--no pills, drops, pretty drinks, only basic "move more, eat less" change of lifestyle. Changes I can live with and easily maintain. 

And I'm doing it. I'm nearly 60 (sixty) pounds less in size!  For real! Instead of hiding behind the kids (trust me when I say you won't find pics of me out front for years now because I had trouble finding a picture of myself!), I am not in hiding any longer.

Finally taking care of me. My "not so secret" key to this is very simple. WALKING

 It's  improved my stamina, helped with moodiness, hip and knee pain, as well as aided my weight loss. 

I walk at least 2 miles 6 days a week with some other activities thrown in (occasional 4 mile walk, hiking, biking) usually once or twice a week with hubby:)

I feel so much better. And..... It's caused huge "ripple effects" on the whole family-- the kids are learning what foods are healthy to eat, what moderation means, what exercise can do.

How to read food labels and know what carbs, verses protein, what  fat and sugar contents mean. Stuff they need to know for healthy lifestyles even though they are all healthy weights and eat whatever they want. Empowering us all to make food choices that can fuel our bodies not just eat to eat. 

This week I decided to share for those who don't see me because I reached a milestone. Such a special one. Not a "number" because I totally committed myself to this new lifestyle refusing to make it about a number on the scale. It was much more special than that.

I got my wedding rings back on my fingers! Off (if needed) and on, I am wearing them again. I don't recall when (about 13 years ago)  I took them off and realized I had to stop wearing them because they didn't fit anymore. I just remember making excuses for not wearing them and being very upset.

My rings are size  5 1/2 which is small and I never got around to have them resized because I never dreamed it would be this many years till my fingers saw them again. My rings match hubby's and I just am thrilled to be wearing them again.

Some of my motivation (other than my really great family) was in quotes I've read-- I really like this one "A woman should never die without knowing how strong her body really is. " 

And learning it takes 30 days to stick with any change or new habit ( most people quit at 3 weeks) I hung in there and now it seems weird and "off" if I don't walk. It takes me about 30 minutes for 2 miles and it's become a vital part of my day. 

So... now you know. Why the blog has slowed down because I have sped up my priorities for the good of our family. And often I am joined on my walking distance with a few of the kids. So we are spending more time together while getting me fit:) such a win/ win!

Motto here is--- don't give up hope if you are overweight. Don't beat yourself up (I was harder on me than anyone) or feel it can't possibly happen. You don't need fancy stuff, just be sure you have decent (made for walking/running) sneakers if you choose to do walking. Make the time..... NOT excuses. 

Find a motivation you have within you if you want to lose weight/get healthy and go for it. I asked God to give me the strength and started out with 1(very slow) mile and worked my way up. And honestly--love yourself enough to take care of you no matter your size. Please do that because my only regret is not making me important enough to do this sooner. 


Caring about your own health is vital for us moms. We have to be able to give and give and give which can't keep happening if nothing is put back in to us to fill us up. Especially true when you are parenting kids from hard places. Their needs can be sooooo draining. 

Everyone and everything else was "more important" and yet having done this I have such an increase of energy, those "feel good" hormones from exercising at least 30 min a day that my "everyone else" is getting more from me than before! And I had no idea. 

And as Chloe and Chance enter their senior year of school, Kat and Phoebe head to Middle school.....  Mom having tons of energy and stamina is a really, really good thing:) 

Keeping up with all and feeling very blessed that God didn't ever give up on me even when I resisted and just didn't want to do it. Because something a dear friend told me really caused me pause. Our bodies are God's temple because He lives within us. I knew I wasn't honoring Him and yet it seemed so impossible/overwhelming. 

13 years to find my motivation, MOTIVATION FOUND! Living healthy and feeling great! And another perk? I can order adoption shirts (supporting adopting orphans or surgeries for orphans) in regular sizes. My passion for supporting the adoption of orphans has not changed:) Of course not!

Motto here--- never think it's too late or give up because God doesn't and He loves us all IN ALL our sizes.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Non Birthday?

Although last week was Chloe and Chance's birthdays, we did not have a big to-do. Love them both tons, that's certainly not the issue.

Firstly--- Chance is still gone, at Uncle's working for the summer. This left behind the girlie who deeply dislikes fuss being made about her and the whole fact that their birthday is actually a "guessed date" compared to knowing a real date of their birth:(

Yes this still bothers her. And we understand and care that it does. 

So as to not cause her any upset we went low key.

She got a new phone earlier and on her day a card, some of her favorite snack stuff (can't ever go wrong giving them hot sauce) and I made her an ice cream cake. Soooo very simple-- layer of ice cream in cake pan, layer of whipped cream, layer of crushed cookies, chocolate syrup, layer of ice cream and top with whipped cream. Cover and freeze. Easiest to do if you let the ice cream get pretty soft to start your layer of that. 

Since most of our kids do not like actual cake but do love ice cream cake, it works well to have learned this easy way to make one. 



We've had yet another unwanted household issue--- it seems that this has been the summer of "issues" and as the house is just  4 years old  we weren't really expecting sewer pump float,  water main, and now ----water PUMP to fail. Yep, read that right.... Thursday after I had mowed and trimmed and (Thank you God) gotten a shower, someone asked what was wrong with the water? Uh, we had none? 

So after testing breakers and a call in to the company that installed the pump we got to improvise for overnight till they showed up the next morning and determined that indeed, our pump was dead. Pulled it up, replaced it and charged us labor. Pump was 4 years, 1 month in to a 5 year warranty (Thanks again, God) and now we have a new 5 year warranty covered pump. Wow,  were we thankful for water! 


And if it had to happen, at least it wasn't a holiday weekend like usual, and my extra work over the summertime covered the expense. Might be taking a picture of the house for our "vacation destination of 2015" with all these issues this summer though:(

The kiddos got to enjoy Vacation Bible School last week. Even the teens got to go and have fun since we have an interim youth pastor for the summer.

That was cool for them. They enjoyed the finale of VBS Sunday morning after church although it was really hot. The snow cones and dunking booth helped cool them off:)

I see someone here needs her bangs trimmed, I heard a few more guys saying they needed their hair cut, the doggies need trimmed---- goodness, where do I find the time??
Only a month left of summer, wow! HOW does summer always fly by so very quickly?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Geo ca- what-ing?

Camden' s got a new favorite hobby......Geo caching. 

 I had little idea what this was when he started. 

It's basically a modern day treasure hunt:)

Yep, using a GPS or cell phone with an app he's able to see hidden "items" ranging from teeny tiny to large containers.

Most hold some small treasures, toys, coins, even a dollar bill once. 

If you take something from the container you are to add something and all have a paper or tablet to sign your "handle" that you use to record you found it.

And then you return it to the hiding place you found it at for the next person to find:) 

One day last week when my brother and family visited we went geo- caching.  Cousins D & J are just as fascinated with this "treasure hunting" fun and we found a few that day.

Another trip for groceries and a few school clothes brought us 10 finds that day, Camden's highest record so far. He's gotten much better at finding them too.

Because do not think these items are always easy to find-- there are very obviously some really funny people that have mad skills at hiding these things.

At one site we had tried 3 times till he finally found it.

Some are incredibly complex and take you from place to place finding clues till you find the finally container.

 We've stuck to easy ones so far and are really enjoying the clean, healthy, outdoor fun of these searches:) 

 
The most funny "finds"--- one at a fruit stand was a fake rock.  And the one near a gym on the guard rail shaped like a cookie! 
 
So if you are looking for some good, clean fun for your kiddos, here's a great idea. It's all over the world so no restrictions of a certain area. 

Happy Treasure hunting:)
 
 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

She's Back!!!

Guess who returned from ALBANIA late last night? (Yes, I can now tell ya where she was which I didn't for safety reasons before.)

 Our Chloe girl is home from her mission trip:)


Goodness did we miss her. She must be trying to prep me for next year when she will graduate and is considering college now. SIGH. 

 Growing up so quickly it's like we just got her and here she is spreading her wings to fly:)

The first view of her was this--- her sleeping. 

Then later when she was thrilled I made her favorite (tacos) for supper.

Cheeseless for her, of course.

Her report from Albania?  They have a lot of foods with cheese.  The NERVE of them.  To think my cheese hating girl would eat CHEESE.  Nope.  I told her she is too used to mom spoiling her to accommodate her and Paisley's hatred of cheese.

I'm just so thrilled to have her home, a month was a LONG, LONG, LONG time. 

The other girls were happy to see her too.  Don 't think I "get a break" in the missing kiddos department---

Chance has now gone for the rest of the summer to work with his uncle in his plumbing business.  An internship kinda thing, he did this last summer as well and plans to do as a career so it's really great he can go and he enjoys it a lot.

We did tell him that an attitude had better not arrive home with him like it did last summer:( It was some rough waters when he came back last time.

Paisley had her monthly med infusion and per her labs things are settling down in the arthritis arena, much welcomed news there:)  Many days she is seen sunning herself, she really likes these hot sweltering days of summer.

The  not-so-little-now "little girls" have been trying to train the dog to roll over.  Teddy (the bigger one) is trying to do what they want. Tommy (at 13.5 and some arthritis himself) just watches the fun:)

I think we may have gained a new "pet"-- we have a crazy (and I mean crazy) hummingbird that has decided our feeder is his, all HIS.  He guards it and dive bombs the other 5 birds trying to eat.  I tried foil on his perch but that only deterred him for a short time:(

The kids have all been terribly amused at him and Camden has decided to name him "Commando."  He sat out beside the feeder and got the picture of this nutty bird.

Guess he found our crazy house and believes he fits right in here???