We had a wonderful Easter! A bit of craziness trying to get everyone ready and out the door but very worth it. Our pastor shared some footage from a person that really doubted the existence of God and so he set out to prove the story of Christ wrong. Along his journey, however, his eyes were opened and he realized just how real Christ is! We ate a wonderful dinner at my parents' house and then had a great egg hunt. It was so fun to see it through the eyes of the littlest ones that don't remember hunting last year.
Jonathan is really starting to blossom as he continues to go to preschool 4 days a week. I was a bit hesitant at first but he has done such a great job and I'm so appreciative of his teacher, Miss Brandi and his speech therapist, Miss Jennifer. He also has 2 paras that help him while he is there (and have helped us so much with pottytraining!). Here are a few pictures that he has made at preschool.
Here are some pictures that Joel created. He specializes in drawing people and is gradually adding more and more detail as he gets older. He also has a bug book that he will color in for long periods of time, trying to get just the right color of grasshopper is a tough job.
Natalie loves all things penguins. She recently painted this picture of a family of penguins. Her aunt Heather got her a stuffed penguin which she still plays and sleeps with. She loves to read books from the library about penguins and in fact, she wrote a report about them this year for school.
Allie has loved drawing for as long as I can remember. She will sit down and draw for hours. I still have books that I learned from when I was about her age and it is so fun to see her using those same books to indulge her creativity. Here is a painting that she recently created. I wish that you could actually see it in person because she even used some different textures in the grass and on the flowers to make them seem more life-like. I look forward to what she creates in the future.
Tell me, how many dirty pants can you clean in one day?! I just realized this weekend that we've been attempting to potty-train our 3 year old for 6 months now. SIX very long and very frustrating months. I tell you, having a few years of mothering experience under my belt (10 years counts for something doesn't it?) pottytraining is still the single most frustrating experience for me personally. UGH! I decided that since I was already working on one, why not throw a second into the mix. So, as if I wasn't frustrated enough (really, why do we as moms do such silly things to ourselves) I decided to go ahead and start pottytraining our 2 yr old also. I have to say, that he seems to be picking it up quickly but it is still exhausting. Neither of them seem to have a clue when it comes to going #2 in the toilet. Ok, probably way too much information but I was thinking today that this really has other applications to life. You invest so much time and effort into something and sometimes, it just doesn't seem to make a difference. I know that we may never see the fruit of our efforts here on earth but we are still called to do our part. We pour so much of our lives into our children specifically but also other relationships and what if they don't turn out like we had hoped and prayed for? Do we count ourselves or our efforts as failures. I have to believe that it isn't for naught. Even when we do make mistakes as of course, we are prone to do, God can still use us! The following is an excerpt from a paper that our oldest daughter, Allie, wrote last week. Every now and then, God allows little glimpses of His plan and how He is using us to touch others. "I am going to explain in this writing why I believe in Jesus and why I am a Christian. I have good parents thankfully that take the time to explain it to me." "God was here before time began. He loves all the people in the world so He sent His Son, Jesus to die on the cross, so we would be saved and would be able to go to Heaven." "I believe in Jesus because I believe He died for us and He loves us so much He gave us a choice to believe in Him or not. He is amazing and can do many things for us. There is no god like Him, no one is like Him. I am happy now to know I can be with Him in Heaven." "I think people should know about Jesus. One day every knee will bow and everyone will know the one Living God. I hope many people will come to know Christ." "I hope many people also realize God lives before it's a little too late to change." Wow, I think she says it better than I. Pottytraining is important and difficult but pales in comparison to our mission here on earth. May I not get so caught up in my daily challenges that I take my eyes off the prize.
Ok, I have to admit that when I first heard of people doing this, I thought, you've got to be kidding me. It took me a while to come around but I thought, I'll just give it a try and see how it goes. Well, its been a year and an investment of only about $15 dollars. Can you believe that? That is the price of one container of detergent and we usually go through one about every 2 months.
I am completely sold on the idea now and it is so very easy (and did I mention, cheap!?) So here's the recipe in case you're feeling like giving it a try. It is simple and pain-free and only takes about 10 minutes to make enough to last our huge family about 6-8 weeks.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup washing soda -I use Arm and Hammer brand-not baking soda! 1 bar of Fels Naptha/Ivory or Zote-I've tried Fels Naptha and Ivory and both work fine, I prefer the smell of the Fels Naptha though. 1/2 cup of Borax (20 mule team brand) grater sm. bucket-2 gallon size
Grate the soap and put in a sauce pan with 6 cups of boiling water. Stir occasionally until soap melts. This just takes a few minutes. Turn down the heat and add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 26 cups (a gallon and 10 cups) of hot water in the bucket and then add the soap mixture. Stir well and let sit overnight. It forms a gel. I have a front-loading washer so I just add about 1/4 cup directly into the load. I have friends that have used it in the soap dispenser but I am a little paranoid about that. I have 3 messy boys and have never had a problem with it getting clothes clean and fresh. I do continue to pre-treat for the messiest of stains just like I do with regular laundry detergent. I also continue to use fabric softener on all my loads and bleach for my whites.
Wow, where to begin. I have wanted to start a blog for quite a while now but was too intimidated to do so. Well, today is the day! I would love to share the craziness, fun, and frustration of my life and hopefully provide encouragement to others along the way. I am the type of person that likes to give others the impression that I have it all under control but that is so rarely the case. Take today for instance, I am finishing up a shopping fiasco at one of my favorite stores and trying to get all seven kids buckled up in the truck. Keep in mind that this is quite a process as we have a Suburban that we had to retrofit with an additional seat to fit all of us into it. We also have a fold-down seat to allow passengers to get into the back seat which has to then be put back upright so that my 8 yr. old can sit in it. So just picture all of the activity just getting in and out of the truck involves. At the time that we purchased the Suburban, we also couldn't afford to get running boards so all the kids have to climb up into the truck. It takes us a good 5 minutes to get everyone into the truck and that is if one of the younger ones aren't kicking and fighting me in the process. Anyway, back to the story, here I am calmly trying to get the kids in (ok, I was actually very frustrated and raising my voice, maybe even yelling) and a great friend from church walks up and says "Hello". Here I am wondering if she heard any of the screaming as I greet her very calmly. Ugh. Patience is not my strong-suit and it gets stretched a lot with this large of a family. I sometimes wonder if that isn't why God gave me so many little ones, to help me know how dependent I have to be upon Him to make it through each and every day! I look forward to sharing the activities of our family and the lessons that I'm learning along the way in this molding process.